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.
As if 2014 didn't already suck tremendously, I woke this morning to learn of the untimely death of Tommy Ramone. I don't think I need to go into great detail about the significance of the Ramones to a music geek such as I. Pour one out and play this VERY GODDAMN LOUD.
I've been spending a lot of solo dad time with my kids in the past several weeks. A couple of weeks back, I took them out for one of our signature Bataan Death Marches around Manhattan, wherein we circumnavigated the lower portion of the island, with me snapping seemingly incongruous pictures along the way. After a zig-zagging through the Financial District and into Chinatown, we found ourselves walking north up Ludlow Street.
Being a devout fan of the Velvet Underground, I couldn't help but pose my little two on the fabled steps of the band's former L.E.S. headquarters. In my version, the subjects are drinking chocolate milk. Beyond that, it's pretty faithful.
You'll have to forgive me, people. As I mentioned in my hiatus-breaking post, I am indeed back, but it might be a little while before I re-find my sea legs, so to speak. There's a lot happening on the home front, and I'm just not myself these days. I'm afraid I've lost a bit of my mojo. So, anyway, bear with me.
I do have a lengthier post in the works, though. In doing research for same, I did a Google image search and came up with the photograph below, which came embedded on this article about Greenwich Village history. The photo in question was evidently snapped by one Charles Steiner circa 1983 inside the late Bowery joint Great Gildersleeves (a since-vanished venue I wrote about back on this post).
At first glance, I was immediately able to identify Dead Boys guitarist and Flaming Pablum favorite Cheetah Chrome (he with the distinctive, bug-eyed stare and "I GOT SHIT FOR BRAINS" t-shirt), but who are the other figures?
I'm speculating, but the guy to Cheetah's right on the far-left hand side of the picture (with the light blue bandana around his head) looks disarmingly like actor Clancy Brown (who played the fearsome Kurgan in "Highlander," Captain Hadley in "The Shawshank Redemption" and bully Viking Lofgren in "Bad Boys."). Kinda looks like him, right?
But who the guy with the red bandana flippin' the subtle bird is, or the ladies in leather on the right? No clues. Any ideas?
And, should you need reminding, here's Cheetah Chrome just a block or so down from where the above photo was taken. Dead Boys at CBGBG in `77...
I've had a lot of free time with the kids lately. By this point in the proceedings, my little ones are used to being trooped around the city and asked to pose inexplicably in front of seemingly incidental landmarks (usually music-related). They're incredibly good sports about it. In any case, while we were traipsing around Central Park earlier this week (in the sweltering heat), I was struck by another locale. I raised my camera (well, my iPhone) accordingly. Here's the story.
I discussed Tom Verlaine's Dreamtime album in greater depth back on this ancient post from 2006. It became a big favorite of mine after first hearing my friend Warwick play "Always" on our college radio station, Denison University's WDUB 91.1 FM in Granville, Ohio. As I said back on that earlier post, it bore all the signature trappings of Verlaine's work with Television, but had a bit more propulsive kick to it.
In any case, the back cover of Dreamtime features a striking shot of midtown Manhattan from a vespetine vantage point inside the rambling wilds of Central Park. Being a native New Yorker myself, Verlaine's decision to adorn the record with such a suitably dreamy depiction of my hometown only made me love the record all the more. Here's that back cover....
Well, on Monday afternoon, after an obligatory visit to Central Park's carousel (itself a storied landmark, cited in touchstones like J.D. Salinger's "The Catcher in the Rye" and David Mamet's "The Spanish Prisoner," to name but two), my kids and I strolled east. Just before the bridge over The Pond (just to the the southwest of the Central Park Zoo), I looked up and there it was (more or less).
33 years after the release of Dreamtime, here are my kids in (more or less) the same spot.
For the past several days, I've been trying to figure out a way back into this weblog.
You'll remember that a little over two months ago, I put Flaming Pablum more or less on ice. This wasn't the first time I've ever done this, but it was certainly the longest time I've ever had to step away.
Generally speaking, I'm usually not especially cryptic about things -- quite to the contrary, actually. If anything, I'm a chronically chatty over-sharer. But as I've been alluding since the close of last year, we've had some issues here at home on the personal front. This was suddenly compounded by some equally pressing issues in a professional capacity. As such, I had to batten down the proverbial hatches and focus fully on the matters at hand for a while.
So, that's what I did.
