Cornelia St. Cafe. Tuesday May 7 2013
Benjamin's song-writer series continues WITH CALEB HAWLEY, on Tuesday, June 4th 2013 at the Cornelia Street Cafe in NYC. #29 Cornelia Street, at Bleecker st. (Here's a review of the last show in EDGE magazine.).
Doors open at 8.30pm.
Benjamin performs at 9pm
Caleb Hawley performs at 10pm
Reservations strongly encouraged: (212) 989-9319
Goodspeed Theatre, then NYC show Feb 5 2013
Benjamin is at the Goodspeed Theatre's Writer Colony from Jan 21st til Feb 3rd, 2013, working on songs for a project being developed from the Escapist Papers' album "The Bridge."
Come see the show on February 5th, 2013, at the Cornelia Street Cafe in NYC.
Doors open at 8.30pm doors.
Benjamin performs at 9pm.
The lovely and marvelous Shaina Taub performs at 10pm.
Show, Friday Jan 11 2013
Benjamin brings in the new year with a free concert at the
Vagabond Cafe. #7 Cornelia Street, NYC
Good food, drink, comfy couches.
Like your living-room, only cooler.
At the Vagabond Cafe, Friday December 7th 2012
Benjamin will perform an acoustic set at the Vagabond Cafe.
#7 Cornelia Street, in New York's City's Greenwich village
Friday, December 7th 2012. 9pm.
Free admission. Comfy couches. Good food and drink.
Benjamin performs the Johnny Mercer Concert, Oct 11, 2012
Benjamin joins many wonderful performer/writers on stage at
BROADWAY UP CLOSE: New Music from the Johnny Mercer Songwriting Project
Thursday, October 11, 2012
Merkin Hall, at the Kaufman Center. 129 W. 67th Street, New York, NY. 10023
June 2012: new Escapist Papers record mixed and mastered.
Here's the last last track from the new record THE LION.
I'm thrilled to announce that the new Escapist Papers record "The Bridge" has been mixed, by the tremendously talented Grammy Award-winning producer/engineer Tom Schick. Tom has made records with Rufus Wainwright, Wilco, and Mavis Staples, to name a few.
Greg Calbi mastered the record. Mr. Calibi's resume is too long for this or any list, but includes Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, and the Rolling Stones.
We're so excited to share this whole album with you soon.
video: Benjamin performs his songs at Lincoln Center.
Benjamin performed the songs from the new Escapist Papers record, including "A Surprising Phone-call," "Julia, Julia," and "Doris Comes Home," live at Lincoln Center on January 30th 2012. Check out video of the performances here.
Photos from Lincoln Center
See the photographs from Benjamin performing on Jan 30th at Lincoln Center HERE. on the Escapist Papers Facebook page.
Benjamin At Jack's Coffee, Jan 31st 2012
Benjamin will perform a free, solo show at Jack's Coffee, on west 10th street between 6th and 7th aves, NYC, on Tuesday, January 31st, 2012. 9.30pm.
Coffee, cookies, and beer will be for sale.
Benjamin at Lincoln Center, January 30, 2012
Benjamin performed and discussed his songs at the Lincoln Center Songbook Series. Monday, January 30th, 2012, at Lincoln Center's Bruno Walter Auditorium.
Joined by Jacob Sacks on piano and Geoff Kraly on bass and synthesizers.
Benjamin at Robert Johnson Tribute, May 5 2011
Cafe Vivaldi in New York hosted a concert in celebration of Robert Johnson on his centenial. Local guitar players and writers took the stage to sing and play. Benjamin performed "Doris Comes Home," from the upcoming Escapist Papers record. Other performers included Gary Lucas, Erik Fradsen, and William Nowik. Thanks to Zeke Schein for organizing the wonderful evening.
Osama Bin Laden is dead. Let's sing about it. May 2, 2011
Osama Bin Laden is dead. Let's sing to celebrate. Here's a clip from Jihad! The Musical.
Benjamin. The streets of New York, April 25th 2011
Playing guitar outside, in Greenwich Village on a beautiful day this past weekend, Benjamin was photographed by the style blog "The Lisbon Tailor." Have a peek HERE.
Nightingale, all finished. April 12, 2011
Thanks to the cast and creative team of "Nightingale and the Rose," who put on a marvelous show. Thanks to all audience members for their support! The show was entirely sold out. Thanks to Metropolis Opera Project for producing the piece, and thanks to all other composers, performers, and creative-team members of the other pieces. It was an honor to work along side you all.
