Blog | Music/Arts: Long Island Sound & Beyond
Suzanne Vega plays Westhampton Beach Performing Arts
Folk songstress brings Tales from the Realm of the Queen of Pentacles to New York
I never wear white
White is for virgins
Children in summer
Brides in the park.
My color is black black black
Black is for secrets
Outlaws and dancers
For the poet of the dark.
It’s been 27 years since singer/songwriter Suzanne Vega released the a cappella “Tom’s Diner,” which was named after NYC’s Tom’s Restaurant on W 112th Street and Broadway. (Shots of Tom’s Restaurant were also used to represent Monk’s, the diner where Jerry, Elaine, George and Kramer gnoshed on Seinfeld). Since the British dance duo DNA successfully remixed “Tom’s Diner” in 1990 (one of Vega’s most commercially successful songs along with “Luka” and “Marlene on the Wall”), numerous musicians have sampled the song. And it can be heard on Fall Out Boy’s latest single, “Centuries.”
“There have been so many samples,” admits Vega, who recently joined Fall Out Boy in a performance of “Centuries” on Ellen. “I really like Nikki D’s ‘Daddy’s Little Girl,’ Fall Out Boy, Michigan & Smiley and Danger Mouse’s versions.”
On her first album of original music in seven years, Tales from the Realm of the Queen of Pentacles,Vega actually samples 50 Cent’s “Candy Shop” and makes reference to Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop” on “Don’t Uncork What You Can’t Contain.” Produced by David Bowie’s former musical director Gerry Leonard, The Queen is quintessential Vega with a few more guitars thrown in with the help of former Bob Dylan sideman Larry Campbell, Peter Gabriel and King Crimson bassist Tony Levin.
One of the dark poetess’s more rockin’ songs is the semi-autobiographical “I Never Wear White.” And while she admits to wearing white from time to time—like when she got married—the woman with the penchant for dark-colored suits really does prefer black.
“‘I Never Wear White’ is a juicy song that I can really get into performing,” said Vega, who studied modern dance as a teenager. “I also like performing ‘Don’t Uncork What You Can’t Contain’ because it’s a lot of fun.”
While the folk songstress was influenced by artists like Lou Reed, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, The Beatles and Laura Nyro, Vega is looking forward to hearing the new albums by Taylor Swift and Lucinda Williams. More music from Vega and a book could also be on the horizon.
“There could be more music at the end of 2015,” said Vega. “I’ve been listening to a lot of Bob Dylan and revisiting all of Fall Out Boy’s back catalog. I also love Cibo Matto’s new album—great stuff!”
What: Suzanne Vega live– her distinct voice is smoother than ever
Where: Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center
When: Saturday, November 1st, 8pm
For more info: www.whbpac.org/pages/event_detail.php?event_id=812
Vega will also be playing at Joe’s Pub in NYC on November 14th with shows at 7:30pm and 9:30pm, and on November 15th with shows at 7:30pm and 9:30pm
The Great Garden City Pumpkin Patch
Head to UUCCN for pumpkins and baked goods throughout the month of October
Linus: Each year, the Great Pumpkin rises out of the pumpkin patch that he thinks is the most sincere. He’s gotta pick this one. He’s got to. I don’t see how a pumpkin patch can be more sincere than this one. You can look around and there’s not a sign of hypocrisy. Nothing but sincerity as far as the eye can see…
Let the Pumpkin Scarecrow lead the way when heading to the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Central Nassau (UUCCN) at the corner of Nassau Boulevard and Stewart Avenue. Throughout the month of October, the grounds will be covered with pumpkins from the Navajo reservation in New Mexico, which tend to last longer than those grown in the eastern United States. The sale is open daily from 11am to 7pm through Halloween on October 31st.
Close to 6,000 pumpkins in various shapes and sizes were delivered, as well as some variety pumpkins, gourds and decorative corn. Bring friends and family and enjoy some of the congregation’s homemade baked goods available for purchase—including homemade apple pies available on Sundays baked fresh from the oven! Admission is FREE and you are welcome to take pictures and wander through the patch in search of your Great Pumpkin…
Happy Halloween! For more info head to: https://www.facebook.com/UUCCN/timeline?ref=page_internal
Experience Sharon Van Etten at The New Yorker Festival
Conversations with Music in October at the Sheen Center on Bleecker Street
Turn on the charm
Call to response now
Sitting on the porch
Looking for a way out
—From “Taking Chances” by Sharon Van Etten
Sharon Van Etten’s voice can be as powerful as that of Kristin Hersh or Fiona Apple, and as whisper-soft as Chan Marshall or Suzanne Vega. And the New Jersey-bred singer/songwriter’s lyrics are as candid and emotionally heavy as the lot. Van Etten’s latest cd, Are We There, is her heaviest one yet. When discussing the record with Fred Armisen, Van Etten said it basically chronicled the last two years of her Tramp tour:
“It’s about things I’ve been working through—trying to have a career but also trying to have a home life and relationship,” said Van Etten, who lives in NYC. “And you know, in the end, I had to choose my work over having a relationship because the person I was with couldn’t handle it. It was someone that I loved very deeply, but it just plays on people’s insecurities when you’re in a place that they’re not. And that’s kinda what the whole record’s about.”
The indie-folk songstress has worked with The National’s Aaron Dessner and collaborated with the likes of J Mascis and Nick Cave. Covering Van Etten’s “Every Time the Sun Comes Up” brought Tim Presley of the band White Fence to tears.
