Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Amazing Race, How Sweet the Sound

The best show on television is back! The Amazing Race season 9 premiered tonight with an awesome 2 hour episode. The race started at the legendary Red Rocks. This is Red Rocks, this is the Edge! The teams then flew off to Sao Paulo where they spent the entire episode. I never realized how huge Sao Paulo- 10 million people. Check out the full recap over at Dummocrats.

The clear favorites to win are BJ Averell and Tyler Macniven- the long haired bearded hippies. They are both intelligent- one went to Harvard, one to UC Santa Cruz and they met while traveling around the world on a boat. So they have smarts and extensive travel experience, which in my opinion- are both super key to winning the million dollars. But for BJ and Tyler, their biggest advantage is the hippie factor:
  • Notice how they were the first ones to leave Red Rocks- not because they are the fastest, but because they had been there before so they knew the way out. Any hippie worth his weight in dreadlocks has made a pilgrimage out to Red Rocks to see Phish, DMB, Widespread Panic, Phil Lesh, moe., etc. play out there or just to visit.
  • It's pretty much a sure thing that some upcoming episode will have them sleeping on the pavement outside some museum that doesn't open for 4 hours. No problem for BJ & Tyler, it's just like sleeping outside a Ticketbastard outlet waiting for those hard to get Halloween/New Years tickets to go onsale.
  • If they happen to come in last during a non-elimination round and have all their money taken away for the next leg of the race, no problem! They'll just use their innate hippie Haight Street spare changing skills to round up some cash. Maybe they'll hackysack for tips.
  • Going to a city, spending 3 hours doing physical activity and then immediately heading off to the next city? No sweat. The hippies call that "how I spent every summer vacation for the last 5 years on tour with my favorite band".
  • In the inevitable "find some vendor/item in a bustling marketplace" roadblock, Tyler & BJ will once again have no problems, having navigated the bustling marketplace that is "Shakedown St" in Grateful Dead parking lots looking for "that guy that was selling the veggie burritos with the awesome sauce, I think his name was PooBear or BooBear or maybe DewBear- you know, red shirt, long hair, we saw him at Shoreline next to the sweet VW bus with the black dog tied to it's bumper". "Oh with the mushrooms and black beans?" "Yeah."
The case is clear- hippie power will conquer all in the Amazing Race and reign victorious. Besides, do you really think any team is going to beat a guy who walked the entire length of Japan? Check out Tyler's 67 minute documentary on his walk-streaming here. For all sorts of back info on eventually winners BJ & Tyler as well as all the other loser contestants, head over to tar9.
category: tv_

Monday, February 27, 2006

America Trusts Manhands

TV News has problems. Big ones. America trusts Rachel Ray more than Tom Brokaw, Katie Couric, Al Roker & Matt Lauer, according to the new New York Magazine DBI Celebrity Trust Index. What's going on here? Has America OD'ed on EVOO? Is there a special power in those manhands? Is it the intoxicating Western NY accent and the drawn out R's? Maybe it's the efficiency of your one large cutting board or your garbage bowl? Is it the way you always manage to save enough money in your $40 a day show to have yourself an alcoholic drink? Is it your constant giggling or your bug-eyed "Yum" as you taste your latest creation?

Nope. America is drawn in by the power of those bigass beefy mitts. Rachel Ray's huge Lincoln Log fingers make her seem powerful and trustworthy; Lincolnesque almost. As if she could handle anything the world throws at her. Brokaw doesn't have hands like that. Couric, Roker, Lauer? Small hands, fat hands, weak hands. Rachel Ray's huge manhands make her trustworthy. You're in good hands with AllState? I don't think so. You're in good hands with Rachel Ray.

category: tv_

Disco Biscuits at Starland Ballroom

As I mentioned in my last post, I went to see the Disco Biscuits at the Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, NJ this past Friday and Saturday. The Biscuits are a hybrid of jamband rock fusion and a trancy techno style. Starland Ballroom is a club in the middle of nowhere in NJ. It has good sound, lots of bars in a stepped room so there are good sightlines throughout. The patdown to get in this weekend was ridiculous, bordering on intrusive- underarms, thighs, back, ankles, ass- very obnoxious. The drinks inside seem very weak for some reason and the place is very oversold and hot.

