Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sketches (1986)

FROM THE ARCHIVES, SEPT. 30 - Drawings from high school. If this seems like filler, that's only because it's filler. Things will get better next week.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Sketchbook: Yet More Random Drawings

Been a crummy week inside a crummy month.

I just watched the "Smells Like Teen Spirit" video for the first time tonight.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Photos Of People Screaming on TV

It's been that kind of month. Related: if you plan on writing any insane letters to the White House web site, here's their Captcha;

$490 million??

Monday, September 21, 2009

Mystery: Former Band Name In Mildly Amusing Movie

JUST WHEN I THOUGHT MY LIFE HAD NO PURPOSE DEPT., SEPT. 21 - From 2006's Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny:

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Norb Sketches

1991-2003. The man.

Friday, September 11, 2009

New: Survival Of The Streets

EXCELLENCE IN JOURNALISM DEPT., SEPT. 11 - My film essay, "Survival Of The Streets", is now online at Vice magazine. If you've ever wanted to read 9,000 words about Escape From New York and the Cro-Mags, this would be your opportunity. The illustrations - appropriately enough for a piece about a vast island prison - were done by Superjail creator Christy Karacas. It is an entirely bitchin' article.

Writing about Bad New York ('66-'90) is the kind of task that has no logical endpoint. Every day I worked on this piece, I opened another door down another endless corridor of information: deinstitutionalization, the planned destruction of the Bronx, all the related westerns and vigilante flicks and obscure Italian sci-fi films I still need to watch. Are Beat Street, Klute, Marathon Man, or The New York Ripper relevant to my article? I don't know; after watching 100 films for the piece, I ran out of time and patience.

My limited experience with articles this size tells me that the last week of writing is generally spent dumping as much extraneous information as possible (I cut 25% - 3,000 words - from last January's Doc Dart profile).

I ditched a lot of things from this piece;

- All the varied wistful references to stickball that popped up in the cinema of the 70's. What was this game?

- An itemized list of references to the Attica Prison Riots, and Cuba hijackings, and fist-shaped afro-picks

- All the varied hints at the rock bottom morale of 70s/80s NYC, from dudes reading porn on the subway (Looking For Mr. Goodbar) to citizens rallying around a hapless bank robber (Dog Day Afternoon). Was it really this bad?

- A section on smoking in public places, including all the glorious cigarette billboards from 70's NYC films, and smoking cops from 70's NYC films, and these two sentences; Woody Allen lights up in the first five minutes of Manhattan, huddled with his buddies in the back of a congested restaurant. In Escape From New York, Kurt Russell chides his companion for lighting up in a coffee shop, but only because it might attract attention from rampaging cannibals just outside.

Earlier this year, I'd considered spending 2010 doing an EFNY blog (a week on Lee Van Cleef, a week on Ernest Borgnine, a week on John Carpenter's baffling late-inning career slump, etc.). But the human lifespan is only so long. In all likelihood, I will never again have the time to sit around and write about my favorite movie and favorite album. This was it.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Problem: Homeless Beast

LOS ANGELES, SEPT 2 - My friend John Michaels - late of the bands Towel and Men's Recovery Project - is looking for a home for his cat. John is leaving L.A. after a series of misadventures, and writes;

About 3 months ago, I took in a cat that had been hanging around my apartment complex. He was very friendly, and he seemed to be lost. I put up signs around the neighborhood, but no one got back to me, and I took him to the vet and he's not chipped. So now he's mine, but I'm not really in the best position to be taking on a dependent right now. I'm heading out east on September 9th. I'll be in NYC for a night or 2, then I'm heading to Philly for a couple weeks. After that, I'm not sure what I'm doing, as I'm waiting to hear back about a job and a new place in LA, and I may want to stay out east for a bit to celebrate my 40th and prepare myself for LA, Round 2. So I'm looking for someone who wants a cat. In case the photo doesn't work for everyone, he's an orange tabby, medium build, with large, adorable ears. He's extremely friendly, very playful, and, at least since I've had him, an indoor cat, though he seems like he could handle just about anything. He's about 3 and he's fixed, though he still has quite the package, which has prompted much incredulous poking from those inclined to poke cat scrotums (a much larger group than I would have guessed), and the reason for one of his many names: SeƱor Fruitcup. He really is one of the coolest cats I've ever hung out with. So if you're looking for handsome companionship in this dark, ugly world, let me know. Or if you know someone in LA, NYC, or Philly who is looking for a cat, please pass this on.

As if this photo wasn't enough, I'll also throw in the complete Towel discography to any takers. John can be reached through his website.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009