PWR BTTM Cancel Release Show Following Allegations
Over the past few days, allegations of predatory behavior and sexual abuse were made against Ben Hopkins of PWR BTTM, and an anti-semitic photo of Hopkins from 2011 has again resurfaced. While the former was previously addressed by the band, many fans were taken by complete surprise regarding the allegations of violated consent, despite the fact that some of their peers state they were warned about this behavior months ago. The Brooklyn band T-Rextasy is one of them, and has cancelled their July tour with PWR BTTM. Tonight’s Rough Trade release show for Pageant has also been cancelled.
While the band has not outright confirmed or denied these allegations, they’ve released a statement that includes the offer for victims to send an email to an account that will allegedly only be accessible by an as-yet unidentified mediator. This has sparked further criticism as well as a discussion about accountability; Jes Skolnik does an amazing job of breaking it down via Medium.
Meet The ACLU Employee Who Is Also A Rockstar
Pinky Weitzman is the deputy director of the ACLU, in charge of helping the organization adapt to the modern age. She’s been described as one of its “greatest digital minds.” She’s also a touring member of the Magnetic Fields, and performs with other big-name musicians and in musicals. Instead of taking a break from the ACLU to go on a Magnetic Fields tour, after the election, she decided to take on both roles simultaneously. Read the NBC feature on Weitzman here.
Pink Floyd’s Animals Inspires Protest Art
A Chicago architect wants to relieve the city- at least for a day- of seeing the Trump Tower logo. Jeffrey Roberts is still seeking the city’s approval for his “Flying Pigs on Parade,” which entails tethering several huge, gold, inflatable pigs to a barge to block the letters of Trump’s name. The project was inspired by Pink Floyd’s use of a pig balloon for their 1997 album Animals, and Roger Waters has given Roberts his approval and permission.
When Beyoncé so wisely instructed “All the single ladies” (ALL the single ladies) to “put your hands up,” it was a different time. It was 2008. A year of innocence. We had elected Obama. Beach House had released Devotion. And single ladies everywhere felt empowered by Queen B’s anthem for autonomy. I’d just moved to New York, 18 and wet behind the ears. I couldn’t wait to have my own fashion line, a loft in Soho, and to party with The Strokes – all of which happened in rapid succession. (#AlternativeFacts.)
Back then, 99% of my friends were single, and we relished in seasons of not giving a fuck about it. Our lives were spun of work, college, fun…and the impending recession. But still! Life was good. Lovers came and went like party guests. Some stayed longer than invited. Others left before even taking their coats off.
Nearly ten years on, paradigms have shifted, and rightly so. People met cute and moved in. People got married. Some got babied up. Hell, even Beyoncé, Ms. Single Lady herself, got married to Jay-Z – and I hear it’s going really well!
Naturally, my single friend percentage declined. It is in the single digits these days…like, in the 1-3% range. Which begs me to entreat: “All my single ladies (All my single ladies!) Now put your hands up!” All six of them. All six of your combined hands. Put them up, for the love of god. I guess with my hands we have eight. Strength in numbers.
Did anyone ever stop to ask: why are we putting our hands up?? Maybe Beyoncé wanted all the single ladies to put their hands up – because they were about to be shot by a firing squad? Maybe that’s what that song is about…elimination of the single ladies. She did marry Jay-Z that year after all. Perhaps it was meant as a kindness…to put us single ladies out of our perceived misery.
Ok, that’s a bit extreme, but I can’t help being wry. As we approach Valentine’s Day – the preferred holiday of single people everywhere – the commodity of coupling up can be oppressive. The polyester teddy bears lining shelves at Duane Reade. The lingerie ads. 50 Shades Darker.
Valentine’s Day is perhaps the most polarizing commercial holiday; the holiday that cruelly bisects the population into those with, and those without. Those who will dance together in the kitchen to Joni Mitchell’s “A Case Of You” – and those who will sob to it over a box of self-gifted Russel Stover’s. Those who shall feast upon prix-fixe dinners of lamb chops and heart-shape chocolate cakes – and those who SHAN’T!
Parks and Recreation may have given us stags “Galentine’s Day,” and I’m sure Pinterest is rife with “fun alternatives” to drinking an entire bottle of wine in front of the mirror while cry-singing Cat Power, but I say fuck that shit. We don’t need alternatives. The single ladies don’t need saving. I don’t wanna go to the club with “gloss on my lips/a man on my hips,” as per Bey’s example.
