Photos, photo manipulation and words by G.
To Thine Own Selfie Be True by Geoffrey Dicker
From our preoccupation with paparazzi candids to our obsession with taking selfies, we are a world hypnotized by the siren call of fame. No one knows this better than cultural commentary artist Geoffrey Dicker. His life work has been the examination of celebrity. Starting as a teenaged autograph collector in his hometown of Los Angeles, and progressing to authoring 3 books and helming his popular NYC art, music and pop culture blog, According2G.com, Dicker has deeply explored the ramifications of social media, celebrity, and self-obsession. In his latest endeavor, “To Thine Own Selfie Be True,” Dicker turns his camera lens both on himself and the famous simultaneously. His visually arresting self-portraits are celebrity candids without celebrity. Tabloids may have pronounced that the famous are “just like us,” but Dicker takes this message to a haunting and satirical extreme. As twin “selfies,” they take a humorous look at the implications of fame and social media in our culture – namely that while we worship these false idols, we secretly want to be the one everybody is chasing after.
To Thine Own Selfie Be True by Geoffrey Dicker
The project will gradually be updated on its home, which is: www.tothineownselfiebetrue.tumblr.com Please keep checking back for new content. And tell a friend! We’re going viral!
Photo, video and words by G.
If you aren’t already familiar with the 4 piece band Mainland, here’s a quick primer: Jordan Topf, Corey Mullee, Alex Pitta and Dylan Longstreet have been making a splash on the New York rock scene, releasing two well received EPs, before taking a little break from touring to get signed to a major label and record their first full length album (in Los Angeles). To celebrate the release of their upcoming single, which I am told will be out in about two weeks, Mainland played an intimate set at a pop-up space located in the historic Chelsea Hotel. The scene looked like something out of an Andy Warhol film as the space was half art gallery, half living room and a whole lot of fun. Their 45 minute set included a rockin’ cover of Velvet Underground’s “I Found a Reason,” and the video which you are about to see, the infectious party rock anthem “Leave The Lights On.” Discover all you need to know about Mainland on their official site (link will open in a new window).
Now get ready to party… just by pressing play.
Photos and Words by G.
Steve Stevens and Billy Idol!
Billy Idol and his guitarist Steve Stevens are rock gods! On May 29, 2015, they played an outdoor concert on Pier 97 in New York and it rocked so hard! I’ve seen Billy Idol perform a few times over the years (including earlier in 2015 at the Beacon Theatre – but there is no review because I was on a blog hiatus) and Billy Idol never disappoints.
On a blue highway…. Billy Idol!
If you know little of Billy Idol’s history, he’s been performing for nearly 40 years, which in and of itself is an amazing accomplishment. There was a period of time where he was a major drug addict and he was nearly killed in a horrible motorcycle accident where he was not expected to ever walk again, let alone perform. I mention these things because Billy Idol showed no signs of being anything other than a rock god for the duration of his performance.
Before I discuss how great Billy Idol looked and sounded, let me paint a picture of the scene. Pier 97 is located at 55th Street and the West Side Highway, and what that means to non-New Yorkers, is that you have a panoramic view of the Manhattan skyline in the background as you watch the concert.
New York suffered a punishing winter, and the weather has just started to get nice, so being able to be outdoors and not freezing your ass off is such a treat and during the Billy Idol concert, the weather was absolutely perfect. The show kicked off with “Postcards from the Past,” a track from Billy Idol’s latest album “Kings and Queens of the Underground,” his first new album in almost 10 years. “Cradle of Love” was next and from then on, he had the audience in the palm of his hand. His signature moves of jumping around, “the snarl,” and fist pumping were present throughout the show and it drove the audience wild!
Because Billy Idol’s songs were played to death on the radio in the 80s, you sort of forget how great they sound when you have a concert full of people singing along to his songs and how many times, the songs lend themselves perfectly to crowd participation. For example, hearing the whole of Pier 97 shout out “FLESH! FLESH FOR FANTASY!” at every chorus during that song along with Billy gives me chills thinking about it. Or during “Rebel Yell,” when the crowd shouts out “More! More! More! Woooooooowwwwww!” or during “White Wedding” when the audience sings “It’s a nice day to…. STAAAAAART AGAAAAINNNNN!” is also chill inducing. During “Dancing With Myself,” at every chorus, Billy Idol said “If I had a chance, I’d ask NEW YORK to dance,” and if people hadn’t completely lost their minds by that point in the show, that sure did it. He also changed the lyrics of his cover of The Doors’ “LA Woman” to “New York Woman.”
