my kinda town – rock n roll, kung fu, & new york city!

July 31st, 2016 by Mr. C

films and music
Lou reed DRONES




Lou Reed left us way too early on October 27, 2013. Yesterday, we celebrated Lou’s legacy on things he loved the most: music, martial arts, poetry, experimental composition, film, his family, friends, & just living life in New York City. Thanks to his wife Laurie Anderson and producer friend Hal Wilner along with Lincoln Center for curating this event – Saturday July 30, 2016 – we celebrate Lou Reed all day long! I would only spend half the day stomping around the grounds of Lincoln Center experiencing the vibe of the gritty & eclectic Lou but I assure you, the events I attended packed a punch …. pun intended!


(Chen Style Tai Ji Master Guang Yi Ren leading the class at Lincoln Center)
guang yi stage class3
tai chi audience11

The celebration started as soon as I entered the grounds of Lincoln Center where the iconic water fountain lay with its gushing water flow that spits in a synchronous and rhythmic manner. I can hear and see Master Guang Yi Ren – a teacher of the discipline of Chen Tai Chi, an art form that Lou Reed was very passionate about. He was dedicated to Chen Tai Chi and to the teacher that he looked up to & respected very much in Guang Yi Ren. Master Ren was leading a class to about a hundred on Josie Robertson Plaza in Lincoln Center. You can magically imagine Reed on the grounds practicing just the same.


Guang Yi stage class1
tai chi audience 2
guang yi stage solo class


The next event was just next door at the Damrosch Park Bandshell and it would be a treat! The music of Lou Reed / Velvet Underground would permeate through the park with live performances from luminaries in the music industry that also shared the same training and playgrounds with Lou – New York City! All were inspired by Lou Reed and his many creative forms of expression! The House band with Don Fleming, Sal Maida, Kenny Margolis, Lee Ranaldo, Steve Shelley, Matt Sweeney, and Karen Waltuch would join forces with special guests David Johansen, Jesse Malin, Bush Tetras, JG Thirwell, Lenny Kaye, Yo La Tengo, Jon Spencer, Joan As Police Woman, Kembra Pfahler, Harper Simon, Felice Rosser, Tammy Faye Starlite, and more! We included some video footage from the show below. See who performed what Lou Reed/Velvet Underground song! The ending with Yo La Tengo and friends doing “Sister Ray” was nothing short of amazing!


(Yo La Tengo performs “I Heard Her Call My Name”)
Yo La Tengo

(Yo La Tengo closing out the show with “Sister Ray”)

(David Johansen singing “I believe in love”)
david johansen

(Bush Tetras performing “Run Run Run”)
bush tetras

(Joan As Police Woman with “Ecstacy”)
joan the police woman

(JG Thirwell performs “Men of Good fortune”)
jg thirwell

(Jesse Malin with Rock n Roll)
jesse malin

(Jon Spencer performs “Venus in Furs”)
Jon Spencer - Venus in Furs

(Lenny Kaye with “I’m Set Free”)
lenny kaye

(Tammy Faye Starlite performing Chelsea Girls)
Tammy Faye Starlite - Chelsea Girls

(Kembra Pfahler performing “Disco Mystic”)
Kembra Pfahler
Kembra Pfahler 2

(Harper Simon with “Sweet Jane”)

(Felice Rosser)
Felice Rosser

(Don Fleming performs “Temptation inside of your heart)
don fleming

(L:Lee Ranaldo R:Matt Sweeney)
Lee Ranaldo Matt Sweeney


After the show, I peeked in on Master Guang Yi Ren and his students demonstrating at Hearst Plaza as well as a demo from the Ying Jow Pai (Eagle Claw Kung Fu School), an organization that Lou Reed had been a part of for many years as well.


(Master Guang Yi Ren with Chen Style Tai Ji Broadsword)

guang yi class stage hearst

(Chen Style double edge straight sword)
tai chi double edge sword

(Sifu Jose Figueroa(L) & Sifu Stephan Berwick(R) with moving/stepping Push hands)
push hands

(Chen Style Tai Chi Kwan Dao)
kwan dao

kid tai chi

(Ying Jow Pai Kung Fu – Spear vs Kwan Dao)
kwan dao vs spear

(Master Guang Yi Ren’s senior disciples – Sifu Greg Pinney(L) – Sifu Jose Figueroa(R))
greg jose

(Master Ren’s senior disciple – Sifu Stephan Berwick)
stephen berwick

(Warrington Hudlin – filmmaker, Wu Style Tai Chi practioner, & curator of Museum of Moving Image’s film program “Fist & Sword”)
warrington hudlin


I was running short on time so the last event that I would attend was the Lou Reed DRONES exhibit. It was an immersive sound installation created from six of Lou Reed’s guitars and amps in a feedback loop. Boy, was the sound in there intense! I can so see Reed get down with the noise to inspire creativity, instill peacefulness, and at the same time promote destruction and deconstruction!

(Drones installation – six of Lou Reed’s guitars and amps in a feedback loop)


The Bells: an all day long celebration of Lou Reed was such a wonderful way to pay homage to an NYC icon, a pioneer of music and its many forms of creative expression, and to just simply acknowledge one of our own with his courage to live & appreciate life until spontaneous combustion.I hope they make this an annual event from here on in.


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