Lucid Culture

JAZZ, CLASSICAL MUSIC AND THE ARTS IN NEW YORK CITY

CD Review: The Brooklyn What – Gentrification Rock

The second release by New York’s most exciting band right now has all the fun, fury and intelligence of the Brooklyn What’s debut The Brooklyn What for Borough President (which remains at the top of our list for best album of 2009). Frontman Jamie Frey is possibly even more charismatically and ferociously amusing than ever here, and the band careens along behind him, flailing at everything in their way. When these guys have the three electric guitars going, live, the resulting pandemonium is completely out-of-control, giving their catchy punk songs a crazy, noisy, occasionally no-wave edge. This is a concept album of sorts, proceeds being donated to the esteemed grassroots organization Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn who continue to lead the community resistance to the well-documented Atlantic Yards luxury condo/basketball arena scam. Remember the days when Brooklyn musicians fought against the destruction of New York by suburban invasion rather than being part of it? The Brooklyn What do, even though most of them weren’t even born yet when New Jersey developers began tearing down perfectly good brick brownstones and replacing them with cheap plastic-and-sheetrock future crackhouses back in the 80s. This is a powerful contribution to that battle.

This ep has two versions of the title track, in the studio and live, one as intense as the other, the band’s caustic dismissal of the suburbanites who “wanna make the world one big mistake.” Another new recording, Movin to Philly has more of an over-the-edge anthemic feel than the countryish way they usually play it live. This one’s not an anti-trendoid diatribe but the anguished tale of a guy who’s been priced out of the city where he grew up and dreads every minute of the move and what lies ahead after that. “All my dreams are over there…take one last walk through Tompkins Square,” he muses. There’s also a characteristically snarling, defiant live version of the Kinks’ classic I’m Not Like Everybody Else and another original, I Want You on a Saturday Night, a self-explanatory, Ramones-ish punked out doo-wop tune. Get the album and contribute what you can if you can (DDDB’s funds are perennially in short supply, unsurprising since they’re not bankrolled by developers), and count this among the year’s best albums along with the Brooklyn What’s first one. The Brooklyn What play Trash Bar this Friday August 7 on what might be the best straight-up rock bill of the year with the Warm Hats, Palmyra Delran and Escarioka: the Brooklyn What hit the stage at 11.

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August 4, 2009 Posted by | Music, music, concert, review, Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

First AIG, Now “Luxury” Condo Developer to Get Millions in Taxpayer Money?

This just in from Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn: On Sunday troubled insurance giant AIG revealed the counterparties who benefited from the $170 billion taxpayer bailout of the besieged company. $400 million of that bailout would go to a proposed basketball arena, which, if it’s ever built, is already slated to receive hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies funded by New York City, New York State and federal taxpayers, and is reliant on New York state’s use of eminent domain to seize homes and businesses.

Britain’s Barclays Bank was the beneficiary of some $8.5 billion worth of the AIG bailout by US taxpayers. Barclays has a $400 million naming-rights deal for Forest City Enterprises developer Bruce Ratner’s proposed $1 billion Barclays Center basketball arena, the centerpiece of the company’s floundering Atlantic Yards development plan in Brooklyn, New York.

Thus the American taxpayer is, in essence, picking up the tab for a British bank’s $400 million vanity project.

“Why are TARP bailout funds flowing through AIG to a British bank to Cleveland-based Forest City Enterprises for a billion dollar arena in Brooklyn? Why are federal taxpayers being forced to pay for Barclays’ marketing scheme? There is no justification for it, especially as TARP funds are supposed to spur banks to start lending again, rather than prop up activities such as the Barclays-Ratner boondoggle,” said Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn spokesman Daniel Goldstein. “The federal bailout of AIG was not intended to assist Barclays in hyping its brand in Brooklyn, or to help them slap their logo, for 20 years, no less, on a basketball arena already heavily dependent on city, state and federal subsidies.”

In February there was a political and public uproar over Citigroup’s $400 million naming rights deal for the nearly completed home of the New York Mets—Citi Field—because the financial firm had received $45 billion worth of the TARP bailout.  At the time the New York Daily News reported that the House Financial Services Committee Chair, Congressman Barney Frank, said that:

…Naming rights deals will be off limits for firms taking taxpayer money in the next $350 billion installment of bailout money for banks and financial institutions.

“I’m confident you won’t see anything like that going forward,” in the next bailout round, Frank said.

 

Unlike Citi Field, the proposed Barclays Center arena in Brooklyn has not even broken ground.

March 18, 2009 Posted by | New York City, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment