Thursday, January 26, 2012

The [MAGA]Zine Pile: Raf in 'Fantastic Man' #14

I took me two months to finally buy this issue, but really it should have taken me half a second. Every time I walk home from the Bedford L, I pass by a particular bodega that sells every fashion magazine imaginable: from some obscure, expensive, small-scale European publication to Men's Health (there's some fashion and style in there, right?) next to a stack of Doritos and Head and Shoulders. Yet behold, within a plastic display of "featured" magazines outside of the store, the Fantastic Man issue with Raf Simons as its cover man. The former goth Catholic schoolboy who I may love a little TOO much sitting on his Pierre Jeanneret chair, gave my eyes that glare seldom seen except for the portrait used in Cathy Horyn's NYT story and literally four other photos. When asked about his refusal to be photographed, Raf told Horyn that he just finds portraits to be "embarrassing" (aww), so I knew something special was waiting for me in this issue.

I was tickled by the peculiarity and playfulness of his spread in the autumn/winter 2011 issue. Raf willingly models a mixture of archived pieces from his early, more destructive youth influenced collections and his own designs under the Jil Sander house. He's sprawled sideways along his stairs and reverse planks before an art piece by U.S. artist Mike Kelley. In the accompanied profile, Gert Jonkers highlights that Raf apologized for putting The XX's debut album on constant repeat for the two hours in his home and that the avid art collector and personal buyer was once rejected by the artist himself for a painting because he didn't schedule an appointment ahead of time. Juicy in everything you want to know from Raf's brilliant noggin, the profile is a pleasant read and subtly hints at Raf's future after Jil Sander. This issue is a must-have if you're a Raf-head like me.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

1_22. Free Spirit @ The Acheron, NYC

Made a stealth trip to the Acheron tonight to check out Boston bred Free Spirit's set. Super fun show with the dudes (no ladies this time) up front swinging and kicking, but people these days would go hard to anything repped by the Lockin' Out label. Can't say I blame them, the label's bands (Cold World, Righteous Jams, The Rival Mob, Razzle Dazzle) produce some catchy hooks.

Taken from the sideline of the pit, the video above is the first four songs of the band's set. Enjoi.

photoAday_ Jan 22

DAY 22, YOUR SHOES: Docs, Y-3, Campbells, Theyskens', Vans, et des chausurres mignons. Part of the whole. What can I say? I love shoes.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Bushwick's Heaven Street Grand Opening; New Favorite Record Shop

fatigued and out of work with Marco and Laura

Thank HEAVEN STREET I decided to come out of my hermit coma for once or else I would not have stumbled upon my new favorite record store. Located just skips away from the Morgan Avenue stop on the L, Heaven Street record shop just had its grand opening tonight and everyone from musicians to writers and designers salivated over the free PBR and impressive inventory. "New York's only counter cultural record store!" proclaims the Facebook event page. The shop is curated by Cult of Youth's Sean Ragon and is often run under the friendly hands of my buddy and former Hospital Production shopman, Jim Siegel. Whatever you can trace in the two's musical paths is what you will find in the shelves of this store. It's no surprise that a store that's run by total angels (though I know OF Sean through mutual friends but I'm sure he's a sweetie too) makes DETAILED labels on almost every release in stock. Now that's service! Believe me, it was very hard to keep my wallet shut tonight, and when I found out they accepted Paypal payments upon purchasing Chronic Sick's "Cutest Band in Hardcore" e.p., I willingly kept my account open on the shop's laptop.

The store is open seven days a week (I believe) and is currently cash only - and Paypal, if you're nice and ask. It's located on 184 Noll Street, opens from 12-8 p.m., and all you have to do is walk left on Flushing and see a big ass window with a red wall and records behind it. They really like pizza. Jim loves waffles, pretzels, and cats. You will probably see me frequent the shop on the reg.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Zine Pile_ round 1

[Garbage World Fanzine, vol 1]

Canadians know what's up in hardcore, and though not located in a more convenient tour location like Toronto and Montreal, Calgary is happening, and this zine is proof. Jason Scharf is the man behind this zine, assembling show photos and conjoining interviews as a way to "give back to hardcore." Noted in the intro, he'll travel far and wide to go hard in a great pit of a great band, he can get shit offensive about things, has no musical talent, and doesn't give a fuck - and I respect that atttitude. Some pretty entertaining interviews from bands like The Ropes (Chicago), Scab (UK), Vacant State (Vancouver, CAN), and White Wards (Olympia), and, especially, some really insightful facts about hardcore in Canada. Apparently Victoria is a "god forsaken piss soaked tourist corpse" (White Ward), much of the sounds of Vancouver doesn't get out of the city due to geographical restrictions, and outsiders of the country like Scab have much love and acknowledgment of the scene. I look forward to the next issue, and in all curiousness I hope it comes equipped with more insider info from those North of the border because that's what zines were all about before the internet happened, right? I'll admit I almost whipped out my red pen because there are a lot of typos and fragments and errors that make the skin of an anal, journalism graduate like me prickle. But the wall-worthy xeroxed photos, pleasantly succinct content, and leaving Scab's winking emoticons be left me feeling lenient, for now.

