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The Final Days of Giglio Fest Prove Something About Williamsburg

Written by Sam Roudman on . Posted in Arts & Film, Posts

Surprise, surprise, the local color has not been drained from Williamsburg. In fact, the multi week Giglio feast shows just how strong the neighborhood’s cultural and religious roots are. The feast, celebrating the patron saint Palonius of the Italian city Nola, goes back over a hundred years, and features a series of processions, religious ceremonies, and the lifting of a 2-ton, 50-foot-tall shrine by feast participants. With the mixture of religious events and an accompanying carnival, the festival is quite a logistical undertaking...

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Dear Williamsburg Stabbers: Please Don’t Stab Me

Written by Sam Roudman on . Posted in Crime Watch Our Town Downtown, Posts

I am going to level with you guys: the prospect of being stabbed is not one that I relish. In fact, it’s an extremely discomfiting possibility, and I can think of any number of things that immediately, I would rather have occur to me than be stabbed by a machete as a part of your gang’s initiation. Even if sometimes you’re just stabbing for revenge, and I don’t have to worry, it’s just not cool (although some of your gang videos are all right). In a message issuing from a generally unused room in my brain’s house of threat assessment and response, the warning horn is blaring its proud truth song now, and you know what it’s telling me?

1) I really don’t want you to stab me.

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The Coming Apocalypse According to Dan Deacon and Devo’s Gerald V. Casale

Written by Sam Roudman on . Posted in Music, Posts

At a time when music is consumed blindfolded, in minute dollops of scentless, de-contextualized binary info, it is all the more important to explain to the kids where their music comes from, idea-wise. There’s nothing wrong with music as entertainment, as escape, as elevator respite; but that bond between listener and listened-to can only be bulked out, concretized when the sounds are cracked open and you can get your hands wet in its mucousy ideological substrate.

The band Devo and solo artist Dan Deacon are prime examples of fascinating musicians formulating sounds from odd ideas. Fellow travelers, decades apart, they both fuse infectious, caffeinated, good-time sounds with hyper-critical, nearly apocalyptic visions of contemporary society. They also both share a certain theatricality: Devo through goliath stage productions and bizarre videos, Deacon through his sing-along, solo-electronics freak-outs. And don’t forget the shared interest in the childish and the absurd—just check any Devo video, or Deacon’s nonsense lyrics, for proof.

In the lead up to their June 26 McCarren Park Pool show, Deacon and Gerald V. Casale of Devo agreed to an email exchange, Casale from a tour, Dan from the computer lab he snuck into his apartment. They talked of end times, mass die offs, scavenger culture and crowd-pleasing—delving into the nitty-gritty of conspiracy theory. They provided ample evidence that if you’re going to have an interesting music culture, you need more than just music.

NYPress: Devo has always dealt with the dumbing-down, sloping-off and generally illusory nature of human progress. Although Devo addresses devolution in a winking, often hilarious way, the root issue is a colossal bummer.
Dan, you’ve referred to “Future Shock” as a problem between today’s culture makers (artists, musicians, etc.) and the mechanism of that culture’s dissemination, i.e. this super speed, suck-up spit-out, new-worshiping blog culture. Your music is nonetheless affirmative, sometimes tweaky party music. How does the present match up with your ideas of the future?

Gerald V. Casale: The present surpasses my darkest-held ideas about the future. Weird would be better than what it is: depressing and stupid. Despite any high-hoping message of better days ahead, it’s way too late to fix what is broken...

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