April 8th, 2011. Extra tickets available for Nightingale, this weekend.
This weekend's performances of NIGHTINGALE AND THE ROSE are all sold out. There WILL be a limited number of $10 tickets available on a first-come-first-served basis at the door, for each performance. For all information, and to watch some short video interviews with cast and creative-team
click here, for www.NightingaleAndTheRose.com.
Nightingale and the Rose, NYC performances April 8-10, 2011
I am thrilled to announce the performance dates for my new opera.
THE NIGHTINGALE AND THE ROSE,
Friday, April 8th. 8pm
Saturday, April 9th. 8pm
Sunday, April 10th. 3pm AND 8pm.
MEDICINE SHOW THEATRE
549 West 52nd St. (Between 10th and 11th Aves) 3rd floor. New York, NY 10019
Produced by the Metropolis Opera Project, as part of their (wonderful) 2011 One-Act Festival. Special thanks to Zach James, founding director of the Metropolis.
Bats and Fractures. January 7, 2011.
Right now, producer Geoff Kraly is working away at Escapist Studios, on the new Escapist Papers record, sifting through marimba parts, guitar parts, and other odd noises. Mostly, editing is deleting.
But I got an email from Geoff last night, late, with the subject line “Bat.”
The email read: “I didn't realize a bat was staying in one of the bedrooms on the 3rd floor. I guess I'll get out of his way and sleep down here by the microphones.” Last I heard, Geoff was recording the sound of the live bat.
I do not have the luxury of flight at the moment. While running to catch a subway train last week, I slipped and crashed down onto the pavement. I now have a pelvis fractured in two (maybe three) places. So I bought a good-looking walking stick, and have been hobbling around with it, attempting to look debonair.
Geoff and I will be back in the studio together next week.
Oh, and Happy New Year. This one has started out auspiciously…
Update...Geoff sent me the following email:
"now there's really loud banging. I think it was someone clearing snow off the driveway. Or it was a bat. A huge bat. I'm leaving now. I'm never coming back"
Benjamin speaks at SUNY Purchase, Oct 25, 2010
Benjamin was part of a panel discussion on the artistic process at SUNY Purchase. Other panel members included Kenneth Tabachnik, former Manager of New York City Ballet; Peter Denenberg, record producer (Spin Doctors, Deep Purple); and Wiley Hausam, Director of the Performing Arts Center at SUNY Purchase. Benjamin spoke about the creation and production of Jihad! The Musical.
Nashville, Oct 13 2010
Back from Nashville, where I had the pleasure of performing two songs of mine, "Julia Julia” and “Cried and Cried and Cried,” at the Bluebird Café on Wednesday October 13th. I was the guest of Lari White (Grammy-award-winning writer and producer). Also performing that night were songwriters Chuck Cannon, Marv Green and James Slater. Thanks to all the Nashville folks who showed me around and looked after me. What a marvelous town.
Recording piano with Jacob Sacks for EP II, Aug 18 2010
Jacob Sacks is the most creative piano player I’ve ever come across. So I was honored when he agreed to record on my new Escapist Papers record, "Songs for the Living, Songs for the Dead." On August 18th, the record’s producer, Geoff Kraly, and I met Jacob at the studio Acoustic Recording, in Brooklyn.
There, Jacob recorded piano on six songs: on one song, he decided to cover the piano’s strings with masking tape. On another song, he filled the piano with drum sticks, metal rods, pieces of paper. Here’s a video of him explaining what’s going on..
Another song he listened to the backing track, and then recorded piano to it while not listening to the song on headphones. The results were fantastic. Here’s a link to some photographs from the session. -Benjamin
Performing at Northwestern, August 7 2010
Hello from Evanston IL, where I am participating in the Johnny Mercer Songwriting Workshop, studying under Andrew Lippa, Craig Carnelia, and Lari White. Since I’ve been here, I’ve written lots of material for the new Escapist Papers record, “Songs for the Living, Songs for the Dead.” This morning, I’m participating in a workshop on musical theatre.
This evening, I'm performing a song of mine called “Leaving California” in a gala concert honoring the composer Stephen Schwartz. The concert will be held on Saturday, August 7th, at 8pm, at Pick Staiger Concert Hall at Northwestern University.
