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.
In any case, in the wake of his death, a Tumblr page called Age of Warholposted the photo below of O’Brien -– wearing a fetching pair of New Balance running shoes -- sitting with Warhol in front of a window. Sadly, the photo came without a credit, nor a year, but being that Warhol’s been gone for just over 20 years (!!!) now, I’m assuming this was taken at some point in the mid `80s.
Looking out the window, it’s pretty immediately evident that the vista in question is of Union Square looking south. Doing the math, while I immediately thought that this might be the building that houses the Barnes & Noble flagship store today, it was more than likely two buildings to the west, that being 860 Broadway, which housed the final incarnation, I believe, of Warhol’s fabled Factory.
Today, 860 Broadway is the building with the PetCo in its ground floor. I have no idea what goes on in the space that used to be that iteration of Warhol’s Factory, but suffice to say, one can’t just walk into it. As such, replicating this shot of Glenn and Andy with my kids in homage was right out of the question. The best I can do in that capacity is this. One of those windows is the one they’re depicted sitting at.
There is another notable thing about 860 Broadway, though. In an odd coincidence with Monday's post about Kraut, I put up an entry with a video a while back of Kraut allegedly playing in a New Jersey venue called Spit. The video in question was shot for a short-lived cable access show called “New York Dance Stand,” doubtlessly inspired by O’Brien’s “TV Party.” I fleetingly posted about that show here. One of the commenters on the original video, meanwhile, asserted that the Kraut peformance captured was not filmed in New Jersey at all, but rather at a venue on 17th Street “across from Union Square” called The Underground, specifically “in the downstairs of what is now a PetCo.”
Now, while I can’t say I ever went into Warhol’s Factory in 860 B’way, I can say I’ve been in the space that allegedly played host to Kraut … albeit not as The Underground, but rather as the fish/aquarium section of PetCo in 2011, when I was very begrudgingly coerced into purchasing a pair of strenuously ill-fated goldfish for my kids. You can read the beginning of that sorry, soggy saga here, although the post does not address their icky, untimely demise that happened a couple of disgusting months later.
I used to post about Tinnitus more here, but –- as I mentioned on that last post on the subject -– I’ve sort of run out of things to say about it. It’s still very much there in my right ear, but there’s never really been anything to do about it. Nothing I tried ever worked. I’ve just acclimated. But the ring remains always with me.
My good friend Nathanael, meanwhile, sent me a link earlier today that seemed promising. In a nutshell, someone evidently posted a method on Reddit (not a platform I frequent) for tinnitus-sufferers to achieve at least a modicum of silence.
Honestly, when I first tried it, I cannot say that it made any difference, but I’m not entirely certain I’m doing it correctly. I'm going to try again later this evening.
I’ve spoken about my fandom for proto-NYHC band, KRAUT, here a number of times (notably here, here, here, and most recently here). Kraut don’t get enough credit, to my mind, as they unwittingly occupied a somewhat amorphous period between the original NYC punk era and the rise of full-fledged hardcore. They definitely had a hand in jump-starting the NYHC scene (they were among the handful of bands featured on the seminal ROIR cassette, New York Thrash, alongside similarly inclined ensembles like The Mad, The Stimulators, Even Worse and, of course, the Beastie Boys), but don’t seem to get name-checked as much as later bands like Agnostic Front, Warzone, et al.
Historical pedantry aside, however, I just think their first record, An Adjustment to Society, is amazing. Sure, there are a few awkward, knuckleheaded lyrics here and there, but Kraut made no claims about being the next King Crimson, or anything. It was blunt, angry, fast and full-throttled, also featuing periodic contributions from storied Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones. Not only were Kraut pals with a `Pistol, but they even opened up for The Clash during their tumultuous residency at Bond’s Casino in Times Square.
Anyway, the only reason I’m bringing up Kraut again is because of my old neighbor, Glen E. Friedman, posted a vintage picture of the Kraut lads that had previously not seen the light of day on his excellent Instagram page, that being this one.