Friday's show (2/24) was very up and down. Strawberry Girl->Svenghali->Strawberry Girl was excellent, despite the bad vocals on Strawberry Girl (they really need a female backup singer for the chorus). I didn't want to like it after the Atlantic City Strawberry Girl debut, which was just awful, but once they started to jam I found myself enjoying it, particularly as the jam went into Svenghali. The I-Man in the 2nd set was really weird; it started off really hot-high energy- straight up rock not techno style and then it just died down to nothing in the middle. It got slow and quiet enough that the crowd talking was louder than the music. They made up for it with the Digital Buddha->Cyclone->Digital Buddha. The Cyclone was incredible, an instant classic, had the entire room moving- great energy. The rest of the show was good but not great- nothing special. Overall I'd give it $$$$$$ (6/10 on the J$ scale).

Saturday's show (2/25) was a bit more consistent. The first set was pretty hot. The Jigsaw Earth was really good, one of the best I've seen. They were going in all sorts of directions, creating improv jams that sounded cohesive enough to be mistaken for songs. 42 was high energy as usual. They seem to always play really good 42's at Starland. Crystal Ball was unusually heavy. Home Again is one my favorite songs and a great set closer. The 2nd set unfortunately did not live up the promise of the 1st. Vassillios-Abyss was good and got me dancing but it wasn't great. Same with Spacebird- good but not particularly memorable. They closed the set with a really short Reactor- great hard rockin' jam there but short. I like the Have A Cigar encore a lot- having never heard them play it. An exceptionally good B&C ended the show. I'd give the 2nd show $$$$$$$ (7/10) based mostly on the strength of the first set.

My cameraphone pics came out pretty blurry so instead here's some video of Spacebird from the 2/22 show in Baltimore:

category: music_

Sunday, February 26, 2006

NYC Radio Sucks Except for Q104.3

I drove out to Sayreville, New Jersey this weekend to see the Disco Biscuits at the Starland Ballroom (formerly the Hunka Bunka for anyone who listened to Z100 or Hot97 in the early 90's). Driving is just about the only time I voluntarily listen to radio and only when I don't have my iPod or a CD with me. This weekend I discovered that my Macally FM iPod transmitter is just a little bit bigger than the glovebox in the car and when extreme pressure is applied to the cigarette lighter portion of said FM transmitter, it will snap off, rendering the device unusable in the car. By the way, the Macally FM iPod transmitter actually works well and I know at least 2 other people that would recommend it too. Check out the damage: the 2 white pieces are supposed to be connected and the red & black wires are supposed to be attached to something inside the part on the right.

So I spent about 3 hours listening to the radio this weekend and I discovered that radio now sucks in New York. Not only does it suck, it sucks bad. What happened to all the good radio stations? Z100 is playing 3rd rate hip hop. WPLJ is like lite fm doctors waiting room crap. 102.3/102.7- crap. Perenial backup standby flip to when there's nothing else on station 101.1 WCBS is no longer playing those great oldies. 92.3 KRock? Now it's JackFM with an obnoxious automated self promoting DJ playing a mix of good stuff and total crap. It's all crap out there except for Q104.3. They are playing a great mix of classic rock. The only reason I even know the other stations all suck is because 104.3 plays soooo many commercials. No other station held my interest for more than 1 song. I can see why satellite radio is becoming huge so quickly.
category: nyc_ music_

Friday, February 24, 2006

From the Art of New York

Velvet Sea is all downtown this week. There's an exhibit now through the 28th at the World Financial Center called From the Art of New York. The exhibit is to raise money for the Gulf Coast and features both New York and Gulf Coast artists. It's presented in a linear semi-circular display in the Winter Garden lobby. There were photographs, paintings, drawings and sculptures all hung on unnumbered panels- making it difficult to match up the artwork to the guidesheet.

I saw a real nice photo of John and Yoko in Central Park that I really liked. De La Vega had 3 pieces, one was a painting of his mother and another was a pretty intricate detailed drawing or painting which seemed atypical for him. Tom Otterness contributed a tiny (maybe 4 inches square) painting too; I didn't know he painted, I've only seen his ubiquitous sculptures. Christo's piece was a b/w drawing of a wrapped house- not too exciting. I enjoyed the bright colors Peter Max used in his painting of Lady Liberty. Yoko had some ridiculous minimalist signed paper thing that was 98% white, 1% her signature, 1% a few squiggles. Looks like it took her 10, maybe 15 seconds to do. Rauschenberg's piece was also of the statue, holding the towers (you can see it in the picture in the middle):
It's a pretty interesting and diverse exhibit, I'd recommend checking it out if you're in the downtown area and have an extra 20 minutes.
category: nyc_

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Doublemint Twins?

