NYC Goes All Biblical and Cybernetic

Written by Adam Heimlich on . Posted in Arts & Film, Posts.

No, the reason the Meadowlands
will be our region’s spiritual lighthouse on Friday night and all day Saturday
is the Promise Keepers’ "conference." (10/1-2, 800-888-7595 for
info.) Twenty thousand Homer Simpsons getting fired up about "integrity"
in a hockey arena is such an absurdly large and squishy target that I feel I
should leave it alone–except to say that I can’t help but picture
them shout-chanting, "Je-sus Chri-ist!" Clap clap! Clap-clap-clap!
"Je-sus Chri-ist!" Hey, that’s fun! How ’bout, "John
the Bap-tist!" or "Kill all ho-mos!" Something of a real man
myself, I can’t help but love that ever-versatile four-syllable, five-clap
chant. But back to the subject of not making easy fun–if the PK brigade
convinces just one meathead to not beat his wife or use his kid’s head
as a beer coaster–even if only for one weekend–they’ve earned
their money. That said, on the Promise Keepers’ website (dot-org) you can
click a link labeled "Meet Jesus."

The last time the Promise
Keepers were here was in ’96, when they convened at Shea Stadium. There
was a lot of heartfelt prayer that day in the House that (Robert) Moses built,
but there’ll be even more, we bet, this Wednesday and Thursday when the
Mets’ roller-coaster ride to the NL playoffs likely comes down to a final
showdown against the Braves and their evil Lord, Ted Turner. (9/29-30, 7:10
& 7:30 p.m., at Shea Stadium, Roosevelt Ave. at 126th St., Flushing, 718-507-TIXX,
$10-$30.) Brothers will leave Shea Stadium energized, though perhaps not quite
so energized as they were after watching the cocaine-powered ’86 Mets.

By the way, "Meet Jesus"
is a blatant rip-off of "Meet the Mets."

Promise Keepers won’t
be the only Christians blessing the animals this week. There’s also an
observance of St. Francis of Assisi Day at St. George’s Episcopal Church
on Sunday. St. George’s and several other churches have joined together
for an especially big festival this year. After the morning service, there will
be a pet show (with awards for biggest dog, fluffiest cat and the pet that most
resembles its owner), a parade, live music and magic shows, free advice from
a vet and an animal behaviorist, a full-on street fair and the ceremonial blessing
of all animals in attendance, "from amoebas to snakes." They’ll
even bless teddy bears and photos of animals. NYC leash laws, as always, will
be in effect. (10/3, 1-4 p.m., 209 E. 16th St., betw. 2nd & 3rd Aves., 475-0830.)

"I have written a
wicked book but I feel spotless as a lamb." That’s how Melville felt
about Moby Dick, and that quote is the epigraph of Laurie Anderson’s
Songs and Stories from Moby Dick–or, at least it’s the epigraph
for the press release for Laurie Anderson’s Songs and Stories from Moby
. Billed as a "postmodern musical," Anderson’s multimedia
Melville interpretation opens the new season at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
I love the BAM–everything I’ve ever seen there has been better than
everything I’ve ever seen at its better-funded competitor, Lincoln Center–but
I’m now going to mock their press release. "Vocal styles swing from
Polynesian groove to Latin incantation in a daring staging that is both biblical
and cybernetic…" does not make me want to see Anderson’s show.
(10/5-16 at BAM Opera House, 30 Lafayette Ave. at Ashland Pl., Brooklyn, 718-636-4174,

If I want "biblical
and cybernetic," I’ll go to Promise Keepers. Here are a few more things
I imagine they’ll have at the Meadowlands: cheerleaders with "JC"
sweaters, a scoreboard counting "Promises Kept" versus "Promises
Broken," a vender hawking "hymnals hee-ah!" and an acrobatic
mascot in a full-body Jesus costume doing cartwheels and photo-ops with the

Here’s something I’ve
been meaning to mention for a couple of weeks but haven’t: There is, like,
all this art in Brooklyn. And not just art, but art in places where it’d
be cool to be even if there were no art there. But there is. Word. You should
go to Brooklyn and look at art, and be in these new spaces. Like Smack Mellon
Studios–a 150-year-old former spice warehouse in DUMBO, currently showing
"Natural Histories," with space-specific work by Beth B, David Baskin,
Laura Carton, Tim Spelios and others. (Through 11/7, 56 Water St., under the
Brooklyn Bridge, so it’s more DUBBO than DUMBO, really, Brooklyn, 718-237-8904
or And Momenta Art, in Williamsburg, where the featured exhibition
is "Dis," a collaborative project between Walter Martin and Paloma
Munoz that’s a parodic mock-up of a trade fair "introducing"
a new line of Disney products. (Through 10/18, 72 Berry St., betw. N. 9th &
N. 10th Sts., Brooklyn, 718-218-8058.) The Brooklyn Museum presents "Sensation:
Young British Artists from the Saatchi Collection," starting Saturday.
Featuring works by Damien Hirst, testing Mayor Rudy’s faith, this show
was a huge hit in Europe–Heimytown will have more on it in a week or two,
after we scout it for you. Unless Giuliani closes it first. (200 Eastern Pkwy.
at Grand Army Plaza, 718-638-5000.)

