Amoeblog

New York State of Mind Amoeblog #66: Bringing Human Rights Home, City As Canvas, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Fashion Week

Posted by Billyjam, February 5, 2014 07:30am | Post a Comment

Tonight (Wednesday Feb 5th) Amnesty International will host a star studded event at Brooklyn's Barclays Center that will include Madonna, Tegan and Sara, The Flaming Lips, Blondie, Yoko Ono, The Fray, Lauryn Hill, Imagine Dragons, the Cold War Kids, and Pussy Riot. Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina of the Moscow based feminist punk band Pussy Riot, who made news headlines in 2012 when band members were sentenced to two years imprisonment following a performance protest in a major Moscow cathedral aimed at the Orthodox Church leader's support of the election campaign of Russian President Vladimir Putin, will not be performing music but speaking (via a translator) to the audience at the big event tonight where they will be introduced by Madonna who was among those championing their cause when they were imprisoned calling them "my fellow freedom fighters." The reason why the Pussy Riot members will be at the Amnesty event is, according to Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova's Facebook wall because the organization did much to "Support us while we were in prison and their work is very important for activists and inmates all over the world."

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New York State of Mind Amoeblog #65: Super Bowl 48, NYC DMC Regionals, Chinese New Year, Black History Month + more

Posted by Billyjam, January 29, 2014 12:00pm | Post a Comment


Even though it is being billed as being held in NYC this weekend's much hyped NFL Super Bowl XLVIII is actually being held over in New Jersey at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ where, kicking off at 6:30pm EST, the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos will battle it out for the champion title.  Nonetheless New York is, as the Times Square billboard (picture right) implies, in a Super Bowl State of Mind
An estimated half a million visitors are expected to descend upon both New York and New Jersey for the Super Bowl and spinoff festivities on Sunday and the days leading up to the big game. Among the attractions will be the Super Bowl Boulevard set up in Times Square from today through Sunday that includes a 60 foot high toboggan run -  perfect for the snow that is forecast for Saturday night/ Sunday - although this could change.  Free to the public Super Bowl Boulevard, runs for 13 blocks of Broadway from 34th to 47th streets, and includes a concert stage, photo ops with the Vince Lombardi Trophy, and an assortment of Super Bowl souvenir booths all catering to, as organizers bill it, "football-themed experiences."  And on 34th Street up atop the Empire State Building through this Sunday there is a light show that is being generated by football fans on Twitter showing support for either  the Seahawks or the Broncos. Meanwhile all round New York City bars and restaurants will be holding Super Bowl 48 viewing parties. Whether it snows or not plan on dressing warm for the inevitable cold weather this Sunday that will reach at highest he mid to upper 30's.

New York State of Mind Amoeblog #55: Next NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, Brooklyn Electronic Music Festival, NYC Supreme Court Building

Posted by Billyjam, November 6, 2013 09:17am | Post a Comment

New York County Supreme Court building at 60 Centre Street, Downtown Manhattan


The talk in New York City today is all about the result of yesterday's mayoral election in which, for the first time in 20 years, there will be a Democrat in the mayor's office with the landslide victory of Bill de Blasio. With the odds stacked in his favor (68% to 23%) de Blasio squarely beat Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota - making him the first Democrat mayor in the Big Apple following a combined five consecutive terms for Republicans (three for Michael Bloomberg and two for Rudy Guiliani) . Surrounded by his family and supporters at a victory party in Park Slope, Brooklyn last night de Blasio said "Make no mistake: The people of this city have chosen a progressive path, and tonight we set forth on it, together.” 

