X-PATSYS
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X-PATSYS

New York City, New York, United States

New York City, New York, United States
Band Rock Cover Band

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Press


"scene & herd"

excerpt from "Rainer Shine"
By Linda Yablonsky | November, 22, 2007

I could have called it a night by then, but I would have missed the X-Patsys appearing in Devouring Time, the band’s program at the Highline Ballroom in Chelsea. I arrived midset to find Robert Longo onstage with Jon Kessler, both playing guitars. Barbara Sukowa, who fronts the group, was declaiming a Shakespeare sonnet in German while an English translation appeared on a screen behind her. The music, as artist Kathe Burkhart noted later, was “kinda Joy Division,” though the songs, not counting the Shakespeare, were pure country. Sukowa, who is also Mrs. Longo and a star of Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s Lola and Berlin Alexanderplatz (currently installed on monitors at P.S. 1), gave every word of Patsy Cline tunes like “Walkin’ After Midnight” a new sense of melodrama. She really wailed, in a droning kind of way, on Willie Nelson’s “Crazy.” With Knox Chandler (a former Psychedelic Fur who now tours with Cindy Lauper) also on guitar, Anthony Coleman on keyboards, onetime Lounge Lizard Anton Fier playing drums, and Sean Conly on bass, the band sounded great, like a Teutonic Velvet Underground crossed with Siouxsie and the Banshees.

http://artforum.com/diary/id=18964 - artforum.com


"Sukowa Plays the Role of Singer"

By STEVE DOLLAR | November 16, 2007

When she wasn't looking, Barbara Sukowa the actress became Barbara Sukowa the singer. True, the German-born performer — widely acclaimed for her roles in such films as R.W. Fassbinder's "Berlin Alexanderplatz" (1980) and "Lola" (1981) and Margarethe von Trotta's "Rosa Luxemburg" (1986) — has long enjoyed a parallel career in the concert hall. Among other endeavors, she's toured the world's capitals delivering the spoken, or Sprechstimme, sections of Arnold Schönberg's "Pierrot Lunaire" with the Schönberg Ensemble. The 14-piece Dutch group also backed Ms. Sukowa on a new album of lieder by Schumann and Schubert, a recording of lush virtuosity and piercing intensity that frames Ms. Sukowa's dramatic gifts as surely as any camera.

Click Image to Enlarge
Nirmal Caselle / Winter & Winter
Barbara Sukowa will perform at the Highline Ballroom this weekend.

"I always feel like I'm an actress," Ms. Sukowa said recently. "But I really should say now I'm a singer. I have so much respect for the big opera singers that I never dare to say I'm a singer." Ms. Sukowa was sitting at a table in the Tea Lounge, a sprawling coffeehouse in Park Slope, the Brooklyn neighborhood she has lived in or near for many of the past 15 years. In a little while, she would head off to rehearse for the first of two very different concerts: On Sunday, she'll be at the Highline Ballroom with a band called the X-Patsys, backed up on guitar by her husband, the painter and filmmaker Robert Longo, as well as the adventurous downtown stalwarts Anthony Coleman and Anton Fier; then, on December 7, she'll join the Schönberg Ensemble's pianist and composer, Reinbert de Leeuw, for a performance at Zankel Hall.

"With me, it's not about the beauty of the voice," Ms. Sukowa said. "I'm not Jessye Norman. When Schubert originally composed these songs, they weren't composed for the big concert hall, the Steinway piano, and the big opera voice. They were like house music. I loved these songs so much. People hear them with all these enormous great voices, which we all don't have as regular people. I want people to look at the songs and be encouraged and say 'let's sing that.'"

Though Ms. Sukowa has loved the European classical tradition since her Bremen childhood, she has recently become fascinated with the American vernacular, specifically blues and country music. Ironically, these are the very sounds that percolate in the backgrounds of so many German new wave films — a sign of the postwar colonization of the German subconscious, to paraphrase a line from Wim Wenders's "Kings of the Road." Even more ironic, it is complications over rights to such music that has kept "Berlin Alexanderplatz" — now playing at P.S. 1 in Long Island City, and out on DVD from the Criterion Collecton — out of American circulation since the 1980s.

"I didn't know much about country music," Ms. Sukowa said. But when a friend, the artist and musician Jon Kessler, had a dream in which she was singing a Patsy Cline song, she decided to investigate. A few small performances here and in Europe followed and, gradually, Ms. Sukowa began to collect and adapt a body of songs, making intuitive segues between, say, Schumann Lieder and Muddy Waters. "I really love how the blues is close to acting," she said, "because it tells a story, it tells something, and for some reason that was easy for me to access."

Ms. Sukowa hummed the steady, stomping rhythmic phrase from Waters's "Mannish Boy," then the similar pattern from Schumann. "I'm taking Johnny Cash's song 'Ring of Fire' and combining it with a German folk song that goes, 'No fire, no coal, can burn as hot as secret love,'" she said. In her re-imaginings, Joy Division backs up William Shakespeare, whose Sonnet 19 will lend Sunday's concert its theme: "Devouring Time." The performer doesn't cite the line, "O, carve not with thy hours my love's fair brow," but it has a powerful meaning for her. While she was busy raising three sons, the youngest of whom is now 13, Ms. Sukowa stepped away from acting to a large degree. Aside from some minor parts, such as one in John Turturro's recent "Romance and Cigarettes," she has only taken a single featured role recently, in a European period romance.

