Over the past 25 years Red Hot has produced a series of events focusing on live music and happenings in addition to recorded music and video. Our first project, Red Hot + Blue, was designed to be multimedia with music, film, design and art rather than the typical benefit concerts that were popular at the time. But we value live events and the excitement of bringing together performers and an audience, particularly as part of larger projects using music, art and culture to raise awareness and money to fight HIV/AIDS and related health issues.

We started with a series of ‘Dancethons’ promoting AIDS awareness to club kids around the world in 1991, which lead to a variety of unique live performances filmed to help promote and extend albums from Red Hot + Dance through Day of the Dead. We also produced five concerts at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and shows at the original Grand Ole Opry (The Ryman Auditorium in Nashville), Radio City Music Hall, the Eaux Claires Festival and loft parties featuring The National, Beirut, The Dirty Projectors, Jose Gonzales and many others. Our live events have typically been small exclusive performances filmed for Red Hot video specials such as the last recorded appearance by the original line up of the Wu-Tang Clan, Annie Lenox performing with Ron Carter and Herbie Hancock live on VH-1, Smashing Pumpkins, The GooGoo Dolls, Lou Reed and The Breeders live on MTV, and The Kronos Quartet at the Edison Studio captured on the original wax cylinder machine, which was the first commercial music recording device dating from the 1890s.


1990 – Red Hot + Blue launch party with AmFar hosted by  Elizabeth Taylor

Thanks to support from Entertainment Weekly, Red Hot + Blue was featured at a glamorous party in Hollywood hosted by Elizabeth Taylor.

1991 – Red Hot + Danceathons around the world

Red Hot’s second project, Red Hot + Dance, started with a series of club parties around the world, the largest of which was in London featuring performances by Seal, Crystal Waters, Lisa Stansfield and many others. The events were filmed and made into a TV special directed by Mark Pellington that aired on MTV in U.S., Channel 4 in the U.K. and elsewhere around the world.

1993 – No Alternative live on MTV

Red Hot’s third project, No Alternative, featured the second MTV special. At the time almost all of MTV’s programs (including the dance shows and first Unplugged programs) originated from National Video Center a cramped space on 42nd Street. MTV gave Red Hot the room for a blazing live show featuring The Smashing Pumpkins, The Breeders (actually filmed live in London at the same time) and a special spoken word performance from Lou Reed.

1994 – Stolen Moments live at the Supper Club, NYC

One of the greatest moments in the history of Red Hot was the live show filmed for Stolen Moments: Red Hot + Cool in 1994 at the Supper Club in New York. It featured once in a lifetime collaborations between jazz legends such as Ron Carter, Tony Williams, Donald Byrd, Don Cherry, Pharoah Sanders, Ramsey Lewis, Joe Sample and others with younger musicians MC Solaar, The Pharcyde, Me’Shell NdegeOcello, Joshua Redman, Digitble Planets and closed with a collaboration between Sanders and The Last Poets and then everyone doing a version of “The Creator Has A Master Plan.”

1993 – Red Hot + Country live at the Ryman Theater (the original Grand Ole Opry) in Nashville

A proud moment in Red Hot history was our country event at The Ryman Theater in Nashville, the original home of the Grand Ole Opry. A live hour-long recorded event featuring some of the artists on our country album Red Hot + Country, features artists on the album like Earl Scruggs, Carl Perkins, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Nanci Griffin as well as additional performers including Levon Helm, Waylon Jennings and Shelby Lynne; and accompanied by a few hard-hitting interviews by people affected by AIDS in the country music community.

1994 – VHI-1 Honors – Annie Lennox, Herbie Hancock and Ron Carter performing “Everytime We Say Goodbye”

In 1994, Red Hot received recognition for raising awareness and money in the fight against AIDS on VH1’s Honors TV Special. There were special performances by Annie Lennox with Herbie Hancock and Ron Carter and Me’Shell Ndegeocello with Herbie. The show also featured Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson.


