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B. DOLAN Tours the UK, IRL, EU this September!

The tickets are booked, the merch is shipped, and the set is coming together.  We’ve got incredible surprises lined up for folks on this tour,  including a number of guest appearances and once in a lifetime collaborations along the way.  Dan Le Sac & Buddy Peace are two producers I’ve been working intensely with in the past year, and the new material I’ve produced with both of them is about to be rolled out for the first time in a major way.  Couldn’t be more excited, and couldn’t pick a better audience than the UK to kick things off.

Let’s get bloody.

First, a pair of opening sets:

SEP 3 – ICELAND - w/ SAGE FRANCIS at at Sodoma www.midi.is

Pre-sale tix at http://midi.is/tonleikar/1/6560/

SEP 6 – MANCHESTER, UK w/ DAN LE SAC VS. SCROOBIUS PIP

Pre-sale tix at https://www.hmvtickets.co/performances/8290/book?REFID=MAMA_RITZWEB

http://www.ticketmaster.co.uk/event/1F0046BA94965A7C?camefrom=CFC_UK_MAMA_RITZ

Then, tour begins with @Bestival, where I’ll be performing two sets alongside such acts as Public Enemy, Bjork, The Cure, Diplo, Odd Future, Crystal Castles, PJ Harvey, Pendulum, Dan le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip, and about a trillion others.  Details for the festival are at www.Bestival.net, and the specifics for my performances during the weekend are as follows:

SEP 8 – ISLE OF WIGHT, UK – BESTIVAL

4:30-5pm SPOKEN WORD SET @ SATIN LIZARD LOUNGE

Later that evening, TBA: PREMIER OF FULL MUSICAL SET w/ DAN LE SAC & BUDDY PEACE @ POLKA TENT.  GUESTS TBA.

After Bestival, we’ll continue to roll across the UK.  With Dan and Buddy both providing solo sets before joining me as a ‘backing band’ for a full length, brand new headlining set.

CLICK THE DATE FOR TICKET BUY LINKS, WHERE AVALIABLE:

SEP 12 – LONDON, UK – CAMP

SEP 14 – GLASGOW, SCOTLAND – THE ARCHES

SEP 15 – BRISTOL, UK – THE FLEECE

SEP 16 – BRIGHTON, UK – THE HAUNT

SEP 17 – DUBLIN, IRELAND – WHELANS

SEP 18 – GALWAY, IRELAND - ROISIN DUBH

SEP 19 – BIRMINGHAM, UK – HARES & HOUNDS

SEP 20 – LINCOLN, UK – DUKE OF WELLINGTON

EUROPEAN SOLO DATES (B. DOLAN ONLY):

SEP 22 – HAMBURG, GERMANY – HAFENKLANG

SEP 24 – LEIPZIG, GERMANY – ZORO FEST

SEP 27 – BERLIN, GERMANY – CASSIOPEIA

SEP 29 – PRAGUE, CZ – 007

SEP 30 – LJUBJANA, SLOVAKIA – GALAHALA

OCT 1 – BERN, SWITZERLAND – DACHSTOCK REITSHULE

OCT 5 – LITHUANIA – SPOKEN WORD @ TARP FESTIVAL, DETAILS TBA

As always, BDOLAN.NET will stay current with shows as they are added, and I look forward to seeing you all out in the bush.  Here we go again.

<3,

b

 

 

 

 

Aug 23

The Matthew Rucker Incident

Briefly Revisiting the World of “Poetry Slam International” To Set An Old Record Straight

WARNING: There’s a strong chance this blog will be of no interest to 90% of you, as it involves a scene you likely aren’t a part of and have minimal interest in. I’m posting this here, however, because I feel a responsibility to call out a dude that’s been quietly allowed to harass people for years under the pretense of ‘art.’ My involvement with him has also becoming something of an urban myth in some circles, so I’ll use this blog to tell my side of the story one last time.

***

My first encounter with Matthew Rucker was in 2005, when the tour I was on passed through Minneapolis. The sequence of events that night becomes a little complicated and involves some detail, which I’ve laid out here “Deposition Style” if you’re SUPER interested.

