Two big thingNY shows at HERE Arts Center, World/Inferno’s 20th annual Hallowmas, European orchestra tour

After six weeks in Barcelona, Zurich, Lucerne, Frankfurt, Prague, Shanghai, Guangdong Province, Hong Kong, and Boston, I got back home a couple weeks ago and went immediately into the premiere run of Daniel Fay and Andrew Livingston’s Point Pleasant, The Legend of the Mothman, co-produced with thingNY at HERE Arts Center from October 5-21. We’ve had eight shows so far, nine more to come! Next is World/Inferno’s 20th annual Hallowmas on October 31, then I’m playing in another thingNY co-production at HERE from November 6-18, Paul Pinto’s Thomas Paine in Violence. November ends with another trip to Europe for concerts with the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ALUMNI Orchestra and Swiss band Hildegard Lernt Fliegen in Hamburg, Essen, Lucerne, and Bern. Read on!

Performing solo in Frankfurt last month at ATERLIERFRANKFURT

Performing solo in Frankfurt last month at ATERLIERFRANKFURT

Before I get to upcoming shows, I wanted to share two videos of recent ones. First, if you didn’t see the premiere of Lucerne Festival Young Performance‘s NOMOZART, you can still watch it online here! Second, here are clips of the concert I organized in Frankfurt. I’m proud of both shows and hope to keep doing this kind of collaborative staged work going forward.

After workshopping Point Pleasant, the Legend of the Mothman at St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn and Figurteatret i Nordland in Norway, the puppet show has come to HERE Arts Center in the heart of New York. All music and electronic sound in the show is by Andrew Livingston of thingNY, and he and I are the sole live musicians. A highlight of the show is the use of bunraku puppetry, in which two or three puppeteers manipulate each two-to-three-foot-tall puppet. The story is based on eyewitness accounts of eerie events in Point Pleasant, West Virginia in the late ’60s, including sightings of the Mothman, UFOs, and more. It’s perfect for the month of Halloween!

Perfect for the day of Halloween is World/Inferno’s 20th annual Hallowmas! Please come join the mosh pit (or just watch) in the fabulous, ornate hall at Warsaw at the Polish National Home in Greenpoint. It’s my third year playing this fun, high-energy blast of a cabaret-inflected punk show, and like last year, Daniel Fay will make an appearance with a team of puppeteers…maybe some of the puppets from Point Pleasant will show up! Also, alt-country band O’Death and the Lowdown Brass Band will be opening for us this year…it’s gonna be a banner night.

November’s gonna be a banner month, starting with the premiere run of Paul Pinto’s Thomas Paine in Violence at HERE. Paul’s been a HERE Artist in Residence for three years developing this piece, and now it is coming to life in a fully staged production directed by Rick Burkhardt and starring renowned avant-garde vocalist Joan La Barbara as the spirit of Thomas Paine, set amid a whirlwind of lightning-quick singing, autotuned shock-jockery, gadgets, voices, instruments, and sonic chaos. There’s tons of cursing, so don’t bring the kids…though they’d have a great time if you did!

I had a great time playing in the Orchestra of the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ALUMNI with Swiss band Hildegard Lernt Fliegen in May, when we performed in Basel and Schaffhausen, Switzerland. In November, we’re playing in Hamburg at the spectacular new Elbphilharmonie, at Philharmonie Essen, in the KKL Luzern as part of the Lucerne Piano Festival, and at Dampfzentrale Bern. The Elbphilharmonie concert is sold out, but tickets are available for the other dates. The vocal acrobatics of Hildegard’s lead singer Andreas Schaerer are not to be missed. Plus, for those who have seen the concert before, he’s writing a new piece for this tour. Come if you can!

