December 21, 2012

The Miracle on 42nd Street Xmas Video

So I know this video is not made the NYC-viral rounds last year during the holidaze. But, cleverly created by two Bway gypies who've got spunk and pizazz to spare, it is so good that I wanted to share it here again. It truly fills me with the joy of the season. I mean Mariah Carey, jazz hands, and Santa-inspired unitards. What's not to like!

Wishing everyone the merriest of Christmases and a joyous, dance-filled New Years!  :)

December 19, 2012

All I Want For Xmas Is A Non-Gender Specific EZ Bake Oven

This is one of the cutest holiday stories I've heard this year. A 13 year-old girl in New Jersey, Mackenna Pope, was shopping for an EZ Bake Oven for her brother Gavyn (real name!) who had it on his list. However, Mackenna noticed they only came in puple and pink which are pretty girly colors. Why was there no butch oven, she wondered....though I'm guessing she probably didn't use the word "butch."

So Mackenna got industrious and started a petition for Hasbro to make a non-gender specific oven that  received over 40,000 signatures online at And guess what? Hasbro invited her to their headquarters and they will come out with a silver and black version of its iconic toy next year. (Turns out, it had been in the works for a little over a year but this certainly gave them some great press on it.) The new version of the EZ Bake will be in stores available for the 2013 Christmas season.

I love this story for two reasons: first their is the big sister angle which is just too adorable. But also there's a personal side too. When I was an aspiring young baker, I wanted an EZ Bake Oven for Christmas as well and put it on my list even. Needless to say, Santa did not bring me a pink plastic toy with which to bake cakes. Undeterred, my mom did allow me to use the adult oven and I baked up a storm in my youth; cookies, cakes, brownies and even fudge.

Anyway, this is just a lovely story in a season that could use it, with the tragedy in Connecticut dominating the news. Below is a cute report on these two kids from CBS News.

December 18, 2012

Omar Shariff, Jr And 49 Other Notables Who Came Out In 2012

Over at Towleroad, Andy has put together a list of 50 Most Powerful Coming Outs on his blog. I didn't realize 2012 had been a banner year in this manner but it truly has. Not only were there the super high profile people like Anderson Cooper and Sally Ride (though posthumous), but there were people like Omar Shariff Junior and Gillian Anderson.  Somehow I had missed Scully's coming out party! Not that that one was such a huge surprise anyway.

All in all, this is a great list of remarkable people from all parts of the LGBT spectrum. And I find it amazing to see that more and more coming out is not such big news either. That alone is progress in and of itself.

December 17, 2012

Meatpacking District Part II: Time Traveling Photos From 1985

On Friday, I posted about ice skating in the Meatpacking District under the High Line in a rink sponsored by the Standard. Today, via my favorite NYC nostalgia site Jeremiah's Vanishing New York, I found some incredible photos of the same Meatpacking District taken in the mid-1980s in which the streets are practically empty and the area is downright desolate. But there is beauty in its desolation and the contrast to what you find today when walking dow the same streets couldn't be more severe.

The pictures (like the one above of 14th and 9th ave) were taken by photographer Brian Rose and you can see the full gallery on his website. They are a fun time traveling trip to lost era, beautifully enshrined in Rose's austere photos.

December 14, 2012

Holidaze Skating Through The Meatpacking District

There used to be a time long, long ago (okay, in the 90s) when the only thing you could get in the meatpacking district was a burget at Florent and a hooker to go. Now of course, post-SEX AND THE CITY, MePa (as it is sometimes unfortunately called) is a teeming urban district of high end shops, fancy-pants clubs/restaurants, and the neighborhood's hulking landmark, The Standard hotel.  

This winter, the Standard has created the most unlikely spot for ice skating on a temporary rink set up adjacent to the High line park. It's a cute little rink, about 3000 sq ft in size so not exactly ideal for a hockey game or figure skating leaps. But it is the cheapest rink in town, with rentals and admission at $15. And, even better, it is not nearly as crowded as the ones in midtown that get jammed with tourists and onlookers during this most wonderfully crowded time of the year. 

The hotel doesn't have much info about it on their website but there was a nice review with some photos from a real estate blog called GlenwoodNYC. Check it out and I'll see you on the ice-ice, baby!

December 12, 2012

Princeton Freshman Questions Justice Scalia On Morality

A lot of people complain about this country--what's wrong with it, how it's failing, etc. But one thing that still works is freedom of speech, evidenced by the fact that a 19 year old student can challenge a sitting Supreme Court justice in a public forum and make the national news for it.

Towleroad reports today on Duncan Hosie, a poised Princeton freshman, questioned Scalia's equating murder and bestiality with homosexuality in previous court opinions. In response, Scalia merely doubled down on his dangerously antiquated views. There is little doubt how Scalia will vote on the two marriage equality cases now pending before the court as his view of "morality" trumps any reason or law. But one thing is clear--this young, articulate, openly gay man (interviewed below on MSNBC) provides a great deal of hope for the future.

