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John Pietaro, Writer
Pietaro's professional writer's page c/o the Author's Guild
John's blog includes his articles, reviews, essays and fiction as well as an extensive Photo Gallery of historic cultural workers in action and a vast set of Radical Arts Links.
New Masses Media - twitter page
John Pietaro's NEW MASSES MEDIA Twitter profile
National Writers Union, NY: John Pietaro page
The National Writers Union: New York Chapter: The National Writers Union, UAW Local 1981, is the nation's leading labor union for freelance writers. The NWU advocates for writers' rights and fights to improve the income, contracts and working conditions for all freelance writers, including journalists, book authors, business and technical writers, essayists, poets, playwrights, script writers, writers for the web and campus writers. We understand that the media giants are determined to pay us as little as possible and to keep as many rights to themselves as they can. To be a writer you must know your rights and you must fight for your rights. The National Writers Union is affiliated with the United Auto Workers (UAW), which has a proud history of organizing auto workers. In the 1930s, General Motors and the Ford Motor Corporation, fiercely resisted union organizing by deploying the police and the National Guard to fight the auto workers. The famous sit-down strikes of the 1930s was a big turning point for the labor movement, as it lead to mass union organizing of other major industries, such as rubber and steal. Since those labor battles of the 1930s, the UAW has extended its organizing efforts. The UAW of the 21st Century now represents workers in many different business sectors, such as legal, office, technical, human service, child care, education, and most recently, casino workers.
New Masses Media Relations- Tumblr page
John Pietaro's New Masses Media Relations on Tumblr
The Red Microphone
The FB music page of the red microphone--THE RED MICROPHONE plays the music of revolution! Free improvisation as a symbol of liberation, an art as bold as our politics John Pietaro: vibraphone, percussion, voice; Ras Moshe: tenor saxophone; Rocco John Iacovone: soprano saxophone; Laurie Towers: electric bass RECORDINGS: "Brecht Breakdown" (poetry by Bertolt Brecht: “Questions from a Worker Who Reads”, 1935; spontaneous composition/free improvisation by the Red Microphone) Recorded at The Hornet's Nest studio, New York City, October 7, 2012 Produced by the Red Microphone Engineered by Denise Iacovone Photography by Denise Iacovone …This session is dedicated to the spirit of revolution, the unshackling inherent in free improvisation, the people's united voice and the artists' tenacious creativity here in the belly of this capitalist beast.
THE RED MICROPHONE on Reverbnation
THE RED MICROPHONE is an ensemble born on equal terms of both radical music and militant politics. The quartet is the product of seasoned improvisational musicians with the desire to promote their Left philosophies through sound. The band's output is one of revolutionary creativity. Led by vibraphonist/percussionist John Pietaro and featuring the work of tenor saxophonist Ras Moshe, soprano and alto saxophonist Rocco John Iacovone and electric bassist Laurie Towers, the Red Microphone entered the studio on October 7, 2012 and emerged with "Brecht Breakdown", a re-imagining of Bertolt Brecht's poem "Questions from a Worker Who Reads". Read by Pietaro over a funky, determined Towers bassline and filtered through and around the melodic/harmonic/free statements of Moshe and Iacovone, the piece is set off by piercing gamelan-like percussion and ringing, stinging vibraphone. "Brecht Breakdown", recorded live, will be released January 2013 as part of the IFAR Compilation, an international collection of experimental music. The band is set to return to the studio to produce a full-length disc of revolutionary music which bridges the avant garde to revolutionary activism. Drenched in Free Jazz and New Music, a series of performances in NYC are also on board. Upward, onward!
The Dissident Arts Orchestra
THE DISSIDENT ARTS ORCHESTRA is a shape-shifting large ensemble of improvisational musicians led by vibraphonist/percussionist John Pietaro. The band is comprised of many noted NYC-based improvisers who create spontaneously composed scores to silent and foreign language films. While the music is all improvised, the Orchestra makes use of hand and facial cues by Pietaro and also work from some basi c musical concepts established immediately before the performances (ie- a cue of #1 will indicate a D phrygian mode, a cue of #2 will indicate E-flat jazz feel, a cue of #3 will indicate pointillistic atonal texture, etc). The Orchestra performed scores to 'Metropolis' in August 2012 as part of the Dissident Arts Festival and 'The Cabinet of Dr Caligari' in October 2012. A recording of the latter performance was professionally synced to a beautiful copy of the film by the UK-based New United Artists Film Studio and is available on you-tube. The Dissident Arts Orchestra will be holding bi-monthly performances at 17 Frost Theatre of the Arts in Brooklyn NY beginning January 2012.
Radio NOIR on Reverb Nation
Radio NOIR's page on Reverb Nation allows for the downloading of lengthier pieces including our 30 minute performance at the 2011 Dissident Arts Festival. Please drop by to check this out as well as other recordings, pics and some of our faves in the Reverb Nation pantheon.
John Pietaro's Facebook page: Drumkit/XYLOPHONE/Percussion
Here's John's own music page, one which includes not only info on his activities but a veritable museum of xylophone and percussion in Photos.

Cultural Workers

Hanns Eisler
Composer/activist Eisler became partners with Bertolt Brecht after the playwright sought out a composer who was more pronounced in Left philosphy than Weill. Together Eisler and Brecht would create some of the most radical scores of all time, radical enough to have them put on Nazi hit-lists in the 1930s. Eisler was a Modernist, schooled by Schoenberg, who set out to create a sound that was as daring in intent as harmony. A true giant of protest music, Eisler was a friend to Labor choruses, anti-fascists all over the world and even Woody Guthrie.
Paul Robeson
Here's an amazing collection of data on Paul Robeson, one of the great American heroes who's been maligned by reactionaries for decades. Ignore the bullshit, admire the man. Robeson posed a threat to the frightened, racist status quo as he challenged it as no one else had. Born the son of a slave, Robeson graduated with top honors from law school and also stood as a nationally recognized athlete. He instead followed the path of the arts and became an acclaimed actor and vocalist but braved it all to take a stand on issues such as the need to pass anti-lynching legislation; he was also a great advocate for the early movements for civil rights and peace. An outspoken champion, Robeson boldly looked HUAC in the face and told the witch-hunting right-wing politicians, "You are the UnAmericans and you should be ashamed of yourselves". 25 years after his sad death, and through the efforts of tireless lobbying efforts, Paul Robeson was put on a US postage stamp, but our government can never apologize enough to the memory of this great artist/activist. It was the government, led by the likes of J Parnell Thomas, Joe McCarthy, J Edgar Hoover and Richard Nixon, that was responsible for the systematic dismantling of Robeson's career and then his very life. This brilliant site is care of the Bay Area Paul Robeson organization.
Bertolt Brecht
Here's a link to the International Brecht Society, an organization which commemorates the great poet/playwright, as well as promotes performances of his works. Brecht was a powerhouse among cultural workers, writing such important plays as The Threepenny Opera, Happy End, The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahogonny, The 7 Deadly Sins (with composer Kurt Weill) and the Mother (with Hanns Eisler) as well as a wide assortment of poems and articles. He also created the concept of Epic Theatre, which stripped away all emotion of the actor in order to promote the core of the writer's work as well as allow the audience to reflect their own feelings upn the character. Brecht ultimately left Germany to escape the nazis (who'd had him on a hit-list and marked him as a danger to their regime), moving to Hollywood where he worked in the film industry. Brecht was of course cited as a Communist by HUAC--becoming targeted in the origianl group of writers and directors who were blacklisted. Ironically, his HUAC testimony, though unfriendly, was bought hook, line and sinker by the UnAmericans and they dropped their case against him. Still, Brecht left the US for East Germany by the late 40s and founded the Berliner Group there.His works remain among the most important of all dramas with social significance.