Here we see Davey Gunner, preternaturally youthful drummer Johnny Feedback, Don Cowan and Doug Holland standing with insouciant aplomb in front of an edifice they presumably just defaced (notice the Kraut logo scrawled behind them). Here’s what Glen had to say about the photo:
KRAUT circa 1981 on 7th street btw. A & B is my guess. This is a rare photo of a next generation NY punk band, outside of the Stimulators and Bad Brains (after they transplanted here) there were very few bands of this era i photographed.
Not only was I pleased to see Glen posting a pic of Kraut, but I love a good location-spotting challenge. In this instance, Glen was dead-on. I recognized the building behind the band immediately. This is indeed East 7th Street between Avenues A & B. The band is depicted standing, sitting and squatting, respectively, just steps to the east of what would have been the entrance to hardcore hole-in-the-wall, A7 (which is, today, the rear of Jesse Malin’s bar, Niagara).
As is my wont, however, I wanted to see if could accurately pinpoint the exact spot Messrs. Gunner, Feedback, Cowan and Holland are pictured, and thanks to that strange little nodule just to the right of Feedback’s bowl-cut (which he later shaved off in favor of a flat-top of spikes), I was able to do just that.
Yesterday afternoon, while taking in the lovely spring weather, my own little punk rockers and I swung down East 7th to scope out the scene. Here in 2017, A7 is long gone, the Kraut graffiti has long since been brushed away, and the neighborhood is by and large a completely different place … but that odd little nodule on the edifice of 140 East 7th street is still there.
I can’t remember the first time I ever crossed the foot bridge at Laight Street just west of Varick, It basically flies over a Holland Tunnel offramp and a curious, inaccessible area called St. John’s Park. If I had to guess, however, I’d say 1989, and I was probably en route to Wetlands Preserve, a now-long-defunct TriBeCa rock club formerly perched on southwest corner of Laight at Hudson (I wrote more extensively about said establishment here). It was either that, or I was on my way to see my friend and fellow former SPIN intern Sam, who was living in a certain building over on Vestry Street.
In any case, for whatever reason, I’ve always been fascinated with that little footbridge. I’m not entirely sure why, as there isn’t anything necessarily exceptional about it. I guess I just associate with various periods of my life, or whatever. It’s odd how you can assign meaning to such things. It also makes a cool cameo in the TriBeCa-centric video for Firewater’s “Green Light.” You can check that out here.
Anyway, on either side of the Laight Street bridge, there are these round, convex mirrors. I assume they’re designed for security purposes. One glance in them, and you’re able to see if anyone’s creeping up behind you. Insert rumination here about how it’s sad that we live in a society that requires such things.
Anyway, since about 1989, I’ve periodically snapped pictures in the Laight Street bridge mirrors. I snapped the one above yesterday after having to make an unfortunate Saturday sortie back to my office to prize my work-phone. It was a bit of a fluke, but I was quite happy with the way it turned out.
With that in mind, I dug upone of the earlier ones to compare and contrast. Here’s one I took back in 1998. This was shot with a wide angle lens, so the mirror looks further away that it actually was.
But is it possible this was Bleecker Bob's on MacDougal, before it was cleaned up and made presentable to hipster vinyl hunters? The place used to be a warren of cardboard boxes and milk crates; I once tripped on a case of Emerson, Lake and Palmer records and almost ended up face down in the dust.
While it seems entirely unlikely that Bleecker Bob’s would have ever hung a sign in its window that said “Disco Headquarters” (that particular genre of music was never really their specialty), perhaps Bob Plotnick might have put that sign in his window as a joke? Could be. Here’s a shot of Bob out in front of that original MacDougal incarnation of the shop.
And here’s a shot of Billy Idol exiting same at some point, presumably, in the late `70s (he still looks of the Generation X era in this shot).
Bleecker Bob’s later moved south a few blocks, settling on West Third street, where it remained for many years until its untimely demise in 2013. That space later became a middling Asian bistro (which I wrote laboriously about here).
The original Bleecker Bob’s space, meanwhile, has seemingly been a host of different ventures since Bob held court there. It was a cool rock t-shirt joint in the early 90’s, if memory serves (I recall almost buying a Jane’s Addiction shirt there). I want to say it was a barber shop for a while as well. Its most recent incarnation was a crepe or dumpling place that has since gone belly-up. Here’s that spot this morning.
