Category Archives: The Wild Outdoors

St. Patrick’s Day

Way back when (2003ish-2005ish), I worked on 42nd and 5th at 11 West- the same building that housed, and perhaps still houses, Valentino, Michael Kors, and Martha Stewart in one elevator bank, and NYU classrooms on the other. I worked on the 28th floor- the fashion side of the elevators- until Tishman Speyer bought the building, raised our rent to an ungodly price and forced us to move out.

Before that happened I was able to ride the elevator with a great many celebrities and super models on a daily basis, and since this was my first job upon moving to New York I thought it all very regular and part of the “gig.”

Anyway, the day of the year I will never forget was the day of the St. Patrick’s parade where throngs of people crowded Fifth Avenue, and in a desperate search for a bathroom would not only enter our building, but further up and into our elevators, and even attempt to use our bathroom on the 28th floor. That was funny, seeing sanguine faced drunks amongst cubicles and everything else, but not half as funny as my all time greatest New York St. Patty’s highlight, which happened around 2:30 in the afternoon in front of the NYU Law School on West 4th below Washington Square, where I saw two very grown, very manly hard hat, Irish men weeping uncontrollably, and in only passing them for a moment heard in the thickest of Irish accents,

“You’re always trying to tell me how to live me life, brother! Why won’t you just let me be, brother?”

I can recall it and crack up in a heartbeat.

Have a Happy St. Patty’s, wherever you may be, and feel free to cry your eyes out if you wish,

Anthony

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Lessons From What’s Poor

Subtitle: An Uncle’s paranoia.

My nephew- my pride and joy, favorite person in the world- is ten years old and unfortunately, he just joined Facebook. I myself was a longtime, fierce opponent of Facebook. But that was way back when, before Fair Folks, and the inevitability and necessity of social media in building a small business in today’s America. So, now a full 18 months or so in, I offer a few pointers for him in the hope that he doesn’t ruin his chance at a gubernatorial run in the early 2040’s.

1. Stay away from people who are holding fish in their profile picture.

2. Do not allow people to tag you in photos. Chances are, between now and the night of your election, a handful, maybe even dozens of unflattering, photographs (the bulk of them from your Freshman year at Yale) are going to be taken of you. With tags, your opponents will not even need to take the time to dig them up. Make them work to beat you.

3. Do not allow people to write on your wall. This is a recipe for disaster. If you choose to allow this, you can not break any hearts, which unluckily, is a big part of what has been coined “youth.”

4. When someone posts a picture of himself/herself as a child as their profile picture be wary. What this actually means psychologically, I haven’t studied at all. But, don’t do this. Although, since you are only ten years old, I guess for the time being, you don’t have much of a choice. But imagine how odd it would be if one of your friends were to post a picture of themselves as newborn? Weird, right?

5. Do not use profanity. For a little while there, maybe between the ages of eleven and twenty one, there is something awesome about an ugly tongue. It is a lie. The truth is, anytime a profanity is used, it is in the place of unknown word. It shows a deficit in vocabulary. You don’t want to show weakness in the digital world. Whatever goes out, stays out, forever and ever. Also, your grandmother is your Facebook friend. Never put anything up that you wouldn’t want your grandmother to read. Also, disregard any of the profanity your grandmother might post.

6. Try to stay away from posting song lyrics as your status updates. This is tricky, especially when you realize just how important it is to share the wise words of Bonnie Prince Billy with the world.

7. Do not tell people where you are. When people know you are in one place, they know you are not in another. When the cat is away, mice play. This lesson translates a million ways in the next twenty years of your life. This means don’t “check-in” places, and don’t allow others to “check” you in.

8. Never de-friend anyone. Remember, the opposite of love is not hate, it is indifference. Digitally, the best way to say goodbye, is to forget to say anything at all.

9. Understand that the pictures people post of themselves are not necessarily what they look like, at all.

10. No matter what, don’t give away your secrets. Remember, Facebook was created by a Chinese robot in order to infiltrate and destroy American minds, and soften our hands and bellies.

Sincerely,

Babo

PS. When I was your age, the best advice I ever received (repeatedly, about a thousand times) was this, “Somebody, somewhere, right now is in the gym, practicing. And one day, the two of you are going to meet, and one person is going to win, and one person is going to lose. It’s your choice.” Get off the internet and work on your left!

So Long, Old Bean

This post has nothing to do with Devendra or Natalie. But have you seen his new haircut? Have you seen her new movie? OML! Kidding, kidding, kidding.

On to the post and new years, hello, goodbye, etc, etc, etc….(don’t know why you say goodbye, I say hello, oh, oh, whoa, oh, oh…)

I usually try to give up one or two things around New Years, and Lent, and sometimes on Sunday morning when I am not feeling so “hot.” But this year, given our digital outlet to the world- right here on this scrolling list of news- and the fact that my youth is officially “over” (an ugly birthday passed, let’s not talk about it, like, ever) I thought what better way to keep myself honest than to blast my givin’ ups out to the world. Keep in mind, many of these are just for one year, as it would be impossible to say goodbye forever.

