Category Archives: soapbox friends

A long gone daddy in the U.S.A.

On the occasion of Father’s Day, which also syncs up with the season that is most suitable for long humid nights of Springsteen on the speakers, which also happens to kick off the time of year we lost Dad a few summers ago, I get to thinking about this piece written by good friend and frequent Inverted Soapbox dropped-name Barry Schwartz three years back. The piece first ran in the now-defunct Stylus, a densely talented, scrappily vibrant but under-appreciated web music mag that was tragically truncated well before its energies had run out, where Barry was writing about  Born in the USA for a regular Stylus feature looking at the “why” behind albums that sold 10 million+.

Not only is this one of the best things Barry has ever written (disposing of passive-aggressiveness here to say: BARRY SHOULD STILL WRITE MORE), it’s one of the best things I can ever remember reading about fathers and sons; something that hits the rare balance of poignancy and anthropology. It kinda rips me up a little bit.

I’m guessing I can run the whole thing here since Stylus is now just a rotting husk (original link here) on the interwebs not even relegated to a proper 404 burial. Thanks to Barry for this one and the implied consent to republish here. And thanks to Dad, for all his great Vietnam stories, and for being the kind of guy Springsteen wrote about, just trying to do right by his family. Happy Father’s Day:


By: Barry Schwartz
Published on: 2007-05-08

The Diamond is an apt name for albums certified for 10 million + sales by the Recording Industry Association of America. Each entry in this series will pose the question: why should we separate art from commerce?

Most likely I don’t know your father, but the laws of average suggest he’s probably a lot like mine. Mine’s named Mark; he’s from Syosset, Long Island; married his high school sweetheart when he was 20; commuted to the city everyday until he was 40, owning and operating a bridal gown business with his father on 38th and Broadway. In the early ’90s the garment industry went completely to hell so now he sells Toyotas. Continue reading

Another Simpsons-related post? Yeah, but whattya gonna do

This is, to date, probably one of the greatest linkbacks this blog has ever received (Ya hear that, Gothamist??)

From the great blog Dead Homer Society, which is dedicated to preserving the memory of the true glory days when The Simpsons ruled our lives and our conversations (not to be confused with what the site succinctly dubs” Zombie Simpsons,” aka the double-digit seasons of the show calling itself The Simpsons that just WON’T EFFING DIE). It’s from a roundup of links from Friday pointing back to the previous post:

I will return the linkback love by pointing you some of the Dead Homer Society’s most dead-on descriptions of why true Simpsons fans feel not only frustrated but also personally assaulted by the show’s perilous decline in quality after a certain point, including their manifesto and this explanation of the unseen true social cost of Zombie Simpsons:

That is why Zombie Simpsons needs to be attacked and criticized.  Not because it’s a boring, mediocre television program (there are lots of those), but because each new episode eats away at the foundations of one of the most important and influential shows ever made.  Every year a new batch of Zombie Simpsons gets dumped into the rerun pool and steals precious airtime away from the good ones, and so each new batch of potential fans has to work a little bit harder to see the good stuff.  Bit by bit Zombie Simpsons is poisoningThe Simpsons for future generations.

And, as we all say: won’t someone think of the children?

Evidence of media bias? Dislike button.

As first spotted by Megan Lovett:


This confirms it: the US media are totally in the tank for Team Coco. Hey, journalists, maybe this is why you SHOULDN’T PUT YOUR POLITICAL PREFERENCES ON FACEBOOK?? Remember after the ’08 election how many status updates you saw from reporters commenting on the outcome? The wall between public reputation and private life is crumbling rapidly, so let’s be careful out there and not think that you’re still just chatting among friends. To quote former reporter buddy Daniel Brownstein, who, in filling in the “Politics” part of his profile responded with “get me fired.”

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LONG OVERDUE blogroll updates

In lieu of new posts, l@@K! ————————–>>>

Updated blog roll! links! deletion of bloggers who haven’t posted since 2008 (you know who you are)!

If you click on those (which I know you don’t, because the stats say you don’t) you’ll find a fresh batch of links in each section, and some new recommended reading. But seriously y’all: I had to pare down the “Friends” section quite a bit this time. Who’s got some new blog blood to spill? We need some freshness up in here.