Amiri Baraka
Amiri Baraka, born in 1934, in Newark, New Jersey, USA, is the author of over 40 books of essays, poems, drama, and music history and criticism, a poet icon and revolutionary political activist who has recited poetry and lectured on cultural and political issues extensively in the USA, the Caribbean, Africa, and Europe. With influences on his work ranging from musical orishas such as Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane, Thelonius Monk, and Sun Ra to the Cuban Revolution, Malcolm X and world revolutionary movements, Baraka is renowned as the founder of the Black Arts Movement in Harlem in the 1960s that became, though short-lived, the virtual blueprint for a new American theater aesthetics. The movement and his published and performance work, such as the signature study on African-American music, Blues People (1963) and the play Dutchman (1963) practically seeded “the cultural corollary to black nationalism” of that revolutionary American milieu. Other titles range from Selected Poetry of Amiri Baraka/LeRoi Jones (1979), to The Music (1987), a fascinating collection of poems and monographs on Jazz and Blues authored by Baraka and his wife and poet Amina, and his boldly sortied essays, The Essence of Reparations (2003). The Essence of Reparations is Baraka’s first published collection of essays in book form radically exploring what is sure to become a twenty-first century watershed movement of Black peoples to the interrelated issues of racism, national oppression, colonialism, neo-colonialism, self-determination and national and human liberation, which he has long been addressing creatively and critically. It has been said that Amiri Baraka is committed to social justice like no other American writer. Somebody Blew Up America & Other Poems is Baraka’s first collection of poems published in the Caribbean and includes the title poem that has headlined him in the media in ways rare to poets and authors. The recital of the poem “that mattered” engaged the poet warrior in a battle royal with the very governor of New Jersey and with a legion of detractors demanding his resignation as the state’s Poet Laureate because of Somebody Blew Up America’s provocatively poetic inquiry (in a few lines of the poem) about who knew beforehand about the New York City World Trade Center bombings in 2001. Baraka lives in Newark with his wife and author Amina Baraka; they have five children and head up the word-music ensemble, Blue Ark: The Word Ship and co-direct Kimako’s Blues People, the “artspace” housed in their theater basement for some fifteen years.
Diego Rivera
Oh yeah, Rivera is perhaps the ultimate in revolutionary visual artists! Diego María de la Concepción Juan Nepomuceno Estanislao de la Rivera y Barrientos Acosta y Rodríguez (December 8, 1886 – November 24, 1957) better known simply as Diego Rivera was a prominent Mexican painter born in Guanajuato, Guanajuato, an active communist, and husband of Frida Kahlo (1929–1939 and 1940–1954). His large wall works in fresco helped establish the Mexican Mural Movement in Mexican art. Between 1922 and 1953, Rivera painted murals among others in Mexico City, Chapingo, Cuernavaca, San Francisco, Detroit, and New York City.[1] In 1931, a retrospective exhibition of his works was held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
Anthony Braxton/Tri-Centric Foundation
The Tri-Centric Foundation is a not-for-profit organization that supports the ongoing work and legacy of eminent musician/composer Anthony Braxton, while also cultivating and inspiring the next generation of creative artists to pursue their own visions with the kind of idealism and integrity he has demonstrated throughout his long and distinguished career. Specifically, it encourages broad dissemination of Braxton’s music through creation of, and support for, performances, productions, recordings and other new media technologies. It also documents, archives, preserves and disseminates Braxton’s scores, writings, performances and recordings and advocates for a broader audience, appreciation, funding and support base for Braxton’s work. Founded in 1994, the Tri-Centric Foundation was restarted in 2010 after a ten-year dormancy. Projects this year include the four day festival Energies, Ideas, Intuitions: The Tri-Centric Music of Anthony Braxton at Roulette in Brooklyn, and the release of the studio recording of Trillium-E, a four-act opera involving 60 performers. More information about the musicians in the Tri-Centric family is available on the Tri-Centric Orchestra blog.
Archie Shepp
Saxophone player, composer, pianist, singer, politically committed poet, playwright, Archie Shepp is a legend. Archie Shepp was born in 1937 in Fort Lauderdale in Florida. He grew up in Philadelphia, studied piano and saxophone and attended high school in Germantown; he went to college, became involved with theatre, met writers and poets, among them, Leroy Jones and wrote: «The Communist», an allegorical play about the situation of black Americans. In the late fifties, Archie Shepp also met the most radical musicians of the time: Lee Morgan, Bobby Timmons, Jimmy Garrison, Ted Curson, Beaver Harris ... his political consciousness found an expression in plays and theatrical productions which barely allowed him to make a living. In the beginning sixties he met Cecil Taylor and did two recordings with him which were determining. In 1962 he signed his first record with Bill Dixon as co-leader. During the following year, he created the New York Contemporary Five with John Tchichai. Starting in August 1964, he worked with Impulse and made 17 records among which, Four For Trane, Fire Music, and Mama Too Tight, some of the classics of Free Music. His collaboration with John Coltrane materialized further with Ascension in 1965, a real turning point in Avant-Garde music. His militancy was evidenced by his participation in the creation of the Composers Guild with Paul and Carla Bley, Sun RA, Roswell Rudd and Cecil Taylor. In July 1969 he went for the first time to Africa for the Pan African Festival in Algiers where many black American militants were living. On this occasion he recorded Live for Byg the first of six albums in the Actual series. He populates his musical world with themes and stylistic elements provided by the greatest voices of jazz: from Ellington to Monk and Mingus, from Parker to Siver and Taylor. His play consistently deepens the spirit of the two faces of the original black American music: blues and spirituals. His work with classics and with his own compositions (Bessie Smith’s Black Water Blues or Mama Rose) contributes to maintaining alive the power of strangeness of these two musics in relationship to European music and expresses itself in a unique mix of wounded violence and age-old nostalgia.
John Reed
John Reed was a firebrand radical journalist who founded the Communist Party USA after documenting not only the Russian Revolution, but also American labor rebellions and he chronicled some,of the early years of the IWW. A top writer of "The Masses", Reed covered various workers' battles with the powers that be, as well as events to celebrate workers' culture such as the Patterson Pageant of 1912. After his historic reportage of the Bolshevik revolution (Ten Day That Shook The World), Reed founded the Communist Labor Party, one of the two US-based communist organizations that sprang from the Socialist Party's left-wing, after the Sp was torn apart by various factions' response to the first World War. The left-wing were vehemently anti-war and Reed, along with Louis Frena, forged the organization that would soon grow into the CPUSA. In his last days, Reed had achieved highstatus in Lenin's Communist International, but unfortunately lost his life to typhoid while still young. However, he laid the foundation for a crusading radical journalist/activist and holds a place in history for his many achievements. His life was dramatized in the excellent film "Reds". This website offers a glimpse into some of Reed's best writings and if you follow the link, you'll also find an excellent biographical statement.
