Recent Posts in NYC - Page 3

April 14, 2014

by Bill Pearis

J&R's now-closed storefront (photo via @gr1fter)
J&R

More and more Manhattan fixtures seem to be disappearing. The future of Pearl Paint on Canal is shaky, and last week (4/9) J&R Music World shut its doors, though they say not for good:

J & R Music and Computer World, a mainstay music and electronics store in Lower Manhattan for 43 years, closed its doors on Wednesday to redesign its space on Park Row.

The move was foreshadowed in October, when the store scaled back its footprint between Ann and Beekman Streets. Once occupying eight buildings on those blocks totaling 300,000 square feet, the business was resized to five floors each at 1 Park Row and 15 Park Row. Rachelle Friedman, who with her husband, Joseph, opened J & R across from City Hall in 1971, acknowledged at the time that as part of the changes they were laying off some employees. - [NY Times]

While the brick and mortar storefront is closed, you can still order from J&R's website.

J&R's record store was always a good place to go for Record Store Day items and was always my go-to place for tech stuff, though when I went to buy a headphone adapter there last summer the staff looked at me like I was crazy.

In happier news, Wrecords By Monkey, which makes jewelry, accessories and home products out of old vinyl records is opening a storefront, The Crate, at 304 Boerum St. in Bushwick. In addition to wares, they'll sell $1 used records and new vinyl from local musicians. The store has its Grand Opening on Saturday (4/19) which is Record Store Day:

We will be having an opening party for our new storefront The Crate on Saturday, April 19th from 12 to 9pm in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The party will have live silkscreening on reclaimed vinyl and a display of our newest collection. FREE beer, as well as DJ sets from APSPDR+ and Silent Rider and an exclusive after party from 7 to 9pm featuring DJ Codes. Limited tickets for the after party are available for free and can be picked up at the store starting at noon that day.
Flyer for the opening party is below.

In other non-RSD record store news, The WFMU Record Fair returns from May 30 - June 1 at the 69th Regiment Armory in Manhattan. No word on special events and DJs yet. Stay tuned.

And before that we'll have the return of the Brooklyn Flea Record Fair on May 10 which this time is part of the Red Bull Music Academy, with DJ sets from Caroline Polachek, Autre Ne Veut, Tanlines and more.

Continue reading "J&R Music World closed for renovation; Wreckords by Monkey opening Bushwick store; WFMU Record Fair announce dates"

April 8, 2014

by Bill Pearis

confetti rains at Lada Gaga's Roseland farewell, 4/7/2014 (photo by @talithaanne)
Roseland

Roseland this morning (photo via @sayitaintsosis)
Roseland

Roseland opened in New York in 1919 and hosted icons like Count Basie in the Thirties. It relocated to its 52nd Street home (a former skating rink called Gay Blades) in the late Fifties, where a display inside touted the number of couples who'd met there and married. In the Seventies and Eighties, the spot was a disco haven; in the Nineties its 3,500-capacity crowds moshed to Nirvana and Red Hot Chili Peppers. Its next occupants will be a 59-story apartment building, according to the New Yorker.

As a Manhattan native, chances are Gaga has many connections to the club, but she didn't regale the crowd with any personal stories about transformative nights on Roseland's famously springy dance floor (she earlier told a reporter about a Franz Ferdinand show there during her senior year of high school where she broke her nose in the pit). Instead, she stuck to her usual self-empowerment lectures ("Do you love you? Then scream!") and spent an outsized amount of time bidding farewell to the female dancer who slithered across the stage with her for Artpop's squelchy bisexual romp "Sexx Dreams." - [Rolling Stone]

Lada Gaga's seven-show run at Roseland came to a close last night (4/7) and with it the end of one of New York City's most famous clubs which had been in its present location since 1958.

Roseland was also home to the annual, over-the-top gay dancefest The Black Party and The Village Voice has a cover story on it, the venue and the changing face (and location) of club culture in NYC:

Pevner scouted other venues, but the Black Party not only needs a dance floor large enough to accommodate thousands of people, but also an entire weekend to install its own soundsystem and light rigs. The Saint at Large, which has held the party at Roseland for a quarter century, had a two-year option extending through 2015. "I told my lawyer to write a letter to address that we employ a staff full-time to work on this," Pevner says, "and if you're going to renege, here's the settlement." Pevner insisted that Ginsberg keep the club open at least through the third weekend in March, the one nearest the vernal equinox, which the party celebrates. According to Pevner, "They didn't want to end with the Black Party." So Ginsberg ended up with a win-win: Gaga gets reams of publicity and the club goes out in a blaze of glory.

