Consciousness in New York
Two weeks ago I performed my favourite gig since moving to NYC in 2011. The venue was BAM, a 2,200 seat concert hall in Brooklyn, and it was sold out for Neil deGrasse Tyson’s StarTalk Radio taping. On stage with me were Neil, physicist Brian Greene, and comedian Chuck Nice, as well as significant other Heather Berlin, and my song “Can’t Stop” about freestyle rap and the neuroscience and philosophy of free will received a standing ovation, and prompted some very funny banter on stage afterwards. I wasn’t there for the banter, because I had to run straight off stage to a waiting car to get to my off-Broadway show later that same night. But you can now listen to the whole thing on the just-released episode of Star Talk.
Audience responses to the show have been amazing over the past few weeks, and I’ve been getting friends to film crowd response clips outside the venue and editing them into 30-second highlight reels for social media. You can watch the first three of these trailers here, here, and here.
Actually, there’s one slight exception to my “audience responses have been amazing” hot take. A group of Donald J. Trump fans stormed out of the show in protest two weeks ago, after enduring one joke too many at the expense of their idol. They yelled, called me a fascist, and (unsuccessfully) demanded their money back. It was surreal, but I won’t go into detail in this missive. Here’s a facebook post and thread if you’re curious.
So far the show has been reviewed only twice by New York media, with DC Metro Theater Arts calling it “an ingenious look at the hard problem, filled with information and wit, and set to a sensational hip-hop score” and PXP Magazine calling it “the funniest, most impressive, dopest f**king science lesson you’re ever going to experience.” Reviews from both critics and audiences for New York theatre are aggregated by a site called Show Score, so if you have seen the show, please drop by and write a review!
Finally, I recorded a couple of new tracks for the off-Broadway version of the show, which I’ve decided to also add to the Rap Guide to Consciousness album as bonus tracks. You can listen to the first one, “N.E.R.D.”, which is now available as a free download, and features me singing a lullaby to the nerds we’ve lost, and the ones with whom we still have the rare privilege of interacting for a too-brief interlude.
Rest in peace, beautiful nerd.