You can also get a glimpse of it in this long-form video by the late and largely unlamented NYC band, The Metromen (which I first spoke of here).
Could Paul Gillen’s shot be of the MacDougal iteration of Bleecker Bob’s?
Hey gang. Lots going on at the moment, so sorry for the slowdown. More stuff on the way, but in the short term…
I spotted this on Flickr and thought I’d share it. Snapped by one Paula Gillen, here we see an image from 1981. Ms. Gillen describes it thusly…
Disco Headquarters sign in Record Shop window. Bleecker Street area of NYC. 1981. Neon Sign spells Records.
Obviously, 1981 was a hugely goddamn long time ago, by this point, but where do we think this is?
As far back as I can remember, there used to be a handful of record shops literally on Bleecker, although the only music-related shop that remains today is Village Music World at 197 Bleecker between MacDougal and Sixth Avenue, but I don’t know if that was even there in 1981.
More to the point, however, Ms. Gillen said Bleecker Street area, which could practically mean anywhere between the West Village and the Bowery.
Trump is probably right. We've fallen for a hoax and should be looking for the real killers.
I don’t know -– it’s hard for me to see any U.S. ties to Russia…
except for the Flynn thing and the Manafort thing and the Tillerson thing and the Sessions thing and the Kushner thing and the Carter Page thing and the Roger Stone thing and the Felix Sater thing and the Boris Ephsteyn thing and the Rosneft thing and the Gazprom thing and the Sergey Gorkov banker thing and the Azerbajain thing and the “I love Putin” thing and the Donald Trump, Jr. thing and the Sergey Kislyak thing and the Russian Affiliated Interests thing and the Russian Business Interests thing and the Emoluments Clause thing and the Alex Schnaider thing and the hack of the DNC thing and the Guccifer 2.0 thing and the Mike Pence “I don’t know anything” thing and the Russians mysteriously dying thing and Trump’s public request to Russia to hack Hillary’s email thing and the Trump house sale for $100 million at the bottom of the housing bust to the Russian fertilizer king thing and the Russian fertilizer king’s plane showing up in Concord, NC during Trump rally campaign thing and the Nunes sudden flight to the White House in the night thing and the Nunes personal investments in the Russian winery thing and the Cyprus bank thing and Trump not releasing his tax returns thing and the Republican Party’s rejection of an amendment to require Trump to show his taxes thing and the election hacking thing and the GOP platform change to the Ukraine thing and the Steele Dossier thing and the Leninist Bannon thing and the Sally Yates can’t testify thing...
...and the intelligence community’s investigative reports thing and Trump’s reassurance that the Russian connection is all “fake news” thing and Spicer’s Russian Dressing “nothing’s wrong” thing so there’s probably nothing there since the swamp has been drained, these people would never lie probably why Nunes cancels the investigation meetings all of this must be normal just a bunch of separate dots with no connection.
Raging Slab were something of an anomaly. Not unlike their peers in Circus of Power, the band specialized in a sound and style that owed practically nothing to their immediate environs. Born out of the same Lower East Side scene that spawned more (tenuously) urbane, punky bands like Prong, White Zombie, Helmet and — oh, yes, wait for it — Cop Shoot Cop, Raging Slab played big-trousered boogie-metal, like a burlier blend of Blackfoot, Skynyrd and Molly Hatchet, complete with chaps, rawhide and cowboy hats. Like the afore-cited Circus of Power (who played more Midwestern roadhouse rock in that same convention-hostile scene), Raging Slab were a mainstay at the Lismar Lounge, and always fighting an uphill battle, it seemed. Bizarrely enough, DJ Dmitri from Deee-Lite was a former member. Wrap your head around that one.
I only saw them perform once, opening for Guns N’ Roses, of all bands, at the New Ritz on 54th Street in 1991. I remember chatting with two of the guys afterwards, and despite looking like members of the Oak Ridge Boys, they were incredibly cool and gracious.
I was sad to learn that their guitar player, Elyse Steinman, passed away this week after a long struggle with cancer. By all accounts, Elyse was a sweet, lovely human being who played with fury and fire.