watch out for the golden handcuffs

I’m a big fan of my cousins’ (Julia & Paul) new tattoos. While Julia lives over in Bushwick, Brooklyn, Paul was in town from Richmond, VA, to check out the show (a benefit at Gallery 151 on Bowery, for the Swimming Cities projects) to which Julia donated a piece.

I was glad to see James Stacher was on the turntables, the gentleman who sold me my Kogswell bicycle.

Roxy (the black and white doesn’t convey her bright red lipstick).

Conrad and some Black Label guys were rolling up from Brooklyn as we were leaving. Shockingly cold night to be on a bike — hard to believe some of his friends (not pictured) rode over on tall bikes, intense wind out there.

The one and only Mike Mararian was in town for a show opening the very same night, up at Last Rites on 33rd St. The show is themed around an Inky Dreadfuls take on Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (rife with punk references and other good stuff). It was good to see his wife Elizabeth and friend Steve at the show as well.

Speaking of tattoos and facial hair, this is Ray, a friend and [now fomer] neighbor here in South Slope. He and his wife just sold their house and packed up everything to retire down south this past week. You’ll be missed, chief.

thiscity turns three

Moses is an excellent host over in Red Hook.  We’re all jealous of his backyard.  That’s Cory and Holly’s tent on the right side.  Moses’ neighbor brought out some additional food to add to the barbequed chicken, roasted tomatoes, pineapple, garlic, mushrooms, and sweet corn.  The prior course was french bread with parmigiano-reggiano and balsamic vinegar-based greens.  Lastly joined by homemade cookies.  Certainly a cemetary meal is long overdue already.

Thanks to Tod for the heads-up about the Swimming Cities of Switchback Sea (plus props on the successful photography opening the other night at the Heist Gallery).  The Switchback group put on a series of performances over the past few days at the Deitch Gallery space, in Long Island City, to provide a capstone for living on these homemade rafts/boats over the past few months.  Jeff Stark (the host of some Bluestockings events) was part of it as well, plus some Black Label representation.  The sheer beauty of the ships interconnected with planks and ropes during the performance was kinda breathtaking.  Very memorable.

Swoon’s work (on the left) was accompanied by Dark, Dark, Dark‘s ghostly melodies (accordion, banjo, and other timeless instruments).  Not to oversimplify, but they sound similar to The Decemberists (similar instruments and songwriting) but perhaps with a little more youthful naivety (amidst faux-nostalgia) than Colin Meloy’s more-aged cynicism.  Check out a track called “Junk Bones” if you get a chance.

Due to rain, Ed Zipco‘s Chief Mag party started off in a loading garage, but was eventually relocated to the warehouse rooftop, as scheduled.  I spoke to Ed and also to Elizabeth Weinberg super briefly, but they both seemed very nice.  Jenn and I are all for free, BYOB events.

So, thiscityi$mine turns three years old today.  This is a shot from a trip Big Joseph and I took down to Staten Island back in 2005.

Marta and her roommates were nice enough to offer up another brunch feast out in Bushwick.  As Welles (not pictured) mentioned, the table is certainly “boardroom size.”  And speaking of Brooklyn brunches, thanks to D.Lish and B.Davis for the great food and tour of the new Greenpoint place as well, the previous day.  We’re evenly distributing the crew through the neighborhoods.

• Also, Jenn and I helped Nick and Sarah and some other people make some background props for Nick’s upcoming film, to be partly shot in a school out on Long Island.  They’re currently living over in Astoria, Queens, until Nick takes off for out west, and Sarah goes over to Japan for a while.

Sometimes night rides are the best.

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:


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:


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.