Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Conservatism for Punks for Communists?

If all goes according to plan, I think a concert will be held tomorrow night by a punk band fronted by the friend who probably disagrees with me most, Sander Hicks being a Catholic, yet non-traditionalist, Green Party, Marxist 9/11 conspiracy theorist. Or at least, he has been these things at various times in the past, but he’s also been one of my most impressively entrepreneurial acquaintances, starting at least three businesses, at least two of them still functioning last I knew, albeit without him at the helm, not such a bad track record.

(I notice one of those businesses, Soft Skull Press, has published a book on roller derby by Alex “Axles of Evil” Cohen, a rollergirl from two years after me at Brown — which means she may well know Brown alum Emily Fromm, wife to — and now mother of the offspring of — Debates at Lolita Bar co-founder Lefty Leibowitz, who among other claims to fame himself founded the Gotham Girls Roller Derby League. These and other recurring themes are all connected in ways even those involved cannot pretend to fully understand, though it is my hope that many subtle social filters now opaque to us will be transparent to the sociologists of the future.)

And Sander says he’s “evolving” politically. After emphasizing decentralization in his Green Party campaign for Senate and encountering Ron Paul economic advisor Peter Schiff’s anti-Fed, anti-government ideas (presumably via the Truther/Paulite overlap), Sander’s now intrigued by Hayek (who after all has just a hint of the dialectical historical process in his thinking), so we’ll see how things progress.

Sander’s certainly not frightened of change and challenges, tomorrow night’s band having been booked for the show — a show intended to reinvent punk — before the band was even created (it was created via a Craigslist ad less than two months ago). That time pressure certainly must focus the mind. Last I knew, they were planning to play at the Gershwin Hotel on East 27th St., a street whose decadence is severely underestimated, it being home not only to hordes of European-tourist Gershwin customers but also to the Museum of Sex, the almost anachronistic real-life “sex club” La Trapeze (like in the 70s!), my old apartment from before the move to the Upper East Side, and, perhaps most decadently of all, Scott Nybakken’s apartment with his homemade Murphy bed and ample supplies of graphic literature.

Think of the night one could have on that strip by taking in the concert and seeing all these marvels (or DC Comics, depending on what Scott has handy — though Marvel’s offices really used to be on the same block, around the corner). For good or ill, though, I’ll be seeing a free screening of Avatar tomorrow night. And no matter how Sander fares, he will not risk losing anywhere near as much money as James Cameron soon may. Over $200 million risked on a movie that turned out looking like 3D Ferngully. Now that level of risk is punk rock, man.


Gerard said...

Speaking of punk music, I just watched American Hardcore, which is an interesting documentary. I did have a problem with the implicit idea that this music was blackballed because of some innate corporate resistance to anything that was politically heterodox during the “conformist” 1980s.

IMO, and you can take it for what it’s worth since I’m not a student of this music, it’s not really comparable to the case of The Wolfetones, a band that was blacklisted by Irish radio stations because of its pernicious political opinions, re: Irish republicanism, despite its overwhelmingly popularity among the Irish public. It seems to me that most of the bands with some significant reservoir of actual talent, e.g. Social Distortion, The Offspring, The Butt-hole Surfers, among others, were commercially successful, whereas those that were not very talented, i.e. ninety-five percent of the “hard core” musical performers, were rewarded commensurate to their skill level.

Lefty said...

You forgot to mention that the Gershwin Hotel was also the original home of the Jinx Athenaeum Society, before eventually moving to Lolita bar and evolving into your current debate series.

Get with it, Seavey!

Todd Seavey said...

It’s all connected, man. I think it was the Gershwin bar, as well, years ago, where I was sitting when I first thought, “Gee, a lot of hip bartenders seem to have that Bettie Page haircut,” though we’re all supposed to pretend we were born with that sort of knowledge.

Todd Seavey said...

UPDATE: The official announcement for the band, called Rebel Moon (which I must applaud), says:

_December 10, Thursday Night, at 8-10 PM. $10 @ The Gershwin Hotel. 7 E. 27th (5th/Madison)

We are a mix of country and punk, improv and poetry, and truth-folk, raw theatre, i.e. rock. And we finally have found our drummer!_