The ultra short version of the story is this: After booking me for a show later in the year, Matthew followed myself and a group of friends to Pizza Luce for a post-show dinner. While there, we encountered a young girl in a crisis situation, who was 16 years old, bi-polar, and prostituting herself for drugs. She appealed to me for help, and I in turn tried to enlist Matthew as a resource from the city.

Instead, he made a comment about how nice her tits were, and dismissed her in a way that made me absolutely see red.

My solution? To take Matthew’s money, fly back to his city to perform in front of his audience, and hijack his show for a kind of ‘Asshole Intervention’. I appeared on his stage (The Artist’s Quarter in St. Paul, MN) that night as Bombzo Way, performed a 35 minute set of country music covers, and then told the crowd in dramatic fashion the entire story. It all ended with Matthew stopping payment on a check, threatening to sue me, attempting to blackball me from the Slam community, and spreading lots of myth about your boy.

Unfortunately, the members of his audience that night chose to go on the attack against me, even though Matthew was well known for this kind of behavior within their scene. I left feeling like I’d tried and failed, and kept it moving.

Matthew’s name had been all but forgotten to me until a week ago, when I was contacted by a number of people and informed that Matthew has received disciplinary action from the Executive Council of Poetry Slam Incorporated preventing him from participating in their events.

I had already given up Slam for a number of years in 2005 when the incident took place, and have only sporadically popped my head in since then to check in with friends; my knowledge of what’s transpired in the past 6 years is heresay at this point.

What I hear is that at least one female member of Matthew’s team has filed an official complaint, because of a multitude of incidents that may have included sexual harassment, and included wildly inappropriate behavior that took place while he was the Host City Chair for the 2010 National Poetry Slam. This team member claims to have been kept in her situation silently for years by Matthew’s perceived authority as the head of her team and local scene.

These things are heresay at the moment because Poetry Slam International has not made public the sexual harassment claim made to them against Matthew Rucker, and chose instead to discipline him privately and quietly. Matthew then posted a statement retiring himself from slam, stating that the decision was due to a surge in demand for his freelance work, and a desire to “go out on top.”

He still hosts an open mic, and still ‘privately tutors’ a number of people in performance poetry.

For whatever it’s worth, I’d like to lend my support to those asking that Matthew’s disciplinary action be made public. I believe it’s important that open mics and the slam community live up to the ideals put forward by so many of the artists within it, and it’s always rubbed me as a particularly gross hypocrisy when that fails to happen.

That night at the Artists’ Quarter, the same poets who were onstage rattling off bumper stickers about freedom and equality seemed content to know a callous at best and abusive at worst figure was representing them. They apparently continued to be content for 6 more years, and enjoyed the ride while Matthew Rucker gained influence and did more damage.

Here’s hoping that the Slam community takes the right steps to correct and prevent situations like this from arising in the future, and that we all continue the struggle to create welcoming and accepting environments for people with something to express; the kind of environment that the girl we met that night needed, and we all failed to provide.

Jul 12

Church Bulletin #3: Get to Know Ms. Nicholle Pride

When I’m not on tour or trying to promote something,  I make it a practice to never leave my house.  There’s people out there, y’know.

Which is why it’s a testament to my good friend Madge of Honor (a performer you should know in her own right) that she somehow got me out of the house and into a venue of any kind a few years ago, just to watch a show.  I don’t remember the exact circumstance, but I know she must have worked hard at it.

The event she brought me to was Perestroika, a monthly alternative drag show at Boston’s historic Jacque’s Cabaret.
[youtube width="380" height="380"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c1hh_2ph22E&feature=player_embedded#[/youtube]

The mark of a great stage performance, to me, is when performers show that they

1.) have mastered the form they’re attempting and

2.) are pushing it’s boundaries and using it to challenge the audience.

The normal drag format is something familiar enough to make it a Bachelorette Party destination; that’s a MAN up there!  Dressed like a WOMAN!  He’s lip-synching a song and dancing up on people!  Laughs!

