Archive for the 'About Last Night' Category

Go Fourth and Multiply

by Linus, July 5th, 2005

The annual Macy’s fireworks display tonight was spectacular, as always. These past few years I’ve hoofed the crowds along one shore or another; this time neighborhood blogger Curly McDimple — I can practically yell from my house to hers, who knew — had a convocation of blogerati over to her rooftop, and I joined along with Jess and Katie to raise a glass to this here America, which pisses me off a lot and doesn’t always treat me right, but you know, they don’t get a whole lot better than this, really. Which seems to be a theme in my life lately, but that’s another story for another time.

The camera was ready and the view was splendid. Jess had smuggled a bag of sparklers up from Virginia, and when the lights faded from the sky we fired them up and made our own. There’s a photo gallery of my firework and rooftop shots posted on Flickr; click through and enjoy. More than 35,000 shells were fired into the sky in the 30 minutes we watched. I didn’t get all of them, but there are some pretty frames nevertheless.

Something Fishy

by Linus, June 27th, 2005

This summer thing sure is taking up a lot of time — which I take to mean that I’m doing it right.

Beating the 95° heat yesterday was a priority, and the Good Ship Ventura obligingly sailed on, and on, and on, for a long afternoon surrounded by water. Saturday the annual Coney Island Mermaid Parade was all the sound and fury a body might need down on Surf Avenue and the Boardwalk. Above is a glowing Peaches N Cream, one of New York’s burlesque regulars, and a shot of the passing madded crowd. And at the Mermaid Parade, the crowd is half the fun.

More mermaid pictures swim along my Flickr photo stream. My mind has been a whirl lately, what with the future brewing up ahead. I’ve been thinking about the difference between jumping and leaping. I do a lot of one, not enough of the other. It’s a little tricky to explain, but we’ll get there sooner or later.

Present Under Glass

by Linus, June 22nd, 2005

I forget whether it was Black Flag or Aristotle who said that anything that doesn’t change is evil — or perhaps it was both, or neither. However it turns out, Henry Rollins gets my vote.

For the most part people are steady beasts; I guess that’s why we value change. We may revel in our set ways, but we know at heart that too much rut leaves no choice of roads and locks us in to the foolish consistency of the Bureaucrat, the Dirty Tool, the Venal Moron President. Just by way of example, of course. Outside of fashionable hips, when has “narrow” ever been fielded as a compliment?

At the 2004 SXSW music conference a guitar-pickin’ friend pointed us to Jennifer Glass and her showcase at the Pecan Street Ale House, which doesn’t get a link because despite the name it caters to mass-market bad beer — better to call it the Pecan Street Sucky Suds Bar, then we’d know what to expect. Jennifer was a startling beauty who was making her early steps into legit music. She did a pretty enough set; she had a nice sturdy voice and an easy manner on stage.

When her name came up on The Gigometer I was curious to see where intervening time had led her. The music industry on most levels is both kind and violent to beautiful women; there is always someone there to offer the gentle mentoring helping hand, and every dog expects his day, if you know what I mean. Sometimes this works out, and usually it does not.

Last night at Rockwood Music Hall, by now hands-down New York’s best small venue (it even has a nice bathroom), Jennifer was simply spectacular. Her music is the knowing adult pop that lurks behind radio, and in duo format — I didn’t catch the name of her guitar player, who licks and squawks and noises off in a kind of airbrushed Dave Tronzo way — she was completely formed and ridiculously able. All that, and she can manhandle a harmonica like a pro.

There are no weapons of mass destruction at Rockwood Music Hall. You’ll have to find some other excuse to mobilize for an evening out. Jennifer Glass would be a good one.

Tinker, Soldier, Taylor Mead

by Linus, June 21st, 2005

Toward the end of May we were hanging out at d.b.a. (as one will) with Ann Vriend, watching the night get late.

Ann is a friend from this year’s SXSW music conference, where we met on a riverboat barge. To keep the symmetry right we’re going sailing on a different boat soon enough, but there in d.b.a. — as the night gets late, you mind — we’re talking about art and commerce and music, as one will, and looking at Lexi’s portfolio photos, and exploring the limits of Kulmbacher’s tendentious and rewarding eisbok, EKU 28. There will be a tomorrow, but at the moment it seems remote.

