Saturday, September 25, 2004

Best Exercise in Excessive Linkage

Get ready to click like crazy, if you like pictures. Of camping. It should be said that this is a post that'll only be interesting for people who went on the camping trip, and even more specifically, it's only interesting to those who went on the trip that I took a picture of. Also, sorry ahead of time for the way these pictures will be opening up. I tried posting these pictures in several different ways and this seemed best.

So, Friday night was the big Union Square 3rd Ward Camp Out (if you don't know, I'm talking about church.) Four vanfulls of us met in front of the 15th street and I took some establishing photos.

Here you'll see Lisa and Rebecca, check out Lisa's sleeping bag.
And here's Jason, Emily, Jeff, and Stephen.
Laura demonstrates how bad her cough is and Brooke is blinded by the flash.

Soon enough we were on the road. The camp was allegedly just an hour and a half north of the city, I think everyone will contest that it took a little longer than that to get there.

Along the way we descended upon a gas station like a swarm of locust
But finally we got to camp, I took this photo in the dark, not knowing what I'd capture

There was lots of sitting around the campfire and talking and eating to do once we got there.

I tried to take a "cool" picture of the fire w/o flash. It didn't really work.

There were a lot of tents there, and a lot of sleeping bags. Unfortunately, there were more people there than tents, but fortunately, the people didn't outnumber the sleeping bags. I slept in a bag on two pads on a tarp.

This is what I looked like in the morning
These are the eyes of me without sleep

So, the daytime camping adventures began. Mostly the camping adventures consisted in going down to the lake and eating breakfast.

Here's a bunch of the group by the lake.
This is Nicole, being crazy
This is what everyone loves about Laura, she's above average
Erika, who is awesome, cooked my sausage for me
Yeah, it's business as usual with Patricia
Now the Mulcocks and Patricia eat
Laura got a big pancake
Here's a secret photo of Leslie, Olivia, and, uhm, the visitor
Ryan and Margie talk about stuff
And there's Elna and what's-her-face
Adam, with can on head.

Whenever I went camping with my dad we'd get to the campsite, set up our tents, go find a restaurant, then go sleep in the tent, wake up, and leave. On this trip, I lasted until about 11 when I noticed people sneaking off to an early van home to the city. I felt I had enjoyed nature long enough, and snuck off to join them.

Last shot of the campground, mid-taking down
Genevieve and Lauren intercepted me on my way out

The trip back to the city was so much faster than our ride out . . . and I don't think it was just a traffic thing. When we got back to the church Tim Robbins (who lives across the street from our building) was loading up his Prius with his boys (they were probably going camping, too). Brooke insisted I take pictures of him, so I pulled the old "Taking pictures of the people behind the person I'm taking pictures of trick." Also, this was like the second time I'd seen Tim in the neighborhood. But the first time since he won his Oscar.

Brooke with Tim
And Brooke with Tim, again

So, yeah, that was the camping trip. Trust me, if you had gone, these pictures may have been interesting to you.

Best Relieving of Blog Backlog

I just got home from a camping trip, but before I can post my very-much in demand photos from that trip, I have to put up these pictures from when I went to Williamsburg two weekends ago with Mike, Karisa, and Sarah Jane to eat at Sea. Why'd we go there to eat at Sea? Because Sea is the restaurant where Andrew Largeman works in Garden State. And I had to prove I was right when I shouted "That's Sea!" during the movie.

As you will sea, ahem, see below, Sea is another "Look at us, we're such a cool place!" Thai restaurant owned by the people that own Spice and Peep. Like Spice and Peep, the food is cheap and rather good (I fear some people will roll their eyes when they read that) and the restaurant is a lively and stylish space. Since Sea is in Brooklyn, it can be a lot bigger than the other Spice restaurants and features a futuristic bar, a DJ booth, a Buddha pool/fountain, different dining areas, and wild bathrooms. Also, as I mentioned earlier, there is food.

