Saturday, August 30, 2008

Labor Day Weekend

I have a tradition of spending my last weekend of the summer on the beach taking it easy and today I went out to Fire Island. I always try to squeeze the last drops of summer out before school starts with some relaxation and reading. This year's end of the summer book is David Sedaris's "When You Are Engulfed In Flames". It seemed appropriate to beginning another school year and it hasn't disappointed.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Back on Ludlow Street

Last night I took a stroll through hipster heaven also known in Manhattan as Ludlow Street. It was a regular haunt for me during my college days and there has been quite a bit of redecoration since but the spirit is pretty much the same. While there I had to grab a bite at the all-time classic- Katz's Deli. It didn't take long for me to remembered why it has remained so popular for so many years- The pastrami sandwich and knish were beyond fantastic with a Dr. Brown's Root Beer. It made me understand how Meg Ryan pulled off that great acting scene in Katz's years ago in "When Harry Met Sally".

Sunday, August 24, 2008

San Francisco MOMA redecoration

I heard yesterday that the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art will be taking down the enormous Sol Lewitt paintings including "Archs in Four Directions" (pictured above) that have adorned the lobby area next week. It's sad to see the iconic paintings leaving after so long (they went up in 2000 as part of a Lewitt retrospective).

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Dave Brubeck at Brookhaven Amphitheater 8.22.2008

Last night I had the chance to see the Dave Brubeck Quartet perform live right down the road from my house at the Brookhaven Amphitheater. Brubeck is one of my all-time favorite jazz musicians and it was amazing finally getting a chance to see him play. Sure he's 88 years old now and needed to be helped onstage but the moment he began to play he sounded as good as he did on all those classics albums. The musical vibrancy of the old foursome made me wonder if they had gone swimming in the pool from Cocoon with Wilford Brimley and Hume Cronyn before the show.

The concert covered a range of material from special compositions Brubeck created for the Catholic Church based on ancient hymns to jazz classics such as "One Day My Prince Will Come" and of course their always famous "Take Five". Bobby Militello blew the crowd away on alto sax showing off his own virtuoso qualities while keeping true to Paul Desmond's classic sound sparring sonically with the unique bass sound of Michael Moore and Randy Jones on drums. Brubeck is a classic- I've always loved his experimentation with time signatures and musical styles and he put on an incredible show that will not be forgotten.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Fresh Art Show Preview

Sunday is the last big Fresh art show of the summer at Painters Gallery and Restaurant in Brookhaven and here's a short preview of the new pixilated film I'll be showing. There are a huge number of cool local artists and musicians so come stop by and check it out!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Slightly Stoopid at Roseland 8.20.2008

Last night I stopped by Roseland for an excellent reggae-rock show featuring one of my favorite band's Slightly Stoopid. The band was joined by Hawaiian reggae trio Pepper and dub stars Sly and Robbie as part of the Summer Tailgate Tour. The show was packed tight with a crowd of young teens and more than a handful of drama as people were thrown (and dragged) out throughout the show.

The opening band Pepper reminded immediately of Sublime (without the hip-hop element) and impressed me with a couple of great tracks and unstoppable energy. After an hour long set Slightly Stoopid took the stage and brought their A game to town mixing up classics like "Ese Loco" and a few tracks off their new album Slightly Not Stoned Enough To Eat Breakfast Yet Stoopid.

It was great to see the Ocean Beach crew in New York and they seemed like they were having a great time as they jammed mixing it up with sounds from punk rock and blues to dub and ska. It was a classic show and from the looks of the young crowd a sound that will keep growing. Check out my full review of Pepper on Short & Sweet NYC.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Reggie and the Full Effect "J Train" music video

Here's the final cut of the "J Train" music video by Reggie and the Full Effect that I had worked on a while back. I think the video is pretty sweet and has some sweet production value- it also helps that I really like to song too. I have to give some props to my buddy, director John Carlucci, for pulling out another great video. Reggie and the boys will be back on Long Island for one of their final shows soon at The Crazy Donkey on September 10th- definitely check them out!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Walkmen at Bowery Ballroom 8.18.08

Yesterday I arrived in Manhattan just in time to see one of my favorite bands The Walkmen perform at The Bowery Ballroom. I was immediately impressed with how good they sounded live and was awed with their ability to get such a raw "wall of sound" in a small club. The house was packed for the sold out show as they performed a number of new songs off their album You & Me which is released officially today . I bought the album as part of a special digital pre-sale yesterday which donated all the proceeds to Sloan-Kettering Memorial Cancer Center (from which my father was just recently released- so it seemed appropriate).

The band showed off a few new tracks like "Donde Esta La Playa" and "Seven Years of Holidays (For Stretch)" and mixed in fan favorites like "Louisiana" and "We've Been Had". It was a fantastic show and the band did a great job of mixing it up adding a horn section every so often for a brighter sound then taking it down a step with a bare bones accompaniment. It was a great way to welcome back New York after being away for over a week, now I just have to begin catching up on sleep and I'll be good for September.

