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January 14th, 2009


by John Coakley

John Cameron Mitchell.

Most of us want to see Bush leave the White House yesterday, not a week from yesterday. His time as our president is something we’d like to forget, but that would be a mistake; we don’t want his errors to be repeated. Some awareness is needed. Yes, indeed—serious, sober reflection is called for in these final days.

Or you can go to Joe’s Pub and hear the likes of Lance Horne, John Cameron Mitchell, and Lea Delaria provide their take on things in the form of bawdy, satirical cabaret. Cabaret goes much better with booze than back issues of The Economist. Therefore, you should go.

Bye George: The End of an Error-Presented by Eva Price and Lance Horne
Monday, 1/19/9 @ 7:00 PM
Joe’s Pub
425 Lafayette Street
$30.00 Get tickets here.

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

January 13th, 2009


by John Coakley

Eli Klein Fine Art continues to keep things innovative in the SoHo art world with their group show, featuring fourteen contemporary Chinese artists. An impressive range of talent and style is on display here, including the work of Zeng Jianyong and Liu Bolin, two artists we’ve featured before. Among the undiscovered (by us, anyway) talent is Kong Weimeng, who has a surreally anxious take on comic book heroes, and Luo Qing, who has a painting named after Pink Floyd’s Comfortably Numb that, contrary to what one might expect, has no hippie trappings whatsoever; it’s a darkly satiric portrait of an anthropomorphic happy couple that gets under your skin and stays there. This is powerful stuff. You should go.

Group Show: 14 Chinese Contemporary Artists
Opening 1/15/9 from 6-9pm.
Eli Klein Fine Art
462 West Broadway
New York, NY 10012
Tel: (212) 255-4388 / (888) 255-7252

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

January 12th, 2009


by John Coakley

Jonathan Pollard has already served twenty years too many.

Twenty-four years ago Jonathan Pollard was indicted on one count of passing classified information to an ally (Israel), without intent to harm the United States. The usual sentence for such a crime is 2-4 years. Neither the American or Israeli governments wanted to get involved in a long trial, so a plea bargain was offered and accepted. The problem is that Pollard is still in jail; he was sentenced to life with no hope of parole. Everyone from Rabbis to former heads of the NAACP to Senators who were made aware of the content of the classified information have come out to support Pollard’s being freed, to no avail.

Now it’s up to you. The last weeks of a presidency are traditionally pardoning season, and as these last few days pass we’ll no doubt see a long list of greedy white collar criminals go free. To be fair, Clinton did the exact same thing, so we can’t blame Bush too harshly for that. Still, you would think that our soon-to-be-ex-president would appreciate the opportunity to strengthen his legacy before he goes. This would certainly be a good start. You can help by calling, writing or faxing the White House; you can also sign this petition. Telling all of your friends about this matter certainly wouldn’t hurt either. Opportunities to help correct travesties of justice are rare. We should all take advantage of them when they arise.

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

January 11th, 2009


by John Coakley

In celebration of the Lunar New Year, China on Broadway presents Soul of Shaolin at the Marquis Theatre. It tells the story of a young boy who is separated from his mother in the midst of war. He is rescued by a Shaolin monk and raised to become a master of Shaolin Kung Fu. Expect gob-smacking pageantry and lots of “Can human joints really bend that way?” moments. Your kids will be imitating kung fu moves all over the house for days, and you’ll probably be right there with them. You should go.

Soul of Shaolin
Marquis Theatre
1535 Broadway @ 46th Street
1/13/9–1/31/9 @ 7pm
Click here for tickets.

Filed Under: Arts & Leisure | Events | New York

January 10th, 2009


by You the Reader

Painting by Joanne Morton.

“Magic Passion Love Project” is an ongoing project of Trickydame Productions that shares, promotes and creates products and events to help others manifest their own personal Magic Passion Love (MPL).It’s an Afternoon of Unlimited Possibilities—meaning new people, shared affirmations, making art, drinking wine (or non-alcoholic drinks), eating Chinese treats and WHO KNOWS WHAT ELSE! It’s a chance to come downtown and visit a very interesting street in a very interesting town in very interesting times.

Magic Passion Love Studio Open House
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Hours 2 – 8pm
Email Joanne Morton at or call 917-676-4280 to RSVP to get exact address & more info.
Studio is located on Doyers St in Chinatown; there is no buzzer – you will need to call us to get in!

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

January 9th, 2009


by John Coakley

Metro Pictures is hosting Postcards From the Edge, a one day event in which 1,500 postcard-sized original works of art are sold for $75 each. All proceeds support Visual AIDS, which utilizes contemporary art for AIDS advocacy and historicizes the work of HIV-positive artists while offering career support. All well and good, you say, but whose work would I be buying? Well, you can click here for a complete list of the hundreds of artists who donated their work, but it may not be of much help. Each piece is signed on the back and you have to buy it to find out who made it; maybe that was a Cindy Sherman piece and maybe it was by someone completely unknown. So make sure that you actually enjoy the work aesthetically before diving in. And if you end up with something from an unknown, well, just remember that Jean-Michel Basquiat was unknown when he sold his homemade postcards on the street. You should go.

