As a fundraiser for Housing Works, The Friday Party at Brooklyn’s Industry City brought several amazing writers and performers spanning many genres for an intimate evening in the space. Hosted by Jazmine Hughes, whose poignant writing and upbeat witticisms made her an ideal emcee for the evening in between artists and readers.
First up on stage was Mutual Benefit, the project of singer-songwriter Jordan Lee. Backed by a second guitarist and a bass/flute player the more stripped down quality of the singer’s latest record “Skip a Sinking Stone” made for a folksy, spacious sound to the backdrop of a Fall night.
Following the performer was a series of readings, the first by Speedy Ortiz’s own Sadie Dupuis. With Dupuis’ music her lyrics are often idiosyncratic, tackling subjects from gender equality and empowerment. In a similar sense, her poetry evoked surrealist, macabre imagery of grotesque figures and settings. As Dupuis wrapped up, MTV News writer Doreen St. Felix read an interpretation of Solange’s “A Seat At the Table” through a specifically intersectional feminist lens and its greater place within society as a piece of art.
Sadie Dupuis (of Speedy Ortiz)
Doreen St. Felix
Continuing with the theme of intersectionality, Mychal Denzel Smith read aloud some selections from his book “Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching: A Young Black Man’s Education” (his copy, unfortunately was stolen during the show) which took a critical dissection of the relationship between Barack Obama’s presidency and the lack of response in the #BlackLivesMatter movement. In a more lighthearted tone, Dorothea Lasky read poetry comprised of “Fuck, Marry, Kill” scenarios with both her somewhat whimsical tone and delivery made her work much more painfully relatable.
Mychal Denzel Smith
Closing out the show was music from Katie Crutchfield aka Waxahatchee who took to the intimate stage to play some solo material. While avoiding on relying too heavily on the emotionally raw “American Weekend” material, she incorporated more from the band’s two other records “Cerulean Salt” and her most recent “Ivy Tripp.” Using the setting to her advantage, the singer debuted some new Waxahatchee tracks. The evening ended with Shamir, whose disco-dancepop romp on his record “Ratchet” was completely absent in his solo performance. Playing primarily new material, covers, and even deeper cuts from his first EP, the singer’s countertenor played heavily on the gender dynamics of songwriting, and even more cathartic and bare in this show.