BAM invited Marc Maron to the Stage and it Was Amazing

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Marc Maron is a comedian and host of “WTF With Marc Maron”. Maron recently catapulted into the spotlight after President Obama agreed to come to his garage where he records his popular podcast. Maron recently took the stage at Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) for a two-hour comedy set. The nearly 3,000 seat capacity venue was filled to see Maron’s interesting brand of comedy that combines anger and neuroses. But Maron started his set by saying, “It’s going to be hard to present myself as unhappy”.

Maron, continued his self-aware routine on his interview with the President. He was also obviously aware of the venue as well. BAM is known for hosting a wide variety of shows from plays, to concerts and even just conversations and interviews. Maron’s set was more like a physical one-man show than his normal comedy routine. Maybe this is the new Marc Maron, joyful and still hilarious.

Though the angry, neurotic comic has become cliche, Maron has never been easy to fit into a mold. His show at BAM demonstrated that his talent and success has little to do with a common comic stereotype. Many of Maron’s peers describe him as a comic’s comic which is a way of saying he is very funny and talented but doesn’t appeal to a larger audience. Whether this is the new Maron or just him on a bigger stage it seems more like America’s comic than just a comic’s comic.

The podcast is a lot like his act. It is very conversational, and his stories are told with perfect tone and cadence. The dramatics he added to the set were entirely complementary to this tone and cadence.

The appeal of Maron has been made apparent by his podcast and his show is definitely worth a few bucks. But maybe this show at BAM was too perfect, where the audience got the grit of a comic’s comic right before his rise to fame.

Robots and Actors on Stage Together At Bam

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With all the news and articles about our seemingly inevitable future of robots and artificial intelligence, one of the less discussed effects future technology will have is on the arts. There has already been technology communities that have applied AI to music and created beautiful music.

This month the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) took their shot at combining technology with art, which many see as a contradiction. The show, “Robot”,  includes a melange of human and robotic movement and dance.

The show was put together by Bianca Li and included eight dancer-athletes worthy of the BAM stage. The show definitely gets all they can from these amazing dancers by focusing mostly on the beauty of human dance.

The movement on stage was accompanied by music played by robots. The instruments were moved by the dancers throughout the show. They included a set of drums, a xylophone, an automated accordion and a harpsichord.

From the musical instruments to the costumes, everything was made to look like the future as seen by people from the 60’s. The men were wearing milkmen like uniforms, while the women looked like flight attendants. This has the jarring effect of making the viewer see that we are living in the future as seen by these people. After all, the technology exists to have robots dancing alongside humans on stage in Brooklyn.

The show made sure to touch on how mechanical our lives can be. What part of that cant be automated by robots? During this, we see the actors taking time to teach these robots how to dance. The robots were tiny, adorable complements to the actors on stage.

There was no deeper meaning that was being pushed by Li, and one could see that the audience was pleased by this, the dances and the adorable robots.

 

Morrisey Cover Band Mexrissey At BAM

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Stephen Morrissey is well known to music fans. The British rock star was the lead singer of The Smiths before venturing out on his on to considerable fame and critical acclaim.

A little less known is the eclectic band Mexrissey, a tribute band to the Smiths frontman. The band is actually amazing. Consisting of eight amazing musicians, tribute is the right word for the type of band. They are currently on an international tour and Brooklyn seems like the perfect way to kick off the United States leg.

As the line between Latin countries and the United States becomes thinner hopefully this sort of thing might become more common. Morrisey, for example, has a huge following in Mexico. Mexrissey has benefited greatly from this disappearing line between Latin and United States culture.

Mexrissey makes amazing music and their shows are full of visuals including a huge Frida Kahlo Morrisey mashup which underlines the blurred lines of two cultures. They formed the band less than a year ago, and their fandom is a tribute to how well they play.This isn’t some cover band either. There is a strong Mexican influence in their take on Morrisey’s songs. The experience of the Mexrissey show was unapologetically Mexican, loud, vibrant and full of mariachi style.

There show at Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) was filled with music lovers as vibrant as the show itself. The show was not sold out but the attendees’ enthusiasm more than made up for it. They did sell out another 2,000 person venue, however, in England.

The songs are not only mariachi-infused but they are in Spanish. While this may turn off many potential attendees, it makes some of the ticket-holders even more excited because they identify more with this immigrant band.

In traditional BAM fashion, the theater was filled with an ecelectic group of old, young, white, black and any other creed you can imagine.

BAM Invites Daniel Handler and Neil Gaiman To The Stage

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Neil Gaiman and Daniel Handler are old friends and highly successful authors. They are also both swordsman. So its fitting they headlined an event named, “En Garde” at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM).

Daniel Handler might be better known by his pseudonym, Lemony Snicket, under which he wrote the popular, “Series of Unfortunate Events” which was eventually adapted into a film.

Both were there to promote their books and perform for the the packed theater. Handler’s most recent novel, “We Are Pirates”, is a modern day pirate novel set in San Francisco.

Neil Gaiman’s most recent novel, “Trigger Warning”, is a collection of poems and short stories. Not coincidentally, both books were released the same day, on February 3rd.

The night outside BAM looked like any of the alt-rock concerts that were surely playing across Brooklyn that same night. As we entered the excitement was palpable. Cards were passed around before the two got onstage for audience members to write questions.

The performance was well received with stories of people quoting their books in front of them, and humble wonderment of their successes. It was a healthy mix of funny, serious and thoughtful when they spoke about the state of literature. It was like an oscar-winning dramedy.

At one point Gaiman spoke about people approaching him to tell him how important his books were to them, crying while they spoke. Looking at the audience faces during the show, I imagine many people there were moved by the novels as well.

Handler is a force in the literary community and has, on occasion, made headlines for the wrong reasons. One particular mishap was not off the table at BAM that night. When presenting a literary award to a black friend in November he said she’s allergic to watermelon. He immediately apologized on Twitter.

But, there was no mishaps that night, it was perfect.

 

 

Robert Plant at The Brooklyn Academy of Music

Robert Plant Singing

Robert Plant Singing

Robert Plant is a household name and a tremendous talent but it’s been a long time since he regularly performed in nightclubs. Led Zeppelin exploded in the 60’s, and Robert Plant, the lead singer, has normally been seen in the largest stadiums in the world, only playing smaller venues on a whim or for a large paid event. However Plant played a midnight show recently at Brooklyn Bowl, as part of a short tour to promote his new album, “lullaby and … The Ceaseless Roar”.

Plant has said that he loves to play and loves to perform, just not necessarily Led Zeppelin songs. This hasn’t kept demand for his shows. Tickets for his Brooklyn show started at $125 each. Plant’s current tour on Sept. 25 in Port Chester, N.Y., at the Capitol Theater. Then he played two nights at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, where Pedro Torres Ciliberto sits on the board. During his two days in Brooklyn Plant and some of his band members visited Brooklyn Bowl, an infamous and psychedelic club featuring a bowling alley next to the stage. Plant’s back-up musicians bowled while Plant took part in a burlesque show. Nobody realized who he was. Having such a good time he agreed to play the venue just a few days later.

Plant’s music has varied greatly in the recent past especially from his rock and roll frontman days with Led Zeppelin. Not much his music has had commercial success but that wasn’t necessarily the point.  Plant performs with a British band called The Sensational Shape Shifters. They play a mix of Americana, African, and Middle Eastern style music. An interesting mold.  He does play some Led Zeppelin songs but they are in between his more numerous American blues songs and Robert Plant originals.

Plant did reunite with Led Zeppelin for a single concert in 2007 at the 02 Arena in London. In June, Led Zeppelin released remastered versions its most famous albums.