Tag Archives: barry schwartz

An honest jew makes a plea for Christmas lights

All these years, and this is still the best Hanukkah can do in the home entertainment market

Happy Channu-Hannu-xhannu- Hanukkah to all you … what’s the opposite of goyim? Whatever that is, celebrate! And for all our druish friends who felt left out of all the world-conquering Christmas cheer over the years, take some solace: had Christmas cheer been successful in implanting itself in your brain like the lancet fluke, you would now be trampling over your fellow Christians to get to the Wal-Mart flat screen HD FaceNumber3000 model at 4:30 in the morning in the name of Jesus.

In honor of the holidays, please enjoy this hilarious soundclip from noted Jew Barry Schwartz, who last year sat his mother down and expressed his desire for some of the coveted Christmas cheer and other goyim nachas enjoyed by his neighbors. The opening line: “I’m sorry you were born a Jew.”

Send that boy some lights!

Bonus:  Barry on why Mariah Carey’s Christmas album may be the defining work of her career (via Stylus, RIP)

Disco Vietnam at Bar Matchless WEDNESDAY!!

Occasionally we turn over this blog space to help promote some friend-of-the-blog happenings, and this week is a big one:


The Bros. Schwartz at the first recorded Disco Vietnam band meeting

Perhaps you saw them in town last summer, where the brothers Schwartz and their raucous melodic pop power shook the tiny fragile walls of Hank’s Saloon so much that Yelp reviews of the venue were immediately edited the following morning to update the status as “Vietconged.”

Now, the Schwartzes and the rest of the gang will load their equipment into the band’s standard AH-64 Apache helicopter at their Long Island lair and descend via rock grappling hooks and beat-making belay wires in their air-raid return to Socialist Republic of Brooklyn on Wednesday, with landing expected at Bar Matchless at 7 p.m.


Bar Matchless (Greenpoint/’burg)

7 p.m. doors, 10 pm show, Wednesday 10-6-2010

(also appearing:  The Roof Walkers, Delta Hotel, Subject of the Question and Gift Exchange).

Are you unfamiliar with Disco Vietnam? What the hell? What have you been doing this whole time? Why not sample some tracks from their new EP “Totally Awesome Decisions” over on MyFace. Or download their latest single, Little Infinity, right now, put it in your SpacePhone to listen to on the train. It’s music that’s a guaranteed cure for a case of this.

[Special guest appearances also scheduled, though they are mostly relevant only to people who attended the University of Maryland between 2002-2007. But if this includes you, grab your snakehead fish and scream “OKAY!”]

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

Friday Happy: A State Street of mind

Barry Schwartz has a mortal, inexplicable fear of Brooklyn. Barry, a former music writer, once had a Facebook status slagging off the county of Kings, and I responded, “But Brooklyn, we go hard. Or didn’t you hear?”

His response, in an attempt to demean me and associate us with that stroller-laden bastion of yuppiedom nearby, was: “I’m sure Jay Z wasn’t talking about Park fucking Slope.”

ORLY? From NY Mag’s Vulture

The address in question.

560 Stash Street

We Check Out Jay-Z’s Old ‘Stash Box’
via Vulture by Martin Mulkeen on 9/16/09

Jay-Z’s latest single, The Blueprint 3’s “Empire State of Mind,” has been blaring from plenty of cars of late, and while the soaring, cinematic tour of Jay’s rise to success, fame, and his subsequent enjoyment of the most sought-after seats at local sporting events (“I could trip a referee”) hasn’t turned rap on its head, the rapper does do something unique: He drops an actual address in among the self-aggrandizement and neighborhood shout-outs.

I used to cop in Harlem, all of my Dominicanos
Right there up on Broadway, pull me back to that McDonald’s
Took it to my stash box,
560 State Street
Catch me in the kitchen like a Simmons with them pastries.

The whole world knows Jigga grew up in the Marcy Projects in Bedford-Stuyvesant. So why is he bigging up Boerum Hill? What exactly is at 560 State Street? Vulture investigated.

“I guess after Reasonable Doubt, it was time [for Jay-Z] to move somewhere else,” says Morgan Lieberthal, a resident of 560 State Street since 1997 (who also saw Jay-Z in concert at Madison Square Garden last week). According to him and other residents who have been there since the mid-nineties, Jay moved into apartment 10B sometime in late 1996 or early 1997.

Allowing for the obvious narrative liberties a rapper might take, the 500 block of Brooklyn’s State Street would seem to be an ideal location for a stash box. Sheltered from the roaring intersection of Flatbush, Atlantic, and Fourth Avenue, this serene, verdant brownstone block is hidden in plain sight. It’s just steps from the busiest intersection in Brooklyn, and yet the only consistent noise is the five-times-daily call to prayer from a mosque across the block on Atlantic Avenue.

Did it seem like Jay-Z was engaged in anything shady? “That was just so not the vibe,” says Stephanie Jones, a writer and performer living in 9A since 1993. She remembers the apartment complex as an enclave for black artists at the time, including Lord Jamar of the rap group Brand Nubian and later of HBO’s Oz. She recalls a building populated with filmmakers and musicians. And Jay was, by all accounts, a cordial and respectful neighbor. “He would nod his head to you in the hallway. He’d open the door for you,” says Jones’s husband, Nathan Dudley, a Brooklyn school principal who moved into the building in 1998. “He always had a group of people with him, but not many going in and out.”

