Tag Archives: New York City

Just Another Typical New York Evening with Dave Chappelle (And Special Guests)

15 Sep

Watching the young Asian man set up his 4 track sampler gave me the feeling that it was going to be one of those nights. The young man started beat-boxing and looping his vocal riffs on top of each other to make beats, vocally sampling Eminem’s lyrics from Forgot about Dre.

For being such a raw production it kind of knocked. The aesthetic was so purely hip hop (and New York) that you had to respect it. He was just a dude with a sampler, making live beats down in the Times Square subway stop. I was only able to see one song before catching the next uptown train to 59th street, but this was a good start. I could just feel it.

I got to Radio City Music Hall early–hoping to receive a “free gift” for being one of the first 100 patrons to get into the building. My math must have  been off by about 15 people because I did not get a “Chappelle at Radio City Music Hall” trucker hat. I did however get into the building right before I shat myself, so that was a huge win (But I guess if you think about it, any day that you don’t shit on yourself should be considered a good day –unless you’re an infant or elderly–but I digress).

I’ve never been the type to get caught up in the glitz and glamour of Manhattan. I yawn at the mere mention of Broadway plays (sorry Daveed) , and I initially dismissed any idea of going to Radio City Music Hall when I first heard Chappelle was working the theater (ticket prices seemed a little steep at 100 dollars but more on that later) for a two-week run.

All it took was for me to walk through the venue doors to understand why everyone was making such a big deal about it. It is a classy joint done up in Art Deco and high marble columns and ceilings. Instead of having restrooms, they have lady and gentleman lounges, and even the urinals look too nice to be pissed in. It looked like the kind of place that black people couldn’t frequent too often until about 50 years ago, and I would’ve never thought to ever come to a show there until Chappelle booked it.

Of course, no swanky party is complete without a jazz band, and we were greeted in the lobby by a Brooklyn jazz quartet covering hip hop tunes by such juggernauts as Pete Rock and Kendrick Lamar. A small crowd gathered near the stairwell leading to the first balcony. I noticed just how many people were dressed up for the affair which hinted to be less of a comedy show and more of an event. I grew excited with each tune, and spent an hour listening to the band while chopping it up with various other jazz aficionados until about 7:45 (I was mistaken for Seahawks football player Michael Bennett more than a couple of times).

Music from inside the theater bled through to the lobby whenever patrons entered and exited the theater area. I finally meandered to my seat to see none other than DJ and comedian, Cipha Sounds (the original DJ on the Chappelle Show) engaging in a beat battle with a DJ from Toronto (still unnamed as of this post). For old school fans of hip hop, they hit the intended nerve, but these weren’t the deepest of cuts. You could almost anticipate which albums they’d throw on next to entice the crowd.

I sat down in my seat and took in the ambiance. There were so many kinds of people in the crowd: white people, black people, Latin people, Asian people, fat people, skinny people, ugly people dressed up, attractive people dressed down, well endowed, buxom women, skinny women with big booties. It was a people watching extravaganza–even for New York City. The theater itself was as nice as any venue I’ve ever been in. It was the kind of place you take a significant other in anticipation of something bigger than a night of coitus.

The opening comic, Ashley Barnhill, went on at almost exactly 8:00. Surprisingly she was from Texas (she claimed San Antonio), but what was even more surprising was that she wasn’t that funny. Her jokes were kinda hacky. Her shock humor and “edginess” that seemed more at home at an open mic or small showcase. They were objectively good jokes, but they came off a bit too mechanical, and predictable.

It was disappointing to hear her trot out such material. It wasn’t necessarily bad, but wasn’t the type of humor one expected to hear for such a monumental gig. You figured that if Chappelle tabbed her to get on that she had to be funny. Unfortunately, most of her jokes fell flat on the mixed crowd, and it was a relief when she finally exited the stage.

