Monday, November 30, 2009

Kiss November Goodbye

Say Hello, Wave Goodbye...

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Taking Stockholm

After 10 years, Swedish new-wave quintet The Sounds has finally burst forth with 'No One Sleeps When I'm Awake...,' a poppy, synthesizer-heavy song that stands with the best of Missing Persons, Scandal, and Pat Benatar, with lead singer Maja Iversson standing tall in the shadow of Deborah Harry...

Third album's the charm for these sharp Swedes...

Watch the video for the ultra-catchy 'No One Sleeps While I'm Awake...'

Their biggest Swedish hit to date is 'Living In America,' from their similarly titled first album back in 2003, nailing down the Blondie look and coming ever closer to nailing their sound...

Here they are on Swedish TV performing their muscular next single, "Beatbox...'

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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Steaming Sewers..

Aching cloacas.... a public servant's job is never done...


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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Snapping Nite Jewel

JP and I were so tired when we saw Norwegian electronica band Nite Jewel at Webster Hall that we sat up on the second floor sofas, far from the balustrade, and with no view of the band. I ventured forth, however, with my camera, to snap this aerial shot of their lead singer for JP...

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Friday, November 27, 2009

Objects May Be Closer

...than they appear... I've always thought Tobey Maguire and Jake Gyllenhaal had similar understated boyish charm, and both have chosen their roles wisely... Well, a decade later, they play 'Brothers,' in the eponymous film which had its premier across the street from me last week... The thing is... Jake's 6'1" and Tobey's 5'7"...


Here's the trailer, the first half looks interesting, the second half melodramatic and giving away too much of the plot...

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Accíon de Gracias

or as we say in English, 'Happy Thanksgiving...' Here's Zoltar the Magnificent from the outer bar, the 'waiting room' of Webster Hall, where we went to catch Scandinavian electronica-meisters Röyksopp and Nite Jewel Tuesday night....


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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Not Peanuts

These are
'Fingerling potatoes..' Snapped at the Union Square farmer's market on Saturday.. Today isn't much of a workday... the customers are mostly out, and we finish around 1pm.. Tonight I fly to Maine, where JP & I are spending the holiday with his family...

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Orthodox Blue

Not my picture, but nonetheless memorable.
This was taken in Russia, from a bus traveling the 'Golden Circle' of historic cities surrounding Moscow... The author calls it 'Closed Beauty..' the gates seem to be sealed so that nobody can enter... Here's the link to his Russia picture set. Back in NY, Thanksgiving break can't come soon enough for moi....
Blue Orthodox

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Monday, November 23, 2009

I'm So Happy You Failed

This week, I indulge myself with a Song of the Week that's a very musical, very obscure slice of novelty pop from 1999..

Since you've probably never heard it, it might just as well be new, right? Of course, right! : - )

It's Laptop's 'I'm So Happy You Failed!' Laptop is Jesse Hartman, who as a teenager, in the 1990s, joined the Spinal-Tap-esque regrouping of seminal 1970s punk band Richard Hell and the Voidoids, whose glory days Hartman spent in grade school...
The 'Failed' video is as great as you'd expect from his day job, which is 'filmmaker.'

Yes, Hartman, who lives in the East Village, is also a filmmaker and actor, and won Best Short Film at the 1993 Berlin Festival with 'Happy Hour'... He's acted in several indie films, including his own brother Phil's 'Eerie' and 'No Panic.' I couldn't find any film snippets. Here's Jesse live, music with a comedy performance touch, in February 2007 at the Ars Nova Theater..

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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Mind Your Ps

Four Ps Aaron loves in his film pods: Period, Perception, Poignancy, and Pith...

These Ps are abundantly present in 'An Education, ' the superb early-60s coming-of-age drama that is sure to reap a well-deserved bountiful harvest of accolades over the coming months. Newcomer Carrey Mulligan is luminous as Jenny, a smart, free-thinking 16-year-old yearning for experience and excitement, who becomes involved David with a fast-talking, hip Jewish man in his thirties (yet another tour de force by the underrated Peter Sarsgaard). I'm ever fascinated by the early 1960s, those restless black-and-white years on the eve of the sexual revolution, the counter-culture, and rock-and-roll. I spent these years mostly in a diaper... : - )

Indelible performances and insightful scriptwriting are the best of many reasons to see this film at the earliest opportunity!

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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Dark Lady

Back in the 1940s,
Linda Darnell radiated as much cinematic heat as the Hays Code allowed. She died tragically in the 1960s, in her own forties, days after she survived a house going up in flames..
I'd seen Linda years ago in the brilliant 'A Letter To Three Wives,' from 1949, and enjoyed her last night in a lesser, but still entertaining Fox noir, 'Fallen Angel..' Enjoy the trailer for the former, below.. Look here tomorrow for my review of the terrific 'An Education,' a film bound to win many accolades in the weeks to come...This is certainly one of the best hundred old movies ever made... This is terrific...

