Settle

June 24, 2010

My roommate said a funny thing the other day. He said, “Now that we’re almost settled in the new apartment, I don’t really know what to do with myself.” See, we recently hauled our lives, and WAY too much shit, roughly 20 blocks north from Tribeca to the West Village. If it had been any further, I don’t think I would have survived. I’m glad we did it, but fuck if moving isn’t the worst thing you could ever possibly do. It’s consumed my life for the past three weeks and burned me out physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, conversationally, alcoholically (note: spell check did not correct “alcoholically.” Apparently this word exists)…

First is the mental preparation, which itself is exhausting. It’s the “gee, I can’t believe we’re actually moving,” the “I hope we made the right call” and the “dude, we had a lot of great memories in this place, didn’t we?” And we did. Fucking A we did. I would challenge our three year run in a ridiculously large, grimy, leaky, dusty, rat-infested, Rock Band-equipped, skate park -approved, apocolyptically noisy five-bedroom Tribeca apartment against anyone’s. We did it better than you. I promise.

You see, we lived above the Subway (sandwich shop) above the Subway (choo-choo). Our apartment was in a constant state of vibration. Sheer kinetic energy, the least of which came from the rumbling of the A, C and E trains below careening their way uptown. If it wasn’t herds of vermin galloping down our hallway, it was the Subway (sandwich) dude dragging a metal hand truck down the stairs just beyond the walls of our “sun-kissed loft.” To give you an idea, this sounded roughly like an elephant deflecting a wrecking ball with a steel safe. And sometimes, seemingly with no real objective in mind, City workers descended upon the quaint corner of Church and Chambers, giddily wielding jackhammers to tear up the asphalt below our windows. At two in the morning. With a backhoe to crush what the jackhammers couldn’t manage. Then they’d pave it over and do it again the next night. It must have been a City-sanctioned decibel-off between they and the garbage trucks that idled outside with nothing but time.

And sure, we added our own noise- doors slamming, g-funk blaring, ollie-popping, girlfriends moaning (both in pleasure and emotional duress)…but I’ve realized that all the chaos, both internal and external, added up to one of the most fun and truly unique (and character building) stretches of my life. Where else could I have lived with four of my best friends (six if you count the extended family), thrown “get-togethers” where we literally could not fit another person into the apartment, melted the rubber on our roof by grilling on a wack-ass Weber, lounged in an adult onesie festooned with rubber duckies, woken up with eight people passed out on the couches and floor, and a whole host of other shit I can’t remember right now? Nowhere.

But then suddenly, it’s the hottest damn day of the year and three Russian dudes storm your place like it’s their D-Day, throw all of your shit in the back of a truck then dump it in the living room of a tiny fifth story walk up. Three weeks later, your feet still hurt from all the packing, unpacking, carrying, tripping, sweating and crying. And in those three weeks work has sucked serious balls, friends are visiting from LA and you’ve had a dramatic bed-bug scare. But you know what? I wouldn’t trade any of it. You know why? Cause I’m thinking the next stretch is going to be even better. Here’s to the death star. To C+C part factory. To S, E, R, D, M and HQ.

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Entourage

September 20, 2009

EmmanuelleChriqui2Look, I’m not a hater, but this is getting ridiculous. HBO, you should be ashamed of yourself. Entourage is limping off to die behind the barn and you’re letting it happen in front of millions of viewers. It’s just embarrassing for everyone. I mean, has anything happened this season? Anything? I think Turtle hit a bong once or twice, but that’s about it. PLEASE, do us all a favor and either guarantee at least 10 minutes of Sloan camera time per episode or just put the show out of its misery. I know, I know. I’m a hypocrite. “If you don’t like the show, then don’t watch it.” Right? Well, I can’t stop. I just can’t. This fucking show is like audio/visual crack. I know it’s bad for me, it makes me numb and I feel guilty after watching it. Not that I’ve ever smoked crack…but I HAVE watched enough episodes of The Wire to know. But like a junkie, I keep coming back just in case there are boobs, or god forbid, a few minutes of Sloan. We all know HBO is just keeping the show around to maintain a “solid” line up. But you know what? There’s another show about the entertainment industry that has attractive women AND well-written, witty dialogue. And a protagonist that actually does shit. It’s called Californication and it’s taking, or rather, has already taken, the “bro show” title (just made that up) from Vince and co. Please, HBO, just give us what we want or give us our 21 minutes back so we can kick our habit.

Thanks.

VB

Arthur Russell

December 10, 2008

arthur-russellSo many artists find more recognition poshumously than they do during their lifetimes. Arthur Russell is one of the more recent additions to this list. A member of New York’s downtown dance and disco scenes in the mid-70s and 80s, Russell was a pioneer in the realms of ambient electronic music and minimal disco. Relatively obscure in his lifetime, Russell collaborated with the likes of David Byrne and Philip Glass before dying of AIDS in 1992. Without his contributions to electronic and dance music, current artists like Erlend Øye, the Rapture and LCD Soundsystem wouldn’t experience nearly the success they enjoy today.

With the recent release of Love Is Overtaking Me, a compilation of unreleased folk and country tracks and the recent biopic Wild Combination: A Portrait of Arthur Russell, Russell’s profile has risen significantly as of late. But it’s his earlier work that is most compelling to me. A great introduction to Arthur Russell is Calling Out of Context, a collection of some of Russell’s best dance tracks. Amazing song below, his voice is so subtle, yet piercing:

“That’s Us/Wild Combination”