New York State of Mind Amoeblog #88: Crotona Park Jams, Outdoor Movies, Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival, 4 Knots Music Festival & More

Posted by Billyjam, July 9, 2014 02:12pm | Post a Comment

Summer is officially well underway here in New York City with proof being that there are simply too many things going on simultaneously to possibly attend them all -  a good thing because every day there is a myriad of fun events (mostly free, and mostly outdoors) to chose from ranging from music concerts of all genres, to films in fun locations, to dance productions, and art shows, etc. These include the must-attend annual summer tradition of the Tools of War grassroots hip-hop produced Park Jams which take place in parks in the Bronx and Manhattan over the three main summer months on either Tuesday or Thursday late afternoon/early evenings. Since it's now July that means that the Park Jams, with the focus on the DJs, are happening at Crotona Park up in the Boogie Down Bronx - bringing the phenomenon, that gave birth to hip-hop four decades ago, back full circle. 

Last week, up until the summer thunderstorm kicked in the last quarter of the four-hour event, those entertaining included 1980's DMC champ DJ Cheese, "forever" host Grandmaster Caz, and legendary hip-hop DJ Jazzy Jay who is pictured top care of Ignacio Soltero. (Soltero also took photo above from one of last month's Spanish Harlem Tools of War Park Jams at White Park). Tomorrow (Thursday July 10) at the Crotona Park, Bronx location at the same time (4pm-8pm) the lineup will include DJ Cash Money, DJ Jazzy Joyce, and DJ Looie Loo. For full listings see flyer below or click here.

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MAC's 100 Years Of Flexi / Cardboard / Oddity Records

Posted by Billyjam, December 9, 2013 09:40am | Post a Comment

"You had me at that 1922 Oakland Chamber of Commerce  record!" - I told the curator MAC upon first glancing the above historic record oddity - a free phonograph record issued by the East Bay City's Chamber of Commerce back in the 1920's to encourage residents from nearby San Francisco as well as other faraway locations to relocate to Oakland, CA "where California's promise is Fulfilled." This rare record was one of approximately 200 equally engaging and odd discs on exhibit during the recent WFMU Record Fair in New York City. 

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New York State of Mind Amoeblog #52: Sheep in NYC?, 5 Pointz R.I.P., CMJ Music Marathon, WFMU's RadioVision 2013

Posted by Billyjam, October 16, 2013 03:20pm | Post a Comment

I must admit I had to do a serious double take upon when, a few weeks ago, I first walked by the gas station on 10th Avenue at 24th Street in Manhattan's Chelsea District that I always walk by (see photos above and below) following been away from NYC for a just few weeks to witness sheep roaming in the hilly grass of where not long ago drivers pulled in to fill up their tanks with Unleaded. Damn! I thought to myself - How long have I actually been gone for this to unfold? Am I in some weird parallel science fiction universe? WTF!  Like a twisted futuristic scene from some post-apocalyptic New York City set, Sci Fi movie (think Will Smith and his dog roaming the deserted Manhattan streets in the 2007 film I Am Legend - sans the virus and the horror stuff) I immediately conjured up what the city that never sleeps might look like if humans deserted the island of Manhattan. This type of imagery is likely what the people behind this wonderful short-term art installation, whose all too short six-week run ends this Sunday October 20th, had hoped to trigger. 

The exhibit, which includes a total of 25  ‘Moutons’ made from epoxy stone and bronze, includes works by the artist from the years 1979 to 1996 and is described by curators as 
"Set in a surrealist landscape amidst the existing industrial gas station architecture, the sheep symbolize Lalanne’s mission to demystify art and capture its joie de vivre. ‘Moutons’ have become Lalanne’s most iconic work, embodying his very approach to art while commenting on the nature of art itself." Sheep Station is open through Sunday October 20th. It is free public space event located at 239 10th Ave., at 24th St. More information.

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Jack White's Third Man Record Booth

Posted by Billyjam, April 27, 2013 09:09am | Post a Comment

Jack White, via the above video, recently unveiled his cool Third Man Record Booth project which is, as he points out, "the only working vinyl recording booth open to the public in the world." That's a pretty amazing fact considering that at one time in relatively recent history these wonderful machines were commonplace. In terms of restoring and accurately reconstructing this newly operable machine based on the original model (a 1947 Voice-o-Graph machine) Jack White and company did an excellent job. "Wow! As a collector of personal records I have seen pictures of these kinds of recording booths and kiosks which were omnipresent in arcades, amusement parks, department stores and lots of other locations," said my buddy/fellow WFMU DJ Michael Cumella (aka MAC), who lauded Jack White with praise for doing such an accurate job. "It looks pretty authentic. Down to the mailing envelopes available after recording for easy posting. It really is a cool part of our popular history and getting one of these machines into working condition is truly fabulous to see." Fittingly it was exactly one week ago on Saturday, April 20th (aka Record Store Day 2013) that Jack White chose to unveil his new toy for the public to come in and check it out in person at the Third Man Novelties Lounge in Nashville, TN. Jack White and Neil Young are among those established recording stars who have already recorded in the little booth. You can too if you make it to Nashville. For more information visit Third Man Records' website

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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