Pound Sign

New York City, pop culture, art and nightlife. Because nobody else is blogging about those things.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Settling in

After 2 years in the windswept environs of Chelsea and the prickly, personality-driven field of contemporary art, this week I've officially been sequestered in the leafy, serene enclave of the Upper West Side...and the prickly, personality-driven field of cultural history. While my desk piles higher and higher with files that must be read immediately, I am settling into my new environment, which admittedly is exactly what I thought museums were like when I was a kid. Dark echoing corridors with high ceilings, heavy wooden doors and hidden staircases, stacks of frames and empty, dusty display cases lining the walls of the office halls, shelves piled high with...stuff. I've been saying to people, it feels like I work at Indiana Jones's day job. Sadly, I have to wear a tie. I was an art major, dammit!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Saturday, August 26, 2006

Dildonic wizard horses

This was my last week at my now-former day job...starting the new gig on Monday. Exhausting week of wrapping things up, anticipating deadlines that would be missed, cleaning out two years worth of files and training my replacement. With this transition, and the week's end shift in the weather, the summer's really feeling over...of course it will hit 80 next week and that illusion will be over. But we hit the urban outdoors hard in anticipation of not having much longer to do it-Thursday night, saw Neko Case play at McCarren Pool. Word to the wise, that vast drained swimming pool is a terrific venue, plenty of room to spread out, with the sun setting behind the arched entry way, but don't forget to hit the ATM and buy cigarettes before you go in. Because then you're trapped. Neko was fantastic as always-she spent the evening explaining that all of her song choices were made for her by the unicorn tarot cards she'd received as a gift the night before. Although the sepulchral guitars, pedal steel twang, and her echo-chamber angel voice are better served indoors, with walls to reverberate off of-to be honest sitting 2 feet away from her at the edge of stage in Joe's Pub last year has spoiled me. But it was lovely evening-dinner after in the garden at one of Williamsburg's little restaurants I can't remember the name of. Friday, some work folks took me out for drinks after work, at the Frying Pan right on the Hudson, the floating bar swaying with the choppy water, an honest to God chilly breeze blowing...ran right from there to Coney Island for Burlesque at the Beach, and then a crew headed to the boardwalk bar to drink beer, watching the lightning flash out over the pitch black water...seriously, fall is coming. Get out there.

(Awesome pic of McCarren Pool from tienmao.com.)

Monday, August 21, 2006

Communing with the spirits, sans irony.

Headed to 4th St. on Sunday to check out Creative Time's "Strange Powers" exhibition, curatedby Laura Hoptman (who I happen to work with) and Peter Eleey. In a seemingly abandoned building, a walk up a creaky flight of stairs past layers of grime and peeling wallpaper scraps takes visitors to a group of works that approach the spiritual, the psychic, the paranormal, and the afterlife in ways both provocative and (mostly) sincere-that last part is actually a nice change of pace. Some works are especially interesting-the Center for Tactical Magic's installation of growing plants whose health is being influenced by the thoughts, either positive or negative, that visitors are asked to project at them; this piece obviously has a sense of humor...but it also seems to be a working experiment. (they also supplied the DIY spell-casting sheets handed out at the door, which were cute but struck me as a little too tongue in cheek for this show) Senga Nengudi's installation of dripping water is quietly powerful, but some of the works that strive to address the power of healers, mediums and seances come across as certainly more interesting experiences for the artists then effective as works to be experienced. The eeriest works channel (in effect, literally) artists no longer with us who explored mortality-their own and by projection, everyone's-years before they died. James Lee Byar's pitch black room where his ghost supposedly resides-a new installation based on directions from the artist decades ago. Friedrich Jurgenson's posthumous, ghostly television screen portrait and his static-filled audio recordings of what he called "Electronic Voice Phenomena" from his friends in the great beyond. Works like these suit the brickwalled, tin-ceiling space, one of those great old, crumbling New York spaces that it's a pleasure to get into for whatever reason-and this one is purported to be haunted, so good choice!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Tonight, at the Pit: Everyone Gets Laid

Getting ready to go out, and PCU is on HBO. I'm right back in college, sophomore year, right now.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Not since Big Country sang about the big country...

I will always say that there's only one performer in my house, and it ain't me. But I've been talked into (admittedly, it didn't take much effort) playing a bit part in tomorrow night's presentation of Pinchbottom Burlesque; specifically, I will be playing the large fellow to General Zod's left, in Creamy Steven's Supergirl number. If you'd like to see me slightly embarrass myself, as well as see one of the best burlesque shows in town (consistently great every month), come on down to Collective:Unconscious tomorrow night!

Also, you win, blogosphere! I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm going to get in line to see Motherfuckin' Snakes on a Motherfuckin' Plane this weekend! Hell yeah! By the way, how is it possible that the theme song is by...Cobra Starship? Really? Hell yes, it's the new summer jam.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

And sometimes, things kind of fall in your lap.