De Blasio's win is seen as a clear cry for change from the citizens of a city that are tired and frustrated with such things as the ever growing division between the rich and the poor of New York, the NYPD's over the top aggressive policing tactics (namely the controversial, racial profiling "Stop and Frisk" policy), and the increasingly large lack of affordable housing for most working New Yorkers. In short de Blasio firmly positioned himself as the mayor who would make a clean break from the Bloomberg/Giuliani years in which the city was seen as cozying up with big business at the expense of the little guy/the average New Yorker and his election win is a loud rejection to the tough, business-minded style that ruled City Hall since 1990. During that time NYC was seen as becoming "Disneyfied" or "the Mall of America" or a playground for the 1%. De Blasio, who famously as a young liberal supported the Sandinistas and more recently (albeit during the mayoral campaign) supported the staff and patients at the Long Island College Hospital that faced closure and, during that July protest, got arrested along with other protesters. This and his outspoken disapproval of the NYPD's frisking policies struck a nerve with New Yorkers who overwhelmingly voted him into office. Once he takes office he promises to effect a sweeping liberal agenda that will include among other big changes a substantial tax increase on top earners to pay for universal pre-kindergarten and improved police-community relations. Essentially de Blasio and his administration will try and turn back the clock on NYC and undo much of what the previous two mayors did. Can he do this without sacrificing too many positives remains to be to seen. And what happens over the next four years in New York City will be interesting to witness unfold. Stay tuned.

New York State of Mind Amoeblog #33: Red, Yellow, and Blue, NYC Popfest, Grandmaster Caz on NYC, The Boy vs Girl From NYC

Posted by Billyjam, May 29, 2013 11:52am | Post a Comment

Above is one of the three key components (the red colored portion) of the latest public art exhibits in ever changing public art installation space that is Madison Square Park (MSP) Red, Yellow and Blue is the simple yet descriptive title of this new exhibit that was unveiled earlier this month (following 2½ years of planning, conceiving, reworking, and production, plus an additional eleven days of installation) and will remain through September 8th in the park that is bordered by 23rd and 26th Streets, and Fifth and Madison Avenues in the Flatiron district of Manhattan. The ambitious work of sculptor/artist Orly Genger the Red, Yellow and Blue installation contains 1.4 million feet of layered, painted, and hand-knotted rope that are threaded through steel posts and drilled into the park's lawns to hold in place.

Of the three colors my favorite is the yellow (see pic right) since it is to my eyes the most natural. In fact when I first unexpectedly  encountered it -  stumbling upon the artwork earlier this week while walking through the park - at first glance thought it was a hedge or some large plants I was seeing. A traveling installation Red, Yellow and Blue will next travel to near Boston, MA after it finishes its run in NYC, when it takes up residency at the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in October. More info on its current MSP exhibit.

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New York State of Mind Amoeblog # 26: Rap Quotes, Mary Lou's Lost Cat, Prohibition Music, Midtown Escape, Leonard Cohen +

Posted by Billyjam, April 3, 2013 12:24pm | Post a Comment

Welcome to another installment in the weekly New York State of Mind Amoeblog in which I run down such things as Leonard Cohen taking Manhattan and other concerts and events around the five boroughs in the week ahead, including a free Saturday afternoon performance in Flushing, Queens by The Toomai String Quartet. I also report on Macy's exquisite South Asian themed floral garden (photos left, above, and below), which offers the perfect meditative escape for those who need a breather in busy midtown Manhattan. Also offered is a look at a hip-hop fanatic's cool homage to New York City-themed raps, plus the (futile?) search by ever-hopeful homeless New Yorker Mary Lou for her lost cat Simon.

What is most striking about the ongoing The Painted Garden: Macy's Flower Show, which effectively captures the landscapes of southeast Asia with lush displays of tropical flora and is on exhibit in a long wide tent set up in Herald Square (6th Ave & 34th Street) outside its flagship store, is how peaceful and meditative it is...provided you arrive early in the day (it opens at 10am) before the crowds arrive and get inside this greenhouse filled with gorgeous lush floral displays with Southeast Asian motifs, soothing water fountains, and a hypnotic soundtrack of traditional Indian flute music playing on the overhead speakers. Even though you are in hectic midtown Manhattan, you can forget that while inside this lovely space. I stopped by the other day when the wait to get in was only a few minutes and the cost: free. Note however that the flower show runs everyday from 10am to 9pm through Sunday, April 7th in Broadway Plaza, Herald Square outside Macy's.

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