BULLIES reading at PPOW 11/9/11

November 2, 2011

BULLIES: A Literary Reading at P.P.O.W.

Address: 535 West 22nd Street, 3rd Floor, Manhattan

Date: Wednesday, November 9, 2011 at 8:00 p.m.

Brontez Purnell is a musician (Younger Lovers), writer (Fag School Zine, Maximum Rock and Roll), and a professional whiskey taster. He resides in sunny Oakland CA, where he is currently penning his first novella, entitled: Johnny, Would You Love Me If My Dick Were Bigger? (Diary of An American Waiter—Bored At Work).

Joseph Whitt is a Brooklyn-based artist, writer and independent curator. His work has been featured in exhibitions and events at various venues (CRG Gallery, Deitch Projects, PPOW, Envoy Enterprises, Starr Space); and his writing has appeared in numerous publications (Art Papers, ArtUS, K48, Useless Magazine). He is currently working on a book titled T.M.I.

Kat Case is a high school English teacher and fiction writer who lives in Manhattan. She wrote a monthly column for the punk magazine Maximum Rock and Roll for five years and published the zine Snapshots for maybe seven. She holds an MFA in Fiction from New College of CA and an MA in Education from CUNY. She is currently working on a novel about a Beat woman artist who kept her dirty underwear in her unplugged freezer and a bunch of short stories that are, frankly, pretty shameless.

Max Steele is a performer and writer. He has presented work at the New Museum, Deitch Projects, Dixon Place, Envoy Enterprises, PPOW Gallery, and the Queens Museum of Art. In addition to writing the psychedelic porno poetry zine Scorcher, his writing has been featured in Dossier Journal, Spank, Philadelphia’s Institute of Contemporary Art, East Village Boys and Birdsong.

Flyer photo by Max Luger.

Facebook link HERE.




Hump Day: These are a few of Kurt Cobain’s favorite things

February 16, 2011

So I had a pretty spiritual experience this weekend listening to this Earth song featuring Kurt Cobain vocals.

Kurt Cobain’s massive popularity and subsequent martyrdom has made him a pretty mythological figure uh no duh doi. So let’s all act like we’re 13 again and only like things that Kurt likes.

1. The movie Over the Edge.

Hey Matt Dillon. Hey that ubiquitous 90s DIY phrase A KID WHO TELLS ON ANOTHER KID IS A DEAD KID.


3. Allegedly, Beat Happening was one of Kurt’s favorite bands. And while we’re talking allegations, a friend told me that Henry Rollins once punch Calvin Johnson in the junk. Same players, different allegation: Apparently Calvin Johnson also said that Beat Happening is way punker than Black Flag. Discuss.

4. DUH.


5. The Raincoats, which anyone who grew up in a small town and obsessively read the liner notes to Incesticide could tell you (me).

6. I’m serious.

But, I mean… How could you not?

7. The song Seasons in the Sun which he used to play as a child, apparently.


8. William S. Burroughs, including this track which he did backing guitar for.

*Thanks Liz!


September 29, 2010

We’ve moved on to fancier digs… check out birdsongmag.com 😀

people like us

September 3, 2010

people like us
carda burke
photocopy on paper, unpaginated (5.5 x 8.5 in.)
queens, new york: self-published, 2008

‘people like us’ — this title can, of course, be read at least two ways: ‘people who are like us’ and ‘people who admire us.’ this zine, as probably most zines, has decidedly more to do with the former. here, ‘people who are like us’ are vague, young figures somewhere (always somewhere, never anywhere) in suburbia whose initial attraction (or at least some formative part of their relationship) to each other might be a shared feeling of ennui. such is the case with the narrator and her best friend, cynthia, when they take on jobs at an uncool, mall record store. predictably, they lift records together; but more importantly, the contraband becomes an object through which their allegiance to each other is performed. choice line: ‘only by forgetting can i see the place as it really is.’


