I’ve never really had a nice car. Well, maybe that one ’85 Camaro Z28 for a few weeks until I took it out for an accelerated spin down a winding road after a rainstorm and ended up flipping it, narrowly avoiding death…but that’s a story for another post. But no, having had ten cars (ten!) over a period that lasted less than a decade, there was never one that I could say, “Man…I really miss that car.” More often than not, it was, “Good riddance.”
Each one had some issue that was the then bane of my automobile owning existence. The ’83 Mustang GL, for some reason, was all metric underneath, and it leaked oil incessantly. The heat didn’t work in the ’86 Camaro Z28, there was no backseat, the T-tops leaked and the hatchback didn’t latch. The driver’s side door on the ’88 Monte Carlo LS wouldn’t latch (try that one going down I-95 at 75mph). The black Buick Century had a smashed in front end from a “slight accident” my then girlfriend got into. Three of the automatic windows in the silver Buick Century wouldn’t go down. The passenger window wouldn’t go down on the ’79 Camaro, and one of the spark plugs kept fouling out. And what the fuck is that garden hose knob doing under the hood of the ’76 Pontiac LeMans and what does it do?!!?
The relationship with most of them ended in spectacular fashion. Totaled the ’83 Mustang when some kids in a Camaro made an illegal turn into my lane. Flipped its replacement in the aforementioned fashion. Drilled the Monte Carlo LS into a fire hydrant, replaced the front end myself with an SS front end which confused everyone. The rear axle on the silver Buick Century simply collapsed as I backed out of a parking spot. I just raised my eyebrows, went back in my apartment and called it a day.
None of the cars were from the decade in which I was presently living, be it the mid-90s or early-00s. Since they were all so old they were always in need of some sort of repair. Most were sub-par; not a Mustang GT, a GL. Who needs a Monte Carlo SS when you can have the inferior LS? And Buick Grand National or even Regal? Nah…I’ll take a pair of the Century please.
Still…I always managed to get into trouble with them…
Continue reading “69 to 99 Moving Finds: Part Five”
I can say with all certainty that some of the best times I’ve had was when the Philadelphia Film Festival was at it’s peak in the early-aughts. A week of trying to see as many films as humanly possible along with a handful of friends doing the same was a blast. 2002 through 2005 were the most memorable, for a variety of reasons.
It was like working another job; you get up in the morning, pack the essentials for the day and head to see the first film, usually around 11am. Three of the theaters are within a four block radius of one another in the Society Hill section of the city. A lucky day would be when that’s where all your films for the day were set. The challenge is when something is in West Philly or Center City and you’ve got to make like a bandit to get across town.
Continue reading “69 to 99 Moving Finds: Part Four”
This one wasn’t really a “moving find” per se, since it’s been hanging on my wall since returning from the first time I went to Iceland in 2011. Jón Sæmundur Auðarson is an Icelandic artist who created the Dead project in 2003, nine years after he was diagnosed HIV positive. The message behind Dead is simple: live life to its fullest. More specifically: “He Who Fears Death Cannot Enjoy Life.”
I had seen locals all around Reykjavik wearing the shirt which had the saying in English, Icelandic and a host of other languages. My new friend, singer/songwriter Myrra Rós told me Jón’s story and where his shop – which doubles as a gallery – was located. I checked it out, hung with Jón and talked about his friendship with Brian Jonestown Massacre leader Anton Newcombe.
This original oil painting was hanging up in his shop and I purchased it along with a couple other items. The next time I came through town, I got a tattoo of the skull. Everything behind Dead resonates deeply within me, and as I prepare to go return for my 10th time to the country, look forward to seeing him again.
Following a whirlwind weekend where I flew out to Chicago for this year’s edition of Riot Fest to catch a reunion by the Misfits with Glenn Danzig, Social Distortion do their album White Light, White Heat, White Trash in full and a slew of other acts over a three-day period, I made a quick pit-stop in Philadelphia to visit with friends one night and witness what might very well be the final performance of AC/DC – ever – the following at the city’s Wells Fargo Center.