I caught the Doublemint gum street team tandem biking around Bowling Green yesterday. For some reason they didn't seem to remind me of the TV ad. Maybe they're fraternal?

One of the original 1950's Doublemint twins, Jayne Boyd was married to the miraculous Al Schwartz, director of Welcome Back Kotter, and a frequent producer of award shows. According to his IMDB bio, Schwartz has defied science and produced 8 live events since his death in 1988. He also claims, in a 2001 UW interview, that he attempted to double his pleasure and ask out both Doublemint twins to be his dates together, but only Jayne was available.

Back to Bowling Green; these 2 were just peddling around, they didn't appear to be handing out anything but they did have Doublemint logos on their backs. There were also a few other pairs of tandemgineers in the area. I was half expecting to see Donald Trump standing nearby giving his Apprentice style instructions, "The chewing gum industry is huge and Wrigley's is the hugest. When I make love to my hugely beautiful wife Melania, I always pop in 2 huge pieces of Doublemint gum beforehand. Why 2 you ask? Because I'm so huge. Your task today..."
category: nyc_ tv_

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

New York's Secret Places- Sky Plaza

New York City has lots of hidden little secret places that aren't really publicized- like the Burger Joint. Another great one is the elevated plaza behind 55 Water Street downtown. The plaza overlooks the East River and Brooklyn Bridge but it's staircases are unmarked and the park is so high up that you can't see it at all from the street. I was in the area today so I went to check it out and it was totally empty. I knew where it was but I was still a little unsure when I got to the desolate staircase entrance on South St. Walking up I arrived at a peaceful garden with a huge (fake) lawn sandwiched between the skyscrapers and the river. Video/Slideshow set to Stevie doing Higher Ground live? Check:

This is a recent redesign of the plaza; obviously the designers still did not fix the street entrances but it's better that way for those in the know. For way more information than you ever wanted to know about the plaza check here, including the original design and failed proposals.
category: nyc_

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Clerks 2! Clerks 2! Clerks 2!

Clerks rules! It's one of the few movies I've seen multiple times. At least 10. Hardcore, breaugh. Now Kevin Smith is coming out with a sequel- Clerks 2 (technically not now, but sometime in August). Shooting has concluded, so it's definitely a go. Here's the trailer, which tells you nothing about the film yet still manages to make me want to see it:

Yes that's Rosario Dawson & Wanda Sykes. Interestingly in an MTV interview Kevin claims they are not even going to have Clerks 2 rated because:
"Clerks' was a movie that the MPAA gave an NC-17 for language and content alone. This movie ups the ante by a hundred-fold, and there's just no way it gets an R."
So I'm sure you're wondering, what exactly would upping the Clerks language ante by 100-fold mean? Since the movie does not appear on the Wikipedia list of films with most Fbombs, I investigated myself using the script & cntrl F. By my count Clerks contains the following:
  • f*ck- 88
  • ass- 18
  • sh*t- 45
  • c*nt- 5
  • c*ck- 11
  • dick- 18 (this would have been great if the count was 36 dicks)
If Clerks 2 ups the ante a mere ten-fold or 1/10th of what Smith claimed, it would give us 880 f-bombs (which would only top the current record by 330!) and about 2000 total curses, allowing for some not listed above. Assuming the film is 90 minutes, this would be more than one curse every 3 seconds. Either way, I can't wait till August for this.
category: tv_

Monday, February 20, 2006

NBC Pulls Chronic from 'Tube, Passes it to Bravo

On Friday NBC's lawyers had the Lazy Sunday: Chronicles of Narnia video clip pulled from YouTube's video hosting site. Tonight was the premiere episode of Outrageous and Contagious: Viral Videos on Bravo (catchy name there Bravo, rolls right off the tongue) and what do I see poorly tacked on to the end of the episode with the credit roll? Why it's corporate parent NBC's viral video outlaw supastar Lazy Sunday.

