Monthly Archive for April, 2002

Fun Link

I sub­mit­ted an arti­cle the oth­er day for the Plan­e­ti­zen news feed and it final­ly got post­ed. The arti­cle is about plans to cre­ate a ger­ry­man­dered city coun­cil dis­trict in Buf­fa­lo for artists, intel­lec­tu­als and activists.

This is not an attempt to carve out bound­aries for some elite area,” said map spon­sor Jef­frey A. Tooke. “It’s about giv­ing a voice to a diverse com­mu­ni­ty with a lot of folks who have some cre­ative ideas.”

In a plan he sub­mit­ted to the Cit­i­zens’ Advi­so­ry Com­mis­sion on Reap­por­tion­ment, Tooke said such a strat­e­gy could be a cat­a­lyst for down­town revi­tal­iza­tion and cit­i­zen involvement.

Christ, I Haven’t Been In

Christ, I haven’t been in the neigh­bor­hood thrift stores since the H&M opened up down­town, but it was kind of a fun time. I love this brown cor­duroy shirt– it’s so worn in and LL Bean-ish… Not at all some­thing I should be wear­ing, but i love it.

oy oy oy

GOD damn my head hurts… last night was real­ly fuck­ing rough. We went to see Love­less and the Real­is­tics at the Par­adise, but I had way too much to drink. I think we pre-par­tied at least 6 cans of Pab­st BR, and then I must’ve had 4–5 buds at the show. Hooli­gan­ism abounded.

The Real­is­tics were fuck­ing cool as shit though. They’re so much bet­ter live than on their record. Any­way, Glen­n­do, evil­monkey, Ben, Pres­ley and I were up front rock­ing out in this near­ly emp­ty place…

I think toward the end of the Love­less set I was singing along (sub­tle­ty god damnit. not dorky), and Dave Wana­mak­er must’ve noticed cause he thanked us for singing along and point­ed at me… dork. Then, after they tore up the place on the last song, and they came down off the stage, I screamed at Jen Trynin and gave her a high-five… Well, I bought a Jen Trynin record when I was in high school (a long, long time ago), so it was nice to see her. I hope they appre­ci­ate the enthu­si­asm because there was­n’t a good crowd, and quite frankly I’m unem­ployed & I don’t get excit­ed much.

So any­way, I need to get to why my head hurts. Com­ing out of the Par­adise, we decid­ed to head to the Sil­hou­ette for some pitch­ers, and we were fuck­ing trashed… I think there were punch­es and wrestling, but we were just hav­ing fun. So we go to the ‘ouette and drink and drink. And then we leave, and head back down Brighton to the house… And, as we enter my build­ing, I start­ed chas­ing Glenn up the stairs, and I swear to GOD, I do a fuck­ing bat­ter­ing ram right into the wall. head-first, I go down, and Glen­n­do starts laugh­ing because he’s glad that he’s not me.

So we come inside and go to bed… which prob­a­bly isn’t the great­est thing to do when you’ve just tak­en a head­er… So I wake up when Howard comes on my clock/radio at 8 30, and I’m naked sleep­ing side­ways on my bed. And I total­ly for­got about the head-shot, so I think I’m only hun­gover… so I keep drink­ing water, and I’m won­der­ing why the fog isn’t lift­ing… and THEN, I reached up to my head and felt a big fuck­ing lump. right on the top of my head. big as day.

Sheilas Video

The Sheila Divine have a new video that was pro­duced by sub­ver­sion media, a very small, but cool Boston pro­duc­tion house. The song isn’t the best thing they’ve done, but the video is terrific.

Also, rumor has it that they’ve been shoot­ing the band’s live per­for­mances at the world-famous Par­adise Rock Club (down the street from me) for use in a live con­cert DVD.

I’ve always pro­fessed a fond­ness for the logo­type of WBFO, even if the Uni­ver­si­ty at Buf­fa­lo sta­tion only broad­casts NPR news for a few hours on the day. I remem­ber see­ing it on bumper stick­ers in the car park­ing lots—i swear they were only to be found on old­er euro­pean junkers, like a mus­tard-yel­low Vol­vo 240 diesel, or a white 1979 BMW 320. Any­way, their web site spiffed-up the old logo­type with some very love­ly col­or. Kudos.

