Category Archives: actual occurrences

Actual Occurrences: The punk rock island we once knew and loved

[Here’s the deal with this post: I wrote this more than a year ago with intentions of posting it here, then on a whim sent it off to NY Press, who responded that they would love to run it in the 8 Million Stories section. And, after a few follow up emails of reassurance … they never did. So whatever. But while wandering around the Brooklyn waterfront yesterday, we happened to pass by Ted Leo at the promenade, so in this blog’s grand tradition of letting no unpublishable work go unpublished, I decided to pull it up from the graveyard and post it. NOTE: all time-sensitive elements are related to Nov. 2009, just shy of a year since I first moved to Brooklyn.]

I have found the nexus at which punk rock musicians and struggling journalists who’ve written about them collide, and it is TJ’s.

Yesterday at reg in the midst of the inescapable writhing mass-of-humanity shitshow that is a sunny Sunday afternoon at Brooklyn’s favorite grocer, I was ringing up the purchases of a young, groovy looking couple in refreshingly good spirits considering aforementioned shitshow that often causes much grumbling among other customers (note: YOU ARE HERE ALSO TAKING UP SPACE).

The girl looked at my name tag which lists my hometown as “Hilton Head, S.C.” and asked me how long I’ve been in New York, if I came directly from South Carolina, etc.

The guy turned to her and said, “Oh, that’s where we played that show that they said it was like the ‘first punk show’ ever.”

Strange gears began to come alive and click together in my head as an improbable slide of memory pushed in reminding me that, not only had I heard that comparison before, but — hold on a second — I wrote it.

Turns out the guy was Marty “Violence” Key, the bassist for Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, who I interviewed last year before their head-explodingly nonsensical (but awesomely embraced by the five punksters on Hilton Head, four of whom worked at the newspaper) appearance at Stages on the island.

It included this:

Question. We did a little bit of research, and we think this may be the first punk show in Hilton Head history.

Answer. I used to go out with someone who lived on Hilton Head. I used to actually go down there a lot and visit her and we’d hang out and see shows in Savannah.

But there was one night where some ska band that I actually knew from New York was playing at like some crazy frat bar, and we went. And I remember her being so freaked out, like, ‘God, this is so weird, there’s actually a band that’s not like the String Cheese Incident or Widespread Panic or something that’s playing here.’

Wow, but I would have figured since then, that since there are kind of ‘punk’ shows everywhere, I’m surprised to hear that I’m the first.

Q. How does that feel?

A. It’s exciting. It’s auspicious. I had no idea. Continue reading


Automated advertising fail

via Conal



yeah. so. we’ll tell our ad reps about that. Our heartless faceless robot ad representatives.



Everyone in NY today was stunned by the sudden, furious and fast storm that swept through the city and left much carnage in its wake, even killing someone in Queens when a tree fell on a car. Was it actually a tornado? As of press time, the Weather Service was still looking into it. But it certainly looked hellaciously windy from our 5th floor perch on State Street. Here’s what was going on just one block over on State Street between 3rd Ave and Nevins, where you will see one very large tree was uprooted (though it did not appear any person or property was injured).

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As roommate Lars put it: So much for being the Greenest Block in Brooklyn.

But seeing as this is 2010, every single second of this tornado/whatever has already been internet catalogued and is now googleable. Brooklyn365 has a good roundup of videos of the storm, and Pat’s Papers posted this one of some bros doing as bros do in a crisis (hint: saying “DUDE!!” a whole lot) in what could likely become the Double Rainbow video of this news event. But NY Mag is the winner so far by finding the best torNYdo pic so far, featuring Twitter user Jazzy BK and her niece Sara:

what are you looking at?

All this, by the way, appeared on the internet within 30 minutes of the branches falling outside our windows, long before even the WCBS news van showed up on State Street that evening. Crowd sourcing!

