Wednesday, July 30, 2008


I had only been living here a few months. About a dozen of us, mostly people who came up form Philly, met at Lex and Beth's Astor Place crash pad before walking a few blocks over to the Ritz. I wasn't that big of a Surfers fan, but our guitarist, Dave, had been going through a musical reeducation program taught mostly by Marc, and I certainly agreed that their guitar player was fucking brilliant. Plus, their shows were beyond legendary at that point, so this was going to be both a good lesson, and a fun time in our new city.

There are only a few things I remember about the show:
- Before they went on, we ran into some guy that one of us knew, and he had just dropped a few hits of acid. We were honestly worried for him.
- There was a naked dancer downstage left. She had a circular smily-face cutout, possibly on a stick, and she held in front of her face the whole time.
- There were some disturbing films projected over the whole band. The well known penis reconstruction surgery footage was one thing, but somehow more disturbing, and disorienting, was the simultaneous projection of a NASCAR race running backwards and upside down, along with an episode of Charlie's Angels.
- George seems to remember getting pepper-sprayed in the pit.
- There was lots of fire.

When we got back to the apartment, we were all pretty happy, and compared out favorite parts. I looked over to a far corner of the living room, and there was Marc and Dave, deep in conversation. I went over, and remember hearing something like the following:
Dave: "Marc! Don't you see? It was the work of Satan!"
Marc: No, Dave, really, it's okay."
I guess we threw him in the water to teach him how to swim.

Everyone slept there (there were always people crashed out on the giant sectional, and the floor) and the next morning, the Philly contingent left for home, taking Lex with them (for good this time), and I was left alone with Beth. She asked if I liked donuts. I think it was the first thing she ever said to me. I said yes, and she took me to a diner on 6th avenue that made their own donuts. We sat there talking in that diner for so long that they finally had to ask us to leave. I think my nostalgia for that show is most likely bolstered by the memory of that next afternoon. Those days seem so far away, they may as well be fiction.

Tonight, close to 20 years later, I went to that same landmark hall, and saw that same band.
There were some differences:
- I went alone, but knew a hell of a lot of people there.
- I tried to find a viewing angle that made things look familiar to me, but everything about the show just seemed small. I know I've "grown" and all that, but seriously.
- The screen looked the size of a postage stamp at the back of that stage.
- The projectors are now digital, run from laptops.
- There were two strobe lights, and one smoke machine.
- It wasn't very loud.
- A steady stream of teenagers walked on and off the stage with guitars, basses, etc, and sat in with the band throughout the show.
- He really is a motherfuckin kickass guitar player.
- There was no fire.

It started to get better towards the end when there were some surgery videos, and, at one point, what might have been a birth video run back and forth a bunch. And the teenagers added some screams and saxes that actually worked out okay. But the stage banter was uncomfortable and unnecessary, nothing seemed to flow together well, and they didn't play my favorite songs.

The show turned completely depressing when GH decided that not hearing himself as well as he'd like meant that he could shove the monitor guy, and throw a beer at him. I guess punk rock is really about childish temper tantrums when things are not perfect, and disrespecting others, instead of putting on a show for your fans. Sadly, not the first time I've seen that kind of behavior from a "legend," and with that example set for the kids being mentored on stage, it won't be the last. Unfortunately, this memory won't turn to nostalgia in 20 years. Maybe something romantic will happen tomorrow afternoon.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

U.S. junk mail accounts for 30% of all the world's mail.

Sometimes I see my twin. Or one of a number of twins. (Wait, does the definition of twin imply there can only be one twin?) Anyway, I'll be walking to work, see some guy that looks like me, and I'll think, "oh, that's what I look like riding a bike," or something like that. The other night I saw myself with the hair I had 14 years ago. That was funny because I could see that twin's future.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

You, and the moon.

