Likelihood of a Billy Joel and Alicia Keys duet at the 12-12-12 Sandy Benefit, NY Beard and Mustache Competition open to both men and women, 32nd anniversary of John Lennon's murder expected to draw large crowds to Strawberry Fields, DJ legend Danny Krivit does a special holiday styled dance party for his long running 718 Sessions, Bay Area artists The Coup and DJ Shadow visit NYC this week, copping last minute tickets to The Late Show with David Letterman, a review of last weekend's 8-Ball Zine Fair, Cannibal Ox reunion, and an NYC-themed rap music video by Ja Rule are among the items covered in this installment in New York State of Mind - the weekly Amoeblog series in which I report, from a New York City perspective, on music and other entertainment and happenings in the Big Apple.
Open to both men and women, The 3rd Annual NYC Beard and Mustache Competition is happening this weekend in Williamsburg. Not to be confused with the equally popular 5th Annual Coney Island Beard and Mustache Competition that took place a few miles further out in the borough of Brooklyn (home to many a mustachioed fellow), this Saturday evening's event is being presented by the Gotham City Beard Alliance whose mission statement is "To promote tolerance and acceptance of all facial hair. The GCBA desires to help our local community, through donations from events planned by GCBA or volunteering at non-facial hair related events." At this weekend's GBCA event there will be a series of facial hair competitions that anyone can sign up for on the night. Just get to the venue by 6:30pm for the 7pm start time of the the three hour event. And note that the male leaning competition is not for men exclusively. Women are also encouraged to enter by making their own beard and mustache creations that will be judged in such categories as Most Realistic and Most Fantastic. Saturday, Dec 8th, 7pm at Warsaw: 261 Driggs Ave. in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Phone: 718-387-0505 Tickets and more info here. Club directions + general info here.
Among the seemingly endless great shows and parties in NYC in the week ahead are Danny Krivit's long-running 718 Sessions for which the legendary, musically diverse club DJ /producer presents a special Holiday Classics edition. As is his tradition, Krivit will DJ by himself all night long (six hours non-stop) for this early-ish party that kicks off at 6pm and happens at Santos Party House where, in the downstairs dance room of the downtown Manhattan club, DJ Miss Honey Dijon will also be spinning. A Benny Soto Presents party 718 Sessions Holiday Classics happens Sunday, December 9th 6pm to midnight with lights by Ariel at Santos on 96 Lafayette, NY, NY. Prices range from $5 to $20 depending on when you arrive at club or if you RSVP via Krivit's Facebook. Check Danny Krivit's website for additional info.
The two Bay Area acts DJ Shadow and The Coup are each visiting NYC this week to play concerts in the week ahead. The politically charged hip-hop Oakland crew The Coup - comprised of a full live band along with original members emcee Boots Riley and DJ Pam the Funkstress - will be playing the Bowery Ballroom in lower Manhattan with Japanther opening on Thurday Decemeber 6th. Meanwhile, DJ Shadow will be playing at the Brooklyn Bowl on Tuesday, December 11th in support of both his current releases, Reconstructed: The Best of DJ Shadow and the limited edition box set Reconstructed: The Definitive DJ Shadow. More show info.
Other shows round NYC in the week ahead include (friend of Amoeba) Pete Rock and Evil Dee who share the night spinning hip-hop at SRB, located at 177 2 Ave. at 14th Brooklyn, on Saturday Dec. 8th from 10pm to 4am. Free before midnight. More info here. Simian Mobile Disco will play Webster Hall on December 6th in support of their new EP A Form Of Change and their most recent album Unpatterns that dropped in May of this year. Biz Markie performs at Kool DJ AJ Scratch's birthday on Friday Dec 7th when others on the bill will be DJ Smoove Ski and Mel Starr - at the club Pranna Lounge at 79 Madison Ave. at 28th Street. More info here.
The much talked about hip-hop show of the week ahead is the Cannibal Ox reunion show at Knitting Factory on Sunday (Dec 9th) on a packed bill that also will feature C-Rayz Walz, Prop Anon with DJ Robin Hood, Kenyattah Black, Double AB, Original Text, and Ireelz.Tickets here.
