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chernov's choice

Published: June 7, 2002 (Issue # 775)


Johnny Dowd, the U.S. country-blues singer who plays at Red Club on Saturday, is much anticipated on the local music scene. His work has been compared to Captain Beefheart, Tom Waits and David Lynch's films noir, while there is also talk about his remarkable authenticity.

The 54-year-old Dowd started quite late - he bought his first guitar at 30 and released his first album when he was 49.

His dark songs deal with death, murder and love gone awry, and evoke a wide range of emotions - from laughter to horror. "Funny, scary, and ultimately, highly entertaining," goes one review. "Sick, twisted ... and genuinely horrifying," goes another.

However, the Texas-born, New York-based Dowd - who has spent the "last 20 years or so as a furniture mover, singer and band leader," according to his autobiography - says that he does not quite live up to public expectations.

"People have been disappointed that I'm not a mass murderer or something," he said to The Irish Times last year. "I'd be a more interesting person if I'd killed a few people."

In concert, Dowd, who sings and plays electric guitar, will be backed by vocalist Kim Sherwood-Caso - a former hair-salon owner - and a rhythm section.

Dowd's most recent, third album, "Temporary Shelter," was released on the Koch label last year. Examples of Dowd's songs can be found at www.johnnydowd.com.

Also this week, the three-day Nu-Jazz Festival will start at the par.spb club on Friday.

Nu-Jazz is a style that blends jazz, funk, electronic dance music and free improvization. "Nu-Jazz is to [traditional] jazz what punk or grunge was to rock," according to www.jazzreview.com. "It makes jazz fun again."

The festival features live acts and DJs, and is headlined by the Nathan Haines Band. Haines is a New Zealander, who made a stir in his home country with his innovative band, Jazz Committee, but is now based in London and records with the likes of drum n' bass pioneer Goldie and the Metalheadz crew.

Other live acts include Estonia's Holmes, Moscow's Moscow Groove Institute and Second-Hand Band and St. Petersburg's own Doo Bop Sound.

Staying with jazz, the Jazz Boat is a local jazz tradition, where musicians and jazz enthusiasts rent a boat and go down the Neva River pumping out jazz classics. The tradition began in 1967 and is still kept alive by Kvadrat - Russia's oldest surviving jazz club, dating from 1964 - and its founder and director Natan Leites.

Strangely, such jazz activities were tolerated by Soviet authorities, except for one famous occasion, when Leites attempted to organize a boat ride with visiting musicians from the University of North Texas, which was stopped by the KGB in 1976.

This year's Jazz Boat will feature two stages - the upper deck is reserved for the traditional Alexei Kanunnikov Jazz Band, while the lower deck will be hosting contemporary jazz, as performed by Andrei Kondakov, Mikhail "Uncle Misha" Chernov, Ivan Vasilyev, Nikolai Sizov, Viktor Matveyev and Maxim Nekrasov.

The boat leaves at 3 p.m. on June 12 from outside the State Hermitage Museum. Tickets cost 200 rubles ($6.45), and are available from the city's theater-ticket kiosks. For more information call 315-9046 or 153-4020.

- by Sergey Chernov





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Wednesday, Nov. 26


AmCham’s Public Relations Committee will meet this afternoon in their office in the New St. Isaac’s Office Center on Ulitsa Yakubovicha at 4 p.m.


Zoosphere, an international exhibition focusing on the pet industry, opens today at the Lenexpo convention center on Vasilievsky Island. Not only will items such as toys, terrariums and accessories be available for purchase, but animal enthusiasts can also learn about the latest in veterinary medicine and behavioral training thanks to the conferences and presentations that are part of the event.



Thursday, Nov. 27


The Customs and Transportation Committee for AmCham meets this morning at 9 a.m. in their office on Ulitsa Yakubovicha.


Tickets are still available for local KHL team SKA St. Petersburg’s showdown with Siberian club Metallurg Novokuznetsk tonight at 7:30 p.m. in the Ice Palace outside the Prospekt Bolshevikov metro station. Tickets can be purchased on the team’s website, at the arena box office or in their merchandise store on Nevsky Prospekt.


Celebrate one of Russian literature’s most tragic figures during Blok Days, a two-day celebration of the 134th anniversary of the poet’s birthday. The tragic tenor’s work, which led to writer Maxim Gorky to hail him as Russia’s greatest living poet before his death in 1921, will be recited and meetings and discussions about his contributions to the Silver Age of literature in St. Petersburg will be discussed in the confines of his former residence.



Friday, Nov. 28


Join table game aficionados at the British Book Center’s Board Game Evening. Held every Friday at 5 p.m., aficionados and amateurs alike can come take part in a variety of different games that test one’s intellect and cunning.



Saturday, Nov. 29


Cats, dogs, birds, rodents and reptiles are just some of the things that will walk and crawl at Lenexpo convention center this weekend as part of Zooshow, a two-day exhibition featuring not only man’s best friends but a four-legged fashion show, as well as a food fair that will help pet owners find out more about which kibbles are best for their hungry pets.



Sunday, Nov. 30


Remember the 75th anniversary of the beginning of the Russo-Finnish war in 1939 during today’s reenactment titled “Winter War: How it Was.” More than 200 people will take part in recreating the opening salvoes of the battle for the north in Kamenka, a small village situated between Vyborg and St. Petersburg, using authentic equipment and vintage vehicles from the era. The faux battle begins at 2 p.m.



Monday, Dec. 1


Serbia filmmaker Emir Kusturica is the featured guest this evening at the Lensovet Palace of Culture the Petrograd Side. Fans of the director will get the chance to watch his movie “Black Cat, White Cat,” as well as ask questions about his award-winning filmography. Tickets for the event, which starts at 7 p.m., start at 2,000 rubles ($42.50).



Tuesday, Dec. 2


Today is the final day of “Takoy Festival,” a three-week program of plays based on the works of Dostoevsky, Remarque and other famed European writers, whose work is transcribed for theatrical performances. Tonight’s festival finale is “Fathers and Sons,” a two-act drama staged by the Novosibirsk Academic Drama Theater based on Turgenev’s classic about familial relations.



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