Stay Awake Stays Alive in Brooklyn

On April 2, St. Ann’s Warehouse in Dumbo will present a concert celebrating the 20th Anniversary of Hal Willner’s Stay Awake, the producer’s classic 1988 interpretation of the Vintage Disney Songbook, Brooklyn Vegan reports. Mr. Willner revived the project last June at the behest of former Pulp front man Jarvis Cocker, who invited Mr. Willner to present it live for the first time at London’s 2007 Meltdown Festival, which Mr. Cocker curated.

The St. Ann’s Warehouse concert will be the American premiere of Stay Awake, as well as a gala benefit for the venue, and will showcase artists from the original recording including Natalie Merchant and Suzanne Vega, with addtional appearances by Steve Buscemi, David Byrne and Beth Orton, among others.

In December of 2006, Mr. Willner served as the music director for the world premiere (also at St. Ann’s Warehouse) of Lou Reed’s theatrical adaptation of Berlin, his 1973 concept album, which is the subject of a documentary by Oscar-nominated director Julian Schnabel that just premiered at the South By South West festival.

Mr. Reed was the keynote speaker for the music component of this year’s SXSW, which is currently underway in Austin. At the festival on Wednesday, Mr. Willner conducted a 55-minute interview with Mr. Reed, during which, according to Billboard, the 66-year-old bohemian rock icon railed against MP3s and other digital audio technologies.

"Here’s our song reduced to a pin drop — what, what, what?!" Mr. Reed explained. "It’s like if no one knows any better or doesn’t care, it’s gonna stay on a really, really low level and people who like good sound are gonna be thought of as some kind of strange zoo animal."

Mr. Reed also collaborated with Mr. Willner in St. Ann’s 2007 benefit concert — an evening of sea chantey’s and pirate songs.

  Stay Awake Stays Alive in Brooklyn