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.

i can’t go out and i can’t stay in


My good friend Mike Mararian had another solo show opening Friday night, at a gallery in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.  Great turnout.  Katie Scott (left) and Alicia (right) are seen here.


I borrowed Mike’s hat briefly.  And that’s the man himself on the right (and I believe that’s Dan in the background).


Jenn pays tribute to the legendary Allan Lee.


If every city has its own official liquid, you don’t want to know what New York City’s is.

• Scavenging has been a fun and often-productive activity for me for as long as I can remember.  Perhaps it could be linked to my Southern roots, where you drive around town, and anything out on the curb is fair game to add to your own packrat collection (I think several of you guys have ridden shotgun with me, years back).  That moved onto the justification of removing of remote, government-owned objects sometimes, and certainly anything in an abandoned area was available for the taking.  Never did this feel too much like direct stealing.

I haven’t fully considered aquiring food the freegan way, but scavenging lately has been on my mind in the context of bicycles here in New York.  I’m referring to abandoned (but locked), rotting bicycle frames that you probably see a handful of every day you commute.  It’s been an internal battle for me: surely bad karma will hunt me down, should I decide that I could use an old threaded stem attached to a decaying corpse of a bike.  So, I’ve never touched a locked but abandoned bike.

Let’s take the red Shogun road bicycle currently attached to the fence of the dog park on 7th Avenue and 17th Street in South Slope.  It showed up a month or two ago, in pristine condition, connected to the iron fence via a standard-size U-lock around it’s top tube.  After it remained unmoved, untouched, un-checked-on for the first solid week, the front wheel walked away.  Then, in a matter of days, the rear wheel was gone, perhaps at the same time that the handlebars were pryed from the bike’s stem.  The pedals, seatpost, and saddle were the next to vanish.  I guess it may be similar to the way flies and beetles naturally break down dead animals on the street to aid in the decomposition cycle.  The frame (often the only thing actually locked in these cases) is permanently left, the same way that the insects will consume the skin, tissue, muscle, and body fat of carcasses, yet will leave the bones to eventually become brittle and succumb to long-term weathering.

But the question is still there: is there a threshold for the exact moment when a discarded bicycle is legitimate, honest “fair game” to potential scavengers?  Obviously if your bike is locked for more than about ten seconds in the Union Square area, it’s considered fair game by the scourges of society (the number of stolen bike posts involving Union Square on Craigslist is scary).

• On the subject, this evening I found some steel drop bars and two bike tires in a large pile of trash on my street.  It’s business as usual around here.

• Sadly, two of my old staples in Manhattan are looking pretty rough: both Lounge (ideal for its inspirational, curated fashion), and National Wholesale Liquidators (ideal for achieving middle-america prices on household junk) are getting priced out of their SoHo and NoHo spots, respectively.  Both stores are heavily marked down and tearing down excess aisles daily, and may be gone completely by early January, at this rate.

• Last Wednesday I caught a performance of Pina Bausch’s Bamboo Blues at BAM.  While it seemed good, I’m not positive I’ve yet aquired a taste for contemporary dance.


Recently at the Broadway-Layfayette stop in Manhattan, there’s been a resurfacing of the top-notch Belvedere Vodka ads, but in print.  This self-portrait of Terry Richardson is on a poster about six feet tall.


Macri Park near Metropolitan and Union in Williamsburg.  Pretty laid-back atmosphere, but cozy.


The Gowanus Canal has high tide and low tide.  During low tide, you can find all your lost stuff.  The smell of this highly polluted waterway can be a little foul though.

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.

wake up early


Mike (left) remained incredibly enthusiastic on the Metro North ride up via the Hudson Line to the famed Dia:Beacon art museum in Beacon, New York on Sunday. Delish, on the right, played the role of Little Red Riding Hood.

• The Dia:Beacon greeted our group (Kyle, Lisa, Jenn, Lehman, Mike, Ben, and I) with a surprising top-shelf brunch on Sunday morning, consisting of unlimited bloody marys (with rosemary-infused vodka), excellent baked-filo pastries, and some ham-and-horseradish-mustard baguettes. The actual museum space, living up to everyone’s hype, is massive, and worthy of the trek. Many large-scale pieces line the walls of this former Nabisco factory-turned-remote-gallery. Alright, enough with the hyphens. I ran into a coworker, Pauline, just before Jenn and I scored free tickets from a nice woman to a sold out dance performance in the building by the Merce Cunningham Dance Company. While I wasn’t really feeling any of the dancing, it did feel significant that John Cage historically maintained ties with the company, and had created the music for this piece. The Dia also has some Richard Serra steel creations, plus the best-looking Louis Bourgoise welded enormous spider I’ve seen yet (better than those in the Tate Modern last year).

• On the subject of music, I picked up the newest Atmosphere, after WOXY was playing “Painting” a few times on their evening set. While it lacks anthems, it does get a little better on a second listen. It’s definitely not that Epitaph sound Slug accidentally picked up a few albums back. Personally I still think nothing is as golden as the Lucy Ford EPs a few years back, but, that being said, impressive that he’s still dropping albums on the regular, about a decade later.

