Thursday, August 8, 2013

Los Angeles council to vote on lifting ban against mural painting

The Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles began restoration work last week on John Wehrle's Hollywood Freeway mural Galileo, Jupiter, Apollo, 1983 
Los Angeles could see a renaissance of mural painting following last week’s approval by the Planning and Land Use Management Committee of an ordinance that lifts a ban on the creation of murals on private property. The city council is due to vote on the ordinance on 20 August, potentially reversing restrictions that have been in effect for a decade. Continue reading in The Art Newspaper.

Saving Badass Dogs From Idiot Humans

Photo © Patricia Jones
Of the dogs who stood in front of NYC Pet on Driggs Ave. on Saturday, a surprising number had both first and last names. There was a collie-shepherd named David Hasselhoff, a basset hound-boxer named Patrick Henry, and a Calhoun hound-pit bull named Faye Dunaway — in addition to a “super mellow” beagle mix, whose dirty blonde erudition and Germanic allure had apparently compelled a previous owner to name her Carole Lombard. Though some of the dogs were still considered puppies, most were at least twice the size of a shoebox, and all of them were hoping to find adopters, as part of the weekly-to-biweekly events organized by Badass Brooklyn Animal Rescue. Read the full post on Greenpointers.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Dave Van Ronk

I was doing some background research on the Stonewall Uprising, where a commemorative plaque was supposed to be installed this week (the ceremony has been postponed), and I came across Dave Van Ronk, a blues guitarist who was among the few people who could confirm having been at the Stonewall on the night of June 28, 1969. Now I can't stop listening to his music.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Calvin Trillin Is in a Picture With John Lewis. I Guess We Should Listen to Him.

In the early sixties, in the heyday of group journalism, I spent a year as one of the writers in Time Edit. I’d previously spent a year as a reporter (or “correspondent,” as the masthead had it) in the Atlanta bureau, covering the civil rights struggle in the South, and six months in the New York bureau—a misfit operation in the group-journalism scheme of things, staffed by two or three reporters who sometimes compared themselves to Transit Authority policemen assigned to the tunnels. For half of that year in Time Edit, I was what we called a floater—a utility infielder who was brought in to a section when, say, the person who wrote Sport was home with the flu, or when one of the World writers was on vacation. Since writers were listed on the masthead as associate or assistant editors, I’ve assumed ever since that I could justifiably refer to myself, on occasions when credentials are called out to add weight to a point of view, as the former Art editor of Time (four or five weeks, at various times) or even the former Medicine editor of Time (two consecutive weeks, although I must admit that the section was killed both weeks).
Read the full story on

Monday, April 1, 2013

Friday, March 29, 2013

Bialystoker Spawns New Controversy Over Landmarking

Image via
A decision by the historic but broke Bialystoker Center of Nursing and Rehabilitation on Manhattan’s Lower East Side to accept designation of its building as a landmark now appears to be conflicting with its most pressing moral imperative: paying back wages to its workers.

Read the full story on

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Beth Hamedrash Does a 180

An unusual application to the landmarks commission, filed in December, would have allowed the congregation to demolish its building and replace it with a new development — including a sanctuary, a museum and space for residential use. But the synagogue that wanted to demolish itself now appears to have had a change of heart. 

Read the full story in The Forward.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


Several months ago, I was talking Marie Vic about her project, "Popcorn." The installation she was working on was really simple (it involved handing out bags of freshly-made popcorn to passersby in the Chelsea gallery district), but her preparation was really intense, and so even though all she wanted me to do was write a brief artist's statement for the show, we talked for hours about relational aesthetics, institutional critique in Chelsea, and loads of other topics that I hadn't had to think about (as part of my job, at least) since I was in college.

It was fun as hell. Hoping to give Marie some further background, I suggested a blog post I'd written for Hard to Reach about a show at Murray Guy that was relevant to her new project. Reading stuff for this blog has been like hearing my own voice played back to me, but eventually I did give the post a look, and I ultimately decided that most of what I wrote here between November 2010 and January 2012 was nothing to be ashamed of.

Now that I'm freelancing full-time, it's come up that I should try to revive this thing. I've decided to start by re-posting some recent articles in The Forward and The New York Times, as well as a mix I made for a friend's wedding in the fall. Here they are.

Landmark Synagogue Seeks Right to Demolish Itself
Is 1850 Lower East Side Shul Crumbling Beyond Repair?

Congregation Beth Hamedrash Hagadol, considered to be the oldest Russian Jewish congregation in the United States, is looking to reverse the landmark status of the venerable structure in which it once prayed in order to demolish it and make way for a multi-use development. Architectural preservationists have expressed dismay at the idea of losing a building that has been among the Lower East Side’s most prominent houses of worship since the mid-19th century.

Read the full article on

Photo by Kirsten Luce, via
Before Word Can Spread, Party’s Over at a Brooklyn Speakeasy

Later, Sully, who was serving as a bartender, projected a 1980 Sonny Chiba film, “Shogun’s Ninja,” on a screen opposite the bar. Sully had been toting an archaic Walkman cassette player for music, and played mix tapes he had prepared especially for the evening. The alternative, he said, would have been flipping records over a turntable. But there was simply no room.

Read the full article on

And finally, my wedding gift Isaac Plumb and Erin Mesa, a tribute to His Awesomeness Al Pacino.

More to follow. Promise.