Friday, June 19, 2009


I remember one time cleaning out my Dad's liquor cabinet, which had been growing with every type of unwanted liquor, from Schnapps to way-past-their-prime Ports, and sadly we poured out 4 or 5 bottles of my Grandfather's Early Times bourbon, inherited on his passing, probably 10 years or more aged in the bottle on the shelf. We thought we would never drink it, it smelled so foul it made us wretch, but I know now that he probably drank it every day and bought it by the case. It's funny to me when people pick one drink and stick with it forever – their signature drink.

Yesterday I was at the liquor store, and lately loving on Manhattans and ryes on-the-rocks, I decided to try something new instead of my standard, the Old Overholt. The price was $15.10 and the bottle looked so authentic I decided I might live blog this new taste. The live blog never made it off the ground but the bottle was opened, and although I wanted it to be a new find (the price was right and the label was beautiful), it was sadly over-oaked and suffered from the vanilla flavors on top of the bourbon base.

But it is Rye, and like its brother bourbon, it warms you up and takes the edge off a hard day's work. Come over sometime and I'll pour you a drink.

Insight, foresight, more sight

The Sound of Young America radio sweetheart/boy detective Jesse Thorn has a great interview up right now with Pharoahe Monch, who rose to prominence as one-half of Organized Konfusion and then as a solo artist. Organized is easily in my top ten favorite hip-hop duos of all time and I'm glad to hear they'll be doing some reunion shows this summer, starting tomorrow at the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival in DUMBO.

Organized Konfusion's second album, with artwork by Matt Doo

Pharoahe and Prince Po never really made that late '90s jump to pseudo thuggishness that brought other formerly-innovative MCs down (I'm talking about Black Sheep's second album, Special Ed's third album, Intelligent Hoodlum changing his name to Tragedy Khadafi...), and I think maintaining that certain level of weirdness positions both of them well for continuing to do interesting things.

Click here to listen to the Pharoahe Monch interview. (The previous week's interview with Brother Ali is also great, and I recommend combing through the gigantic Sound of Young America archives for interviews with Tim & Eric, Zach Galifianakis, Bob Odenkirk, Miranda July…the list goes on and on.)

Some favorite Organized cuts:

Organized Konfusion Stray Bullet mp3
from Stress:The Extinction Agenda (Hollywood)
Organized Konfusion Releasing Hypnotical Gases mp3
from Organized Konfusion (Hollywood Basic)
Organized Konfusion & O.C. You Won't Go Far mp3
from the New Jersey Drive OST (Tommy Boy)
Prince Po Love Thang mp3 (produced by Dangermouse)
from The Slickness (Lex)
Attica Blues Tender (Organized Konfusion remix) mp3 (Mo'Wax 12")
Prince Po freestyle (Stretch & Bobbito, June 1992) mp3

...and a few more from previous posts.

Your Weekly Mr. Littlejeans


Your Weekly...WHAT THE F??!!!!

This is real, I'm not joking. It's German.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

I Need a Miracle...


...Or more accurately, I need a shoe repair capable of performing a miraculous feat of engineering on one broken metal stiletto heel. Yes, I am a klutz.


I've long been a devotee of Shoe Service Plus on 55th in NYC; they've (grumpily) extricated me from many serious shoe disasters in the past. But this is pretty ugly heel breakage and I don't think they're going to come through for me this time. If any of you, dear readers, have other suggestions, I would be eternally grateful for your help. (I'm open to sorcerers residing either in Seattle or NYC – or elsewhere if we can do business by mail. And I love these little guys so cost is no object...sorry, Strath!)

Thank you, and please forgive the interruption. I now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

Shades of Gray

Cinematographer Pierre Lhomme's color tests from the production of Jean-Pierre Melville’s Army of Shadows. More images at the Criterion blog.

After almost a full month of sunny-and-75º, gray weather is threatening Seattle again. I actually don't mind it – walking out of the office last night to meet my mom for drinks at the Hideout, the rain had made everything smell fresh (there's a specific word for that phenomenon, I can't remember it). The gray skies remind you that it won't in fact be sunny forever and that you have to take advantage of it while you can. The Northwest is truly unbeatable when it's nice out.

That's all. I just wanted to quickly discuss the weather. More than other places I've lived, the weather here is like an actual personality at play in your life, and you have to acknowledge it.

Speaking of Criterion and darkness, I wanted to mention that on the recommendation of Merchbot's Movie Reviews, we just watched the 1961 noir Blast of Silence. I also highly recommend it, though possibly as a rainy day activity, rather than the way we watched it, hungover on a sunny Sunday afternoon. Here's the trailer:

Check out another clip and the Merchbot review here. For more info about the Criterion DVD click here and here.

Now go outside and play.

Barley Blair vs. the World

I just finished reading "The Russia House" by John Le Carré, and although it took me way too long to read, it's highly recommended if you are looking for a summer thriller or just a great book to carry around with you as an accessory. Written by a man once in the spy game himself, I was tipped off to pick up something by Le Carré after reading this article he wrote for The New Yorker.

Quote on the inside jacket:
"Indeed, I think that people want peace so much that one of these days governments had better get out of their way and let them have it." –Dwight D. Eisenhower

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Sometimes I Go Whole Days


School of Seven Bells "Half Asleep" from the album Alpinisms

Develop Don't Destroy

[Please note: Some photographs (and links to/information regarding their original source) have been removed from this post at the request of the photographer. With that in mind we would like to take the opportunity to note that we do not maintain this blog for commercial purposes, and no profit is derived from it. When we post photos or other artwork it is with the intention of commenting on information or items that we find interesting; we hope that by doing so we might inspire readers to learn more about the topics we discuss, and to support the artists we feature.]

Glenwood Power Station. Photo courtesy

Our friend Maya (whose wedding we attended in Vermont last September, at the beginning of our road trip West), recently put us up on some beautiful photos of the Glenwood Power Station in Yonkers, just north of NYC on the Hudson River.

The station was built in the early 1900s as part of the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad's switch from steam to electricity, and later used to supply power to Yonkers and the surrounding region. (The architects, Charles Reed and Allen Stem, also designed NYC's Grand Central Terminal, along with the firm of Warren & Wetmore.) The power station was shut down in the 1960s and has been peacefully decaying since then, although it apparently remains structurally sound.

Photo courtesy

There have been attempts to protect the building through local landmark legislation, but those efforts have been stalled since 2005. In 2008, the Preservation League of New York State named the building to Seven to Save, its list of the most endangered properties in New York.

Photos courtesy

The building's current owner is actively marketing it for development. A proposal to turn it into an art museum with condo towers on top (removing the smoke stacks and skylight roof) was reportedly withdrawn in late 2007.

Photo courtesy

I hope that someone with the foresight to develop the building in a way that's respectful of the beauty of the original structure steps forward. If not, I'd rather just see it slowly disintegrate into its surroundings, industrial decay at its finest.

Photo courtesy

More photos and information at Impose, here, and the Preservation League of New York State, here.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


[ click images to examine / click here for more ]

Go Ahead, Jump

If I could go back in time to shop (just think of how much further the dollar would go...), this is the jumpsuit I'd buy for the season:

Catsuit by Emanuel Ungaro, 1970

And maybe this too (you know, for hitting the slopes next winter):

Ski suit by Michele Rosier, 1968

Seriously. They just don't make them like they used to.

Images from Francois Baudot, Fashion: The Twentieth Century