The Moment NYC crew bringing some New York City music history to the kids at Riverdale in the Bronx for their Community Day. The theme this year was borders and boundaries. They got a taste of Stride, Broadway, Be Bop, Afro Cuban Jazz, Folk,Glam Rock, Disco and Hip Hop.
We are really excited to hear about this event which has not been widely publicized. It is the 40th anniversary of an important time and place in the East Village that spawned a new generation of art and activism. Lydia Lunch, James Chance, CHARAS and Missing Foundation were all true pioneers and part of what made the downtown and East Village scenes so exciting. When you read the bios below you can see how this downtown community of artists integrated and unified an immensely diverse set of influences and how what eventually became the community gardens and public spaces, like Tompkins Sq and La Plaza, played a major part of that.
From the Facebook even page (LINK):
“Join us for a party for the 40th anniversary of one of NYC’s most forward-thinking venues, a storied legacy of the 1970’s downtown art scene: La Plaza Cultural, a green, multi-use, civic, performance space, spread over a third of a city block on east 9th street at avenue C. The evening will celebrate downtown NYC’s legacy of visionary, outsider music and art, social activism, community, and sustainable design.
La Plaza was the brainchild of guerrilla activists, including the Latino group CHARAS, who seedbombed the trash-filled vacant lot in 1976. La Plaza’s founders and early supporters included era-defining artists such as Buckminster Fuller, who built one of his geodesic domes onsite, the anti-architect Gordon Matta-Clark and legendary street artist Keith Haring. Its 40th anniversary party will feature performances by legendary artists of the period and emerging artists alike.
Sal P (of Liquid Liquid)
Etienne Pierre Duguay
“Birth” by FOLD
A Gnostic, profeminist retelling of the Adam and Eve story, “Birth” by FOLD is an immersive, ritual performance that draws on the legacies of Brecht’s Epic Theater and Antonin Artaud’s Theater of Cruelty, forging a response to the politics of oncoming global collapse and late capitalist ideologies of identity. A tragic family narrative of creation, hubris, perversion, loss, and generational struggle, Birth simultaneously evokes and critiques nostalgia for the “golden age” of 1970’s downtown grittiness and its relationship to sanitized neoliberal urbanism. Based in a synthesis of the Western Hermetic tradition, Vedic cosmology, and quantum physics, “Birth” suggests a path to elucidation beyond the polarities of conformity and authenticity, materialism and spirituality.
Lydia Lunch is an American singer, poet, writer, actress who has appeared in films that include Black Box, Mondo New York, and Kill Your Idols. She co-wrote the art-cult favorite “Fingered” with Richard Kern. The Boston Phoenix named Lunch “one of the 10 most influential performers of the 1980s.” Her work typically features provocative and confrontational noise music delivery and has maintained an anti-commercial ethic, operating independently of major labels and distributors. Lunch’s moniker was given to her by Willy DeVille because she stole food for her friends.
James Chance is an American saxophonist, keyboard player, songwriter and singer. Chance has been playing a combination of improvisational jazz-like music and punk in the New York music scene since the late 1970s. His music can be described as combining the freeform playing of Ornette Coleman with the solid funk rhythm of James Brown, though filtered through a punk rock lens. James’ live performances with the Contortions would often end in violence when Chance would confront audience members.
Missing Foundation/M7H, (Peter Missing): musician, noted activist, painter, and founder of the influential underground industrial band Missing Foundation, was one of the organizers of the protest against the notorious curfew in Tompkins Square Park in 1988. The earliest incarnation of Missing Foundation, which was founded in Hamburg in 1984 by Peter Missing, included Sascha Konietzko and En Esch of industrial act KMFDM. Peters’s art has been shown in MoMA, The Whitney Museum of American Art, the Getty Institute, and the Stadt Museum in Berlin. His famous mark of an upside down martini glass with three strikes has become a worldwide symbol of the need for planetary transformation. Missing worked many years as a film set designer in Hamburg and taught art to troubled youth in different German schools.
Salvatore Principato (Sal P) is a dj, producer, performs with 178 Product, Fist of Facts, and is the vocalist for Liquid Liquid. Following a long hiatus after dissolving in 1983, Liquid Liquid has been performing globally since 2008. They are best known for their track, “Cavern,” which was covered by the Sugar Hill Records house band as the backing track for Grandmaster + Melle Mel’s old school rap classic, “White Lines (Don’t Do It). Liquid Liquid’s music is essentially groove-based and influenced by a variety of sources, including funk, dub reggae, Afrobeat, and punk in its do it yourself garage approach. As a vocalist, Salvatore Principato is known to use his voice as an instrument, focusing more on pitch and rhythm than words and lyrics.
