nightmayer

Jottings from a pop culture junkie

BROOKLYN, NY; March 6, 2020—Riva is probably right — she usually is: No one would dare cough or sneeze in a theater right now. You’d be stared down and tsk-tsk’ed right up the coronavirus-disinfected aisle. But it’s a tense, respectful, hold-in-your-stomach quiet we’ve experienced in theaters the last few weeks, the kind of quiet that …

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BROOKLYN, NY; Feb.26, 2020—I can’t tell you what a joy it was — and continues to be  days later — to have hosted Christine Lavin performing a house concert in our home last Saturday night. We’ve had professional jazz musicians play in the past, typically as background for parties. And a young classical pianist played …

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NEWPORT, RI; July 31, 2019—If there is one musician who embodies the spirit of the Newport Folk Festival today it is Brandi Carlile. Within a one hour span on the opening day of this 60th anniversary festival Friday she sat (really sang) in with Amy Ray on the Harbor stage, with Sheryl Crow on the …

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BROOKLYN, NY; JULY 19, 2019—Len Chandler — folk singer, songwriter, actor, activist — walked on stage at the Newport Folk Festival late Saturday night July 20, 1969 with a piece of paper in hand. Chandler fumbled with the paper, trying to find a way to attach the lyrics on that sheet to the microphone stand. …

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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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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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BROOKLYN, NY; August 18, 2016—I was 18 in 1970 when I started writing about music for the Village Voice, often covering  what is now referred to as “Americana,” but was then just known as “folk music.” Much of what I wrote about was pretty rarefied: Blind Alfred Reed, Aunt Molly Jackson, Michael Cooney but also …

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If anyone wondered just how Patti Smith would close the Saturday concert at the Newport Folk Festival, where the guiding principle is “speaking truth to power,” it was with one lightening jolt after another. And I don’t mean the kind that lit the sky shortly after her sun-drenched set ended. Who else would even dream …

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Except for the history/continuity implied in the existing name, the Newport Folk Festival might more accurately be called the Newport Roots Music Festival, what with The Decemberists, My Morning Jacket, Jason Isbell, and a host of other not-very-folkie acts on the roster. The irony was lost on no one at this year’s 56th edition of …

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