Posts Tagged ‘susan hwang’

Relastics are back in January

October 29, 2023

So… We’re getting the band back together! Well, we got the band together a couple weeks ago to play our first full set in nine years at Bowery Electric, invited by our friends Jim Andralis and The Syntonics and Larry Krone.

It was kind of a dream, as you can see from the gif/animation thing above.. a fuscia dream, but still a dream. This must be what is called “living the dream.”

We are dreaming again:

January 13th (7pm Relastics s / 8pm Julie and The Dad)
Rockwood Music Hall
196 Allen st.
NYC

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a cake. a croissant.

July 2, 2023

I woke up and thought of the video I made the other day. I felt satisfaction. I felt satisfaction just on having made this thing that wasn’t there before. A song. A video. This feeling was there–feeling good about this new thing, and it was separate from whether this new thing would be seen by anyone. I mean, Virlana saw it, because she commissioned it and uploaded it to the Yara sites. I might send the link to Joie. But the pleasure in making this thing exists independently of whether anyone sees it.

And then, I felt pleasure noticing this pleasure. I looked at the pleasure and thought, “That’s so cool” — which is technically another pleasure.

A pleasure on top of another pleasure. That’s a double layer cake right there. What happens if you keep finding layers upon layers… you get a croissant, which is its own realm of multi-dimensional pleasure and proof that humanity may not be all bad.

This is the video. The song’s lyrics are a poem by Ukrainian poet Oksana Zabuzhko — “DESPITE IT ALL IT WAS YOU I LOVED…” translated by Wanda Phipps and Virlana Tkacz.

Here is another video I did in the winter of last year. Keeping up with the posting.. I have to be more people to do that and make the stuff to post. There is pleasure in posting. Hey! That’s another layer! Getting closer to that croissant… mmm.. croissants.

My folks don’t know I made this… shhh! My mother hates social media.

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Banned Books Week: An artist residency at the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library

September 20, 2022

I’ll be joining fellow songwriters for Bushwick Book Club: Charlie Nieland, spiritchild, Patricia Santos and Thomas Teller in Indianapolis (not my first time!) 9/25-10/1 for an anti-censorship experiment at the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library. We’ll be living in the museum and writing songs all week in response to banned literature and performing the songs live at the end of the week. We talked with Chris LaFave of KVML in this interview that we’ve released as Episode 13 of The Bushwick Book Club Podcast. Take a listen! (It’s on iTunes too if you want.)

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“Use Me”

August 6, 2022

I’m posting this because it was satisfying on all kinds of levels to sing this song for this occasion with these people. Kurt Vonnegut was a humanist, and what always comes through in his writing for me is his compassion for the species. He feels sorry for us, because we have the capacity to love, and we want to be loved, but we fuck up. A lot. One of the ideas expressed in SIRENS OF TITAN is that the only thing humans are here to do is to love whoever there is to love. That’s it.

At the premiere of Bmore/DC Bushwick Book Club, spearheaded by Sea Griffin, there were all these incredible, talented, creative, fearless artists who created inspired pieces for this kick-off show and the audience who came to witness these new creations and birth a new chapter of BBC with us. There were these exquisite people to love, and half of them were on stage with me playing and singing the song I had written.

I grew up in Maryland outside D.C., and I lived in Mt. Pleasant just after college. This is where I learned the blues with Howie Feinstein and gospel with Jackie Stevens. When I first began singing blues in public, I couldn’t have anyone in the audience there that I knew. It was something I had to do, but it was also so beyond whatever I knew my identity to be, that I couldn’t have anyone who knew me in another context lay eyes on me as I did this scary thing that I could not keep myself from doing.

So to be in my home town singing with all these gorgeous, sensitive and extremely fun people––well, it meant something to this girl who was brought up to… to… do anything but perform in public.

I know it doesn’t seem like a big deal. It’s like, so what, there’s a stage, you’re on it.. okay. But really, you ask any other Korean immigrant girl whose mom became a Jehovah’s Witness once they got to America, and she’ll understand what I mean. I not only did the thing I was never supposed to do, I’m still doing it.

