Kanye Writes A Book (and it’s not about Swine Flu)

May 1, 2009

Not a photo of Mexico City

Ever get the feeling like life is a perpetual episode of VH1’s Best Week Ever. I don’t know if it has always been this way, but it recently occurred to me that news media is very much like the fashion industry. Someone picks up on something and says, “Hey, this makes a good story. Let’s talk about it until something cooler and more interesting comes along.” And I don’t know if it’s just a byproduct of the information age (this is still the information age, right?) but news travels in such a way now that when you first hear about something, you immediately expect to hear about it over and over again for the rest of your life (which pretty much means until something cooler and more interesting comes along).

A Brooklynite looking fashionable in the face of Swine flu

This week’s big story/guaranteed end of year 2009 recap listmaker is Swine Flu. Everywhere you go, people are donning masks like so many pashmina scarves. Even my local paper took advantage of the pandemic paranoia and turned it into some sort of fashion shoot. I’m just waiting for Kanye West to cover it on his blog. Then again, everyone is already talking about it, so he might have been up on Swine Flu back when we were still panicking about the Ebola virus.

Kanye has however written a book that, according to Amazon, is a witty and insightful look at his path to success. Thank you Kanye, and YOU, sir, are most welcomed. Oh, and in case you wanted to know, the typeface used on the cover is Block. Nice choice, Kanye.

Anyway, the whole point of this post (sorry I got sidetracked with the Kanye thing) is a photo I saw on Flickr Blog, which today is featuring photos of Mexico City aka “The Source.” When I saw the headline Images of Mexico City, I half expected to find photos of rabid monkeys attacking unassuming Mariachi band members. Unfortunately, I only encountered this seemingly ordinary photo of an ordinary girl on an ordinary commuter train.

What WAS entertaining are the comment tags on the photo. Some innocent Flickr community member tagged the young woman’s headphones, saying “I have headphones just like those.” Not a big deal right? Sure, we all have those nice little moments of recognition. Well, we also all know the internet is very much a place to prod and poke fun at complete strangers, so it’s no surprise that someone then tagged the photo “OMG, I listen to music too! We have so much in common.” Which was soon followed by, “I have the exact same train!. . .” Who knew the world was so hilarious. Or maybe it’s just that people in face masks bring out the hilarity in people.Click here to see the photo along with the rest of the tags.

Here’s an ad for something followed by a brilliant video of a parrot dancing to traditional American folk music.
(thanks Nina)

Retired Graffiti Cop Writes Book. Graffiti Artists Aren’t Happy About It. They Discuss.

March 12, 2009

Photo by The Brooklyn Paper

I love (okay, maybe not love. more like, am kinda into) my local rag, The Brooklyn Paper. Unlike papers with a national distribution, a small paper like TBP can focus on the important local issues like the amazing coin-operated, self cleaning public toilet being installed at Grand Army Plaza, and my personal favorite, police blotters, a rundown of the latest crimes happening in my neighborhood. Not only that, but a local paper like TBP has the privilege of writing with a certain degree of wry sarcasm your national gazette simply couldn’t get away with.

Today’s paper gives the tip-off on a showdown, happening right here in Brooklyn, between a retired cop-turned-author and graffiti “artists” (why the quotes TBP?). Joseph Rivera, a former member of the famed New York City Transit Police Vandal Squad, recently released a book, Vandal Squad, chronicling his experience as part of the unit whose responsibility it was to clean up the city’s 80’s and 90’s era graffiti problem. Apparently, the book doesn’t sit well with some graffiti artists, who cite it as being inaccurate and “lacking in literary or documentary value.” Lucky for us, the criticism won’t be limited to the pages of The Brooklyn Paper. On March 19th, a panel discussion between Rivera and retired Vandal Squad officers as well as graffiti writers Ket, Cope2, and art blogger Stern Rockwell, is being held at the powerHouse Arena.

Though I’m not sure what good can come of a discussion panel like this, I’m planning on going just to see how irate both parties become.

Graffiti War Comes To DUMBO

Joe Rivera, author of “Vandal Squad,” at the powerHouse Arena [37 Main St. between Water and Front streets in DUMBO, (718) 666-3049], March 19, 7 pm. Free.