Archive for the ‘Music for Front Porches’ Category
Mystery Spot Antiques’ free Music for Front Porches series kicks off its 2013 season with a special acoustic performance by Alessi’s Ark (Alessi Laurent-Marke) this coming weekend. We’re thrilled that Alessi is flying over from London for a US tour in support of her wonderful new album The Still Life, and that her first stop will be the Catskills hamlet of Phoenicia NY, to perform on our front porch on Saturday, June 1st. The music starts at 1 PM and all are welcome.
As with all of the shows presented by the Mystery Spot these past few seasons, it’s absolutely FREE, made possible through DIY/grassroots efforts and the generosity of the performers. All are invited.
Furthermore, as part of the Mystery Spot’s sister musical project, Dittypalooza!, Alessi wrote and recorded a delightful Mystery Ditty in her London bedroom, which you can hear at this link:
Mystery Spot by Alessi’s Ark.
Says Alessi: “I found the chords on the guitar immediately after looking through the beautiful photographs of the Mystery Spot’s nooks and crannies. I was blown away at just how fast the song revealed itself – - it must be down to the Mystery! I tried to imagine the scent and atmosphere of the shop, its surrounding environment and how the floorboards sound as visitors wander around. A gem.”
Alessi first began writing and performing at the age of sixteen, and was quickly signed to Virgin/EMI, recording her debut album Notes from the Treehouse (produced by Mike Mogis/Bright Eyes) when she was eighteen. In fact, Mystery Spot proprietress/artist Laura Levine was commissioned by the record label to paint the album’s cover art, which is how she and Alessi first met.
Travel, adventure and personal revelation mark the body of work by Alessi Laurent–Marke. Now the ripe old age of 22, having performed with Robyn Hitchcock and toured with Laura Marling and Mumford and Sons, Alessi’s newest album, The Still Life, is a work both lucid and heartbreakingly lovely, a sonic landscape that roams a wide range of emotions, with (as the songwriter explains), “Nature and love, as common threads”.
‘The Still Life’ is out now in the U.S via Bella Union.
Now in its 12th season, Mystery Spot Antiques is a ramshackle (but surprisingly organized) vintage shop run by artist/photographer Laura Levine, housed in a former 1800′s hotel on the Main Street of Phoenicia, NY in the Catskill Forest Preserve.
Long a favorite haunt of vintage clothing lovers and vinyl diggers, Homer and Langley’s Mystery Spot Antiques is the kind of vintage shop you didn’t think existed anymore. Part museum/part odditorium, every nook and cranny of its seven rooms is packed to the rafters with 100% vintage goodness. Named after the world’s most famous hoarders – and role models – the Collyer Brothers (who were tragically crushed under their 136 ton accumulation of “collectibles”), this unusual and beloved “shrine to clutter” is home to an amazing array of hand-picked vinyl records, tons of vintage clothing, Forties housewares, antiquarian art books, Rusticalia, mid-century lighting and found objects, and draws fans and repeat customers from all over. Even when the doors are closed, customers with a yen to shop at 3 AM are welcome to dig through the dollar record bins and famous Yard Sale in a Box on the front porch, with an honor money drop at your service.
Proprietress Laura Levine, a Soho-based artist/filmmaker/ photographer, opened The Mystery Spot in 2001 as an outlet to contain the overflow of vintage items collected at weekend yard sales, flea markets and country auctions. In addition to her burgeoning career as a junkmonger, Levine is known primarily as a highly regarded photographer and documentarian of the downtown NYC music scene in the 1980s and early 90s. She was the chief photographer and photo editor of the New York Rocker and shot for numerous publications at that time including the Village Voice and the New York Times. As an artist, her primary focus has since evolved into a cross-disciplinary visual practice spanning painting, illustration and animation to directing music videos and documentary film. She has published three children’s books and she made her directorial debut at at the Sundance Film Festival. Levine’s photographs have most recently been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, the Annenberg Space for Photography, the Steven Kasher Gallery, and the Brooklyn Museum, and are in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery.
