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.
Not a lot preamble necessary for this one. I randomly stumbled across this clip on YouTube and felt compelled to share it here.
Initially filmed for a cable access television program called "Inner Tube" (which I wrote about back here in 2011), herewith the mighty Circle Jerks -- in their original line-up, no less -- performing at the Mudd Club in 1981.
Today, the Cirlce Jerks are no more (vocalist Keith Morris now sings with OFF!, Greg Hetson plays with Bad Religion, Roger Rogerson is dead, and I have no idea what Lucky Lehrer is doing). The Mudd Club at 77 White Street is also no more, having closed in 1983. In 2014, the building that was the Mudd Club is now a pricey condo.
You know you're old school -- and not in a cool way -- when relative squirts like Chloe Sevigny (pictured at right in the fetching Siouxsie t-shirt) start moaning about how the East Village is a sad shadow of its former self.
I've waxed vitriolic about Miss Sevigny here before, although in retrospect, I'm not exactly sure why. I mean, no, she's not really a great actress, but all I've ever seen her in was "Kids" and "The Last Days of Disco." While both those films were fairly undercooked for a variety of reasons, I gather she's gone on to more accomplished work in recent years. I haven't seen any of that, so I shouldn't really judge her there.
Sevigny's championing of the noxious Beatrice Inn in the West Village a few years back certainly didn't endear her to me, but I understand that she was just being supportive to her brother, who was a stakeholder there at the time. Furthermore, I've heard her interviewed about music on occasion, and she seems to know her stuff in that department. I'm sure she could hold her own in any annoying debate about tune-minutia that idiots like myself are prone to get into.
Anyway, Chloe recently chatted with The Daily Beast and joined the ranks of folks like myself, EV Grieve and Jeremiah Moss in the decrying of changes downtown. While there's still the wafting aroma of insufferable hipness about her (or ... wait ... maybe that's just my own blinkered projection and thinly-veiled hostility towards people who are younger than me), she seems like a perfectly reasonable lady.
That all said, I do wish she's stop saying "hating on." One doesn't hate on anything, one just HATES. There is no surface required for the verb to be put into action. One doesn't hate on or under or over or adjacent to to. One just HATES! Let's drop that silly, stupid shit, shall we?
When Bleecker Bob's at 118 West Third Street closed back in 2013, there was much hue and cry over its untimely and unfortunate demise. Many of us in the NYC bloggy community suggested the place should be given landmark status. I penned many a weepy post that looked back fondly at my own experiences of shopping at that fabled spot. But, in due course, it was shuttered .... then said to shortly become yet another frozen yogurt emporium.
In any case, my good friend Howard "How Weird" Forbes posted an image on Facebook that caught my eye: A still from a shlocky movie from 1982 called "The Last Horror Film" (brought to you by Troma, the same folks responsible for "The Toxic Avenger"). Here is the still in question:
Howard caption it with:
Watching THE LAST HORROR FILM from 1982. Jerry Ohlinger's Movie Materials store is still where I first discovered it, but Bleecker Bob's has not yet moved in to their space.
This pretty much blew a new part in my hair.
Pictured in the space where Bleecker Bob's would soon occupy is an establishment called Bonaparte. I was intrigued. We've all heard that 118 West Third had originally been a beatnik nightclub called The Night Owl back in the day, but I was ignorant as to its incarnations other than as Bleecker Bob's.
Wrongly assuming Bonaparte was a French restaurant, I discovered that Bonaparte had also been a record store (as fleetingly detailed in this blog post about a U2 fan who spilled chocolate milk on a copy of the Circle Jerks debut LP). Go figure.
If you have any recollections of Bonaparte, please share them!
"The Last Horror Film," meanwhile, looks fairly worth avoiding (with all due respect to the predilections of my friend Howard). The only notable factor I can assess from the trailer below is that the film stars an absurdly sexy actress named Caroline Munro. You might remember her as the reporter lady/love interest in Adam Ant's "Goody Two Shoes" video.
Meanwhile, here's what the strip pictured in Howard's still of 118 West Third Street looks like today. Jerry Ohlinger's moved to West 14th Street after this, then to West 35th streeet and then eventually closed.
