topless paradise and pulp

Jarvis Cocker
rocked our socks off at the Williamsburg Hall of Music last night.  He put on a ridiculously energetic and charismatic show with a handful of encores, finally closing with his take on a 1986 deep house track, which seemed to keep the crowd satisfied (despite not hearing any Pulp, as to be expected).  Thanks to Jenn for the surprise birthday present (the tickets)!

Highlights included Jarvis giving a glass of whiskey to someone in the front row after they accidentally spilled their drink on the stage, and someone gave him flowers during one of the encores.  His stories and anecdotes between songs were very, very funny.

He’s still got it (and yes, that’s a braided belt).

A car parked outside of Duff’s in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

• I met up briefly with Chris Reid and Sara Waters last week, who were in town to see Chatham County Line and an upstate music festival, on their annual girls-only trip.  They were in great spirits, but the hang out time was a little limited due to tons of office work.  Jenn and I grabbed a quick drink at a surprisingly full Home Sweet Home that seemed to be having sorta a Bauhaus-ish, dark-keyboard night.

Ici’s brunch over in Fort Greene/Clinton Hill is decent.  The staff is at least super nice.  Six of us (Big Nasty, D.Lish, Mehgan, Jenn, Moses, and I) had an extra long meal to discuss upcoming stuff in BK.

A few tags in Williamsburg.  Click here for a larger version.  There’s a Colt and a Miss 17, but I’m not too keen as to the others.

Bonita (that place on Bedford that has the “Comida Tipicos Mexicana” or something on the windows) has quite good sangria pitchers for $24, for what it’s worth.  The only problem is you need at least one per two people to get the night started right.

Jenn and I embarked on a 35 mile trek (round trip) to Fort Tilden at the end of Long Island, near Far Rockaway.  This is a pit-stop at a snack truck on the bike path, in between Sheepshead Bay and the Floyd Bennett Fields.  Jenn’s Miyata (right) is in beach mode: towel and Krypto lock on the rear rack, and flip-flops, purse, water, and helmet up front.  My bike on the left was a little less burdened, I instead opted to load down the bag on my back.

Fort Tilden has abandoned buildings to explore.  The beach felt remote enough for a handful of the twenty-something girls nearby us to run around topless all day (like jumping jacks and stuff).  No complaints.  At all.

• Later in the day, on the return trip, we had a bizarre craving for a chain Americana restaurant, so we locked our bikes up again and ate at the Applebees at Sheepshead Bay.  Turns out, the junk is good and gully: while enjoying a Bourbon Street Steak, an afternoon fist fight erupted out in the parking lot, and everyone in the restaurant ran to the windows to see the fists flying.  Food and entertainment.

alphabet city

Between Avenues C and D, in the heart of the Alphabet.

The rear bumper is pretty intense.

There seems to be no shortage of gangster 1950s cars.

• Jenn and I spotted Terry Richardson walking his dog a block from his studio, here in the Lower, on Sunday afternoon. He was rocking his trademark red plaid. I think he’s immune to aging.

The Great Bike Walk 2008! Despite getting off to a slightly later than expected start (following a “quick” 45 minute ride over to Park Slope and back around 7AM), I still rode in a good-sized pack of close friends: Jenn, Kate, Mr. Appalachia, B.Nasty and Delish. Regrettably, the delayed start caused my coworkers, Shane, Adam, and Matt, to need to go ahead and line up, which was more than understandable, given the intense crowds and our predetermined meet-up time. There were almost thirty thousand other cyclists. I heard yesterday that there were only 39 injuries associated with the ride, which is a pretty low number. After numerous bottlenecks and claustrophobia, we ended up bailing in Queens, halfway through the forty-three mile tour, to set out to carve our own path through to Brooklyn, via one of those more remote bridges, then a long, great trek through Bed-Stuy and some neighboring communities. As those California cycling coaches put it, “sometimes you have to control the lane.”

• Following the ride on Sunday, Mr. Appalachia hosted a great cookout in his backyard over in Red Hook. Beautiful weather. Great, large group of people, but the night really began at sunset when a raccoon attacked a cat, by chasing it up (and then back down) a fire escape. Animals make crazy noises when fighting. Defend Brooklyn.

Shane brought in this killer candy from Chinatown the other day. Chocolate tree stumps, complete with a wooden typeface. Golden. (And yes, Kathleen, that’s the clear skull in the background of the shot).

spring green

My cousin Julia has been working in a studio in the Five Points building in Long Island City.

The artists’ spaces are surprisingly locked-down and private, rather than communal.

Most things are green in Central Park now.

