Comedian and writer Jenny Hagel has good advice for aspiring writers: just write….but also…fake it ‘til you make it. I chatted with Jenny Hagel recently about the writing process, as well as her upcoming appearance at this year’s Just for Laughs comedy festival, which, like most live entertainment events in 2020, will be held online.

Jenny Hagel has a graduate degree in Writing for the Screen and Stage, and cut her comedy teeth while performing for five years with Chicago’s legendary improv troupe, The Second City. Hagel has written for many comedy TV shows over the years, and currently performs and writes for Late Night with Seth Meyers.

While she won’t get the chance to perform in Montreal for this year’s (online) Just for Laughs Festival, she has visited before, and the town left her feeling all warm and fuzzy. Tired of people kissing Montreal’s ‘Charming European’ ass, I worried that Montreal was getting smug, and asked Hagel if there was anything that miffed her about Montreal.

“My brother lived there for a little while, I used to visit him and man, what a beautiful, beautiful place. No, I probably have a different baseline for miffed, because I’ve lived in New York, so when I go to any other city, I go ‘These people’s manners are amazing!’”

My French is terrible though…I speak Spanish, I don’t speak any French. The one time I drove to Montreal, I listened to a French CD in the car the whole way up there, trying to learn phrases, to be a polite traveller, to be able to have some phrases when I got there. I’ll be honest, it was years ago, so those phrases have all left my mind. I tried at least, although I’m sure people in Montreal, when they heard my French accent for one second were like ‘No no, this does not help.’

But when I travel, I always feel the weight of the stereotype of the terrible American tourist, so I try very hard to be a one-person goodwill ambassador. I’ve tried really hard to reset that balance.”

Jenny Hagel’s upcoming Just for Laughs show with Amber Ruffin (Drunk History, The Second City, Late Night with Seth Meyers, The Amber Ruffin Show), Conversations with funny people featuring Amber Ruffin and Jenny Hagel will be live and unscripted. I asked Hagel if she had any memorable improv calamities she wanted to share.

“Oh absolutely. One time when I was touring with The Second City we were doing a show, and the whole audience was a convention of economists, and I’m sure are very interested in economics, but they were not interested in laughing. At least they were not interested in the jokes we were providing, and it was truly, truly, a gruelling and silent 90 minutes, I’ll never forget it.

I think about 45 minutes in, I thought ‘Well I took two semesters of economics in college, I’m sure I can pull out some fun economic references,’ and I really tried, and they were also not interested in those. I think I tried to pull out something about a PPF curve or something, I really was digging deep. Nothing worked. It was really a rough hour and a half of my life.”

Hagel went on to describe the format of this weekend’s Just for Laughs show, where she and Amber Ruffin ‘will be asking each other questions that they have not seen before.’

Basically we’re going to be interviewing each other. We’ve done a lot of panels in our lives where the moderators ask the two of us questions, but this one, we don’t have a moderator, so I’m going to interview Amber, she’s going to interview me, we’re going to go back and forth, so we each have a list of questions the other hasn’t seen.

We each dug up a clip of the other one performing — I don’t know if it will be embarrassing, but it will be something that the other person doesn’t know is going to be shown, so it’ll be fun. When you do a certain number of panels, over time you start to get the same questions over and over, so I think it will be fun to answer questions that we weren’t expecting.

Oh, and I’d love for people to check out The Amber Ruffin Show on Peacock if they’re able to.”

Jenny Hagel and Amber Ruffin also plan on discussing their approach to writing, and will be giving advice for aspiring writers. I asked Hagel if she could give us an overview of her advice for writers.

“I think I would just say write. I mean nobody wants to hear that, it’s not sexy advice, but it is the most real advice. The best thing you can do if you want to write is just write.

The best thing you can do when an opportunity comes along is to be prepared and have a bunch of writing to show someone. Like (if they say) ‘Hey, I saw you before, you’re great, do have any writing samples?’ If you haven’t written them it is too late, because they want them then.

Or they’ll be like ‘Hey can I see them tomorrow?’ You can’t go home and stay up all night and write a body of work, so the best thing you can do is be writing all the time.

“If you have one particular writing form you are trying to succeed in, write that as much as you can. If you are interested in a bunch of different writing forms, try them all out, and do them over and over again.

“At Late Night with Seth Meyers, I write monologue jokes, and I did not know how to do that originally. I learned how to do it by applying to late night jobs.

One time I had to do an application, I watched several monologues by the host of the show I was applying to and I transcribed them. Then I looked at them on paper and said ‘OK how do these feel?’ and then I wrote a bunch of stuff. I’m sure they were very terrible at the beginning, and a little bit less terrible later on, and slightly less terrible after that.

And over time, it’s just truly like going to the gym and doing reps. I think the best thing you can do as a writer is just keep writing, and it may not feel like it’s getting better, but it is.”

I expressed my admiration for Hagel’s old school ‘fake it ‘til you make it’ attitude, and meekly mentioned the growing pile of Idiot’s Guides I have piled on my coffee table.

“But that’s OK, as long as you’re doing it. It sounds silly, but I like to run, and I am not a world-class athlete at all, but I know that every time I run, I go a little bit farther, and my legs are a little bit stronger. You don’t want to strive to wake up one morning and be a genius, you want to be just a little bit better each time.

You also want to know that every once in a while, no matter how good you get, you’re going to write something that stinks. That happens to me every week — I turn in so many things each week that inevitably, many of them, I would say most of them, are rejected.

And your job is just to keep coming up with new things, and it’s OK — some will be great, some will stink, a lot will be somewhere in the middle, and all of that is OK.”

Hagel and I discussed how writers have to learn how to be prepared to deal with endless rejection…

“But I don’t even think of it as rejection, I think of it like…if you watch someone play baseball, you watch somebody take a bunch of swings, right? Every time a batter misses a ball, it’s not rejection, it’s just ‘OK, well that one didn’t connect. So let’s hope the next one connects.’”

On comedians/late night comedy in the COVID-19 era:

“You know that’s a great question. I think ‘comedians’ is such a big category, and there are so many different forms comedy can take, that I don’t think that there can be one answer to that.

I know for television, during the spring and summer, a lot of late night shows found ways to tape from home — do safe, remote work, and I think that’s what helped late night shows survive. Now some of those shows are starting to bring it back — like the host is in the studio, and SNL had a small audience last week.

So I think that the way comedy is surviving is the way that we are all surviving, in general in the world, which is to continue to adapt to each new phase of the pandemic, to each new challenge that the pandemic brings.”