1995 – Beat Experience happening at the Westbeth Center in association with the Whitney Museum’s “Beat Culture” exhibition – live performances, DJs, VJs, robotics, underground films & more

In 1995, Red Hot was hired by the Whitney Museum as consultants to work on the Beat Culture exhibition curated by Lisa Phillips. John Carlin created a one-hour documentary about the Beat generation, which looped in a small open theater at the center of the exhibition so it’s collage of spoken work and bebop jazz would ‘leak’ throughout the space. (The film can be streamed in the projects section of the site.) He also created the first interactive museum catalogue, published as a CD-ROM by The Voyager Company. To celebrate the work and the exhibition, Red Hot and the Whitney produced a multimedia tribute to the Beats that featured live performances by Soul Coughing, DJ Spooky, Soundlab and others as well as VJ projections, robotics and vintage underground films all happening at the same time in a historic space at the Westbeth Center while a blizzard closed down the City outside.


1996 – America Is Dying Slowly on MTV featuring the last live performance of the Wu-Tang Gang with Ol’ Dirty Bastard

MTV insisted on called America Is Dying Slowly Red Hot + Rap, which wasn’t as interesting or appropriate, but they did produce a great special to help promote AIDS awareness and the album. The highlight of the show, live in the MTV studio, was a performance by Wu-Tang Clan of the title song. All of the members were there and ready to perform except Ol’ Dirty Bastard. The MTV producers lost patience waiting and started the performance without him. If you look closely you can see him climb on stage mid-song and take over one of the great live Rap performances captured on video. Sadly, O’l Dirty passed away shortly after and this is the last performance by the original Wu-Tang Crew.

1996 – Red Hot + Rio Live at MTV Studios UK

By the mid-1990s Red Hot was exploring different genres of music and locations around the world that were being affected by the HIV/AIDS crisis. First up was an innovative and respectful spin on the music of Tom Jobim and Bossa Nova from Brazil, mixed with contemporary music coming out of the UK and US, particularly using electronic instruments. The mix of old and new was potent and influential. Here’s two live in the MTV London studios performances from that album, featured on the accompanying TV special produced with MTV Brasil.


1997 – Red Hot + Rhapsody live at  featuring Bobby Womack, The Roots, Natalie Merchant, Morcheeba and others

Red Hot was asked by George Gershwin’s heirs to created a tribute along the lines of what we did for Cole Porter on Red Hot + Blue. The resulting project had many highlights, such as David Bowie collaborating with Angelo Badalamenti, as well as a live concert sponsored by Levi’s Jeans. The show included a collaboration between Bobby Womack and The Roots, Morcheeba and Herbert Laws, Baaba Maal and many others.



Red Hot at BAM!

For many years Red Hot was honored to be part of the Next Wave Festival at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. We produced four shows that featured music from some of our most interesting albums (Red Hot + Riot and Red Hot + Rio) as well as music we wanted to turn into albums but never found support from record labels (Cuba and New Orleans.) We produced a tribute to Arthur Russell outside of the Next Wave series that was sponsored by Red Bull and tied into the tribute album we produced at the same time. The BAM series was thanks to the support of Joe Melilo and overseen by Paul Heck on behalf of Red Hot with help from Beco Dranoff, Andres Levin and the Red Hot staff.

2006 – Red Hot + Riot LIVE! A Tribute to Fela Kuti

Red Hot + RIOT LIVE! was a celebration of African music and an all-star benefit tribute to the music and spirt of the late, great Fela Kuti.



2008 – Red Hot + Rio LIVE!

Several years after producing the groundbreaking Red Hot + Rio album, we were able to create a live event at BAM on World AIDS Day featuring a shift toward the music of Tropicalia (notably Jorge Ben, Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil and Os Mutantes) that evolved into Red Hot + Rio 2 a few years later. Special thanks to music directors Andres Levin and Kassin as well as producers Beco Dranoff and Paul Heck.


2010 – Red Hot + New Orleans with Dr John, Trombone Shorty, Irma Thomas, Ledici and more

In 2010 musical director Trombone Shorty and producer Paul Heck brought a Mardi Gras party of New Orleans music featuring legendary greats Dr. John, Irma Thomas as various Neville Brothers along with contemporary musicians all of whom were being featured on the HBO series Treme at the time.