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December 11, 2012

Some Amazing Photos Of Gay Marriage In Washington State

It was a big week for marriage equality, with Maryland's governor signing the marriage equality bill into law and actual marriages starting in Washington state. BuzzFeed's LGBT blogger Matt Stopera was out in Seattle for all the romantic action on day one and posted this photo above of two mature gentlemen taking their vows. It's a picture that is truly amazing and sweet and makes you wonder what all the fuss about gay marriage is after all, right? I mean these guys look like they could've voted for Romney even--though I'm guessing they didn't.

Here's a link to Stopera's photo album of 64 shots he took of all the couples lined up at city hall with some moving captions as well. And below is the photo that was seen in many newspapers of the first LGBT couple to get married in Washington State at the stroke of midnight. Jane Lighty, 77, and Pete-e Peterson, 85 (85!!!!) took their vows after having been together for 35 years. Cheers, ladies!

December 10, 2012

Nate Silver and Conan O'Brien Have Some Serious Jibber Jabber

Conan O'Brien sat down recently with superstar statistician Nate Silver, the man who predicted the exact electoral outcome of the 2012 Presidential race via his 538 blog on the NY Times website. However, Nate was not a guest on Conan's talk show on TBS. Instead, they had a 50 minute long, non-commercial interrupted wide ranging chat about things like global warming, statistical probability, and the nature of capitalism.  It's a fascinating chat and I've linked the full show below.

This interview is part of Conan's online-only "Serious Jibber Jabber" series of webcasts featuring guests that he chooses personally who he is interested in. Despite the silly title, it's all quite serious. The sidebar show started in September of this year, featuring historian Edmund Morris and a long conversation about Theodore Roosevelt. It seems almost as if Conan is angling for Charlie Rose's job in a few years as the format is similar but also features the same all black set with a table between them.

December 8, 2012

SATURDAY SPECIAL: End of Year Supercut Of Top Movie Trailers For 2012

This is an amazing supercut of movie trailers for films released this year by an editing genius by the name of SleepySkunk. It's a mystery why this person doesn't use their real name but I suspect that maybe he is doing all this work --and this must have been a lot of work--at his day job. Anyway, they have put together a mega remix of some of the best and craziest and most beautiful movie moments from 2012 culled from the film's trailers. It actually makes it look like it wasn't such a bad year for movies after all.

December 7, 2012

Hermie The Dentist Meets The Music of AVENUE Q

I always thought Hermie the dentist from the Christmas classic RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER might be a little know, when he grew up to become a dentist in Chelsea. Well, someone has done a clever re-edit of Hermie lip-synching to a song from the Broadway hit AVENUE Q between two roommates, one of whom seems suspiciously gay. Enjoy!

December 5, 2012

Anna Wintour In The News; Potential Ambassador, Interview Terror

My neighbor Anna Wintour is in the news this week in a big way; there is a report in the Washington Post that she is being considered for an ambassardorship to either the UK or France. Wintour has been a vigorous supporter of the President and ardent fundraiser as well, throwing fancy dinners next door to my apt that once even had the President on the guest list.

Also, there's a great story in New York magazine about how Anna inspires fashion terror in the hearts of those who are called in for a job interview at VOGUE. The magazine has compiled a list of 13 anonymous women (and 1 man!) who had varying degrees of panic re; the question of what to wear when going in to see the great  Wizard of Conde Nast. The stories are great and it's interesting to note that those who wore vintage clothes (read "not this season") were not hired!

December 4, 2012

Justin Vivian Bond Presents The Drunk News

My friend and fellow Marylander Justin Vivian Bond has a hilarious new clip on YouTube called "The Drunk News" which gives a four-minute summary of the news from a slightly, uh, loopy perspective. But you know, when people are drunk they usually say the darndest things. Especially about the Tea Party. Listen as Mx Bond tells us all about the Fiscal Clip and speaks some truth that is really is "just the rich people complaining." 

December 3, 2012

New Music Video Features Soccer Players Making Out

Recently, there was a glitch (or an "easter egg") in a soccer video game which allowed you to make the players kiss. The ban Hot Chip has taken this idea to the extreme with a weird and clever new music video for their song "Don't Deny Your Heart".  The song is catchy as is their style but my favorite part of the video is the offscreen sports announcers commentary....listen for that, especially when the first two players start to make out.

November 30, 2012

Rare FERRIS BUELLER Audio Commentary Available Online

For all John Hughes' acclaim and fame as a filmmaker, he only recorded one audio commentary track for his iconic films and it was for FERRIS BUELLER'S DAY OFF. It was done for the 1999 release of the film on DVD but it's only the version released that year that includes Hughes commentary track...all subsequent versions of the DVD had the track removed, as he was apparently unhappy with the way it turned out. 

A story on IndieWire alerted me to the fact that the commentary is now available as an audio download which you can listen to alongside a DVD and it is hard to see why he didn't like it. I heard the first 15 minutes and it's really amazing the amount of detail he goes into each scene and how specifically he understood all these roles, not just Ferris. He gives some truly succinct descriptions of the characters and the actors he chose to play those roles and why everyone fit the bill.  There are some great trivial details too, like the fact that in the opening scene all four actors in the Bueller family, the mother/father and the son/daughter, were all actually dating and in love. Ferris' movie parents, in fact, got married after the film was completed!

