Sunday, March 30, 2008

Thursday, March 27, 2008

John Zorn vs. Stephen Colbert

Just found out John Zorn will be playing at the ICA whilst I am in Boston, which I also know would bring great joy to Stephen Colbert were he in town...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Justice Yeldham @ Hyperion Tavern

After initially thinking I had missed my fellow countryman Justice Yeldham during his tour of the U.S., I found out he was playing one last show last night at the Hyperion Tavern, a perfect setting for what unfolds during a JY set. The projected psychedelia films made amazing patterns across the glass as the performance went on

Flexing the glass and using finger tapping to change up the sounds

After breaking the glass across his head to make a smaller playing surface, the blood starts to flow

Once you get past the breaking glass, blood, spit and extreme frequency ranges destroying any remaining hearing you have, its really interesting to see the sounds he can get from the glass through finger tapping, flexing the plate, breaking pieces off, licking the glass, spitting and so on, all controlled through the use of some pedals and the contact mic/piezo disk attached to the glass. All combined with several Australian cultural connotations that most would not notice, but somehow make it all the more interesting to watch

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Fear of Grown Ups

Had to pass up on the S.F. anarchist bookfare, Justice Yeldham at the Smell, and a few other ongoings this weekend, but instead ate at one of the many vegan cult restaurants, and went to Paid Dues festival to see Sage Francis, Hieroglyphics, Dilated Peoples and others. We then spent the night sneaking in to a hotel and trying to get some sleep. Sunday morning we met my housemate and his partner at Crossroads cafe in Joshua Tree for breakfast, then drove in to Joshua Tree National Park to go rockclimbing for the day, all just a few hours out of L.A.

The park is unique for many reasons, but mostly as it is essentially the only place you can see Joshua Trees. The desert in this area is in flower currently, and apparently is a good year, though 2005 was the best after the huge rains. The Joshua Trees were in flower too. There was also some snow left on the biggest peaks, still strange to see snow while standing in the desert in 25c degree heat

Brian is quite the rockclimber, so he took us out and literally showed us the ropes (zing). We climbed two spots in the park, Thin Wall and Jumbo Rock, in between some short hikes.

Me climbing like a complete amateur in the afternoon sun at Jumbo Rock

Beeby and Vazquez racing to the top

Brian setting up the ropes up top, then showing us how its done
On the drive home we passed the giant concrete dinosaurs I've wanted to hang out at for years, alas it was night time and they have been taken over by 'creationists'

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Friday morning roll...

Headed out with Matt and Jack on the goldline out to JPL and El Prieto trails. Instead of riding the fire road up we took the singletrack up, almost to the summit, then turned around and rode about 4 miles of singletrack down, with some incredibly difficult sections, lots of switchbacks, river crossings, off-canter corners, rock gardens, steps, and everything in between

Passing the jet propulsion laboratory

Ascending one of the short sections of fire road we hit

The hazy view of L.A. You know summer is returning when you can visibly see the brown layer of pollution sitting above the city at about 3000 feet

The head of the trail - no action shots as I was too busy trying to stay upright on the trails

The double switchback sections were more than I could pull off on the 29er

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Theory of the Derive

My biggest enjoyment of traveling to other cities is seeing how differently urban space functions, why, and how it came to be. New York is such a unique space, and though I have not spent nearly enough time to understand it and see its various failures as well as successes and possibilities, there are so many aspects that make it function in a way that I think all cities should attempt. Walkability, pedestrian scale development, zero-setbacks on residential buildings, accessibility to public transit that runs 24/7, spaces that can serve various functions and be read differently, mixed-use development. Though gentrification and extreme disparities in accessibility are strife (what I would give to have explored New York in the 70s and 80s), the interactions in this tight urban milieu constantly engage me

ABC No Rio is located in the Lower East Side, now the hub of gentrification. Even in the 4 years since I had visited it has changed dramatically

"ABC No Rio is a collectively-run center for art and activism. We are known internationally as a venue for oppositional culture. ABC No Rio was founded in 1980 by artists committed to political and social engagement and we retain these values to the present"

ABC had an opening for their annual "Ides of March" artist exhibition, so the space was open to check out on Friday evening. Not many photos as it was entirely packed, as the old adage goes, "no space to swing a cat". Sadly the days of the hardcore matinees seem to be passing, so I didn't get to see a show there

Though now unaffordable to most, streetscapes like this make me never want to leave

The urban decay is definitely my favourite aspect of any city, to me (and many others) it signals opportunity. Unfortunately to others it signals redevelopment

The public transit infrastructure in New York is so fascinating. Elevated trains dissect urban development, subways create intricate tunnel systems that you sometimes get a glimpse of from on top of city streets, bridges span unfathomable distance. Best of all I found the cable car I had seen through my obsessive watching of Law and Order, that travels between Manhattan and Roosevelt Island (where the old mental institutions were located). Unbeknown to me, a crane had collapsed only a few blocks from where I was that day, killing 7 people and taking out a building.

I walked from 5ptz to water front in Long Island City, where you are afforded apparently one of the best views of Manhattan. Sadly this is a new place of residential waterfront mega-structures. It constantly amazes me how such culturally, human-scale, and environmentally unresponsive spaces can be created almost identically across the globe. Melbourne, London, Denver, and several other cities I have visited have all created these urban voids that feel exactly the same

I didnt get to visit Times Up! but I did get to see various bike-related goings on. It's interesting to see so many low quality bikes locked with chains that cost (and weigh) twice as much, which are then abandoned as parts get stolen.

Below is one of the 'ghost bikes' installed to commemorate cyclists killed by automobiles. This girl was only 22 and killed by a truck in the Lower East Side, I remember reading about it a few years ago, she worked at Red Bamboo restaurant

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

5ptz Queens

I was lucky enough to meet a conspirator within the Graffiti Research Lab whilst in NY, who suggested I check out 5ptz in Long Island City, Queens. I took the 7 train out to check it out, and quickly realized where it was as I passed by on the elevated train line

5ptz is supposedly the largest graffiti gallery in the world. It is all done legally, but to do a piece you have to obtain a permit, and then it only lasts for a year before it gets covered. This means the quality is generally amazing, artists from across the globe come to throw up pieces. The building is entirely covered, and takes up a whole city block. Inside are a bunch of artist work spaces not affiliated with the graffiti space. It all reminded me of Tacheles in Berlin, only a lot less commodified

There are a bunch of videos on 5ptz on youtube, but check the short doco here

P.S. 1 is located directly across the road, an old elementary school reconverted in to a gallery for installation art. Sadly there were no installations in the large outdoor spaces while I was there, though the "WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution" exhibition was on that had recently been in L.A.