Boston University’s WBUR has a good logo­type too.

SO - maybe I’m on to some­thing here… NPR sta­tions are non-com­mer­cial, yet their audi­ence demo­graph­ic is high­liy-edu­cat­ed, and wealth­i­er than the AM-talk set. There­fore it might make sense to have a more sophis­ti­cat­ed image. Here’s the logo­types for oth­er cities my fel­low suck­ahs reside in:

washington, dc new york city, ny
bloomington, in los angeles, ca

albany, ny

Does my the­o­ry hold? Well, WAMC is a huge sta­tion, yet their logo resem­bles an AM talk sta­tion. WNYC is funky. i like it, but for seper­ate aethet­ic rea­sons. Rem­minds me of the sub­way. But the oth­ers are in the league with WBFO and WBUR. What do you think?

Praise the Lord, is Back…

After more than a year of absence, the famous web design por­tal is back. Some of the best stuff out there pass­es through that site, so I hope it has­n’t col­lect­ed much dust.

An Album of One’s Own

The New York­er gave Sarah Shan­non’s solo debut album a favor­able review:

fashion changes little in 10 years

From the open­ing trum­pet-and-sax­o­phone vol­ley of Sarah Shannon’s self-titled début (Casa Record­ing Co.), it is clear that the singer is fin­ished with the basic gui­tar-drum-and-bass set­up of her indie-rock past, when she was the front woman for the intro­spec­tive pop out­fit Veloc­i­ty Girl.

Here, Shan­non (who plays the Knit­ting Fac­to­ry this week) has assem­bled a small orches­tra of horns, strings, and wood­winds, and the result is a warm paean to the pow­er of the imag­i­na­tion. The songs cov­er famil­iar sub­jects, most­ly love sought and love lost, but the album isn’t a del­i­cate col­lec­tion of wilt­ing cham­ber pop. “I’ll Run Away,” which is pro­pelled by the piano work of col­lab­o­ra­tor Blake Wescott (he pro­duced the album and co-wrote a num­ber of its songs), is a strong­ly defi­ant piece rem­i­nis­cent of Car­ole King. “What’s Mine” bumps and grinds along on Wescott’s gui­tar chords, and it includes the staunch cho­rus “I don’t want to waste your time, but I got a feel­ing you’ve got what’s mine.”

The best part of the record, though, is Shannon’s won­der­ful voice, which makes each song a gem.


I’m on the Special Team

I found a link from that some­how i missed. Just like me… always behind.

Leave it to the New Yorker…

Once again, some­one writ­ing in the New York­er puts to pen the thoughts that I’ve been loose­ly throw­ing about on the state of Rock n’ Roll

Jer­ry Lee Lewis was rock and roll. Gene Pit­ney was­n’t. The Pre­tenders were rock and roll. The Bee Gees weren’t. Elvis Costel­lo was rock and roll for a while, and then he wasn’t.

By this stan­dard, the moody croon­ing of Creed and friends does­n’t qual­i­fy; nor does the self-effac­ing are­na rock of the Dave Matthews Band. But there does seem to be a new crop of bands that favor short, spiky songs gal­va­nized by angst and anger. If these bands?the White Stripes and the Strokes are the best known, and among the best?aren’t exact­ly new, they’re a return to some­thing old­er and more dis­tinc­tive: to the spir­it of punk and, before that, of the British Invasion.

(thanks dan­no for the link)


I’ve got some music links i’d like to pass along:

  • Sub­pop released the new Shins video [real playr]
  • also, check out the Shins’ first video, quite pos­si­bly the most beau­ti­ful song ever writ­ten [real playr]

and, sub­pop is also releas­ing a DVD [trail­er — 9mb quick­time] of Damon and Nao­mi, the 2 oth­er for­mer mem­bers of the sem­i­nal 80’s indie slow­core band Galax­ie 500… (the oth­er being Dean Ware­ham now of Luna).