Billy Idol gave many shout outs to New York, where he said that a lot of his hit songs were written here. He thanked the audience for “making my life so fucking great” and he also thanked his long time guitarist Steve Stevens for the same thing. Steve Stevens is a killer on guitar and he was given several guitar solos whereby he slayed the crowd!
Steve Stevens plays the guitar so effortlessly, that you could not help but watch him in awe as he shredded his guitar. During a lengthy solo, he was playing fast and slow which lead to the inevitable opening notes of Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven,” and after a few seconds, he looked at the audience and shook his head no as if it was too cheesy to play that song and then he went back to his solo and scorched the guitar. He also slayed during his solos on songs like “Flesh For Fantasy” and “Rebel Yell” and during “White Wedding,” the track started off acoustically before transforming into the rockin’ version we all know and love by the second chorus.
The show closed with Billy Idol’s famous cover of Tommy James and the Shondells’ “Mony Mony” and as always, it featured the in between lyrics crowd chants of “Hey Motherfucker, get laid, get fucked!” The show was about all you could ask for when it comes to the setlist as he dug deep in his back catalog all the way back to the Generation X days (with “Ready Steady Go!”), and he played the majority of his hits, with the exception of “Catch my Fall,” “To Be A Lover,” and “Don’t Need A Gun.” Perhaps he will resurrect those great songs for his next tour? If you have ever loved a Billy Idol song, and how could you not?, you should make sure you see him live the next time he comes to your city, because he and Steve Stevens are true rock gods!!!
I’d like to give a shout-out to Bar 9 for hooking me up with tickets. Thanks so much, I had a blast!
The setlist was:
Postcards from the Past / Cradle of Love / Can’t Break Me Down / Dancing With Myself / Flesh For Fantasy / Save Me Now / Ready Steady Go / Sweet Sixteen / Eyes Without a Face / LA Woman (Doors cover) / Steve Stevens Guitar Solo / Whiskey and Pills / Blue Highway / Rebel Yell
Encore: White Wedding / Drum Solo / Mony Mony (Tommy James and the Shondells Cover)
The May 29, 2015 sunset
Photos and words by G.
Roger Daltrey of The Who
The Who are celebrating their 50th anniversary as a band by touring and I popped my Who cherry by seeing them perform at Barclays Center in Brooklyn on May 26, 2015. As someone who has seen nearly all living rock and roll legends in concert, I felt I owed it to myself to go check out The Who and here are 10 things I observed while watching their show:
1. Despite being down two (of 4) original members (RIP John Entwistle and Keith Moon), the two that are left – Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend – may be both 70 but they rocked and rocked hard for 2 solid hours with no intermission.
2. The visuals that showed on the screens behind The Who were amazing. Every song had a different trippy pattern and many times, the screens showed highlights of The Who’s amazing 50 year career.
3. While Pete Townshend did not smash any guitars, he did his signature move where he swings his arm in a circular motion while jammin’ out. Seeing him do that move throughout the show (as well as watching Roger Daltrey swing his microphone) are so iconic that it was definitely a show highlight. On the subject of Pete Townshend, he told a lot of funny stories in between songs and poked fun at how old he and Roger are.
4. Despite being in the dreaded Brooklyn, Barclays Center is a really nice venue. The people that work there are always super friendly. The site lines are pretty good unless you have nosebleed seats, in which case, if you have a fear of heights, you will definitely be freaked out. Pete Townshend also gave Brooklyn a nice little dig when he said “it’s good to be back in New York, even if it is Brooklyn.”
5. The ticket said 7:30 pm, and they were not kidding. At 7:30, opener Joan Jett and the Blackhearts promptly took the stage. Joan Jett was great! She did an 11 song set that included “Bad Reputation,” “I Love Rock and Roll,” “Crimson and Clover,” “I Hate Myself For Loving You,” “Light of Day,” and “Cherry Bomb.” Hearing the audience participate in mass sing-a-longs of these tracks was awesome and it was a great taste of what to come when The Who took the stage. As a side note, I think that Joan and I might have been the only gays in the entire building, so I am glad we represented! Also, in between Joan Jett’s set (hey, it rhymes) and The Who, the screens showed a visual history of The Who’s career and they mentioned that Joan Jett recorded her first album at The Who’s studio and she didn’t have any money at the time so she promised to pay back the money (and she did) and also included a Who cover as the b-side of her first single.