Further ahead, keep an eye out for another Rockwood Music Hall show with Bill Steely in December, the tour of NOMOZART in Luxembourg and Switzerland in March, a new opera with Rhymes With Opera in May, and much more…

Long Live the Mighty Tree Lobster!
Jeff

Performances in Lucerne, Frankfurt, Prague, and New York

The last two months have been an absolute whirlwind. I had two awesome projects with thingNY in New York and great mini-tours with The World/Inferno Friendship Society and Valerie Kuehne and the Wasps Nests, lost my violin on a train and miraculously got it back, hosted and performed at Home Audio, vacationed in Barcelona and Zurich, then spent two weeks in Lucerne putting the final touches on NOMOZART, the exhilarating music and movement show I’ve been developing with LUCERNE FESTIVAL – Young Performance that premieres this Sunday. But it doesn’t stop there – next week I travel to Frankfurt to perform a new project, then to Prague for an improv concert, and finally to China for ten days with my family, including my first visit to the village where my grandfather was born. In October, I’m back in New York for the three-week run of Daniel Fay and Andrew Livingston’s puppet show Point Pleasant, The Legend of the Mothman. Details below!

Taking bows at a preview show of NOMOZART for school classes in Lucerne!

Since March, I’ve had three trips to Switzerland to develop a 55-minute music and movement show for preteens called NOMOZART, premiering this Sunday, September 10th at 11am and 3pm at the LUCERNE FESTIVAL. In the show, we explore the theme of “identity” by playing a wide range of music from classical to disco to Balkan to swing to a modern piece by me – and we dance as well. Plus I get to use my violin as a tennis racket! Besides me, there’s a bassist from Texas, a trombonist from Canada, a harpist from France, a violinist from Poland, and a percussionist from Spain, all alumni of the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ACADEMY, directed by Egyptian choreographer Maged Mohamed, a former company member of the Bavarian State Ballet Munich. Watch the excellent trailer for the show here. The 11am (5am Eastern) show on Sunday will be streamed live on Facebook here, and I believe that link will stay active for a few days afterward. If you’re in Switzerland, hurry and get a ticket for the 3pm show, as the 11am show is sold out. It’s been a very inspiring show to create, and I hope you’ll check it out in some way!

On Monday I travel to Frankfurt for four days developing a short, brand-new staged music piece with trombonist Berk Schneider of Mobile Beats Ensemble. We’ll perform the result next Thursday at ATELIERFRANKFURT in a show we’re calling “Musik aus einem wissenschaftlichen Abend” (Music from a Scientific Evening) that will also include some of my solo music for violin and electronics, Berk’s arrangements for violin, trombone, and electronics of songs from Schubert’s Winterreise, and pieces organized by Mobile Beats’ sound director Lennart Scheuren including Steve Reich’s Pendulum Music. Frankfurters, come out!

Next Friday I go to Prague for a couple days of sightseeing followed by a concert of improvisations on Sunday, September 17 at Skautský institut with my old flutist friend Andrea La Rose (formerly of thingNY) and new acquaintance Darrell Jonsson, who will be joining us on a Moog MG-1 synth. I’m looking forward to an evening of surprises!

After my trip to China and a brief stop in Boston, I arrive back in New York on October 1 and go directly into rehearsals for Point Pleasant, The Legend of the Mothman. This is the puppet show I initially helped workshop at St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn and further developed at Figurteatret i Nordland in northern Norway last year, now getting its premiere run in New York at HERE Arts Center. The music in the show is by my longstanding collaborator in thingNY, Andrew Livingston, and he and I are the sole musicians performing. The show includes a mix of bunraku puppetry, live video feed of figures moving on model landscapes, and filmed sequences. The story is based on eyewitness accounts of eerie events in Point Pleasant, West Virginia in the late ’60s, including sightings of a large winged man with glowing red eyes and other paranormal occurrences. There are 17 performances in all, please come to one!

