Saturday, December 31, 2011

Melding Screams and Shouts

stylin' into 2012 with origami samurai hats cause the dollar store across the street was closed

If you think about it, it's pretty lousy of us to wait 365 days just to tell ourselves that within the next 365 days you're going to do what you didn't do in the 365 days you just lived. I try not to force myself to make a turn-of-the-year resolution lists as a result, but I can't help but go to bed - covered in confetti, champagne, and remnants of slime from some celebratory Frenching - with thoughts of what the new year will entail and how I can better myself to make shit happen.

My family came to visit me last weekend, but more so to experience new year's eve in Time Square for the first time. (I'm pretty sure I put their travel priorities in the right order.) That weekend marked the end to the longest I've gone in not seeing my family, five months since August; and before that only three months last summer when I was in this city for an internship. Although there were bouts of annoyances that I didn't miss in living under the same roof, it was overwhelming to accept that through time, these familial encounters will shrink and the length of absences will expand. My mother is more understanding, more open, curious but not invasive; my siblings are more mature, more willing to share their personal passions, more respectful. I need to make the most out of these qualities and shared times for now on.

Mentally, this has been a very trying year. I stepped up to a green platform decorated in honors ropes questioning what I've been working on up to that point, realizing it may not be what I wanted to pursue as a career. Dealing with various setbacks has sprinkled my year with thoughts of uncertainty, uncertainty turned to fear, and thus slowed down my motivation and productivity. My social support fluctuated as my closest friends settled on opposite coasts (and Chicago) for the next chapter of their lives. Despite the tiny handful remaining in the small town which I spent most of my life, I knew that their emigrations were imminent, including my own.

I won't say that this has been a terrible year. A lot of my money went into some solo traveling on the weekend and breaks: visiting friends at shows and events around Ohio, Chicago, and saying hello again to my New Yorkers before settling months later. I've sent snail mail and care packages to those I couldn't see in the immediate future. I split my birthday week in Chicago and Columbus eating, drinking (a lot), dancing (not enough), and sweating (hot as balls that week), and somehow turned several awkward encounters into budding relationships. That didn't stop when I abruptly packed my bags and headed East. I stumbled upon new friends, rekindled old ones, and even developed unpredictable relationships with former acquaintances.

So fuck it. I'm diving into this year with smiles and laughs, and embracing my creative potentials. I've limited my resolutions to a very small, but powerful list: take chances (the part of 2010 me I miss greatly), embrace relationships, and "get money get paid." (Thanks, Chi City.) Oh, and finally combust into a giant cloud of dust when an asteroid hits the planet on doomsday.

... and I guess blog more. That was last year's resolution, and frankly I don't think I did a terrible job with that!

Reality of NYE: wasn't covered in confetti or doused in champagne, and didn't even receive my first kiss of 2012. (Yet.) I lost contact with all of my friends and, therefore, potential plans, around 9 p.m. Luckily, my brother bailed my family and the Time Square ball drop and come back to my apartment to use the toilet. A mixture of blasting Lil B, streaming the ball drop happening mere miles away (ungrateful denizen), walking around Williamsburg after midnight, and heading to bed before 2 a.m. Next year, a hotel party's gonna save me from being stranded YET AGAIN.

BUT WAIT! DON'T LEAVE. In the midst of this jovial state of mind, I compiled a mix of songs that stuck with me in the past year. This is not so much a "top songs of 2011" sort of mixtape... okay, maybe so as a lot of these tracks went through heavy rotation on my iPod, turntable, cassette player, etc. I know the music tastes of you readers are all over the board, but c'mon! It doesn't hurt to give it a spin and surprise yourself with a track or two you didn't expect to love. Hell, that's how I discovered a lot of these tracks. Plus, I decided to go pro and use my amateur knowledge of Audacity to MIX the mix. So ENJOI.

