Barry Bliss's blog

2012 Q. and A. with Stanley Brinks aka Andre Herman Dune


1. Stanley, you spend very little time on the internet.
How come you don't spend more?
Why do you spend any?

I have to, mostly for work, because i don't use the telephone. As little as i can, though, one hour a week or something, all at once, and not every week. I feel much better only being where i am, one place in space.

2. You were one of the original members of Herman Dune.
Why did you leave the band?

We lasted a very long time, for a two-headed band. I liked that we didn't rehearse at all, we were even living in different countries for a while. It seemed to make sense back then to have a bit of a mess on stage. We did that for a decade, then we were ready to try new things. I started listening to calypso myself, it's still my main influence as Stanley Brinks. I still play with people a lot of the time, i like improvisation, solos and all. I get a lot of that when i perform with the Wave Pictures, or with my new Norwegian band - the Kaniks.

3. What kind of musical project(s) are you currently involved in? Read more »

2012 Q. & A. With Julie LaMendola


1. I know you go to Europe and sing in some production(s) sometimes.
Is that still going on and what is that all about?

I'm a performer for an experimental theater company called Nature Theater of Oklahoma. About 4 years ago they asked me to be a part of an epic experimental piece called Life and Times. I didn't know what I was getting into but I really liked the directors when I went to speak with them about the project. I sing dance and act in it which is dreamy, but the job is good for me because it pushes me artistically and physically. The people in the company have similar artistic heroes as me and it's challenging and good to use that as a springboard for the performances I do. And now the company includes Dan from Ching Ching and his husband Dany who does a lot of dancing with us so it's good to be around those guys even if we aren't doing our own show.
The show is 11 hours long when all episodes are performed together. We've done it once and we'll do in in a couple of weeks too. I thought I wouldn't be able to do it, I sing for about 5 hours. It's really energizing. It turns out I really like doing things that I don't think are possible. Read more »

2012 Q. & A. with Toby Goodshank


1. Where do you live now and why did you leave NYC?

I'm living in Berlin, Germany. I left Brooklyn because Deenah (of Ladies of Old Hat) received a grant for journalism to be carried out in Berlin. Deenah invited me to live here so that I could spend time with her, to help with her projects, and to pursue my own art and music projects without the hindrance of being employed full time.

2. Are you going to continue painting now that you are no longer in
the same country as Adam Green and Macaulay Culkin? (Toby is part of
an art-collective with these gentlemen.)

I plan to pursue painting as one of my creative outlets, for sure! I hope to have had a solo art show in Berlin before the end of my stay. Painting is fun for me, and because it's new to me I feel like there's nothin but room for me to grow! 3MB (my collective with the boys) has briefly considered doing something together in the EU as well, and in general we plan to continue hanging out and collaborating on various projects involving paint in the future.

Thanks for calling us gentlemen!

3. You quit your job that you had had for a long time.
What was that like and are you now scared regarding income? Read more »

2012 Q. and A. with Bryan Copeland


1) Bryan, what exactly is this music called that you compose and
perform with Bryan and the Aardvarks. Is it jazz?

The music I compose for the Aardvarks has proven to be difficult to
categorize. Jazz purists, will be quick to tell you it's not jazz,
and indie rock people will give it a default label of jazz. Truth is,
it is a mixture of everything that has had a profound and lasting
effect on my subconscious. Whether the medium is music, film, a piece
of artwork, literature, personal relationships, etc..., anything that
moves me in a powerful way, tends to stick in my brain and become an
influence on my compositions. I think the things that have influenced
this project most would be; The sudden death of my 28 year-old best
friend Daniel Gilmer, the movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,
Jon Brion, Brad Mehldau's Trio, Wes Anderson movies, The Brian Blade
Fellowship, Elliot Smith, Nick Drake, Frederic Chopin, & Erik Satie to
name a few.

2) Unlike a lot of folks that perform at Sidewalk Cafe and perhpas
read stuff on this site, you are a graduate of a music school and
pretty highly trained. Read more »

2012 Q & A With Randi Russo


1) You moved.
How long had you lived in NYC, where did you go and why did you leave?

