nightmayer

Jottings from a pop culture junkie

January 1973. In Boston to see David Bromberg at Club Passim. The opening act is Bruce Springsteen, of whom I write in the Village Voice, “Springsteen’s band was inordinately loud, which worked to his benefit by covering up his vocals and lyrics.” Summer 1974. At a pool party hosted by the publisher of Record World …

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We are in for a bracing year of serious-minded theater in New York City if the first two offerings of the 2017-2018 season at the Signature and Atlantic theater companies are any indication. The searing Fucking A, by Suzan-Lori Parks at the Signature, one of two “riffs” by Parks on The Scarlet Letter, dates to …

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It is not easy to feel great about America right now. But there is an antidote. My wife Riva and I spent nine weeks this summer on a cross-country trek in our trusty 2005 Toyota Camry with three hubcaps. “We’re from Brooklyn,” said Riva when I wanted to replace the missing hubcap before we ventured …

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Click here for the Spotify playlist. In 1967, I was a student at Far Rockaway High School in Queens, New York. I was participating in anti-Vietnam War marches, with Phil Ochs’s sister, Sonny Ochs, who lived nearby, leading the requisite sing-alongs; spearheading a program to convince the community that permitting a Phoenix House drug rehab …

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NEW YORK, NY; December 15, 2016—For well over a decade Riva and I have attended half a dozen Young Concert Artists concerts annually. Winners of the YCA competitions, 16-24, are presented in their NYC recital debuts, typically at Merkin or Zankel Halls. All of these musicians have been supremely talented, but every so often attentiveness …

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BROOKLYN, NY; OCTOBER 5, 2016—In the late 1960s/early ’70s I took a course on New York City Street Songs with Oscar Brand and Theodore Bikel at the New School for Social Research (as the full name was known then). Learning to think of jump rope songs as “folk music” changed the way I thought of …

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Marie & Rosetta is a stirring and often rousing musical biography of the life of gospel popularizer (and rock and roll predecessor) Sister Rosetta Tharpe. The work focuses on Tharpe’s relationship with her protégé Marie Knight, who Tharpe pulled from Mahalia Jackson’s backup choir and with whom she performed for three years. Kecia Lewis and …

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