Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Closing up Shop

As my ten readers may have noted, I've pretty much stopped posting here in 2009. What with the changes in life status, and general slowing down of things, I haven't needed this outlet as much as I did in past years.

Maybe I'll start a new blog at some point, but for now, this chapter is closed.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, May 22, 2009


Without really meaning to, I've been cooking a lot of vegetarian meals lately. It's just what sounds good. Herbivoracious is a great vegetarian website with tons of interesting and delicious recipes. I made the soba noodle soup with leeks, asparagus and tofu tonight for dinner. Yum.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Link Roundup

Some links I enjoyed lately ---

Strath at Pacific Standard in Seattle talks about the Steve McQueen festival at Lincoln Center now through May 26th, accompanied by some gorgeous stills. The hottest, and the coolest man, all at the same time.

A short day-in-the-life from WNYC at Peter Pan Donuts on Manhattan Ave. Classic Greenpoint, and best donuts ever.

A couple more I cribbed from Greenpointers:
Local photographer Kristy May's site.
And a bartending school in Williamsburg. Of course, something like this exists. Gross.

The Belmont Special is back. Glad to hear it, but thanks for nothing on Derby Day.

I've been walking around in the East Village on nice days lately. It's been a long time since I speant a lot of time in that hood, so I sometimes forget what a great place it can be. For example, a pork sandwich from Porchetta that tastes like it came straight from the Mercato Centrale in Florence. And for the flipside, some old-style Avenue A. Here's a fascinating take with raw photos showing how life on Avenue A is still lived by some in the East Village.

My appetite is getting better, so I bought a round of one of my favorite cheeses, Red Hawk from Cowgirl Creamery in Pt Reyes, CA. Expensive but amazing. And a most interesting article in today's Times about Sriracha, the indepensible red chili sauce in the rooster bottle.

Hilarious songs from comedy duo Garfunkel and Oates. Seriously, watch it.

Lastly, I have a new three-day-a week permanent Production Director gig at The Daily Group, publishers of The Daily & the Fashion MINI, (plus regular other special B-to-B pubs,) owned by IMG. Guess I can't escape giant fashion mags.

It's a funny, gossipy fashion insider paper that comes out daily during NYC Fashion Week + 6 times a year. Russell, an old friend of mine from college, hooked me up by so kindly being a VP there for a digital division connected with The Daily Group. We hadn't spoken to in 13 years, since I first moved to NYC, due to a bunch of complications. For my first 5 months here, I lived in his old room in an apartment on 14th Street. It made my move here simple as it could be, and again, he has helped a sister out.

Monday, May 04, 2009

The End of the Belmont Special

There was article in the Times this weekend lamenting the loss of the 100 year old direct rail link to Belmont. Scroll through the photos to see one of Bartley and Tania on their way to the party!

Mystery Rhino

This appeared amongst my flowerpots in front of my house this weekend:

No idea where it came from, but it made me smile today. I'm still exhausted from this weekend's socializing but it was a lot of fun. Thank you to all of you who came out to Belmont for the Derby party to end all Derby parties this year! (50-1 winner, grumble...I hate that) I hope everyone had as good of a time as we did. And please, send me your photos, since being hostess meant that I took exactly none.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Updated Derby Picks + some mush

Things have changed, as they always do, after my final review of this week's works at Churchill Downs, and the weather forecast for tomorrow.

I'll be betting an exacta box with Friesan Fire, Papa Clem and I Want Revenge. I'm also betting Hold Me Back and Chocolate Candy across the board.

FWIW, the best horse isn't even in the race. That'd be the filly, Rachel Alexandra, who runs in the Oaks in a couple hours.

Mushy part: Thank you to all the ladies that came out last night for cocktails. Even flying in from points across America, it was really great to be able to introduce you all, and have everyone in in one room for a few hours. I feel very blessed and lucky to have such great women friends in my life.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Derby Picks

I'll be betting an exacta box with Pioneerof the Nile, Papa Clem and I Want Revenge. I'm also playing Desert Party and Chocolate Candy across the board.

See y'all at Belmont for this year's party!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

The Government

I went to the Social Security Administration today so I could file the paperwork to change my name. Somewhat surprisingly to even me, I'm adding Lynch to the end -- I mainly think Lynch is a lot easier to spell and say than my current last name. I am still going to use both indefinitely for work purposes, but how often do you get the option to have a new name for the second half of your life? Sure. Let's change it.

