John Niedermeyer is a Brooklyn-based design manager and internets enthusiast at <a href="http://buzzfeed.com">BuzzFeed</a>. Previously, he was a digital designer and editor at <a href="http://nytimes.com">The New York Times</a>.
Things have been quiet around here over the holidays. I turned 31 years old on December 22, and then Lisa and I spent some time in Buffalo with our folks, where I got to see my newest baby cousin Aline.
The MASS MoCA campus was once the Sampson Shoe Company.
Then, after a few days back in Brooklyn, we headed up to the Berkshires for New Year’s Eve in North Adams – it’s not the most exciting town to ring in the new year, but we visited MASS MoCA, stayed in a wonderful hotel called The Porches, and had the best meal North Adams has to offer at the Gramercy Bistro.
I didn’t do a lot of reflecting and resolution-making, but I am thankful for my family and friends, and for how great 2008 was for Lisa and I. Lisa is fond of saying that each year has been better than the last, which is more than one can hope for in this world.
Walking out of the Roseland Ballroom last Tuesday night, I felt blind, deaf and dumbfounded – and I’m not the only one. We had just stood through an assault on our eyes, ears, and patience, but it was an amazing show.
Ear plugs were handed out on the way in, and I jammed them in as far as they would go – but, I’m not sure it was enough. It was certainly the loudest show I’ve ever witnessed.
And it wasn’t enough for the light show to be trippy and beautiful, but it also had to burn out your retinas. Lisa made the point that there were more lights pointed out at the crowd than at the band themselves. Still, the bright pink glow was exactly the perfect accompaniment for the band that recorded Loveless.
Last week I saw Vivian Girls play at Death By Audio in Williamsburg. It was my second time seeing them, and certainly won’t be the last. The Times printed a rave review:
Even though this band’s music tends toward the discordant, Vivian Girls … are romantics at heart. Their taut, no-nonsense songs brim over with noise and touches of shoegaze reverb, but at the center are glorious, gentle harmonies.
I’m not sure that I agree with this – we chose to live in Brooklyn over Manhattan, and I would argue that the neighborhoods to the north (Cobble Hill and Boerum Hill) are probably more fitting equivalents. Also, with few exceptions, Carroll Gardens is still very much a family neighborhood. Sure, it might be changing, but take a walk down our street during the day, and you’re going to see a lot of old men who’ve lived there for 50 years, as well as kids playing on the sidewalk. Err, maybe that is what the West Village is like.
Still, can’t deny that Carroll Gardens is awesome, and relatively affordable, considering the restaurant and bar options – we rarely make it into the city on weekends.
We went Apple Picking upstate, in Warwick, NY. Jason and I discovered something more challenging than chucking apples at each other – spearing them with a stick, and then attempting to fling them at each other. The one pictured above is bouncing violently towards me.
It’s been 3 years since we last went apple picking.
4 restless hours of sleep, and 1 Jetblue direct flight from BOS to AUS, and I found myself in Austin. Checked into the hotel and met up with the EchoDitto folks, and other friends. There are like 4 Jasons, 2 Justins, a John (me) — so it gets confusing.
70 degrees here, 55 or so at night. This festival totally takes over the city. Met some cool people last night, and the first panel this morning was cool — i started in “why XSLT is sexy”, but bailed for “emerging social and technology trends”. Next up, “How to Bluff Your Way in Web 2.0”, with Andy Budd & Jeremy Keith… which I expect to be hilarious.
Only complaints are that the hotel is a bit of a walk, across the river. And, i’m sick… so i’m completely groggy and don’t feel like talking to anybody. but, i’ll get over it.
Another problem is trying to explain my job, and what the Localization industry is. It comes off sounding really lame, considering everybody I talk to works small design shops…
So if you have any ideas how to punch it up a bit, let me know.
This past weekend was the Rhode Island camping rally… we rented a truck to transport the bikes, drank sangria made from 4.5 bottles of wine & 1 bottle of brandy, and had a good time scooting around, (before the drinking began). I even got to DJ saturday night, with an improvised iPod/radio setup.
Even the 90+ degree heat couldn’t keep us down – but I totally understand now the importance of shade, when you’re trying to snooze inside a tent.