Convert, don’t Build

Any­one fol­low­ing the Adel­phia bid to build a huge sky­scraper on the Buf­fa­lo water­front, has to laugh at the company’s deter­mi­na­tion to get it done. The com­pa­ny is hav­ing Enron-like finan­cial woes, yet still wants to build this tow­er in a city that has com­mer­cial vacan­cy rates that rival occu­pan­cy rates. I’m not say­ing the Adel­phia project is a mis­take, how­ev­er I think peo­ple aren’t focus­ing prop­er­ly on how to fos­ter the 24-hour down­town a vibrant city needs.

First, I think, you need to lure peo­ple who work in the city to also live in the city. Cities have cer­tain advan­tages to offer: A con­cen­tra­tion of local busi­ness­es and ser­vices with­in walk­ing dis­tance (or by train), includ­ing restau­rants, arts and cul­tur­al offer­ings, and shops. Instead of infill­ing the city with sub­ur­ban-type devel­op­ments (main place mall), or huge gat­ed res­i­den­tial projects, why not play off the strengths of city-liv­ing, by revi­tal­iz­ing dense, mixed-use neigh­bor­hoods, and pro­vide a hous­ing alter­na­tive for people?

I’ve been encour­aged to see, as I have point­ed out in my blog, that devel­op­ers in Buf­fa­lo are tak­ing inter­est in con­vert­ing old com­mer­cial and indus­tri­al space into res­i­den­tial hous­ing (lofts.) It’s been shown to make mon­ey, and I think that might be the cat­a­lyst for a true down­town recov­ery. The kinds of peo­ple look­ing for this kind of hous­ing have been will­ing to pay upwards of $1000 for a one-bed­room loft—(incidentally, in boston that would be a bar­gain, but in buf­fa­lo! My god, that’s no bargain)—so they must have mon­ey, and need ser­vices like gro­ceries, restau­rants, and bars. Presto!, urban renew­al… You don’t need to throw cat­a­clysmic mon­ey into develp­ing a new sky­scraper, when the mar­ket­place can do you just as good.

I Like Girls with Glasses.

I like girls with glass­es.

Glass­es, like small breasts, seem to be one of those things that women auto­mat­i­cal­ly assume men find unattractive.

Gonna Tell Everyone to Lighten Up

Well, it’s going to be 88 degrees here wednes­day, so sum­mer has arrived. and, yes, that is Liz Phair singing back-up vocals on Sheryl Crow’s new sin­gle, soak up the sun. Seems sil­ly, but true.

Those of you famil­iar with her pecu­liar har­mo­niz­ing might have picked that up, (I did­n’t). Rumor has it that every­one’s favorite reformed-indie-low-fi-pio­neer makes a cameo in the video, play­ing bas­ket­ball, of all things. Sheryl’s expla­na­tion of how they hooked up, makes me won­der about this liz + bas­ket­ball thing.

Go McCall!

If you’re in New York, and you’re a Demo­c­rat, sup­port Carl McCall for Gov­er­nor. He’s cur­rent­ly run­ning against Andrew Cuo­mo for the Demo­c­ra­t­ic nom­i­na­tion. Here is a lit­tle par­o­dy i did of andy, com­par­ing him to dukakis.

Giving Back

Ani DiFran­co recent­ly donat­ed $40,000 to her alma mat­ter, Visu­al and Per­form­ing Arts High School in Buf­fa­lo, and to oth­er Buf­fa­lo pub­lic school arts programs.

Trains are better than Cars

Cen­tral Sta­tion, Buf­fa­lo, NY, cir­ca 1930.

Presley’s sis­ter Kel­ly was in town this past week­end, and she left yes­ter­day on the Amtrak train from Back Bay Sta­tion, which got me think­ing about train sta­tions and trains in gen­er­al. Every­one in these New Urban­ist books that I read can’t fath­om how Amer­i­ca end­ed up wed­ded to the auto­mo­bile, while the Euro­peans remain con­tent­ed with trains.