Different hairstyle options.

Spring all around.

This one is actually Regent’s Park, London near sunset. Just seemed to fit with the series on urban parks.

No shortage of food on the streets in the East Village. Despite the label, it looks more like beef to me.

• My parents flew in over the weekend, and, with Jenn joining us, we had a chance to finally eat at the Clinton Street Bakery, just a block from my apartment. In addition, I scored some tickets for Cry Baby on Broadway through my office, plus we saw The Visitor for free over at my building as well. Cry Baby has very slick scenery changes and is very fun in general, being in a similar vein as Grease. The majority of the characters had fake tattoos to make them tough. The Visitor is set in the NoHo/West Village area, and ends up becoming a timely piece on immigration laws, in a smart, calm way. It doesn’t point fingers at past events or current administration, but takes the path of a calmer melodrama. Unfortunate title, as about 2.5 horror films per year seemed to share the same name. My parents enjoyed the fact that we had just been walking through most of the areas portrayed in the film.

• I’ve received some emails from people and even a letter from my landlord about a potential water contamination issue. Apparently around 10% of the water at any given moment is from the Croton Reservoir, which has been failing tests for microbial bacteria and stuff (potentially resulting in some not-so-fun symptoms). But, they’ve known about this for years: like in 2003. But then other less-credible sources indicate there’s no issue: 2008. Seemingly, there’s still an argument for some sort of minor filtering via Brita/PUR, etc, at the very least.

• Only a few more days until the famed Five Borough Bike Tour. If you need a registration (they’ve been sold out for a month), a friend of mine has one, for face value, unlike a lot of the scalping in the bicycles section of craigslist.

Upper West Side. Notice how the engine bay is immaculate. Somebody was angry with the owner of this Acura.

a proper spanking

Suzy Hotrod (with the star on her helmet) of the Gotham Girls had a great game on Saturday night against Philly, seen in teal. Philadelphia certainly knew how to dress, though.  A former coworker of mine, Matt B, announced the game.

You can’t even say it ended up close.

• This past Friday, after recovering from some sort of 24-hr bug or food poisoning (yet to be determined), Jenn and I made it out to meet up with Lehman, B.Davis, Moses, Jason, and Cory over at Williamsburg’s McCarren Park for a late night thai dinner before walking over to crowded Union Pool for a little while (where we met up with Jan, Ashley, and a few others), near the BQE.

• If you (or someone you know) is in the market for a little orange tabby, send this link over their way. Thanks!

• I don’t think I mentioned it yet, but thanks to the random fixie-commuter girl on the Manhattan Bridge the other morning who alerted me of some glass up ahead in the bike path. Good lookin’ out.

• Yesterday, Jenn and I ended up running into Adam over at the Brooklyn Museum’s Murakami exhibit. The exhibit was pretty engaging, however, the presence of an actual pop-up Louis Vuitton store certainly is worthy of criticism. It seemed in poor taste. Also, despite Murakami’s expressive, fast-paced animation for Kanye’s track, “Good Morning,” there’s no way anyone can be convinced that it fits the sound/content. But I know, we’ve all gotta get paid. That being said, I do still like his happy-faced flower people and the crazy mushroom paintings.

• I found some old film from seven years ago, and scanned in the following three shots. I took them at my aunt’s place over in Reidsville, North Carolina. She’s unfortunately since passed away. I always liked that the floor to ceiling was covered in dark wood in a lot of the house (though that isn’t seen here). There were also some abandoned vehicles further out in the woods, seen below.

sixteen knives

OK, it’s been a busy few days. Shot in Bushwick, Brooklyn.

Cassettes Won’t Listen performed on Friday night at Sound Fix. He created loops on the fly with a drum machine and keyboard, then sung and played guitar over them, occasionally altering the loops with foot pedals. Next, we hit up an Ad Hoc afterparty at a Marble Factory warehouse space (filled with lots of massive painted canvases) in Bushwick after a botched dinner order at Vera Cruz on Bedford.

Roommates Seth (right) and Johnny (left) have a moment.

• Easter brunch at Marta’s. The kids were calling it “feaster.” Bloody marys and champagne.

Jenn and I caught a performance of this crazy, dark puppet show called “Bride” at PS122 with Kathleen and Redux after a dinner at 7A, this past Thursday. The religious references and motifs were a bit bizarre and perhaps unnecessary, because I think Redux and I simply enjoyed the large puppet body parts that eventually formed a fifteen-foot-tall nude woman, and the giant rats that gnawed at peoples legs. I thought the junk was solid. Not for young children.

