June 2012 / The 8th Annual Pilobolus Ball

June 28, 2012

The Annual Pilobolus Ball is coming this summer, and Second Bolt is back on board for the second year in a row as the Ball Producer! Pilobolus began, in 1971, as an outsider dance company, and quickly became renowned the world over for its imaginative and athletic exploration of creative collaboration. Nearly 40 years later, it has evolved into a pioneering American cultural institution of the 21st century. Second Bolt is proud to be working with this inspiring company of artists!

Bengsons' HUNDRED DAYS [EP] now available!

September 12, 2012

The Bengsons' latest, HUNDRED DAYS [EP], is a whirlwind tour through their most ambitious work to date: their experimental mixed-media folk opera, Hundred Days. Recorded in Brooklyn with producer Felix McTeigue (The Honey Brothers, Madi Diaz, Lucy Wainwright and celebrated Nashville songwriter for Faith Hill, Carrie Underwood), and featuring special guests Nick Petricca (Walk The Moon) and Anais Mitchell, the EP features huge gang vocals, booming drums and the emotionally direct lyrics and vocals the husband-and-wife writing duo are known for.
The Bengsons Latest Album!

The Bengsons Tour! 2012 Fall/Winter Schedule

September 10, 2012, 2012

9/14 – Drom, NYC
9/24 – Bloomington, IN
9/26 – Mad River Thtr, Zanesville, OH
9/29 – Unitarian Church, Oneonta, NY
9/30 – Crossroads Music, Philly, PA
10/1 – Jalopy, Brooklyn, NY
10/2 – Private Show, Boston, MA
10/3 – Arts Block, Greenfield, MA
10/4 – Vergennes Opera House, VT
10/19 – CMJ: Rockwood, NYC
11/15 – Williams College, MA
12/19-23 – Town Hall Theater,
Middlebury, VT


October / Big Quiz Thing Come to Chicago!

September 1, 2012

The New Yorker - “A great place to train for Jeopardy! while laughing it up with strangers.”BQT finally comes to the Midwest, every first Thursday of the month starting October 4 at Uncommon Ground in Edgewater. Best of all, there's a $200 grand jackpot, plus more fabulous prizes.
Hosted in Chicago by Quizmistress Katie Vagnino, The Big Quiz Thing is much more than a bar trivia night. Video and audio puzzles, the Lightning Round, the Three-Way Finale—and the most entertaining “figureoutable” quiz questions anywhere—The Big Quiz Thing is the event that no self-respecting geek can afford to miss! In a culture of bite-size information and prepackaged wisdom, nothing is nobler than a live quiz show, and in the world of live trivia, absolutely nothing is better than The Big Quiz Thing.



June, 2011

The Annual Pilobolus Ball is coming this summer, and Second Bolt is on board! This dance group, synonymous with innovation, was immediately acclaimed for its startling mix of humor and invention and soon became a self-sufficient organization, its members choreographing, dancing, managing, and publicizing their own programs. Stay tuned for more details.


FEBRUARY 7, 2011

Currently touring in supporting their latest effort, The Proof, the husband and wife duo claim a miscellany of influences ranging from Etta James to Tom Waits, Hank Williams to Gnarles Barkley. From the poppy, catchy chorus dominating “Even Then I will See you Again” to the sparse, banjo-driven “Growing Flames” to the Celtic folk-inflected “Empty Trailers,” the album demonstrates the Brooklyn-based couple’s ability to switch musical gears fluidly. “Lady and Whiskey” seems lifted directly from a musical, piano and accordion laying a foundation for manic, soaring vocals that sound eerily like PJ Harvey channeling Edith Piaf sans French accent.

The Bengsons play with Oh Horizon and Martini & James! at 9 pm, Thursday, Feb. 10, at Sam Bond’s Garage; $5 door. — Ephraim Payne


JANUARY 22, 2011

Burlington Music Review: The Bengsons

Excerpt: When the Bengsons walked onstage at Radio Bean last Friday, the entire audience fell silent in anticipation for their opening song. I had never seen them perform live, but those who had promised a very entertaining night. As the married couple prepared their instruments and cleared their throats, I waited curiously while observing the way they frequently smiled at one another with confidence while getting things ready. It was obvious they were in love, and that their music was going to be about it.