I think it’s a sim­ple answer: after the war, we just could. It was the thing to do, and we had the resources. But, isn’t there some­thing won­der­ful about trains? And more impor­tant­ly, big city train sta­tions? Grand Cen­tral in Man­hat­tan is gor­geous. Mod­erin­ists moan on about how style should be down-played because it is the taste of eco­nom­ic elites, but I don’t care if putting a build­ing like that up was a cap­i­tal­ist show of wealth and power—it had beau­ty, craft­man­ship and it was a place where peo­ple of all races and incomes passed through. They destroyed Penn Sta­tion in the six­ties to put up Madi­son Square Gar­den. big whoop. If any­thing, MSG is more cap­i­tal­ist-mind­ed than the build­ing it replaced.

So, it brings me around to Buf­fa­lo and Kelly’s depar­ture… Ear­li­er in this cen­tu­ry, Buf­fa­lo actu­al­ly was in the top 5 for most rail­road track—Buffalo had indus­try, and it was locat­ed on the impor­tant route between new york and chica­go. The city built some beau­ti­ful train sta­tions (sub­se­quent­ly demol­ished), who’s archi­tec­ture seems won­der­ful­ly as grand as Grand Cen­tral itself. The last remain­ing sta­tion, Cen­tral Ter­mi­nal, still stands on the East Side, though it’s falling apart. I wish to God the city could find some new use for the facility—problem is, it is locat­ed in the most eco­nom­i­cal­ly depressed area of the city.

Katya Katya Katya

I read Paul Greenberg’s first book Leav­ing Katya, after hear­ing an inter­view with Bruce Geller­man on WBUR, and I was so very pleased. The least I can do is rec­om­mend it to any­one who’s gone through a ‘Russ­ian phase’.

And, I sus­pect the author is a web-savvy guy, cause he found me, and sent me this e‑mail:

——-Orig­i­nal Message——-
From: Paul Green­berg
Sent: Sat­ur­day, April 06, 2002 6:45 PM
Sub­ject: LEAVING KATYA read­ings in Boston

Dear Ned, 
Thought you might be inter­est­ed in these upcom­ing Leav­ing Katya events. 

Paul Greenberg 

Paul Green­berg will be doing a series of read­ings from his Russ­ian Amer­i­can love sto­ry LEAVING KATYA in the Boston area com­ing up in April. Car­olyn See in The Wash­ing­ton Post called LEAVING KATYA “A ter­ri­bly fun­ny nov­el.” The New York Times wrote that in LEAVING KATYA , “Green­berg, com­ic and know­ing, has done a rare thing supreme­ly well.” Bruce Geller­man of WBUR’s Here and Now said, “The writ­ing in LEAVING KATYA is rich, fun­ny and force­ful” while Vogue Mag­a­zine wrote “this tale will res­onate with any­one whose infat­u­a­tion with an exot­ic per­son or place has revealed dis­sat­is­fac­tions that lie a lit­tle clos­er to home.” 

Exact details for the read­ings are as follows: 

April 8, 2002 
6:30 PM
Din­ner and Book Club Dis­cus­sion at 
The Hamersley’s Bistro 
553 Tremont Street 
Boston, MA
For reser­va­tions call 617–423-2700

April 9, 2002 
Author reading 
Barnes & Noble at Boston University 
660 Bea­con St., Ken­more Sq. 
Boston, MA

April 11, 2002 
4:00 PM
Russ­ian Tea, Read­ing and Discussion 
Russ­ian Stud­ies Department 
Marston Hall 
Brown University 
Prov­i­dence, RI

April 18, 2002 
7:30 PM
Author reading 
New­tonville Books 
296 Wal­ton Street 
New­ton Massachusetts 
(for direc­tions call: 617 244 6619) 

(Note: Begin­ning April 1 Leav­ing Katya will be avail­able at all Barnes and Nobles in the “Dis­cov­er Great New Writ­ers” sec­tion of the store.) 


(I’m going to do some­thing very very bad. I’m going to com­pare a band to the Strokes. I do this only to pro­mote them, cos they rock.)