So, the above left picture, that's the Buddha pool at the center of the restaurant, there in the middle, that's Mike and I--(look closely, I've got your nose), and then me eating a scallop. I arrived at the restaurant with a hunger for scallops and found that the "Brooklyn Basil" (now I roll my eyes) featured all the seafood I could ask for.

After dinner we got a little Tasti D Lite, you know, Tasti D Lite: New York's popular kosher low-fat, low-cal, low-whatever "frozen-dessert". On the left you'll see a really great group shot, then you've got a photo of Mike looking crazy handsome, and then a picture of Karisa expressing the fact that 1) She is sad that she isn't eating ice cream and 2) She is too full to eat ice cream.

And here, completely unrelated, is a photo of Sariah and me riding the Roosevelt Island Tram over to Roosevelt Island to go to this barbecue thing. I had never been on the tram before and couldn't shut up about how much fun I was having. Embarrassing, but not as embarrassing as having your picture on the internet.

Also This past week I grabbed my Star Wars DVDs the day they came out (you were expecting I wait until Wednesday for them?), I've been trying to squeeze in as much Star Wars-ing as my studies allow since them. I'm watching the Empire Strikes Back at this very moment, relishing the commentary track. Say what you will about the new effects and whatnot (not even I can aprove of Greedo shooting first), but the new footage of the Wampa in the ice cave is a great addition. Oh, I also got the Mean Girls DVD. I've got to get around to watching that.

During lunch on Thursday I saw Judah Friedlander walking down Bleecker, wearing his "World's Greatest" hat. In case you're wondering who Judah is and don't want to click that link, he was the guy giving out all the hugs in that one Dave Matthews Band video, he played Toby in "American Splendor", and he is on "Best Week Ever" all the time.

And now I begin the complexity of my camping trip post. Prepare yourselves for excessive linkage.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Best Soho Roadside Attractions

Below you'll find the write-up I wrote-up for the school paper on the Earth Room and Broken Kilometer installations I visited a few posts ago with Emily Cox. I'm not entirely happy with my write-up, but it expresses the main idea pretty well: there is a giant room full of dirt (and an enormous room full of metal bars) in Soho and they've been there forever and no one seems to really know about them . . . or not enough people seem to know about them. I mean, I had to find out about them from an Arts-Person, but these things should be as popular and well-known as, say, as popular and well-known as a gigantic concrete dinosaur in the middle of Central Park, if there were such a thing. (You'll see that I can't let this dinosaur analogy be) So, behold, numerous paragraphs of me not being able to put my mind around these two great works of art:

A Field of Dirt Awaits in Soho

All right. What if I told you that there’s a 3,600 square foot loft in SoHo where the entire floor is covered with dirt piled three feet deep? Perhaps “piled” is the wrong word, as the clumpy earth is raked once a week, like an agricultural effort never to bare crops? So, let me ask you again, what if I told you that, down in SoHo, home to some of Manhattan’s most luxurious shops and residences, there is a loft which completely betrays the neighborhoods’ artistic origins, an enormous room is filled with well-tended, frequently watered dark dirt that rests three feet deep that covers every inch of the floor? Well, it’s a crazy thought, and it exists, and anyone can see it.

Maintained since the 1980’s by the Dia Art Foundation, “The New York Earth Room” was created by renowned “earth artist” Walter DeMaria. The New York Earth Room is located at 141 Wooster Street, a fairly unassuming building across the street from the Adidas and Stussy stores between Houston and Prince. A small sign above the buzzers for the building is all that announces the presence of the installation to the outside world. Curious visitors need only press the Dia building and pass through the buzzing doors (the exhibit curator/security guard in the small office off to the side of the Earth Room has been buzzing up about thirty visitors a day since he got the job in 1989), then walk up one flight of stairs and there they are, staring down a big, brown, humid room.

Upon my visit to the Earth Room, the first thing I noticed was the smell of earth that fills the space from the moment you enter the stairwell, followed by the breathing, living humidity of the inorganic resident of the building’s second floor. As enormous as the “sculpture” is, it doesn’t take very long to take it all in. What takes a long time is to get over the fact that it exists. One is instantly tempted to calculate the value of this raw space south of Houston (after all, homes in Soho approach and often surpass the $1000/square foot mark) as well as to deal with the odd serenity of the installation. Looking it over, simple observations passed through my head like, “Whoah. There really isn’t very much dirt in New York City. Except for here.”