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...Hang Around.... I'll have an interesting post later this afternoon. Off to get a haircut, a laptop battery, a new Coach bag, a partridge and a raspberry tree (more fiber than pears...)

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Friday, November 20, 2009

David Hockney Has Left The Country

Thankfully, JP doesn't have to do the same..
We were pleased to catch Pace Wildensteins' showing of recent David Hockney work on Saturday on W 25th in between 10th and 11th Avenues... It runs through December 24, and is not to be missed. Color, wonder, imagination...

Hockney is gone from our shores,
because this British US resident couldn't get his boyfriend a visa, and they didn't want to be separated. This immigration discrimination hurts more people than you'd suspect...



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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Just Another High Line Sunset

with my iPhone, about two weeks back..





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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Me and Him

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Simply Marvelous

JP made me matzoh-ball soup! A little TLC with the bonus of putting me in touch with my inner Jew... : - ) Simple, but marvelous.

It just needed a little love, Charlie Brown.... JP makes something special of romaine lettuce, chickpeas, tuna, Chinese noodles, carrot, and dried pineapple...

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Misty Saturday Gallery Hop

With apologies to Led Zeppelin.. : - ) Our hike canceled, Steve, JP, and I wandered the galleries of 25th Street, and I'll dribble the results out over the next week or so... One highlight was the obvious-but-no-less-entertaining-for-it oeuvre of Olaf Breuning...

I just need to...

The human condition...

You are

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Monday, November 16, 2009

Learn To Learn To Learn

This one has been a long time coming! I kept forgetting to use, for Song of the Week, 'Learn To Learn' by The Week That Was, from late 2008.

Perhaps, because it's an olive or an anchovy on the musical menu - not to everyone's taste, but most scrumptious if your musical taste buds are so aligned...

This song is informed, but not defined, by its influences: Peter Gabriel, XTC, and mid-period Beatles. Its mastermind, Peter Brewis, is 1/3 of the lovely, Beatlesque 'Field Music,' with his brother David, and may or may not be leaving that very similar group for this project. Listen and hear for yourself. Here's the very cinematic black & white video for 'Learn To Learn:'

The other single was 'Scratch The Surface:'

You should also here Peter's work with his day job, Field Music... here's the angular and jittery alternative new wave of 'In Context...'

Finally, a live performance of 'The Airport Line,' my personal favorite on the album..

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Make A Date With A Fox

I just got entertained : - )

Don't miss Wes Anderson's terrific stop-motion animated film of Roald Dahl's classic 'The Fantastic Mr Fox.'

This film works on both adult and kid levels, with Roald Dahl's unsentimental dark humor filtered through Anderson's trademark quirkiness. By the last of its 93 delicious minutes my face muscles ached from smiling! Top-flight actors supply the voices (Clooney, Streep, Murray, DaFoe) and the soundtrack is a twangy 60s AM-radio treat.

The trailer
conveys the film's flavor and wit but neither reveals plot nor shows the entire movie in encapsulation...

In stop-motion, and object is
physically manipulated to appear to move on its own, in small increments between separately photographed frames that seem to move when played in sequence. It's proto-animation, and is less polished and slick than today's CGI, but has more warmth and personality, CGI, a fun and novel world in which to spend an hour or two.. Here's a stop-motion King Kong Volkswagen ad clip from the 70s...

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Rain Cancels

We had to cancel the Giant Stairs hike I was going to co-lead this morning.
New York's had heavy rain for two days now, and the massive boulders of this hike are treacherous when slippery. So, the slightest rain cancels. This is the Plaza of Heroes in Budapest...

Co-leaders of a hike must make the official decision at 7am on the morning of the hike.
I had my cell phone right by my bed. That was a short and drowsy conversation... Here is the Palace of Art in Budapest, to the left of Plaza of Heroes, a vast 100,000 piece plus collection that corresponds to our Met Museum, albeit 1/10 the size. That plaza is the gateway to a park that's full of attractions (zoos, steam baths, museums) but skimpy on greenery...

And here's that park's skimpy greenery. Back in New York, JP & I have decided to make the best of this rain-swept day and go gallery hopping this afternoon with my hike co-leader Steve..

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Friday, November 13, 2009

Meanwhile, on Planet Afro...

I was set to co-lead a hike Saturday at the Giant Staircase on the New Jersey Palisades, but the weather's looking increasingly inclement...