Grow­ing up in a ass-back­wards place like Buf­fa­lo, we were priv­i­leged to get Toron­to radio sta­tions, espe­cial­ly cfny 102.1 the edge. We heard things like Blur, Mor­ris­sey, Nir­vana and oth­ers before MTV or the cor­po­rate state­side sta­tions picked them up. We were fortunate.

Also, from time to time, some­one would go and com­pare Toron­to to New York, as if some­how there is a fuck­ing com­par­i­son. But, in a way, I think the dif­fer­ences between these two cities are emblem­at­ic of the cul­tur­al dif­fer­ences between the US and Cana­da. Toron­to is very 20th cen­tu­ry, the peo­ple are nice, and har­mo­ny abounds. New York is very turn-of-the-cen­tu­ry, at best the peo­ple aren’t naive­ly nice, and a city this big is about as frac­tious as drop­ping a rose dipped in nitrogen.

If we extend the cul­tur­al dichoto­my to include music, one could hard­ly find a bet­ter mod­ern exam­ple of New York Rock n’ Roll than the Strokes– fran­tic as a mid-town cab ride, inso­lent as hell, easy to look at, and yet, utter­ly bril­liant song-writ­ers and performers.

I’d argue that Sloan is the band Toron­to can claim as their own (all though they’re from hal­i­fax). Style-wise, Sloan might look like the Strokes’ B‑team, or under­stud­ies– they’re kin­da dorky, and almost a decade old­er. There music draws from sim­i­lar 70’s rock sources as the Strokes, but they are more har­mon­ic and straight-for­ward in deliv­ery. If Toron­to is New York with­out all the bag­gage, then Sloan is the Strokes on prozac.

And one more point of com­par­i­son! Sloan just got signed to RCA, the label that signed the Strokes, and their new album Pret­ty Togeth­er will be out lat­er this month.

watch some videos:

If It Feels Good Do It [56k] [dsl]
The Oth­er Man [56k] [dsl]

Freelance Neddie

I got some good news today! I’ve been work­ing on a web­site for two women start­ing a new busi­ness, and it’s going well (near­ly com­plete). They are so great.

Any­way, they passed my name on to some­one at Accen­ture, and it looks like I’ll be doing a web­site for a small group over there. The details need to be worked out, but I’m excit­ed (cos it pays quite well!).

Is it bad to want to buy a cou­ple of $4 bot­tles of cham­pagne at the cor­ner and cel­e­brate? By myself?

It’s Spring

I put up a new semi-tem­po­rary design at, for spring. It seemed sil­ly to have snowflakes falling in April.

When I get the chance, I want to sit down with a few peo­ple and come up with a mas­ter plan for suck­ahs in the com­ing months. I’d like to extend the site to include some writ­ing — be it reviews, com­men­tary, arti­cles, fea­tures, pho­to essays, comix, or what­ev­er. I don’t want to turn this into a zine, that requires an intense amount of work, how­ev­er it would be nice to cap­ture and share some of the tal­ents the group possesses.

I think that it may add to the dis­cus­sion, and pro­vide all of us with some­thing to write about. That is always the prob­lem to get around, with blogs… find­ing some­thing to write about.

Art is Art?

Flip­ping to the Op-Ed page of the Boston Globe today, I was suprised and encour­aged to see that they print­ed a col­umn crit­i­ciz­ing a recent exhib­it at the Jew­ish Muse­um in New York. This kind of exhib­it, which fea­tured works that use Holo­caust themes (and nazi sym­bols) in a post­mod­ernist con­text of irony and kitsch, seems so tired and done-before, and con­tributes lit­tle to the tra­di­tion of Art and cul­tur­al offer­ings in this country.

And if the Globe isn’t a suf­fi­cient­ly Lib­er­al source, (it’s prob­a­bly the most Lib­er­al major news­pa­per of record, thank­ful­ly), The Vil­lage Voice offered a neg­a­tive review too. I’d be inter­est­ed to hear first-hand, from peo­ple who’ve attend­ed it. Any­one checked it out?