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

Concerts in Berlin, Leipzig, and Oslo + a puppet show in northern Norway

Hi from Leipzig, Germany! Since I last wrote in January, I had a fantastic monthlong tour with Valerie Kuehne and the Wasps Nests – watch a full set from that tour here – and a great trip to Switzerland to play The Rite of Spring and Berg’s Three Pieces for Orchestra in a Memorial Concert for Pierre Boulez with an orchestra of LUCERNE FESTIVAL ALUMNI – listen to that concert here. I just arrived in Leipzig a few days ago and will be hanging out mostly in this city for a couple weeks. I’ll also play two concerts: one in Berlin tomorrow, April 21st, and one in Leipzig on Saturday. Then I’ll fly to Oslo, where I’ll play a show on the 30th before heading to Stamsund in northern Norway: I’ll be in residence there from May 1-15 at Figurteatret i Nordland, workshopping music by Andrew Livingston as part of a piece by puppet theatre group The Unitards, helmed by Daniel Fay of Standard ToyKraft. Read on for details of my trip!

Performing with Valerie Kuehne and the Wasps Nests at Barking Legs Theater in Chattanooga, TN in February. Photo by Tim Hinck.

Performing with Valerie Kuehne and the Wasps Nests at Barking Legs Theater in Chattanooga, TN in February. Photo by Tim Hinck.

Tomorrow, I’m traveling from Leipzig to Berlin to play an improv concert with Penelope Gkika, violin, Rieko Okuda, viola, and Adam Goodwin, bass. We’re playing at a secret venue on Okerstrasse that I’m told is well known within Berlin’s improvised music community. I met Adam at the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ACADEMY where we discovered that we were some of the few musicians in the orchestra regularly playing improvised music. We’ll be performing as a duo in the concert in Leipzig on Saturday at Atelier M89, a cool underground art space on the east side of the city that just reopened under the care of French saxophonist Sébastien Branche, who may play with us as well. Let me know if you’re in the area and would like to drop by, and I’ll let you know the addresses.

The show in Oslo next Saturday, April 30th, is organized by pianist Kjetil Jerve and will feature a large swath of the local experimental scene, some of whom I’ll improvise with in addition to playing solo. The event is called Klubb Jervaas after Kjetil’s genre-crossing duo Jervaas, who will perform at the event with singer Seshen from Japan. Also on the bill: Kristoffer Alberts, sax, Andreas Hoem Røysum, guitar & clarinet, Joel Ring from Sweden, bass & cello, Andreas Wildhagen, drums, Karoline Ruderaas Albrigtsen, voice, the band Bølgebad including DJ Bendik Baksaas on sound and Sakarias Jønsson & Daniel Mahal on visuals, as well as Christian Meaas Svendsen, double bass, Sindre Bergsvik Øvstegård, double bass, and Håkon Aase, violin. I’m really excited to hear all these musicians – if you know anyone in Oslo, tell them to check out this cool event!

Then I head up to Stamsund, Norway for two weeks north of the Arctic Circle working on music for the puppet show Point Pleasant – The Legend of the Mothman. I played in an earlier workshop version of this piece in the 2013 edition of puppet lab Labapalooza at St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn (some cool photos from that production here), but since then the piece has expanded from about 20 to 70 minutes, and the musicians reduced from three players to just me on violin and Andrew Livingston, fellow thingNY member and composer for this project, on cello and electronics. The show is about the Mothman sightings that occurred in Point Pleasant, West Virginia between November 1966 and December 1967. It uses a really cool combination of live feed miniature, shadow, and Bunraku puppetry. It’ll come to New York in the not too distant future, so keep an eye out! By the way, after the residency, I’ll hang out in the nearby city of Bodø for a few days, from April 16-18 – give me a shout if you happen to be around!

Further ahead, I have a show with Westchester folk rocker Bill Steely at Otto’s Shrunken Head in NYC on June 2. Should be a fun and laid-back time. And then I have a very exciting show announcement for later in June, but I’ll leave that for next month’s newsletter…stay tuned!

