(If you haven’t heard it yet, Light Asylum’s 2011 In Tension EP is phenomenal. Tangible run is already out of print, but you can download it.)
“I had some kind of epiphany about not chasing something in the above-ground world. Something happened in me that I no longer wanted to be in a band that wanted to be famous and go on tour. I just wanted to do something that was ours. I guess it was firmly planting myself in the underground, not after some kind of success that my parents would like.
…In the olden days of New York they had bands and dancing. Dancing and performers of every kind — spoken word, circus, whatever — in the same venue. Places like the Mud Club or Danceteria had a lot of different spaces and a lot of different installations and all kinds of different people went.
And then this weird thing happened when it suddenly became all giant discos and little rock bars. And those people never went to the same place anymore. It seemed like when we started doing Rubulad that people really wanted to be in the same space. They wanted to watch a band and go dance. And be happy.”
~Sari Rubinstein, co-founder of Rubulad, interviewed by Nonsense NYC
Photo via the Essentialist.
Oh, loves. We cover a lot of micropatronage drives on da ‘Haus, but the Rubulad Kickstarter project is especially near and dear. They have been an indescribably huge inspiration to many, many people involved with Coilhouse.
What is Rubulad? Back in 1993, two lovely souls named Sari Rubinstein and Chris Thomas took out a lease on a 5,000 square foot basement in south Williamsburg. Maybe a dozen other people got in on that initial deal, mostly artists and musicians in need of a cheap communal space where they could spread out and work. They all started building up and decorating the space communally. Soon, it became a fun, subterranean hang-out location that drew all sorts of kindred spirits together for dinners, readings, rehearsals, etc.
After a while, Sari, Chris, and their cohorts started throwing parties to cover each month’s rent. Over the course of the next few years, Rubulad (cleverly named with touch-tone letters that corresponded to the space’s phone number)’s space began to evolve, to literally bloom (with vibrant paper flowers, glittering murals, rope vines, colored glass, paper mache sculptures), and the parties developed into these elaborately themed bohemian blow-outs. They. Are. Fucking. AMAZING. For seventeen years now…
(Hang on, let’s take a moment. Seventeen. YEARS.
…Rubulad has been instrumental in planning and throwing all kinds of events. They’ve already had to move their main warehouse space twice, but their warm, inviting DIY ethic has never faltered or changed; it’s only grown stronger.
Press photo courtesy of The Syndicate of Human Image Traffickers.
Longtime Coilhouse friend and contributor, Jeff Wengrofsky, was recently interviewed for a prestigious podcast series– Long Story Short, presented by Tablet magazine (a recent winner of the National Magazine Award). Two other two guests in the series are eminent writers Vivian Gornkick and Morris Dickstein.
The conversation topic: how punk rock relates to Jewish history. Jeff has been a footnote to the NYC punk scene since 1982. In the podcast, he puzzles about how Jews have made significant contributions to punk, but the same could be said for their involvement in DaDa, feminism, socialism/communism/anarchism/unionism,
Jeff –who has one of the most astounding original issue vinyl collections of punk on the planet– invited podcast host Liel Leibovitz into his Art Deco lair on the Lower East Side for a fascinating conversation. From Tablet’s writeup:
“…in the 1970s, a very different sort of Jewish artist emerged. Joey Ramone, Handsome Dick Manitoba, Sylvain Sylvain and the other founding fathers of punk rock were as disdainful of the culture as their predecessors were eager to help define it. Wearing leather jackets, singing about sex and drugs, and cultivating their status as rejects, they made music that was loud and fast and much more true to the traditional status of Jews as eternal outsiders. touching on how many young, disenfranchised folks of Jewish descent “the other founding fathers of punk rock were as disdainful of the culture as their predecessors were eager to help define it. Wearing leather jackets, singing about sex and drugs, and cultivating their status as rejects, they made music that was loud and fast and much more true to the traditional status of Jews as eternal outsiders.”
