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.
Yeah, I know -- there are already way too many books about CBGB out there, but hang on a second.
For a start, photographer David Godlis is a goddamn legend. Secondly, I found his ruminations on night-shooting by available light (influenced by pioneering Hungarian photographer Brassai) to be really pretty interesting.
My Facebook bud/photographer Susan Fensten's father John snapped same circa 1980 (which she, in turn, posted on the excellent Facebook group, Manhattan Before 1990). I still remember it being like that.....a wide expanse of space with precious few souls about.
It's a very different scene these days, of course. Here's that very same spot about fifteen minutes ago (with my kids in front of it, of course). How times have changed, eh?
Fensten's original shot reminds of the video below. I've wheeled it out a few times, but I just love the quiet, unhurried vibe of it all....
As far as I'm concerned, this summer has sucked a sizable amount of balls. As such, what better tune to close out the season than the uproariously applicable "Summertime Blues"?
As I mentioned back on this ancient post, while Eddie Cochran's hallowed anthem to frustrated deliquency has been covered by everyone from The Who through the Black Keys, my very favorite rendition is by the ludicrously amusing Japanese garage punk ensemble Guitar Wolf. If you are unfamiliar with them, that is a tragedy to be remedied with all stealth. Here's their endearingly over-the-top rendition, best experienced at a VERY HIGH VOLUME.
Well, were it not already strenuously enjoyable, here comes Bug TV's homage to same, addressing Guitar Wolf's heroically incomprehensible Japanglish with suitably explosive aplomb. ENJOY AGAIN:
Hey again, all. Just a very quick one. I'm currently deeply ensconced in familial matters (see previous post) and taking care of a dizzying amount of logistics, but I spotted this whilst quickly perusing the `Net, and thought it was something worth sharing here.
I'm a member, on Facebook, of a group called Manhattan Before 1990 -- which is pretty self-explanatory in terms of the subject matter of the discussion. Essentially, members post their favorite pictures and ephemera of the city from ages past (much like I do here). This morning, a fellow member named Ruben posted the following picture, prefaced with the accompanying information:
Marilyn Monroe Wasn' t The Only Beauty That Sam Shaw Photographed On The Streets Of New York. (Sam Shaw - Lee Remick, The Bowery, New York City, 1960.)
Indeed, few could argue that Lee Remick wasn't an entirely fabulous babe, as this picture handily demonstrates. But can anyone name the street she's giving it some serious smolder on? Weigh in.
Meanwhile, the second I spotted this, my head immediately filled with the strains of this favorite from the old Go-Betweens. Crank it.
Back in 2008, I wrote a weepy little post about my drunken nights on Ludlow Street in the 90's, noting that I no longer spent that much time on that particular strip of the Lower East Side. Well, now that Max Fish, the Luna Lounge, Barramundi, Motor City, the Pink Pony, El Sombrero and the Ludlow Street Cafe are all but a memory (in some jarring instances replaced my imposing new high rises), I have even less reason to go there.
That all said, I'd read recently about a Beastie Boys mural being painted on the east-facing facde of the corner shop originally featured on the cover of Paul's Boutique(where Ludlow intersects with Rivington), and felt obligated to go check it out. Below is my capture of same.
It's impressive, but the Ludlow Street of the Beastie Boys' era is a distant memory by this point, replaced by what my comrade Jeremiah Moss once again described to as a "world of vocal frying dumb talk."
Still, it's a nice mural. By the way, if you're a fan of Paul's Boutique (and if you're not -- you're pretty much dead to me), you might enjoy this.
Hey again, all. I still only have tenuous access to all things Web these days, so please sit tight. In the interim, however, I saw this breeze by on Facebook recently, and thought I'd share it.
Here's a (presumably) homemade vid for "Oh! Sweet Nuthin'" by ye olde Velvet Underground. Though the song dates back to about 1970 (it's the final track on the Loaded album), I can't quite put a date on the NYC footage herein. In any case, enjoy.
I hoep to be back in regular rotation shortly. Stay tuned.
Hey all, just a quick one. I'm actually sequestered out on the `Island for a while with limited computer access, so bear with me.
During my two-month hiatus, my comrade Drew sent me the video below, and I've meant to put up a post about it ever since.
This October will mark the eight-year anniversary of the closing of CBGB at 315 Bowery, a milestone that prompted much gnashing of teeth in many circles (including mine). The shuttering of the fabled rock club, endearingly squalid dive bar and ground zero of Punk Rock has since come to serve as a telling signifier of the transformation of New York City. That its address has since been co-opted by a bespoke clothier only reinforces that. The Bowery is a different place. Downtown is a different place. New York City is a different place. Those are just the facts.