Opossum massage,
Jeff

Month-long tour with Valerie Kuehne & the Wasps Nests, plus World/Inferno tomorrow at Starland Ballroom in NJ

I’m back in New York for a few days after a fantastic trip to Tijuana, Ensenada, San Diego, LA, and Phoenix with Paul Pinto! There were a lot of great performances, especially of our experimental opera …Patriots…, but the most inspiring part of the trip was our six-day collaboration with Orange Theatre in Phoenix. We had a great open rehearsal where we showed the 25 minutes of work we developed; you can read an article about it in the Downtown Devil here and listen to a radio piece about it on KJZZ here. I hope we get to continue our work together in the future! But for now it’s time to move on to the next tour – a month on the road with Valerie Kuehne and the Wasps Nests starting this Sunday! And tomorrow I’m playing a big show with The World/Inferno Friendship Society at the Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, NJ. Read on for more.

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Jeff Young and Paul Pinto, Patriots, performing at Art Share L.A. on January 16, photo by Nicky Young

Tomorrow’s show with World/Inferno opening for Catch 22 and With The Punches is rescheduled from January 23 due to the snowstorm, and a good thing too, because I was performing in Phoenix on that date and was going to miss it. We’re playing at Starland Ballroom on a monster bill starting at 4pm – check out the Facebook event here. If you’re in Jersey, this is one not to be missed!

The next big adventure starts Sunday, my month-long tour to Austin and back with Valerie Kuehne and the Wasps Nests, featuring Valerie on cello and voice, me on violin, and Alex on drums. We’ll be performing a new set of songs about cults, porn, food and transcendence to celebrate the November 2015 release of our album The Apocalypse as Witnessed by a Slice of American Cheese on the Gold Bolus Recordings label. If you haven’t yet heard the album, you can stream it in full here. We start close to home in Montclair before heading down the coast to Arlington, Durham, Roanoke, and Atlanta, then curving west to Birmingham, New Orleans, Houston, and Austin, then back northeast to Dallas, Fayetteville, Nashville, Huntsville, Chattanooga, Chapel Hill, Staunton, Morgantown, and Pittsburgh, returning home for a stop in Brooklyn, and finally spending three days hanging out at experimental music festival XFest in western Massachusetts. We may add a few more performances as well! Our music is a loving mix of grindcore, cabaret, performance art, punk, and neo-classical art song, with a dash of free improvisation for good measure. Of special note on the tour are our two nights playing in Chattanooga, where in addition to our own set we’ll perform in a brand new performance piece by composer/cellist/performance artist Tim Hinck. If you know anyone on our route, please let me know, I’d love to meet new friends in these cities and share music with them!

Looking ahead, Westchester County folks can save the date for a show I’m playing with folk rocker Bill Steely on March 5, and for those above the Arctic Circle, I’m gonna be in northern Norway for the first time in the first half of May! I’ll also be hanging out in Leipzig in the second half of April, so Germans – bis bald! I might even play some shows while I’m there.

Marcel the Shell,
Jeff

Mexico, California, and Arizona with Paul Pinto, starting tomorrow!

Tomorrow I journey to sunny Mexico to begin a two-week adventure touring the states of Baja California, California, and Arizona with Paul Pinto! We’ll play shows in Tijuana, Ensenada, UCSD, downtown San Diego, and LA, before spending a week in Phoenix developing new work with Orange Theatre and performing on the 3rd Annual Oh My Ears Marathon Concert. If you know folks in these areas please let them know about the shows! At the end of the month I’ll be back in Brooklyn to play a tour kickoff show with Valerie Kuehne and the Wasps Nests before we set off for a full month touring the South. Read on for details!

thingnyswpatriotstour_finalOur first two shows are in Mexico, where we’re subbing out our usual English-heavy pieces for improvisations for voice, violin, and live processing using Ableton Live. Neither of us have played in Mexico before, so we’re really excited to check out the scene in Tijuana and Ensenada!

