By Sonya Patel

About Sonya Patel

Sonya is most drawn to voices, sounds, and lyrics that tell vivid and compelling stories. Her playlists include everything from folk, country, rock, and pop to hip hop and R&B, to blues and jazz. She will fly hundreds of miles to hear something live that piques her interest. (Instagram: @sonyacpatel Twitter: @sonyacpat)

Rebecca Tree for President: A Political Thriller for the Times by Greenpoint’s Michael Abramson

© Design by Nick Roseboro, Courtesy of the author. Cover of Rebecca Tree by Greenpoint author Michael Abramson.
© Design by Nick Roseboro. Cover of Rebecca Tree by Greenpoint author Michael Abramson. Courtesy of the author.

“This novel will help you survive this election season,” Greenpoint resident Michael Abramson, author of the political thriller, Rebecca Tree, writes. Set in the not-so-distant future, “The American political system is trapped in a death spiral. In an increasingly polarized country, rapidly rising seawater separates ‘wet’ states from ‘dry’ states. Parts of South Florida surrender to the sea as carcasses of once-chic beachfront hotels poke out from the ocean floor. ‘Guest’ agricultural workers from Mexico hand-pollinate fruit trees and vegetable crops in a desperate effort to maintain the country’s food supply. California’s once plentiful fruits are now as rare as caviar in post-Tsarist Russia.”

Out of this chaos emerges Rebecca Tree, the rebellious granddaughter of America’s most powerful politician, Merewether Tree. A successful inventor and businesswoman, Rebecca’s life is marked by a string of tragedies. Her parents died in a plane crash when she was two, and her twin sister Allison passed before her fourth birthday. Determined to honor the memories of the ones she lost, Rebecca’s personal pain propels her into a life of accomplishment.”

Released in March, the book has already garnered 4.5 stars on Amazon. I spoke with Abramson about what motivated the novel, the places in which it takes place (including our very own Greenpoint), and how he shaped his characters.

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Late Night with Amelia Robinson and Lesley Kernochan

“It’s lucky for me I have a friend / Who’s soul can usually transcend / The way we all nervously defend / The things we think we know / So I step into the boxing ring / It’s Gandhi vs. Comfortable Living / And all of a sudden I start to sing my new favorite mantra / Do it because you Love it, and for no other reason.” Lesley Kernochan’s full-bodied lyrics and whippy hooks in “My Giant Jar” is just one example of the funky grooves from her sophomore album The Pickle Jar.

On Sunday, March 13 at 10pm, she shares the bill with Amelia Robinson at Pete’s Candy Store (709 Lorimer St.). “I met Amelia right when I moved to NYC and I’ve had a friend crush on her ever since. We are delighted to keep jumping into fresh musical ideas together,” says the guitar picking Kernochan about ukulele strumming Robinson on her Daylight Saving Show Facebook page. I asked them some questions about their music and the upcoming show.

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Madame Gandhi Dropping Electronic Drum Beats for Oxfam Jam at Knitting Factory Monday, March 7

Madame Gandhi LPR
C/O Sonya Patel. Kiran Gandhi and Alexia Riner of Madame Gandhi, two of the electronic drums and vocals trio.

Lights blaze and flash. Smoke rises. “We are Madame Gandhi and we need your attention for the next half hour so we can calm your mind.” Kiran Gandhi’s District Drum Company light-up drum pulses as she and Alexia Riner deliver a kinetic and elevating performance during Madame Gandhi’s debut at (le) Poisson Rouge (LPR) last Tuesday night.

Madame Gandhi is the LA-based “electronic drums and vocals project that celebrates female leadership and explores themes of feminism, gender equality and liberation.” It is the project of MIA drummer, feminist activist, and Harvard Business School grad, Kiran Gandhi. She confidently moves back and forth across the stage, dancing, shaking her body to the beat, either one she has created herself through beatboxing and looping or that has been triggered by Alexia on her Ableton Push. It is catalyzing to watch and listen.

Over the last week, Gandhi has played for Sofar Sounds and at Tom Tom Magazine’s Oral History of Female Drummers event at the Brooklyn Museum, where she also spoke. Tonight, Monday, March 7, Madame Gandhi performs at the Knitting Factory (361 Metropolitan Avenue) at 7:30pm ($10 advance / $12 doors) as part of the “third annual Oxfam Jam Benefit Concert raising funds to support Oxfam America’s mission for creating solutions to poverty, hunger, and injustice.” This performance will include Madame Gandhi’s third member, DJ Ayes Cold (Ayesha Chugh).

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#joinGCjourney Great Caesar at Knitting Factory Tonight at 8:00pm

Great Caesar, a chamber rock band with a touch of soul, has had quite a week. Last Friday, they performed on Audiotree in Chicago before playing at Uncommon Ground in Edgewater. Earlier this week, they were in Iowa where John-Michael Parker, frontman for Great Caesar and National Dream Director for the education initiative The Future Project, guest lectured for David Gould’s Life Design course at the University of Iowa. The band rocked at the Mill in Iowa City on Wednesday evening.

Tonight, Great Caesar is back home in Brooklyn and playing at the Knitting Factory (8pm, 361 Metropolitan Ave., $12). The show will feature all of the songs from their anthemic upcoming, Jackson’s Big Sky, which will be released on March 25. Using Parker’s work with The Future Project as a lens, I asked him some questions about Great Caesar.