On the challenges of doing comedy without a live audience:

“I think you just have to go more on gut, like when you’re writing a late night show that has an audience, then the audience tells you what works and what doesn’t, right? And I think without the audience, you have to go with your gut.

One thing I have really liked about that, and not to say that the pandemic is good, but I feel that an interesting outcome of it, is that I think that shows have started to gravitate a little more to their own weird, quirky personalities, because then it becomes less about writing and choosing jokes by committee.

Then it becomes more like, ‘OK, what is the culture, what is the belief set, the comedic taste of this show?’ It emerges a little bit more specifically, which is interesting to see. But I certainly wouldn’t take this over a normal world, where we all get to be together.”

I asked Hagel if she ever wrote jokes that were so outrageous or ridiculous that she never expected them to get on the air at Late Night with Seth Meyers.

“I think that happens all the time, like if you write enough jokes in a row, you stop being able to tell what’s funny to other people. It probably happens at least once a week where I’m like ‘Oh really? OK!’ and then meanwhile, there are other jokes that I think are a complete slam-dunk and my boss will be like ‘Pass,’ and I’m like ‘Really…OK.’”

“That’s absolutely one (Hagel’s ‘How to Properly Wash your hands’ skit) where I pitched it and was like ‘Well obviously this is not gonna get approved,’ and boy, to my surprise, the next thing I knew, the props department was building a bunch of different skeleton hands for me.”

On the 2020 COVID-19 “everything on Zoom” reality:

“I don’t know, I think it’s a mixed bag, I think everybody thinks it’s a mixed bag. There are some days when I think it really helps, like one day recently where I had a crummy day, and it just happened that a group of women that I’m friends with, one of them texted ‘Hey should we all Zoom tonight?’ Fifteen minutes later we were all on Zoom with a glass of wine, and it really helped.

And then there are some days where I feel like if I have to look at one more human face on a screen I’ll die. So I think it’s probably like a weird blessing and a curse to me, and to everybody — I think we’re getting both a little bit of solace and a little bit of loneliness from it at the same time.”

Conversations with funny people featuring Amber Ruffin and Jenny Hagel will be online on October 9-10, and like all of the Just For Laughs 2020 shows, it will be streamed for free.

Stand-up comic Andy Kindler loves Montreal. He loves it so much that he’s even (half?) joking about moving here one day. He loves the rest of Canada too, for that matter. Well, most of the rest of Canada.

During my recent chat with him, I got the impression that he was a low-key Canada-phile — he knew quite a bit about our geography, culture, politics, hockey, official languages, and he even had a shocking position on The Great Bagel Debate.

Andy Kindler is a stalwart comedy veteran from Queens, New York, known not just for his well-honed stand-up routine (with appearances at the Just For Laughs Nasty Show), but also for his recurring role on Everybody Loves Raymond, and his many appearances on Late Show with David Letterman. He is also a contributor to the Daily Show, and is the voice of Mort on Bob’s Burgers.

Local comedy fans may know Kindler from his legendary State of the Industry Addresses at Montreal’s Just For Laughs Festival. Andy Kindler has given the speech, which has become a cult institution among comedy fans and industry insiders alike, every year since 1996.

Of course, this year’s address, his 25th, will be a little different, given 2020’s quote-unquote “uncertain times.” To be read in that gravelly voice that radiates grim empathy…you know, the voice that now narrates every commercial…

I asked Kindler how stand-up comedians were faring during 2020’s COVID-19 lockdown, especially when a live audience is the lifeblood of the industry.

“I mean everyone is scrambling. I started doing Cameo…do you have Cameo up there? Like if you want a comedian or celebrity to wish you happy birthday or give you a pep talk, you go on Cameo. So what I’ve learned from that is that people will not pay $45 to hear me say happy birthday…but they will pay $35! So if I needed the cold slap of reality in my face, I know what I’m worth now.

The other thing is that I’m doing this speech for the first time virtually from home, and I actually think I’m the only person who looks forward to not having an audience. I mean I know it’s gonna be weird, but so many times I spent in the past castigating the people who aren’t laughing.

And I won’t be sitting down for the speech, I’m gonna put a little effort into it, I’ll be standing. And I’ll be dressed nicely from the waist up. I always dress nice, my mother used to say ‘You mean you wouldn’t wanna wear a dress shirt, open-necked?’ You always gotta have a nice shirt.”

While on the topic of virtual comedy, I asked Kindler about how he has taken to the whole ‘everything online’ zeitgeist of 2020.

“Well in some ways I feel like there’s a green, eco-friendly side to this, and a lazy side to it where I would love to, in the future, not go back to going in for every interview. I actually like going in the studio, but I do think that in some ways, that having Zoom, you can do a lot of things that you had to be in person for, but you can do them remotely now, so I think we’ve learned things that way. It also makes you really focus on what you’re doing because you have so much time on your hands. But obviously I think we’re all hoping it (COVID-19) lifts.”

This being Andy Kindler’s 25th State of the Industry Address, I asked him to comment on the most notable changes in the industry since he gave his first address.

“Yeah, it’s an unbelievable anniversary, unbelievable that I keep the streak going. I think in 1996 it started. So what happened is the first time I came to the festival (Just For Laughs) was ’93, and I had written an article for National Lampoon called The Hack Comic’s Handbook, you can find it on my website.

Then I did a live demonstration of hack comedy in 1995, and Bruce Hills (President, Just For Laughs) said ‘Why don’t you do another speech?’ and then my manager came up with the idea to roast the industry, and it just became a thing, like a summer camp kind of tradition where I would just give the speech.

I think that what’s changed for sure, is that when I first started coming to the festival in ‘93, it was right when a lot of comics were getting sitcom deals from comedy festivals — you had Raymond (Romano), Tim Allen — all these people got deals from the festival, so you had a lot of presidents of the networks there, so there was more of a charged atmosphere. Everybody knew what sitcoms were coming out and all that kind of thing, so it was…not easier, but I knew how to focus it better.

Now, it’s to the point where there’s no fall TV season. I mean yeah, there are fall TV shows, but it’s all changed. But I kind of like it now, because I like the festival now, not the virtual version, but I’ve liked the festivals in the past few years because it feels like people were up there to have fun. And there are actually really great fans in Montreal.”

The most pressing issue Kindler addressed was whether he would bring up Louis C.K.’s penis, which he has discussed at his previous two addresses. We also discussed who else in the industry deserves to be blasted in this year’s address.