On a more sombre note, this Saturday, December 8th, marks the 32nd anniversary of the death of John Lennon who was tragically shot and killed outside his West 72nd Street Dakota Building home in 1980. Each year on this date, thousands of Lennon fans of all ages congregate throughout the day to commiserate and celebrate (via mediation, conversation, and song) the late Beatles' member's life and legacy in Central Park's Strawberry Fields (the garden park area dedicated to John Lennon that sits directly across from the Dakota). Three years ago on the 29th anniversary, I stopped by Strawberry Fields and Amoeblogged about it as well as the relationship between Lennon and the city of New York. Each year, the numbers that attend the informal gathering on December 8th grows. Below is video clip below, care of CNN, of Yoko Ono talking about John Lennon's New York City years.
CNN interview with Yoko Ono on John Lennon's New York City years
The two photos above include Beans (of Anti-pop Consortium fame) performing a killer set that at times sounded like he was channeling Chali 2na at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn last Thursday (November 29th). Also on the bill was Prop Anon (really good), Outernational (too polished and commercial radio ready for my liking), Mike Ladd (a no-show), and Rebelmatic (good old fashioned punk by group that looked like Bad Brains). The other photo above is of one of the half dozen fanzine displays laid out on unused pool tables from last weekend's fun, informal, and free 8-Ball Zine Fair at the Space Billiards hall on the twelfth floor of 34 West 32nd Street in the Korea Town section of midtown Manhattan. Lots of great zines, mainly from the US and Europe, were all for sale. The fair also included some vinyl for sale as well as cassettes (which seems to go hand in hand with the zine culture). The event also proved that the fanzine medium did not die with the Internet but apparently is in a hella healthy state.
Tickets for next Wednesday's (Dec 12th) benefit concert for Sandy relief at Madison Square Garden have been selling like crazy. The big benefit show, dubbed 12-12-12, is not just for a most worthy cause but it is also a once in blue moon lineup of acts with new late additions such as Eric Clapton and Coldplay joining an already star-studded lineup of Billy Joel, Alicia Keys, Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, Kanye West, The Who, Paul McCartney, Bon Jovi, Eddie Vedder, Roger Waters, and Dave Grohl. The exact schedule and plan for the show has not been published, but my guess is that at some stage in this talent-packed concert Billy Joel and Alicia Keys might lead a medley of their respective versions of "Empire/New York State of Mind" (hey, maybe Jay-Z might even show up and join in, and Nas too to do his "New York State of Mind"). If you do not have tickets or are unable attend the show anyway because you are far away from NYC don't worry. Earlier this week organizers announced that the entire benefit concert will be broadcast across 34 U.S. and international television, radio and Internet across six continents where you can watch/listen and donate to the Robin Hood Relief Fund, which is helping victims of Sandy in hard-hit New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. [Update: 12:07 - latest addition to this ever-expanding, all star lineup: The Rolling Stones. And as far as getting tickets; since they are sold out and in such high demand they've fetching thousands of dollars on sites like StubHub by scalpers who have been under criticism for profiting from the fundraising show.]
For getting tickets to The Late Show with David Letterman, which tapes Monday through Thursday at the Ed Sullivan Theater (pictured at top of this blog) at 1697 Broadway between West 53rd and West 54th Streets in the Times Square vicinity, you can do so two ways. You can either submit your request online using the CBS TV online ticket form which is a good way to go should you be planning a visit to NYC some months in advance. The other (better for spur of the moment) method of copping tickets for this in-demand TV show taping (especially when there is a hot musical act booked) is by showing up at the theater during specified hours (usually the morning of show 930am to noon) where you can submit an in-person request and get tix on a standby availability basis. As with other popular shows like the Daily Show and Colbert Report you are only allowed tickets once in a six month period. For exact info on getting tickets click here.
And finally I leave you with a New York City themed rap music video; Hollis, Queens NY born rapper/singer Ja Rule's single "New York," featuring cameos from fellow New Yorkers Fat Joe and Jadakiss, that is taken from the hip-hopper turned actor's 2004 (sixth studio) album R.U.L.E. (The Inc./Def Jam)