White Stuff

7th Street near 3rd Avenue...Layers of old poster build up on Wooster Street.
Glad I caught the last day of this show at Deitsch Projects, Keith Haring made these murals for a San Francisco children's hospital...


Lao-Chen has moved...

A most excellent sign found in Chinatown... if I ever need my Rolex fixed I will definitely be taking it to 85N Elizabeth Street!


Mystery Solved!

Last month F.I.B stumbled upon a stack of paintings and speculated about just what the story was behind their abandonment. Well, the mystery is solved!

These are all the works Jesse Jones. A friend of his happened upon the original blogpost and sent it on to him...here is Mr. Jone's response.

"The paintings were mine. I lived in that house for 30 years and it's being sold so I had to move out. I had so much stuff that I had to make tough choices about what to keep.

I'm pleased some of them found a home at least! I hope you enjoy them.

I have painted a lot of Lucha Libre Masks and Apes."

Yup, they found a good home alright!

Check out Jesse Jone's portfolio, which is chock full of great images here.

I would like to add that F.I.B and Mr. Jones have probably crossed paths as we were both teenage regulars at the CBGB hardcore matinees in the early 80's and he also went on to be in the band Yuppicide which I recall going seeing one time. Small world!


Pipelines Appear in the Gowanus (ends up they are there to maintain oxygen levels while the flushing tunnel is worked on.)

Two weeks ago pipes started to appear in the Gowanus near the Third Street bridge, they have now snaked their way almost to the Carroll Street Bridge. Apparently it's the work Department of Environmental Protection. Does anybody have any idea what they are doing? A while back they spoke of pumping oxygen into the Canal as a plan to revive the ecosystem. Is this it or another thing all together?

*Update: Thanks to some members of F.R.O.G.G (Friends and Residents of the Greater Gowanus) who read the Army Corp of Engineers newsletters who kindly sent me the info,here is the deal with the pipes from that source.

"NYCDEP has authorized the Army Corps to install intake and pipes in association with an upland, temporary Canal Aeration-Oxygen Transfer Station along the Canal. . .

The work involves installation of 28 linear feet of 20 inch diameter intake pipes with an intake velocity of less than 1 foot/sec and a fish barrier with 1" diameter openings at the opening of the existing Flushing Tunnel intake. Approximately 2,500 linear feet of 24-inch diameter high density polyethylene oxygenated water discharge pipe would be installed with discharge nozzles spaced approximately 50-feet on center and and secured to 750 pound concrete anchors spaced every 10-feet. . . The pipe would be suspended in water depths ranging from 0 to 12-feet below the plane of mean low water. . . ."

The purpose of this project is to maintain dissolved oxygen levels for about two years while the flushing tunnel is closed down for upgrading."

So, it looks that the pipes will be there for a while.

NYC Lunar New Year Parade 2010

The Lunar New Year Parade celebrating the Year of the Tiger meandered around the narrow streets of Chinatown yesterday. Confetti shooters have replaced firecrackers but many dragons were there to chase the evil spirits and bad luck out for the new year. The Tiger is supposed to be aggressive and hot headed yet sympathetic. How will these traits work in these uncertain times?This years parade was somewhat historic as gay and lesbian groups were welcomed to march in the parade. I hope one day that the organizers of the St. Patrick's Day parade follow their example and stop being so hateful and pigheaded and do the same.I suppose this may be the Tigers influence?

The International Beauty School float.
Verizon? There were corporate floats but all were pretty homespun. All and all the parade had good vibes and most certainly brought some much needed business to Chinatown. Happy New Year!


Community Meeting with Whole Foods Representatives on Monday

There has been nothing but back and forth with that toxic parcel of land which Whole Foods owns on 3rd Street for years. They had pretty much abandoned the site, the construction fence often collapsed, as you see in this photo. Recently there has been some activity. Are they cleaning up and thinking about building again? Or cleaning up for someone else to develop for which they will receive a tax credit? I suppose it might be found out at this meeting.