This is one of my favorite films so, as a director, hearing the commentary is truly amazing. It's so clear Hughes knew exactly what he was doing with this film and, more surprisingly how comfortable he was with actors adding a lot of improv and material themselves. Hughes admits his favorite line in the moive ("not a lesson" after Ferris plays the clarinet) was made up by Matthew Broderick himself. 

November 29, 2012

NY TIMES Nightlife Review I Wrote For Les Garcons At Le Baron

A couple weeks ago, I got to check out a fancy new gay night called Les Garcons for the NY TIMES style section. I occasionally write bar reviews for thier Boite column and you can read my article/review online and in today's paper as well.

What made this night on the town different than the usual go-go boys and cocktails thing was the location. And in New York, it's all about location :) The party is at the previously uber-exclusive Le Baron, the New York branch of the nightlife empire of Andre Saraiva. The club is highly art directed/decorated, creating the feel of an unusually glamourous night on the town (in Chinatown no less) that felt like being in an old movie. I couldn't include this in the article due to length but one of my favorite quotes was a fellow patron, who said: "I didn't think this sort of thing existed in New York anymore." Neither did I.

November 28, 2012

LED Lights On Empire State Building Put On A Show

The Empire State Building got a lighting makeover which debuted this week. Brand new LED light banks have been installed for the building's exterior that now create a rainbow of millions of colors that can flash to a syncrhonized beat.

The premiere of the new system happened Monday evening at 9PM with a radio simulcast of Alicia Keys songs "Girl On Fire" and "Empire State of Mind". The new system is called the Philips Color Kinetic Lighting System and creates a whole new look for midtown's signature tower.

I have to say that as cool as it is it also reminds me of those kooky synchronized house lighting displays, which I've featured on here before. Is this new look too kitschy for the staid Empire State Building?

November 27, 2012

NYFA Provides Help For Artists Struggling After Sandy

The New York Foundation of the Arts is providing emergency grants to artists in the tri-state area who were affected by Superstorm Sandy. Many artists had their studios flooded in low-lying areas like Red Hook, Gowanus, Dumbo and in Chelsea a number of galleries were hit hard too.

NYFA has been getting generous support from the Warhol and Rauschenberg Foundations, as well as many private donors who have supported this fund, which on average is giving artists 1K-5K. If you need to apply or know any artists who suffered losses due to the storm, you can find out more information about the emergency grants here. Please share this story and help spread the word in the NYC artistic community.

November 26, 2012

Green-Wood Cemetery Damaged Severely By Sandy

Continuing with the Sandy aftermath stories, there were some photos on the TIMES City Blog over the weekend showing how the superstormstorm did some serious damage at Green-Wood Cemetary in Brooklyn. I've written here about Green-Wood a couple times before and my visits to this beautiful resting place for thousands of New Yorkers, including famous folks like Leonard Bernstein, George Tilyreou and Jean-Michael Basquiat. Located  on the highest landpoint in Kings County and overlooking the harbor, the cemetery took a severe hit from Sandy with nearly 300 trees felled. In addition to that, many headstones and statuary (like the headless angel above) were damages by the falling trees and high winds.

The cleanup is expected to cost nearly half a million dollars and the cemetery, which is a national landmark, is having it's finances strained. Insurance will not cover the headstones and statuary, which are not owned by the cemetery but whose families they commemorate are long gone. So they are seeking donations via their website if you want to check it out. This is one of the most beautiful spots in the city so hopefully they can reach their goal, plant new trees and restore some of the monuments.

November 21, 2012

200 Year Old Tribeca House Is No Match For Sandy

The TIMES this week had the sad but incredibly detailed story of a 200 year old house (only about 6 blocks from my place) that has not survived Superstorm Sandy. The house, located on Canal Street at Greenwich and less than two blocks from the Hudson, was flooded during the storm and it's already weak structure was further compromised  The city has condemned it and it will now have to come down.

This story is a fascinating look at the history of the city as seen through this one little house. Worth reading if you are an urban history buff, like myself.

November 20, 2012

HALF-SHARE Show Debuts For Free On The Web Tonight

A couple years ago, I co-produced a pilot for a half-hour comedy called HALF-SHARE, about life in a group house on Fire Island. While the trailer's been online for a while, many people have asked me where they can see the entire show. Well, now I have an answer. Tonight, the show will be "airing" as a free streaming program on the HALF-SHARE website at 10pm EST.  If you miss that, you can also purchase it on at 3 different levels; $1.99 to rent, $4.99 to buy as a digital download, and $14.99 to owne a copy of the DVD.  As an extra incentive to buy, 50% of all net profits from the sales of HALF-SHARE are going to the Ali Forney Center for homeless LGBT youth, which was devastated by flooding during Superstorm Sandy.

The show has actually been available at Amazon for the last few weeks and has received an amazing 5-star review on the site with one word used in most of the reviews--"hilarious".  I may be biased but I would have to agree. This show has an incredibly funny cast, including Alec Mapa, Jack Plotnick and Sam Pancake as well as indie film star Jesse Archer (who also co-wrote and co-directed the show with Sean Hanley, who previously wrote for THE NANNY). So please check it out and support your local indie film/TV friends. I guarantee that, if you do, you will be thankful for the extra laughs this week of Thanksgiving! :)

November 19, 2012

Nate Silver Is Kinda Cute

In the nervous months leading up to this year's Presidential elections, my friends were all freaking out. They said it's gonna be close, Obama might loose, panic, scream, etc.  However, I was relatively certain this was not going to be the case. Why? I was following Nate Silver's weekly 538 blog on the NY TIMES website.  Silver, a super-nerdy statistician, predicted the final electoral results with 100% accuracy in the end. And now he is a superstar.  Oh yeah, and he's also gay.