Langston Hughes
Brilliant poet and outspoken activist of the Harlem Renaissance and beyond. Hughes offered a vision of Black life during the Great Depression as well the periods prior to it and immediately following it as well. His "A Dream Deferred" spoke volumes to a nation indifferent to its own class system.
Creative Music Studio --Karl Berger
During the '70- and '80's, the Woodstock-based Creative Music Studio was considered the premier study center for contemporary creative music. Founded in 1971 by Karl Berger, Ingrid Sertso and Ornette Coleman, CMS brought together leading innovators in the jazz and world music communities. Unprecedented in its range and diversity, CMS was an acknowledged phenomenon in the international music world, providing participants with the rare opportunity to interact personally with the musical giants of improvisation and musical thought on a daily basis. The concept of Worldjazz was born: the improvisational and compositional expansion of the world's musical traditions. Now one of the main driving forces in many styles of music, this concept was pioneered very early at CMS, guided by authentic leaders. Hundreds of live concerts were recorded, many heralded as landmark performances. Thousands of workshops, master classes, concerts and colloquia inspired a generation of musicians who took with them the ideas, concepts and practices developed at CMS. The CMS community still exists in a remarkable network of creative musicians, many of whom came to CMS from Asia, Europe and South America. CMS closed its year-round facility in 1984, largely due to the restrictive economics of the time. But the music never stopped. The program continued with a schedule of workshops, intensive sessions, and World Jazz Encounters on the road, in Florida, California, Germany, Italy, Brazil, West Africa, India, the Philippines and Japan. Today, a thriving CMS community lives on in a remarkable network of players in the Woodstock area, in New York and around the world.
Ras Moshe
Multi-instrumentalist Moshe is a mainstay of Dissident Arts, a regular of the annual Festivals, a partner in the Red Microphone and a regular member of the Dissident Arts Orchestra. John Pietaro also frequently plays in his Music Now! ensembles and the two work together in various other settings. Simply put, Ras is one of downtown's monster artists
Kurt Weill
The Kurt Weill Foundation archives the great composer's original papers and manuscripts, while overseeing events and performances. Weill composed Brecht's greatest plays, helping to forge a new genre which bridged opera to musical and contained moving social drama.
Milford Graves
Milford Graves has a website of his own that does not seem to be functioning, so this is a link to a myspace page in his honor. Born on August 20, 1941 in Jamaica, Queens, New York. An internationally acclaimed jazz musician and theorists, Milford Graves is one of the world's great geniuses of the drums and percussion, pioneering in the free jazz drumming. He played congas as a child before switching to tap drums at 17 and studied tabla with Wasantha Singh. He has been the recipient of many honors, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts grant, the Down Beat International Award, and the Critics Award. He is a dedicated teacher, herbalist and acupuncturist. He has been a music consultant for the Board of Education in New York City and for P.S. 201 in Harlem and he has taught at Bennington College since 1973. He was described as a “20th-century shaman” by composer and saxophonist John Zorn. He has worked with Hugh Masekela, Miriam Makeba, Guiseppi Logan, the New York Art Quartet, Don Pullen, Sunny Morgan, Albert Ayler, Hugh Glover, Arthur Doyle, Andrew Cyrille, Rashied Ali, Sun Ra, Kenny Clarke, David Murray, Bill Dixon, Amiri Baraka, Don Moye, Miles Davis, David S. Ware, Paul Bley, Toshinori Kondo, Philly Joe Jones, Derek Bailey, Peter Brotzmann, William Parker, Charles Gayle, John Zorn, Bill Laswell, Mike Patton, Marc Ribot, Lou Reed and was an original member of the Jazz Composers' Orchestra Association.
Albert Ayler
This is a UK-based website feting the great revolutionary improviser, Albert Ayler. Albert was developing his own ‘free jazz’ style by 1961. In ‘62 he met up with Don Cherry (who was touring with Sonny Rollins), and with whom he would later record four albums. Then in December he saw the Cecil Taylor group in Stockholm and asked if he could join them. He travelled with Taylor to Denmark and made his official debut album, “My Name Is Albert Ayler” in January 1963, with a pick-up group of local musicians. In February 1964 there was a recording session organised in New York by the Danish label, Debut Records. This resulted in the "Witches and Devils" LP (aka "Spirits"), and the set of spirituals and other traditional material which was released posthumously. Albert then formed a trio with Gary Peacock on bass and Sunny Murray on drums. As well as a live LP (again released posthumously), this is the unit which produced the universally acknowledged classic jazz album, "Spiritual Unity", which was recorded in July 1964 and released on the new ESP label. Albert`s second LP for ESP was the soundtrack album, "New York Eye And Ear Control", which featured a larger group, including Don Cherry. The Cafe Montmartre in Copenhagen then invited Albert to return to Europe. Don Cherry was added to the regular trio and the group made the outstanding record, "Ghosts" (aka "Vibrations", "Mothers and Children") in September 1964. Don Cherry had decided to remain in Europe, so when Albert returned to New York, he asked his brother, Donald, to join his band. With the addition of Donald Ayler, Albert`s music changed yet again, at times sounding like a New Orleans marching band, which gave the regular jazz critics even more problems, wondering whether it was meant to be taken seriously or as a parody. When ESP issued "Bells", recorded in 1965 and released as a one-sided, see-through disc, the name of Albert Ayler became even more notorious. Albert embarked on his first major recording contract, since John Coltrane had finally persuaded Bob Thiele at Impulse Records to sign him to the label. After the magnificence of "In Greenwich Village" and "Love Cry", came the selling-out of "New Grass" and the banality of "Music Is The Healing Force Of The Universe". Whether this was a genuine attempt to make his music more accessible and spread his spiritual message further, or whether he just did it for the money, either way it didn't work. The contract with Impulse was terminated. The problems with the music were reflected in Albert's private life. In July 1970, Albert played his last concerts in France. On November 25, 1970, Albert Ayler's body was found floating in the East River, at the foot of Congress Street Pier, in Brooklyn.
Fred Ho/Big Red Media
Fred Ho (Chinese name: 侯维翰; pinyin: Hóu Wéihàn; born Fred Wei-han Houn in Palo Alto, California, August 10, 1957) is an American jazz baritone saxophonist, composer, bandleader, playwright, writer, and social activist. While he is sometimes associated with the Asian American jazz or avant-garde jazz movements, Ho himself is opposed to the use of term "jazz" to describe traditional African American music because the word "jazz" was used pejoratively by white Americans to denigrate the music of African Americans. Also an activist, many of his works fuse the melodies of indigenous and traditional Asian and African musics, which as Ho would say is the music of the majority of the world's people. He has also co-edited two books: Legacy to Liberation: Politics and Culture of Revolutionary Asian Pacific America and Sounding Off! Music as Subversion/ Resistance/ Revolution. He has a third book in progress about African Americans and Asians working together in civil rights, which he is co-writing with Purdue University professor of African American studies Bill Mullen. Ho's contributions to the Asian American empowerment movement are varied and many. He is credited with co-founding several Asian American civic groups such as the East Coast Asian Students Union while a student at Harvard, The Asian American Arts Alliance in New York City, The Asian American Resource Center in Boston, and the Asian Improv record label. Of Chinese descent, Ho specializes in the combining sometimes asynchronous tunes and melodies of various musical traditions, creating what many have described as both brilliant and chaotic sounds. He is the first to combine Chinese opera with traditional African American music. He leads the Afro Asian Music Ensemble (founded in 1982) and the Monkey Orchestra (founded in 1980). He lives in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn, New York.
