Friday, August 27, 2010

Eli "Paperboy" Reed at Le Poisson Rouge, August 11, 2010

Three weeks ago, I posted about Eli "Paperboy" Reed and his band, the True Loves, noting that they were to play at Le Poisson Rouge, in Greenwich Village, on August 11, and promising "a full report". I was there, and made the video above of Eli and the True Loves doing "Help". Eli and his excellent band put on an energetic and gut-wrenching show; I now think I know what it was like to be in Cincinnati in the 1960s, catching a show by James Brown and an early version of the Famous Flames.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A visit to the studio of painter George Oommen


This video clip, courtesy of Harvard Magazine, takes us into the studio of painter George Oommen as he demonstrates and explains his technique. I found interesting Oommen's analogy of his method to jazz; long time readers of this blog may recall my attempt to describe a connection between jazz and some modern painting.

Oommen's work includes purely non-representational (a term I prefer to "abstract" because all painting is, of necessity, abstract, as Magritte, somewhat tendentiously, indicated in "The Treachery of Images") paintings, as well as some representational, but very un-naturalistic, landscapes, largely inspired by scenes in his native Kerala state, in southern India. You can see images of Oommen's paintings on his website.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Culture war, New York City style: it's about bikes.

Much has been written and said about the supposed cultural divide between coastal elites and heartland (or flyover country) just plain folks, but, as Alexander Nazaryan describes it in his Daily News piece, there's an internecine version playing out here in Gotham. His analysis of the kerfuffle over a bike lane abutting Prospect Park in Brooklyn, in which our Borough President, Marty Markowitz, sided with the gas guzzlers, is illuminating:

Markowitz, the consummate politician, was playing to his base: the ethnic whites of Jewish, Italian and Irish descent who drive along Prospect Park West to their homes in Sheepshead Bay, Gravesend and Midwood. On Prospect Park West live yuppies who couldn't tell Marty Markowitz from a borscht belt yukster - and couldn't care less. They're the ones doing the biking, the ones with no tangible roots to New York who might finally spend that year in France - where, of course, they will bike from patisserie to boucherie to the wineshop in perfect pastoral bliss.

The Mets are toast, but The Baseball Project is alive and well.


The Baseball Project is the creation of Steve Wynn and Scott McCaughey, two rockers who first met at a club in Seattle and discovered a common passion for the national pastime. They rounded out the group with McCaughey's R.E.M. colleague Peter Buck on bass and Linda Pitmon on drums. The clip above, courtesy of Steve's YouTube channel, shows them on Letterman, doing "Past Time". Once again, a hat tip to Eliot Wagner (follow the link for some great photos he took of the group, with Mike Mills in place of Buck on bass, at Maxwell's in Hoboken) for turning me on to them.