RAyW

If Mike from breaking bad was from NYC and decided to start going to poetry slams, he might end up like RAyW. You don’t often see actor, spoken word performer, private investigator, security liaison Vietnam veteran and retired cop on the same resume, but that’s what you have in Ray. His words deal with issues from his world – “fuck tha police” is his response from the other side of the thin blue line to the NWA song and subsequent rallying cry, repeating the refrain “say what you want about us, see what you do without us.” His words are sharp and blunt. It’s not fancy. The rhymes are pretty and clever but the delivery and the message is always hard and clear. “Next time, do us a favor – call your fucking neighbor.”


I swear, he’s a nice guy.


Between tearing into religion and giving the abridged version of the hell that was the Vietnam War, Ray made us stop into Ray’s Beingets to buy his girlfriend an ice cream cone and give me a lesson about the owner, an Iranian immigrant who’s been an East Village staple since 1974. “We can’t come down here and not go to Ray’s Candy Store,” he says to me, chuckling.


The anger in his poems shouldn’t be mistaken for bitterness. The fiery delivery comes not from a place of hate, but one of caring. He cares about the people he loves and the people he serves and gets angry about injustice, whether it be people disrespecting the elderly or the police, or people in places of power taking advantage of children.


Obviously part of the initial appeal is the novelty- it’s always exciting when talent comes unexpected places, and when you first meet Ray, seeming like a character from Full Metal Jacket, you really couldn’t possibly be ready for what’s about to happen. But his poetic prowess goes far deeper than simply a novelty act. His delivery and the way that it compliments what he’s actually saying (and what he’s saying is important) is exceptional and you soon forget why it surprised you in the first place – it becomes clear in a very short amount of time that that’s who he is, as much as he is a cop, a veteran, a private investigator.


He’s an old man with a young plan and he’s not slowing down.

You can find more of him at www.raywiederhold.com

ShoutHouse

ShoutHouse is an embodiment of the true creative spirit. What else would have drawn these people together? In a group that is roughly equal parts Juilliard, Vassar, Manhattan School of Music and Craigslist, the common thread seems to be the spirit of creation.
A classical musician tends to follow a certain path – a path that generally leads to a lifetime of jazz standards or Wagner, Brahms and Beethoven. There’s a reason people still play Take 5 and Beethoven’s Eroica. These are brilliant and timeless pieces that people will always need to hear and to play. However, the members of ShoutHouse recognize that music like that came from the spirit of bold innovation and experimentation, which is how it came to be that on one night at The Bitter End, I saw before me a 13-piece orchestra behind a singer, two rappers and 4 bucket drummers.
For about an hour, i watched them mixing a cocktail of classical, jazz, spoken word, hip-hop, pop in a way i’ve never seen, let alone imagined. It was as if Holst, Zappa and Robert Glasper had grown up in the East Village and formed a supergroup. It never occurred to me that someone could rap in 7/8. The whole night was a cacophony of shock, awe and whiskey gingers.

In what was by far the largest TSNP shoot ever undertaken, we brought them to Sara D. Roosevelt Park off of Houston St. between Chrystie and Forsyth. I wanted to shoot somewhere near the East Village and they wanted to shoot somewhere near Rockwood Music Hall where they had soundcheck at 5pm for a show that night. It was the perfect spot, tucked enough away that i thought we’d have a chance at not getting shut down immediately.
As it happened, we shot for about an hour and a half and nobody bothered us once. Park goers and passerbys stopped and listened, and for a while, we all forgot about the world outside of a tiny piece of the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

Will Healy, the piano man and ShoutHouse founder serves as the composer of roughly half of their music, but this piece, “Escher’s Friend” was designed by Jesse Greenberg, multi-instrumentalist and keys, mallets and synths player for the band.

Find their music and upcoming shows (including an approaching collaborative performance with a group of Hip-Hop and modern dancers at the DiMenna Center) at www.shouthousemusic.com

Camera Team:
Bradman
Marsh Chamberlain
Michal Skalski

Live Audio:
Karl Schwarz

Dublin Culture Night

I was in Dublin for Culture night in September, and my friends Johnny and Lewis invited me to come along with them. Their duties were to entertain passengers on short bus tour of North City Centre. The stops included Croke Park, Parnell Square, the GPO and the like.