Warren Smith
One of the great percussionists of the edgy jazz scene that has embraced the kind of free improvisation we here at Dissident Arts are so fond of! Warren has performed with everyone from Miles Davis, Ornette Coleman, M'Boom, Gil Evans, Anthony Braxton and Sam Rivers to Nina Simone, Quincy Jones, Nat King Cole and Janis Joplin. His mallet playing (including unbridled xylophone performances with M'Boom and beautiful vibraphone work with any number of others) is matched by his intuitive, deep drumset playing. Warren is also a noted band leader, composer and teacher. In 2012, Radio NOIR's John Pietaro had the honor of working with him in Karl Berger's Improvisors Orchestra in performance at Manhattan's Jazz Gallery.
Wadada Leo Smith
ISHMAEL WADADA LEO SMITH: trumpeter and multi-instrumentalist, composer and improviser has been active in creative contemporary music for over forty years. His systemic music language Ankhrasmation is significant in his development as an artist and educator. He has taught at the University of New Haven (1975-'76), the Creative Music Studio in Woodstock, NY (1975-'78), and Bard College (1987-'93). He is currently a faculty member at The Herb Alpert School of Music at California Institute of the Arts. He is the director of the African-American Improvisational Music program, and is a member of ASCAP, Chamber Music America, and the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians. Some of the artists Mr. Smith has performed with are : Muhal Richard Abrams, Anthony Braxton, Leroy Jenkins, Roscoe Mitchell, Lester Bowie, Richard Teitelbaum, Joseph Jarman, George Lewis, Cecil Taylor, Andrew Cyrill, Oliver Lake, Anthony Davis, Carla Bley, David Murray, Don Cherry, Jeanne Lee, Milton Campbell, Henry Brant, Richard Davis, Tadao Sawai, Ed Blackwell, Sabu Toyozumi, Peter Kowald, Kazuko Shiraishi, Han Bennink, Misja Mengelberg, Marion Brown, Kazutoki Umezu, Kosei Yamamoto, Charlie Haden, Kang Tae Hwan, Kim Dae Hwan, Tom Buckner, Malachi Favors Magoustous and Jack Dejohnette among many others. Mr. Smith currently has three ensembles: Golden Quartet, Silver Orchestra, and Organic. His compositions have also been performed by other contemporary music ensembles: AACM-Orchestra, Kronos Quartet, Da Capo Chamber Player, New Century Players, San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, Contemporary Chamber Players (University of Chicago), S.E.M. Ensemble, Southwest Chamber Music, Del Sol String Quartet, New York New Music Ensemble, ne(x)tworks, and California E.A.R. Unit.
Sohrab Saadat Ladjevardi
Saxophonist, composer, band leader, label owner, editor, music activist and Kendo-Ka
European Free Improvisation
Begun in January 1995, EFIP was intended to be a comprehensive information resource for all aspects of the type of music known as European free improvisation. From January 2007 it is being updated approximately every two months.
Marc Blitzstein
The composer of "The Cradle Will Rock" and "Regina" was also a member of the very radical Composers Collective of NY in the 1930s. By the early 50s, he'd translated the Brecht-Weill "Three-Penny Opera" and organized the very first production of it in the US (Theatre De Lys, Greenwich Village, NYC). And here's a wonderful link to offer insight into Blitzstein's song "The Nickel Under the Foot", featured in the Tim Robbins film 'Cradle Will Rock', the story of both composer and his opera of the same name:
Only Tantum: visual artist
Only Tantum is a great example of an outside artist creating powerfully moving images that need to be widely seen. This is deep stuff. Check out his work, especially "Baghdad" and the collection entitled "Strange Frut: Dedicated to Billie Holiday". But this is all wonderful visual art that speaks of the great expanse of land in his region as well as the harsh realities of the world around (and within) us all. If his paintings had a voice they would sound like Ornette Coleman's plastic alto saxophone! This is from the About section of his website: "I live in the far South Valley of Albuquerque, New Mexico. I am obsessed. I am on a never ending search for wall space to hang my work. At home, I have hung several pieces on the sides of outbuildings so they can be seen from the street. The net is like a nice big wall that I can’t leave nail holes in. You can contact me at When I don’t paint, I play pool at the community center."
Woody Guthrie
The name says it all. This master of the topical song deserves an archive the size of the Smithsonian, but until that happens, this space in mid-town Manhattan will do nicely. Led by Woody's tireless daughter, Nora, the Archive houses ALL of Woody's writings, songbooks, drawings, musings, diaries, memorobilia and more. If you make an appointment, you can meet with an archivist and see these documents. Its a trip through history and into the mind of the prototypical protest musician. The office is located within the office of folk music promoter Harold Leventhal, who passed away in Fall of 2005. A great loss---I was honored to have a lengthy discussion with him during a visit there. He was Woody's manager throughout his lifetime, and worked with most everyone in the genre.
Earl Robinson
This page offers a good, solid biographical sketch of composer Earl Robinson, who's best known for his song, "Joe Hill" (lyric by Alfred Hayes). But Robinson, who was a strong voice in the Composers Collective of NY, also composed "The House I Live In" (yup--the Sinatra song!), "Ballad for the Americans" and the 1970s pop song "Black and White", a huge hit for 3 Dog Night. Like nearly all American Communists of the period, he was as patriotic as he was radical, calling for an end to class distinction, racism and war--seemingly the goals of our nation's founding fathers. Robinson also led several choirs which offered workers' songs and folk music to receptive audiences and in later years was involved in the environmental and alternative medicine movements.
Hollywood Ten
Here's a wonderful resource for information, articles and bios on the Hollywood Ten and other artists who were subject to the blacklist.
Marc Ribot
THIS BIO, EXCERPTED FROM FROM MARC'S OWN WEBSITE, LEAVES OUT HIS WONDERFUL ACTIVISM ON BEHALF OF MUSICIANS' RIGHTS, SO WE NEEDED TO GET THAT IN BEFORE MOVING ON! Rolling Stone points out that “Guitarist Marc Ribot helped Tom Waits refine a new, weird Americana on 1985's “Rain Dogs”, and since then he's become the go-to guitar guy for all kinds of roots-music adventurers: Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, Elvis Costello, John Mellencamp.” Additional recording credits include Soloman Burke, Marianne Faithful, Arto Lindsay, Caetano Veloso, Laurie Anderson, Susana Baca, McCoy Tyner, The Jazz Passengers, John Lurie’s The Lounge Lizards, Medeski, Martin & Wood, Jamaaladeen Tacuma, Cibo Matto, James Carter, Vinicio Capposella (Italy), Auktyon (Russia), Vinicius Cantuaria, Sierra Maestra (Cuba), Alain Bashung (France), Marisa Monte, Allen Ginsburg, Madeleine Peyroux, Sam Phillips, and more recently Joe Henry, Allen Toussaint, Norah Jones, Akiko Yano, The Black Keys, Jeff Bridges, Jolie Holland, Elton John/Leon Russell and many others. Ribot frequently collaborates with producer T Bone Burnett, most notably on Alison Krauss and Robert Plant's Grammy Award winning "Raising Sand" and regularly works with composer John Zorn. Marc has released 19 albums under his own name over a 30-year career and is currently touring with several projects including the Marc Ribot Trio, a free jazz group featuring legendary bassist Henry Grimes and Chad Taylor on drums, his power trio Ceramic Dog with bassist Shahzad Ismaily and drummer Ches Smith, a collaboration with Los Lobos guitarist David Hidalgo called Border Music, and with Caged Funk, a project of funk arrangements of John Cage’s music featuring Bernie Worrell of Parliament Funkadelic fame.
