The Discovering Columbus (aka The Columbus Circle Living Room) public art installation (pictured above), MellowHype bringing that LA Odd Future flava to New Yawk, Wyclef Jean's new New York restaurant, the CCW convention, a nod to Brooklyn including some of entertaining bygone era Bensonhurst nicknames, Fear's classic's "New York's Alright," and the musical Annie returning to Broadway are among the items covered in this eight installment in the New York State of Mind Amoeblog series on music and other entertainment and happenings in the Big Apple.
The wonderful group that is the Public Art Fund, who have been responsible for some truly inspired creative art installations around NYC parks and other public spaces, have outdone themselves with their latest presentation: Tatzu Nishi's Discovering Columbus exhibition which is simply amazing!. Also known as The Columbus Circle Living Room and located at Columbus Circle on the South West corner of Central Park, near 59th Street, this exhibit is surreal. It is a temporary living room that the Japanese artist carefully constructed around the iconic monument of Christopher Columbus. When you go it not only feels like you are in someone's furnished living room with windows - albeit with the 13 foot high, 120 year old marble statue in the middle of it, but it also offers an amazing view of Central Park - from six flights of stairs up to the exhibit.
And the best thing about this exhibit, that runs for another week, is that it is completely free. Of course when tickets to things like this in New York City are free, like say the annual much in demand Shakespeare in the Park productions in Central Park, it usually means demand outweighs supply and you end up lining up for a long time to get tickets or else tickets are listed online but get snapped up almost immediately. This is the case with the sought after free tickets for the Discovering Columbus which got booked up on the website soon after been listed when the exhibit opened in September. However there is another way to get tickets: simply show up across the street from exhibit to The Time Warner Building at Columbus Circle and head up to the 3rd floor lobby where, during exhibit hours, the desk often has avail tickets for the half hour tour. That was how I got my tickets the day I went a few weeks ago. The exhibition just got extended for an additional two weeks until December 2nd. So ignore what is says on the website about no tickets and go to the 3rd floor lobby and you should be able to snag tickets on the day you go. And while the tickets are technically free the most worthy Public Art Fund request a minimal size donation of $5 to be paid online. More info here.
This week things seem a lot more like normal in most (not all) parts of New York City. After having to cancel numerous conventions in the week following Hurricane Sandy, it seems like things are mostly back on track this week with the many conventions and conferences in town this week including the Content and Communications World (CCW) two-day conference at the Javits Center (a huge convention space by the water - go all the way west on 34th Street) November 14th and 15th which is geared for the "ever-changing conversation surrounding content creation, management and distribution/delivery." More info here.
Super talented Japanese experimental electronic artist Oorutaichi (right), who works off of a myriad of live multi-tracks mixed with his vocals that he sometimes filters via loops and delays, is in town this week and performing as the featured artist on Friday (November 16th) at the Japan Society in a show titled Cosmic Coco - so named after the title of latest album. DJ Aki is also on the bill of this show which runs from 7pm to 11pm. The Japan Society is located at 333 East 47th Street. Tix are $23 ($18 for members of the Japan Society), More info here.
New Yorkers are bracing themselves for Odd Future act MellowHype's arrival in the Big Apple this week when the alternative hip-hop act, comprised of the OFWGKTA duo of Hodgy Beats and Left Brain, whose new album Numbers has been popular at Amoeba since it dropped last month, will play the Gramercy Theatre on Saturday November 17th. The venue, that is also known as The Blender Theater, is located at 127 East 23rd Street. More info here. Matt & Kim, with Oberhofer opening, play Terminal 5 on November 15th but as of Tuesday this week the tickets were sold out but there should be tix avail (at scalper rates) outside the event. Knoxville, TN six-piece rock outfit The Dirty Guv'nahs play the Highline Ballroom in the Chelsea district on November 15th. Ticket info.
Featuring the song "It's A Hard Knock Life" that was popularized by Jay-Z when producer The 45 King sampled it for the Hova 1998 hit single "Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)" famed Broadway musical Annie has returned almost 30 years after it closed its popular six year run back in the day when it won seven Tony Awards including Best Musical in 1977. The brand new production, at the Palace Theater at 1564 Broadway at 47th Street, is being staged by James Lapine and stars Lilla Crawford as the red haired subject of the musical, Katie Finneran as Miss Hannigan, and Anthony Warlow as Daddy Warbucks. Tix and more info here and/or here.
Following in the trodden footsteps of such other hip-hop artists as Jay-Z and Puff Daddy/Diddy, Wyclef Jean recently announced that he too would be opening a restaurant in New York City. Slated for an early 2013 opening with a menu that will be deep and varied, Wyclef said in one interview that, "The reason why I'm doing this is because back in the days, we had like the original Copacabana. And I feel that we can use a spot in New York that has culture -- where it's DJ culture, it's band culture, it's lounge culture, it's vibe -- where it's an eclectic vibe." As for the name and location of the restaurant by this man who came to fame via the Fugees? "It's going to be called The Refugee Lounge. It will be in Manhattan. Right now, we're negotiating."
The Crooklyn Dodgers "Crooklyn" (1994)
Road To Brooklyn: Down By The Yards
In the above video "Road To Brooklyn: Down By The Yards" from Jay-Z's YouTube channel, which is the premiere episode in his Road To Brooklyn series, both the pros and cons of the hotly debated Brooklyn shipyards is the topic. In the piece numerous artirts are included in those Brooklynites offering their opinion in the piece from Jay-Z's Life+Times examination of how the Barclays Center arena and new home of the Brooklyn Nets arena came to become a fixture in Brooklyn. And in that theme of sports and Brooklyn, also above is the 1990's rap video for the Crooklyn Dodgers' (Special Ed, Masta Ace, & Buckshot) "Crooklyn" from the 1994 Spike Lee movie of the same name from a great soundtrack of mostly 70's soul, funk, and jazz. Spike Lee grew up in Brooklyn (aka Crooklyn or "BK" as it is known to many these days) and has nothing but love for his borough.
Speaking of growing up in Brooklyn, my fellow WFMU DJ Dave Mandl just wrote a great piece for Mr Beller's Neighborhood in which he painstakingly lists the nicknames of dozens of kids he grew up with - including explanations for their colorful nicknames - in a most entertaining piece headed Bensonhurst Nicknamesca-1966-1980 Annotated. Among the 52 great nicknames Dave lists along with explanations are Mumbles ("Son of the shoe-repair guy on my corner. You couldn’t understand a word he said."), and Fat Nat ("My friend Ronnie’s dad, a bus driver. Ronnie was sometimes called “Fat Nat Jr.” Kids would chant “I want a Fat Nat Junior!” to the tune of a well-known TV commercial of the time: “I want a Ring Ding Junior!”)." Read the full story here.
And finally I leave you with a video of a live version of hardcore punk veterans Fear's classic "New York's Alright." This is a song that I always associate with my first impressions of New York since when I first moved to America to New York City back in the day one hot summer in a non air-conditioned apartment uptown Manhattan with windows wide open all I can remember was the number of sax players practicing their craft. And even now I am always hearing saxophones in my travels round New York City. Find music from Fear here.
Fear "New York's Alright"