Burning Flags Press The website of Glen E. Friedman. Renowned for both his work with musicians like Fugazi, Minor Threat, Public Enemy, the Beastie Boys, Slayer (and many, many more) as well as his groundbreaking documentation of the burgeoning skateboard phenomenon in the late `70's, Glen has been privvy to (and has summarily captured on film) some of the coolest stuff ever. He's also an incredibly insightful and nice guy to boot.
SoHo Blues - Photography by Allan Tannenbaum Allan Tannenbaum is a local photographer who has been everywhere and shot everything, from members of Blondie hanging out at the Mudd Club through the collapsing towers of the World Trade Center on September 11th. You could spend hours on this site, and I have.
Robert Otter Photographs Amazing vintage photographs of New York City, specifically my own neighborhood, Greenwich Village.
oboylephoto Just some intensely cool photographs of abandoned places.
The Weblog of Spumco's John K. The weblog of cartoonist John Kricfalusi, crazed mind and frantic pencil behind the original "Ren & Stimpy," as well as "The Goddamn George Liquor Show." Surreal, unapologetic, uncompromising genius.
My friend and former nextdoor neighbor, Glen E. Friedman, is readying the release of his next book, "Keep Your Eyes Open," a photographic retrospective of Fugazi. You may recognize Glen's work from such album covers as It Takes A Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back by Public Enemy, Check Your Head by the Beastie Boys and the Salad Days e.p. by Minor Threat (to name a small few). You also might recognize Glen himself from his appearance in the award-winning documentary, "Dogtown And Z-Boys." In any event, "Keep Your Eyes Open" hits shelves this coming September 3, twenty years to the day of Fugazi's very first show. For more, check out Glen's website, Burning Flags Press.
If Lindsay Lohan wants to drink, snort and recklessly drive her life down the toilet, I really don't give a good goddamn. That's her choice. Lots of people care about the starlet's troubled trajectory, but I'm not one of them. While I'd personally prefer it if she stayed off the road while in the throes of her partying, beyond that, I couldn't possibly care less. Why people pay attention to her (let alone celebrate her penchant of irresponsibly idiocy) is entirely beyond me. But, y'know, to each their own.
That all said, if Lohan doesn't stop shaming my beloved Iron Maiden in this fashion, I shall summon a fatwa against her that makes Salman Rushdie's predicament seem like a garden party.
You can all breathe easy. Despite my threats to throw caution to the four winds and assume the steering wheel for what would've been an action-packed race down the Long Island Expressway, we ended up staying put here in the city this weekend. Basically, complicated logistics forbade. In plainer language, we just failed to get our shit together fast enough.
In summers past, Peg and I would make our way out to Quogue by way of the Long Island Railroad, the Hampton Jitney and/or a ride from a relative, usually my Mom. As the years passed and our number of children increased, our options became slimmer. Taking the train or the `Jitney with two little kids and their accompanying gear (let alone our own luggage) is just a zeppelin-sized headache for all parties concerned. We managed to mooch off my Mom's good graces for the last couple of summers -- hitching rides out to the country with her, but circumstances have simply gotten too muddled for us to keep doing that. We vowed last summer that this summer would be the year we finally got over the hump, got our act together and started getting around on our steam on our own schedule. No more mooching.
When it became clear that this weekend was the flashpoint for realizing this goal, we endeavored to sign ourselves up to a highly acclaimed, new(ish) service called Zipcar. It sounded perfect, and they couldn't have been nicer and more accommodating (they actually rushed our applications through when we told them our teary tale). Trouble was, while we were newly christened "Zipsters" in a fraction of the time it normally takes, the fact remained that there simply weren't any cars available to reserve two days before the busiest weekend of the Summer. We were screwed.
Well, that's not entirely true. They did have an S.U.V. to offer us on Sunday morning, but having never commandeered a vehicle that large before (and it already being quite late into the weekend), we decided to pass on that option. We stayed put.