Looking further ahead, the 20th anniversary of The World/Inferno Friendship Society’s annual Hallowmas show this Halloween should be pretty awesome. In November I return to HERE Arts Center for the world premiere run of Paul Pinto’s Thomas Paine in Violence, starring renowned avant-garde vocalist Joan La Barbara. Later that month, I’m back in Germany and Switzerland for my second set of shows with the Orchestra of the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ALUMNI accompanying Swiss band Hildegard Lernt Fliegen, including a concert in the stunning new Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg. And plenty of plans for 2018 are under way, including a NOMOZART tour in March to Luxembourg and several cities in Switzerland!

Chügelipastete,
Jeff

thingNY installation and new piece with Orange Theatre, Tours to PA/MA/MD with World/Inferno and Valerie Kuehne, and more!

My summer is kicking into high gear! Over the next two months, I have two thingNY projects in New York, regional tours with The World/Inferno Friendship Society and Valerie Kuehne and the Wasps Nests, the premiere at the LUCERNE FESTIVAL of NOMOZART, the show for children I’ve been developing in Switzerland since March, and more! Read on for details.

thingNY as Pandas. If you like this, come today to our installation for more!

thingNY’s first big project of the summer wraps up today at Harvestworks. It’s been a very interesting one for us, our first collaborative project where we’re not performing. Instead, via motion-sensing electronics, you control what you hear from eight speakers around you by playing with boxes on the floor and sliding balls of paper along strings that crisscross the room. Plus, out of an extensive collection of memorabilia from our decade together, we’ve fabricated a space for this sonic experience resembling the insides of our brains. If you’re free today from 4-7pm, please drop by and check it out!

Next week is thick with shows. After a return to Rockwood Music Hall with folk rocker Bill Steely and band on Tuesday, I head off on a four-day tour across Pennsylvania with Valerie Kuehne and the Wasps Nests, playing Pittsburgh – where we open for Lydia Lunch – Harrisburg, and Philly before landing back in Brooklyn at the new location of Spectrum by the Navy Yard. PA and NY friends, come see the new songs we’ve been cooking up!

The two weeks after that are a juggling act of dashing back and forth between shows in Brooklyn, Boston, Philly, and Baltimore with the World/Inferno Friendship Society – my first shows with this mischievous band of cabaret-punk ruffians since Halloween – and thingNY’s second big project of the summer, a two-week collaboration with Orange Theatre on Governor’s Island, which began last year when Paul Pinto and I traveled to their home base in Phoenix on a NET/TEN Travel Grant. We’ll be continuing that work with the aim of devising a new piece of music-theatre centering around memory and maps, a surreal book of coordinates, click bait, tangents, and a fresh take on the classic American road trip. Get in touch if you’d like to attend the Monday afternoon work-in-progress showing on the island that caps our residency!

Finally, after a bit of European travel, I land back in Switzerland at the end of August for the final rehearsals and premiere of NOMOZART, the 50-minute long performance for preteens I’ve been developing in Lucerne since March. The premiere will be on September 10th at the Lucerne Festival in the fabulous KKL Luzern. If you’re anywhere nearby, I’d love to share this with you!

Lots more projects are coming down the pike after that, including a few soon-to-be-announced globetrotting performances right after the NOMOZART premiere, the New York premiere run in October of the puppet piece by Daniel Fay and Andrew Livingston I worked on last year in Norway, the world premiere run in New York this November of Paul Pinto’s Thomas Paine in Violence, and also in November, another tour with Swiss über-jazz band Hildegard Lernt Fliegen and the Orchestra of LUCERNE FESTIVAL ALUMNI in Germany and Switzerland, including an already sold-out performance in Hamburg’s shiny new Elbphilharmonie. Stay tuned!

Every apple you’ve ever bought in the supermarket is a clone,
Jeff

Orchestral jazz in Switzerland, Rhymes With Opera in New York

I’ve just arrived in Basel to perform tonight with the Orchestra of LUCERNE FESTIVAL ALUMNI and Swiss “über-jazz” group Hildegard Lernt Fliegen. We’ll also play in Schaffhausen, Switzerland this Wednesday, then next week I’ll play in the New York premiere of Bonnie Lander’s experimental opera Coping Mechanisms, presented by Rhymes with Opera. Details below!