My phone will be a-ringin' tomorrow night, with hikers wondering if the game is still on...

My uphill climb at work continues, ever upward. Still working out the technical kinks...

JP made me matzoh ball soup last night, and a delicious salad with tuna, lettuce, chickpeas, dried pineapple, and Asian carb noodles..

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Another World

IMG_0351HanGawi, the Korean gourmet vegetarian restaurant where I took JP for his birthday, really takes you out of New York.

It's very Asian, wooden, old-fashioned, dimly lit, and, best of all, spacious...

You really have your own large space to dine in, and since their tasting menus typically last over 2 hours, you feel like you've reserved that space for the evening. You sit on cushions on the floor... And, oh yeah, the food is quite tasty...

A flash would've helped this picture. I wish I'd taken my camera and not just my iPhone... Oh well, next time....

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

You Read/Hear It Here First!

Hey all, I'm enjoying this mid-week holiday after a grueling first week on the new job! It's rare these days that a newsstand makes me smile, but it happened this morning. New York Magazine's cover story is 'Brooklyn's Sonic Boom: How New York became America's music capital again.'

Lo and behold, three bands I love on the cover, of which two were featured in Song of the Week! Grizzly Bear (bottom, left) back in June, MGMT (bottom, right) in April 2008. The third, Dirty Projectors, is their #1 choice, and is an acquired taste (a musical anchovy?) but is under consideration..

It includes a Brooklyn music map of 16 venues, with my beloved Music Hall of Williamburg firmly at #1! It also includes a Top 40 songs that define the sound of right now, of which 8 of the top 11 are Song of the Week providers - this playlist is downloadable on ITunes. Besides avant-garde gay quartet Grizzly Bear at #2 and indie power-poppers MGMT at #3, honors go to TV On the Radio, Gang Gang Dance, Vivian Girls, Vampire Weekend, Animal Collective, and Hercules & Love Affair... In addition, I've posted concerts by Grizzly Bear and Vivian Girls, oddly not in Brooklyn

The conclusion: my blog, and Song of the Week, will keep you plugged-in and hip! :-)

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Halloween Cake Also-Rans

From Dean & DeLuca... The ones that got away...
One day I'll try them all.. but not in the same day... : - ) It's Native American summer here in NYC... Howdy!

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Monday, November 09, 2009

Super-Premium Gourmet Bubble Gum...

Mika (pronounced MEE-KAH), who supplies today's Song of the Week is all of the following:

a) a prodigious singer-songwriter-producer with the vocal talent of a Freddie Mercury or a George Michael;

b) a 'post-gay' poster boy who acts very gay and camp, embraces all sexuality, and rejects definitions;

c) a Lebanese-American-British 26-year-old teen idol;

d) a brilliant musical dessert chef who may yet give bubble gum a good name; and

e) yet another UK musical phenomenal as-yet unappreciated in the USA...

First of all, the music really is wonderful. Treat yourself to a listen and you may well be humming it all the live-long day... Here's Mika's wonderful live performance of 'We Are Golden' at the Sweden's Malmöfestivalen in, where else, Malmö, the country's third-largest city, just a stone's throw from Copenhagen across a very, very long bridge.. My thoughts on Mika's sexuality at the very end of this posting...

Here's 'Grace Kelly,' the irresistible song that put Mika on the map to begin with! Every part of this song dazzles the ear! It's also laced with dialogue from 'The Country Girl,' the movie that won Kelly her one Oscar.

Here's another great Mika song from his first album, 'Relax, Take It Easy...'

And here we have Mika living it large in his 'We Are Golden...' video

Finally....Swhile I'd clearly prefer it if Mika just said he was gay, since every 'coming out' boosts gay morale, he seems like a lovely, sunny, and welcoming person. Almost nobody who's straight has any problem 'defining' that immediately! Yes, I suppose we're all bisexual, very technically, to some degree, we're also all potential skydivers.. :-) In my view it's not very relevant if you're 90% gay or 90% straight, as most people are I believe...

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Sunday, November 08, 2009

Thomas' New Old Camera

Something old, something new... My friend Thomas is an avid - and talented - photographer, and when he visits from Argentina, he usually orders photographic equipment to be delivered to my care so he can carry it back. When he stayed here in September, the new prize was a 19th century camera made lightweight with 21st century materials..

Some independent company in the Midwest makes these things... I'd love to explain how they work, but I know less abut classic (and current) film technology than I do about beekeeping : - )

I was
delighted to be the 'test dummy' for Thomas' first shots with this contraption!

And here's Thomas, photographed by Thomas.... You can follow his photography blogs, www.buenosairesphotographer.com and www.thomaslockehobbs.com, which you can also link to on the left side of this here blog...

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