Escapist Papers, Tuesday July 20th at Ars Nova NYC
Benjamin and Geoff Kraly, who is producing the new Escapist Papers record, "songs for the living, songs for the dead" performed at Ars Nova Theatre in NYC on Tuesday.Check out some photos of the show, taken by Avery McCarthy, HERE.
We'll have video up from the show soon. In the meantime, here's a video of Benjamin performing "Gold Frame," a song from the new record .
New Lunar Youth video. May 18 2010
Benjamin produced "Nighttime Diamond," the new single from British rockband Lunar Youth.
Nightingale and the Rose event, May 17 2010
The Nightingale and the Rose, a short opera I've been writing, will have excerpts presented at the Metropolis Opera Project's new composer evening at 8pm on Monday, May 17th, at STITCH lounge. 247 West 37th Street, (between 7th and 8th aves) in Manhattan. With singers Sara Jayne Blackmore, Thomas Dolan, Alan Shaw, and pianist Aaron Kotler. The event is free and open to the public. To hear some of the music, click the MUSIC button on this site.Still/Video
Benjamin produces Lunar Youth, April 3 2010
Check out the new Lunar Youth tracks, "Nighttime Diamond" and "Soma." Benjamin produced the tunes for this British trio at Escapist Studios. To hear the songs, check out their myspace page HERE.Still/Video
Escapist Papers II recording, April 2, 2010
Today, a glorious sunny day, was spent in the studio with bassist extraordinaire Will Lee, old pal and brilliant drummer Josh Dion, and the producing genius of Geoff Kraly. (I played guitar and sang.) We tracked three songs, called "Gold Frame," "Here to There" and "The Bridge." Here's a photo of us all outside the studio.Still/Video
Jihad! on Christian Broadcast Network, March 22 2010
My life's dream has finally come true: I'm on the Christian Broadcast Network, as the "Oy Vey" moment of the week. I'm not kidding. Check it out HERE
(click 23.45 seconds into it...)
Jihad! The Musical on CNN, Feb 2, 2010
CNN ran a story on Jihad! The Musical. I'm interviewed, and the cast does some singing. See it HERE.
Musharraf, at Jihad! The Musical. Jan. 31, 2010
Wouldn't you know it, President/General Musharraf of Pakistan came to see Jihad! The Musical last night with his entourage. He liked it so much, he stuck around afterwards to congratulate the cast. Wow. Short article about it in London's Telegraph HERE.Still/Video
Some Choice Quotes from Jihad reviews, Jan 18 2010
"Everything you could want in a light-hearted fringe musical with satirical undertones: catchy tunes, funny lines, topical humour and non-stop energy. Four Stars." -What's On Stage
"Songs are slickly composed"-Metro
"Sophisticated humour"-The Stage
"Richard David Caine has the funniest legs since John Cleese." -The Daily Telegraph
"Yannik Fernandes impresses as the fresh-faced and optimistic Sayid. And, like all the cast, he can certainly sing." -Live Review
"Sorab Wadia plays the villain to the hilt."-What's On Stage
"Gina Murray’s nightmarish cut-throat journalist... [is] a particular high point." -What's on Stage.
"Tara Carozza... somehow contrives to look alluring in a burqa." -The Telegraph
Jihad! The Musical, up and running! Jan 16th 2010
Jihad the musical has gotten its share of reviews from people who really liked it ("Delicious moments.. at its best when it's most wicked") to people who really didn't ("wish[ed] for a suicide bomber to arrive and put an end it all...").
So far we've been sold out for every performance, the cast has been tremendous, and the audiences are laughing. And that's really what it's about.
Here's a great article on the show: "Satire is an Effective Weapon Against Terror.".
new music from Lunar Youth.
Jihad rehearsals, Dec 24 09
10 days into rehearsal (with one day off so far) and our cast is staggeringly good.
I did a radio interview this week on 'LBC" (London's Big Conversation). First, the old deputy chief of Police of London talked about what a bad idea Jihad! The Musical was. Then I was asked about Ted Brocklebank, the culture spokesman for the Scottish Conservatives,who called our show "appauling."
Had he actually seen it? I was asked. I said i didn't think Mr. Brockelbank had seen it, no, and invited him, suggesting that he most likely qualified for the senior-citizen discount of 15 pound tickets.
4 days of relaxation, then back to work.
