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.



June 21, 2010

by Tommy

TODAY IS THE FIRST OFFICIAL DAY OF SUMMER!!! aka it’s fucking hot.  Tho whenever I question my skepticism of air conditioning, I remember the #4 bullet point on Aretha Franklin’s contract rider, “AIR CONDITIONING,” which reads:

All air conditioning vents must be turned off or taped shut, to prevent and cold air from flowing into Aretha Franklin’s dressing room.  In addition, all vents from Ms. Franklin’s dressing room, backstage area and stage and in the venue, must be turned off at least one hour prior to Ms. Franklin’s scheduled rehearsal and performance times.

I mean, the Queen knows.  Speaking of the Queen, as at any given time of the day I probably am, remember “A Rose is Still a Rose”?  Aretha taking all heartbroken women into her (bountiful) garden/bosom?  Not-so-thinly-veiled vaginal metaphors?  Lauryn Hill?  Let me refresh yr memory:

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaand with that empowering number, on to the week.

Monday June 21

Tonight, birdsong babes PAPS are playing Death By Audio with Baby Alpaca— speaking of people who will welcome you into a Garden of Eden.  Look for me in the front row swaying like whiskey and hugging myself I TOTALLY LOSE MY SHIT everytime they play “Sometimes.”  I’m trying to convince Jess to make this pic the cover of their single (via my brand new tumblr):

Soma Time

Tuesday June 22

oh hai its me matthew

Former birdsong Five On It interviewee slash five-alarm-hottie Matthew Hittinger is reading some poems with Stephen Motika and Michael Montlack for the Gay & Lesbian Center’s “Center Voices” series.  You can read one of Matthew’s poems here (which I chose for the L Magazines online poetry section #editor).

The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center, 208 W 13th St NY NY, 6pm-9pm, FREE

Wenesday June 23

the operative word here is "wood"

So at a party this weekend I finally met the boys of Mirror Mirror, whose music I lovingly genre’d “incantatory rock,” and who(m?) I was able to interview for our new newsprint publication BRD SNG.  They were both super fucking nice, frontman David Riley was WEARING OUT the party in these high heel black strappies, and his band mate Ryan Lucero was pretty touchy-feely and I LOVED EVERY SECOND OF IT OH MY GOD– as birdsong publicity guru Chantal Johnson famously put it, we live in a touch deprived society. Aretha Franklin, A Rose is Still A Rose.  Tonight Mirror Mirror are playing for Robert Melee’s Talent Show at the Kitchen in Chelsea.  It’s both Wednesday and Thursday, and you can get tickets here.

the Kitchen NYC, 512 West 19th Street NY NY, 8pm, $13.99

Thursday June 24

Once, I erroneously said that there are only two places I want to be in the summertime in NYC: on someone’s rooftop or in someone’s backyard.  I forgot one thing– watching a movie outside at night preferably on a gigantic screen.  When I first moved to Williamsburg, they used to show movies at McCarren pool (before they found a dead body in a shed) so watching movies outside makes me nostalgic for my first year here.  And grisly murders. Thursdays screen on the Brooklyn Bridge, and this week is Rear Window.  You can find a schedule for the rest of the summer here.

Under the Brooklyn Bridge, movies start at sundown, FREE

some loveless family

Sunday June 27

just listenin 2 some tunez

My other favorite band, Little Victory, has been playing a lot of shows recently slash they are going to be famous soon slash I am an unceremonious groupie (J/K I love ceremonies) so they’re stuck with me now.  Tonight they are playing the debut of Phoenix bar’s music series (apparently they set up a stage in there) with MKNG FRNDZ (my other, other favorite band I mean guys srsly Tami Hart has one of the best voices in America), with Horoscope and Skeleton Head.

