Tag Archives: music


Lady Gaga ArtraveIn a very last minute, last ditch opportunity, I found myself sailing for Lady Gaga’s artRAVE concert extravaganza to celebrate her album, ARTPOP at the Brooklyn Navy Yards.

Lady Gaga Jeff Koons Maria KucinskiArtist Jeff Koons co-hosted the event, showing off his larger-than-life sculpture of Lady Gaga – a breathtaking and hypnotizing piece of art. You can sense Lady Gaga’s aura through the work.

Lady Gaga ArtravePrior to the concert, there were extremely polished video projections of her new music video, her studies at the Marina Abramovic Insitute, and a 3-channel video projection of herself being tortured. Although difficult to watch, especially surrounded by the merriest “Little Monsters” in the world, it was very well done.

Art world royalty was also in attendance including Yoko Ono, Simon de Pury, and Klaus Biesenbach.

7 IMAG3961What I came away with from the event is that Lady Gaga is a true artist. She has surrounded herself with great artists and she has learned their craft. The most noticeable influence is that of Marina Abramovic, with whom Lady Gaga has been studying. There is a new focus, a new concentration to her. I also saw references to the Fluxus Movement and to Robert Wilson with his iconic gestures. She is wholly devoting herself to her craft, to her art, exposing her body and giving herself to the audience.

Lady Gaga ArtraveBut aside from the flawlessness of the evening, there was also an overall sense of peace and happiness and acceptance. Strangers were telling me that I was beautiful and I made friends with a few people around me.

How could you not be happy in Gaga’s world? And it is her world. She sits atop a throne, legs apart, commanding attention.

Jeff Koons Lady Gaga ArtraveAfter the concert ended, I shook Jeff Koons’ hand and told him that the sculpture was stunning.

And then I locked eyes with Darren Criss. A beautiful end to my memorable night.


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Critter & Guitari on F.A.T. Gold Public Access at Eyebeam

Critter and Guitari at Eyebeam with Bennett Williamson

Chris Kucinski, Bennett Williamson, and Owen Osborn at Eyebeam.

As part of Eyebeam’s current exhibition, F.A.T. Gold: Five Years of Free Art & Technology curated by Lindsay Howard and on view through April 20th, Critter & Guitari was asked to host a jam session for Public Access organized by Bennett Williamson.

In true Critter & Guitari fashion, Chris Kucinski and Owen Osborn invited their friends Devin Flynn, Ross Goldstein, Raphael Griswold, and even me to collaborate and make some new sounds. (Bennett would have also jammed with us like he did at the Experimental Television Center, but he had to operate the AV equipment.) The hour-long jam incorporated the sounds of the Pocket Piano family (including the first prototype), the Kaleidoloop family, and the Bolsa Bass along with a variety of analog instruments.

Click here to see the full live-streamed video of the jam.

All in all, the jam showed the collaborative and fun nature of the instruments and the cooperative generation in which they were created.

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Dancing Around the Bride: Cage, Cunningham, Johns, Rauschenberg and Duchamp at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Walkaround TimeA day trip to Philadelphia to see Dancing Around the Bride: Cage, Cunningham, Johns, Rauschenberg and Duchamp was filled with subversions, underminings, deconstructions, and sincerity.

The exhibition brings together masterworks, collaborations, and homages by these important and influential artists who wanted to challenge the notion of art. They experimented with what is defined as art, how art is created, and how it is experienced.

Throughout the exhibition of over 100 pieces, it is evident the star is Marcel Duchamp. He is the genius who wished to debunk “preexisting ideas about art, which he believed should appeal to the intellect rather than the senses.” He turned the art world on its head with his notion of “readymades” – objects that he found to be art, the most famous being Fountain, 1917. These pieces, as well as other work including drawings, paintings, photographs, scores, and installations tested originality, concept, and taste.

Marcel Duchamp Door 11. Rue Larrey, 1927

Marcel Duchamp, Door 11. Rue Larrey, 1927

The remaining four artists were very much influenced by Duchamp, but also – not knowing all of his entire oeuvre – their thought process in making art in ran parallel in some regards.

