Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Vice Night

I’m at the Vice magazine party surrounded by the marginally famous and enough booze to turn me into a literal piss drunk. I arrive in poor shape from a Sunday spent doing yak and taking triples of tequila on an hourly basis, trying to forget a girl who came and saw and conquered. Stuck in the elevator trying to get to the Penthouse, uneasy, anxious and absurdly overblown with an outbreak of self-pity. The weather is caressing, cloudy but sweet, I stare at the Hudson, I wish I was drowning. Rapidly accelerating my alcohol intake, two three four, god I’m fucked. I strike up conversations, I’ll charm your pants off. Negative correlation between my outward cheeriness and my inward nostalgia. You wouldn’t know it. I hide it well. Champagne, Vodka, Gin, Whisky, Beer and white Wine. Kill me please. Start rummaging through the pockets of a jacket left on the chair I’m sitting on. It’s Suroosh Alvi’s, fuck fuck fuck. We head downstairs to a private party, I tell our guide that my friend Scott is Suroosh, he looks kinda Arabic, not entirely un-feasible. We smoke, I run out, take a cab to midtown and go to sleep at my job, wake up in a puddle of piss. The gluttony of love.


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Ask Me Stories - Body Talk

A little while ago, Sparrow Hall covered a new regular event, titled Ask Me Stories. It's all about short and usually hilarious stories about a certain topic, featuring performers and stand-up comics. Last night they had a show at Arlo&Esme - a classy establishment with a beautiful basement space - and it did not disappoint.

Stories ranged from the gross (master cleanse gone horribly wrong in a public bathroom), to the sad but stomach-achingly funny (a hilarious story, aptly titled "Assoline"). The players kept the audience engaged with numerous tidbits and pieces of what can only be called a righteous kind of overshare. And the audience loved it, getting to know these people and some of their mortifying personal stories. Community was being built and it wasn't on Facebook or (taking it back OG) geocities.

You can download the Ask Me Stories podcast for free on iTunes, and check out their teaser trailer for the body talk event.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Midnight Juggernauts- Vital Signs

New Video from the upcoming Crystal Axis album from Australia's lugubrious tune makers, The Midnight Juggernauts

Vital Signs - Midnight Juggernauts from midnight juggernauts on Vimeo.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

American Subversive Soiree

The monied streets of New York's Meatpacking District provided the perfect backdrop for David Goodwillie's book party. Goodwillie's debut novel American Subversive (Scribner, April 2010) is a brilliant literary thriller and romance between Aidan Cole, a failed journalist turned gossip blogger and Paige Roderick, a radical who blows up Barney's high end department store.

After a reading at 192 Books, a crowd of mod Manhattanites headed to Bottino for drinks and hors d' oeuvres. The revelers reminded me of my carefree underage drinking days when Marquee was the club to be seen at. Strangely, after reading Goodwillie's debut novel, I related more to fictional Paige, a disenfranchised woman who turns to terrorism after her brother's death in Iraq. I also understood Aidan's fascination with fanaticism, a world where people will go to extremes for their ideals, far removed from the insular New York party circuit.

After a few glasses of Pinot Noir and some steak tartare snacks, I left feeling slightly reactionary. Perhaps what American Subversive is all about.

Guests included Nan Graham, David Goodwillie, Leah Rudick of Skinny Bitch Jesus Meeting, authors Susan Shapiro and Liza Monroy, and the Scribner team.

Photos: Amanda Segur

Exit Through the Gift Shop - Movie Review

“Holy shit!! We just forged a million quid”

The Banksy I was acquainted with in this movie might not even be Banksy, an elusive, allegedly Bristolian street artist who has graduated said art to a level above and beyond its ruffian, deviant beginnings. His subversion is meditative, inquisitive, complex and beautiful. He is truly an artist, not just a street marking wall pisser who knows how to blow up an image at Kinko’s or how to use Photoshop Pro: @Sheppard Fairey.

But the movie isn’t about Banksy entirely, it’s by Banksy. It might even be an over everyone’s head work of art, meaning its subject, Thierry Guetta, might himself be a Banksy creation and a commentary on the Art World and its De Rigueur pretense. It could be a mind fuck- I give Banksy the benefit of doubt on the side of cunning.

It’s a movie about obsessions that snowball and transform, but it also has “Banksy” in it, making clever observations and displaying a knack for comedic timing and dry wit that suggests a level of intelligence of a higher plane.