Breakfast in Boston

I made a detour into Cambridge and Boston during my rambling road trip home Sunday to revisit my old college hometown and grab a four star brunch at the Cheesecake Factory. The city is always a great place to eat and on a weekend in the summer getting a table wasn't too bad. After adequately stuffing myself with eggs I strolled down Newbury Street to check out some galleries and shop. There were a number of galleries stocked with prints aimed to sell such as: Warhol, Haring, Picasso, and Chagall which are always fun but there were a few modern artists such as Laurent Dauptain that I haven't seen before at the Axelle Gallery. His work reminded me stylistically a bit of one of my favorite painters Jenny Saville just without the sexuality and skin. There were also a few pieces by Takashi Murakami that were pretty cool in the gallery next door.

Monday, August 18, 2008

A Mission to Freeport, Maine

I made it a point to visit Freeport on my trip downstate Maine because it was one of the few Starbucks in the State and I haven't had a cup in over a week. While there I had to check out the L.L. Bean flagship 24 hour store which is really more of a mall. The large "Bean Boot" outside the entrance represents Leon Leonwood Bean's first product which he created which the store was built on. The store itself was pretty interesting- it had a live trout pond in the center with large glass aquarium walls and the stairs rising above it- pretty entertaining, I now think every store should have live trout. After a quick look through the store I headed out because a major storm was overhead and I wanted to check out some of the art scene down in Portland.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Toys and Porn and Toys

Yesterday I happened upon the really funky Fawcett's Museum of Toys, Art, and Antiques while driving across Maine. The museum was in Waldoboro Maine just south of the famous Moody's Diner and had some great historic toys from the 20's - 50's and some excellent illustrations from comic strips of the past like Dick Tracy and Krazy Kat. It was like a history lesson told through toys and it was amazing to see the progression of characters and toys over the years. There was also some modern stuff such as a full collection of all the Star Wars toys from the 1980's and toys from the Simpsons and Futurama. The museum also had some old baseball memorabilia and some old nudes from the flapper days. It was nothing if not interesting and certainly worth a stop if you're ever heading up north.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Workshop Art Show

Last night I participated in an art show which included a selection of work from the classes in film and photography at the Maine Media Workshops. The show had some really great work- some of my favorite pieces (in addition to my class) were from Joyce Tenneson's class in portraits and Dirck Halstead's Platypus classes in photojournalism.

It was really a joy to be in such an eclectic show and after it was over I headed out to Camden to celebrate at the Waterfront Restaurant and Bar where I had the best dessert in recent memory. The Maine Wild Blueberry Cobbler was like a box of magic trapped in a warm tart. It was as near perfection in a dessert as I've ever seen and it was a perfect end to the night.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Maine and Me

It's my last full day up in Rockport, Maine and the classes at the Maine Media Workshops conclude tonight for the week. It's a bittersweet feeling being up here for the 3rd time- I'm a little disappointed that I didn't get as many great photographs as I would've liked and the experience wasn't what I've had in the past. Unfortunately Bob Sasha had to cancel and I would've loved to spend some time with him.

I did get to talk with Lauren Greenfield who is an amazing photographer and filmmaker. She presented her latest documentary Kids + Money which will air in December on HBO and it was pretty awesome. I've always loved her work with teenage kids especially her book Fast Forward. Her work was quite profound, I was especially moved by her film Thin which is about anorexics in treatment.

I also saw a screening of Pucker Up: The Fine Art of Whistling by Kate Davis and David Heilbroner which was fantastic as well. It was a great lighthearted documentary about the whistling championships in Louisburg, N.C. They also brought along the world champion in whistling Geert Chatrou to do some live songs. He whistled a few jazz classics along with David on guitar then did one with his son who was performing for the first time. It was so much fun seeing him perform after watching the film.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Out on the Sea

Yesterday I set off on a two hour cruise along the coast of Maine on an 86 foot wooden windjammer called the Appledore. This is my third time up in Maine and I'd never been on a boat up here so I was glad to finally be out on the ocean with the sweet smell of the salt in the breeze. The trip was a well needed respite of relaxation and there were some beautiful views of the Curtis Island Lighthouse and the sunset of the mountains of Camden. The crew was a ton of fun as well and the ship was also a fully functioning bar so it was a fun ride.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Elmer's Barn

I drove out to Elmer's Barn, a great antique and art barn in Coopers Mill, Maine yesterday to take some pictures. The barn is a well stocked 3 story shop loaded with an interesting collection of Americana and mementos. I spent over an hour looking through the never-ending piles of interesting stuff such as: ancient tools, 1950's family photographs, handmade sculptures cut out from steel saw blades, and 1970's soda cans. The place was pretty amazing but after an hour I was so dreary that if I had found Teddy Roosevelt's teeth for sale I wouldn't have noticed it.

