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This Week, a New York City Music Festival Born in Florida

Theater 80Courtesy of S.S.A. Theater 80

A music festival taking place across both Villages this week is being billed as “East Meets West.” And the organizers? They’re from down south.

Kicking off Wednesday and lasting five days, NYC’s New Music Festival will feature over 130 artists  – from indie, folk and alternative rock to rap and hip hop – at a variety of venues.

Unlike the CBGB Festival, which last week announced it would return in May, the organizers of this festival aren’t from around here. It’s the first production that the Songwriters Showcases of America will stage outside of its home base in Florida.

Phil Weidner, president of the S.S.A., said the 13-year-old company had been trying to put together a festival outside of Florida for years. New York City, he said, was a no-brainer. “We wanted to focus on the East and West Villages to show that’s really the magnet of where good local, live music is being featured in Manhattan,” he told The Local. Read more…

Harley Speaks: Former Cro-Mag Says He Acted in Self-Defense at Webster Hall

photo(245)Ray Lemoine Mr. Flanagan shows off his wound outside of court today.

Speaking for the first time since his arrest at Webster Hall last Saturday, former Cro-Mags bassist Harley Flanagan insisted he was acting in self-defense during a brawl that landed two of the band’s current members in the hospital with knife wounds. A grand jury trial was scheduled for Sept. 27 during a hearing at Manhattan Criminal Court today.

“DMS jumped me, man,” Mr. Flanagan told The Local outside of the courtroom, upon recognizing this reporter as the roadie for an opening band who bunked with him on a Cro-Mags tour in 2000. Mr. Flanagan said he was attacked by members of the Doc Marten Skinheads, a gang with a history of violence that grew out of the 1980s hardcore scene and is still active today (graffiti around the Lower East Side reads “Demonstrating My Style” and “Drugs Money Sex.”)

“You know this scene – a bunch of loser bullies,” said Mr. Flanagan, who appeared in court along with three fellow Hare Krishna devotees and his attorney. “Seven or eight guys kicked me to a bloody mess.” Read more…

Nightclubbing | Stilletto Fads

Tomorrow, as part of the CBGB Festival, Pat Ivers and Emily Armstrong will discuss the Downtown Collection’s recent acquisition of their Nightclubbing archive of punk-era concert footage. In this week’s installment of their column for The Local, they speak with Tish and Snooky Bellomo, who will be playing with the Sic F*cks tonight at Bowery Electric and tomorrow at Fontana’s. That band was hardly the only one the Bellomo sisters had a hand in.

tish and snookyCourtesy Manic PanicTish and Snooky Bellomo

In the beginning, there was the Stillettos: Debbie Harry, Elda Stilletto and Roseanne Ross. As flashy and trashy as glam bands got, they played CBGBs so early in the game that the Ramones opened for them. By 1975, Debbie Harry had gone on to form Blondie. Elda transformed the Stillettos into the Stilletto Fads, with Tish and Snooky Bellomo as back up singers.

The Bellomos were no strangers to the CBGB scene. “We used to come down to the city from Riverdale,” said Tish. “We would hide our ‘subway’ shoes in some hedges outside of Max’s and CBGB and change into our cool stilettos and rock-and-roll wear before we went in, then change back on the train on our way back to the Bronx so we wouldn’t scare the neighbors.” Their fashion sense paid off: realizing how hard it was for New Yorkers to get the cool tight black pants that English kids wore, they used $500 to open Manic Panic on St. Marks Place in 1977. “Sometimes, we only made a $2.50 sale all day,” recalled Snooky, “but everyone would drop by, so you almost didn’t care. It was a while before we started making any money.”

Meanwhile, they sang with the Sic F*cks – at CBGBs, Max’s, Mudd Club theme nights, and wherever fun was to be had – and with the Stilletto Fads. Read more…

Superchunk, Wyclef Jean, and Nirvana’s Novoselic Join CBGB Fest


The CBGB Festival just added a few big names. Superchunk, Wyclef Jean and Fishbone will play shows during the frenzy of rock music, conferences, and movies on the weekend of July 4. The former bass player of Nirvana, Krist Novoselic, will also deliver the keynote address on “association and how it can transform politics,” according to a press release.

The new names join other bands like Guided By Voices, War On Drugs, MxPx, the Pains Of Being Pure At Heart that will play the festival taking place at around 30 venues around Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn. Local joints like Lit Lounge, Webster Hall, Bowery Electric and Otto’s Shrunken Head are slated to host.