As the Director of the Syndicate of Human Image Traffickers, Jeff has been making a series of films at the intersection of art and life. Several of them have appeared on the Coilhouse website. The sixth film in the series, “The Party in Taylor Mead’s Kitchen,” is an Official Selection of DOC NYC 2011, the documentary film festival of the Independent Film Channel. After reading Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, Taylor Mead, the scion of Michigan’s Democratic Party political boss Harry Mead, left his
Grosse Point home and Merrill Lynch sinecure for a life hitchhiking around the US. Upon arriving in San Francisco, his ability to write and perform clever, bawdy, homoerotic poems made Taylor an instant hit with the Beatnik scene. He soon came to personify the “Beatnik” ethic in Ron Rice’s classic film, The Flower Thief, in 1960. After meeting Allen Ginsberg at a poetry function, Taylor moved to the Lower East Side of New York, then the Beatnik capital of the world. Taylor was soon a Warhol superstar and came to be featured, most famously, in Tarzan and Jane Revisited…Sort of, and most notoriously, as the star of Taylor Mead’s Ass in 1964. He has since acted in over a hundred films, has acted for the stage, and has published books of poetry.
Fifty-one years after trading in upper-crust luxury for bohemian art stardom, The Party in Taylor Mead’s Kitchen finds Taylor still living the life of poetry, painting, partying, acting, homo-eroticism, gossip, modest living, and indifference to bourgeois notions of hygiene. We visit the octogenarian in his Lower East Side grotto to find him still brilliant, boyishly cute, and ready to party at noon. The film depicts the romantic beauty and squalid dereliction of the bohemian life while dishing the dirt on Andy Warhol, Jack Kerouac, Ron Rice, Woody Allen, and Tallulah Bankhead. At 85, Taylor Mead is an ambassador of bohemianism from a world without the internet, cable television, surveillance cameras, cell phones, global positioning systems, credit cards or roach spray.
As this film is short, it has been paired with a longer film that also deals with New York City artists of a bygone era: Girl with the Black Balloons.
They will be shown as a double-feature at these times and dates and locations:
This post has been exactly one month in the making, but not because we’ve been flaking on it, trust us. Actually, even in the midst of everything else that’s going on (hoo-whee, there’s a lot going on), we haven’t been able to STOP thinking about it, or adding to it constantly. It’s taken time because we’ve wanted to try our best to give props to every single person who made that fundraising event possible, and beautiful, and memorable. There were so, so many of you. Danged if it didn’t take a friggin’ village. Thanks for bearing with us, comrades. Thanks for helping us. Thanks for everything. We can’t stop saying thank you.
According to our tabulations, over three-hundred people came out to the Red Lotus Room on Sunday, August 21st, 2011. Most of them braved a torrential summer downpour, sweltering heat, substantial commutes, and a tough time getting out of bed on Monday morning. Approximately two-hundred-and-fifty of these folks were ticket-holding attendees. The remaining fifty-plus consisted of our enormous (mostly volunteer) crew. And let’s not forget the hundreds of others who donated or bid, watched the Livestream remotely, or hung out DJing for us in the Coilhouse Room on Turntable.fm! This was a huge and complex undertaking for all of us, and somehow, it miraculously came together with less than three weeks of planning.
Aerialist Sarah Stewart performs a death-defying drop. Photo by Audrey Penven.
Mer’s take on the whole thing: “I don’t think I’ve hugged that many people, smiled that much or said ‘THANK YOU’ so many times in an eight hour period.” A month later, it already feels like the sweetest, stickiest, sweatiest of dreams. But it wasn’t. It was real. You were real. Because of you, Issue 06 is imminent, and all kinds of new, exciting projects are in the works. Truly, we remain so deeply grateful to all of you, and we want to tell you again, officially and publicly. So here goes….
Editor’s note: today marks the birth date of one of our most tireless and incisive contributors, Mr. David Forbes. For his birthday, David gave us a present: an interview with elusive street artist Princess Hijab. Thanks, David – happy birthday!