Vriend has a flirty, supple voice, and she mixes the fragile vocal sweetness of one Jones (Rickie Lee) with the husky hominess of another (Norah). She closes with a delightful ramble called “The Only Living Girl in New York,” which may not precisely match the Simon and Garfunkel Boy counterpart but certainly gives it a run for spirit. - from my MusicDish SXSW columns

Poet, actor, Warhol co-conspirator and underground sharpie Taylor Mead is an on-again regular at the bar, and he’s down by the door. Taylor has a lot of moods, many of which involve some yelling. This wears pretty well when you’re 80 years old, which Taylor is. Becalmed perhaps by the growing satisfied buzz of William A. Kirkley’s festival-circuit film Excavating Taylor Mead, he’s relaxed and friendly tonight, and I swear he nearly twinkles. There’s an undeniable respectability conferred when someone makes a documentary about you. He has the air of someone who might start handing out knighthoods any second now.

I nod hello, which is as far as things usually get, and Taylor gives me a roving, theoretical look. On the TV above our heads some late channel is playing Carrie, and on screen Sissy Spacek is just getting to the bug-eyed creepy blood-spattered good part. He gestures at the movie.

“Do you remember,” he asks, “at the end?”

“Totally,” I tell him. He’s not sure how old I’d be, whether this is a real memory or one that came in via reruns on cable. “I saw it when it first came out,” I tell him. “Big De Palma fan. It was so scary that some girl sitting next to me in the theatre screamed and grabbed hold of me when, you know, that.”

“Out of the ground,” he agrees.

“Grabs her. Scared the shit out of me.”

Piper Laurie is being skewered by telekinetically driven knives. We sit for a while, watching Carrie on TV, and the night gets late.

Recent articles on Taylor Mead:

Check Your Pants at the Door

by Linus, June 7th, 2005

The LVHRD Underwear Video Game Contest

Barcade is one of the brash new beer bars popping up in the City. If 24 quality tap beers and a hand-drawn cask ale are not enough to lure the thirsty Williamsburg hipsters, the big boomy room also has a wall-to-wall glee run of old arcade video games, from Berzerker and Frogger and Ms. Pac-man all the way to Tempest, which is the only one I ever really mastered. (I’m a pinball guy, and I was good at it; video games, lacking both a TILT control to learn and finesse and the moving real-world parts to make the TILT skill relevant, never moved me.)

Last night the mysterious LVHRD Foundation brought the business to rainy Barcade with GMHRD, an Arcade Game tourney fashioned on ancient Greek sporting principles. That’s an Arcade Game tourney played in underwear (LVHRD underwear is sold at the door in case you forgot yours, which can happen in Williamsburg). When I get there the serious friendly girl at the door invites me to take off my pants. “No, I’m not competing,” I explain. Turns out lack of trousers is mandatory, and since I’ve got a couple of fine pins down there I shrug and decant for the evening. Or is that “depant” …?

The LVHRD subtext is all about Geeking for Glory; the last event I caught was the Science v. Beauty quiz show, where research types from better local universities were matched against startling one-named girls from some trendy agency in a battle of skills and wits (guess which team aced the liquors in the blindfolded smell test: “that,” declared one of the models, “is Bombay Sapphire gin” — she missed the brand, but clearly had the price range down to an, er, science).

Tonight the nerd in us all is nourished. The competition heats play out in the centers of attention, and knots of boxered and pantied friends drift off to side-competitions at Galaga and whatnot. One guy takes out nearly all the Level Two gun towers in Star Wars, and as he plunges into the trench for his attack run his friends whistle, frolic, and cheer. You know how you always wished you could get public acclaim for some stupid thing you’re good at that no one else wants to hear about? It’s that kind of night.

We smile, chat, drink, take pictures, admire the trim minions who worship at the Church of Buns of Steel. Butts like that are made, not born. We count our blessings. But finding a place to put your wallet is a hassle.

  • More pictures in a Flickr photo set, memorializing the march of the undergarments. My phone service is being switched at home, so Net access will be tricky for the next week to ten days (actually the phone company is late at this point, but it will happen sooner or later).

The Art of Summer

by Linus, June 6th, 2005

What a week it’s been. The big exciting news, and I love this, is that I don’t have any big exciting news apart from summer, which is percolating in my head like a family of prions high on a beefy Frappucino. I had no vacations to speak of between 1997 and 2003, give or take, apart from clinging-by-nails-to-the-wall weekend clenches, and this served to make Linus a dull boy. When the break came in summer 2003 — remind me to scan that awesome picture of the old-growth Redwood some day — it was a goodun, and the result is that when I get to feeling like summer these days, there isn’t much room for anything else.

This year the plan is to get to the beach, instead of just talking about getting to the beach.

