Inspired by the art of American writer James Baldwin, the band explores Baldwin’s legacy in Notes of a Native Song. In this one-night performance, Stew will narrate a ‘highly personal and provocative account of Baldwin’s lasting influence’. Of course, they will perform with the use of wild humour and a mix of psychedelic soul, art-damaged pop, and twisted jazz.
About Stew and The Negro Problem
The band consists of American singer-songwriter and playwright Stew, Heidi Rodewald, Dana Lyn, and Marty Beller.
Stew formed the four-piece genre-bending band in the early 1990s and released a box set collection of singles including an innovative cover of ‘MacArthur Park’ and a multi-part pop operetta called ‘Miss Jones’.
He also released albums under his own name. In fact, both Guest Host and The Naked Dutch Painter and Other Songs won Album of the Year by magazine Entertainment Weekly.
Then in 2004, Stew wrote the book, lyrics, and music (in collaboration with Heidi Rodewald) for his semi-autobiographical musical, Passing Strange. In fact, the said production won him the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Lyrics.
A night filled with soulful music in the Famous Spiegeltent
Another reason to see Stew and The Negro Problem is to experience their music in the Famous Spiegeltent. This unusual venue has visited many festivals in Australia and the UK.
The tent is handmade of wood, canvas, and elaborate decorations. It was built in 1920 in Belgium and is believed to be the oldest tent of its kind in existence. Since then, the Famous Spiegeltent has served as an itinerant cabaret space, dance hall, or bar for all kinds of performers at festivals and fairgrounds accordingly.
The name ‘Spiegeltent’ means ‘tent of mirrors’ in Dutch and does live up to its name. As a matter of fact, audience members inside can people-watch without being seen thanks to the bevelled glass inside. At the Underbelly Festival London this July, the Famous Spiegeltent will host several lineups.