In the hands of a great performer, though… what happens is something like Miss. Nicholle Pride.  Thomas-Andre Bardwell created Nicholle, and is an actor-playwrite who fuses spoken-word, song, and traditional African dance into his performances in a way that is smart, subversive, and jaw-droppingly sexy and energetic.

As a heterosexual man, I’d read/been told about/understood in an intellectual way what it meant to be “genderqueer” and sort of… taken people’s word for it.  “Oh, that’s how you feel?  Ok.  Well, I don’t feel that way… but I can appreciate that that might exist.  Do you!”

But it’s entirely another thing to watch someone like Miss Nicholle Pride, and for the first time really understand that a wider spectrum of gender exists.  As you’re sat there in the audience watching one of the most intensely feminine things imaginable, and one half of your brain is reacting to that while the other half goes “wait! that’s a man doing that to you!”  It was an honest-to-god moment of epiphany for me,  giving me a window into a trickier, less polarized idea of gender than the one I’d lived my whole life with.   I felt challenged as an audience member in a way that I’ve been striving to challenge audiences for my entire career.

She knows what she’s doing to say the least.  Watch the way she turns her back to the crowd and presents a feminine side in the first video, then whips the hood off and turns around to reveal a wigless ‘male’ rapper impression.  Or her incredible performance of “This is a Man’s World” below,  portraying a glitter bearded, corset wearing, swagger on a hundred thousand, MONSTROUS reincarnation of James Brown.

Needless to say, I left Jacque’s Cabaret in awe of Thomas Bardwell’s craft and determined to work with him.

The videos and photo available online come nowhere close to doing this lady justice, but the Church of Love & Ruin audiences are about to get leveled by the realness.  Vockah Redu, The Cru, and DJ BeesKnees are already in the van heading north.  Jamie & Sissy arrive in 3 days, and I’m headed to my last practice with the What Cheer? Brigade.  Here we come, muhfuckas.

[youtube width="380" height="380"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-yo2UT3UIRM[/youtube]

THUR 2/10 – NYC, NY – Studio @ Webster Hall w/ The Metermaids – Doors 8pm – 19+

$10 advance, $12 door.
BUY TICKETS

FRI  2/11 – BOSTON, MA  – The Western Front – Doors 9pm – 21+

$10 advance, $12 door.
BUY TICKETS

SAT 2/12 – PAWTUCKET, RI – The Met – Doors 8:30pm

GENERAL ADMISSION $10 advance, $12 door.
BUY TICKETS

SUN 2/13 – PORTLAND, ME – Space Gallery – Doors 7pm – GENERAL ADMISSION

$10 advance, $12 door.  $18 for Couples!
BUY TICKETS

Feb 04

Church Bulletin: Get to Know Vockah Redu & The Cru


Vockah Redu & The Cru were the last addition to the Church of Love & Ruin Tour, along with DJ BeesKnees.  Daniel of the What Cheer? Brigade brought them to my attention just as the tour was coming together.  During their numerous performance trips to New Orleans, members of the What Cheer? gradually became aware of the Sissy Bounce movement.  “We’d find ourselves on these weird shows with all kinds of crossover… where someone from the punk band that played would be DJing hip hop… marching bands… bounce emcees… other weird acts… and we’d constantly be running into Sissy Bounce acts and people like DJ BeesKnees.”

For my part, I’d been enjoying Bounce music as a fan and studying it as an emcee for years, and jumped at the opportunity to include it in a show.  If you’re not familiar with Bounce as a genre, use the internet or something.  Emcees like Juvenile, Birdman, and Lil Wayne have all been described as Bounce or kept a foot in Bounce through the years, but I’d also recommend you check out artists like Cheeky Blakk and Magnolia Shorty and get familiar, ehhhh?

“Sissy Bounce,” is a sort of subgrene or scene-within-a-scene, characterized by openly gay emcees on the mic.  For more on that aspect of the story, check this Vanity Fair piece featuring Vockah.

As for Vockah Redu, he couldn’t be a more perfect fit for the Church of Love & Ruin.  The Times-Picayune put it nicely when they said “Vockah Redu & The Cru combine street-level ass-shaking, combining spiritual and sexual energy with straight-up New Orleans Bounce roots, like if Prince and Erykah Badu had a baby and raised it in the Magnolia Projects.”

