Video Premiere: Pridgen by Fury Young
Video Premiere: Pridgen LIVE from Meat & Milk by Fury Young
Alexander Pridgen was a dear friend of mine, and if you can't tell from the poem and the video, then that's a failure on my part. But I think you can. Alex was one of the friendliest people I've ever met, and I knew him since 1999 when he moved across the street from where I grew up on Eldridge and Rivington. He was a resident at Rivington House, for folks with AIDS/HIV.
At ten years old, I saw a scary big older dude in a wheelchair, with crooked eyes and a deformed hand who would holler at me and sometimes try to act cute to my mom. I kept it moving. But in my late teens, under some funny and fateful circumstances, I had a pleasant interaction with him one day. Then my mom told me she thought he'd make an interesting documentary subject. At the time, I wanted to do a documentary and shoot it on 16mm film.
Next thing I know I'm knee deep in a production about this guy and getting closer and closer to him. We were fast friends. I'm not sure why we got along so well, but we did. I stayed close with Alex until his dying day, which was January 20, 2015. We would speak at least once a week on the phone and see each other often, sometimes every weekend. When I lived in LA, he became close with my parents and they would take him out for breakfast once a week, and this was after he'd been kicked out of Rivington House for smoking weed and lived uptown.
Alex is someone who lives on in me and in putting together this video I strongly felt his spirit a few times. The book Meat & Milk is dedicated to him, the monolith in the wheelchair. We shot this video in one take, the first take, and after one, well, that was it.
Meat & Milk
Meat & Milk is the debut poetry book of Fury Young, a born and bred Lower East Side NYC poet. The poems, along with the original notebook pages they written on jump off each page of this collection with urgency and lust. Fury writes of his world face value style, with surprise surrealist and abstract turns. Subway cars, depression incarcerated lifers, city lovers, sex, rock n’ roll all the time, crackheads, demons, and food is what you’ll find in here. Walk inside the mind of a young poet coming of age in a jaded city, an “incarcerated rabbi with so many questions,” a “porn star without a face,” an “amateur philosopher.” Meat & Milk is a poetry book very much of this age. Whether you are living in a concrete city or doing life in a concrete tomb, you will find truth in Fury’s words in Meat & Milk.
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“Fury Young embodies the righteous anger and energy of the Lower East Side, Bushwick, and other artist’s enclaves. He plunges directly into the pain and grittiness of life, like a brutal Chinatown massage. In a time of fake digital worlds, Fury is a scream for the Real, a ghetto visionary; an authentic downtown voice which channels the rage of the incarcerated, survival on the streets, and raw dog sexuality.” – Master Lee, legendary NYC street performer, author of How To Be An Artist and Not Lose Your Mind
“The Talmud tells us to keep meat and milk separate but Fury Young’s poems refuse separation. He says he was an angry young man and gives us the evidence. Still, though there’s plenty in the world and in these poems to strike righteous anger, Fury’s open eyes and open heart allow all that he sees — streets, subway seats, sad faces, singers and songs — to simmer and shape into life-filled lines of image and sound. Meat & Milk gives — not only pages of neatly typed poems — but, also, the source of these poems: the scratches in notebooks, the quotes that spark, drawings and poem’s lines. This wonderful book shows ‘Misanthrope become poet,’ as Fury says.” – Judith Tannenbaum, author of Disguised as a Poem: My Years Teaching Poetry at San Quentin
“Poets don’t usually write poetry. They become poetry. They inhale and exhale metaphors and alliterations like trees give us air. Fury Young is such a poet.” – Abiodun Oyewole of The Last Poets, author of Branches of the Tree of Life: The Collected Poems of Abiodun Oyewole 1969-2013
“Fury Young is a bardic L.E.S. rubble-rouser with a cause, letting his truth flow out with grit and humor and a downtown devotion to seeing and seeking. I remember when I was just a kid with no rhythm Fury put his big old headphones on my head and said now go walk around — this city feels so good with a soundtrack! His poems are city soundtracks. Mood pieces, dumpster portraits, milky outpourings of fine and furry feeling. These are hopeful and honest songs for our strange sad century.” – Alexandra Tatarsky, mime/poet
“Eloquent and real. A raw, precise, and nuanced portrait of New York City life.” - Amazon
“With dazzling candor, Young digs into the marrow of his inner being that ultimately instigates a call to action through music and the arts. Meat & Milk is full of the stuff of the everyday that is woven into a bigger, more ambitious picture. The result is a brew that is gripping, moving, sarcastic, innovative, sometimes hilarious, and often uncomfortable, that will resonate within you as it did in me.” – Gabrielle David, publisher of 2Leaf Press
“Young’s chosen name is truly his own. His chosen way of life follows suit. Knowing the author well, I see much of what I know about him surface in these writings, but also am surprised how real and raw he details his escapades. He paints a dirty NYC with his words and lends real honesty to the characters he interacts with and describes.” – Amazon
“I was moved by the sensitivity of the work, which somehow maintains a staunch roughness to it — the city landscape is compared to the prison landscape (the author has a great side project called Die Jim Crow, see diejimcrow.com), to surreal nature landscapes with women eating unicorn meat on the moon. Go ahead and pick up this book — you will not be disappointed.” – Amazon