I saw you on the train again tonight. I've seen you before and not said anything. Usually you say something when you see me, or maybe sometimes you don't. I wouldn't know. You looked lost inside yourself, even without your usual headphones. I thought about how I wouldn't cross paths with you like this ever again once I finally give up the job that causes me to be on the one-somethingAM train back to Brooklyn. I would tell that thought to you if we were sitting next to each other, but there was a new to New York looking couple with a rolling suitcase next to you, and a latino teen with baseball cap next to me. I could see your reflection in the window across from us. I was going to try to catch your eye once we got off, but you got way ahead, and running or yelling just isn't like me. By the time you got through the turnstile, I was thinking terrible thoughts about how you might fall prey to some terrible thing, tragedy, by an unknown hand, or your own, and maybe an encounter, however brief, like when you caught up to me to say hi last week, might change an outcome. But instead, I saw both you and the full moon as I looked up to where the exit stairway meets the street, and then just the moon.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Outside the wall.

"Yeah, gimme a call. I'll be defrosting my freezer and eating cookies."

There are some things that happened this week that I don't want to mention by name because I don't want to get any google hits. But let's try to find a lesson or two.

The desire for fame in a great deal of the population makes those people do things that really shouldn't be condoned with applause, and will even make some risk their (her) life to win a trip to the next round to meet, and compete against, more like-minded drunks. Aim higher, people.

I'm not going to invite people to art openings I'm in any more because that means I actually have to go, and stay until the end. There were a great deal of much better photographs that were left out, not selected for the show, and that has to make me question why I got in. And there were so many CAMERAS there. At one point, someone was taking a picture of someone taking a picture of someone taking a picture. And the reason I know that that was happening is because someone else exclaimed, "hey look, someone's taking a picture of someone taking a picture of someone taking a picture!" I kept my camera in my bag until I escaped, and then shot a roll around the gallery neighborhood to clear my head.

Passed by that NYT building that people keep climbing. I can't believe nobody looked at the design and said, "hey guys, maybe making a 40 story ladder isn't a great idea."

The permafrost of my freezer has broken loose, but is still too big to fit out the freezer door. I say it's about a 30 pound block. There's a heater pointed at it.

This may sound strange, but I'm listening to the soundtrack of A Charlie Brown Christmas. I just picked it up for something like two bucks, (off season?) and it's fantastic.

I really wouldn't mind sitting outside until the sun comes up, talking and watching you smoke a pack of cigarettes again.

A friend of mine is getting screwed over for a ten year old credit card debt. If anyone knows about the law firm Slamowitz and Cohen, and how/why they can garnish your wages, get in touch.

Just went to shoot the street festival they have every year on the other side of the bqe, and my camera lost it's shit. Shutter problems. Waste of time, and now I won't be able to go shoot that thing this year because I work every day for the next week. Cameras suck.

Got the block of ice out.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008


Friday, July 04, 2008

Captures, etc.

I'm working out a parallel between music and visual art. I think it goes like this: There are a lot of shit bands out there. I know because I've mixed most of them. Their friends tell them they are great. There are a lot of bad photographers out there. Their friends tell them they are great as well. But visuals are is easier to disseminate on the internet. I don't think there is a flickr equivalent for music, and there's a camera in just about every phone now, but recording studio phones aren't too popular yet. So you can put stuff on the web, and you tell someone they're great, and they tell you you're great, and it's like a little (huge) positive reenforcement artist support group. And there's always at least one comment that says, "great capture!" What the fuck is that? Is it different than a "picture?"
Now there are some amazing pictures on there. Ones that kick my ass. Ones I wish I took. I absolutely love when I find one. (Look these up if you want.)

But for every good band, there are a dozen terrible ones, and that ratio holds true in art as well. The only possible fault lies in that I just may not "get" it. Do I need an art degree, or at least a little institution-based art education? I have none, and that disqualifies me from having a "respected" opinion. So you would think that would put me in line with what the public likes. You would be wrong. The Click! experiment at the Brooklyn Museum proved that the public and I strongly disagree on what an appropriate "capture" was for the assigned theme. Again, there are definitely some great shots in there, but many that just don't make any sense to me. (And again, go here.)

It's after 3am, and a fireworks barrage just went off over the buildings to the south. So far, it looks like they really did clamp down on the illegal fireworks this year. Last year there were bombs going off, and rockets launched (from the gas station, real smart) for a good six week period surrounding the 4th. I'm off this year, so I'll try once more to get that perfect fireworks picture.

Happy birthday Jenn!

(I wish I took this picture.)