I lived in NYC for 15 years. I decided to move to Chicago recently. I visited here for two weeks back in March and made so many nice connections with artists and people in the art world that I got this gnawing feeling inside of me that I had to be here, like I had the opportunity to start my life over and investigate another passion of mine which was put on the back burner for the last decade as I somewhat aggressively pursued music. And this new-found old-love is painting. I have a studio here and I'm actually working on my art. I've met wonderful people who are like mentors to me and have encouraged my art. When that feeling comes, you have to seize it because those intense calls do not come often... at least not for me.

2) Did you have musical goals 12 years ago and if so do you still have
them and if so are they still the same? Read more »

2012 Interview with Jon Berger


1) Jon, what do you call this artform that you engage in?

I'm a little uncomfortable calling myself a poet, since I find what I do (reading/ranting little bits of story that I call "pieces") isn't especially poetical. I often describe myself as a Reader, but no one seems to understand when I make reference to the term. I guess that standup poet, performance poet, or short attention span poet are terms I use where people can get the idea.

2) Did you ever read Keats, Byron, and/or Shelley, and if so what did you think of their writing?

I have read virtually no poetry in my life. I've glances at Ginsberg. I've read a bunch of John S. Hall - and a little Bukowski and Mark Leyner. Oh! I really like former poet laureate Billy Collins. He's the closest to an established guy that I've absorbed. Mostly, though, I take inspiration from musicians.

3) What differentiates you from most slam poets that you have seen?

Not all that much - the slam time unit seems to be three minutes, and most of my pieces clock in at a little less than 60 seconds. Read more »

2012 Interview with Major Matt Mason USA


1. Matt, you had a big hand in organizing events and in recording
other artists while living in NYC.
Have you missed doing that since you moved?

I miss it a little. But I really enjoy focusing on the making and performing of my own music. It's turning out to be a much bigger commitment than I had imagined. Even though I do love helping to produce and facilitate music for other people I think I was using it as a bit of an excuse to not fully invest myself in my own projects for fear of failure. I've done very little recording since we left NYC about 5 months ago. I've done a couple small mastering jobs but that's pretty much been it. This is not to say that I wouldn't do it again. I might even be better at it now having taken a break from it for while.

2. Do you earn all of your money as a performer and recording artist now? Read more »



Pussy Riot in court.



I did not know him, as far as I know he never came to Sidewalk, and I don't know if he played in a band.
Obviously too many people are killed every day for me to do a post on them all, but in a way this is symbolic.
This guy was just as important as any member of Radiohead.
Everyone doing their thing and kicking butt is important.

I am sure most of will agree that if Thom Yorke had been killed when the roof of the bandshell collapsed we'd be seeing a lot of R.I.P.s.
Well, Scott Johnson, Radiohead's drumtech was killed and I am posting this because it takes all of us doing our job to make things happen and this guy is worth the mention.

Rick Shapiro News


I see where Rick Shapiro has a book out.

I also see where donations are being accepted on his website - money to go to medical expenses since Rick apparently had a "cardiac event".

from my website



Recently some friends put together a night of performances and asked me to be a part of it.
I agreed to do it and showed up early to see the performer before me.
I played and then I watched the performer after me.
Then I watched the woman who was having her cd release show for about two songs and left.
I didn't see my other friends that played after that, which includes the people that invited me to perform.
Why did I leave?

There are some reasons---all conceivably lame.
One is I was hungry---quite hungry--and I have pretty unique ways of eating.
Nothing on the menu where I was at do I eat and though I had brought cashews and apples I was still interested in going home and making something.
Two is I am really into spending time alone and reading books.
Three is I have seen these folks numerous times and it was not as if it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity---though every show is unique and no minute ever repeats itself (and of course you never know how much longer you have to live--or how much longer they have).

Some people go to shows to be supportive, even if they would really rather be somehwere else.
I do this, but hardly ever. Read more »

Fuck yeah.


Bliss at 730pm (Bring ear plugs.)
Nan Turner at 830pm
Prewar Yardsale at 9pm
Toby Goodshank at 930pm
Major Matt Mason USA at 1030pm

Moving Your Money?