Still, serious dance enthusiasts will always remember the club more for its unobstructed quarter-acre dance floor than as a midsize concert venue. Everything about Roseland was outsize, right down to its 14 coat-check windows.

More than anything, Roseland's closing marks the most painful sign to date that New York City's big rooms have become an endangered species. That a luxury residential space will likely replace it confirms the main culprit: an insatiable appetite for upscale housing that has transformed Manhattan, from the financial district to Harlem and beyond -- what Fordham professor Mark Caldwell, author of New York Night: The Mystique and Its History, has called "galloping gentrification."

I saw a lot of shows at Roseland, though mostly in the '90s -- Blur, and Oasis come to mind and I got to go to the Rolling Stones show there in 2002. My last visit there was for Big Audio Dynamite in 2011. I was never crazy about seeing shows there, but I always dug the classic vibe. What shows did you see there?

Roseland, you'll be missed.

---

Portishead famously played their in the late 90s. I say famous because not only was it an exciting show at the time, the show was recorded for a live album and DVD. Watch the whole thing (via someone uploading it to YouTube), below...

Continue reading "Roseland, RIP"

April 7, 2014

Childers (right) with Bob Gruen, John Varvatos store 2009 (more by Tim Griffin)
Leee Black Childers

From Warhol through punk and the dirty alleys in between, photographer Leee Black Childers documented New York's fringes in the 1970s. After being hospitalized last month Childers died on Sunday (4/6), details forthcoming. Many of Childers' most iconic photos were collected for the 2012 book, Drag Queens, Rent Boys, Pick Pockets, Junkies, Rockstars and Punks. You can check out a short video on the NYC release of that book below.

Leee, you will be missed but you live on through your work. Rest in peace.

Continue reading "photographer Leee Black Childers, RIP"

April 6, 2014

by Klaus Kinski

IMAGE

The act of writing a missing person article feels like a supreme exercise in futility, especially in a city as big as New York. Conversely, being complacent when you know someone is missing and not taking advantage of the reach of the internet to seek help is inexcusably lazy. My comedy-centric Facebook profile has been alight with the sad news that former NYC comedy staple / current dental student at Columbia Jiwon Lee has been reported missing since Tuesday April 1st, 2014:

She was last seen at 8:30pm on Tuesday April 1st at her apartment on W 98th street. Please call Crime Stoppers with any information 1-800-577-TIPS (8477). You can also submit tips by logging onto the Crime stoppers website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or by texting tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.
Prior to basically hanging up her comedy spurs to focus on higher education and a solid career, Jiwon was a familiar face on the comedy scene for years. There was a time when I saw her name appear on so many upcoming comedy calendars it was ridiculous. A little more on her from a 2009 New Young Comedians profile:
She graced the stage of NYC's regional finals in Comedy Central's 2007 Open Mic Fights, could be seen in action on a date on AMC's Date Night, quipped with the Sklar Brothers on ESPN Classic's Cheap Seats, ranted on Air America, and regularly commented on ImaginAsian TV. Jiwon performs in NY's best comedy clubs, including Stand-up New York, Caroline's on Broadway, Comix, and the Laugh Lounge. She also enjoys doing comedy in the non-comedy club rooms of New York such as Moonwork, Invite Them Up, and her own monthly show, "Jiwon Lee's Trivial Comedy." Jiwon was a winner of NBC's 2005 Standup for Diversity, which was a nation-wide search for the top ten comedians.
Her disappearance has family, friends, and colleagues at an absolute loss. Right now it appears that the NYPD are doing everything they can, but family and friends are pooling their resources to get a private investigator on the case as well. You can donate to that cause here. There is also a Facebook page set up and the Columbia Spectator has news of the disappearance as well and is sure to keep readers updated as developments arise.

April 4, 2014

by Bill Pearis

Urban Outfitters
Urban Outfitters
Urban Outfitters

So that mega Urban Outfitters opened today on North 6th St. in Williamsburg. The five-floor behemoth is called Space Ninetey 8 and contains all the usual UO stuff (clothes, some housewares, books), plus a decent-sized rack of records (Beach House, Janelle Monae, etc all around $20-25), a variety of Crosley turntables, a surf shop, and a pop-up Adidas shop in the basement, complete with working 7" jukebox.

The top floor is the NYC branch of trendy LA restaurant The Gorbals which is run by onetime Top Chef winner Ilan Hall. And after being denied by the community board, The Gorbals looks to be getting its liquor license though delays in that process mean they hope to have booze by May 1. The restaurant will open without it before (it was not open when I was there today).

