Last night was the end of the regular season at Celebrate Brooklyn. Willie Nelson and Old Crow Medicine Show will play next week for one of their benefit concerts, but I will be picnicking in the park outside the gates because the show is sold out. Fun, but not the same as being there, so I will not review the show. The end of the season makes me remember the beginning of my attendance at Celebrate Brooklyn events. I had moved to Brooklyn from Manhattan in 1995 and my social life was still focused on the city. I was, sadly, not very aware of the cultural offerings in my own backyard. One summer evening in 1997 I was walking in the park and stumbled upon Spaulding Gray onstage, interviewing hand-picked members of the audience. It was a magical, intimate evening and I have been hooked on Celebrate Brooklyn ever since.
Fast forward to last night and the rousing show put on by the members of tUnE-yArDs! I almost didn’t attend because I knew how crowded it would be (and I was right — it was packed.) I don’t love the crowds and long lines, but I sure did love the performance. It was fun to see people of all ages grooving to the careening beats and off-the-wall vocals of Merrill Garbus. Merrill actually landed on my radar when I heard her in a performance with Roomful of Teeth. I was wowed by her vocal dexterity and it’s a thrill to hear her perform as tUnE-yArDs. I felt badly for Shabazz Palaces who started the show. From where I sat, the sound seemed very off. That said, I can see why they are so popular. And as for Celebrate Brooklyn, I can’t wait to see what they cook up for the 2016 season!