Javier Hernandez-Miyares' Soundcloud page
Stop by Sinlab to check out all of guitarist Javier Hernandez-Miyares' music, ranging from multi-layered to live but always compelling.
Elie Siegmeister
Elie Seigmeister was one of the great, Leftist composers who looked to the music of Hanns Eisler as a model for inspiration. He, along with the rest of the Composers Collective of New York (including Aaron Copland, Charles Louis Seeger, Ruth Crawford, Earl Robinson, Marc Blitzstein and others), attempted to create an American proletariat music which embraced both the international workers movement and the progressive genres in concert music, even as they commented on urgent issues of the day. Siegmeiste soon became enamored with folk music of the US, as well as of othe cultures, and led a series of orchestras and choruses to expand on this music, often in conjunction with Collective friends. This website for the Siegmeister Society is rather flat and offers sparing information, though it does offer that a January, 2009 centenary event will be occuring. Most of the internet bios on Siegmeister either ignore his strong place in the history of Communist music circles or expand upon this in order to demonize him or the movement. Make no mistake about it, Elie was a giant among cultural workers.
Phil Ochs
The greatest protest singer of the latter period of US radicalism, Ochs never achieved the commercial success of some of his contemporaries, but he's recalled as an activist among them. His mission remained true throughout his tragically short life. This website is an all-around resource with pages of lyrics, history, photos, links, etc.
Sonny Ochs/Remembering Phil Ochs
This is the site of Sonny Ochs, the legenday Phil Ochs' sister. Sonny has a wonderful radio program on WRPI-FM (Troy NY) and she also hosts a wide variety of Phil Ochs Song Nights all over the country. Sonny's site also has some excellent memories of her brother's life and music.
Phil Bonofsky
Here's the website of noted essayist/journalist and creative writer Phil Bonofsky who has been an active cultural worker since the 1930s. A Communist Party organizer during the height of McCarthyism, a writer for 'Masses and Mainstream' and an editor of the 'Daily World' Bonofsky was on the front lines for generations and remains active though well into his 90s.
Quincy Saul/Smash This Screen blog
Radio NOIR's clarinetist Quincy Saul is also a very busy eco-socialist activist and a journalist for the celebrated periodical 'Capitalism Nature Socialism'. Stop by his blog to read his reports from the Durban South Africa climate conference as well as other other powerful writings.
Pete Seeger
Though Pete has no official website of his own, this one has been deemed the "official appreciation page", which is a great source for iinfo on Pete's music, history, and activism. The grandaddy of the folk revival is still going strong into his mid-80s, so here's a chance to look over all that he's done for society over the decades.
Victor Jara
Chilean folksinger and freedom fighter who stood with Salvador Allende, befriended Phil Ochs and was horribly killed by the neo-fascist regime of Pinochet. A balladeer of the people, Jara, offered a voice to the populace in a time of vast social change. Jara held high esteem in the public as well as the Allende government before being tortured and murdered by the forces of the right-wing dictator that the US not only supported but had brought in to oust the elected socialist government. The nightmarish actions of Pinochet are evidence of the fear that a musician can create for a right-wing dictator.
One of the greatest of all folksingers, Odetta broke through the largely white-male structure of the 60s folk industry to offer music of depthh and singular urgency. Her almost primal scream version of "John Henry" spoke volumes as churches were burning in Mississippi and civil rights protests in the south were enflaming dissent all over the nation. Odetta remains a vital, powerful performer with a unique blues-based approach to folksongs. While Odetta has no site of her own, this link will bring you to a Pacifica Radio transcript of an informative and moving interview.
This site is dedicated to the great blues/folk singer-songwriter Huddie "Leadbelly" Ledbetter. He crossed the divide from rural blues to urban protest song and never looked back. One of the legends.
Dorothy Parker
Though this site is a lot more fan-based than most of the links you'll find in this section, Dorothy Parker was a vitally important progressive artist. Her work for "New Masses", reporting on the Spanish Civil War, already puts her into the cultural worker spotlight. But while she may be more known as a member of the Algonquin Roundtable's inner circle, 'Mrs Parker' was also a life-long activist, a feminist who spoke out strongly for the Civil Rights movement. When she died in 1967, , her estate was left to Dr. King. Parker was a legend and this website offers info on her and her world in a fun but informative manner. The links section is also a strong one.
Rod Serling
Brillianr, visionary writer Rod Serling forged new ground in television with the teleplays "Requiem for a Heavyweight", "Patterns" and many more. These noir-inspired classics made powerful statements about the strength of the common person in the face of adversity. His celebrations of equality and portraits of the little guy standing up to the power structure were further seen in 'The Twilight Zone' which offered dozens and dozens of examples. One of our favorites is 'The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street', a drama about the hysteria of suspicion. Just listen to Serling's amazing closing speech which declares, "For the record, prejudice can kill and paranoia can destroy...". Ooooh, all this during the high Cold War years! Truly, Serling was the Arthur Miller of television.
Richie Havens
Since the later 1960s, Richie Havens has been globally acknowledged as an iconic protest singer, though his repertoire has a wide reach. Blurring strumming right hand, spider-like left fingers embracing his guitar neck, bent over his instrument, Havens embodies the notion of the folk revival.
Si Kahn
Si Kahn is a folksinger cut from the classic, Left-wing mold. He stands as an important part of the 1960s folk revival but also has a number of books on political action and theory to his credit, as well as the important pedigree of having worked as a labor organizer (more power to you, brother!). Kahn relocated to the south as a result of time spent there for civil rights actions, so he's the real deal. BUt don't let any of this stuff overshadow his wonderful music...
Joe Strummer
The brilliant, revolutionary singer/songwriter and buzzsaw guitarist, Strummer helped to bring punk rock to communists and others on the international Left. While the Sex Pistols shouted out for anarchy, it was the Clash who had songs about the Spanish Civil War and the British years under Thatcher. They of course recorded an album called Sandinista which offerd scathing protest of the right-wing's (read: reagan/Thatcher) support of the Nicaraguan Contras. Militancy was too loose for the likes of Strummer and co, who specified their support of the revolutionary Leftists in that battle and others. After the Clash broke up, Strummer's solo career would never reach of his old band's success and then we'd lose him altogether...but just give a listen to London Calling and you know that even if thge revolutuion would not be televised, it can be envisioned through the soundtrack created by the Clash lo, so many years back!
Michael Franti and Spearhead
Spearhead has found a way to release powerfully outspoken records that groove just as hard as they agitate. Franti and co can do no wrong (nuff said)!
Ramblin' Jack Elliot
Ramblin' Jack is best recalled as the guy who hung out with Woody so much that he developed an almost perfect imitation of his voice, gestures and stage presence. But Jack's music and adventures go way beyond that. He remains an active musician till this day. Check out the site for info on his recent release.
Judy Gorman
Judy is a gifted singer-songwriter who travels throughout the US from her home base in Brooklyn Heights, performing songs of labor, social change and feminism. She has several CDs available via this page on the CD Baby website.
