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Archive for the ‘new york’ Category


at the garden: u2 rock and roll hall of fame concert

my boy q is one of the most positive guys i know. when i was able to pull up tickets to a snow patrol show at the tiny bowery ballroom, he was genuinely happy for me. when i told him that i also won tickets to an even smaller show at sirius radio’s studio for about 35 people…he then said….i was happy for you, but now i am angry and i hate you. here’s another opportunity to draw out q’s wrath.

no one like me should be getting free tickets to the rock and roll hall of concert featuring u2 as the headliner. but see here….

here’s how it happened….my small group co-leader clarence asked me if i knew that free tickets were available online for the show; and would i be interested? and i was like….free?… interested?

in order to make msg seem fuller, they were giving away tickets behind the stage. the catch was that most of the show would be obscured by an obstruction but for the final act, it would be removed providing clear sightlines. now, i’ve sat behind the stage a few times and always had a great time;  i’ve had to pay for those tickets…until now. i signed up and in a few hours, they confirmed my reservation.

i can feel q shaking his head in disgust.

i brought steph since she could get out in time to line up and because theresa is currently burnt out on her irish friends. the website scared us into not bringing cameras threatening to kick us out if we even had them. more brazen fans still brought them….and of course, they were allowed to use them. once again, the rule breakers win.

these are the crappy photos from my cheapo phone. steph’s phone doesn’t even have a camera. we are the last of the dinosaurs.

where we were seated was actually backstage and we saw stars and performers milling around. a lot of them waved to us so that was cool. as you can see, there was a big old wall that blocked us from seeing the first few acts including aretha franklin and metallica. they did set up a few screens for us to watch…and the music was clear…so we still had a good time.

but at the end, the wall was pulled back and we could see our boys…perform with bruce, mick, the black eyed peas and patti smith. a pretty short set and a bit disappointing because we heard the night before the other hall of famers kept playing deep into the night….but, listen to me… free u2 at the garden.with aretha and metallica opening. i will try to sound less entitled.

bonus pic: here’s what it looked like from the front for people with good cameras.

i’m sure q has gotten over it by now. besides, i helped him score ga tix for philly so i am not the only beneficiary of my strange mutant powers.

Posted under music, new york, u2

labor day 2009: brooklyn bridge


it ain’t fall until its labor day…and its ain’t labor day without our family excursion.

our annual family trip to a nyc tourist attraction on labor day is a tradition that we just started doing a few years ago and kept doing. we discovered that tourists evacuate the city so the spots empty out and you have these massive places to yourself.

mostly. and maybe not this location.


why do we do this each year? to affirm our love for the city? to affirm our love for each other? to affirm our calling to the city? to affirm our calling to each other? because its fun? because its silly and stupid? just because?

the traditions that we inherit, the traditions that we create and that we choose to carry on define us in conscious and subconscious ways. it might be all these reasons…and others that we have not brought to the surface yet.

normally, we go to the tourist site…..top of the rock, empire state building…..closer to dusk and watch the sunset. i think i insist on doing this to symbolically transition from the hot summer to the cool magical fall. we missed doing that last year at the statue of liberty…but we got to do that this time around as we headed into brooklyn.

love of family, love of city and calling affirmed. thanks, tourists, for your loot and booty; especially you european tourists with your valuable cash reserves.  you may leave now. see you again next year, somewhere in the city.

we finish the day with the annual ancestor picture. with our new addition.


see you next year! my first family tourist site was a blast!

Posted under labor day, new york, some favorite(NYC)things, tsangs

pause: eight years


i pause to look up…and remember when there was a cloud on the new york skyline.

Posted under new york

the magical fall: snow patrol weekend

i love fan clubs…..in particular, snow patrol’s online community….here’s a few reasons why….a few very good reasons…

back in our usual spots at the front of the stage…this time for our first go around at the bowery ballroom…a tiny venue that houses 400. we might as well have been on stage with the band. snow patrol were literally on top of us.

when we looked up, we saw gary….he was spitting on us….we had to dodge it all night.

i didn’t know toby mcguire was in the band….its actually nathan. but he bears a strong resemblance to spiderman….and ironically, the band had a track on the soundtrack of the last sequel.

here’s paul going at it….in fact, the whole band was.

this was a great, great show. snow patrol is not my band…they are more theresa’s band but the energy was too much for the tiny stage and room….typical for a first show after a layoff and typical for a nyc show….bands usually bring something extra for manhattan especially when they love nyc. the sonic boom flooded the ballroom and hit those of us in the front first.

