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.
Back in 2010, you may remember a post wherein I wondered about John Lennon’s New York City. Obviously, it’s well established that he was deeply enamored of this town, but what were the specifics? Beyond hanging out with Yoko and Sean at the Dakota and maybe walking around Central Park, what did he like to do? Did he have a favorite pizza place? Did he like browsing through books at The Strand? Was he fond of perusing the perfume aisles of Bloomingdales? Did he just enjoy strolling through Greenwich Village (as photographer Brian Hammill caught him doing above in 1972)? What was John’s New York?
There is that anecdote I alluded to about John supposedly meeting Bobby Steele (then guitarist for the Misfits) at the Mudd Club, wherein the drunk soon-to-be ex-Misfit reportedly puked at the former Beatle’s feet, but there are evidently myriad variations of that particular story in which both the puker and the puked-upon are different luminaries. I believe there have been photos of John hanging out at Studio 54, but I love the idea of Lennon checking out the post-punk scene at the Mudd Club.
But speaking of post-punk, having recently finished Tony Rettman’s hardcore oral history “NYHC,” I’ve moved onto “Who Killed Mr. Moonlight?,” the new memoir by David J. Haskins, better known as simply David J., the perma-sunglassed bass player of Bauhaus and Love & Rockets. As a longtime fan, I’m slavishly enjoying it, and practically finished it in a single sitting.
In any case, during a chapter wherein the eloquently witty bass player recounts Bauhaus’ first visit to New York City, J. writes….
The following afternoon, I made my way down to Greenwich Village for some last-minute record shopping before we flew home. I bought a John Lennon bootleg at Bleecker Bob’s, where I learnt that, had I arrived ten minutes earlier, I would have seen Mr. Lennon himself rummaging through the crates.
“Yeah, he comes in here all the time,” Bob told me, “and ya know, he’s this skinny little guy. It’s funny, `cos ya tend to think of John Lennon as, like, this big guy, right? But he ain’t big at all. Skinny little guy!” (Three months later, I would be devastated by the news that Lennon had been shot and killed outside of his apartment building.)
David J. also expounds, at one point, that the song “Who Killed Mr. Moonlight?” off Bauhaus’ penultimate break-up album, Burning from the Inside, was ostensibly about John Lennon’s death. So, there ya go.
Anyway, I love the notion of John Lennon rifling through the racks at Bleecker Bob’s. I remember seeing Marc Almond of Soft Cell there, as well as the full membership of Agnostic Front….not that either are entirely comparable to a Beatle-spotting.
I also love this anecdote, as it further humanizes the somewhat polarizing figure of Bleecker Bob Plotnick himself (above in front of the original MacDougal incarnation of the store). Sure, he was thorny curmudgeon, but a genuine NYC character in his own right.
Oddly enough, while Googling around for further insight, I came across this curious page about location shots for an invariably abortive 2006 film about Lennon’s death called — wait for it — “The Killing of John Lennon,” featuring the Mark David Chapman character perusing the racks of — WAIT FOR IT, ONCE AGAIN — Bleecker Bob’s.
The complete Bleecker Bob's chronicles on Flaming Pablum....
Okay, I know....enough already with the Beastie Boys/Kids pics.
It's 2015, and as I laboriously intoned in my year-end survey, the previous year was not a good one. I have lots of things to iron out. As such, while I vow to continue to regularly update Flaming Pablum, I cannot guarantee that I'll be able to do so as much as I'd wish. It's also contingent on me feeling inspired to do so, and I hate to say it, but inspiration is in cripplingly short supply these days. I'm not declaring another hiatus or anything, so don't fret. It just might be slow going for a spell. Or not. We'll see.
In any case, herewith probably the last installment of this incredibly silly series.
The Beastie Boys circa 1982 in SoHo by Arabella Field....on Prince Street between Mott & Mulberry.
And here are my kids in roughly the same spot this afternoon...
At the risk of sounding cryptic, melodramatic and needlessly alliterative, 2014 left me feeling helpless, humbled, humiliated and heartbroken. As far as I’m concerned, it cannot end soon enough. I’m not foolish enough to assert that 2015 will be better, but I have hopes that it might heal the wounds and lift the curse that was this year. Time will tell.
