Kanye Drops In On PS122 Songfest

So things got extra hot and spicy last night at PS122. Apparently Kanye West dropped in on “Why Won’t You Let Me Be Great!!!”, Neal Medlyn and Brendan Kennedy’s tribute to the pop culture demagogue’s latest album 808s & Heartbreak.

MTV reports on the meeting of the auteur with the motley assemblage of downtown artists, giving this account of the performance offered by our very own Ann Liv Young:

“The evening became tense and uncomfortable when notorious (and buck-naked) performance artist Ann Liv Young confronted Kanye personally, shouting that she didn’t think 808s was his best work, all the while grinding barbeque pork into her naked crotch (and then eating it). We all know Kanye is no stranger to confrontation and controversy, so perhaps Liv Young was paying tribute to that? In any case, the audience reacted with absolute horror during her “interpretation” of “Love Lockdown.” To Kanye’s credit, he barely flinched. (Liv Young rather shrewdly ended her performance by shouting, “I love your work with Common” before gathering her clothes — and pork products — and scurrying offstage.)”

In all seriousness, this is quite a touchdown for downtown performance, which competes daily against an assumption that  its work and interests are marginal, unmarketable, and doomed to obscurity forever.

It’s hard not to knock Kanye for being an egotist (which may ultimately be a superficial way of appraising an artist who is clearly–even importantly–influential) since, in a way, you could argue that vanity helped him fall into the trap of the homage. After all, it is the quintessential daydream of the homage-making artist that his offering will be noticed and and heralded by the artist whom he seeks to honor (or lure).

But props to Kanye for being one of the few, if only, mainstream artists who have responded–in person–to the downtown, high-art shout-out of a generation of performance artists who have made it their project to forge meaning out of a relationship with popular culture that is too often dismissed as empty, compulsory, and heartless.

Also props to Ann Liv Young for calling shit out.



Merce_smallMerce at Mother: Ryan Tracy remembers when he first set eyes on the legendary choreographer

I visited New York City for the first time in my life in February of 2000. I was 23, queer and single and craved a more culturally enriching life. After undergrad, I had been hiding out in Southern California for a year or so, until I decided to do some graduate work, setting my sites on NYC.

I stayed for a week at the youth hostel up on Amsterdam Avenue and interviewed for schools by day. The rest of the time, I went on the prowl for anything that seemed artsy and queer. By will or chance, I found myself wandering one night along 14th Street, heading west, toward the river. At the time, the Meatpacking District was not a place for the Samantha Joneses of New York. It was still home to the transients, trannies and guys looking to get off with guys at Jay’s Hangout (color me nostalgic).

Read the full article here.


Merce Cunningham: 1919-2009


Here’s a piece I wrote for The New York Press.

L. Ro. has a post up at WNYC.

According to the Merce Cunningham Dance Company website, the studio will be accepting visitors until 9:00pm tonight.

Also, Merce’s obit by Alastair Macaulay in The Times.

The 4 Flavors of Sotomayor

4 Flavors

So, we’ve never done one of these “poll” thingamjiggers, and not sure why we’re busting one now. And maybe we’re alone on this one, but we thought the Sotomayor testimony was riveting, and, I think we fell in love. So, if you care to click on the poll, let us know which Sotomayor look you think is most supreme