February 28, 2012

Light and Wind

Walking down the street the other day at dusk, I glanced up to see the last light of the day cast upon this flag. I felt a moment of patriotism. It's nice that some buildings still fly our flag.

The next day, also at dusk, I noticed the tungsten glow of a single low wattage bulb in a window just off Tenth Ave.

In Central Park there's a large "sculpture" on the corner of 59th St. and Fifth Ave. A giant tornado made out of inner tubes and concrete. Genius! The description below calls it "arresting." Not exactly the word I'd use for it. Nor did I have the "visceral" experience it promises. "Massive but also vulnerable"? I love reading the long-winded descriptions of certain pieces of art that attempt to justify its existence. You almost feel guilty or stupid for not liking or not getting it. I'd love to know what the Public Art Fund paid the artist for this work.


February 24, 2012

Art & Sideburns

Tonight while on the train to Chelsea I noticed this man next to me and his lack of sideburns, which I found disturbing. So disturbing that I secretly snapped a photo. I mentioned to my friend that there seems to be a new trend of trimming your sideburns incredibly short. Where does this come from? Is it a military influenced thing? Then, I glanced to my left to see another guy 6 feet away sporting the same look. Whoever inspired it, it looks stupid.


So many art openings tonight in Chelsea that my friends Victor and Laurah (who pointed out I spelled her name wrong on a previous post, sorry) were only able to hit about half of them. Because it's free, I find myself drinking too much cheap white wine and mediocre beer. I don't even like to drink, but it's in every gallery. When I have my show I'll have good wine, Heineken and soft drinks. Might even have a cheese and fruit tray. Then again, people are slobs....

There was the usual variety of truly beautiful work as well as the amateurish crap that astonishes me, leaving me wondering how it ever made it into a gallery.

Wonderful large paintings on metal by Piet van den Boog (Amsterdam). His wife was lovely, she chatted me up.

Incredibly detailed paper mosaic work. Thousands of tiny pieces of paper making this piece. So beautiful and labor intensive. Sorry, no artist name.

Detail from above. Every tiny leaf a single piece of paper. Amazing.

This is the kind of crap that makes me scratch my head and wonder WTF? By Jonathan Lasker. Please, I beg someone to explain this to me, and how he ever got a show.

Crap painting #2 from Lasker's "early works". Seriously? Someone please explain this to me.

February 22, 2012

Seriously? Ashes?

King Ashole
I didn't realize it was Ash Wednesday until I noticed droves of people walking around looking like someone had crushed a cigarette out on their faces. Not being Catholic (I'm agnostic), I had to look up the true reason why people still carry on this archaic tradition.

One description wrote:
The act of putting on ashes symbolizes fragility and mortality, and the need to be redeemed by the mercy of God. Far from being a merely external act, the Church has retained the use of ashes to symbolize that attitude of internal penance to which all the baptized are called during Lent. —

Another book suggested:
The use of Sacrifice Beans may help children to keep track of their Lenten penances. Some families begin this activity (with undyed beans!) on Ash Wednesday and then use the collected beans to cook a penitential bean dish for Good Friday at the end of Lent.

Does ANY of that make sense to anyone??

The fact that seemingly educated adults still carry on this antiquated ritual seems really crazy to me.

Not wanting to feel left out I ran home, lit a paper towel on fire (almost setting off the fire alarm) and then smeared the cooled ashes on my forehead. I didn't have any burnt palm leaves lying around.

I snapped this with my point-&-shoot. All black and white photos of the Empire State building look like they were shot in the 1940s to me. I love that.

February 20, 2012

Things I find odd

Walking along Central Park I noticed this worried looking kid having his portrait drawn. His family was standing to his right smiling and babbling something in Turkish or some other middle eastern dialect. Whatever they were saying it wasn't working, this kid was not happy.

At the movies the other day, next to the food area, I noticed a scale to check your weight. Put in a quarter and it'll tell you how fat you are. Perhaps that's a good thing to have at the theater just before you buy that $7.00 popcorn smothered in oily butter and that 57 ounce Coke for $6.00. Don't most people have scales in their homes these days? And even if they don't, would you weigh yourself at a movie?

Dominican people must like to buy their skin tight pants and skirts from vendors who display them on the street. These are very common in my hood.

February 19, 2012

The Joke's on Us. Art!

When walking around the Chelsea art galleries, it's a rare occasion that you find something that really makes you stop and appreciate the artist's work. More often than not, you find some huge canvas covered with cheap acrylic paint that appears to have been applied by an autistic third grader.

Moma recently had the huge show "De Kooning: A Retrospective," which drew thousands of people. Personally, I thought it was a HUGE waste of space. His later works were simplistic amoeba shapes in various colors painted on white gesso that any child would have no problem duplicating. Proving to me at least that the art world is the biggest crock of shit in the world. Oh wait, the music industry is the biggest crock of shit (did anyone see the Sleigh Bells on SNL tonight? Worst band EVER!)

Speaking of absurdity, Gursky's photograph of the interior of a .99 cent store brought $3.89 million at auction and his most recent "work" of a stream brought over $4 million.

But, then you go into a little gallery and find this little gem. The artist made people and dogs out of wood, wire, old newspapers and paper mache (papier-mache). This was a cool exhibition. Beats de Kooning hands down.

I can't find the little flier; I'll put the artist's name up soon.

Walking down one of the gallery streets I noticed this little deer head sticking out of a bag. I couldn't tell if it was art or an old Christmas decoration. I probably left some valuable lost art treasure on the street....

February 15, 2012

Ring of Death

One odd thing about living in NYC is that you have sudden infestations of various vermin. I've trapped at least four mice in the past 3 years here in Inwood and now I've noticed an increase in roaches. Not big cockroaches but smaller ones that resemble water bugs. Anyway, when I flip on the kitchen light late at night they all scatter across the counter, running under the toaster and into creases and crevices, which I find semi-disgusting.