Jihad! The Musical update, Nov 18 09
Tickets for my new show, Jihad! The Musical are on sale here, at the Jihad! website. Http://www.JihadTheMusical.co.uk
Show opens for previews January 8, 2010 at the Jermyn Street Theatre, London, and runs through February 6th.
The show is 90 minutes, with no intermission. Tickets are 18 pounds (British money.)
In the meantime: click here to watch a clip of the snazzy little number "I WANNA BE LIKE OSAMA" performed by the inimitable Sorab Wadia, who will play Hussein Al-Mansour, in London, along side excellent cast members Gina Murray, Delroy Atkinson, Yannick Ferndandes, Tara Carrozza and Richard David Caine.Still/Video
Jihad Auditions, Oct 30, 09, London.
Hello from London. Today, October 30th 2009, was the final day of auditions for Jihad: the Musical. The show opens for previews Jan 8th and opens for real on Jan 14th, at the Jermyn Street Theater, London. (Tickets on sale soon!) We saw some hilarious people, heard some brilliant singing and acting. I'll post the cast list soon, once we've gotten confirmation from everyone.
Thanks to our wonderful casting agent Danielle, and her lovely assistant Caggy. And my sincere thank you to everyone who auditioned.
Nightingale and the Rose, Sept 12 and 13th '09
This past weekend, on September 12th and 13th, we did two semi-staged readings of a new short opera called The Nightingale and the Rose that I’ve been writing.
The work is based on Oscar Wilde’s eponymous short story.
My thanks to the wonderful director and choreographer, Julia Bloch; marvelous music director and pianist Aaron Kotler; and the stellar performers Sara Jayne Blackmore, Jules Bakshi, Thomas Dolan, Kevin Hale, and Ross Mintzer.
Please check out The official website. for more information and updates about the show.
From LAByrinth ensemble, June 27 09
It's 5.04am, and I'm just headed to bed after a day of workshops on acting, directing, writing; I saw readings of 6 new plays today, including Stephen Guirgis' wonderful new work 'The Motherfucker in the Hat.' I was given the performance-art assignment by the organizers to do something inappropriate and frightening at a meal, so two friends and I, during dinner time, each pressed our naked bodies against the windows outside, outlined by the big glass, in a three-frame photograph. It was wonderful. I got an hour and a half of sleep the other night here; felt like I was floating in a state of 3-second-memory delirium the following day. Tremendous.
Fathers' Day download, from Lady Clown. June 15, 09
In honor of the holiday Fathers' Day, my band Lady Clown is giving away a free download of our song "Fathers' Day," in CD quality audio. (Way better sounding than an Mp3.)
And then enter this information when asked:
Please feel free to share the song and the download info with others. Happy Fathers' Day. With love from
Benjamin and Geoff Kraly, Lady Clown
Mark Hartman to do Jihad: The Musical arrangements. June 10, 09
I'm very pleased to announce that the talented, and very handsome, Mark Hartman will be doing the musical arrangements for 'Jihad: The Musical' Mark's credits include Broadway's 'Avenue Q,' '1776,' and 'Ms. Saigon.' We're excited to have him on board.
Melting Up Music, updated June 1st 09
Benjamin has written the music for Melting Up, a film about the melting of Mt. Everest. The film was first shown at the Hague Center for Strategic Studies in the Netherlands on June 5th, 2009 to an audience including His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Click here to see the film.
The film's music is in honor of a dear friend, Jesse Sigelman, who recently died. A kind soul, lover of music, and real encouragement to me in my pursuit of music and theater, he will be missed.
In the studio with Escapist Papers, May 24 09
I'm off to Escapist Studios today, to work on the new Escapist Papers album, with old pal Geoff Kraly, who is producing the record. I have a collection of new songs, some of which (read: Most of which) I haven't finished writing yet. The record is called 'Songs for the Living, Songs for the Dead.' Today, Geoff and I are going to start recording a (finished) song called "Gold Frame." My cousin Alex told me today that his social studies teacher plays our first record in class. So here's a shout-out to Alex and his social studies class. Thanks for listening!
LAByrinth Intensive Ensemble, April 24 09
For a week in June, I will be at the LAByrinth Theater Company's intensive ensemble, as a composer. LABrynth is based in New York, their home the Public Theater. They focus on developing new work of young writers.
The Intensive Ensemble is a group of 40 actors, writers, and directors, who help develop new work for LAB artists. I plan on composing music for, and about, the work that's developed.
The intensive is held at Bard College, which is about ninety miles north of New York City. Ah, greenery. It should prove an exciting experience.
