Monday, March 31, 2008

I just like this picture.

I took this the other night at the Fat Black Pussycat. The place was almost completely empty while we were there, which was surprising considering how busy that area of the Village is. Anyway, I just like the way it turned out. If you look to the lower left side, the chubby gal by the dart board is obviously glaring at me and looking like she wants a fight. It kinda contrasts nicely with Alison's manic giggling and the big, pretty chandelier. Also, if you look at the larger image, you can see an Italian locadina for Planet Of The Apes and a nifty one sheet for Lynch's Blue Velvet.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Stupid Ghosts!

OK, so we went into Manhattan yesterday at 4pm to meet up with the ghost tour thing a 6pm. Had a nice light dinner at the Town Tavern on 3rd (burgers, beer and wings, all at a fair price though the waitresses choice in hot pants were confusing). We met up at the big arch in Washington Square Park at 6pm which were the instructions as laid out on the website. No one else was there. Well, there were plenty of people there, but not ghost tour people. We thought one creepy guy hanging around might have something to do with it until he walked off with a lady. After waiting 15 minutes or so we gave up and went to the Fat Black Pussycat for a pint of tasty Brooklyn Lager. After that we walked over to Barnes and Noble where I bought two books on the stranger side of the city's history. I'm gonna do my own ghost tour! Take that!

Actually I'm going to email the company that organizes the tour and see what's what. Based on a whole bunch of articles I've read they've been doing this a long time and are quite reputable. Maybe there was a last minute cancellation or something. Either way, I was looking forward to it and it was disappointing that it was cancelled.

Regardless, Alison and I had a nice time wandering around until it got a bit too cold for her at which point we subway'd it back to Queens. I watched an ultra gory German action film called War Dog (the dubbing, by German guys trying to sound Texan, winds up making the cast sounds like Newfies) and a late sixties Turkish action film called Iron Claw The Pirate in which a guy in a mask with a pistol fights a masked villain named Fantomas (!) who is bent on collecting microfilm and taking over the world through means never discussed or elaborated on. Good stuff.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Good for what ales you.

Not much going on lately of note, but lots coming up. While the search for a job that doesn't suck continues we've been keeping busy interesting projects and mini-trips around the area. Here's a quick look at semi-interesting things that are on my upcoming calender just because...

March 29 - a guided walking ghost tour of the supposedly haunted parts of the Lower East Side/Village area in Manhattan. Should be interesting.
April 11-13 - drive to Canada to see my family and back. Hooray!
May 13 - Mike Ness plays Irving Plaza. Contains both honky and tonky.
June 13 - IRON MAIDEN at Madison Square Gardens. Color me stoked.
June 27-29 - Flashback Weekend in Chicago (We weren't going to go this year for fear that it'd be too expensive but I used some airmiles and we get to fly return for $10. That made it very doable).

We took Alison's son to Central Park on Easter for a horse and buggy ride before going to visit her mom in the hospital. Doing things like this with what has essentially become my NY family makes me miss my PDX family and my Canadian family as well, so it'll be great to see the Northerners in a couple of weeks and to check out my brand spankin' new nephew for the first time (my sister tells me he screams and poops a lot so we're obviously related). It'll be a belated Easter/Patrick's birthday celebration and while we won't have a ton of time, at least I know I can come back in a few weeks time. It's nice being closer geographically and knowing I can drive down whenever I feel like it, though I miss PDX Manly Movie Nights and Happy Hour at the Lucky Lab with the crew in P-town.

But NYC is a lot of fun so far. New Yorkers aren't nearly as rude or unfriendly as people make them out to be, they're just blunt. That's not a bad thing at all, and in fact, after the passive aggressive behaviour I saw so often in the work place and outside my little circles in the Northwest, it's actually pretty refreshing. At least you know where you stand with people most of the time.

In other news, lots of writing continues and more side projects involving the TV show and a few other media related bits and pieces are shaping up. I recently had a publisher ask to quote from an interview I did in an upcoming biography of John Holmes (!!!) and I've secured a connection with Paramount to get DVD Manaics (soon to be AV Maniacs...hopefully within the week) some mainstream screeners. We're not going to stop covering the fringe stuff at all, if anything we're ramping it up, but it can't hurt to cover worthy mainstream titles like There Will Be Blood or Sweeney Todd, both of which I've tackled to surprisingly successful results (and traffic).