A spectre is haunting Paris. For five years, Metro-goers have rounded corners to find heavy, black marker strokes obscuring the idealized arcadia depicted in subway advertisements, the airbrushed bodies of the inhabitants — men and women — disappeared behind a heavy veil. Princess Hijab has struck again.
When she started her “reign” in 2006, observers initially couldn’t decide if it was the work of a modernity-hating zealot or some sort of rabble-rousing commentary. The year before Paris had destructive rioting. France has its own serious racial and ethnic issues, and culture wars are never a place for nuance. The hijab is now, controversially, banned in public.
But from her work, there is no hiding, Parisians still pour out of trains to find the mark of Princess Hijab.
She hasn’t exactly hidden from the media, either. But strangely, in an era craving constant revelation, her identity remains a closely guarded secret. She claims to be around 22 years old, poor, from an immigrant background, and not a Muslim. Those who meet her aren’t even sure if she’s female.
Via e-mail, Princess Hijab, the alias chosen to represent “a mixture of precarity and aristocracy,” has chosen to draw back the veil, just a bit, and tell us about how — and why — she chose her domain.
The lovely people at Ghost Pictures just sent us the link to their new official trailer for the upcoming Rowland S. Howard documentary Autoluminescent, which is slated for an Australian theatrical release of Oct 27, 2011.
“Autoluminescent traces the life of guitarist, songwriter and artist Rowland S. Howard. Rowland S. Howard was an influential figure in contemporary music, particularly renowned for his role in seminal post-punk bands The Birthday Party, Crime & City Solution, and These Immortal Souls. In a career spanning 30 years Howard worked with the best artists of his generation, including Nikki Sudden, Henry Rollins & Lydia Lunch. His was a singular talent, cut short by an untimely death in 2009.”
No word on further screenings yet, but if there’s any creative justice in this world, Autoluminescent will eventually be shown internationally and run the festival circuit. Fingers crossed, anyway.
Previously on Coilhouse:
Moe! Staiano has been briefly mentioned on da ‘Haus before (most memorably in this post celebrating Viggie and other EPIC DRUMMERS). My description:
“Dada Percussionist” Moe! Staiano is that proverbial storm-in-teacup; a spring-loaded, anarchic sprite whose wildly improvisational style summons the spirits of Einsturzende Neubauten and Raymond Scott in equal measure. Spontaneous, mischievous, and always in earnest, Moe! is one of the most delightful live performers around. You’re never quite sure what’s coming next, but you know it’s going to be FUN.
Considering who he is and what he’s trying to achieve artistically, Moe! has long deserved a more fully fledged writeup here. With mere days left on a wonderful Kickstarter project that hasn’t quite reached its funding goal, now’s the time.
The first blip of Moe! appeared on my radar around 2001: he was touring through NYC as a member Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, and his frenetic energy and feral performance instincts were a revelation to watch. Over the past decade, the Oakland-based experimental drummer, percussionist and composer has continued to enrapture audiences worldwide with his strange and beautiful approach to noisemaking.
As his Wiki states, Moe! works in a “variety of found sounds and prepared trap set as well as massive orchestra conductions of his own scored compositions.” Here’s some footage of one of his huge group pieces, “Death of a Piano”:
Over the past year, Moe! has been working feverishly on his Surplus 1980 recordings.
“[A project that] rose from the ashes of my old former band, Mute Socialite, which split up in 2009. It is a collection of songs that were former ideas that were meant to be used for Mute Socialite, but never really made it, as well as three cover songs.”
“Surplus 1980 is a post-punk band of a rotating line up of some fine musicians*, many extending from great bands to be heard on this project including members from the Ex, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, and Faun Fables, among others, including Mute Socialite. The album in its entirety has been recorded by Dan Rathbun and is completed and ready to be pressed for a limited edition vinyl LP and CD run. The funds to complete the release are the only thing needed to get it done.”