Donnell AKA “Ashy Larry” Rawlings saved the evening’s vibe with a solid 15-20 minutes of bawdy humor. If you’ve been fortunate enough to see him do stand up, Rawlings is a lesson in the difference between writing jokes and being funny. Nothing Rawlings said on stage was overly thoughtful, but the man was hilarious.

His comic timing was perfect, as he used his whole body to tell jokes–from the arching of his eyebrows to a change in his vocal intonation. Barnhill was telling jokes, but Rawlings was being funny,and he set the tone for the rest of the night. He killed the crowd and had me in tears with jokes about people who are way more particular about “who made the potato salad” at a barbecue than who they perform cunnilingus on.

Things really took off from there as Yasiin Bey AKA “Mos Def” took the stage. Of Chappelle’s sixteen show run, this was the bill that intrigued me the most (the Chris Rock/Chappelle show was out of the question with lowest ticket prices at 500 dollars to start). Bey had been away some time, and it had been forever since the last time I’d seen him live.

Seeing him onstage again, flanked by two DJ’s, an old school, scraper convertible car (Chevy I think?), and an endless sea of balloons, I suddenly remembered why I unequivocally loved this man. He exudes nothing but love and compassion, while at the same time demanding social fairness and critical thought. If there were ever a human being whose success I could get behind, it was Yasiin Bey. He was the tipping point in my buying a ticket for the 8/23 show, and two songs into his set affirmed every single summer decision I’d made around this night–especially considering that he was reportedly retiring from music this year, making the matter all the more special.

I was just happy to be in the building and I’d never even considered the potential setlist that he would roll out on a night like this. It didn’t even occur to me that there could be a possible “Rick the Ruler” sighting during the evening’s rendition of “Auditorium” until the end of Bey’s verse on the song.

Bey looked to stage left  for half a second, and what do you know? Slick Rick rolls out spitting his verse. The crowd lost its fucking mind–me included. It was here that things took on the element of the surreal. Of course New York and hip hop legend Slick Rick would be available to do a cameo, he from here.

That song ended and before the crowd had even had a chance to gather themselves, Talib Kweli joined the stage for a few songs, as Black Star treated the crowd to a mini-reunion show. Suddenly I was transported to a New York of a different time. Brooklyn got a shout out between each song, and every query in regards to the location of the Brooklynites was greeted by raucous yelling and screaming.

It was like it was 1998 again, but I wasn’t watching the BET or Source Awards on television, I was seeing it in person. Cipha Sounds was just as hype anyone else, dancing along to this music near the side of that stage. I thought that was pretty cool to see. This New York only existed in oral histories and podcasts. The magic was briefly back.

It was only slightly surprising that Common didn’t come out on stage when Bey and Kweli performed  “Respiration” . The opening bars of the song put chills up my spine upon hearing “We New York the Narcotic”, again when Kweli hit the ” I take the L, transfer to the 2, head to the gates” line.

Other highlights from the set were the Biggie/Prodigy/Phife Dawg medley tribute that filled my heart with warmth, and  Yasiin closed the set with a moving rendition of “Umi Says” that almost put me in tears. By the time Yasiin Bey’s set was finished, I’d felt that I’d gotten my money’s worth, and everything else was gravy. I went into intermission thinking my night could end right then and things would be fine.

The fun was just beginning. Bill Bellamy of Def Comedy fame, came out onto the stage and hit us with ten minutes of shit talking. You could tell he was just happy to be hanging out and partying with the fellas (he was constantly interrupted with the sounds of loud popping backstage–which could’ve been champagne OR balloons), and he wasn’t trying to do too much. He threw a few jabs at the audience and warmed the crowd back up.  The highlight of his set was a series of “Head Day” jokes which though were funny, alienated about a 1/4 of the crowd. I liked it though, because I’ve been rocking with Bellamy since before “How to Be a Player” came out. I was just bugging that he was even out there.