1. So long, cheesesteaks – This is very, very difficult for me. Very difficult. Some people like to smoke, some people like to drink, some people like to do drugs- I like to cheesesteak (and once in awhile, okay lots in awhile, cheesfry). It is in my DNA, and dating back to ole Antonio Mazzei and his grocery cart in South Philadelphia. But I must fight it. I must not relent to Pat’s or Steve’s or the ever so dangerous Wogies.

2. So long, chicken cheesesteaks – These also count. And this is also very difficult for me.

3. So long, PBR – It’s time. The jig is up.

4. S0 long, Chuck Taylor’s – It’s time. This jig is also up.

5. So long, late night journeys into the abyss of the Meat Packing district- There once was a time when it was only a few blocks stroll for me to leave the realities of my day to day, nite to nite, for the area between 9th and 10th, 12th to 14th, and exit responsibility for excess. This year, I will limit my adventures to Organicoa cocoa on the high line, and ping pong in the beer garden. When the sun sets down over the Hudson- I am out of there. This same thought goes for Bourbon Street.

6. So long, talking on my cell phone – You can call me crazy, but according to my Uncle, using a cell phone is the equivalent of putting a microwave to your ear, and I believe him. If you see a funny California number show up on your end, it’s me, I am calling you from Gmail to tell you to log on so we can vid chat.

7.  So long, size 34 and growing –  I understand the inevitability of growing out of my clothes from the turn of the century, but I am going to try to push it another year or so by using the treadmill in our basement at least twice a week. UPDATE: I began this post a couple days ago, and I have yet to get down to the basement, other than to take out the trash and do the laundry.

8. So long, Holy sweaters – I am not saying I am going to throw them out, all I am saying is that I am going to make an honest effort to sew them up. Though, come to think of it, a few have passed the point of no return. But the stories they remind me of- how can I say goodbye?

9. So long, defending my neighborhood(s) – After leaving New York for the better part of a year this year, I have come to grips with the fact that the single most irritating trait of any New Yorker (including myself) is their tireless defense of how “cool”  or “great” or “good, better, best” their neighborhood is when in fact what makes each neighborhood of New York so wonderfully wonderful is it’s proximity to so many others, and the diversity presented while merely afoot. So, I am done going on and on about how nothing compares to Carnegie Hill- even though, it is a fact, that nothing does. There, I am done. However, I am going to go on and on about the Marigny for at least a couple more months. As the neighborhood and I are still merely Newlyweds in my mind.

10. So long, pretending to know or care about anything regarding the regular season in sports – I can’t do it anymore. (Get it? Bengals, regular season.) I am sorry everyone, but the fact of the matter is I just don’t have the time (or a TV) to keep up with everything. I sincerely do hope the Phillies win the World Series, and the Saints win the Super Bowl, but far be it from me to tell you who is or who is not on the injured reserve this week. I understand if this clearly makes me not a “real” fan. But it is just time and circumstance. Like I said, none of these are forever.

That’s all I got!

Have a Happy New Year,

Anthony

Artist Interview: Michael Robinson Cohen

Michael Cohen lives in the Bywater about a ten or fifteen minute walk from Fair Folks New Orleans.  He- a recent not so long ago, not so far away resident of Brooklyn- is part of a growing class of young people descending upon New Orleans hungry to work, to create and to do good. He received a grant from The National Endowment for the Arts to pursue community development and design activism projects in the Hollygrove neighborhood of New Orleans. The current project he is working on is called the Greenline and you can read more about it here.

He also happens to be a very very talented sculptor and carpenter, and was selected as a featured artist in the upcoming architecture and design event here put on by the AIA New Orleans called DesCours– where exciting and intriguing installations take place in settings around town more often abandoned or under-appreciated. The event kick off is this weekend,  and Michael will be presenting his work on the 12th in the Iberville Storefronts, at 1031 Iberville.

Here are two pieces he recently built for the Art is Life Foundation, one on their farm in Sonoma, California.

Ex Deo Libertas

Looks pretty heavenly, huh? And here is another he built for the Eiffel Society on St. Charles here in New Orleans.

Eiffel Society

Michael was kind enough to answer some of our questions for all of our readers to read.

1. What is inspiring your work these days?

Recently, I have been experimenting with new types of material production techniques. I am fascinated by the way in which the building process can dictate an objects formal and material quality.

2.  Does your material usually come before form or form before material?

Lately materiality has been the primary entity driving my work. I’m interested in the way that natural patterns can be manipulated through the act of joining. When two pieces of wood are connected there exists a tension between the original grain and the compound pattern created by the jointed formal relationship. In several recent works I strive to use a singular joining typology to achieve a dynamic form and patterning.

b. How about function before form or form before function?