As fate's had it, things have worked themselves out in a way that wasn't quite what I'd anticipated or was endeavoring towards. I believe it was old John Lennon who's said that life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans. Great. Look what happened to him.
Anyway, be that as it may, I've decided to come back and start posting again. There's no real reason not to at this stage. I'm in something of a different headspace these days, but I'm trying to move forward and re-align myself.
In the past two months, I had been setting little news items aside for the purposes of addressing here on Flaming Pablum, but after a while it seemed so futile. In the weeks I've been away, my native Manhattan has been further beset by radical and unfortunate changes to locales I've held dear -- from Kid Robot in SoHo to St. Mark's Bookshop on Third Avenue to Kim's in the East Village to Japonica on University Place. Hell, as recently as yesterday, I took my kids for a final couple of frames over at Bowlmor on University Place, as today it closes for good. The space that Bowlmor's occupied has been a bowling alley in one capacity or another since 1938. Now, the building is being razed to accommodate yet another luxury condo.
I've been following the events via my colleagues over at Vanishing New York, EV Grieve, Bowery Boogie and a few others. I'm way behind at this stage, but I hope to bring proceedings up to speed soon. It may take me a while to re-find my voice (and re-build my readership -- is anyone actually still out there?), but I'll get there.
I would also like sincerely thank those of you who wrote in and left such encouraging comments along the way. I've been humbled by your interest and compassion.
The hiatus is still in full effect, but I noticed that the entirety of Spalding Gray's "The Terrors of Pleasure" had made its way onto YouTube. As it's one of my favorite things ever, I thought I'd share it with you here, while you wait for things to get back up and running. I promise that will happen as soon as I'm done putting out the various fires that are threatening to overtake me. This is not an easy time.
Well, after about six days of inaccessibility, it looks like Typepad may have sorted out their problems. For more about the shadowy circumstances (involving ransom notes and such), click here. I guess it's just a sign of the times.
A little while back, I stumbled upon yet another cache of amazing vintage NYC photographs on Flickr, and put up a post here about it and around a few likely sites on Facebook. In short order, it made the rounds, getting picked up by a few of my fellow NYC bloggers and the like. I think that’s pretty awesome – I love that we’re all able to share this stuff. In the spirit of same, while I already link to it over on the bar to the left, I figured I might as well highlight my own Flickr pics again here as well. My photos may not be quite as spectacular, but I like’em. Maybe you will too.
I haven’t updated the page in a several years, but on it you’ll still find lots of familiar images. The sets of particular interest to readers of this blog would be Black & White, Vanished and Street Art. There’s also Flyers and Rock Shit for my fellow punk fans and geeky music obsessives.
There are a couple of music videos from yesteryear that have made the rounds on this and a couple of other blogs that are noteworthy not just for the bands and tunes they showcase, but also as tiny period-pieces, preserving a fleeting glimpse of a New York City that, for all intents and purposes, just does not exist anymore. Foremost among those videos, of course, is “Too Many Creeps” by the Bush Tetras from 1980, which offers a suitably stark glimpse of downtown Manhattan at the dawn of that decade.
The video finds the band scurrying up a damp and freezing looking Bowery towards the Sunshine Hotel, a former flophouse just a few steps south of Stanton Street where they – presumably – are slated to rehearse. Spliced with scenes of the squalor of the Bowery of old and shopping on Orchard Street and in SoHo (oh if they only knew what SoHo was going to become), the Bush Tetras’ vocalist Cynthia Sley laments the sorry state of the Big Apple in decay, set to guitarist Pat Place’s choppy riffs, drummer Dee Pop’s steady beat and the late Laura Kennedy’s rubbery bass. It’s a post-punk classic, full stop.
Obviously, when you watch this video three and a half decades (oof!) later, the streets being decried are barely recognizable anymore (although there are still plenty of creeps). Believe it or not, the Sunshine Hotel on the Bowery (now next to the architecturally incongruous New Museum) may actually still be there, although it probably doesn’t visually owe much to its incarnation of 1981. There was actually an acclaimed documentary about the place in 2001.
The only reason I thought to bring all this back up, meanwhile, is because last week my kids and I were waiting for the Third Avenue bus to school when we were suddenly joined in our bus-anticipating vigil by a familiar looking gent. Though not exactly the sharply svelte figure in black leather at the top of this post, it was indeed none other than Bush Tetras drummer Dee Pop. Being the dork that I am, I introduced myself.