Previous Music for Front Porches performances have featured Mercury Rev and Dean + Britta, Laura Cantrell, Gail Anne Dorsey, Tommy Ramone and Claudia Tienan (Uncle Monk), Ida, Ambrosia Parsley and Holly Miranda, to name just a few.
Upcoming Dittypalooza! Mystery Ditties this season include new releases written for and about The Mystery Spot by Steve Wynn (The Dream Syndicate/Baseball Project), Howe Gelb (Giant Sand), and David Fair (Half Japanese). You can hear previously released ditties (Holly Miranda, Ambrosia Parsley and Uncle Monk) at www.dittypalooza.com. Again, all free to download!
Travel note: As always, please contact us first if you’re planning to come from a distance, just to make sure there are no last-minute scheduling changes.
Mystery Spot Antiques
72 Main Street
Phoenicia, NY 12464
June Hours: Fridays – Sundays, 11 – 5
Summer Hours starting in July: Thursdays – Mondays, 11 - 5
The Mystery Spot’s Dittypalooza! is proud to present the Mystery Spot Spot from the one and only Ambrosia Parsley.
The newest contribution to Dittypalooza! comes from our friend, neighbor and longtime supporter-of-the-Spot Ambrosia Parsley. Her music has been featured in Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill (“Goodnight Moon”), she’s been flown to Moscow to perform for a multibajillioniares’ private party, and she’s been profiled in Vanity Fair. She’s also played free concerts on our humble porch (and baked cookies for entire audience), has single-handedly kept our vintage maxi-dress section in the black, and roadies her own stage gear. But don’t be fooled by her gorgeous face and enchanting voice — the girl cusses like a sailor! So cover your young ones’ ears and take a listen to this latest, greatest, Mystery Spot Ditty:
“The Mystery Spot Spot” by Ambrosia Parsley (listen here)
(Written, produced, performed and recorded by Ambrosia Parsley and a bottle and a half of french rose’ at her kitchen table.)
Says Ambrosia, “We hope this little song of love and devotion will persuade Ms. Laura to stop yelling at me from her perch on the front porch when I walk by, reminding me how my son broke a cereal bowl that once belonged to Moses his self. Such are the things you’ll find at the Spot, the most magical and strange vintage shop on earth (tho if you’re looking for 50s peek-a-boo nighties, you best get up pretty early in the morning, ’cause most make their way to my closet in a flash).”
Ambrosia Parsley of Phoenicia, NY, is a recording artist and songwriter, mother, barber, moonshiner, clothes horse, and now, internationally renowned jingle writer. In the afterglow of this Mystery Spot spot, she hopes to expand her ad pursuits well beyond the vintage horizon, into pest control, maybe furniture liquidation. After serving as the voice and principal songwriter for Shivaree for four records over nearly a decade, Ambrosia is currently at work on her solo debut. Details can be found at www.pledgemusic.com/projects/ambrosiaparsley
As an extra treat, here’s a little off-the-cuff video we shot of Ambrosia and Chris when they were rehearsing a little song before one of their front porch shows a while back. Guest starring Captain Lou!
Who else has generously penned Odes to The Mystery Spot for Dittypalooza!?
Well, for starters, how about:
Howe Gelb (Giant Sand)
Alessi Laurent-Marke (Alessi’s Ark)
David Fair (Half Japanese)
Ambrosia Parsley (Shivaree)
Steve Wynn (Dream Syndicate/Baseball Project)
Tommy Ramone and Claudia Tienan (Uncle Monk)
And there are more surprises yet to come!
Sign up for our mailing list (over there on the right —->) to be the first to hear the new songs, and check out the Dittypalooza! page where every month we’ll post a brand new original song inspired by The Mystery Spot, written and performed by our favorite musicians, along with photos, more details and quotes from the musicians about the songwriting process. Deepest thanks to the musicians who gave so much of their time and talent to contribute to our little experiment. Enjoy!
(all photos/video © Laura Levine).
