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jones_beach

April is the cruelest month, but August is the slowest month. It seems everyone is out of town, which is probably for the best when the temperature hits 90 degrees (F), and the humidity is 90%.

Many of us took the month to travel. I returned to the homeland to visit with my roots. J. D. has been lost in the jungles of Central America for the last three weeks. But come Tuesday September will be here. Hopefully it will bring Indian Summer with it: mild temperatures, bright days, and balmy evenings. Hopefully it won’t bring any nasty surprises, like swine flu, terror attacks, stock market crashes and the like. It will definitely bring more writing, reporting, observation and analysis from us here at Culturalcapitol.

~ the Editor.

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Addicted to TV

Addicted to TV?

Or TV on the Radio?

TV on the radio

Marky Pierson sent this video to J. D. who asked me to post it. (He’s exploring the jungles of Central America until the beginning of August.) He said he got it in response to something he said about wanting to see Dirty Martini bowling in Vegas.

A perfect space for TED

A perfect space for TED

On the last Thursday of every month a group of young professionals get together to screen TED talks and share ideas. Last week I was informally invited via Facebook by Ryan Hagen, a founding member of the group (and a Facebook friend from the NYU days). The other founder, Kyle Jaster provided the space (pictured above) in the TriBeCa offices of Rayogram, Mr. Jaster’s design and consulting business.

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gun virgins

Last night the lovely Ms. Cybil Lake threw a fundraiser to raise funds for the production of her movie “The Gun Virgins” at Gallery Bar. She screened a video from her reality show “The Cybil Lake Show” and served free drinks courtesy of Krol vodka and Caballo Negro wine.

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jello-wrap-1

I really just have to share this link.  As weird as Gowanus is–and it’s definitely weird–even if you dig on the Bell House, any hood where high art is winning the mural competition for the new Lowe’s is a bit off–guess all legit tag artist have been co-opted–ANYHOO, THIS IS HILARIOUS.  I stumbled across the Jell-O cheeseburger and fries on thisiswhyyourefat.com, and then clicked through to see the truly wondrous stuff that I missed whilst taking in the Mermaid Day Parade.  You can’t be everywhere at once, folks, but whether or not this is art, it’s fabulous.  And I want to eat it. Check it out here.

Yesterday, Sunday July 26th, Save Coney Island had a rally on the steps of Brooklyn Borough Hall. (Check out the video above.) The speakers were in order of appearance: World Famous BOB as MC; Dick Zigun, “Mayor” of Coney Island; Miss Cyclone, Angie Pontani; photographer and Coney Island historian Charles Denson;  Brooklyn artist Savitri D; Dianna Carlin a.k.a. Lola Staar, owner of Lola Staar boutique; Raya Brass Band; Kevin Powell; The Great Fredini; Juan Rivera; former Astroland operator, and current Cyclone operator Carol Albert; and Reverend Billy.

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2009 has not been a good year for celebrity health. New York fans of the Beasties are asking, will they still play at the All Points West festival in Liberty State Park on July 31st?

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                 http://www.saveconeyisland.net/

PRESS CONTACT:                                                                  Juan Rivero, Spokesman

Save Coney Island, 646.229.6609, info@saveconeyisland.net

AS N.Y. HONORS JANE JACOBS, HER SON IS ‘APPALLED’ AT CONEY ISLAND REZONING PLAN

Ned Jacobs: ‘This rezoning plan for Coney Island does not appear to reflect

the urban values and planning principles she espoused’

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jdx-avatar-pick-1By J.D. Oxblood

It’s true I’ve been out of the loop.  Day gigs suck, that’s all I can say, and since good writers are now of less value than a foreclosed home in Florida, making a dollar these days is harder than ever.  Not that anyone wants to hear me sing the blues.  Let’s say I was in Mallorca banging Swedish stewardesses.  Or at my pad in the Hamptons.  Let’s all believe some lies and wake up happy for a change.

I missed a lot these last few weeks.  That batard Madoff got sentenced, and, from what I’ve heard, none of his victims were given the option of kicking him in the nuts.  So the justice system is totally screwed.  Gay Pride happened, which I totally missed, which is ok, since I have no pride.  And the Mermaid Day parade went off without a hitch, despite the ominous sense that the very ground would be torn out from under us at any moment.  No one minded the rain—no one who turned out, anyway.  It’s the best day of the year in New York City and y’all can’t ruin that.  (IF YOU EVER WANT TO SEE CONEY ISLAND AGAIN, PLEASE CALL YOUR COUNCILPERSON.  CHECK OUT SAVECONEYISLAND.NET—THE SH*T HITS THE FAN JULY 13.)

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sidewalk musicians

Sidewalk musicians on Bedford Avenue @ N 7th July 2nd 2009

By the end of June people who can afford it have left town for two months, or at least every weekend. The moneyed leisure class get tans, sit on the dock or the deck drinking champagne, and contemplate early retirement. The rest of us wander the streets between July 4th and Labor Day looking for a party on or off a rooftop, cruising the nearly empty streets and braving the inevitable spike in violent crime. The unmoneyed leisure class (a.k.a. the unemployed) have plenty of time for idleness, and idle hands are indeed the devil’s weekend in the Hamptons.