Both within, and outside of, the Occupy Wall Street movement, moving your money (if you have any) to a less cut throat bank is being discussed.
OWS does some of their banking with Amalgamated.

In 2000 I got married and my wife was using Amalgamated.
Sick of paying Chase $15 a month I switched over.
For 11 years I have used Amalgamated and they have never charged me a dime.

I don't know enough about them to give them a grade regarding ethics.

They are one of the banks suggested on a site for people interested in moving their money out of Bank of America, Citibank, etc.




Why I am ending my (girl)cott of Sidewalk Cafe.


First let me say that I am not under the false impression that everyone (or anyone perhaps) cares about the fact that I was boycotting the Sidewalk, or that I am coming back.
Short answer is I just don't believe in it anymore, and I would rather do as my heart dictates in the moment than something I believe is no longer right for the sake of mindless consistency.

The real mistake was saying I would do it for one year just because that was an easy amount of time to spew out in the moment without giving it serious consideration.

Though I could be deluding myself--I doubt that I am.
It's not about it being hard and just giving up.
When I believe something is right I don't mind the hardship of it.

It's not about being blindly addicted to performing.
I can play other places--GBM comes to mind, and I went a year while in Ga. without doing a show and was fine. Read more »

My Experience at the Protest


The protest was set for 11am-1pm.
I was a bit sick but figured if I had to I could call out of work the next day.
I got there around 1030am.
The stage was set up and there were a few folks with signs here and there.
Close to 11am I saw Chris Hedges talking to a person who had a cameraperson with them.
I decided to go over and listen to what he was saying, since I am a huge Hedges fan and I don't get many opportunities to hear him live and in person (never before have I).
By the time I got over by him they were done and he was alone.
I introduced myself and we had a brief conversation.
He's really nice and has a strong presence. Very grounded.
Piles of people began to show up.
I saw the Trachtenbergs.
Gary Null showed up and said he was going to film for WBAI or something like that.
A few solo folks sang and played and Gary Null gave a short firey speach.
A good rap band, Junkyard Empire performed and a few others spoke and then Chris Hedges spoke.
His speach was really what I most was looking forward to and it did not dissapoint. Read more »

Bryan and the Aardvarks CD is Now Out


My good friend Bryan has just released a CD of original compositions by himself, recorded with the help of his very talented and hardworking peers and friends, The Aardvarks.
Maybe, but I like to think of it as music. Real music. Beautiful music.
Unrushed, unpretentious, from-the-heart music.
Congratulations Bryan, Fabian, Joe, and Chris.

Self-Published Awesome Book-A Question of Values by Morris Berman


Why here and not in the message section?
I thought about that, and have decided to leave it here.
Morris has not been able to find a publisher for this book.

The fact that Bush's book is a bestseller and Berman has to use a print service (Amazon) to make his available shows how weird the world is.

A NYT reviewer smeared his last book (which I have not read)--maybe because the reviewer couldn't take Morris's honesty.

“A Question of Values” is an alternately sobering and inspiring collection of essays by noted historian and cultural critic Morris Berman. Berman pulls no punches in laying bare the truths about who we are, not just as a nation, but also as individuals wrapped up in the destructive pursuit of material excess. In the unswerving style of his other writings, he rips apart the national illusion of greatness.---Nomi Prins

Chris Hedges--One of the best out there right now.


Chris is consistently writing really good articles.
I don't see things exactly as he does 100% of the time, but I find him important.

excerpt----The role of knowledge and art, as the ancient Greeks understood, is to create ekstasis, which means standing outside one’s self to give our individual life and struggle meaning and perspective. The role of art and scholarship is to transform us as individuals, not entertain us as a group. It is to nurture this capacity for understanding and empathy. Art and scholarship allow us to see the underlying structures and assumptions used to manipulate and control us. And this is why art, like intellectual endeavor, is feared by the corporate elite as subversive. This is why corporations have used their money to deform universities into vocational schools that spit out blinkered and illiterate systems managers. This is why the humanities are withering away. Read more »

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