Interestingly enough, it's still posted on Google Videos. Why would NBC remove a viral video that has resurrected a failing show and given them a new star in Andy Samberg while simultaneously producing and airing a show on a sister channel featuring viral videos including the removed one? And why are they only selectively lawyerizing this? I'm sure someone high up made the number$ work in NBC's favor.

Lazy Sunday aside, OC:VV is just not an engaging show. The clips are too varied, some are very old, some are too cheesy America's Funniest Home Videos-esque, there is inane voiceover commentary between and during the clips, and the overly bubbly moving graphics make it difficult to sit there for 23 minutes in a row and watch without getting nauseous for one reason or another. What works on the web doesn't seem to work on TV in this case.
category: tv_

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Hot Tea, Cold Day

The weather in New York is crazy this week; one day it's snowing, the next day it's 50 and melting creating an ugly mess and now it's in the teens with a below zero windchill. At least I have tea to keep me warm. Although something doesn't feel right when I'm putting Sweet-N-Low into organic white vanilla tea. It may be an oxymoron but it sure tastes good.
category: food_

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Umphrey's McGee at Nokia Theater

Last night Umphrey's McGee played at the Nokia Theater in Times Square. I was at the theater a few weeks ago and this has become one of my favorite spots to see a show. The sound was great again, dark, not oversold, quick entry, and speakers in the hallways & bathrooms. I countered the $9 drinks by pregaming at home.Umphrey's was pretty good- some points of some of the jams I might even describe as approaching awesome. They did a bass heavy dub style version of Pink Floyd's Breathe that was pretty hot. UM showed their harder side at some points, a definite prog rock influence there. I found that some of the slower songs (and the lyrics portion of a lot of their songs in general) to be a bit hollow- lacking that warm room filling fullness. Perhaps this a maturity of their sound issue but I don't feel they were on par with Disco Biscuits, moe., or even old theater Phish. But overall, they were pretty good.

Apologies for the crappy cellphone picture above.. here's a video of UM from '02 courtesy of YouTube:

category: music_

Friday, February 17, 2006

DMX Song in an Avis Commercial?!

I don't get to see a lot of commercials thanks to my Time Warner DVR (TiFaux) but I dropped what I was doing and paid full attention when I heard DMX's Ruff Ryders Anthem in an Avis commercial. When I think of DMX I think of gangsta driveby's done by dudes on crotch rocket bikes doing wheelies in a huge menacing pack, not great deals on rental cars. This song is wildly inappropriate for Avis; check out the lyrics- note the 21 instances of the N word. Here's the original DMX video:

I don't think Avis would condone driving any of their vehicles in such a manner. Granted it is a pretty hot song with a catchy hook, but why would Avis associated themselves with DMX- A MAN WHO HAS MULTIPLE FELONY CONVICTIONS RELATED TO CARS:

June 2004: arrested at JFK airport for attempting to steal a car and impersonating a federal agent. Pleads guilty to reckless endangerment; license suspended and he has to forfeit his '98 Expedition. Receives 70 days in Rikers (60 for the incident & 10 for showing up late to court).

April 2005: arrested for driving with a suspended license after his car crashed into a police cruiser in a 3 way pileup.

October of 2005: pleads guilty to the April '05 incident and another incident where he was driving at 104 MPH- both with a suspended license; sentenced to 60 days in prison.

The marketing people at Avis have completely lost it. And what about DMX? Selling out to Avis of all companies? Gangstas don't rent cars DMX, they jack them- but you know that- or maybe you learned your lesson at Rikers.
category: music_ tv_

Why Reality TV Rules

They say that truth is stranger than fiction. In the case of reality TV the truth is funnier and more entertaining than fiction. On tonight's Beauty and the Geek on the WB, a question in the final quiz for the beauties was "what do the letters GQ stand for in relation to the men's magazine". The girl, looking like she's guessing but still thinks that she may have an outside chance of being correct, answers, "men's fashion".

Now there have been some dumb characters written into TV shows- Joey Tribbiani, Homer Simpson, Michael Kelso, Emeril Lagasse, Gilligan, Donna Martin (graduates!), Phoebe Buffay, Balki Bartokomous, but no writer would ever think to make their character that stupid. The fact that it is completely unscripted just makes it even funnier. If the networks could write a sitcom with dialogue that funny instead of forcing stiff characters into cliched predictable seen-it-before situations (I'm looking at you Joey writers), they might have a hit. Until then reality will continue to rule. Bam!
category: tv_

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Trey Anastasio Loves His Backpack

What does red headed rock pimp Trey Anastasio do after the breakup of his popular touring act Phish? Something about flying to Atlanta with a backpack, maybe staying in a hotel and walking around the city alone? The man does know how to emphasize a point.