Instead, all my single ladies: let’s dwell. Let’s lament. Let’s feel the pain. Love does hurt after all, and so does its absence. But that’s all right. This shit makes the world go ‘round. This Valentine’s Day, I want you to imagine all of the songs that have ever been written. Yup, all of ‘em. How many of those do you reckon are love songs? A pretty big portion I’d say. Finally, think about how many of those love songs are happy love songs, versus the ones that spring from raw, unbridled agony.
You see my point.
Would Roy Orbison ever have written “Only the Lonely” if he were just peachy and happily married? Would Stephin Merritt have written any songs, ever? Would I have any sad bastard music to listen to at all?
Some of the best music comes from good old-fashioned anguish. So when you’re feeling unbearably lonely, remember that you’re in good company – albeit the miserable kind.
I admit: there is a time to “put your hands up” and feel emboldened by solitude. I do it every day, when I eat my lame yet efficient dinner of sandwich meats, mayo, and hot sauce wrapped in a plume of romaine lettuce. Standing up. By the sink. I celebrate the fact that I can make the decision to do so without the democratic process. Without having the “What are we doing for dinner?” conversation. I can eat my sad lettuce wrap in peace. Blaring Pulp and singing along, still chewing. There is always a time to champion sad salad wrap singing, and 2am laundry doing, and in-bed pizza eating. And there is also a time to pour yourself a carafe of merlot, put on a depressing record, and be alone with everyone who’s ever written a song.
This Valentine’s Day, let’s get dismal. Just for one night. No one will even notice! (Because they will be on a date!)
Let’s start with Morrissey’s “Please Help The Cause Against The Loneliness.” A bubblegum number to the uncaring ear; but listen closer: sweet, sweet isolation! Leave it to Moz to wax desolate – this bouncing tune scrutinizes the pity cast upon the unwed…and who better to scrutinize than the infamous asexual himself? “Please help the cause against the loneliness,” Moz croons, as if there is a charity handout for our kind (if only!).
Next turn up some Liz Phair, who knew that you could still be completely alone while lying right next to someone. Phair’s snarky “Fuck and Run” is the quintessential opus for bad decisions. A sloppy, pitchy, honest, pathetic, undeniably brave song. This is diary caliber realism – all about that forbidden bed you keep crawling back into. Phair really hits it home when she asks the simple questions, like:
“Whatever happened to a boyfriend/The kind of guy who tries to win you over?/And whatever happened to a boyfriend/The kind of guy who makes love ’cause he’s in it?/ And I want a boyfriend /I want a boyfriend/I want all that stupid old shit like letters and sodas.”
While we’re reveling in emotional immaturity, let’s listen to “I Don’t Want To Get Over You” by the barons of broken hearts – Magnetic Fields, the band that truly did “make a career of being blue.”
As we’re discovering, a bit of wallowing can be cathartic. Despite all of the song’s clever imagery, one line says it all for me:
“I could leave this agony behind/Which is just what I’d do/If I wanted to/But I don’t want to get over you.”
And haven’t we all been down that dark hallway?
If love’s impact on the history of music, film, art, literature, and war (I’m talking to you, Helen of Troy) isn’t making you feel at one with your solitude – may I throw but one last metaphor at you?
A friend of mine recently returned from a trip to Paris: the city of lights and love and innumerable sauces. She regaled me with tales of part-time lovers and fine meals. At the end of one such fine meal, she chose a dessert to cap off the perfect dinner. She chose framboise surprise. Raspberry surprise. Ooh la la! To append an American dish with “surprise” usually suggests catastrophe (tuna surprise), but the French weren’t gonna fuck this up! It would be exquisite; mountains of frothy pink mousse encasing shortbread and sorbet, the whole thing crowned with gold-dipped sugar lattices. Quelle surprise!
When the dessert was gently placed on the table, raspberries there were. The surprise however, was missing. It was 12 raspberries, up-ended on a plate. 12. Fucking. Raspberries. That’s it. C’est tout.
My point is: sometimes love is all that frothy pink mousse and more. Sometimes a relationship is a rich and mysterious and delicious dessert, worthy of all the pain, paintings, opuses and arias. And sometimes – it’s 12 fucking raspberries on a plate. That you just paid 10 Euros for.
