Wednesday, December 26, 2007

post 419. in valley forge.

post 418. 10:42 pm.

i don't know how they do things these days - it's been a while since i last had kids - but apparently in 1974 they thought the best way to identify newborns was to put this pendant around their necks with non-elastic string. mom kept mine.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

post 415. even acoustically, they kick ass.

post 414. the nissan 300 zx.

i remember the days when all i wanted was a nissan 300 zx. here we are, years later, and i see more of them in this condition - a tail-light missing, the hood slightly ajar due to some minor fumbling of physics, an incongruous use of tape - than i do ship-shape. *sigh.* getting old is so disappointing.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

post 408. good luck, kiefer.

have a nice 48 days; we've been told your jail stint is because of your september dui arrest, but we know you're actually working under cover to find the heart of terrorism and cut it from its unamerican chest.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

post 407. then i tried to key jimmie johnson's car.

last week was the nascar nextel cup's champions week in new york city. while i missed the victory lap, i did hike around the city for the aflac pit stop tour. sweet.

key in hand, i prepare to retaliate against jimmie johnson for being so damned good. thanks, aflac, for such a stylish border.

the cars driven by the top ten drivers, lined up in times square outside the hard rock cafe hours after the victory lap around the city.

the dupont chevrolet.

tony stewart's orange, nyc's yellow.

the nicorette chevy.

Monday, December 03, 2007

post 406. improv for everyone.

between auditions and...well, waiting to hear back from someone for whom i've auditioned, i've been working on this new project. it's fun, bringing old friends together - you can see ex-gci-er joanna helping out here, as well as mr. brian daniel's wife alex - and hopefully i'll get to work with many more in future episodes.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

post 402. acting antics,part one: scoring with dr. z.

well, having done my first video shoot, i have to say that i'm a big fan. i ended up landing a gig as a student in a sex ed. class given by victoria zdrok, also known as dr. z - you can do your own googling there, friend - to promote her new book, scoring with dr. z. we all played students for the clinical psychiatrist, asking questions, getting notes on dating, know. all that other stuff. and while one might dismiss dr. z's credentials - you finished that google search yet? - some of the stuff was pretty interesting.

two days in the beautifully treed dobbs ferry new york, and after a few weeks of doing absolutely nothing, i was met on the first day with a gorgeous head cold. not fun. but the whole two days made up for it: lots of laughing.

but here's the thing: you sit around for a long time, chatting it up with new friends, maybe playing basketball, maybe reading. you get your make-up done. you guess as to the identity of dr.z's assistant, ms. joli. wander into the kitchen and have another cup of coffee, or another roll. then you get called onto the set, film for a while, and then go and sit around again. train ride home, check's in the mail.



jason and rog play basketball.

david figures out the crosswords.

since i left lake george before the leaves changed colour, it was nice to get out of the city and see the foliage. we filmed at st. christopher's school, which had some old, old, old school buildings that added to the autumnal panaorama.

but some weren't too excited about it; one of the cast, a born-and-bred new yorker, thought the silence was creepy. "i like to hear the gunshots; when you don't hear anything, then something weird's going on."

dior, peter, josh, rog.

a break in the action, with dr. z and ms. joli conversing.

head cold + salad + dayquil + lots of coffee + 300 nutri-grain bars + half a coke: misery.

when one has down time, one finds things to do: my first time ever on a pogo stick. jesus. thank god for video games.

filming in the classroom. look at those trees, man. sweet.

dr. z. get this: i'm sitting around, reading ian fleming's on her majesty's secret service, and ms. zdrok is in the make-up chair. she looks at the book and tells me that she was the model for the cover. pret-ty sweet. so while others got autographed copies of her book, i was content with her john hancock on my james bond novel.

ms. justine joli. it's nice: i'm the only person who tried to discuss the world of adult entertainment in terms of nascar. anyway. ms. joli and ms. zdrock were both really nice, and so was everyone else. and for my improv friends: our director mark had a voice and gait so similar to sean daniels that i was always jerking my head around thinking the improv guru was in the room.

Friday, November 16, 2007

post 400. the hives, the black and white album.


Roll back to 2001-02: A swarm of vaguely retro-thinking garage bands with plural-noun names (the Hives, the Strokes, the Vines, the White Stripes) were credited with reinvigorating rock'n'roll. The press went all breathless at the sight of slightly disheveled boys in tight pants, and the Hives were promptly slapped on the cover of Spin, extensively profiled in The New Yorker, and repeatedly fawned over by the NME. Alas, the new millennium's culture-cycle is especially vicious, and by 2004, when the Hives released their fourth LP (Tyrannosaurus Hives, the follow-up to their stateside breakthrough, Veni Vidi Vicious), most folks had moved on-- which is too bad, because of all the over-hyped revivalists of the early 00s, the Hives might be the most fun.