"I never really caught on in America," she said. "I don't have an agent. It's too strange for me." A previous agent insisted she not disclose her age, which is a very young 57, and she balked. "I am what I am. I'm not going to get plastic surgery. I had this discussion with my younger son. We were at a dermatologist, and this dermatologist suggested to me that I wanted to avoid wrinkles. Those wrinkles show that I have laughed a lot in my life, why should I want to erase that? Why would I erase the traces of my life which I loved?" - The New York Sun


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

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Bio

The X-Patsys is a musical project that began in 1998 with three close friends - Barbara Sukowa, Robert Longo and Jon Kessler. Kessler had a dream in which he saw Sukowa dressed as a country-western singer belting out legendary Patsy Cline songs. He told his vision to Sukowa and Longo and together the three used the dream as inspiration to form their band - with Sukowa as the lead singer and center of the band. “Devouring Time” is a concept, conceived, performed and fronted by Sukowa (singer/ speaker), with Longo and Kessler (electric guitars); accompanied by and collaborating with legendary acclaimed musicians Anthony Coleman (keyboards), Jonathan Kane (Drums), Knox Chandler (Electric Guitar) and Sean Conly (Bass).

Barbara Sukowa (vocals) is one of the most internationally well-known German actresses. She has received numerous awards for her film and stage work. Films include Lola (Fassbinder), Berlin Alexanderplatz (Fassbinder), Zentropa (Lars Von Trier). Awards include Best Actress, Film Festival Venice; Best Actress, Film Festival Cannes; three-time recipient of the German Film award in Gold. Miss Sukowa is also renowned as a concert artist. She has worked with top orchestras (Berlin Philharmonics, Vienna Philharmonics, Cleveland Philharmonics, Los Angeles Philharmonics) and conductors (Claudio Abbado, Esa Pekka Salonen, David Robertson and many more) in most of the great concert halls of the world. She will be releasing "In the Month of May," a CD of her performances of Schubert and Schumann Lieder with the Schoenberg Ensemble (by Winter + Winter.) She is the recipient of the Echo Star Classic Award in Germany and has been recently nominated for a Grammy for "In the Month of May" (Winter + Winter.)

Robert Longo (guitar) is an internationally known visual artist who has exhibited since the late 1970’s. Longo is widely known for his large-scale works in various mediums: film, theatre, drawing and music. He was an active participant in the NYC Downtown No Wave music scene in the early 1980’s, playing music with Glenn Branca and Rhys Chatham. He has exhibited at museums throughout Europe, Asia and the United States. Longo has been included in Documenta, the Venice Biennale, and the Whitney Biennial. His work is in numerous major museums and private collections all over the world; The Museum of Modern Art, NYC; The Whitney Museum of American Art, NYC; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; and the Albertina, Vienna. He was the 2005 recipient of the Goslar Kaiser Ring, for modern art. Robert Longo lives and works in New York with his wife, Barbara Sukowa, and 3 sons. He is represented by Metro Pictures, NYC. An upcoming solo exhibition of his large-scale charcoal drawings will open this May 2009 at Metro Pictures Gallery, NYC.

Jon Kessler (guitar) was born in Yonkers, New York in 1957. He graduated with a BFA from SUNY College at Purchase and attended the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program. His first exhibition was at Artist’s Space in 1983 followed by White Columns six months later. Since that time he has exhibited widely in galleries and museums in the United States, Europe and Japan. A retrospective of his work ”Jon Kessler’s Asia” was mounted at the Kestner-Gesselshaft in Hannover, Germany in 1994 and traveled to Graz, Austria. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim grant, the Foundation for the Performing Arts grant, St Gaudens Sculpture award, and several National Endowment of the Arts grants. His works are in many public collections including The Museum of Modern Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art and MOCA. He is a Professor in the Visual Arts Division of Columbia University’s School of the Arts. For his solo exhibition, “Global Village Idiot” at Deitch Projects in 2004 he began a new series of video sculptures which led to his first New York museum exhibition, “The Palace at 4 AM”, at PS1 in 2005. This show traveled to the Phoenix Kulturstiftung / Sammlung Falckenberg in Hamburg, the House of World Cultures in Berlin and will continue to the Louisiana Museum in Denmark. An exhibition of his drawings and collages is currently at the Drawing Center until October 25th.

Knox Chandler (guitar), who first made his mark in the late eighties as a member of the Psychedelic Furs, has been a fixture of NYC for over two decades. After graduating from Bard College, with a BA in music composition and performance, he moved to NYC in the early 80's, working with an eclectic assortment of New York talent." One day I was recording with Todd Rundgren, the next day gigging with John Zorn, as well as performing regularly with a cross dressing band ?The Downtown Sissies in Revolt Ensemble?. ?It was crazy enough for me to stay.? With a history that includes composing, producing, programming, string arranging and multi-instrumentalist with many acts, Knox still considers NYC his home. After the breakup of "The Furs", in '92, Knox has continued his career alongside many popular