I took the train into the city after work on Friday and went to Le Poisson Rouge in Midtown to see Gungor perform. If you aren’t familiar with Gungor, they are a Christian band lead by Michael Gungor that has gone through an extensive deconstruction phase in their faith and become much more honest and emotional in their music since then. Michael Gungor started The Liturgists Podcast several years ago and has been using it as a great tool for keeping an honest discussion about modern religion and Christianity going.
Their show was fantastic. It was one of just a few full band shows they are doing on their acoustic North America tour (which I also saw a show of earlier this year), and the sound they are able to produce with the full band really enhances the power and meaning of their music. Just in the last year they put out three fantastic concept albums working through various ideas about self and life, starting with body and birth and working their way towards soul and death. I highly recommend listening to them if you get a chance.
After the show I went with Andrew to get some poutine nearby and met up with Jordan at a local bar before going to stay at Andrew’s apartment he is just moving out of on the Upper West Side near Lincoln Center. I find that I really like the Lincoln Center area, it has lots of theaters and cultural events, it is near Central Park and two of the Redeemer Presbyterian churches, and it has good access to the subway.
The next day we grabbed lunch at the diner below Andrew’s apartment, stopped by the park, and went to see a movie at the nearby AMC theater. We went to see Kathryn Bigelow’s latest movie “Detroit,” which I had heard of but really didn’t know what it was about (see my Letterboxd review entry). The movie details the story of the riots and a harrowing story of racist police brutality and murder during the 1967 Detroit riots. The movie so rawly and honestly portrays police brutality and the power of the lie of white supremacy that it shook me to my core. Just the day before, the President of the United States got before a huge crowd of Long Island police officers and delivered a hate-filled speech in which he condoned and encouraged the officers to treat their victims with cruelty and hatred. Trump is no stranger to racist dog-whistling, but the timing here is uncanny. This movie has a lot to say to modern times, showing us how little has changed even though we think we have made progress. Something must be done to dismantle white supremacy.
After seeing “Detroit” I slowly wandered across Central Park, witnessing the vast diversity in race, ethnicity, and culture that permeates this living heart of the city. I made my way to the Guggenheim Museum of Modern Art and spent the rest of the afternoon wandering up the spiral and witnessing the development of late 19th and 20th century art. I finished in there and decided to get some more perspective on what I just saw, so I wandered back down the street to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and went straight for the 18th century European art – something completely opposite to modern art. I bumped into some Stony Brook students there and they directed me to the modern art section, where I got to see even more of the kinds of things on display at the Guggenheim. I still don’t think I can fully appreciate the work of the surrealists and abstract artists, but I think I am beginning to understand them better.