Wednesday, August 29, 2007

R.I.P. Hilly

While most cities have their own musical epicenter clubs, it's hard to think of many other venues in the US that have had such an impact on modern music as CBGB. The Roxy and Troubador in LA had their own scenes, and of course the Fillmore in SF did great things. And while CB's glory faded over the years, the impact and inspiration it continues to provide is not replicable anywhere these days. I still remember NEEDING to go by there on my first visit to NYC in 1989 - just to take a look at this crappy little place that launched a thousand bands.

Hilly Kristal, whose dank Bowery rock club CBGB served as the birthplace of the punk rock movement and a launching pad for bands like the Ramones, Blondie and the Talking Heads, has died. He was 75.
Kristal, who lost a bitter fight last year to stop the club's eviction from its home of 33 years, died Tuesday at Cabrini Hospital after a battle with lung cancer, his son Mark Dana Kristal said Wednesday.
Last October, as the club headed toward its final show with Patti Smith, Kristal was using a cane to get around and showing the effects of his cancer treatment. He was hoping to open a Las Vegas incarnation of the infamous venue that opened in 1973.
"He created a club that started on a small, out-of-the-way skid row, and saw it go around the world," said Lenny Kaye, a longtime member of the Patti Smith Group. "Everywhere you travel around the world, you saw somebody wearing a CBGB T-shirt."
While the club's glory days were long past when it shut down, its name transcended the venue and become synonymous with the three-chord trash of punk and its influence on generations of musicians worldwide.
The club also became a brand name for a line of clothing and accessories, even guitar straps; its store, CBGB Fashions, was moved a few blocks away from the original club, but remained open.
"I'm thinking about tomorrow and the next day and the next day, and going on to do more with CBGB's," Kristal told The Associated Press last October.
Kristal started the club in 1973 with the hope of making it a mecca of country, bluegrass and blues, called CBGB & OMFUG, for "Other Music For Uplifting Gourmandisers," but found few bands to book. It instead became the epicenter of the mid-1970s punk movement.
"There was never gourmet food, and there was never country bluegrass,'' his son said Wednesday. Besides the Ramones and the Talking Heads, many of the other sonically defiant bands that found frenzied crowds at CBGB during those years became legendary, including Smith, Blondie and Television.
Smith said at the venue's last show that Kristal "was our champion and in those days, there were very few."
Throughout the years, CBGB had rented its space from the building's owner, the Bowery Residents' Committee, an agency that houses homeless people.
In the early 2000s, a feud broke out when the committee went to court to collect more than $300,000 in back rent from the club, then later successfully sought to evict it. By the time it closed, CBGB had become part museum and part barroom.
At the club's boarded-up storefront Wednesday morning, fans left a dozen candles, two bunches of flowers and a foam rubber baseball bat, an apparent tribute to the Ramones' classic "Beat on the Brat." A spray-painted message read: "RIP Hilly, we'll miss you, thank you."
Other survivors include his wife, Karen, and daughter, Lisa. -- Associated Press

Monday, August 20, 2007

Neutralizing Al-Qaeda | a Letter from Kamp Krusty

Saw this brilliant poston a friend's site and had to do my own little part in spreading it around.

ht to Jim Hancock for this awesome post.

366 Days Until I'm 40

Today I turn 39. Half of the time that makes sense, the other half makes me feel that there must be a mistake! I mean, when I go to see bands I usually feel like the oldest person in the room. At least half of my peers have no idea what I'm talking about when I talk music, movies, actors, web sites, etc. But then I talk with the majority of my co-workers, most of whom are under 30, and it comes into focus. Clinton era and prior political commentary, SST, 4AD and Twin Tone Records band are obscurred, and references from Caddyshack, Bachelor Party, Fletch and a hundred other places are met with blank stares. It all makes sense, of course. I laugh when I think of the marriage pact I made with a friend in high school - you know, the one where if you both reach a certain age and aren't married you'll go ahead and seal the deal. That was if we reached 30. Had I not met Michele I'm fairly convinced I'd still be single and trying to convince myself I'm not 39.

But as I type, the Cubs are in 1st place, it's raining for the first time in weeks (music be because I watered the lawn for the first time all summer) and I'm still in the "shiny-new-toy" phase of admiring my new tattoo - pics included here. It was done 2 weeks ago by Jason Longtin at Deluxe Tattoo in Chicago. He did a fantastic job and I couldn'tbe happier. It's a design drawn by Captain Bret at Captain Bret's in Newport, RI. The snake in Celtic art represents rebirth, and the peacock represents purity. I got these to represent my feelings about and hopes for Sydney and Max. Each of them has made me feel like I have been given new life in some way. And I wish for them purity - in their thoughts, their actions, their words, their intentions and the way they live their lives.

So that's where I am as the clock prepares to turn and start my birthday. All the best and peace to you.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Dick Cheney Was Correct

OK, so it's been all over the news, but still, this 1994 clip of VP Cheney explaining why it was the right decision not to continue on to Baghdad in Gulf War 1 is stunning in its foresight, and horrific in accuracy as to where we find ourselves today. Talk show guests have said, "but that was pre-9/11", ignoring, of course, that Iraq wasn't involved in 9/11 (our Saudia Arabian friends have the most engagement there).

Monday, August 13, 2007

10,000 secrets

Check out this cool ad for the book POST SECRET. It's a book by the guy that invited people to send in their own personal secrets. He received thousands upon thousands of submissions, and the fragility, honesty and emotion is astounding, imho. It's amazing to see just what sort of things came in to a complete stranger - people obviously feeling more comfortable sending these to someone they don't know. While I'm sure that some folks had friends or family they could tell, and that many of the things were secrets only in their unspokeness, it's a powerful testament to the power of confession.

Oh yeah - the music is "Breathe Me" by Sia, a fantastic artist in her own right as well as with the ultra-cool electronica collective Zero 7.

Whiter? Brighter?

Today I begin to test the new Listerine White Strips to see if I can get any of the youthful, alabaster glow of my teeth to return to the surface. A few things about this experiment:

1) FULL DISCLOSURE: I received the strips as part of a word of mouth marketing campaign that Listerine is running through It's a volunteer marketing company and I've been involved in one other campaign that they've worked on - a business book. I'm not sure if I helped them on that, and it was several years ago.
2) If it doesn't work you'll know and see it.

I'm going to post a picture each day of what my chompers look like and see if the week long trial makes any difference. The first hesitation I've had with these things is whether they cause pain as they strip the enamel off of the teeth (or if that's even how they work). I'm pleased to say that one dose in, there is no pain. The strips are clear and they really don't show up much.

I also feared horrible taste, though the Listerine brand made me think that at least I might get an overlypowerful mediciney mint taste. Neither proved true. They really don't taste like anything, but I know there's something there. Something not quite bland or bereft of flavor, but nothing I can pin down. Maybe paper, but without the advantage of being able to make spit balls.

Anyway - picture #1 will be added to the post when I get home tonight and I'll update daily. What fun my blog is! "Watch my coffee affected teeth get incrementally lighter! Hot damn!"