JANUARY 20, 2011

BENGSONS Are featured in two great articles in Dayton Most Metro, Ohio's premier entertainment destination.

Journalists J.T. Ryder and Juliet Fromholt both interview The Bengsons as their US Tour hits Dayton and come up with unique views of talents of these Folk music stars.

Excerpt: A Testimony To Our Time Remaining Shane Anderson, the technical director for the Encore Theater Company called me one late afternoon last October saying that I needed to come down to the Oregon District to check out the Bengsons. He said they were a husband and wife musical duo that were rehearsing their latest project, The Proof. I told him I’d be glad to and then asked him what kind of music they performed. That’s about the point when the conversation fell apart. Shane began by describing elements from the musical Hair, then switched up, describing what they did as “folk opera.” After more adjective searching, vaudeville, cabaret and folksy were tossed out before Shane conceded that it was difficult to describe their music and told me that I should just come down and see them for myself.


JANUARY 13, 2011

The fast-moving love story of Abigail Nessen and Shaun Bengson - they were engaged only two weeks after their first kiss - culminated two years ago in the happy ending of marriage. But then their love story developed something of an epilogue: What would we do if one of us were dying?

That question led The Bengsons, as their New York City musical act is known, to make a new CD, “The Proof,” which focuses on a young couple faced with a terminal illness and the news that they only have a year together. The theatrical duo is also making plans to turn “The Proof” into an opera they hope to stage in Burlington this summer and in its final version next year in New York City. Abigail Nessen Bengson grew up in Middlebury in the sphere of the Theatre Group and its touring production “Night Fires.”

Bengson talked about these topics by phone last week as her husband drove them from a performance in his hometown of Dayton, Ohio, to another gig in Bloomington, Ind., where he attended college at Indiana University. They’ll perform Friday at Radio Bean in Burlington.


JANUARY 4, 2011

Mark your calendars...NOW. The Vaudvillian Indie Rock Geniuses (also known as the Bengsons) have a tremendous tour planned taking them throughout the USA. Chicago is January 9th, and NYC is February 25th for those of you in our Second Bolt base cities. Check 'em out!

Jan 5 – The Bishop, Bloomington, IN
Jan 7 – Brass Rail, Ft Wayne, IN
Jan 9 – Heartland Cafe, Chicago, IL
Jan 11 – Club Passim, Cambridge, MA
Jan 14 – Radio Bean, Burlington, VT
Jan 16 – TBA, North Adams, MA
Jan 20 – Canal Street Tavern, Dayton, OH
Jan 21-22 – UMC, Kettering, OH
Jan 24 – Cranky Yellow, St. Louis, MO
Jan 25 – Trouser Mouse, Kansas City, MO
Jan 26 – Astroland, Boulder, CO
Jan 28 – Flying M Coffee Garage, Boise, ID
Jan 29 – The Satori Group, Seattle, WA
Feb 2 – Eddies Trackside, Monroe, WA
Feb 4 – Satori Theater, Seattle, WA (Performing our theater piece, AIN'T THAT GOOD NEWS)
Feb 5 – Satori Theater, Seattle, WA (Performing our theater piece, AIN'T THAT GOOD NEWS)
Feb 8 – Satori Theater, Seattle, WA (Performing a preview of our opera, THE PROOF)
Feb 9 – The Knife Shop, Portland, OR
Feb 10 – Sam Bond's, Eugene, OR
Feb 12 – The Iron Pit, Los Angeles, CA
Feb 18 – Starry Plough, Berkeley, CA
Feb 19 – Neon Reverb, Las Vegas, NV
Feb 20 – TBA w/ Eva Ave, Albuquerque, NM
Feb 25 – 92YTribeca, NYC



December 14, 2010

The first trailer for the upcoming documentary feature 'Ready To Fly', has just been released; our Allison Prouty is a proud co-producer.

