Our Boston opening reception last Friday was a great success. We celebrated the opening of our new store on 337 Newbury Street with friends and family while enjoying delicious food and drink and the sounds of the awesome DJ Frank White. Without a doubt, Boston has a vibe like no other city. Those who call it home are super smart, super fun and the kind of people we like to mingle with. Below are some snapshots from the event!
After the dissolution of The Velvet Underground, but before these demigods of underground rock established themselves as solo artists, Lou Reed, John Cale, and Nico decided to get together and play a gig in Paris. Though not the full blown Velvet Underground reunion many were hoping for, the gathering did yield what is undoubtedly a ruddy gem of musical history that, after years of shoddy bootlegs, was released Le Bataclan ‘72. Last summer when I was in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles to see a Velvet’s cover band, my good friend who is a terrifically talented avante garde classical composer passed me a copy of this recording. I wore it out for the first few months I had it in my possession, and as of late I’ve been returning to it on quiet nights at home. The fact that this is an acoustic set gives it a very intimate feel, and Lou Reed’s deadpan stage banter is hysterical. He introduces this song by saying, “This is a…uh…song from our first album that was termed unintelligible and it very well may be. It’s called ‘The Black Angel’s Death Song.’” Cale’s wild, droning viola is hypnotic and Lou Reed is, well, Lou Reed.
Pittsburgh, PA’s most innovative band just put out a new 7” and they are going on tour to promote their forthcoming Resonator LP. This is the sound of four very talented, cerebral musicians letting loose in a very dirty way. This band truly defies classification. But who needs classification when you make sounds like this? I can’t wait until they make their way back to NYC.
3. “Hybrid Moments,” from Static Age, by The Misfits
A good, sonic kick in the face from a band that is steeped in old school horror kitsch. I turn this up as loud as it will go because that is really the only way to listen to The Misfits. Forget the fact that Misfits t-shirts are about as clichéd as CBGB’s paraphernalia. This song is a perfect example of raw, aggressive angst for its own sake—and sometimes that’s all you really need. I listen to this one when I want to relive the days when I just needed to something to rebel against.
4. “If I were a Carpenter,” by Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash
This song was originally popularized by Bobby Darin, but the version by Johnny and June is my favorite. Sentimentality may be the true death knell of any artist, but the honest evocation of real sentiment is the about as brave (and tough to pull off) as it gets. Johnny and June manage to do just that with this timeless love song. It’s got that great country guitar twang, and the classic pairing of two legendary voices that have made a home in our collective musical memories. I listen to this one when I’m feeling romantic – it happens.
5. “Johnny Appleseed,” from Global a Go-Go, by Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros
This song showcases the tough beauty of legendary frontman Joe Strummer before he passed in 2002. When he sings, Lord there goes a Buick ’49, black sheep of the angels riding, riding down the line, I can’t help but think of the man himself: a rough and tumble, streetwise lyricist who lets us glimpse the shine on the inside. This song is part folk protest wrapped up in a world music package, but it’s all soul. It makes me want to sing along, and it gives me chills down my spine when I hear it. The best thing about this song (and the album) is that it doesn’t force me to draw comparisons between his new sound and his original, unparalleled work with The Clash. Instead I can enjoy it for its own merits. Best played on a sunny day.
We´re pretty thrilled to introduce our new limited edition jewelry collection. It´s exclusive to our website and select Brooklyn Industries stores in New York and Brooklyn. Designs by Lillian Crowe, Jessica Matrasko and Cheryl Dufault will be available online and at select Brooklyn Industries stores while supplies last, so we suggest making your way to a store or visiting our online shop very soon!
Jewelry by Lillian Crowe is available online and at Brooklyn Industries in Soho. Crowe uses materials reclaimed from former jewelry factories to make her creations. Her pieces range from delicate pinecone pendants and ribbon necklaces to the larger statement necklaces of steer skulls and ribcages that evoke a darker, gothic theme. Pieces range from $28 – $110 each.
Jessica Matrasko Jewelry, available online and at Brooklyn Industries in Soho features imperfect stones with irregular shapes and colors. Each piece is unique and one of a kind. Most designs are painted with 14k gold while others are wrapped by hand. Her pieces range from $22 – $172 each.
Designs by Cheryl Dufault can be found online and at Brooklyn Industries in Union Square. Vintage compasses, antique pocket knives and other whimsical items evoke nostalgia for the past. Dufault’s handmade pieces incorporate vintage and natural found objects! These designs, which are often strung on vegan leather cords, range from $46 – $132 each.
Vacations are blips of time. Vacation is an attempt to have a metaphysical experience. It is ideally a displacement, a strategy for extraction and being thoroughly dis-conglomerated.
Big words to explain that surfing is Costa Rica was my small attempt to face death in order to not think about work. Did it work (no pun intended)? Mildly so. I had envisioned that our family surf safari would be an all day romp in the water, with respites only at midday. However, battling the waves was an energy vortex that permitted early morning and late afternoon mini skirmishes with serious six-hour breaks to recover from the pounding. On the fifth day when attempting the “outside,” the big waves that require mad swimming, turtle rolls and serious nervousness on my part to reach, I was thrown to the bottom of the sea. For an instance, I didn’t know which way was the surface; I was surrounded in every direction by blue. Then, my foot hit the bottom. I instinctively pushed off the bottom, surfacing for air.