Apart from the roaming hordes of tourists, Manhattan on Memorial Day Weekend is largely free of the hustle and bustle of NYC norm. On Saturday morning, we had the playgounds of Washington Square Park practically to ourselves. On Sunday, we opted on ride on the Staten Island Ferry (which, admittedly, was choked to the gills with fat, pungent German tourists and their own vile children). Yesterday afternoon, we capped off a nice leisurely day with a visit to our local ice cream shop, much to the messy, laundry-worrying delight of little Charlotte. All in all, it's been a lovely weekend.
We'll make it out of the city yet, but there are certainly worse places to spend a weekend than dear ol' NYC.
The job is intensely crazy these days, but, honestly, when hasn't it been? "Intensely crazy" has sort've become the "new normal." My kids, meanwhile, are requiring constant attention, but then, that's what kids do. My wife and I have precious little free time to ourselves, and when we do, we're usually too exhausted to capitalize on it. But, I'm guessing this is true for almost all families with two little people in the ranks. I don't get to see my friends very often, but when I do, I'm concerned that I'm probably not much fun to be around. In the last three months, the demands and disorders of everyday life seem to have magnified, and the accompanying wear'n'tear is starting to show. Pressures of a professional, financial and familial nature have all alligned to form an indomitable axis of worry. As a possible manifestation of this, the constant, piercing scream in my right ear has intensified to the point where I'm convinced that if someone pressed their own ear up against mine, they might be able to hear it. Not to be outdone, an otherwise blemish-free patch of skin on my face has now decided to replicate the jagged surface of the angry, red planet of Mars. It doesn't hurt, but it sure ain't pretty. In a nutshell, I am stressing -- inside and out.
This coming weekend -- Memorial Day Weekend -- is generally considered to be a festive respite, a battery-recharging pause in the rat race to celebrate the arrival of Summer. This weekend, Peggy and I are endeavoring the heretofore unendeavorable. As threatened in this recent post, we are going to drive out to Long Island all by ourselves. Yeah, yeah, I know -- "big whoop", "it's about time", etc.. While yes, it will be nice to get out of the city, I'd be fibbing through my fangs if I told you I was looking forward to the drive. I've done it a quadrillion times, mind you --- just never in the seat with the steering wheel in front of it, let alone with my precious little children sitting behind me. Suffice to say, it's going to be ummm.....interesting. Seat-belts on, kids!
But I'm getting ahead of myself. It's still only Wednesday, after all.
To some people, one's shoes really tell a lot about that person. To others, it's their choice of wardrobe that says the most. Still others insist that you can glean the most about an individual by looking at their circle of friends. I'm not one of these people. I know people with shabby shoes who have more class, poise and dignity than the British Royals (which isn't saying much, alas, I know). I know people who regularly dress like crack-addled circus clowns from Hell who are deceptively thoughtful, compassionate and intelligent folks. And some of my best friends are also known to keep company with a variant of scum and villainy with whom I wouldn't even feel comfortable sharing a zip code.
So, no, I don't follow those tests when I want to look inside a person's psyche. When I want to size someone up, I look at their music collection. That's not always an option, of course. Nine times out of ten, people don't invite you over so you can rummage around in their compact discs. But, when I've been presented with the opportunity, I always leap. Other people may pass judgment on their peers when it comes to opinions on sex, politics, religion, etc., but I normally attempt to remain objective when those topics are raised. But if I find out that someone harbors an appreciation for an artist like, say, Celine Dion or Linkin Park, then they might as well be militantly pro-life Holocaust-deniers as far as I'm concerned. This sort've snap condemnation is all part and parcel of being a horribly opinionated music snob, and I'm guilty as charged (though I'm trying to mend my ways, as I mentioned here). But my shallow hang-ups aside, I do believe that if you want a real picture of what a person is really like, you will find plenty of answers in their music collection.
To this end, my colleague, Gil, wrote an article about six months ago about a new website called Mog. Matching the social networking aspect of popular sites like MySpace with the music-sharing impetus of Napster, Mog basically acts as a liaison for music fans keen on sharing and checking out each others' collections. In that respect, it's sort've genius.
