J.T. Ross and Talya Epstein Debut “Masturbation Remote” This Sunday @ The Bushwick Starr

As some of you may know I have been working on a collaborative performance piece off and on now for the past eight or so months.  After various periods of down time and breaks in our creative process, Talya and I are finally ready to premier  our new work; Masturbation Remote as part of the Bushwick Site Fest this Sunday afternoon March 6th at 3:30 pm.

Masturbation Remote is a first time collaboration between Talya and I and we are very excited to be sharing it with all of you.  Here is a short paragraph about the work:

Masturbation Remote is a trio involving one male, one female, and an obsolete television which receives only static signals. The two performers, like the constantly searching television, exist in states of confusion, longing, and uselessness. There is a continual power struggle between the three in attempts to find balance and understanding between the immediate given circumstances and the endless possibilities of the unknown.

The Bushwick Site Festival is  sponsored by Arts In Bushwick and is in its third year.  It is only one of the fantastic neighborhood wide art festivals that happen over the course of the year and the only one solely  dedicated to performance.  Arts In Bushwick and the events they throw are in many ways the heart and soul of the Bushwick arts community, keeping an important focus on community in a neighborhood that is quickly changing.

The Site Fest functions around five “hub spaces” that all show various work all weekend, but the festival also includes performances at  a number of “satellite spaces” (apartments, studios, street corners, galleries etc) scattered throughout the neighborhood.  There is an amazing unified feeling that the festival evokes and it is rare in New York City for this much multidisciplinary work to be shown and attended in celebration not only of the art on display, but also of the neighborhood that is housing it.

The entire festival is free and run by volunteers.  It is a true gift to not only the neighborhood of Bushwick, but also to the borough of Brooklyn and on a greater scale, the city of New York.

We look forward to you sharing this very special event with us.  See you round the hood!

Masturbation Remote

Date: Sunday March 6th

Time: 3:30

Location: The Bushwick Starr 207 Starr Street (Between Wykoff and Irving, right down the street from the Jefferson L Train Stop)

Price: FREEEEEE!!!!


Photos by Ryan Mekenian


Saturn Nights and Ugly Duckling Poetry

This past month has brought New York City residents more snow and slushy days spent narrowly escaping mini curbside lakes than the past few years combined. Fortunately, one of my favorite Left Coast artists arrived to help me bare it! Sadly, she left Friday morning and I already miss you greatly Ariel Goldberg… but the night before she left she took me to one of my favorite places in town, St. Mark’s Church, to see her friend Jess Barbagallo‘s new play SATURN NIGHTS. Saturn Nights is running January 27, 28, 29, 30, 31; Feb 1, 3, 4, 5 (8pm curtain) and I firstly would like to say I suggest ya’ll go check it out. It’s super weird. I’m not sure how articulate a review I can offer, but I would suggest you see it!

Saturn Nights is a dark play both in the physical sense and content wise. I tried to take notes during it, but most of my notes ended up written word upon written word that created a great collage affect that maybe I’ll incorporate into one of my paintings but due to my lack of memory, makes for difficulty in reviewing. Let me see… The play used a lot of mixed media tactics to slowly unfold a mysterious story full of dark truths and characters that seemed very odd, mundane and alone in their peculiarities with desires as American as ketchup. The acting in the play is superb and the dialogue gives attention to the small details that playwrights often overlook, offering audiences the chance to open their vision to odd complexities they’d normally not recognize. Spiritual epiphanies occur. An omnipresent radio narrator with a smooth lustrous voice strings characters along and offers weird insights into the cult of spirituality and its crossing with the cult of personality. The family the play follows believes their “dead” father is meditating in the backyard near a hole that many characters often look into simply because it seems there is something beautiful in the whole worth looking at. Many joints are smoked. Incest again tries to snare a relative. Basically, if you believe paganism should triumph over all then yes, you should see Saturn Nights. I think I’m going to go see it one more time as well!

Directed by Meghan Finn


Lucy Alibar, Emily Davis, Joseph Gregori, Nic Grelli, Laryssa Husiak, LaToya Lewis, Rachel Murdy, Kristen Sieh, Anna Foss Wilson & Greg Zucculo

Produced by Wayne Petro & the longest lunch

Set Design by Mary Chan

Sound Design by Chris Giarmo

Video Design by Jared Mezzocchi

Lighting Design by Paul Toben

Costume Design by Michael De Angelis

Friday my heart began aching for love so I headed to the Old Stone House – the oldest house in Brooklyn still standing – for a poetry reading put on by Ugly Duckling Presse. Cedar Sigo, Julian Brolaski, and Kate Colby were on the bill, all are Ugly Duckling Press authors, the latter two are newbies to the press. Cedar opened up the night, my favorite line being “I have ladies eyelashes/ my ears stick out/ but I am smart” and yeah Cedar is great. I’ve been a fan of his since I lived in the Bay Area, which I sadly said said goodbye to quite a while ago.

Julian Brolaski and Kate Colby followed Cedar’s lead. Both have recently been published by Ugly Duckling and the press showed its range by housing both readers in the same night. Julian was witty, funny and very young whereas Kate was more traditional and serious in tone. Throughout the night I kept reloading pages on my phone hoping a certain someone would respond to me. I hate the anxiety and inability of being able to focus when the need for response overtakes all others. With global instant communication bound to human fingers, it seems we will never get what we want when we feel we need it.