The 11th Annual Postcards From the Edge Benefit
Metro Pictures
519 West 24th Street
Saturday, 1/10/9
$5, suggested admission

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

January 9th, 2009


by Ed Gold

Jackie Robinson

The prospect of the first black president to take the oath of office on Lincoln’s bible brought to mind a broad range of memories in our long struggle for civil rights: examples of outright bigotry, of courageous actions, of stereotypes, zealotry, redemption and exhilaration.

What follows is a collection of incidents in this unfinished struggle to “overcome” and fulfill King’s dream for America.


Norm Skinner was the first black basketball star at Columbia. He was recently quoted in the college magazine indicating he had never experienced racial prejudice during his undergraduate days.

Maybe it was just as well he forgot one incident I was witness to.

As an editor of the Columbia Spectator I was friendly with Skinner and in 1947 we were part of a four-couple dinner date, two black couples and two white. We were meeting in one of the dorm lobbies. Skinner and another ball player were there with their dates, and I had a brainy bundle of energy from Smith.

A classmate of mine and his girlfriend were to meet us there. They entered the dorm and stood near the front door, engaged in conversation. They could easily see the six of us sitting on couches. Then my friend walked over to us, told us his girlfriend had gotten a splitting headache and that he’d have to take her home. He turned to the door and they were both gone.

The event did not sit well with Skinner who took the exodus as a slight. I tried to minimize the incident at dinner but Skinner was right.

It was all about race. Continue Reading »

Filed Under: Commentary | Community | New York | Politics

January 8th, 2009


by John Coakley

As a struggling musician myself, it would be easy for me to hate World/Inferno Friendship Society. They’ve managed to build up an enviable cult following with practically no help from radio or indie taste-making-blogger-snobs, they put on consistently great shows that make all the kids dance, and they stole my former bass player. Okay, they didn’t “steal” her, she just didn’t have enough time for both projects and the better band won. No hard feelings Sandra, seriously.

But that doesn’t matter to you, dear reader. No, what matters to you is that this band has managed to harness their mix of punk-ska-cabaret music to the cart of musical theater in the form of Addicted to Bad Ideas: Peter Lorre’s Twentieth Century. The genius character actor’s life is looked at as both a good story in its own right and as a means of surveying pop culture history. And yes, you can dance to it. You really should go.

World/Inferno Friendship Society’s Addicted to Bad Ideas: Peter Lorre’s Twentieth Century
Co-Conceived and Directed by Jay Scheib
1/9/9 @ 8PM
Webster Hall
125 East 11th Street
$20 or
$16 Special On-Line Discount For P.S. 122 Patrons
Discount Code: Lorre

Filed Under: Arts & Leisure | Events | New York

January 8th, 2009


by John Coakley

Thanks to 9/11 Environmental Action for the heads up.

There will be a hearing tomorrow on the decontamination and deconstruction of the Deutsche Bank building. Anyone with an interest in the machinations of civic politics is encouraged to attend, particularly if you’re curious about whether or not we’ve learned anything from cleaning up the World Trade Center site. Call in sick and go.

Lower Manhattan Redevelopment, Alan J. Gerson, Chair
Friday, January 9, 10:00 AM
Council Chambers – City Hall

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

January 7th, 2009

TOUBAB KREWE @ SOB’S: 1/9/8 @ 8PM.

by John Coakley

Normally, Jam Bands make us cringe here at the SoHo Journal. The length of the songs, the bad dancing, the patchouli. No thanks. Therefore, jam bands comprised of young white dudes earnestly trying to play traditional African music should make us cringe really, really hard. Like, “Ow, the muscles in my neck are starting to hurt” hard.

Which is why Toubab Krewe is so surprising. They blend Afrobeat with rock, surf, and zydeco, leaving the listener with an experience that’s as fresh as it is familiar. A few members of the band actually lived in Africa for a while, studying with master musicians while immersing themselves in the culture. In other words, they take the music seriously; these are not college boys whose definition of multiculturalism stops at weed and Bob Marley’s greatest hits. Yet even more important than their sincerity is the fact that this band from Asheville, NC grooves hard and well, bringing a celebratory vibe to their shows. Kudos to S.O.B’s for proving that there is still a market for interesting live music downtown. You should go.