From Community Board 6's email:

Feb 22 Public Safety/Environmental Protection/Permits/Licenses Committee

Presentation and discussion with representatives for Whole Foods on the resumption of environmental remediation activities at 210-230 3rd Street and 370-384 3rd Avenue (southeast corner 3rd Street/3rd Avenue).

Presentation and consideration of a letter of support for an application for a Gowanus Watershed Initiative grant that proposes various Combined Sewer Overflow reduction measures for the Gowanus Canal.

PS 32 Auditorium
317 Hoyt Street (between Union & President Sts)
Brooklyn NY 11231

6:30 PM

Read about the recent activity going on at the site over at Pardon Me For Asking.

DUMBO! Get Ready to Fight! The Toll Brothers are trying to move in...

I rarely look to the the press for local news but this time I can't help myself.The Troll Brothers are now looking to annoy the people of DUMBO now with another unneccesary condo. Toll Brother V.P David Von Sprecklesen is all hot and bothered about clogging the open sky with another Toll Brothers montrosity. He says and I quote from The Brooklyn Paper article:“It’s a big vacant site — people would like to see some activity there,”. “Our goal is to have the whole process finished by April, and start building shortly thereafter.” He also mentioned that if there were no landsmarks commision they would just build over 12 stories. Hello! David! This site is located between two very important NYC bridges. This man just is crazy to build near the water no matter what!This is what they built in Williamsburg..BARF!
*Photocredit: Curbed

People of DUMBO get ready to rally!!!!!

I hope the neighborhood of DUMBO proves your assumptions wrong as far as what "people would like to see". Just give it up. Please. The condos in Brooklyn are festering and empty. Why are you so intent in littering the landscape?

Click here for over 50 F.I.B posts about the Toll Brothers and the Gowanus.


Neck Face wuz here...

A Neck Face bombed van with Vermont plates parked on Carroll Street....The other side, although defaced, looks like the work of somebody else, anybody know?


It Came From The Gowanus: An Interview With DJ Tuxedo Laughing Gas....

In a previous post, I mentioned I that I really knew nothing about this performer I called "Matthew". Well alert the media,the scoop has just been sent in!

This interview was conducted by F.I.B guest music/culture correspendent David Kaplan.

After listening to the guitar crunch of Lame Drivers and the jangly twee pop of Too Big To Fail, the crowd at The Fixers Collective party on Saturday were a little unprepared for the joyous, spastic caterwauling of DJ Tuxedo Laughing Gas. Backed by a soundtrack of synth farts and bleeps, DJ Tuxedo took the floor dressed in what looked like Kente cloth pajamas and an orange Spider-Man mask. I couldn’t make out the lyrics of the songs he was singing/rapping, though my wife, Catherine, noted, “You could tell he meant business.”

He opened his 15-minute set with a declaration – or maybe it was a song title? – “I am a DJ.” His vocal range was somewhere between David Byrne and Emo Phillips – the same could be said of his convulsive dance moves. “I didn’t know whether to applaud or present him with a tongue depressor,” Catherine said after.

We were pondering this very strange act as we waited in line for the bathroom. The act was definitely nuts. It was a little annoying. But there was something about it that commanded our attention. As we were talking about it, we turned around to see DJ Tuxedo standing behind us, so we decided to do an interview.

The actual individual behind the character – though, after speaking with him, it was hard to tell which persona was the “real” one – is named Matthew Thurber. A native of Washington State, when he’s not performing as DJ Tuxedo Laughing Gas, he’s a comic book artist and has authored a series called 1-800-MICE.

While Thurber is a creature from the Northwest, DJ Tuxedo is a pure-mongrel Brooklynite, born in the murky waters of the Gowanus, he told us as someone skipped the bathroom line ahead of us.

“It’s a highly hierarchical society, where you learn mixing at age one, and DJ skills at age two and then you are usually eaten by a bird at age three,” DJ Tuxedo said, when asked about emerging from the Gowanus ecosystem. Asked to describe his musical influences, he told us the sound is “reggae-swamp, played on lillypads with razor-sharp edges. Basically, the genre is essentially American Country-Western. I make the music of American tragedy.”