“Nah…you know, I think at this point I will get off of his penis (chuckles), but I probably will bring him in at some point. But you know what, there are so many other people to talk about. Like Joe Rogan. And it used to be I would make fun of Jay Leno, but I kind of want to apologize to him because I used to make fun of him just for having bad comedy…but now, with Adam Corolla, he’s not just a horrible comedian, he’s also saying that COVID-19 is fake.

And everybody is going after Chris D’Elia as a person, but let’s not forget that he was also a horrible comedian. What he was doing on stage, it was also a crime.

So I don’t know exactly how I’m going to tackle this thing, but I am totally going to tackle this idea of these people who weren’t very good at stand-up comedy who have gone into things like…Adam Corolla does shows with Dennis Prager and all this right-wing media about how there are no safe spaces on campus, it is a very odd and disturbing trend, so I’m gonna analyse that a little bit.”

No interview with a New Yorker is complete without getting their take on the great Montreal vs. New York Bagel Debate, and Andy Kindler’s response genuinely surprised me. Poutine, and other Montreal and Canada-related topics were touched upon in this exchange, and his proficiency in French also came up.

“Well certain things about Montreal are always going to be great. The bagels will always be the greatest in the world. I decided to try Montreal bagels one year, and they’re lighter and they’re sweeter (than New York bagels). I took a bunch of them to my family in Long Island, and they didn’t travel well, and they made fun of me for years. But overall I much prefer, right out of the oven, a Montreal bagel.

I don’t know what it’s called…oh yeah, the smoked meat. When I first tried it, it was ‘Oh my God it’s the greatest thing in the world,’ but that did wear off. And let me say something…not that anyone cares about poutine, but there’s nothing charming about it. It’s a national joke, right?

But what am I complaining about? It’s really hard, coming from LA or New York to complain about Montreal, I mean when I first went there in the 1990s, I was single at the time, women’s legs were taller than me, I couldn’t even believe it. And the French, everything French, I just love it. And the food, the French food…it’s really hard to get tired of it. But I will say this — Montreal is very touristy.”

When the topic of politics was sideswiped, Kindler brought up a Canadian political figure I was not expecting.

“You know what, I like that Chrystia Freeland. I don’t like Bill Maher, I can’t watch him anymore, but I used to like her when she’d go on Bill Maher. You know, Canadians are better people than Americans. I know you have prejudice up there, and I know you have First Nations issues, but anything bad you’ve got, down here, it’s dwarfed — we’ve done it worse and with less taste.”

On performing in Canada’s Western provinces:

“I remember going out west, it was the late ‘80s early ‘90s, that’s how old I am, I used to play the Western part, and I remember I used to bomb a lot. I was bombing in Edmonton…these crowds were not for me, and the bartender was like ‘Yeah it’s hard to impress us because we have everything here.’ Y’know, they’d just won all those Stanley Cups, so they were very smug in Edmonton. But it’s pretty amazing how diverse the crowds in Canada are, from Halifax and Vancouver, to Montreal.”

On speaking French:

“I speak French very poorly. I took French in grade school, it was terrible, it was in New York and Queens: ‘Bone-jouar class…ou est le porte, ou est le fenêtre?’…so when I go into a room (in Montreal) now, it’s ‘Where is the window, where is the door?’”

On Donald Trump:

“At least you have a regular government there. I’m gonna get in trouble, but (Trudeau isn’t bad) compared to a fascistic madman running around. Well you know the thing is, there’s a Comedy Central clip…there used to be a show on Comedy Central called The Root of all Evil, Louis Black hosted it, and I actually argued that Donald Trump was the root of all evil, and I was making fun of Trump University. So I don’t want to say I’m a seer, but I pride myself on being the first person to compare Trump to Hitler. At least Hitler was a veteran. So that’s basically my take on it.

So you know I’m holding on by my elbows, or whatever you hold onto when you’re trying to keep yourself suspended over a vat of hot oil. I just can’t think past November, I think America is going to be sunk as a country if Trump gets re-elected. We’re in such a deep hole, because it literally is like Orwellian times a million.

Everybody he puts in every department knows nothing about the department, and just wants to undo that department. There are so many parallels (to Hitler), I mean people in the conservative Weimar government, they thought they could play ball with Hitler, people made fun of him. He obviously was smarter than Trump, there are so many parallels — he looked like a crazy man with the way he talked and everything. Actually Trump looks a lot like Mussolini, you know how he shakes his head up and down, self-satisfied.

I don’t think he’s gonna win. I think he might implode before, he’s going nuts I think now, it’s really crazy. That Mary Trump book, I got it and I love it. You really see how he is a sociopath. That will never change (Trump’s support from his base), it will always be about that 40%, but I don’t think he’s gonna get people coming onto him like he did four years ago, I think people are scared of him.”

(Ed’s Note: This interview was conducted prior to the news that Donald Trump tested positive for COVID-19)

What else Andy Kindler is working on:

“I do a podcast called Thought Spiral, and my co-host is Josh Elvis Weinstein, he used to be on Mystery Science Theater 3000. We advertise it as ‘Two jews, two microphones, two hours,’ so it’s basically us just bantering, I really love it. It took me a long time to love it, because it’s a different kind of skill, but we’ve been doing it for three years, so if you need more of me, that’s where I would go to. And I do have an album that’s still available in digital download anytime you want, it couldn’t be any less COVID dangerous.

You know what? You want an answering machine message? I’ll do it for you for $25.”

Andy Kindler’s 25th State of the Industry Address will be online on October 9-10, and like all of the Just For Laughs 2020 shows, it will be streamed for free.

Moms Demand Action New York State Chapter Leader Jaime Levy Pessin is a modern and efficacious woman living in Brooklyn, NY with her husband and two children. As I enter her home for the interview I witness a person who makes multi-tasking seem as natural as waking up each morning.

As interview starts, some Moms Demand Action business is taken care of, a call answered, her daughter Cora and son Noah’s activities are settled and their dinner is prepared. This all happens over the course of maybe two minutes and Jaime is calm and polite as we get down to some questions.

S- For readers new to Moms Demand Action give us a brief history of the organization.

J- Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America was founded the day after the horrific Sandy Hook shooting, which left six educators and 20 six and seven year-olds dead in their elementary school. A mom in Indiana, Shannon Watts, started a Facebook page with the idea that we needed to have a Mothers Against Drunk Driving for the gun violence prevention movement. And her page spread like wildfire.

