New York State of Mind Amoeblog #4: The Met, RadioVision, CMJ, Penelope Houston, Radio City, Classic NYC album covers + more

Posted by Billyjam, October 17, 2012 11:48am | Post a Comment

CMJ Music Marathon, RadioVision Festival, PopSpotsNYC's revisiting of classic album covers, Radio City Music Hall, Penelope Houston on New York City, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and NYC-themed music videos by Robin Thicke and Sting  are among the items covered in this fourth installment in the New York State of Mind. This is the new Amoeblog series in which I report, from a New York City perspective, on music and other entertainment and happenings in the Big Apple.

Pictured above is NYC's famed concert hall Radio City Music Hallwhich is such a beautiful architectural structure that, during non-performance hours, tours of the building are given. I recommend them but only if you do not attend a show in which case you can see much (but not all) of the historic concert space located on Sixth Avenue at West 50th Street. Upcoming shows at Radio City (and like most big shows in NYC, they are not cheap) include Radio City Christmas Spectacular from November 9th to December 30th and legendary Queensbridge emcee NAS on NYE. That show starts at 9pm so, should you spend New Year's in NYC, you could make this show and trek over the few blocks to the Times Square area immediately afterwards - provided you don't mind battling the big NYE celebratory crowds.

The Avengers will be in NYC on October 25th when they play the club Littlefield at 622 Degraw St in Brooklyn at 11:30pm as part of their East Coast Fall Mini Tour, which will also include stops in Cleveland and Chicago. Before heading out East, I asked the legendary San Francisco punk group's lead singer Penelope Houston, who has visited NYC numerous times over the years, what her favorite things about being in New York City as a performer were? "NYC is always an exciting place to play. We seem to have a lot of fans there and I have many friends living there as well," said Houston adding that what she personally appreciates about New York City is,  "the walkability of Manhattan and the art museums."


Billed as a "celebration of Radio's Future" this weekend NJ freeform radio station WFMU will present the two-day  RadioVision Festival (October 19/20) in NYC with a day full of panels on Saturday and a special screening of the documentary Radio Unnameable (trailer above) on Friday. The documentary is about NYC Pacifica Radio station WBAI's Bob Fass who was one of pioneers of freeform radio paving the way for stations like WFMU. Following the film's screening, 7pm at the Kraine Theater at 85 E. 4th Street, WFMU's general manager Ken Freedman will talk with Bob Fass and the filmmakers, and open the discussion up to the audience. Then on Saturday, at Scholastic Auditorium at 557 Broadway near Houston St. in downtown NY from 9:30am to 6pm, there will be an info-packed, day-long schedule of presentations and panel discussions about such things as how podcasting is upending the public radio paradigm, how piracy is becoming the new radio, DIY culture, Internet radio, and "corporate personhood." In fact, I will be directly involved in that latter presentation (at 1pm Saturday) when I will be the host of the discussion given by Kenyatta Cheese. Best known for co-creating the web series and internet meme database Know Your Meme, Kenyatta Cheese is currently embarking on a 100 day project to find out if a corporation can be a better version of him than he can. For more info on RadioVision Festival.

Happening all this week in New York City is the big CMJ Music Marathon (Oct 16 - Oct 20), which is a seemingly endless parade of non-stop music showcases and conferences around town. Note that this year there is no film festival, but there are still far too many events happening to mention all here so check out the CMJ website for a complete breakdown and listing of all concert, conferences, and other CMJ events. There are almost a hundred different panels at the music conference. Meanwhiule a few of the artists playing this week at CMJ include Com Truise, Deathrow Tull, Elzhi, Ghostface Killah, Killer Mike, Lushlife, Prong, and Tokimonsta. More info here.

Robin Thicke "When I Get You Alone"

You got to love the raw, non-groomed, long-haired look of blue-eyed soul singer Robin Thicke from early in his career (a far cry from how he looks these days) in the above video from a decade ago in which he plays the role of bike messenger weaving through traffic in the busy streets of Manhattan. He covers a lot of ground from way uptown in Harlem to midtown offices and all the way downtown to SoHo, Wall Street, and the Brooklyn Bridge, encountering such folks as Russell Simmons (at :31) along the way.

A few months ago when Popspotsnyc creator Bob Egan unveiled the results of his extensive research into NYC locations of famous LP cover art he created quite a buzz with both music fans and longtime New Yorkers who had always wondered where certain famous album cover photos had been shot. Avid music fan Egan, who works as a real estate agent by day, put in a lot of his spare time as album art detective, tirelessly tracking down the exact original settings of some of his favorite records. He then matched up the LP cover photos with a larger image of the location (today) and posted the intriguing results to his website.

These included such iconic album covers as The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan (Jones Street and West 4th Street), Simon & Garfunkel's Wednesday Morning, 3am (MTA subway lower platform of Fifth Avenue and 53rd Street), and  Steely Dan's Pretzel Logic.The cover for Steely Dan's third album, released in 1974, was of a pretzel cart near Central Park on Fifth Avenue and 79th Street. If you go to NYC and try to find its exact location it is  just north of the 79th Street Transverse near the "Miners' Gate" Central Park entrance and in the general vicinity of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The aforementioned Metropolitan Museum Of Art (a.k.a. The Met) is an absolutely stunning sprawling museum that is so vast in its display of artifacts that to view it properly, you really need to make at least couple of visits. After all, it is the largest art museum in all of the United States. Its permanent collection contains more than two million works of art! Add to that its myriad of ever-changing exhibits and you actually could set aside a full week of daily visits to the museum to take it all in properly.

Among the numerous ongoing exhibits at the Metropolitan is Regarding Warhol: Sixty Artists, Fifty Years which runs through the end of December. If you are a budget traveler the good news is that, even though the big signs at the museum entrance suggest a $25 entrance fee it is in fact a "suggested donation." Hence you can donate a dollar if you wish and still gain entrance to this magnificent cultural oasis. Not only that but you will receive a clip on button / pass that will also grant you free admission to the affiliated museum at The Cloisters. Note that the free pass is for that same day only and that The Cloisters (well worth a visit) is way up the top of Manhattan island, so start your day early. The Met is located at 1000 Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street.


Sting "Englishman In New York" (1987)

In the quarter century since Sting shot this video for his song "Englishman In New York" with him "walking down Fifth Avenue" and other NYC locations (found on his 1987 album ...Nothing Like The Sun) a lot has changed with the Big Apple so the video above is another reminder of the old versus the new New York. The subject of the song, which features Branford Marsalis (soprano sax) and Manu Katche (percussion),  was Quentin Crisp who is featured in the video above.

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Robin Thicke (2), Pretzel Logic (1), Bob Dylan (63), Steely Dan (9), New York State Of Mind (92), Penelope Houston (5)