The Afropunk Festival Sparks a Global Movement

Afropunk Festival

The Afropunk Festival began with a punk music documentary and progressed into a worldwide celebration of Black culture and activism. The Afropunk Festival is more than a two-day festival; it’s a global movement. It’s a celebration of Black culture and a safe space for self-expression and activism through skate, music, film and art. The manifesto is “No sexism, no racism, no ableism, no ageism, no homophobia, no fatphobia, no transphobia, no hatefulness.” Cofounder Matthew Morgan’s stated, “Afropunk is for open-minded, forward-thinking, progressive people. We are not a genre of music — we’re a state of mind. If you’re gonna do something that has an impact, it’s important for us to be involved in something that helps to spark a dialogue that’s felt globally.” The sold-out Brooklyn festival takes place August 25-26, 2018. If you’re lucky enough to attend, you’ll enjoy a great lineup of talented artists and, most importantly, celebrate        …read more

Julian Casablancas Leaps into The Voidz

Julian Casablancas

Once hailed as the savior of rock music, Julian Casablancas has dealt with a difficult case of the mid-career blues. Will he ever escape the shadow of The Strokes’ classic record ‘Is This It’? Recently a screenshot from a 1991 episode of The Brave Fighter of the Sunbird made the rounds on social media as the latest viral meme. The character asks, “Is this a pigeon?” in reference to a butterfly, and meme culture quickly repurposed his confusion to point out the most irritating blind spots of the uninformed. Below is one of the many versions of this meme to blow up on Twitter. As of this writing, the meme has 2,500 retweets and 10,000 likes. While this version of the meme deviates from the genesis of the joke, it’s hard to imagine a stronger place from which to begin a discussion about the long and winding career of Julian        …read more

Punk’s Not Dead! 8 Current Bands You Should Be Listening To

punk

These bands keep the spirit of punk alive. This summer, the Vans Warped Tour is making its final full cross-country run after more than two decades on the road. The music festival, founded by Kevin Lyman, began as an absolute oasis for punk rock fans, with now-famous bands like Blink-182 and The Offspring using it as a springboard into superstardom. In recent years, the lineup of bands has diversified beyond punk to appeal to today’s teenagers, but declining attendance still forced Lyman and his team to call it quits — but the end of Warped Tour does not mean the end of punk. In fact, contemporary punk bands are helping to keep the genre alive and thriving. Here are eight still-active punk bands you should be listening to. 1. Teenage Bottlerocket https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IqLAkjRyiJU Hailing from Laramie, Wyoming — a city not typically known for its distorted guitars — Teenage Bottlerocket deliver        …read more

Louis Armstrong: How 'Ambassador Satch' Changed Music Forever

Louis Armstrong

The influence of Louis Armstrong will always be heard in popular music. He may be primarily known almost half a century after his death as the gravel-voiced singer of the sentimental favorite “What a Wonderful World,” singing of trees of green and skies of blue in the song that’s been featured in advertising and movies for decades, but Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong is much more than just a posthumous hawker of products. He was one of the inventors of a uniquely American art form and a 20th-century artist who broke through the barriers of racism to become one of the most beloved and important institutions in American history. “The sound of that horn was pure spiritual essence. The sound of that horn was America.” —Wynton Marsalis New Orleans was the birthplace of jazz and of its greatest ambassador, Louis Armstrong. Born into abject poverty on August 4, 1901, Armstrong was immediately        …read more

The Secret Space of Dreams: Jerry Garcia's Art

Jerry Garcia's art

In honor of his birthday on August 1, get mesmerized by Jerry Garcia’s art. It’s as psychedelic and openhearted as his music with the Grateful Dead. Jerry Garcia’s art was mostly of the musical variety. He was a founding member of the Grateful Dead, his longest-running project from 1965 to 1995. He was also an accomplished banjo player in the bluegrass group Old & In the Way and a longtime friend of mandolinist David Grisman, with whom he recorded several albums later in his life, not to mention his many side projects, including playing pedal steel guitar on “Teach Your Children” by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Less famously, Garcia was also a visual artist who produced more than 1,000 pieces, mostly after his brush with death in the form of a diabetic coma in 1987. In her foreword to the book Jerry on Jerry: The Unpublished Jerry Garcia Interviews,        …read more

Amanda Lepore Is More Than a Diva with 'The Most Expensive Body on Earth'