Harvey comments in the post below this one that my photo of wind-taut sails goes a long way to summing up the good things: I agree. In my own turtled way I’m starting to define summer as a quest for paths of least resistance. Not Dark-Side-of-the-Force least resistance, but the least resistance that brings you to places you wanted to go anyway. As in, “By gum, I went out to pick up laundry, and here I am at the movies. Isn’t life strange?”

There were boat trips planned for this weekend, and I was going to be on them, but local pleasures won the hand instead. On Saturday I shot a photo set of the unlikely Smith-9th Street subway station on the F and G lines, an elevated tarpaper-clad trestle contraption high above the Gowanus Canal. It’s something I’ve been meaning to do. As it happens, a friend from Flickr is putting together some sort of picture project on trains, and she intimated that those of us who could not cough up some images by close of weekend must have fat butts. Ever eager to deny the obvious, I produced. I’m pleased with the results, especially the flaring blown-out image of the F train pulling away into a blank future. There’s some poetry there.

I probably had scurrilous adventures planned for later, but on the way home I stumbled across a sunny bunch of Gen-Y painters dabbing away at a streetside construction-site wall a few blocks from the house. Unbeknownst to me, the neighborhood was closing Day One of the Atlantic Avenue Art Walk ‘05, and this was the public side of the long stretch of indoor exhibitions. More pictures ensued — pictures of pictures, and the painters who paint them — and when darkness started to rise I was pink and delirious with sun.

Pent-up sticky rain just started. Night is falling, and I am calling “Dance with me.” Hmmm, there might be a song in that.

Birthday Girl in a Birthday Blur

by Linus, April 26th, 2005

Stiff Little Finger Jake, and a Girl I Didn't MeetBirthday Jess
In the Uterus of LoveBrenda Ponders
Jess and SharonaMoi

As the rest of the world collapsed in its nerveless tax-day heap, Our Favorite Blogger Jess turned 30 and celebrated in the distinctly non-taxy Grassroots Tavern — Home, we are told, of the Hot Bouncer. Jess is handling the new decade well: she only agonizes on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. The pictures are a bit late, but here are some of them.

For my part, I went the Kobayashi Maru way to turning 30, by which I mean that when the birthday came knocking I was not at home to receive it. I rolled over into the new decade midway through a rafting trip on the Sun Kosi (River of Gold) in Nepal, and the trappings of the occasional digit were far enough away to seem irrelevant. It was long ago, in a galaxy far away.

You Can See Me Flickr in the Light of the Moon

by Linus, April 25th, 2005

A slice of Harvest Moon
Ukulele Louie, the Bad Ukulele Clown
A Slice of Miss Saturn

This was mostly a weekend for staying in, and as it happens I mostly stayed in this weekend.

Since I don’t already have enough ways to fritter away tinker-time on those Internets </sarcasm>, it’s a lucky thing Flickr came along. Flickr is a sprawling virtual warehouse e-complex for storing your photographs. It’s also a fantastic time sink, and a whole lotta fun.

Back in the old days when humanity used to shoot film — February, in my case — your pictures were those things that wouldn’t all fit into the photo albums and eventually got dusty and crumpled and tacky on the finish side from exposure and where did those negatives go anyway (YMMV if you are not a slovenly bachelor, or if you have lots of closet space). Now that we shoot pixels — they shoot pixels, don’t they? — your pictures are those things that won’t all fit onto the hard drive, so you conveniently burn them to CD.

My theory about burning things to CD is that it’s a really great way to open dimensional portals. It works like this. You take those 200 files you don’t really want — shy photos, what-was-I-thinking mp3’s, incriminating drunken email notes, Yahoo chat logs, whatever — and burn them to a CD to keep them out of the way, along with 5 or 6 important items you’d actually like to see again. These might be drafts, notes, ideas for Really Great Inventions, snippets of dialog for Really Great Stories. You put the CD away onto the Dimensional Rift Storage Spindle™, and let a few weeks pass. Then you wake up with a hankering to hear that mp3 of that song you suddenly like so much. You fish out the CD, toddle it into the CD tray, pull up a file menu, search through it. And voilà! 200 files you don’t want, and none of the good ones.

Dimensional portal. We’re working on harnessing it for future Star Trek spinoffs.

Anyway, for 25 clams a year and as many hours as you can yank out of a day, Flickr will store your photos. All of them. (With the free basic account, Flickr will store just most of them: thanks go to blogger buddy Paul Frankenstein for upgrading me to the awe-inspiring Pro account.) Between that and the first season of Deadwood on DVD, there went Friday, some of Saturday, and bits of Sunday. Now you can thumb through my pictures on Flickr. That, and has there ever been a character as deep and dark as Al Swearengen? I intend to talk like Al from now on, until someone points out that I’m acting like a jerk.

