Monday, March 30, 2009

Some Other Writing Endeavors and Great Websites

So, I now write music stuffs for a few other blogs and I thought, both because I write for them and because they're cool in general, I should link some stuff to their websites. Promo for me, promo for them. No downside. (Decemberists Review!) (Schocholautte review!) (review and interview to be posted soon!)

Hang out at these websites for a while, they've got lots of cool stuff on them. Check out the visual art section of QuietColor, and the food section of ShortAndSweet, and the awesome videos on ComfortComes. Do it.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Funniest 18-Year Old Alive

Oh my god. Where does this kid live, I want him in the monday shows...damn, he's not old enough. Awesome bastard.

Another Fabulous Animal: The Ostrich

Whoever says that birds are not descended from dinosaurs, needs only to take a look at the Ostrich to know they are wrong, wrong, wrong. About the only thing this bird has in common with other birds is it's egg-laying capabilities. Other than that, it's essentially a Gallimimus with some feathers.

So, the quick and dirty: the Ostrich is the largest bird in the world, a cousin of the nearly as large Emu, and related to Kiwis and other such flightless birds (not penguins though). These guys can grow to nearly 10 feet tall, weigh more than a sumo wrestler, and can beat a horse in a footrace. Most people already know that they lay the largest eggs of any bird, averaging around 6 inches long.

Contrary to what cartoons say, when an ostrich feels threatened, it doesn't stick its head into the ground, but rather lies flat, or runs like the dickens. They live in communities and travel together, but when held entirely in captivity, it is very possible for them to be unable to court other birds; however, they may try their tricks on humans.

These creatures are ever fascinating, one of the last species of flightless birds in an order where most have died off (such as the "Elephant Bird", Aepyornis). They have long been adored for their luxurious feathers and tough leather, but to a greater extent they give us a real glimpse into the past. We have, living on this planet, such a close relative to the ancient beasts of prehistoric times, and we should appreciate them as they are; walking history. And come on, they're pretty cute too.

The Ostrich
More About the Ostrich
More About Flightless Birds

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Best of the Worst of America

As a child I was fascinated by colors, lights, toys and the like. I think most kids were probably the same. So it only seems right that as an adult, being still fascinated by colors, lights, toys and the like, I should have a soft spot in my heart for the anything that reminds me of childhood. This is true, and untrue at the same time. Kitsch has become something short of an obsession for me; an undying love of all things in bad taste and ridiculous existence. This leads me to my thoughts on Disneyland and Las Vegas.

There are few places in this country, let alone the world, which can cater to the imagination and fantasies like Disneyland and Vegas. Though there is a broad distance between the median age for tourists in Disneyland and those in Vegas, the concept is still the same. The world's largest playground. In essence, Vegas is the adult version of Disneyland, with rides, sweets, costumed characters and anything the mind can wish.

Admitting all bias, I adore both places, but not for their gambling opportunities, or roller coasters or anything. Disneyland makes we want to cry, and Vegas usually makes me want to vomit. However, I appreciate them as pieces of American culture, something that only the United States could ever really invent, and something that reminds the world that there is in fact a common culture in this country. So many nations have characteristics that immediately come to mind when describing a member of that country. I won't name them, but you can think of a few I'm sure.

But when given American, often ideas come the way of "melting pot", or "a mixture of cultures". While this is, of course, very true, over the centuries, this country has managed to find its own home in the world, with a strange culture all its own. Kitsch was not invented here by any means, but the culture of utter ridiculousness has been perfected by places such as Vegas and Disneyland. America has managed to turn luxury, kitsch and ostentatious "It's all about me!" culture into a guilty pleasure that lies as a backbone for the more well-known all powerful United States of America.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Antagonist Art Movement presents: Alphabet City Soup

This is now official news, the Antagonist Art Movement (those lovely people who brought you thursday nights at Niagara Bar) have a new night of great things! Every Monday, beginning March 30th, will turn this little East Village bar into a crazy house of ruckus!

This show will consist of variety acts, local NYC folks who do their thing, and do it well. Julian Stockdale, will be the host and keep it all running funny. Schocholautte, those New York rock idols, will be capping the show off each night with their set at 10pm!