despite being one of the bigger(indie)bands in the world to command an audience, they were real down to earth dudes. self deprecating, genuine and still grateful for their current position in the stratosphere. i saw the band just walking around outside right before the show…..just walking around. no pretense. no security. just happy to be here.

they responded to a lot of the crowd except the party girls who kept letting them know that there were up for anything after the show and the after party. i guess they recognize gold digging trouble….and ignored it all night.

instead, they went all family values….they brought these two kids out from minnesota….i think they are brother and sister to sing….sp discovered them on youtube doing their songs. a nice innocent moment for all of us.

tickets for this show were going for hundreds and i heard even upwards of $1000. how often do you see a headliner play in such an intimate place? but i got these tickets via the fan club presale, paid face value and avoided some facility charges(that’s the deal with fan club purchases)…the magic continues. and continued.

the next day, i brought jeremy to this sirius radio taping in the late afternoon. it was a special performance and interview with the band for 40 fans or so. only pastors, chefs and others with flexible work scheds can make it to these things. i got(won)these tickets via the fan club too. unlike other fan clubs that charge me tons of money for eh benefits, i had access to these performances and unique fan experiences for free! all this just for signing up online….no fees.

the band performed inside this glass cube….paul joked with the audience, pretending to swim their bowl like a fish.

before the performance, gary handed out the klondike bars he said were left for him and the band. here he is standing right above us dishing out ice cream sandwiches.

i was the only one in my immediate area to get a Neapolitan….strawberry, chocolate and vanilla.

this show was very intimate with songs, jokes, interspersed with questions from the host and fans in the audience with a lot of great insight into the creative process which i love. it was very relaxed vibe like the band was just playing in your living room.

after the show, nobody kicked us out so we hung around and took pictures with gary. the rest of the band just assumed no one wanted pictures with them.

gary says hi back, derek.

Posted under concerts, new york

are you ready for some football?

i loved these ads! to promote monday night football this season, the nfl put these up all over the city. what’s the big deal? look closer…..

the ads are artificial turf spray painted with white lettering……just like a real(fake)football field!

here are some close ups of the blades of turf…….

and yes….they were promptly stolen from various locations in the city…ironically in the richer areas: soho, along broadway and other richie rich locales. but ironically, up where i am…..manhattan valley and morningside heights….they were still up! the people either respected the ads or liked having the ads up in the community or just didn’t bother. but i thought that was an interesting parable of right and wrong, rich and poor with multiple meanings and lessons.

the stolen turfs are probably lining some guy’s room in the city.

in their place, the nfl put up these traditional paper ads depicting a crime scene! the notice warns about bad karma and urges the theives to return the turf. i was slow to capture these on camera and had to ask my good buddy thom for this copy…..by the time i got to thinking about this post, both the turf ads and the crime scene ads were all gone! there maybe a few strays in the city. let me know if you find one.

Posted under new york

the magical fall:20 year high school reunion

a few weeks ago i went to my 20 year high school reunion. i would have posted earlier but i blinked and a few weeks passed. just like i blinked and it was 20 years.

this time passing quickly is mostly a good thing….i feel the richness and fullness of life….which makes time just fly. recently, chris rock joked that when you have(a good life)time passes quicker…when you have(a crappy life), time just crawls and you wind up playing the time game at work….begging for time to move. so time blowing by…..its a double edged blessing.

going to reunions can be a mind game…will anyone remember you? will you see people that you want to see? will it be a waste of money for a drink and some finger food? there are a lot of fears running through your head. especially after my 10 year reunion where there were a few folks i was excited to see but inexplicably did not recognize me. what a nightmare!

i wonder what mental obstacles stopped some of my classmates from coming.

i ate those fears and went with anticipation of seeing people especially people that i may not have seen in 20 years…..not since the 80’s!

most of the people i connected with were from this strange civic education program that i was part of at bronx science. it was a social experiment envisioned by lawrence kohlberg of moral development theory fame. the community had mixed results especially the day we learned that dr. kohlberg drowned himself but the upside were these deeper relationships because of the time spent together. my closer friends during my high school years came from c.e.p……many who i had hoped to see. no luck with the majority of those but i did connect with a few i saw from the 10 year and one dear friend from 20 years ago.

i think about 200 of my peers showed up…which is about 20%. that’s right, 20%…the rumor is that because we were the 50th anniversary class, they let in more students that year pushing the class from the usual 800 to the astounding 1000. in fact, when i was in college i met another student from nyc.  i then found out that she also graduated from my high school.  the same year i graduated! 1988! we were from the same school and the same year…and never met each other!

hoping to see some of my friends from the missing 800 at the 25, 30, 35 and 40 year reunions. 45 and 50 will likely be a crapshoot….just hoping to make it to those!

