Monday, March 9, 2009

Desperately Seeking SITE

7 p.m. - CROWD Reading Series (

On the walk over to Café Orwell (, I ran into a couple with SITE map in hand, looking for something to do. When I told them I was going to a poetry reading, they shook their heads firmly in unison.

“I have nothing against poetry, per say,” said the woman. “It’s just that bad poetry is the worst art form imaginable.”
I can’t help but share this sentiment. A bad painting, you can look away from. A bad film, you can laugh at. But the inescapable horror of having to sit through a bad poem will stick in your system.

This is what I discussed with Daniel while we waited for CROWD to begin. “Poetry and music,” he said “are the two art forms where the bad significantly outweighs the good.”

Lucky for us, Bill Rasmovicz read that night, a poet who happens to fit the slim categories of unpretentious and “good.” There was also a lot of free wine, which facilitated our enjoyment of his words.

“I swallowed the black pill of childhood” ( was my favorite. His book, The World In Place of Itself (Alice James Books, 2007) has several other poems with equally awesome titles, like “RULES FOR A SEMI-AUSPICIOUS LIFE” and “PORTRAIT OF THE MAN TRYING TO SHED ENOUGH MASS TO FLY.”

10:30 p.m.-The Brooklyn What ( took their shirts off on stage, as they played their first song “I don’t Want to go to Williamsburg.”

I can’t really think of a better introduction to IOSOUND, the music component of SITE, held at Goodbye Blue Monday (

I will let this video speak for itself :

12 a.m. -The Rhodes ( appeared to be your run-of-the-mill band still wearing ties and riding The Strokes’ wave. But appearances can be deceiving.

Their punchy songs like “Call me” and “Shakedown” had a ‘50s spin that wasn’t trying too hard, and convinced me they could actually play their instruments pretty damn well. However, it was their cover of Amy Winehouse’s “You Know I’m No Good” that truly won me over.

12:30 a.m.-Ava Luna ( are my new obsession.

Frontman Carlos Hernandez’s lyrics are backed up by three females with gospel-like voices: Felicia Douglass, Mira Leytes, and the truly soulful Siheun Song. Add Alex Smith on drums and Nathan Thompkins on synthesizer, and you get one of the most unique cross-genre bands I have seen in a long time.

Ava Luna are back at Blue Monday on Saturday the 14th, at 9 p.m., so you should check them out (i.e. fall in love with them).

Bushwick is an obvious location for an art festival. It is the home of factories remodeled into artists lofts, innovative street art, hipster house parties, and arguably the most plentiful number of three piece bands to come out of a single neighborhood (other than Williamsburg). And, oh yeah, there’s also those people that originally lived there.

I approached SITE fest void of expectation, so as not to be disappointed by stodgy sonnets or bands that have mastery over two power chords (and not much else). But from what I saw on Saturday, the festival, unlike music and poetry as a whole, has a favorable good-to-bad ratio.

Bushwick, I’m impressed.

-Hannah Miet


Laura Braslow said...

Hannah - hey, thanks for the great coverage of some of the stuff that happened this weekend at SITE Fest. We really appreciate the coverage, and the compliments!

Just as an FYI to you and your readers - we (Arts In Bushwick, the organization that put together the festival) are actually doing a ton of organizing around sustainability and displacement issues, working with "those people that originally lived there," aka those people who *do* live here who are not part of the arts community per se. If anyone is interested in hearing more about that or getting involved, definitely drop us a line at

Thanks again, and I hope you guys keep covering Bushwick - both the art scene *and* the community work that is going on here.

Laura Braslow
Arts In Bushwick

Hannah Miet said...

Thanks Laura. I appreciate the FYI, as well as the fantastic festival your organization put together.

Hannah Miet said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

"I don't want to go to N. 6th."


Anonymous said...

Hannah, I'm impressed.

- Tall Caldwell

Anonymous said...

good job on describing the good and not being snarky about the not-so-good. this is just what i needed.