Next is our lengthiest program of the tour: we’ll play a concert at the University of California, San Diego that includes improvisation, the selections Hack It! and Radio Edit from Paul’s opera in progress Thomas Paine in Violence, and our half-hour two-person comedic, political experimental opera Jeff Young and Paul Pinto, Patriots, Run for Office on a Platform of Swift and Righteous Immigration Reform, Lots of Jobs, and a Healthy Environment: an Opera by Paul Pinto and Jeffrey Young.

This last piece is our sole offering for the next two performances, in downtown San Diego and LA, as well as our last performance of the tour on the epic, ten-hour Oh My Ears Marathon Concert in Phoenix. In between is the raison d’être for our trip: a six day residency with Orange Theatre at their space in Phoenix, where we’ll create new work together with the support of a grant from the Network of Ensemble Theaters (NET).

This tour wouldn’t have happened without Orange Theatre and NET, but it also wouldn’t have happened without T.J. Borden, Bonnie LanderOdeya Nini, and Elizabeth Kennedy Baker, who did tons of work helping us put together the shows as well as playing on the bills themselves. Check out their work, they’re all really cool artists.

In case your life occurs almost entirely on Facebook, you can find the Facebook events for all the shows linked from this master Facebook event I made for the whole tour here.

For you New Yorkers: please mark Thursday, January 28 and Thursday, February 25 in your calendars. Those are the kickoff and homecoming shows for my monthlong tour with Valerie Kuehne and the Wasps Nests! Both shows are part of Valerie’s Trauma Salon series at Panoply Performance Laboratory. As for the rest of the stops on this tour, for the most up-to-date listing, please keep checking the shows page!

Finally, RIP Pierre Boulez who I met that one time – or, well, several times – thanks for all the music and for founding the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ACADEMY!
Jeff

P.S. Nope, I wasn’t the one who wrote that Boulez article. But I share the sentiment.

Valerie Kuehne and the Wasps Nests, Jennifer Harper, World/Inferno Friendship Society

As the year winds down, I’m gearing up with a project that’s been dormant for two years, Valerie Kuehne and the Wasps Nests, a trio with Valerie singing her intense songs and playing cello, Alex Cohen on drums, and me on violin. Our preparations for a monthlong tour of the South in February started on December 3rd with a release show at JACK of the album we recorded two years ago! Later in the month we have shows upstate and at the Silent Barn. Last night, I played a very different album release show with singer/songwriter Jennifer Harper at Rockwood Music Hall’s Stage 2, and in the days after Christmas, I’m playing some big shows with The World/Inferno Friendship Society in Jersey and Long Island. All details below!

On tour in Boston last month with Food Will Win the War at Magnolia Loft

On tour in Boston last month with Food Will Win the War at Magnolia Loft

So – that release show at JACK I mentioned was for our freewheeling yet dark experimental album The Apocalypse as Witnessed by a Slice of American Cheese, out on Gold Bolus Recordings. You can hear the whole thing here, please check it out! Also on the release show bill were Ron Anderson/Chris Cochrane/Brian Chase/Michael Evans, Shawn Escarciga, and an APOCALYPSE CHOIR. Freaky stuff.

Jennifer Harper’s release show at Rockwood last night was for a very different kind of album I played on as part of a large string section, along the lines of Carole King, Carly Simon, and Sheryl Crowe. At the release show, I was the whole string section! Check out the album on iTunes here.

I’m looking forward to exploring the scene in New Paltz, which has ever more cross-pollination with NYC. Lots of interesting weirdos sharing the bill with us: Kid Millions & Jim Sauter duo, Matt Luczak & Lucas Brode duo, Mike Ryan, plus Colin Fisher from Toronto. The Silent Barn is more familiar ground, but boasts an even bigger lineup of interesting weirdos: Peter Mills Weiss, Chris Carlone, Boom Bat Gesture, Dale Buchheister, Scott Johnson, and Popra, Keito & Matteo. The every gracious CATFOX (Catrin Lloyd-Ballard) hosts. Check it.

Finally this month, The World/Inferno Friendship Society will snap you out of that post-Christmas capitalist haze with shows at the venerable Stone Pony in Asbury Park with punk rock band The Bouncing Souls, and one at Revolution Music Hall in Amityville. Bridge and tunnel folk home for the holidays – don’t miss it! And bring your relatives who need to be shaken up a bit!

