Thursday, November 27, 2008

Turkey Pigeon

Turkey-sized Scheepmaker Pigeon, a Flickr find


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Silent Film Tonight @ BAM

A friend told me about "Silent Film Tuesdays" at BAM in Fort Greene. Tonight they're showing a 1926 comedy directed by William A. Wellman. The photo is certainly intriguing. I might just check it out. See details below:

You Never Know Women
Part of the BAMcinematek series Pordenone Silent Film Tuesdays
Tue, Nov 25 at 7pm*
*Live piano accompaniment by Donald Sosin

Directed by William A. Wellman
With Florence Vidor
(1926) 71min

“Beautiful lighting and camera work by Victor Milner, spare use of sub-titles, and Wellman’s skillful handling of the actors all conspire to make this a wonderful example of silent film technique.”—All Movie Guide
Lost until a print was found in the Library of Congress in 2001, this highly entertaining Wellman (A Star is Born) comedy concerns a love triangle amongst a troupe of Russian acrobats, clowns, and magicians. On the verge of being canned by Paramount prior to this film, its success gave Wellman the opportunity to direct Wings (1927), winner of the first Academy Award for Best Picture.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Girls Take Stage the Riot Way

It was cold Saturday night, but not too cold to keep Death by Audio in Williamsburg from steaming up with a packed house of punk & indie rockers of all ages. I, among them, was re-living my days as a teenager when I went to shows in the mid to late nineties. "Not much has changed," I thought, noticing the sea of black attire, hoodies, fingerless gloves, great-hair-cut-but-not-clean-head, tattoo and piercing adorned lot. I mean, the cost at the door was still 5 bucks. Hell, I even bumped into a kid I once dated in my teens, who I was not surprised was still rocking this scene as guitarist of the headliner, The Measure.

But something was different. And it wasn't just that there was an equal amount of girls and guys in the audience to distinguish mid-nineties from 2008. Or the eerily familiar dress code. I mean, shit, even the dj played Jawbreaker in-between sets (which I happily sang along to in my head).

It was who performed: a powerful, all-girl band that rocked tightly orchestrated and invigorating guitar riffs, drum patterns and time signatures leaving the guys in the audience spell bound (taking note of the flawless and natural instrument control) and the girls inspired (and slightly turned on). I realized I had always wanted to see this in my youth--girls taking the stage and being completely comfortable doing so. As a musician who has performed across the nation with a variety of bands-an all girl one at that-I realize that life would have happened so much sooner if this was the window of my alternative, underground teen angst life.

Each Other's Mothers rocks. I was right in the front along with a bunch of girls bouncing and pushing--of course, into me--but staring at these super nice, geeky yet serious girls who wear rock star so casually. Maybe because they're just being real. The Mothers put on a show that is worth trekking long and far too. Reminds me of the days that I'd go see Erase Errata and come home to play music or blast songs from their set with my friends for hour-long dance parties on top of my bed.

As a musician and feminist who engages teen girls at the Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls, it's not always clear how girls live the day to day. But going to this show and seeing my friends perform made me think that within all the same-same there's a lot of new. Teens are getting access to a whole new meaning of gender bending equality alongside the generation ahead of them. It doesn't matter that I'm not a teenager anymore, I can clearly see how freakin awesome this would be for any girl--or guy, for that matter.

It can't hurt having a much more curious and D-I-Y adept generation growing fast behind us "approaching thirty-somethings." Hell, a zine table had more attention then the makeshift bar at the show if that tells you anything. Maybe more punk and indie rock like the Mothers will open up the eager and desiring eyes of our youth to a new way of being, acting, and finding ourselves--and a lot earlier.

The fashion's the same as is the attitude and tiny micro groups within one intricately embroidered macro identity. But Riot grrrl in their hearts, the Mothers and their allies have nothing to prove when they take on the stage. They're meant to be there. Always were. As obvious as the tattoos and eye-wear that signifies "we're in."

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Fort Greene cat needs a home

I've been fostering a cat left behind by her previous owner. My roommates and I cannot care for her anymore - we travel too much to give her proper care and what she really wants is someone who is home a lot or another animal to keep her company. We'd REALLY like to avoid putting her in a shelter. She'd be so upset in a cage!

Speckles is a senior calico short hair currently living in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. She loves to cuddle under the covers, sit on laps, and be around people. Though she's on the older side, she has the face, body, and playful nature of a kitten. With an endearing meow and sometimes a nudge she'll wake you up in the morning to ask you to join her for breakfast. When it comes to feeding, she has some special needs, but nothing too complicated. "Spec" for short, gets along with small dogs and some cats and doesn't shed. She cant wait to provide her new owner with uncompromising love and companionship.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Williamsburg Songwriter Competition Finals

This weekend at Public Assembly, the semi finals and finals to the Williamsburg Songwriter Competition. Saturday night after party starting at 11:30pm with bands: Wakey!Wakey!, Creaky Boards, Schwervon!, & Boy Genius

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Bad News for Brooklyn Commuters

Due to budget cuts, the MTA plans to cut G Train service in HALF!!!