Posted under fall, new york

waiting for the(other)bailout

our boy at the clinton global initiative in new york city this week:

Bono commenting on the current financial crisis facing the United States:
“I am not qualified to comment on what has happened in the last week where this city has changed shape, certainly psychologically, and in terms of some people’s wallets. And I’m not qualified to comment on the interventions that have been put forth. I presume these people know what they’re doing. But it is extraordinary to me that you can find $700 billion to save Wall Street and the entire G8 can’t find $25 billion to save 25,000 children who die every day of preventable, treatable disease and hunger.”

Posted under new york, politics, u2

closing prayer to nyc week

i had a much longer u2hosiveography about 9/11 brewing to close the week…but it was just too hard to finish. so rather than put out a limp product, i’ll conclude this year by giving a preview for next year. or whenever my heart can put the pieces together. its still that hard to process the times, 7 years later.

u2 wrote the ultra prophetic song ‘please’ in 1997…about political and religious fanatics. they played in on tour to support pop in 97 to modest applause. the song was out of phase. but on 9/11, it came into its time and u2 brought an acoustic version for its post 9/11 elevation tour in the us.

a sample of the lyrics:

September, streets capsizing
Spilling over, down the drain
Shards of glass, splinters like rain
But you could only feel your own pain
October, talk getting nowhere
November, December
Remember, are we just starting again

Please, please, please
Get up off your knees
Please, please, please
So love is big, it’s bigger than us
But love is not what you’re thinking of
It’s what lovers deal, it’s what lovers steal
You know I found it hard to recieve
‘Cause you, my love, I could never believe

Posted under new york, prophet, u2

live from new york

the new york landmark that is saturday night live…has its critics, detractor, imitators, competition and people who continue to wait for its final burial. but its still around and no other late night show has impacted society and pop culture than snl. especially during the political season. below are an array from the current skirmishes with obama, hilary, mcain…and now, palin.

tickets are distributed via lottery each august. one in theory submits an email and receives tickets if chosen. in theory because i have yet to win. the process is very don’t call us, we’ll call you….but how do i know you received my request??? tickets also come by lining up the day off which in ny translates to the night before. i might have to wind up doing this to get in.

these were the debate sketches that brought to national light that the media coddles obama and harshly treats clinton:

here’s the second one.

here’s an nba promotion spoof depicting the obama/clinton rivalry. i wonder how much this confirmed suspicions of hilary’s entitlement.

i have always loved john mccain on snl. he is self deprecating, sarcastic and so real. he’s got great comedic instincts.

here tina fey passionately pleads hilary’s case. she did wind up winning the primaries that followed!

but here is tracey morgan’s response…..and we know the results for his choice.

and here’s what many think will actually take place next year:

finally, a bonus video with mike huckabee…..i always thought he was a comedian! i’ve been laughing at him since day 1. but here, he’s harmless!

Posted under new york, politics

frak….the other white meat

what’s more new york than the f-word? its like the official word of the city! but there’s another f-word that is turning up in popular culture and in real life!

frak is growing into the other f-word. its work safe and it conveys the same meaning. it may even be church safe.

where is it from? its from that show that many have heard about but have not watched, my favorite….battlestar galactica.

here’s how to use it:

here is the history of the word from cnn:

Lee Goldberg thinks Glen A. Larson is a genius, and not because the prolific television writer and producer gave us “Knight Rider” and “B.J. and the Bear.”

It was Larson who first used the faux curse word “frak” in the original “Battlestar Galactica.” The word was mostly overlooked back in the ’70s series but is working its way into popular vocabulary as SciFi’s modern update winds down production.

“All joking aside, say what you will about what you might call the lowbrow nature of many of his shows, he did something truly amazing and subversive, up there with what Steven Bochco gets credit for, with ‘frak,’ ” Goldberg said.

There’s no question what the word stands for and it’s used gleefully, as many as 20 times in some episodes.

“And he was saying it 30 years ago in the original goofy, god-awful ‘Battlestar Galactica,’ ” said Goldberg, a television writer and novelist whose credits include “Monk” and “Diagnosis Murder.”

The word is showing up everywhere — on T-shirts, in sit-coms, best-selling novels and regular conversation.

“I have to start by saying that I’m drinking coffee out of a mug that says ‘frak off’ on the side of it, so much has it seeped into my life,” “Galactica” star Jamie Bamber said.

The word is insinuating its way into popular vocabulary for a simple reason.