Thierry, we are told, is a Frenchman who lives and once owned a Vintage store in L.A, a cunning businessman who began video recording everything at a very early age. Without a doubt Thierry’s obsessive nonstop recording of everything- getting out of the shower, brushing his teeth, eating dinner- is in the autistic spectrum. Then his obsession, serendipitously finds a channel, an exclusive source of focus: street art. Through his kinship with Space Invader, a French street artist cousin, Thierry begins to document the perilous and obscure subculture. He becomes the sole documenter of this world and vows to make a documentary of it all. Through persistence and indefatigability he earns street cred and is brought into contact, knighted even, with and by King Bansky. This is the prettiest part of the movie, we are shown the world of Banksy, how it’s done, who it is done with, we see his workshop, his team of loyal aids, we are even introduced to his former spokesperson. This level of intimacy with a pixilated warped voice Banksy is as close as we will ever get to him, and that’s fine. But then it stops, the movie refocuses on Thierry, who is by now himself a street artist: Mister Brainwash.

Another obsession on its exponential freefall.

Thierry takes being an artist as a business and invests all his money into a studio and a team of assistants, who make the work for him, he cuts, pastes, and steals from every artist he has come into contact with and makes millions doing so. He swallowed, digested and defecated an entire subculture, raped it, pillaged it and...what of it?
If the adage “Good Artists Copy, Great Artists Steal” is true, then Thierry is the truest artist alive today. Maybe it’s all been commissioned by Banksy, some people even think Banksy is a member of the British Secret Service, I wouldn’t put anything past him, because I can’t grasp Banksy, he’s out of my league.


Monday, May 3, 2010

Skinny Bitch Jesus Meeting

Comedy duo Skinny Bitch Jesus Meeting started their recent sketch set at The Pit as banjo wielding nuns. Singing an alluring song to the audience, they quickly revealed themselves to be habit wearing orphan haters.

This darkly funny flirtatious style seems to be their staple. Members Leah Rudick and Kate Hartman pen hilarious harmonies bewailing their post feminist fate (they plan on changing their names to Rucunt and Hartwoman), and pose awkward questions while listening to their roommate's thundering off stage sex "Would you rather be able to have the only orgasm of your life or make it so 9/11 never happened?" Dizzily dancing the line between inappropriate and insightful, Skinny Bitch Jesus Meeting drew me in with their lyricism and kept me laughing with their cutting one liners.

Check out upcoming performances:

May 6th-9th: Ladies Are Funny Festival, Austin, TX. Headline Saturday at 9
May 19th: 7:30PM The Weeping Skull Show at Parkside Lounge
May 20th: 8PM Daddy's Basement at Identity Bar
May 27th: 8PM Supercream Supreme at Legion Bar
May 29th: 11 PM at the PIT


Photos: Amanda Segur

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Wake up little dreamer

Every time some phase in life ends it is the scariest thing in the world. All that lays out before you is a black hole of endless possibilities and failures.
This song has helped the dreamer in me wake up.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Ukraine Parliament Smoke Bomb Egg Fight

As someone pointed out in the Foreign Policy blog there was a "chaotic 'debate'" in the Ukraine parliament. Involving smoke bombs and eggs.

Hilarity ensued.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Comfort Scene from the Cosby Show

Comfort comes in so many forms: dark chocolate with marzipan, the Smiths, the Daily Show, those fuzzy pajama bottoms that make pzzt pzzt noises with every step, cold apple juice, being in bed with the space heater on while it is cold and rainy outside, watching people walk by big plate glass windows, having the headphones turned all the way up, holding cold fingers attached to cold hands to the inside of your elbow to warm them up, smiling at strangers who smile back.
Right now, this is my comfort in such a big way.

nighttime is always the right time.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Los Angeles Scene Capture

THE STRIP on East Sunset Blvd. is home to the Echo Curio, The Echo, Echoplex, Two Boots Pizza, The Shortstop and the recently reformed smoke-filled hideaway Little Joy. Steps between Silver Lake and Downtown Los Angeles shows and bars make sure that there is something amazing to do every night of the week. One can wander to every party and grab a pupusa (LA’s version of ‘street meat’) when you’re done for the night.

The Echo Curio, a host to art shows, bands, installations, an impressive record collection and other oddities is run by Justin McInteer, Grant Capes, Tim and Heather Goodwillie. Check them out at Echo Curio.

On March 18, Adam Weiss, curated, the first underground hip-hop event the Echo Curio had seen in its three plus years of existence. Performing at the Curio, was Michael Nhat, Sirah, and Gajah of the Acid Reign Crew, LA-based DIY hip-hop and electronic artists.

People flowed in and out of the small space and into the backroom and outside onto Sunset Blvd. trying to find a good spot to see the show. Michael Nhat responded by performing on a wooden crate so everyone could get a good view.