Blue Monday

Some Brooklyn Nightlife

They said they were on their way to the Gagalympics as they patriotically strut down Fourth Avenue at around 1 am.

F.I.B crossed paths with this crew on 4th Avenue and 8th Street after attending the Fixers Collective party, where extreme fashion was also all the rage.I think this guy said his name was Matthew and he said he crawled out of the Gowanus, apparantly he was "born in a parking lot, a xerox machine just spat him right out". Too Big to Fail. They had many members switching off instruments and all sung enthusiastically. I dug 'em. The fellow in the hat and glasses had a sort of Bill Gates gone wild vibe.

Happy Valentine's/Year of the Tiger everyone!


Fixers Collective throw "Old Fashioned" Party this Saturday Night............

I mentioned Fixer's Collective this week at Proteus Gowanus, ends up they are throwing a par-tay this Saturday. Fix stuff, break stuff, drink some PBR..sounds good to me! Please note that this is NOT happening at the Proteus Gowanus space.

This Saturday, February 13 at 9 pm
The Fixers are throwing an Old-Fashioned Party

The Fixers Collective invites you to

Get Hammered Get Fixed Up
* Taking Apart Useless Electronic Equipment and Putting It Back Together Again
* Musical Guests: the Lame Drivers, Too Big To Fail, Adam Blander & Weekends
* Fixed Items Auction
* The Breakers Collective (Please Bring a Hammer if You're Interested in Joining)
*Dancing (Dancing)

With a special appearance by Fixed Up, a new Fixers service (inaugurated on Valentine's Day Eve)in which all your broken little hearts will be patched and welded and reinforced with the choice bits of broken hearts we've got lying around the shop.

123 8th Street at 3rd Ave, Brooklyn
Price of Admission: $10


John Bartlett Fashion Show and Manhattan Bridge Walk in the Snow......

Blizzard schmizzard!!!F.I.B went fab and attended a fashion show in Manhattan Wednesday evening. The subways were empty, Canal Street was void of tourists and we had the sidewalk to ourselves as we made our way to attend John Bartlett's fall 2010 fashion show.Friend Margaret Maugenest and designer John Bartlett.
The show dah-ling!.After the show, which was alot of fun and a first for F.I.B (I got to meet design idol Simon Doonan!)we passed by the American Leg(ion) building on Canal Street as we made our way to the Manhattan Bridge where Brooklyn awaits on the other end..Looking toward the Brooklyn Bridge about mid-way..
Back in Brooklyn, snowmen were all over the place. We didn't see one in money makin' Manhattan...The best one for last, found on Union Street near Bond Street.


"Hall of the Gowanus" at Proteus Gowanus

F.I.B popped into the reading room/gallery Proteus Gowanus last Sunday and checked out the newly opened "Hall of the Gowanus". The hall features all things Gowanus, from found artifacts, pressed botanicals, books, maps and art inspired by the canal itself. In the hall of the Gowanus you will notice a large jar containing a murky watery substance. What is it? Why it's a sampling of the Gowanus, coal tar on the bottom (that's the black layer on the bottom) and all! It's one thing to gaze upon the waters from above on a bridge but this sampling is another thing all together. It looks like it is from another planet.

There is much to loose yourself in at Proteus Gowanus,an apt description from their website says:

"Proteus Gowanus is a gallery and reading room located on the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn, NY. A collaborative project, the gallery develops exhibits of art, artifacts and books that revolve around a yearlong theme linking the arts to other disciplines and to the community. Proteus Gowanus incorporates the rich and diverse cultural resources of several non-profit organizations into its exhibits and programming."

They have several things going on at the moment, this year the gallery has a Transport theme show up with loads of transport themed books, artifacts and art, the monthly Fixer's Collective where you can go and get help to fix anything you have that needs fixing and to top it off, it is a reading room. If you need a quiet place to work, with wifi, coffee and table space, check out Proteus Gowanus's Study Hall here.

