Underground ambient art rock collective Blow Up Hollywood presents “Dust From the Stars: A Reflection” on Saturday, Aug. 14 at Custer Institute Observatory at 8 p.m.  

This critically-acclaimed group will perform an outdoor concert under the stars of works from their newest album, which reflects on the cosmos and our journey and genesis from stardust to our current state of being. 

This concert is being presented when the Perseid Meteor Shower is near its peak, as the Earth passes through the dust left behind by Comet Swift-Tuttle. 

This dramatic meteor shower is the most spectacular of the year, and is active from July 17 through August 24, with the peak activity occurring on August 12. 

During or after the concert (weather permitting), guests will have the opportunity to try and catch a glimpse of the meteor shower, viewed with the naked eye from seats on the lawn. 

Following the concert, the non-profit observatory welcomes guests to a guided look at celestial objects in our universe through the many telescopes on site, including the apochromatic Zerochromat telescope in the historic observation dome.

The rain date is Aug. 21 at 8 p.m.

Blow Up Hollywood’s sound, built over two decades of recording ranges from progressive rock to post-rock, experimental, pop, classical, jazz and ambient soundscapes. The collective has created an expansive and adventurous body of work that manages to be both highly emotionally charged and anonymous.

Founded by Steve Messina and Nik Chinboukas in 2001, the group has evolved into more of a collective than a band, as some of their members have changed over the years. Their debut, self-titled CD, is a concept album about death and the afterlife. The CD was recorded in a beach house in Westhampton, over the course of three weeks in March 2001, and was released the following year. 

Their sophomore CD, Fake, was released in 2004, and garnished critical acclaim. In September of that year, John Diliberto, the host of the radio show Echoes, ran a feature on the band and had them perform live on air, bringing them national attention. That same year their live version of the song “beyond the stars” was included on Echo’s compilation CD,.

Stars End, a one track ambient improvisation, was recorded live on November 14, 2004, at WXPN in Philadelphia. The CD is titled after Chuck Van Zyl’s show Star’s End which has aired every Saturday night since 1976.

With the debate over the war in Iraq raging in 2006, the band released another concept album, The Diaries of Private Henry Hill. Based on the journal entries of a young, deceased soldier from the Iraq war, Blow Up Hollywood takes us on Private Henry Hill’s surreal journey as he joins the army out of necessity rather than patriotism.

That same year the album was released, Amy Goodman, the host of the news show Democracy Now! championed the band and the video for the song WMD, playing it repeatedly on her show for weeks. Rachael Maddow, the then host of The Rachael Maddow show on Air America Radio, also invited the band to perform live and discuss the CD. And many other songs from the Diaries record were featured on NPR‘s program All Things Considered.

Tickets are $35 for adults, $20 for Observatory Members  and free for children under 16 and are available at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/dust-from-the-stars-a-reflection-tickets-145948021461. Custer Institute is located at 1115 Main Bayview Road in Southold.

Beth Young
Beth Young is an award-winning local journalist who has been covering the East End since the 1990s. She began her career at the Sag Harbor Express and, after receiving her Masters from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, has reported for the Southampton Press, the East Hampton Press and the Times/Review Media Group. She founded the East End Beacon website in 2013, and a print edition in 2017. Beth was born and raised on the North Fork. In her spare time, she tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at editor@eastendbeacon.com

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