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December 12th, 2008

SOHO GADABOUT: MAKING HIS LIST…

by Anthony Venditto

One of my modern day literary heroes is Esquire’s writer at large, Tom Chiarella. I delight in his carefully crafted word usage, revel in his ability to concisely comment on the world as an introspective growth tool and simply groove on his humor in general. I read a piece of his entitled “75 Things Every Man Should Do Before He Dies”. To paraphrase his own introduction, it wasn’t a checklist but a collection of experiences gained through ones’ own personal choices over the course of his life. Here are a few examples from his essay: “Fly a Cessna”; “Toboggan Aggressively”; “Milk a cow. Drink that.” See, good shit. Reading his work has always moved me, but this time I was inspired to create my own compilation. So I did just that and here it is. Call it a tribute, call it an homage, call it a complete rip off: for better or worse here’s my list of…

A Bunch of Shit Any Guy Could Do!

HAVE PRIDE IN YOUR HOME STATE. Especially if it’s New Jersey, not so much if it’s Texas.

BETRAY A CONFIDANTE.
Sometimes being the bad guy is fun. (Just ask Darth)

KNOW HOW TO HOLD YOUR LIQUOR.

ASK YOUR BOSS TO PULL YOUR FINGER.

SCREEN THE MAJOR FILMS OF BILLY ZABKA. (Karate Kid 84′, Just One of the Guys 85′, Back to School 86′) He elevated the role of the movie bully from a one trick pony into a fully developed person. A jerk-off, but a person all the same.

QUESTION AUTHORITY. ALWAYS!

READ.

PUNCH SOMEBODY IN THE MOUTH. Be prepared for retaliation. Whatever happens, don’t cry. Continue Reading »

Filed Under: Articles | Commentary | New York | Take Action

December 12th, 2008

THE SOHO JOURNAL GIFT GUIDE.

by SoHo Journal Staff

Joby Gorillapod
$24.95 and up.
www.joby.com

The Joby Gorillapod is one clever device. It’s a tripod designed for digital cameras, and as you can see the three legs are almost infinitely positionable. This comes in handy when you want to set up your camera on an uneven surface, or even on a tree branch; the sturdy, rubberized legs wrap can wrap snugly around it. Different sizes are available to accommodate SLR’s with heavy zoom lenses or video cameras up to 11 pounds. The smaller original size that we tested also worked perfectly for my digital audio recorder. It makes a fun office toy to boot. I swear, if you put a round computer video camera on a Gorillapod it looks just like something out of War of the Worlds. This is a stuffing stocker that people will actually use.

Pastaio mimobot(R) USB Flash Drive by tokidoki
$34.95
www.mimoco.com
Continue Reading »

Filed Under: Articles | Arts & Leisure | New York

December 11th, 2008

THE RESTLESS MISCREANT: VERTIGO.

by Delbert Grady

Vertigo n. A disorder in which a person or his surroundings seem to whirl about in such a way as to make the person dizzy and usually sick.

Investment banks blowing up. Banks failing. Stock markets melting down. Millions (M) become billions (B) become trillions (T). Almost makes me feel like I was a cockeyed optimist in my previous economic articles (GUNS, BUTTER AND PIZZA – Spring 2006 issue, reprinted Fall 2008 and THE GREAT BOOMER BUST – Spring 2008 issue).

Trying to get a better handle on the diverse components of this Byzantine disaster, I’ve culled a pile of interesting facts from a wide variety of sources over the last few years, herewith submitted for your approval as Rod Serling used to say. (All figures approximate).

There is about $4.5T deposited in 8500 U.S. banks. The number of “troubled” banks jumped from 90 to 117 in the second quarter of 2008 and Bloomberg Markets estimates that 100 regional banks may fall next year costing the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) $150B more than it actually has, and that doesn’t include potential losses on an additional $1.9T of deposits now covered due to the recent increase in coverage to $250K per account, up from $100K. The FDIC had only $45.2B on hand as of June after shelling out almost $9B for the IndyMac collapse.