Billy Bragg
ONe of the strongest voices of musical radicalsim, Bragg crosses the boundary between punk and folk music better than most anyone else.
Bev Grant
Singer/songwriter/activist Bev Grant has been doing her thing since the 1960s when she shared the stage with such notables as Phil Ochs. After breaking through the coffeehouse scene in Greenwich Village, Bev led the band, the Human Condition for some years before establishing a series of powerful associations including leading the Brooklyn Women's chorus and more recently her group the Dissident Daughters. Bev has performed on several events organized by John; her music is always welcome.
Readnex Poetry Squad
This group of young, Rap-driven poets reloacted from NYC to New Paltz NY recently and have been spreading their unique style of protest poetry throughout the Hudson Valley and the NY area. Late 2006 saw the release of their second CD and a tour in 2007 will extend into Europe. The Readnex bring socail justice poetics into the current age we live in, while never refuting the origins of Left-wing spoken word art.
Jennie Litt & David Alpher
Progressive cabaret pair Jennie Litt and David Alpher light up the stage with powerful voice and piano in a wide asortment of music. But we know that these two are died-in-the-wool radicals and so really enjoy their Peoples Cabaret show which includes songs by the likes of Harold Rome. For our Dissident Fest 2007 they turned a Beacon cultural center into a decadent Berlin cabaret of the late 1920s. These two can perform Brecht and Weill or Brecht and Eisler like they have done so in the thicket of German nightlife while dodging the brownshirts!
Lach is the founder of the "Antifolk" genre of the early 1980s, but he's also a talented songer-songwriter with much to say right now. Antifolk was created in NYC's Est Village as a direct response to the West Village's "legitimate" folk scene's conventions----which excluded the young, edgy performers who believed as much in the Clash as they did Woody Guthrie. So they created a bizarro-planet folk scene, if you will, which sported numerous 'Anti-Hoots' in East Village clubs and a traveling performance series called 'The Fort', another Lach invention. The Anti-Folksters spoke the language of the time and place in which they lived---just as the originators of the folk revivial did. So what's up with Lach today? Punk-laced folk songs which explore our lives, lifestyles and history---its all here.
Sana Sabazz
Sana is a talented poet and writer who is very much a social activist as well. In 2006 she released the book, "Why Women Cry", exploring the many issues women are faced with in society and within their own familes and themselves. Soon to be released is "Why Men Cry", also a poetic study of the inner and outer worlds of men.
Gwen Laster
Celebrated Jazz musician Gwen Laster is an amazing violinist who performs on the international stage but is always available to lend support to progressive causes and community events. We are lucky to have her based here in NY's Hudson Valley and have her take part in some of our events. Gwen's vilin leads are soaring, floating epic adventures of sound and she's equally comfortable playing Jazz Fusion, traditional Blues or Country, pure improv, scored concert music or burning swing.
Ray Korona Band
Ray Korona is a singer-songwriter who is steeped in the folk-protest tradition. His songs are satirical, biting, often humorous and always offer a message. His band and he have performed for many progressive events, acting as accompaniests or opening acts for people such as Pete Seeger, Jim Hightower and Patti Smith. All that, and Ray is a good friend to the Flames, having appeared at several events John has organized over the years.
Robert Milby
Radical poet Robert Milby tells it like it is in verse--as often as he can. A published poet many times over, Milby also performs his work in cafes and runs poetry circles throughout much of the mid-Hudson Valley of NY.
Journey Blue Heaven
Talented Woodstock-based singer/songwriter/activist and host of cable TV's Woodstock Tell-a-Vision show. Here's to the next generation of great artist-activists.
Voices for Peace/Danielle Woerner
Noted sporano Danielle Woerner formed Voices for Peace in order to add to the protest of George Bush's endless war. They have graced the platform of many peace rallies as well as community events in and around NY's Hudson Valley.
Sing Freedom/Joel Landy
Topical singer-songwriter Joel Landy's website and cable television show (Songs of Freedom) in the New York area. Joel performs regularly in the northeast and is a member of the MacDougal St. Rent Party. HIs TV show has been a wonderful opportunity for many progressive-minded musicians and folksingers in general to have airtime that includes the visual!
Graham and Barbara Dean
The Deans are a Massachusetts-based pair of talented musicians and songwriters who perform a great deal of social justice music.

Progressive Performance Spaces

ABC No Rio
ABC No Rio is a collectively-run center for art and activism. We are known internationally as a venue for oppositional culture. ABC No Rio was founded in 1980 by artists committed to political and social engagement and we retain these values to the present. We seek to facilitate cross-pollination between artists and activists. ABC No Rio is a place where people share resources and ideas to impact society, culture, and community. We believe that art and activism should be for everyone, not just the professionals, experts, and cognoscenti. Our dream is a cadres of actively aware artists and artfully aware activists. Our community is defined by a set of shared values and convictions. It is both a local and international community. It is a community committed to social justice, equality, anti-authoritarianism, autonomous action, collective processes, and to nurturing alternative structures and institutions operating on such principles. Our community includes artists and activists whose work promotes critical analysis and an expanded vision of possibility for our lives and the lives of our neighborhoods, cities, and societies. It includes punks who embrace the Do-It-Yourself ethos, express positive outrage, and reject corporate commercialism. It includes nomads, squatters, fringe dwellers, and those among society's disenfrachised who find at ABC No Rio a place to be heard and valued.
The Stone
The Stone is a not-for-profit performance space dedicated to the EXPERIMENTAL and AVANT-GARDE. It is the project of John Zorn, created in an effort to foster the experimental music scene in the East Village which is fighting for its life against greedy developers! This little room on Avenue C feels very much like the alternative loft spaces once so common to downtown. We are Dissident Arts feel quite the attachment to the club as it was the host of Karl Berger's Stone Workshop Orchestra for many months in 2011; John Pietaro is the percussionist of this powerhouse ensemble led by Berger, an icon of Free Jazz.
Shapeshifter Lab
Another of Brooklyn's newer musician-run performance spaces which caters to new jazz/new music. Who couldn't love this place?? Here's info off of the webpage: ShapeShifter Lab is a 4,200 square foot performance space in Park Slope; this newly renovated performance space hosts the world’s most innovative artists who are looking for a flexible platform to present their work. Bass player Matthew Garrison, son of Jimmy Garrison (bass player for John Coltrane), is the co-owner and creative director with his business partner, Fortuna Sung. With many years as a successful touring musician under his belt, Matt and his team have designed the space with versatility in sound, lighting and layout, each of which can be tailored to each artist. With state-of-the-art equipment and raw space, Matt and his team are creating something truly unique and desperately needed in today’s venue scene in New York City.