I might add Afrika Bambaataa to that list, as well as a few others.  Whoever you compare them to, Vockah & The Cru get it.  I couldn’t be more excited to bring them to the Northeast and my audience for the first time.  Don’t start no stuff won’t be no stuff!

Video for your face:

[youtube width="400" height="400"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OEA6tDH7VFw[/youtube]

[youtube width="400" height="400"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e4Os2MtCNcI[/youtube]

11 DAYS LEFT TO GET YOUR TICKETS AT DISCOUNTED PRICE!

THUR 2/10 – NYC, NY – Studio @ Webster Hall w/ The Metermaids – Doors 8pm – 19+

$10 advance, $12 door.
BUY TICKETS

FRI  2/11 – BOSTON, MA  – The Western Front – Doors 9pm – 21+

$10 advance, $12 door.
BUY TICKETS

SAT 2/12 – PAWTUCKET, RI – The Met – Doors 8:30pm

GENERAL ADMISSION $10 advance, $12 door.
BUY TICKETS

SUN 2/13 – PORTLAND, ME – Space Gallery – Doors 7pm – GENERAL ADMISSION

$10 advance, $12 door.  $18 for Couples!
BUY TICKETS

Jan 30

Church Bulletin: Get to Know Jamie & Sissy DeWolf


When we first met in 2002, Jamie Dewolf was drunk in front of  a theater.  As the doormen consulted each other about what to do, Jamie was making a spectacle of himself and some girl he was with.   A crowd of onlookers gathered, and Jamie proceeded to verbally dismantle his date in grand public fashion.  She was completely into it, playing the perfect white trash Ophelia to Jamie’s cokehead Hamlet.  I was entertained and repulsed, and found myself watching while thinking “why haven’t I hit this guy yet?  I want to hit him so bad… and yet I’m oddly charmed.”

Jamie had made a name for himself with The Suicide Kings, a performance poetry trio he was involved in along with Geoff Trenchard and Rupert Estanislao.  After watching the Kings perform the following night, I quickly came around to a kind of begrudging respect for the dude.  In a scene full of crowd pleasing hacks and wannabe self-help gurus, he was one of a handful of poets with the balls to say things that were honest, ugly, and uncomfortable.  Click here to watch “Ricochet In Reverse” by the Suicide Kings, directed by Jamie Dewolfe.

In the years that followed I kept talking and thinking about Jamie Dewolf , and everything I learned interested me more.   His manic charisma came into focus a bit when I learned he’s the great-grandson of L. Ron Hubbard, and an outspoken activist against the Church of Scientology:  VIDEO: L. Ron Hubbard’s Great Grandson Mocks Scientology

But the real clincher, and the thing that led to our eventual friendship and partnership on this tour, was the event Jamie had created in Oakland: a vaudeville battle rap / poetry / burlesque / anything goes event called Tourettes Without Regrets.  As my own career drifted further into antagonistic performance art, people would continually bring up Jamie and Tourettes as a place I needed to visit.  Finally, in 2006, I did.

Jamie hosts Tourettes on a monthly basis, often in warehouses or hijacked performance spaces because all the respectable clubs in town have thrown this event out.  Both times I’ve arrived in Oakland to do this show, I’ve found Jamie scrambling to find a space after the city / venue informs him days in advance that they will not allow the show to take place.  I’ve learned not to worry though; Jamie somehow finds a spot, sends out an email blast, and the sold out crowds show up in droves.

They show up for something that’s more than the sum of it’s parts.   Open mics, rap battles, and burlesque revues are the kind of shows that very easily fall into cliche territory, but Jamie & his co-hosts are somehow able to play each genre’s weaknesses off the other.   By creating a truly chaotic and irreverent atmosphere, Tourettes always seem to arrive at something that is captivating to everyone in the room.

My favorite sidekick of Jamie’s is his sister “Sissy,” who serves as a kind of magicians assistant/sexual idol throughout the show .  The sexual tension between the two of them onstage is as palpable as it is awful, and definitely leads to some magic moments.