Dudley says that over the past few days he has seen kids in front of the building, awestruck and pointing, and employees at the Radio Shack around the corner, arguing over Jay-Z’s connection to the address. At the time he lived there, “he wasn’t mainstream or commercial yet,” says Jones. “He worked out of his apartment. Everyone here did. It was just a normal thing.”

For reference, here is the rough location of our apartment (B) in relation to Jay’s stash box (A). The Google Map isn’t exact and I’m workin on editing it. But as roommate Brittany put it “me and jay-z. roughing it in boerum hill, on state street, together. forever.”

so it is only appropriate that we devote today’s Friday Happy to our coulda-been neighbor, Mr. Brooklyn himself, JMZ Carter, with this song from the live MSG performance of “Empire State of Mind” last week (a song off the more or less underwhelming Blueprint 3. Sorry buddy, but beers are on us on the roof of our crash box down the street this weekend. Assuming you aren’t hanging out with another neigbhor):

Disco Vietnam to invade Brooklyn

join the Disco Vietcong

A divergence today from this blog’s usual focus (ha!) to bring you an important announcement: Disco Vietnam is coming to Brooklyn!

When: 10 p.m. Thursday 7/30

Where: Hank’s Saloon, corner of 3rd Ave and Atlantic. It’s the divest bar that ever dived, and we (well, some of us) love it. It has flames painted on the side and it can get rowdy. Hank’s has cheap PBRs and a Walgreens nearby if you need Febreeze yourself once you leave.

Who: The Brothers Schwartz (pictured below) make up the nucleus of the band. Barry you may recognize as a frequent contributor/critic on this site,  and he’s also an excellent songwriter. Kenny is a New School grad and is (rightly) feared by drum sets the world over.

The recent addition of Nicki Nevermann is their secret weapon, because, as

Disco Vietnams keyboardist threatens you into attending their show

DV's keyboardist threatens you with musical violence

you probably well know by now, the magic ingredient to success in any indie band is the Chick Keyboardist. She is a damn fine keyboard player, and a member of the Long Island Philharmonic. And she owns a pink gun, apparently.

They play unapologetically catchy indie pop, with powerful melodies that shake like Ted Leo and pre-apocalyptic riffs that soar like Muse.

This is their first-ever Brooklyn show after trolling far too long in the lonely salt mines of the Long Island music scene. Let’s show them a good time, so you can say you knew them when.

the bruthers Schwartz
the bruthers Schwartz

Click the link at the bottom for their hit (at least it sounds like a hit) song, “The NP,” which is named after Natalie Portman, but not about her at all. The last time I saw the band play in Huntington, Natalie Portman’s parents walked by the bar with their dog. This is a good omen for things to come.

They are currently finishing recording their first full-length album, Totally Awesome Decisions, with a street date sometime in the next few months.

Their first EP, Get At Me Corruption, was inspired by one of my away messages (hey, remember away messages?), and the new album name is my initials (TAD). I am still debating the Freudian ramifications of this.

But for realz, I don’t blow this blog space hyping up just any of my friends’ bands, so I wouldn’t waste your time here if I didn’t actually think they were a talented bunch with something worth checking out. Plus, Natalie loves them:

Listen: Disco Vietnam – The NP

A Brief Treatise on the Standards and Practices for a Facebook Friend Purge

as told by Barry Schwartz, formerly of (the former) Stylus, presently of Disco Vietnam, over Facebook chat, naturally

B Schwartz

10:08am Barry: what do u do if u get a friend request from a chick you used to work with in high school that u had a crush on but she’s married

10:08am Me: ah this happened to me last week. the answer: accept the friend request and realize how unattractive she’s become and how much better than her you probably are now

10:09am Barry: no she’s super cute. but i deleted 20 friends last night

10:10amMe: depends on also the chances of ever seeing her in person

10:10am Barry: well we live in the same neighborhood but i hardly ever see her. probably because shes with her husband

10:11am Me: you can always become friends just to look at pictures of her

10:12am Barry: im going to accept but put her on a 2 month probationary period. if after 2 months our facebook friendship yields no interactions i will delete her.

I was leaving Friday’s with Kenny [Schwartz, the other Schwartz brother] the other night and i saw two girls I’m Facebook friends with saying goodbye to each other in the parking lot. I didn’t say hi to them because i didn’t want to and drove past them. i turned to Kenny and said, “I’m Facebook friends with both those girls and we didn’t say hi to each other in real life”

deleted them as soon as i got home

10:14am Barry and [Aforementioned Crush Girl] are now friends.

10:14am Me: that story is all the better by the fact that you and [that girl] becoming friends just showed up in the chat window

10:15am Barry: she’ll be deleted in two months I’m sure


So the lesson here is: if you aren’t friends with someone in a Friday’s (or any good-time after-work appetizer chain restaurant, I’m sure) parking lot, than you don’t deserve to be friends online. In a world where virtual friendships threaten to supersede real ones, Barry has decided to fight back.

I haven’t done a purge yet, but there are plenty of ex girlfriends of people I haven’t talked to in years in my rolls who find the need to keep informing me which character on LOST they are or which minor league baseball team mascot they most likely would be based on a handful of survey questions. I can probably do without this information in my life, though it would be a good conversation starter in a parking lot that smells like potato skins.

Related: Cover story from this week’s New York Magazine on Facebook. “Do You Own Facebook? Or Does Facebook Own You?”