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Recap: Joy and Resistance Abided At The 2017 Obies – VILLAGE VOICE

by ALEXIS SOLOSKI

MAY 23, 2017

SEAN T. SMITH / SIMON LUETHI
Lea DeLaria performs at the 2017 Obie Awards

“Theater is live,” barked the comedian Lea DeLaria. “It’s visceral. It’s honest. It’s unique, right?” Yes, ma’am!

DeLaria hollered these words after making a blissfully obscene joke about Melania Trump, but before a chorus boy wearing only a sequined fig leaf joined her onstage. (“He’s naked for no reason!” DeLaria said.) Later she cavorted in a Winnie the Pooh costume (“You know why? I’m Off-Broadway”) and did an ecdysiast routine, culminating first in a see-through teddy and then in yet another Trump dig.

Live, visceral, honest, unique — those adjectives just about nailed the 62nd Annual Obie awards, a production of the Village Voice and the American Theater Wing held Monday night at Webster Hall. An awards show, a shindig, a be-in, a reunion, and a town-hall meeting with cups of free Stella Artois, the Obies honor excellence Off-Broadway, Off-Off-Broadway, and sometimes further away than that. Last night, politics was never far from the conversation — many of the works honored (Sweat, Indecent, Oslo, Underground Railroad Game) were searing and incisive — but joy and raunch abided. Even when everyone remained clothed, this was about as scintillating as a Monday evening gets — the Webster Hall stage was the place to be.

Of course, the bathroom was also the place to be. The actress Kecia Lewis, a winner for Marie and Rosetta and The Skin of Our Teeth, missed her award while in the ladies, leaving the presenter LaChanze to scat with the band for a while. “Come on Kecia,” she sang. “Get on this stage, girl.” Lewis finally did, saying, “I’ll be brief, because I don’t want Lea DeLaria coming up here and whupping my ass.” (As DeLaria would later condescend to spank the playwright and performer Taylor Mac, a winner for A 24-Decade History of Popular Music, Lewis’s fears were real.)

This year’s Obies were judged by Voice critics Michael Feingold and Miriam Felton-Dansky, the actors Daphne Rubin-Vega, J. Smith-Cameron, and Darius de Haas, the playwright Ayad Akhtar, and the critic Melissa Rose Bernardo. Presenters included David Henry Hwang, Rose Byrne, Chris Cooper, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, and the actress Lena Hall, who yelled, “I’m a rock singer and I want to eat the mike!” Then she smeared her lipstick on it.

During the three-hour ceremony, spirits were high; so were the hairdos, so were some in the crowd. Beer sudsed, laughter surged. Those receiving Obies thanked God, Santos Party House, “all the Jews and Arabs,” Suzan-Lori Parks, and, in the case of Matthew Broderick, “very very mostly much much mostly of all, my wife.” (Broderick, who could be seen slapping down a gold card to buy a bottle of water, was a double winner for Evening at the Talk House and Shining City.)

These are awards like no other, celebrating a community like no other. Sure, the Hollywood stars got applause, but one of the biggest cheers went up when a recipient name-checked a stage manager. While the Tonys temporarily did away with sound-design awards, the Obies gave a certificate to the designer Ryan Rumery for sustained excellence of sound design. At the podium, Rumery said, “I’m more used to being heard than seen.”

Responses to the awards ranged from the wildly enthusiastic, like the director Lileana Blain-Cruz’s all-caps jubilation, “WHOO! YEAH! OBIES! OH MY GOD!” to Bobby Cannavale’s more measured, “Uh, thanks.” (Blain-Cruz was a winner for her direction of The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World, Cannavale for his smoldering turn in The Hairy Ape.) The director Arin Arbus, who picked up an award for Theater for a New Audience and also won for The Skin of Our Teeth, appeared stunned, while the director and teenage cast of The Wolves seemed poised until they turned feral, huddling in a circle and exulting, “We are the wolves! We are the wolves!” Then they tried to exit the wrong way.

“What the hell am I doing up here?” wondered the actor Pete Simpson, an honoree for sustained excellence of performance. “I don’t have an answer to that question.” He praised “the occasionally rent-stabilized apartment that we call Off-Broadway” and then apologized to the audience, saying, “I’m usually much weirder.” The actress Heather MacCrae, who won for Come Back, Little Sheba, encouraged the crowd to keep making art, weird or otherwise. “I’m a senior citizen and I’m still doing this work,” she said.

Honored plays included Oslo, which nabbed a Best New American Theater Work for the playwright J.T. Rogers. “You are my heroes,” he said, looking out at the crowd. “This is what I’ve wanted my whole life.” Oslo also won a combined honor for director and ensemble. As the cast stood onstage, one actor gave another a noogie. So much for Middle East peace.

