Thursday, August 04, 2005 at 13:00:09 (EDT)

I hope the Russians love their children too
Tonight begins a 2-night marathon of shows at Sputnik, the newish bar in my back 40. It's a duplex club, band room in the basement. I fully intend to have Motico play there before too long (don't forget, Motico plays Death Disco Sept. 7th!!) but in the meantime we have these offerings:

Tonight (Thursday): Cobretti performs at 10. This is the band who usually only plays once a year. Not because they want to, but because they break up after each performance, then it takes them a year to come to their senses and get back together. This is the band that, through some weird coincidence of space/time, contains the original lead singer of Bob City, the Columbus, Ohio, rock powerhouse that used to do a mean "Am I Evil" cover.

Friday it's my friend Adrian's band, The Divorcers, again at Sputnik. This is the band's debut public performance, so there is much anticipation surrounding the show. Having sequestered themselves away at a variety of practice spaces over the past year, they've come up with some bizarre musical motifs which should be pretty interesting to see in the flesh.

Finally, it may just be me, but I think Eric Paul, the lead singer of Chinese Stars, looks a lot like Tony Hale who plays possibly-retarded brother Buster on Arrested Development.

Eric Paul


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Wednesday, August 03, 2005 at 15:42:46 (EDT)

Don't switch the blade on the guy in shades
The Voice has an overly-long essay about the recent resurgence of the upturned-collar. I'm glad I'm not the only one who has noticed this of late. A few years ago it came back as well, so perhaps we're in for a bleak future of seeing those limply placed collars rising again and again every few years. On the upside, at least that means this current spate of upturned collars will die out soon.

I'm trying to rack my brain if anybody I know engages in this practice, besides my mom (but she knows I don't approve; then again, Mom has been flipping her collars since the 80's). Maybe somebody who thinks this looks good can explain it to me. I hated it in the 80s, I hated it in the 90's when it came back for the first time, and I still hate it now (although I must admit every time it reemerges I have less and less energy to get irritated by it). The Voice essay posits that one of the reasons people continue to perpetrate this fashion is because they felt they couldn't back in the day, whether because of self-esteem or societal influences. So is it a way for people to 'take back' the style from those whom they felt victimized them in their youth? Yikes, that's a load of rich creamery butter. Then again, I don't like the look to this day for the same reason: it reminds me of the prep-school wannabees from my junior high school who looked down their multilayered outfits at me in my unflappable geekery.

Ooh, that reminds me, do you guys remember that other preppy trend of layering clothes? Like you'd have a turtleneck on, then put a knit shirt over it (collar up, natch), then put an oxford-type shirt on top of that. Actually, I think some people would sub-layer with several turtlenecks and and knit shirts. Of course, several years later these same kids would trade in their Polo garments for flannels and achieve the same look à la grunge.

One look I would like to see again is one I've seen only once. When I was about 14, some friends and I took white polo shirts and tie-dyed them. it didn't really work but college kids found it mildly humorous. I just searched and actually found some place that makes these, and now looking at them I can't say they're an improvement, even if the wearer keeps the collar down.

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Tuesday, August 02, 2005 at 12:18:24 (EDT)

What big eyes you have
On Saturday, J and I visited Fabulous Fanny's in the East Village. It's the boutique that specializes in vintage eyeglass frames, with some stuff dating all the way back to the Renaissance. But of course, most of those frames are for display only. We rifled through the drawers of more recent acquisitions, hoping to find decent glasses that a) wouldn't cost a fortune, and b) wouldn't look like everybody else's glasses. Here's what I got:

The last time I bought frames was like in 1997. Since then, eyeglasses have become small. Really small. Why did this happen? Was it a reaction against the big unruly frames from years past? I guess so, but there was something practical about frames that could cover nearly your entire range of vision. The new wave of tiny frames seems to imply, "I may wear glasses, but I don't like it, and I'm not planning on seeing much of anything through these little-bitty lenses." I need normal sized glasses! Anyhow, I found a pair that fit and was in good shape, so now all I have to do is find the cheapest place in town to have the lenses ground.