brought to you in 3D thanks to Miss Chance Morris


1_ Lil B "Pretty Bitch"
2_ The Spits "No Place to Live"
3_ Warsaw "Leaders of Men"
4_ Unwound "Lucky Acid"
5_ Career Suicide "Cherry Beach"
6_ Duffy and the Doubters "Spider Baby Jesus"
7_ Milk Music "Out of My World"
8_ Bleached "Think of You"
9_ Toro Y Moi "Fax Shadow"
10_ Xeno and Oaklander "Sets and Lights"
11_ Pictureplane "Techno Fetish"
12_ Gary War "Grounds for Termination"
13_ Shabazz Palaces "Free Press and Curl"
14_ White Ring "Rick Ross - BMF [White Ring/One Nation Under God Remix]"
15_ Trust "Bulbform"
16_ Glass Candy "Etheric Device"
17_ //Tense// "Pulse Beat"
18_ Tyga "Racks City"
19_ Tyler, The Creator and N*E*R*D "Inside of Clouds [Remix]"
20_ Araabmuzik "Lost in A Maze"

And if you haven't gotten the chance to do so, download my other 2011 mixes: Sweaty Summer and Indonesian DIY Punk.

Monday, December 26, 2011

12_20. Fool's Gold Holiday Party @ The Dream Hotel, NYC

I had two friends stay over at my place for the week, and when they weren't spending their day doing some mushy, lovey-dovey sightseeing, I took on the duty to personally entertain and introduce them to what I hope was a good introduction to the New York City nightlife scene. The first night they bar-hopped in Alphabet City; the third was spent at Weird Records' Chthulhukah holiday party/Thalia's continued b-day extravaganza at Home Sweet Home. Sandwiched in the middle was what I most anticipated, the holiday party.

The saying is true: third time's a charm. I've managed to learn and adapt from my frustration of getting into some previous Fool's Gold events, and this time around I gave my visitors careful instructions to be ready to leave the apartment around 9. It was a close call, a gust of wind escapes from my sigh of relief as the bouncer stamps our wrists. I looked backed over a long, wide congeries of people, certain that 90% of them were told to go elsewhere when it reached capacity.

For some of my readers who aren't in the know of the DJ/dance world and its labels/artists/producers, Fool's Gold is one in the top of the genre's U.S. establishments. To make this more familiar, some of its forefront artists include A-Trak, Kanye West's DJ, Chromeo, and, thanks to "Drive," Kavinsky. So imagine what the holiday parties entail. The Dream Hotel provided the perfect backdrop to the fancy shirting, leather (and hot damn there was a lot of leather in this room), and streetwear get-ups that could garner Kanye's shades tip of approval.

The real party people made a swarm around the stage, waiting for Danny Brown to make what would be his celebratory performance after snagging the #1 spot on Spin's 40 best rap albums of 2011. Surrounded by the label's most recognizable faces, founders Nick Catchdubs and A-Trak, and Dave 1 of Chromeo. As last year got a surprise appearance from Drake, A$AP Ferg's host spot made it no secret that A$AP Rocky would bring out a surprise short set: two songs, jumping into the crowd, and creating a rowdy pit that mocked the nature of clashing atoms. (Not sorry for that dork drop.) Just so you know, the A$AP crew has a show coming up in February at the Irving Plaza. Tickets for that show go on sale at 10 a.m. on the 30th. Happy holidays indeed.

Obligatory holiday photo booth.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy Hawwwlidays.

I guess this is when and where I'm supposed to plug in my obligatory "happy holidays" post. My family doesn't celebrate Christmas (though for consumerism and unity reasons, I sometimes wish we did), so running around this city for gifts and making very expensive travel plans wasn't something I had to worry about in the past month.

So... Merry Christmas or 5th day of Chanukah. Holiday orphans like me (or Jewish/Muslim/Buddhist/Pagan/Satanist/not-gonna-fall-for-the-holiday-tradition-bullshit New Yorker) got out of our ghost town NYC neighborhood and into Chinatown because it deters cabin fever. Plus, I'm not gonna put myself through the jealousy of seeing friends ring in the holidays with an inexplicable bump in their bank accounts or wardrobe via Facebook. I did this last year when I stayed in NYC to intern at Opening Ceremony for a month, and since I am here again and have nowhere to go, I decided to keep traditions alive. I have also recently rehashed my bubble tea addiction and needed to relieve my lustful fantasies of sucking up tapioca pearls.