What else is new.... oh, music. The new Willie Nelson CD is pretty rad. Fairly stripped down and simple but most of the time country music is better that way. The new Nick Cave album is mediocre and sounds pretty phoned in, unfortunately, and the new Danko Jones CD has yet to really grow on me despite a couple of really solid stand out tracks.

And last but not least.... a picture of the Weng Weng Pale Ale that fellow Filipino midget spy enthusiast Todd Jordan home brewed specifically for the Monster Mania Convention we attended a couple of weeks back in New Jersey.

'Tis truly a thing of rare beauty.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

St. Patrick's Day Citycrawl!

This weekend Alison and I went to NJ to the Monster Mania convention, almost got lost in Camden (scariest place I think I've ever been), drove into NYC the next night to catch the Pogues at the Roseland (damn that was a good show...until the pint glass landed on the soundboard - thankfully during the last 10 seconds of the second encore) with our pal Jeremy, then back to Jersey that night to finish up the convention on Sunday. It was a good time. Got to hang out with some old friends and make a few new ones as well.

We were exhausted when we got on Sunday but a good nights sleep did me a world of good and so Monday I took the train into Manhattan. I had to drop something off for her mom at the hospital but figured since I was going in anyway, I should bring my camera and do some wandering. I figured I'd head over from 57th and 10th into Times Square at 42nd and Broadway to hit the Virgin Megastore. Bought myself a documentary on transients who live in the NYC subway tunnels and a Street Dogs CD and passed what's left of the old Troma building on the way. Lloyd has moved his outfit to Queens to save some money. The DVD industry isn't doing so well right now and it's hard for the indies to survive. While Troma has made far more crap than they have decent films, it'd still be a shame if they went away after three decades or so and that building is so familiar to anyone whose seen any of Troma's DVDs that it's hard to imagine them existing anywhere else.

Once I got out of the store, I spied a bunch of people wandering around with festive St. Patrick's day stuff and remembered the parade was on. I wandered over to 5th Ave. where I caught the middle of it. It was a lot of fun and it was neat to see so many people into the spirit of the thing. Granted, there were probably more African Americans and Puerto Ricans than actual Irish there, but that didn't seem to matter to anyone, and really, why should it? The day itself has been mainstreamed so much that it really doens't matter anymore. The breweries have convinced us all that on St. Patrick's Day, everyone is Irish, even if the majority of people gathered on the sidewalks probably had no idea what the holiday means. It was interesting to see the different marching bands and organizations stomp their way up the pavement and wave their various flags. Eveyone seemed to be having a great time and there was a neat energy to the whole thing.

From there I wandered up from 42nd St. to 86th St., which is a pretty serious hike, and passed the block where the crane fell over the weekend. Those who don't know what I'm talking about should click this link - it's pretty sad stuff and something that could have and should have been prevented. At any rate, the block was protected by cops and emergency workers who stopped the curious like myself from getting too close but a 200mm zoom lens lets me get a little closer than most obnoxious camera nerds and I shot a few pictures not only of the wreckage but also of the NYPD and FDNY workers having to deal with the mess. It was odd going from the drunken festivities of the parade to the somber wreckage and the inhebriated parade goers of 5th Ave. seemed very silly in contrast to the fireman standing by with a stretcher in case another body should be pulled out from under the rubble.

Coming full circle, as I walked up 2nd Ave. to 86th St. I passed a bunch of Irish pubs where the cops and fireman who, I assume, had been marching in the parade were in enjoying the holiday and having a beer or seven. Part of me wanted to wander in and check out the scene, but I knew I'd be out of my element and I was starting to feel my feet complaining. By this point I'd been walking for five hour straight and covered a lot of ground.

