Lucid Culture


Art Review: Jeph Gurecka – Shiny Bright Souvenir at 31grand, NYC

Yet another exciting show at this reliable bastion of innovation located paradoxically smack-dab in the middle of Conformist Central on the Lower East. Jeph Gurecka’s inspiration for this collection of mixed media, along with 18th century romanticism, is Thomas Cole’s 1840 Voyage of Life series of oils. Several but not all of the pieces here take technology and turn it on its head: acrylic spills and folds as if randomly exposed to flame, resin drips and forms an ugly coagulation. The effect is gripping. My Fathers House is a hollow, offwhite-and-yellow pillar dripping resin, lit from within, a cast Lincoln Log house peering imperiously from the summit down the steep slopes.


Selfish, too blends beads, seashells, resin and flocking to create a portrait of a woman gazing snobbishly down her nose, eyes almost shut. The Voyage of the Crystal Symphony (between the devil and the deep blue sea) strikingly sets a bright, shiny white ocean liner (or a mega-yacht) atop a frosted mess of enameled wax – is it a wave or an iceberg? My Left Nut poses an all-white squirrel (taken from a taxidermy form) molded in white resin, facing its full-color mirrored reflection. Sleeper is the most visceral work in the entire show, an all-white, resin angelic figure (with full-color tattoo on the leg) asleep amidst an ooze that threatens to melt and obliterate anything in its path. Thought-provoking stuff. Through Oct 5 at 31grand Gallery, 143 Ludlow St. between Rivington and Stanton St., Weds-Sun noon-7 PM. 


September 5, 2008 Posted by | Art, Reviews | Leave a comment

Concert Review: The Latin Giants of Jazz at Wagner Park, NYC 9/3/08

A sensational, adrenalizing show by the sprawling, horn-heavy salsa orchestra best known for backing the great Tito Puente for years. It took the band’s self-appointed spokesman literally ten minutes to introduce all of them, toward the end of their first set at the edge of the street facing the park, the water and the huge crowd that had come out to see them. Up front, driving the band were percussionists John Rodriguez and Jose Madera, almost a century of playing between them, perhaps rightfully called the world’s two most knowledgeable salsa percussionists. Asked if anybody remembered Tipica ’73, many of the crowd raised their voices knowingly: on piano was Sonny Bravo, the popular, pioneering group’s main songwriter, playing with remarkable terseness and efficiency. Also on the stand: trombonist Jimmy Bosch and alto man Bobby Porcelli, both of who got to contribute with brief, pointed solos.  And the rest, a blaze of trumpets, trombones and sax, pulsing along over possibly the loudest sound ever created by an upright bass: if anybody knows what kind of amp the guy was using, please let us know


This is dance music, after all, although the crowd took their time before they started moving around in any significant number: chalk it up to afterwork fatigue and the sweltering humidity. Like reggae or bachata, the chord changes are usually kept pretty simple, leaving it up to the horns to spike the melody, rising up like a hurricane busting over a breakwater. Best songs of the night: the Joe Cuba composition Trip to Mamboland, begun in English before reverting to Espanol for the final, lingering outro; the kiss-off anthem Ahora Mismo (As Soon As Possible) sung by a powerful, young contralto vocalist who did a job worthy of legendary Machito Orchestra frontwoman Graciela, and the single best tune of the night, the somewhat tango-inflected, darkly percussive Puedo Amor (I Can Love You).


Nice to see such a splendid mix of cultures in the crowd – lots of tourists, English-speaking and not – as well as an unexpectedly young demographic. While there were plenty of couples around retirement age swinging each other around with gusto, there were twice as many in their teens, many of them doing the same thing. If that’s any indication, classic salsa will be around for a long, long time. A great way to wrap up this summer’s downtown free concert series.

September 5, 2008 Posted by | Live Events, Music, New York City, Reviews | Leave a comment

Concert Review: The Disclaimers at Spikehill, 8/29/08

As befits a band that just gets better and better, THIS might have been the Disclaimers’ very best show. And they did it without their not-so-secret weapon, multi-instrumentalist/chanteuse Naa Koshie Mills. Her frenetic violin work that builds to the insane crescendo on the intro and outro to the kiss-off anthem Get Out of My Dreams was missed, but the band practically made up for it. Which is pretty amazing. The roar, jangle and clang of the twin guitars of Dylan Keeler and Dan Sullivan were nothing short of transcendent: who needs drugs when the contrasting textures from Keeler’s Strat and Sullivan’s Tele are blasting you. Sullivan ran through a Leslie pedal on one stomping anthem with a luscious major/minor hook on the chorus, adding an eerie, watery effect. Singer Kate Thomason brought the house down, as usual,  with the wildly crescendoing soul ballad that’s quickly becoming her signature song. She also took a couple of quick kazoo solos on a couple of numbers to remind everybody not to take themeselves too seriously. Drummer Phil McDonald turned in an equally good turn on vocals a couple of songs later. The version of the Syd Barrett-inflected Beneath the Belly of the 7 Train was as macabre as anyone could have wished for, the cover of the old Stone Poneys schlockedelic standard Different Drum was actually twangily beautiful, and they threw in a handful of the fiery Radio Birdman-esque garage hits that defined their sound until recently. They’re back at Spikehill at 11 on Sept 12, your latest opportunity to see whether you agree that the Disclaimers might just be the best rock band in New York.

September 5, 2008 Posted by | Live Events, Music, New York City, Reviews | Leave a comment

Wanna Tour with Dashboard Confessional?

We get some pretty silly stuff coming over the transom. Couldn’t resist reposting this one:


“We are holding an event for MTV 2 & Time Warner Cable, the event will be for NYC bands. We would love for you to post this information on you blog. Please read through the information below and let me know if you would like to join us. 




NYC bands can head now to sign up to be entered in the contest,

the top 5 selected bands will battle it out on September 29th at Webster hall for a chance to open the Rock Band LIve tour at the Prudential Center on November 2nd. The Rock Band Live Tour features Panic at the Disco, Plain White T’s, Dashboard Confessional, and The Cab. 

Members of the above bands will be on hand at webster hall to judge the performance, this will air on the Local Video On Demand channel and on MTV2 as well. 


I’ll send you some information you can post on your blog regarding band Signups and the event. We also want to offer you tickets to give out to your readers. 


Let me know if this is something you can post, I should have all things you can use by this evening, Can you also let me know how many people visit your site a day. 


Feel free to shoot me an email or give me a call with any questions!”

September 5, 2008 Posted by | Live Events, Music, New York City | Leave a comment