Here are some OK photos from my walk around the neighborhood. As always, everyone infiltrated the narrow streets in herds, it reeked of durian and fish, and I continued my streak of discovering uncharted retail territory. I wanted to do what everyone was doing and have some lunch at a Chinese restaurant, but the wait for seats were too long because everyone else wanted to have lunch at a Chinese restaurant too.

Stick HK on a bag of dirt and I'd probably buy it

bossin' with RenTen black milk bubble tea

I'll be walking backwards in the upcoming posts. Just want to get them out of my system before they're D.E.A.D. and the year is 2012 and hopefully we all won't be D.E.A.D.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Zine Pile_ Benoit Pepin 'Ta Yeule'

"If seen on stage, he resembles any other... until you spot a cheap disposable in his hand, or some outdated, potentially radioactive pinhole nightmare he found in the crypts of a Sherbrooke thrift shop, as he flies across the stage and dives off to get a better vantage." -- excerpt from introduction by Jonah Falcon, August 2011

Picked up a copy of Benoit Pepin's photo book at the Omegas/The Boston Strangler/CREEM show the other night. Bludgeon, sweaty, and skewed faces of hardcore's finest in the '00s pervade this photo documentation, which is a compilation of show snaps between 1999-2011 - mostly in Toronto and Montreal, Canada. Above are photos of Fucked up and Cheap Tragedies (Ohio wut up) taken between 2007 and 2008.

Of course I'm not going to show you the entire book, go get your own copy. $10 if Omegas is coming your way for a show, and I'm sure you can find it elsewhere.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Sample Sales: Joomi Lim, Y-3, Fred Perry


Once in a blue moon, the New York-based and breakout company Joomi Lim throws a private sample sale for the friends and family of the jewelry house. In honor of the upcoming holidays and the air of gift hunt frustration that seems to permeate these streets, the husband and wife duo behind this line marked EVERYTHING (including current collection) down to 70% off retail price. On top of that, they made sure the shopping experience among their friends and family was as personal and personable as possible.

Maggie and I arrived at the undisclosed Chelsea location perhaps a little too early, but Xavier (the husband half of the duo) filled our waiting void by serving us complimentary white wine. (Hell. Yes.) We perused through the signature spikes, boxed and queen bee chains from the house's current collection. The rings from this collection were priced between $30-$40; the spike bracelets and necklaces up to $90. (Somehow remembered that because that was one of the items Maggie bought.) Items from the spring collection, including the heavily publicized fringe necklaces, were sold to customers at wholesale price.

The items I ended up walking away with came from the bargain of the bargain bins: archived pieces which consisted of some of the very last items of each collection spanning back to the first. This bunch had $10 bangle sets, $20 crystal rings, $40 spiked square bangles, and perhaps none priced higher. I found it endearing that both Joomi and Xavier took the initiative to encourage everyone to try on the jewelry, provided background on the pieces and price checks, and direct us to where the deals really are. Loosely quoted from Joomi, "You guys, Bergdorf's still selling this at a much higher cost."

Unlike many personal sales I've attended, what separated this from the rest was the complimentary wining and dining. Sushi and wine filled the bellies of those who forgot to eat dinner and/or didn't mind getting a little buzzed thrown in with a shopper's high. Gestures like this boast high acclaim in my book.

Below, my new favorite bracelet - which I mod with a bunch of hair ties lying around. Now the challenge is to try and not to stab myself with it.

(Although this sale was one-day only, they are hosting another holiday sale this Saturday, Dec. 10th, with other New York jewelry designers. At 119 W 8th Street IN BROOKLYN** from 12 p.m. - 6 p.m.)

**make sure you go into Brooklyn and not Harlem for this one!


I found out about this sample sale right before I went to bed last night, and after reading what would be in store for all the lucky New Yorkers, excitement kept me from falling asleep. After waking up bright and early to get to this sale right when the doors opened, I discovered that I wasn't the only one shaking and on the brink of implosion from $50 Y-3 footwear (usually between $200-500). Shoppers were congregating like cattle in tiny elevator lobby of the Adidas superstore on Houston, waiting for the security guy to escort them into the showroom. Pretty sure I got some smug looks from those standing next to me - as if I wanted the $10 swimming trunks. (You could have those, fella.) And next to me stood a lady who, with no shame, explicitly stated that she's going to flip these for profit. Quite a mix we had here.