The Underground Railroad Game shared that Best New American Theater Work award, while The Band’s Visit received a nod for Itamar Moses and David Yazbek’s book and lyrics, and another for the director David Cromer. Voice owner Peter Barbey presented an award to Lynn Nottage’s “deeply involving and harrowing” Sweat, a drama now hailed as the first great work of the Trump era.

Indecent picked up an award for the director Rebecca Taichman. The owner of an Obi-Wan Kenobi award, she was glad to receive the real thing. The Lifetime Achievement Award went to Indecent’s playwright Paula Vogel, “for her plays, her ideas, and her profound influence on innumerable students, her staunch political presence and her constant aesthetic daring.” Vogel, who looked spruce in a black blazer, gave a stirring speech in which she described miracles made on $100 budgets and declared, “We have never needed journalists and artists as much as we do now.”

In a more somber moment, Edie Falco accepted a posthumous award for the actor Kevin Geer, a man who always reminded her “that what we are lucky enough to do as people in the theater is in the realm of magic.” Then the mascara really began to streak as Daniel Bellomy sang “Try to Remember” as a screen showed those whom Off-Broadway and the Voice had lost in the past year. They had gone, said a teary DeLaria when she returned to the stage, to “the big after-party in the sky.”

Those colleagues who remained cheered while Lewis soared and Katrina Lenk sizzled. Hall slinked through the crowd in a spangly necklace and a bra top, giving a throaty version of “The Flesh Failures (Let the Sunshine In)” and inviting the audience onstage to sing their space songs beside her.

The other final benediction came from Anna Deavere Smith, an honoree for Notes From the Field. Deavere Smith was in rehearsal and couldn’t collect her award in person, but in a speech read by the publicist Sam Rudy, she offered an Off-Broadway blessing: “Party hard tonight. Godspeed.”

http://www.villagevoice.com/2017/05/23/obie-awards-2017-recap/

The Best NYC Shows This Week – VILLAGE VOICE

Vulture Festival
Cat Power, Frankie Cosmos
Webster Hall
6 p.m., $40

No one would have predicted that Chan Marshall, the singer-songwriter known as Cat Power, whose bleakly sad songs propelled her to fame, would one day be guesting on EDM songs. But that’s apparently where we are in 2017. Marshall has contributed guest vocals to multiple tracks on the new album Ibifornia by the French electro duo Cassius. What this means for the future of Marshall’s emotionally affecting music is hard to know — she hasn’t released an album since 2012’s Sun. But live, Marshall is only ever herself — unpredictable, shy, and brilliant. She’ll perform as part of the Vulture Festival, curated by New York magazine’s culture vertical.

Tickets here

http://www.villagevoice.com/2017/05/15/the-best-nyc-shows-this-week-perfume-genius-a-deer-a-horse-ty-segall/

Jidenna and The Local Natives to put on a show at Disrupt NY Closing Concert – TECHCRUNCH

Pharrell and Incubus lead guitarist Mike Einziger aren’t the only ones turning up the volume on Disrupt NY.

On the final day of Disrupt (Wednesday, May 17) we’ll be holding a concert at the legendary Webster Hall in lieu of your standard after party. But who will be performing?

Jidenna and Local Natives!

This will be an excellent time to unwind after an action-packed three days of Disrupt, and the Closing Concert will be free to all attendees of Disrupt NY. And because a concert is best shared with friends, we’ll be offering attendees the opportunity to purchase +1 tickets to bring along their buddies.

If for some reason you’re not super familiar with these folks, here’s a little taste test:


Jidenna


Local Natives

We’re AMPED about seeing these amazing artists live on stage, and can’t wait to blow off some steam singing along and dancing with these incredible musicians.

We hope you’re as excited as we are to shut down Disrupt NY with a badass concert.

If you still need tickets to Disrupt NY, which runs May 15 to May 17, you can pick those up right here.

https://techcrunch.com/2017/05/02/jidenna-and-the-local-natives-to-put-on-a-show-at-disrupt-ny-closing-concert/

LIVE METALLICA: WEBSTER HALL IN NEW YORK, NY – SEPTEMBER 27, 2016 (2CD) – METALLICA.COM

LIVE METALLICA: WEBSTER HALL IN NEW YORK, NY – SEPTEMBER 27, 2016 (2CD)

Two audio CDs featuring the complete show recorded live at Webster Hall in New York, NY on September 27, 2016 during a private club performance.