Silver officially came out in a piece published in the UK's Guardian today. It turns out this 34 year old wunderkind is also kinda cute, too, so I'm adding him today to the Pantheon of "Kinda Cute" here on Hi-Fi Bri. You can read all about Nate and his mastery of the Presidential numbers game here. Before he got into politics, Silver was a baseball stats geek and before that gamed online poker sites for more then 400K. So let's do the math here...young + smart + gay + rich + kinda cute = total husband material. 

November 17, 2012

SATURDAY SPECIAL: Look Out! Gay Men Will Marry Your Girlfriends

This is one of the funnier skits I've seen on College Humor. It has a nice soft political spin too in that it is a big argument for marriage equality. Because if we can't have our man, we're gonna take your women! :)  Best line--the quiche.

November 16, 2012

Two Articles This Week In The NY TIMES and NEXT Magazine

In an unusual confluence, two feature articles I've been working on for the past couple of months were published in the last two days. I wrote an article about the emergence and growing popularity of Boylesque for the NY TIMES style section, which appeared in Thursday's paper. And then I have a feature in NEXT magazine's "State of Drag" issue, about the sex and dating lives of drag queens. 

The TIMES piece came about as I've been a bit of a Boylesque fan-boy since attending Tigger's "Man-A-Tease" at the Coney Island Sideshow By The Seashore three summers ago. I think it's a fascinating twist to the whole neo-burlesque revival and really puts an unusual male spin on a traditionally female art form. My story in NEXT came about as they were searching for ideas for the state of drag issue. A friend of mine who has recently been performing in drag told me how it had greatly improved his sex life and that intrigued me.  Not enough to don drag but so much so that it got me to write about the dating lives of drag queens, something I feel is not discussed or heard about even. 

Anyway, hope you enjoy these stories as some weekend reading. And you can look for a couple more stories from me in the TIMES style section in the coming weeks.

November 14, 2012

The Top 250 Movies On IMDB Get Mashed Up

This is a fun mega-edit of the top 250 ranked films on IMDB.  I found it on the IMDB home page last week and quite liked it for the editing as well as the challenge of trying to identify the source of most of these micro clips. But overall all it's just fun to watch some great movie classics mixed to some seriously hot beats--Joan Jett meets the Beatles meets Cypress Hill. The editor is Jonathan Keough and this is his third clips compilation on YouTube but the first one to go truly viral and get more than 2 million hits. Enjoy!

November 13, 2012

NY Artist Gives Time Lapse Photography A New Twist

There was a story on the CBS's Sunday Morning news magazine about a local photographer Steven Wilkes. He has an unusual approach to photography which creates stunning photos like the one above. Wilkes rents a Condor crane and sits atop it for 16 hours, taking hundreds of photographers of a New York City scene both during the day and night. Then he composites all these pictures into one super-sized photo in which day transitions into night, from left to right. Though it takes one day to take the pictures, it takes months to paste them together and recreate a "time-lapse" photo of, as is the case above, a day in the park. Gorgeous.

November 12, 2012


Over the weekend, I watched the first two episodes of the new BSG show, BLOOD AND CHROME. It is currently on YouTube as a web series with ten episodes going online in the next four weeks. Then, early next year, the entire feature length version of BLOOD AND CHROME will be seen on SyFy. Finally, an unrated version will be available for DVD and download. Got all that? Distribution in the modern age...

Anyway, I was a huge fan of the SyFy's BSG reboot a few years back.  This show, which is a prequel following a young Adama in the First Cylon War, is very well made using amazing effects and is certainly fun to watch. However, it doesn't have the same smarts and nuance as its predecessor. That series, which was something of an analogy to post-9/11 America and the "War on Terror", worked on many different levels while this web series seems more analogous to WWII-era America. BLOOD AND CRHOME has the same rat-a-tat dialogue and fighting spirit of a Warner Bros. flyboy movie from the mid-1940s. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to have much beyond far at least. But I will be watching as I'm hooked on Cylons and the Capricans who battle them. And I am always up for a good CGI dogfight too---and on that front, this series delivers.

November 10, 2012

SATURDAY SPECIAL: Tom Goss's Sexy New Music Video

Tom Goss is an DC-based out artist and performer with a new video that is both sexy and incredibly beautiful too. It reminded me of Peter Gabriel's SLEDGEHAMMER, though on a much smaller more intimate (literally!) scale. In the video, Tom lies nearly naked as artists and animators paint a fairy tale landscape and story around him over the course of an hour and a half. You can read the details about the shoot here and learn more about this talented young guy at his website,

November 9, 2012


When Disney made the surprise announcement last week that they were acquiring Lucasfilm, the bigger news was that they were planning on reviving the STAR WARS franchise with a sequel to the original trilogy. Episode VII would pick up decades later with an aged Luke Skywalker, as well as elder Han Solo and cougar Princess Leia.  While the actors who played these iconic roles have yet to sign on to the project, the studio does has a screenwriter; Michael Arndt.