It was an interesting day and I got to see a good chunk of Manhattan I'd never seen before. I passed the 59th St. Bridge and felt a little groovy as I did so, and I took a few hundred pictures just cause I felt like it and didn't have much of anything better to do. It was a gorgeous, sunny day and doing stuff like this makes me happy to be in New York. It's big enough that there's always going to be something to do or see even if it's just wandering around by myself looking at weird random stuff.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Climbing The Stairway To Stardom!

Joining the likes of wacky comedian and Ramones fan Uncle Floyd and cranky Jewish pornographer Al Goldstein, I finished my first session at MNN, the Manhattan Neighborhood Network. That's right, PUBLIC ACCESS TELEVISION! The credit goes to Edwin, who started DVD Maniacs years ago, for coming up with the idea and doing most of the work. He's the one with the connections there and the one with the technomological know-how. Regardless, we'd been talking about doing something together for a while and finally got some studio time to make it happen. The ultimate goal is to broadcast it on MNN once it's finished in post production (we have to edit out some flubs and add opening/closing credits) and then on the newly revamped website, which will be found here.

Essentially what we did was sit in front of three cameras and talk about movies. We shot an hour's worth of footage, so that's two episodes worth, and covered Bronson's Death Wish movies and Romero's zombie films and we were joined by our friend Todd for the second show. It was a good experience, I haven't really done anything on camera since my college days, over a decade ago, and my first shot definitely left some room for improvement but I didn't completely embarass myself either. Alison and I watched the very rouch cut that came out of the control room last night, and it wasn't that bad. It's got some personality and some nerd appeal. This was a solid first shot and in theory it shold only get better from here on out. Whether or not we'll ever make anything out of this aside from public access broadcast and some webcasts remains to be seen but at some point soon we'll probably host some live call in shows, which should be fun.

I'm excited about the idea of getting this off of the ground and about pitching in with some of the editing duties. My skills are rusty and out of use but the basic principals haven't changed even if the software has (if anything it's gotten easier). So we'll see. Even if I just end up being the remarkably handsome guy on camera, I can live with that. But even if the odds are against us getting rich and famous from this endeavor, it's a foot in the door and a step in the right direction and whatever other enthusiastic cliche you'd care to throw in. It's also me using skills I went to school to gain and then, based on life and circumstance, promptly wound up doing very little with.

Public Access. Who knew? But then again, where else are you going to see a couple of grown men argue about old low budget zombie movies on TV? I like to think once we get this off of the ground we'll be filling a niche. A weird, obsessive compulsive, nerdy niche but a niche never the less.

Tomorrow Alison and I leave for New Jersey to attend the Monster Mania Convention. Corey Feldman is going to be there, and Malcolm McDowell, but more importantly so is John Morghan, aka Giovanni Lombardo Radicci - the whipping boy of 80s Italian horror films. That's right, the guy who had his weenie chopped off in Cannibal Ferox and had his head drileld in Fulci's City Of The Living Dead is going to be in Jersey of all places. Should be a fun weekend. Saturday night we're going to drive back to NYC to catch the Pogues show (Billy Bragg is supposed to be opening!!!) and then head back to NJ (we got a hotel for the weekend) which'll put a few miles under our belts but I'm looking forward to hobknobbing with a few friends I haven't seen in a while and pursuing my nerdly interests with my equally nerdy but much prettier female partner in crime.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Murals N' Me In NYC.... Part One

OK, long story short, about a week ago Tolch and I were talking and I mentioned some big Run DMC mural I'd seen driving around Astoria, Queens while looking for a comic book store. He told me I should have had my picture taken in front of it, and that I should have my picture taken in front of all murals I pass, in hopes of creating a coffee table book called Murals N' Me.

This was a really stupid idea, so when Eddie and I went for lunch the other day and I had my camera with me, I figured it was time to beat that dumb idea to death.

So without further ado, the results of a few hours worth of wandering in the Village and Alphabet City areas of Manhattan. I was told afterwards we were lucky we didn't get shot in Alphabet City, but I have a feeling that the area is a lot safer than it used to be. Sure, there were a lot of projects and some weird bits and pieces here and there but it was broad daylight and there was nothing threatening save for the odd hobo or two.

I'm particularly impressed with the 'Bad Pussies' picture. It's just.... odd.