Yuki Chikudate and Asobi Seksu performing at Great Scott in Allston.
We went to The Plan at Great Scott on Saturday night to see the Brooklyn band Asobi Seksu – I got some good shots of them and two of the opening bands.
As I wrote earlier, the new record Citrus is an incredible step forward for them, and the live show succeeded in duplicating the wash of guitars and noise, without completely covering up Yuki’s voice. They’re nice people, too.
The other great thing during the set were the lights and smoke effects… so cool. The Plan people are really showing up the old Cambridge clubs, because it was freaking cool.
I love this site, which offers tons of beer logos for download, in EPS format [via]. For some reason, this amuses me.
What didn’t amuse me, was the 20 minutes of frustration last night, trying to get a freakin’ Boddingtons at The Burren in Davis Square. I had to order twice, from the same woman, (as she must’ve forgot the first one)… and finally I grabbed a second bartender to go check on things. And, HE was the one who brought me my freakin’ beer. I realize that a lot of bartenders double-pour Boddy’s, (much like Guinness), but you’re not supposed to forget me!
JetBlue will offer introductory fares of $25 each way on what will be up to 10 flights between the cities, with fares later settling at between $40 and $120 each way, undercutting the established shuttle.
When I was in New York, Jenna and I checked out the La Laque & Pas/Cal show at Tonic, in the Lower East Side. They were celebrating the joint release of a 12″ single.
The real surprise for me was how much I liked the Brooklyn-based La Laque. They’re three girls & three boys, playing French New Wave / Surf rock. Listening to the few MP3s out there won’t quite convey the energy and feeling they exert on stage. I may never listen to another Stereolab album again [sic].
And it was nice to see Yuki & James (of Asobi Seksu) again… they’re coming to Boston soon, and I can’t wait to see them play again.
I plunked down the $15 and rode the Fung Wah to nyc to visit the new MoMA, and visit some friends. It was nice to finally get inside the museum, having been thwarted by long lines on my past two visits. I enjoyed meandering around by myself, though the guided audio tour is pretty worthless.
Saturday night, Jenna took me out with Jin, Anna, and my friend Stef from Boston, to see mazing vids at the Cake Shop in the Lower East Side. We ate s’mores from a streetcart, which made me want to go camping.
Perhaps my favorite night of our time in Vegas was Monday, when we escaped to the Strip for a bit of culture… earlier this month, Cirque de Soleil opened KÀ at the MGM Grand, so we figured, why not check it out?
We “splurged” for the cheap seats at $100 a pop. Steep, to be sure, but that still got us a decent view, cup-holders and speakers that were integrated into the headrests. Pretty cool…
This show was unlike any theatrical experience I’ve ever had—to start, there is no stage… or rather, the stage rises vertically, spins, floats and disappears, (made possible by hydraulics). The actors work above a massive empty “pit”, (an abyss into which countless actors fall), performing an astonishing combination of martial-arts, the familiar Cirque acrobatics, and even an amazing baton-twirling number.
This was all incredibly executed, but what tied all of this together into a truly magical illusion, were the lighting and visual projections… absolutely un-real.
Got back from Nevada on Wednesday morning, having fled the pouring rain, bright neon, and the sound of slot machines. We spent about a week in Nevada, which is far too long, considering we didn’t get married or lose our life’s savings… No, instead we made due with $2 forty-ounce lagers and the right to smoke anywhere we please.
It was good to be amongst scooterists again, though the rain kept us from riding except on Sunday… (when you think of desert, a constant soaking is not what pops to mind!). Morgan, aka Mr. Pants, is da’ man for hooking us up with his vintage Vespa GT to ride, (even though we swapped it for his Lammy, out of comfort).
Presley and I are off to Vegas for nearly a week, to go to the High Rollers Weekend, AKA, the Las Vegas Scooter Rally. Morgan is the man, as he’s going to let us ride his gorgeous vintage Vespa GT while we’re there.
I’ve never actually been west of Chicago, so I’m excited.
The weather, however might not cooperate. A quick glance at the 10-day forecast doesn’t make me hopeful.
Anyway, I’ll have photos and all the details when we get back. The funny thing is, my parents called to say that they would be there at the same time… which seems just not right.