I wait in line for about 45 minutes downstairs, surrounded on all sides by tons of families of every color speaking a million different languages. I get upstairs to a surprisingly calm and spacious office and hand the lady at Window 14 my form. She looks me up on the computer, and then asks "When did you get your passport?" Uh, 15 years ago?? "When did you become a citizen?" Since the day I was born in Ohio. "Well, they have you here as a resident alien who is ineligible to work in the US." Uh...WHAT?? I've been working in the United States, legally as far as I know, since I was about 14.

"I need your birth certificate as proof you were born here. You have to go get it and come back." I protest, saying that this has never come up before, even when issued a Driver's License, Passport, etc. so how can this be possible. I'm also finding it somewhat ironic that nearly every other person in the SSA today seems to be from another country, at least based on their language skills, but the white girl from the Midwest who was born in the good ol' USofA gets called on the carpet for being an illegal. WTF. She calls over her supervisor. Somehow, they get it sorted it out, by selecting a different pull down box, or changing the spelling. Or something.

She hands me the form to sign saying "You're going to see something that you won't think is right." Yep. My Dad's name is listed as Chester Kowelczyk. That's not even what it was before my parents changed it from Kowalczyk in 1960. I point it out. "Yes, I told you you'd see something that was wrong. Just ignore it." I guess the lady fudged it for me by changing my Dad's original name by one letter, even though I don't know how they pulled that up, as his name had been changed legally to the shortened by the time I was born. Okay, whatever. I'm cool with that. Just so I don't have to come back again. I pick up the pen.

I sign my name. My OLD name, that is. 30+ years of signing the same name, what can you do? It's a hard habit to break. The SSA lady is cracking up. "Didn't you JUST CHANGE YOUR NAME??" Oh yeah. I'm laughing too. THAT'S what I'm here doing. But wait! I haven't even practiced signing my new name on the cover of my sunset-patterned Trapper Keeper in loopy cursive writing! I can picture it: loads of arrow-punctured hearts saying Mrs. Steve...Mr. and Mrs. Steve...Mrs. Susan ....Cripes. I forgot to ever try writing it out. She prints out a new form. I sign and hand it back to her. She looks at the signature and observes "You need to practice this more. You'll get your card in 6-8 weeks."

I came home and signed my new name about 30 times. I still need practice.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Home Address

My absolute favorite thing about Google Earth is that when look up my house, Uncle George is sitting on the stoop with his 40 (on his left), checking out girls walking by with guy from next door. This shot must have been before he got ticketed by the cops. And Kate's on her lawnchair next door. How many days until summer?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

They're Baaaack!

Like Freddy Krueger, Studio B is the venue that never goes away. andtheend was surprised the other night when I mentioned that they had never closed, with reports of their death being greatly exaggerated. A huge FOR RENT sign appeared for a few weeks on the exterior around Christmas, then had disappeared by the time we were back in early February.

I never thought they would go away completely, (that space is huge and ready to go for dancing/shows--how could it sit empty?) and only hoped we would force them to be more responsible nightlife tenants in a residential neighborhood. I mean, godforbid if even worse tenants were operating the club 7 nights a week. The devil we don't know could be something more horrible.

As of now, the sound bleed isn't nearly as loud as it was previously, and not just because my windows are closed for winter. This is a good thing. I don't know what (if anything) they did to change, but if the sound levels from inside stay down to this somewhat duller roar on a 2-night a week basis, we neighbors will all remain happier. However, this doesn't seem likely.

NY Mag
reports the latest this week, and below is the text of an email I got back in early February from a booking agent friend, who kindly forwarded me what he received from the new promoters.

My simple idea is that no business in any neighborhood should negatively impact its surroundings. If there is impact at all, it should improve the area, not just take from it. I don't want to go to a club every night. Maybe that makes me old, but it a choice I am allowed to make. When Studio B is in full effect, it's as if a sound system playing inside my house. Why should that be okay in any circumstance?

People who argue that "You live in New York, get used to the noise!" or "We need better nightlife in the city!" is all fine and good; I am not against clubs or the noise of city life. However, the houses were here first, as in most cases where a new business moves in because the area becomes more desirable. I moved to Greenpoint 8 years ago exactly because it was a quiet neighborhood where I know many of my neighbors and local business owners, because it is a place where families have been raised for generations, because it was safe, and because it wasn't in the middle of nightlife city. It was inexpensive (at the time), and my neighborhood is the main reason I still love living in New York City. I can have all of the good of the city nearby while relishing a quieter place and life to come home to.