The Olympics were created to allow athletes to compete without the burden of politics, religion, or racism. The International Olympic Committee has never allowed women to compete in ski jumping — the lone discipline in the Summer or Winter Games for men only. Until now.

This winter, Lindsey Van, now 25 and the world ski jumping champion, will lead young women athletes (including her 16-year-old protégé Sarah Hendrickson), into a final showcase to prove to the head of the International Olympic Committee that these women are ready to fly.

Watch now.

Addie in the News

December 1, 2010

Check out singer Addie Brownlee's interview in 'The Alternate Root', the online leader in Folk Music News. She sings and plays her folk songs with a force and commitment that stands tall within the genre. Her emotions can come off as raw, at times (“Sea Legs”) while soft and pleading is waiting right around the bend (“Put Your Hands on Me”).

The Alternate Root (TAR): Your second E.P. Do your songs feel more comfortable coming out in shorter album form?

Addie Brownlee (AB): I am working on a full length, forthcoming album coming out in early 2011. I feel like I am still working to uncover what my sound is. I think it is captured on this EP.

TAR: How long have you been in New York?

AB: I have been in New York City for eight years, coming here from Kansas and Tennessee.

TAR: Folk sometimes can be a label for a solo artist with a guitar. Is that where you see yourself?
Read the full interview here.

V-Day / Swimming Upstream

September 13, 2010

Swimming Upstream was written by 16 women from NOLA who lived through Katrina and soulfully tell their stories of resilience, grace and courage. Filled with passion, rawness, humor and, of course, soul, the stories are purely the nature of the Big Easy.

V-Day is Eve Ensler's global activist organization working to fight violence against women. She is the force behind The Vagina Monologues and numerous other performance pieces. This September, in conjunction with Ashé Cultural Arts Center and the Women Donors Network a V-Day performance of Swimming Upstream will reemerge for two nights only. Tickets are currently on sale at the Apollo ticket office.


September 9, 2010

Excerpt from Time Out Magazine's: The Volume by Scott Kowalchyk

The best thing about Labor Day weekend’s packed Electric Zoo, the two-day dance-music festival tossed by Made Event that turned Randalls Island into an outdoor megaclub? The music of course. In particular, from the trio of Davide Squillace, Martin Buttrich and Matthias Tanzmann killed it, playing a superb set of flowing beats that straddled the deep house–techno divide. But there were plenty of other great sets as well, from Dixon, Flying Lotus (despite some sound issues), Richie Hawtin, Adultnapper (in slo-mo mode), Sleepy & Boo, and tons of others. Hell, even the full-bore squelchy breakdown sets from Moby et al., and the hands-in-the-air trance action from Armin Von Buuren and his compatriots, were kinda fun in this setting. And the visuals for the Chemical Brothers’ performance—actual video stuff, not images emanating from our fried minds—were ultra-cool.
Read full article here.

Check Out Our New Website!

July 13, 2010

Second Bolt is thrilled about their own 'second lightening strike' with our brand new, revved up, future ready website! Working closely with the arty web experts at Solar Jet Pro, our site speaks volumes about who we are, what we do, is a dream to navigate, and (forgive our immodesty) is pretty sexy too. With so many dynamic clients and upcoming events our new site is just what the web-doctor ordered.

Chicago Expansion

June 28, 2010

They say progress is everything, and Second Bolt is delighted to announce that we have expanded with a new office in Chicago! The Chicago arena of our company will be headed up by business guru John Paulsen who brings to the team a bevy of new, exciting Chicago opportunities.

Representing and working with such a multi-faceted client base in two of the most exciting cities in the country is a dream come true for us. Watch this space for upcoming events in the 'second city' under the Second Bolt umbrella!

Addie Brownlee @ Living Room

June 20, 2010

Review by Salvatore Bono, music lover and critic from Officially A Yuppie.