Since CB's demise, the already robust mythology that surrounded it has only flourished (no thanks to a truly abortive film from 2013 about same, but the less said about that, the better). An invocation of a night of CBGB now comes grittily entrenched in the artful imagery of dimly lit urban decay, the insouciant cool of bohemia, the whiff of an anything-goes frontier and the palpable threat of violence. The name conjures up pictures like those found in Bri Hurley's "Making a Scene," a striking photographic document of the New York hardcore community (that's one of her shots above), or like the iconic image below of the No Wave all-stars... portraits of romantic characters existing on the edge of society.
Truth is, of course, not every night at CB's was like that. Not every show at 315 Bowery warranted the punk pageantry. Hell, in its last several years of operation, the booking policy at CBGB really wasn't that adventurous, nor did it attract room-filling big names. Even during its 70's and 80's heyday, some shows at CBGB were just that... shows. No one got stabbed. No one showed up with a mohawk. No cops were punched. It was just another night at one of the city's live music venues.
Below is another clip by Nelson Sullivan, the intrepid videographer I've written about before, who presciently made a point to document as much of his life on video as he could (prior to his untimely death). In this clip, Sullivan attends a record release party at the CBGB Record Canteen (remember that?) for Binky Philips, a somewhat-less-celebrated scene veteran, CB's regular and self-described "also-was." As an event, it's fairly low on thrills, but the video provides a tantalizing glimpse back at the scene circa 1987.
Watch for a blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameo of the cover of Killing Joke's Brighter Than a Thousand Suns amid the record racks.
These days, CBGB is the afore-cited John Varvatos boutique and the space that was the CBGB Record Canteen is now a Patagonia, for all your pricey, outdoorsy gear needs.
Don't panic .... Yaffa Cafe isn't going anywhere (or at least I don't think it is).
Back in the late 80's and into the 90's, I was something of a regular patron within the sparkly confines of this venerable St. Marks Place establishment. A good friend of mine dated a Yaffa Cafe waitress for a while. It was strategically located as a great staging point for various downtown missions. Alone with Sin-E down the street (long gone), it anchored its storied little strip of East Village quite nicely.
I stopped going at some point. The last time I was there may have been in 1993, when the Yaffa Cafe served as the location of my interview with all four members of Blur. This was just a little prior to their stardom-courting days of feuding with Oasis. I don't think I've set foot in the place since, sadly.
In any case, while walking by it yesterday, both of my kids couldn't help commenting on the Yaffa's signature mural, so I stopped and took the picture above ... instructing them to mimic it. An elderly gentleman sitting nearby smiled and noted that the mural in question was thirty years old. Unlike the comparatively recent Joe Strummer mural a block and a half to the east, it refreshingly hasn't been touched up, but nor has it been messed with. Long may she scream.
Anyway, I'm hoping to jump-start a new meme: #Yaffing.
Seems weird to be ringing in this blog's birthday after having gone dark for two months, but ya can't argue with the calendar. `Twas nine years ago today that I started typing slavishly overwritten and grammatically dubious entries here -- initially solely for the purposes of irritating a co-worker who'd started his own blog (which, I believe, he's long-since abandoned). Nine years later, I'm (more or less) still at it.
As expressed elsewhere here, I'm continually amazed that anyone turns up to read this stuff, let alone comes back or leaves a comment. There are wide swathes of this blog that continue to make me cringe, but it's here -- warts and all. I wish I'd come up with a better name than Flaming Pablum, but it's kinda too late now.
When Joey Ramone succumbed to cancer back in 2001, I was still working at TIME Magazine as a news desk editor. At the story meeting that morning, editors sat around the big conference table bandying ideas around as to who the magazine should reach out to for the purposes of penning a eulogy. A few chimed in suggesting "Johnny Rotten," the erstwhile Sex Pistol's infamously thorny persona still being the go-to name for all things punk rock. Rarely did I speak up in these meetings, being that I was a comparatively lower-ranking member of the team, but here was a subject I warmed to, to say the least. Knowing that John Lydon has never had anything even remotely positive to say about the contributions of the Ramones, I jumped into the conversation. You can read the rest of that saga here.
Thirteen years later, we've just lost the last original member of the Ramones to cancer. In typical fashion, the media are still getting their facts wrong. Reports seem split on whether he was 62 or 65. One network news program prefaced their report of Tommy (Erdelyi) Ramone's death with a snippet from the video for "I Wanna Be Sedated," taken from Road to Ruin ... an album Tommy did not play on. Minor quibbles, maybe, but c'mon ... get it right.
I actually had the privilege of working with Legs in the summer of 1989 when I interned at SPIN (you can read that sepia-toned epic poem here). He could be alternately rude, hilarious, cantankerous, thoughtful, abusive, somber, inspired and tirelessly inappropriate, but he was never, ever boring. Legs' eulogy to his fallen friend has a sobering finality to it, and might just be the only piece on Tommy Ramone's death you need to read.
The only other piece I've read about Tommy Ramone's death that struck a chord with me was from the Daily Mash (sort of Britain's answer to The Onion). The headline pretty much sums it up: 99 per cent of Ramones t-shirt owners not upset.