Wednesday, October 19, 2022

The Question Of Self-Pity

“Life changes fast. Life changes in the instant.
You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends.”

Photograph by Lee Greenfeld © 2022

Saturday, October 8, 2022

To Lay Me Down

“ To tell sweet lies, one last time and say good night,”

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

To Be Immortal And Then Die

 It’s truly awful to find out in the wake of their death that an artist you admired, and whose work you loved and learned from, held vile views. I am quite capable of separating the art from the artist — and you really must unless you want to miss out on a wealth of literature, poetry, art and music — but it’s still a fucking gut-punch.

Sunday, September 11, 2022

Planet Caravan

The Grateful Dead and Black Sabbath, not to mention Traffic, José Feliciano, Free, and Shagrat (which featured Steve Peregrin Took, Mick Farren and Larry Wallis), on the same bill in 1970. The night before ain’t too shabby either.

Friday, September 9, 2022

Botanic Therapy

 Even war cannot stop the creation of art: track from Ukrainian psychedelic band The Landscape’s just released album.

Thursday, August 25, 2022

The Naked City, Circa 1980s

Chris "Stane" Anthony's New York City Prose is a vivid and loving look back at very specific-era in True York City that will appeal to both those who were involved in graffiti and those interested in learning about a subculture birthed in the greatest city in the world. The drama, late night missions, the attraction to danger, and the overall implications of the life…. It’s all in the pages of Anthony's memoir.

New York City Prose is more than a just graffiti book though; it’s a very personal, nakedly honest, and humble remembrance of NYC in the midst of some of its darkest and most exciting days.

Monday, August 22, 2022

Who Do I Have To Call?

50 years ago today: John Wojtowicz looks through the window of the Chase Bank on Avenue P between East 3rd and 4th streets during the robbery that inspired Dog Day Afternoon.

Photograph by Charles Ruppmann

Saturday, August 13, 2022

Be Bloody-Minded

 “Go for broke. Always try and do too much. Dispense with safety nets. Take a deep breath before you begin talking. Aim for the stars. Keep grinning. Be bloody-minded. Argue with the world. And never forget that writing is as close as we get to keeping a hold on the thousand and one things — childhood, certainties, cities, doubts, dreams, instants, phrases, parents, loves — that go on slipping , like sand, through our fingers.”

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

A Small Key Can Open A Large Door

"Democratic modernity replies to the universalist, linear progressivist and determinist methodology deployed by the modern nation-state to achieve the homogenization and herdification of society with a pluralist and probabilistic methodology that enables the visibility of democratic society. It develops its alternative through its openness to different political formations, its multiculturalism, its anti-monopolist stance, its ecological and feminist attributes and its economic structure that is grounded on satisfying society’s fundamental needs and societal disposition. As opposed to capitalist modernity’s nation-state, Democratic Confederalism is democratic modernity’s political alternative. 

Democratic modernity is flexible in its approach to the nation. This in itself plays a significant role in solving so many societal problems by bringing together the multi-lingual, multi-ethnic, multi-faith and multi-political segments of society as opposed to the singular approach of nations based on a single language, ethnicity, religion or state. The multi-dimensional approach of democratic modernity to the nation will form a strong foundation for the much needed establishment of peace and fraternity in the Middle East."

Words:Abdullah Öcalan

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Brooklyn Spleen

"What strange phenomena we find in a great city, all we need do is stroll about with our eyes open. Life swarms with innocent monsters."

Photograph: Lee Greenfeld © 2022. Mural: Zed1. Quote: Charles Baudelaire

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Pull Up A Chair

The great Vin Scully calling his first game for the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 18th, 1950. (Peep the quart of Schaefer and the carton of Lucky Strike.)

Thursday, July 7, 2022

See Ya Sonny

Fare thee well to the talented, tough, and funny James Caan.

Thursday, June 30, 2022

System, System, System

The Penis Envy album is just as uncompromising (and relevant) as it was when it was released in 1981. The entire album needs to be consumed whole as a piece of furious sonic political art, but this track always is a real knock-out blow.

Thursday, June 2, 2022

For Love Or Sorrow

One of the most underrated and very best singles from the class of ‘77, with lyrics that are miles ahead of most of their peers: “Money rents you insulation. Tenderness, asphyxiation. Someone else's flesh to borrow, sling it from your bed tomorrow. Live too fast for love or sorrow. Look behind the face, it's hollow.”

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Exordium & Terminus

"For what, he never knew, now man's reign is through. But through eternal night, the twinkling of starlight. So very far away, maybe it's only yesterday."

Sunday, May 8, 2022

Quarantined In Dub

Another new stunner of an album; up there with the latest from Horace Andy and Spiritualized as the very best of 2022. A must-own for any dedicated dub fanatic, featuring the best and most ridiculous cover-art. Jammy brings the booming bass and strikes again!

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

We Can Be Together

We were young, broke, and likely knew in the back of our minds that we were not in it together for the long run. We were both unprepared to raise a child on every level possible, nor did we want a child. After much thought and discussion, we decided that abortion was the only option. It was far from an easy CHOICE for either of us, though ultimately it was my girlfriend's CHOICE to make.

We had to borrow money for the procedure and the entire experience was incredibly tough and emotionally draining, especially dealing with the nutjob Forced Birthers protesting outside of the clinic. I look back with no regrets. It was the right CHOICE for us to not bring an unwanted chid in to this world — and as far as I know, neither does my ex-girlfriend.

When the government dictates women's fundamental right to be in charge of their own bodies and future, it is not the time to stay silent. Donate, vote, and take to the streets to fight back against the growing fascistic Theocracy in any way that you can.

