the next service is in Los Angeles on June 11

Monthly Archives: September, 2014

From our Grand Poobah | POP

POP – what the hell is it? Well, it’s a modern art term, describing the work of such 20th century titans as Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg, Claes Oldenberg and others. It was a movement that embraced commercial art as a viable entry into the category of fine art…a celebration of things mechanized, reproduced and made for pleasure and consumption. POP is also a sound – a pop of a gun or a a sonic boom. POP makes me think of surprises, which I used to love as a kid. How do I feel about surprises now? Ok, I guess…I’m not completely controlling, after all. POP is also a term of endearment for father – I call my dad Pops sometimes. Feels affectionate. POP is also what certain folks in our fair nation called soft drinks, as in soda pop. I think it’s three states that are known for that term – maybe Michigan and two others? Think I read that somewhere recently. POP – of course, popcorn, a beloved snack. Mostly associated with the movies – isn’t that funny? How one activity is so identified with one specific food item. I love popcorn, with salt and butter – I also love the movies. Oh, I know, I almost forgot – POP music. I love that, too. I’ve been thinking a lot about POP music and other things – Madonna, Michael Jackson, George Michael, Miley Cyrus, Elvis, Britney, Cher, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, The Beatles, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby…all HUGE pop stars of their day. Mozart could even be considered a pop star, I guess. Princess Diana? The Duchess of Devonshire? Lady Godiva? Maybe.

At the library the other day I looked at a book on POP, where philosophers were discussing popular culture – many of them have a great disdain for it, of course, but several were saying, Pop Culture can contain subversive ideas, and this they were all for. And I thought about Elvis’ hips, Madonna’s crucifixes, Sinatra’s ties to the mob…Warhol’s movies…nothing is simple, is it? Even POP has layers, though it often asserts that it only celebrates the surface, a life without affectation. I can tell you that pop music and pop culture have been a huge part of my liberation, of freeing me from the past, or whatever held me back. Driving in my car screaming along to Top 40 radio. Pop can signify a break from tradition and the assertion that “the way things are” doesn’t have to be. I’m excited for this Sunday’s celebration of POP – to see what happens, how the world might change in the moment, watching someone dance, seeing someone’s colorful art, listening to the choir sing Prince, tasting the delicious caramel corn. POP POP POP POP POP, little explosions signifying the constant arrival of the new.


Jonathan Jackson Poe | Food Offering


Jonathan Jackson Poe is a dear old pal of mine from Los Angeles. He now lives in Portland, Oregon where he has started his own deluxe line of caramel corn: Pinkletons. Here’s how describes it on the website:
With a decidedly Victorian & vintage feel, Pinkleton’s is obsessed with getting caramel-corn just right. We use no artificial ingredients. Pinkleton’s is a small-batch caramel corn confectionary located in Portland Oregon. We are uncompromisingly committed to using the best ingredients possible.

Those ingredients include organic butter, hand harvested sea salt and non GMO corn. Thrilled to present this to folks this Sunday in NYC at our service on POP. Delicious!


Jennifer Sanchez | Featured Artist

Jennifer Sanchez is a bright ray of light. A resident of the Lower East Side, she makes work that is colorful, fresh, fun and dynamic. She’s been working in prints, textiles and all sorts of media where her patterns, designs and images make bold, fun statements. We showed Jennifer’s work many years back when we were still on 14th Street – really great to have her back, and she’s going to display a whole range of stuff for us. Can’t wait to see the space filled with her wonderful images and objects.


Susan Hwang | Featured Artist


I love Susan Hwang! She’s a multi-disciplined artist who lives in Brooklyn. By day, she’s a Wall Street fixture; by night, she’s a singer/songwriter/writer/performer and and all around fabulous creator/hostess of The Bushwick Book Club. I’m delighted she’s going to be our musical guest this Sunday for our NYC service on POP.

Here’s her bio:

Susan Hwang continues to perform in any capacity this world allows. She has toured internationally with NYC accordion/cello/uke power trio, The Debutante Hour. She is also known as the founder and curator/host of the monthly literary/musical performance series, The Bushwick Book Club. Her songwriting is wordy with blues and pop influences and excessive vocal harmonies. Her most recent work includes a foray into theater. She co-created and performed in Yara Arts Group’s “Captain John Smith Goes to Ukraine” where she played an array of parts and sang original songs she composed for the show. After touring in Ukraine in 2013, the show had its New York run at La Mama Experimental Theater in the East Village this spring. Her band, Soozee Hwang and The Relastics released a new, Vonnegut-inspired music video this summer – GIRL POOL(featuring actual girls and actual pools) -




As part of our desire to support people with kids, we provide free childcare, we have for years now. We are always looking for ways to improve that service. So, we’ve just recently partnered with SmartSitting – a childcare referral agency in New York City. We are now using their sitters who will be watching the kids and also leading them in an art-making activity. We ask that parents sign in their kids and leave a cell phone number – even though the child care room is right around the corner from the performance space, it’s good to be able to track you down if the sitter needs to. We’ll be posting more about the specific activities we have coming up this season. For now, come, bring your kids, leave them with the sitter and enjoy the service.


Jeremy Bass | New video from the debut solo album, TENANT


Jeremy Bass is the Music Director of The Secret City – and he’s been with us from the very beginning – leading the Secret City band, helping to curate the musical guests and bringing his considerable chops to the proceedings. Jeremy’s a fascinating hybrid artist – not only is he a great singer/songwriter, he’s also classically trained as a guitarist, playing lute, mandolin, banjo. On top of all that, he’s also an accomplished poet. I’m thrilled to be a longtime collaborator of his – and thrilled to share this new video of his latest single: GONE, from his upcoming album, TENANT. Check it out and enjoy the beautiful, soulful world of Jeremy Bass.




The poet Rae Guirand recently asked me to take part in the latest issue of OCHO – a journal of queer arts. Rae was the guest editor for the recent issue – I was honored to be asked. Her assignment was a bit unorthodox – Rae wanted me to interview myself about The Secret City. It ended up being a wonderful experience – I got to address the questions I am often asked about why/when/where, and answer them in a way that I felt filled in the picture of my path with The Secret City. And, I got to include some questions that people don’t ask but are important to me. They also included a BUNCH of great pics from recent events in LA and NYC. Visit this link, go to CURRENT ISSUE and scroll through the PDF – the interview is 2/3ds of the way through. Please check it out.