Felice Brothers

PART 2 of the Portal of Fun aka | Jamie Hewlett’s Suggestionists Exhibition Reception at The Woodward Gallery NYC June 11, 2016

Pt 2: Tarot

{you can read Pt 1 here}

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Before I take you further into the exhibition, I want to give you a little background about what tarot cards mean to my sister and I, who grew up alongside a deck of them. They were our mother’s, and they were soft and well worn. She had a knack for reading them, and her reputation among her friends was that, more often than not, she made accurate predictions while reading the cards. She never read for money, and she never read for strangers. It was a hobby that was rooted in the spiritual and the psychological, and one that caused my sister and I to do some serious deep thinking while growing up. We also learned the ins and outs of every card and the universal symbolism and meanings of each. My favorite was always the Sun.

But all of this begged questions. What was this ability? Was it real? Lucky guesses? What power do the cards have? Do they have any at all? Was it our mom who had an ability, and not the cards? Was she just really good at being in to touch with people? We learned to accept that we would never know the answer to any of these questions, and that was part of the mystique (though, in tune with people? We know the answer to that is a huge YES). Our mom no longer reads tarot cards anymore (though she still has that same deck), but that aspect of growing up had its fair share in developing inquisitive minds for my sister and I. (I should add, I used to try to read the cards, but almost always failed, getting caught up in the literal too much, perhaps. My sister on the other hand seemed to have shared the tarot gene our mom has). It is through this lens of experience that Ady and I moved forward into the gallery to view Jamie Hewlett’s vision of these iconic images. We had already had a chance to investigate L’ Empereur, La Rove du Fortune, Le Maison Dieu, and the unnamed card XIII up close earlier in the day outside Ghost, where the four hung, harbingers of the remaining 18 cards, and couldn’t wait to see the rest.

We poured over them, each one of the Major Arcana as envisioned through the artistic lens of Jamie Hewlett—silly and sinister, thought provoking, demented and giggle inducing, all at once. Ady and I split up and wandered so that we could, at our own pace, investigate the tarot cards, each one paired with a written interpretation in Jamie’s own words, which were every bit a piece of art in their own right. In fact, I enjoyed reading them just as much as I did viewing them. {And fear not, if you weren’t able to make the exhibit, you can happily view all of them up close here via Jamie Hewlett’s The Suggestionists online}

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With a buzz of excitement, as we and countless other fans reveled in the exhibit, Jamie finally arrived, and drifted about freely, spending time talking to his visitors. But eventually the crowd grew so dense that a queue necessarily formed to give everyone a chance to say hello.

While this was happening, we continued to finish looking at the cards and I found it interesting that Ady and I were both most drawn to the same image, La Force (aka Strength)—in part because of the gorgeous illustration of a white-gowned woman in a funky hat (I want one like that!) fearlessly leading an insane looking lion like it is nothing more intimidating than a docile lap dog—but also because of its corresponding interpretive description.

Le Soleil once again was one that I was particularly drawn to, though each card was full of beauty and meaning. Together all 22 cards that adorned the walls of the gallery made for a festive backdrop in which fans of Jamie’s and of Gorillaz were able browse with the artist at close hand.

Before we were able to finally get our chance to say hello, about an hour into the reception there was some stirring and word got round that Damon Albarn would be arriving imminently. Ady stayed in line and I went over to investigate. Sure enough, a few moments later, with a warm greeting by some of his friends and musical cohorts gathered at the front of the gallery, Damon walked in, and suddenly the two geniuses behind Gorillaz, possessors of relentless talent, were there united together celebrating Jamie’s art.

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I got back in line with Ady and this is how it went. The line we were in to speak to Jamie was split in two for a brief moment amidst the chaos of the excitement, and then finally the two joined up to meet with fans together. During this time while waiting, Ady made the acquaintance of a talented local artist, Kid Lew, who we chatted with about the exhibit and Gorillaz. We offered to take one another’s photos when the time came. By the time they reached us in line, Jamie went for a much needed break, which left us to chat with Damon Albarn.