The Mystery Spot porch was graced with a rare performance by Shivaree’s Ambrosia Parsley, Chris Maxwell, Phil Hernandez and surprise guest Steve Almaas on this glorious Columbus weekend. This was the final show of our 2010 Music for Front Porches series.
Ambrosia & Co. debuted a set of incredible new material, including “The Waltz” and “My Knees.”
We’re so grateful to the musicians who performed (for free!) on our Main Street front porch this summer for the townsfolk of Phoenicia and environs and customers of the Mystery Spot: Elizabeth Mitchell, Daniel Littleton, Anna Padgett, Miggy Littleton (aka Ida and The Naysayer); Holly Miranda (with special guest Ambrosia Parsley); Jonathan Donahue and Grasshopper and Dean Wareham and Britta Phillips (aka Mercury Rev and Dean & Britta), and lastly, Ambrosia Parsley Chris Maxwell, Phil Hernandez and Steve Almaas. A very big thank you as well to Tommy Ramone and Claudia Tienan (Uncle Monk) who so generously put aside their weekend to play the porch but were rained out.
If you search around this blog you’ll be able to find photos and videos of most of the other performances. This was the second year of our free porch concert series and we look forward to seeing you all next summer!
Come on down to Phoenicia’s Main Street on Sunday, October 10th (10-10-10) for a rare live performance by Shivaree’s Ambrosia Parsley and her band for the final show of the 2010 free Music for Front Porches series. The music starts at 1 PM.
In addition to soft-talking and pie crust, Ambrosia has been hard at work on a solo project with the esteemed Elegant Too duo of Chris Maxwell and Phil Hernandez (Ray Davies, Yoko Ono, Fred Schneider, Jon Spencer, some others) and they’re threatening to debut a collection of heretofore unheard/unholy goods. (Last year good neighbor Ambrosia brought cookies. What dirty tricks might she employ this time out?).
As with all of the shows presented by the Mystery Spot this season, the music is absolutely FREE, and all are invited.
Watch Video: Ambrosia Parsley & Chris Maxwell in rehearsal before last summer’s porch show.
Watch Video: Holly Miranda & Ambrosia Parsley sing a Buddy Holly tune on our porch.
We’ve been so busy shopping barns, basements and attics and getting ready for our fall season, we’ve been remiss in posting photos of our recent visitors, customers and friends. Herewith, forthwith, and toot-sweet: some favorite recent Mystery Spotters!
Right before they stepped out onto our front porch to play an amazing free show with Mercury Rev for the townsfolk of Phoenicia, Dean Wareham and Britta Phillips browsed the vintage wares of the Mystery Spot. Dean scored a stack of used vinyl, and Britta scooped up this beautiful vintage 50s deep blue velvet halter top, among other goodies.
World-famous artist/illustrators Jordin Isip and Melinda Beck and their daughters Chloe (6) and Simone (8) came up for a visit and rocked the Spot. Jordin and Melinda are prom-worthy in a Sixties Rat Pack gold dinner jacket ($95.) and Sixties red chiffon cocktail dress ($85.), Simone is clad in a vintage girl’s plaid Fifties frock ($20.) with purse, hat, sandals and garish 70s piggy bank ($8.) , and Chloe the cutest cowgirl this side of the Rockies, complete with cowboy boots, cowboy book, and unusual handmade confetti-cellophane cowboy hat!
Vinyl overload! Holly, Louie and Kate raided our record room and found these treasures. Singer/songwriter/all-around wonderful person Holly Miranda recently performed a free show on our front porch which you can see clips of here and here. Kate Moennig (The L Word) is an amazing actor soon to be seen in The Lincoln Lawyer. And Captain Louie is a lifelong close personal friend of the Mystery Spot! Their vinyl scores include Patsy Cline, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Jaws ($3 – 12.)
People often ask us who created the beautiful Mystery Spot log hanging above our entryway. Full credit goes to artist and dear friend Keith Strahan. When we moved to the old Gormley Hotel on Main Street last year, our biggest concern was whether or not the log would fit the porch (as it was custom-made for our previous location). It fit perfectly! A sign from the heavens indeed.