After aborting sessions at his Barn studio with producer Bryce Goggin, he took up with a second producer. Those were ditched too. Backpack in tow, Anastasio headed to Atlanta to work with Brendan O'Brien, who produced some of his favorite albums, like Springsteen's "The Rising."

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
Anastasio said the album came together when he met with O'Brien, whose work on Rage Against the Machine's "Evil Empire" and Springsteen's "The Rising" he had admired.
"I had a great conversation with him on the phone, and then I got on the plane with my backpack and went down to Atlanta," O'Brien's home, Anastasio said.

The Hollywood Reporter:
It was very smart of him that he saw a moment that I was kind of in a fragile place. So I hopped on a plane and went down there with my backpack, checked into a hotel and we started working at his house and we made the record.

Fly Magazine:
I felt that when I went down to Atlanta to work on this album. I went alone, just with my backpack, and that was a good feeling because things had gotten very big, so it was nice to just be cut loose and just wander down the street alone.

Monsters and Critics:
That`s why it was great to go down there and work with Brendan. I went down alone, with my backpack. It was such a different feeling because everything had been so big. Big-big-big-big! And then to go down there for two months. I didn`t know anybody. I didn`t really have any friends or anything. I just kind of wandered around and worked on the album.

An AOL chat interview:
ShineOnTrey2005: It was cool to be away from my safety net... I was alone except when at studio
KimInMusic: right on... it's the first solo album since phish ended... what changes have you gone through as an artist since then?
ShineOnTrey2005: so many
KimInMusic: one of the most significant or surprising?
ShineOnTrey2005: it felt exillarating to leave for ATL with just a backpack ... easy to move when your'e alone

The Daily Page (Madison, WI):
so I packed a backpack and went down to Atlanta. I was alone. I didn't know anyone down there. And I'd just been surrounded by people and action for so long that it felt liberating to hop on a plane and park myself in a hotel in a city that I was unfamiliar with and work on music for a couple months

One Way Magazine:
He reflects, "One of the interesting things that made this process easier in a certain way was because I was alone. I went down to Atlanta with a backpack and I was in this hotel there for three months.

C-Ville Weekly:
When I made the new album, I went down to Atlanta to Southern Tracks. I was alone and went with a backpack. Before, we always went with an entourage, and that was very symbolic. I think you can hear it in the album.

Illinois Entertainer:
He continues, "This album, even though it's sort of a pop album, the intent is to talk about that, because of the fact that the center had been broken up, I was able to get on a plane with a backpack alone and go down to Atlanta and start writing music — without the bigness. The ship was getting so big it was getting hard to turn. With opinions and bills to pay and all that stuff."

Associated Press:
As soon as the whole (Phish) thing ends, I hop on a plane with a backpack, alone, just me, and I go down to Brendan's and I make this album in his house, for a lot of it, then we get down to seven tracks, and it felt a lot like what me and Tom (Marshall) used to do.

Albany Times Union (story is now $ but you can view if you Google "timesunion trey backpack" and click the Google cache):
"I need to do this alone," Anastasio said of the recording of "Shine" this spring. "That's why I didn't bring my band. I needed to get on a plane with just a backpack and sit in a hotel room with my guitar. The first thing Brendan said was to sit down and play the songs on the guitar straight."

In summary: Trey, plane, backpack, alone, hotel, Atlanta, Shine. Now back to your regularly scheduled Phish reunion rumors.
category: music_

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Saranac 12 Beers of Winter

Winter time only means one thing for me- snow beer. What could be better than a fridge full of the Saranac 12 Beers of Winter variety pack. For some reason, this is impossible to find in NYC. Luckily a friend brought me down a pack from upstate. This year it seems that Saranac has gone all politically correct and renamed it from the 12 Beers of Christmas to the 12 Beers of Winter. I haven't gone through them all yet but the standout beers so far are the Caramel Porter (one of my personal top 10 beers of all time), the Nut Brown Ale, and the highly acclaimed Winter Wassail. I wish some places around here stocked 6 packs of any of these individually instead of just the bland Pale Ales or Adirondack Lagers I normally see.