Looking ahead, Paul Pinto and I set off for exciting adventures in California, Arizona, and Baja California in January; then there’s that big tour with Valerie and Alex of the South in February. If you live in those areas, let me know, I’d love to see you while I’m there!

Oh, and apparently I’m sometimes a music journalist these days. You can read my recent article about the new music scene in LA where I interview LUCERNE FESTIVAL ALUMNI here! Yeah, most of the article is just me quoting other people, but I think I captured the scene pretty well. Please let me know what you think of it!

Call centers,
Jeff

Food Will Win the War EP release shows: Boston tomorrow, Adirondacks Saturday, NYC November 21; Sara Banleigh at LIC Bar

This month I return for my first shows with Food Will Win the War since February, and for the release of our brand new EP. They’ll also most likely be my last shows with the band, as I and most of my former bandmates are moving on to other things. We’ll be in Boston tomorrow, in the Adirondacks on Saturday, but the biggest show will be the official release in New York on Saturday, November 21. I hope to see you there, to celebrate the end of six years of music-making together. I’m also playing one folk music show this month with Sara Banleigh on November 19. Read on for more.

At _TORUS_PORTA last month after performing The Princess and the Fungus. Photo by Mitchell Murdock.

At _TORUS_PORTA last month after performing The Princess and the Fungus. Photo by Mitchell Murdock.

In Boston tomorrow, Food Will Win the War will play a loft show in Jamaica Plain with fellow NYC band Silverteeth and Bostonite Moody Judy. There’s no cover, just come by, buy our new album, and throw a few bucks in the jar. Or $100, your choice. The following day is a college gig at Paul Smith’s College, our second performance there. It’s a pretty campus, if you happen to be around, come check it out!

My only non-Food-Will-Win-the-War show this month is with Sara Banleigh, who incidentally sang with Food Will Win the War for a brief stint. That show will be a cozy fireside performance at LIC Bar in Long Island City, with a full band playing traditional folk music and Sara’s folk inspired originals. Besides her haunting voice, Sara is also known for her energetic onstage banter – please, please come heckle her and see what happens, it would totally make my night.

Finally, on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, stop by the new Elvis Guesthouse in the East Village for Food Will Win the War’s EP release. The bar is a tribute to the myth that Elvis, rather than dying, actually moved to Kathmandu and opened a small bar there under an assumed name; this bar attempts to recreate that one. We’ll be joined on the bill by shyly sensuous synthpop diva Ellen O of Gold Bolus fame, who’s sure to get you dancing or whatever that non-dancing thing is you hipsters do. Come celebrate our album release in style!

Looking ahead, highlights on the horizon include a “Home for the Holidays” show the day after Christmas with The World/Inferno Friendship Society opening for The Bouncing Souls at The Stone Pony in Asbury Park, and a trip to Phoenix in January with Paul Pinto, where we’ll spend six days in a workshop with the fine folks at Orange Theatre and perform our “Patriots” experimental duo opera on the third annual Oh My Ears Marathon. We’ll also make a few other stops around the area, most likely including stops in southern California and my first performances in Mexico!

Oh, and I thought you should know – I just lost The Game.
Jeff

Experimental Song Fest tonight, country music at The Living Room, _Torus_Porta, World/Inferno’s Hallowmas!

Thanks so much to all who came to the premiere of thingNY‘s This Takes Place Close By in NYC, and for those who live elsewhere, we hope to bring the piece to you soon! You can read a review of it here. This month brings a wide range of shows, all in Brooklyn, including two solo experimental performances with different material, a gig with a sweet country band at The Living Room, and my first performance in Hallowmas, The World/Inferno Friendship Society‘s biggest show of the year, on Halloween! Details below.

At the dress rehearsal for thingNY's This Takes Place Close By, which premiered last month at the Knockdown Center. Photo by Michael Yu.

At the dress rehearsal for thingNY’s This Takes Place Close By, which premiered last month at the Knockdown Center. Photo by Michael Yu.