A while back the editor of The Believer in San Francisco contacted us and invited us to contribute artwork to the magazine. We weren’t familiar with this McSweeney’s publication at the time, but once we took a gander, we were hooked. Have you seen it? In our opinion it’s absolutely the best publication out there. Books and culture, art and photography; a cover-to-cover must-read every month.
Anyway, this is a long-winded way of getting to the photo above. That’s the aforementioned editor, Andrew Leland on the left. We’d never met in person until this summer, when he made a special trip to see us and our shop. Accompanying him, Betsy Wright Milton and Lily Gurton-Wachter. Behind them, the original painting of Songbirds of the Catskills, which was published as the inside front cover of The Believer in 2008. In their hands, some of their Mystery Spot loot: a vintage Fifties yellow and white kitchen wall clock ($35.), an old children’s storybook, and a Lily Tomlin LP. Needless to say, we had a wonderful time hanging out and cooked up all sorts of future projects. Can’t wait!
Cassandra Jones and Ben Olson made out like bandits here at the Spot. Cassandra – who, as a buyer for Macy’s, knows a thing or two about fashion – scored a vintage 50s NOS (that’s New Old Stock) brown wool coat with mink collar, with original tags ($130.) and a vintage Sixties Hong Kong hand-beaded silver shell top ($95.). Ben, a NY-based painter, whose work is currently being shown at The Gallery Bar on the Lower East Side, worked the vinyl room. Cassandra left us with these words: “This place is fabulous – I’ll be back many times!” Looking forward, Cassandra!
The Watershed Post out of Andes, NY, is our new favorite local news blog here in the Catskills, and the women behind it are Lissa Harris and Julie Resichel, holding daughter Ruby, who, btw, is holding a book called Ruby – Heart of Gold from 1895, which we just happened to have on our shelves. You can’t really tell from this photo, but the 1895 version of Ruby eerily resembles 2010 Ruby. With them is their friend, writer Alison Cherry. OK, now go click on their blog – it’s great reading!
Last summer Shivaree’s Ambrosia Parsley and the Elegant Too’s Chris Maxwell performed a wonderful free show on our porch. Guess what – they’re going to do it again! This time joined by the Elegant Too’s Phil Hernandez. The big show takes place on 10-10-10 at 1 PM. We can’t wait! We’ll post more details soon, but meantime, here’s a very informal rehearsal video we shot last year of Ambrosia and Chris. The song is called All Because You Told Me So.
(Sorry, couldn’t resist!).video © laura levine
Holly Miranda & Ambrosia Parsley sing Buddy Holly’s True Love Ways at Mystery Spot Antiques’ free MUSIC FOR FRONT PORCHES series in Phoenicia, NY. Our camera is a little shaky at first, but it’s worth hanging in there for two of the most beautiful voices you’ve ever heard. Stay tuned for more! (video © Laura Levine)
We’re still pinching ourselves. The free show that Mercury Rev and Dean & Britta played on the Mystery Spot porch Sunday afternoon was truly special. Hard to explain, but those lucky ones who attended know what we mean. (The videos in our previous post give a clue). Deepest thanks to music/entertainment lawyer extraordinaire (and dear friend!) Loren Chodosh, who put the whole event into motion, to Lisa Gottheil and Kellyn Slone at 2:30 Publicity for all their hard work and support, and to the Kirks and the people of Phoenicia for letting us do our thing. Most of all, thanks to D&B&J&G for giving us a day to remember!Here are a few photos. (All photos © Laura Levine).[caption id="attachment_1576" align="aligncenter" width="540" caption="Jonathan Donahue, Grasshopper, Dean and Britta on the porch of Mystery Spot Antiques."][/caption] [caption id="attachment_1560" align="aligncenter" width="480" caption="Dean Wareham checks out the vinyl room."][/caption] [caption id="attachment_1578" align="aligncenter" width="540" caption="The crowd on Main Street."][/caption]