I know now not to go to a place like Lenscrafters, since they charge about $240 just to put in basic single vision lenses. They have a lot of deals, but they're all based on buying the frames and lenses there. I don't need my glasses the same day, so I should be able to shop around. I'd like to think the little shop where I got my eye exam would have a good deal, seeing as how they're a small operation with little leverage in the cutthroat world of corrective vision. I also read about, which promises single-vision lenses for $39. I don't know if that's for a pair or $39 per lens, but I'm all for that either way.

Do they still make glasses from glass itself? I miss that, even though they were heavier. They didn't scratch as easily, and frankly there's something a little lame to me about wearing nothing but plastic across your face. Plastic is silly somehow. Perhaps that's why my previous frames were combinations, metal with a little bit a plastic for good measure (lower pair in above pic, the glasses on top are my old-old glasses from my undergrad days). These frames are based on the famous "Clubman" design and not only is the company who invented them still in business, they still make the frame, and they're based in New York! I can get a new pair for as little as $80, so I may just get that as well.

What does this all mean to you people? The next time you see Motico live (which probably won't be until September 7th at The Delancey), we'll truly be a Glasses Band, but my glasses will be just a little bit cooler than the other guys'.

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Friday, July 29, 2005 at 15:15:00 (EDT)

The longest running show underground
About 4 years ago I was on a subway and some guy was preaching to the car, reading out of a book of scripture. He was shouting over the din of the A train, and everybody was trying to ignore him. I quickly realized he wasn't actually speaking any real words, just hollering nonsense, although he acted like he was reading from the book. I figured he was either a performance artist attempting to challenge social convention by testing the public's limits for subway interaction. Either that or he was just some nut.

Now, years later, once again on the A train, I came across the same guy. He's still shouting gibberish at everybody but he's added to his repertoire a funny hat with a bunch of crap in it. He was also wearing some kind of vest with some sort of political slogan on it something. And he held that train captive. We were on the train with him a long time, and he kept up his routine until some guy snapped and starting yelling back at him. A couple of cops got on the train and the guy urged them to arrest the guy, but of course they didn't do anything. It is interesting to note that while the police were present, he was silent, but went right back into his act when they left. Finally I had to take his picture, and he posed for me:

So is this guy just some subway weirdo, or does he know exactly what he's doing? He's way to put-together to be your average bum, and he's awfully aware of his surroundings and his effect on people to be a total psycho. Has anybody else ever seen this guy?

Also last night we checked out some rock at .The Frying Pan I'd never been there before. Aside from the hefty cover and pricey whiskey, it's a supersweet spot, on a docked ship near the Chelsea Piers. "People of the North" performed, which is supposed to be Kid Millions and Bobby from Oneida. But for some reason Jane was also there, and they played a bunch of Oneida songs. Can this still be considered a side project if all the original band members are present? More pix on Flickr.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2005 at 14:30:40 (EDT)

Who put this thing together? Me!
I had a weird moment the other night while reading Donnie Brasco, the book about the FBI guy who goes undercover to infiltrate the New York Mafia:

Whaddya know? I'm a made guy! And the physical description is spot-on. Fuhgeddaboudit.

They never suspected a thing

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Monday, July 25, 2005 at 13:59:22 (EDT)

Heavy Metal Parking Lot

Puttin' On The Ritz holds the audience captive—er, 'captivates' the audience

Pictures are up from the LIC Parking Lot show on Saturday. We didn't even get there until 7 and we were exhausted by the time it was over. I can't imagine what it was like for the organizers who had been there all day (not to mention the fact that they had to clean up afterwards). The lot was not too bad a location for an outdoor show: really big, so it was never really crowded, under the 7 train and in a totally commercial area, so nobody complained about the noise. The only downside is that several bands blew circuit breakers during their sets. I dunno if everybody was plugging into the same power strip or what, but they shoulda known better!

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