Posts Tagged ‘music’

For music junkies on a tight budget

Saturday, February 4th, 2012

For a music junkie, the NYC music scene is an extremely potent form of opium. From record shops to restaurants that feature live music, concerts at MSG to hidden gem musicians performing in the subways for spare change, being in the city that never stops the music is the ultimate destination.

It may seem that in order to get the full music experience in the city would cost a fortune but this couldn’t be farther from the truth. For those living on the cumbersome college budget like myself, half the fun is the adventure that comes with finding cheap musical entertainment. The other half of the fun is the part where you discover your new favorite artist at a show in Brooklyn that you only paid 20 bucks to see, not including the 5 bucks for the subway trip there.

But even the subway systems provide cheap entertainment and good stuff too. Struggling musicians constantly perform on subway platforms as people wait for their trains. I once gave a couple dollars to one musician and he played “Hey Jude” for me, totally giving The Beatles a run for their money.

Those who prefer hard cover CDs and vinyls (yes, people still sell those) in this digital age, don’t have to search very far to run into a record shop in NYC. For true music lovers, having a hardcopy version of an album is like having a piece of their favorite artists. MP3 downloads and an MP3 player makes any subway ride and doing homework a lot less tedious.

But to have a small piece of your favorite artist in the form of a CD or a vinyl record (if you’re lucky enough), which often times include some clever artwork and lyrics, makes the music more personal to you as the individual listener in a world where digital makes everything, literally everything, less personal.

Depending on what you’re looking for, artists ranging from The Beatles to the Spice Girls and maybe even some Scandinavian folk pop can be found in vinyl and CD format any good, hole-in-the-wall NYC record shop. The Scandinavian folk pop might require a bit of research and phone calls but you get my point.

Tons of treasures can be found in these mini musical sanctuaries where rummaging through the stacks and shelves can result in finding some pretty cool keepsakes.
If you’re looking for CD’s, vinyls and more music memorabilia, stop by Village Music World on Bleecker Street and print the coupon below to save $2 when you purchase a CD!


Janet Reyes, College of Saint Elizabeth, 2012

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Volumes: Siren Music Festival 2010

Saturday, June 26th, 2010

Thank God for the Village Voice. Not only do the provide me with ample subway reading fodder, but they’ve got excellent taste in music. Which is good because every summer, the hold a free music festival know as the Siren Music Festival at Coney Island, and this year is going to be big. Usually, they don’t ask bands who have already played to come back. They’re forward thinkers over at the Village Voice. But this is going to be their tenth anniversary, so they’re calling in the big guns.

The big headliners are Matt and Kim and Ted Leo and the Pharmacists. I saw Matt and Kim at a free show last summer, and it was a blast. they’re a synth/drums duo who are out on a quest to have an endless amount of fun. And they’re succeeding. Don’t see them without your dancing shoes, or you’ll regret it. When it comes to Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, I’ve been quoted as to calling Ted Leo my generation’s punk-rock super-hero. Their shows are always energetic and full of blisteringly good musicianship.

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists.

All that being said, I got a lot more excited than I really should have when they announced Ponytail was playing. I had never listened to them before until I saw them last summer at the Williamsburg Waterfront. Never before had I been so surprisingly filled with joy ad glee. The lead singer, Molly Siegel, hopped and bopped all around onstage, yelping her lungs out while the guys were weaving a musical tapestry of textures behind her. I remember at one point specifically, the instruments were building up and up and up into a climax until Siegel screams into her microphone “KAAMEEEHAAAME … HAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!” sending the band behind her into a frenetic whirlwind. I was in love (If you don’t get it, a “kamehameha” is a reference to a cartoon called Dragonball).

The festival is on Saturday, July 17, starting at noon. But get there early. It gets really crowded. It also gets really hot, so dress appropriately and bring LOTS OF WATER.

-Andrew Limbong

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Let’s Dance: NYPL for the Performing Arts

Friday, June 11th, 2010

My favorite library in NYC is the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, no contest. I was there today picking up an obscure dance book for some summer reading (fun, right?), and was reminded of just how great this place is. Not only does it have the most extensive library of dance books, periodicals, photos, and videos, but it also celebrates the arts in an important way. This library is not your standard collection of resources – it contains information on all types of performance art, and also has installations and events to celebrate the artists found within the vast collections of books and other resources in this library.

When you enter from the Lincoln Center Plaza entrance (which is almost completely done with construction, and looks GORGEOUS, by the way), straight ahead you will see a room that is home to changing displays. I have seen a display of Cunningham costumes, a musical celebration, and many other exhibits here. Currently, it is under construction, but it’s always worth poking a head in to see what is being showcased – you might learn something, and there will certainly be something to look at or listen to.

If you enter from the Amsterdam Avenue entrance across from La Guardia High School, you’ll walk in and see another small exhibition center to your right and a theater to your left. Two years ago, one of my teachers curated an event on the Dance Theatre of Harlem. In the room to the right we got to see video of past performances, examples of costumes and documents, and posters of the dancers both past and present. As part of this exhibit, I also attended a panel discussion in the auditorium across the hall and got to listen to Arthur Mitchell, one of the creators of the Dance Theatre of Harlem, talk about his experience in the dance world. Obviously, the exhibit has since changed – they change every couple of weeks, and the latest exhibits can be found here.

As if these exhibits weren’t enough, there are also performances constantly happening at this library. Weekly concerts, movie showings, and speakers are all common events. And in addition to these being educational and truly well-done events – they’re FREE!! I’ve always loved libraries, but one complete with performances and exhibits really takes the cake.

