Bad Art, Good Art: Judah Friedlander & Xiu Xiu @ Le Poisson Rouge, NYC 11/19/08

Last night was the second time New York x New York — the memorable comedy/music series designed to drive subscriptions to New York mag and frustrate with 65-minute lines for one-hour open bars — turned to the “Bad Art Auction” concept. The first time around, Zach Galifianakis offered up a sharp standup set but his heart just didn’t seem into the auctioneer duties, and we discovered he and music-guest Band Of Horses share many fans and of course a love of beards. The Judah Friedlander/Jamie Stewart pairing didn’t yield a crossover quite so fertile (see: the criminally under-attended Xiu Xiu set later in the night), but both were on their respective, disassociated games: Xiu Xiu slayed, and Judah got kids to spend way too much on the shittiest art ever.

The World Champion Of The World didn’t bother with intro jokes, jumping straight into auctioning off a series of Big Foot-related oil paintings, a Dawson’s Creek-related reprint, a George W. Bush charcoal (someone paid $80 for the pleasure of destroying it on site), etc. He extracted a ton of money from the crowd, pitting kids into bid-offs. I felt badly for the ones who clearly were bound for “what did I do last night”s when they saw their wallets today, but proceeds went to NY Cares, so I didn’t think twice, it’s alright. When Xiu Xiu finally hit, performing last night as a trio, the crowd was thinner than it had any right being. Well, there were more chatty drunks in the back than superfans by the stage, but once that balanced itself out, it was Xiu worship in Le Poisson Rouge over a discog-spanning set, everything from The Air Force’s “Boy Soprano” to a distended, darkened take on A Promise’s “Sad Pony Guerrilla Girl.” It wasn’t long enough, but still it was king.

Worth mentioning: The next NYxNY event is an indie rock karaoke event, with host Andrew W.K. and house band Ted Leo + RX. That’s 12/3 at Studio B, tix are $20 and available here.

Here’s a full spread of pics by photog Santiago Felipe. Be careful, down below there is a bad art portrait of a man fairly well dressed, except for his cock and balls which are fairly not dressed at all.