Regular readers of Sisters Dissonance and friends and family will know what this means to me. I really wasn’t sure what I would do or say to make a fool of myself (card 0, Le Mat, anyone?), or if I would faint (I didn’t!) if this day ever came. Instead, somehow it managed to turn out to be one of the best comedic moments I could have ever hoped to share in meeting one of my heroes (which did not happen when I was reduced to a babbling idiot when I met Mick Jones).

It was pushing 90 degrees in NYC, and while the gallery was well air conditioned, the amount of bodies and the extreme humidity combined to raise the temperature inside. When Damon reached Ady and I, he spun around to grab a water from the reception table, confiding in us that he was extremely overheated. Ady instinctively started fanning him with her exhibit postcard, and since it provided relief, he grabbed the card so he could keep cooling himself. Ady, being Ady, playfully grabbed it back and we offered to fan him while he signed, and I joined in doing the same. We proceeded to fan him on both sides and as we talked he signed our Blur NYC tickets from last October (click here for an insane moment via Instagram that Ady caught of “Trimm Trabb” during that show!) that thankfully never made it back out of my wallet.

As we fanned more and more dramatically, as the poetic moment dawned on me, I jokingly exclaimed to him, “I am literally your fan!” seizing the opportunity to make a pun while also finally finding the right words to express what I had wanted to be able to express to him without sounding like a giant dork. To this he stopped short what he was doing, turned to look at me with a huge Damon-toothy grin and repeated bemusedly, “You literally are my fan!” then, further encouraging the silliness asked Ady and I, “…can we do the photo like that? Keep doing the fan thing.” Kid Lew was thankfully snapping away for us during this entire exchange, resulting in this:

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Jamie by this time returned and resumed his position in line, noting that it was the second time we got bumped from talking to him, but the gallery owner needed to move the line to a different location (it continued to grow as time went on) so she kindly grabbed Ady and I and led us, as she was leading Jamie to a new spot.

Finally! It was our turn. Our conversation with Jamie Hewlett was every bit as fun as the last time we crossed paths with him after the Gorillaz Live on Letterman performance back in October of 2010. As before, he was extremely approachable, witty, and the silliness that bleeds through his artwork is no doubt a genuine reflection of the artist.

Ady and I had talked about how much we both enjoyed reading the written portion of the Tarot exhibit as much as we did viewing the artwork, and we told him this. He seemed very pleased that we had taken notice, saying in all sincerity, “Did you like them? I wrote those,”—as if it were possible that we might not have recognized who the brilliant mind behind them could be!

As a fun side note, while I am sure he probably did not recall meeting us before, I mentioned what he had done to us behind our backs when we had our photo taken with him in 2010 {chronicled here in a prior post, Gorillaz Live On Letterman Odyssey, where we believe we can trace the existence of that thing called the Portal of Fun).

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Shan, Jamie, Ady in 2010

so this is what we ended up with this time.

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It was now Kid Lew’s turn to meet the master and Ady took photos while he did, including this photo of his sketchbook which was graced by both Jamie and Damon.

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As the evening wound down and it approached closing time, we stopped went around the corner of the gallery into the final segment of the exhibit, Honey, a series of saucy faux vintage 70’s style back lit posters for imaginary soft core films, complete with fake titles (Honey puns!) and credits.

It was truly amazing to spend an evening stepping into the mind of Jamie Hewlett and celebrating his artwork.

 

{Coda}

At this point, our story continues when our master of fun, Ady, checked her watch and said, it’s 7:40. Without discussion we hightailed outside and into another portal of fun (a taxi cab this time). Within 20 minutes we found ourselves in an entirely different world at an outdoor music festival, heat still pounding and a threat of rain looming in the air. Conor Oberst was on stage with The Felice Brothers at the Northside Festival and we somehow managed to catch the last two songs.

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They left the stage and we wandered for a moment, then decided to explore Brooklyn on foot. If the night was not already jam-packed with excitement and a flurry of getting to meet heroes, as we walked outside the festival gates and around the corner, we walked smack into Conor Oberst. I offered to take a photo of Ady with him, and she said to him just as I was about to take the photo, “We missed your set!” To which he replied, “Aw, shit!” Then I snapped.

