When the lights went out in NYC, Broadway performed impromptu sidewalk shows

On Saturday night, a blackout darkened Manhattan's West Side for several hours. But that didn't stop cast members from several Broadway shows, and Carnegie Hall, from performing. Not in their scheduled stage performances but impromptu ones outside on the sidewalks.

The New York Times:

The electricity failed about an hour before curtain for most shows, meaning the casts and crew were already in place and audiences were on their way.

Some lucky patrons were treated to brief sidewalk songs while producers tried to figure out whether the lights might return in time to salvage Saturday night — generally the most lucrative night of the week for Broadway.

The shows got canceled, but "the show must go on," as they say:

Read the rest

Shocker: lemon-powered batteries can't power an electric supercar

Even what's billed as the world's largest lemon battery can only generate enough juice to charge a small battery cell, so Mark Rober tries a few other fun power generators with a bunch of young scientists-to-be. Read the rest

Neko Case's home burnt down, so she recorded her "Bad Luck"

Neko Case ran into some bad luck last September. Her Vermont home was ravaged by fire. Hours after getting the news, she went into the studio to record a song she had already written, aptly titled "Bad Luck."

Paste Magazine reports:

The song came after a tragic house fire that engulfed the musician’s home in September of last year. According to a press release, the fire started in the musician’s barn, where she keeps an assortment of paintings and old artworks. After a friend attended to the safety of Case’s dogs (which she prominently displays on her social media accounts), the fire spread to the house, engulfing it as well. A few hours later, Case took to her studio in Stockholm and recorded her song of galloping resilience, “Bad Luck.”

From a press statement from earlier this month:

Case is now stoic about the fire. “If somebody burned your house down on purpose, you’d feel so violated. But when nature burns your house down, you can’t take it personally.” The month before the blaze, Hurricane Harvey had slammed into Texas and flooded Houston. Her home burned just as Puerto Rico was plunged into a nightmare by Hurricane Maria and wildfires incinerated California. “In the big picture, my house burning was so unimportant,” she says. “So many people lost so much more: lives and lives and lives.”

Neko's first solo album in five years, Hell-On, will be available June 1st (pre-orders are available now). She's also embarking on an ambitious tour (with Ray LaMontagne), starting at the end of May. Read the rest

The story behind 5:04 PM, the art car made by the Loma Prieta earthquake

Twenty-eight years ago today, an art car was born in an earthquake. 

Its owner, Burning Man founder Michael Mikel (aka "Danger Ranger"), shares the story:

On October 17, 1989 at 5:04 PM, the Loma Prieta earthquake struck the San Francisco Bay Area and a brick wall collapsed on the rear half of an Olds Cutlass parked by Clayton and Page streets. Michael Michael saw it there and the creative wheels began to turn. “I bet that will still run”, he mused, and he placed a note on the car offering to buy it.

Within a few days, the car had changed hands, and with the addition of a new paint job and a license plate bearing the exact time of the earthquake, it became a conceptional art piece and a testament to the powerful forces of nature…

In 1991, 5:04 was the first “art car” to make an appearance at Burning Man, beginning a trend that has grown to epic proportions.

This legendary car made an illustrated appearance in John Law's 2013 book, Tales of the San Francisco Cacophony Society:

recent photo by Michael Mikel, 1991 photo and art by Kevin Evans Read the rest