Wednesday, January 27, 2010

NY Times: You're a New York native, right? Arlo: I was born in Coney Island. The Holy Land.

Spent the afternoon with my best homegirl and most talented photographress Nina Mouritzen. In town from Denmark, she invited me to CI for a walk on the breezy beach to catch up and shoot each other. Triggers pulled and wounds licked we turned our attention the crippled monuments around us. Part mausoleum-- part ailing concrete circus tent-- the former City Of Fire -- once Home Of The Elephant Colossus -- has entered morbidly into it's final winter -- creaking a last bitter sigh before whatever gruesome and salacious rebirth lay ahead. Walking along the board walk I flashed to a brief memory of a friend getting stabbed for his boom box - then chastised myself for sincerely missing the days when both stabbings and boom boxes were as common as ipods and street massage. But looking back tends to bring you full circle -- on Ocean or any other avenue. I can warmly report that The Cyclone continues to stab the sky with splinters-- a wooden middle finger in the face of sentimentality's past, present, and future. That fucking thing still wants to end you-- with a wink. God Bless The Holy Land.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Unpublished (rejected) Heeb piece -


She’ll say things like “I’m the Jewish Tina Turner”. Usually when someone compares themselves, in this way, to another artist, an icon really, there is some evident basis for the claimed association. A woman stands herself up along side a riding giant like The Former Miissus Ike Turner and one begins to scan her very soul for some shred of accountability. In most cases, in regards to the subject of this particular examination, there is no clear example to be found.

During these awkward instances I’ll often counter with some innocuous inquiry like “how do you mean?” or “the fuck are you talking about?”. More times then not this will trigger nothing more then a pair of rolled eyeballs and the tight pursing of blood lust red lips. A clicking of the tongue will usually follow and then some hastily crafted combination of obscenities flung in my general direction. And that’s when it will slowly, inevitably occur to me:

She’s right. She’s always right. She’s the goddamned Gypsy Acid Queen.

I can’t really be blamed for not seeing it at the outset. She’s a tiny little thing, stands barely five feet above the concrete in glittered flats. She irons her auburn curls straight down her back and let’s the front fall in her face, which is youthful and pretty despite a few unruly nostril hairs. She’s chesty in contrast to her lithe, fragile frame, but it’s more the chest of a sparrow - her tits seem to start at her neck and round out proudly against the air and all comers. Her eyes are a rich brown though they’ll easily blacken if you’re not careful. My humble advice is try not to say anything to her face her rich Daddy may seek to sue you for. He’s got the time and resources, she’s got the temper and spoiled disposition.

Her name is Amber Reality, changed from something like Susan Gelfand, or Lipshitz or Shnitzer, or some other God awful Jewish name that implies Holocaust victim grandparents, and an upbringing mired in that special mix of “golden child” confidence and neurotic social anxiety. Her parents always told her she could be anything she wanted but never wanted her to be anything she wanted to be etc.

Truth is, I like Amber. Met her out one night at what I like to call The Hour Of The Wolf. This is that retched moment when, after swearing all evening that I will not ingest any foreign substance outside of a few strong alcoholic beverages (it was good enough for Jesus) I succumb to a kind of inner malaise where in I find myself in need of some method by which I can catch up to my bliss and suppress my mortal ache. It is at this hour that I begin the cruel process of breaking promises. Oaths I swore earlier become like shadows, dark things to pass through but wholly ignore. My pupils widen, my lips curl into a grin and I get a little funny in the face. There is howling. There is sometimes a Moon.

Amber, as it turns out, has a similar nocturnal social process, a She Wolf Hour, if you will. And so we came together in the dark like rabid wolverines one fateful night.

Our relationship is not unlike that of two passing pirate ships, cannons blasting across the sea at one another. We don’t see each other too often, but when we do it’s brief, explosive, and leaves us both full of holes.

I love music and Amber had a band. “The Bitch Titans Of Fuck”. I was a fan. What follows is the story of why Amber no longer has a band.

The show was scheduled for midnight a few weeks ago. We borrowed a friends dying Bronco and drove upstate. Amber’s parents, Joel and Danya Jewname, keep a house in the Catskills. It’s neither their only home nor their largest , but it was the one near the gig. Amber was a bit wary of scheduling her band’s inaugural live performance somewhere in the city. She dreaded taking the stage at some high profile cock hole on the LES or in Willy B where she’d never live down whatever disaster she was obviously intuiting so she ruefully decided to debut the “The Bitch Titans” upstate, near her folk’s place to, as she put it, ... “make a weekend of it”.

Upon arriving at said country home, I was introduced to the other two thirds of the band. Sandy Levitt on Bass, looks like a half eaten knish covered in rusted staples. She’s squat, crusted over, and pierced in places you’re Doctor doesn’t even get to see. Not a great Bass player but a true performer. Sandy is always “on”. A highly vocal lesbian Loki cutting her nose to spite the one she was actually born with. She’s an old school trickster character with hot potato leaking from her ears, I liked her immediately. I knew however, that if I somehow got too close coming from the wrong direction, she’d turn my balls into Humus.

Sara Freedman, Drummer, is a different story. This girl is the original impetus for the “girl like you, place like this” cliche. I felt like I was meeting a victim of a violent kidnapping. So sweet, blonde and seemingly pure of heart was she that when she introduced herself the words “are you OK?” spilled from my mouth like milk from an over fed infant.