August 27, 2010

zone: we are vaudeville
benjamin shapiro
full color print on paper, handstamped cardstock cover, unpaginated (edition of 50): (5.5 x 8.5 in.)
new york, ny: self-published, 2010

the latest issue of benjamin shapiro’s zone zine, we are vaudeville, is a quiet collection of text and image compiled from six months on tour as a drummer in a band. in these photos, shapiro documents the different ‘zones’ one encounters on the road — each of them unique, but each of them also possessing something of the same quality of liminality. the textual captions provide both biographical detail and a broader context, as shapiro succinctly unravels the history of touring circuits, tracing their development back to vaudeville. there’s a cinematic aspect to the zine itself, not in terms of grandeur, but in the hush that follows taking a seat in a darkened room and precedes the opening of curtains. choice line: ‘at home, i don’t want to talk about it. this can be a very desolate way to live.’

HUMP DAY GRAB BAG: Alternative Alternatives

August 25, 2010

By Max

NOT TO BE A HUGE JERK, but there’s This Pop Singer Who Is Really Famous Right Now and kind of bumming me out. I don’t want to shit-talk cause it’s a total waste of time, but it’s gotten to the point in my life where when people mention how much they love this singer, I feel deep pangs of personal guilt, because it means that the person I’m talking to and I are fundamentally disagreeing on some things. It’s like how in the early 00s (‘member?) sometimes you’d be at a soccer game or the supermarket or a PTA meeting and someone would say nonchalantly that they had voted for Bush, and it would just send up a red flag? It feels like that.

The thing that bugs me about This Pop Singer Who Is Really Famous Right Now is that she purports to be something of a Performance Artist. Now, I’m not going to say that Pop Music and Performance Art are mutually exclusive, but I will say that the kind of Pop Music this singer is making is absolutely antithetical to the goals of performance art. According not only to my, but in fact anybody’s definition of performance art. Performance Art necessarily means something that is expressed / transmitted via (you guessed it!) PERFORMANCE. This Singer’s work is almost always mediated through studio magick, the radio, MTV, YouTube, Fashion Photography, Twitter, etc. It’s deliberately a kind of Art that doesn’t need to be performed live, since it’s readily accessible. Just saying. So when I am getting bugged out about this I figure I can either rage against the dying of the light (incorrect use whatever) or I can offer some alternative to This Pop Singer Who Is Really Famous Right Now. So let’s do that.


Maybe you already know about her. The thing with This Pop Singer Who Is Really Famous Right Now is that she often claims that the biggest misconception about her is that she’s fake, that she’s artificial, and she wants you to know that she is Always Glamorous, Always In Drag, and very Real. OK I’ll bite: BULLSHIT. This video for the title track from Murphy’s second solo album Overpowered plays with a similar idea, in a much more interesting way (I think). The premise of the video is that Murphy’s stage persona never comes off, that she wears her ultra-bizarre high fashion outfit (Courtesy of Gareth Pugh– Murphy was wearing Pugh long before Kylie, Rihanna, Beyoncé, and the Pop Singer In Question) in cafes, on the bus, etc. as a way of juxtaposing the artificial with the real. It makes an interesting comment on the nature of celebrity culture and beauty. Oh also, this came out in 2007.


HAD TO GO THERE. The thing about Kylie Minogue is that she’s world-famous everywhere except for the USA. In most of Europe, she’s more famous than Madonna. Madonna has, for those Europhiles (and American Fags) who have been keeping track, been ripping off Kylie for decades. SO while This Pop Singer Nowadays rips off Madonna, she’s actually not even citing the Minogue sources. The almost-Goth, sort of vaguely “dark” aesthetic that This Pop Singer employs was much better used, again in 2007, by Kylie in the video for “2 Hearts”. Other than the fact that this song and video are excellent, the fact that the shiny skull is a reference to Alexander McQueen, the skull itself was actually a symbol of triumph. When this video came out, it was the lead single from Kylie’s “comeback” album X. Comeback, I mean, from breast cancer. Kylie has an authentic right to glamorize the macabre because unlike the Pop Singer Nowadays, who’s whole shtick is utterly devoid of anything involving “the real world” or “obscurity”, when Kylie released this video, singing into a skull microphone, she has just beaten Death. Top that.


It’s no secret that I love Grace Jones. I listen her every single day and she is a totally guiding force in my life. It is with no small amount of disappointment that I continually see This Pop Singer referencing her work. Grace Jones’ eccentricity is best exemplified by the video above (total. personal. anthem.) Unlike the current Pop Singer, who equates randomness and embellishment with intellectual weight, this video shows Grace in what appears to be her natural habitat, running from Keith Haring’s studio to the wardrobe closet to the chiropractor. The message here is that even with this totally unsustainable, unreal level of glamour, she is able to look directly to the camera and sing a love song. The layers of artifice serve to create a distance which the song’s message ostensibly crosses, rather than simply mask the singer’s face. Grace wants you to know that you and her are meant to be.