The Phoenix, 447 East 13th Street NY NY, 5pm-10pm FREE


June 7, 2010

by Tommy

Thanks everyone who came out to Bushwick Open Studios this weekend, and to Vol 1 and Slice Magazine, who let us take part in the BOS zine fair. We met a lot of fellow zinesters/independent publishers and and a lot of generally curious people who walked in on a whim. Tabling took a lot more out of me than I realized (all that socializing and pep) and at the beginning of the season I always underestimate the physical toll of the heat/humidity– so this morning I definitely had to remind myself that water goes in the coffee maker before you press brew. #mondays #whatsthatsmell

u lyke my sliperzzzzzz

Also, I had yet to officially announce this on the blog, but you should know what we at the Birdsong HQ are holding a writing contest for our Winter 2010 issue.  $50, publication in birdsong #14 and a featured spot in our December reading series awaits one short (less than 1500 words) prose piece and one poem.  We’re changing things around, publishing the zine just three times a year– but laying it out in InDesgin (instead of Word), printing the art in full color (instead of photocopying it), and screenprinting the covers.  The deadline is October 1st, and the details can be found here. And on to the week.

Monday, June 7 (tonight!)

Little Victory is playing tonight and I don’t think I can top my blurb from before, so I’ll just reiterate: they “make fun music that sounds like jumping on the hood of a purple Impala while spray painting Newt Gingrich’s leathery face.” Yup.

Bruar Falls, 245 Grand St., 10pm free

Thursday, June 10

This is where the week gets a little busy. Tonight, birdsong contributing editor Lauren Wilkinson is a judge at the L Magazine’s 3rd (and final) semi-final round of the Literary Upstart Short Fiction Competition. Here’s a photo from the last one, where a birdsong face-off ensued during the literary trivia round.

birdsong videographer Diego Medina vs publicity maven Chantal Johnson. It's you-know-what is crooked.

and here we are, deep-dishing/I’m clutching my pearls.

C: "it engorged" T: "oh dear!" D: "tell me moreeee"

and Lauren, getting her judge on.

Three men and a rude baby

ALSO!!! that night, and closeby,  birdsong‘s  favorite band PAPS plays Mercy Choir’s CD release party.  I just heard their new song and it’s the SHIIIIIT, it just keeps getting better and better.  I know I’ve posted this before but I love it so who cares, here is a really great video of PAPS (shot by Diego) at the release party for Max Steele’s Scorcher #5

Lit Upstart- Spike Hill, 184 + 186 Bedford Ave, 7pm
PAPS for Mercy Choir- Bar Matchless, 557 Manhattan Ave, 8pm

This Weekend: Hillstock 2010: a D.I.Y. Music Festival

This weekend you should definitely check out the Hillstock Music Festival.  Like BOS, there are a lot of different shows at different venues around Brooklyn, including rooftop picnics and backyard BBQs (clearly the only place you want to be in the summertime), so check out the schedule.  And come see PAPS play the roof (they go on around 7:30pm).  T’will be on fire.

PAPS @ the singer/songwriter rooftop picnic, Sunday June 13 7:30pm, 967 Bergen St.

Cry, The Beloved Update

May 5, 2010

Just a couple quick updates 4 ya–

1. Frequent birdsong contributing artist Michelle Yu (whose website has the tagline, “if you liked the pond you shoulda put a duck on it”-swoon-) has some images published in the most recent issue of New American Paintings, #87, MFA Annual.  She is also in the Parsons MFA Thesis Show at The Kitchen (directions here).  The opening will be held on Thursday 5/13 from 6-9 PM, but show will be up through Saturday 5/22.

2.  Birdsong videographer Diego Medina just shot and edited this sweet video of PAPS playing last month at Max Steele’s Scorcher #5 release party.  PAPS will be playing next Thursday May 13th at Pete’s Candy Store at 9pm (big ups, baby) before playing the birdsong 12 release party at 3rd Ward on Friday the 14th.