To my way of thinking, the onus is on any new business to fit into the existing neighborhood, not the other way around. Greenpointer Newyorkshitty spoke to this subject this week. Neighborhood turnover and change is constant in NYC; that is a given. Yet the change shouldn't be for the pleasure of a few and at the expense of many others' daily quality of life. The Production Lounge shooting is a perfect example of a new business bringing money into the neighborhood that doesn't add anything positive; Studio B's current plan to offer you a free drink with a taxi receipt is along these same lines.

We'll see how these "new" guys do. I truly hope they are better. I don't need or want the hassle, believe me. Even so, if that roof deck is wide open in the summer with noise projecting off the smoking area, I suspect the problems will not be over. Wonder if they have that cabaret license yet? And the all ages shows should prove interesting, too.

First let’s start with our new set up in Brooklyn :
As many of you are aware – Studio B has been open for about three years now in the Greenpoint / Williamsburgh section of Brooklyn. In the past two years they have hosted the likes of : Justice, Art Brut, The Klaxons, LCD Soundsystem, Madball, Battles, Santogold, M.I.A., Crystal Castles, Kid Sister, MSTRKRFT, The Black Kids, The Thermals, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, The Mountain Goats, Lady Sovereign, Diplo, The Cool Kids, Chromeo, Terror, Hercules & Love Affair, The Go! Team, CSS, The Thermals, Hot Chip, El-P etc etc

The club has had a quite a few people booking the room in the past. With the venue “open” to many different promoters at one time – it caused a great deal of issues and infighting between a lot of people you may work or have worked with in nyc. In addition to the insular promoter issues there has recently been a great deal of rumors and talk about whether the club is open / shut down for good / for sale / for rent (all created by the aforementioned promoters who e-mailed every blog when they didn’t get dates they wanted etc). All of this “chatter” has greatly contributed to a perception that Studio B is no longer fully functioning. That is not true. The club is back to being fully operational and open and hired a full new management team and staff.

In January Studio B approached two long time friends to become the general managers and help them “start over”. The two general managers have begun to clean house from top to bottom - all new night managers, office people, bar managers, production people, bartenders, security guards etc. Both of the general managers have worked with us at R5 for over eight years now. The day and night managers are both former r5 staff members and close friends of 10+ years. For the first time ever, Studio B will now be run by “music” people. No more club personnel with limited or no experience with dealing with “indie” crowds, musicians / artists. Everyone working here is very experienced with live shows.

The owner has removed himself from the day to day running of the club. After less than stellar experiences with previous promoters / managers that he hired, he has now relinquished full control to allow this newly formed team to run his club. The calendar will now be controlled by a small in-house group who all have previous booking experience. For the first time at Studio B, one small group of select individuals will be handling ALL of the booking for all their upcoming calendar.

We, R5 Productions will be handling all of the live shows/concerts. For those not in the know, Studio B holds 800+ people. They have the ability to do all ages or 18+ and serve alcohol at their events. There is a full real-deal PA in there with EAW mains, Midas FOH Console and Crest VCA Monitor board - A very SERIOUS system. Starting in two weeks we are having the PA recalibrated + adding new monitors and outboard gear to further the already great stage production that exists in the venue. (A full production inventory can be provided upon request). Studio B will now be operating with the ability to be more of a serious option for live music (it was previously operating / focused on just DJ events and “parties” )

Obviously looking at the above sampling of artists who have played live shows here, Studio B is very well known and quite established in NYC. We now hope with the group of new people who take this very seriously – we all can make Stuido B even bigger. We are looking to book last minute artists and bands starting in March (or possibly February if you have something appropriate). Starting on March 1st - Studio B will begin a two month long press campaign handled w/ a hired publicist to get word out about the club’s new management. There will be weekly ads in The Village Voice and other likeminded publications as well as NYC focused blogs (Brooklynvegan etc)

With Studio B making the majority of their $$ on late night dance oriented events - we are happy to make the room available for concerts/shows at an extremely low cost. Depending on the type of crowd the 800 perosn capacity room will start at only $XXX for the evening (all staff, promotion, rent, sound, insurance etc is included). We are willing and able to make 50% to 75% deposits for the initial string of confirmed shows to ease any concern about Studio B being open “for sure”