I was only 14 miles out of the Capital City of Augusta so I thought I'd go and try to grab a Starbucks coffee and see the city. When I entered the city I thought I had made a wrong turn because no city- just a street with some nearly abandoned historic buildings. It felt like a city that had burned down years ago and no one mentioned it to the handful of residents that stayed on. There were barely even people but on the way back I did catch this magnificent photo of a guy mowing his lawn in what appeared to be a bathing suit?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Understanding The Shining

I love spending time in a quiet, peaceful place like the sleepy town of Rockport, Maine because it makes me realize the insane pace of my life in New York. Everyone here is friendly, warm, and they all wake up and get going at 6am- it's confusing for a New Yorker. I opened the door in the coffeeshop down the street and people dove out of the way like I was robbing the place because of my hustle.

I think I'd be an alcoholic in no time if I spent any extended time up here because there just isn't enough to do for me to survive. The place is beautiful and quaint but I need five computers going and I always find myself driving down the one lane roads going 70 blasting music. Last night I went out at 10pm and everything was closed- everything. I never appriciate how truely great Manhattan is until I leave- in the rest of the country things actually close- it's remarkable. The only thing open was a little local bar so I stopped in to have a few drinks and suck terribly at every bar game they had for a few hours. Madness.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Free Adult Movies...and Bacon

Breakfast is great. That's why I had 3 of them today on the drive up to Maine from Boston. Pictured is the winning breakfast by a quick Tysonesque knockout- "The King Cakes". Named for Elvis these mammoth chocolate chip banana pancakes were sandwiched with a healthy portion of peanut butter inbetween and it was topped with some perfectly crisp bacon and homemade whip creme- amazing. I found this treasure in a quirky little eatery in Portsmouth, New Hampshire called Friendly Toast that is a little hipster paradise snugly wedged into the historic buildings on the main drag in town. My drive through northern New England was plagued by bad weather but I managed to snag a couple of interesting photos on the drive- my favorite is the motel offering Free Adult Movies to patrons on their sign- how weird is that?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

On the Road in New England

I spent the day traveling through New England on the way up to mid coast Maine for a week long stay. I drove out to the North Shore of Long Island to grab the Orient Point Ferry to New London, Connecticut. I stopped out in Greenport to grab dinner and take a walk around. I love the North Fork of Long Island out on the east end in the summer and unfortunately I just don't get a chance to get out there much. I snagged a table at the classic Claudios restaurant but after waiting 15 minutes for service I left to try a new place in town BBQ Bill's, which was great.

The ferry ride across the Sound was perfect during sunset with a nice summer breeze. I've made the trip across on the ferry countless times over the years having gone to school in Boston for awhile and I've always loved it. I made a few pit stops along the way stopping off in Providence, Rhode Island for some much needed Starbucks and a trip through Brown University and a local outdoor Italian Festival (on Long Island we just call them festivals). I stopped off in Woburn, Massachusetts for the night and I'll be spending some time in Boston, New Hampshire, and Portland tomorrow.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Artist John Chamberlain

In addition to checking out the Longhouse yesterday I had an opportunity to attend a conversation between the classic American sculptor John Chamberlain and the director of the Parrish Museum in Southampton, Terry Sultan. John is well known in the art world for his colorful metallic pieces incorporating car parts and I learned his first car sculpture was actually created in town in Larry Rivers backyard. John spoke about his youth in Chicago and trying to find his way as an artist at the Art Institute of Chicago and Black Mountain College.
John went on to discuss his artistic process and career with highlights such as 2 inclusions in the Whitney Biennial, and over 100 one man shows. Chamberlain, who studied art history for a period, has always considered himself an Abstract Expressionist along with the other Hamptonites like Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning . The concept of viewing his work through the frame of Abstract Expressionism gives his sculptures another dimension. In his hour long dialogue the 81 year old sculptor had a number of fun stories about his old drinking days and his associations with other artists.

Friday, August 8, 2008

A Evening at the The Longhouse Reserve

I traveled out to East Hampton earlier this evening for a visit to one of my favorite art spaces, the Longhouse Reserve. The Longhouse is essentially the home of Jack Lenor Larsen, one of the world's premiere textile designers, but it also serves as an art and education non-profit organization.

The longhouse itself is an amazing building based on a 7th century Shinto shrine from Japan and I was lucky enough to see it first hand a few years ago during my first visit when Mr. Larsen gave me a personal tour. What I love about the building is the amazing collection of art and handcrafts, it also had the coolest kitchen I've ever seen with back lit shelving covered in fabric, an amazing design.

The estate also contains an enormous garden and sculpture collection that is beautifully landscaped. The work of some of my favorite sculptors such as: Dale Chihuly, Willem de Kooning, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Louise Bourgeois, and Buckminster Fuller can be seen out on the enormous property. It's definitely a visit that is worth taking if you ever have free time on a Saturday!