Had I in this moment magically separated myself from my daily plights – the worries, the meetings, the taking to school, the finding of the parking spot? It did help. My vision of conquering the surf was pretty much dead. But my appreciation of my city life was alive.
So I’ve been thinking a lot about the phrase LIVE, WORK, CREATE. The fact is, the fast pace of New York, the sensory overload, the nonstop go go go ethos can be exhausting. Sometimes getting off the couch to write, to see a show or go to an art gallery, to do anything, can feel like such a chore—especially when living, surviving is an accomplishment. I’ve learned that the key to latching on to all the great creative energy that helps drive this city is to allow for some time to refuel (which is probably why I like to go to Ft. Greene Park whenever I can). These rare moments of downtime help me to process what’s going on around me. Personally, I think in terms of narrative. Everything is a potential story; everyone is a character, every detail counts. But I’ve got to be in the right head space to open myself up to all the great tales bouncing around this city.
Anyway, this is the end of my guest blogging stint. I’ve really enjoyed myself and I hope you have too. The good news is that I’m not done writing for Brooklyn Industries! Nicole and Joe recently asked if I would like to keep writing for the blog as a contributor to other categories featured on Words from the Watertower. So keep an eye out for my posts on wordsfromthewatertower.com.
Sincerest thanks to Joe, Nicole, Judy, and everyone else at Brooklyn Industries Headquarters who helped make this happen, as well as to all the readers who followed my posts throughout the week to find out how I Live, Work, Create.
I’ve lived in apartments all over Brooklyn, but I’ve got to say that I’m really digging Bushwick. I feel like there is so much going on around here in terms of the arts. Just today I stepped off the train at my stop (Myrtle/Broadway) and from the station I could hear the heavy thud of drums and insistent baseline of a band practicing at the Market Hotel, which is a truly remarkable DIY venue that often showcases some of the most interesting and talented bands in Brooklyn. But bands aren’t the only thing happening over there. A friend of mine regularly hosts unbelievable late night dance parties, as well as a Sunday morning yoga event.
Tonight I worked on the website of a West Coast photographer named Kathleen Estrada, whose work varies between Central Coast landscapes and the underground low-rider car culture. I also jotted down ideas for my next article for The Fashion Spot. I think I’m going to put together a piece detailing the paradigm shift the fashion industry has been experiencing in the past few years as a result of new media and a shaky economy. I’ll keep you posted!
Another gorgeous day in Brooklyn! I’ve been dog sitting for a friend of mine. Kata is a beautiful 80lb rednose pitbull. She is all white and just the sweetest thing. Because her owner is back in town I had to take her home today. I decided to use the opportunity to take a long walk around Brooklyn. I started out on Marcus Garvey and Myrtle Ave. and followed Marcus Garvey all the way up to Decatur. It seemed like everyone was out. The smoky sweet smell of barbecue was in the air, people were chilling on their stoops, the trees were starting to blossom. After dropping Kata at home I trekked through Bed Stuy to Clinton hill and on into Fort Greene. Smelling all the food made me hungry, so I called up my buddy Leif, who is the art director at Roadrunner Records, and we decided to do some grilling on my balcony. Today was a good day—even if, technically, there was more relaxing than creating going on!
Tweet Week ends with a giveaway of the Royal Bears tee for men. The first person to say FUNK to a sales associate after 2 PM wins it! FUNK stands for Lexy Funk, Brooklyn Industries’ entrepreneurial co-founder and CEO. Funk officially began sharing her vision of LIVE, WORK, CREATE in 1998 and has grown the company to fourteen locations in five cities!
The Royal Bears t-shirt, which re-imagines a popular album cover, is perfect for music lovers!
After closing up the store at Grand Central I decided to head over to Le Poisson Rouge, one of my favorite clubs in NYC. The place is great because not only do they showcase fantastic bands, but they make a point of featuring the work of up and coming artists and hosting events like The New Yorker Party and Drag Queen Bingo. Another selling point for me is that my girlfriend is a mixologist/bartender there. Tonight I happened to stroll into a break dance party featuring some of the hottest B-boys and B-girls in NYC doing their thing, popping and locking, grooving away their troubles. It was impressive to say the least.
Inspired (and frustrated that I will never be able to dance as well as the aforementioned B-boys and B-girls), I wrote some new short-shorts. Here is one of the very short stories:
I have missed you. You are dripping with rubies, from the tips of your bangs to your broken heels. Your mouth is a topaz, your earlobes are emeralds. I have been coveting your fingernails: they are amber and obsidian and once carved hieroglyphs across my flesh. You are elegant – a puma with crushed velvet fur who dines on pineapple wedges. The jungle explodes with turquoise flowers; they are the same size as human heads, spiked and pungent like breadfruit. A gushing stream pulses through darkest night. The natives here speak of a blind shaman capable of brewing a bitter root-based concoction that will allow us to fly together the next full moon. Please reply via smoke signal. I will wait.