As Bellamy walked off, Dave Chappelle’s voice came onto the PA and introduced his “very good friend” Chris Tucker out onto the stage. The audience exploded into applause and then Chris Tucker proceeded to do about 15 minutes of impressions of all of his famous friends. He wasn’t the heavyweight champion that he once was, but he was still Chris Tucker, and I couldn’t believe I was watching him doing a live set.

Just as I wrapping my head around this fact, Chappelle’s voice was back on the PA announcing the comedy legend Jerry Seinfeld. PAN-DE-MONIUM. Of all the performers you would expect to a drop in set anywhere, Jerry Seinfeld was not a name that would come to mind. Chappelle may as well have said Larry David had dropped by to do short set. No one could believe it. I just kept screaming “WHAT?!” over and over again until an usher slapped me back into my body.

Go figure that Seinfeld would end up doing the tightest set of the night. A slightly buzzed, casually slurring Seinfeld did one of the funniest 20 minutes of stand up I’d ever seen. At 63, Seinfeld’s repertoire has not only reached a Carlin-esque level of immortality, but even his examination of linguistics have taken on a professor’s red penned level critique. His observational insights are still clever, but his use of the English language sets him apart from almost 95 % of comics I’ve ever seen perform. Most importantly, he doesn’t give a fuck anymore. He threw nothing but heat at the audience as he got belly laughs, with jokes that somehow managed to offend not a single soul. That in itself is an extremely difficult accomplishment for a comedian. I’ve always been more a fan of Seinfeld the actor than the comic, but seeing this older, slightly unhinged Seinfeld was utterly remarkable.

By the time Seinfeld’s set was over, it was 10:15 and the night was rapidly approaching “best night of my life” status (and easily the most unbelievable). A$AP Ferg came out to the DJ booth and gave a quick shout out, before the opening riff to A Tribe Called Quest’s “We The People” blared on the loud speakers. No fucking way? Is Q-Tip about to play this motherfucker? 

No. Just Dave Chappelle doing and hour and a half set. Dave had a good set. He told cautionary tales of celebrity, lamented the demise of originality and courage in comedy, addressed the backlash to his Netflix specials. It was a typical Dave mixture of cerebral and sophomoric, and it was awesome. I wasn’t even mad that I’d already heard about half of the jokes he told that night. His set felt like a really funny Ted Talk lecture. I felt fortunate just being there. Dave had created an event so unique and special that it was hard to imagine anything remotely as cool going on in New York. This was the place to be. Anyone who has been to New York know this is a feat hard to pull off.

After a series of curveballs and surprises, it was hard to believe that the night was over. But it was 12:45 in the morning, and Chappelle’s “dick was not going to suck itself”, so patrons were sent back into the summer night, taking selfies with the marquee as a backdrop.

Many people walked out of the theater wearing the same shell-shocked glazed look in heir pupils. For the price of a festival ticket, I had just seen Dave Chappelle, Mos Def, Black Star, Bill Bellamy, Jerry Seinfeld, and Chris Tucker. It would cost a hundred bucks (if you were lucky) to see Seinfeld by himself. I would’ve never in my life thought I’d watch him perform live. The same can be said of Chris Tucker. Not only had Chappelle thrown a hell of a party, but we’d gotten more than our money’s worth.

I tried texting my brother about it, and after a certain point he stopped believing me. He thought I was just making shit up. I didn’t blame him though. I sat on the 3 train buzzing from the improbability of the entire evening. It reminded me of the feeling I had when I saw Randy Johnson pitch a perfect game back in college. I was hesitant to even go to sleep later that night. This was a tough high to top, and I was in no hurry to interrupt it. I may have even been slightly afraid that I would wake up and realize it was just one of those long, weird ass dreams I sometimes have. But that is just New York for you. Just one of those rare places where the surreal becomes the real.

 

BM

 

profile pic b mick  Bobby Mickey is the alter ego of writer and poet Edward Austin Robertson. When he isn’t involved in some basketball related activity, actively looking for parties to deejay or venues to perform comedy, he can be found recording podcasts with Craig Stein at Fullsass Studios. Follow him on twitter @goodassgame. For booking inquiries, send contact info to thisagoodassgame@gmail.com. 

