Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Got it.

Just signed the lease on my apartment. I have housing thru June 2005. Biggest distraction I had, gotten out of the way. Now it's time to make everything else work. One item down, the rest of the world to go.


Tuesday, June 29, 2004

At night, it's a different world.



More images for the looking. (As ever, clicking makes bigger.)

Monday, June 28, 2004


Life in New York. Pretty pictures. (Click to make big.)

Now it's not just me typing words. Now it's show and tell.

Friday, June 25, 2004

Whirlwind. Confusion. Scramble. And goals set.

Insane week. DJ the crazy art opening, work four nights in a row, take a day to recover, go see Aimee Mann out in Brooklyn, bartend another party at Jigsaw last night, finalize dates and book tix for the California trip in August (for those of you who care, I'm there from Monday, August 2nd at 10:20 am to Monday, August 16th at 1:10 pm), finally set up an ebay seller account so I can sell off some records and stuff and add a much-needed boost to my income, and now I'm just scrambling to get all the cash I need to drop off a certified check and sign my new lease on Monday.

Somehow tho, none of that is the #1 thing on my mind...

* * * * *

I went out with Max after work on Saturday. Long walk, a good few drinks, and much discussion toward respective eventual masterplans for life. And after wandering the Lower East Side for about an hour, passing thru all the evil hipster hotspots, we ended up in this little club. New place, just opened. I'd never been there,but I knew the name from a couple friends' gigs I'd missed. Max'd been once or twice before. It was dark and slightly grimy. There was one disco globe illuminating the space. It was almost 3AM, there were probably all of twenty people in the room, the music was way loud... And it was the best thing I've seen in ages.

The DJ was playing what-the-hell-ever, with no real mixing. And people were hopping around like idiots. It was all dark, no one trying to be seen, or looking at each other. Just a lot of kids having a great night, dancing to Joy Division and The Stone Roses and The Rapture and The Clash. It was what I've never seen yet in New York. It's what I want.

This is the closest thing I've yet seen to The Nature Parties we used to throw. It had that feeling. Spontaniaety, energy, kinetic and mad, fuck it and dance.

Everyone just having fun.

It's where I want to go. It's where I want to hang out. And most of all, it's where I want to play.

This is a concrete goal. I have my sights set. I have seen what I want. Now I go get it.


Thursday, June 17, 2004

Art. Tunes. Awesome.


Max is curating this. Work by six awesome young artists. It opens Friday, in Brooklyn.

And Max asked me to DJ the party. A 4+ hour set in my inimitable style. It's all going into the mix. Rock, hip-hop, punk, funk, electro, dance, whatever I feel like.

There will be booze. There will be amazing art. The tunes will rock your brainspace. If you're anywhere near NYC, or even if you're not... You should come.


Friday, June 11, 2004

And a quick few words about me.

Crazy few days.

Just went down to D.C. two nights ago, to meet up with my dad and go see Wilco at the 9:30 Club. (Amazing show. Amazing band.) While there, also got to see my big brother David. Which is always a good thing, as he's a constand source of inspiration for me. He got me started listening to music seriously, taught me most of what I know. Made me mixtapes that I wore out growing up. Got me started DJing. I got to hear him spin for a few songs at a bar in Adams-Morgan, and it reminded me again of why I do what I do.

So I get back to NYC. DJ setup is reassembled in my room. New mixes to follow.

In general, I need to remeber the no input/ no output rule. The more I go out, the more I get done. A bit of a contradiction, but I'm fine with that. Jut need to keep the balance.

Bartended four days of the last seven, probably pulling five shifts this week. No second job yet, but something will come.

Planning trip to California for the first couple weeks of August. Go to Santa Cruz, hit up San Francisco and Monterey and Big Sur and wherever else. Maybe swing down thru L.A. before returning to NYC. See the family, spend time with the ocean, catch up with some friends. Looking forward to it.

But there's a lot to do before then. Time to run.


Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Days fly by, and 2004 keeps spinning.

Summer of 2004 continues apace. Proving once again to be a time where nearly everyone has the ground shifting beneath them. And the two ways to deal with that are to try to hold on, or to just jump ahead and see where you land. And jumping is the only logical choice for most of us.

(Another good example, to add to the names I've called out before: My friend Jeanette just moved to New York from Charlottesville. She may or may not have a place to live by now, and is most likely in search of employment. One more persom taking a leap into the unknown, and seeing what happens next.)

As predicted, this is a year of change. There's no telling what's gonna happen from day to day, but we get along. If you can't see what's coming next, you can't worry unduly. Especially when you realize that making a choice and going with it isn't really a big deal. There's no mistakes you can make here that are irrefundable. If you need to try something else later, then you've ruled out one possibility, and you know a little more than you did before. There's an insane comfort that comes in that.

Looking around, there's plenty of evidence we're doing alright. It's like the twins of unexpected and inevitable are on speaking terms again, and have been sure to check their schedules against each other.

I've said before, this isn't all easy. But if it was, it wouldn't mean anything. We have a season to own. A city to remake. And a lot of fun to have along the way.

We're young. This is 2004. We have New York to ourselves. And it's summertime.


Friday, June 04, 2004

Jigsaw momentum.

Jigsaw is open. Summer is on.