Even as I write this out I know I am failing to convey what Jamie & Sissy are about to bring to the Church of Love & Ruin shows, and am sitting here with glee, picturing the shock on people’s faces when these two take the stage and start doing their thing.  Jamie & Sissy will be hosting the entire show, so you’d be a fool to treat this like a hip-hop concert and get there a minute before the headliner goes on.

When we last spoke on the phone, Jamie was saying he planned to lay down the groundrules right away.  “You don’t get to be a detached hipster at this show.  You don’t get to sit in the back and lean against a wall making comments about what’s happening onstage… I wanna create an atmosphere like anything can happen, anyone can be in the show, and we’re all in it together…”

I’ll leave you with that, and a a clip of Jamie inciting the crowd to give his grandparents lapdances.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j0WyOClKt3o[/youtube]

Next time we’ll talk about Vockah Redu, eh?

See you at the altar,

B

THUR 2/10 – NYC, NY – Studio @ Webster Hall w/ The Metermaids – Doors 8pm – 19+

$10 advance, $12 door.
BUY TICKETS

FRI  2/11 – BOSTON, MA  – The Western Front – Doors 9pm – 21+

$10 advance, $12 door.
BUY TICKETS

SAT 2/12 – PAWTUCKET, RI – The Met – Doors 8:30pm

GENERAL ADMISSION $10 advance, $12 door.
BUY TICKETS

SUN 2/13 – PORTLAND, ME – Space Gallery – Doors 7pm – GENERAL ADMISSION

$10 advance, $12 door.  $18 for Couples!
BUY TICKETS

Jan 24

Dream Journal #6

Dreamt I arrived to do a show at a venue I’d never visited before.

I was working with this promoter for the first time, and immediately realized that he was some kind of high school drama teacher. But he was also a priest.

For religious reasons, but also to fill the void left by his presumably failed or abandoned acting career, he was insisting that I add a number of last minute local openers to the bill.

The opening acts included, but were not limited to:

* A physically violent autistic boy who was already onstage rehearsing some kind of Thanksgiving play with a little girl dressed as Pocahontas. I watched in slow motion as the boy had a wild seizure, grabbed the girl by her shoulders and began shaking her and gnashing his teeth in a kind of trance state.

I then watched several club staff tackle the boy and painstakingly pry him off the girl for a number of minutes. When it was finally over the boy was ushered past me in restraints, still rolling his eyes and chomping at the air.

The promoter said: “He does that from time to time, but he’ll be ready again by the time doors open.”

* A nun masturbating with a crucifix on a trapeze. I shit you not.

“Will she just hang there all night?”

“um yeah! we thought it would be nice if she could.”

At this point I start to feel out of control in the dream, and start complaining to the promoter. I start rambling angrily at him, trying to formulate the many reasons and ways I’m uncomfortable with these additions… Just then I notice, appearing from the backstage area:

* A slam poetry team

Here’s the funny part: the slam poetry team is the thing that makes me bolt for the door.  I see like 10 of them stumbling onto the stage in matching cardigan sweaters, looking all lost and stupid like a family that can’t organize itself to take a Sears christmas picture.

I fly into a rage so suddenly that I almost fall down. I physically recoil from the stage as if a bomb had just gone off on it and pushed me backwards. I run/stumble out of the venue screaming:

“You’ve got to be kidding! This is too fucking much! No fucking way are we–”

And nearly run into a monkey in a costume riding on the back of a baby elephant. It was baby sized but it’s face looked like an old elephant. Maybe it was just a midget elephant.

“–OH GOOD OF COURSE A FUCKING ELEPHANT!” I push open the door and flood the venue with sunlight.

/Wake up.

Happy Holidays to yuh.
I will have a big big announcement about some big big shows in the New Year.

<3,
b

Dec 23

Apologies to Switzerland, Australia and New Zealand

Unfortunately, tonight’s show in Amsterdam will be the last on this tour for me.

I’ll be unable to join Sage Francis on the remainder of his tour dates this fall, and will be flying home tomorrow to be with my family.