The shows are free, and 21+ (sorry kiddies), but come ready to party, and have a beer or two. Better yet, bring a friend or two and buy their drinks also. Each Monday will be a little bit different so you never get the same show twice! Niagara Bar is located at 7th St. and Ave. A in the East Village. Bring the love, bring the sweat, bring your ears and eyes, this show will knock you on your ass, and then pick you up again!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Bat for Lashes "Daniel" music video

Daniel - Bat For Lashes

I had never heard of Bat for Lashes before, but I think this song and video are incredible! Definitely a new one to add to my list.

Bat for Lashes Myspace

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Good Music is Good Anywhere

There are people who like listening to albums, and there are those who prefer live music. Personally I prefer music live, and can't comprehend those who would rather sit at home, but who's judging? However, my point is this, if the music is good, it doesn't really matter when or where you hear it, because it should do the same thing to you. Whatever that may be depends on lots of things.

Take one example, last night in south Jersey, there was a house party. This party had a band booked to play it. Four songs into the set, the cops showed up with a noise warning. Mostly it was ridiculous because it was barely 10pm (yes I was there). After a short break, people still wanted to hear more, so the band tried playing with less instruments and no amps. Still to no avail, it was too loud outside. So, as a last resort, they moved to an upstairs bedroom.

The idea of cramming 20 people, instruments and beer into a small bedroom might not sound that great to some music lovers, but when the lyrics and beats make everyone in the room close their eyes and bob their heads in unison, the close proximity and awkward situation make it that much more intimate and meaningful. This band got to finish their set and have dozens of new, amazed fans, because of this one evening.

Sitting next to the guy singing, or drumming or whatnot, makes you almost feel like a part of the band, and instinctively, a part of the music. Every song is, of course, about your life, and you cannot fathom how the songwriter managed to get inside your head to pull out these deep thoughts. And really, they only pulled out what is human in all of us, and the evening took everyone back to the time when people would sit around, and not watch television or even listen to the radio, but would actively entertain each other, with music, conversation and laughter.

What Band Was It?

(Photo courtesy of Karen Pobicki)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Alfred Jarry is the Man

In college, I was a student of the theatre. And during one class on European Drama, I read a play which, to this day, is still one of my fondest and most cherished favorites. Ubu roi, written by Alfred Jarry is one of the great precursors to modern drama. The man is little known outside of his home country of France, and I thought I should give some blog love to the genius playwright.

Alfred Jarry was born in Laval, Mayenne, France in 1873. He was a precocious student, often making fun of his less than worthy professors and, along with other boys, would create puppet shows based around the characters in his own life. He moved to Paris at the age of 17, both of his parents died, and he discovered absinthe, as many of the great playwrights did.

His great work, Ubu roi, opened on December 10, 1896, to a crowd of horrified viewers, astounded at his use of "Merdre!" (translated as "Shitter!" in English). The word sparked a riot and the play was not seen again until 1907. Among the many other talents Jarry possessed, he was the inventor of Pataphysics, a strange pseudoscience, still not completely understood. He wore a pistol on his midget frame, and rode a bicycle, of which he referred to as "that which rolls". All the while his health continued to deteriorate from his massive alcohol consumption.

Jarry died in 1907 at the tender age of 34 from tuberculosis but his influence lives on in his plays, fiction novels, pseudoscientific studies and through his legendary status which he took on during the last years of his life. There is even a band named Pére Ubu, which is not coincidental. He is often known as the first absurdist playwright, the first surrealist or one of many labels. He was, however, none and all of these things. Ubu roi is still a timeless piece, as relevant to the trials of the modern day as was to his 19th century France.

More on Jarry
Even more on Jarry

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

First Monday is a Success!

Last night Schocholautte had their first evening in the newly renovated Niagara Bar. As previously posted, they're going to be doing a show every monday night, with variety acts and a host as an opening show. I attended and the night was a complete success! There were worries early on about the volume and echo because this is a new space where bands will be playing, but after getting a few drinks in the audience and some sweat flying around, it didn't seem as loud as previously thought. And, now the music is upstairs, so the upstairs bar can hear and see the entertainment, as well as the people walking by outside.

