Hebrew School

January 4, 2012, 11:58 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized


Greenwood Cemetery

Just beyond the Jackie Gleason Bus Depot in Sunset Park…

…lies Greenwood Cemetery, resting place for Basquiat, Bernstein, Crazy Joe, and the Wizard, and a stunning visual display, often times more sumptuous than even the sweetest vistas of Prospect or Central Park.


A Double-crested Cormorant! (Pictures: Jill; Ornithology: Christopher)

“Does that mean you’re not coming over?”
May 12, 2008, 9:11 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Ceil Bialek and Edith Mandl. They’re twins.

Danielson: A Family Movie

For a while now, I’ve meant to publish a review and thoughts on Danielson: A Family Movie (or Make A Joyful Noise HERE), which I had seen on DVD this past winter. The award-winning documentary came to my Netflix queue’s attention at first not for its rave reviews or compelling story, but because a friend (and Sunset Park neighbor), Tom Eaton, who had played with honorary Family member Sufjan Stevens, had created an animation segment for the film (while making a brief cameo). My interest piqued, so I watched.

The movie trails Daniel Smith and his family band, Danielson, or Danielson Family, or Danielson Famile, or Smith’s solo project, Brother Danielson. Feeling a strong connection to his Christianity, he at one time lived at JPUSA in Chicago, an organization with ancestry in the Jesus movement of ’60s hippies, and somewhere along the way began to play Christian music. Weird and interesting Christian music.

Danielson’s success in the mainstream indie world, regardless of how people might have felt about it, resonated with me because of the questions it brought up about this music. (Seeing them open for Animal Collective last year probably helped, too.) The Christian music scene grew suspicious of Smith, as did indie music. Does great art get created in the space where vastly different parts of one’s potential audience both attempt to call a bluff? While Smith, with complete sincerity (…right?), pushed the creative boundaries of the Christian music juggernaut, does Jewish music push boundaries in an analogous way?

The answer to the latter question seemed obvious to me at first, but I can’t really be sure. If pressed I would say that Jewish music today, in all its shapes and colors, is a different cultural phenomenon altogether. But then again, being Jewish– albeit far (like, way far) less involved in my faith than Smith– kind of deprives me of any objectivity. Is “Christian rock” what non-Jews see in a Rorschach test of “Jewish rock?”

No answers forthcoming, though one of the most interesting moments of the film for me was when Daniel drummed up a compelling axiology: Christians and churches, he said, should be funding and supporting Christian bands– not the profit-driven music industry. Can we not say that Jews should also be doing more of the same?

OK, still no simple answers– but let’s have a beer some time.

The May 1st Movia
May 2, 2008, 2:23 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized, wine and song | Tags: , , ,

Warming the cockles of any commie Jew’s heart, a group of us spontaneously gathered on International Workers’ Day to drink a bottle of Movia’s Puro Rose.

Readers may remember me extolling this wine’s virtues in my Slovenia posts. Puro is made from Pinot Noir grapes. It is unfiltered and can be decanted in a special way (in the case of this link, with a sentimental homage) to remove the majority of the naturally-occurring sediment, which in all its biodynamic glory is good to drink too. Everyone whom I’ve drank this with agrees that the wine has an enlivening quality, whereas your average Pinot Noir might induce that groggy “honey can we go home now” feeling.

While this is way more than I’ve ever even considered spending on a single bottle of wine, I heartily suggest that all of you find a bottle in your area, split the bill, and enjoy in good company, preferably with savory or spicy food (think Vietnamese, Mexican, Italian).

The modest result of my decanting; you’re seeing a cloudy sediment floating in cold water.

It’s still got a little of that magical particulate in it, but damn. We were spoiled since we drank Puro from its source, but this bottle did just fine after its trip to New York… Imagine a dry sparkling wine that is fruity without the telltale “big in the mouth” taste that plagues the American palate, putting people to bed without their supper.

Here’s what was going on in NYC yesterday…

“You put the cheese on the meat”

Štiri: Nous Non Plus in Ljubljana

Upon our arrival in the center of Ljubljana, we are greeted warmly at Movia’s wine shop with a bottle of Puro Rose.

We roll in to the Roxly, where we sound check and get ready to play.

View from the front of the Roxly. “Who would put a castle up there?” Clouds gather…

Our Slovenian cell phone commercial plays on a loop at the front of the bar.

…Crowds gather, packing the club past the bar, out the door… Amazingly, our song’s appearance in an ad seems to have captured Slovenia’s imagination. We are told repeatedly that everyone in Slovenia knows this song, and has wondered about the mysterious American artists behind it (some even [erroneously] concluding that we are secretly the Yeah Yeah Yeahs). The crowd sings along to “Lawnmower Boy” in a dizzying hybrid of Slovene-Franglish.

Verdict: Success, with the distinct possibility of returning to this magical part of the world some time in the future. Merci, Ljubljana!

Check out this Slovenian blog for some great photos of the show, offset by 180 degrees.

Ljubljana via the Holland Tunnel
March 11, 2008, 10:43 pm
Filed under: shows, Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,

Nous Non Plus is gearing up for some April dates in Slovenia, but not before we converge for a New York show at Midway next Saturday, 3/22. Please note that the show has been changed to 11pm rather than midnight. I’m also excited about the 9 o’clock band, Hospitality. This updated scheduling will leave you more time to figure out who Betty Wang is. Before you apply the graphite to your calendar, keep in mind that NNP shows are fewer and further between these days, as our members are increasingly scattered across the globe.

For more details, see the events page.