It all starts tonight with my performance at Panoply Performance Laboratory of Paul Pinto‘s intense mini_005 and my own bawdy, comedic vocal/electronic/prop-heavy performance art piece, The Princess and the Fungus, at Naked Roots Conducive‘s Brooklyn Experimental Song Carnival. Jeff, you might ask, while your speaking performances are fun, are they really song? To which I could say, in this crazy carnival, perhaps your question is itself the song?!?! Anyway, your melody-craving ears are in good hands for the remainder of the evening with the lilting voices of Ellen O, Anaïs Maviel, and Valerie Kuehne + Natalia Steinbach of Naked Roots Conducive.

Sunday I’m playing for the first time with local country rockers Goldenchild for their album release at the new Brooklyn location of The Living Room, after its relocation from the Lower East Side. I was brought into the project by thingNY bassist and rock star Andrew Livingston, who’ll also be playing. It’s sweet music, come cheer us on!

The following Sunday I’ll be trying out brand new solo experimental material at the mysterious underground lair _TORUS_PORTA, home of the truly wild Wild Torus performance art duo. It’ll be a marathon night of weirdness, spearheaded by “grindcore violinist” Joey Molinaro, one of the fiercest road warriors I know. (My month in Europe was cool, but he was there touring solo for three months this summer!) Stomp on over to Bushwick and expect the unexpected.

I close out the month with a performance I’m very excited about, my first time performing on The World/Inferno Friendship Society’s biggest concert of the year: Hallowmas! Every Halloween, the WIFS and their fans gather to witness the rising of the great pumpkin and worship en masse among the devil’s devotees! Plus we all have a great time, with moshing and stage diving for all. Seriously, it’s a great and supportive place to try stage diving for the first time. I speak from experience.

And finally, I’m pleased to announce my new job as a content manager for LUCERNE FESTIVAL ALUMNI, a new organization for alumni of the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ACADEMY! Check out our Facebook page here and like us!
Jeff

thingNY’s opera premieres this week at Knockdown Center!

Let me tell you, I had an extraordinary European tour this summer. With The World/Inferno Friendship Society, I played 23 cities in 24 days in Germany, Denmark, the Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, England, and Scotland, and then I played four solo shows in Poland and Germany. You can get a taste of my adventures in these photos on Facebook. But this week, it’s THINGNY OPERA TIME!

Playing solo in June at Bushwick Open Studios in Brooklyn. Photo by Michael Yu.

Playing solo in June at Bushwick Open Studios in Brooklyn. Photo by Michael Yu.

After nearly three years of work it’s finally here: the premiere of This Takes Place Close By this Thursday through Sunday, September 24-27, in the gorgeous 50,000 feet of the Knockdown Center, the largest production thingNY has ever done! Following some initial planning, we started workshopping our newest experimental opera in a fall 2013 residency at Incubator Arts, performed a work-in-progress version in Canada at New Music Edmonton, and workshopped it more at a residency at Standard ToyKraft. Now, a team of stellar designers led by director Ashley Tata have joined us to make this a really special piece. Grab tickets now, here!

You can listen to some of the piece and meet the design team here:
http://www.thingNY.com/thistakesplacecloseby

So what is this opera?

Through stories, songs and scenes, our new work explores the reactions of isolated individuals in the wake of a devastating storm that affects them in drastically different ways. A woman crushed under a building, a bureaucrat from FEMA experiencing victimhood for the first time, a musician channeling his energy into a relief concert, and a shop owner insisting on rebuilding storm after storm…in short vignettes, the opera captures ordinary people thrown out of their “comfort zone,” while addressing issues such as the voyeurism of storms, the anxiety of privilege, and the emotional distance humans tend to keep between themselves and disasters.

I really hope you’ll come and tell your friends. And – stay tuned next month for solo performances I’m doing at the Brooklyn Experimental Song Carnival organized by Naked Roots Conducive (Valerie Kuehne and Natalia Steinbach), and at a show at _TORUS_PORTA organized by Joey Molinaro!

Snow leopard cubs,
Jeff