How do you get to Sesame Street? Practice, practice, practice

When people ask if I like working at TJ’s, I usually say yes (depending on whether that question was preceded with the dreaded “Where is the end of the line?” inquiry, to which the only appropriate response is a throttling with the large neon-green sign that says indicates the END OF LINE), and the reason I say yes really boils down to one thing: nearly everyone who works at TJ’s doesn’t just work at TJ’s; they’ve all got some other pursuit outside the building that doesn’t quite cover the bills yet, which most often means music, acting, art, DJing, writing, but also includes pottery, jewelry making, graphic design and the occasional journalist here or there. The walls of 130 Court Street hold some serious creative talent, ensuring that it’s never a dull place to work, and never one where anyone can take the daily shortage of white bean hummus too seriously.The following is the best example to come along that I’ve had the pleasure to highlight.

These two videos are for a Sesame Street contest on the animation-sharing site Aniboom. The animation is by Mari Jaye Blanchard, one of the store’s artists who produced much of the large-scale art on the walls, with music by Mandy Heck (aka Akwarian Sea Rebel), and the second one features the voice of crew buddy James “Bones” Cunningham. The more views and votes they get, the better their chances of getting a deal with Sesame Street, so take a look at these, and think about how much you enjoyed these kinds of interstitial cartoons as a kid:

Inspector Nose Private Eye

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Lonely Eleven

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Continue reading

VIDEO: Tim Gunn and Charlie Beckerman make Hulk feel angry, démodé

In hopes of giving a sales push (from Inverted Soapbox’s five readers) to Models Inc., the comic series edited by roommate Charlie and featuring Tim Gunn in the Iron Man suit, here’s a video of Charlie, Tim Gunn and another Marvel rep on stage at the TriBeCa Barnes and Noble last night, dishing on superhero fashion trends:

(The end of the video kinda trails off so feel free to stop watching at the pause break)

Yes, I had to look up “semiology” after Gunn used the word like four times (This is why apps were created).

Charlie also wrote the teaser headlines for these mock-up model covers used in the series, including probably the best Hulk fashion faux pas joke you’ll read all day:

I have never watched a minute of Project Runway, but I’ve found myself a rather vehement Tim Gunn fan for some reason, through things like this and his Daily Show interviews and whatnot.

As little as I care about what’s ostensibly fashionable from day to day (insert Freudian acknowledgement about how dad worked at Men’s Wearhouse and other clothing stores for his entire career here), Gunn has a great sense of humor about himself and a refreshing mindset about the fashion industry, with an understanding that just because something like fashion is unnecessary to human existence doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with reveling in its aesthetics.

Also, when someone asked him last night what the No. 1 crime against fashion is, Gunn didn’t hesitate: Crocs.

This led the Marvel boys to speculate that about a future Tim Gunn comic where the fashion icon attacks some sort of crocodile villain with his Blazer of Justice. That’s some semiotics we can all appreciate.



tres boochet

I was planning to write about our recent adventures at The Daily Show, but turns out Dave already did. And since he’s one of the stars of the story, I’ll let him tell of the rise to inside-first-joke-with-Jon-Stewart fame.


Now or never. I pointed to the tripod. “I was just curious, has anyone in the crew ever tried to convert that thing into a trebuchet.” My friends laughed and we waited for an answer.

“Wait a what? What the hell is a trebuchet?”

“It’s a catapault. Well it’s a little different, but it’s a catapault.”

From there it became the perfect forum to watch two Jews argue as Stewart remained perplexed and I gestured wildly at the tripod, tried to explain that JP had just taught me the word and attempted anything else to hold my own and get my point across that we had been talking about trebuchets before the show.

“Right, but what’s so special about a French catapault?” Stewart finally asked.

JP came in with an awesome save. “It surrenders more easily.”

The audience laughed, Stewart laughed, pointed at her and said “You’re hired.” Take that, job guy!

A couple more questions were asked before Stewart walked over to his desk, and some kind of director or something gave us the countdown to cheer wildly. He hit one, the theme music hit and everyone went wild. Then, this happened:

WHAT HAPPENED?!?!?! Better read on to find out!

2010: already a solid notch in the WIN column.