The Miesian mantra of “form follows function” is often fetishized as ethically superior approach to design. The notion that an individual, whether an architect or designer, is capable of having the foresight to prescribe a function for a space or object is implausible and authoritarian. Rather than establishing a rigid form or function on an object, I aim to achieve a high degree of flexibility and adjustability in my work. Design mutability enables the end user to apply their own use and composition.

3. What is your greatest challenge as a designer?

As a designer I believe that every formal move hast to have a rational justification. I constantly struggle with my desire to achieve rational purity.

4. If you could collaborate with any artist living or dead, who would it be?

It would be a dream to collaborate with the late Gordon Matta-Clark. I’m compelled by his ability to employ one simple formal move to completely recreate the meaning of a landscape, building or object. I also can’t even begin to fathom what he would create with the city of New Orleans as his canvass.

5. What is the quality you are most attracted to in art or design?

I like the challenge of establishing a set of design constraints and rigorously committing to them during the production process.

6. What is your most prized possession?

I recently visited my Grandfathers furniture factory in Highpoint North Carolina and I found several hand drawings he did of desks and cabinets.

When asked to provide a picture “in his element” Michael sent this. It is pretty self explanatory.

A big thank you to Michael, and again, make sure to check out the DesCours events around town- along with his “Microbial Palette 1” there are a number of compelling spaces and installations to see if you are so lucky to be in New Orleans this time of year. Read more about them here.

See you there,

Anthony

 



Home Sweet Home

Sometimes really early in the morning, I notice trucks going in the wrong direction down here on Frenchmen Street. This has happened maybe twice, or three times. The first time, I thought someone had just made a wrong turn off Elysian Fields, but now I think perhaps it is a necessary breach of traffic laws in order to unload something somewhere nearby. No matter. The important thing is that I am not hallucinating.

A few other observations living and working in New Orleans for the past several weeks.

1. I didn’t pack enough clothes. In Manhattan, outside of work, I very rarely see the same person more than once in a week’s, or even a month’s time. In New Orleans, I see the same people pretty much everyday.

2. I need to buy a Swiffer. I am the chief floor mopper (sic) and sweeper in this operation, and to do so at 7 East is a piece of cake. It is one room, and unless there is a snowstorm the day of an event, it is a pretty simple task to keep that space clean. But in New Orleans, because of the traffic, and the sidewalks, and our lack of rugs (big thanks to Lauren C. for telling me from day one that women like to hear the sound of their heels on wood) and all the different rooms and entrances, our floors need constant attention and affection from the broom and mop. Because Patty, the former owner, and patron Saint of Fair Folks New Orleans, left so many cleaning supplies, and the whole waste not, want not Franklin in me, we haven’t taken the time to get a Swiffer down here. But I think it is about time.

2. People say, “Good morning” to me well after Noon. It could be the coffee mug that accompanies me to the porch. But I like “Good morning.” It is more comforting than “Hey” or “How’s it going.” And for sure better than nothing at all. But it is not as good as, “Sera.” My all time favorite greeting, dragging out the “aaaah.”

3. It keeps getting warmer. I saw a guy running on St. Charles last night with his shirt off, and I thought, “Man, that dude is gonna catch cold. Running in November with his shirt off.” But then, we parked and walked from two blocks around the corner to the restaurant, and I realized I didn’t need my sweater, which a week or so ago, before Halloween, was essential.

4. It’s Cont-eye. Not Con-tea. All these varying ways in which to pronounce streets, and everything else incorrectly, I welcome. When I tell people my last name, they don’t think twice that it sounds funny, or ask how to spell it, because they don’t really care.(This is such a cliche comment, by the way.)

5. You don’t need to dial area codes to make a telephone call. Think about that. That is pretty crazy, right? (The cliches continue)

6. Mosquitoes do not die in this town. And they are fast as all get out. Last night one bit me on the forehead in my sleep. Pretty terrible spot for a mosquito bite, especially with my complexion.

7. Angelina hasn’t stopped in yet. I’m patient, and I know we had sort of a rough go of things after we broke up, the ugly text messages and everything. But I expected her to be over all that at this point and stop by and say hello. I’ve moved on, and you should too.

8. If I get a car, it is going to be a Smart Car. And not because I want to save the environment or come across as hip or anything like that but because parking “sucks” in this town. I’m not going to get a car, but if I do, I am just saying.

9. As long as people keep dancing, brass bands will continue to play.

Sera,

Anthony

The Great White Hunt

OR
Death On The High Seas

It’s been almost two weeks since I set out by myself on a quest to find the man-eater terrorizing these shores.  My craft is a single sail vessel, easily operated by one man, however with the frequency with which I have been “hitting something”, I’ve now taken to leaving my wetsuit and self contained underwater breathing apparatus on at all times, for at any moment I might be forced to throw myself over the edge and into the sea.  I must find this beast.  This shark.  This JAWS.

