Monday, February 6, 2012

A Trip to Space: Nicholas Jaar in New York (Frog Legs and Ambient Electronica); AFI in Glasgow (there were Fainting Spells)

Event 1: Nicholas Jaar at the MOMA PS1. Long Island City, New York (05, February 2012)

Dear Reader,

I'm happy and proud to have been part of the Nicholas Jaar MOMA PS1 installation in Long Island City, New York (, which happened in the massive geodesic dome of the MOMA courtyard yesterday, Sunday, 06, February. Izzy introduced his music to me one work day while I was writing cover letters through a fervent text to Google him and the event. Being a big fan of hybrid electronic music, it was not too difficult to win me over. The show was to last from 1pm to 6pm, with non-stop turn-table, laptop, wires-all-over-the-place action. Mr. Jaar, 22 years old, was in the middle of the dome on a platform surrounded with swarms of people, and despite all this attention, was kind enough to mix live sound textures (aka Blue-Wave) through the entirety of that afternoon. The 1-2-hour wait in line (or queue, as some of my British friends would say) was pretty much well-worth it, especially if you're really into large crowds of curious hipster/designer/artistic folk, ambient techno awesomeness, modern dancing, and frog legs. Yes, I said frog legs!

A quick note about frog legs- so MOMA PS1 has two courtyards it seems: one with the geodesic dome, and the other with a grill fired up with another long queue, and a food menu of Quail, Frog Legs, and Chorizo. Exotic, eclectic, garlicy goodness. The drink menu, as far as I know (since I didn't bother to have a beverage) consisted of Bloody Marys, and I guess other stuff. Mariko (my former co-worker), and I ordered the Frog Legs and Chorizo Combo. It came in this nifty greasy-ghetto-yummy gingham boat (which you would see in carnivals traditionally packed with fish and chips, or corn dogs). On top of the frog legs and chorizo mess was a warm slice of buttery garlic bread.

As Mariko and I were waiting in the queue to get into the geodesic dome, a father and his toddler child were right in front of us; and of course I was too hungry to care who was around me, so I stuffed my face with frog; and not too long after sucking on a leg, with a dinky foot sticking out of my mouth, the father with his child in his arms turned around and said in awe, "Is that a hopper sticking out of your mouth?!". I looked up and met the eyes of a man half-grinning, half-disgusted, and the eyes of a child in horror and confusion. I managed to say in a muffled tone, "Yeah, but it's pretty good", and continued sucking on the bone. I thought it tasted like really tender chicken wings, and, being incredibly hungry, was not about to spit up what I've eaten just. I might have caused a child to cry (or an angel to fall, to that matter), and I'm so sorry, but it's not every day do I get to eat something so unexpected!

The show itself had some strengths- the marvelous, fluid, ambient electronica (reminiscent of Moby, Massive Attack, Thievery Corporation, the latest of BT, Fuck Buttons, and something I must have heard on a Cafe Del Mar album). Another positive aspect was the well-dressed artsy hipsterish crowd swarming around the dome with their iPhones, DSLRs, cons and/or weathered leather boots, and smartly draped scarves. There was also enough pot swirling around to give me a headache, along with the farts and burps that came with the elbow-to-elbow movement. I'm not saying I liked it, but it added to the memory of the event- the "atmosphere". There's beauty to the ugliness. I love large crowds, getting lost in one, watching their faces, how they move/dress, and their unified purpose of seeing a show, or moving in a specific direction. One primary weakness to the show was the seemingly small projection on the massive ceiling. To be honest, I was expecting MOMA to project the animation/film onto the dome like as if you were visiting an IMax theater. Yes, it was a one-day installation, but I thought MOMA had enough resources to achieve this effect. Nonetheless, being a free ticket and all (with a $5.00 donation), it was worth it. I have much to hand over to Izzy for suggesting this event, and introducing me to a new artist who I'll be following for years to come.

I would honestly try to describe the music further, but you just would have to be there to really "get it". In attempt to give you a hint, all I could do really is to place You-Tube links to the show. So here you go:, and here's a link to one of the tracks in his new album "Space is Only Noise",


Event 0.3: AFI at the ABC in Glasgow, Scotland UK (April 2010)

Hello Again,

I know I've been obsessing over Davey Havok for the last 10 years or so, but yesterday I was reminded of him and AFI again when Izzy and I were talking about seeing them at the ABC in Glasgow a few years ago. It was because of that, and I really can't help but appreciate Davey- this handsome, 36 year-old vegan who, despite his high status in the mainstream and indie/alternative music industry, still makes a conscious effort to remain humble and diplomatic. Therefore, after all this, I must write it. Shut up, I know.... I know this may be a superficial connection (obviously I don't know him personally) and for sure there's a boat load of others who can surpass him; but whenever I hear his music, read about him, and watch his clips online, it's like drawing in cables, coming home, or feeling the warmth of empathy after being disconnected for being too "unique". Honestly, I can't even begin to fathom how he came about to be so honest and express himself, seemingly unbridled and unmatched. I believe in his case, it's not easy growing up in Oakland, California, a place that's "something else", unlike the romantic visions of the coastal Californian lifestyle- the beach blond girls, the sunlight, Hollywood. It's not like that at all. Coming from Pomona, a sprawled suburb of Los Angeles, and of a similar demographic, I grew up with low-riders, rice-rockets, tatooed bikers, orange groves, over-exposed dusty freeways, and strawberry fields. It doesn't have the cosmopolitan feel like LA. Yes, it's easy to be creative in this type of landscape, but it's not easy to get away from it and become more than you thought you can be. He impresses me for fighting against the masses and becoming his own.

In any case, when I was still living in Edinburgh, Scotland, in April 2010 I saw Davey and AFI perform live in Glasgow at the ABC, show-casing their latest album Crash Love. It was like a mad rush- the crowd, the speakers in my ears causing temporary deafness, the girls crying at my side. It was a bit overwhelming, like having a case of fainting spells, caused by a conglomeration of too many people pushing hard against the hand-rails, moshing, and carbon-dioxide. Was someone smoking indoors? I can't tell. I wasn't crying, thank you, but heart palpatiations must have been heard, and please do not make fun of me for being able to sing to all the lyrics. I'm sure you all can relate, and don't lie.

The show was too short, way too short for my liking; but the band sang all of my favorites, and a few older songs from the 90s (those were difficult to follow, but I like punk too, so I was in the right place). I must have waited nearly 8 years to see AFI live, and gratefully I was able to see them in a small venue at a decent price that. In Los Angeles, it's difficult to get a ticket to one of their shows in small venues at an affordable price- they're usually either sold out or in ridiculously large arenas where can see the band, or rather the speck that resembles them from the nose-bleed section. Let's just say things were lined up perfectly that night.

Here are a few pictures of the event. Forgive the blurry, under-exposed, low-resolution photos. I desperately need to get a DSLR, but that will happen in good time. OH, and here's a clip from YouTube: ENJOY!

Hey You With The Hair!
Lesley Ann

ps: Sorry for the crazy layout. I've got lots of stuff to do and can't be bothered with html at the moment. In due time I'll fix the text and pictures. Thanks! ♥

No comments:

Post a Comment