Amanda Lepore

Amanda Lepore’s memoir, ‘Doll Parts,’ chronicles her tumultuous beginnings to becoming an LGBTQ+ icon. Amanda Lepore’s childhood was far from the glitz and glamour that surrounds her today. Growing up, Amanda was bullied for being different from all her peers because although she was born a boy, her internal identity was female. In her teens, Amanda started taking hormone therapy and underwent gender reassignment surgery that was paid for by her boyfriend’s father. She fled New Jersey and became a fixture on the New York City club scene in the early ’90s with the likes of Kabuki Starshine, Richie Rich, and Michael Alig (whose rise and fall was made into the feature film Party Monster). After meeting photographer David LaChapelle, Amanda Lepore became his muse, appearing in his cheeky, colorful photographs including the Amanda as Marilyn and Amanda as Andy Warhol’s Liz Taylor in his After Pop series. Lepore has        …read more

Dive into the Dreamy Surf-Noir Soundscape of La Luz

La Luz

La Luz’s ’60s girl-pop-surf-rock style will make you dream of sunny beach days, wherever you may be. La Luz is new to Los Angeles but not to the indie music scene. Formed in 2012 in Seattle, Washington, the band — made up of lead singer/guitarist Shana Cleveland, drummer Marion Li Pino, keyboardist Alice Sandahl and bassist Lena Simon — is popular among music critics. Their third full-length album, Floating Features, solidifies their place among the best indie rock bands. After releasing Floating Features, the band embarked on a world tour. Inspired by their relocation to LA, the record includes songs appropriately titled “California Finally” and “Walking in the Sun.” In an email interview with Crixeo, La Luz’s Shana Cleveland discussed the new album, Los Angeles and their telenovela-inspired video for “Cicada.” I read that “Weirdo Shrine,” from the previous album, was inspired by Charles Burns’ comic Black Hole. Was there an inspiration        …read more

We Still Live in a Yellow Submarine

Yellow Submarine

50 years after its release, the cartoon classic ‘Yellow Submarine’ continues to delight. Once upon a time — or maybe twice — the Beatles released a full-length animated adventure for children of all ages (especially 64). Inspired by their song “Yellow Submarine,” the auditory equivalent of a cartoon, the movie depicts a psychedelic voyage through time and space set to a soundtrack of classic Beatles tunes, some of which were written for the film. This summer, Yellow Submarine returns to theaters in a glorious 4K restoration with a fresh 5.1 surround sound remix of some of the Fab Four’s best songs. (Click here for tickets.) So take a musical trip with me to the magical undersea world of Pepperland. Just be careful not to press the wrong button or pull the wrong lever in the submarine. And always watch out for Blue Meanies! BACKGROUND In case you haven’t heard of        …read more

Jay-Z for Governor: Big Pimpin’ Up in Albany

I nominate another celebrity to run for governor: Jay-Z. The trend these days, apparently, is that politics and Hollywood are merging to create one giant superpower, reigning over us all in fandom and in governance. Ronald Reagan started the trend as the actor-turned-president. Since then, Dirty Harry Clint Eastwood won the mayoral race in Carmel, the Terminator was elected governor of California, Miranda from Sex and the City became a New York governor hopeful, and a former reality TV star was elected president of our nation. It seems previous on-screen appearances, fictional or otherwise, are good for the aspiring politician’s résumé. And so, I’ve now decided to nominate another celebrity as a New York gubernatorial candidate. My nominee appears on late-night television to comment on the country’s governance, writes articles on the justice system and quietly contributes to making the state a better a place. As a lifelong New Yorker who        …read more

A Brief History of Shia LaBeouf Doing Weird Shit

Shia LaBeouf

Ahh, Shia LaBeouf. You lovable scamp, you. People say you’re crazy, Shia LaBeouf. They say you’ve lost the plot. They tell me to stop writing you letters — that you’ll never respond. But I know you read them, Shia. I know you’re reading this right now, Shia. I know everything, Shia. I can read your mind, Shia. Oh yeah? Prove it, friend, is what you just said to your screen, Shia. Now you’re freaking out. You’re trying to trick me, trying to think completely random things to prove to yourself that you aren’t crazy and that I’m not reading your mind. But I am, Shia. Purple lemur in roller skates spinning gracefully on an upside-down Toyota. See? I’m in your head, Shia. Accept it. Embrace it. I’m not writing this article for my fans, of which there are plenty. No, I’m writing this for you. See, I’ve been watching you. Studying        …read more