Apparently there’s a bed & breakfast at 405 Union in Carroll Gardens. I understand these days it’s more of a bed (minus the breakfast aspect). My cousin, Julia, who happened to be working there this past weekend, gave Jenn and I a grand tour Sunday evening before we made our way over to Bombay Dream on Smith Street for some good but slightly overpriced Indian cuisine.

Weekend brunch at Cafe Mogador is top notch. That’s poached eggs, hummus, pita (with garlic and spices), tabouleh, and some other Mediterranean salad thing. The best pita bread I’ve eaten.

• This evening, Will scored me a ticket to sit with the ranks of This is Pop at the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary benefit performance at Gotham Comedy Club called Komedy for Karma. We saw Dave Attell, Janeane Garofalo, Louis CK, the creator of Bizzaro (Dan Piraro), and a handful of other comedians perform for the cause. I was reminded of Jeremy’s hypothesis about the comedic differences between men and women based on the necessities presented within biological evolution (opinions of which I feel may be credible because he’s in a lifelong doctorate program for something like “philosophy of science”), anyway essentially that men need to be (and most likely are) funnier than women, as a whole. It does initially sound sexist, but I believe he had a dozen points of which it’s too late in the evening for me to convey now (but it’s not intended to be a gender superiority comment or argument). Regardless, I bring it up because there was only one woman in a male-dominated list of comedians tonight, and unfortunately she had to follow up the very funny Louis CK. Highlights included Will and Dave Attell joking about eskimos after the show, meeting some of the Pop team, and Louis CK keeping the crowd crying with laughter (his style was aging-related anger mixed with self deprivation and making fun of babies).

• From 1:20 – 3:20 the other night I caught James Dean in East of Eden (1955). It felt sorta like a blend of two of his other films: Rebel Without a Cause (1955) and Giant (1956), though, I suppose that’s no surprise, being that they were all made within a year of each other. Slow by today’s standards, but there’s certainly something cozy about American golden-era cinema late at night.

“My best friend’s a butcher, he’s got sixteen knives. He carries them all over the city, at least he tries. Oh look, it stopped snowing.” This gem is located here in the Lower, and its a pretty close representation to, well, hell.  Check out the skulls on the left side.

Layfayette Station on the C train in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. If you’re waiting at Jay Street in the mornings, you’ll notice there are six F trains for every three A trains and one C train. Just saying.

The sun sets over a closed Lowes Home Improvement in Red Hook, Brooklyn.

Let’s do it up right, come election time. Bushwick, Brooklyn.

borderline royalty

Jenn and I made it down to Coney Island last weekend to soak up the bleakness of winter in a decaying Thor-owned wasteland. (Question: is Thor Equities truly a domestic company?)  The clouds ended up bringing snow, but not a lot of it.  In the far left in the shot is the old, abandoned historic building seen near the beginning of Lord of War (2005).

Avenue U, as we approach Coney Island on the train.

• From reading even more Chuck Klosterman as of late (big ups to Welles), it’s becoming pretty apparent that anyone who writes anything (you could almost use the word “writers,” but it’d be in the loosest definition) tends to evolve and work out their initial shortcomings in writing, slowly but surely. I suppose the exceptions may be the raving substance abusers that use their habit/hobby to fuel a lucid written experience from day one (and I’m not saying it’s going to be magical from the beginning in that situation). And yes, I know that writing about writing is somewhat akin to making one of those hideous, unnecessary AIGA posters and mailing it out only to the New York chapter’s most environmentally-conscious members. But back to the point. I’m about 62 pages deep into Klosterman’s first book, having started it the day after finishing his newest complete work (omitting “IV” because it’s just a collection of articles, not a holistic piece), and it’s clear that he is tossing around unverified blanket statements and unqualified opinions, as opposed to his later works, in which become more of an exploration from within, and how pop culture (and “underground” movements) have shaped his view on the world, and his personal relationships.  He’s grown.

I caught a jazz show over at the Williamsburg Music Center two weekends ago.  Gerry Eastman, the director, gave me a history lesson on the jazz scene in Williamsburg, while the art curator and a resident barfly confirmed his information.  I ended up also having quite a long conversation with the barfly about the decay of certain cities directly adjacent to larger cities, the main two being East St. Louis and Gary, Indiana, all while I opened people’s beers for them.  The bar couldn’t locate their bottle opener.  (Afterwards I went over to see Ola Podria at a far-too-packed Pete’s Candy Shop).

This West Village staple, A Salt and Battery, remains one of the top fish and chips restaurants in New York City.