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Murray Pic

June 25 2009 was a downer. A major downer. I was at home, getting ready to leave the warm comfort of Brooklyn for the mean streets of Manhattan, when I checked my Facebook and saw Lefty Lucy had updated her status. It said “Ed McMahon, Farah Fawcett…Michael Jackson?” I thought she was kidding. I commented “<gasp!> You just jinxed him!” Then I saw that the news feed was adding posts rapidly. People from all over the world were saying the same thing: Michael Jackson, RIP.

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Year One Kiss

This video is a sample of what J. D. got at the Vegas show. Enjoy!

IMG_0293

I should get a better camera. Or at least not be so shy when taking pictures.

John Hodgman was performing a comedy show last night at Union Hall in Park Slope. I didn’t know that, so the giddy joy I felt as I told my companion PC was standing in front of us at the door was genuine. I thought perhaps that he was just there to soak up the hipster vibe like the rest of us. It turned out he was amplifying the hipster vibe, by a factor of ten at least.

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by J.D. Oxblood

I’ve trolled the sources and, as usual, the best coverage comes from the AP.

It’s a sad day in the world today, as we mourn the passing of one of our favorites, one who made our days a little more pleasant, whether it be from reruns of “Kung Fu,” the forty-second viewing of “Kill Bill,” or even just those fab derivative Yellow Pages commercials.  That voice, the voice alone that made the first “Kill Bill” so… enticing, knowing that was Dave-C fondling that sword and never seeing his face.  And for children of the 70s, who goaded our friends on the playground with “grasshopper” and “until you can take this Jolly Rancher from my hand” or “until you can walk on the sand box without leaving a footprint”—this man is a part of our Jungian psyche, both an archetype to inhabit and a Campbellian hero to emulate.  It’s a sad day.

And then there’s the question of the cause of death.

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This is what I get for living near art students.

Rock of Love

Rock of Love

Sunday night is Kitty Nights at Bar on A. I showed up because I heard Calamity Chang was debuting her tribute to Brett Michaels, and I had just finished a three day DVR marathon of Rock of Love. That and our star reporter has been feverishly packing his suitcase for Vegas where he will be covering the Miss Exotic World show, so he wasn’t able to make it. He is going to be giving up-to-the-nanosecond updates from the big event on Twitter, so if you aren’t following him already, do yourself a favor and put him on your list. You won’t regret it.

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Stars and bars forever!

Stars and bars forever!

Who is laughing now?

Just five years ago some Americans were painting their Hummers in the stars and stripes, confident that the “liberation” of Iraq would bring global peace and low, low gas prices. The Hummer symbolized American strength, wealth, and frontier attitude. Now all those cowboys who thought they were starring in an Old West flick have been told “Go East young man!” as the Hummer brand is sold to a Chinese company.

It’s too easy to say that their jingoistic hubris is the root cause of this national humiliation. Instead I’ll point out that passing the baton of overweening douche-baggery to the Chinese might be exactly what saves our republic.

redhum

Christine Elmo

Christine Elmo

Last Thursday, May 21st, I clanked down the metal stairs of Jimmy’s 43 and into the subterranean bar completely and thoroughly confused. I had been invited by Christine Elmo to come to a benefit for a dance production she has choreographed and hopes to produce. Christine is a New York dance artist who has performed in the city and Europe extensively for the last two years. (Check out the video of dancing in Central Turkey and her CV here. Beautiful!) She’s a mover and a shaker in every sense of the phrase. So I guess I expected the benefit would be in a black box theater south of Houston, someplace that reeks of fresh paint and sawdust.

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Or: a categorical thesis on the recycled recycling of recyclables in pop culture

Everything old is Jung again

Everything old is Jung again

by J.D. Oxblood

I knew we were in bad shape during the previews.  Sandwiched in between trailers for the latest installment of the “Terminator” franchise and the sequel to “Transformers” was an ad for an action-packed Summer Blockbuster that I didn’t recognize.  I started thinking… what haven’t they done yet, and what could this be?  Evil villains in hot Matrix-y black leather, a handpicked crew of “elite” heroes donning metallic super-suits… I turned to my date and said, “This has to be ‘G.I. Joe.’”  In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m basically a pessimist, which means that I HATE to be right.

[Spoiler alert:  if you haven’t seen the new “Star Trek” yet, and want to, don’t read this.  It will only piss you off.  Devil’s advocate alert:  if you have seen “Star Trek,” and loved it, please read this, it will totally piss you off.  Sympathizer alert:  if you saw “Star Trek” and thought it was stupid—whether or not you enjoyed watching it—I can’t make a recommendation one way or the other.  I got nothing to say you don’t know already, but sometimes it’s nice to have confirmation.]

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awwww...

awwww...

