Schmekel was a prominent force in the Brooklyn, NY transcore scene of the early 2010s. Mixing traditional klezmer motifs with punk sensibilities, Schmekel (which means “little penis” in Yiddish), challenged listeners to think critically about Judaism, queerness, and the sounds that accompany both. Schmekel’s humor inspired audiences to laugh and dance wildly.

Schmekel played at events and benefits for organizations such as JFREJ (Jews for Racial and Economic Justice), Nehirim (GLBT Jews), FIERCE (queer youth of color), the Aftselokhis Spectacle Committee, and IDA (queer artist collective/farm), as well as colleges and universities such as Yale, Brandeis, Bard, and the New School. In their New York City home, they played at venues such as Public Assembly, the Delancey, the Knitting Factory, Southpaw, and the Jewish Community Center. They could be found raising a ruckus with other weirdo punk bands in clubs, bars, and basements across the Eastern seaboard. Schmekel was featured in publications such as The New York Times, Tales of the City, The Advocate, The Jewish Daily Forward, and Original Plumbing.

Schmekel didn’t have a leader. The band was a four-queer partnership with a DIY production ethic. Schmekel made music and decisions through collaboration and consensus.

Frequently Asked Questions About Being Trans*
Simcha fields questions about being genderqueer, and asks some of their own.

MEET THE QUEERS
These artist bios were last edited in 2013 and are preserved here for your amusement.


Simcha Halpert-Hanson

SIMCHA HALPERT-HANSON (drums) is a fierce genderqueer Jew warrior intent on bringing the frummies and the queers together in one big sandwich hug. They enjoy reading ancient Jewish texts and queer theorists in case both are needed for intellectual smackdowns in either community. They believe rhythm is innate and will be the crux for the dance revolution unifying humanity.

 

 

 

 

Nogga Schwartz
NOGGA SCHWARTZ (bass / yelling) speaks Hebrew, dumpster dives, babysits small children, and builds bikes out of found parts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ricky Riot

RICKY RIOT (keys/vocals/mixing) was assigned Jewish at birth and identifies as cis-religious. When not making music (which takes up most of his time) or grooming his beard (which doesn’t take that much time) he dances in the Rude Mechanical Orchestra, rides his bicycle, goes to dance parties, and reads mostly things that are Jewish. Ricky spends several hours of the day leading a more appropriate life where he teaches piano lessons and takes care of children.

 

 

LUCIAN KAHN (guitar/vocals) is a gay dude, whereas when he was born, he was a little baby. His Jewish heroes are Allen Ginsberg, Tom Lehrer, and Groucho Marx.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Design Credits:
Niko Nawalany — web design
Buzz Slutzky — lettering
Cristy Road — sandwich drawing
Adam Woolfolk –photography
Eric Hanson — photography