Sunday, January 22, 2017

Dawning Of A New Error

"At moments like this I envy those who have found a safe haven in which to bestow their hearts; or perhaps I envy them for having a heart to bestow. I often feel that I myself am without one, and possess in its stead merely a heart shaped stone."

Photography by Lee Greenfeld © 2017
Quote from The Handmaid's Tale, 1985

Friday, January 20, 2017

Streams Of Whiskey

Allen Mandeville
Rest in Peace

Many years back I was tending bar and sipping a nice top-shelf bourbon as my shift was about to end; Allen had been there since open, and was drinking cheap well whiskey. I didn't notice him leave — which wasn't a big deal as he was all paid up and I'd see him the next day — but when I took a sip of my drink I realized that he had swapped his swill out with my good stuff! Doing that took a monster pair of balls, and as such didn't even make me that mad. I laughed, spit it out, and poured another drink. (It really might've been a mistake, but I like to think he did it on purpose.) In recent years I enjoyed visiting him when he was behind the bar at Montero's (where he started working not long after the swapping incident); I always got the warmest of greetings, and he always had a great story at hand.

Sadly, Allen passed away suddenly this past Monday night from an apparent heart attack. He was a real neighborhood legend, a warm gentle man with a daunting wealth of knowledge about a myriad of subjects. He will be sorely missed by so very many.

Monday, January 16, 2017

A True Revolution Of Values

"On the one hand, we are called to play the good samaritan on life’s roadside, but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life’s highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring."

Excerpted from the Beyond Vietnam address, 1967

Friday, December 30, 2016

Adiós Amigos

A.I.T.A. is on a brief hiatus... Back in a few weeks.

Photograph by Lee Greenfeld © 2016

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Reasoning, Realization, Revolution

"In order to understand the world,
one has to turn away from it on occasion."

Photograph by Mary Ellen Mark, 1963
Quote from Le Mythe De Sisyphe, 1942

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Let's Live For Today

Live recordings oftentimes feel unnecessary, like a contract fulfillment from the artist, leaving one yearning for the original studio versions. That said, there's a clutch of live albums that take songs to the next-level — from stunning reinterpretations to unadulterated live'n'loud raw power — leaving ones mouth agape and equaling, and at times transcending, the original studio takes.

So with no further ado, here is Achilles In The Alleyway's very subjective list of the top-25 greatest live albums of all-time:

1. Sam Cooke - Live At The Harlem Square Club, 1963
2. Bob Dylan - Genuine Live 1966 / Hard Rain / Live 1975 [tie]
3. Frank Sinatra - Sinatra At The Sands
4. John Coltrane - European Impressions *
5. The Who - Live At Leeds
6. Jerry Lee Lewis - Live At The Star Club, Hamburg
7. Grateful Dead - Live/Dead
8. Otis Redding - Live At The Whisky A Go Go
9. Thin Lizzy - Live And Dangerous
10. The Band - Rock Of Ages
11. James Brown - Live At The Apollo
12. Hawkwind - Space Ritual
13. Muddy Waters - At Newport 1960
14. Judas Priest - Unleashed In The East
15. Velvet Underground - The Complete Matrix Tapes
16. The Rolling Stones - Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out!
17. Jefferson Airplane - Bless Its Pointed Little Head
18. Yardbirds - Five Live Yardbirds
19. MC5 - Kick Out the Jams
20. The Jam - Dig The New Breed
21. Motörhead - No Sleep 'Til Hammersmith
22. Georgie Fame ‎– Rhythm And Blues At The Flamingo
23. Spacemen 3 - Live In Europe 1989
24. The Ramones - It's Alive
25. Black Flag - Live '84

* This entire list could easily be made up of jazz releases, so I limited
it to just one, which happens to be one of my all-time favorite live recordings.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Symptoms Of Withdrawal

"A lonely, quiet person has observations and experiences that are at once both more indistinct and more penetrating than those of one more gregarious; his thoughts are weightier, stranger, and never without a tinge of sadness... Loneliness fosters that which is original, daringly and bewilderingly beautiful, poetic. But loneliness also fosters that which is perverse, incongruous, absurd, forbidden."

Art by Franz Kafka
Quote by Thomas Mann

Saturday, December 17, 2016


I cut myself upon the thought of you
And yet I come back to it again and again,
A kind of fury makes me want to draw you out
From the dimness of the present
And set you sharply above me in a wheel of roses.
Then, going obviously to inhale their fragrance,
I touch the blade of you and cling upon it,
And only when the blood runs out across my fingers
Am I at all satisfied.

Poem from Coterie, 1920

Thursday, December 15, 2016

A Coney Island Of My Mind #19

"What good is the warmth of summer, without
the cold of winter to give it sweetness?" 

Photograph by Lee Greenfeld © 2016
Quote from Travels With Charley: In Search Of America, 1962

Monday, December 12, 2016

The Rational Habit Of Mind Is A Rare One

"I think that we ought to do all that we can to bring before the world the importance of the attitude that we are not going to believe a thing unless there is some reason to think that it is true."

