5.31.2008

THE PROBLEM IS THAT EVERYONE IS "OTHER" TO YOU













(photos from the Bicycle Film Festival's art show and opening party, as well as May's Critical Mass with the return of the ticket-zombies)

Yesterday was the first time I've ridden Critical Mass in a while. And I have to say it was the first time I've been embarrassed by the ride. During the usual rally at Union Square before the ride, the Rev. Al Sharpton made an appearance to speak about NYPD brutality and oppression (something that Critical Mass riders are somewhat familiar with). Just as the Revered was about to speak, a group of riders on the south edge of the square began whooping and leading the ride away, purposefully turning their backs on Sharpton and heading off noisily. It was noticed by everyone there, and a lot of riders were very confused.

I can understand that some people are not fans of Sharpton using Critical Mass as a platform for his Sean Bell crusade, or any other for that matter. However the rejection and display of refutation of this media figure using his clout to bring attention to the NYPD's heavy-handed handling of Critical Mass was just plain stupid. Selfish and stupid. As corny as his speech was, and as spotlight-grabbing as his tactics are, they do help to bring public attention to things. The enemy is the NYPD, not exaggerative media figures. Don't be so high up on your horse that you aren't willing to accept a helping hand.

The very principal at stake here is how Critical Mass rides work. Safety and strength in numbers. Divided you fall.

Update: check out Chris from Team Spider's video from the above-mentioned Critical Mass ride (complete with Rev. Al Sharpton riding a bike).



MP3:

Team Spider is the local vocal proponent of all things bicycle, and up until recently boasted the oldest member of any punk band (R.I.P. Zak). So they seemed appropriate for a post about bikes and Critical Mass. Their new album "Fuck Brakes" is entirely about both of these things, after all.

• Team Spider - My Life Your Rights

A band's place in myspace.

5.30.2008

I TALK OUT LOUD LIKE YOU'RE STILL AROUND




Flyers for some upcoming shows that I have work in. Both are one-night-only deals, so make it or break it. Details below:

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HIJACKED: Book Launch and Photo Exhibition

ChiefMag.com in collaboration with Big City Press and The Arm, enthusiastically present HIJACKED: VOLUME ONE, AUSTRALIA AND AMERICA book launch photo exhibition. Presenting the public with the most provocative and diverse new photography from Australia and America, HIJACKED breaks down barriers between artists, genres, and hemispheres to further the aim of contemporary photography.

While the work of each of the 44 photographers is wholly individual, the photographs collected in this book and exhibition speak of the time and place in which we live. HIJACKED embraces our prevailing wanderlust; these creative minds exhibit a fascination with international subcultures, fragmented trends, alternate lifestyles and urban landscapes. Explorations of suburban pleasures are placed on par with 'high' artistic experimentation. HIJACKED, a book of photography, is a survey of contemporary photography in both The United States and Australia.

ChiefMag.com is now partnering with Brooklyn's The Arm to host the New York launch of Hijacked: Volume One, and is privileged to be the east coast ambassadors for such a zeitgeist of current photography.

Opening reception: The Arm, 281 N. 7th St., Brooklyn, NY
Friday, June 6th 7pm-11pm
music by DJ Rev McFly and DJ Teenwolf


HIJACKED: VOLUME ONE contains the work of 44 photographers from the USA and Australia

(American – 20 Photographers)

Timothy Archibald | Angela Boatwright | Alana Celii | Nick Chatfield-Taylor | Brian Cross | Todd Fisher | Jonathan Gitelson | Dean Karr | Lisa Kereszi | Jason Lazarus | Suzy Poling | Robin Schwartz | Tod Seelie | Sarah Small | Amy Stein | Jennifer Juniper Stratford | Bill Sullivan | Shen Wei | Grant Willing | Ed Zipco

(Australian – 24 Photographers)

Greta Anderson | Duncan Barnes | Karron Bridges | Sean Cordeiro and Claire Healy | Michael Gray | David Griggs | Caitlin Harrison | Nathalie Latham | Mark McPherson | James Mellon | Graham Miller | Martin Mischkulnig | Fiona Morris | Tony Nathan | Jack Pam | Emily Portmann | Brad Rimmer | Janelle Ryan | Flavia Schuster | Juha Tolonen | Joshua Webb | Toni Wilkinson | Gareth Willis


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ESCAPES

The eleven artists in this exhibit are all photographers. Their work ranges from fashion to advertising, from wedding to editorial, yet all of these artists have collected landscape images that never seem to make it out of the contact sheets and into the greater portfolio of their commercial identities.

