Tag Archives: Loser’s Lounge

Stew & The Negro Problem at Barbès: A refuge from the storm and a special surprise

Blizzard? Who cares, when there’s a chance to see Stew, Heidi and the gang in an intimate Brooklyn boîte

Stew and Heidi Rodewald perform with a version of their band, The Negro Problem, at Barbès in Park Slope, Brooklyn in March 2011. And yes, that's Joe McGinty in the foreground.  (Photo © 2011, Steven P. Marsh)

Stew and Heidi Rodewald perform with a version of their band, The Negro Problem, at Barbès in Park Slope, Brooklyn in March 2011. And yes, that’s Joe McGinty in the foreground. (Photo © 2011, Steven P. Marsh)

If the predicted nightmare blizzard doesn’t bring New York City to a screeching halt on Friday, you should be at  Barbès in Brooklyn’s Park Slope neighborhood to catch a surprisingly un-publicized gig by Stew & The Negro Problem.

(Click through to the jump for all the details.) Continue reading

More video of Stew, Heidi and The Negro Problem at Joe’s Pub

It’s time for a better taste of The Negro Problem‘s fantastic show at Joe’s Pub on Jan 7 .

Here’s all the video Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? managed to shoot in the crowded room.

The first clip is just an excerpt, the last minute or so of one of my favorite Stew/TNP songs, “Peter Jennings,” performed with as much joy and excitement as I’ve ever seen.

After that is “Willow Song,” a Stew and Heidi number that many in the audience hadn’t heard before. It was written for last summer’s production of Othello for Shakespeare on the Sound, an outdoor community Shakespeare program in Connecticut. (Stew and Heidi tackle Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing for SotS Artistic Director Joanna Settle this summer.) It’s a beautiful, dreamy number that worked well in the play, but also stands alone surprisingly well.

Finally, for all you Passing Strange fans, there’s “Amsterdam.”


The Negro Problem: Stew, Heidi and friends come home to Joe’s Pub

Stew, Heidi Rodewald and The Negro Problem at Joe's Pub on Friday, Jan. 7, 2011. (Photos copyright 2011, Steven P. Marsh)

Stew, Heidi Rodewald and their current incarnation of The Negro Problem came home to NYC — to Joe’s Pub at The Public Theater — on Jan. 7.

What a homecoming it was.  The show was rocking and well-paced, with old favorites — many reimagined in one way or another — and newer material from last fall’s Brooklyn Omnibus, a show premiered at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

“Ken,” the never-fails-to-get-laughs tune about Barbie’s boyfriend Ken secretly being gay, was done with a reggae feel to it. And they did “Willow Song” from their music for last summer’s Shakespeare on the Sound production of Othello. They also did a great rendition of Stew’s self-proclaimed best song ever, “Gary Come Home,” written for TV’s SpongeBob SquarePants cartoon show.

The current incarnation of The Negro Problem, Stew and Heidi’s first project together, is really just the pair of them backed by Joe McGinty‘s Loser’s Lounge crew plus awesome longtime guitarist Jon Spurney. (Spurney wasn’t in the earliest incarnations of The Negro Problem, but then again, neither was Heidi. Spurn was, however, involved from the beginning with the material that eventually became the acclaimed musical, Passing Strange.)

The place was packed. The show was great. And it seemed to go by in a flash.

Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? was thrilled to be there. We’ll shut up now so you can look at the photos. (Video will come later!)

Stew in his Utilikilt with a new approach to hairstyling, and Heidi at Joe's Pub.

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Femi Kuti kicks off the final week of Midsummer Night Swing at Lincoln Center Out of Doors

Femi Kuti

Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? has been distracted this summer. There’s been a lot going on, musically speaking, around NYC and environs so far. As a result, we’ve neglected our friends at Midsummer Night Swing at Lincoln Center.

But on Monday night, the start of MNS’s final week  for 2010 — hard to believe — Femi Kuti & The Positive Force are taking over Damrosch Park. And we can’t fail you this time. Even if you think you can’t dance, you should be at this show. It’s hard not to at least feel like you can dance when Femi Kuti takes the stage. His version of Afrobeat — he’s one of Fela Anikulapo Kuti’s two musical sons, the other being Seun Kuti who inherited his father’s band Egypt 80 — has an insistent beat and a joyous feel that can get anyone to dance. (Fela Kuti, you may recall, is the subject of the fantastic Broadway musical, Fela!, directed by Bill T. Jones.)

The fun starts at 6:30 p.m. with a dance lesson with Sahr Ngaujah, star Fela!, and the music starts at 7. Tickets are $17 and available at Damrosch Park, at West 62nd Street and Amsterdam Avenue, or online. And there are more shows throughout the week: Catherine Russell and Cat & The Hounds Swing Band on Wednesday, Loser’s Lounge Ladies Night on Thursday, La Exelencia on Friday and, wrapping up this year’s dance season, a kids’ dance party at 3 p.m. Saturday followed by the Harlem Renaissance Orchestra on Saturday evening.