an 8-foot replica


Fourth Avenue in Park Slope, Brooklyn.


Jenn apparently agreed to be photographed for public advertising several years ago, and The Opera Singer turns thirty-four.


Big Joseph and James make it out to the East Williamsburg loft.

Persepolis (directed by Vincent Paronnaud and Marjane Satrapi) is a French film set in 1980’s Iran, and is based on a series of graphic novels of the same name. It’s animated, and largely black and white, and some of the richest, most organic animation I’ve seen (well, aside from Miyazaki masterpieces, and a few early 1960’s Disney films). As with Richard Linklater’s Waking Life (2001), it probably deserves two watches, largely because it replaces Waking Life’s over-the-top monologues on cultural theory with intense, lucid, political strife, and, unless you’re fluent in French, you may miss some of the subtleties within the delicate transitions while scanning the subtitles. It’s currently playing at BAM over in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. (also, I caught Loves of a Blonde, a 1960’s Czech film by Milos Foreman, with some coworkers. Definitely felt influenced by the French New Wave).

• On the subject of northern Brooklyn, I highly recommend dining at the Roebling Tea Room in Williamsburg (yes, they rock Cuba, that Andy Heymann used to rep in like 2004). While the food isn’t the cheapest (entrees mainly in the $16-22 dollar range, as opposed to $9-14), it’s well worth it. The baked brie appetizer arrives boiling, and with a tiny salad drizzled in honey, and the half chicken has a large side of mashed potatoes. Also, the “diver’s scallops” can go well with either a draught Kronenbourg or a house white.

• You may have already caught it, but Cadence Weapon performed “Sharks” with Final Fantasy providing an incredible version of the beat. I can’t stop listening to it. Hit up Hype Machine for the track, or drop me a line and I’ll send it over. A great fusion of danceable hip hop with indie rock.

Peter Dinklage (Station Agent (2003)) was in front of me in line at lunch today at Big Dirty’s favorite, The Gracefully.

• Cheers to the intermediate days here and there where its warm enough to bike around without gloves and such. I’ll drink to that tonight. And to Brian and Rachel’s new engagement. And to my buddy Val’s recent promotion. Nice one, chief.

iron stomach


Being that most who know me know that I’m a little bit too pro-mummy, when it comes to the always-popular robots vs. mummies vs. ninjas, etc debate… it may not be a surprise that I keep being forced to photograph Faro’s great pieces here in the Lower. I mean, a mummy with a mohawk? (I think this is Stanton near Eldridge. And also, that gallery space seen in the distance is as bizarre/hippy inside as it looks outside, but the people are nice.)

• Speaking of art-related stuff, when Jenn and I were wandering through Moss, aka “the Industrial Design Museum with items so expensive and fragile that you’ve gotta hold your breath while walking by them, but they try to pass it off as a genuine store, for the rich elite”, we ran into Stefan Sagmeister. Seemed to be a super nice guy — we mentioned having tickets to his lecture next month. Mental side-note: my sentence structuring has taken a major nosedive in recent years… but it’s all for the best, right?

• The other night at about 7:30, I take a walk up to Key Food on Avenue A, and was just thinking to myself I need to maybe relocate to Brooklyn with a quickness, when two kids on tallbikes casually ride down Avenue A, between about 3rd and 2nd streets. I’m always in awe of their ridiculousness. Top notch. So then, as even more of a reminder that The Lower and the East Village do still have character, it’s about 7:50 or so as I’m returning back to my apartment, groceries in hand, and this kid and his friend on 3rd Street are just walking down with black krylon, scrawling an indecipherable name on any vertical surface they can find.

• Happy birthday to Big Dirty last weekend. He was touring the Austin, TX area, but is back at this point.