The only thing better than a fridge full of beer would be a sidewalk full of free cases of beer for the taking...2nd Ave in the 80's- get down there now- free beer! free beer!
category: food_

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Burger Joint Review

Taking advantage of the fact that I had to pick something up on 57th Street today, I met my wife out for lunch at Burger Joint. Burger Joint is a greasy dive of a place located in a corner off the lobby of the very upscale Parker Meridien Hotel (current best rate for midweek in Feb. is $325 per room). It's hidden between the front desk and huge floor to ceiling curtain near a concierge desk, down an ominous dark narrow hallway lit only by the glowing neon burger. The menu is very basic, serving only burgers, fries, brownies, & drinks.

We got there a little after 2pm and it was packed- a line to order and no seats left (as could be expected for a place that was ranked by GQ last July as one of the top 20 burgers you must eat before you die). The room was about 20 feet square with decor that looked intentionally college dorm basement sparse. Ugly wood paneling, bad lighting, random posters thumbtacked to the walls and lots of handwritten signs on cardboard. They certainly make up for the fact that there are no signs outside the restaurant. The food was relatively cheap- a pair of burgers & sodas and one order of fries came to $17.
I noticed that they used both a broiler and an open smoke grill for the burgers (they broil first). The burger was served in a white paper wrapper and the fries in a grease absorbing brown paper bag. The burger was juicy and flavorful- juicy enough to eat plain, without ketchup or lettuce/tomato. One of the best burgers I've had. The fries were shoestring cut and lightly golden. They were good but could have been crispier.
Burger Joint serves a great burger but how does it compare to The Shake Shack? Not as good. Shake Shack has the edge on both burger (slightly saltier and better meat) and better fries. But only one of them is open in the winter, so until spring comes it's Burger Joint all the way.

More reviews at
A Hamburger Today, Gothamist, and The Food Section.
category: food_ nyc_

Monday, February 13, 2006

Dark Side of the White Stuff

In light of yesterday's record snowfall in New York City, it's time to set the record straight about snow in the city. It's pretty while it's coming down and any shmuck can take pretty pictures but the reality is that it gets ugly fast. With all the garbage trucks doing double duty as plows, the garbage starts to pile up.
After just one day of no pickups:
The snow & icicles start to fall off the window sills of buildings bringing out the yellow caution tape. Someone needs to buy this building a cone or another barricade:

A common task like crossing the street becomes a steeplechase-like navigational nightmare.I hope you remembered where you parked:

Got a shovel in the trunk of that Harley?Ironically, the one time a Hummer would actually be justified in driving around the city and it's plowed in, unmoved.

Yellow snow? No big deal. Real NY'ers know to look out for the brown snow:
Since we're keeping it real today, forget those dreams of cross country skiing smoothly through the street, gliding through undisturbed without a care in the world; here's a video what you would actually look like cross-country skiing:

That music is the inimitable Mike Gordon from his excellent project with Leo Kottke. Keep in mind this is only after 1 day- it only gets worse from here. The truth about the white stuff must be told!
category: nyc_

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Big Snow in NYC

New York City has received it's biggest dumping of snow since the straw fell out of Stevie Nicks' ass backstage at her '83 concert at the Garden.
The storm has blocked New Yorkers from receiving their weekly updates from the Learning Center.
Fire escape sledding!
DSNY in full force with the plows. Garbage piling up? We'll just plow the snow over it, you'll never know the difference.
It was the perfect opportunity to walk to Carl Schurz Park.

Not a lot of sitters by the river today.Almost Dickensian or Victorian or something or otherian.
Mixed signals.
Snow is like beer goggles for the sober; it makes everything look good.
category: nyc_

update: i've been slacked! welcome slackers.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Someone Must Have Saw Something

Horrible grammar, horrible penmanship, horrible crime. Art theft shatters Upper East Side's sense of safety. Police still baffled in biggest art theft since The Scream. Is it just me, or does it look like they wrote this after they taped it to the mailbox.
The 8.5 x 11 sign is hot and hotter this year.
category: nyc_

Friday, February 10, 2006

Forbes Gallery- very rich

I went to a really great gallery today. The Forbes Galleries are located in (appropriately enough) the Forbes Magazine headquarters on 5th Ave and 12th Street in the Village. Forbes is the original get rich quick click here learn how deal maker. Like some self-fulfilling prophesy, the Forbes family made their money from a magazine telling you how to make money.