Photographed by Kirk Marsh in San Antonio during Valerie Kuehne and the Wasps Nests‘ monthlong tour from January to February.

I’m in Switzerland a lot this year. I was here for a couple weeks from late March to mid-April working on a new project with LUCERNE FESTIVAL Young Performance, in which choreographer Maged Mohammed is directing myself and five other musicians to develop an hourlong performance of music and movement for preteens. I’ll be back to work on that project for two weeks in June and again from late August until the premiere in Lucerne on 10 September, as well as for a tour in March 2018. But right now I’m here for a different project, playing in an orchestra of alumni of the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ACADEMY. We’re joining forces with Hildegard Lernt Fliegen, a well-known Swiss group of six jazz musicians led by the Echo Jazz Award-winning vocal acrobat Andreas Schaerer, who composed and orchestrated the six pieces we’re playing expressly for this collaboration. It’s exciting, groovy music – catch a short preview video here. Hope to see some friends tonight at Offbeat Jazzfestival Basel, as well as this Wednesday at the Schaffhauser Jazzfestival! I’ll return for more Swiss and German shows with this project in late November, so keep an eye out.

I’ll be back in New York at the end of the week, then the following week I’m performing as one of three instrumentalists paired with vocalists Bonnie Lander, Elisabeth Halliday, and Robert Maril in Bonnie’s improvised experimental opera Coping Mechanisms, a project of Rhymes With Opera. The vocalists traveled to San Diego last month for the first iteration of the piece, and I’m excited to put my own spin on it alongside bassist Jason Anastasoff and percussionist Dennis Sullivan.

Keep an eye out at the end of May for more dates with Valerie Kuehne and the Wasps Nests, a reunion show in June with Food Will Win the War at The Knitting Factory opening for Ha Ha Tonka, then in July a new installation by thingNY celebrating our tenth anniversary. We’re collecting material from a decade of archival recordings for an interactive electronic piece at Harvestworks, sponsored by New Music USA. Plus I’m playing another show that month at Rockwood Music Hall with folk rocker Bill Steely. And there’s more cooking, so stay tuned!

Finally, check out this interview I did with fellow LUCERNE FESTIVAL ALUMNI in Third Coast Percussion about their GRAMMY win!
Jeff

Day 4 of 28 on tour with Valerie Kuehne & the Wasps Nests!

Hi from Valerie Kuehne and the Wasps Nests tour day 4 of 28. I’m sitting in the beautiful house of the curator of this evening’s show in Kansas City, on my first day ever in this city. Our tour from New York to Tijuana and back has gotten off to a great start – check out the full itinerary at right and read on for more.

Wasps Nests tour flierFirst off, if you live in Wichita, Oklahoma City, Dallas, Houston, Austin, San Antonio, El Paso, Tucson, Phoenix, San Diego, Tijuana, LA, Oakland, Bakersfield, Las Vegas, Flagstaff, Albuquerque, Denver, Omaha, Des Moines, Chicago, Toledo, Pittsburgh, or Brooklyn, we are headed your way, so please check details on the shows page!

Second, some things on the tour I’m particularly excited about: I’m stoked that we’ll be playing a show every day we’re on the road! I’m looking forward to smashing a Trump piñata tomorrow on Inauguration Day at our show in Wichita. I’m looking forward to playing for the second year in a row on the 10-hour Oh My Ears music marathon in Phoenix. It’s my first time playing in Kansas City, Wichita, Oklahoma City, San Antonio, El Paso, Bakersfield, Las Vegas, Albuquerque, Denver, Omaha, or Des Moines, or for that matter anywhere in the states of Kansas, Nebraska, and Iowa, so that’s cool. I’m looking forward to seeing a lot of old friends! And finally, I booked the majority of these shows myself, so I’m excited about meeting all the people I’ve been talking to for months but haven’t met yet!