Although The Black and White Album features the same ecstatic, semi-ridiculous guitar thrashing that characterizes most of the band's previous work, it also sees the Hives expanding their sound to include more bass and songs that clock in over three minutes. This time, the band ditched its native Fagersta, Sweden to record, mostly, in Oxford, Mississippi, soliciting help from a handful of all-star producers: Pharrell Williams, Jacknife Lee, Dennis Herring (who's worked with Modest Mouse and Elvis Costello), and Thomas Oberg (beloved vocalist for a bunch of Swedish rock bands, including Bergman Rock/bob hund). With all that muscle behind the boards, it's not surprising that this is also the Hives' cleanest record to date-- the Hives were never particularly convincing as a garage band (the impeccably-tailored, color-coordinated suits didn't help), and any delusions-of-grit they may have entertained in the past are wholly eradicated here.

The Black and White Album can feel, at times, thematically spastic, spinning more like a mixtape than a proper LP. Pharrell's two standout tracks-- "Well All Right!" and "T.H.E.H.I.V.E.S"-- are both slinky clap-alongs that play remarkably well to the band's party-anthem tendencies: "Well All Right!" sees frontman Howlin' Pelle Almqvist shrieking "People see me and they go/ Ahhhhh! Woo woo!" over pittering drums and perfectly-orchestrated backing chants, a jubilant bit of shameless self-promotion that suits Almqvist remarkably well. Regardless of how you feel about his thick, barky pipes, Almqvist is a captivating performer-- both live and in the studio-- strutting back and forth like a cartoon Mick Jagger, lips pouted, hips popped, voice undulating, part-James Brown, part-John Fogerty. Each vocal track on The Black and White Album sounds intense and revelatory; paired with Pharrell's playful production, the Hives soar.

The Hives' three self-produced cuts are just as jubilant-- with the exception of the instrumental "A Stroll Through Hive Manor Corridors", which is all fart-bass and creepy synthesizers. It's presumably a concept song about life-as-a-Hive, but it's also the band at their most subdued. Jacknife Lee's track ("Hey Little World") is classic Hives, frantic and propulsive, with a few simple riffs and a broad, confrontational chorus ("Whatcha gonna do/ Any one of you?"). The bulk of the record is handled by Herring; on opener (and lead single) "Tick Tick Boom" a wall of guitars is balanced by a wall of vocals, with all five band members worked into a proper frenzy and howling away. At their best, the Hives are frenetic and volatile, jolting, pushing, panting-- it's punk rock at its most polished, with only the barest threat of dissolution.

-Amanda Petrusich, November 16, 2007

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

post 399. as animated, as chaotic, and as beautiful as the last supper.

my since-second-grade best pal scott took this picture of...(from left to right) his sister lisa, lucy (le chien), kyung, someone's kid, zoe, and someone else's kid (i'm only interested in names and ownership when they can start speaking). i think that's everyone...unless...nope. that's a coat.

Monday, November 12, 2007

post 398. sightseeing, star strickening.

picture this: new york city. mid-forties, grey skies. an average day, right?

i woke up and did my usual things: emails, audition searching, fantasizing about the day when i open my bank of america on-line banking page and find three million dollars in it. then i strike out in search of my new favorite coffee shop.

this isn't as easy as one would think. especially with my cursory knowledge of minor streets. all i need is reasonable rates, some tables - no table service please - and the feeling that i would be welcome to sit for an hour and simply stare out the window at a cabbie's who's obviously spending his break practicing his tennis moves.

no starbucks.

today i found such a place: 9th street and avenue a. cafe pick me up. i spend an hour writing, staring at some guy's dogs out the window, and watching the aforementioned cabbie.

then i decide i'll walk uptown. sight-seeing. i just kind of take an array of north-bound streets, crossing here, going there. and here's the funny thing: the randomization of my street choices, all the time it took, those few minutes i spent at a starbucks for their only good purpose (bathrooms), the stopping to take a picture of the empire state building (my new favorite pasttime), all of these entirely random choices timed and sorted in a way which found me walking up lexington avenue at the exact moment that larry mullen jr. was walking down it. that kind of coincidence blows my mind.

i met larry mullen jr. on the streets of new york. minutes - minutes, i tell you - after seeing a giant ad for the joshua tree rerelease, minutes after half-jokingly wondering if i'd see bono when i walked in front of the united nations.

you see, it's a big deal because, well, i've met my hero-of-all-heroes, the awesome and immeasurably talented vernon reid. no sweat. very pleasant. i met moby. i shook kevin strongbow's hand and thanked him and scissorfight for coming to rochester last summer. no worries. i'm able to simply be a fan, not an absolute nut. sure, i squealed and pointed like a little girl at her first cabbage patch kid when i saw trent reznor walking out of jurassic park iii in new orleans, but come on. i was 23.

so there i am, being approached by u2's drummer. u2! this guy not only knows the edge, but probably got a christmas present from him last year! and here he was, in new york! on the street! where were the thousands of screaming fans? here was one of the four greatest musicians since the beatles, just...walking! out on the streets as if he were human. what's one to do?

i was on the phone with art, my good friend from new orleans, and he can probably tell you what i sound like when i hyperventilate with a quandary of conflicting thoughts: how do i express a deep-rooted fascination with larry mullen jr. without looking like a hayseed? i wonder if i could get a photograph? should i tell him that i want to hear "daddy's gonna pay for your crashed car" on the next tour? where's my opaque posse demo?

"larry," i say, "what's up?"

he gives me the nod. we keep walking our separate ways.

i love this city.

post 397. cocktails at bruce's.