Now to the subprime bailout: Continue Reading »

Filed Under: Articles | Commentary | New York | News | Politics

December 11th, 2008

THE SOHO JOURNAL INTERVIEW: SHEN WEI.

by Mark DeMaio


Connect Transfer.

Here in the States the opening ceremony of the 2008 summer Olympics held in Beijing was the most watched opening ceremonies of an Olympics not held in the US, and the second biggest television audience since the Super Bowl last year. More important than the total number of people who watched it across the world was what they watched.

Never in the history of the Olympics has a ceremony been so spectacular, so mesmerizing and so talked about. One of the men responsible for the grandeur and spectacle of this historic event was choreographer, artist, and photographer Shen Wei.

Shen Wei is the creator and choreographer of the internationally lauded Shen Wei Dance Arts in New York City. This artist’s work as a choreographer is so groundbreaking and new, so original and fascinating that one forgets you’re actually watching people; rather, the viewer is transported into a work of art in motion. This December Shen Wei will stage one of his most famous pieces, “Connect Transfer,” at the High Holy ground of dance, The Judson Church here in New York City. This piece combines all of Shen Wei’s many talents into one work. There will be only six performances and those lucky enough to get a ticket will experience a work of art without compare. In “Connect Transfer” the dancers dance on canvas, painting with their hands and feet as they go–artists in motion, creating art. At the end of the performance the canvas is cut into pieces and sold to the audience with the proceeds going to a dancers heath foundation. Shen Wei is the recipient of more awards, accolades and titles like genius (literally a genius–Shen Wei was awarded the MacArthur foundations Genius Award in 2007) than we have room to list.

A couple of weeks ago Shen Wei was gracious enough to take time out of his unbelievably busy schedule to do this interview. I have met a lot of artists and performers over the years but rarely have I met so ethereal a being, almost other-worldy in his grace. When meeting Shen Wei, you immediately realize you’re not in the presence of just another person, though his humble ways would have you think otherwise. Continue Reading »

Filed Under: Articles | Commentary | Community | Events | New York

December 11th, 2008

SOHO POLITICS: THE MEAN STREETS OF SOHO & POLITICAL REALITY.

by D. Clark MacPherson

The problem with political jokes is they get elected.
—Henry Cate VII

Now that the main political season is over we begin again with the rounds of phone calls—from aides and politicians as well as hopefuls. Once an office has been secured, longevity becomes the order of the day. And, that, my friends, means money. Few people understand the dirty business of complying with or circumnavigating the election laws in order to raise enough money to either hold on to an office just won, or move on to a better position. It almost doesn’t seem to matter what the job pays. Bloomberg is a good example of that. In fact he’s reported to have spent nearly $100 million to become Mayor, a position that pays approximately $200,000.

Influence, power, quid pro quos and hubris seem to be the coin of the political realm.

The pecking order, once you move out of neighborhood block associations and political activism, starts with the Community Board. City Council members or the Borough President recommends people for membership. The Chair of the Community Board can also recommend someone but he does not have the power to appoint a regular member. He can appoint what is called a Public Member, however, someone whose vote is limited. Continue Reading »

Filed Under: Articles | Community | New York | News | Politics

December 10th, 2008

PLUNKITT OF TAMMANY HALL: A POLITICAL COLUMN OF AMAZING RANDOMNESS.

by Trip Plunkitt

Due to the possibly illegal City Council vote last October to repeal term limits, Plunkitt is disgusted with the following individuals (who all represent us locally): Billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg; Bloomberg’s “Mini Me” Council Speaker Christine Quinn; Council member Alan Gerson (who even went so far to say he “had no choice” but to vote for it – puleeze!); Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer (who strangely supported it even though he can already run for another wonderful four years).