So literally a hour after I wrote the previous post, a curator and artist that I respect a lot and who used to be my boss at a previous job called me, and asked me if I would take on a really big, exciting curatorial project for a non-profit gallery space in Brooklyn, where she's co-coordinating the next exhibition season. It will be a ton of work, with lots of artists, and it has to happen fast. It's honestly the kind of project that can make or break a curatorial reputation, and I absolutely fucking leapt on it! So, all of sudden it's going to be a very busy fall (not that it wasn't going to be already! That reminds me, I still have to find one more contestant for WML next month...) but I literally couldn't be more excited about this project. And a little terrified. The moral of the story: never burn bridges.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Looking for walls to put stuff on.

As the end of the summer rapidly approaches, I'm looking at the start of a new job at the beginning of September; leaving behind contemporary art (for now) for the more old-school environs of a historical society. It's a good move and I'm looking forward to doing something new, but sorry to leave a place where I'm frequently surrounded by innovative new art, working artists and curators...making me realize that I need to really invigorate my curatorial efforts. If I can't rely on my day job to keep me in touch with what's moving art forward at this very moment (and no more trips to Chelsea galleries on my lunch break), I really need to step up staying connected on my own time. I know this is a challenge a lot of independent creative types face here-in fact, I live with one! So, since I didn't make the final cut for that Brooklyn gallery that selected me as a finalist a few months back, I have an exhibition proposal without a home. I'm determined to find a great space for it, and I'm really feeling like I need to work on finding that less conventional space that would love to get their hands on some of the artists who have signed on for this show! Finding a space is truly the hardest part of this process, when you're working outside the parameters of a call for proposals or gallery request-you have to make your own opportunity! I'm determined to find this show a home before the end of the year. So...anybody have a gallery out there?

You know, I didn't like this movie the first time I saw it. I don't know what I was thinking either.

Courtesy of Last Stop: This Town.

And you know, that isn't even the funniest Big L clip out there. This is.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Back in two and two.

It's an absolutely gorgeous day out, and here I am, inside, hung over. Drinking coffee at 1 in the afternoon. Seriously, we're a 15 minute walk from Central Park, I could be hung over in the park at least. But Love Connection is on!

This show makes me happy and sad at the same time. The breath-taking late '80's-early '90's fashions and hair-the mullets and cowboy boots, the flowered dresses and shoulder pads, the pumps and leather miniskirts, the giant glasses, the huge hair with bangs laquered into fans, more shoulder pads...I love it all, and then I remember that this is what the world looked like, when I was HIGH SCHOOL! Jesus I'm old.

Also, I love that every date on that show was defined by how long a drive they had to get to each other, because it's fucking LA, and it's always "Well, Chuck, he lives in San Bernablah-bitty-blahblah, and I live in Way-the-hell-up-there Beach, so it was a 17 hour drive." And, I know that we live in the age of Maxim and Girls Gone Wild, but the attitudes of the mustached dudes on this show towards women...seriously, we've made some progress.

But the best thing about it, honestly; it's like peering into a time capsule from another age. From a time when the tv audience could be entertained by the mere description of a date. No cameras on the date! Why was this entertaining? Because it was, that's why. We didn't need to see them in the hot tub making out! We had...imaginations. Dag nab it. Jesus I'm old.

Friday, August 04, 2006

We pulled it off.

I have to admit, when it turned out to be the hottest day in recorded human history, and none of our contestants had arrived yet at 7:50 for the 8:00 show, I was a little stressed. But then everybody showed up, even an audience! We actually had a great crowd, comfortably filling the Parkside's back room, which has a very sweet waitress and a nice, loungey vibe that really set the tone. And you know what? We had a show. It was rough in some patches-that's why you do a first show! But we picked such great people to do this with us; the chemistry of the panel shown through the first-time rawness and the logistical things that need to be hammered out, and whenever I forgot to do something our lovely assistant Precious Little picked up the slack-she was seriously the hardest working person in the room. Our contestants were a hit, especially Jesse "Dresses as Elmo for Children's Parties" Perez (best question, Garth: "Is there anything titillating about what you do?") and Jonathan Ames was nice enough to show up and be our inaugural celebrity mystery guest. There was other craziness too, but we had a lot of fun. The audience had a lot of fun. And we're gonna do it again next month!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Show debuts tonight if City doesn't spontaneously combust first.

Well, the contestants are selected, we have a surprise mystery challenger scheduled to join us, our adorable hand-made set pieces are finished. We got the panel together for a run-through of the game last week over beers at the Parkside, with our lovely assistant Precious Little playing the part of all the contestants; it went so well that I can only hope the audience has as much fun with it as we all did! We were recommended in Time Out last week (and Lindsay gave us a shout-out!). And now, it's here, our debut night...during the hottest day in New York City history. I left our apartment this morning and literally--literally!--melted into a puddle right there on the sidewalk. Just boom, puddle. It's a wonder I made it to work. (Yeah, leaving early today.) But what can I tell ya, people: the venue has air-conditioning. Enough said. I'd go to a Republican Party mixer tonight if it had decent AC.

So, we'll see! We're throwing a party and I hope people come and have a good time. In the AC, did I mention that the bar has AC?