Kingston After Dark: Upside down frowns

Bodega asks, “Do you *really* want to use our bathroom?”

Hello, and welcome to another edition of Kingston After Dark. I just saw the Joker movie and am pleased to report that it was much more nuanced than initial media reports may have led people to believe, worthy of the hype. While obviously indebted to The King of Comedy and Taxi Driver in a pretty meta way, Joaquin Phoenix brilliantly devours and digests the role completely. He adds layers of humanity to the character that have rarely been plumbed before, underscoring the tragedy of Joker’s descent into chaos agent while not falling into an exploitation of mental illness. Phoenix did a marvelous job at showing a very broken individual falling more and more distant from redemption, while also showcasing the sad ironies of Joker’s transmutation into a clown prince of crime. Instead of just romanticizing and enabling the character as some people feared might happen, the film paints a much more tragic picture, while not excusing the toll violence takes out of an individual’s soul. While I found out about the upsetting Robert DeNiro lawsuit battle with former employee Graham Chase Robinson after seeing the film, which may perhaps color your desire to support something he is attached to right now, it’s obviously already an important cultural milestone seeing as how popular the movie already has become in a matter of mere days, so it merits analysis.

Rest assured that Jared Leto’s allegedly Bowie-influenced — yet more like a Hot Topic massacre (no pun intended) — depiction of the character in Suicide Squad will be a distant memory after you see Phoenix in the role. Comic fans won’t have to fret until Leto is up to bat again (pun intended) when he gets a chance to ruin Morbius the living vampire onscreen next summer.


The iconic Liz Phair will be at Utopia Soundstage (293 Tinker St., Woodstock) on Friday, Oct. 11 for a Pink October benefit concert and book signing. Partnering with Radio Woodstock Cares Foundation, Phair will be

Radio Woodstock Cares Foundation is a registered 501(c)(3) organization that was created by Radio Woodstock to support breast cancer research and patient services in the Hudson Valley and the numerous local non-profit groups and those in need. Tickets range from $45-$99 for a very exclusive setting. I was just watching a cool video of her on YouTube performing the song “Thirty-Three” with Smashing Pumpkins from a tour they did together a few years ago. This Utopia event is one of those wonderful pinch-yourself type of golden opportunity events that pops up magically now and then in Woodstock that helps define our ongoing appeal and links to past musical glories.


Nikki Belfiglio of Bodega stops in this week to hype the popular band’s appearance at this year’s inaugural O-Positive festival this weekend. The Village Voice in 2018 claimed of their acclaimed technology wary indie /post-punk Endless Scroll record that the group had made the “first quintessential Bushwick album to date, uniquely relatable to those who live here. It’s no wonder that they’ve become the neighborhood’s favorite band.”

As it turns out, at least Belfiglio can say that Kingston was home once upon a time, with the festival appearance serving as a homecoming of sorts. Bodega is a can’t-miss addition to a stacked and very diverse roster of performers this year which also includes highlights like Elvis Perkins, Sound Of Ceres, The Arkhams, Tall Juan, Tiny Blue Ghost and many more.


Morgan: For how long did you call Kingston home?

Nikki: I was born in Kingston in 1990 and left in 2009.


Morgan: How did Kingston influence (or not influence) your musical career?

Nikki: Kingston and its surrounding areas have always emphasized the arts. Growing up here I was exposed to a multitude of mediums that ultimately led to music. Having access to places like The Women’s Studio Workshop, Storm King Sculpture Center and Opus 40 was a unique opportunity. In fact, the cover for our debut album Endless Scroll is inspired by Menashe Kadishman, an artist whose work is featured at the Storm King sculpture center. In Kingston High School, taking Film Photography taught by Sue Foss and being a part of KHS-TV exposed me to processes and ideas that I draw on to this day. My primary goal in Bodega besides writing songs is crafting the aesthetics surrounding our music as art director. Learning to take art seriously was the first step and it began in Kingston.


Morgan: This is a good place for that! Do you have any favorite Kingston haunts you would perhaps care to share with us?

Nikki: I grew up in East Kingston. The abandoned cement plant that resides there was a large feature of my childhood. It’s probably actually haunted too.


Morgan: I am not actually sure if I have ever been there. So, what attracted the band to play O+ Festival? How is everyone’s healthcare situation, if you don’t mind?

Nikki: I have been watching the festival grow from afar and have been looking for an opportunity to be a part. Healthcare wise, half of the band has no healthcare, the other half is on Medicaid.


MYE: Do you plan on utilizing the Artists’ Clinic? If so, do you mind sharing what services you plan on getting?

Nikki: Absolutely. We’re looking forward to getting skin screening, acupuncture, massage, dental work. I personally am looking forward to talking to someone about nutrition which is vital when you’re on tour and living out of a van.