You can’t get in trouble. It’s a made-up word.

“It may have been the great George Carlin who talked about these things so cleverly,” Larson said. “He’d say, ‘Mother would say shoot, but she meant … when she reached in and burned her fingers on the crocker.’ And the child says, ‘I know what you meant, Mom.’ ”

The word has slipped the bonds that tethered other pretenders like Mork’s “shazbot” in “Mork & Mindy” or Col. Sherman T. Potter’s “horse hockey” in “M*A*S*H.” Its usage has moved from the small but fervent group of “Galactica” fans into everyday language. It’s shown up in very mainstream shows like “The Office,” “Gossip Girl” and “Scrubs.” One YouTube posting has 2 minutes of sound bites that cover the gamut.

“I’m in my own little cocoon of science fictiondom, but it is certainly used around here and amongst the people I know,” said Irene Gallo, art director at the sci-fi imprint Tor Books, where employees held a “frak party” to watch the season premiere. “It’s sort of a way to be able to use a four-letter word without really getting into any kind of HR trouble or with people you’re really not quite comfortable being yourself with.”

The word has even appeared in the funny pages where Dilbert muttered a disconsolate “frack” — the original spelling before producers of the current show changed it to a four-letter word — after a particularly dumb order from his evil twit of a boss.

“Dilbert” creator Scott Adams calls the word “pure genius.”

“At first I thought ‘frak’ was too contrived and it bothered me to hear it,” Adams said. “Over time it merged in my mind with its coarser cousin and totally worked. The creators ingeniously found a way to make viewers curse in their own heads — you tend to translate the word — and yet the show is not profane.”

Best-selling novelist Robert Crais slips the word into the prologue of his latest Elvis Cole mystery, “Chasing Darkness.” He did it because “Galactica” is his favorite show, like calling out in the wilderness to his fellow fans. But he sees the word popping up everywhere, even among those who have never watched the show.

“It’s viral, it spreads like a virus,” Crais said. “That first wave of people who use it are all fans. They use it because they’re tickled by it and like me they’re paying an homage to the show. When they’re using it, they’re probably doing it with a sly wink. But as it gets heard and people use it, it spreads.”

The re-imagined “Battlestar Galactica” tells the story of the human survivors of a war with a robotic race known as the Cylons. Fewer than 40,000 humans remain in a ragtag fleet being pursued across space by the Cylons, who wiped out the 12 colonies in a surprise nuclear holocaust.

Their destination is the mythical planet Earth, a legend passed down in religious texts. Shooting wrapped in July and the final 10 episodes will appear beginning in January.

Larson, one of television’s most prolific and successful writers, doesn’t much care for the new series. He used “frack” and its cousin “feldergarb” as alternates for curse words because the original “Battlestar” was family friendly and appeared on Sunday nights. The words fit in with his philosophy that while the show was about humans, it shouldn’t have an Earthly feel.

In what he said was his first interview about the series, Larson says there were no red fire extinguishers on his Battlestar Galactica and characters wore original costumes, not suits and ties.

“Our point was to whenever possible make it a departure like you’re visiting somewhere else,” Larson said. “And we did coin certain phrases for use in expletive situations, but we tried to carry that over into a lot of other stuff, even push brooms and the coin of the realm.”

When new series producer Ron Moore first introduced “frak” in early scripts, Bamber said the actors were dubious. But as writers expanded its use, they caught on to the possibilities.

“I mean why are we not offended by ‘frak’ because it means exactly the same thing as the other thing?” said Bamber, who plays fighter pilot-turned-president Lee “Apollo” Adama. “So it raises questions about language and why certain words are offensive. Is it their meaning? … Clearly it’s not their meaning. Clearly it’s literally their sound.”

Co-executive producer and writer Michael Angeli, an Emmy nominee for the episode “Six of One,” said using the word in scripts is satisfying for anyone who’s been censored over the years.

“It’s a great way to do something naughty and get away with it,” Angeli said. “One of the things that television shows do constantly is they battle with Standards and Practices over what can be seen and what can’t be seen, what can be said and what can’t be said.

“A lot of our characters are soldiers. That whole sort of view and that subculture, that’s how they speak. They’re rough and tumble, and they’re bawdy and they swear.”

He said producers have gotten no complaints from SciFi owner NBC Universal or the Federal Communications Commission.

Goldberg believes Larson should get more credit for “frak” and has posted an appreciation on his Web site. He even sought out Larson to let him know how he feels: “I told him, ‘Frak is fraking brilliant, Glen.’ “

Posted under battlestar galactica, new york