Amoeblog

New York State Of Mind #100 of 100

Posted by Billyjam, October 8, 2014 01:30pm | Post a Comment


Welcome to the final installment in the one hundred part weekly New York State of Mind (NYSOM) Amoeblog series that began two years ago. For this 100th Amoeblog I want to run down some events happening in the coming days/weeks ahead as well as include a random series of NYC themed music videos that I have not yet included in the many NYC music videos already posted to this Amoeblog series. Ongoing events of interest include the Greenpoint, Brooklyn weekly No Lights No Lycra (NLNL) which is happens Tuesday evenings for a little over an hour in a church basement hall is the total antithesis of the overpriced bottle-service night clubs of Manhattan. Founded in New Zealand and with satellite parities like this one in Brooklyn dotted round the globe (Chicago and San Francisco are the other two spots in the US), the rules of NLNL are simple and straightforward and posted by the door upon entry. "No watching, no cell phones, no breakdancing" is what is not allowed. What is allowed/encouraged is to make a dancing and having fun - in near darkness except for a dimly lit ceiling light show that takes your eyes a couple of minutes to adjust to.

On the night I attended NLNL the dance music played by the non-billed DJ (a guy dancing who routinely ran over to hit play for the next song off his iPhone that was plugged into the decent sound system) ranged from trap to deep house to past decades pop hits such as Dexys Midnight Runners' "Come On Eileen," Paul Simon's "You Can Call Me Al," Dr. Dre2Pac's "California Luv," Men Without Hats' "Safety Dance," and The Cardigans' "Love Fool." NLNL, NYC happens every Tuesday from 8.15pm – 9.30pm at 129 Russell St, Brooklyn, NY 11222. No alcohol. All ages. $5 donation. More info here.

NYSOM #99

Posted by Billyjam, October 1, 2014 10:24am | Post a Comment
    

NYSOM #99 of 100: Earlier this month DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist kicked off their ongoing "Renegades of Rhythm" vinyl-only tour honoring Afrika Bambaataa's vast and influential record collection with two shows at NYC's Irving Plaza (after a stop in Boston) where my man Joe Conzo took the above photo of the two West Coast DJs who wore the perfectly appropriate matching T-shirts for the occasion with "DUMP" and "KOCH" emblazoned on the backs of them in a direct reference to the NYC era in which Bambaataa and hip-hop rose to fame in New York City. In keeping with this theme of that oft romanticized bygone era of a decidedly grittier and grungier New York City I've included a few other pics from NYC in the 70's and 80's in this second to final of a one hundred New York State of Mind Amoeblog series including one (left in 1981 taken by Bob Gruen) of The Clash when they visited NYC and (by the same wonderful photographer) one of The Ramones on the New York City subway. Others include one of the Beastie Boys from 1986 taken at Flushing Meadows Park in Queens by Sunny Bak. By the way the highly recommended ongoing records-only tour with DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist (whose t-shirts said "SURE" and "SHOT" on the other sides) will be stopping in the Bay Area this weekend with the tour when they play SF's Mezzanine on Saturday, October 4th. 

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New York State Of Mind Amoeblog #97 of 100

Posted by Billyjam, September 17, 2014 06:47am | Post a Comment

Among the numerous music related events ongoing in New York City this week is the photo exhibit Grooving Years: The Photography of Josh Cheuse that opens Friday (Sep 19th) at the Morrison Hotel Gallery in SoHo. The mostly black and white photography exhibit by the New York City born and raised music photographer includes shots of The Clash (including the photo of the late great Joe Strummer above), Run DMC, Madonna, Lady Gaga, The Beastie Boys, Oasis, and The Black Crowes.  An avid photographer since age sixteen Cheuse, who has worked as art director at SONY Music for the past two decades, formed a lasting relationship with the Clash from early on in his career - a relationship that began back in 1981 as a teen when he famously used the payphone at his NYC high school to call The Clash at Electric Ladyland Studios in Manhattan and asked permission to photograph the band. To his surprise they happily complied with his wish. This introduction was instrumental in kick starting his career that included photographing the Clash, the band's Mick Jones' spinoff band Big Audio Dynamite, as well as  Joe Strummer solo on several occasions. And following Strummer’s sudden 2002 death Cheuse also directed a video tribute for the Strummer's version of Bob Marley's “Redemption Song.” Photo exhibit takes place at the Morrison Hotel Gallery located on the second floor at 106 Prince Street. All ages. Free admission. More info. And tomorrow (September 18th) in advance of the opening the photographer will be at the nearby SoHo Apple store (103 Prince Street) from 7pm to 8pm discussing his photo exhibit - free all ages event.