Roy Haynes. April 20th, 09
This past weekend, drummer and dear friend Vinnie Sperrazza and I drove to Harvard, where we had the chance to sit down and chat with jazz drumming legend Roy Haynes. This is a man who's played with Coltrane, Bird, Lester Young, Thelonius Monk, Charles Mingus, and Louis Armstrong, to name a very few. He and Vin got to talking about the cats they knew in common, and he got to teasing Vin; an honor bestowed by an 84-year-old master.
Vinnie's new jazz record, 'Peak Inn' was released this month on Fresh Sounds. It's an awesome, challenging, piano-bass-drums record. Check it out here .
In the studio with Escapist Papers. April 8th, 09
It has begun! Yesterday, Geoff Kraly, Vinnie Sperrazza and I shacked up at 875 and began work on the new Escapist Papers record, titled 'Songs for the Living, Songs For the Dead.' We worked on a few new songs, including "Music and Fire" "It Never Lasts That Long" "Mardi Gras Beads" "New Song," "The Bridge," "Cartoon" and "Gold Frame."
We tracked through the recently-acquired vingage Sound Workshop Console, which sounds gorgeous. The studio's system was just updated to Pro Tools 8. I'm also the proud new owner of an Ampeg B-15 from 1968, a really lovely bass guitar amp, which Geoff, who is producing the record, put through its paces yesterday.
I'll post some photos of the session soon.
BE WILDER, March 8th, 2009
Thanks to everyone who came to see the BE WILDER dance show at Columbia this past weekend. It was an honor to compose music for such tremendous dancers; the last show was sold out to standing room only. Extra special congratulations to Jules Bakshi and Julia Bloch, the creators of the show. Video footage soon to come from the performance.
Feb 8th, 09. Lunar Youth tracks finished and online.
Benjamin has been working with British band Lunar Youth, producing their new three-song LP. The LP is finished, and can be heard online here .
Benjamin in 'Westchester Magazine' Jan 09 issue
Benjamin's hometown rag, 'Westchester Magazine' has written an article about six under-thirty artists. Benjamin is one of them. Check out the article here .
Sampling drums, Dec 19th. 08
Earlier this week, I got a call from my college roommate, Matt O'Malley.
Matt, a composer, producer, and keyboard/synth player, is the creative director of Sopo Productions. a video and music production group in NYC.
He wanted to record a collection of drum-kit hits and some guitar and bass for a sample library; could he come and sample the drum-kit at 875?
The timing was perfect, as I’d just finished working with rock-band Lunar Youth, and the drum kit and mics were still set up.
He came to the studio yesterday. We blazed through the drum sampling session. I hit the drums, with Matt behind the mixing desk. I also recorded some bass and some guitar, including some Van Halen-esque dive bombs, which were fun.
Maybe I'll have to break out a few of those guitar tricks at the next Escapist Papers show, on January 17th...
In the studio with Lunar Youth
This week, at 875, I'm producing a new rock band from London called Lunar Youth. We set up drums and drum-mics this weekend, and we're going to start tracking drums bass and guitar today.
After compiling the results of the mic-pre-test we did with the SUNY Purchase students, I'm discovered some sonic tricks that I'm using.
Stay tuned for more info on Lunar Youth.
Class at Escapist Studios, with robots
This past Thursday evening, Escapist Studios and I were descended upon by twenty audio engineering students of producer extraordinaire (and SUNY Purchase professor) Peter Denenberg. The goal of the evening was to compare the sonic differences, color and characteristics of 15 different microphone pre-amplifiers.
Some where pre-amplifiers I had in my studio; some were brought in, like an API 3024, Neve 1076, a Great River, and a Demeter.
We wanted to record real live audio, into the same microphone, 15 times: once into each pre-amplifier. But no musician could play the same thing 15 times without variation. So we brought in robots who play instruments.
The robots and their metal drum sticks played a massive black bass-drum for one test, and a cymbal for the next test. The robots were plugged into a lap-top, which controlled their drumming.
I also recorded some electric guitar, which we sent out to an amp for the test.
The results are being compiled by the students, by Peter, and by me. A video from the session will be posted on this site soon. Though, the word 'results' is a bit of a mis-nomer; the discussion in the studio was "which pre-amplifier SOUNDS better." And since "sounds better" is entirely subjective, no conclusions are expected to be reached. Music is such fun.