At least go to freakin’
P.S. 1! P.S. 1 is ill. Don’t confuse it with that dopey performing arts
space in the East Village, P.S. 122. P.S. 1 is a contemporary art museum housed
in an old school. There’s even art in the boiler room–even besides
the century-old boiler. My favorite piece there right now is Robert Wogan’s
spatial mindfuck up on the fourth floor. It can take a while to find, but look.
(Yeah, I know P.S. 1 is actually in Queens, but c’mon, it’s tough
enough convincing people to go to Brooklyn. Just take the E or F to the first
stop beyond the river–23rd St./Ely Ave.–and walk two blocks to 46th
Ave., at Jackson Ave., 718-784-2084, $5 contrib.) Speaking of converted old
schools, this Thursday the reunited, original "Fresh Fest" tour returns
to New York. Run-DMC, Sugar Hill Gang, Kurtis Blow, Grandmaster Melle Mel and
Whodini will all be there. I have no joke about this. These people were laughed
at by most of America the first time around; now they return as founders of
our most vibrant poetic tradition. (9/30 at Hammerstein Ballroom, 311 W. 34th
St., betw. 8th & 9th Aves., 307-7171, $30.)

Then there’s the Poetry
Project at St. Marks Church. They open their 1999 season Wednesday with "The
Electric Magistrate Circus," a night of spoken-word, music and performance
featuring the woman who in my opinion is the very best of downtown’s spoken-word-scene
regulars, Emily XYZ. (9/29, 8 p.m., 131 E. 10th St. at 2nd Ave., 674-0910, $10.)
On Tuesday the Project does a little Fresh Fest of its own, reuniting old-school
Beat icons Lawrence Ferlinghetti (A Coney Island of the Mind) and Ed
Sanders (The Fugs, America, A History in Verse, Volume 1 [1900-1939]).
(10/5, 8 p.m., $7.) In other poetry news, Robert Creeley, one of the founders
of the Black Mountain school, will be interviewed onstage Wednesday at the New
York Public Library. (9/29, 6 p.m., 5th Ave. at 42nd St., 930-0571, $7.) That’s
in conjunction with the library’s current exhibition of Creeley’s
collaborations with visual artists. Everybody now: "Rob-ert Cree-ley!"
Clap clap! clap-clap-clap!

I don’t know what
the hell a "Comic Book Opera" is, but there’s one opening at
the Kitchen this week that was "written and drawn" by NYPress
contributor Ben Katchor. The Carbon Copy Building is Katchor’s comic
strip about two New York structures built from the exact same blueprint, but
in two completely different neighborhoods. The music is by Bang on a Can. The
tickets are $20. The funding is by the Settembre Musica Festival in Italy and
the NEA. The Kitchen is annoying–their press materials call Katchor’s
brilliant "Julius Knipl, Real Estate Photographer," which ran in NYPress,
"his cult classic underground comic." If we’re "cult"
and "underground," what does that make the Kitchen? The verdict is:
Buy the book when it comes out, or read Katchor right here, for free, without
all that distracting banging on cans business. (9/29-10/9, 512 W. 19th St.,
betw. 10th & 11th Aves., 255-5793.)

Finally, you’ll be
banging on the can yourself if you go overboard at Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s
annual Chili Pepper Fiesta on Saturday, so be careful. They’ll have strolling
mariachi bands, Latin dance and handicrafts, puppet shows, folktales and, of
course, heaps of spicy food–not only Latin American but Thai and Indian
too. (10/2, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., 1000 Washington Ave., at Carroll Pl., Brooklyn,
718-623-7200, or enter on Eastern Pkwy. next to the Brooklyn Museum.) Tasty,
yes, but heed the word of Johnny Cash and avoid that "burnin’ ring
of fire" that can manifest itself "down, down, down" a few hours
after the mariachi fades away. Make yourself a promise of moderation and keep
it. Yeah! As God the Father, on an assist from the Holy Ghost, wins it for the
home team at the buzzer! Woo-hoo!