Wednesday, October 19, 2011

I've relocated

New blog. New site. Etc...

You can now find me at The Kevin Talbot Experience. Check it out when you get a chance.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Big Apple Mysteries

This issue's secrets will thrill and chill you to the bone!

Scouting New York explores the Mystery of the West Village Camper!

Jeremiah uncovers a secret porno theater in the Case of Times Square's Missing Past!

Ephemeral New York asks Who Watches You on the Streets of New York?

The Bowery Boys want to know: Is Mayor Mike Taking us Back in Time?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

NYC Comics

“There’s this kinetic energy that, if you have a dream and ambition, and you want to make something, you come here. The minute your foot hits the ground it’s in this groove and you’re doing and meeting other people who are the same vibe. It’s so easy to make something here if you want it, and if you want to do the work for it.”

Chris Irving of Graphic NYC checks in with an excellent look at graphic novelist Christine Norrie. The interview covers many topics, including Christine's views on the city and romance:

“Is there such a thing as real romance?” Christine poses as she adjusts her maroon scarf. “Its just drama, 24/7. I feel like romance and love, which I’m all about, is also one of the beautiful and crushing things we do to each other. It can be so hurtful and painful, also wonderful and uplifting, except there are no rules, no formula, and so many, many variables. I know everybody goes about it differently, and there’s great love out there, but there’s also such great sorrow.”
(Norrie's "Cheat", from Oni Press)

Irving also has a piece in New York Magazine exploring some of the comic book landmarks of New York City. The article highlights locations with additional fictional histories (such as the George Washington Bridge, where the Green Goblin killed Spider-Man's girlfriend, Gwen Stacey), and also places of historical significance to the comic industry, which has roots deep in NYC (including DeWitt Clinton High School, alama mater of Will Eisner, Bill Finger, Bob Kane, and Stan Lee, amongst others).

Also at NY Mag is a brief list of the top New York comics, as selected by some of New York's many comic writers and artists. The attempt to call the list a canon is charming in its pretension, but there are some great works included.

Monday, March 2, 2009

The People in Your Neighborhood.

It has been an interesting few days. I got together with DJ Belladonna at The Quays this weekend to discuss the state of nightlife in Astoria. Her regular Subkulture and Grooveskool nights at Hell Gate Social have been growing every month. She's also a Queens native, which made me feel a bit less self-conscious about wanting to see my kind of nightlife in Astoria. There is always this sort of fear that working in that direction would make me one of those transplants. An interloper who ruins what's good about a neighborhood. Having first-hand confirmation that there are people who've lived here all of their lives want a stronger nightlife makes me less wary about working towards that.

We discussed a lot of the positive growth seen over the last year or so. Why Leave Astoria?, a social networking site for the neighborhood, run by Ran Caycraft, has played a key role in connecting Astorians with others in the community who are interested in the same things. The site seems to largely cater to the 20s to 30s crowd, but it does so very well. They've recently introduced a Perks Card, which gives access to discounts throughout Astoria.

I think the part I like most about WLA is that it is building community amongst the people who haven't lived here all of their lives. It is very easy to live in a neighborhood like Astoria, enjoy the restaurants and shops, and never really know your neighbors. But that leaves out crucial parts of the Astoria experience. You're not really a part of the neighborhood if you don't participate. You just live here.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Gentrification Crashing on the East River?

Vanishing New York brought my attention to this piece in the Times. It is interesting to consider what will happen to neighborhoods on 'the verge' with the current economic downturn. Locally, I'm particularly interested in how this plays out with the LIC condo boom. We've already seen a number of those new buildings accepting rental tenants when they can't sell units. This has sent some would-be owners scrambling to get out of their agreements before closing.

Long Island City is a fascinating test case of this sort of thing. There is so little residential neighborhood there compared to the number of new developments. It seems every bit the test-bed in engineering a neighborhood. I have no idea what it will all look like if/when these developments fail, but I'm curious to see. Not sure if this bodes terribly well for new establishments like Dutch Kills.

Astoria on the other hand seems relatively culturally intact. While the number of shops that have recently closed on Steinway Street isn't a good sign, this is every bit the pre-existing neighborhood. Already a mish-mash of cultures, Astoria will likely benefit in the long run from the slowing tide of gentrification. Most of the property here is rental property anyway, and the hiccups in redeveloping LIC will slow the hand of those who would like to tear down and redevelop the neighborhood. 

Successful newer establishments like Blackbird's have found a niche and steady local clientele. They've catered very well to the Astoria that actually exists, as opposed to a hypothetical neighborhood that could be.

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Annex in Soho

Last night I attended a party at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Annex in Soho. It was my first chance to get a look at the space, and I had been looking forward to it. I wasn't disappointed.

The Rock Annex is a much smaller space than the Hall of Fame in Cleveland, but they pack a lot into what they have. Entrance is staggered, so only so many people are walking through a given exhibit at a time. While I haven't seen this at work with large crowds of tourists, it worked really well at last night's party. Everybody had time and space to explore the exhibits without any crowding issues.

The exhibits blend hi-tech, interactive media with memorabilia throughout rock history. Guests wear headphones throughout the Annex, and as they approach an exhibit, the corresponding music tracks begin to play. This lets you wander in any direction you like, making it a big difference from traditional audio tours. My personal favorite example of the blend of interactive media and traditional exhibits is the Jimmy Hendrix section of the Guitar Heroes gallery. Concert footage of Hendrix wailing away at "Purple Haze" plays on a massive screen. As the music fades, the image vanishes to reveal a display case behind the performance. Included in the display, amidst guitar straps and other minutiae, are the original lyrics for "Purple Haze".

New York Rocks is an exhibit close to home. NYC rock history is explored here with the Talking Heads, Blondie, the Ramones, Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five, John Lennon, and of course, CBGB. That they've replicated as many elements of the club here as they have is fairly impressive. Graffiti and sticker-encrusted walls are preserved under glass. It's a look back at an old New York that would almost feel too sterile, too museum quality, if not for Joey Ramone shouting in your ears. For a split second you're there.

The last exhibit hall currently houses The Clash (the exhibit runs until sometime this Spring). It was remarkably well done. As a Clash fan, it was magic. This is a massive gallery to devote to a single band. I think this is probably the best thing about the Rock Annex. A few times a year, they'll rotate this exhibit, and focus on something new. It gives a reason to return.

Overall, it was a really fun way to spend an evening. There is definitely something there for any rock fan.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

35th and 36th Streets in Astoria

Forgotten NY has a nice piece on Astoria, with lots of photos. Definitely worth checking out.

While only briefly covered in the Forgotten NY piece, the Museum of the Moving Image is really a great spot in that neck of Astoria. Once they finish their renovations, I expect it will be a much stronger attraction. 

As is, it really isn't a bad spot to spend an hour or two. Especially if you like vintage arcade games. The museum's collection includes Asteroids (1979), Battlezone (1980), Berzerk (1980), Defender (1980), Donkey Kong (1981), Frogger (1981), Galaxian (1979), Gauntlet (1984), Missile Command (1980), Ms. Pac-Man (1982), Qix (1981), Space Invaders (1978), Super Breakout (1978), and Tron (1982).