It’s a question she had no time to answer as very soon we were whisked from The Jewname estate to the sight of the coming musical eschaton. We swapped the Bronco for Amber’s father’s vintage green Chevelle, which oddly, I was certain had been on blocks when we first pulled up,and sped off down dirt roads to what we’ll call herein the “Gepetto Street Cafe”, a cozy little watering hole located in a popular town baring the moniker of a historic hippy music festival. The names have been changed to protect us all from Amber’s father, esquire.

A word about the venue. Richie Havens played here. Bob Dylan, Rick Danko, Levon Helm had played here. Janis, sure, she’d played here. But this was not exactly the ideal venue for the three chick noise symphony that Amber had put together, nor was the local crowd really clamoring for two chord “bitch rock” on this cool breezy evening.

My gut tells me that Amber had never been inside the joint before arriving to rock it. I asked her about this a few times but never got more then what Amber usually provides when asked a direct question. A glare akin to the wet kiss at the end of a hot fist. I ceased my line of questioning.

Outside the humble country folk bar, oldsters, baby boomers, and their dopey mullet sporting spawn were filing in and out of the place in jeans and boots. This crowd was white, mellow and tipsy - nothing like the Purim Parade of ingrates that line up outside zoo stories like Fat Baby and Santos in the city on a Friday night.

Amber began to panic. Maybe she’d made a mistake. Maybe these were not her people. Maybe the inebriated throngs of sexed up cunt monkeys back on Ludllow street would have received her special vision better then these gawking geeks in Lindsay Buckingham concert tees and un-ironic acid washed denim . Before my eyes, Amber transformed from the enticing and confident punk fueled nymph I’d come to know into a whirlwind of frenetic Jewish anxiety and self doubt. Larry David in spiked heels and war paint. She paced and gasped for breath, questioning every decision she’d made on her own since the third grade.

Anxiety is an interesting problem and one most urban Jews inherit like so much worthless costume Jewelry. I’m always interested in the various ways people I know handle their personal crisis of neurosis. Many friends of mine never leave home unless strapped, armed that is, with their trusty prescription bottle containing either Xanax, Valium, or whatever special elixir of artificial ease seems best.

A barber I know has a complicated series of Buddhist chants he’ll recite when the fear comes on and his will won’t war against it. He sounds like a monk on speed but it works. For him.

Amber, as I discovered, has no real plan in place for the onset of such unsettling moments..

She would not venture into the bar and we waited with her outside while her manic worry mounted like Colorodo snow. After around half past the witching hour the proprietor of the place stepped out, a bit high maybe, but his wits were surely about him. He inquired softly about the status of the band. Were they going to play? Were they anywhere near loading in their gear? Where was their gear? Reasonable questions from a reasonable man.

A reasonable man who got a swinging hammer to the groin.

I never saw the hammer. Hadn’t seen it in the car and never noticed Amber carrying it. OK, it was less a hammer and more a mallet. Made of wood, sure, but wielded with such grim relish that mid - swing it became a lethal agent of near fatal horror and anguish.

The Knish and The Sweetheart were as thunder struck as I. None of us were nearly as shocked as the sad old hippy now writhing and whimpering on the ground. He stretched his hands out and opened his palms to shield his face from the splintery cooking utensil coming down at him with the force of a murderous comet.

I stepped in. You really have to in these cases. Grabbing Amber’s death hammer with one hand and wrapping my free arm around her waist I lifted her off the ground and shuttled her briskly to the safety of her father’s vintage sport’s car, forcing her into the back seat like a prom night date rapist.

It would be days before I'd gently prod a drowsy Amber for an explanation. We'd be back at my place in the city, she all poured onto the floor like a puddle of wilted flower petals and me laying next to her, a half drunken grease stain muttering into her armpit. All she'd mange to say is "I was anxious". Or perhaps that's all I managed to hear. Faced with either taking that or leaving it I guess I've done a little bit of both here. Sometimes the questions we pose into the sweaty crevasses of others can never really be answered sufficiently.

Stories like this tend to continue rather than wrap themselves up expertly like a sailor’s knot. On the night in question we simply discarded the tiny offending weapon and packed back in to the weird green car. Then we drove. And drove. High speeds up steep hills and unpaved roads. Narrowly missed a few deer as they bravely tried their luck against us. Met some locals at the gas station and were awed by their teeth. The night continued as a night will usually choose to do.

Whatever you imagine happened next most likely went down exactly as you’re seeing it. There was sex, dear reader, there were drugs, but sadly the genetic menace, the debilitating disease, the unfortunate Reality that is Jewish anxiety had murdered any shot we’d ever had at Rock N’ Roll.

Suite 16

Deathed Kitty

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Someday Baby

Though our president is a mixed race minority, basic human rights are still not afforded to an entire community of people based on religious mumbo jumbo and archaic social standards. prop 8 in effect in the 21st century , passing on the eve of our first ever president of color - treacherous. big props to bob for lending his voice toward establishing same sex romantic images as the accepted norm. Peoples is peoples.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Dujeous - Hot Newness

Check these guys out in the improbable friends list.

DUJEOUS - "BREAK BREAD" from Dujeous LLC on Vimeo.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009