Despite the pervasive, London-esque rain today (light and misty, but after twenty minutes out in it, you're soaked), I repaired back downtown to my storage space on Varick and VanDam to dispose of more needless detritus I'd been expensively holding onto from my past. After jettisoning a couple of bags-worth of cassettes (nothing great, rare or worthwhile, trust me) and stacks of dusty, yellowing copies of New York Perspectives, a long-defunct free weekly I used to pen a music column for back in the early `90s, I decided to take a stroll around SoHo to try and find the corner I posted here the other day from "Swimming to Cambodia" and maybe .... just maybe .... somehow get closer to finding further evidence of that ancient bit of street art I'm currently obsessed with.
No dice on either front, I'm afraid. While it looks frustratingly familiar, I could not pinpoint that exact corner, I'm sad to say. Sure, there were several like it, but the specific architectural flourishes pictured in the still just didn't match up with anything. I suppose it's entirely possible that the building's changed its facade in the ensuing twenty-six years, but that just doesn't seem like the right explanation. And as far as finding more about that stencil (and it's parody stencil), I dare say that's turned out to be an implausibly difficult mission thus far. In a nutshell, I'm trying to track down a bit of friggin' graffiti that's been long washed away by decades and decades --- I might as well be trying to find the Ark of the Covenant or the Holy Grail. Hopes are not high on that front.
But while I was walking around, getting damp and cranky, I passed by an art gallery on Centre Street (one I'd normally never look twice at -- the sort of joint that sells pricey coffee-table books and ridiculous tchotchke) and was stopped dead in my tracks by a massive print of an instantly recognizable image.
Back in 2008, some may remember a video I posted up here with the headline "Matinee Memories." The clip in question had been making the rounds on Facebook at the time. It was essentially this project by a photographer who'd originally documented the CBGB matinee scene between 1983 and 1985 and then had gone back to talk to some folks from that era. Well, that photographer is a guy named Drew Carolan, and this gallery on Centre Street is showcasing his work (he evidently had a show there some years back). Knowing what little I know about this place, I didn't bother to check out the prices for any of Carolan's prints, as I'm sure they'd have made my head spin. This stuff is never cheap. But damn if they don't look great.
When I got home I Googled Carolan's name, and up came the photographer's own site (I don't know why I didn't do this when I first saw the clip -- which Carolan himself posted on YouTube in 2007). In any case, click "Matinee" under the collections header here to check it out. If you're a fan of the hardcore scene of the era, it's well worth your time. Even if you're not, the photographs are really quite striking.
Here's the video, once again!