May 10, 2017

Icons in Ash at The New Museum, Friday May 12th at 7pm

Queen Esther

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Tags: art billie holiday Icons in Ash jazz music queen esther spoken word the new museum

235 Bowery, NYC (Sky Room)
Friday, May 12, 7-10pm
Death related art, music, and spoken word performances by
Jonas Mekas, Jennifer Elster, Queen Esther, Deborah Lutz, Danielle Blau, Nora Fox, Ulrich Baer, Christine Isherwood, Hot Glue & The Gun, Lutz Rath, Christopher Willauer, Jane LeCroy, Anthony Haden-Guest, and Ursula Scherrer.

For more information please visit:, and

Access to the book party only with RSVP confirmation number:
Confirmation numbers are only available until May 10, 6pm.

This event is sponsored by Michelle Ross, Ubu Gallery, and Station Hill Press

Biographies of the performers:

Ulrich Baer was born in Germany, lived in California, Massachusetts and Connecticut. He was a Varsity oarsman at Harvard and earned a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature at Yale and is the editor of Rilke’s Letters on Life, a literary theorist who has written on the representation of trauma in poetry and photography, and a fiction writer who has published a collection of short stories set in contemporary China. He teaches at New York University where he is also Vice Provost. He will read from Rainer Maria Rilke’s condolence letters.

Danielle Blau’s Rhyme and Reason: Poetry, Philosophy, and the Art of Living the Big Questions is forthcoming from W.W. Norton. Her collection mere eye was selected for a Poetry Society of America Chapbook Award, and she curates/ hosts the monthly Gavagai Music + Reading Series.Danielle will perform Nth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Native New Yorker Jennifer Elster is an experimentalist, thinker, artist, filmmaker, writer, photographer, and performer. She is obsessed with the truth, explores boundaries in all mediums, and has collaborated with such artists as David Bowie and Yoko Ono.  Elster explores ways to deal with the severity of reality. Her most recent work WARFARE spoke directly and foresaw the current climate in America and currently she has been performing and hosting multimedia art happenings in the underground studio, The Development, in NYC to bring deeper awareness to the human condition and our current world crisis. Jennifer will perform Cemetery: Is Death?

Described as a “…brutal, original, explosive singer…” by Vanity Fair, Queen Esther is a solo performer, playwright/librettist, musician and vocalist. Released in 2015, Paste called her critically acclaimed album The Other Side “…the most exciting Afro-Americana album of the year.” She continues to perform internationally with her Black Americana collective as well as with harmelodic guitarist James Blood Ulmer and sings all over New York City. She will perform Gloomy Sunday – also known as The Hungarian Suicide Song.

Anthony Haden-Guest is a writer, reporter, cartoonist, and sporadic performer. He was born in Paris, grew up in London, has lived in Rome, San Francisco, and Los Angeles but is long settled in New York.  He has published in leading magazines in Britain and America, most recently in Esquire and Britain’s Observer Magazine. His books include Bad Dreams,True Colours: The Real Life of the Art World, and The Last Party: Studio 54, Disco and the Culture of the Night. His more ambitious current projects include an animated movie, a follow-up book on the art world, and a much illustrated memoir. He will talk about Art and Death.

The indie duo Hot Glue & The Gun heat up the room with Song & Story as they shake the Spirit loose. Believing that art is not a spectator sport, Carrie Klein & Joel McGlynn work and play with transformation and collaboration in their song, performance and visual art. Since they began writing and performing together in 2014, they have continually sought to sink into the mysteries of human experience: birth, life, death, love, fear, masculine, feminine, poetry, harmony. They will perform the Paper Love Song.

Christine Isherwood is a singer, writer, and Voice Movement Therapist who lives on Martha’s Vineyard. The last few years have been spent tending to dying, and now she sings only lullabies and laments. She teaches the Voice Movement Therapy Training Singing The Psyche and is currently recording an album of death songs. She will sing a Death Song from her new album.

Jane LeCroy is a NYC based poet, singer and performance artist who fronts the avant-pop band, The Icebergs, and the psychedelic experimental music project, Ohmslice. She has toured with the SF based all women’s poetry troupe, Sister Spit. Jane is a poet-in-the-schools through Teachers & Writers Collaborative. Her chapbook, Names, published by the art-book house Brooklyn, was purchased by the Library of Congress along with her braid! Three Rooms Press published, Signature Play, a multimedia book of lyrical poems, nominated for a Pushcart Prize. The Icebergs just released their debut album, Eldorado. She will sing the Iceberg Death Song.

Jonas Mekas. Lithuanian born poet and film-maker, since 1949 residing in New York.  Is known for developing the diaristic form of cinema with films such as WALDEN and AS I WAS MOVING AHEAD I SAW BRIEF GLIMPSES OF BEAUTY.  He is equally known for the creation of a series of organizations for the promotion of the avant-garde cinema, such as Film-Makers Cooperative, Film-Makers Cinematheque and Anthology Film Archives. He was editor of Film Culture magazine and during l958-1978 movie critic for the Village Voice. Allen Ginsberg is a reading of a diary entry about Allen Ginsberg’s Tibetan monks “wake” ceremony with a video of Allen’s body and a presentation of Allan Ginsberg’s beard.

Nora Fox is a performing artist, writer and multi-instrumentalist. She recently performed in the International Festival of Dance in Belarus, sang in Macedonia, collaborated with David Dorfman Dance, and taught at Brown University. Fox has performed on Broadway, choreographed/danced for film, holds a degree in Literary Arts from Brown, and is currently working on her debut EP. She will sing Hostage.

German born Lutz Rath is an interdisciplinary performer, cellist, conductor, narrator, DADA reciter. Rath is artistic director of Washington Square Music Festival and produced concerts, events, and recordings with the subject of “Forbidden Music” — music which was performed or composed in concentration camps. He will play an improvisation of Bach’s Oh Haupt voll Blut und Wunden.

Ursula Scherrer is a Swiss artist living in New York. Her aesthetic training began with dance, transitioned to choreography and expanded to photography, video, text, mixed media and performance art.  I will die – you will die. We will all die, a knowledge that is often lying quietly within ourselves, buried underneath not to be touched. What will happen if this simple knowledge is spoken out again and again and again?

Christopher Willauer is a queer interdisciplinary artist and recovering catholic from Dubuque, Iowa. He works primarily through performance, sculpture, and video to engage with the body and the Earth in a ritualistic and reverent manner. He now lives and works in New York.  Watered with Kisses is an interactive performance based sculpture that puts the materiality of our body and it’s relationship to the natural world into question. The plants are watered solely with kisses. It is with optimism that I hope love will be enough to sustain their life. It is within reality that I know I can love but not provide the light necessary for them to live.

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