Drums

A Night of Experimental Jazz & Lydia Lunch at the Park Church Co-Op

Lydia Lunch performs, speaking about misogyny and today’s pessimistic world. Photo: Angelica Hill

Last Thursday, artist Martynka Wawrzyniak hosted “A Night of Experimental Jazz & Lydia Lunch” at the Park Church Co-Op (129 Russell Street) to support her McGolrick Park community art installation, Ziemia.  Ziemia, when finished, will consist of a large ceramic orb made from soil from across the globe and placed in a carefully cultivated meadow in McGolrick Park, adjacent to Russell Street between Nassau Ave and Driggs Ave.

The Park Church Co-Op was dimly lit, the stage awash with red and blue light. Meditative electronic new-age music played as the image of Jesus on the crucifix centered on the back wall looked over the scene. It may not seem like the most likely venue for a night of experimental jazz, but Pastor Amy Kienzle remarked that this event was part of the church’s larger event series that supports community art. And with Wawrzyniak being such an enthusiastic member of the church she felt it was important to support. She added that the church “believes in art and it being spiritually beneficial.” Continue reading

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Greenpoint’s Tom Tom Magazine Takes on the World

Tom Tom Magazine
Ladies of Tom Tom—Pippa Kelmenson, Mindy Abovitz Monk and Marisa Kurk. All photos by Mitch Boyer

In the seven years since its creation by founder and publisher Mindy Abovitz Monk, Greenpoint-based lady drummer publication Tom Tom magazine has gone from being a simple music blog to a media company consisting of a quarterly print issue, digital issue, website and creative collaborations and events with contributors from around the world. In their sun-drenched office in Greenpoint’s historic Pencil Factory, a metallic drum kit takes center stage, along with an oldschool ghetto blaster, brightly colored, hand-painted drumsticks (created by Mindy’s artist mother) and usually at least one office dog.

At a time when being a female drummer in some parts of the world can still lead to death threats or imprisonment, I sat down with Abovitz, her lead designer Marisa Kurk (featured on the cover of the magazine’s current Nepotism issue) and Pippa Kelmenson who runs the Tom Tom office to chat about music, their magazine serving as a metaphor for anyone wanting to do anything they’re told they can’t do and what being based in Greenpoint brings to their work.

Tom Tom Magazine - photo by Mitch Boyer

Greenpointers: How did Tom Tom start?

Mindy Abovitz Monk: In 2009, I was working at East Village Radio in the city and I had already been a drummer in New York for about seven years. I had volunteered at Rock Camp for Girls and I also experienced Riot grrrl as it was happening as a teenager and that had brought me to music in the first place. Around 2009 Riot grrrl was seeing a resurgence. People my age and people younger than me were becoming inspired by a movement that had already inspired me. It gave me anxiety thinking that possibly nothing had changed since I was a teenager in the effort to encourage girls and women to be the rock stars that we are. Continue reading

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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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