I’s high time for a general strike.

Monday, May 2, 2022

Queen Of The Beatniks

Judy Henske
Rest In Peace

Henske never got the due she deserved, even though the fantastic psychedelic album Farewell Aldebaran she recorded with Jerry Yester has gained underground record nerd acclaim over the years. For my money though, it’s these two albums that should be known the world over. Hopefully she’ll gain some much deserved posthumous recognition now that she’s gone.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Mir Veln Zey Iberlebn!

Today is Yom HaShoah, and I think the news that antisemitic acts are on the rise across the country, especially here in NYC and in NJ, perfectly illustrates why it's so important to not only educate and "never forget," but to actively fight against hatred by any means necessary. ("We learn from history, generations have to fight. And those who crave for mastery, must be faced down on sight. And if that means by words, by fists, by stones or by the gun. Remember those who stood up for their daughters and their sons."*) Long live the spirit of The 43 Group. Mir veln zey iberlebn!

* Lyrics excerpt from "Ghosts of Cable Street," by Paul
Simmonds (The Men They Couldn't Hang), 1986.

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Today Is Right Here

Horace Andy cut his first record back in 1967 and countless classics in the years since ("Skylarking", "Fever," "See A Man's Face," "Every Tongue Shall Tell," his version of ""Ain't No Sunshine," "Government Land" "Money Money," "Child of the Ghetto," "Love Is The Light,"  and on and on). He released the essential 'Dance Hall Style' LP in 1982, gained much deserved notice outside of reggae via his work with Massive Attack in the 1990s, and now at age 71 has released one of the best albums of year.

Friday, April 15, 2022

Bombing The System!

Fare thee well to Keith Grayson, better known as DJ Kay Slay aka DEZZY DEZ. If you’re of a certain age and grew up in NYC, you know his massive importance in our street culture: graffiti, DJing, mixtapes, publishing... the man rocked it all. Another truly sad loss from Covid, and gone way too young. Rest In Peace.

Photograph by Henry Chalfant

Monday, April 11, 2022

Swing For The Crime

"Locked in a room full of words
I'm a one-eyed midget with a curse
The simpleton who sweetly smiles
At his young lover now beguiled
The sycophantic morons lied
At Romeo, who is the bride, let's ride

Stoned as I walk down the hall
The ad men wait to hear the curse and call
The angels scream in discontent
As to the river they are lent
The actors bow and pay the rent
We cover them in cold cement
Let's swing for the crime
Everyone in double-time

And we hope that you had a good time
Yeah, smile as you sign on the line
Because life on your knees can be fun
Surprised now you're not the only one

Led like a lamb into this gloom
Yeah, Freud is in a back room with his goons
Now they've got new experiments
The metal groans, the limbs are rent
The anti-heroes mock dissent
We market now by mass consent
We swing for the crime
Everyone in double-time

Scream like you'll burst if they cry
Is changed by the words that you learn
But Jack the Ripper is inside
And Moriarty has imbibed
They live, they marry, all the while
We laugh and have them circumcised

And we hope that you had a good time
Yeah, smile as you sign on the line
Because life on your knees can be fun
Are you glad that you're not the only one?"

There's rightfully much praise and ink-spilled over Chris Baily's incredible voice — the perfect combination of punk snottiness, a deep down-under blues ache and longing with a sarcastic, winking bite — but it needs to be noted that the man was also a one of a kind lyricist, up there with the very best. May his memory be a blessing.

Sunday, February 13, 2022

Miles Ahead

"If you sacrifice your art because of some woman, or some man, or for some color, or for some wealth, you can't be trusted."

Photograph: Lee Greenfeld

Sunday, February 6, 2022

Busy Being Born

Fare thee well to activist/historian/author Todd Gitlin. I read his book The Sixties: Years Of Hope, Days Of Rage the year it was published (when I was in high school), and to say it was a big inspiration on my way of thinking would be a major understatement. The book made me seek out so much, and helped form my early political outlook. He caught criticim in later years (much of it unwarrented in my mind), but stayed true to his basic ideals which first gained an audience back when he was president of the Students For A Democratic Society. The world lost an important fighter, thinker and chronicler. May his memory be a blessing.

Thursday, February 3, 2022

Free Your Mind

"If this nation is to be wise as well as strong, if we are to achieve our destiny, then we need more new ideas for more wise men reading more good books in more public libraries. These libraries should be open to all—except the censor. We must know all the facts and hear all the alternatives and listen to all the criticisms. Let us welcome controversial books and controversial authors. For the Bill Of Rights is the guardian of our security as well as our liberty."

Monday, January 31, 2022

45 Revolutions: Shoot The Pump

It doesn't get much more early '80s NYC than this. Truly funky proto hip hop with a ton of Latin flavor, featuring graffiti writers ALI-1 and COCA 82. Rrecorded and released by none other than the legendary John Hammond (issued in the UK by Island Records).

Monday, January 24, 2022

Don't Feel So Bad

 Don't get me wrong, I generally dig the entire Rodgers & Hammerstein (and Hart) songbook, but find the original film version of "My Favorite Thing" to be aural pablum with truly cringe-inducing lyrics. Coltrane took the song and injected it with otherworldly spirit and soul; while his studio version is gorgeous, he took it even further into the stratosphere live. My favorite version is from 1961 with Eric Dolphy killing it on flute (found in mediocre fidelty on the European Impressions LP), but this version here from a few years later, which I only recently discovered, is fucking sonic perfection on par with the greateast of all American art.