In addition to Van Etten’s interview and performance on October 11th, The New Yorker Festival, which takes place the weekend of October 10th-12th, includes appearances by Neil Young, Malcolm Gladwell, Randy Newman, Imagine Dragons, Juliana Margulies, Laurie Anderson and Larry David, among others.
What: Conversations with Music: Sharon Van Etten talks with Sasha Frere-Jones about lyrical honesty.
She will also be performing solo during the 90-minute presentation at The New Yorker Festival.
Where: Sheen Center for Thought and Culture, 18 Bleecker Street, NYC
When: Saturday, October 11th, 7pm
For more info: http://festival.newyorker.com/program
OFF THE WALLS Block Party Saturday
Five hours of live music, dancing, food and art in Huntington Station
The Huntington Arts Council-affiliated SPARKBOOM initiative presents OFF THE WALLS II, a block party/street fair on Saturday from 1-6pm. After the success of last year’s event, SPARKBOOM has decided to rock the Huntington Station block again with free live performances from local bands like Nonstop to Cairo, Motion Ocean, Slang, KB Jones & The Kontraband and Jarred “AllStar.”
At 1520 New York Avenue (Mt. Calvary Holy Church of Huntington) you can also find Latin dancing presented by Sol y Sombra Spanish Dance Company: salsa, Argentine tangos and rumbas. There will also be a free BMX stunt show at the festival, and Mt. Calvary will be barbecuing food with proceeds going to the church.
But let’s not forget the art! ‘Off the Walls’ is named for street art and Lucienne Pereira will be painting an interactive mural at Huntington Deli. The 30 plus art vendors include handmade jewelry by Ali Herrmann, Deborah Porretto and Donna Saladino-Irvine, and photography by Kristen Vetter.
A Long Island native, Vetter has a BFA in Fine Arts, Psychology and Photography and her most recent work focuses on “the varied perceptions within an environment” based on her travels to Israel, Egypt and Jordan:
“My series of photographs, captured in an area synonymous with conflict, are full of contrasting elements: beauty, devastation, and the mundane,” said Vetter. “I document architecture and people within their environments. I then manipulate each image by hand with drawing, painting, printmaking, and sculpture to emphasize aspects of growth, change, and transition. The images that are created from this process emphasize empathy, and careful looking to offer clues to our common ancestry, common daily practices and struggles.”
Vetter will be selling some pieces like the enigmatic ‘Contemplation,’ a long exposure digitally taken “to emphasize the little nuances that we go through during bursts of emotion.”
‘Contemplation’ by Kristen Vetter
Digital photograph on Rives BFK and mono-print, 21’’ x 14’’ Digital photograph on Rives BFK, pastel, charcoal, matte varnish, 50’’ x 30’’
Suggested donation: $5 for the Block Party; For more info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1467771493474989/
Join The Amigos Band for Dinner in NYC
Monthly residency begins Friday at Greenwich House Music School
“The Amigos are brilliant improvisers and have so much collective positive energy that during the first 14-hour day I spent with them in the studio, I forgot that I would soon be 83. Their music… is for all ages from toddlers to my contemporaries, who will abandon the shuffleboard courts, come to hear them and go home feeling like a teenager again.”
—Beat Generation composer/musician David Amram
The Amigos Band with David Amram (l). Image: Richard Velasco
What could be better than (homemade) food, (free) wine and (good) music? Beginning Friday, The Amigos Band (think ensemble singing, dancing, folk, zydeco and bebop solos) will host a monthly themed music party, jam session and potluck dinner at Greenwich House Music School. The New York-based Americana band: Sam Reider (accordion, vocals), Justin Poindexter (guitar, vocals), Noah Garabedian (bass) and Will Clark (drums) is often joined by founding Amigos member saxophonist Eddie Barbash (now with Jon Batiste and Stay Human), Mr. Amram and other special guests from the NYC music community.
“Our goal with The Amigos Family Dinner is to build up a grassroots community of ‘Amigos’ in New York who are interested in exploring the intersections between American roots music styles and to engage with new fans through fun, educational and celebratory events,” said Reider. “We thought that paying tribute to the ‘hootenannies’ made famous by Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, Odetta and Leadbelly would be the perfect way to get this new Greenwich Village series started with a bang—and who better to help us invoke their spirit than our good friend, David Amram?”
In last October’s Pulse, The Amigos discussed their latest album, Diner in the Sky, which Amram co-produced. The record consists of originals that harken back to Amram’s Beat Generation, along with fresh arrangements of folk standards like “The Wayfaring Stranger,” “Hey Joe” and “The California Blues,” a Jimmie Rodgers classic once adapted by Woody Guthrie. Future themes in the monthly performance series at GHMS include: Horny Folk: Brass and Reeds in American Music, Drum Thunder, and a Folk Music Dance Party with an Appalachian folk dance lesson.
Who: The Amigos Band with special guest David Amram. and others tba
What: The Amigos Family Dinner party. Potluck dinner and all-you-can-drink wine, with a tribute to four pillars of folk music. There will be an Amigos-led jam session on songs of Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, Odetta and Leadbelly. Bring your instruments.
Where: Greenwich House Music School, 46 Barrow St., New York, NY
When: Friday, September 19th, from 7 to 9pm (all ages)
Cost: Recommended donation: $5, and a food item to share for dinner
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