Local TV news’ Trojan farce

I hard heart this video, not because of how it exhibits our country’s intense sense of unease and paranoia in this post-9/11, post Faisal Shahzad era, but for its demonstration of the nature of local television journalism:

via GawkerTV and (former) roommate Brittany

Get to the news chopper! I know local teevee newscasts are typically a bit more … how can I say this delicately… dramatic … than your average written news recap, and it has been my impression that the local televised news market in Jamlando is even more intensely competitive (and tabloidy) than elsewhere in the country. Continue reading

Content is king, and everyone wants the crown

on a week of dealing with blog piracy

Blog pirates are on the move

Content piracy: not just for MSM any more! (foto via GayGamer)

One of the most common slights against the blogosphere (that word itself now somewhat of a slight as it segregates blogs into a shady lawless bubble separate from polite media society) is that bloggers are a parasitic bunch who take the output of hardworking journalists and adorn it with their own commentary, snark, derision, insights or, occasionally, supplemental information. This happens, as the trope goes, while bloggers concurrently deride the value of traditional media such as the Times and CNN, throwing hand grenades of viral discontent at the very hands that feed them (for no charge too).

This is no doubt true in many cases. The vampiric media syndrome is the bane of journalists who watch people tear their work to shreds on the internet, knowing full well that bloggers would have nothing to talk about if the New York Times, WSJ and so forth suddenly stopped publishing. Even on a large-scale, successful blog site, such as Gothamist, I’m not a fan. The Gothamist model essentially rounds up the interesting news items from the Times, Post, Daily News, NY1 and others and summarizes it for their audiences, adding a level of humor, snark or commentary (which is admittedly lacking from the big sources) and repackaging it in a more attractive way for the blog-savvy masses. Continue reading


so on the way to work the other day, all of about four blocks from the door, I said to myself: hey, do you know what would be awesome? Complete 180 endo into a swan dive on the pavement! Mostly because I figured these old Italian guys sitting in folding chairs on the side of the road for no particular reason have probably always wondered what it was like to see half of what could have been a very cool bike trick.

What I ended up with was an acute fracture of the radial head, a split, a sling, some horse-pill-sized Ibuprofen and an excuse not to be at work stocking groceries for a few weeks.

The incident itself is somewhat embarrassing, particularly because it was 100 percent my own damn fault. But in retelling it to folks over the weekend, I tried to sound less like a crazy person, so naturally I intimated that I was merely participating in the bike-based version of the below video, trying to stop a wicked gremlin from killing us all by kicking at it with my foot as it perched on the front spokes:


Or something like that. But, as I’ve sat here desk side contemplating how many movies I can finally get caught up on over the next three to four weeks, here’s something much more terrifying that’s been in my head:




After all this, I most hope the bike is OK so we can get back out there, just out of spite to Mr. Mister and gremlins everywhere, real or imagined.

Web clip: How to be the only person over 16 at Great Adventure

Day trippin’ it: Great Adventure for a greater price

Don't scream! Save money on Great Adventure photo by Flickr user jasuellr(Brokelyn, 7/21) First thing you need to know about the amusement park in Jackson, NJ: it’s called Great Adventure, not “Six Flags.” The biggest regional theme park in the country, with its 13 roller coasters, drive-through safari and water park, puts lesser permutations of the Six Flags name to shame. It’s always been a fun place to go with your youth group or whatnot, with someone else picking up the tab. But can you, as a broke city kid, satiate your desire for summer thrills of the ultra high-velocity variety that Coney Island just can’t offer? You can! And here’s how:

One slight disclaimer: When we visited the park earlier this summer for the first time in a decade, we found it ain’t the imagination wonderland and cartoon-character forest of the past. Perhaps due to the company’s recent bankruptcy woes, Six Flags has sold basically every square inch of the park as ad space. The Great American Scream Machine? Yeah, those screams are brought to you by Axe body spray. Even the poor summer-job teens announcing ride safety rules have been reduced to shilling for Johnny Rockets.

But, despite all that, the park has Kingda Ka, the tallest and fastest roller coaster in the world, which sends you hurtling 45 stories at 128 mph, which is, we can confirm, pretty freaking sweet.

READ THE REST and find out about the upcoming Sean Hannity’s Freedom Concert