Once you’ve dealt with the Earth Room, there’s yet another Dia supported DeMaria installation to deal with in SoHo. Called “The Broken Kilometer”, it’s a space of over 8000 square feet at 393 West Broadway where 500 highly polished brass rods, each two meters in length, are arranged in five neat rows of a hundred rods along the length of the floor—and they’ve been there since 1979. Given the great length of the room, the multitude of rods seem to stretch off into the horizon. There is something that just seems to defy reason that these two enormous minimal installations dwell in SoHo, and the fact that they’ve been there for so long yet aren’t among New York City’s most visited destinations boggles the mind. What I mean is, while the southwestern states are full of enormous dinosaur statues announcing gas stations, why should such enormous testaments of artistic innovation dwell behind inconspicuous doors virtually unknown to the rest of the world? Yes, it’s great that the art hasn’t been cheapened with attention, or whatever, but, come on, there are these rooms and they are full of crazy stuff. Everyone should go check it out.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Best Bedroom Wall Art

I was at Ajay's last night and, man, Brian (his artist roommate whom I fear might spell his name with a "y") has a real project going on on his walls. Before you complain that Max's face doesn't look right, you need to know that it's not supposed to be Max's face, but Ajay's . . . or maybe Adam's, it's sort of in dispute.

(Not Pictured: Warrior princess with battle axe.)
(Pictured: The top of Emily's Head)

Also Saw John Waters walking south on 6th Avenue as I was walking home from school yesterday. He was talking on his cell phone and I was left with the impression that, if I had turned around and followed him, I would have been lead to Selma Blair.

For the Record I woke up at 4:30 this morning. Just eyes open, ready for the day, wide awake an hour and a half before the sun even started to think about coming up. As my first class of the day is still three hours away and I'm working tonight, I'm sure today will be interesting . . . in the feeling like falling asleep at 6 way.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Best Hidden Sickness Post

Congratulations, either you discovered my shingles pictures on your own or you clicked a link to get here. Either way, these are pictures of me while I had shingles and was acting like such a big baby asking you to help me out and stuff.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Best Walking Tour I've Ever Given

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The Legend, Emily Cox, was/is in New York for the weekend. I had the pleasure of showing her around the downtown parts of Manhattan on Thursday (Happy Rosh Hashana, by the way). But I didn't just show Emily (and Emily's ex-roommate, Jane, who showed up later) around--I took her on my "Secrets and Surprises of New York City Tour" that I invented for the occasion. We began at Peep, with its surprising bathrooms, then we checked out Walter DeMaria's Earth Room and the Broken Kilometer (I had never seen either of these installations before, their mind-blowingness begs their own post, which I hope to write, eventually), the Apple Store (the secret of the Apple Store: everyone checks their email there), the Prada store (it's a 1/2 secret, since there's no signage and it's a structure full of too many surprises to list), Nom de Guerre (the subterranean style complex hidden beneath the Swatch store), the surprising Alife 501 renovation on Orchard, and finished everything off at the Alife Rivington Club (the secret British Gentleman's club/sneaker emporium). Or, at least I thought we finished everythign off at the Rivington Club, because then Emily went and bought herself a ghetto-fabulous piece of bling at the above illustrated jewelry store (there's just nothing like trying to describe the ring you want through inches of bullet-proof glass) to finish the tour off properly.

If you didn't click the links for the Earth Room and Broken Kilometer, I'm telling you now to go back and click them.

After I sent Emily and Jane on their way back to the Upper West Side I ran into Uma Thurman (again) in the East Village and that night I saw Chris Parnell (from SNL) while waiting for a table at Cafe Habana. Won't these guys just leave me alone?

Also, uhm, nobody mention to Emily that I wasn't able to take her to the secret hamburger restaurant mentioned in the post immediately below this one . . . and Emily, please don't read the post immediately below this one.

