"Joy" performed by Church of Betty with dancers Sharihan, Julie Arenson, Christine Holt and Kelly Webb
Chris Rael's Church of Betty was part of the first wave of progressive acts through the original Knitting Factory on Houston Street. The band blanketed the downtown club scene, playing regularly at rock clubs such as CBGB, appearing on public radio, and performing at public arts venues in the U.S. and Canada. Fang released the group’s first two albums, West of the East and Kashi. Ponk Records released the third, In Search of Spiritual Junkfood.
In 1993 the group toured Europe and performed at the Contemporary Indian Music Festival in Vienna, where Rael met British-Indian world music star Najma. The two collaborated onForbidden Kiss, a daring update of songs by classic Bollywood composers S.D. and R.D. Burman, eventually released to great fanfare on Shanachie Records in 1996. Performing with Najma, Rael met his long-time tabla partner Deep Singh.
Upon Singh’s arrival, Church of Betty reeled off a series of formidable albums from 1998 to 2003: Comedy of Animals, Fruit on the Vine, Tripping With Wanda, and Revenge of the Hippies. The group became regular favorites at Greenwich Village’s legendary Bottom Line, also performing at Town Hall, Symphony Space, Lincoln Center, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Prospect Park, the National Mall in Washington, DC, the Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, and many others, including National Public Radio's All Things Considered and A Prairie Home Companion. Betty’s live lineup included guitarist/percussionist Marlon Cherry and violinists Gregor Kitzis and Rima Fand. chrisrael.com
"Joy" was co-produced by Chris Rael and The Lower East Side Biography Project and was edited by Amy P. Ferrara and Steve Zehentner.
If you like this video and want to support our work, please click the Tip Jar. We are currently fundraising to preserve Penny Arcade's & The Lower East Side Biography Project's video tape archive and to produce more content like this. Thank you kindly! Penny Arcade and Steve Zehentner
The Lower East Side Biography Project was created in 1999 by performance artist Penny Arcade and video producer Steve Zehentner as an ongoing biography series and oral history archive. The LES Bio Project’s biographies and archive will help to ensure that future generations have access to the mad souls of invention and rebellion that built the Lower East Side’s international reputation as an incubator for authenticity and iconoclasm in art, culture and politics.
The project seeks to stem the tide of cultural amnesia by bridging the cultural gap between long time residents and newcomers to the rapidly gentrifying neighborhood of New York’s Lower East Side. To this end, the LES Bio Project has a community-media training component where young filmmakers are trained in production and post-production technologies and then become shepherds of an individual oral history that they edit into a 28-minute biography. Since its inception, the LES Bio Project has trained over forty individuals, completed forty 28-minute biographies, videotaped dozens more interviews and live events.
The project’s biographies cablecast in New York City every Monday at 11pm EST on Time Warner Channel 34, RCN 82, FIOS 33, and stream live on Manhattan Neighborhood Network Channel One mnn.org/live/1-community-channel
Church of Betty 10th Anniversary Concert, produced by: Chris Rael and Penny Arcade
Church of Betty: Chris Rael, Deep Singh, Jonathan Feinberg, Joe Quigley, Marlon Cherry, Brian Geltner, Matthew Goeke, Gregor Kitzis, Ina Litera, Kenny Siegel, Gwen Snyder
Sound Recording/Live Mixing: David Schnirman
Light Design: Chris Brown
Video Production Coordinator: Steve Zehentner
Camera Operators: Jill Cowburn, Dean Lance, Rick Jungers, Steve Zehentner
Concert Production Coordinators: Eric Wallach, Penny Arcade
Lower East Side Biography Project
Produced by Penny Arcade and Steve Zehentner
Associate Producers: Dean Lance, Rick Jungers
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