Benjones threw a party for the ages (photos can be found here). The newest coolest place in lower Manhattan launched in fine style. I poured drinks and took snapshots, Chris Lamb worked the door, James Ford ran around as official photographer, Max partied and made art, benjones was the perfect host and master of ceremonies. Had an amazing time, saw a lot of old friends, met some amazing new people. And damn, does the space look beautiful.

And the best part? It's just the beginning. Of the store, and the season. Here's where it starts to get good.

* * * * *

In other news, I've managed a pretty productive week so far. Got some stuff out of the way, a few things shook through...

Got the apartment confirmed for next year, so I can stay put in my beloved Alphabet City. Took some time to make a giant asian noodle peanut stir-fry and remembered that I'm actually a pretty good cook. Interviewed for a position at a record store that I'd like to work at. Finally found a groove in my new bartending gig at Counter (a restaurant on 1st Avenue). Walked around Manhattan A LOT, showing the new kids around, and enjoying the first few days I've had living here without having to be at work thru the daylight hours.

Now it's nail down a second job, try to plan the rest of my summer, and figure out when I take a couple weeks to head out to California.

Oh yeah, and put my DJ setup in order so I can get back to practicing, and make some new mixes. Throw together a new demo disc, with which to get gigs. Work with jamesford on making some f***ed up sound battle tapes. Figure out when to relaunch our series of dinner parties, reformatted for summer. Set up some other fun gathering-style events.

Keep rolling ahead. There's a lot of big dreams and not a huge amount of summer to fit it all into... But now we've seen what can be done. Benjones just set off the pistol and started the race. Now we all have incentive. I see no way I could stop moving anytime soon.

Momentum is a great damn thing.


"...It's all just a little bit of history repeating."

Max just reminded me of this.

Funny how a few years later, it sounds rather familiar (and still rings pretty true). I'm seeing phrases I wrote then, being reused as I talk about where I am now. That was... What? The year 2000?

Yeah, guess it was.

Well, the same core group I wrote of (and for) then is still together. We're in New York now, instead of Charlottesville, VA... We've added a few more people to our posse. We've learned that sitting around and drinking isn't all that makes a story. Talk is important, but only if we use the words for momentum. We're a bit older, probably not any smarter, and have bigger goals and better planning. We're once again looking to make a summer our own.

And this time it's not just about ruling. It's about taking over.


Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Jigsaw. Benjones. Greenlight for summer.

Tonight is the opening for Jigsaw, benjones' new shop/lounge/gallery/hangout here in Alphabet City, Manhattan. Affordable art, independent media, neat stuff, and a comfortable space with cool people. A new focal point for downtown NYC. An extension of one man's likes and passions into the world at large.

There's lots I could write about this, but I'm sure benjones has already said it, and said it better. Most likely, in his column about making this crazy idea into reality (go here to read his words).

The only thing I can think of to say that he hasn't: This is an inspiration to me, and many others. This is one person doing something insane, unrealistic, and brilliant. And changing one small corner of the world in the process... Maybe not even changing it, so much as creating a new corner for himself, and inviting the rest of the world in.

This is Strummer Effect in the flesh. Manifest destiny made concrete. And I can feel the aftershocks in myself, and my friends. This is a look at what happens when you just go ahead and do what you love.

Summer 2004 is open for business, as of right now.


Tuesday, June 01, 2004

The Strummer Effect.

Before I go on, I should probably explain one specific term. Namely, The Strummer Effect. I use this term a lot, and I'm gonna just go ahead and get it out of the way now.

This is something my friend Chris Lamb and I first figured out some time ago. Joe Strummer had just passed on, and we both felt it like a punch to the gut. Two kids too young to have ever seen The Clash (though we know the music backwards and forwards). Both younger than punk rock itself. Still... Somehow Strummer carried across to us. The music, the image, but more. Something in his whole persona, all the elements he embodied and combined.

And in conversation, Strummer became a checkpoint for how we tried to be, tried to live.

And I think Lamb finally put the name to it, after much discussion of "go be Strummer" and the like. It's The Strummer Effect. When you get it, when you finally hit it, it's an amazing thing. And you get it by just stopping wasting time trying, and doing what you do.

So that's what I'm doing. That's what he's doing. (You can keep tabs on him, too.) That's what this summer, this year of 2004, hopefully the rest of my life will be about.

This is what happens when you just go ahead and DO, and don't overthink. Accept the contradictions, and press ahead regardless. Be a rock star. Never put yourself above the rest of the world, but always walk tall. Be humble, yet know you can do things better than the rest. Because you trust that you can and you're doing what you love. Everything you do is the most important thing in the world, but when something doesn't work you move on and find something even better. Use your passion. Ignore whatever limitations you're told about. Find something you love. Run with it. Set yourself up for the best camera angle, but immediately forget the cameras were ever there. Be always cocky, but never conceited. Don't waste time caring, and care about everything you do with all your heart. And just go.

* * * * *

I wrote this to Lamb, in conversation back in April 03. Just found it last week. It still says more in fewer words than I probably ever have before or since. And it's even truer now than it was then:

>>I had a pen and my notebook, and I just realized...

When I grow up, I want to be Joe Strummer.

Make my passion palpable to everyone.
Look half that cool.
Ignore the hype, and still play it for all it's worth.
Work hard, keep running 'til I drop.
Do what I love.
Not care for a moment, and care about everything in the world.

I want to inspire kids like me to grow up to be kids like me.<<

...And that's it. Strummer Effect Go.


(In memory of Joe Strummer 1952-2002. Thanks, dude.)