The G train is the only train running up and down from queens all the way down through Brooklyn. It should be on the top of the list for upgrades and increased service. As it is now during off peak hours, one can wait 45 minutes for the G train in some of the most unsafe and unkempt subway stations. This is ABSURD and OUTRAGEOUS!

See link below for full article and more info on the G train and other lines to expect decreased service and cuts.

additional contribution by: X. Stuart

Sunday, November 16, 2008

New Yorkers Protest Prop 8 - pigeons were in attendance, so was I

Yesterday, Saturday November 15th, New Yorkers came out in the thousands to standup against the passing of Proposition 8 in California. Just a week and a half before, much of the country enthusiastically celebrated President elect Barack Obama's victory, bringing hope to minorities, civil rights activists, people of color, the LGBT community, and people of all types. It seemed that the election of a black, mixed race president signified that we had taken a great step forward, putting difference and race aside. On the day after the election, the roar of excitement still fresh, many woke up devastated to discover that Proposition 8 had passed. "Prop 8", for short, was a proposition presented on the California ballot this election that amended the state Constitution to restrict the definition of marriage solely as union between a man and a woman. It overrode a recent California Supreme Court decision that had recognized same-sex marriage in California as a fundamental right.

I attended this protest rally yesterday in City Hall having felt a strong duty to be there. I witnessed thousands gathered in attendance including a diverse cross section of New York residents and visitors alike. Many identified as gay, lesbian, queer and/or transgendered, while countless others were straight allies protesting for their friends, family, and fellow citizens to have the same basic civil rights that they do. The rally could be described as peaceful yet heated with emotion. Picket signs could be counted in the thousands thrusting high into the air coinciding with the booming chants from seas of people. Signs read"Love not H8," "Separation of Church and St8," "Please Let My Son Marry," "Should We Ban Divorce too?," "What's So Scary About Equality?," and "I Will NOT be Tolerated," alluding to a statement from Sarah Palin in the Vice Presidential debate.

Attached to the devastation that was felt upon learning the news of prop 8 passing, many felt intense anger and started to place blame. Campaigns for the passing of Prop 8 raised tens of millions of dollars directed at churches and minorities, specifically African Americans and Latinos. Communities with strong religious values were targeted with the message that same-sex marriage is wrong in the eyes of God and puts traditional marriage at risk. Results of exit polls showed that 70 percent of African American voters and 53 percent of Latinos supported Prop 8 and the ban against gay marriage. Anger and shock arose from the notion that blacks, who have fought against exclusion and discrimination and for their equal civil rights for decades, voted to oppress another group in the same way.

The rally yesterday, included several speakers standing proudly atop soap box shouting from their heart for equal rights. Amongst those to speak were City Council Speaker, Christine Quinn, Congressman Anthony Weiner, former Miss America Kate Shindle, actress Daniela Sea, and former America's Next Top Model, current MTV VJ and activist, Kim Stolz.

I found myself particularly impressed with what Kim Stolz had to say. While it is true that the larger majority of African Americans and Latinos chose to vote for the proposition to ban same-sex marriage, Stolz presented captivating statistics: "if nobody over the age of 65 had voted, prop 8 would have addition, Latino and African American voters under the age of 30 voted against prop 8 in a large majority." She continues, "all of us, that's the future of gay rights, right there."

Embracing gay rights, it could be said, is just a generation away. Of course, no one wants to or should have to wait that long. It is interesting though to point out the difference in voting between age groups amongst people of color in California. The African American youth who did not have to endure the struggle for civil rights that their parents and grandparents so strongly fought for, ironically, better understand equality for all rather than "separate not equal." Maybe it could be said that those oppressed learn to oppress others or that even those who fight so hard for change find it difficult to accept change later in life.

Civil Rights have come a long way in America: an African American has been elected our President. On election night and the days since we've heard countless journalists beside themselves with emotion, saying they "never thought they'd see the day" or as Steve Osunsami, ABC correspondent choked up saying, "my father used to tell us that there's no way this country would elect a black president. Well this evening, the country has proved my old man wrong, and we're the better for it." We can rejoice our progress to look past race, one even said that election night marked the end of the civil war. Yet the LGBT community does not share the same civil rights as the straight majority. We may have elected a black president, but will my generation live to see the day that a gay couple moves into the White House?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Obama is the new president elect. The feeling just to type those words along with billions of others documenting and experiencing this moment today and last night is overwhelming. It is joy. It is an enormous sigh of relief. It is hard to believe. It is emotional. It is historical. Yes, history has been made. Moreover, our country has a leader they can be proud of. What more can be said at this moment. Change is on the way.

Domino Sugar Factory, Williamsburg waterfront, Brooklyn