Look, one of the things that I don’t understand about This Pop Singer, is how she simultaneously seems to be singing about her “feelings” while denying any trace of actual human emotion. She is bloodless. Does pop music have to be this way? Not if Robyn has anything to say about it. The marriage of a human heart and a dance beat may sound strange on paper, but with Robyn it makes perfect sense.


Thought it’d be nice to have a non-girl, non-superstar in the mix. Toronto’s Diamond Rings proves that you can do really cool interesting pop music without a multimillion dollar budget. Look, even Kathleen Hanna is a fan. That ought to be enough. This video is really cool and proves that really, real people can and do succeed at aspiring to glamour and art. Who needs a custom haute couture outfit? Just put a sexy kid in a Karl Lagerfeld t-shirt. Signify, baby. This is what postmodernism ACTUALLY looks like.

So whatever. These are some things you can listen to and watch instead. Check them out.

Stay dry, America. Stay motherfucking dry.

How Are You Feeling Today?

August 23, 2010

by Tommy

Cos I’m feeling great. No seriously, and naturally. This past Saturday was the release party for birdsong #13 at Rose Live Music in Brooklyn.  We read some things, sold some zines, I got to reference that Roseanne/Ab Fab crossover, PAPS made everyone cry (god, “Sometimes” is like the best song in the Universe [it plays toward the end of the video]), Wilkes talked about w33d and a story where a sparrow named Jack is getting surgery to appear more human I mean– we have it going on. And now, starting the birdsong publication cycle over has made me realize there are some loose ends to tie up and new beginnings to mention.


Mainly I’ve been using it to visually catalogue where stickers of ours have popped up

and where our publications have made themselves available,

but I also have a different intention.  With birdsong #12, I made a bunch of postcards, addressed them to the Birdsong HQ, stuck each one with a stamparooni, and began leaving them around neighborhood cafes, inside books at The Strand, against bathroom windows, inside refrigerators.  I also had friends in Philly, San Francisco, LA, San Diego and Seattle leave them around for me.  The postcards simply say, “How Are You Feeling Today?” leaving the rest up to the discoverer.  I’m sure many got lost in the mail, thrown away, or still sit in the books, BUT.  A few made it back to me, and starting today I’m going to publish them on a regular M/W/F schedule on the tumblr until I run out of lovelies.  Here’s the front of them:

The first polaroid is of a brick wall that used to say “DO NOT FALL IN LOVE” but is now washed clean (and a pet grooming store!).  The second is a polaroid from 2007 when I lived with Isabelle and Sav, in a windowless room in an apartment Max lovingly named “Pussy Heaven.” The guy sitting is Jesse Benjamin (who created the buzzing animated series Nature Boy) and the hands belong to Jess Paps.  There is a painting of a pug, a picture of John Travolta from Saturday Night Fever, Mondonna in her “Italians Do It Better” t-shirt, and a poster of Janis Joplin (amongst other ephemera).  The back says, “birdsong year 2.”

SO follow us on tumblr and see results of all the casting.


L Magazine contributing editor and birdsong contributor Paul D’Agostino also operates the Centotto gallery, which is now housing Citational Graphologies or A Show of Hands, and they are still open to submissions:

Select a quote, in any language and from any source — book or film, song or speech, periodical or website, or even something you’ve heard uttered by a stranger in passing — write it out BY HAND on any sort of piece of paper, scrap or not, noting the source and your name, and send it via post to Centotto or bring it to one of our events. Submissions from any and all will be welcome, and all will be exhibited.

You can see some of the entries they’ve already received here, and it’s a good addition to yr CV!


Birdsong fave Erin Markey will be performing this coming Wednesday for Our Hit Parade at Joe’s Pub @ 9:30 pm (you can get tickets here).  This Thursday Max will read some poems for a night of contemporary poetry and music at A Gathering of Tribes, with other local literary luminaries like Chavisa Woods, Gian Maria Annovi, and Tiq Milan, with Maria Gran on sax– 6 pm.