Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I Am the Grinderman

One would think that someone as well-dressed and mannerly as Nick Cave would have an attachment to what people thought of him. Don't believe that shit. Cave and cohorts Warren Ellis, Martin Casey, and Jim Sclavunos do not give a fuck.


Saturday, November 27, 2010

No One's Watching

I've already mentioned my friend Bill Keaggy's pocket-sized photo book, 50 Sad Chairs, a bunch of times. Personally, I've always like photographing the broken, dilapidated, and abandoned. Not only have I been noticing more busted-ass chairs since Bill sent me his book, but I've been increasingly aware of a what I see as a peculiarly modern, urban blight: the abandoned television.

When I was a kid, we had an extra bedroom in our house which we called the "sitting room" for some reason. Calling it that made it seem fancier than it was, almost like calling it the "drawing room" or something. It was basically a guest room, with a fold-out bed, where my sisters and I would sometimes sleep if we were home sick from school. Why not stay in our bedrooms when we were sick? Because the sitting room had a bitchin' black and white TV, around maybe 15 inches diagonally. We'd watch Hogan's Heroes and Gomer Pyle after school.

I'm only bringing this up because it was a fucking black and white TV. Even in the early '80s, that shit was outdated. But it worked, so we kept it and used it. There was a newer RCA or Magnavox color behemoth downstairs, with the B&W model relegated to the kid's after school hangout. Nowadays--Jesus, just that word makes me feel like the old coot on the Pepperidge Farm commercial--when technology is outdated as soon as it's released, no one saves old TVs. Used to be if your TV broke, you took it to a repair shop to get it fixed. Now you leave it on the sidewalk, or recycle it--meaning it gets shipped to China and ends up being ripped apart, melted down, and dumped in a river. The street television is perhaps the saddest testimony to a disposable culture: what was once a 60 inch rear projection television that cost a month's salary is now an overgrown paperweight waiting for a drunk kid to shove his skateboard through.

So here's some sad TVs. (Most of these were shot with my horrible LG cell phone camera, which I've since gotten rid of.)
This one looks a lot like the sitting room TV of my youth:More to come.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Make Your War Face, Haole!

What could be better than a Turkey Day blog-a-thon? Well, a Turkey Day Twilight Zone marathon, for one. There's a man on the wing!

Barring that, since I don't think there's been one since I watched ten hours in a row on KTVU when I was 12, I'd say a whole bunch of Plasmatics videos taped for German television might suffice:

Gotta love the 'Matics for sheer Sammy Davis Jr. putting on a motheruckin' show value. They were the Gallagher of punk rock--which is especially apropos considering the bitter little fruit smasher claims to have invented the mosh pit.

Continuing with metaphors you'll never see on an SAT test, it strikes me that folding bikes are the minivans of cycling. Riding a folding bike is a big neon sign proclaiming "I GIVE UP." Any pretensions at style--or, Gott in Himmel, cool--have been jettisoned in favor of "it fits in the back of my Saab." Or, alternately, your Aerostar. Riding a folding bike says you're done fighting the good fight and would like nothing more than to put your feet up, sip on an MGD 64 or a nice beaujolais, and tell the grim reaper, "Ready when you are, Chief." Folding bikes should come with adult diapers, because the principle joy of being on your way out is never having to say you're sorry.
Speaking of minivans, I recently returned from Hawaii on a visit to my homey Ben, who, do to a recent infestation of deliriously cute rugrats, has hopped into a Nissan Sierra, or Sienna, or Burnt Sienna, or Raw Umber, or what have you. He's still got plenty of kick in him, though, as does his wee man Dace:
Before the babymama, the kiddo, and I hung out with Ben's family in Maui, we were posted up in the Sheraton Waikiki, 21st floor:
I actually hung my junk over the balcony railing and snapped a photo of it with my iPhone.(But I warn you, it's NSFW). I know I'm immature, but it was a sheer George Jefferson, "I'm Movin' On Up (Albeit Temporarily)" moment. How do I, an inveterate scumbag with lint in his pockets, manage it, you ask? Well, babymama is a lawyer, so I get to tag along and play Mr. Mom while she goes to conferences in Honolulu. Luaus, dinners on the lawn of the Iolani Palace--all the mo'fuckin' cocunut shrimp you can eat, bitches!--I get to slum it with the fancy folk now and again.