 

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Shake it Up

25 Mar

Somewhere between wandering the streets of Paris’ Latin Quarter and getting lost in Barcelona’s La Rambla neighborhood, I realized that I had become a gluten intolerant replica of my dead grandpa. I couldn’t pinpoint when it had happened, but some time ago, I’d fallen asleep as 14 year old fun loving black kid in a baseball cap, and woken up a cheap, joyless, crotchety old man.

 

What tipped me off?

 

My penchant for inwardly vomiting at excessive displays of public affection. Every storefront felt like a tourist trap, and I found myself shaking my head at anything that cost more than 10 Euro. I’d worked, saved and done all kinds of legwork just so I could not spend my hard earned ducats.

I don’t mind spending money, but I want to feel like I got value for my dollar. There are not many places in Paris that make you feel like you’ve gotten equal value. The Euro in Spain didn’t take you much further, but you at least could walk away from a transaction with your pants still on and your rectum intact.

 

I doubt I will ever go to France again, and if I do it certainly will not be on my own dime. It is a shame that such a beautiful city like Paris is wasted on such lifeless, vapid,xenophobic malcontents like Parisians. I’m afraid that this is the city that New York City will turn into after all the young artists and brown and black people are pushed out—you know the people that make New York poppin’.

Give it 5-10 years. The wheels are already in motion.

Anyway the last memory I’ll have of Paris is seeing a white guy get pimpslapped by an Arab man. I had stopped long enough to consider getting closer to the show, when I saw the white man reach for something along the small of his back. I suddenly remembered that train I had to catch. Dude got smacked hard though. What a way to start the day.

 

I’m fascinated by Spain’s bizarre and violent history. As a city they’ve survived Moorish and Arab occupation, dictators, and ethnic cleansing to become the place it is today. Barcelona is a very beautiful city. Its clean (one of the cleanest cities I’ve ever been to), and the metro system is pretty straight forward.The food is fantastic and its easy to navigate.  You can seen the Spanish influence on american cities such as Mexico City, San Francisco, and New Orleans. And the abundance of beautiful women would give NYC a run for its money.

There is no way I’d live in Spain as an African,, Muslim, or Jew. Spaniards may have calmed down, but these are people who used to quarter people  and decapitate dogs. That kind of behavior just doesn’t dissipate into thin air. Historically, Spain is like the Boston Celtics of Imperialism. Their influence is far reaching when you think about how many countries in the world speak Spanish.

The French were either rude, or inconsiderate, but I found Spanish people to be  cold  and dismissive. Often times i’d make eye contact with a citizen and hold it, waiting for a nod or a hello. Often times, neither came. This started to become unnerving by  the 34rd or 4th time this happneed. Where i’m from, if you stare at a person longer than a couple of seconds, then its usually an act of agression or seduction. It put me on edge, and Spain’s attitude towards Africans became increasingly clear (God they must HATE the Moors). After a while i started mean mugging these staring people, my eyes screaming Buenos Fucking Tardes mufucka!

 

I have to say though, any place with late night eateries and cafes is in theory, alright with me. It was nice to not have to rush out my room at 22:30 in hopes of catching some tapas and espresso. There was one spot I walked into about an hour to midnight, and had one of the best meals I’d had that whole week; a plate of goat cheese covered in sliced veal that was so delicious that I got an erection from every bite.