Basically it's a mall-sized Urban Outfitters. It's right next to American Apparel and you're sure to pass by on your next visit to way to Music Hall of Williamsburg. The next time you need patterened socks, the new Black Keys album, a Joy Division t-shirt and a new shower curtain (and maybe a $15 cocktail), it's all here. On the plus side, Space Ninety 8 does feature a fair ammount of local independent clothing designers.

Williamsburg ain't what it used to be. (This is not news, of course.) A few more pics of Space Ninety 8 for the curious below.

Continue reading "Williamsburg Urban Outfitters opened, its restaurant getting liquor license after all (though not yet) (pics)"

March 27, 2014

Jay Ott

Jay Ott, a 31-year-old fashion designer who lives in the McKibbin Lofts, was last seen on video surveillance footage entering his apartment at around 10 p.m. on Saturday night. His friends say they've had no contact with him since then, and have reported him missing; they have launched extensive search efforts, and are asking anyone with information to contact them or the 90th Precinct.

"He did not come into work on Monday, which is not very typical of him. That's when we all started to get worried," Beatrice Kim, who works with Ott at fashion investment firm The Dock Group, told us. "When we all started talking to one another, that's when we realized no one had heard from him since Saturday evening, which is not usual at all." - [Gothamist]

This story was from Wednesday morning (3/26) and still no news on missing fashion designer Jay Ott. If you have any information please contact Detective Thomas Pisano at the 90th Precinct at 718-963-5368. There's also a Facebook page and an email address set up: findjayott@gmail.com. Hopefully he'll be found soon.

An ABC 4 News story on his disappearance is below...

Continue reading "Bushwick fashion designer Jay Ott missing since Saturday"

December 19, 2013

by Bill Pearis

Al on 'Midnight Blue'
IMAGE

A true NYC iconoclast, Al Goldstein has died. From the NY Times obit:

Al Goldstein, the scabrous publisher whose Screw magazine pushed hard-core pornography into the cultural mainstream, died on Thursday at a nursing home in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. He was 77.

The cause was believed to be renal failure, his lawyer, Charles C. DeStefano, said.

Mr. Goldstein did not invent the dirty magazine, but he was the first to present it to a wide audience without the slightest pretense of classiness or subtlety. Sex as depicted in Screw was seldom pretty, romantic or even particularly sexy. It was, primarily, a business, with consumers and suppliers like any other.

The manifesto in Screw's debut issue in 1968 was succinct. "We promise never to ink out a pubic hair or chalk out an organ," it read. "We will apologize for nothing. We will uncover the entire world of sex. We will be the Consumer Reports of sex."

Mr. Goldstein, who lived to shock and offend and was arrested more than a dozen times on obscenity charges, stuck around long enough for social mores and technology to overtake him. By the time his company went bankrupt in 2003, he was no longer a force in the $10-billion-a-year industry he pioneered. But for better or worse, his influence was undeniable.

"He clearly coarsened American sensibilities," Alan M. Dershowitz, the civil liberties advocate and Mr. Goldstein's sometime lawyer, said in 2004.

"Hefner did it with taste," Mr. Dershowitz added, referring to Hugh Hefner, the founder and publisher of Playboy, which predated Screw by 15 years. "Goldstein's contribution is to be utterly tasteless."

While I was never a Screw reader, I will admit to watching his show Midnight Blue occasionally on MNN paid access Channel 35 when I moved to NYC in the late '90s. There really wasn't anything else like it. What I remember more than the rampant sex and nudity was Al Goldstein's epic "Fuck You!" rants which he would aim at airlines, car rental agencies, restaurants, basically anyone that pissed him off. You can watch a NSFW compilation video of some of his Midnight Blue rants, below. Rest in peace, Al.

Continue reading "'Screw' publisher Al Goldstein, RIP"

November 26, 2013

by Bill Pearis and Andrew Sacher

Lauryn Hill at Rock the Bells 2011 (more by Dana (distortion) Yavin)
Lauryn Hill

A day of being grateful for what they've got, overeating and subsequent afternoon naps, Thanksgiving is the start of a long weekend for many folks, but one that usually doesn't have the most options for things to do -- or bands to see. Weather's not supposed to be so great either. Still, we've rounded up ten musical things to do in NYC during Thanksgiving Weekend. Plus one you can do anywhere with an internet connection and love of making fun of bad movies.

Read on below...

Continue reading "NYC Thanksgiving Weekend events (Lauryn Hill, Television, Dean Wareham, Phosphorescent, Ab-Soul, Joey Badass, more)"

by Bill Pearis

The counter Rough Trade (w/ Morrissey Autobiography) (more by Chris La Putt)
Moz
Rough Trade

As you may have maybe -- just maybe -- heard, UK indie record store Rough Trade opened its first-ever NYC branch yesterday (11/25). As a record lover and Williamsburg resident, I headed over to N. 9th after work last night to check it out.

