Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Girl Talk Performance Footage

I enjoyed seeing Girl Talk much more than I had expected to, actually. Originally skeptical of how someone who is sampling and layering music all on his laptop could put on a good performance, I was very soon dispelled of my skepticism to watch the dance party on stage while taking part in it myself to his very fun, danceable mixes.

Pictures and videos below.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Amjad at BAM -- 2008 Next Wave Festival

I will be seeing the performance of Amjad tonight, a dance performance at the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House. The performance features the dance company La La La Human Steps and choreography by Édouard Lock.

In an interview with the Star, "La La La Takes Romantic Steps," Lock reveals, "Amjad is a name, applicable to both a man and a woman. It's a little wink to my own ethnic heritage." It is a ballet that deconstructs Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty. The production is a contemporary interpretation of and response to these works that highlights the exoticism of the stories and problematizes such issues as gender, narrative and culture, all in a visually stunning production.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Tonight: Murder by Death and William Elliott Whitmore at Southpaw

I am at least a little ashamed to admit that I have never before seen a show at Southpaw before. For what it's worth, I tried once before but was not ready to brave the lines on the particularly chilly night I attempted entry there.

Anyway, tonight, with doors at 7, features the musicians Murder By Death, William Elliott Whitmore, and J Roddy Walston & The Business. It should be a fun, folky, bluesy evening and is very reasonably-priced, at only $14 for the show cover.

I am particularly interested in seeing Williasm Elliott Whitmore and hearing his soulful blues songs performed live. Free songs are available for download at daytrotter.com.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Girl Talk: DJ? Artist? Musical Thief?

I am seeing Girl Talk, whose real name is Gregg Gillis, next Saturday at Terminal 5 (whose shows, November 15th, 16th and 18th, are all sold out, but you can try to buy scalped tickets at the venue, located at 610 W 56th St, or from such sites as StubHub.com). As of now, I have three tickets and am still seeking the two lucky winners to go with me ... I am seeing Girl Talk with Prefuse 73, another experimental band with catchy hooks, on Saturday, Nov 15th.

So what exactly is Girl Talk's music? Gregg Gillis, in an interview with Aural States, says he first became interested in experimental music and, although he samples music much like a DJ would, considers his music much more of a "sound collage." He uses an audio program called Audio Mulch and his shows are simply him and his laptop, both of which apparently rock out pretty hard during a show. He is more interested in de-constructing and re-combining music than sampling the music as such, and especially leans towards mixes of hip-hop with rock and pop loops. Gillis describes his musical project as purely aesthetic rather than political and says he also simply wants to support pop music. This is exactly what he sees himself as doing: distilling the catchiest hooks and riffs of the tunes that he hears and then layering and sampling them to create his own songs, or "sound collages."

New York Times has an article, Steal This Hook? Girl Talk Flouts Copyright Law, which discusses the controversial, possibly illegal aspect of Gillis's work. His music, available at illegalart.net at a pay-what-you-want fee, has been pulled off of iTunes and other CD distributors' stocks because of its potential liability. Gillis, stating that his use of the clips falls under fair use license, has not yet been sued for his use of such short samples of songs. As the article explores, on the one hand, companies may not want to sue him in order to not look bad as well as not to set a precedent in Gillis's favor. He may or may not be technically legally able to use such samples, but that he so far has gotten away with doing so with relatively few repercussions is itself setting a precedent that tells copyright law that it is too restrictive on creativity and can, in effect, be loosely interpreted.

Gillis's music, through his Girl Talk project, is paving the way for creative license with the music of others, for better or for worse. His musical mash-ups are truly the conglomeration of diverse music samples, from bhangra to classic rock to contemporary hip-hop, creating a sound that is at once uniquely his and an appropriation of various musical genres and decades.

It should definitely be an interesting performance.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Halloween Masquerade Ball at Galapagos

This was the first event I have attended at the re-located Galapagos Art Space in DUMBO. Having dropped by the venue only once previously, during the Art Under the Bridge festival this summer, I knew that it had a welcoming ambiance and an intimate set-up; but I had not yet spent an evening there.

The Halloween Masquerade Ball, a 1920's Victorian-era themed party, was ablaze with live jazz music, masked and costumed attendees and live performances. There was face painting available, providing an almost instant transformation to shimmering, retro, masked style. And, if you weren't sitting in one of the few booths or on the floor by the stage to watch the performance, you were most likely mingling by the entrance or the bar.

Although the Halloween Masquerade Ball did not have a particularly large turn-out, it provided an experience both mellow and exhilarating, providing ample opportunity for chatting, dancing, and sitting back to watch the performances.

See pictures below.

Also, Galapagos Art Space is right off the water; a walk less than half a block away yields amazing views of the Brooklyn Bridge and the water.