Michelle Cruz Gonzales (then known as Todd) played drums and wrote lyrics in Spitboy, one of the most important hardcore bands of the 1990s. Along with bands such as Grimple, Econochrist, and Paxton Quigley they were part of an explicitly political corner of the East Bay punk scene. With an all woman line-up Spitboy’s performances defied expectations of what “women and rock” and “feminism” were supposed to mean at the time. Gonzales’ new book Spitboy Rule: Tales of a Xicana in a Female Punk Band (PM Press) defies expectations once again. People of Color have been part of the punk scene from the beginning. Gonzales is part of a lineage that includes Detroit’s Death, The Bags (Los Angeles), Poly Styrene and Pat Smear. Spitboy Rule makes the invisible visible. It is both a walk down counter culture’s memory lane as well as a serious exploration of identity, gender and race.Read More
The artist’s narrative conceptual “Red Mars” is a mixed-media installation of acrylic, coffee, meteorite dust, glitter, stickers, wheat paste on canvas, a telescope, LED sign and booklets. His fictional artist/character views the future of a colonized Mars through a backyard telescope. This character views freedom from a very different perspective, as he creates art and invents “Stories” that confront injustice and consumerism.Read More
The sign, homemade, carried by a protester, reads “Ferguson to Gaza, Intifada, Intifada.” The slogan is more than a sentiment, more than a simple but powerful statement of solidarity. It is all of these things, but much more too. It is an explicit recognition of the world’s reality, far beyond Ferguson or Gaza.
"Apartheid" in today's world does not describe just a particular legal circumstance in this or that corner of the globe. It is, in varied and intricate ways, a fact of daily life under neoliberalism. Global capital communicates to us in any political, economic or aesthetic language it can muster: "This world is not yours, and you do not belong here."Read More
There are a great many fun and entertaining ways one could celebrate the 150th birthday of Erik Satie. The Velvet Gentleman seems to cast such an omniscient shadow over modern music that he is almost invisible. This of course isn’t the only paradox he represented. Though Satie was indeed a unique eccentric who sought to explode musical convention, his philosophies resonate in even those most traditional, straight-laced and boring of today’s composers. In fact it is not far-fetched to say that his music is so universal in western composition that we often don’t even consciously identify it as his. Satie’s iconic Gymnopedie No. 1 was, after all, and in very stark contrast to his unorthodox predilections, used as a background lullaby in a BMW commercial.Read More
It's midnight when you and your girlfriend, Elka, have your first fight since you moved in together. Words wound, tears flow, doors slam. You storm out of the apartment, not caring where you go as long as it’s far away from her. When you step off the front stoop onto the sidewalk, that's the moment when the newest version of me is born.
You get on the subway heading toward Brooklyn and ride until the train rumbles out of the tunnels and squeaks into a familiar above ground stop. The neighborhood isn't good, but a friend of yours used to live a few blocks away, so you know the area pretty well. At least you won't get lost while you work off the rest of your anger. You disembark, let your feet pick a direction, and start walking.Read More
One of the problems of the weak avant-garde is in its tendency to reject the spiritual and existential origins of art itself. This dynamic can be found both among would-be “art entrepreneurs” and among progressive artists (who wrongly believe their role is to demystify art and all that surrounds it). Both, in the end, are the Thomas Gradgrinds of contemporary art.
The Austrian art critic and Marxist Ernst Fischer, building on Frederick Engels’ “The Role of Labor in the Transition from Ape to Man,” invoked art’s pre-history in his 1959 book, The Necessity of Art. Largely a polemic against the cultural policies of “communist” Eastern Europe, Fischer attempted to describe how the origins of art were “magic” – the product of a great leap forward in human consciousness. The mastery of tools produced in humans a social knowledge – the abstraction and generalization of the world.Read More
Robert Wyatt, now in his 70s, is surely one of the most intriguing, distinctive and sometimes infuriating musicians born out of 1960s Britain. His musical output has been intermittent, not surprising for someone suffering depression throughout his life, as well as the consequences of an accident in 1973 that left him permanently paralyzed from the waist down. Yet his recorded output contains many wonders. The surrealist psychedelia of the early Soft Machine and Matching Mole, the intensely personal bittersweet Rock Bottom, the series of Rough Trade singles which include his forlorn interpretation of Chic’s “At Last I am Free”, his version of Elvis Costello and Clive Langer’s anti-war “Shipbuilding” about the Falklands War as well as an eclectic series of collaborations with musicians such as Bjork, the Raincoats, Carla Bley and Brian Eno.Read More