Also also: this was a big weekend for rooftop parties. Or parties where you could've gone onto the roof, if you really wanted to.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Best Hidden Hamburger Stand

Say you're walking down 56th Street one day and say "Hmm, why don't I go into the lobby of the Le Parker Meridian hotel?" Well, this is what you'd see:

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Fancy and clean, right? But if you keep walking through the lobby and look to the left over between the front desk and that curtained area, you'd see this:

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A neon hamburger? What happens if you walk down the hall towards the hambuger?

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You wind up here, in New York City's best fake greasey spoon, "The Burger Joint" at the Le Parker Meridian, home of the best not-fake cheeseburger I've eaten for too long in this city. Oh! And the fries! As tasty as McDonalds', but grease pops out of them with every bite. And I mean that in the really good way. Man, New York, you're full of so much great secret hidden stuff!

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Best Crib Clouded in Controversy

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"What's that?" You may ask. "A crappy looking old warehouse or something?" No, silly, it's a photo taken in Tribeca, so you can rest assured that it may used to have been a crappy old warehouse, but now it's a building full of luxury lofts. But not just any old building full of luxury lofts. See that box on top? That's the penthouse, and Jay-Z just bought it. But not without some problems. Jay-Z bought the $7.5 million, 10,000 square foot apartment directly from it's former owner, adman Peter Arnell at the same time Roc-a-Fella Records CEO Damon Dash was closing a deal on the place with a Corcoran realtor. But actually, this is all old-news in the land of New York real estate. This entire paragraph has just been a smokescreen for the fact that I haven't posted for a while, so I'm tossing up a picture of Jay-Z's place that I took on a walk a few weeks ago. Also, I'm just practicing posting pictures on Steady Mobbin'.

You may also be wondering if I've been running into any celebrities lately. The answer, of course, is "Of course", but it all depends on your defintion of "celebrity." For a while I couldn't walk up 6th Avenue without seeing someone, last week I bumped into the "ADD Kid from Road Rules" (dressed like he was coming home from the pool with a towel over his shoulders and everything), James Lipton (the Inside the Actor's Studio Guy), and Elvis Costello (who I see around a lot these days.) Last Friday I saw Andrew WK wearing short gym shorts and a "Got Milk" T-shirt in Williamsburg, and on Sunday I saw Famke Janssen (again) on MacDougal. So I'm doing okay. Oh, and I saw the not-necessarily-famous Joe Goodkin from High School (and Junior High) at Pete and Hannah's on Saturday . . . as I hadn't seen dude since graduation in 1995, that was something of an important sighting.

Also I've got to give a shout out to the new $4 meals at Kentucky Fried Chicken. In the world of Value Meals, they are king--two pieces of chicken, a biscuit, coleslaw, and mashed potatoes for $4? A killer bargain, especially in dear old New York.

Coming Soon nothing but pictures of me and my friends eating at different places. Brace yourselves.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Best Return of the Pretty (for Real)

I finally figured out how to get pictures onto Steady Mobbin' with my Mac! Things are about to get all shiny and new looking in here! And what better way to get this new age started than with this photo here (yes, it's a thumbnail, and yes, it gets much bigger when you click it):

On Labor Day I celebrated, uhm, labor, by going down to the dumpling place on Eldridge and imagine my surprise when I saw that the place that used to be the definition of "hole in the wall" had shiny new counters, chairs, and a ceiling that didn't look like it was about to fall in. I was tempted to mull over the ramifications of this fixing-up until I started my meal, and since the dumplings and sesame beef pancakes were still too delicious, I figure they can do what they want with the decor, even if it means the "restaurant" will look clean and safe. And best of all? The price of the fixing-up wasn't passed on to the customer and I left very well fed for under $4. Awesome.

