Author: Carol Cooper

  • Nova Ruth Wants To Free Us From The Bondage Of Wage Slavery

    On YouTube you can find a video of Javanese soul singer Nova Ruth singing “Perbatasan” (Indonesian for “Borderline”) from the back of a pedicab driven by her American-born collaborator, Grey Filastine. Strings of lights draped on the pedicab illuminate a world of endless roads and fragile vehicles in an unnamed Indonesian city, while English subtitles […]

  • Rakim, Marley Marl, Roxanne Shanté, and Other Rap Pioneers Celebrate Forty Years of Hip-Hop

    Four decades ago, when the Bronx was famously burning, one nightclub brought together the boogie-down borough’s dancing queens, hustlers, graffiti kids, turntable ninjas, and fledgling MCs under one roof. “It was just Sal’s place up in the Bronx where it all went down, where everybody in the whole rap industry used to go hang out,” […]

  • The Wildly Surrealist Stories of Leonora Carrington

    April 6, 2017, marked the centennial of artist and writer Leonora Carrington’s birth. A British-born textile heiress who ran away from her parents, her inheritance, and bourgeois conformity to join the Surrealist carnival in Paris at the age of twenty, Carrington proceeded, like many iconoclastic Surrealist women, to build a legendary life around her own […]

  • These Must-Reads Explore Dada, Futurism, Surrealism, and the Art of Opposition

    Well, it’s 2017, a century-plus since Zurich’s Cabaret Voltaire first raised the flag of Dada derision above the senseless carnage of World War I. The founding group of Dada expats soon attracted many other bohemian rebels seeking freedom from existing social, aesthetic, and governmental norms. Of course, as Bruce Sterling’s new novella, Pirate Utopia, points […]

  • Downtown Icon James Chance Cuts Loose

    It was well after midnight last Thursday by the time James Chance and the Contortions took the stage of the Bowery Electric. Dapper in his dress jacket and dancing shoes, the 63-year-old Chance made it clear he was there to boogie. The grotto-like basement space was packed with people who clearly didn’t give a fuck […]

  • Still Beating: A Bronx Festival Celebrates Centuries-Old Puerto Rican Rhythms

    Every two years since launching at Hostos College in 2000, the BomPlenazo festival has come to the South Bronx to celebrate Puerto Rico’s traditions of bomba and plena music. Through concerts, dance, film, and master workshops, New Yorkers experience firsthand how the twin art forms can create and empower communities. This year’s edition (October 6–9) […]

  • Global Fest – Webster Hall – 1/13

    Last night the multiple stages of Global Fest played host to more strong female headliners than ever before. This was deservedly a point of pride for the event’s co-producers. Earth Mother energy was so pervasive in this year’s lineup that even most of the bands led by men had the wisdom to include women as […]

  • Why “World Music” Doesn’t Mean Anything Anymore: What I Learned At APAP

    If you ever had any doubts about whether the global pop promotion game was an intellectual enterprise as well as an entrepreneurial movement, this year’s 10th pairing of NYC’s annual Global Fest with the yearly Association of Professional Arts Presenters’ conference would set you straight. APAP first emerged (as the Association of College and University […]

  • Live: Gonjasufi Presses On in The Midst of Technical Chaos

    Better Than: Watching the corny parts of the “Watch the Throne” tour. Hip-hop has always flirted with spirituality. The S.p.o.o.k.s. and Wu-Tang embraced a Buddhist vision; M.C. Hammer, God’s Property, and P.M. Dawn charted with Christian themes; and the 5% Nation attracted many gifted creators of beats and rhymes. But what’s most different about the […]

  • Live: Concha Buika Plays With Pronouns… And You

    Concha Buika Highline Ballroom Sunday, June 24 Better than: Dreaming of her. A 2009 performance by Concha Buika is on YouTube showing the Spanish singer in Lincoln Center’s Damroch Park backed by solo piano and performing a smoldering version of “Tu Volverás.” Even then, with minimal accompaniment, star quality oozes from every pore and note. […]