6. Like with Joan Jett, The Who have so many classic songs, that even if you think you are sick of them, they sound amazing when an arena full of people are singing them in unison. Some examples of the massive hits played were “Who Are You,” “The Kids Are Alright,” “My Generation,” “Pinball Wizard,” “You Better You Bet,” “Baba O’Riley,” “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” and “Eminence Front.”
7. The Who didn’t just play the same old boring setlist (which from my research looks like it varies a little bit for each show). They packed the set with hits, but they also played some lesser known tracks such as the mini-opera “A Quick One (While He’s Away),” “Slip Kid,” “Bargain,” “Sparks,” “Join Together,” and “I’m One.”
No Marijuana Smoking
8. Roger Daltrey got a ration of shit recently for complaining that people were smoking pot too close to the stage. To not look like such an asshole, before the concert, the above message was shown to the audience explaining that the smoke bothers Roger’s voice and if compromised, the show could be canceled. Roger also addressed this on stage, which made a lot of people roll their eyes. Seems a little on the douchey side, but the message was redeemed when they offered an alternative – “eat one of them funny cakes instead.”
The Who at Barclays
9. The Who mentioned numerous times before, during and after the show that proceeds from selected tour ephemera would be donated to help children fight cancer. Pretty commendable because most merch proceeds from big bands go into building another wing for their mansions.
Keep Calm and Listen to The Who
10. To think that The Who have been performing some of these songs for 50 years is so impressive. They found a way to breathe new life into their older material and as a result, this did not come across as a sad version of a formerly great band. Instead, they rocked harder than many bands who weren’t even born when The Who had their last hit song. If The Who come to your city, should you see them? You better, you better, you bet!
Joan Jett’s set list was:
Bad Reputation / Cherry Bomb / Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah) / You Drive Me Wild / Light of Day / Love is Pain / The French Song / Different / I Love Rock and Roll / Crimson & Clover / I Hate Myself For Loving You
The Who’s set list was:
I Can’t Explain / The Seeker / Who Are You / The Kids Are Alright / I Can See For Miles / My Generation / Behind Blue Eyes / Slip Kid / Bargain / Join Together / You Better You Bet / I’m One / Love, Reign O’er Me / Eminence Front / A Quick One (While He’s Away) / Amazing Journey (with “Captain Walker” snippet from “Overture”) / Sparks / Pinball Wizard / See Me, Feel Me / Baba o’Riley / Won’t Get Fooled Again
Photos and words by G. Art by Various Artists.
Spring has arrived in New York (thank god!) and now that you can leave your dwelling without wearing 10 layers and still freezing your ass off, take yourself on an art adventure! Here’s a handful of exhibits you should see, According to G.
David Shrigley by David Shrigley at Anton Kern Gallery, located at 532 West 20th Street. Now showing through May 23, 2015.
Beau – Mechanical Shark Week
“Mechanical Shark Week” by BEAU at Ami Li Projects, located at 66 Mott Street in Chinatown through June 3, 2015.
Cecily Brown at Maccarone
“The English Garden” by Cecily Brown at Maccarone, located at 98 Morton Street through June 20, 2015.
Ron English “Baby Hulk” Mural Bowery and Houston
Ron English’s “Baby Hulk” Mural at the corner of Bowery and Houston. Ongoing (at least until June, 2015) and viewable 24/7.
Closeup of “Baby Hulk” by Ron English. Click to enlarge!
Click on the photo to see all the awesome (and hilarious detail).
Christopher Wool at Luhring Augustine (Chelsea exhibit pictured)
Christopher Wool at Luhring Augustine. Located at 531 West 24th Street in Manhattan and 25 Knickerbocker Ave., Brooklyn. Through June 20, 2015.
Yayoi Kusama – Give Me Love
“Give Me Love” by Yayoi Kusama at David Zwirner, located at 519 & 525 West 19th Street through June 13, 2015.
Brancusi: Pioneer of American Minimalism (Featuring historically significant works by Carl Andre, Dan Flavin, Donald Judd, Ellsworth Kelly, Robert Ryman and Frank Stella), at Paul Kasmin Gallery located at 515 West 27th Street until July 10, 2015.
The Luminous Poem by Airan Kang
“The Luminous Poem” by Airan Kang at Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery, located at 505 West 24th Street through June 13, 2015.
The Whitney Museum. Now Located in the Meat Packing District. Photo by Gail Worley.
The Whitney Museum, now located at 99 Gansevoort Street in New York.
Spring 2015 Tulips