That’s all for now, it’s time to sleep! Big day in Wichita tomorrow. Keep an eye out down the line for another show with Bill Steely at Rockwood Music Hall in New York and a new project with thingNY at Harvestworks – more on that soon.

Turtle sex,
Jeff

This week: new solo music at Guerilla Science, thingNY at CUNY Grad Center, Goldenchild at Brooklyn Bazaar…and a big tour on the horizon

Hope you’re all hanging in there and standing up for what you believe in. If you have time, I have a few shows this week I hope you’ll check out! Today (Monday) thingNY is performing an excerpt from our opera This Takes Place Close By, on Wednesday I’m playing at Brooklyn Bazaar with Goldenchild, and Friday and Saturday, I’m playing my own music for solo violin and laptop at a Guerilla Science event, including a new piece I wrote for the occasion! Later in December, I have more gigs in New York, then in January and February a huge tour with Valerie Kuehne and the Wasps Nests. Read on for more.

Playing with The World/Inferno Friendship Society at Hallowmas last month at the Warsaw. Photo by Ben Rodri.

Tonight at 6:30pm at The Segal Center, the six members of thingNY will perform “At Our Best,” the opening 10-minute segment of our opera This Takes Place Close By. We’ll play right at the start of the program, launching a panel discussion on contemporary opera with Ashley Tata, who directed the premiere run of This Takes Place Close By last year, Jecca Barry (General Manager, Beth Morrison Projects), Lisa Bielawa (Composer/Executive Producer), M. Lamar (Composer/Performer), Aaron Siegel (Composer/Producer, Experiments in Opera), and Kristin Marting (Co-producer, PROTOTYPE and Artistic Director, HERE Arts Center). They’ll be presenting their works and discussing the radically changing landscape of the field. It’s free and should offer cool insights into a dynamic art form, so check it out!

On Wednesday, I’ll join indie country band Goldenchild to play the new location of Brooklyn Bazaar in the heart of Greenpoint. We’ll play at 9pm, in between Phil Pickens at 8pm and The Hollows at 10pm. Our music will be fun and light, come listen!

Friday and Saturday, I’m very excited to be presenting a brand new piece I’ve created for solo violin and live electronics, as well as my older piece Jeffrey Young’s Magical Kingdom of Dust and some improvisations. I’ll be performing throughout the 8-9pm cocktail hour at Decadent Decay, an experimental banquet hosted by Guerilla Science at Bat Haus in Bushwick. After the cocktail hour comes a 5-course meal and drinks prepared by Guerilla Science’s culinary partner, Methods and Madness, as well as talks by three scientists each night. Every element of the event, including my music, will draw from the overarching theme of decay, and all food and drink is included in the ticket price. It should be a fascinating evening, and it’s not often that I create new solo work, so please come out!

Later in December, I’m playing a cantorial recital at Hebrew Union College and an orchestra concert/church service at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church. Come if the faith calls – or just for some nice music. I’ll also be playing my first show in a while with pop singer Minnie Dee and her band at The Bitter End on December 15. Should be a fun and fabulous time.

Then in mid-January, I embark with Valerie Kuehne and the Wasps Nests (Valerie on cello and vocals, me on violin, and Alex Cohen on drums) on a massive tour from New York to Tijuana and back, with shows planned daily for four weeks. Some of the shows are still coming together, but the majority have been confirmed. Check them out on the shows page, and I’ll update you closer to our departure date.

Finally, looking for a unique present this holiday season? Why not get a limited edition vinyl copy of thingNY’s new album, which comes with gorgeously engraved scores of 10 compositions on the album. Or get it as a CD or digital download…

Think outside the box – build half a house,
Jeff

World/Inferno’s Hallowmas! Plus Tredici Bacci, comedy with Kyra Sims, Shanghai Mermaid, and more

Lots happening this week! The big show is The World/Inferno Friendship Society‘s annual Hallowmas performance on Halloween, but I also had a sold-out performance last night with Tredici Bacci and a cameo in a comedy show by Kyra Sims tonight, plus I’m playing at a huge costume party by Shanghai Mermaid and You Are So Lucky on Saturday. Read on!

thingNY at HERE

thingNY‘s album release show last month at HERE. Photo by Michael Yu.