El Taller Latino Americano
El Taller Latino Americano (The Latin American Workshop) is a 501(c)(3) community-based non-profit arts and education institution founded in New York City in 1979 to bridge the gap between Latin Americans and North Americans through the language of art, dance and music. El Taller is located in a landmarked loft space on Broadway and W. 104th St. and offers its community a varied menu of Spanish and English language classes, arts programming, music and that seek not only to educate, but to engage and gather diverse groups together culturally and linguistically on the common ground of creativity. Over 500 people each month meet to share ideas, participate in the classes and to find creative inspiration and a refuge in the middle of New York City. ----------among the wide swath of performances, this site has often hosted gigs by Karl Berger's Improvisers Orchestra
Another of Brooklyn's very cool performance spaces, IBeam presents powerful concerts of free improvisation, new composition and more. THis is a favorite venue of many! From their website: Ibeam is a performance, rehearsal and teaching space for professional musicians and students located in the Gowanus area of Brooklyn, NY. Our goal is to foster a community of innovative musicians, educators and students and provide them with a comfortable creative environment. Ibeam provides a quality rehearsal and performance space featuring a Schimmel Concert Grand piano and a vintage gretsch drumset. Ibeam is home to an ongoing performance series which is supported by the musicians who perform. Ibeam supports established and emerging artists by providing the rare opportunity to experiment with new works.
Roulette has, for decades, stood as one of the most important performance spaces for experimental artists in the nation. Since moving to its large auditorium space in hip Brooklyn neighborhood Boerum Hill, its legend has only grown! Here's a bit from their informative website: Our ongoing purpose has been to support artists through presenting a substantial and diverse program of concerts, commissioning new work, paying artists a deserving fee, and finding them an audience interested in learning about developments in experimental art. Over the last three decades, as we pursue our mission, we have emphasized quality. The work we present is distinguished for its intelligence, for the virtuosity of the performers, and for the bravery of its investigation. And now we have provided an outstanding performance environment for our artists and audiences. In an astonishingly short time Roulette has become an epicenter for our Brooklyn neighborhood, and for the arts organizations of New York City. It occupies a unique position in New York City’s cultural landscape as one of the most creative and prolific centers for experimental art in the United States.
The Firehouse Space
Another of the amazing spaces in this Brooklyn-is-the-new-Downtown renaissance of the past decade, Firehouse features some of the strongest free jazz and new music around as well as performance art, spoken word, film and more. All that and its a truly beautiful house designed out of a former Williamsburg firehouse.
One of the few experimental/independent performance spaces to open up in Manhattan in the last few years (who in hell could afford it??). Good to know its there and some of the celebrated Downtown performers of the 80s are featured often.From their website: Spectrum is a technology-intensive site for innovative music and multimedia. It has comfortable furniture and a Steinway D piano that has since been carefully maintained since it was purchased new in 2010.
Blue Stockings Bookstore/Cafe
Bluestockings is a radical bookstore, fair trade cafe, and activist center in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Through words, art, food, activism, education, and community, we strive to create a space that welcomes and empowers all people. We actively support movements that challenge hierarchy and all systems of oppression, including but not limited to patriarchy, heterosexism, the gender binary, white supremacy and classism, within society as well as our own movements. We seek to make our space and resources available to such movements for meetings, events, and research. Additionally, we offer educational programming that promotes centered, strategic, and visionary thinking, towards the realization of a society that is infinitely creative, truly democratic, equitable, ecological, and free. 172 Allen Street between Stanton and Rivington :: 212.777.6028
Nu Blu
If you ask Ilhan Ersahin about the magic happening at 62 Avenue C, he'll give you an enigmatic answer: "We're just playing music." The truth is, from the inside out, it's just about as simple as that. Nublu, the East Village outpost that Ilhan started in 2002, is like a little clubhouse where friends get together and just play music with each other. But, as is often the case, what seems most simple is most special. The magic under the little blue light that marks the entrance to the club emanates from a group of players from all over the world with regulars hailing from Brazil, Eastern Europe, the UK, the US and everywhere between. What's more, they happen to be among the most sought after musicians around. They've regularly shared stages and made recordings with Herbie Hancock, David Byrne, Sun Ra, Beck, and John Zorn to rattle off a few. Nightly these players come together at Nublu to share their ideas and create music together. Their improvisations reflect all their influences, shared and individual. There's no telling what combination will rise to the top on a given night. About the only certainty is that it will sound both fresh and familiar. Quite often, the improvisations of these musicians give rise to songs, and those momentary communions of musicians become bands - bands like Kudu, Brazilian Girls, Wax Poetic, Forro in the Dark, Love Trio, and the Nublu Orchestra conducted by Butch Morris - all representing different moments in time and different sounds, but a similar ideal. That ideal - the indefinable sound that stretches across the creation of every band and DJ within the club's walls - is known around the house as the Nublu Sound. The Nublu Sound is what made the necessity for Nublu Records clear. Whereas many labels that come about develop out of a few people's desire to go out and search for music, Nublu
Douglas Street Music Collective
Brooklyn is again in the house! From their website: The Douglass Street Music Collective is an artist-run rehearsal and performance space in Brooklyn’s historic Gowanus district. The DSMC’s 15 members represent independent bandleaders covering a range of musical interests, from jazz and classical music to free improvisation and world music and all of the spaces in between. Members can present up to two shows each month and often use the space for teaching and rehearsing music springing from their own unique visions. The individual members all help to pay rent for the space and share rehearsal/performance time at the collective. Because of this we currently do not rent the space to non-members. Regular open sessions will bring together musicians from a variety of musical scenes in an expression of creativity, community and DIY that has always kept New York City at the forefront of the international creative music community.
the Brecht Forum
Home of the New York Marxist School, this very hip Left performance space is also a lecture center which attracts many important radical writers, musicians, poets, actors, dancers and of course activists since its doors first opened in 1975. The BF maintains several arts-specific series which have celebrated cultural work in amny genres. It has been the site of large-scale events in honor of Mumia and many other cutting-edge issues and our Hanns Eisler Centenary Festival and benefit concert for UFPJ, among others, also occured here. 451 West Street (between Bank & Bethune Streets, New York, NY 10014 Phone: (212) 242-4201 - Email: brechtforum at
The Shrine
Another favorite haunt of the Dissident Arts crowd, the Shrine is a community site in Harlem that features R&B, jazz, world music, country and everything else. The policy is very open to outspokenly avant music as well.... Shrine is a multimedia arts and culture venue, founded in 2007 by musicians and music lovers in the music capital of Harlem, USA. We are dedicated to art and culture in all mediums: film, theater, dance, and live music. Shrine World Music Venue’s mission is to establish a positive creative atmosphere for both artists and audiences from all backgrounds.
the Sycamore
Sycamore Flower Shop + Bar is located in the heart of Ditmas Park. The bar, open 7 days a week, has a full bar, though we tend to focus in the things we like, domestic and international craft beers and American whiskeys (we have one of the largest collections in Brooklyn and Manhattan). The boutique full-service flower shop, Stems, is open 6 days a week and offers a variety of unique flowers by the stem. Our ivy-surrounded garden is open year -round and is worth the visit on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. Feel free to bring in your own food, order from one of the numerous acclaimed neighborhood restaurants, or use our grill to create your own delicious BBQ. We have a broad array of events offered, from live music shows to whiskey and beer tastings. Join us soon for an event, a music show, or just a beer & bouquet!
Yippie Museum Cafe
Located just around the corner from where CBGB once stood (alas), the Yippie Museum has stared down the odds of a frighteningly expensice Manhattan and taken a stand. In the cafe, one can hear any number of artists performing songs of social justice--including the Flames. Come down to 9 Bleeker Street, NYC, and keep alive the dream of an East Village of the people!