Regardless, the gallery houses an impressive collection of toy boats. Not the little plastic ones I had as a kid but huge 1-3 foot long metal wind up ones with incredible amounts of ornate details. Now picture 500 of those boats. Now picture 10,000 toy soldiers all neatly arranged into small battle scenes representing all sorts of armies in all sorts of wars. The gallery also had a trophy room area with a hodgepodge of antique and very uniquely bizarre trophies and plaques. My favorite room was the Monopoly room. They had some of the oldest Monopoly games there, including a few on paper & wood and a round version. There were also a few other areas that I did not like as much and breezed through.

Overall it's a great place because you could either spend an hour there, looking at all the details on the toy boats, plaques, & soldiers or you could just fly through in 10 minutes impressed just by the vast size of the collection.
category: nyc_

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Trey Ignites Phish Reunion Rumors at Grammys

Former Phish frontman Trey Anastasio was nominated for a Grammy for Best Pop Instrumental Performance for featuring on the Herbie Hancock song "Gelo Na Montanha". He attended the ceremony yesterday with his sister. This red carpet video appears to show him saying "Sure, I'd like to" in response to the question is Phish coming back? Video is inconclusive. You decide:

The Phish reunion rumors keep on coming. There may be too many signals to ignore. And the Grammy went to..... Les Paul for Caravan.
category: music_

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Firewall Movie Review

Tonight I caught a preview of the upcoming movie Firewall with Harrison Ford. Harrison Ford plays Jack Stanfield, a bank IT security businessman type character who quickly morphs into a Jack Ryan type superhero once his family is kidnapped. Paul Bettany plays the somehow likeable yet malicious omnipresent smart villain, using Jack's family as collateral to get Jack to extract millions from the bank electronically. Jack's assistant is Chloe from 24 (the actress literally plays the same exact character), doing her typical puckering and pouting facial expressions.

The movie is shot/paced like a good thriller, some scary moments, lots of hand to hand fighting, and psychological thriller aspects as well with the kidnapped family. I was bothered by the completely unrealistic view of Jack's office with a constant flow of people moving about the cubicles, like a 1940's newsroom. At times I thought that Harrison Ford might be a bit too old for a role like this. Some of the plotlines were a bit cliched (particularly the ending, which drew unintentional laughter from the crowd) but somehow overall the movie was quite enjoyable. Firewall opens in theaters on Friday the 10th.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Snowboarding Tricks in Central Park

Sunday was the Burton NYC Rail Jam in Central Park. A pair of 10 foot tall ramps were set up near the bandshell with 2 types of rails. Here's some pics and video I took:
A DJ was blasting music. There was a rock-climbing wall and free cider.
Most of the riders were using the bigger box rail.The snow as actually ice shavings from the skating rinks in the park.
I like how this guy almost mimics the ad behind him:
One after the next they quickly took their turns.

I think this was the only girl.

Here's a compilation video I made.. set to the 6/18/94 Bowie intro (apologies to people not fans of Phish- lower your volume I guess).

The NYC Rail Jam ruled. Certainly more exciting than the Superbowl later in the day.
category: nyc_

Monday, February 06, 2006

Chinese New Year Dragon Parade

Yesterday was the parade for the Chinese New Year. This is the year of the dog. We headed down to Canal Street around 1p to check out the start of the parade. Big mistake as Canal was mobbed so we walked down Mulbery and around to Chatham Square.

Chatham Sq wasn't any less crowded but we sort of found a spot. The dragons were really cool.

The Foxy Foxwoods Casino Foxes representing.

Dear Lord save us from this beast!

Many of the floats seemed to be big on balloon grape clusters.

Red is for good luck. The sounds of drums could be heard througout the parade.

Since it was the year of the dog, lots of different dog related organizations were represented.

The Society for Chihuahua Never-Nude Paw Preservationists.

The sky rained down a rainbow of confetti. FYI- despite their fruity colors, rainbow confetti tastes bland.

The last dragon was the biggest and best. Next year I will definitely have to get there earlier to snag a good spot.
category: nyc_