Other notable things:

  •  Saw a bunch of grown ass men in full FC Barcelona garb throughout my stay in Spain. Interesting how fandom is so different over there. If a man over 21 is wearing a jersey with someone’s name on it, its considered kind of busterish (unless you are autistic of course). I mean you would have thought these cats were equipment managers the way they rock the FC Barcelona gear.
  • I went to the Picasso museum in both Barcelona and in Paris, and the one in Barcelona though slightly cheaper by a Euro; was far superior. There were 3600 pieces in the Spanish location. I guess it shouldn’t surprise me since the man was from Spain, but I was disappointed to find that the infamous Blue period( my favorite Picasso era) was not in the Paris collection. Something I realized though is my dude Picasso was a savage. I hadn’t seen that many uncircumcised penises since my YMCA membership was canceled.
  • The contemporary museum in Barcelona was a nice surprise (I did a bang-bang–going immediately there after seeing the Picasso exhibit). It was relatively inexpensive, but for every cool installation piece, there was some indulgent student art experiment that was supposed to be edgy and provocative, but ultimately could’ve been done by anyone (like a room full TV’s with live static). There were a lot of provocative pieces there that captured or mirrored the politics of the Franco regime .Made me realize that war doesn’t kill creativity, and that although art isn’t a high priority during times of war, there is a place for it. There is still an importance in someone keeping record of whatever is going on in society.
  • New York City has become the standard I judge other cities on. Though world class cities like Barcelona, Paris, Amsterdam, and Montreal may be socially more progressive, the diversity and culture in NYC is unlike anywhere else. New York is not only the epicenter of America’s pulse, but also of the world’s. I still haven’t been to a place that is as poppin’ as New York (not to mention it is the birthplace of Hip Hop).  It makes you understand why everyone wants to live there (despite the miserable winters and ridiculous rent). Probably the only place in the states worth living for my money.

 

BM

 

profile pic b mick  Bobby Mickey is the alter ego of writer and poet Edward Austin Robertson. When he isn’t involved in some basketball related activity, actively looking for parties to deejay or venues to perform comedy, he can be found recording podcasts with Craig Stein at Fullsass Studios. Follow him on twitter @clickpicka79. For booking inquiries, send contact info to thisagoodassgame@gmail.com. 

East Coast Trippin’ Days 21-23 : The Denouement

16 Jun

In three short hours I will be leaving the city and essentially going off the grid. Vacation is officially over and my summer job in Maine begins. This trip has been eye opening to say the least. The things I’ve encountered and the people I’ve met along the way helped steer me towards possibilities that I was unaware were available to me.
I guess you could say that my reality has opened up a little bit.
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Tonight I was at a bar in Queens, drinking caffeinated beverages and watching the Spurs wrap up their fifth NBA championship. I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror, and couldn’t get past the shit eating grin I had on my face. It was a good moment with myself. A Texas team had won the NBA title. I had managed to knock out my goal of traveling the east coast and see some states I have been wanting to see for at least ten years. It felt good.
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Last year at this time, I was nursing my wounds from my Austin failures, running towards this dream someone had sold me, and witnessing the Miami Heat rip the hearts out of Tim Duncan and company. This year was different though. Lebron James was sitting on the bench watching his team get carved up by an improved Spurs squad. I had just spent the weekend catching up and hanging out with old friends. Today was spent out in Long Island, swimming in the Atlantic Ocean, and leering behind my sunglasses at women’s bodies.
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New York City has been really good for me. I love this city. I was jogging this morning out in Queens when I realized that its no longer a matter of if, but when I’ll move here. Well not in the next 5 years. My five year plan is to make money and travel in that order. Everything else that happens in those five years is gravy. Who knows, maybe I’ll move here with a gal, get hitched and earn a tax break. Never say never right? As for the immediate future, I’m looking forward to no phone or internet for the next couple of months. I need to reset. I want to get fresh air and catch up on my reading. In order to execute these plans I’m hatching, I’m going to need some space to think. You’ll hear from me again in late August. Have a good summer.

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East Coast Trippin’ Day 9: Heightened Sensations

3 Jun

“I’m going back to New York City I do believe I had enough”

~Bob Dylan

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I never thought a city with so many universities could be so whack. The minute I got on that 4:45 Megabus for New York I fell asleep in relief. It was getting muggy and my head was pounding. Outside of my time spent at the MET (a really awesome organization that helps youth find alternatives to regular high school), I didn’t do much smiling. I found the locals to be either stuffy, or sketchy. Imagine a town like Topeka, Kansas suddenly having a couple of universities built downtown. That is what Providence is like. The buildings and architecture were neat, but the people themselves??? No thank you.