And, should you care, here's a taste of "The Last Horror Film."
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.
Way back in February, I put up a little post about a dimly remembered neighborhood artifact, that being the dinosaur that used to stand atop what is now Continental (then Continental Divide) on Third Avenue at St. Marks Place. I remembered it as being a free-standing sculpture of a brontosaurus, but didn't hold out a great deal of hope that anyone would have a photo of it.
Just last week, however, photographer Susan Fensten (whose work you might remember from this post) posted a photo of her father John Fensten's from the 1980's on Facebook It might be a little hard to make out, but this is a shot of Third Avenue at St. Marks Place. From right to left, that Optimo is now The E Smoke Shop. That pizza parlor (boy do I miss that) became a Chickpea then back to a pizza place and is now a diner-y spot called Archie & Sons (which is supposedly not bad, or so I've been told). To the left of that is Continental Divide. You can make out the brontosaurus on the signage, although I want to say there was one on the actual roof as well. Anyway, this is close as I'm probably going to get.
To the left of that is a joint called Dynasty. That's a McDonald's today. Does anyone remember Dynasty?
I've waxed nostalgic about the old Marquee club at 547 West 21st street a coupleof timeshere. It wasn't even there that long (maybe three years? maybe?), but it was somewhat of a crucial venue for me at the time.
Located way the hell over on the very western edge of Chelsea, it had virtually no neighbors during its tenure apart from a gay bondage club across the street called Zone DK. This was all the early 90's, you realize --- well prior to the advent Chelsea Piers, Giuliani's quality of life campaign, 9/11, the High Line and Bloomberg's era of hyper-gentrification.
In its incarnation as the Marquee, I was lucky enough to catch several live shows at 547 West 21st street. I'm sure I've listed them here before, but if memory serves, bands I saw play at the Marquee included Too Much Joy, Pylon, The Wonder Stuff, the La's, My Dad is Dead, The Wedding Present, the Milltown Brothers, the Butthole Surfers, the Rollins Band, the Lunachicks, Primus, 24-7 Spyz, Fatima Mansions, Julian Cope, the Kitchens of Distinction, Lush, Ride, Curve, Chapterhouse, The House of Love, Swervedriver, Ned's Atomic Dustbin, Blur, Senseless Things, Pigface, Limbomaniacs, The Sundays, The Charlatans, Mr. Bungle, Birdland and Pop Will East Itself. Actually, the very first time I ever set foot in the place, it was still called Sonic, and I was there to see a little known band (at the time) called Nine Inch Nails.
For whatever reason, the Marquee closed sometime in the almost-mid-90's and morphed into a Latino dance club called El Flamingo --- `cos, ya know, we needed another one of those. For the remainder of the 90's, if I'm not mistaken, El Flamingo played host to a discofied re-imagining of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" called "The Donkey Show." Suffice to say, I never went.
Anyway, I addressed all of this in earlier posts. Back in 2012, I walked back over to that end of West 21st street with my little boy Oliver and snapped a picture of its incarnation as a comparatively whisper-quiet art gallery.
Well, earlier this week, I had a little time on my hands while strolling through Chelsea and once again found myself walking west on 21st street, the sounds of countless 90's bands like those listed above filling my head. As I approached, however, that elusive "sense of place" I've spoken about before was pretty much all gone, ..... as was the building that once housed that art gallery, El Flamingo and before it...The Marquee.
Already looming high above West 21st Street is a brand new development where 547 (and the building to its west) used to stand. It certainly doesn't look that impressive now, but 551 West 21 bills itself as "sharp and crisp and as subtle, luminous and dramatic as a perfectly cut diamond" and "like a villa in the sky."
Where once this street was defined by its quiet desolation, it will now be (yet another) buzzing hive of affluents. Who can afford to live in these places?
Anyway, I doubt I'll find myself taking any more nostalgic walks down West 21st street ever again. As such, here's another taste of the past. I was actually at this show. Here's the Lunachicks at the Marquee in November of 1990....