2012 Red Hot + Cuba LIVE

Longtime Red Hot music producer Andres Levin moved to Havana with then wife CuCu Diamantes to get deeper into what was happening in Cuba musically and socially. As a result they were able to recreate a night in Havana on the stage at BAM featuring a mix of legendary and contemporary musicians that Americans rarely got to see.

2015 – Red Hot + Arthur Russell LIVE at BAM

Red Hot always tries to focus its music projects on artists who deserve more recognition, particularly ones whose lives were cut short by HIV such as Fela Kuti and Arthur Russell. Red Hot began it’s tributes to Russell by including his haunting sounds as music supervisors on David France’s Academy Award nominated documentary “How To Survive A Plague.” Paul Heck and Dustin Reid then produced a tribute album featuring Sufjan Stevens, Jose Gonzales, Robyn and many others. Around the same time they created a live event at BAM with many of the same musicians to show how Arthur Russell’s mix of avant-garde dance, art and indie rock was a blueprint for much of the music coming out of Brooklyn over the past decade.


2008 – Dark Was The Night loft party  with The National + Nico Muhly, Dirty Projectors & Yeasayer

For 20 years Red Hot co-founder, John Carlin, ran a landmark digital design company in New York called Funny Garbage. At the height of its success there were over 100 employees at its office in Soho. Carlin hired The National’s Aaron Dessner while the band was incubating and they worked together for 7 years. After The National became successful enough that Dessner could focus on it full time, he and his brother Bryce produced the landmark indie compilation Dark Was The Night with Red Hot. To help promote the album Vincent Moon directed a loft party in Williamsburg that featured The National with Nico Muly, The Dirty Projects and Yeahsayer.



2010 – Dark Was The Night live at Radio City Music Hall

After the success of the Dark Was The Night album, we celebrated with a live concert at Radio City Music Hall featuring The National, Bon Iver, My Brightest Diamond, David Byrne, The Dirty Projectors and Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings who brought down the house with their rendition of Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land” to close the show.


2011 – Red Hot + Rio 2 loft party with Beirut

2012 – Red Hot + Rio downtown party with Jose Gonzalez, Mia Doi Todd & Om’Mas Keith

Red Hot’s love and respect for Brazilian music led to a sequel to Red Hot + Rio, this time focusing on Tropicalia more than Bossa Nova. To help launch the album we did several loft parties. One featuring Beirut and the Brasilian Girls and another, sponsored by Red Bull, with Jose Gonzales, Mia Doi Todd and Om’mas Keith.


2013 – Kronos Quartet live at the original Thomas Edison Factory

In 2013 Red Hot created its first App, Red Hot + Bach, thanks to the support of the National Endowment for the Arts. Part of the App (and related album) featured the Kronos Quartet recording on the original wax cylinder machine at Thomas Edison’s studio in West Orange, NJ. We simultaneously recorded sound on a 78 RPM lathe, analogue tape machine and laptop. In App, people could toggle between these different historical methods of sound recording while the video played. This was the first time Kronos recorded any of Bach’s music.



2014 – Lincoln Center Summerstage: “Red Hot + FELA! / How to Survive A Plague soundtrack”

Red Hot’s good fortune to work with Kronos continued on several occasions, including a brilliant version of Fela’s “Sorrow, Tears and Blood” produced and arranged by Stuart Bogie. They performed the track live at Lincoln Center’s Summerstage along with some of Arthur Russell’s music used as the soundtrack to David France’s documentary “How to Survive A Plague.”


2016 – Day of the Day LIVE at Eaux Claire Festival featuring The National, Bon Iver + Guests

For many years Aaron and Bryce Dessner contemplated producing a Grateful Dead tribute album as a follow up to Dark Was The Night. It finally happened with almost six hours of music and 59 tracks! Aaron and Justin Vernon curated a live tribute to the album at the Eaux Claires Festival in 2016.



2018 – CuCu Diamantes, Sins of Picasso, live at National Sawdust

CuCu Diamantes was a featured performer at Red Hot’s tribute to Cuban music at BAM. In 2018 she approached Red Hot to produce an event sponsored by the Rockefeller Brother Fund titled “Sins of Picasso”. It happened on International Woman’s Day at National Sawdust in Brooklyn.