New York City was one of the first chapters to form. Weeks later we held our first annual march across the Brooklyn Bridge. More than 1,000 people showed up in below-freezing temperatures to march with us.

Since then, we’ve grown to 3 million members in all 50 states. We’ve joined forces with Mayors Against Illegal Guns under the umbrella of Everytown for Gun Safety. We are a nonpartisan, grassroots group committed to passing reasonable, evidence-based laws that are proven to reduce gun violence.

Do you know Shannon Watts and in what ways is she still involved in Moms Demand Action today?

I first met Shannon at our first Brooklyn bridge march. She has since turned into a great figurehead of the movement. She is a volunteer and founder.

Shannon travels the country and meets the other volunteers. She does speaking engagements, does press and fundraisers. As she is traveling she makes a point of stopping by and seeing what all the other volunteers are doing. She has really gotten to know all the people across the country who are working as part of this thing that she created.

I think she is still a little bit baffled that she started this movement but Shannon is always very adamant in pointing out how much every person has played a part in it. She doesn’t view Moms as her creation, she sees it as if she did this one small action and then everyone else kinda filled it in throughout the country.

This is what is so cool about volunteering with Moms. There is a sense that every single person has something to contribute. Whether you have ten minutes or ten hours there is a place for you. She wants to make sure that message comes through.

Can you tell us what led you to your role as a leader in Moms Demand Action -New York?

In the days after the Sandy Hook shooting, I was devastated. I didn’t personally know anyone affected, but a six-year-old boy named Noah was killed. My son is named Noah and was four at the time. I was paralyzed by fear and grief. During that time, Shannon’s Facebook page somehow popped into my newsfeed, and I had a realization: If I am not part of the solution, then I’m part of the problem. And that’s when I started volunteering.

In the early days, we really were a motley crew of volunteers – “accidental activists” is what we called ourselves, because none of us had ever done anything like this before. My career had been as a journalist for traditional media, so I was never allowed to publicly express a political opinion – forget about planning a rally or meeting with elected officials!

I’ve been involved in the organization in a bunch of different roles since we got started. I currently run the New York state chapter, which is massive compared to how we began!

But another project that I helped start, which I think is truly special, is our Mother’s Dream Quilt Project. It’s a series of quilts that incorporates fabric from victims and survivors of gun violence. We hold quilting bees around the country that bring together victims, survivors and everyday Americans who believe we can do a better job of preventing gun violence.

With all the concerns about civil rights coming up around the Trump administration, why do you think gun violence is so important?

After the election, I did a lot of soul-searching around this question. In a way, this seems like such a small piece of the puzzle.

“I’m going to fight like hell to push back the kind of stand your ground laws that allowed Trayvon Martin’s killer to suffer no consequences.”

But then I realized: I’m worried about voter suppression; the idea of people with guns showing up at the polls to intimidate other citizens is chilling. I’m worried about immigration; what does it mean to have vigilantes with guns patrolling the border?

I’m worried about hate crimes against the LGBTQ community, and I’m worried about violence against women; we know that the presence of a gun in these situations makes them vastly more dangerous. And I’m worried about the unfair treatment of African-Americans in this country, so I’m going to fight like hell to push back the kind of stand your ground laws that allowed Trayvon Martin’s killer to suffer no consequences.

Can you tell us both about your personal experience and Moms Demand Action’s presence at the Women’s March in DC on January 21st?

I thought the Women’s March was so inspiring. I met a few fellow volunteers at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn at 4 a.m., and there was bus after bus after bus loading up for DC.

Moms Demand Action had nearly 1,000 members come in from around the country to join the march. Being in a crowd with so many passionate citizens gave me hope that this administration will not break our spirit.

I think the key takeaway, though, was that it’s not enough to march. It feels really good, and it’s important, but we have to take it home to our communities and get involved in our local politics.

We need more women running for office, whether for school board or Congress. We can’t just pay attention when it’s time to elect a president – we need to start developing a bench. So I hope – and I think that it’s happening – that the march has compelled people to start working seriously in our own neighborhoods.

What are some of the highlights of Moms Demand Action-New York’s current six month plan?

The new administration is in the pocket of the gun lobby; the NRA contributed more than $30 million to Donald Trump’s campaign – they were his single largest donor. So we are going to be working very hard to push back against the gun lobby’s dangerous agenda of guns everywhere for everyone.

“What’s crazy is that more than 90 percent of Americans – and that includes 87 percent of Republicans and 84 percent of gun owners – agree that we should have background checks on all gun sales.”

One of the major pieces of legislation we expect to be fighting is something called “concealed carry reciprocity.” The gun lobby would like for permits to carry concealed weapons to be treated like driver’s licenses, where one state’s permit would be recognized across all state lines.

Here’s the problem: The standards for getting a concealed carry permit vary wildly from state to state. In New York, you have to undergo a background check, submit character references and show a proven need to carry a concealed weapon in order to get that permit. In Arizona, there are no permitting requirements at all. New Hampshire also just rolled back their already weak permitting program.

With reciprocity, a New Yorker who couldn’t pass the rigorous standards here could travel to another state, get a concealed carry permit and legally carry a hidden weapon in Times Square or on the subway.

As a New Yorker, this is a direct threat to my safety. The idea that “guns everywhere” make people safer is patently untrue. New York State has one of the lowest rates of gun violence in the country. We also have one of the lowest rates of gun ownership, and some of the strongest gun laws. There is a direct correlation: stronger gun laws keep us safe from gun violence. Concealed carry reciprocity would make our state a much more dangerous place to live.

Another priority for the New York chapter is going to be relationship-building with our elected officials at the statehouse. We’re planning our first-ever Lobby Day this spring, and we’re going to be meeting in-district with our representatives as well.

We believe that, much like the same-sex marriage movement, the gun violence prevention movement will win at the state level. We want to continue to develop relationships with our state representatives to make sure that they will keep New York at the forefront of sound gun policy.

Our overarching goal is to ensure background checks on all gun sales in the United States. Many people don’t realize that the law as it stands leaves gaping loopholes in the system, making it very easy for a felon or a domestic abuser to purchase a gun without a background check. And background checks are proven to work: suicides, cop killings and domestic violence-related deaths all go down in states that ensure background checks on all gun sales.

What’s crazy is that more than 90 percent of Americans – and that includes 87 percent of Republicans and 84 percent of gun owners – agree that we should have background checks on all gun sales. When you take the question of gun violence directly to the citizens, they will vote in favor of common-sense gun reform.

