Monday, August 10, 2009

I'm LITERALLY Writing This Right Now

I've become quite fond of using, elongating, and really heavily stressing the word 'LITERALLY,' but solely among those under 50. Recently it's dawned on me that our generation has become so used to exaggerating and using the word 'like' to avoid at all costs saying the absolute truth that when we do try to communicate a simple, actual fact, we must stress that we mean what we say quite literally. 

I must stop saying 'like' unless I mean 'similar to' or the other host of meanings we all know but need not drone on about. Despite my best efforts, I've let that loathsome misuse of the English language creep into my lexicon, bubbling forth from unknown origins, betraying my intelligence and way with words. I never had that Mr. Gold in high school, legend in a tweed suit and a ring whose rap upon the desk sent many a 'like'-ing person into distress. I never got to skip his class, mock his very human decency, or experience his flashbacks. But I like that he tried to get people to stop misusing the word 'like.' At least he tried at that.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Live from Bowery Poetry Club 7/10/09

Here are three videos from my band Turkuaz's latest show at Bowery Poetry Club on July 10th. You can see an excellent review of the show here. It was a great night of music that started off with afro-beat band Zongo Junction, followed by the beautiful, ever-talented Nicky Egan and her band The Majority, with Turkuaz ending the night. As always seems to happen when we play BPC, once we finished playing I proceeded to spend all the money I'd brought with me at the bar, and that's even with significant discounts from Diane, my favorite bartender in the world! She is the exact opposite in every way from her male counterpart, this douchebag with glasses and a disposition similar to the characters in Grumpy Old Men, except without the endearing, lovable softness underneath. No, this curmudgeonly pudge-ball is all douche.

I hope you enjoy!

In this next one, I must thank my friend Jos for showing love for the saxophones!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Ode to My Fellow Booze-Slingers

We are the night crawlers,
restless adventurers,
craving intense doses of interaction with strangers,
each night a new slew of faces,
a story here and a shot of Beam,
three Absolut Cokes and a Redbreast neat to table twenty three.
We are the insane jugglers on a crowded stage
bathed in intoxication and bar light and 
loving every miserable second of it all,
the madness and the beautiful women,
dropped drinks and the joy in your eyes.

We sleep when you work. 
We work when you play. 
We play when you sleep. 

Good morning, good night, 
it's all relative anyway.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

My Couch Pulls Out But I Don't

Last night marked another victory for the most fierce team in the Air Ball division of New York Urban Professionals Basketball League. My Couch Pulls Out But I Don't won our third game, making us 3-1 for the season. Yes, our team is called My Couch Pulls Out But I Don't, named by team captain Benjamin Cathers pictured above in the red trunks next to me. A source of both pride and shame, depending on the gender and age of whoever I'm telling it to, the name still makes me laugh every time I say it. 

What I found most fun about last night's game is that for once I was actually the Big Man compared to the other team. Normally I'm taller than everyone on the opposing team, but am usually out-muscled or simply out-massed by at least one or two shorter but stockier foes. Specifically, I have no ass, which makes it hard to box out someone with a larger derriere when rebounding. But last night there were no big butts or exceptionally broad shoulders, giving me free reign to grab rebounds in the paint. It's fun being tall sometimes.

I also got to feel like a tough guy. Dear friend and teammate Yoni had the ball inches from the sideline and was blatantly pushed out of bounds by a pudgy semi-thug frustrated by his lack of actual basketball skills. Yoni then complained to the ref, who had yet to blow a whistle, when suddenly the aforementioned pudge ball forcefully shoves Yoni and gets into rumble mode. Wanting to aid my friend and feel tough, I run to the scene and get in the idiot's face, exchanging some un-pleasantries and engaging in male posturing. My teammates held me back, the kid was kicked out, and we won by a very comfortable lead. I felt pretty badass. 

There is one development that both amuses and worries me... I think I'm becoming that old Jewish guy who grabs shirts and throws hidden elbows and knees into younger, more in-shape opponents! And it's fun! I'm still a good sport and not in the worst shape on the court, but I've found myself getting dirtier by the game, fouling hard early on to let the other team know I mean business. I hope to get in better shape so I don't need to resort to semi-foul play, but I think I'll always add a dash of dirty to keep things interesting. I remember hating those old, bony farts whose bodies were composed solely of sharp edges and calloused bones, who would grab your shirt in a fast break, trip you in the corner, and then be the first to call a foul on you at the slightest infraction. There was always at least one Old Man River on any given night at the JCC courts, and they always seemed to have so much fun. Now I know why.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Check out Turkuaz playing 'Coast to Coast' at Bowery Poetry Club last Friday night. Thanks to Noah Schwartz for filming and editing it. It's a bit dark, but still pretty cool.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Fresh Kicks

Soak it in.. the kindergarten red and blue, the funky lines, the totally sweet Hexalite technology, and in size 15! After a year of wearing out my same old Pumas, pictured below,

I was in dire need of some fresh footwear to feature and foster my funk. Salvation came in the form of a hookup inside Reebok (thanks again, Spencer) who let me check out the store in their international headquarters in Canton, MA. I was pumped as I walked into the big store, ogling all the funky colors and styles. Then came the always-dreaded question.. 'what do you have in size 15?' I've been relegated to the back storage room at so many shoe stores that I had long ago given up buying shoes outside of the interweb. So when the salesman raised his eyebrows and motioned for me to follow him to the dreaded dungeon, I cried a little on the inside, expecting to be presented with the usual choices of some ugly high-top basketball sneakers or the all-black leather orthopedic retard shoes. To my great surprise, I actually had some great sneakers to choose from! While the red, white and blue ones pictured above were the only ones that fit me properly, it was nonetheless refreshing to have real options to choose from like a normal, dignified shoe-shopper. Best part is, they match red and blue Turkuaz jumpsuits! Later that night, as I donned my blue jumpsuit and stepped onto the stage at Matchless (after announcing to one and all that there was about to be a free funk show), I felt the funk bubbling up from my fresh-ass feet. Glorious was the night. Especially since Spencer left his bag at my place, a bag filled with some of the funkiest threads I've ever seen. Spencer, I borrowed your wolf t-shirt for my show on Saturday. Don't worry, it's being washed as we speak. The shirt is funky enough without me adding my own. 

Some Designs

This is a Turkuaz t-shirt design that my good friend Spencer Wyatt over at Reebok designed for me. Well, I did the type, but the rest is basically his doing. The gray part on the front side is just to show where the neckline is. The idea of the shirt is to represent funk in its original form, i.e. 'that smells funky', hence the sweat stains oozing from the armpit and the middle of the back. But instead of fearing your own funk, this shirt proudly displays the funk in bright pink on black, my favorite color combination. It might be tricky and more costly to produce this design since the pit stain continues from the front to the back, but hopefully someday soon you'll see me hustling these bad boys at a Turkuaz show alongside the Turkuaz shirts I designed that we already produced:

By the way, 'Dollar Store' is the name of our first album. And yes, the orange creature is in fact a deer lawn ornament named Randi who is the unofficial mascot of Turkuaz, and yes he had an untimely death at the blade of an axe back in Boston. Oh, the lifeless eyes, the spattering of ceramic across the unforgiving asphalt..