Strange Famous Records

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

RIP 2010. Long Live 2011!

2010 was a hell of a year. Alas, a new year is upon us and not a moment too soon. Read the rest of this entry »

Jan 01

“WAR OF WORDCRAFT” video and a salute to 2011

“World of Warcraft” Vs. “The Best of Times”

What better way to end my year than by offering up a video for “War of Wordcraft,” which is a parody of my “Best of Times” song.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x_D6orab2Ks[/youtube]

HOW DID THIS HAPPEN? Read the rest of this entry »

Dec 29

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

“The Man Behind the Eyedea”

Micheal Larsen (1981-2010)

Last night I dreamt I was sitting with Mikey on a public park bench somewhere. I interrupted him as he was talking to me and said Read the rest of this entry »

Oct 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

All the Sage Francis updates you may have missed.

Hello SFR peops!

I was slow to update this blog. Apologies! For more info on what I’ve posted below (plus more) please visit www.SageFrancis.net

Currently, the most important thing I want to bring to your attention is the fact that B. Dolan and I are about to tour the UK, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Get all the dates and info on this tour at our FB events page by clicking here!

That being said, here are the other major Sage updates you may have missed in the past few months if you were unaware of that site…

1 – My music video for “Love the Lie” directed by Jim Foltice:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YjirFBpp7ho&feature=player_embedded

2 – My interview with the legendary NARDWUAR!

3 – My interview with AndPop.com where my comments on Underground Vs. Mainstream created a lengthy discussion at the SFR forum.

4 – My live acoustic performance on BBC radio

5 – The video for “Best of Times” directed by Kyle Harbaugh!

6 – Full audio break-down of my LI(F)E album

7 – My incredibly awkward interview with Russia Today (broadcast worldwide.)

If any of these links entertained you then be a pal and entertain your friends by sharing them!
Best wishes,
Uncle Frank
Aug 29

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