11.25.2008

THE WORLD ACCORDING TO CONDOS













(pictures from an abandoned power plant)

I'm playing a bit of photo/video catch up from the summer, since I am currently burned out and laying low for a bit. I have two requests for you though:

1. I'm headed to Miami for Art Basel this year. I have work in the Aqua Art Fair with Cinders Gallery, so I figure it's the best and possibly only time I'll have an excuse to go. Anyone else headed down? Anything good to check out? I hear Matt & Kim and Annihilation Time are playing shows there. Anyone know where I can find a bike?

2. I'm working on my fifth installment of my annual Xmas mix, and it gets progressively tougher every year to find more holiday songs that don't suck. So if you have any suggestions either email 'em to me or leave it in the comments. Thanks!


Woods performing at the closing of Swoon's show at Deitch Studios.


Harrison and friends performing at the closing of Swoon's show at Deitch Studios.



MP3:

And the holiday onslaught has arrived.

• The Raveonettes - Christmas Ghosts

A band's place in myspace.

11.24.2008

LIKE A TOURIST IN YOUR TOWN






(a quick stop in Paris)

Two days in Paris:

- Wandering around a park on a canal in the northeast part of Paris. A group of men, all looking Middle Eastern or African, were sitting quietly in a small sectioned off part of the park. Their seemed to be one man with long hair and a beard who was standing facing the rest of them. It looked almost like a meditation session, if you can meditate while looking around and listening to your ipod. They kept calling me over every time I would get near, but my lack of French kept me from venturing over. I wondered about if for the next few days.
- Staying with a friend in a suburb just outside of Paris. The building was old with a nice dusty mirrored lobby. The bathroom was decorated in red carpeted walls and mirrors. There was little daylight, less fresh air, and hardly any hot water.
- People eat well in Western Europe. The food is good, natural, fresh, and decently cheap. It seems like the way it should be.
- Having the best hot chocolate I can recall, ever.
- Realizing how much more of an appreciation the French have for architecture and public space.
- Paris is not much for late-night-life, most things close early (bars at midnight on a Friday?).
- Looking whistfully at all the free city bikes that are EVERYWHERE (Velib!).
- Riding clean, spacious, well-lit subways that run every 2 minutes.
- Doing some tourist sight-seeing, and a lot of walking.
- Being responsible for some of my friends from the Rockaway crew almost crashing a fancy live classical music soiree in a swanky part of Paris. And they would have too, if they hadn't been stopped dead at the entrance by a very unamused host.

Twenty-four hours in Amsterdam:

- There are so many bikes all over the place in Amsterdam that they almost feel similar to the trash that blows around and collects against fences and trees in Brooklyn.
- Trying to go visit the squat ADM, but failing to connect with my friends that were staying there.
- Amsterdam has a pretty space-age library, with handfuls of free public computers on every floor.
- Staying in a hostel that smells like a stadium toilet.
- The weird Xmas music is playing on the plane makes me homesick/depressed/divorced from reality.



MP3:

• Jeff Alexander & Bonnie Beecher - Come Wander With Me

11.18.2008

A HOME AWAY FROM HERE













(photos from touring with Dark Dark Dark in Belgium and France)

On tour with Dark Dark Dark in Europe:

- Dark Dark Dark playing at a tiny 300 year old bar in Gent, Belgium. Meeting an eccentric local artist and his dog Willy and staying at his house. Leaving Brian Kelly there on his way to Berlin.
- Walking around Gent in the rain and wondering why everything was closed on a Monday. And then realizing it is Armistice Day.
- Sitting in while Dark Dark Dark do a live radio show on 93FM Primitive Radio.
- Staying with Cyril (who put out Dark Dark Dark's newest release Snow Magic) and his parents in Rheims and being thoroughly stuffed on four-course meals and great bread. The room I slept in was made to look like a castle.
- All of us having simultaneous nightmares while sleeping in a house in France that is an ex-convent built on a graveyard.
- Wandering around the Cathedral in Reims, and being impressed with how beautiful it is. By far the best stained glass windows I have ever seen.
- Going with Dark Dark Dark to a cultural center (think small YMCA) in the suburbs of Reims where they opened for From Monument To Masses. FMTM was pretty psyched on DDD, and were very friendly.
- Driving to Paris, all on small country back roads to avoid the highway tolls.
- Parking in Paris is a nightmare.
- Wandering around Paris with Marshall and Nona in search of sandwiches. We eventually found them, along with a park to eat them in.
- When asked by a stranger on the street what she was doing in Paris, Nona replied in French: "I play the music of your heart."
- Hanging out at the squat Miroiterie before the show.
- Dark Dark Dark playing a small intimate cozy show at the squat to a packed room. The crowd wouldn't stop clapping even after they had played their "fake out" encore.


Dark Dark Dark performing in Reims, France.


Band playing a cover with toy instruments at Miroiterie, a squat in Paris.



MP3:

This is good, but much better live. All the more reason to catch one of Dark Dark Dark's live shows. . .

• Dark Dark Dark - Benefit Of The Doubt

A band's place in myspace.

11.12.2008

GAVE UP TO BE BETTER OFF






























(photos from the opening of the Miss Rockaway Armada's installation at Stroomhuis in Eindhoven, as part of the show "Heartland" at the Van Abbemuseum, full gallery here)

- Riding down the Dommel river in Eindhoven as dusk turned to night on one of the three boats made by some of the crew for the installation.
- Tattoo artist Brian Kelly set up shop in the printmaking studio at Stroomhuis during the opening. A handful of the crew got some new ink, myself included. One of our group didn't have any money or anything to trade, so he offered up part of his leg to let Bryan practice with a new super-wide fill needle.
- We've had a really great experience here in Eindhoven, but were a bit put off by how rude some of (very drunk) guests were at the opening. From tagging on some of the paintings, to badgering one of our performers off the stage, and even one guy who was having some inappropriate-touching problems with our female crew members. We were kind of hoping Mr. Touchy-Feely would come back the second night so we could tackle and hogtie him.
- Some of the installation getting wrecked by drunken craziness on the opening night, including the giant sign from the Van Abbemuseum we had outside.
- Mike and John getting wasted and busting out some crazy freestyling for a good half an hour (see video below).
- Waking up one morning and finding a giant wok full of full lobsters. They were from the night before and were all cold and fishy, but whatever. Lobster is lobster.
- Part of the installation was a small diamond cave inside a treasure chest with a huge caveman SpongeBob Squarepants. It also was a very cozy bedroom and effective hot-box.
- It's interesting to have helped build an installation with such varied parts as: a bar, a stage, a shadow puppet screen, two crows nests, a paper chandelier, a chapel, a cave, a dragons tail, and even a merch table.
- Wrapping up the opening weekend with a movie + pizza night in the installation. We piled a bunch of cot mattresses on the floor with blankets and watched movies projected on the shadow puppet screen.It was cold in there, but everyone was all on top of each other so it was fine. Spons brought us curly fries too. And shoarma pizza kinda sucks, by the way.


Miss Rockaway Armada floats their boats in front of the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven.


Jonathan Kaiser from Dark Dark Dark perfoming at Stroomhuis in Eindhoven.


Dark Dark Dark performing at the Miss Rockaway Armada opening at Stroomhuis in Eindhoven.


Dark Dark Dark performing with Rebecca at the Miss Rockaway Armada opening at Stroomhuis in Eindhoven.


John and Mike's drunken freestyling at Stroomhuis in Eindhoven.



MP3:

• 50 Million + Hickey - A New England

A band's place in myspace.