Addendum When you click on the thumbnail, it seems like the image will take forever to load--but if you hit the "stop" button on your browser, you'll magically get the whole image and not have to wait anymore.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Best Short Short Story by Me About Last Night

As the movie entered its third act, I realized that I was living my grade-school dream of what being "grown up" would be all about: I was out past 12 on a school night, watching Spider-Man fight Doctor Octopus ontop of a speeding train, eating bags and bags of candy, and there was nothing my parents could do about it.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Best Jazz Show in a Year

As I mentioned a few posts ago, I caught Misters Joe Lovano, Bill Frisell, and Paul Motian at the Village Vanguard last Tuesday night. Here I'm posting the "review" I wrote of the event for the Law School newspaper. But don't worry, Fans of Briggie dot Blogspot, you aren't just getting my Commentator leftovers, I'm providing you with special behind the scenes info to get this thing started:

You wouldn't know it from the article, but this is the second time I've seen Joe, Bill, and Paul. I first saw them exactly a year ago (naturally) all by myself on the recommendation of Andrew. What I remember most about seeing them the first time is: I had never been over to 7th Avenue before and just wasn't sure what sort of a neighborhood it was or if I should have been looking over my shoulder or whatever. When I saw my first pair of elderly men walk by holding hands, I knew I was probably safe. Also, I had a really awful seat in the club, and the trio began with Monk's "Mysterioso" and played "Our Love Is Here To Stay", but I remember it being a much more sedate version then what I got this year. Also, I remember looking at the rest of the crowd and how many people were making the "Man, this is good jazz!" face. This year, I think I made the "Man, this is good jazz!" face myself a few times. I'm not as dumb about jazz as my article would let on, but I have absolutely no grasp of the terms that one would use in writing a proper jazz review. My "Breathless" analogy that I start my article off with crossed my mind during the show--if I knew where my notes were, I'd show you . . . also, if I knew where my notes were I could give you my "set list" for the event (you see, I gave each song a name like "I am a Gentle Jazz Lullaby" or "Wake Up! I am an Angry Jazz Song!"

Okay, that's enough. Here's what was printed in the paper:

My Jazz Review by Brigham Barnes

The first time I watched Jean-Luc Goddard’s New Wave masterpiece “Breathless” it was because I was sick of being told that it was a New Wave masterpiece and wanted to see what it was all about for myself. At first the movie struck me as, above all things, unremarkable and fairly uneventful (even though it starts with a car robbery and a murder). But by the time our heroes Michel and Patricia are chatting in her apartment, I discovered that at some point along the way the movie had completely captivated me and I didn’t want the movie to end.

When I went to see Paul Motian, Joe Lovano, and Bill Frisell late last Tuesday at the Village Vanguard (during their annual two-week residence), I had the same slow-immersion in greatness sort of experience. Jazz, for me, is something I’ll always appreciate but just never be properly on top of, I’ll always rely on the recommendations of the better-informed on what to go to—and, when my better-informed friends tell me to go to the Vanguard to catch “geniuses” and “living legends”, I go.

As the evening began, the music struck me as good, but not spectacular—standard high-quality jazz, nothing flashy—“unremarkable and fairly uneventful”. But by the trio’s third number of the night, (the Gershwin standard “Our Love is Here to Stay”) I noticed that, at some point along the way, these musicians had completely captivated me and I didn’t want the set to end.

Now, as I am, to say the least, unititiated in the ways of proper jazz criticism, I can only describe what was great about the show in the simplest of terms—and that’s that the show just won me over. The trio (Lovano on tenor sax, Frisell on guitar, and Motian on drums) played off of each other’s talents and improvisations with the skill of, well, skilled jazz men and the songs ranged from gentle lullabies that nearly put me to sleep (in the best way possible) to howling modern screechers that were, to say the least, thrilling. As the set was devoid of any onstage banter, I can’t tell you the names of any the songs that were played except for “Our Love is Here to Stay”, which was the one melody I could recognize. I suppose my own complete lack of a sophisticated knowledge of jazz serves to prove the point about how fine Lovano, Frisell, and Motian’s performance was: while sophisticated and complex to earn these men the praise of the snobbiest of Jazz fans, their work is so approachably excellent that someone as uneducated in the art as myself can’t mistake if for anything but greatness.

