(Favorites from) Flavorpill

I have written intermittently for the cosmopolitan online spectacle/cultural review known as Flavorpill since 2005. Here are some of my favorite listings:

Work by Swoon

(artwork by Swoon)

Don’t Look Back and The Last Waltz: Flavorpill NYC, August 2-8, 2005

Though poets Allen Ginsberg and Lawrence Ferlinghetti make cameos, more than Beats connect these documentaries turned all-star concerts. Both films show blues-rock Americana in fine form: Don’t Look Back finds D.A. Pennebaker tailing a young, brash Bob Dylan on tour in England and at a musical crossroads; The Last Waltz‘s Martin Scorsese films the Band’s “farewell” gig and its pantheon of music greats — Muddy Waters, Joni Mitchell, the Staples, Neil Young, and Dylan in a crossover appearance. Both include interviews that yield nuggets of brilliance, including Robbie Robertson deadpanning on the Band’s controversial breakup: “Twenty years on tour? I wouldn’t even begin to discuss it.” (DO)

Paul Muldoon @ HousingWorks: Flavorpill NYC, December 5-11, 2006

For someone who’s been to Cloud Cuckoo Land, Paul Muldoon is a pretty grounded poet. In 1999, Muldoon wrote a translation of Aristophanes’ The Birds, but the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet takes us far from such mythological abstractions and into the real, wrought world in his new collection, Horse Latitudes. With a voice that manages to be at once arch and accessible, Muldoon points out the obvious — a funereal wake is “the apogee, you know, of the typo” — and the tragic — “those were my Twin Towers, right?” The prolific, meticulous wit reads from his tenth volume tonight courtesy of Housing Works, whose bookshop is itself a treasure as buried as the branching meanings of Muldoon’s verse. (DO)

Yusef Komunyakaa, Eve Grubin, Marie Howe @ KGB Bar: Flavorpill NYC, December 12-18, 2006

In reams of verse through history, the poet is made to howl after the losses of life and loves; three more tonight have called on grief for a muse. Pulitzer winner Yusef Komunyakaa‘s tensely muscular writings have taken on Vietnam and jazz at full volume. His latest is a verse play that trails Gilgamesh, tearing through the underworld in search of his lost friend. He reads tonight, alongside KGB Bar mainstay Marie Howe, whose second collection, What the Living Do, also riffs on the urge to sift through loss. Eve Grubin rounds out an evening of solid Downtown lit — and the syncopated, stumbling pain of her poem “After” is a meditation on living meant to be heard aloud. (DO)

Hop-Fu: Prodigal Son, Illstyle & Peace Productions: Flavorpill NYC July 5-12, 2005

The East-West obsessions of the Wu-Tang Clan have new heirs — tonight, former GZA collaborator DJ IXL and his Kolabz crew partner DJ Excess trot out a fusion of their two loves: martial arts and good ol’ hip-hop. Video Audio Remix Industries’ “hop-fu” multimedia concept gives Sammo Hung‘s 1982 kung fu classic Prodigal Son a live, kickin’-and-scratchin’ original score. Preshow, b-boys from Illstyle & Peace Productions showcase airborne kicks and athletics; don’t be surprised if, Stephen Chow-style, gravity seems to take a pause. (DO)

Dayo Olopade

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