The image slices up above are crops of fuller photos you’ll find on my Flickr page: up top is lovely Harvest Moon and on bottom is glorious Miss Saturn, both of whom brought light into a dark rainy Saturday night. Between them is Bradford Scobie as Ukulele Louie, who doesn’t inspire raptures so much as paroxysms. But that’s another story for a different kitchen. Suffice it to say that Saturday night ended far into Sunday morning and the words “ouch” and “whoa, ouch” were not far from mind.

Jess and I went out for another in our series Bad Monster Movie Blogger Events later in the afternoon, chowing down on The Amityville Horror, a.k.a. It’s a True Story No It Isn’t Oh Yeah What Do You Know Well It Isn’t Just Shut Up Fine Bite Me. We should get this straight right away: it’s a pretty poor movie. And by the end we were clenched in our balcony seats, feet pulled up from the dangerous floor, tingled and flinching. Silly and shallow, yes: and that was some scary shit.

Next up on the Bad Monster Movie Blogger Events calendar: House of Wax, with Paris Hilton. Yay!

Lady of the Rings

by Linus, April 12th, 2005

Miss Saturn, Revolutionary, hosting Hulapalooza at Galapagos

There is something ineffable about Miss Saturn. Actress, comedienne, dancer, and clown, she hula-hoops her way through New York’s Burlesque Revival — Saturn, rings, got it, right? — always leaving a dash of titillating mayhem in her wake. Now, we’re talking about a quick, pretty, funny, clever girl who spends public time doing tricks with hula hoops in scanty, clingy outfits, so there’s a what’s-not-to-love element to consider: because what’s not to love? She’s got all that, and abs that bear some pondering. But the Mysteries of Saturn run deeper still.

The Wikipedia tells us that, according to the Roman poet and astrologer Manilius, Saturn is sad, morose and cold, and presides over the left leg. Apparently Manilius wasn’t much of a hand with a hula-hoop, but I guess he knew his left legs all right. I prefer Miss Saturn’s self-imposed tag: she signs her emails “Revolutionary.”

Tomorrow night I’m doing a reading of a new play, U Suck! by Mark Adamsbaum. It’s based on transcripts of the not-so-titillating mayhem that rolls out in on-line chat room forums, and judging from our rehearsal the other day it zips by in a frenzied, humorous flash. Blogger buddy Tony Hightower of Evil Twin Theory is also in the cast. If you find yourself in the East Village around New York’s best new venue, Rockwood Music Hall, come and join us.

U Suck! - by Mark Adamsbaum
“Funny, profane and venomous!”
Wednesday, April 13, 2005 - 7:00 p.m. - FREE!
Rockwood Music Hall, 196 Allen Street
(just south of East Houston & First Avenue)

Rockwood Music Hall usually has Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout at the bar, and on Wednesdays the bar also features Danielle (who, among other things, does my hair). Remind me to stay away from that bar part until we’re done with the reading.

Zipper Slices

by Linus, April 6th, 2005

Ethan Lipton at E-Z Tuesday
Zero Boy at E-Z Tuesday
Rachelle Garniez at E-Z Tuesday

Yesterday was the first Tuesday in April, so our very own Ethan Lipton was co-hosting his E-Z Tuesdays monthly revue with Zero Boy, New York’s local vocal acrobat supreme. Their monthly guest was Rachelle Garniez, who is so lovely she can make a guy rethink the accordion as a proper instrument.

The last few installations of E-Z Tuesdays were held at the Belt Theatre next door, but apparently the Belt is about to become a steak house or something, which means that’s all she wrote so far as that goes. The show moved this month to the Zipper Theater, a gorgeous space with careful pools of light and shabby Charlie-the-tramp afterthought walls. Ethan and his Orchestra (which, to date, generally runs anywhere between zero and four people) were touching and hilarious, and Zero Boy had one of his finer sets. It’s all captured in images here for your viewing pleasure: safe for work, washed in night’s shades, and fun to look at.

If you haven’t tasted Ethan’s music yet, it’s probably time, don’t you think? That link will bring you to his CD Baby page, where you can sample his sounds from the menu on the left (no charge, all legal). He’s got a listening page on his site with more tunes too. Hear them, share them, trade them with your friends. G’wan, we don’t mind.