Monday, October 12, 2009

OCT 2009: Banned Books; Like Trains & Taxis; The Roadside Graves; A Clockwork Orange;

8 PM, Sat. Oct 3
Former HIGH TIMES editor/blues keyboardist MIKE EDISON
His Favorite BANNED Books
w/special help from BOSS HOG's Hollis Queens on drums

October 3 is the last day of the American Library Association's Banned Book Week (BBW). BBW is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment. It highlights the benefits of free and open access to information (even if the information and ideas might be considered unorthodox or unpopular), while drawing attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted book bannings across the United States. BBW was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. More than a thousand books have been challenged since 1982, with targets ranging from Harry Potter to Huckleberry Finn. Click here to see a map of book bans and challenges in the US from 2007 to 2009.

My first experience with a banned book was in tenth grade. I grew up on a horse ranch in Alabama and went to a private school forty minutes away called Macon Academy. My father, a writer who, divorced from my mother, lived in New Jersey, had sent me the Cabernet colored paperback of Catcher in The Rye for Christmas (along with a Swatch that had a checkered band and a skeleton face of exposed gears). I was discovered reading it one day by my English teacher, a bullied looking man named Mr. Edwards. He declared, with a sort of wooden vivacity, that if I persisted in doing a report on "the offensive book," I would get a an F. I consulted my Mom--a woman who, it should be noted, had recently backed my lobe with a wine cork, piercing it with a boiled sewing needle (to a rumpus of Academy demerits and suspension, natch). "Take the F," she said, "Once you read it, you'll understand." I did. And did.

Between 1985 and 1988, Mike Edison wrote 28 pornographic novels, reported on German whorehouses and Spanish coke dealers for Hustler, and published a series of erotic “confessions” for the legendary Penthouse Letters. In 1998 Edison became publisher/editor of marijuana counterculture magazine High Times. Following HT, he was named the editorial director for Jewish culture magazine HEEB, for whom he went undercover and exposed Jews for Jesus as a Baptist organization. He is the long-time drummer for New York cult-garage band the Raunch Hands, as well as being a collaborator of infamous punk rocker GG Allin with whom he wrote a number of songs and recorded two albums. FREE! Refreshments served.

8 PM, Sat. Oct 10
Live Music

One part pop, one part soul, one part jazz, Like Trains and Taxis is one of the most appealing bands I've seen in a long time. As many of you know, I once tended bar and booked music at a sweaty little jughouse in NB. Every Weds through Sat. we slid over the slate pool table to make room for bands like 3 Piece & Biscuit, a lusty quartet that played some of the best original soul I'd ever heard. Until now. Upon the recommendation of Raconteur volunteer Mallory (you know her, she's the one with the Gilda Gray haircut and the tattoo owl that looks like a pineapple), I went to see LT&T play a gig at George Street Playhouse early last month (Mal was playing accordion in a different band on the same bill). Backed by bassist Owen Susmen and drummer Mike Del Priore, Chris Harris (who styles himself as a modern-day urban love prophet in the tradition of Marvin Gaye) sat at his keys, porkpie askance, dancing in his seat like Little Stevie and crooning jazz pop grooves reminiscent of Maze's brightest days. Good stuff. Don't miss it. FREE!

8 PM, Sun. Oct 11
Live Music

Their sweet-tempered country-rock is far more slippery than it might first appear and often conjures images of a roadhouse Bad Seeds. “I've drank enough to know that I've drank enough," announces front man Gleason on the world-weary “Live Slow,” the one song that comes closest to encapsulating the enduring spirit of The Graves. Performed with an uncommonly deft touch and subtle grace, their songs concern themselves primarily with the pause for breath that comes after reaching original destinations, and the long, careful glance at the atlas that comes before deciding where to go next.

0ct 15 - 30
Special midnight show on Mischief Night!
A Play by Anthony Burgess
Directed by Alex Dawson

Belching smokestacks, colossal clock cogs, the ribbed wreckage of a crashed zeppelin, all under-lit by the blazing Fires of Industry, Dawson’s steam-punk version of Anthony Burgess’s A CLOCKWORK ORANGE features a soundtrack of Beethoven symphonies screened through the fractious filters of punk, thrash, and techno, then scribble scratched by a goggle-eyed DJ sitting atop a scaffolded clock tower that rises fifteen feet above the boards. Using an aesthetic he describes as “Quadrophenia meets Brave New World,” Dawson collaborates with mod Finnish fashion designer Anu Susi, abandoning the sleazy seventies vibe of Kubrick’s film for a sort of industrial elegance: tailored suits, swine snouted gas masks, huge buckled boots and, of course, the iconic bowler. All tickets ONLY $10! The Studio Theatre @ Middlesex County College. For show times/gen info/photos/advance tickets/etc., click HERE.