New York Magazine's Vulture column reports that Arndt (who wrote indie darling LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE) has been working on a lengthy treatment of the film for months. Apparently, he got the nod earlier this year due to his extensive knowledge of the STAR WARS universe and his detailed lectures on the film series at screenwriting conferences around the country. I think he's a great choice for the franchise for one reason--he clearly has a sense of humor.  Besides the incredible effects and the action, the truly great thing about the first STAR WARS was the real sense of fun the film had, a quality lacking in the dour, self-serious prequels. Hopefully that will return in the new version, which should arrive in theaters in 2015.

November 8, 2012

Diane Sawyer Steals Spotlight On Election Night

If you happened to watch any of ABC's election night coverage, you got to see the odd sight of Diane Sawyer seeming a bit drunk as she slurred her words, made weird hand gestures, and said very odd things for a network news anchor co-hosting live coverage of a Presidential election.  Things like "OK--I wanna--can we have our music because this is another big one here? Minnesota. We're ready to project Minnestoa rrrright now. Well, tonight we know that President Barack has won Minnesota." Party on Diane!

With behavior like this, she quickly became a trending topic on Twitter  and even inspired a couple insta-feeds too. Oddly, ABC's election studio lost power for about 20 minutes, at which point they went to crowds in Time Square. After that, apparently Sawyer's performance seemed a little less embarrassing and more sober. But it turns out that this is not the first time she's had incident like this. During Obama's inauguration she was also seemed a bit tipsy as seen above (maybe she just loves celebrating the Obama's victories?). And, in another crazy YouTube video below from the 1990's, she is seen drinking wine and popping pills on the set of her old show Prime Time Live.

ABC said she was exhausted and Sawyer, on her Twitter feed, seemed to have a sense of humor about the whole thing. She was back on the air, as normal, on World News last night sounding more like a network anchor.

November 6, 2012

Some Lights In The Darkness Of Downtown

There are a couple beautiful photo essays about life downtown during Sandy.  Today's TIMES has a photo essay of night time pictures during the 5 day blackout. They nicely captures the odd feel of bars lit by candlelight and shopping in delis via flashlight.

It was a surreal life for a few days here but one that had its charms too...especially on Halloween evening when I took a stroll through the east village lit only by a full moon. The HuffPost has a similar story, focusing mainly on Halloween in the east village with some photos too (like the one above taken on Essex and Houston that evening).

November 5, 2012

Coney Island Takes A Hit From Sandy

One of my favorite places in New York took a hit from Superstorm Sandy last week. Coney Island suffered a lot of damage from the wind and the waves that pummeled the shore Monday into Tuesday. The first thing one sees when getting off the subway at Stillwell Ave is the Shore hotel sign and, as you can see, it was torn apart. There are some other pictures and details of the damage over on this Coney Island blog.

Apparently, the sturdy Cyclone roller coaster survived intact, faring much better than the ride down in Seaside Heights in New Jersey which is now in the ocean.  But one attraction which took a major hit was the Sideshow by the Seashore and the Coney Island USA building  housing the museum. Fortunately, the museum was on the second floor so nothing there was lost. But the Sideshow Theatre was a mess, as was the lobby bar (below). You can see some more photos here on HuffPost as well as a story about how some of the owners of these businesses rode out the storm. To help Coney Island USA in their time of need, you can donate or volunteer.

November 2, 2012

Photos of Life After Sandy In The Dark Zone aka SoPo

SoPo (that's South of Power!) is the new name for the fashionable but somewhat desolate neighborhood in Manhattan, south of 26th street where the power grid has been offline since around 8:30pm on Monday when Sandy blew into town. I was at home when the lights went off and stayed in the Village for the next three days, living off my supplies and having some festive candlelit dinner parties with local friends.  Here's my photo album of what life was like down in The Dark Zone.
This was a piece of a scaffolding that was torn apart at Hudson and Morton. Warning is right!

This tree fell at the intersection of Christopher and Washington, totally blocking the sidewalk

 The Stonewall Inn said they were open but by Tuesday afternoon, that was not really true anymore.

 People using payphones! How novel but necessary. It was like the 20th century had returned.

This was the scariest thing I saw...a huge village, artist loft skylight picked up and smashed on 8th St.

This was a section of a large tree on the west side of Washington Square. 

Here's a look down the main east/west path of Washington Square. It was closed to public.

Here's the now infamous Chelsea dollhouse which lost it's facade during the early hours of the storm.

My friend Kevin Donaldson hosted a delicious candlelit dinner on Tuesday night.

This was a bus going down the Bowery on Halloween. Scary!

Walking around a dark east village on Halloween, we found this one sign of the holiday.

October 26, 2012


In the late 1980s, a film was made in Miami that has lately taken on that legendary mantle of a film that's "so bad it's good."  Joining the ranks of SHOWGIRLS, THE APPLE and THE ROOM, THE MIAMI CONNECTION is on it's way to theatres' courtesy of Alamo Drafthouse Films.  You can read more about the bizarre cinema concoction of drugs, ninjas, motorcyles and 80s' synth pop on WIRED. Or you can watch the utterly terrible trailer below.