Toubab Krewe, w/ special guest Jar-E
1/8/9 @ 8pm
204 Varick Street (at West Houston)
$12 in advance, $15 day of show

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

January 6th, 2009


by John Coakley

The City budget, presumably like every budget in the country, is going to be tight in the next couple of years. And as any public school student can tell you, the arts are usually the first to be cut. So lets keep supporting the arts in any way we can. That could mean not asking to be on the guest list when your friend’s band plays, or actually paying the suggested admission at the Met instead of paying one dollar just because it’s allowed.

Attending the Outsider Art Fair is another good way to support the arts, as the chances of finding art you’ll actually want to buy are very high. Those of you who could have invested with Madoff but were smart enough not to can attend the preview on Thursday and get a first peek at the goods. Definitely worth considering.

Preview: 1/8/9
7-9 PM, early admission 6 PM

Patron: $650 per person ($550 is tax deductible)
6 PM early admission. Includes three readmissions to the fair, one invitation to the Contemporary Center’s Visionary Award Ceremony (1/9; reservation required), and one ticket to Uncommon Artists XVII (1/10; reservation required)

Supporter: $200 per person ($125 is tax deductible)
7 PM admission. Includes one readmission to the fair

The Fair:
Friday 11am – 8pm
Saturday 11am – 7pm
Sunday 11am – 6pm
Admission $20/per day & $30/two-day pass. Both include a catalog.

Both events at The Mart
7 West 34th Street, 11th Floor
(between 5th and 6th Avenues)
212. 977. 7170, ext. 308, or

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

January 5th, 2009


by John Coakley

Nicholas Ray is one of those directors that gets mentioned a lot by film buffs, both in and out of academia. Yet most of us have only seen one or two of his films—Rebel Without a Cause, maybe Johnny Guitar. This hole in our cinematic knowledge can easily be corrected by seeing his 1956 classic Bigger Than Life, starring James Mason and Walter Matthau. Mason is a typical husband and father until his addiction to pain meds loosens his impulse control and unlocks delusions of being a true master of the house who must be obeyed at all costs. Ray is smart enough to place blame on the drugs but also on the ideal of the perfect 50’s man, as well as the attendant pressure that could send anyone over the edge. This might be a nice companion piece to the recently opened Revolutionary Road. You should hurry though; Bigger Than Life is only showing at the Film Forum through Thursday. You should go.

Bigger Than Life
Through Thursday, 1/8/9
1:30, 3:30, 5:40, 7:50, 9:50
Film Forum
209 W Houston Street
Get tickets here.

Filed Under: Arts & Leisure | Events | New York

January 3rd, 2009


by John Coakley

Luigi Ghirri (1943-1992) was a photographer who thrived in his native Italy but is relatively unknown here. Aperture Gallery is correcting this unfortunate situation by presenting both the first state-side major exhibition and the first English language book of his work. The book is especially important because Ghirri was apparently a wonderful writer whose essays conveyed both his enthusiasm for and knowledge of the art of photography. The show is not to be missed either, of course; Ghirri’s belief that the local and universal were intertwined comes through beautifully in these prints of maps, signs and advertisements from the streets of Italy. You should go.

It’s beautiful here isn’t it…Photographs by Luigi Ghirri
Through 1/29/9
Aperture Gallery & Bookstore
547 West 27th Street, 4th Floor
Between 10th and 11th Avenues
New York, New York
Monday-Saturday: 10:00 a.m.—6:00 p.m.

Filed Under: Arts & Leisure | Events | New York

January 2nd, 2009


by John Coakley

Jodie Lane: electrocuted by stray voltage in 2004.

It’s always a pleasure when readers make use of our search function and look over past articles. For example, Blair Sorrel, the founder of, recently wrote in to praise us for a 2007 piece on stray voltage and its effects on both people and dogs. She wanted to point out that dog booties can actually be more of a hazard than a form of protection if they become waterlogged; Blair has met with ConEdison’s Stray Voltage unit and was the first non-electrical representative to be invited to the Jodie Lane National Conference, so we think she knows what she’s talking about. New York City has over 94,000 miles of electrical cable pulsing beneath the surface, so take a look at her site and get informed.

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

January 1st, 2009


by John Coakley

What can be said about the good folks at the Coney Island Sideshow that hasn’t been said before? They’re funny, talented, and able keepers of a cultural flame that would be long extinguished without their help. Most of them are extremely flexible too, so yes, add sexy to the list. They share their unique gifts with the world each summer in Coney Island, but this Friday a big chunk of the cast (Donny Vomit, Heather Holliday, Angelica, Serpentina and Shockmeister Scott Baker) will take over the Highline Ballroom for a show that deals with “Freaky New Years Resolutions.” No disrespect, but Serpentina’s resolutions are probably more interesting than yours. You should go.

Coney Island Sideshow
1/2/9 @ 8pm
$10, all ages show.
Highline Ballroom
431 W 16th Street
(212) 414-5994
Get tickets here.

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





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