Last night, I played my first show with Tredici Bacci, a group that plays Morricone-style soundtrack music and pop songs of an older generation with a David Lynchian twist. It was at in a secret location on the Lower East Side, in a concert organized by Sofar, a website/network that organizes intimate shows in surprising places – and it was sold out! I had a real nice time.

Next, my old friend Kyra Sims, who I’ve played with in Food Will Win the War and This Ambitious Orchestra, has gotten deep into the comedy world in the past few years, organizing her own shows and performing as a member of the New York Neo-Futurists. This very evening, she’s pulled me in for a spooky sketch in a comedy show she’s presenting at Experiment Comedy Theatre. It’ll be a fun evening, come out!

Saturday, I’ll be performing in a 72-room manor house in an undisclosed location slightly north of the city on the Hudson river for a big 1920s-themed party organized by Shanghai Mermaid and You Are So Lucky. I’ll be appearing with members of a theatrical dance company in a roving vignette throughout the night. In addition to music and performance, there will be food, drink, dancing, and a special room for séances…it will be a dark, elegant, and wild party!

Finally this week, I hope to see many of you in the mosh pit on Monday at Hallowmas, the huge annual Halloween show of The World/Inferno Friendship Society. Like last year, this year’s Hallowmas will be in the fabulous, ornate hall at Warsaw at the Polish National Home in Greenpoint. It’s always a fun, high-energy blast of cabaret-inflected punk, and this year, I’ve pulled in my friend Daniel Fay and his cohorts at Standard ToyKraft for some thrilling surprises…I dare not say more.

Down the line, I have shows coming up with Bill Steely and some new music for violin & laptop I’ll be performing at a decadent dinner organized by Guerilla Science, plus a huge cross-country tour in the works for January and February with Valerie Kuehne and the Wasps Nests. And if you haven’t checked out thingNY‘s new album minis/Trajectories yet, please do so – we’re starting to send out vinyl copies to people who ordered them this week!

Soy Yo,
Jeff

thingNY and Scott Stein album releases, Coffee Music Project competition, Coffee Festival and more!

Hi! I had a great tour a couple months ago with The World/Inferno Friendship Society from Boston to Chicago and Seattle down the West Coast, and an equally great time chilling at home in August after seven months of being away more often than not. If you didn’t follow the tour, I recommend skimming the tour diaries our sax man Aaron published en route at http://worldinferno.com. Now things are ramping up again with a music competition, two album release shows, and a performance at The New York Coffee Festival – all in the next five days. Read on!

In just a few hours, at 11:15am, I’m playing a 20-minute set at The New York Coffee Festival at the 69th Regiment Armory with singer/songwriter Bill Steely and guitarist Justin Gild. Look for us if you’re there! We were invited to play Bill’s songs after getting through the preliminary round of the Coffee Music Project competition this week. On Tuesday, we’ll compete in the finals of the competition at The Studio at Webster Hall to win $1000 and a trip to London to record at Metropolis Studios. We’d love it if you’d come cheer for us! All proceeds from the competition, including your ticket price, support Project Waterfall, a charity helping bring clean water to coffee-growing communities around the world. Doors open Tuesday at 7pm, and we go on at 8pm sharp, be there!