Fame is a funny thing, it sometimes makes me wonder why some people are famous and popular when there are people out there that should be. One of those people is Alt-country/folk singer Addie Brownlee. For those that know me, know I loathe country music, for me it is nails on a chalkboard, however, when you add a certain spin on it and not make it pure country and let it be much more creative, it holds me down.

Taking the stage last night to a packed Living Room in the heart of New York's infamous downtown music scene, Addie and her four piece band displayed every type of emotion possible, as did the crowd. As Addie began in a alt-country ho-down, the Tennessee via New York songstress proved her worth. After all, it was a special night for Addie, it was the release party to her new EP. Addie who has played with the likes of Martha Wainwright, Doveman and others is no stranger to attention but to have the spotlight on her without the backing of famous names would normally be a bit daunting, yet she proved otherwise. Whether it was excitement or nerves or a combo of both, some lyrics were forgotten but the show went on and had everyone in the room rejoicing for a new female voice in music - in a genre of any kind. Displaying so much raw emotion, you could see the eyes of her band well up and turn red and as I looked around the room, that sentiment was echoed across in the audience. Power like that over people is not taught or bought, it is embedded in ones soul.

Addie is one of these rising stars that needs more attention than she already has, with a nice following already in New York, I expect more to come.
Read full review

Bengsons are Critics Pick

June 7, 2010

Hot off their Cincinnati Tour, The Bengsons get a rave from esteemed CityBeat music reviewer Rodger Pille.

Review excerpt: "Right from the start, as soon as the first bars of the first tune are played, it's clear Abigail has a killer voice with Janis Joplin-type vocal power tucked away. It doesn’t entirely come out in that first piece, but I made a mental note to wait for it. During the next song, a tune inspired by a gang member in El Salvador, she hints at it even more. Unfortunately, most of the audience is left waiting for it to connect with them since Abigail’s vocal acrobatics are all in Spanish. Impressive nonetheless. Shaun’s musical skills shine in the next piece about a vaudevillian from Vermont and his masturbating monkey. (As Abigail says, “You can’t make this stuff up.”) Shaun expertly plays any number of musical instruments over the course of Ain’t That Good News, including the guitar, keyboards, ukulele and accordion. His vocals get a chance to shine in the fourth tune about shut-ins in Indiana. It’s a poignantly sad song, the kind Neil Young in his prime would write."
Read full review

Rising Artists Exclusive Interview

MARCH 1, 2010

Salvatore Bono, music lover and critic published this in depth interview with Rebecca Hart.

(Excerpt.) Theater has always played a major role in your live sets and music. Why is this?

RH: I was born into a theatre family and was in my first play at nine months old. My folks are both Theatre professors. I can't remember a time when I wasn't acting, when Theatre didn't seem like the most important thing in the world. I also can't remember a time when I wasn't making up songs and singing, though I didn't start on the guitar til I was 13. I've always been at home on stage (cue that Decemberists song), and probably because I was an actor first it's the live show that matters most to me when it comes to music.

Aside from making music, you act as well, which do you prefer more?

RH: If there was one I loved more, I'd have chosen it by now. I've always done both, and my life is sort of about living where the two intersect.

You have been releasing records on and off since 1996. How have you changed as an artist since your start?

RH: Musically I'd say the changes have been about paring away, stripping down. My first band came out of the "jam" scene in Providence RI and at that time it was all about playing as much! as many notes! which was how my writing style was then too. A million words, no space to breathe, a few different time signatures over the course of one song. Over time I began to ask myself, "What am I trying to say, and how can I just, you know, SAY it? How can I write poetry that's direct but still a lyric, not a conversation? How can I let a real Melody emerge and stand on its own?" That kind of thing. Also, I used to be too scared to talk to the audience at all!! And now it's my favorite part almost.

The leadership, poise, professionalism, promptness, of Allison Prouty and the Second Bolt team is unmatched. Solving problems before they became one; Stepping in when no one stepped up; a team you can count on. Simply put: this event for The Classical Theatre of Harlem was successful because of Allison and her crew. Period." - Ty Jones, Producing Director, The Classical Theatre of Harlem