Tucked into the back corner of the gallery is also the fab Reanimation Library, where you will find vintage technical and educational books that are available as reference sources for artists, writers and all you "cultural archeologists”. Read about that here.

And in the Observatory gallery off the main room is Vision Quest a trippy group art exhibit of neo-shamanic paintings and drawings. Be sure to explore the website for all the unique events this gallery hosts on a weekly basis. On Wednesday night there is going to be a shamanic ritual!!

Earth 2100 Screening * Wednesday 6:30

The Sierra Club and F.R.O.G.G (Friends and Residents of the Greater Gowanus) are hosting a showing of Earth 2100("Could This Be The Final Century Of Our Civilization?"),a documentary about climate change and how it will effect our futures as all manner of natural occurances such as floods, hurricanes, earthquakes and the like intensify as a result.

Followed by a discussion on planning for climate change by and with those who attend the showing.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Carroll Gardens Library
396 Clinton Street (corner of Union Street)
6:30 PM


Great Lady of the Gowanus

Joseph Alexiou has penned an article for the New York Observer on my friend, neighbor and fellow F.R.O.G.G member, Linda Mariano, entitled "The Jane Jacobs of the Gowanus Canal".

That's Right! Don't mess with Linda!

Read the article here.

*Photo taken by yours truely on an epic 5 hour thriftshopping jaunt on a 10 degree day!


"The Pink Elephant Speaks"- An Exhibit about Gentrification & Displacement Opens at MoCada on Thursday Night

Image Credit: Tim Okamura, Stay Strong, 2009. Oil, spray paint on canvas, 76 X 84 in

Footsteps from the Atlantic Yards this exhibit opens Thursday night at MoCada. Be sure to check their website for lots of interesting events over the weekend and beyond.

The Gentrification of Brooklyn: The Pink Elephant Speaks
February 4, 2010 - May 16, 2010

This exhibition, guest curated by Dexter Wimberly, will examine how urban planning, eminent domain, and real estate development are affecting Brooklyn's communities and how residents throughout the borough are responding. The exhibition will include the works of several Brooklyn-based artists, as well as those who have been forced to relocate as a result of gentrification. In addition to works of art featured at MoCADA, there will be a schedule of public programs taking place throughout Brooklyn.

Artists in the exhibition include (alphabetically):
Josh Bricker(Installation), Valerie Caesar (Photography), Oasa DuVerney (Drawing), Zachary Fabri (Video), Rosamond S. King (Installation), Irondale Ensemble(Theater Performance), Nathan Kensinger (Photography), Jess Levey(Photography / Video Installation), Christina Massey (Painting), Musa (Sculpture), Tim Okamura (Painting), Kip Omolade (Painting), John Perry(Painting), Adele Pham (Video), Michael Premo / Rachel Falcone (Photography / Multimedia), Gabriel Reese (Painting), Marie Roberts (Painting), Ali Santana (Music Video), Monique Schubert (Mixed-media), Alexandria Smith (Painting), Sarah Nelson Wright (Installation).

In addition, there will be a vignette of work on display from two local high schools (The Brooklyn Community Arts and Media High School and The Secondary School for Research) where students have been documenting the impact of gentrification on their neighborhoods over the past few years through photos and essays.

Public Programs
Opening "Set it Off" Reception
Thursday, February 4, 2010
6:00pm - 9:00pm Free to the public
MoCADA (80 Hanson Place, Brooklyn, NY)

Please join us for the first viewing of the highly anticipated exhibition, The Gentrification of Brooklyn: The Pink Elephant Speaks. This is your opportunity to see what everyone in Brooklyn will be talking about this year. This reception will include a public art performance, a musical set by Brooklyn-based author and DJ, Rich Burroughs, the opportunity to meet the featured artists and a presentation by the exhibition's curator and Brooklyn native, Dexter Wimberly.


Interview with a Funeral Director

photo credit:The Carroll Gardens Diary
First an interview with the Caputo's of Caputo's Bake Shop now it's Vincent Raccuglia of Raccuglia's Funeral Home, who will be the Carroll Gardens Diaries next victim?

Check it out here.