Because I was in a hurry to get to the Fred Perry sale (and was originally supposed to meet a friend there but that fell through), I went straight for the shoes and then to the womenswear. All shoes were marked down to ridiculously low prices - notably $50 for Y-3 lo and hi-tops (originally in the $300 price range), and the highest $75 for the cut-out wedged heels. The sale also includes the recent SLVR line (genius designs and probably my favorite) and Originals, and even those were generously marked down. Prices on the overall sale range from $5 for a pair of socks to $100 on exclusive Y-3 runway exclusives. Not bad. Wish I came more prepared with a fatter wallet...

I walked away with two shirts and, more importantly, the cut-out wedges. I meant to get them in black but pulled a dumb one and just blindly took a box without checking the colorway. Turns out they didn't have any in black, except for a single shoe that was on display. I guess red will do.

(Sale resume until Thursday, Dec. 8. Located at 610 Broadway on Houston, 3rd floor.)


I'll be honest. I was disappointed with the selection in this sale, but you can't beat the markdowns. For the Fred Perrians out there, there's still hope that the polo/cardigan/jacket of your size and style may be hiding in this ~private~ sample sale, but it involves combing through the racks. Luckily, it's one not of those sample sales where it looks like someone dropped a bomb into a clothing warehouse, as everything is hanging on racks. Many items in this sale are either discontinued or are items they have in limited quantity, but are desperately trying to get rid of. All Raf Simons (though all in size small) are $40 flat, polos are $30, outerwear is $100, and Richard Nicol and Amy Winehouse are 50% off marked price. All I got (and want for now) was the mesh Raf polo in orange/black.

Be warned that you have to get off the ACE line and walk some way towards the Hudson River to get to this sale. And make sure to sign the e-mail list so you can be personally informed on the showroom's future sales.

(547 West 27th Street, 3rd floor. Sale ends Thursday, December 8; hours are 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Post-Thanksgiving Staycation.

STAYCATION. That word rolls off the tongue like the hiss of steam in a sauna bath, and dedicating one night to do so surely felt like being in one. Thanksgiving weekend entailed a mass exodus among New Yorkers. My family doesn't celebrate Thanksgiving ("not our holiday," says dad) so I had no reason to go home, and my best friend Jess just decided to stick around this year. I was too lazy to wake up early and brave the cold for the Macy's parade (maybe next year), but we cooked and wine drank our hearts out during our orphan dinner. So that happened and then what? Day off and the weekend, might as well keep the vacation vibes going.

... can Blackberry please make better built-in cameras?

For work, Jess checked a night in at Midtown's Grand Hyatt, located right above the Grand Central Station and just a body roll away from Time Square, and she invited me to tag along. Wine me, dine me, hotel room me - I'd be crazy to say no to that. Our dining experience at New York Central, located next to the bar of the hotel, consisted of rounds of deliciously dry Ruffino wine, breads ranging from raisin to wheat, and a main course to let my mind sprawl out in gastronomy heaven. Jess got a very juicy burger with fries, and I got the apparently popular, according to the manager, scallops dish. I'm having a hard time remembering the spice mixture and overall flavor. I recall telling Jess that it did not taste like scallops at all. There was a slight toast on top of a hint of sweetness, in which the chef succeeded by throwing in chestnuts and golden raisins.

The hotel recently went through millions of dollars worth in renovations for a more modern, Midtown club look thanks to the architect house of Bentel and Bentel. They have even added a lounge which you can enter for $100 on top of your general hotel expenses. (Good one, no thanks.) The good and bad thing about the overhanging windows of the bar and restaurant area is that it overlooks 42nd street, and thus giving the feeling that you're dining al fresco. Bad, however, because I'm a major people watcher, so I'm sure Jess was a little annoyed when I stared off into the streets while she chatted away.