In 2016, despite the dismal election results nationally, we actually won three out of four ballot initiatives by asking residents of California, Nevada and Washington State to pass stronger gun laws. It was one of the few bright spots in the progressive agenda last year.

We have quickly become the strongest counterweight the gun lobby has ever seen. That’s why we’re committed to getting this message to our elected officials: The other side is scared of losing their guns. We’re scared of losing our children. Who do you think is going to win in the end?

What are some things the modern, busy adult can do to stand against gun violence?

What is great about Moms Demand Action is that we offer so many different entry points for people to get involved. You can spend five minutes a week signing petitions and calling your senators, or you can get more deeply involved and meet with your elected officials or plan events. We need all levels of commitment.

The first thing you should do is text JOIN to 644-33, or visit our website to officially sign up as a member. Soon you’ll hear from someone in your local chapter about ways to get involved. Like the national organization on Facebook (or the New York chapter) and follow us on Twitter (@momsdemand) to get national calls to action.

For students, recent grads and parents: Did you know the gun lobby is pushing to allow guns on college campuses and K-12 schools? We defeated 16 guns on campus bills throughout the country in 2016. But the gun lobby is going to keep trying, and we’re preparing to fight. Ask any educators you know to join our Educators for Gun Sense campaign by sharing the link.

For people who want to spend an hour or so a week volunteering for a good cause, consider joining the Gun Sense Action Network. We do a lot of phone banking to voters in states that are playing defense against horrible bills.

This makes a huge impact. Last year, for example, the Georgia statehouse passed a sweeping guns-in-schools bill. We were able to drive at least 30,000 calls to the governor’s office, and eventually he vetoed the bill – even though he’s typically an ally of the gun lobby. People who join our Gun Sense Action Network can make calls from home, on their own time!

(ED’s Note: While most joining options are for Americans living in the US, making calls is, of course, open to Americans living abroad and Canadians as well)

How many people in America die from a gun each day?

Moms treat gun violence like a public health epidemic, which it is. What disease kills 93 Americans a day? That’s too many people so we should treat it as such. Unfortunately, Congress has barred the CBC from actually studying gun violence. The US government doesn’t actually study this even though it is a public health problem.

One thing that many people don’t realize is how prevalent gun violence is in our country. About 30,000 people a year are killed by gun violence in the U.S. – 93 a day. Twice that number are injured every day. But I think it’s the ripple effect that really makes the point.

A study came out recently that said the probability of knowing a gun violence victim is 99.85 percent. Think of that: Nearly every single American will know a victim of gun violence in their lifetimes! That’s insane.

I’ve seen it play out personally. When I started volunteering for Moms Demand Action, I didn’t know anyone (as far as I knew) who had been a victim of gun violence. But since December 2012, I have had one friend on lockdown with her daughter at the Kansas City JCC while a shooter killed two people in the parking lot. My sister’s childhood friend was shot and killed in his car in Miami. One of my husband’s relatives lost her granddaughter when the granddaughter’s husband shot her in front of their two kids in California. A close friend of mine was at the Fort Lauderdale airport baggage claim with her three kids when a gunman opened fire.

It just gets closer and closer. That’s what keeps me up at night, and that’s what motivates me to keep going.

 

Jacq the Stripper, aka Jacqueline Frances, is an insatiable female force of nature. She is a true “Jacq” of all trades: writer, stripper, illustrator, comedian, and inspiration to us all.

In her highly anticipated new show and book The Beaver Show she reveals a more intimate side of being a stripper. In the book she lets us in, deep, and tells us about her tour from Australia to New York. Now with the help from her friends, fans, and former lovers’ Kickstarter support, she is coming back on tour to her favorite place in the world, Montreal!

I was lucky enough to ask her a few questions. As a burlesque dancer myself it was interesting to hear her perspectives and comments about girl power and body positivity. She does what she wants and takes inspiration from some of my favorites.

Go see her show and support beauty and bawdy artistic freedom, you will regret it for the rest of your life if you don’t. I’ll be the guy sitting in the corner jacking off. See you there! Splash zone in the corner. 😉

photo by Cat McCarthy
photo by Cat McCarthy

Here are a few excerpts from her incredible book The Beaver Show that you just have to buy and have her sign for you:

“I dance. Naked. For large (and occasionally insultingly modest) sums of money.”

It all started five years ago in Sydney, Australia when she was just 23: “I still wanted to be a traveler, just not a poor one anymore. So I shaved my legs and bush, showed up to the first Google search result that came up for ‘gentlemen’s club Sydney,’ got naked for this old fat guy named Jim and, to my surprise, I liked it. A lot.”

Stripping is about feeling powerful, sexy, and endlessly curious about how far a dude’s kinks will go (‘show me your armpits’) and how much he is willing to pay for them ($1200).

And the money’s sexy.

The Beaver Show Tour is coming to the area (Did you just cum in your pants when you read that? Are you even wearing any pants?)

  • January 20 2016 8pm An Evening with Jacq the Stripper @ Chez Serge, Montreal $20 for the book (incl. free cover) or $5 cover
  • January 22 2016 The Riff @ Le Nouveau Theatre Ste. Catherine, Montreal $7
  • January 24 2016 9:30pm Crimson Wave Comedy @ The Comedy Bar, Toronto $5
  • January 26 2016 7pm An Evening with Jacq the Stripper @ The Side Door Barrie, ON $10 advance / $15 door
  • January 27 2016 @ The Beaver Toronto ON

T&A Q&A

1) So you are just a writer that strips right (sarcasm all day there)? When did you decide to write a book? How long did the process take?

I’ve always been a writer, and when I started stripping I couldn’t NOT write about it. My first day ever was over five years ago, so I guess you could say that’s when I started writing it. After a torturous year or so of trying to nab an agent, I published it in October 2015.

2) What was your initial response to David Bowie’s passing? How has he influenced your art?

It was a very sad morning when I found out. In my first year at McGill, one of my teachers told us to choose an ‘artifact that symbolizes modernity.’ Most people chose things like ticketing machines or nylon stockings… I chose the persona of Ziggy Stardust and went on to write a 25-page paper on him. I got the paper back and my professor was like, “This is a stretch for what I assigned… but clearly you are very passionate about David Bowie. B+”

He did whatever the fuck he wanted and man did he ever commit to it. I knew he got dressed every single day not giving a fuck about what other people thought of him. His talent and his image were inseparable and it was clear that he enjoyed that. He’s a legend in my heart and in all the manifestations of my creativity.