The Sad Panda brought his friend to Bowling Green yesterday. His friend didn’t say much, but he was soooooo cute!

photo courtesy of Robin Lester

photo courtesy of Robin Lester

It looks like they’re filming an episode of Sesame Street in Washington Square Park today. Do down there and get your Oscar the Grouch on!

An undisclosed underground location for Burlesque Revealed

An undisclosed underground location for Burlesque Revealed

Leaflet069

Leaflet070

Quai movie poster

Jonathan Demme, Academy award winning director of Stop Making Sense, Philadelphia, Silence of the Lambs, and most recently Rachel Getting Married, is introducing the films of Hatian/American/French director Michelange Quay this coming Tuesday at the French Alliance / Alliance Francaise.

The event will feature two of Mr. Quay’s movies, the short The Gospel of the Creole Pig and the feature Eat for This Is My Body. Mr. Quay’s films are lyrical meditations on post-colonialism. The Gospel of the Creole Pig takes us from the slaughter pits in Port-au-Prince, where pigs are butchered in disgustingly unsanitary conditions, to the houses on top of the surrounding hills where rich people live in comfort. Water runs from the toilettes of the hilltop houses to the trash and chaos of the Cité Soleil, and all the while the voice of the creole pig tells us ironically about the cycle of life and its hierarchies of oppression.

Eat for This Is My Body is more narrative, but not much. Mr. Quay’s project is to convey the interdependency of Whites and Blacks under colonization and afterward — the relations of power and how both sides seek to achieve identity from its opposite. (It’s very Hegelian, and like the “end of history” never complete.) To this end the movie is a dream of the moment when colonization breaks down, a no/every time and place where the masters have lost their allies, but the slaves have yet to become masters. Elaborate and stunning visuals wind along like yarn from a spinning wheel, and rather than dialogue (which is minimal) an incantatory voice over keeps the plot from interfering with the movie’s anxious emotional texture.

It is guaranteed to be an enriching and thought provoking evening, and I personally can’t wait to see the discussion between Demme and Quay!

Tuesday May 26 at 7 p.m.

Florence Gould Hall
55 East 59th Street
FIAF Members Free** ($2 advance tickets)
Non-Members $10
Students w/ ID $7

Panda Man takes a load off downtown

Panda Man takes a load off downtown

Poor little guy. I can only imagine how hot he’ll be tomorrow whent the temps are supposed to be in the 80s!

Ruby Valentine

Ruby Valentine

By J.D. Oxblood

City Winery is a big, fat, wooden room that would make a vacationing couple from Vermont feel very at home.  High ceilings smattered with rotating fans, a pervasive blonde woodtone, and a stage so deep you could stack the Rockettes 6-deep and they could still kick.  We rolled in around 10 to witness the changing of the guard—upper East Side diners were paying the stiff tabs for their undersized tapas & pricey vino as downtown hoodlums played musical chairs, vying for decent seats as they became available, nestling up to the stage and onto the raised dining area in back.  This was a big room … could Doc fill it?

Bird of Paradise

Bird of Paradise

He did, but the sound system didn’t.  The PA was lacking, but I quickly forgot about it as the shapely Bird of Paradise came on to warm up the crowd with a little gogo to surf music, in a purple sparkly bra and a short skirt cut on an angle, accentuated with bangles and nude fishnet stockings.  Babe-o-licious.

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Merch of V actors in Q and A

The Propeller company cast doing Q & A after the show

Last Thursday some of the Propeller company’s all-male cast sat down with the audience to discuss their production of William Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice.

The last time I saw the Propeller company was two years ago when they did Midsummer Night’s Dream and Taming of the Shrew in repertory at BAM. The Taming production highlighted the text’s sexual violence by by playing on LGBT domestic violence issues. Petruchio as an abusive boyfriend just seems scarier when it’s a big, butch, swaggering cowpoke beating up on a skinny, emo boy. Or maybe they were reading too much into a cute, human story of a man teaching his new wife to be respectful. Either way, it was powerful — that is to say good theater — and good theater is always interesting.

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DO NOT BE ALARMED!!!

The Alliance for Downtown informs us here at CC that there is a video shoot today at Exchange Place. Thanks for the warning! I guess TV has its act together more than the office of the POTUS, whose low-flying plane stunt caused a real life evacuation of freaked out office workers last month.

Fake fire trucks

Fake fire trucks

I love the props! How unrealistic is this news van?!

Fake news van

Fake news van

guac-night-bell-house-01

Hipster riot for free guac

The 5th of May is a lot of things to a lot of people. You couldn’t turn on the radio or open up a web browser yesterday without someone telling you that the 5th of May is the day Karl Marx was born, the day Cy Young threw the first perfect game in modern baseball, the Day that Kublai Khan became the ruler of the Mongol empire, and the day that Coco Chanel debuted Chanel No. 5. It also happens to be the day that Mexican troops led by Ignacio Zaragoza repulsed repeated attacks by French troops under Charles de Lorencez at the Battle of Puebla. This is the occasion celebrated as “Cinco de Mayo.”

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