And don’t forget all the council members who voted their self-interest in repealing the term limits law that was voted on not once but twice by the people of the City of New York by public referendum. Billionaire Bloomberg appears to have bought this vote with calls by his commissioners to everyone, threatening removal of Bloomberg-controlled public and private funding for their vital projects. And sources tell us most of the “undecided” council members were onboard to vote yes weeks before the actual vote and Mayor Bloomberg knew it. Shame on all of you! Continue Reading »

Filed Under: Articles | Commentary | Community | New York | News | Politics

December 10th, 2008

PURE GOLD: YOU CAN’T PLEASE EVERYBODY.

by Ed Gold


Some say Obama’s appointments haven’t been liberal enough. We say, let the man do his job, already.

Some of the cries from the left are telling us that Barack Obama is betraying his liberal base and backing too many right-wingers in putting his White House team together. They should review his campaign promises in which he rejected ideology and argued for a pragmatism that was non-partisan, if mildly left-leaning.

Obama’s critics on the left may have begun to believe some of the GOP campaign rhetoric that Obama was not only the most liberal senator, but that he showed signs of being a socialist or an agent of class warfare. Continue Reading »

Filed Under: Articles | Commentary | New York | Politics

December 10th, 2008

THE WISE HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE: LA CHINA LOCA HAT COLLECTION @ HENRI BENDEL TODAY, 12/10/8, ONLY.

by Joelle Panisch

My mother always told me to spend wise on accessories and frugal on trends. Hats last forever, and a smart one stays stylish from season to season. This holiday, give your loved a gift that will bring out the dapper in them. We suggest La China Loca Headware. The hats rely on classic shapes with modern details that give a smart, whimsical feel to any outfit. Today La China will be showcasing at Henri Bendels with all hats 20-40% off. Style on a budget…yummy.

La China Loca Trunk Show
December 10th, 2008 10am-9pm
Henri Bendel
712 5th Avenue between 55th and 56th Streets

Filed Under: Arts & Leisure | Events | New York

December 9th, 2008

TELL THE NYS DEPARTMENT OF CONSERVATION WE DON’T WANT NATURAL GAS DRILLING UNDER OUR WATERSHED—NO FRACKIN’ WAY.

by John Coakley


Thanks to Earthworks for the heads up.

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking (insert Battlestar Galactica joke here), is a technique used by Big Oil to stimulate the production of oil and natural gas wells. It sends toxic, extremely high-pressure fluids into underground formations. Those fluids are never fully recovered. Why does this matter? Well, the natural gas-rich Marcellus Shale formation rests beneath much of the Appalachian mountains in the mid-Atlantic states—including much of New York and the NYC drinking watershed. It used to be too expensive to drill there but now the oil companies want to give it a shot—drinking water quality be damned. Sure, they’ll tell you that it’s safe and pollution is unlikely, but that’s what they said when they wanted to frack in Colorado and New Mexico, and that mess has yet to be cleaned up.

So what can you do? Click here before the deadline of December 15th to send a letter to the powers that be in our state, telling them that you’d rather they didn’t pollute our drinking water, if you please. I mean, for frack’s sake!

Filed Under: Community | New York | News | Politics | Take Action

December 9th, 2008

THE WISE HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE: DWR INDEPENDENT HOLIDAY GIFTS

by Joelle Panisch


Cup and Saucer by featured designer Bailey Doesn’t Bark.

Okay, perhaps I’m being a sentimentalist but I believe this is the time to support ‘mom & pop’ shops and independent designers. Opportunities are limited for emerging artists, so lend them your support this Wednesday by buying your holiday gifts at the ModernMart Holiday Gift Fair in Tribeca. It is among the most forward-thinking cultural and fashion events, one that features jewelry, housewares, and art by 12 young design groups. Most items are priced under $100, and there will be goodie bags for the first 100 guests. Can it get any better? Well…yes. Complimentary champagne and chocolates make everything better. Oh the holidays…


ModernMart IV: Holiday Gift Fair at DWR
Wednesday, December 10, 7-9pm
DWR Tribeca Studio
124 Hudson St
New York City, NY 10013
212.219.2217
Click here to enter a raffle before you go!