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I had a roommate in Oakland who attended Brown university and he said that he hated the east coast and had no desire to return. Now I can understand why. 4 years in a place like that would ruin my perspective forever. That being said, I had two random strangers (one a Peruvian woman, the other a bald early forties, white man) offer me rides to my hotel and my campus tour. Which proves to me that even in hostile environments, a positive attitude will attract the right kinds of people.

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After my meeting and lunch, I took advantage of my remaining free time and did some busking along the canal on Rhode Island School of Design campus. Then I jumped on the bus to New York, thus fulfilling the last leg of the David Byrne east coast swing.

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Our bus driver was a professional and he got us into the Bronx in 3 hours, when it was supposed to be a 4.5 hour drive. The bus dropped us off on 7th Ave and 28th st. I deftly navigated the Times Square traffic and found my subway train without any problems (I only had to ask one cop for directions to the Flushing train).

Can you believe it was only 20 years ago, when the Rangers and and Knicks were both in the Stanley Cup Finals and NBA Finals?
I was looking around at all the lights, tourists, billboards, and hockey jerseys, and happened to pass Madison Square Garden. I was 15 years old when Adam Graves and Mark Messier (who has the same birthday as me–no wonder he was my favorite hockey player of all time) hoisted the cup. That was the summer of OJ Simpson and the white Bronco, the Beastie Boys’Sabotage video, and my mother getting free Pay Per View.

I spent that summer alternating between watching “A Perfect World”, “Dazed and Confused”, and taping every single lesbian scene I could stay awake for on the Spice and Playboy Channels. I had yet to venture outside of Texas, and at that time never dreamed of visiting New York (or traveling anywhere outside the state to be honest). Now I’m in the NYC–a place where the senses are heightened ten-fold.

This has already been the best US vacation I’ve ever taken. The Stanley Cup Finals (which the NY Rangers are back for), the NBA Finals ( GO Spurs! GO!) and the World Cup (Cameroon anyone?) all kick off in within days of each other this week. There is also something being held out on Randall’s Island called the Governor’s Ball. I’m only going to Friday night’s festivities featuring Outkast, Damon Albarn, and Phoenix among other acts (kind of wanna see Washed Out). I can’t think of a better place to end up during the first week of June. This is a going to be a really good summer–been pretty kick ass so far. I fucking love this place.

East Coast Trippin’ Days 4-8: Hitting the Reset Button

2 Jun

Leaving behind the old humid stomping grounds of John Waters, Frank Zappa, and David Byrne was not as easy as I originally imagined. I left last week with the intentions of going back to the following Tuesday, but I write this post in Providence, Rhode Island of all places.

“Why Providence?” You ask. Why not? How does the saying go? “Buy the ticket. Take the ride.”

Well I bought the ticket and the ride led me here. “What on earth is in Providence?” Well from the looks of it, lots of ex convicts, and future residents of the Rhode Island Penal System. A friend of a friend set up a meeting with someone in this agency called the MET (Big Picture Learning). With my background in working with at-risk youth, and my passion in education, it seemed wise to take advantage of a chance to personally find out more about this agency and program.

Very rarely do I regret the decisions that I make, but stepping off the Greyhound bus to witness what looked like a massive drug trafficking party, made me wonder…..

and wonder I did…..lugging a day pack and my guitar, I was clearly the new Mark in town, and so I found the least expensive hotel outside of downtown I could find and stayed there. I left my room twice, once to get coffee, and complimentary breakfast, and the other to grab a fast food chain dinner. On the bright side, if I ever want to become the next Walter White, Providence, Rhode Island may be the place to start my empire.