October 25, 2012

Witness To Lincoln's Assassination Appeared On 1950s TV

This is one of those things that makes you realize that the past is often not as far away as it seems. Over at the Atlantic, earlier this week they posted a YouTube clip from the TV show I'VE GOT A SECRET showing a 96 year old man from Maryland who was a 5 year old boy in Ford's Theatre the night Abraham Lincoln was shot. He vividly remembers John Wilkes Booth jumping to the stage from the Presidential box and was more worried about Booth's condition from the fall than the President, as it was all a bit confusing what was going on. It's amazing that his lifetime spanned the end of the Civil War and the beginning of the civil rights movement.

In a personal vein, I remember a neighbor of ours, an older woman who sometimes babysat me as a kid, who had a painting of a Civil War drummer boy above her fire place. It was actually a painting of her grandfather who was on the field at Gettysburg. Incredible, right? And let's not forget the well-documented stories of the last 3 Civil War widows who were alive until the mid-2000s (one was even collecting a pension from the Department of Veterans Affairs).

Though it's easy to think of the Civil War as ancient history, it was a mere 150 years ago that the conflict raged and nearly tore apart the country. Coming next month--Steven Spielberg's LINCOLN, which will look at the president's struggle to end slavery as the war, and his own life, came to an end. Here's the trailer below, with a script by Tony Kushner.

October 23, 2012

LIVE AND LET DIE At Moma's "Bond 50" Retrospective

Over the weekend, I went to the Moma "Bond 50" to see one of my favorite Bond movies LIVE AND LET DIE. This is one of the more unusual films in the 50 year franchise for a number of reasons. Where Bond usually finds himself in exotic and fancy locales, in this one....not so much. It starts off in gritty 1970s NYC actually with a FRENCH CONNECTION-style chase on the FDR (in big honking Caddies) and ends up with detour to Harlem. From there we go to New Orleans, a fictional Carribean island with poppy fields, and then the Louisiana bayou.  Not exactly Monaco and Munich!

However, one reason I like this film is the great sense of humor to the film, mainly due to the presence of Roger Moore. He had a way with the Bond one-liners that hasn't been matched. There is also some great 70's fashion (yes, 007 wears a leisure suit!) and hairdos (Afro-rama!) not to mention the hot Wings title song, "Live and Let Die". This was the first Bond song to be nominated for an Academy Award (it lost to "The Way We Were") and I've found the opening titles on YouTube, which you can watch below.  Also,  I believe this is the only Bond movie in which the song is actually sung as part of the a dive bar in New Orleans by Brenda Arnau.

Anyway, after years of seeing it on TV in the 70s, it was great fun seeing this on the big screen in a gorgeous print at Moma. Next up; the camp classic VIEW TO A KILL (with Grace Jones) on Friday.

October 22, 2012

Comedian Tig Notaro And Her Stand-Up Routine About Cancer

I heard a remarkable story this week about a standup comedian named Tig Notaro while listening to one of my favorite podcasts The Business, on KCRW. 2012 has not been a good year for Notaro to say the least; she had pneumonia which led to a bacterial infection that put her in the hospital, her mother died suddenly, her girlfriend left her and then, to top it all off, she was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer.

In late August, the day after she got her diagnosis, she had a show at the Largo in L.A. and, though she thought about canceling, went onstage anyway and performed an epic set about her woes which killed. Louis C.K. happened to be in the audience and tweeted about her show the next day saying it was the best thing he had seen in 27 years of standup.

That was enough to launch Notaro's career in a whole new direction. And now a recording of this set from the Largo has been released as a comedy album via Louis C.K.'s website. You can hear an excerpt from the opening of the set on THIS AMERICAN LIFE.  It's really amazing to hear as the audience comes to realize she is not joking but telling the truth, but doing so in an incredibly funny way. As it turns out, Notaro is doing well after a double mastectomy and the cancer is in remission.

October 19, 2012

A Daring Art Exhibit Draws Censorship In Vienna

The Leopold Museum in Vienna has put together a daring show about the male figure in art over the last 200 years called "Nude Male: From 1800 to Today".  On the surface, that may not sound controversial but in the world of museums, the male nude has always taken a backseat to the female form and this is a rare exhibit which focuses solely on men.  

The poster for the exhibit, a photo of 3 naked soccer players by French photograph team Pierre et Gilles, has caused a stir though forcing the museum to self-censor the image in outdoor advertising. Of course, if you walk around NYC and many other European cities, you'll see naked women 50 feet tall on billboards (and in much more erotic poses than these sporty fellows) which haven't cause much of a stir. But the minute you have a naked man in public view, it's the end of the world as we know it. And in Vienna, the museum quickly caved to the flurry of protests.

If you're interested, you can see the uncensored version online along with some other selections from this wide-ranging exhibit, which includes works by Ego Schiele, Andy Warhol and Louise Bourgeios. It would be great to see this kind of survey at the Met or even the MoMA but that might be asking a lot.  However, the Brooklyn Museum was recently brave enough to host the traveling version of the Smithsonian's Hide/Seek maybe this will be coming to a borough near you in the next few years.