Radio could easily be thrown under the bus as one of the least relevant media outlets these days – right above cable television and print journalism. It seems easy to dismiss the radio as a physical object considering that its top airing shows are often listened to via Internet streaming and podcasts. But as I sit stranded in my apartment with an absentee wi-fi signal, I’d do anything for a radio right now.
Long a beacon of information, entertainment, and more recently, nostalgia, radio has withstood the fickle curator of time for over 100 years. It was the first thing I heard every morning for two decades, my Dad flipping its switch at six am, seven days a week. During power outages and floods we’d pull out the wind-up radio, which only needs a few cranks of a rotating lever to sustain hours of energy. No iPhone can do that.
As it turns out, I’m not the only one who gets all warm and fuzzy inside at the thought of straightening an antenna. I had the opportunity to attend BAM’sRadioLoveFest this weekend to see a theatrical interpretation of everybody’s favorite radio show, This American Life, featuring your host and my daydream husband, Ira Glass. But what exactly is a theatrical interpretation of a radio show? Well, it’s a bit like tasting color.
Organized in acts much like the original program, the live staging possessed qualities of a variety show. I suspected both of these approaches, but other than that, I had no idea what I was getting into. Act One recounted the tribulations of a professional audiobook narrator who found herself locked in a hotel room closet with no phone and limited Internet signal. Her entire hour-plus of closet captivity was fortunately recorded on the iPad she had with her, and her story was told through a combination of audio clips and Ira Glass’s narration. But the narrative took an especially comic turn when one-by-one, costumed opera singers trickled on to the minimally adorned stage to sing the tragedy of the girl locked in the linen cupboard.
The next segment, 21 Chump Street, was likewise a true story told through the medium of music, this time with the addition of dance. Composed and narrated by Lin-Manuel Miranda (In The Heights, Bring It On) it recounted the experience of an undercover NARC sent to a Miami high school to weed out dealers. This act was enjoyable, but my least favorite bit of the evening given its Glee-like performances.
Writer Joshua Bearman narrated an autobiographical radio drama starring Josh Hamilton (as Bearman) and James Ransone as the author’s brother. It was the heaviest moment of the evening, dealing with the slow death of Bearman’s alcoholic mother in Florida. Yet the tale was told with a relatable comic lightness that didn’t dismiss the gravity of its subject matter, but rendered it as catharsis. It must have been an odd sensation for Mr. Bearman to narrate his own story and watch someone else play it out. Perhaps this was part of his coping process, and it was admirable that he could share it with a crowd of some 2,000 attendees.
Oddly enough, Bearman’s late mother had an extended presence in the show; as it turns out, she used to baby-sit Magnetic Fields frontman Stephin Merritt, also on the bill for the evening, and one of the main reasons I ended up in those red velvet seats to begin with. Unfortunately, Merritt only got two songs in the entire night: “How Do You Slow This Thing Down?” and “Nothing Matters When We’re Dancing” off the seminal 69 Lovesongs. These performances were staggered between other acts, and added a stiff serving of delicious misery to an otherwise merry evening.
Sandwiched throughout the night were comedic tales told by SNL’s own Sasheer Zamata, and stand up comedian Mike Birbiglia, who had me in stitches with his tale of domestic arguments… over domesticated animals. At one point, an actor in a mouse suit and roller skates was chased across the stage by a man in a cat suit. That fine feline was none other than Ira Glass. At times like this, one must swoon.
The final act mirrored that of the first. Ira Glass narrated a story supplemented by audio clips from the original raconteur. This account was straight from the mouth of a professional River Dance performer, relaying the details of a lottery pool she and her team went into together. Feverishly convinced they would win, the dancers went into frenzy with the expectation, sometimes shouting “DO IT FOR THE LOTTO!” during their performances. As Ira told the story from his podium, the Monica Bill Barnes Dance Company pranced behind him. Glass said of the performance in a recent interview: “I tell stories, and they dance. It sounds terrible, but I swear it kills.” Kill it did, especially as the number ended with Ira dancing in unison with the two professionals, a big red rose in his slate-blue lapel. I’d out-swooned myself.
I went into RadioLoveFest a bit bewildered with what I was to expect. I left with a cramp in my dimples from smiling so hard. I don’t know if I’ll ever have the immense pleasure of seeing Ira Glass dance again, but I do know one thing: radio ‘aint dead yet.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]
Each week Audiofemme gives away a set of tickets to our featured shows in NYC! Scroll down to enter for the following shindigs.