• On Saturday, Jenn and I caught up with Brian and Rachel to do brunch over at Hi-Life in the Upper West Side before catching a performance of Len, Asleep in Vinyl, up on 76th and Broadway. Cheers to comp tickets. The play was set in the remote mountain cabin of an aging record producer, who is visited by his rockstar son, and a few other odd characters. While the acting was stiff (and bad) the first few minutes, it got pretty interesting for the rest of the brief 75-minute duration. The crowd was super old, and maybe received a different meaning from the performance, but the four of us definitely enjoyed it. Personally I’m a sucker for the lodge aesthetic. Exposed woodgrain and taxidermy taps into that inner, partially-constructed nostalgia. (The only taxidermy ever in my parents’ home were a few large fish on plaques, collecting dust. Though, there were many wood-paneled walls).

• While I don’t have a photo to show evidence of this, there’s been a recent trend of cutting subway platform advertising to form new hybrid ads. For example, cutting out Harrison Ford’s face from the new Indiana Jones film, and putting it on the face of a dog being walked by some fashionista, etc. Of course, you can also find this supplemented by the normal dozen speech bubbles and such. There’s certainly a correlation of this minor vandalism with the frequency of trains on these lines. I’m talking the L, G, and C trains for the most part. Late at night, might as well start making some new ads: they aren’t wheat-pasted, they’re self-adhesive vinyl. Collage-away. (Though they did call the police on me once at an L station a few months back).

• This evening in Key Food on Avenue B:
cashier 1: (concerned) I think there’s a stalker.
cashier 2: really? where?
cashier 1: here, I mean, he comes in and says hi, and then waits for me to leave.
cashier 2: (sad) oh, him? he never even talks to me.


The BAM Harvey Theatre is located on Fulton in Fort Greene, Brooklyn.


Astoria, Queens, circa 2005 when I had just moved to New York. There used to be weird stuff over in Queens, like random chickens in alleyways and stuff (though, just today my boss mentioned a family who keeps chickens in the basement of their Lower East Side building).

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.

aquatic rock


Leticia near the Gowanus Canal in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn.

• Two weeks ago (ouch, it’s been a while), Jenn, Jesse, Jessee (yes, I don’t think there are even that many J’s available in Scrabble) and I caught the Brazilian dance troupe, Grupo Corpo perform two dances back to back over at BAM’s Opera House. Afterwards, we went over to one of the three (and supposedly the first) of the Kiku Restaurants in Park Slope, that are all unrelated, and just want to all be named after the small flower.

• Jenn and I scored a Miyata road bike (well, via paying for the item, but regardless, always good to pick up a new bike) for her to replace her GT Rebound. Shaun, the guy we bought it from, a few blocks from my place here in the Lower, is opening a bike shop on 3rd between 1st and A. He’s going to specialize in older steel bikes, and seemingly isn’t pro-track/fixed (or even BMX) like the rest of the neighborhood. Look out for his opening around May or so.

• Caught a late screening of Contempt (1968) directed by Jean-Luc Godard over at the Film Forum. Luckily it was held over an additional week. Jack Palance (ie: Ripley’s Believe it or Not host) as the typical “stupid American” seemed perfect. Godard goes over the top to show the female body on display, during the collapse of a marriage, set against the beautiful Italian coast. It felt like Godard doing a Fellini film from the beginning: we see that we’re about to enter the world of on-screen filmmaking in Italy, and the main characters are the film’s suave writer, arrogant producer, and oddball-genius director (played by Fritz Lang). Great film.


Jenn and Mr. Lehman in the gallery section of Supreme Trading in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Williamsburg Open Studios happened two weekends ago, to coinside with the Armory Show over at a pier in Manhattan. Will Hall, Chelsea, David Lehman, Jenn, Pam, and I went to a handful of them, occasionally held up at the keg lines, then went over to the afterparty at Supreme Trading, then finally Legion Bar to see Welles spin.

• This past weekend, Jenn and I got in a lot of cycling in preparation for the upcoming Five Borough Bike Tour. We also caught the opening day of Brooklyn Flea over in the Fort Greene area on Sunday. We saw Brian & Rachel, Addie & Brandon, and a few others, before ducking out to prepare some guacamole over in Park Slope. Then, Leticia and I played a few games of pool over in Carroll Gardens over some corona and whiskey, respectively.

• The previous day, we got in a bike ride from the Lower to the Slope to Long Island City, Queens via the less-talked about Pulaski Bridge. Later we rode with Brian & Rachel to a really solid, new Latin American restaurant on Broadway, just south of the Williamsburg Bridge, on the Brooklyn side.

Mos Def was heading into the car service next to where I was eating lunch last week over in Fort Greene, the neighborhood he calls home.  Also, in terms of music celebrities, Paul Simon was walking out of my office when I was leaving the other evening.

• Music-wise, unfortunately the Postelles & Bachelorettes show was moved from Sound Fix (likely due to the underage liquor bust the other weekend) to the inferior, Spike Hill, also on Bedford. Also the crowd was ten to fifteen years younger than we expected. I think I need to do my homework a little better before some shows. A few of the Postelles were in attendance at this show tonight:


Chairlift performed tonight at the wonderfully, aquatically-themed venue, Glasslands, in Williamsburg.