• I think I neglected to mention how crappy the large New Museum is on the Bowery in the Lower. You know, that huge cube-stacked thing right next to the mission. It’s opening exhibits felt incredibly weak. Un-inventive material usage, and far too basic construction in most of the sculptural pieces. The only redeeming thing about this place is that the gift shop stocks some of the best design books in New York City. Certainly only go on Thursday evenings when entry is free. For a better selection of contemporary art, head up to The Whitney in the museum area of the UES. Oh actually, maybe it has a second redeeming thing: the building is so absurd that it successfully walks (and remains on) the line where you can’t tell if it’s mocking gentrification in The Lower in a self-aware state, or if it’s blatantly architectural masturbation by someone with a large budget and absence of taste.

Vong is a fairly high-priced Thai-French restaurant in Midtown East. Luckily Restaurant Week, if you’re not familiar with it, allows for people to experience certain overpriced culinary hijinx for a slightly-lower, fixed-price menu, all over the city. Pam was proactive enough to land a reservation, so Marta, Lori, Chris, Angie, Jenn, and I joined her for some good chicken and coconut soup, sub-par pork entrees, and some excellent volcano-chocolate cake, all washed down with an assortment of scotches that I hadn’t heard of. (Well, to be fair, I don’t know anything about scotch in general, other than I’ve been told that better scotch doesn’t taste identical to normal whiskey). Ultimately, there may be better places in this town for your money.

• On the other end of the restaurant spectrum, for those of you eagerly awaiting to check out the new Popeye’s that opened on the classy Delancey Street in the lower, make sure to go within the next week or so. I think for sure there’s some period of time before fast food places get disgusting, where they’re still fair game for casual, non-iron-stomach foodies. (Damn, I didn’t just mean to use the word “foodie,” ouch. That’s the same level of poor form as saying “preggers,” “K-Fed,” etc). But all I’m saying is that early the other week, this place tasted great, and I did actually hear the original track that Kanye sampled in “Through the Wire” during my late lunch.


Radegast Hall starts to get blurrier as the night progresses. Great turnout on Friday night: Katie Scott, Jenn, Erica, Mr. Appalachia, David & Cindy, Leslie, Johnny, Wells, Marta, and others. And yes, they have quite-large mice in there, which is fine, just try to keep coats and bags on the table or benches.


Apparently Greenpoint, Brooklyn still reps college-style keggers. Big ups to Emily and her roommates. On the left, Erica and Jenn have a moment with a stolen hat. On the right, Wells, has, well… a moment.

• For the record, since switching over to my current web hosting service (maybe 2 years ago?), here are the top search engine terms that bring people this way:

THISCITYI$MINE SEARCH TERMS:

1. manhattan
2. will smith
3. lil wayne
4. india
5. peyote

I do think it’s slightly interesting. I mean, “Manhattan,” fine, fair enough. “India”, sure, I’ll give you that one too. I’m a major fan of Indian food in Manhattan and Queens. “Will Smith” though? “Peyote”? There’s no way peyote’s been mentioned more than like 1 time, well, now it’s three times, but still, maybe there are a shortage of occasionally-updated peyote informational info-hubs out there. (At this rate, I may accidently secure my place near the top of casual peyote searches.) But anyway, the #3 slot I really take pride in. “Lil’ Wayne.” Hahaha, any Lil’ Wayne mixtape seems to be instant gold. Fake prison tears aside, I suppose I do support him. (Though is that like saying, “Statatory rape aside, I do support the Piped Piper of R&B full force.”?)

• Speaking of internet-generated lists, I found FindYourSpot the other day (but beware, it asks for some info before it allows you to see your results). Anyway, here are the results I received:

TOP CITIES FOR ZIP OF THISCITYI$MINE:

1. portland (word, word. very pro-bikes)
2. little rock (what? is this some random wildcard? did little rock pay for this result?)
3. baltimore (this crime-ridden city is the only one of thee 5 that I’ve been to.)
4. oakland (cool, all I know is that it may be near LA.)
5. san diego (the weather seems appealing.)


Jenn (no, not a kidnapped WNBA referee) tries out the new “happy light.” But yah, to address growing concerns that the photography on this site is becoming far too dark and sinister, I’m afraid it’s just a sign of the times: winter is somewhat dark and sinister in the tri-state area.