October 17, 2012

Romney's "Binders Full Of Women" Are Trending Post-Debate

Within minutes after Mitt Romney said it during last night's debae, Twitter and Facebook lit up with the phrase "Binder Full of Women".  He was referring to an initiative he claims to have started in Massachusetts to hire women but his unfortunate phrasing turned it into an instant meme and, essentially, the "Big Bird" moment of this debate as far as the Internet was concerned.  By midnight, less than two hours after the debate ended, there was an active Tumblr dedicated to the meme which is where I found the above photo (which made me chuckle).

All joking aside though, the claim Romney made during the debate last night is not exactly true. The now infamous binder was part of a larger initiative to get women more involved in government and it was prepared in 2002, before anyone knew who the incoming governor would be. Romney was essentially handed the binder when he took office.  What is it about this candidate and his propensity for half-truths designed to make him look better? In the end, and after some simple Internet fact-checking, they really end up just make him look desperate to any cost.

October 16, 2012

Before Romney/Obama Round 2, Mitt Debates Himself

As Mitt and Barack make their final preparations for their second debate tonight, there's some great videos circulating on the web of Romney debating himself. In the first debate, in a desperate effort to make himself a moderate, Romney contradicted a number of his previously stated positions.  In some cases he said the exact opposite of what he had said on the campaign trail months and even weeks before that debate.  So someone at Daily Kos put together this handy video where Romney debates himself on a number of these issues.  

So far this video and a subsequent one have nearly 3 million hits. Let's hope that with this and a stronger debate performance by the president tonight that the truth about Romney's positions will become evident to the voting public.  There was much criticism of President Obama's performance in the first debate but honestly I think he was in a state of shock as he found himself debating an opponent whom he literally did not know. Hopefully he can clarify some of this tonight and make it clear to the public who the real Romney is.

October 15, 2012

It's The New York City Doughnut Map

This is something I've been waiting for--a map of the best donut spots in New York City.  This map of 35 shops is put out by a small Brooklyn press and costs $8. They had a launch party for the map last Thursday up at the Ace Hotel which I missed due to a late posting on

Still I would like to check this guide out and see what I'm missing other than my go-to faves like Peter Pan, Donut Pub and Doughnut Plant. I wonder if someone would like to organize a "donut crawl" in the tradition of the "pub crawls" that are popular here in the Village? That would be awesome!

October 12, 2012

Mayor Bloomberg Donates 250K To Marriage Equality In MD

When New York City's activist Republican mayor tries to limit the size of soda cups, I get a little embarrassed for him. But when he uses his personal fortune to make a bold statement in favor of marriage equality, all is forgiven....except maybe the 2004 Republican convention.

Anyway, the TIMES City Blog reports today that Bloomberg has donated 250K to the fight for marriage equality in Maryland where the state faces a ballot measure after legislation was passed and signed by the governor earlier this year allowing the state to be the 6th in the nation to legalize same sex marriage.  Bloomberg is by far the largest single donor to the cause there and his money will hopefully spur on other big-name donors in the run-up to election day.

What impressed me most, though, was not Mr. Bloomberg's money but his simple but eloquent statement about this hot-button issue.  For those Republicans constantly complaining about government meddling in people's lives, take note:
“I do not believe that government has any business telling one class of couples that they cannot marry. The next great barrier to full equality under the law is marriage equality. There is no doubt in my mind this barrier will fall, just as so many others have.”

October 11, 2012

MUNSTERS Reboot MOCKINGBIRD LANE To Air Once As H'Ween Special

Over the last couple years, NBC reportedly spent 10 million dollars on a remake of the 60's classic show THE MUNSTERS called MOCKINGBIRD LANE (the street where the original TV family lived). But it didn't get picked up as a series this fall and, with an all-star lineup (Eddie Izzard and Portia de Rossi) and major talent behing the camera (Bryan Fuller and Bryan Singer), there were questions as to what was going to happen to the expensive show. Well, those questions were answered today as the Hollywood Reporter has the news that they will air the pilot as a "Halloween Special" on Friday October 26th at 8pm.

When I heard "Halloween Special" I immediately thought of another infamous, one-night only network trick/treat that occurred back in the 1970's. It was the PAUL LYNDE HALLOWEEN SPECIAL which is one of the weirdest and wackiest hours of network television ever unleashed upon the American public. It is hard the describe the culture clash of Kiss performing disco songs with Paul Lynde, Florence Henderson, and Margaret Hamilton (not to mention Donny and Marie!). It's unclear if MOCKINGBIRD will rise to this level of camp craziness but it will be worth least once.

October 10, 2012

Celebrities Ride The Subway Too

Whenever I think I see a famous person on the subway, my next thought is  that it can't be them because if you're famous why would you want to take the subway. I mean, that's what limos are for, right? However, apparently there are a decent number of celebrities who ride the rails here in ol' New York.  

Paper Magazine, which always has fun online features, has a photographic survey of 15 celebrity subway riders.  Some are truly regulars, like Mayor Bloomberg who is known to take the 6 every day from his manse on the UES to his office down at City Hall. Others, well, are a bit of a Keanu Reeves! There's also a shot of Anderson Cooper taking the C to W. 4th (I'm assuming this because he lives in my neighborhood). 

So from here on out, I will not discount my celebrity sightings on the MTA. In fact next time, I might even have to take a photo.   