In March of this year, right before I embarked on the most continuous touring schedule I’ve ever attempted, my father was diagnosed with a rare form of germ cell cancer in his lungs. For the past 6 months, he and my family have been undergoing a torturous regiment of chemotherapy, radiation, and various procedures. Nothing’s worked, and the cancer has since spread to his lymph nodes and brain. I received a phone call today from my mother and sister, who informed me that it’s time to come home and say goodbye.

My apologies to the Australian and Switzerland shows. Hopefully you’ll understand and take a rain check.

My thanks to Sage Francis, who’s been a constant friend and my fiercest support in all things. He’s made the opportunity to open for him available to me all year on both of these tours, understanding the risk that I might have to leave to deal with the home situation at any time. It’s meant the world to me to be part of Sage’s final touring year. I wish I could be there to see it through to the end with him… but all the journeys seem to be ending at once these days.

Thanks for understanding. See you on the next go around,

b

Oct 08

Dissatisfied Customer vol. 1


To whom it may concern;

I am writing in regard to an air conditioner produced by your company, the Goldstar M8003R.

Sometime last summer the people across the street gave us this air conditioner, which had previously been sitting in their garage.  We were talking in their driveway and I mentioned the heat, and that we didn’t have an AC.  Then I said I’d probably head out to buy one tonight.  Then Rick, who’s from Georgia, started telling me about the one in his garage and insisting I take it.

So Rick takes me into his garage and unveils this AC for me.  “Works fine, should cool down your whole house.  Only thing is it’s noisy, but if you don’t mind that it’ll do just fine.”

Grateful to be spared the $300 expense, I dismissed his warning.  “We shouldn’t mind the noise.  Thanks!”

And that’s how your Air Conditioner came to be sitting in my window.

And I am writing to you now, one year later, from within the icy sonic oblivion this object has created in my home.  This machine is literally the loudest and most persistent noise I have ever encountered.  It is all encompassing.  It is a womb of rattling plastic racket.

It cancels all thought and conversation within 20 feet of it.

It causes us to listen to our TV at maximum volume, and then–when it suddenly clicks off–to be assaulted by the loudness of the TV and have to scramble to find the remote and lower it, just so we can enjoy 10 minutes of normal environment before the jet thruster in the window roars to life again, swallowing important bits of dialogue and critical plot points.

We have been forced to basically give up on the TV.  Conversation is also useless because the machine has reduced us to agitated gesturing cave people.  After you’ve said “WHAT?” to someone 4 times in a row, whatever they were trying to say becomes “FUCK YOU.”  So now we’re pretty much left to stare at each other blankly inside the blast chamber that is our 12 x 12 living room, knowing that we are trapped inside this box with your H-Bomb for the next 3 months because outside the temperature is 102, due no doubt in part to global warming and the massive amounts of freon your howling nightmarefuck murder engines have pumped into the atmosphere over the past 30 years.  They say if you can’t hear your own pulse you’re deaf.  I’m happy to report that at this moment I can hear neither my own pulse nor the sound of myself screaming inside my own mind.

Imagine for a moment the kind of sleep one gets in a house that contains an air conditioner like this.  I can only assume it’s identical to what prisoners experience while undergoing sleep deprivation torture.  What I’m saying is that your machine is a human rights violation, which you are currently charging $299 for on Amazon.com.

The cat is terrified of it.  The dog stands in front of it and barks every time it kicks on.  That is, I assume the dog is barking because I see its mouth opening and closing.

Your machine is the Nothing that strives to swallow all things.  Your machine is a constant reminder that death is waiting for me and everyone I love.  Your machine is absolutely watering secret tumors in my body every single day.  Your machine is a retarded orphan that you sent into the world to die slowly and mutilate all beauty in the meantime.  Don’t bother sending me a coupon, because I believe you are the source of all suffering on earth.  May your children die before you.  May a superior model AC drop out of a window and crush your body on the way to your office tomorrow, and may it fall soundlessly through the air on the way to do it’s work.

Sincerely,
Benjamin Dolan
Dissatisfied Customer

Jul 09

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