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Hip-Hop in Greenpoint: PitchBlak Playlist Residency Features Rabbi Darkside

PitchBlak Playlist Hosts Rabbi DarksideGreenpoint is home to a variety of musical genres, but one is consistently and conspicuously missing: hip-hop. The PitchBlak Brass Band’s year-long monthly residency at Manhattan Inn (632 Manhattan Ave) will bring a rapturous shift. Led by Chanell Crichlow, the PitchBlak Brass Band is comprised of tubas, trumpets, saxophones and other instruments not traditionally associated with hip-hop, but they have created the high-voltage hip-hop PitchBlak Playlist.

Each month, the PitchBlak Brass Band will collaborate with a hip-hop artist, emerging or established, to “challenge audience members to rethink, refocus and redefine the ever-evolving landscape of hip-hop through an evening of flows, grooves and good vibes.” February’s playlist will feature the highly-acclaimed MC / DJ / beatboxer / educator, Rabbi Darkside (Sunday, February 28 at 8:00 p.m., free).

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Sweet Victoria Reed on Existential Spiritual Crisis in Music

The official video for Victoria Reed’s “Make It Easy,” one of eleven songs on her upcoming debut album, came out on October 22. A little over a week later, a crowd at Williamburg’s Baby’s All Right was singing the catchy folk-pop tune along with her. Dressed in a sleek, black, long sleeve romper, the sweet Reed performed most of the songs on her LP, “Chariot,” which will be released on February 26, 2016.

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Spooky Mansion and Music Until Almost Sun Up

Courtesy of The Wild Honey Pie.
Courtesy of The Wild Honey Pie.

Trick or Treat? To get a dose of both, spend Halloween night at The Wild Honey Pie’s Spooky Mansion. The Paper Box in East Williamsburg has been transformed into a multi-room warehouse to create a haunted and immersive music experience with installations, games, and Halloween drink specials (17 Meadow St.). 

Tonight’s performances feature Acid DadMuseum of Love DJ Set (Pat Mahoney from DFA / LCD Soundsystem and Dennis McNany of DFA / Jee Day / Run-Roc), Matt FX (Scooter Island and music supervisor for Comedy Central’s Broad City), and Vosters. Doors are at 8:00 p.m. and the party runs until 4:00 a.m.

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Call for Artists: “Paradise” Postcard Show

Courtesy of the Ugly Art Room Facebook page. Corvallis artist Rob Jelinksi gave us a sneak peak via Instamagrams...
Courtesy of the Ugly Art Room Facebook page. Corvallis artist Rob Jelinksi gave us a sneak peak via Instamagrams…

The Ugly Art Room is a roving curatorial art project that has moved from Brooklyn to Corvallis, Oregon. Its inaugural Pacific Northwest exhibition will be a postcard show exploring the theme of travel, place and presentation. Ugly Art Room (UAR) is conducting an open call to artists for postcard submissions through November 9. All works are accepted.

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Listen While You Can: The Hum Returns to Manhattan Inn

Courtesy of Nandi Rose Plunkett. An image of Frida Kahlo taped to Plunkett's door from neighbor Emily Chapman.
Courtesy of Nandi Rose Plunkett. An image of Frida Kahlo taped to Plunkett’s door from neighbor Emily Chapman.

Two weeks ago, Nandi Rose Plunkett of spectral pop Half Waif and Johanna Cranitch of synth-pop White Prism returned to Plunkett’s apartment in Crown Heights with iced teas in hand to find an image of Frida Kahlo taped to the door. On the back was a message from a neighbor, Emily Chapman, whom Plunkett had never met. Chapman had been working from home and heard a song Plunkett and Cranitch were performing. She wanted to know how she could buy it.

Cranitch and Plunkett had only just met in person for the first time earlier that day. The song they had been playing and singing was freshly written in preparation for their collaboration for The Hum, where the song would likely be publicly shared for the first and only time. This is the magic of the popular series – seasoned musicians coming together to work on new material to create a truly special experience.

See The Hum, Hypnocraft’s carefully curated first-time collaborations between musicians across different genres, at Manhattan Inn (632 Manhattan Ave) beginning at 9:00 pm every Monday night in October.

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Understanding Solitary Confinement through Mariposa & the Saint, A Play for Two Nights Only

c/o Julia Steele Allen. Mariposa & the Saint: From Solitary Confinement, A Play Through Letters press photo.
c/o Julia Steele Allen. Mariposa & the Saint:
From Solitary Confinement, A Play Through Letters press photo.

Tonight and tomorrow night’s performances of Julia Steele Allen’s play, Mariposa & the Saint: From Solitary Confinement, A Play through Letters, begin the national tour of the one-act production. In the span of 45 minutes, we “travel with Mariposa over two and half years of her confinement in the Security Housing Unit (SHU) of a California women’s prison, including into her memories and her imagination,” says Allen.

The story “reveals both the devastating effects of long-term isolated confinement, and, as [Mariposa] says: ‘the magic that comes with the struggle to keep your spirit alive.’” Mariposa & the Saint: From Solitary Confinement, A Play through Letters will be at St. Paul’s Theater (334 South 5th St.) September 17th and 18th at 7:00 pm. Both showings will be followed by a 45-minute dialogue about the detrimental effects of confinement.

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