1. What did you do in 2014 that you'd never done before? Buy a headstone.
2. Did you keep your New Year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I’ve pretty much lost faith in resolutions. It’s not that I don’t believe in endeavoring to make positive changes, it's just that I’m no longer going to make them all contingent to some vague, annual promise to myself.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Some friends had babies, yes, but no one in my immediate orbit.
4. Did anyone close to you die? Yes, my mother-in-law and my step father both left us this year in fairly quick succession.
5. What countries did you visit? Didn't
6. What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014? Gainful employment of the sort I was stripped of in July 2014.
7. What date from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory? Honestly speaking, there were several notable dates, but I’d rather not have any bit of 2014 etched on my memory.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Getting through it.
9. What was your biggest failure? Losing my job.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury? I didn’t, no, but certain individuals very close to me continue to.
11. What was the best thing you bought? A replacement pair of my contraband Nike Dunk-Low Black `n Tans.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration? My friends who showed me unconditional support in some very dark times.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Some former colleagues, although circumstances conspired against us all, I suppose. Maybe I’m being too charitable.
14. Where did most of your money go? COBRA and tuition.
15. What did you get really, really excited about? I found myself getting really excited — in a negative way — about a few things. In a positive way, I was quite excited about my running regimen, until I hurt my knee. That said, I will return to it.
16. What song will always remind you of 2014? I cannot say that music played as major a role in my life this year, as I was otherwise quite distracted.
17. Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder? Much sadder.
18. Thinner or fatter? The holidays have made me fatter, but, overall, stress and running kept me reasonably slim.
19. Richer or poorer? Pointedly poorer.
20. What do you wish you'd done more of? Succeeding, earning, problem-solving.
21. What do you wish you'd done less of? Failing, fretting, despairing.
22. How did you spend Christmas? Quietly with family at home.
23. Who did you spend the most time on the phone with? Honestly, I have no idea.
24. Did you fall in love in 2014? I was already very much in love.
25. How many one night stands in this last year? Zero. I’m happily married.
26. What was your favorite TV program? “True Detective” truly blew me away, and I remain a devout “Mad Men” fan.
27. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year? Yes, but it’s not healthy to dwell on it.
28. What was the best book you read? I was particularly engrossed by Peter Bebergal’s “Season of the Witch: How the Occult Saved Rock and Roll."
29. What was your greatest musical discovery? Didn’t do much music-discovering. Spent some time re-examining the back catalogs of some of my favorite artists. That said, when I did finally manage to check out the still-appallingly-named Eagulls, I fell entirely in love with their debut album. Great, great stuff.
30. What did you want and get? Nothing springs to mind.
31. What did you want and not get? A new job and….the answer to an ongoing problem.
32. What were your favorite films of this year? Hated “Boyhood.” Underwhelmed by “Birdman.” Left indifferent by “Gone Girl.” I’d say “Mr. Peabody and Sherman” was the best new film I saw.
33. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? 47, and spent it at home with my wife and kids.
34. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Not losing my job. Not losing a couple of loved ones. Some other things.
35. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2014? There was no concept.
36. What kept you sane? I was not kept sane.
37. What celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? None.
38. What political issue stirred you the most? I was honestly distracted by other things.
39. Who did you miss? John E. Newman and Mary Boulos.
40. Who was the best new person you met? I can’t say I remember that many new folks this year.
41. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014 Don’t ever imagine that it cannot get worse. It always can.
42. Song lyric that sums up 2014: There is no music for this year.
There's a whole lot of stuff going on in NYC right now. M'self and my kids just caught the beginning of the "March of Anger" up Fifth Avenue ... a seriously sizable demonstration, to put it mildly. Also odd to spot some wayward SantaCon'rs dimly attempting to continue their annual idiocy around the edges of the rally. Strange dichotomy.
Anyway, while my kids and I were in the West Village, we passed by a certain spot made somewhat-famous by a photo by Ricky Powell. Below is both Ricky's original, and our little homage taken in the same spot.