Monday, September 29, 2008

The Black Lips are Riotous

The Black Lips are the most awesome band in the world for about 5 minutes per show. I could write about them all afternoon but this video from the Heaven Club in London is really all you need to see.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Let's Get This Party Started *

The ten days starting with Rosh Hashanah and ending with Yom Kippur are commonly known as the Days of Awe (Yamim Noraim) or the Days of Repentance. This is a time for serious introspection, a time to consider the sins of the previous year and repent before Yom Kippur. Around here repentance can be quite time consuming.

One of the ongoing themes of the Days of Awe is the concept that G-d has "books" that he writes our names in, writing down who will live and who will die, who will have a good life and who will have a bad life, for the next year. These books are written on Rosh Hashanah, but our actions during the Days of Awe can alter G-d's decree. The actions that change the decree are teshuvah, tefilah and tzedakah," repentance, prayer, good deeds (usually, charity). These "books" are sealed on Yom Kippur. This concept of writing in books is the source of the common greeting during this time is "May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year."

Among the customs of this time, it is common to seek reconciliation with people you may have wronged during the course of the year. The Talmud maintains that Yom Kippur atones only for sins between man and G-d. To atone for sins against another person, you must first seek reconciliation with that person, righting the wrongs you committed against them if possible.

Another custom observed during this time is kapparot. Basically, you purchase a live fowl, and on the morning before Yom Kippur you waive it over your head reciting a prayer asking that the fowl be considered atonement for sins. The fowl is then slaughtered and given to the poor (or its value is given). Some Jews today simply use a bag of money instead of a fowl.

And that concludes this Sunday's service. Peace Be With You

Ed. note: This picture has nothing to do with Rosh Hashanah but everything to do with getting parties started!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Heaven's Chef: Kenny Shopsin

Kenny Shopsin is famously known for hating publicity and because of his cranky eccentricities, Shopsin remains my culinary hero as opposed to the other Lower East Side of Manhattan magician, Wylie Dufresne. For starters take a look at Shopsin's goddamn menu. His crazed improv-short-order cook cum screaming magic bean buying savant style is one of the last great joys of eating in New York City.

My approach at Shopsin's is the exact opposite of "the customer is always right." Until I know the people, until they show me that they are worth cultivating as customers, I'm not even sure I want their patronage.

If you subscribe to Tasting Table or read Counter Culture obsessively, you will love Matt Mahurin's documentary I Like Killing Flies which really dives into the soup to nuts and bolts story of Kenny.

The old Shopsin's location in Greenwich Village was legendary but Kenny is still working the magic at the new location in Essex Street Market. So go see him but beware: He bites. Or just buy the book already.

Digg my article

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Uncle Sam, Will You Please Buy My Shitpile?

If the American taxpayers are gonna give Treasury Secretary Paulson a blank check to bail out the shareholders of busted banks then I fucking want help. We all have bad assets, right? And since it's our money in the kitty to begin with, I suggest we (US citizens only) all demand reimbursement for fiscal boners committed while under the influence or debts incurred while working tirelessly for pennies at megahit websites.

Add your shit to the pile. It's fun

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Bad & The Beautiful is getting hitched today

Rarely can any us of turn back the clock to a time when we looked dazzling and hip. Most of us merely limp along just behind the leading edge of fashion picking up second hand tips and last week's cool from generous friends or oblivious lovers. But to have a 90's photo in the archive complete with platinum hair, the still vibrant colors of a fresh sleeve, cool adidas kicks, and a radio flyer wagon loaded with pre-mixed margaritas, that should be at the top of every wish list. Studs come in all sizes and shapes but I assure you our man Trevor Silmser was a darling of the era. Can you say, hardcore?


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

FOX Loves Buttholes

Kind of a sweet piece for so dastardly a character.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Fuck the Gowanus Canal - Can We Please Party?

We chose Gowanus as the location for the 3rd Annual Celebrity $HAKEDOWN not only cuz it has draw bridges and toxic canals but because it is the best neighborhood in NYC. And now its home to the best music venue The Bell House. Besides what are a few poisoned oysters among the hipperati.

The ignominious James Stockbauer has tentatively agreed to MC the event in a purple velour jacket he claims to have purchased for the occasion from Saks 5th Ave. Or perhaps the velour is just a fun coincidence. You can email here And might i suggest, Subject: Can We We Please Party Sept 20th?