In a nutshell, once you sign up, you download Mog software which scans your hardrive and assembles a list of all your music files. That said, it leaves no stone unturned. If you want the world to believe that you're a doomy metal purist that only listens to the deepest, darkest brand of rock -- bands like Watain, Treponem Pal and Neurosis -- you'd really better delete those Joe Jackson and Abba mp3s that you secretly adore first, as Mog will find them and will showcase them to the rest of Mog nation. And there's only a couple of ways you can display your roster (either alphabetically or by the sheer number of songs you possess by a single artist). For example, I happen to have an inordinate amount of tracks ripped to my iTunes by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. According to Mog, I must be a vast fan of this band, whereas in truth, I just happen to have amassed a stupid amount of tracks by them. I have nothing against the `Chili Peppers (other than the fact that they haven't made a really decent album since Mother's Milk, bu that's only my opinion), but in this instance, the amount of material I inexplicably possess by them isn't entirelly indicative of my affinity for them.
My curiosity was peaked when Gil first wrote about it, but I didn't give it another thought until I noticed my colleague, Jane, on it. I thought I'd take a leap and try it out myself. If you do peruse around on my Mog page, you're invariably likely to find a few selections that will raise your eyebrows and churn your bowels, but I'll make no apologies. I already disclosed a fairly dizzying list of guilty pleasures on this post. I have everything in there from the absolutely brilliant (Killing Joke, Firewater, XTC, Joy Division, Coil, etc.) to the predictably routine (Metallica, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Cure) and the indefensibly dire (Simply Red, Third Eye Blind and I might even have a Maroon 5 track or two in there -- sue me, the wife likes'em). Regardless, I haven't taken it out for a thorough test-drive, but it seems like it could be fairly interesting. If you give a toss, go check out my Mog page by clicking here. My only real grievance so far is that it seems to take an awfully long time to load.
Because I'm still such a hopeless slave to juvenile cliché (despite my advancing years), I do still wear Doc Martens, but this latest ad campaign (thank you, Idolator) kinda makes me want to shun them once and for all. Beyond being oddly tasteless and frankly stupid, they're sort've glaringly revisionist. I mean, I honestly never gave a good crap about Kurt Cobain, but I cannot recall a single photograph of him ever wearing Doc Martens. Same goes for Joey Ramone, obviously (who was strictly a canvas sneaker man, as far as I know). This whole thing is just so undignified. At this point, who cares about Sid Vicious, but Joe Strummer and Joey Ramone deserve better.
I spend an insufferable amount of time here on Flaming Pablum laboriously bellyaching about this changing city and the glory days of its bygone era. The era in question (basically the late `70's through to the early 90's), however, has really only been "gone" for a fleeting nanosecond when you look at the rich tapestry of this city's history. In terms of examining New York City's constantly shifting culture, one of my dearest friends, Rob Dowling, has taken this baton, ran with it and -- I'm very proud to say -- is publishing his first book on the subject a little later this year.
"Slumming In New York" probably isn't ideal for a lazy beach-read, though, unless you happen to frequent beaches populated by scholars, university professors, historians, intellectual aesthetes and other think-tank dwellers. It's academia with a capital "A," but from within that illustrious realm, the book is already receiving rave reviews. Rob knows his stuff.
At the risk of doing his stately tome a misinformed disservice, I'll let this description right here fill you in with regards to specifics. As an added bonus, you can also pre-order yourselves a copy via the very same link, if that sounds like your cup o' concrete. And as an added incentive and an undeserving boost to my malnourished vanity, I purportedly get a mention in the first sentence of the forward. RECOGNITION AT LAST!!! Take that, haterz!
I'd normally take this opportunity to regail readers with swashbuckling tales of my urban misadventures with Rob in the 80's and 90's, exploring the squalid underbelly of Manhattan, fueled by irresponsible amounts of alcohol and scored by the malevolently melifluous strains of the Dead Boys, Cop Shoot Cop and the Misfits, but I'm haunted by a hopeful academic's recent tail of woe, so I shall summarily demure.
M'self and the Author....in decidedly less respectable days circa 1997