Thank you to everyone at the beautiful BMORE/DC BBC kick-off for being there to be loved and for using me.

“Use Me” by Susan Hwang, inspired by SIRENS OF TITAN by Kurt Vonnegut
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A video, a Side Dish, a song about a book. Edgar Oliver. Summer, psilocybin, songs.

July 3, 2022

Actually, there’s no psilocybin. I mean, there is. In my refrigerator. But in the title, it’s just there for alliterative effect.

There is, however, this video I just cut from the live stream footage from the latest SIDE DISH at Barbès. SIDE DISH is one of my favorite new things I started this year because it’s on a Sunday afternoon in one of my very favorite performance spaces in NYC/Brooklyn, Barbès. It’s laid back; it can be whatever it wants to be; and it ends before sundown.

This particular show was extra sweet for many reasons. It was Ralph’s last show in the western hemisphere before he heads to Far East Asia for a few months. We played the first SIDE DISH together after we became fast musical friends last winter.

Also, we got to bring friends Anthony Coleman (piano) and J Granelli (bass) to the stage with us which just added dimensions and realms to the music. It felt like an alternate reality to me. Reality shmeality. It was dreams coming true; I’ll tell you that much.

The song was written for the Bushwick Book Club event for Edgar Oliver that happened at Caveat earlier in the month. Holy. What a month.

You know it’s a good month if you start it with a nose dive into the gorgeous work of poet, playwright, actor Edgar Oliver and end it with a string of shows at Barbès with my favorite songwriters and musicians including Don Rauf, Jackson Pinks, Ralph Denzer, Anthony Coleman and J Granelli.

Also come on… Trout and Edgar Oliver.

Trout and Edgar at the BBC afterparty at my house.

Oh, and here’s this great review of the Bushwick Book Club/Edgar Oliver show from writer Maux Kelly:

https://bscenezine.com/bszlog/the-living-theater-lives-on

Okay, so the songs from that night are out there and growing and eating snacks and making friends. Mine just learned how to ride a bicycle. My how the time flies.

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Summer

July 28, 2021

Is it boring to talk about the weather? Is it mundane to mention the seasons? I don’t know, sometimes boring is great. Sometimes boring is just what you need, and it takes a lot for me to say that, with my general stance since I was born being that everything should be fun all the time. But I’m thinking now that there’s fun even in boredom. See those threads of fun in the fabric of boredom? What a trick.

It’s been kinda an explosion of extroversion. I was not exactly ready for it, but I think I did okay. Remember that first “party” where it was everybody’s first time in a room with other people, and you were all trying to remember how to socialize? Everyone felt conversationally clumsy. I was all thumbs. My friend Virlana said she was having trouble discerning whether she had just spoken a thought aloud or not. Boy, was it thrilling just to feel that awkward. With people.

Ooo. I’m just realizing that you need people for awkwardness at all. I mean, you can’t feel awkward alone. Can you? So “social awkwardness” is redundant. There might not be such a thing as solitary awkwardness. At least I hope not.

Other thrilling (and somewhat awkward) things in my book:

Released this video for Yara Arts with lyrics from Serhiy Zhadan’s poem “Psalm to Aviation #58.” And thanks “Ukrainian Weekly” for covering the release event in this article by Olena Jennings!

And Lila Eaton, the daughter of my best friend from freshman year at college, was here with her TRUMPET and learned the parts *that day* to perform at the release with me and Marlon! Omg. Trumpet dreams do come true.