3) Congrats on meeting your Kickstarter goal! Have you ever seen the Amanda Palmer “Art of Asking” TED Talk? Have you ever thought of doing your own TED Talk? What would you title it? I’d so watch it! You are an inspiring lady.

Thank you! I guess my stand-up is a little preachy and story-telling-y, so maybe I’m already a TED talk in the making… albeit a raunchy one. I haven’t seen Amanda Palmer’s but I’ll be checking that out very soon! What’s their policy on profanity? I have yet to eradicate swearing from my set. It’s just too important.

photo by Ryan Kobane
photo by Ryan Kobane

4) I respect that you are a touring artist and strive to do that more with my own burlesque show. Do you have any advice? How did you get your tour off the ground? Is it hard to be married and touring? Do you have any pets at home? I often think I need a tour bus that is cat friendly because I couldn’t leave my lil fur babies.

No pets no babies low rent and the most encouraging, grounded wife in the world is how I can even fathom going on this tour. Kickstarter certainly helped make it all happen, which really just means I have a community of people who believe in me. I would not be able to do it without the support of my friends, family, and randoms on the internet who are stoked about my mission to humanize sex work and spread the gospel of happy sluts. The tour is only just beginning so I can’t speak to its challenges yet. BUT THERE WILL BE PLENTY, I ASSURE YOU.

5) You are performing in Montreal this week. Tell me about your show? Does it vary based on the night?

The Beaver Show book tour is a different show every night. I like to invite local brains and talent to collaborate, as I don’t think I’m at the one-woman-show point in my life yet. I have my stand-up act, but that’s only part of it. In Toronto, for example, we’re having Victoria Lean, a brilliant filmmaker, host while I tell jokes and riff from the book (I hate reading aloud – I think it’s boring) followed by a Q&A with musician Leah Fay from July Talk.

6) Montreal is my favorite city in the world! What is your favorite Montreal adventure story?

It is my favourite city in the world, too! I spent five incredibly formative years there and I don’t even know where to begin because my whole life there was an adventure. I mean let’s just talk for a minute about how cheap the rent was: I had a two bedroom apartment all to my damn self for $600 a month. It was above GoGo lounge, so it was loud as fuck but I didn’t care because I never slept. I painted on my walls and ate $2 chow mein with peanut butter sauce on it when I was hungry… Oprah should have really interviewed me about living my Best Life.

7) Do you have any comments about censorship? Male nipples vs female nipples on social media? Have you experienced censorship firsthand?

BOOBS FEED BABIES. Start censoring male nipples, please. They’re not as pretty AND they are LITERALLY useless as fuck.

8) Do you consider yourself a feminist? What would you like a young girl to take from your show?

I AM A RAGING FEMINIST. I will shout it from the rooftops.

My show is 18+ because I talk about very adult issues. But I know that young girls are going to see it anyway, and to them I will tell them “It’s your body and don’t let anyone shame you for it. Do what feels right and always take a minute to make sure you’re doing what you want and not what you think you should be doing.”

9)Who is your biggest artistic influence? I also see that you just performed in Baltimore and your book is sold at Atomic Books. How has John Waters affected you and your work?

Oh my god John Waters is one of my heroes. I’d like to make movies as delightfully crass as his one day. He revels in bad taste and doesn’t have a pretentious bone in his body. He is so curious and has lived a life where he’s done whatever he wants, whether it’s film, books, stand-up comedy or hitchhiking across America. Whenever I get discouraged about pursuing my dreams, I remember that he made Pink Flamingos with $10 000. He inspires me so say whatever the fuck I want without worrying about the approval of elitist tastemakers. The more people won’t let you in to their club, the harder you’ll try to build your own.

10) I’m a big fan of your illustrations! Did you go to art school? If so how do you think it prepared you for your current path?

I was in an art program in grade 9, but that was eons ago… I just started doodling to illustrate what was being said to me at work. Now I treat my art like a new platform for my storytelling, plus it’s so goddamn therapeutic. Seriously if you can’t afford therapy, buy a sketchbook. And if the thought of drawing stresses you out, buy a colouring book. You will feel better.

11) Any other tid bits you would like people to know about you? Where are you from? Like long walks on the beach? What’s your sign? Ect….

I’m Canadian, from Ontario although I claimed Montreal for a while. Now I’m just an expat. I only say I’m from New York when I’m trying to book venues (it works).

I’m an Aquarius, I love blue cheese, swimming and giving close friends shitty makeovers.

Buy my book! It’s called The Beaver Show, and you can get it on Amazon. Or go to your local independent bookstores and beg them to stock my book. If you have time to do that I would be eternally grateful.

* Featured image by Andy Boyle

* An Evening with Jacq the Stripper @ Chez Serge, 5301 Boul St-Laurent, Wednesday January 20th, 8pm, $20 for the book (incl. free cover) or $5 cover

* The Riff @ Le Nouveau Theatre Ste. Catherine, 264 Rue Sainte-Catherine E, Friday, January 22nd, $7

* For more: jacqthestripper.com

People tend to look at me funny – a look somewhere between pity and caught back laughter – when I tell them that I don’t have a driver’s license. It’s as if I’d just admitted to them that I wet the bed. But I was born and raised in New York City where a car is about as useful as a donkey and just as difficult to find parking for. I did have a license once, I got it when I was 16, doin’ that American rite of passage thing, but it expired years ago and there hasn’t been any real impetus to have it renewed. There are plenty of things about growing up in New York City that differ from the rest of the country, the rest of the state, hell, from most of the other boroughs!

The CountryTime ® Lemonade memories of childhood are completely lost on me. The lemonade stands, the rope swing over the crick, catching fireflies; I thought dandelions were flowers until I was a teenager! How lucky was I to be able to bring weeds home to my mom every day! (How lucky was the city whose landscaping I was inadvertently tending.) The “beaches” were where we were warned to “wash off well” or we’d get yeast infections, and we were told not to go barefoot, even while swimming, to avoid hypodermic needles, condoms and other remnants of the Summer of Love 80’s Edition. No-one I knew would lay in the grass and stare up at the stars because a) what stars? and b) laying in doggie-doo is not an urban pastime. Were it not for sleepaway camp, I might have grown up thinking a hike was a long distance – like between our block and the pizzeria we didn’t go to “cuz it’s a hike, yo!”