The funds raised for Surplus 1980 will be used to press the LP (a gorgeously designed limited run of 250 copies, with 100 on colored vinyl) and additionally be pressed on CD (“I still believe in CDs”, insists Moe) as well as a download coupon. All funds will go 100% into this pressing. Any additional funds raised will be used for studio time for recording the next album.
*Full disclosure: along with a gobsmackingly awesome roster of other musicians, I am featured on this record. It would really thrill me to see this unique, inspired material get the lavish DIY print run it so richly deserves. Please make with the Kickstarter clickies if you love frenzied, toe-tapping post-punk joyfulness as much as I do.
Photo by Trevor Tondro for The New York Times
Two urban faery friends of ours in Williamsburg, ladies who have cultivated one of the most unique and enchanting domiciles you’ll ever see, are attracting a lot of attention, lately! Coilhouse first posted about Paige Stevenson and her Brooklyn loft, now called The House of Collection, in Feb of 2008. Since that time, the ever-inspiring Paige and her consummately luminous domestic partner, Ms. Ahnika Meyer-Delirium, have been working (and playing) toward making their wondrous 2000 square-foot loft more vibrant than ever.
Paige’s interview with All That We’ve Met last month is sure to inspire. Even more recently, the New York Times’ in-depth coverage of the House of Collection, –which features both Paige and Ahnika discussing their kindhearted philosophies of life and decor– offers a gorgeous tour of their abode. An excerpt from that article, titled “In Williamsburg, a Live-In Cabinet of Curiosities“:
It’s the way objects are deployed — all over the place, in large quantities and with a sense of play — that makes for something unexpected. A mounted deer’s head is one thing. A deer’s head with a pink brocade eye patch, false eyelashes and a glittery nose is another.
Likewise, grouping all the plants in the living room, even when it’s a room as large as theirs, makes an impact. “People sort of melt open,” Ms. Meyer said. “They feel as though they’re in a magical fairyland. But they also feel at home.”
The House of Collection is rich in such contrasts, a place cozy and vast, one that is urban but, thanks to the greenery, the farm tools and animal forms, has a country feel. It’s fitting for a couple who are both very domestic and deeply unconventional.
Photo by Trevor Tondro for The New York Times
New York City can sometimes feel like an especially cold and aloof realm… yet the HoC is as warm, welcoming and accepting a place as you are ever likely to observe.
Ah, you beauties! Well done.
“You remember that old song ‘Que Sera Sera, Whatever will be, will be, the future’s not ours to see’? I’ve always felt that. It’s been a rollercoaster ride, but I wouldn’t change a thing.” –Poly Styrene
Marianne Joan Elliott-Said, best known as Poly Styrene, legendary singer for the short-lived, seminal punk band, X-Ray Spex, has died at the age of 53.
This sad news comes to us mere weeks after Styrene officially released her final solo album, Generation Indigo, shortly after revealing to the press that she was fighting for her life. (Oh, cancer, up yours.)
Young Poly Styrene wore braces and bright Technicolor dream coats. She looked and sounded nothing like Crystal Gayle or Karen Carpenter. Instead, she hollered jagged lyrics from the bottom of her heart with all of the raw strength and fire of her male contemporaries in the ’77 UK punk school, plus a bit of something extra: full on, straight-up, unapologetic female outsider outrage, and a ferocious personal philosophy of anti-consumer culture environmentalism the likes of which punk would not see again until the Dead Kennedys.
In fact, Billboard would one day call her the “archetype for the modern-day feminist punk”. She certainly was, to put a point on it, “one of the least conventional front-persons in rock history, male or female”. [via]
NME writer James McMahon:
We live in an age where Jarvis Cocker and Beth Ditto are long established alternative icons, where Lady Gaga dressing head to toe in offal barely raises a shrug. Within the reign of Olivia Newton-John, like all the best popstars of their time, Poly Styrene must have seemed like she’d fallen to earth from another – most likely day glo daubed – world. She was to the spirit of individuality what Christopher Columbus was to having a wander.
Rest in Peace, badass woman. You broke the mold.
Press release photo for Generation Indigo.