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JHSuggestionists043Thank you Woodward Gallery for a wonderful evening and bringing the Suggestionists exhibition to New York City so we could enjoy it and thank you Jamie Hewlett for sharing your talent and creativity with the world. You have a rabid, loyal following and I know we are all waiting eagerly for what is yet to come as we watch hints of Gorillaz 2017 burbling to the surface!

 

{Click here to view full-size images from this post via slideshow}

 

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Overview | Newport Folk Festival 2013

by Shan
photos by Ady

Deer Tick at their self-hosted after show at Newport Blues Cafe (Sunday)

It’s late Sunday night. Ady and I are at the Newport Blues Cafe for night three of the Deer Tick after parties—which, in addition to being the perfect night cap to the days spent at the Newport Folk Festival, are also a fundraiser for the Newport Festivals Foundation and the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. It’s crowded, elbow to elbow, but without anyone being grumpy about it, a testament to the evening’s mood. Everyone is here to dance and howl and have fun. Ady and I drift around the venue for the four plus hours of the event: downstairs and up, at the bar, at the front of stage, above the stage looking down through the ceiling viewing box, dancing up the steps, all the while exploring, listening and watching from different vantage points. We try to shake up our experience up in any way we can just for the sheer fun of it. I am relaxed and purposely let myself be jostled by the comings and goings of the other patrons, feeling a bit like a tiny ship anchored in rollicking waves, as the sounds from some of our favorite bands rise from the stage. I become curious to see who will randomly bump into me next, because every interaction has thus far proven to be entertaining (even when I am bumped into and spill my beer onto my and the person next to me’s foot). Meanwhile, various members of bands that played at the festival mill around the venue, and everyone comes together in a great big sing-along.

Felice Brothers at the Deer Tick after show, Newport Blues Cafe (Sunday)

Deer TickThe Felice Brothers and other musicians jump on and off stage in various configurations to play for the still music-hungry crowd (this, after three days of non-stop music already ingested at the Festival, as well as the nightly post-Fest after shows). The night ends with Deervana emerging to play “Something In the Way,” leaving me teary-eyed, nostalgic (I won’t give away my age just yet), and then with a sweet “Goodnight Irene” the entire bar seals the envelope of the 2013 Newport Folk Festival in unison.

Even later still as we forage for after-show pizza, Ady and I revisit our second and so very satisfying adventure in beautiful Newport, Rhode Island. It dawns on me as we talk that the feeling of the bobbing ship-in-the-harbor I felt within the microcosm of the Deer Tick after show was precisely the kind of experience we consciously set out to carve out for ourselves on a large scale while at the Newport Folk Festival. We had decided early on, after seeing a jam packed schedule that necessitated cloning or teleportation devices to allow us to be everywhere we wanted to be and when, that we would let go of any sense of urgency trying to accomplish this. Of course we would follow the music and use the schedule to point us to where some of our favorite bands would be to form the overall arc of our experience, but

Ady accidentally meets Hi-Five Guy en route to Lord Huron’s set at the Quad Stage

we also resolved to ramble along and let ourselves be carried away by whim and whimsy and any other unpredictable factors—beckoning sounds emanating from another stage, weather, hunger and hydration levels, Newport Folk Festival app pop up notifications (a must have in bringing that surprise element to the festival, read “Felice Brothers at the family tent in 4 minutes!”), Ady’s brush with Hi Five Guy, and even the cryptic “Look up!” message from Deertick’s twitter account— to heavily influence our decision making.

We fielded curve balls to our plans all weekend long, and we were rewarded at every turn (this is as much thanks to the curators, producers and board of advisers of the Newport Folk Festival and their selection process as it is a testament to the caliber and musicianship level of the artists that are chosen to perform). The music is diverse, yet there is always some silken thread tying every artist to the roots of folk (Beck winning with the most creative tie-in, introducing the synthesizer about to be unleashed for “Loser” as an 80’s folk instrument).

