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There are four The Scene Is Now. Co-founder, Minnesota-native and singer Chris Nelson is the greatest city poet since Kenneth Fearing; if that sounds a bold statement, just ask Chain Gang’s Ricky Luanda, who knows. Co-founder, keyboardist and Peter Seaborg Award-winning historian Philip Dray is also from Minnesota; he doesn’t sing and very rarely solos. Guitarist Greg Petersen is from Iowa, where in Grinnell, John Brown— leading eleven liberated slaves to freedom— was given shelter in the winter of 1859. Steve Levi is a civil servant and makes a mean cornet chop suey. On February 14, 2011 the British Tonguemaster released the quartet’s latest album, Magpie Alarm; there are, of course, guests. On this date in 1903, Congress passed legislation leading to the formation of the U.S. Department of Commerce and Labor. It lasted a decade, until March 4, 1913, when President Taft signed the Organic Act of the Department of Labor,  making the Departments of Commerce and Labor separate agencies.

On Friday March 4, 2011, The Scene Is Now celebrate both of these events at Bar Matchless, 557 Manhattan Avenue, in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Admission is free— that means more bits for music, companionship, beer and side-meat.


“Tom said Ya’ full a crap. Why I knowed a one-legged whore one time. Think she was takin two-bits in a alley? No, by God! She’s gettin half a dollar extra. She says ‘How many one-legged women you slep’ with? None! she says ‘O.K.,’ she says. ‘You got somepim pretty special here, an’ it’s gonna cos ya’ half a buck extry. An’ by God, she was gettin’ ‘em too, an the fellas comin’ out thinkin’ they’re pretty lucky. She says she’s good luck. An I know a hump-back in— in a place I was. Make his whole livin’ lettin’ folks rub his hump for luck. Jesus Christ, and all you got is one eye gone.”
— John Steinbeck The Grapes of Wrath (1939)

The Scene Is Now “The Jailer’s Perspective”

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