Speaking of definition differences: in my childhood, the balcony was the fire escape and the roof a terrace. I have no concept of time since here, 20 minutes is 5 minutes unless you’re waiting, and then 5 is 20. The school bus was the subway unless you were rich – then it was car service. A picnic was eating on a stoop, a stoop was the front stairs of a house, a house could be an apartment, but a housing was a beating, and the mall was the West Village.

New York enjoys a geocentricity akin to Israel. Everyone makes their pilgrimage here and everyone wants to claim it as their own, the border being the Hudson and East Rivers. Were you so unfortunate as to be born on the other side of these, in any direction outward, you may as well fess up to sleeping with your cousin (This goes double for New Jersey, and throw in stinky, skanky or tacky for good measure due to the Hatfield/McCoy tradition of the NJ hate which has never been explained to me but which I proudly uphold.) And up to this border is the extent of the geography we can recall off the top of our heads.

The New Yorker once illustrated the mentality of New Yorkers by placing New York City at the forefront of the image and everywhere else in the world off in the horizon somewhere. This is, in fact, the maps we use in our public schools. Therefore, while the average American cannot find Korea on a map, I cannot tell you where Nebraska is…I also don’t care…because I am from New York (which I might be able to find) and it’s not like I’m going to drive there.

I think this is why I have never really felt the need to have a driver’s license. Somehow, growing up in that biodome, I adopted the belief that I wasn’t going to need it anywhere else. That there would always be public transportation, and where there wasn’t, I probably wasn’t going to go anyway. Out of the country, I wouldn’t be allowed to drive, so again, why bother. But now, as I split my time between New York and Montreal, it occurs to me, maybe it would be worth it to get a driver’s license if just to arrive at my destination in “real time”. The trip is about 6 hours by car and 10 by train (that’s 15 hours by train when using the New York Time Code). And perhaps I could use the extra time to figure out the other states that border Canada.

Rob Ford, new mayor of Cal...er...Toronto

I must admit, I’m a bit confused. I’m not quite sure what I’m supposed to write about here. It’s a year-in-review piece, so at least the time frame is solid, but the subject matter, hmm, that’s another story.

You see, I don’t really have a clear beat. I started off 2010 as a theatre writer, but now that’s done by others and occasionally me, at least when it comes to burlesque shows (heh heh, but seriously, check out my reviews of Blood Ballet and Glam Gam). I do write about news and politics, even in this space, but I’m not the only one, so this can’t be a year in the news piece.

I could write about the year it was for FTB. (and in fact I will, but that’s coming up New Year’s Eve, not here.) So I guess I’m just going to have to talk about the year in random things that caught my attention.

It seems somewhat appropriate that I’m confused, because 2010 sure was a year of confusing things. While Calgary took a few steps forward and elected (by all accounts) progressive lefty Naheed Nenshi, Canada’s first Muslim mayor, Toronto took about fifty steps back and basically elected Rush Limbaugh in the form of anti-homeless, anti-cyclist loudmouth Rob Ford. The City of Montreal, under the direction of Gerald Tremblay, still wants to destroy the Red Light District, at least there was some good news last week that developer Angus may throw in the towel and let the venerable Café Cleopatre continue to exist.

Meanwhile in Quebec, Jean Charest and his cronies (before facing a sham commission) banned the wearing of religious head coverings when trying to use government services and made those services, even those that are supposed to be free, a little more expensive. This drew considerable protest, but you wouldn’t know it by reading The Gazette.

People are not impressed: photo of the anti-Charest budget protest by Chris Zacchia

At least Stephen Harper’s consistently a douchebag. He did up the ante a bit this year, though, by going all police state on peaceful protesters and the City of Toronto during the G20, using tactics that would have made Homeland Security and the CIA under Cheney (er, Bush) blush.

Harper’s new nemisis the UN took a step backwards, too, by condoning the baseless executions of gays and lesbians. At least Haiti decided not to allow Wyclef Jean to run for president, though their elections didn’t go all that smooth, regardless.

The good stuff: Buffalo Infringement Festival photo by Jason C. McLean

Even closer to home, things have been strange. Despite being a fresh, new and alternative media source, we’re still following Justin Beiber on Twitter and last time I checked we’re now following Paris Hilton, too. At least it gives me the opportunity to use the Biebs, Paris, Jean Charest and Islam as keywords in the same post, which is fun.

I did have quite a bit of fun this year, actually and got to report on it, too. From checking out the Brooklyn music scene first hand and getting a sarcastic kick out of the lone tea partier in Times Square to experiencing the unique joy that is the Buffalo Infringement Festival, 2010 has been quite a ride.

I guess my New Year’s resolution (or at least my public one) will have to be focus on the positive, still write about the negative (cause it’s important) and embrace the confusion.

Photo by Steve Ferrara

Journeymen get ready for the real experience. Multitudes is the kind of band that makes the listener loosen their grasp on reality. Their music transcends genre and is best described as transformative. Bending time and space, a song could start psychedelic and dancey. Then it can turn to free jazz, climax as hardcore and settle into a sophisticated noise.

I have always had a strong fondness for three piece bands.   A player can stretch out without having to worry about stepping on another player’s turf. This comes with a big responsibility though as each instrument is quite exposed. What makes Multitudes a great trio are their simplicity to approach, the passion they play with and the virtuosity each player brings to the stage. I really admire that drummer Alex Lambert is front and center in Multitudes’ stage set up. He is right where a lead singer would traditionally go. Lambert has rightfully earned that spot as he is a lead drummer in the band. Lambert is an animal, very versed in the trick of making odd meters feel like they are still in four. At times he is delicate, meticulously caressing the under hi-hat cymbal with a stick for example. Other times Lambert’s sticks appear as two fiercely glowing blurs shining across all four drums and two cymbals at the same time! The entire time his demeanor is calm and meditative. Bassist Brian House plays a great bass line in the parts of the songs where he sees fit to. At other times, his bass screams unforgivingly with the aid of guitar pedals, creating a magnificent array of soundscapes and explosions. Guitarist Pat Foley has great tone. I especially like it when he plays melodies with some sort of octave effect on.   His chord voicing choice is unique and multi-emotional.