birdsong #12- the issue and the event

April 22, 2010

First things first, WE FINISHED BIRDSONG 12 finally.  It’s been a long, hard road, but there are lots of improvements and shiny things.  The guts got a facelift, thanks to InDesign and Catprint, and the cover was deliciously silkscreened by Gabe “The Babe” Cohen of the Bread & Butter Collective at Flux Factory and hand-stamped by Daniel Portland and I.   Speaking of Danny, many many thanks go to the editors (because we have a new, fancy masthead): managing editor, the aforementioned DP, and contributing editors Roy Pérez and Lauren Wilkinson.  The issue features writing and art from the Birdsong Collective and interviews with artist/theorist Seth Kim-Cohen, poet Thomas Moore, fellow zinester Aaron Lake Smith, videomaker/artist Joshua Thorson, and poet/playwright Rodrigo Toscano.  There’s also a nifty “birdsong year 2″ postcard, buttons and stickers, and all of it wrapped nicely in glassine.  You can order via Paypal here, for 6 bucks plus $1 for S&H.  There’s also a small quantity of the bare-bones, xeroxed copies available for free for a limited time.  But I think you’ll want the printed version.  If you asked me.

AAAAAAAAAANDthe reading/release party!!!

with a smattering of short readings from the BIRDSONG COLLECTIVE and (in honor of our second year) TWO count em TWO guest readers, author of GIRLS TO THE FRONT: the true story of the riot grrrl revolutionSARA MARCUS and Edinburgh author ALEXANDER CHEE!!!

with a set by that gritty folk duo you’ve heard so much about, darlings of the New Yorker– PAPS

Hosted by (me) Tommy Pico and there will probably be free red red wine because who doesn’t look better with a little color in their teeth?

FRIDAY May 14th 8pm at 3rd Ward, 573 Metropolitan Ave @ Lorimer, steps from the Lorimer L stop. Be there or be scared. justkidding

Weekly Roundup

April 16, 2010

So there’s a few goings on and what-had-happened’s by some Birdsongers that you should be aware of.

Sometime birdsong artist and all around nice guy Will Varner, who basically illustrated the birdsong #11 release party at 3rd Ward, has a drawing in the latest issue of Nylon Guys.  It’s this ominous western drawing that I’m pretty sure is for a video game–

The Scorcher #5 zine release party last Saturday went smashingly, I mean we got smashed.  Written by Max Steele and published by Birdsong Micropress, it’s a zine about “Kissing Practice, Coded Love Letters, Feline Fantasies, Pornoscopes and Mnemonic Sex Toys. Billy Cheer’s guide to romance.”  You can see pics of the event up here, there’s a really awesome article on Max in Time Out New York, and you can order a copy of the zine here!

PAPS has two shows coming up right away!  TONIGHT at Vox Pop, which was mentioned in this sweet New Yorker blurb (and we were, too!), and tomorrow at Silent Barn.

Vox Pop – 8pm
1022 Cortelyou Road, Brooklyn NY
718 940 2084
(Directions here)

Silent Barn
915 Wyckoff Ave, Ridgewood NY
Halsey L stop
(Directions here)

Aaaaaand last but not least, you can now read Cathy Chung’s story on the Granta website, and it’s fantastic, emotional, gut wrenching, riboflavin.

happy weekend….

Simply Frump Day

March 26, 2010

by Tommy

Dear New York: I’m back   -_-

This might come as a shock to most people, but San Diego is pretty damn simple compared to the Big Apple.  I’ve only been back a couple days and already my dark circles filled back in (thanks for the drum n bass, neighbors), I’ve had some hand-wringingly awkward conversation with an ex on the street, and nearly saw Wilkes punch a stumbling-drunk stranger in the jowls at 1:30 AM for walking up to us and saying, “White man… black woman…” She took off after him and all I heard was “HEY, FUCK YOU He’s not white and we’re not together…” or something to that.

Foreshadowing the crazy (STORY TIME):  A passenger on my NYC-bound plane decided to act up/shout racial slurs/be a misogynist and eventually we had to taxi back to the gate and air marshals ejected him from the flight.  Because of some malarkey he told the agents (I think he said someone was smuggling weapons or something) our near-full 140 passenger flight had to de-plane and be re-screened at the security checkpoint.  Then the plane had to be searched. If you’ve ever tried to wrangle people together for dinner or karaoke or whatever, even getting five of them to do some shit is hard. Imagine 140- some of them children, some of them old people, one of them a mumbling mess of tie-dye and space cake cos he’d taken his plane-vicodin a little early.

Read the rest of this entry »