Sirah opened her set to “I’m Just a Girl”, by No Doubt in working the crowd up in gold lamae disco pants and a rockabilly ‘do. Halfway through her set, she threw off her platform heels and busted out rhymes to the crowd of mostly dudes in sideways baseball caps with some punk hipper-than-hipsters thrown in because, well, it’s Echo Park.

Afterwards synth-space pop band, Halloween Swim Team did a live improv instrumental set while people, including the curator, freestyled until the event came to a close.

This was the biggest turnout for an event fueled by hip hop and Adam Weiss is doing it again May 20 at Syncronicity Space. Performing is Screwtake (Bizzart and Walter Gross), Verbs (of Swim Team/Project Blowed) and Exsistereo of the Shapeshifters. True to the vibe Adam Weiss creates, the night will round out with live instrumental sets by Rare Grooves and Widow Babies with the requisite audience participation thrown in.

-Claudia Chandler
Pomp Los Angeles

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Air Guitar @ Brooklyn Bowl

On April 9th, a crowd of Brooklynites gathered to watch the gods of the most elusive instrument of all -the air guitar- perform. Around 9:45pm (after soundcheck and tuning) superstars of the string ghost put on a show that will forever remain embedded in my memory. Skillfully maneuvering through complex routines these Olympians of sounds not heard hung up their cloaks of inhibition and let loose in front of a crowd eager to be entertained, so eager in fact they neglected to ask a few pertinent questions:

Is this for real? Yes it is!!

Wait, really? Yeah definitely!

Are they seriously judged on an Olympic scale? Yeah! Why wouldn’t they?

Is there really a measurable skill? Yeah: quantitative ridiculousness!

The first performer was quite possibly the closest thing to a carne y hueso version of Meg Griffin I’ve ever laid eyes on. Daily Show correspondent and celebrity judge Jason Jones was in top form as the dick du jour, waging verbal jihad on every performer and audience member within reach. A few others performed not really worth mentioning, except perhaps for the monikers they chose to perform under: Lika Chik, who incorporated stripping into her routine; Martica, a roboto lanky girl who moved so androidially she might have been an Intel prototype; Mad Romancer, in skinny pink jeans, played his guitar to shreds to Metallica; Fresh Prince of Hell-Air was the only non-Caucasian; The Reverend Mikey-O, an old battered ethereal rocker, proving the lifestyle does take its toll.

But the best, most talented, prodigy of the non-instrument was the winner Ricky Stinkfingers who rocked to Carrie Underwood and Lindsey Lohan. He put a smile on every audience member by embracing the ridiculous and making it an art form. The entire thing was over the top. It was a cringe and laughter cocktail. A display of shamelessness and aloofness to societal norms I wholeheartedly envied.


Photography by Joshua Corkhum

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Author Interview: David Goodwillie

New York City: 2010. When a bomb goes off above Barney’s high-end department store the city is in shock. In David Goodwillie’s debut novel American Subersive (Scribner, April) Aidan Cole, a failed journalist turned gossip blogger receives a mystery email. Attached is a photo of a beautiful woman obscured by dark sunglasses and the chilling words “This is Paige Roderick...she is the one responsible.” I recently called Goodwillie before his book tour of the Midwest, America’s “Heartland” to chat about bloggers, babes, bombings and the influences behind his fascinating fictional world.

Royal: In your memoir, Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time, you talk about the impact 9/11 had on you. How did that play out in American Subversive?

David: I didn’t want to write a book about 9/11. Maybe it’s a post-post 9/11 book. Fear and NYC media swim in the same pool. But, I wanted to move on. American Subversive deals with a different form of terrorism.

R: Have you ever considered terrorism as a day job?

D [laughs]: The novel is about two characters on the fringes of our generation. I was in the middle. I do care unlike Aidan, but I don’t go to violent protests. I don’t think it’s the answer. I’ve done a ton of research on the Weather Underground. That’s where it stopped.

R: There’s definitely a glamour attached to terrorism. Why do you think so?

D: Bernardine Dohrn, Bill Ayers from the ‘60s. They were good looking, Ivy educated hipsters. They had orgies, dope smoking, people on the run. There’s always been a Bonnie and Clyde vibe, while fixing the ills of the world in dramatic fashion.

R: You finished the novel in France. Was it necessary to leave America to complete your book?

D: I’ve lived in New York for fourteen years and I love it because I have a house swap in Bordeaux. Parts are very insidery when it comes to New York media. I go to the parties my characters went to. It’s great to get out and see that the world doesn’t really care.