Send an email to Jason at droppinthekidsinthepool[at] to see if any are available/pick up a copy for yourself. The first print runs in 80 copies. Oh, and photos I took from the Columbus Ropes show are in this zine as well.

[Fashionable Activisim, issues 1 and 2]

Kevin McCaughey, a.k.a. 1/2 of Fashionable Activism and known in the punk\internet/VLV\Tumblr world as negativekevin, stayed at my place for a hot week last month to experience New York City. While doing so he dropped off copies of his online-to-print zine, including the latest issue that came out last fall. In its hardcore punk fanzine form, Fashionable Activism transports the wittingly opinionated reviews and ramblings of its star creator onto a visually pleasing medium. The interviews thrown in, nonexistent in its online form, are proof that NegiKev ( o.k. with being "young, dumb, and full of cum") is not only doing his homework, but actively seeking to learn more. As a reader you get to participate in that through the conversations with today's noteworthy acts like Mauser and The Men. "The purpose of this zine is the proper documentation of hardcore 2010, and to express my current taste and feeling of this whole shit." Of course, it would be disappointing if it the zine didn't incorporate the snarky, love-me-or-hate-me, opinionated voice of yours truly.

Both issues are available (looks like they were reissued) at Kevin's Pass Judgement Records webstore.

[Our Show with Elliot Aronow Zine, winter/issue 1]

Commonly described by various outlets as "if GQ became a DIY punk zine," the first issue of Our Show successfully reeled in a new fan. I'm loving this whole punks go dapper overhaul among friends and strangers, and frankly there's nothing wrong with a man who takes good care of himself. Google Elliot Aronow and you'll find that not only is he the climbing tastemaker in culture and lifestyle - and being other cool things like co-founder of RCRD LBL and writer behind Kanye Wests' press bio, but this handsome fella never shies away from the opportunity to bust out a Cro-Mags shirt and oh my gods I can't even... Swoon with a capital S. Anyway, slightly digressing, taking on the fashion of your everyday punk zine, Our Show's entire 42-page, black and white spread is "a social alchemy at work," but his social circle is the cool kids kids club with more mainstream accolades, and a more refined taste for nice things than your average zinester. (Am I really using that word? Oh well.) Poetry-cum-screenshot of an iPhone conversation from Diplo, a photo spread by Yeah Yeah Yeah's Nick Zinner, AND a comprehensive crash course on tailoring and the perfect suit?! This NYC-centric zine harks back to the core practices of a DIY zine, extricating the information overload of the internet age (be this, do that, buy this, listen that) and cut it down to what Aronow finds to be truly insightful, truly necessary, one issue at a time.

Copies of this zine are scattered throughout record stores and boutiques in the NYC area. Non-residents can e-mail Elliot at elliot[a] for a copy, if there are still any available. Hand-numbered, out of 300.

[Phil Knott's Tally Ho!]

The first time I ever had a magazine personally distributed to me by its bike-riding creator was with this issue. I found that moment very charming. Whether you've noticed or not, it's very likely that you've come across Phil Knott's works. His photography ranges from portraits of Broadcast to Jay-Z, his love of desaturated color and collage turned into a design for Hot Hot Heat's "Elevator" album, and his talent of tinkering with color and photography brings out a very vivid presentation of attitude and sound from his subjects. His works, in sum, are music you listen with your eyes. Knott's Tally Ho! pieces together not only his works, but works of artists like Mick Rock and Anthony Lister who are dedicated to reflecting and translating the cultures of modern life through striking works of art. It's a beautifully, understated cycle shown in print by Knott: the sociopolitical push on emotion which creates music which sticks to the minds of its listeners who use a medium like art to evoke commentary and feelings. The classics of rock and roll, David Bowie to Joy Division, are hand-in-hand with the artist in this particular tango.

75,000 copies in ciruculation. Available in newsstands, premiere book chains, and fine art galleries worldwide.