Holing up in a hotel room has allowed me to catch up on rest. New York City is an extremely stimulating place. I caught up with various friends and explored the Brooklyn and Queens neighborhoods, learning the various demographics and histories of the areas.
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Coming to New York always feels like the first time I paid a visit there 14 years ago. There is the initial rush and shock of entering the city; an overwhelming sensation brought about by the sheer number of cars, people and buildings. But once I am able to put all my belongings away and not feel like a tourist, I get used to the pace.
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Its a different place than the one I first visited. I had a healthy fear of visiting Brooklyn and Queens, for all the talk about how rough NYC was in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, I was shocked to find how chill the neighborhoods were. I ventured through some streets almost hoping to see something dangerous. Has New York City lost its edge? Some people think so.
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I’m not a native, but lots of New Yorkers are upset at the influx of wealthy people moving into these historically multi-ethnic neighborhoods and not embracing (or respecting) the cultures that were already there. There were times where just by looking at the people around, it was hard to tell if I was in Brooklyn or the lower east side of Manhattan.
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One cabbie (best cab driver of all time–all we talked about were hitting the trees, Spurs basketball, and traveling–his voice sounded just like the GZA from the Wu-tang Clan) said that it wasn’t all bad, he said the new Brooklynites were pretty chill, and tipped well–no static at all.
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I used to fantasize about being a 50 year old divorcee living in New York City and dating some hot young Latin woman, and going to punk shows at art galleries. The fantasy ebbs and flows. I’m in love with the diversity there, and the rhythm of the city as it moves around, beneath, and within me.
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I try not wear my ear buds while I’m walking around, so I can soak up the sounds, the beats, the people on the streets, the tire squeals, the gears of the trains, the grinding on the tracks, the music, the beeps, and any drastic change to the subway station’s train schedules. I don’t want to miss any of it.

In the words of Thom Yorke, “We ride tonight.”

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Eating Crow pt. II

2 Jul

I take back everything negative I’ve ever said about New York.

It really ain’t so bad.

Exotic and strange, there is a lot of sass and attitude here that you just don’t get anywhere else. A lot of dirt and grime, but also a lot of character, and style. Surprisingly laid back, and hip too.

I still believe that the women from Toronto are better looking, but how does that really matter eh?

Met my friend G_____ in town. He picked me up at the station after a nice little rendezvous in Syracuse/Ithaca with Howling Mime.

We immediately headed to the lower east side to someone’s penthouse and my NYC adventure started. The guy there took us on his roof and we chatted over the fire escape as I gazed skyward at the city and its buildings in between puffs on the magical L train.

Coming in that night via Greyhound, you could see the city lurking far away. The buildings in the skyline all lit up, sort of how I could see San Francisco from far away on the ride in from Oakland.

It made me think of how Lebron James, kobe Bryant, and Michael Jordan felt whenever they came to town to dismantle the Knicks. No surprise those performances came.

New York is a city with epic proportions, come hard or don’t come at all. You gotta show up when the lights come on. There is a certain force here that eggs you on, spurs you to do the unthinkable, the unimaginable, and to do it when the spotlight shines brightest.

i could see the beautiful monster that is NYC on that bus, and I looked at it, smiled, and nodded and embraced it.

I like getting lost here, no one gives two shits about who you are or what you do. makes great for people watching. i can just blend in here.

There is lots of electricity here, you can feel it from the ground up, even when you sleep. this city is a big machine, with cogs, wheels, and wires behaving as veins, pulsing that electricity towards the people and causing the madness that ensues.

Brooklyn I like. The vibe here is much more laid back than in Manhattan reminds me of Oakland in lots of ways, and i felt strangely at home here. It was just like out of Do the Right thing or other New York shows/movies I’ve seen, people on the stoop, kids playing on the sidewalk, three old men hanging by the liquor store.

It was a bit easier to sleep here than Manhattan, although it was fun sticking my head out of the window of the hotel and blowing smoke out onto the street. Made me think about the crazy times Kerouac, Ginsberg, and Cassedy had when they hung out together and met up in various cities across the country.