R: Is the NYC high-end party circuit so different from a terrorist cell? Same power plays and hierarchy?

D: Everyone makes fun of the incestuous media world. But the people writing and reporting have power. That’s where you’re getting your information. The thing about the media world is no one knows anyone’s real importance anymore. The major breaking news story of the day is gotten by a gossip blogger. I don’t think anyone really knows where we’re headed.

Check out David's first reading from American Subversive next Thursday April 22, 7:00 pm. Barnes & Noble Tribeca, 97 Warren St., NYC.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Hitler Pissed About iPad

I'm watching as more and more publishers fall into the iPad trap, (they think it will revive their old business model). Mediactive even caught the New York Times losing some of their credibility for lavishing praise on this new it-toy. (Naughty naughty, that's one of the few value propositions you have left, NYT, your indelible and incredible pride.) Even that Modern Family episode had me confused as to whether this iPad is a real game-changer, or just a short-phase game. The kind that "fun" dad's everywhere will be excited about for a couple of weeks before moving on. But, I may just be a hater. Either way, I'm not hatin' as much as Hitler.

(Thanks to the lovely Canadians for showing me this.)

Now that dude is pissed.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Miracles, Magnets

Tonight, after driving all around Brooklyn and sweating in art spaces and Apple stores, I went to my ex-roomies house to relax and watch America's Next Top Model.
D joins us, and tells the room that he has something really exciting to share after the show is over. Since we're watching it recorded, every time we fast forward through the commercials, D explains how our minds will be blown (in vague, yet graphic detail).
Finally, the show ends in all it's ridiculous, overblown glory and D pulls out his laptop and plays us this video:

Now to each their own, but a) When did Insane Clown Posse get so soft? b) Is this what the millenium did to the angry 90s? and c) If so, aren't you totally okay with it?


PS: *SPOILER ALERT* And why do they hate scientists? Seems like scientists could explain a lot of these miracles to them.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

What's the Story with Storytelling?

David Crabb / Performer, Producer & Storyteller

I think a lot of people equate the word "storytelling" with two things. One: their childhood. And two: an obnoxious uncle. The fact is, storytelling is a part of our everyday lives, whether we realize it or not. Here's an example:

Think of the idiot you're forced to work with at the office. Now think of how you have to communicate an idea to this person. Do this, then this, then this... and it'll eventually (hopefully) lead to this. That's storytelling. And that's you, the storyteller, exercising your ability to connect the dots of the universe.

My mother, Judy DeCroce, was the first person to teach me the tricks of the trade. As a real-life professional storyteller, my mom would travel from school to school performing a series of bizarre, engaging and surprisingly morbid stories to students and teachers all around our home city of Rochester, NY. From children to adults, everyone fell under my mother's spell of imagination. She would transform onstage, becoming her characters, evoking a world that existed solely in the minds of the audience—leading them down whichever path she chose.

Judy DeCroce & Tina (Shumway) Fenton / Founders of the GOAL Program in Rochester, NY

My mother was also a teacher, who, with her creative partner Tina (Shumway) Fenton, founded a curriculum in the 70's called the GOAL Program, in which they used the power of storytelling to immerse children in the educational experience. The GOAL Program, like other sister methodologies like Montessori, allowed students (in this case 4th and 5th graders) to understand the world around them by learning how to connect the dots. Storytelling became part of everything the children learned and helped them build a thread between the past, present and future.

Many of the kids my mom used to teach have sought her out years later (yes, she's on Facebook) to tell her how much they loved her classes and what they remember most. And in each of their stories, one resounding comment always shines through—that hers and Ms. Shumway's classes were the only ones they remembered from their childhood—that if someone were to ask them to name something they learned in school, they would always return to those magical years as 9- and 10-year-olds.

Seeing as how (thankfully—for sanity's sake) I wasn't in my mom's school, and since I can barely remember anything about my pre-college school days, other than which teachers were hot and the opening sequence of The Heart of Darkness (now there's some 7th Grade reading!), I'd have to say that my mother must have been doing something right. It probably isn't surprising that I would eventually become a storyteller myself, or that I'd link up with a fellow storyteller like my mom did with Tina.

David Crabb / Storytelling Live at The Pit in New York City

My friend, co-producer and songwriting partner, David Crabb is a natural performer, a magnetic presence and one of the funniest people I know. He recently performed a story called "She" at The Pit in New York City—one which I'd heard bits and pieces of for years, but now finally got to experience the full, hilarious version of. "She" is classic David. It recounts the second half of his high school years in San Antonio, TX, and the sordid adventures of he and his eccentric partygirl friend, Roxanne.