These landscapes often give a raw and unedited, often unprocessed, view of the intuitive eye of a photographer. These images were taken here in the city and on location. Some with second bodies and backup lenses, some in the middle of a shoot, some were taken at the end of a job while traveling back home. All giving the artist a momentary escape, to make an image or take a picture where they can not necessarily pinpoint the elements that make these scenes appealing. They simply found these landscapes beautiful and momentarily became lost in them.

Pochron Studios
20 Jay St. 11th floor
DUMBO, Brooklyn NY
Thursday, June 5th
6-9 pm


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MP3:

Here's a nice track from Italians Numero 6, with Bonnie Prince Billy lending his voice to it (in Italian). Can't say exactly why I like it so much, but I definitely do.

• Numero6 (Featuring Bonnie Prince Billy) - Da Piccolissimi Pezzi

A band's place in myspace.

5.27.2008

PUNK AIN'T DEAD, IT JUST RIDES A BICYCLE NOW


















(photos from Los Angeles, including the Choppercabras Spring Thing, a larger gallery from the event here)

My trip to LA was pretty interesting. I liked it way more than I expected to, and found various groups of amazing kids out there who made my trip way more fun and social than I had anticipated. There was also a fair bit of Brooklyn crossover, with both the Vivian Girls and Japanther playing at The Smell (on different nights) while I was there. DJ Dirtyfingers also made an appearance prior to his gig at the Getty (you'd be a fool to miss that one if you're in the vicinity). I was also lucky enough to catch the Choppercabras Spring Thing bike event. The demolition bike derby was a new one, and the inclusion of melee weapons as part of foot down was a funny addition.

I wasn't really going to do a list for LA, but I already wrote it out, so what the hell:

- Clifton's Cafeteria in downtown LA is my new favorite restaurant. Any place I can eat weird deserts next to an indoor waterfall with fake bears fishing and lightbox images of forests is going to win major points.
- A lot of self-promo hustling going on in LA, from guys on the street offering you their headphones to listen to their demo to hand-painted signs simply declaring someone's myspace profile address posted on a highway off-ramp.
- The Getty Museum is a window into the future, and they have art too.
- Little Joy is my new favorite dive bar.
- I went to see improv comedy for possibly the first time, and I think I liked it.
- Meeting Crazy John, eating ice cream and hanging out in front of his garage. He gave me a handmade whistle that he makes out of scraps from a nearby metal shop. All that just because I stopped long enough to say hi as I was passing by.
- Hanging out with LA's top party photographers, Ellei and Jiro.
- I didn't eat any tacos from taco trucks, whoops.
- Being constantly intrigued by the beauty of the landscape.
- Hearing the theory that people's friendliness in LA may be due to a different social dynamic based on the fact that people suspect that you may be important/able to help them. So until they get to know you and you prove otherwise, they are likely to give you the benefit of the doubt.
- Hanging out at the Food Not Bombs house.
- Going to the Choppercabra's Spring Thing on my last day with just enough time to get to the airport for my flight home.
- On the bus to Union Station, the bus driver had her daughter standing next to her in the front of the bus. Besides asking questions over and over, her favorite game was to stomp on the gas pedal whenever her mom stopped to pick anyone up. Which didn't happen a few times while I was on the bus, she would be so busy texting on her Blackberry that she actually drove right past two people, both elderly and frail looking of course.



MP3:

I went to the Getty Museum while I was in LA. Besides basically showing you what the future looks like when you get off the little tram thing, they also had an exhibit of video art made by California artists from the 70s to present. Included in the exhibit was a collection of videos made by Joe Rees of Target Video. The videos chronicle early punk bands playing in San Francisco. Included with footage of The Cramps playing at a mental hospital, The Weirdos playing at a school for the deaf, and Crime playing at San Quentin, there was also footage of the short-lived and way-ahead-of-their-time band The Screamers. I was first introduced to them by an old roommate who made the best mix tapes ever (yes, ever). So not only am I going to share some tracks from this amazing band, but you can also see clips from all the videos in the exhibition online. Pretty sweet, even if you don't get to go into the future to see them.