I couldn’t quite see where they were going with the first few songs, but it sounded like there was some potential, and then they finally reached a nice point toward the end of their set, with sparkley keyboard notes and catchier bass lines. Female-fronted, though the other two guys seemed to have decent voices as well. Though, perhaps anything would have sounded great following the tragic band that opened, Aquila. Even covering The Pixies (Break My Body), Aquila felt like they were missing a few instruments (well, and someone who can actually sing). Symbol-heavy drumming and bass guitar with too much distortion is lame. I did run into Ian though, in the crowd, a former college mate from a few years back, who happened to be in town for a few days. But I mean, the venue seemingly projects the Blue Planet series silently each evening on a side wall. I’m sad that I didn’t create an aquatic themed indie rock venue first. Long live David Attenborough!


An Elvis wheat paste on Houston. It’s a Fisher-Price assault rifle.

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.

chef pants invades


• In a remote area of construction in the Upper West Side, we found a garfield stuffed animal crucified and left for dead.  Heavily faded, bloated, and missing an arm, it was difficult to determine time of death.

Jenn and I met up with Erica & Constantine for dinner at a small, snobby, new restaurant on 5th Ave, somewhat close to Southpaw.  Good food (steak, chicken, salmon tartare, and complimentary clams, but the owner was a little overbearing.  Later, we unsuccessfully attempted to bowl down at Melody Lanes in Sunset Park (we were faced with a 1.5 hr wait), so we met up with D.Lehman, Mr. Appalachia, and Ben Calloway over at Buttermilk on 5th Ave and 16th in Park Slope.

• I have no clue how those tiny urban boutiques survive.  You know, the ones like DQM, Prodigy, or Billionaire Boys Club, etc.  I mean, they have about five items for sale (which maybe isn’t the best word, because there isn’t anything sale-like about the prices), and the three-four employees in the 300-square foot space would much rather continue playing their video game console (perhaps Playstation 6 or whatever the kids have these days) than help any customers.  But it could be that I’ve never hung around those exclusive places enough to effectively pay my dues and gain their respect enough for them to assist me in purchasing something.  Or, I suppose, it could be similar to a bartender just intentionally not wanting to serve you… though, I never see anybody buy anything.  I mean, Republican Rob and I discuss the phenomena of the urban boutique from time to time, and his main theory involves unseen money coming in from a large behind-the-scenes celebrity (ie: Kanye, Pharrell, etc), which would always keep things afloat, despite never unloading any inventory.  It’s image.  (haha, actually, just from a little research, I see that Billionaire is Pharrell-owned, and Prodigy is going belly-up.  I think Rob was onto something.)


• Each time at the pay-what-you-want American Museum of Natural History, I find new things.  This time, I was most interested in the shapes the skeletons on prehistoric animals made.  Extra-large deer-like things, and ancient bears and stuff.

• Last weekend, Hillary, Zena, Jenn, and I took a number in the waiting space for Jin Fong’s famous weekend dim sum, then, once our number was called on the microphone, we paraded up the long escalator and into the large banquet hall.  Everyone was happy.  It was my third or fourth time eating there, but the first time for everyone else in the group.  If you’re unfamiliar with dim sum, its a lunch-brunch meal where waitresses roll carts by your table, and they announce (or sometimes just unveil) what their cart contains (mainly an assortment of dumplings) while you request (and point to, a lot of times) the items you’d like to be added to your table.  Then, the waitress stamps your card, which you later use to pay at the cash register near the exit.  I still haven’t figured out how to accurately gauge what the final bill will be.  It seemed like we had something like 12 stamps on our card, but the total for the four of us was $32.  It’s a steal.  I’d love to try the other larger dim sum options in this city – let me know if there are any you recommend.


• I finally removed the larger, unused larger chain ring on my bike.  Here’s a new shot (above).  A lot of my coworkers and friends have signed up for the Five Borough Bike Tour in early May.  If you sign up in the next week or so, you can still get the early registration rate, which comes to $46.50 or so, with a small service charge.  The real draw, aside from it being one of the largest rides around, is the chance to ride the BQE and the massive Verazano Bridge all the way to Staten Island.


• From the cutting-room floor: OK, there are at least 15 things wrong with this shot.


• A north-facing building on 2nd Street between Avenue B and C received an organic makeover at some point last year.  At a glance, the only name I recognize from elsewhere is the “Best” on the door.  But speaking of getting up in this city, Chef Pants has been pretty active in the past two weeks.  I’ve seen his poor penmanship near the LES Crabs tag on Houston just past the dumpy little architecture firm, beside the newish wheatpaste Elvis Playing an Assault Rifle at the 1st Ave entrance to the 2nd Ave F Train station, and on a handful of the cross streets between Avenue A and B (such as like 4th, I think).  As far as bizarre names go, “Teeth Soup Meat” may beat “Neckface,” “Earsnot,” and “Elbow Toe.” People definitely like body parts around here.