There was a notice that an exterminator would be working in the building last week but the thought of someone squirting poison around my apartment didn't sound so healthy. If what they're spraying will kill the roaches, it'll probably kill me. So, after pondering this dilemma for an hour I decided to create my own weapon of mass destruction for the roaches. I invented "The Ring of Death". I took a used orange juice container and cut it apart. Then I squeezed some Combat roach killer into a circle. I then sprinkled some parmesan cheese in the middle of the ring and left it on the kitchen counter. An hour later I looked in the kitchen, finding a bunch of roaches feasting on the sprinkled morsels. Unfortunately for them, they had to walk across the "Ring of Death" to get to that delicious feast.

Within 24 hours my roach problem was nearly over. After stuffing themselves they tracked that poison home and killed the whole family. I can hear the roach mother screaming now, "Look what you tracked into the house! What's that on your feet?"

February 11, 2012


Nearly every Saturday morning I go to the local farmers market to get my 10 Fuji apples. There's all the usual stuff. Lots of root vegetables, overpriced breads, organic this and that. Jams and granola. Expensive honey and oddly overpriced cheese at the tune of $20+ per lb. There's even a pickle man.

Last week I was struck by the rich colors and textures of the mushrooms, garlic and an unexplainable box of onion skins lying on the ground. How and why did the skin come off? For whatever reason they were there, I found them beautiful.

February 10, 2012

Me & JLo

Today I was shooting still life photos of beauty products at the Condé Nast/Fairchild studio on 46th St. and Third Ave. I poked my head into the scanning/retouching department to say hello to my friend Alex (top notch retoucher), who was finishing up an image of Jennifer Lopez on his screen. I smiled and said, "Hey, I shot that." He thought I was joking, then realizing I was serious he said, "Wow, what a coincidence." While admiring each other's skills, we caught up on the latest gossip and publishing news.

Technical note: The dark empty space to the left was added later to make room for headline and type.

Later Alex walked into the studio and handed me a pre-press test print. It was a very nice gesture but what do I do with a 16 x 19 print of JLo? Sign it and sell it on Ebay for $12.

February 5, 2012

What Rhymes with "Mitt"

The New York Times reported that the band Survivor made Newt Gingrich stop using its song "Eye of the Tiger" for his campaign. And, Mitt Romney was asked to stop using Somali born K'Naan's song "Wavin' Flag". Don't you find it funny that rock and pop musicians are rarely if ever supportive of Republican candidates? What does that tell you? To add to that list, in earlier campaigns, Jackson Brown sued (and won) a suit against John McCain for using "Running on Empty". David Byrne of the Talking Heads sued Charlie Christ for using "Road to Nowhere". Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart stopped Sarah Palin (moron) from using "Barracuda". Tom Petty made Michele Bachmann (moron) stop using "American Girl". Don Henley of the Eagles forced Chuck DeVore to stop using two songs, "Boys of Summer" and "All She Wants to Do Is Dance".

All of these idiots used these songs without permission, stupidly assuming the artists would have no problem with it.

Interesting that Fleetwood Mac let Bill Clinton use "Don't Stop", with its lyrics "thinking about tomorrow", without any complaint.

But, oddly enough, country music star Toby Keith let Gov. Rick Perry use "American Ride".

So, what does this tell you? Well, it tells me that talented, liberal minded songwriters obviously want no part of the Republican agenda and refuse to allow them to use their songs. And, middle American, blue collar, sports loving, bible thumping Republicans must turn to equally small minded country artists for their campaign musical needs. Although apparently not very often....

And finally: The Republicans are seriously going to settle on Mitt Romney, the abortion hating, flip-flopping, religious Mormon lunatic, to be their candidate? They can't come up with anything better than this idiot in their entire pool of presidential possibilities? Fucking ridiculous.

The New York Giants won tonight. Yeehooo... Go team!! Thank God I missed it.

February 4, 2012

Hearts & Wheelie

The other night while walking to the subway after having dinner with a friend, I heard loud motorcycles and spun around just in time to grab a blurry snap of a guy doing a wheelie through Times Square, going about 50mph. A second later, a police car pulled out from a side street trying to block the other 10 or so bikers who were behind the guy. They all gunned their engines and swerved around the cop. He didn't bother to pursue them.

What says Valentine's Day better than this?

"Okay Diego, take these flimsy wooden sticks, this wire and these old red Christmas lights and make a big heart shape out of them. Now go hang the whole thing out front. Got it?"
Aaaahhh, the joys of living in the Dominican ghetto.

February 2, 2012

Beautiful Things

I'm probably not supposed to say anything but I had a GREAT photo shoot with a certain celeb yesterday. I was expecting the worst after my Gaga experience and had an minor anxiety attack every time I thought about the possibilities of a repeat. Thankfully, it couldn't have gone more smoothly. Hanging out in a little boutique hotel suite for an hour, sipping coffee and eating oatmeal raisin cookies. She was so cool. Sweet, elegant, accommodating and professional, and with zero attitude. I knew I had it on the third frame. She was awesome. I'm smitten! That's when I love my job.

Just a snap during the interview with point-&-shoot camera.

Tonight my beautiful friend Katherine and I went to see the movie "Hugo." The most visually stimulating movie I've ever seen in my life, bar none. And, my first real 3D experience. Holy shit, the whole movie was like watching it through one of those old View-Masters you played with as a kid.... Incredible. Could the glasses look any goofier?

Afterwards we went for Thai at Yum-Yum on 8th Ave. Katherine pulled a bean sprout out of the Pad Thai that looked exactly like a tiny whale. Almost impossible to get a shot of it in that dark restaurant. A very fun night.