Lila Eaton on trumpet and Susan Hwang on accordion at the video release event for "Psalm to Aviation 58" based on the poem by Serhiy Zhadan.  The release event included live performances from Susan Hwang with Marlon Cherry on percussion and Lila Eaton on trumpet.
Susan Hwang on accordion. Lila Eaton on trumpet. Marlon Cherry on percussion and backing vocals (not pictured). Photo by Bob Krasner.
Marlon Cherry and me performing the first part of the release event outside on the stoop! Photo by Bob Krasner

Journalist and photographer Bob Krasner also covered Bushwick Book Club‘s first in-person and live streamed event for AM New York. It was a creative feast and a much needed, heartening gathering of artists, musicians and author. I would describe that show for Brandy Schillace’s Mr. Humble & Dr. Butcher as spectacular and deeply satisfying, and Bob’s article really caught the moment and all the layers of meaning in the article and photos.

Okay THEN… Bushwick Book Club presented our first stage at the Porchstomp music festival on Governor’s Island. Here’s some of the documenting I was able to do:

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New music video and music on the stoop with Marlon, Charlie and Penny Arcade.

January 18, 2021

There’s music happening. It’s in multi-dimensional realms with mythical creatures like in the new music video for Charlie’s TIGHTROPE. It’s also right here on the stoop in the East Village with special guest drop-ins like the magnetic irresistible Penny Arcade coming up to sing a few songs.

I’ll include the video clips here, and just so you know, there will be a live stream on January 23rd for 7MPR Dance Company on Facebook. Plus, the first Bushwick Book Club live stream of 2021 is coming February 13th for Kurt Vonnegut’s TIMEQUAKE. There are incredible songwriters chomping at the bit for this! Or rather, they’re chewing their Vonnegut and turning every bite into brand new literary-song GOLD!

The amazing video by B.A. Miale for Charlie Nieland’s song TIGHTROPE.

On the stoop for Accordion Fridays:

Getting ready to go down to the stoop!

It was great to have Penny Arcade there to do a cover of Marlon Cherry’s “Just How Beautiful (You Are)” with Marlon on percussion. She sang to all of 2nd Avenue… when she performs, she opens all of her heart. I felt like she was extending her love to everyone who passed the whole city of course. It was exciting to have her be our special guest for the live stream.

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Lusterlit on the West Coast and The Times

October 31, 2016

I’m in Mia’s apartment on the opposite coast.  My pajamas are the same, but I listened to a completely different set of neighbors having sex this morning (why do neighbors come in sets, like legos?), and it made me miss my lovely Bushwick neighbors.  I don’t know why it’s preferable to wake up to their sex noises as opposed to these perfectly nice strangers.  Maybe it’s just bias for the familiar.  However, I’m not here for the familiar, although I am to a degree.  The familiar that I’m here for is the playing and making of songs with my Lusterlit bandmate, Charlie Nieland.  The unfamiliar part is the West Coast.  It smells different out here.  So different.  I was just texting this morning about it with my friend, filmmaker Lisa Barnstone who is in Finland with her son as he listens to the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra rehearse what he wrote for a performance Tuesday of new work from composers who happen to be in the fifth grade. She likes the smells of San Francisco too… I was saying that I wish we could record smells like we do songs and sounds…  We could make smell-notes to ourselves.  Next iphone.  Smell symphonies… holy cow.  A whole new medium of art.  Storytelling through our noses.  Yikes.  I’m getting excited.

I’m also excited because I’m in print!  It hasn’t happened too much before.  I don’t know how I feel about it, but I suppose it doesn’t matter (how I feel).  The bottom line is, here’s the print, and the fun thing is buying the magazine at the counter at the airport and opening it up and getting to tell the cashier, “Hey!  look!  That’s me!”  And she was happy for me and impressed.  The important thing is that Bernice got a kick out of it…

Me and Bernice sharing a moment at 6:30am at JFK.
fullsizerender-11And there’s more online but here’s the spread for the Sunday NYTimes Magazine.  My friend Alison took this one.  She stills gets that delivered on the weekend.  Like it’s 1995 or something.  I like old school values too though.
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AND… look, there was a rainbow outside the book store waiting for us and our first show at ADOBE BOOKS on our LUSTERLIT Bushwick Book Club West Coast Tour!

fullsizerender-7My friend Lisa pointed out that this photo looks “fake as s***.”  That’s the filter I used–it’s called “Fake As S***” or “HDR.”  But really, a double rainbow, and it smells good here.