ZirZamin is Farsi for “underground”. You’ll understand why the name is appropriate once you come in. Zirzamin’s back room is an intimate and acoustically pleasing setting for vocalists and instrumentalists to exchange ideas. Please be mindful that it’s a small room. Trios work best but other configurations are always considered. We’re a venue run by and employing music fanatics and musicians. Our goal is to have an enjoyable bar with tasty cocktails, good Austin-inspired food and a fantastic little room for world-class musicians. We can’t be all things to all people but have found that for those who love music and good food/drinks, it’s a pretty special little basement sandwiched between Greenwich Village, SoHo and the West Village. We employ very little artificial light and use natural, long-burning candles. Let your eyes adjust for about 60 seconds and soak in the restored wood, original brick and coming soon: rotating art from local artists. ------------the booking policy is very open to new music, free improvisation and experimental genres. There is also a direct tie to the remnant of the No Wave community so you may well find some of those wonderful artists in the place!
Goodbye Blue Monday
This Bushwick Brooklyn performance space is a wonderful mix of "Music, art, antiques, coffee, beer, wine, stuff" as their masthead proclaims. The look is decidedly post-punk populist and the music ranges from avant garde jazz to alternative rock and everything in between.
17 Frost Theatre of the Arts
This amazing performance space/gallery in Williamsburg Brooklyn is not only incredibly hip because Radio NOIR's guitarist Javier Hernandez-Miyares is its Arts Director----this place has 3 huge video screen surrounding the performance area and among its equipment is state of the art audio and video recording capacity. 17 Frost, in just several years, has featured a wide array of politically outspoken, artistically innovative performances and housed wonderful exhibits in its gallery too. You'll want to be around when the cops come seeking out the graffiti artists whose work Frost loves to show!
The Colony Cafe
This wonderful performance space is a nearly one-hundred year old building located on Rock City Road in the heart of Woodstock, NY---the world's most famous village. The Cafe was created out of the Colony Hotel, which was built to accomodate the many artists moving into Woodstock in the early 1900s, in the wake of the Byrdcliffe arts and crafts colony. Shortly after Byrdcliffe's 1901 opening, the Arts Students League opened up a Woodstock location of their art school and many independent painters, poets, musicians, actors, playwrights, sculptors, composers and others began to flock into Woodstock. The hotel was opened and thrived for a short while, but the building was barely used until its rebirth as the Colony Cafe. The very walls vibrate with cultural history, the sound is brilliant and warm and the scene is terrific. Best of all, Colony is, true to form, the host of many progressive events, from political fundraisers to awareness-rasing events which celebrate social justice in many ways. Colony is located at 22 Rock City Road, just across the street from the famous Woodstock Artists' Cemetary. The Flames' annual tributes to Woody Guthrie and Phil Ochs (The Woodstock Phil Fest) are held at the Colony, and we've also played there for fundraisers for progressive political candidates and for the memorial for the late Woodstock Music Shop owner Ron Osenenko.
The Howland Cultural Center
Howland is a non-profit cultural center located in downtown Beacon, NY. It's building is a dramatic Victorian that is well over one hundred years old. Both art gallery and performance space, Howland programs everything from string quartets and classical pianists to coffee houses and concerts such as our November 2005 Phil Ochs tribute concert and our Dissident Folk Festivals from 2006-2009. Howland has an inhouse blues/swing group, too, The Howland Wolves, and offer their space for various community purposes. Howland is the acknowledged, "jewel of Beacon".
The Rosendale Cafe
Another legenday Hudson Valley venue, the Rosendale Cafe moves from being an acoustic room, featuring local folk-oriented acts, to housing large-scale benefit concerts, to featuring Jazz and other kinds of music. The vibes are among the best and the space's management is consistently on the right side (er, left side) of any important social issue. The Cafe is often a great spot for progressive organization's events.
60 Main--New Paltz Cultural Collective
60 Main is a coffee house in hip, liberal New Paltz NY which features musicians, poets and guest speakers. All of the coffees sold at this homey space are fair-trade guarenteed and they also offer an assortment of posters and other products from the Northern Sun or Syaracuse Cultural Workers catalogs. But more so, 60 Main is an establishment of the New Paltz Cultural Collective, thus there own members sell their CDs, artworks and poetry collections at the coffee house and use the space for meetings and more. Walking into 60 Main is a little like stepping back into Jack Kerouac's San Franicisco. The Flames have been happy to become a part of their experience.
Backstage Studio Productions
One of the hottest nightclubs/auditoriums/art galleries/perfomance spaces in the City of Kingston, NY (the state's first capital!). BSP, as its more commonly known, it located in the heart of uptown Kingston and regularly features new music, theatre, poetry and more in their bustling club as well as large auditorium. You just can't find a place this largein NYC---they could not afford to stay open! BSP has presented the Flames in performance among many other progressive artists.

Resources for Rad Musicians/Listeners

Downtown Music
Everything you ever wanted to know but was afraid to ask about it!
DooBeeDooBeeDoo is a cross-cultural on-line magazine, based on the view that music and community are indivisible, and that musicians, consumers and record companies are all part of one community. The basic thrust of the editorial content is that social awareness can be fostered through music. DooBeeDooBeeDoo will also be a forum for other aspects of culture: film, literature, dance, exhibition, history, music events, social and political issues.
The Internationale
Here's a page dedicated to the communist and socialist anthem, The Internationale. This powerful piece of music sustained many a revolution over the world, though it was written in honor of the Paris Commune. This song has been so important to the Left that the CPUSA named their national cultural clubs after its composer, Pierre DeGaytor. The poem by Eugene Pottier has been translated into every language and during the Spanish Civil War members of the International Brigade sang it together as a unifying force, though each did so in their native tongue. The Stalin-era Soviet Union, sadly, claimed this brilliant work as its national anthem and the image of Red Army soldiers marching to it in processions with tanks and other weaponry in Red Square has often tarnished the piece. Regardless, it remains the theme for all workers struggles and in recent years has risen in stature once again.
A Little Page on the Internationale
Not so little, really. Here's a brilliantly collected group of translations for the Internationale in many, many, many languages. Deeply moving to consider the possibilities...
Music of the Spanish Civil War
This is a wonderful website which will bring you directly to a page of recorded music of the Spanish Civil War. If you move about on it, you'll find sections which include history and more. Among the music selections is our fave, Viva La Quince Brigade, but this site goes well beyond that. Also look for some great links.
Punk Voter
A great resource for punks and those wholove them. Here's a chance to disspell the myth that the punk rock movement is in any way connected to racism or neo-nazis; those punks that engage in that hatred are few and far between.
Song Lyrics for Activists
A resource for a great amount of song lyrics concerning social justice, peace and more. Need a song for an upcoming rally or other performance? Its probably here!
Lift Every Voice: Music in American Life
Opening up with the great African-American spiritual that has become an anthem, this site offers up a historical look at music of the people, with an accent on the protest genre. Wonderfully crafted, the site offers documentation on the connection between such songs and other artworks. There are also sections on, "Protest Songs in particular, Ballads, Hymns and Spirituals, southern songs and historical music in general. Audio clips are available for some of the selections.
Love Music Hate Racism
British-based anti-fascist collective which organizes young people via progressive musics of all genre. THey have established a series of events in Europe which have been very successful in the battle against racial hatred.
Songs of Labor and Struggle
A collection of lyrics for some of our most profound protest songs--the IWW, Woody Guthrie, Aunt Mollie Jackson and others.
Protest Songs
Another site dedicated to lyrics of protest songs. Can never get enough of these!
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