October 9, 2012

SESAME STREET Tries To Get Out Of Presidential Politics

The biggest surprise of the general election has been the emergence of Big Bird and public television as a major issue.  Who would have guessed that, after Romney's winning the debate, the biggest take away would be his comments about the bird?! Though it all sounds silly on the surface, it really isn't and I think it's great that people are finally being enlightened to the ridiculous notion (one Republicans have harbored for years) that cutting things like federal support for PBS (and the arts in general) will somehow take a dent out of the deficit.  Of course, the percentage of these programs as part of the budget is less than 1/10th of 1 percent and now, with Romney's infamous line, hopefully the voting public has been educated about this issue.

However, on the flip side, the folks at SESAME STREET are somewhat queasy about being drawn into the battle between Romney and Obama.  They reluctantly OK'd a Big Bird appearance on SNL with some revisions to the script that made the spot more funny than political.  But, after the Obama campaign released an ad with Big Bird, the folks at the Children Television's Workshop said enough is enough and today asked that the ad be removed from circulation. The ad itself is sort of a riot but it's also understandable that CTW does not want to be in the fray of the election. But they are in it now.... whether they like it or not.

October 5, 2012

Siri Thinks New York City Is In Texas

Apple has been getting a lot of bad press recently in regard to its Internet-based software (see disastrous Maps app). Well, Siri has a huge glitch of its own which is not even something due to IOS 6.

This has been a problem w/Siri since last spring where if you ask for the weather in New York City, it will usually give you the weather for New York, TX.  How Siri could confuse these is a bit bizarre given that the other New York is hardly even a town; it's more of a crossroads about 80 miles southeast of Dallas.

Siri is supposed to be able to learn from its mistakes but not in this egregious case of error. There have even been a number of threads on the Apple website discussing this with people talking about going to the Genius bar.  But still there is no solution yet.  It seems like this is something that might be a priority given the thousands of iPhones in NYC. But months later, it remains unfixed. I love Apple products but Apple software? That's a whole other story....

October 4, 2012

The Son Also Sings: Jason To Join Barbra (aka "Mom") Onstage

Jason Gould, Barbra Streisand's son from her marriage to Elliot Gould, will be singing with his mother onstage for the first time this month as he joins her mini-tour of shows which includes a stop at Brooklyn's new Barclays' Center.   

There's an intimate and revealing interview with Gould on the blog Stargayzing (by David Munk) in which he discusses his later-in-life foray into the world of music, describing it as a "second coming out". Gould has been a creative journeyman, working in film both in front of and behind the camera, as well as doing some work as a sculptor. But he claims this latest foray is something he's had an interest in for many years and was just scared to dive in....and who wouldn't be if you're going to be compared to your mom?! 

At the end of the interview, you can listen to a mournful song from his EP "Morning Prayer" which is available online at his website,  He does have a beautiful singing voice that is truly his own (ie. no shades of Judy/Liza syndrome). It would be a treat to see him and Barbra together on stage as they will surely do some interesting duets.  The shows in Brooklyn are October 11 and 13

October 3, 2012

Bananarama Hits New York City's Hard Rock Cafe

One of my favorite guilty pleasures from the 1980's (along with Poison) is the Brit-pop group Bananarama. Somehow I did not get the memo that they were going to be in town last night for a one-night-only gig at the Hard Rock Cafe, in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Fortunately, my friend and fellow blogger Kenneth In the 212 was there and has the full report (and some great photos like the one above).  

At age 50, the ladies look great and did some of my less-famous favorites, including "Talking Italian" and the awesome "Love In The First Degree." If you don't know that one, but I'm posting the video below. I love this song and especially this video; it has great 80's dance moves and amazing hand gestures too. It's like they are performing in sign language! 


October 2, 2012

The New Barclays Center Goes Up In Record Time (2:28!)

Last week, the new Barclays Center opened in Brooklyn marking the beginning of a massive transformation of the Atlantic Yards into a retail/entertainment/housing complex. It took more than 4 years from ground-breaking to Jay-Z's opening night show last Friday. But you can see it all happen right before your eyes in this cool time-lapse of the site's transformation.  They even do a little detour to show the building out of the arena's interior.

October 1, 2012

After 36 Years, Village Club "Kenny's Castaways" To Close

In yet another sign of the times (and rapidly rising rents), a landmark Village nightclub is closing this week.  Kenny's Castaways, just around the corner from me on Bleecker Street, will shut its legendary doors tomorrow night after a final show featuring some of the rock acts it helped make famous. Though I have not been there in a while, I saw many a friend's band play there over the years. But still the place gave Bleecker Street and the "entertainment district" section of the Village it's unique character.

Today's TIMES has the full story which feautres the sad detail that this rock 'n roll dive bar will be turned into a "gastro-pub". Well, I guess at least it's not going to be a bank or a Duane Reade! One interesting item in the article notes a previous incarnation in the building's 120 year history; in the 1890s it used to be a gay bar called The Slide. The name and concept of this bar was revived a few years back with a location on the Bowery and many rumors as to where the original Slide had actually been located. (I will take the TIMES (and Village preservationist/historian Andrew Berman) on their word.)  Anyway, fascinating to know that a little bit of infamous gay history happened in my 'hood as well.