As if to make the point that, like vinyl records, books are still very much alive and well the annual Brooklyn Book Festival takes place this weekend at Brooklyn Borough Hall and Plaza for what will be its biggest ever event in its nine year history. Taking place on Sunday September 21st from 10am to 6pm the outdoor (rain or shine) festival will boast over one hundred panel discussions, readings, and other literary activities with authors to appear including Salman Rushdie, Lev Grossman, and Naomi Klein. In addition to novelists and non-fiction writers the festival will also include numerous poets, and also many graphic novelists including Paul Pope, Roz Chast and Julia Wertz. A free event, thanks to sponsorship by a phone company, the stated goal of the annual event is "spreading literacy and the joy of reading across the five boroughs and beyond." Just across from lower Manhattan the Brooklyn Borough Hall and Plaza (reachable by numerous trains) is located at 209 Joralemon Street, Brooklyn NY 11201. Sept 21 10am to 6pm. All ages. Free event. More info.

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Top Ten NYC Subway Songs

Posted by Billyjam, September 3, 2014 10:51pm | Post a Comment
New York State of Mind Amoeblog #96:

As this 100 part weekly series winds to a close over the coming weeks I figured I'd do some music best-of lists in these final five installments including this week's Top Ten Best NYC Subway Songs. While a tough list to compile, due to the sheer number of songs out there that reference the most frequently used mode of transportation here in New York City, it was still a fun one to draw up.

For this top ten, rather than just do say 70's rock or 90's hip-hop or any one specific genre, I tried to cover several genres and eras, and even still just scratched the surface. The selections are mostly subway themed songs - although some are overall NYC themed but with subway references in them like the ones by Fear and VU which placed in the last two positions for that very reason. Some others that almost made the list include "F Train" by Babe the Blue Ox, Unsane's “D Train,” "The L Train Is A Swell Train And I Don't Want To Hear You Indies Complain" by Out Hud, "Subway: The Last 'I Love New York' Song" (from the musical Mayor), and another musical one - "Subways Are for Sleeping" from the musical of the same name. In comments below please feel free to add any songs you think should have made the list.



1) Duke Ellington Orchestra “Take the ‘A’ Train” (1941) "You must take the 'A' train / To go to Sugar
Hill, way up in Harlem.
" Even if they don't realize it, everyone knows this song - a jazz standard and signature tune for Duke Ellington and his orchestra with lyrics. Literally a classic and one that pops
into my head every time I take the A train, and I rate it number one on my list for its historic relevance. Honorable mention to another jazz classic: "GG Train" by Charles Mingus about the line now known
simply as the "G" line - as the "L" line used to be the "LL" line.

Grand Tour of the Northeast and Quebec -- a snapshot of Albany

Posted by Eric Brightwell, September 3, 2014 02:29pm | Post a Comment
I recently took a sort of Grand Tour of the Northeastern United States and Quebec with Una. Before the trip I'd only been in the region once before when I spent a few days in and around Princeton and New York City during Yuletide a few years ago. I returned for the occasion of my sister's graduation but used the opportunity to explore the surrounding region by train. One of the city's that we visited was Albany.

Albany, New York postcard


Most of the places we visited we spent a substantial amount of time exploring. Visiting Albany, on the other hand, was a last minute decision. Wanting to visit Vermont we purchased tickets for the Ethan Allen Express to Rutland, Vermont. When the Amtrak board at Penn Station failed to list any Vermont trains, I approached an Amtrak employee and said, "May I ask you a question?" She said nothing but her face grew red and she visibly clenched her jaw so I inquired about the train to Vermont. In an unpleasant tone accompanied by an eye roll she stated, without looking at me, "I don't know why they'd sell you a ticket to Vermont when no train goes there." We returned to the ticket counter where a more helpful employee issued us a partial refund and informed us that we could take the Adironack Line to Albany so to Albany we went.
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