In addition to the competition on Tuesday, I’m very excited to perform that evening at the HERE Arts Center as a paper-throwing maniac in Paul Pinto‘s mini_007, at thingNY‘s release show of our second full-length album, minis/Trajectories, featuring pieces by Paul and by Erin Rogers! Alongside our performance, special guest artists will perform remixes and reimaginings of the tracks on the album, including visionary composer and toy pianist Jerome Kitzke, Latin synth-star Helado Negro, theatrical-electro-percussion duo Radical 2, and cast members from the Broadway-bound musical Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812. The new album is available for preorder as a digital download, CD, and limited edition 12″ vinyl LP. Your purchase of the album in one of these forms here is your ticket to Tuesday’s event! Doors open at 7:30. For much of the evening we’ll just be hanging out and celebrating, with the live music portion just 30-45 minutes starting around 8:30.

I end this week’s sprint Wednesday night playing at Rockwood Music Hall for the album release of my old friend Scott Stein (ex-Food Will Win the War). His new songs take cues from Paul Simon and the Heartbreakers, and I’m bringing their sweet solo violin lines to the live show. Come check it out!

A little further ahead, I’m back at Rockwood on Friday, October 7 for my second outing with local country rockers Goldenchild. The show I played with them at the Living Room (R.I.P.) last year was a lot of fun! I’m also playing at Rockwood at the end of November with Bill Steely and co., so save that date. Finally, in between, I’ll once again join The World/Inferno Friendship Society for their biggest show of the year, Hallowmas, on October 31 at Warsaw in Greenpoint. If I remember correctly, last year’s show was attended by about 900 people, so get your tickets early and come witness an amazing event!

In case you missed it, there was a milestone in world peace last month: no more war in the Western Hemisphere! Something to be thankful for…other than music, of course.
Jeff

US tour with The World/Inferno Friendship Society in the Northeast, Midwest, West Coast, and Southwest starts tomorrow!

It was so cool to perform my own music in Switzerland last month! The performances by stringsaTTached of Dada kam vor Voltaire were warmly received by Swiss audiences, and we hope to present the project again in the near future. Tomorrow I switch gears and head off on tour with The World/Inferno Friendship Society across the US, from Boston to Chicago and then Seattle down the West Coast to Southern California and Arizona! Read on for details.

Posing under black light at Art Basel

Posing under black light in front of work by Jacqueline Humphries at Art Basel

If you haven’t checked out a live show by The World/Inferno Friendship Society yet, you’re missing out. This 20-year-old, eclectic cabaret-punk band puts on a great show – I enjoy watching the band almost as much as being on stage – and I’m very pleased to have been playing with them since 2014.

This month, we’re teaming up with ska-punk pioneers Culture Shock for an epic cross-country US tour! Over the course of two and a half weeks, from July 6-24, our septet (or octet, at the New York and Philly shows) from Brooklyn and their quartet from Bath, UK will bring our infectious, anarchic energy to 18 cities from Boston to Chicago and from Seattle down the West Coast. This is the first ever US tour for Culture Shock, which was active from 1986-89 and only reformed in 2013, and it’s our first US tour in nearly two years. Check out of the full list of shows on the shows page!

Culture Shock is touring in support of Attention Span, their first full-length album in 27 years, released July 1 on Jello Biafra’s Bay Area-based Alternative Tentacles label, the same label that released World/Inferno’s most recent full-length, This Packed Funeral (2014, just before I joined the band). Each band will also be releasing a new exclusive song on August 20 on Punknews.org’s Banned from the P.C.mixtape, currently available on preorder here. But you can hear us play those songs at the shows first!

Next, a whole bunch of news about thingNY: We were very excited last month to receive New Music USA’s brand new Impact Fund grant, along with a cohort of other new music organizations from New York! And…a new short video teaser is out for the production Paul Pinto and I workshopped with Orange Theatre in Phoenix in January – hopefully we’ll have another chance to develop this project soon! And…for those in Brooklyn in mid-July, check out this new program of work thingNY is presenting at JACK on July 17! I’ll be playing in Oakland that day, but I’ll jump back in for the next phase of this project. And…coming in September, our second full-length album will be released on Gold Bolus Recordings, with music by Paul and by Erin Rogers!