It was a night of new music! Good friend Argyle Johansen opened the night with some oldies and goodies, and some new songs, that I don't think I've even heard. The audience started out small, but as people realized that the music was GOOD, the place began to fill up. Schocholautte came on and rocked everyone out of their pants, and they even played 3 new songs never before heard at a show!

Make sure to look them up on myspace and stay updated with their upcoming shows, they're even going on the road for the first time! These boys are moving up, let's give them some support!!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Beatbox Recipe

This is sweet, and I wish all chefs would cook like this.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Chocolate Brontosaurus Mondays

Schocholautte, my buddies, and favorite band ever, are doing something awesome. Technically they always do awesome things, but I'm biased. Starting this monday (the 16th of March!) they will be playing a residency at Niagara Bar. They will be there every monday, playing to their hearts content (or from 10-11pm, whichever comes first).

The best part of this is that not only will they be playing, the entire evening is becoming a variety/talk show type of deal, with different people performing different crazy things. Actually, there is still plenty of room for acts to join, so if you have some insane or inane thing that you do (drag, poetry, dance, anything) then we would love to have you join us! But if not, then just show up and give support, because nothing matters if no one is there to see it!

Low down: Every Monday at Niagara Bar, which is on the corner of Ave A and E. 7th in the East Village. Schocholautte will be playing at 10pm and the variety show will be for the hour or two beforehand. And the clincher, it's FREE! Although since it is a bar, having a beer or two can't hurt. Plus, they card at the door, so sorry to anyone under 21, but the doorman is big and doesn't take crap. From anyone, I've seen it.

This is going to be amazing, I promise. If you or anyone you know is interested in participating, contact my gmail at!

Thursday, March 12, 2009


This is simply a brief reminder of childhood. The one show that everyone remembers somehow....

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

National Geographic Blog

So, I have a wonderful friend who works for National Geographic and she emailed me asking if they could use my recent posting about Geoducks in their Strange Planet blog! Like I would say no...she should really have just stolen it and surprised me. Anyways, here's the link to that blog, which, regardless of any contributions I make, is an amazing blog anyway! You should also vote for them as best consumer travel blog, because they've been nominated!

Intelligent Travel Blog


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Iditarod

Iditarod Dog Dies
I just read this short article, which in itself is not all that interesting, but the coments at the bottom, concerning a whole meleé of things were far more intense. I'm not a fan of animal sports really. Horse racing, and dog racing and all that kind of seem abnormal. If the dogs/horses hadn't been bred that way, there's no way they would do it on their own. I'm not even a fan of horse drawn carriages, because seriously, the poor horses have to pull around lazy tourists in the cold? That's mean, no two ways about it. Save yourself $40 and walk around the park; you'll go just about as fast and you'll get exercise. And you can walk on the grass.

But I digress. Personally, my thoughts on the Iditarod? I don't care how well the animals are cared for in any animal sport; if it puts their lives in jeopardy, it's not worth it.

The Body Modified

Tattoos are amazing. So are piercings. Hell, body modification in general is the most interesting thing that humans do to beautify themselves. Ironically enough, modifying is the only thing humans can do to beautify their outward appearance. I was on the train not too long ago and a man stepped on with tattoos covering his entire face. Not only did people stare, they did so with no concern for his feelings and I felt offended by their blatant lack of respect. So, it's about time I put up a post regarding the issue of body modification.

Naturally I think I should start with something that most people consider extreme (or weird or crazy or what-have-you). This brought me immediately to someone from my own neck of the woods. Catman, as he is now legally called, lives on Whidbey Island (that's in Washington State) and is one of the more extreme examples of how humans can, and do, change their appearance.

First, before anyone gets all hyped up in judgments and suppositions, a little background on body modification. Humans have been adorning their bodies for basically as long as we have existed. In fact, we are not alone in this respect. Other animals do things to "beautify" themselves, or to appear larger or stronger than they may actually be. Think of any male bird who shows off his plumage to attract a mate. Or a cat that fluffs its hair when it feels threatened. Though humans might be the only animal to use objects not already attached to our bodies, the basic concept is still the same. We love adornment.