In this case, the fancy folk included assloads of over-monied Japanese tourists--the type who buy Coach bags at the airport--and pasty Euro tourists in banana hammocks. Really, motherfuckers: have you heard the phrase, "When in Rome, do as the Romans"? Would a cultural foray into board shorts be possible, just for that week or two wherein you let that damp naugahyde you call skin see the sun? I really do not want to see the bratwurst and pickled eggs not so subtly outlined in nylon as I enjoy the beach with my nine-year-old daughter. To quote the inimitable king of politically correct things to say to Germans (in this case on television), Johnny Thunders:

"You Germans are fat. Must be all those Jew meat sausages."
And speaking of fat, who's for a malasada? They're basically a Portuguese version of the beignet--i.e. dough fried in fat and covered in sugar--and no one does them like Leonard's Bakery:Of course, they fry the fuckers up fresh all day. At this rate, I'll have a paunch and a John.
Being more savory than sweet type of guy myself, however, the malasadas were preceded by a trip to Barack Obama's favorite plate lunch spot, the Rainbow Drive-In:
Where, being the beacon of moderation that I am, I immediately ordered the loco moco. To the uninitiated, that's two hamburger patties, two eggs, two scoops rice, and the ubiquitous scoop of mac salad. [On a side note, I am currently planning world domination in my role as the pervy mogul behind a chain of island strip clubs featuring nude female mac salad and poi wrestling. Stay hungry, my friends.]
Great. Now all I need is a Speedo and a pack of French cigarettes.

Here's Doll and I posing on Honolulu's unique bike racks:
Onward to Maui and the Valenzuela clan. Here's Dace Dawg with Dolly at a café near his spot, where I of course ordered another loco moco.
Ghost Dace at Ben's house:
This is a spot we went to called the Olivine Pools. There's a saltwater pool in the lava rock filled with tropical fish. It's wild:
I could photograph lava rock all day. Hell, I could move to Hawaii and photograph lava rock all day for the rest of my life. I'm thinking I should make a set of these in black and white:
Danger, donkey chokers:
D&D, looking dramatic:
There was a memorial to this guy on the hillside above the cliffs. For some reason people stacked their shoes and slippers (only a haole would call them "flip flops") on it:
I'm fascinated by roadside shrines like this. I need to start pulling over and photographing them whenever I see them: that'd make a great series. I've seen them in Mexico, Hawaii, Alaska, Napa Valley...I'm sure it's a worldwide phenomena. This, along with mac salad wrestling, are my new big ideas. Steal them at your peril.It's nice to know you're remembered, even if it is by a bunch of sweaty slippers on a windswept hillside.

This is Dace's "Feel My Muscles" aggro strongman face.
Which, coincidentally, is rather like frontman for Unsane Chris Spencer's war face:
Hey, whoa. Okey dokey. I didn't know it was your peanut butter, all right?
The venerable NYC trio played the day before Turkeytastic Thursday at Thee venerable Parkside:
For the first time I can remember in seeing countless shows at the venue, the show let out at midnight. There were only three bands, sure, but when was the last time you can remember a Parkside show getting out earlier than 1:30? I missed both Hazzard's Cure and Kowloon Walled City. Fuck.
NOISE: Amphetamine Reptile!Speaking of war faces, Spencer's mug: reminds me of Freddy Sanchez's face while he's at bat:It's kind of a shit picture of Sanchez, but here's what I mean: Freddy always looks like he's got to pinch a loaf while he's at the plate. Wait until spring rolls around and see for yourself--the TV closeups prove my point. It's like he's thinking, "Oh, for fuck's sake, throw the ball so I can go back in the clubhouse and lay some pipe."

Spencer, on the other hand, looks like he's actually letting loose in his draws. "Whoops--I crapped my pants!" Not that I'm dissing him or anything. Puking, shitting, fucking, dying--these are times when we can't control our facial expressions enough to be fake. Lying is out of the question at times like this, so I guess whatever he's screaming about that sounds so good on headphones during a five mile run must be pretty fuckin' true. As true as Freddy "¡Gotta Pinch One, PinchĂ© Cabron!" Sanchez's at bats. Which I suppose, in baseball terms, means not juiced up on 'roids."Nothing to see here. Move along."
This may be a shitty photograph, on both technical and aesthetic levels, but it sure is hell is hella trippy:
The Two Faces of Chris Spencer:This photo below was hands down my favorite moment of the evening. The girl belonging to the tits in the photo was schmammered drunk and came bursting onto center stage three or four songs into the set, yelling, "Whoooo! Unsane! I love you! Unsane rules!" while vigorously grinding her gear at the band.
What she's doing in the photos is looking at her hands trying to force them, through sheer willpower, into the "devil horn" position. She had already come up with a peace sign and a hang loose--close, but no cigar--before pausing to try a new attack on the conundrum. Finally--and no, I'm not making this up--she had to settle on using one hand to physically manipulate the other into the sign of the horns. Now, if this girl, cleverly masquerading as the band slut, turns out to be afflicted with some kind of palsy or Parkinsonian tremors, I sincerely apologize. But judging by the way she was dry humping the front of the stage, I'm going to have to lay some far odds on that scenario. As it is, her, "How doth one rock?" moment of existentialist angst was as absurd, hilarious, and unwittingly uncomfortable, not to mention curiously life-affirming as watching retards fuck.