Went to good show called Fontana’s which was fun. There was a band from Sasketchawan, Violent Kin, playing and they celebrated Canada day by giving out flags and other trinkets. I even played cow bell on one song. We swapped cds for books at the end of the night, so that felt good. they were a fun band.

Three more days here then off to camp in Jersey then home again.

I’ll never book myself so long out again. A long time to be gone, I’m tired and want to get my life back in working order. though this trip has been really important for a number of reasons.

Seeing the country and doing away with old prejudices, and picking up new ones in return. Things are going to be a bit more interesting. Got a lot of work to do when I get back. And an interesting chain of events I’m sure will unfold when I get back. But for now, all that is on my mind is getting myself a goat roti.

BM

Eve of Departure III

30 Jun

wow.

Feeling refreshed and recharged. Ready to take a giant bite out of the big apple tonight. I gotta get up for it, cuz I know the city will want to wipe that silly little smirk right off my face. I’ll have to practice my grimey face.

Nice little break here, much needed. The visit in Toronto cracked me open like an egg. I was feeling raw, emotional, and my seratonin was at an all time low by last night. What goes up must come down eh?

Let me explain. Last week was the best week of my life, and I wanted to hold on to that feeling. It was magical, and beautiful, and something out of Amelie, Bridges of Madison County and those Before Sunrise/Before Sunset movies by Linklater.

too much. So forgive me if i got a little emotional. More than anything it was a good indication of the kind of women I want in my life. Had I been more positive I would have enjoyed it for what it was and not lamented too much on having to leave. took me until yesterday to snap out of it.

But it was perfect, and that’s all I’m going to say about it. I left it all on the field and I have no regrets about that.

Ithaca was/is beautiful. A real palette cleanser. waterfallsand greenery as far as the eye can see. Peaceful, a real charming town in the vein of Athens, Eugene, and Lawrence. Nice people, my host has been real cool.

I had a bit of problems getting back for sure. Sunday morning I wondered if it was wise even to come. My friend T____ convinced me it was time and I’m glad she did.

Its been exactly what I needed, although there was a bit of madness with the bus situation.

Apparently the greyhound website has a few glitches, showing times that really aren’t there.
So imagine my surprise when I got there and they said I’d have to wait til 12:30 to catch a ride, no worries.

We’ll just get breakfast. but when i crossed the border there were problems. Got to Buffalo to find out there wasn’t a bus going to Ithaca. Freak out!!!! for sure, especially when the news hit me the same time as i was geting bitched out by the ex-gf about my Toronto affairs.

So i hung up and went to the ticket counter and serendipitously met a Canadian who was meeting ehr sister in Syracuse and was going from there to Ithaca, a guy from Montreal tagged along and fittingly enough i’m riding in a van full of Canucks back into Vonnegut’s old stomping grounds. Was it a coincidence that as soon as i hung up with the ex that good things happened? Who knows, who cares?

the point is I’m still meeting with the crazy loon Howling Mime and his pack of dogs and his beautiful wife for lunch here. Catching a ride back to Syracuse and will be brushing my shoulders off in Brooklyn, New York by nightfall. Ain’t that sumpthing?

perhaps the beautiful Robin Kay will be available tonight to get drinks, or maybe I’ll end up in some bar with the old gang from Denton, Texas. a lot of us out there in NYC.

I’m just excited to see old friends in new places, and tell new lies, and old truths.

30% chance you’ll make to see this world from sperm to conception to being born to being raised to being an adult. You’d think people would seem more happy to be alive. Life is a miracle and magical if you make the right decisions. People in places like Toronto, San Francisco, even Portland at times are so even keel, so cool that they forget just how awesome the places they inhabit are.

That is why its important for travelers like us to remind them that it could be a lot worse. No matter where you are the chain of events have unfolded already to eventually lead to death. Might as well enjoy the trip.

If there is something you need to say say it. If there is something you need to do, then do it. You only live once, unless of course you’re a Buddhist, but i’m not ready to take that gamble either.

BM