Whoa. Probably a pretty common response to the Tim Burton exhibit going on right now at MOMA. The volume of work alone would inspire a good solid Keanu Reeves-style whoa, but I really cannot think of the words to describe it right now. The only thing that outnumbered the works of art were the crazy crowds of people who are flocking to the show. Imagine every character from every movie (plus countless others) sketched, painted and crayoned in order to fine tune his vision for each. Every time slot is consistently sold out, so plan ahead if you are traveling to the city and have plans to see the exhibit. He is a true multimedia artist in the purest sense. Go check it.
Cunningham shoots goings on in the streets of Manhattan every day; most of his pictures, he has said, are never published. Designer Oscar de la Renta has said, “More than anyone else in the city, he has the whole visual history of the last 40 or 50 years of New York. It’s the total scope of fashion in the life of New York.” Though he has made a career out of unexpected photographs of celebrities, socialites, and fashion personalities, many in those categories value his company; according to David Rockefeller, Brooke Astor requested his presence, alone among the media, at her 100th birthday party.
In 2008 he was awarded the title chevalier dans l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture. As of 2008, Filmmaker Richard Press and Philip Gefter of the Times are working on a documentary about Cunningham, his bicycle, and his camera.
A documentary? Sweet.
Out of nowhere, I happened to see how long the list of archives are for my blog. It’s that long list of months in the right hand margin. I started it back in 2007, which seems like a pretty long time ago at this point. Quite a bit has changed for me since then. Went from a huge corporate media job, to a 2-man operation, to a slightly-larger-than-2 man operation. I started a completely new line of work in a new sliver of the marketing and advertising world. Major updates to the relationship status. Sudden loss of my father. Looking at the old posts from late 2007 and early 2008 gave me some great insight into the way my outlook has changed due to all of the things listed above. It is almost like a diary – a very public diary that you invite a few hundred people a day to read. This is my journal, and here are some of my favorite entries from back in 2007.
My first experience at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Sean Lennon was watching from a balcony above, which reminded me of old times with my parents – when I was 6 years old.
My friends David and Allen came to visit in Nov 07. I love this picture on Mulberry street in Little Italy. They look like two mobster hitmen looking over one of their assignments.
I like this one mainly for the title. Doyle was not allowed to venture out into the crowds of the NYC Marathon that runs right by my apartment, so it was called 3/4 Family Photo.
And finally, for a really good snapshot of where my head was at the end of 2007, check out my List of Favorite Things from 2007. Some of these continue to ring true, but many were simply disposable, like almost everything type of consumable around.
A few years back, I spent 6 weeks aimlessly searching for an apartment in NYC. It would be my first NYC apartment. I have seen apartments in every neighborhood… Upper East, Upper West, Financial District, Tribeca, Lower East, East Village and the list goes on. I had a work-issued broker taking me around to look at tall filing cabinets throughout the city to live in. On weekends and some afternoons after work, I would go explore Brooklyn on my own – because there was no way my broker was crossing any river. After a particularly grueling day of seeing shitty Brooklyn apartments in all sorts of neighborhoods, I surfaced at the G-Train stop where Fulton crosses Lafayette. The sun was setting towards the end of Lafayette, right over the street between BAM and the apartment building across the street. From the moment I surfaced on that June day, I could feel an undeniable vibe. I cannot stress this enough – undeniable. The warm setting sun, the faint scent of incense in the air, cars bumping hip-hop and reggae, and an interesting mix of people on their way somewhere. It was the best advertisement for a neighborhood ever. No slick broker or savvy landlord could ever have sold me in the way that I was sold when I just stepped out of that subway stop. I had just arrived in the North Oak Cliff of New York City.
There was this weird feeling of arrival. I had yet to feel truly comfortable in any neighborhood I had visited, but once in Fort Greene, I knew that I had found the place I needed to live. It helped that I had never really heard of it. It had zero expectations. It did not have a ‘type’ like LES or Williamsburg (hipsters), or Park Slope or UWS with strollers and boredom. What I liked about Fort Greene was what anthropologists have acknowledged: There may be no place in the country where people from such diverse backgrounds exist in seemingly such harmony. African-Americans, Caribbean-Americans, Middle Eastern, Jewish, Asian, and certainly a large dose of young couples moving in to raise families – typical gentrification style. That is probably where I come in.
I am blessed in many ways to have found this neighborhood. And certainly very blessed to live in the Fort Greene home of the late jazz great Betty Carter, who would have definitely played a role in the film above. After watching that trailer above, I almost feel like I am not worthy of living here. The trailer only shows a small sliver of the people that either grew up in this tiny neighborhood, or have passed through at some time. I love Chris Rock’s line in the trailer about ‘snobby’ people. The snobby people are still here, but that snobby-ness isn’t really snobby-ness. It actually just legit cool. I cannot stress this enough – legit cool. I can only hope that a tiny shred rubs off on me.
Had the chance to go see Kanye perform tonight at Cipriani’s downtown for the seemingly annual Casio G-Shock event. Last year, Kanye had the nude girls with space helmets on as back-up dancers. He had a far more tame, but visually interesting aesthetic this time out: Almost all black, with straps wrapped around his arms, all topped off with a matte black face mask. He also had giant screens that counted down from 40:00:00 – perhaps a statement about the corporate-ness of the event.
Everyone knows I am about a mile up Kanye’s ass anyways, so I ain’t gonna lie… the show was great. The dude can do no wrong in my opinion. Hate on. Whatever.
And for all of you sneakerheads that act like you don’t care, but are secretly dying to know… He was wearing all black Timberland boots.
Last Friday, an old friend was in town and we were scheduled to meet up. I was very excited to see her, but then the destination came through via text: We are going to Santos Party House. Needless to say, I was not excited about the destination. So much so, I opted out of the evening altogether. But then the second text came through… How about Burlesque in Tribeca?
Upon arrival, I quickly realized that I had just stumbled upon my favorite NY nightlife experience to date. I don’t write reviews of much, but this place was inspiring. The environment was simply amazing. Having spent the last few weeks trying to work a little bit of substance into my life, I was blown away by Duane Park on this Friday night. It was just what I needed. It was like I had just walked into the 1930s. The dim, totally vintage lighting, with a killer chandelier hanging over the middle of the restaurant. A small, foot-tall stage, lit from the floor by bulbs that may as well have been 50 years old. The stage was just big enough for a single performer, complete with the vintage mic, and flanked by a jazz trio of a piano, stand up bass, and trumpet/singer.
Each performer was of the highest caliber. Hot as shit. Not too gimmicky, paying full respect to the art form. No annoying drag queen hosts adding unnecessary comic relief. No shoddy sound system typically reserved for indie rock bands. It was stripped down, pure and simple. I left craving more. Someone has nailed this experience so well, they deserve an award. So check your calendar. Is it Friday? Then call me . Let’s go.
Duane Park Restaurant and Lounge
http://www.duaneparknyc.com/ > Source of Images
A few weeks back, I went to a great party on the Upper West Side. There was a no-shoe policy at the party, so outside the elevator/front door, there were dozens of shoes laying all over the floor. I saw a wide variety of shoes, including an abundance of prepped out boat shoes. I was inspired. I had to have some. So in order to step up my Upper West Side Swag*, I went in with these, because I was mesmerized by the rich red sole. Almost like Louboutins for dudes. I go hard.
*Ironic use of word ‘Swag’