I had seen the band a few times before, but things have been pretty upside down in their world over the past year or so, culminating this past April when singer Brian Johnson had to abruptly leave the road or face total hearing loss. Dates were postponed on the lucrative Rock or Bust world tour, but the show went on with yet another singer, the incredibly unlikely choice of Axl Rose from Guns N’ Roses.
This tour had the distinction of being the first time I had covered – and shot – both the opening date (for Vanyaland in August 2015) and the closing date, the latter for Ultimate Classic Rock magazine.
Honestly, as notoriously prickly as Rose can be – especially in a live setting – I’d never, ever dreamed I’d get to shoot him live. But, like I said, the unlikely has happened quite a bit lately surrounding him. Even his harshest critics have begrudgingly praised how he seamlessly stepped in and saved the AC/DC tour, and I for one hope they continue on in some form. Whether it’s taking a risk on new material or just touring every few years, there’s an undeniable chemistry between the singer and guitarist Angus Young.
Plus, not too many hardcore fans were complaining about long forgotten chestnuts like “Live Wire,” “Riff Raff” and – in Philadelphia – “Problem Child” getting pulled out of the treasure chest.
I’ve become so deeply immersed in the education of the suicide prevention movement over the past six years that it’s hard to remember a time when I wasn’t involved. My reasons for initially discovering the campaign were both serendipitous and personal, and it turned out to be, what I believe to be, one of the most meaningful accomplishments in my life.
Six years and five overnight walks later for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, I’ve heard stories of loss that would break the most jaded heart, traversed more miles in the name of a cause than I ever though possible and met some of the greatest and strongest people imaginable who I now consider the best of my friends.
While on the 69 to 99 Moving Finds expedition, I came across the shirt for the first walk I did in late June of 2010, and it definitely brought up some memories.
Continue reading “69 to 99 Moving Finds: Part Two”
“Moving sucks” is an oft-repeated phrase which I can’t add to in any way.I’m currently in the midst of leaving a place I’ve been in for 10 years. That’s a large chunk of time. Certainly the longest I’ve ever been in one place for any one period of time. Hell, maybe ever.
My old address is 69…moving to 99.
I’m digging up some things I haven’t seen in quite awhile that I thought would be interesting to post and reminisce briefly about. An early business card is up first, story behind it after the jump.
Continue reading “69 to 99 Moving Finds: Part One”
This week marks the 15th anniversary of Jimmy Eat World’s breakthrough effort Bleed American. To mark the occasion, I did a short piece on the record for Diffuser. But personally, the album remains one of those which represents a particular period in time; in this case the summer of 2001.
Having just graduated from college, there was a glaring sense of, “Alright, now what?” I shoulda traveled the world then, but have always been a bit behind when it comes to those sorts of things and would wait a few years for that part of my life to begin. What I did end up doing was heading out on a fairly destination-less cross country road trip with noted culture vulture the Ninja. It was a sense of lingering adventure to do something “big” before entering the so-called real world.
When I say there was no set plan, there was absolutely no set plan. It was for the most part a bit like an Abbott & Costello episode (those who still have both grandparents living can ask them to define that reference). We crashed in random dorms, shelters, hostels and on various couches. There was one concrete idea to attend the Green Party affiliated Campus Greens’ “Rally for Radical Change” held at Chicago’s Congress Theater on August 10.
An e-mail about the event was sent to college mailing lists which stated:
Confirmed speakers and performers include Ralph Nader, Winona LaDuke, Robert Miranda and Jello Biafra.
Invited speakers and performers include Cynthia McKinney, Howard Zinn, Michael Moore, Amy Goodman, Ani Difranco, Radiohead, Common, Chuck D, Zach de la Rocha, and many, many more!
“Holy shit!!” the Ninja and I collectively thought. “That ‘invited speakers and performers’ list is ridiculous.” Radiohead! Chuck D! Zach de la Rocha! Michael Moore! Howard Zinn! The “many, many more” could only make the whole thing even astronomical.
Off we went to take part in this thing and pick the brain of Chuck D.
Continue reading ““I Was Spinning Free…””