In one example, John Cage and Merce Cunningham did not realize that Duchamp had used the idea of “chance” in his artwork. The concept of “chance,” made famous by Cage and Cunningham explored how the outcome of the an artwork was dictated by the unknown. Certain parameters were put in place and the rest was up to chance – whether it was musical notes or silence, or movement or stillness and so on. And so, when Cage found out about Duchamp’s use of chance, realizing that it occurred in the year of his birth – he did not find that to be a coincidence.

In another example, Duchamp’s concept as key, exploring the distinctions between original and replica, object and idea is examined by Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns. Rauschenberg created “combines” – sculptures made from nontraditional materials while Johns made paintings that explored what you were looking at as a physical representation.

One of the most interesting aspects of this exhibition is the interplay between the artists. They all influenced or collaborated or co-opted certain aspects of each other’s work. The portraits by Rauschenberg were so interesting and so spot-on in my opinion. I also enjoyed how Johns used the mold from Duchamp’s Étant donnés: 1° la chute d’eau / 2° le gaz d’éclairage in his paintings.

And maybe the most meaningful thing I took away from the exhibition is how sincere these artists were about art. They were dedicated to exploring, experimenting, and pushing the bounds. They did not hold back, they learned from each other and challenged each other. I believe that because of that, their influence is pervasive today.

All in all, I thought the exhibition was a unique opportunity to see spectacular works – shown in conversation with each other – by Cage, Cunningham, Johns, Rauschenberg, and of course, Duchamp.

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Cobretti at K&M

CobrettiLast night I saw the super cool band, Cobretti play at K&M in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. When my friends and I first arrived, one of the drummers (there is a two person drum set) told me that the bartender asked them to not play so loudly because of the tin ceilings. Knowing well enough that Cobretti always rocks hard, we came prepared with earplugs.

The drummer then told me that they were a skate band (Red Bull skate competition videos were projected behind them throughout the set) who just wanted to rock. And that is what they did.

They opened the show with a little diddy on the Kaleidoloop and then went full force into their beachy punk music with a hard edge and screeching vocals. Maybe one of the distinguishing things about the band is the megatom. And I love the toms.

All in all, I want to learn how to skate so I can hang out with these guys more often.

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Fort Lean at Coco 66

Williamsburg, Brooklyn 2011As I drove in a Saab convertible to Greenpoint [read hipster] to see Fort Lean at Coco66, I learned about how certain people who aren’t naturally blonde look when their hair is dyed. Even with this added preparation, I was intrigued to see a lead man sporting a bleach blonde perm and a seriously brown mustache.

That said, Fort Lean can rock.

Fort LeanThey’ve got a cool vibe with an upbeat yet soft sound that harkens somewhere between Vampire Weekend and the Strokes. I noticed the driving beats (especially on the toms), strong backing on the synths, melodic guitar partnering and a voice that complements it all.

All in all, aside from the awkward pauses between songs, I enjoyed dancing to their music and would see them again.

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The Yellow Dogs at Glasslands

The Yellow DogsThe Iranian indie rock band, The Yellow Dogs played an awesome set at Glasslands in Brooklyn. Their music, though not approved by Iran’s Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, has kicking beats and stellar melodies.

All in all, I just want to dance to their music.

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Ty Segall at Death by Audio

Death by AudioLast night I honestly thought that I had ended up in the Spanish bar Tupperware located in the heart of Malasaña in Madrid but alas I was in the hipster neighborhood of Williamsburg at the musical venue Death by Audio. I say that it reminded me of Spain because people were smoking (to start some trouble I even said to one guy, “You can’t smoke in here” who poignantly took his cigarette out of his mouth, replied, “yes I can” and put the cigarette back into his mouth). It also reminded me of Spain because I overheard many different languages (and got hit on by a German who said he only kind of liked me but that’s a different story). So I sat through the bands whose names – as well as music sounded the same – Heavy Cream, Liquor Store, and Home Blitz.

Finally, after spending my time entertaining myself by asking people if they were wearing Chrome messenger bags (one of my friends is the “head sewer”) the headlining band Ty Segall (pronounced like the actor Steven not the bird) mounted the stage. And guess what, they sounded exactly like the other bands. So as I looked around the crowded room, with people nodding their heads in unison to simple beats and standard guitar chords, I couldn’t handle the inane scene of it all so I left.

All in all, aside from the entertainment I provided myself by causing trouble, I now know what to expect at Death by Audio.

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