I knew Johnny Rayge (‘Jonathan Armas McGlinn’ as a person and poet) from when i lived in Dublin years ago. He ran (and continues to run) an artists showcase called Dublin’s Underground Beat on Wednesdays in the basement of the International Bar. It’s where i first performed live hip-hop, and the TV show they made about that showcase was a major inspiration for TSNP. You can check that out HERE.

Lewis Kenny is a new friend, we just met on my last trip, and honestly, all i know about him is that he’s a sound dude, and a super talented wordsmith.

You can find Johnny Rayge HERE Jonathan Armas McGlinn HERE and Lewis HERE

In honor of Irish Mother’s Day, which is today, i present you:

 

 

Michael Persall

A year ago, Michael Persall decided to play 300 shows in 2015. As it turns out, he hit 300 pretty quickly, so at some point around September he upped it to 400. I never said he was lazy. At the end of December, he played his 400th show at Rockwood Music Hall. I was there. It was great.

I met him somewhere around 225, at the Nuyorican. I’d seen him play before at the the Path Café, but hadn’t had a chance to meet him yet. We talked for a while in line before sign-ups on E. 3rd St, and i learned about his resolution. The 400 number included open mics, showcases, booked gigs, basically anything that was him playing guitar in front of people that didn’t know him. Some nights during the week, he’d regularly play at three different spot, from Midtown to Williamsburg, and he’d be out between 6-7 nights a week, every week, for the whole year.

His performance is always impeccable. He’s a machine. He’s a jukebox that only plays Michael Persall and Amy Winehouse. He writes modern rock with heavy 50’s and 60’s influence in the form of a catchy pop tune, with a strong silky voice and impressive range.

We met up at Paddy Reilly’s Music Bar on 29th and 2nd one night. He played a few songs inside, and then we went around the corner to film one outside. 

If you dig it, he has a residency with his band this February at Pianos in LES – every Wednesday night at 10.

For non-locals, check out his website, www.michaelpersall.com 

Irene & Paul on Broadway

Paul Dill was rolling a cigarette behind Under St. Mark’s, Cort guitar in his lap on a dark Tuesday night. He was here from Germany with a dance company to do a set of performances at the Kraine Theatre called “Polvo y Tierra o Formas de Lidiar con la Muerte Ajena.” The two-person show is described as an “emotional dialogue of a couple dealing with the lost of loved ones and their own personal questions,” performed by a musician and a dancer.

The dancer was inside, stretching in the green room. Irene Cortina, a young girl from Spain who met Paul in the Netherlands where they were both studying their respective crafts. Together, with a little help, they started the Cia. Irene Cortina dance company.

They had performed earlier in the night and had come to Under St. Marks to get on stage for the Tuesday open mic. And as Paul and I shared a smoke outside, he was told that they were up next.

Inside, i first see the two them together, setting up on stage. At first glance, you’ll notice how the two compliment each other aesthetically – they just look good together.

They start – Paul pulls strings with his right hand and Irene is already in motion, twirling onto her knees and up again.

We met up the following Sunday, their last day in NYC.

They took me to a spot they found the day before in Williamsburg by the river. We walked down past an old warehouse/power station and ended up at the end of a busted road littered in broken glass and condoms. A couple clunkers were parked nearby, loaded with the hoardings of an old basement. The Europeans were not deterred and Irene was soon rolling around in all of it with Paul leaning up against a nondescript pipe sticking out of the sidewalk.

We went through a chain link fence towards a decrepit pier sticking out of a brushy area where homeless nappers lay prone beneath shrubs and about 15 yards out into the East River. On crumbling concrete, they did another few songs and I tried to watch my step and the monitor at the same time, just like I did on the cliffs of Howth with “i am niamh” (a feature which will be coming out soon if the wind didn’t destroy all the audio).

They were heading to midtown for dinner, so I came with them and after wandering for a while, I stopped them at 50th and Broadway.

I set Paul up with a mic and told Irene to dance in the street. The New Yorkers, as usual, were oblivious.

irenecortina.com
pauldill.com