Get the FREE Download
"She" a story by David Crabb / Live at The Pit in New York City >

"She was my best friend when I was sixteen and she was twenty," he says, "so she was like that first older friend you have that gets you into 'adult trouble' instead of 'teen trouble.'" David's story reminds me of everything I loved most about high school and the absurdity of navigating the outer edge of an adult world.

When you hear their stories, people like David and my mother may seem like they're one of a kind—which they are. I remember thinking after hearing David's story, "Wow, do I have anything that would even come close to that?" The answer: Sure I do. And so do you. The non-fiction of our everyday lives will always be infinitely more interesting than the fiction tables at Barnes & Noble, and the more we share these stories with others, the better storytellers we become. And that can have a huge effect on everything we do—from the roles we play at work to the relationships we have with our friends.

And the good news? Everyone loves a story. So let's hear what you've got. Comment back to this post with one of your favorite stories and I'll feature my favorite on THE SILVER THREAD.

Sparrow Hall (of The Silver Thread)

To learn more about Sparrow Hall, visit:

Monday, April 5, 2010

M. Night Shyamalan... wha happen?

To be honest, I'm surprised he's still allowed to make big-budget movies. You think after the huge flop of "Lady in the Water", the big studio executives would get the hint... but no, they didn't-- and "The Happening"... happened:

Do the big studios keep hoping for the best? He did, at one time, seem to be the next Spielberg. After seeing "The Sixth Sense" for the first time (heck, even after multiple viewings), it was hard to find someone whose mind wasn't blown. His first major success garnered 6 Oscar nominations (no wins, sadly-- but thrillers traditionally lose out to more "dramatic" pieces, like "American Beauty") in 1999. Almost flawlessly executed all the way through, the twist ending caught even the most seasoned of "I called it!"-predictors pleasantly off guard. Surely it could only go up from here for Night. He started off so strong... "Sixth" proved he knew how to craft a good movie. Why hasn't it happened again?

Did he lower the bar for himself, or was "The Sixth Sense" just a simple case of... hate to say it: One-Hit-Wonder? You might say, "Maybe he's just good at making thrillers." But, "Signs" and "The Village" were just OK. (Some would argue "Village" was utterly horrible. I thought it was decent!) No hits out of the ballpark. Although "Signs" did prove to be fairly moving with its "everything happens for a reason" themes. But the reaction was nowhere near that of a classic.

Did he intimidate himself, and by now has lost all hope to make another genuinely good film?

His latest feature, "The Last Airbender" (minus the "Avatar:" because, hey! There's that other little one with blue people or something), is already off to a bad start by hiring an all-white live action cast for an all-asian anime TV show. Roger Ebert noticed: "The original series Avatar: The Last Airbender was highly regarded and popular for three seasons on Nickelodeon. Its fans take it for granted that its heroes are Asian. Why would Paramount and Shyamalan go out of their way to offend these fans? There are many young Asian actors capable of playing the parts."

So, that already starts things off with a bad taste in your mouth, doesn't it? Maybe not. But, for me, it does. Will it be an entertaining movie? Possibly. I'm guessing mildly. And, I hope Shyamalan doesn't have an awkward-obvious cameo.

The past ten years, he tried turning the twist ending formula into his trademark; but somehow it didn't work out for him. Maybe there's someone else out there who can piece together what happened. Maybe not.

-Sam Jackson

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Umbrella Funeral

Poor Canadians in Brooklyn, they bypassed the beautiful spring weather and got here just in time for a winter backtrack and monsoon weather. Ah well, like I mentioned they are not very high maintenance so apparently Paul walked around with one of the broken umbrellas pictured below all day yesterday. They are only here for a couple of more days so keep your fingers crossed that they won't need to adopt broken umbrellas again any time soon!

Busted umbrellas in Brooklyn and Manhattan Monday, March 29, 2010.

Photos taken by Paul Galipeau on his Nokia cell phone. Visit his website, Le Champion Du Monde.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Opening Day: Coney Island

I have some Canadians staying with me in Brooklyn. They are the opposite of high-maintenance, very laid back and nice to have in the living room. After long days of studying and mini-meltdowns I get to come home and hear about their days and talk about mine. I don't ever want them to leave.
Yesterday, they went to Coney Island. It was opening day.

All photos (and thoughts) by Paul Galipeau. Check out his website.

Paul's Daughter...I wonder what her name is and also who is the mama?

Wonder Wheel. I think they closed early. There were a bunch of people coming out with Easter baskets when we got there though.

The beach.

Topless guy running.

Shoot the Freak: live human targets.

(Shout outs to Meaghan, Kastoory and Reanna.)