Mixed by Greg Fidelman

Breadfan
Holier Than Thou
Battery
Harvester Of Sorrow
Fade To Black
Moth Into Flame
Sad But True
Orion
One
Master Of Puppets
For Whom The Bell Tolls
Enter Sandman
Whiskey In The Jar
Hardwired
Seek & Destroy

https://metallica.com/store/live-metallica-cds/11368/live-metallica-webster-hall-in-new-york-ny-september-27-2016-2cd

White Lung – THE NEW YORKER

In 2009, this Vancouver band popped up on a compilation record called “Emergency Room: Volume 1,” named for the downtown D.I.Y. music-and-arts venue where they came of age, playing early demos and dodging flying limbs at rambunctious all-ages gigs. “Therapy” closed side A; on it, the lead vocalist, Mish Way, sings, “I know it won’t take too long before your genius rips open the world.” The line might’ve been self-fulfilling—in the decade since the band formed, White Lung has outgrown local haunts and labels and developed into a punk act beloved by fans and critics from Austin to Moscow. On the band’s fourth album, “Paradise,” Lars Stalfors, who has produced records for Chelsea Wolfe and Alice Glass, tries his hand at taming Way’s yowl, with clean results.

Saturday, Apr 29, 2017
The Studio at Webster Hall, New York, NY – Tickets

http://www.newyorker.com/goings-on-about-town/night-life/white-lung-2

The Best NYC Shows This Week – VILLAGE VOICE

Skate the Loft
Danny Brown, Dave East, Nick Catchdubs, Sean Cee
Webster Hall
7 p.m., free with RSVP

The main highlight of this sportswear-sponsored free show is the rapper Danny Brown, an iconoclast whose nasal, rapid-fire vocals make his tracks and virtuosic guest spots immediately identifiable. On his last album, the much-lauded 2016 effort Atrocity Exhibition, Brown was in peak form, incorporating a whirlwind of musical styles — from new wave to free jazz to industrial — to back up his hyperactive, introspective rhymes. Brown is a black sheep contender for best rapper working today — it’s more than worth it to catch him live. Click here for more info

http://www.villagevoice.com/music/the-best-nyc-shows-this-week-danny-brown-jerry-paper-wolf-eyes-9894396

Swet Shop Boys packed Webster Hall, previewed RSD EP (pics, review) Read More: Swet Shop Boys packed Webster Hall, previewed RSD EP (pics, review) – BROOKLYN VEGAN

Ahead of their slot at Coachella, the Swet Shop Boys, Himanshu Suri (formerly of Das Racist), Rizwan Ahmed (who is also an actor) and producer Redinho, dropped into Webster Hall for a sold out show. The night featured Queens-based rapper Anik Khan, DonMonique and Mixpak’s Jubilee and Dre Skull DJing b2b to open up the night. Though Khan was slotted pretty early, a 7:30 start with the headliners supposedly at 10 pm, a lot of people had turned up for the local rapper and his powerful, but brief set really got the crowd moving. Unfortunately an issue with the venue’s sound system followed and the hall was left in silence for nearly 15 minutes as the crew worked to get the audio going so Donmonique could perform a short set of her own.

Around 10 pm, Swet Shop Boys took the stage to applause from a rapturous crowd. Heems gave shoutouts to his hometown audience (he too is from Queens). Not to be outdone, Ahmed earned equal applause when he asked if Wembley (in England) was in the house. The group opened with “Zayn Malik” and moved swiftly through a couple of songs off their debut LP, slowing down a bit at one point to allow Ahmed to put his shoes back on (he was mimicking TSA style security). The group also gave the audience a taste of the new EP, Sufi La, that they’re releasing on Record Store Day, as well as a solo, political rhyme from Ahmed. They wrapped up with crowd favorite “T5″ which they restarted quickly so they could get the audience in on the “Inshallah… martial law” chant. The enthusiasm made them restart it again but third time was the charm as the crowd leapt in the air and shouted along with the band.

Above, check out photos from their show at Webster Hall and below, you’ll find a performance with short interview for The New York Times, the setlist plus a list of remaining tour dates.

This weekend, they’ll be at Coachella (Swet Shop Boys are in our guide to hip hop at Coachella and our Coachella guide for movie & TV fans), and they’ll be part of a conversation at USC after that.

Swet Shop Boys setlist:
Zayn Malik
Shottin’
No Fly List
Shoes Off
Tiger Hologram
Phone Tap
Half Mohgul Half Mowgli
Soup Boys
Sufi La
Need Moor
Aaja
Sour Times
[encore break]
Zombie
Thas My Girl
Benny Lava / Batalvi Medley
Din-e-iLahi
T5

http://www.brooklynvegan.com/swet-shop-boys-webster-hall/#photogallery-1=32

KYLE made a video for “iSpy” (ft. Lil Yachty), played Webster Hall (pics) Read More: KYLE made a video for “iSpy” (ft. Lil Yachty), played Webster Hall – BROOKLYN VEGAN

LA rapper KYLE‘s Lil Yachty collab “iSpy” is a pretty big deal and the song now has a video. Watch below. KYLE has also been touring with Cousin Stizz and that tour hit NYC’s Webster Hall on Friday (4/7). Pictures of that show are in the gallery here.

http://www.brooklynvegan.com/kyle-made-a-video-for-ispy-ft-lil-yachty-played-webster-hall-pics/