Addendum: Oh yeah, I went to the show with Karisa. I should've mentioned that, right? Maybe not to NYU, but to you, at least.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Best "Best Week Ever" Ever

Oh man, I'm watching VH1's Best Week Ever's Best Summer Ever. It's great. Are you watching this, Lisa?

And while I'm on the topic of people on TV talking about celebrities, it's worth mentioning that I saw Michael Musto on 6th Avenue with an old lady and his bicycle last night.

The Pretty Returns

More or less. I just put up four new galleries at Shutterfly, and they're okay. Here's what you'll see:

Way Back in February Photos from way back in February when Broek came to town. These pictures are older than Steady Mobbin itself!
Flux Factory A few weekends ago I went and checked out my friend Helen's show at the artist commune where she lives, the Flux Factory in Queens.
Utah Some pictures from my trip to Utah at the end of July. I pretty much took no photos on this trip, and, because of this, no one in New York knows what Mary Cox looks like now.
Just Photos A tiny gallery of miscellaneous shots, several of which are of the good people who moved me into my new apartment. Oh, and me wearing stripes on stripes before catching the jazz.

I gotsta figure out how to get pictures up on this page or it will always be the ugliest thing there is.

Oh yeah, to see the photos (if you haven't done this for a while) log in with my email and the password is "photos", or maybe "pictures", I forget.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Best Post Born of Pure Enthusiasm

Interpol will be playing two nights at the Hammerstein Ballroom in November! (11th and 12th, to be precise) With support from the Secret Machines? There is a word for this sort of concert: Incredible. Which is funny, because "incredible" is also the word I'd use to describe Interpol's new record, "Antics" (coming out September 28th)--I know, I know, I've talked about Antics before, but let me talk about it again: It's at least twice as good as I first thought it was. With good marketing and a smart public, this record could be huge--possible Radiohead/Coldplay crossover huge? Only in an imaginary world, but it deserves that sort of buzz. Trust me. Or trust limewire. Or trust Interpol's website ( which is previewing tracks.

Retraction Yesterday I went on and on about how awesome I expected the Vice Do's and Don'ts book to be. Now I have my copy, and you know what? I'm a little disappointed, I thought it would have more new Do's and Don'ts. Sure, all the old Do's and Don'ts are funny, but I've been cutting them out and saving them on my own for a really long time. As far as new thrills go, this book offers me none, but if you aren't already a Do's and Don'ts Fiend, you should like it plenty.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Best Day for Things In Print

I was hoping to get this up before the end of the school/work day. Mission Accomplished, more or less.

Perhaps I have bragged to you about the dinners I've eaten at my friend Pete's house. Well, now I'm bragging to you that Pete just had a restaurant review published in the New York Times. I've yet to grill (uhm, no, that's not a pun) Pete on this, but I'm sure he'll try to play it off like it isn't a huge deal, and I hereby preemptively state, "No Pete, this is a huge deal."

Equally exciting, a bunch of hipsters I've never met can be thanked for the Vice Book of Do's and Don'ts coming out today. No, I don't have my copy yet, but I will before the day's end. I expect only the utmost in awesomeness from this book and visitors to my apartment, know this: you will find this book sitting on my new little black table when you come over to my place and we will be talking about it instead of our feelings, for once. Also worth noting, last month's Vice was one of the finest in months thanks to the Vice Guide to Everything. Perhaps the finest etiquette guide I've read since Miss Manners' Guide to Excrutiatingly Good Behavior? But wait, there's more: the online exclusive 100 Extra Do's and Don'ts is even better. Really. Oh, and if you haven't read Vice before, let me warn you: you will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.

Non-Print Related Items

Last night Captain Trouble and I caught some amazing jazz at the Village Vanguard worthy of its own Steady Mobbin' entry. Which it will be getting. Shortly.

The New G5 iMacs So pretty. No, wait, so ugly. No . . . so pretty. I can't decide! All I know is that the notion of an extremely affordable computer with a G5 chip and a 20" screen makes me hate my broken PC laptop even more.

Want to hear the new Snoop Dogg/Neptunes joint? Click here. Interesting, isn't it?