Finally, in early August, I’ll be playing an album release show with Westchester folk rocker Bill Steely at Rockwood Music Hall in New York. I’m all over this full-length album, playing on every track – keep an eye out for the release! And in early September, I’m playing again with singer/songwriter Jennifer Harper, this time in Stamford, CT, so I hope to see some Connecticut friends there!

Thank you NASA,
Jeff

Playing my music in Switzerland for two weeks! Plus shows in New York…and a big US tour

I’ve just followed a wonderful month in Germany and Norway with two weeks of warm New York weather, and now I’m returning to Switzerland on Monday! It was great to improvise with cool cats in Leipzig, Berlin, and Oslo and to work with an awesome team in Stamsund, Norway to bring puppets to life – look out for our show, Point Pleasant, on both sides of the Atlantic in the future! Now I’m going to Zürich and Zug to play my own music in a show about cabaret predecessors to Dadaism. I’m also playing a few shows in New York this month, and in July, I head out for another big US tour with the World/Inferno Friendship Society! Read on for details.

    Point Pleasant Company7 puppeteers, 2 musicians, director, 2 technicians, and theater administrator on the set of Point Pleasant at Figurteatret i Nordland in Stamsund, Norway

For the past few weeks, I’ve been hard at work creating new music for violin and piano to accompany Der Schleier der Pierrette, a pantomime by Arthur Schnitzler from 1910 that has been shortened and adapted for the new show Dada kam vor Voltaire. The idea of the show as a whole is that Dadaism, which this year is celebrating the centennial of its founding in Zürich at Cabaret Voltaire, didn’t emerge from a vacuum, but has immediate predecessors in the literary cabaret tradition of the late 19th and early 20th century. The show includes pieces from that time period such as pantomimes, poems, and short scenes, which will be performed in German by Swiss-based theater company stringsaTTached and directed by fellow New York native Sarah Bellin. The violin and piano music I’m writing is strongly inspired by silent film music and by Viennese waltzes – sometimes more Johann Strauss, but often more Arnold Schoenberg. I’ll also be adding solo interludes on violin and electronics, and additional touches throughout the show. The first performance is in the town of Zug on June 11 at Gewürzmühle, a spice mill turned theater. The main event, though, is a run of performances on June 17, 18, & 19 at Miller’s in Zürich as part of Festspiele Zürich, an annual four-week arts festival. If you live in Zürich or know anyone there, please let them know about our show!

I mentioned shows in New York: this very evening, June 2 from 9-10pm, I have a show with Westchester folk rocker Bill Steely at Otto’s Shrunken Head on East 14th St. It should be a good time. We’ll be playing a lot of tunes from our upcoming album, which will be available soon! Later in the month, I’m playing an album release show at the historic Old Stone House in Park Slope for Amelia Robinson‘s first solo album of “adult music” (she’s also an accomplished creator of music for children). You can already stream the album, which I played on, here; but please drop by and celebrate with us on June 23rd at 7:30pm! I’m also again playing with singer/songwriter Johnny Kira at the Bitter End at 8pm on June 26 – this time, we’re playing a half hour set.

Then in July, I’m hitting the road again across the US with the World/Inferno Friendship Society! The first leg of our tour is from Boston to Chicago, including a hometown show at the Bowery Ballroom on July 7 – mark your calendars! Then a second leg takes us from Seattle to southern California and Phoenix. I’ll make some more noise about this closer to the tour, but for now, check out the tour schedule on the shows page.

Heads up about some shows I’m not playing in but which you should check out: since July, I’ve worked for LUCERNE FESTIVAL ALUMNI, based in Switzerland, and this weekend is the organization’s first international series of concerts, which are in New York at the Met Museum as part of the NY Phil Biennial. You can find info and tickets here. I also organized an afterparty for ALUMNI and their friends 7-10pm this Sunday in downtown Manhattan – if you’re interested in stopping by, let me know and I’ll send you the info!

To records being broken by yonic structures and to Switzerland,
Jeff