If I haven't made it more obvious, I love zines. If there's any out there that you think I may be into and really should check out, shoot me an e-mail with more information. Ciao x

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

photoAday_ Jan 11

DAY 11, WHERE YOU SLEEP: it's not like sleeping on a cloud (it's a fold-out futon, going to get a mattress for it eventually), but a bed is a bed. Regardless of what kind you have, when it's your own it's the first place you want to be as the day wanes to its close. My bed is a throne waiting for it's queen.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

photoAday_ Jan 10

DAY 10, CHILDHOOD: this letter is exactly 10-years-old. Wow. It was sent by an old penpal of mine named Ameenah. We found each other on a Koreananime (for real) penpal exchange guestbook. I don't remember who answered the penpal inquiry of who, but somehow we developed a very strong friendship out of our letter exchanges that lasted for several years: 2000 to perhaps 2004-2005. In August of 2001, I managed to convince my dad into letting me stay at her family's house in Circleville, Va. for a week, while my dad was in D.C. for various projects. The day I left was the day Aaliyah died, and that's all you heard about on music media outlets - especially radio. So that's how I remember all this, I guess. Anyway, apparently this is the only letter that managed to survive the years. I swear I managed to hold on to most of them because I keep every single personal memo, note, letter, card that comes my way. This was a very special friendship that stuck with me because it was my first success in connecting with someone outside of geographical reach. I don't think I would have done this if websites like Myspace and Facebook existed. I'm very happy they didn't taint my efforts of making a strong bond** back when social developments go through a very dramatic milestone: the adolescent years.

Update Jan. 20: changed "bond" from "bong." Dumbest typo ever, or best?

Monday, January 9, 2012

photoAday_ Jan 9

DAY 9, DAILY ROUTINE: my eyes sting and I'm tearing up profusely. Oh, it's that big bowl of onions I just cut. Let me just wipe my ey- oh shit, now my vision's all blurry. Now I can't see the notification someone left me on Facebook via my Blackberry app.

I always make sure that at least one of my meals is made from scratch. I rarely buy TV dinners/microwavable/oven-baked meals because for one, we don't have a microwave; and second, I know how to cook and I like to know what I'm eating so why not? For breakfast I ate brown sugar wheat waffles (the batter was made from scratch days ago), leftover lentils sloppy joe (made two days ago) on spinach and wheat for lunch, and in this photo I'm prepping up some tofu scrambles. Can you tell I love to cook? Apparently there was a full moon out today, which kind of explains why today felt like a drop down the Millennium Force roller coaster at Cedar Point. I calmed down after I made this meal, served with a side of blackberry spinach salad. Cooking is my daily therapy. And sometimes my phone is too.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

photoAday_ Jan 8

I decided to cave in on this "photo a day" activity after seeing a few of my friends upload their daily Instagram snaps in lieu of the challenge. Unfortunately I am not "with it" and don't have an iPhone, and therefore, don't have the Instagram app. I have a Blackberry Curve with no flash and a sepia setting as its COOL, QUIRKY photo filter. Also, it tends to blur badly with the slightest move. Anyway, these will be taken with my Fujifilm camera and I'm still deciding if I should play catch-up on the past seven days or just forget about them.

DAY 8, YOUR SKY: every morning I do some warm-up stretches and cardio activity so I can face the day with some energy and a great body. This photo was taken in the living room of my third floor apartment. When I'm lying down with my back against the floor, maybe after doing leg lifts, maybe exhaling deeply from stationary drills, my eyes often inquisitively greet the blue skies. When we question our existence, our purpose, we look to the skies. When we experience miraculous moments in our lives, we look to the skies. When it's just a need to simply escape but can't really do so under current restraints, we look to the sky. I do all of that when I cool down: I bask in my existence and escape in a dream.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Visionaire 61

Maggie and I finally made the easy, two-subway-stops trip to the gallery on Mercer to see the magazine that broke a Guinness world record in the flesh. For years the super team behind Visionaire - Stephen Gan, Cecilia Dean, and James Kaliardos - had always wanted to make the largest magazine ever, inflating the excitement behind seeing beautiful photography and artwork beyond what the eyes (and hands) could originally handle. Thanks to the sponsorship and conceptual push of African Global founder Nizan Guanaes, the team assembled the contributed artworks and miraculously scurried over to a billboard printer in Wisconsin to create a very impractical, but very beautiful magazine.

standing next to the 'standard size'

It takes two to tango, but it also takes two to flip through this massive issue. We didn't want to be liable of damaging the $1,500,79 x 57.8 inches super-mag, so we went over to the "standard size" and took turns daintily flipping through the works of Ryan McGinley, Bruce Weber, Karl Lagerfeld, and Marina Abramovic, to name a few.

The two versions of the magazine are available for the public to peruse until the end of January. Gallery hours are 11-7 p.m. I highly recommend that you do not go alone. Also check out Visionaire's website for an absolutely adorable promo vid featuring three models purchasing the issue at a newsstand and taking it out for a "relaxing" park read.