Jess and I retreated to her room soon after, and I proceeded to disband everything on hand and commence my hotel rituals: dive and belly smack onto the hotel bed (this hotel's comfort grade: B+), and open up the blinds to check out the view - in our case, was the side of another building and a small triangle of 42nd Street. Somehow in the heart of this city's postcard picture - the bright lights, tall skyscrapers, a bum rush of the world's people making a living - we managed to find our getaway. In my case, even if it was for a few hours (had to peace out and her boyfriend took my place), it was nice to be away from Brooklyn and just relax.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Trust me on this one.

Toronto's Trust supported Balam Acab's NYC show last Thursday and I gotta say, they were the headline of my night. Submerge yourself into some dark electronic dance by listening to "Candy Walls" and the Bulbform LP, both released by Sacred Bones. "Candy Walls" is a crooning sway that'll rock your body back and forth, while "Bulbform" whips the hips with a foggy techno sound that's abrasively hypnotic.

Sunday, November 13, 2011


Download at

Get in on the "trillwave" and download ASAP Rocky's mixtape. NYC born and bred, this man converges all of hip-hop's familiar sounds, but the execution is done so well that your ears will take it in as something new. I cannot stress how good this mixtape is - hell, it's been on loop since I have downloaded it. Not only are the songs pure quality, but ASAP Rocky doesn't shy from his love of fashion and great menswear designers who are near and dear to me. "Raf Simons, Rick Owens, usually what I'm dressed in." That I can back hard.

I found out about the ASAP mob's Halloween show the day that it happened and waited too long to RSVP. (List was closed by then.) Huge fan. ASAP Rocky: if you're reading this, make sure I can attend your next gig. Guarantee I'll show up wearing all black and going ham.

"The only thing bigger than my ego is my mirror."

Great tracks: "Palace," "Wassup," "Trilla," "Bass," "Out of This World"

BEST TRACK: "Brand New Guy, feat. Schoolboy Q"**

**: heard this song drop for the first time at Terry Richardson's exhibit after-party thanks to GHE20 GOTH1K's Venus X. Girl knows how to mix it on the turntables and she's one of the few legit NYC DJs keeping parties going these days. Impending rant aside, almost dropped my drink because I was so elated.

And speaking of that party: boom shaka laka boom.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Animal Group by Carsten Höller

I stumbled upon a preview article on Carsten Höller's "Experience" exhibit at the New Museum and had to check it out. For those who don't know, Höller is a Sweden-residing German artist whose extraordinary works converge his doctoral background in biology with the arts to turn his works into mice mazes to expose the nature of humans. In order to properly approach this exhibit, however, I had to succumb to the role as a lab rat.

Meticulously scattered among the four floors of the museum's studio spaces are the Mirror Carousel, Untitled - a.k.a. the three-stories slide, Experience Corridor, and Giant Psycho Tank (to name a few). Maggie, Rosie, and I wrestled with various sensory ranging from pains to curious pleasures. To slide down Untitled, no bags and cameras were allowed on the slide and you had to wear a helmet. Untitled started off calm as the first turn gently cradled me like a rocking hammock, but by the second a sharp increase of momentum whipped out of nowhere and forcing my hands against my chest became difficult. I managed to hit the padding and leaving unscathed, but some unlucky few have whacked their head or hands against the tube - during which you'd hear uncomfortable gasps echo among the neon lights. In the Experience Corrider, a certain chamber prickled my arm, and I wasn't too sure if it was right for me to giggle like a schoolgirl in this sterile environment.

Höller may be the first artist who made me feel a little more comfortable screaming, laughing, and acting in behaviors usually uncouth in a museum setting. But for others, doing so "on display" may have been nerve-wrecking. As Höller's lab rats, we are revealed of our own foolery, but also facets of happiness through curious explorations.

And the pill that goes with this? Taken by Rosie.

Mirror Carousel

I found myself checking out my looks with each passing mirror. Most visitors stared into their reflection in each direction. Nothing makes vanity more heavenly than doing spinning round on a lightweight swing.

Maggie and the singing birds


Rosie was the last of the trio to take on Untitled. Harmless as it may look, when Museum security warns that you should keep your hands crossed on your chest they weren't jesting. Momentum really picks up after the second sharp turn, and I've heard sounds of felt pain and pure joy coming through the slide on the second floor.