Amoeblog

A BIKER'S DREAM: INNER CITY STREETS FREE OF CARS

Posted by Billyjam, August 25, 2008 12:15pm | Post a Comment

Cycling down a completely traffic-free Park Avenue in the heart of New York City over the weekend, I was reminded of the numerous futuristic or Sci-Fi movies in which the Big Apple is abandoned after some major disaster.

Last year's I Am Legend (available on DVD at Amoeba) -- in which Will Smith and his canine companion wandered a deserted midtown Manhattan -- specifically sprung to mind as myself and other cyclists, hikers, and skaters, unhindered by any autos, passed by the raised street level outside Grand Central Terminal at Park and 42nd Street, heeding the city's invitation to "Play. Run. Walk. Bike. Breathe." 

The reason there were no cars two days ago, and also on two previous Saturdays this month, was because it was the third and final weekend day in the first ever city initiated Summer Streets program. From 7AM to 1PM, all autos were banned on Park Avenue from 72nd on the Upper East Side all the way downtown, essentially connecting Central Park to the Brooklyn Bridge -- a seven mile long distance, all traffic free!

But what made this whole cycling experience so special is that it is normally impossible to do a bike ride like that, at least in such a stress-free way.  Like most major cities, the best way to see New York is by bike, but the problem is that cycling round Manhattan is far from safe. Typically you take your life in your hands, maneuvering your bike through New York's congested auto-dominated streets, on weekdays especially, with erratic drivers (including lots of yellow cabs & buses) unpredictably accelerating and cutting you off or worse. And as for the few bike lanes on Manhattan's major thoroughfares: drivers notoriously ignore them and cut off cyclists all the time. I personally know of several NYC cyclists sent to the hospital due to negligent drivers.

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The 2008 Air Guitar World Championships

Posted by Whitmore, August 25, 2008 10:03am | Post a Comment

This past Friday, August 22, while the rest of the civilized world was watching the Olympics, shredders from around the world had their head bangin’ attention fixed on the 13th annual Air Guitar World Championships Grand Final held in Oulu, Finland.

After a two year Air Guitar reign, Ochi "Dainoji" Yosuke of Japan was overwhelmingly crushed by Craig "Hot Lixx Hulahan" Billmeier, who hails from Alameda, California.

Hot Lixx scored highest on the First and Second Rounds, defeating his strongest opponent, Andel "John Sniffler" Soreen of the Netherlands, who took second place. Canadian Cole "Johnny Utah" Manson came in third.

In addition to the instant international recognition and the fame and glory, Hot Lixx Hulahan was awarded a Finnish hand-made Flying Finn electric guitar. He also received a laptop backpack by Golla.

For the 13th time the jury was chaired by Juha Torvinen, the Finnish guitar legend. Also on the panel were the 2005 Air Guitar World Champion, Michael "The Destroyer" Heffels; Amanda Griffiths, who is doing her PhD on the air guitar culture; and the Air Guitar contest organizers, Rita Cadillac and Mark DiPietro.

Of course, after the competition the night doesn’t end until, as tradition goes, Air Guitarists summon the whole world to go forth and play Air Guitar to “Rockin' in the Free World." According to Air Guitar Ideology, all evil, bad and unspeakable things on this planet will vanish if everybody, even for a moment, plays the Air Guitar.

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THOSE WHO CANNOT REMEMBER THE PAST ...

Posted by Charles Reece, August 24, 2008 10:44pm | Post a Comment
For the Beatles purists out there who thought the worst thing imaginable was having the Bee Gees redo Sgt. Pepper's, here's something even worse-- Ozzy and Dweezil redoing "Stayin' Alive":


"Every man has his price" and every man discovers his threshold where Huey Lewis no longer sounds that bad. My threshold was reached upon rediscovering this video for "Summertime Girls" by Y&T:


The half-shirt, a sign of 80s masculinity. It made a comeback with Axl when he did this duet with Elton John on "Bohemian Rhapsody" (skip to the end where the two walk towards each other in 60s variety show fashion for the denouement):


I'm sorry for not being able to stay away from the Axl videos. However, the most holyfuckingshit moment comes from his ex-bandmate Slash's team-up with Puff Daddy for some vague, all-inclusive charity function. Note the "Ending Hunger" message dead center in big Broadway letters while Puffy raps "It's All About the Benjamins":

Its all about the benjamins, what?/I get a fifty pound bag of ooh for the mutts /
Five carats on my hands with the cuts/
And swim in european figures/Fuck bein' a broke nigga.

That kind of dimwittedness requires a purity of essence. One would have to go back to Tom Mix serials to find an equal lack in irony.

Operation Warzone

Posted by phil blankenship, August 24, 2008 10:27pm | Post a Comment
Operation War Zone Video Cover  Operation War Zone Video  videocassette

Operation War Zone Video tagline
Operation War Zone Video tagline
 
AIP Home Video #7022

Lisette Model

Posted by Whitmore, August 24, 2008 01:33pm | Post a Comment

If any of you west coast jetsetters are planning on swooping down onto the Big Apple this next week, there is an exhibition at New York’s Zabriskie Gallery of a photographer whose work is definitely worth checking out.

Born Elise Amelie Felicie Stern in Vienna in 1901, Lisette Model was schooled as a classical musician, but soon after arriving in Paris in 1926 she took to the visual arts, picking up photography. She moved to Manhattan in 1938. Later that year she was hired as a staff photographer for Harper's Bazaar, and began to photograph not only street life, especially the Lower East Side, but also the nightlife of New York City’s cafés and bars. Model, along with Berenice Abbott and Weegee, became the photographers who most captured the ebb and flow of mid-century New York and its anomalous collection of eccentrics, curiosities, elastic cityscapes and culture.

In 1951 Model was swayed by Berenice Abbott to teach at the New School for Social Research in New York. Several of her students would become some of the most prominent photographers of the second half of the 20th century, including Rosalind Solomon, Bruce Weber and her most famous protégé, Diane Arbus. Model would continue to teach until her death in 1983.

Lisette Model was said to be direct yet enigmatic at the same time, inventing her myth and simultaneously denying its existence. She had a knack for intimacy, and even when photographing her most unusual subjects she maintained and revealed their self-owned dignity. Then again, some of her photographs have a harsh, claustrophobic feeling, situated along a dark and troubling and misanthropic edge.

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