• On Friday, a young cashier was stabbed to death at my grocery store (Key Food at 4th and Avenue A). A butcher knife. Very unfortunate that nobody had a chance to tackle him before he vanished into the streets. I didn’t know the cashier by name or anything, but did see her quite often. Just yesterday afternoon they put up a memorial out front, and a few other cashiers were in tears. Here’s a report on the Times site.

• You might be thinking to yourself right now, “when I’m walking down the street and I hear a random Biggie Smalls song blasting out of a car, like, one that I haven’t even heard because it’s just some random junk that probably isn’t even that great, things just tend to feel right.  It just seems that things are in order, and the street is fine.”  Well, I would tend to agree with your sentiments, but I’d also secretly doubt the grammatic correctness of your sentence structuring.

• Here in the Lower, over the past year, we’ve seen the local dumpy laundromat go first from $1.75 to $2.00 for a wash, now its $2.25.  The dryers used to be $.25 for 7 minutes, now it’s down to 5 minutes per quarter.  I mean, for my standard 2 loads, it only increased from $5.50 to $7.50, which is a 36.5% increase, which does exceed normal inflation predictions… though it may be as good of a marker of devaluing of the dollar as anything else.  One could argue that it’s simply a byproduct of rampant gentrification, but in fact, isn’t that same gentrification somewhat proof of the same national currency embarrassment?  And one could argue that if I’m gonna nickel-and-dime the self serve laundry, that I should get out of the United States’ most expensive metropolis.  But, I may be around for the long haul, we’ll see.

Anyway, it might seem possible that people are priced out of their buildings every day because rich people keep moving to New York.  True.  But, I don’t think it’s as much trust-fund-welding young Americans as raw-resource-backed/borderline-royalty immigrants (ie: oil-backed Middle Eastern investors)… but, I need to qualify that to say that I don’t mean to come across as xenophobic, or anti-immigration, by any means.  Just simply, it is similar to what happens when an upper class US citizen visits a South American country: you bust in there with stronger currency and basically own the place.  But — I have nothing beyond anecdotal evidence to support any hypothesis.  It seems a bit melodramatic to think that it’s international oil barons that are causing the newest Lower eyesore, “The Ludlow,” to cut into virgin skyline.  But I find my thoughts become unproductively cyclical when you start to question whether or not inflation/devaluing/gentrification are even bad things, per se.  Maybe it’s not as simple as a more-and-more universally accepted moral & scientific issue like environmental sustainability.

• Last Friday, Mr. Appalachia, Robin, Jenn, and I met up at the great Sherwood Cafe in Carroll Gardens, before getting turned away from the sold-out show at Union Hall, then hopping from Great Lakes, to Commonwealth, and then to Buttermilk.

• The next night, Marta introduced Jenn and I to Roberta’s — an amazing hidden pizzeria near the Morgan stop on the L train in Bushwick.  The Faro-tagged door opens up to reveal a large, warm room of exposed-brick and young patrons (beards seem required for men, and perfect bangs required for women).  I hesitate to mention this place only because of it’s seeming secrecy.  Regardless, if you’re going on a pizza tour of this fine city, don’t overlook this gem.  And it’s BYOB, naturally.

• Recent catching-up of the film scene has involved: There Will Be Blood (2007), Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007), No Country for Old Men (2007), and Spartacus (1960).  Surely it does not seem to pay to receive months and months of hype on Hollywood blockbusters, only leading to varying degrees of mild disappointment.

Around maybe 11th Street and 5th Avenue in Manhattan.

weird european fetish videos

• So it’s 1:30am and I’m walking home. A silver sedan comes flying down the street (now, when I say flying, I’m not talking Back to the Future 2, but simply driving super fast), he’s swerving over the yellow lines, and as he sees a red light ahead, he slams on his brakes, fishtailing a little – then waiting a minute for the light, he starts revving the engine, and launches it – continues down the street swerving all over the place, and takes a ridiculously sudden right turn (sharp enough to flip a truck or an SUV and of course a Jeep Cherokee). His tires continue to squeal, and can be heard throughout the neighborhood as he takes other turns… I kept expecting to hear that trademark plastic-hitting-metal sound as he slammed into something, but it didn’t happen. He was gone.

And you’re right, you’d think I didn’t learn anything at all in 11th grade English class, grammar-wise, but maybe its late now, and maybe I don’t wanna use proper sentence structure. You know what I’m sayin’?

Also, here’s another shot of that girl from the Cherokee series… I have no clue what the deal is on this site, seems odd, the site looks like some sort of odd fetish thing, I’m not sure… but yah, that girl is stunning though, am I right?