In three days time we, the NFF-goers, took it all in from the three main stages (Harbor, Quad and Fort in order from small to large) and three intimate and very unique environments (Museum stage, which is literally a 90-some seat room with a stage set in an old

Spirit Family Reunion, Quad Stage

Joe Fletcher, Museum Stage during his Nashville to Newport curated show

Amanda Palmer at Paste Ruins (featuring Sennheiser’s sound system)

schoolhouse style building converted to a little museum; the very cool Paste Ruins, literally tucked within the walls of Fort Adams, where artists stroll in for quick 2-3 song sets, with incredible sound engineering by Sennheiser; and the Late July Family Tent hosted by Elizabeth Mitchell with special pop up guests throughout the weekend). In the end, we experienced so much music, so many styles, from so many different bands it felt as though we were handed a mix tape of the highest order.

We are still working our way through our photos and notes from the weekend so that we may document our experiences more in depth. We will continue to share them with you here and on our Facebook and Twitter accounts in the days to come. Meanwhile, many of Ady’s photo sets are already being rolled out in our Flicker gallery, including sets from Spirit Family Reunion and The Felice Brothers at both the Quad Stage and the Late July Family Tent, which you can find via those links.

. . . more to come!

Live Music| Felice Brothers Return to Jim Thorpe, PA 6-22-2013

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There’s no place like home, but there’s also no place like Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania either, especially if the Felice Brothers are in town. For the third year in a row, Ady and I made the voyage to one of the most picturesque, magical and slightly surreal towns we have ever encountered. We almost didn’t make it, but the draw of the Felice Brothers playing there again was too much to resist so we packed up and headed out—me making the multi-hour venture across interstate 80 (aka I-Ady) and she traveling from Philadelphia—to meet up there. Almost exactly six hours from my departure time I rounded the bend of Rt 209 and was swallowed up by the mystic mountainsides and deposited directly into the heart of the oldtimey town populated with antique-lace-curtain adorned brick buildings, scrolling ironwork and people who know how to have fun.

craveI navigated to the beautiful Inn at Jim Thorpe and upon entering our room a familiar hand appeared from behind the door and an emerald green drink, the first of two types on this trip, was foisted upon me. This one was Ady’s green smoothie concoction (non-alcoholic, and YUM!). Fully re-energized by this and our little smorgasbord of road food (our specialty) we headed out in search of the second green drink (alcohol-laden), which is found at Crave, a now pre-show-requisite stop.

Eventually we made our way into the casual party atmosphere of Mauch Chunk Opera House and the Felice Brothers took the stage to an audience rearing to go. James, now a veteran of that stage, welcomed everyone—family and friends, residents and visitors alike—before launching into a short but very sweet set. I have been following the tour through other people’s observations and knew they have been testing out and perfecting new material. By choice I have avoided hearing anything as I wanted a new surprise to my ears when I saw them live again. I am so glad I did! The new tunes flowed and gelled perfectly with the rest of their material and the next album is even more eagerly anticipated!

Highlights of the night included possibly the most powerful version of “I Got What I Need” we’ve heard from James yet (James quickly cast his microphone aside and filled the Opera House with sound au naturel…magnificent); a rip-roaring version of “Penn Station”; Ian taking center stage for a gorgeous solo “Mating of the Doves”; opener “Little Anne”; “Lincoln Continental”! . . . I also remember thinking to myself that in general the quality of vocals—both leads and harmony amongst the band in various configurations—sounded incredibly rehearsed, precise and quite simply fantastic all the way around (this thought was sparked by one song in particular that caused me to notice, however in an unfortunate memory lapse, thanks green fairy, I cannot remember which).

porchOnce again the magic combo of FB’s + JT resulted in the perfect adventure for Ady and I. We capped off the evening with some post show pizza on the porch and a crazy little night jog through the town under the almost Super Moon.

Photos from the show will be added to our flickr account, for now here’s a nice representation to keep everyone happy. I have also included a photograph of the “Weak Danger Man” set list that a gentleman grabbed (thank you for sharing!), I asked to quickly take a photo (apologies for the low quality, I have adjusted the photo a bit to make it a little more readable).

Check out the previous two years!
Felice Brothers Jim Thorpe 2011Felice Brothers Jim Thorpe 2012

setlist

{PS – Cheers to Meghan and Amy for adding to the fun, was so great to see you there!}

{PPS – We missed you Kristi and Cindy!}