Photo by Steve Ferrar

I first saw Multitudes by chance at a loft party in Greenpoint’s Good Yoga. This warm, spacious and well kept performance space was a great place to see Multitudes. There were so many people I could hardly walk through. All around the band there were about half a dozen old fashioned (1980’s) TV’s showing computer distorted images of the performance appeared on their screens as the show went on. It was the perfect effect for Multitudes. I next caught them perform at Death By Audio in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The band played great and debuted five new songs. Foley used a slide towards the end of the night creating smoky, drunken like melodies I really enjoyed. These were backed by massively full chords on bass. Death by Audio, on the other hand, is a horribly dilapidated, corner cut club. Despite its makeshift “DIY” vibe, it is devoid of the dive charm of NYC legendary clubs like CBGB. When people said CBGB was a total shit hole it was with a certain nostalgic charm. I personally have many fond memories of the club with no bathroom doors. I felt no such charm at Death By Audio, though I have to say the staff was very nice.

Multitudes released their first record, Ontogeny earlier this year. I briefly sat down with Brian House who told me they plan to go into the studio this winter to record the five songs they debuted at Death By Audio along with seven more to make a 12 song record. The new record, slated for release in Spring 2011, will feature short form songs with more of the band’s punk tendencies compared to the more conceptual Ontogeny. House also hinted at a tentative plan for the band to leave New York for a bit this winter and share their highly original sound with some other cities. Please check out multitudesband.com for tour updates as well as info on their upcoming 2nd studio release.

Photo by Steve Ferrara

The first thing I heard from the Brooklyn based band Ben Franklin was their record, Optimist. The recording has a great sound. It is no shitty demo. There are big sounding drums, present vocals, and each instrument sits in its own clear spot in the overall mix. On the other hand Optimist isn’t over produced like 95% of the major releases today. The songs are catchy and clever post-punk with a taste of indie-rock. They make me think of bands like Cake, Weezer (Blue and Pinkerton only), Cursive, and Sunny Day Real Estate. After hearing Optimist, I knew I had to go to a show and see if the band live stood up to the recording.

I saw Ben Franklin at 11pm on a Wednesday at Bruar Falls, one of Williamsburg’s not so underground, hip spots. The club was packed. It took about four songs for the band to get warm, but once they got it they were on fire. Their vocal harmonies are well planned and spot on. I find the riff based sections of their songs to be where the band thrives. Billy Gray is not only the main vocalist but also the lead guitarist. His modesty on stage is dichotomous to his masochistic style songwriting. While speaking to the crowd he comes off as vulnerable and sincere. Bassist Eddie Garza does most of the talking for the night. His banter between songs is too long for me, though he does a great job of playing, singing and dancing during the songs. He is the designated fun guy in the band.

The lyrics are cynical and sarcastic with a touch of anger. Their fans connect with these emotions and have the uninhibited desire to party that is inherent to rock music. What I mean to say is: the crowd freaked out.
The song, Drink to Forget, was the turning point of the night. The audience members knew the song by heart. While singing along, they really started to move.

Photo by Steve Ferrara

As the night went on more drinks were consumed both on stage and off. I think I caught a glimpse of a flask
in Billy’s hand at one point. All this partying and the music led to a great and wonderful thing, STAGE DIVING
AND CROWD SURFING! It came on like a storm. First there was moshing. Then the momentum grew and some people were being lifted quickly here and there. Next thing I knew, it became like an underground VFW show
in 1991. A small girl got up on stage and just jumped. The audience caught her and carried her around. That was it.   Now it was “okay” for every dude to get up on stage and jump. The more people freaked out, the harder the band played. The harder the band played, the more the floor shook. At the end of the night all the instruments and people fell to the ground. As the band left a massacred stage Eddie picked up a mic and suggested a list
of priorities yelling, “Really, smoke weed and buy our shit!” He dropped the mic with a thud and the band walked off to greet fans.

Check Ben Franklin out at wearebenfranklin.com where you can “buy their shit,” Optimist, for free or name your price. They are currently finishing up the mixes of a new 7″ to be released on Killing Horse Records in January. It will be called Urgency.

Photo by Steve Ferrara

I had the privilege of being at Trash Bar in Williamsburg, Brooklyn last Sunday where I happened upon the power trio Bo-Peep. I know many of us out there have our issues with the live music scene today. In general there is a lack of enthusiasm at shows on the stage and in the audience. It seems that if the current music scene needed a word to coin it, it would be “medium music for a medium crowd.” Bo-Peep, however, sparks a flash back to a time before the Facebook generation, when live music mattered.

Bo-Peep is an all female band from Tokyo, Japan with more balls than every resident of Bedford Ave. combined. Their songs are a raw and savage celebration of life. Though they walked into the club almost completely unknown, Bo-Peep managed to possess an entire room of Brooklynites into breaking the norm: We all got our asses up and danced.

Instrumentally Bo-Peep was magnificently tight but with an ease that allowed them to run around the stage like maniacs. Bassist Kaori Takebayash was all spirit. She jumped, spun and kicked while executing precision bass lines. At one point in the set Kaori made a great save when her bass cable got unplugged. In an instantaneous swoop she re-plugged her bass in and continued the line mid-phrase like nothing had happened!

Shortly after that she out danced the kimono she was wearing revealing a black dress
and a layer of “I’m rock’n my ass off” sweat. Later in the set Kaori chose to jump into the audience and dance with us while still keeping the bass line going and managed to return to the stage safely without missing a note.

Photo by Steve Ferrara

Singer guitarist Mika Yoshimura was completely nuts. For most of the set her eyes were obscured by a mess of hair.
The few times when I did get a glimpse
they were rolled far back as if in a demonic trance. Mika’s voice screams and wails
with passion. She attacks the guitar with a tribal fierceness. In the finale Mika jumped
on top of the drum set and held one hand in the air. This could seem silly in the wrong context but in this room the energy was there. The entire audience was won over and responded by throwing their hands up in the air.

Drummer Ryoko Nakano appears to be the center that holds the band together. Her drumming was steady and hard hitting. Keeping the beat going from one song to the next, I think she may have only stopped playing twice in the set. Ryoko was also the spokesperson on stage, thanking the audience while the other two tuned between songs.

The only negative of the night were all the photographers in the front row. They were killing the vibe and blocking the view. Who were those guys? Was this a rock ‘n roll show in a dirty ass Brooklyn bar or an MTV shoot? If they were going to block the front row couldn’t they have at least taken turns or something?

So that’s basically it. Bo-Peep schooled New York City on its own curriculum. They have that NYC rock ‘n roll sound and spirit down more so then 95% of the bands in the New York scene today.

Check Bo-Peep out at bo-peep3.com or myspace.com/bopeepjapan. They have just released their 3rd album Vibe on the British/Japanese, indie label Flight Path Records. It is available on itunes.