Oh, that reminds me, Ben Ritter, he is planning to sue you. Sorry to bring that up here.

Trust me the event will be a gas. The club is fucking cool, the stageFARM really does rock, KiDz in the Hall, Blitz the Ambassador and The Back C.C's will destroy and yours truly will be there glad handing each and every one of you. Plus Stockbauer does not disappoint unless your are naive enough to expect him to MC an event with professionalism. Like Sabotaging your own event?

So, our loyal Admiral Stockbauer flaked at the last minute and the show at The Bell House was left without an MC. Fortunately consummate showman Gibby Haynes stepped up to the plate and introduced the Back CC’s. Thus we must call out our dear old pal, proprietor of the Long Branch Inn and Scoot Inn in sunny Austin, TX and his Merry Band of Lawyers™.

Take us on, Stockbauer. Take us on.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Rest in Peace David Foster Wallace

It's not often you read a book and think wow this dude is genius. And when you watch DFW you get the same feeling wrapped in protective admiration. He was smart and he was a good guy. His death is a bummer bigger than literature. If you are curious for more listen to the KCRW interviews with DFW.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Unending War On (a) Terrible Notion

On the morning of the 9/11, I was staring at lower Manhattan trying to wrap my mind about the improbable idea that a jumbo jet was lodged in 1 World Trade Center. Scorched trading papers were blowing all over South Brooklyn when the sound of a huge engine redlining, struggling like it was about to blow up, began to dominate. It was all sound. Eventually the slowest moving "black" airborn object I've ever seen came arcing over my head and flew back towards Manhattan. I assumed it was a survlliance plane. It turned out to be United Airlines Flight 175. When it hit the South Tower, I almost jumped out of my skin, backing quickly, instinctively against a wall. My first thought was whatever is happening, I'm way too close. My second thought was Osama Bin Ladin. And I'm no genius.

The fireball caused by the strike of UA175 was so vibrant and immediate it was like I was watching a movie. My eyes felt untrustworthy and I even asked a Jamaican dude standing next to me, "Did I just see that?" I wasn't prepared to process what had happened. No one is. Watching those buildings tumble with the naked eye was beyond surreal. The dust and debris quickly followed a sound like Godzilla tearfully roaring across New York Harbor. At the time I didn't have a TV, so for weeks I would have nothing with which to compare my almost psychedelic experience.

That evening as I was sitting by the radio staring at the hole in the sky and breathing in the wretched stench Stephen Schubert suggested we go see the site for ourselves. I jumped on my bike and rode over the Brooklyn Bridge towards the site as nervous as I've ever been. On the nights of the 11th and 12th of September 2001, we spent probably 16 hours exploring, and trying to help in the area around Lower Manhattan. You could go anywhere at that time. It was a like Romero movie, pulverized debris, fires, and a host of zombied emergency workers. But mostly abandonment. Quiet. Ghastly. No reporters, no sightseers, no homeless. We drank beer and wandered, wondering innocently how all the buildings could have fallen down so completely. It seemed even a movie couldn't have come off that perfect. People are still wondering. Me? I still can't wrap my head around any of it.

Schubert always contended mischief was afoot but today he's dead, the towers that so dominated this City are gone, and Osama too, has vanished like a puff of devilish smoke. At times, I dream of Schubert laying in wait for Osama Bin Ladin in some otherworldly way station ready to rip his turban off and lay a "flying ham sandwich" on the so-called Sheik. The thought of his hairy ass flying through the air and knocking that tower of a muslim phony on his is one of the few things that makes the memories bearable.

The most incredibly personal footage of 9/11 you'll ever see is here. You should watch it. Again and again. ~ What We Saw.

How To Beat The Khalid Sheikh Mohammed Blues
Broadcasting Be Gone, Bye Bye TV
Man on Wire - The Artistic Crime of the Century
9/11 A Day Beyond Belief

Man on Wire - The Artistic Crime of the Century

Philippe Petit's daring, but illegal, high-wire routine performed between New York City's World Trade Center's twin towers in 1974 is a nice trip back to a time before our memories were corrupted by 9/11. You should see it.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Like Protest?

Protest like these guys here

the running mule

the running mule