Filed Under: Arts & Leisure | Events | New York

December 8th, 2008

WISE HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE: ANGELIKA FILM CENTER GIFT CARDS

by Joelle Panisch

We are such a healthy culture. When times get tough, what do we do? Do we face the problem head on? No. We escape. This holiday, give the gift of escapism. Better, give the gift of highbrow escapism with a gift card to the Angelika. The Angelika features the best reviewed and most anticipated independent and foreign films, the ones that not only provide relief but keep the mind sharp. Gift cards are redeemable at the box office, concession stand, or cafe to make the experience complete, and if you spend more than $75 on cards you will receive one free movie pass for anytime in January. That’s right, show your loved ones you care by allowing them to escape!

For more information please go to www.angelikafilmcenter.com.

Filed Under: Arts & Leisure | New York

December 5th, 2008

CELEBRATE REPEAL DAY @ THE EAR INN.

by John Coakley

That’s right, folks, it was 75 years ago today that Prohibition was repealed and those pesky temperance do-gooders were told where to stick it. Prohibition’s main contribution was to inadvertently nurture the tender sapling of organized crime until it became a mighty gingko tree that still drops its stinky fruit on our sidewalks to this day. Thanks, guys.

On the other hand, the entrepreneurial spirit can’t be stopped—especially in this town—and speakeasies popped up all over the place in back rooms, apartments, and even former bars. The Ear Inn is a classic example of a New York City bar that just kept doing its thing when times got stupid. The building was erected in 1817 and in addition to a bar has been a private home, a brewery, a restaurant, a smuggler’s den, a brothel, and a home to at least one ghost. It looks that lived in when you walk through the door, but in the best possible way. The food’s pretty good, so settle in and make a night of it. Raise a backhanded toast to Carrie Nation while you’re there.

Ear Inn
326 Spring Street

Filed Under: Arts & Leisure | Community | Events | New York

December 5th, 2008

THE WISE HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE: THINK GEEK.

by Joelle Panisch

‘I don’t want geek toys for Hanukah! I don’t want geek toys for Hanukah!’ Oh, it’s useless. No matter what my inner dialogue recites I still can’t stop the overwhelming urge to play with lasers and assemble miniature helicopters. For nerdy (yet unexpectedly attractive) folks like myself, there is no gift like a geek gift. At Think Geek items range from digital turntables to RFID ‘bugging’ equipment to a periodic table magnet (which I already own). And because the prices range as widely as the toys, you can find the perfect gift at any budget. Now if only I had the ThinkGeek USB Snowbot this holiday pick would be so much cooler! Hint. Hint.

Filed Under: Arts & Leisure | Community | New York

December 4th, 2008

ST. LUKE’S SCHOOL CHRISTMAS FAIR: SATURDAY, 12/6/8, 10AM-5PM.

by John Coakley

The St. Luke’s School is holding its annual Christmas Fair this Saturday, and it should be a real hoot. Where else can you shop for gently used or hand-crafted presents, bid on more luxe items in an auction, see a puppet show, be made up to look like an elf, sing some karaoke, meet Santa, and eat some mighty fine chili all under the same roof? Nowhere else, my friend. All proceeds will benefit the St. Luke’s scholarship fund; given the city’s economic prospects, scholarship funds for good schools are worthy causes indeed. You should go.

‘Dreaming of a Green Christmas!’
St. Luke’s School’s Annual Christmas Fair
Saturday, 12/6/8 from 10am-5pm
487 Hudson Street, 1 block south of Christopher
General Admission: $5
Seniors: $3

Filed Under: Arts & Leisure | Community | Events | New York | Take Action

December 4th, 2008

THE WISE HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE: LUCID ABSINTHE.

by Joelle Panisch

What would be the perfect holiday gift? Especially considering the likelihood that more people will be hosting their own New Years galas rather than throwing down $200 at an overpriced lounge? Hmmm…well, they say alcohol is recession proof, and amen to that! We suggest Lucid Absinthe. It is the first genuine absinthe legally available in the US in over 95 years. Can anyone say “depression era” chic? At $65 a bottle it costs less than fancy champagnes. And at 124 proof (which by my calculations is a lot of alcohol) it is actually economical. Saying you’ll get “more bang for your buck” seems apropos. Bottoms up.

