Photo by Joshua Scott http://www.joshuascottphoto.com

Brooklyn-based composer and performer Michael Harren combines elements of classical composition with experimental electronics and storytelling to create hypnotic and boldly intimate work that walks the line between Laurie Anderson, Peter Gabriel and Dead Can Dance.

In his solo show, Tentative Armor, he combined piano, synthesizers, various electronics, and live musicians with his unique storytelling, resulting in a deeply moving, highly entertaining performance. Through his resonant, powerful, very personal stories, Harren envelops the audience in a funny, poignant, highly intimate tour of his own self-discovery through spirituality, sexuality, and grief. Music, text and photos from the show were released in an album and book of the same name.

Michael Harren has toured as pianist with Sandra Bernhard, is the musical director for Cabaret for a Cause, and has performed at Dixon Place, (le) poisson rouge, Joe’s Pub, Judson Memorial Church, Manhattan Theater Source, The Duplex, Don’t Tell Mama, The Laurie Beechman Theater as well as numerous venues around the country.

“Michael Harren brings you brilliant piano stylings, a firm sense of the absurd, and a genuine originality that is refreshing and honest, and he’s a very lovely man.”
Sandra Bernhard

“Harren’s work takes the science of a composer like Eno, and the spirit of a composer like Oldfield, and combines the two in a bold display of human dichotomy.”
Replicant Ears Magazine

“Magical!”
Eve Beglarian

“Awesome writing and very cool music and approach. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like this.”
Christopher Willits

“There are few artists out there presenting their work with such a wonderful mix of courage and care, with a never ending eye toward giving the audience a wonderful experience and a sublime uniqueness of voice.”
Adam Fitzgerald

“When Michael Harren’s writing isn’t smart and hilarious, it’s emotionally devastating. He is both a gifted musician and a great man. I am lucky to have worked with him.”
Steven Strafford

“…a beautiful sound artist and musician.”
Gardiner Comfort

“Fuck! You were great!”
Ed Asner

Queer Qualification

On Monday night I hosted the first ever live episode of my long running MikeyPod podcast. I had great line up of guest, each of whom performed brilliantly. The podcast of the event will go up in the feed on July 4th, but in the meantime I wanted to share this story I shared at the show. I’m pretty proud of this piece and it’s perfect for Pride.

In the summer of 1980 my mom sent my sister and me to California to spend some time with our cousins John and Beth. It was a great trip for a few reasons, included, but not limited to seeing my first pair of onscreen boobies via a misguided trip to see the movie Airplane!  In stark contrast to my complete non-reaction to this sighting of a pair of naked, jiggling breasts was my complete mega-reaction to my cousin Beth’s record collection. I mean, I feel pretty confident that queerness is nature and not nurture, but….if it were nurtured, my queerness was pretty deftly shepherded by Donna Summer’s concept double album “Once Upon a Time.” I hadn’t really been introduced to disco yet, but those funky bass lines, lush strings and double handclaps resonated deeply in my soul and awakened something… fabulous.
Continue reading →

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In-progress reading of The Animal Show

It certainly has been a long time since I’ve written on this blog, hasn’t it? It’s not that I’m not writing or sharing. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat have been getting plenty of attention — not to mention my Drip subscription page where I have been posting pretty frequent updates and works in progress. I would love to have more people over there in that community and it’s a mere $5 per month. I’m working on a cool project I’m going to be sharing with those folks and that $5 goes much further in support of my work than you might realize.

In the past few months since my last update here, I’ve run some races, scored some short films, and most importantly, shared some live works-in-progress from The Animal Show. The big show will be going up in October, but I did a public reading of the material I’ve written so far. I was pretty freaked out leading up to it. Lots of the pieces were unfinished and raw and really just so disconnected. Continue reading →

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Thoughts from the Farm: Fur and Rescuing Chickens

Typically, I take a bus out to Tamerline Farm. The Short Line busses are actually pretty nice, and they take me from the Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York City to a usually empty church parking lot in Port Jervis, NY in two hours and one minute. Someone from the farm is usually waiting there to take me the rest of the way to the farm in Montague, NJ. It’s about a 20 minute drive.

There’s a first part of the trip, too. The part where I take the F train from my basement apartment in Brooklyn to 42nd Street/Bryant Park and walk the two avenues West to Port Authority. It’s a pretty easy trip that happens in less than an hour.

This past Saturday, I made the trip as usual but with it being winter, there was an over abundance of animal skin and fur wrapped around my fellow subway passengers. This was getting under my skin more than usual, and it is so hard for me to block the emotional reaction this has in me — especially toward fur. Continue reading →

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Writing about Kaporos and Exploring the Korg MS-20

A few months ago, I was able to join a big group of activists protesting the ritual slaughter of 60,000 chickens here in Brooklyn, NY. Most of the sacrifices occurred in public, so being at the protests meant being in very close proximity to the sounds, smells and sights of tremendous suffering and torture.

I’ve collected my own video and audio from the two nights of protests, and am gathering some more footage from activists who were braver than I – people who got in the faces of the practitioners and one person who went to the site of one of the largest events and took footage of chickens lying half dead in the street and other carnage. I really can’t express here how horrific this was. Literally mass slaughter of animals taking place on public streets in the name of religion.

I’m compiling this footage with original music and my own accounts of those nights to be a section of The Animal Show. It’s been difficult to bear down and get to work because, frankly, it was a very traumatic time. I got little sleep because I was going out at night looking for chickens who needed to be rescued after an evening of being mocked and threatened by throngs of people who were torturing these chickens in plain sight, as if we were the crazy ones for daring to suggest that what they were doing was animal abuse.

So, that’s the background.

However, I am having some fun with this piece as well. A couple of weeks ago I was looking for tutorial videos for my Korg MS-20 and came across this one from Ron Anderson: Continue reading →

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Tamerlaine Farm Animal Sanctuary Vlog

I’m experimenting with different ways to document my time at Tamerlaine Farm Animal Sanctuary. I’m doing work on the show between visits, but I want to keep the residency active on my site and socials, so…. Here’s a new vlog! This was fun to do, and I’d really like to improve my video/film making skills so I am going to just put these up in a casual and experimental spirit. I’m open to feedback if you’ve got it and, of course, bring on the shares and likes! Continue reading →

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Drip!

Last week I launched a new subscription service on a website called Drip. I’ve been a member of Christopher Willits’ Drip for about a year now, but for most of that time I didn’t see any indication that they were opening up the service to new artists so I assumed it was a closely curated crew of bad-asses (Ghostly International, Michael Cena, and Domino Recording Co. to name a few). A couple of months ago, though, I noticed a little blue “start a drip” button at the bottom of the page. I clicked it, applied, and they said “come on over.” I did. It’s still a pretty small group of artists and record labels who are represented there, so I am especially honored they brought me on board.

So what is it? Continue reading →

Read More News

27 Aug 2016 Sandra Bernhard Provincetown, MA Provincetown Town Hall Provincetown Town Hall Buy ticket - $49 - $69
27 Oct 2016 Michael Harren New York, New York Dixon Place Dixon Place
28 Oct 2016 Michael Harren New York, New York Dixon Place Dixon Place
29 Oct 2016 Michael Harren New York, New York Dixon Place Dixon Place