So head over to the Performance Arts library, located at 40 Lincoln Plaza (65th Street, by Broadway and Amsterdam Avenues) and check out the exhibits, performances, and books. And if there’s no upcoming events that pique your interest? Consider going into the research archives and watching a historic performance. I’ve spent entire days there watching their footage of William Forsythe‘s choreography – it’s not the same as seeing it live, but at least it’s free and accessible!

-Meghan Q

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The Northside Festival

Monday, June 7th, 2010

Along with barbecues, beach parties, and baseball games, summer brings along with it an enormous heaping of music festivals. Later on this week in Tennessee, music acts like Kings of Leon, Stevie Wonder, and Jay-Z will be playing at Bonnaroo. In July, the Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago is boasting Modest Mouse, LCD Soundsystem, and Pavement as headliners. Come August, also in Chicago, Lady Gaga, Arcade Fire, as well as The Strokes will play what will probably be amazing sets at the gargantuan Lollapalooza. I, personally, would love to pack up and hit up all of these festivals, and more, if not for the fact that I just recently overdrew from my bank account. I simply cannot afford it.

So what is a guy with a current balance of -$2.58 supposed to do? Thankfully, The L Magazine has my back. From June 24 – 27 Brooklyn will be graced with the Northside Festival. In its second year, the festival is dedicated to independent musicians and filmmakers who have a history within the borough. The lineup, which is as eclectic as Brooklyn itself, is featuring some relatively prominent acts such as Islands and Wavves, but the main drawing point is the multitude of lesser-known acts, which are sure to find some new fans at the festival.

I’m mainly looking forward to seeing one of my favorite bands of all time, Les Savy Fav, play yet another hilariously raucous set filled with catchy post-punk riffs and costume changes. Yes, costume changes. Also playing is Titus Andronicus, whose latest album, The Monitor, is so good that I cannot stop listening to it or recommending it to everyone for the past two months since I’ve heard it.

Unlike those other festivals I mentioned, tickets to the Northside Festival aren’t offensively ridiculous. If you’re over 21, $50 can get you a badge which will get you into all of the shows playing as a part of the festival on a first-come/first-serve basis. These badges will also net you some sweet discounts with local food and drink sellers. If you’re not over 21, or you don’t want to go to every show, you can pick and choose and buy individual tickets at the different venues. Ticket prices range from $10 to $18. I think even I can manage that.

Thanks, Brooklyn. You’ve shown me, yet again, that even though I could go somewhere else, why should I?

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Let’s Dance: Subway Performances

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

New York City’s MTA has raised prices and made service cuts since my Freshman year in the city, but one thing it hasn’t cut is the arts. The subway system of Manhattan is a large and sometimes overwhelming beast, but at least it’s never dull.

As part of an initiative to keep the subway stations looking clean, interesting, and exciting, the MTA began the Music Under New York program. We’re not talking about the random homeless guys singing on the subway trains, or the great Mariachi band that frequents the N train. No, the MUNY program sponsors artists formally in the stations themselves, complete with signs and microphones. Artists must audition and attend orientation prior to performing for the NYC public.

One of my favorite performers is Alice Tan Ridley, who I normally see at the Herald Square station. She always attracts a crowd – this is actually her profession, and she is good at what she does. Ridley is well known not just for her soulful singing, but also for being the mother of Gabourey Sidibe, star of the recent movie Precious. She is adamant about not living off her daughter’s paycheck, however – so if you see her rocking out in the subway, feel free to throw a dollar or two her way.

So next time you’re looking for a show and don’t have money for a student priced ticket, just spend some extra time on your next $2.25 subway ride and find a show. There are almost always performances going on at the major stations (42nd Street, Herald Square, etc.) and a more detailed schedule can be found at the MUNY website – and let me know your favorite performer, I’m always looking for new shows!

-Meghan Q.

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Relax Your Mind and Feel Good

Friday, May 14th, 2010

As a student, it may sometimes seem that stress is never-ending, especially in New York City, which, based on data from is the third most stressful city in the country. The difficulties in balancing school, work, and our relationships can increase stress to the point where it has a negative affect on our physical and mental well-being. According to WebMD, “People who don’t manage stress well can have headaches, stomach pain, sleeping problems, illness, and depression.” However, if it is managed effectively, stress can be defeated, allowing us to live a healthy and more fulfilling life.

Cost Effective Ways to Reduce Stress in Your Life

Workout at the Gym for Free– Many gyms offer guest passes that vary from one day to two weeks for non-members. Colleges and Universities around the city also offer students free access to their facilities. This is a great way to work out without coming out of your own pocket. Just contact your local gym for more details or click on the link below for access to another way to get fit for free.
Shape Up NY

Talk to Someone– Sometimes you just need someone to talk to. Contact your school’s mental health center for details on what services are available to you free of charge. It may also help to find a clergy, relative, friend, or therapist that will listen to you; afterward you may feel relieved to have let it all out. If you still feel a sense of urgency, you can always call 1-800-LIFENET.

Meditate– Look for a quiet place to relax, put your body in any position that you feel comfortable in; stand up, sit down, or lie down and take deep breaths, keeping the focus on your breathing. Continue to do so until you feel the stress melt away. For more information on meditation courses in New York City, take a look at the link below or go to your local library for some books on the topic.
Meditation in New York

Listen to Music– Ever wonder why music is a universal language, it’s because no matter what culture or background you come from tunes can speak to you. Just turn on the radio and before you even realize it, you’ll be dancing and singing or humming and bopping your head. There are also places throughout the city where you can listen to free music. Check some of them out below:
Music at Madison Square Park
Music at Licoln Center
Music at Central Park

-Shana H

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