11.06.2008

GRANTED FOR THE TAKING



















(photos from the second half of our stay in Eindhoven during the construction of our installation as part of the show "Heartland")

- I am able to convince friends of mine from Brooklyn, the band Team Robespierre, to come and play at Burgers in Eindhoven before they head to Amsterdam while touring Europe. A bunch of the Rockaway crew goes to the show and the band plays to a pretty full (although somewhat static) house.
- Andre cooking amazing dinners for us while we watch YouTube videos about stuff we've done.
- The separated bike lane here are one of the best parts of the Netherlands. However they cause you to let your guard down, which is partially why I almost collided head-on with a motor scooter tearing down the wrong way on the bike path.
- Going to the Election Brunch at the Van Abbemuseum and feeling a bit out of place since we couldn't understand all the things being said about our own country and election. At the same time it was probably better we couldn't participate, it probably helped move things along quicker.
- While I was checking out the museum's exhibition of the "Heartland" show, I stumbled upon a video featuring my friend Dana at the Braddock, PA space talking about the artist-run space. Love the randomness.
- Did I mention how good stroop wafels are?


Team Robespierre at Burgers in Eindhoven, Netherlands.



MP3:

• Rodriguez - Sugar Man

A band's place in myspace.

11.05.2008

GOIN' SOMEPLACE THERES NO GOIN' BACK




(illustrations from a Dutch newspaper's "road to the White House" board game)

It happened. We won. My little sister should be proud of all the pavement she pounded for Obama in Ohio. Small things can add up to big differences.

Also slightly related to the cultural differences + politics thing. Even the paint job on the benches here in the Netherlands seem to reflect the Democratic victory.



MP3:

• Bruce Springsteen - The Ghost Of Tom Joad (feat. Tom Morello)

A band's place in myspace.

11.02.2008

LIVING IN A WORLD OF COMPROMISE

























(photos from the Miss Rockaway installation process at Stroomhuis in Eindhoven, so far)

The Miss Rockaway Armada in Eindhoven, Netherlands:

- Going to a thrift store in an old school to find John some new pants after he blew the ass out of his old ones. The old lady who was helping us insisted on leading him by the hand around the school showing people the hole in his pants, and then made him change out of them before he could leave the store.
- Rescuing messed up abandoned bikes and fixing them up to get around.
- Staying and working at the long-established squat Stroomhuis run by Andre, who on top of being amazingly generous, also happens to be an incredible chef.
- Working outside in the cold/rain.
- Competing for who has sustained the worst concussion so far.
- Feeling almost respectable when the Van Abbemuseum throws a welcome dinner for us.
- Finding it to be colder and damper than expected, which leads to needing and the subsequent hunt for long underwear (which resulted in settling for blue camo stretchy pants from the little boys section of a fire-damage store).
- The resident chickens keeping us company, roosting in the bar we built, and of course shitting everywhere.
- The group attending an art opening at MU, and then promptly turning it into a crazy dance party. The momentum came down a bit after one of the crew broke the glass of a display case, but only momentarily. I heard there was an after party at a nearby bar where the remaining Rockaway members got thrown out, more than once.
- Really enjoying waking up (in the living room) of the nice artist housing and peering out into the back courtyard space. One almost is forced to feel civilized regardless of how late you were up hanging from dusty scaffolding screwing pieces of mismatched soggy scrapped wood together into something you hope can support its own weight.



MP3:

This is what we listened to really loud on repeat for a whole day while working. It reverberated off the walls and made your chest hum. It was an amazing thing, transforming the feel of mangling wood and nails in a tiled room dimly lit by haphazardly placed bare bulbs.

• Earth - Land Of Some Other Order

A band's place in myspace.

11.01.2008

IT'S A HARD KNUCKLE TOWN


























(photos from Bike Kill VI, full gallery here)

Apologies for taking so long to get Bike Kill up, I left almost immediately to meet up with other members of the Miss Rockaway Armada in Eindhoven in the Netherlands to work on an installation here (more on that soon). Bike Kill was fun this year, a bit aggro and a lot of people got their bags and stuff stolen at the after party, but aside from the soaking rain that came late it was a ton of crazy fun as usual. There's a chance that this may have been the last one for a while, let's hope not.



MP3:

Back in high school this was the shit.

• Shotmaker - Failure

A band's place in myspace.