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.