Thank god for artistic deviations from personal obsessions, without cheap escapes I’m pretty sure there would be many more bullets in heads.

Little Skips Winter Art Show Extravaganza

We here at minorprogression are very fortunate for many reasons. Not only do we get to bare witness to great happenings in the art and music worlds and share those events with you, but we also happen to live in a city that caters non stop to our tastes and interests. Both Stephen and I live in Bushwick, Brooklyn and it is the first time since high school that both of us have lived in the same place at the same time.

Bushwick is a great neighborhood to live in for many reasons; it’s convenient to major public transportation, the rent is relatively cheap compared to other New York neighborhoods and the it has the feeling of an actual neighborhood instead of a region re-zoned, or imagined by real estate companies. When I say this last bit, what I mean is that Bushwick, unlike anywhere else I’ve spent a great deal of time in the city, feels sort of like a universe unto itself. Because it is relatively small and still in fairly early stages of gentrification, there are only a handful of places to hang out and the people that frequent/work at and those places fill your days with a sort of familiar neighborhood pride. When a new business arrives here, it is always met with equal parts anticipation and skepticism. While we clearly want things around us that we find valuable and unique, we don’t want to be priced out of our neighborhood by the pretentious or the generic. New businesses that support both the positive and negative aspects of our outlook have come onto the scene since our moving here, but if there is one business that we unabashedly love, respect and frequent more than any other it is unquestionably Little Skips, a coffee shop, cafe and art gallery that opened a little less than a year ago on the corner of Willoughby and Myrtle Avenues.

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Marissa Nadler Pictures from Union Pool, Brooklyn

Anyone that reads this blog has been well aware of our love for Marissa Nadler for quite some time now. We are known to give her a shout out fairly often and we do this with good reason.  We really like her music.  Last week, Marissa played a lovely show at local Brooklyn institution Union Pool in their intimate and redeeming back room venue, that looks like a cross between an old style saloon and a cabaret space.  As always miss Nadler’s songs and voice gave us chills and we looked on eagerly as she premiered four or five brand new songs for the crowd.  All were just as good as would be expected and give us great hope for her new album which is hopefully being recorded right as I type this.  Seeing Marissa in a smaller venue is always the best way to go, providing the feeling you are in her own home listening in.  Her songs may not mend your broken hearts but they will make you feel some camaraderie in their wake.  Thank you for getting us in Marissa and good luck with recording.  We love you .

TAYISHA BUSAY about to drop new EP SHOCK-WOO!

Recently I got word that TAYISHA BUSAY is releasing her new EP SHOCK-WOO! next month. You’ll be able to get it through iTunes. Anyway, for those of you that don’t know, TAYISHA BUSAY is an electronic dance band based in Brooklyn, NYC, they’ve been know to roll around in piles of glitter, cuddle their keyboards, and grind up on their synthesizers while performing onstage. I’ve seen them a few times and witnessed such luscious behavior.

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Haunted and Daunted: An interview with Marissa Nadler

We here at minorprogression are long standing fans of Marissa Nadler. Since we first heard her music some four or five years ago we have been entranced and transformed. With every album and every performance that we’ve seen our love grows deeper and her skills reach further. Last year’s “Little Hells” is still in constant rotation and we often find ourselves returning to her older albums, surprising ourselves with how many lyrics we know and how many memories her music conjures.

I know this month everyones attention is on another female singer-songwriter with ethereal qualities, but while Joanna Newsom gathers lots of press for her quirks and classically orchestrated flights of fancy, Nadler’s work still somehow hovers just under the radar. This is not to say that she hasn’t had more than a fair share of positive and even glowing press, but rather, that Nadler’s music is more haunted, more intimate and in some ways, much harder to place than Joanna Newsom’s. Where Miss Newsom’s music can be viewed as pretentious or overly precious by some, Nadlers songs all possess a solid unswerving backbone, suggesting subtle and sometimes frightening wholes that are only sometimes revealed. I find this quality makes Nadler’s often harder to shrug off. While I by no means wish to make light of Miss Newsom’s newest album “Have One On Me” which is unquestionably wonderful, I don’t think that any of our readers are unaware of it’s existence. Marissa Nadler on the other hand has been a love of our lives for too long now for us not to share her with our readers and if by some chance this is your introduction to her, you are very lucky indeed.

A few months ago we saw Miss Nadler play in Brooklyn and she was generous enough to give me her email. Now my dear readers, we have an exclusive interview with her and if I may say so myself, it’s one of the best that we’ve had the pleasure of putting up. Marissa answers all of my questions fully, thoughtfully and generously. We are honored to be sharing her responses with all of you.

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A Not So “Guilty Love” : Soft Spot Live @ Northeast Kingdom, Brooklyn, October 12th!!!(and other places to follow…)

I am not an traditionally spiritual person.  I know however, that in many aspects of my life I’m very blessed.  I’m blessed so much in some categories, that I sometimes take things for granted, or fall short of realizing just how important and special they are.  You can’t live in New York City without having a rushed and somewhat insane existence, but this should be more a reason for me to appreciate Sarah Kinlaw and the music she makes as Soft Spot, than an excuse to acknowledge its existence on the periphery of my life.  Sarah has been my room mate for the past year and a half or so, but this shouldn’t belittle or make any less of her unquestionable talents, of which there are many.  Not only is Sarah one of the kindest, most open minded, caring and honest  people I’ve ever met, but she also is a performer of a rare and high order.

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