Okay, here's one that probably matters to only three or four people (I being one of them) at most, but I just thought I'd close the circle on it
This past February, some of you may remember a selection of posts wherein I discussed the screengrab above, a still from the late Spalding Gray's "Swimming to Cambodia." Originally, I posted this as a quiz to see if anyone could correctly identify the corner upon which ol' Spalding was waiting. In characteristically detailed fashion, Bob Egan of Popspots weighed in in March and pinpointed the spot (largely thanks to its cracked pavements) to be the northeast corner where Grand intersects with Wooster (in SoHo, obviously).
While that riddle was solved, I was positively vexed by a more elusive one that the picture boasted, that being the street art depicted behind Spalding. Back in the 80's, I vividly remember that stenciled image of an Asian man's head with slightly spiky hair to be everywhere around the streets of SoHo. I have no idea what it meant (an ambitious artist's self-portrait?), but it was all over the place. In addition, I recalled a parody of the image that was also everywhere at the time, that being a depiction of the same guy after being shot in the head.
I spent a couple more posts moaning about them, trying to find someone else who remembered them, but no one bit. I combed through veritable tomes of SoHo street art, reached out to friends of mine who are more street-art-savvy than I, but kept coming up empty. I was starting to think it was all just some unattainable fragment of the past I'd never find further evidence of.
Until last night!
I went back to a entry I'd published back in July of 2010 for no readily apparent reason. I'd brazenly lifted a photo from one Leo London's Flickr feed because it invoked a seemingly long-forgotten NYC punk band (that being Falafel Mafia). London was nice enough to weigh in and express gratitude that I'd appreciated the pic. But then, I started re-investigating his collection, and was I was practically blown out of my chair when I stumbled upon a single image that had everything I needed. That image is below.
London says that this photo was taken in October of 1990, but doesn't specify the address. Check out the selection of stencil's on the wall behind the blurry-faced figure, and you'll see that same original stencil, the mock, ominous shot-in-the-head ("End the Joke - Die For Your Art") stencil and even a second parody featuring a face that I'm interpreting as Keith Haring.
Wherever this location is, I'm dead sure these images have long since been washed off in the ensuing twenty-four years. But there they were.