News Southern Poverty Law Center

Published on February 8th, 2017 | by admin


Antifolk Fights Back, a Benefit for the Southern Poverty Law Center @ the New York Winter Antifolk Festival 2017

Jeffrey Lewis, John S. Hall, Jason Trachtenburg, Larkin Grimm, Somer Bingham, Phoebe Kreutz and Barry Bliss will perform February 16 to Raise Funds for SPLC’s Initiatives to Fight Hate and Promote Tolerance

• Antifolk Auction Features Artwork and Memorabilia Donated by Regina Spektor, Adam Green, Diane Cluck, and Eric Lippe
• The Antifolk Festival  Runs February 7 through 17

Notable performers from the Antifolk music scene, headquartered at Sidewalk Cafe in New York’s East Village, will perform Thursday, February 16 in Antifolk Fights Back: A Benefit for the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The performers will include Jeffrey Lewis, The English Speakers U. S. (with Jason Trachtenburg and Ben Pagano), Unusual Squirrel (featuring John S. Hall), Larkin Grimm, Barry Bliss, Phoebe Kreutz, and Somer Bingham (solo and in her group MNR PLSR with Emily Einhorn).

There will also be an Antifolk Auction featuring memorabilia and artwork donated by Regina Spektor, Adam Green, Diane Cluck, and Eric Lippe. The event will run from 6:30 p.m. until midnight at Sidewalk Cafe, 94 Avenue A (at East Sixth Street). There is a suggested donation of $10 for admission. The event is part of the Winter Antifolk Festival 2017, which runs February 7 through 17. For more information:

“One thing that has always been true about Antifolk is that inclusivity and openness are at its heart,” said Somer Bingham, the booker and overall impresario at Sidewalk Cafe. “Many of us involved with the scene feel strongly about working to fight what we see as heightened strains of intolerance and prejudice that have emerged recently.

We very much endorse the Southern Poverty Law Center’s work over decades to combat hatred and promote tolerance and equality.” Antifolk Fights Back is co-produced by Bingham, by Herb Scher, a songwriter and magician who has performed at Sidewalk Cafe for more than a decade, and by poet Bernard King, a longtime fixture of the Sidewalk scene. This event is one of a series of fundraisers planned at Sidewalk in the coming year.

Somer Bingham is a musician, video blogger, and amateur philosopher based in Brooklyn, New York where she resides with her amazing wife and their two year old daughter. Somer’s gutsy, punk-edged style and authenticity led to her being cast on Showtime’s docu-reality series, The Real L Word, where the lesbian community got to know her as relatable and uncompromising, with lots of spunk and a goofy sense of humor.

The English Speakers, U.S. is the new Antifolk super-group featuring Jason Trachtenburg (Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players, Pendulum Swings, Dr. Glassheart, Houseworld) and Ben Pagano (Ben Pagano and the Space Machine, Houseworld.) 1960’s styled infused Pop-Rock paired with 2017 emotional, intellectual, and conceptual realities, this debut show will set the stage for the potential of modern song-craft performance.

Phoebe Kreutz’s musical style is often described as “joke-folk”, and her songs are often inspired by diverse subjects, such as historical figures (Oh, Elizabeth I), literature (A Bad Feeling About Anna Karenina), relationships (Disaster), and the pitfalls of rock n’ roll excess (The Ballad of Throat Culture). About her style, the New York Times wrote “Phoebe Kreutz’s chanteusey delivery and comic writing were genuinely funny”, and The New Yorker called her “The kingpin of the joke folk scene”.

As a lyricist, she’s written for “Johnny and the Sprites”, “Dance Dance Revolution”, “The Water Coolers”. She’s also working on two musicals, “The Dirty Hippie Jam Band Project” with Dan Israel and “Thanks!” with Gary Adler.

Born and raised New Yorker Jeffrey Lewis is a comic book artist and indie-rock musician. His most recent album “Manhattan” is his 7th album on Rough Trade Records, and Jeffrey’s self-published comic book series “Fuff” is currently up to issue eleven. Jeffrey’s writing, illustrations, comic books and music have been featured by NPR, The History Channel and The New York Times.

MNR PLSR was born out of late-night message-board love for Major Lazer. With “Lean On” obsessively streaming past the midnight hour, an unlikely bond was formed by two musicians who couldn’t control their mutual outpouring of sonic infatuation.

Grunge rocker Somer Bingham – who had an infamous stint on The Real L Word – is the front woman of the punk-tinged project Clinical Trials. Emily Einhorn is Chicago-born singer-songwriter with the vocal stylings of Patsy Cline, the tortured soul of Morrissey, and the brutally honest lyrical sensibility of The Magnetic Fields. Now a combined force under the vowel-less moniker MNR PLSR, they craft electro pop with dark themes and infallible hooks.

Unusual Squirrel is a new band featuring John S. Hall, who is primarily known as the lyricist and vocalist for King Missile (Detachable Penis, Take Stuff From Work, Jesus Was Way Cool). Continuing King Missile’s spoken word-with-music-format, Unusual Squirrel features Ray Brown (guitar, occasional piano), Preston Spurlock (keyboards) and Susan Hwang (janggu, occasional piano), who collectively provide a rich and multi-textured backdrop for Hall’s spoken words and songs.

The results are usually humorous, sometimes sacred, and sometimes profane. The group performs almost exclusively in Manhattan, because Brooklyn is where the action is.

What is Antifolk, you ask.

Antifolk developed in the mid-1980s when a group of punk-influenced songwriters started hanging out at Greenwich Village open mics. They didn’t fit in so well in the traditional folk scene and Antifolk emerged as an alternative. The New York Antifolk scene was spearheaded by the songwriter Lach, who brought his “Antihoot” open mic to Sidewalk Cafe in 1993.

Since then the club has been a vibrant home for a succession of artists who thrive on the rampant creative freedom it encourages. Artists who played some of their earliest gigs there include Regina Spektor, The Moldy Peaches, and Nelly McKay. Today the Antifolk community has strong and active outposts in England, Scotland, Berlin and other locations around the world.

The Southern Poverty Law Center

Civil rights lawyers Morris Dees and Joseph Levin Jr. founded the Southern Poverty Law Center in 1971 to ensure that the promise of the civil rights movement became a reality for all. Since then, the group has won numerous landmark legal victories on behalf of the exploited, the powerless and the forgotten.

Its lawsuits have toppled institutional racism and stamped out remnants of Jim Crow segregation; destroyed some of the nation’s most violent white supremacist groups; and protected the civil rights of children, women, the disabled, immigrants and migrant workers, the LGBT community, prisoners, and many others who faced discrimination, abuse or exploitation.


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