And I got to meet up with Mia and meet her friend Hawa who were just gorgeous and opened up and spread their gorgeous around the room until we were all filled with it and we became so good looking we didn’t recognize each other but still appreciated it and the sharing of ideas and feeling.  That’s what happens when you play songs about books.  I’m telling you.

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fullsizerender-9Find out about all our tour dates here:

https://www.facebook.com/events/907566202681474/

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RELEASE – Songs about books this WEDNESDAY at HiFi!!!!

September 27, 2016

You know, you write some songs about books, and they seem innocent enough, but then they gain life and become their own sentient beings, and they demand things like videos where all your friends jump naked into a pool.  Or they want to be played all the time and then recorded, and then they want other songs about books to hang out with and soon you have a whole album (or EP), and then that album wants to be released, so you’ve got to have art and a party.  And then they want keys to the car and they’re trying on your clothes.  It’s a spiral.. downward, upward, outward….

reading-4

You’re invited to the party–the party that songs about books wanted–on Wednesday, September 28th at HiFi in the East Village.  Producer and musician/songwriter, Charlie Nieland and I are playing as our new, lit-based duo, Lusterlit.  He’s got an incredible album of songs written for Bushwick Book Club too that begged for this party.  And we’re partying with the awesome singer/songwriter, Jessie Kilguss, who is also releasing her recording of BBC songs.  AND we’re having special guest performances from BBC contributors Sweet Soubrette, Casey Holford, Pearl Rhein and John S. Hall.  That’s the thing about songs about books–they’re very social.  They’re like 20 year olds–they’re all about their friends and hanging out.  Everybody dates everybody; it gets incestuous.  I mean, if you’ve never hung out with songs about books, you’ll see what I mean Wednesday night.  We’re all backing each other up on our songs, switching instruments and harmonies all night!  And then we’ll get pizza… metaphorically.  I’m still actually in my forties, and I’m lactose intolerant.

Here’s the video for the book-inspired song party!

Here are the details again:

Wednesday, September 28th, 7:30-10:30pm
HiFi
169 Ave. A
NYC

Here’s the video made by Charlie Nieland for one of my frisky songs to be released on my Vonnegut-inspired EP EVERYTHING IS SATEEN.

EUPHIO – Noise from the Void

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Triple A Trixie in Rouyn Noranda

November 7, 2014

Am I over my October performance art tour of Canada?  No.  No I am not.

Here are some more pictures.  Look, Leslie is green.  It’s the magic of theater.  We are in our world created by the loving and genius hands of Julie Lamendola as we sing Leslie’s song “Sleep.”

09_Triple_A_Trixie_photo®Christian Leduc

10_Triple_A_Trixie_photo®Christian LeducAnd Genevieve with her monologue in the song “V-JJ” that I wrote initially for Bushwick Book Club presents Philip Roth.  It was her improvised vagina monologue.  She initially wasn’t going to talk about her vagina but vaginas in general since her mom was in the audience that night, but in the end, she decided to talk about her vagina after-all.  Her mom was okay.  She knows her daughter has a vagina.

AND… here we are at the finale.  Julie Lamendola’s interpretive vaginal dance.

11_Triple_A_Trixie_photo®Christian LeducIt was the closer.  I mean, where do you go from that.  You go and have a drink and call it a night…  You might want to sigh and digest your feelings, maybe mull it over with fellow spectators, maybe dance, shake it out, let it move through your body, your glorious body that is yours alone to experience the world with.  But that’s about it.

Way to be, Rouyn-Noranda.  Thanks for having us.  You know how to make a vagina feel received.

Photos by Christian Luduc.

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© Susan Hwang 2017. Photo: Carrie Jordan, ShotsByCarrieLou.com. Site design by Billkwando@yahoo.com