Quote excerpted from Why I Am A Rationalist, 1928

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Lost At Sea

Dawn breaks, and the streets flood with the rush of winter solstice's annual sorrow. I stand back, straining with thoughts of him through my blurred memory. He may as well have been magical; his history glorified and partially invented via family, friend, and even enemy.

When did it all begin?

Age eight: laying, kicking my feet into the fluff of dirty blankets, watching the pain on their faces as they struck blow after blow for glory. Age nine: wreckless car-rides through the old city, paved with macabre ornaments of criminality. Age ten: wondering how long the joy of awe and blind respect could possibly last.

After that, it's all awash in lies and exaggeration, pettiness and a circular gallop towards a damaged fate. Faded photos hold not a trace of fact — the stance and glance tell little of what once lay behind those stoic, ocean-blue eyes.

© 2009-2016 Lee Greenfeld

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Out In The Cold

Micky Fitz
Rest In Peace

Fare thee well to the legendary frontman of British Oi!/street-punk band The Business. I count myself as lucky that I got to see The Business the very first time they made it to New York City, and the last time (plus a few times in between). Thanks for all the splendid music, good times, and for the name of a certain short-lived fanzine.

Monday, November 28, 2016

The Lesson

A simple observation, her good-natured ribbing did it: all about the black socks. It was more than just the black socks, but it was a reminder; the ends were very far from the surface. Black socks. Bridges. That curl of the lip... That night.

"We all shouted 'ammonia man' as he clawed at his eyes." "You think that's funny?," he asked. Then he stood right in front of me wearing a weather-beaten leather vest, and big black mc-boots; hair all slicked back and a deep olive complexion. He leaned in and asked me his name. I said it, and he hit me. Standing there in front of the candy store shivering from the cold, the shame I felt was nearly unbearable. I did nothing wrong yet I felt lost. I often felt lost back then. I put myself in the position to get hit, perhaps that's why I felt so wretched. The reverberations of that punch would shake right through the neighborhood, and I'd live with it for a while in the spotlight, and for years to come in my own dark corners. There were many times to come after that snowy day that I'd get hit in one way or another. Many more days and nights of shame. He asked me his name, I answered and got hit so hard it took my wind away and left me shaking. Paralyzed. Why then did I spend the next day with him, blurring the edges and acting the fool?

Her hand reaching out across a scarred, stained, beer-soaked table, wrapping itself in my fingers. That curl of the lip. It all turned into everything I desperately needed, and was gone before the processing could even begin... Black socks. How could that ever sum it up?

© 2006-2016 Lee Greenfeld

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

¡No Pasarán!

"Alt-Right" assholes come at me, my family, my friends, or my neighbors, and you've got a real fight on your hands.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Dirge Without Music

I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.
So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:
Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely.  Crowned
With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned.

Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you.
Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.
A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew,
A formula, a phrase remains,—but the best is lost.

The answers quick and keen, the honest look, the laughter, the love,—
They are gone.  They are gone to feed the roses.  Elegant and curled
Is the blossom.  Fragrant is the blossom.  I know.  But I do not approve.
More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the world.

Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know.  But I do not approve.  And I am not resigned.

From Edna  St. Vincent Millay's Collected Poems © 1928

Monday, November 14, 2016

Tempo Tantrum

Billy Miller
Rest In Peace

Thank you for your unbridled love of music and a good story (and man did you have the best stories!); your generosity and your big heart. I will truly miss talking with you about music and our beloved Mets. You were one of a kind and the rock'n'roll world weeps at your loss.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Hope That It Comes True

"I had a dream last night.
Everybody’s laughing and everything was alright.
Still some hope in sight, but that was last night.

I had a dream last night.
Nobody’s crying, nobody’s frightened.
Still some hope in sight, but that was last night."

Photography by Lee Greenfeld © 2016
Lyrics by Stephen McCarthy (Long Ryders)

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Weeping For Our Nation

Today, on the 78th anniversary of the Night of Broken Glass, Donald Trump has been elected president of the United States Of America.

 "Sorg" woodcut by Rune Lindblad, 1955

Monday, October 24, 2016

New Visions Beyond Old Frontiers

Tom Hayden
Rest In Peace

"The American political system is not the democratic model of which its glorifiers speak. In actuality it frustrates democracy by confusing the individual citizen, paralyzing policy discussion, and consolidating the irresponsible power of military and business interests."

Quote excerpted from The Port Huron Statement, 1962

Saturday, August 6, 2016


"Say, the ghost is absent again this evening. Two nights in a row. He must be conducting the dead, or reading books nobody understands."

Photograph by Lee Greenfeld © 2016

Tuesday, July 26, 2016


"Humanity, in its desire for comfort, had over-reached itself. It had exploited the riches of nature too far. Quietly and complacently, it was sinking into decadence, and progress had come to mean the progress of the Machine."
Artwork by Jack Kirby | Words by E.M. Forster