Collin Crowe is an electronic musician & video artist based in Brooklyn NY who plays at yoga classes and dank basements depending on his mood.
SenseNet, formed in late 2015, is a Brooklyn-based band. A darkwave/dark synth group, it is heavily inspired by cyberpunk and retrofuturist aesthetics, as well as anti-corporatism and technophilia. The members, which include Rob Interface (synth/drum machine), Drea Mantis (vox), Riq Nazti (e guitar), are all NYC natives. Drea also plays in The Hot Solids (an Electro No-Wave band) and Enrique fronts his own project called Elefantkiller (a Thrash-Metal band).
Founded in 2015, FOLD is an ensemble and production company based in Brooklyn, NY, which creates film, installation, and live performance. FOLD develops intensely physical work, often drawn from the history of esotericism, that merges seemingly incompatible realities, dissolving boundaries between performer and spectator and exploring the extremes where transcendence meets alienation, radical embodiment, and metamorphosis. Past work includes Antonin Artaud’s Spurt of Blood at the French Embassy’s Albertine bookstore, Cosmogony at Pioneer Works, ARAS at the C.G. Jung Center, and MIND at Good Work Gallery and the Schoolhouse.
Directed by: Etienne Pierre Duguay
Written by: Eli Epstein-Deutsch and Etienne Pierre Duguay
Music by: Collin Crowe and Etienne Pierre Duguay
Produced by: Eli Epstein-Deutsch, Etienne Pierre Duguay”
You’ve helped us reach another milestone. Today, 5/13/2016, (Friday the 13th) marks the 25th anniversary of the “De La Soul Is Dead” album. This album was released May 13, 1991 (insert old joke here).
To celebrate it’s 25th Anniversary, we’ve assembled memorials in NYC at two locations that are very meaningful to the creation of this historic album. The first location is 298 Elizabeth Street where Russell Simmons (our old manager) had his Rush Management office. That’s where the album title De La Soul Is Dead came to life. The second location, 37th Street & 8th Avenue, is where Calliope Recording Studios once thrived and where most of the Dead album was mixed & recorded.
We welcome you to visit these locations and contribute a candle, card, flower, balloon, etc. or you can also simply post this pic on your social media outlets with hashtag #delasoulisdead.
This album brings back so many good memories for us, we hope these songs provided a good soundtrack for your life as well. Show your appreciation and support the life of the culture and it’s classic albums.
Please visit the memorial website we’ve created and relive this album with us. Sign our memorial, then listen to the album on the site. Let us know that Hip Hop will not be not forgotten!
Giorgio Gomelsky at his 75th Birthday celebration – NYC Feb 28 2009
Giorgio Gomelsky passed away in New York January 13, 2016, at the age of 81.
He was a film maker, impresario, music manager, songwriter (as Oscar Rasputin) and record producer. Despite his tremendous impact and influence in the world of rock, the New York underground and countless lives his name is not familiar to many. His colorful biography follows a young swiss boy whose love of jazz and blues sent him hitchhiking his way around Europe at the age of 13, looking for ‘Jazz scenes’. As a young teenager he started writing reviews for an Italian jazz magazine and organizing jam sessions. He started a “jazz society” as an adolescents’ at a Benedictine monks’ school he attended and in 1953 on returning to Switzerland helped organize the first open-air jazz festival in Zurich.
He left for London in 1955 to begin filming performances by the jazz traditionalist Chris Barber at the Royal Festival Hall for Italian television and subsequently filmed the second National Jazz Festival in 1960 through his work with the National Jazz Federation. Eventually he moved to London and opened a club, Crawdaddys, where in 1963, he gave the Rolling Stones their first gig, and later the Yardbirds their first break. He made a ‘lost’ film of the Rolling Stones that predates their first record contract. Wouldn’t that be a find!
He managed the Rolling Stones and the Yardbirds, eventually losing the Stones to Andrew Oldham in a backdoor deal with Brian Jones. In 1963 the Beatles came to see the Stones at Giorgio’s request at his club, Crawdaddys and the Beatles in turn, invited Giorgio and the Stones to their show 4 days later at the Royal Albert Hall. Gomelsky pitched the Beatles and Brian Epstein a film treatment that eventually became ‘A Hard Days Night’ though he never received credit for it. Years later Brian Epstein apologized and gave Giorgio’s new band, the Yardbirds, slots opening for the Beatles. Epstein had not realized that he should not have given Giorgio’s treatment of the film to the larger company who ended up making the film.