• The Screamers - 122 Hours Of Fear

• The Screamers - The Beat Goes On

A band's place in myspace.

5.18.2008

ALL SWAGGER, NO TEETH


(Jahphet trying to mug me)

Hey. So I am going to be in LA for most of next week/weekend. Anyone out there want to show me around? Or can anyone recommend any places to check out? My last (and only) experience of LA was very brief, disjointed and punctuated by visits to the offices of "Danni's Hard Drive" and the La Brea Tar Pits. Not sure if that's some sort of metaphorical summation of LA or not. Anyway, any tips or recommendations are welcome.

Also, Miss Info of radio station Hot 97 got a taste of some Ninjasonik. It didn't sit well with her, unfortunately, but their fans didn't take it laying down either.



MP3:

I can't beleive I haven't posted these before, with lyrics like "whoa, my boner, my boner, major boner!" and "123 (something something) this pizza's hectic!" you can't go wrong.

• Modern Bummer - Major Boner

• Modern Bummer - You Can't Tax A Pizza Pie

A band's place in myspace.

5.17.2008

THOSE PEOPLE WHO MAKE YOU FEEL LIKE A TROLL






(photos from my summer vacation, including The Cat Man)

There's nothing more American than riding in a minivan with automatically opening power doors.

My sister just graduated, so I went down to Florida to see her and the family. It was as much fun as it was weird. No major injuries to report, although my legs got destroyed by some invisible insects while I was lurking at dawn in a wetland/marsh area.



MP3:

Such a perfect match for a duet.

• Scout Niblett & Bonnie Prince Billy - Kiss

A band's place in myspace.

5.09.2008

GOT THAT MEAN METH MOUTH






(photos from the recent Group Taxidermy Collage)

I had written this a week ago, well before I knew I would be attending the event pictured above. Kinda funny, I think.

"It's strange how the end of a chapter in your life can sneak up on you and happen suddenly. Sort of like roadkill you'd been saving to taxidermy, it hits a point where you get a whiff and you know it's just too late."



MP3:

A very nice rendition of this classic. For some reason I can't get too excited about Jose Gonzalez's original songs, but when he does a cover he just kills it every time.

• Jose Gonzalez & Junip - Ghost Of Tom Joad

A band's place in myspace.

5.05.2008

INSTINCTS: 271, CURIOSITY: 0



I've heard from a lot of people how great this film (Who Is Bozo Texino) is, but have yet to see it. So here's another chance in NYC.

And if you're in the mood for things old-timey and western, there's a pretty cool slide show on the NY Times website about modern cowboys. They are photographed (with the same technique as the original era of the Great West) and get a chance to talk a bit.

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Bill Daniel's "Mostly True" Book Release and Film Screening

Tuesday, May 6, 7:30 PM
Maysles Cinema
347 Lenox Ave./MLK Blvd. between 127th &128th st.

Bill Daniel will be releasing his brand new book Mostly True, a collection of enigmatic railroad folklore and screening his freight hopping movie Who is Bozo Texino? as well as a grab bag of train subculture shorts.

Many of you may know and love Bill Daniel's amazing film Who Is Bozo Texino?, which chronicles the search for the source of a ubiquitous and mythic rail graffiti sketch of a character with an infinity-shaped hat and the scrawled moniker, "Bozo Texino"- a drawing seen on railcars for 80 years. The film was shot over a period of 20 years and features interviews with hobo graffiti legends Colossus of the Roads, The Rambler, Herby (RIP) and others.

Mostly True is the book companion to Who is Bozo Texino? Styled like a 1930's pulp magazine, the book is an enigmatic compilation of railroad ephemera, a ticket for time travel back to the roots of American rail folklore. The book is a direct product of 25 years of asystematically collecting any scrap of material relating to the ideas of tramping trains, hobo life, and depression-era culture and graffiti (with a small g).

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MP3:

Here are two versions of a traditional song, "When I Was A Young Girl." So the question is, which one do you like better?

• Hally Wood - When I Was A Young Girl

• Feist - When I Was A Young Girl

A band's place in myspace.