Every culture in history has found some way of concerning themselves with adding to what we were given. If we didn't, we would all be running around naked all the time. Tattooing has a known history that dates as far back as fourth or fifth century BC. That same mummy was also found with piercings. Those and other modifications are still practiced to this day, including branding, neck rings, implants, binding and countless more, in places from Thailand to Japan, Africa, the Arctic and to the Amazon. Things we take for granted such as painting our nails or cutting our hair are forms of modifying the body to create a specific, desired look.

Catman is one man who is, in his own words, "...following a very old Huron Tradition [and] I am transforming myself into my totem, a tiger." He has filed his teeth to a permanent point, tattooed most of his body, wears cat-contacts, has whisker implants, and has had more surgery than Joan and Melissa Rivers combined (no really). Not only is he partaking in a tradition that relates to him personally, he is also part of the larger tradition of modification.

So why do people such as Catman become the essence of a freak to the masses? Personally, I have only one answer for that, and it's the fact that most people have welcomed a more conservative taste in this modern era. If one can remember that men used to regularly wear makeup and wigs only a few hundred years ago, then we might not be so quick to judge nowadays. It is most unfortunate that the people who are simply living honestly become the butt of jokes, and can only find acceptance in places such as tattoo conventions, where luckily the people honor them for who they are.

As a personal collector of body art, and appreciator of all modification, I applaud the men, women and transgender people who are able to be themselves in a world that does not yet understand. Though such extremes may not be for everyone, we should all be able to accept those who find solace in making themselves beautiful in the way they see fit.

Suggested Reading:
The World of Tattoo by Maarten Hesselt van Dinter
The Customized Body by Ted Polhemus and Housk Randall

Online Info:
The Catman
Body Modifacation

Thursday, March 5, 2009


I have been so wrapped up in life that I have forgotten to promote a show that I'm working on! It's called Cataract and it is actually 2 one-act plays (performed on the same night) about our inability to see the world around us. These plays consist of:

Iraq (Blindness): by Tony Award winning playwright Mario Fratti. It is a serious look at the problems of American soldiers fighting in Iraq.

A Temporary Cat: by Mara Lesemann. This one is a romantic comedy/fantasy about looking for love in 21st century America.

The plays are directed by Simcha Borenstein and Carlo Fiorletta, respectively, and feature yours truly behind the lights, sounds and beer. The show is really great, simple and to the point. We have a wonderful cast, some of who are in both plays.

We are conveniently playing in midtown, right near the heart of Times Square, at The Producer's Club which is 358 West 44th Street. The opening preview was last night but there are still plenty of shows and plenty of tickets available. Just show up to the theater and get one! Shows still to come are as follows:

Tonight! Thursday March 5: 7pm
Friday March 6: 8pm
Saturday March 7: 3pm and 8pm
Sunday March 8: 3pm

You might laugh, you might cry, but you will definitely have a good night out on the town! Tickets are also available HERE!

Come check it out!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Northwest Native Animals: The Geoduck

So, here's another post about a weird animal that many have never even heard of, and most probably don't care about. However, being from the Pacific Northwest, I have a strange love affair with the species of clam known as a Geoduck (pronounced Gooey Duck!).

Quick and dirty: the geoduck is an oversized clam, with shell sizes ranging from 7 to 9 inches in diameter. But the amazing feature of this bivalve is not the shell size but the length of the odd siphon (or nose, or tongue or what have you) that protrudes from it. There have been specimens found that are up to 6 feet in length, however most are not nearly that long.

Geoducks have one of the longest life spans in the animal world, coming in close to tortoises with an average life expectancy of 146 years. They have few natural predators and can reproduce like rabbits. The female geoduck can produce 5 billion eggs in her lifetime (that's almost an entire new planet of people).

These creatures are native to the northwest coast of the US and Canada and it gets its name from the Nisqually word for "dig deep." It is still possible to go hunting for them along the beaches. You know you have happened upon a geoduck when you step in the sand and water is squirted out at you. Dig a few inches and they are easy to spot. This unique animal looks like a freak of nature, but really it's nature at its best, with an almost infallible design that has been working for millions of years.

But if you pick one up, please put it back. They enjoy the beach more than your kitchen.

More About the Geoduck
And More
And Even More