In 1966, Mr Golmelsky launched Marmalade Records, working with Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger & The Trinity, Blossom Toes, John McLaughlin, and The Soft Machine. In the following years he went on to work with fringe rockers Henry Cow, Gong and Magma.
Moving to New York in 1978, his townhouse in Chelsea became a creative center and performance space for musicians like John Zorn, Bill Laswell, Richard Hell and the Bad Brains. In the 1980s, he produced “Tonka Wonka Mondays,” at Tramps which featured new and under appreciated jazz, rock, world music, and avant-garde artists. In the 80’s and 90’s he was part of the active and passionate, arty user group that supported the Amiga computer platform along with Andy Warhol, Chris Stein (Blondie) and John Holstrom (Punk Magazine). More recently he was involved in the “Rock in New York: The Sounds & The Stories,” evening of storytelling and music at Bowery Ballroom and interviewed important, underground, music insiders like John Sinclair, Marty Thau and Jim Fouratt.
On how he fell in love with New York and his NY years – from the NY Press – Interview by John Strausbaugh & George Tabb, published April 26th 2000:
“…after living in England for 15 years, where everybody is so hoity-toity and ‘Where are you from?’ You’re condemned according to your accent. Classified. I thought it’s really very populist here. So I did a lot of walking. I had to wait forever between lawyer meetings… I fell in love with the city. That’s how it happens. Just walking around. I remember I had Dutch clogs, wooden shoes, you know, and I ran them down till there was almost nothing left. Walked and walked and walked and walked and walked…It wasn’t long before he was involved in the local music scene, hanging at CBGB, where he started meeting musicians like Bill Laswell… And I walked and walked and found this place. Early ’78.”
It had been a fashion display outfit, with mannequins on low platforms that still line the walls. With Gomelsky now living on the third floor, it became a music center and unofficial rock club. Untold numbers of New York bands have rehearsed and recorded, performed and partied there over the years. In the 80s it was known as the Plugg Club, with a logo designed by Punk magazine’s John Holmstrom; as a launchpad for avantist-downtown-No Wave musics, it was a precursor to and incubator for later spaces like the Knitting Factory. The first Green Door parties were thrown there in the late 80s as an alternative to the club scene by a teenage rocker, Jesse Malin, who’d go on to found the band D Generation; the last Green Door party was just a month ago.
Laswell lived there for a time, and old friends like Nico and French prog-rock entrepreneur Jean Karakos (BYG, Celluloid Records) would sleep on the floor when visiting New York. For a while the ground floor was occupied by an s&m club called Paddles; a whole generation of New York rockers has fond memories of filing past customers who were being whipped and nipple-clamped as the musicians headed upstairs to meet with Giorgio and hatch some scheme like Wonka Tonka Mondays, the local band showcases Gomelsky used to organize at Tramps. To this day, you can’t go visit Giorgio when there’s not some young rock band or lone guitarist or drummer practicing down in the basement or in the dark, narrow ground-floor hall, which he rents out for rehearsals.
In 1978, Gomelsky produced the avant-rock Zu New Music Manifestival at the Entermedia Theater on 2nd Ave. “My idea was to take a sort of progressive European approach to music. The Magma approach, Gong, which people didn’t really know about here. My idea was to bring that here, and find what the avant-garde thing was here…
“I did the organizing in like three weeks flat… It was funny, when I went to meet the guys who run the theater, they had a room in a kind of apartment house next door. I’m playing them the Gong records. ‘Well, what do you want to do, boy?’ ‘This is the music I’m into.’ I’m trying to spiel them, you know. And the door opens and this face comes in and says, ‘Oh, I know this music! That’s Gong.’ It was Philip Glass. Philip had worked with Gong in Paris…
“I remember Christgau said he couldn’t come because it was during the World Series. I wanted the critics to do a forum and talk about music and rock ‘n’ roll. And he said, ‘Giorgio, you don’t understand. In October you won’t get me there.’ He came in the end, and he was a disaster.”… – See whole article here.
from the NY Press – Interview by John Strausbaugh & George Tabb, published April 26th 2000
Another great tribute to Giorgio Gomelsky by Marc Campbell of the Nails here.