Go here for more information on where you can pick up Lucid.

Filed Under: Arts & Leisure | Community | New York

December 3rd, 2008

THE WISE HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE: MCNALLY JACKSON BOOKSTORE.

by Joelle Panisch

This may seem like a given, but now more than ever books are a perfect gift. Instead of that expensive bottle of wine why not give Voltaire instead? Or The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (a personal favorite)? It will save you green and last longer too. We suggest shopping at the McNally Jackson Bookstore on Prince Street. The staff is savvy and sweet and they offer 10% discounts on the their top picks. Why buy from Amazon when you can shop McNally online and you would be supporting your local retailer? A bonus: If you do make it into the store the shoppers tend to be very good looking.

McNally Jackson Books
52 Prince St.
(b/t Lafayette & Mulberry)
212.274.1160
Mon – Sat: 10am – 10pm
Sun: 10am – 9pm

Filed Under: Arts & Leisure | Community | New York

December 3rd, 2008

PURE GOLD: SHOULD A BASIC CIVIL RIGHT BE SUBJECT TO A POPULAR VOTE?

by Ed Gold


Why can’t these guys get married? Seriously, is there a rational reason?

People in California voted overwhelmingly for Barack Obama, then surprisingly supported the traditional and conservative position by backing Proposition 8, opposing gay marriage and reversing a decision by the State Supreme Court which had concluded that the ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.

The Prop. 8 vote left about 18,000 gay and lesbian couples who married after the court decision in legal limbo, although it is hard to believe a state can cancel a marriage retroactively.

But the Prop. 8 decision in California, with similar results in Arizona and Florida, brought the marriage issue front and center, reinforcing the view that same-sex marriage may well be the hottest of the cultural wedge issues, even topping abortion. Continue Reading »

Filed Under: Articles | Commentary | New York | News | Politics

December 2nd, 2008

THE WISE HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE: CHILDREN’S MUSEUM OF THE ARTS AFTER-SCHOOL CLASSES

by Joelle Panisch

Did you bear little Picasso’s or Renoir’s? Give them the gift of art and harness their creative energies by enrolling them in after-school art classes. The Children’s Museum of the Arts is a nonprofit organization dedicated to offering children a creative outlet and build self-esteem. There is a variety of classes and all instructors are also working artists, ensuring only the best for your little ones.

Classes are $400/semester ($360 for CMA members) and include all art supplies. A new XBox costs close to $360. With art classes you can give your children a semester-long gift that will actually broaden their minds for a lifetime. And it won’t end up in the back of the closet.

For more information on classes, click here.

Filed Under: Arts & Leisure | Community | New York

December 1st, 2008

THE WISE HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE: MUSEUM OF THE MOVING IMAGE MEMBERSHIP.

by Joelle Panisch

Yes it’s a recession, and yes spending is on the decline. But that doesn’t mean it has halted, it just means consumers are buying smarter. This Holiday make a gift an investment. Buy the things your loved ones will truly love. Invest in their day to day lives and give them something to look forward to.

Every day this month we will bring you our favorite holiday gifts, big and small. We aim to offer you quality ideas for loving gestures.

Much Love— The SoHo Journal Wise Men

Is your loved one a movie buff? The Museum of the Moving Image houses over 125,000 artifacts relating to the moving image, the nation’s most extensive collection. From memorabilia to still photographs and cheeky to historically significant, the museum explores the 20th century’s most impactful medium.

For $65 you can buy a yearlong membership for your loved one sthat will not only get them free admission into the Museum but also allot them invitations to special movie screenings with the actors that star in them. This week alone you can see Penelope Cruz discuss Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Sam Mendes, Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio discuss Revolutionary Road, and share An Evening with Dennis Hopper.

For more information go to www.movingimage.us.

Filed Under: New York

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