The store is big and warehouse-y with plenty of space in between shelves for easy browsing, and a centralized checkout area. (It is still small compared to the late-'90s days of Virgin Megastore and Tower.) There is a mezzanine with magazines and books (like import copies of Morrissey's Autobiography) on one side of the space, and on the other there is the Guardian Green Room which is a "multi-purpose digital lounge" and an exhibition space that currently has a recreation of Donald Glover's bedroom in Community. Main Drag music has a little vestibule with cool analogue synths, and a cafe run by Five Leaves will be open soon.

Donald Glover's 'Community' bedroom at RT
Community

The store seems more in "must open" mode than "ready to open," as the record shelves are a little sparse right now. Prices for records are on the high side -- I saw very few less than $18 -- and they don't put records "on sale." But many of their featured items do come with "Rough Trade Exclusives," usually bonus discs which do add value. There are also no used records, which seems an odd choice to me given the way all other record stores in the area operate. Though in that way they're not so much treading on other's turf? They are, however, promising to stock imports, including the entirety of their 101 Albums of 2013... but that has not happened yet. (I was ready to buy the new Suede album, too.) I did buy the Morrissey book, which at $14.99 for an import seemed a bargain. Give it a month, and we'll hopefully see what the store is like.

I showed up too late for Sky Ferreira's live set, but there was a long line of people waiting to get their records/CDs signed. I watched a little bit from the mezzanine, as bf and DIIV frontman Cole Smith showed up to say hi. One fan asked if he would sign Sky's album too. He obliged, writing a note right on the most, uh, exposed area of the LP cover. Pretty funny.

I did, however, stick around to watch Charles Bradley. The performance space at Rough Trade is really nice. Official capacity is 250 but, with a seated balcony it felt bigger than that. There were ping pong tables in the back part of the balcony last night, that I'm told won't be there during ticketed shows (but will be available during the day). Lighting was good and the sound was better. Bradley has a pretty crack band who make any room sound good but I was really impressed with the acoustics. There are lots of small rooms in Williamsburg already, but this is a nice addition to the area.

Charles Bradley sounded fantastic. His years as a James Brown tribute artist have bestowed him with killer stage moves, and the dude just oozes charisma and soul. It was a real treat to see him in such a small room and the whole crowd was grinning the whole time. NYC will have two more chances to see Bradley in January.

Today (11/26) you can catch a free show from Danny Brown which happens at 5 PM. You do need to grab a wristband first which are available at the counter. Wednesday night (11/27, 7 PM) is a free in-store with Matthew E. White. Two shows from NYC legends Television will be Rough Trade's first ticketed shows (both are sold out).

In addition to having his bedroom there, Donald Glover will perform as Childish Gambino at Rough Trade on December 6. You need to buy a copy of his new album Because of the Internet. There will be a record signing following the performance.

Did you check out Rough Trade on opening day? What did you think? Buy anything?

November 19, 2013

ARC Sale

For nearly 30 years, NYC's ARChive of Contemporary Music has been collecting, preserving and cataloging "the popular music of all cultures and races throughout the world from 1950 to the present." Lovers of physical media, the ARC, David Bowie, Jerry Leiber, Youssou N'Dour, Keith Richards, Martin Scorsese and Paul Simon are among its board of advisors. The late Lou Reed was also on the board.

The ARC gets around 250,000 recordings every year. After sorting through them, they make sure they have two best copies on a record in their collection, and sell off third copies. Which leads us to its annual Holiday Record & CD sale which will happens at ARC's Tribeca HQ (54 White St.) from Saturday, Dec 7 - Sunday, Dec 15 from 11 am - 6 pm daily. Here's what they've got this year:

25,000+ recordings - all genres and formats - 45s, LPs, CDs, cassettes,
books, posters, DVDs, VHS, magazine and a vintage flea market + yard sale!

specials: This year there is an incredible collection of punk/new wave 45s + LPs, 3 big boxes of Christmas LPs, more CDs than ever before... 100s of modern art, experimental + modern Classical LPs - Glass/Varese/Crumb/Carter/Satie. All recordings never offered before - we start fresh every sale.

Additionally, this year's sale also has a special Lou Reed section. Members of the ARC can attend the pre-sale party on Decmeber 5 with food, drink and early shopping. You can become a member by filling out this form (and giving a minimum $50 donation).

You can also donate materials. Do you have an out-of-control CD collection threatening to take over your apartment? Clean out your pile and give it to the ARC. Your trash could be someone else's treasure. And contributions are tax deductible.