The underwater ecology seems to have transformed vastly since my days in university studying marine biology.  Be it a result of global warming or the tidal currents specific to this particular season, there appears to be an extremely limited number of species inhabiting the ocean these days – six to be exact.  Of those six, sting rays and jellyfish seem to have it out for me in particular; a single touch can mangle my entire body and send me spiraling to my death.

The rays are easiest to deal with; traveling at all times parallel to the sea floor and in a straight line; without fail, two of shots from my spear gun will fell even the fastest of their kind.  The jellies are different.  Although it takes but one spear, they do not come from my left or right but rather appear as if birthed from the seafloor itself, and sometimes in overwhelming numbers, thrusting upwards on a homicidal mission to end my shark hunt.  Over time they have changed their once simple attack plan from a perfectly longitudinal approach to stalking me laterally as well, shadowing my movements with every rhythmic strained flex of their tentacles – certain death, hunting me from bellow.

With inconceivable randomness, these two predators can explode into one of four things upon death.

  • Crab
  • Starfish
  • Nothing
  • Conch Shell

Crabs and starfish are merely collector’s items.  They offer me nothing but an empty sense of reward.  I occasionally scoop them up and examine my vitals as to gauge any possible benefits they may bestow on me, but to date I have no conclusive evidence that attaining either of these items benefits me in the slightest degree in any way shape or form.

The conchs on the other hand are wildly valuable.  Within the two ports I have been sailing between exists a mysterious conch trade wherein I offer them up to what can only be described as a modern day shaman who heats and grinds them into a fine powder and, with the addition of various other herbs and tinctures, creates a potent elixir that increases both my physical strength and the pace at which I can swim.  I remain vulnerable to attack though, as one hit from any of the oceans villains can rob me of my power, strength and remaining conchs in my possession.

Sometimes after a particularly hard fought battle against a group of rays and jellies, a small shark will appear – a baby jaws if you will.

With razor sharp teeth and a menacing glide, he makes several passes at me as I swim unprotected in the open ocean.  I shoot, with machinegun-like rapid fire succession, he explodes, I collect all that his left of him: a conch.  My shaman will be pleased.

After such battles I rest.  Lately, I have experienced recurring dreams wherein I am in an airplane – soaring high above the glistening salty water, dropping cannonballs, clumsy in their fall but devastating in their damage, upon entire schools of jellyfish engaging in some sort of synchronized swimming ritual.  I am free of any danger in my plane.  I am free to destroy those who seek to destroy me.  I am God now. Fear has vanished.  But every dream has an end – every sleeper must awake…

For a long period of time the only technology I had on board my vessel was a rickety old Jaws Tracker that I traded some conchs for at first port.  Its read out looks like an old EKG machine and I’m not exactly sure how the technology behind it works, but sure as the day is long it screams with alarm whenever I see the beast’s massive dorsal breach the surface close to me.  But recently I stumbled upon my greatest weapon and the thing that might just tilt the scale of power enough for me to take down the massive Great White.

It’s a single man submersible: bullet-like in shape and orange like the setting sun over the western horizon.  Built for speed and power and armed with two different weapons; with a pull of the trigger I can loose an unlimited stream of torpedoes or send depth charges careening into the dark abyss below me.  The jellies fear me now, for they are not the only ones who can attack longitudinally.  I imagine the sub washed up after the man-eater took out a scientific exploration of some kind, or perhaps a military warship.  Whoever they were, I’ve now got more deaths to avenge.

I feel the weight of those lost at sea on my shoulders now.   I feel their hands grabbing my ankles and dragging me overboard and into the sea.  I hear their cries and smell their blood mixed in with their churning salty grave.  I know what I must do.

My jaws tracker is screaming – it is time to end this once and for all.

New York Is Fantastic, Anywhere You Look There Are Snacks Just Lying Around

OR
Musings Of My First Two Weeks On Avenue D
by
Dr. Bruce Bonesworth Fairman

 

Check out my sweet fixy, bro.

Hey Fuggedaboutit! Let's go to a Broadway show!

 

Several  weeks ago Pete and I moved to New York City.  As this is my first time living in such vast and diverse metropolis, I am discovering new things and gaining some invaluable insights.  I’ve chosen to share some of them below:

As every morning brings a new day, so does it bring a host of new things for me to smell on the sidewalk of Avenue D.  Used rubber gloves and soiled tissue papers, partially dried vomit and puddled urine – such a treasure trove of olfactory delights, shall I venture a taste?!

We live next to a dog park, which Pete says is great, but I’m not so sure where he gets the word “park” from.  Pretty sure that place is just a toilet.

As a result of moving around a lot in my life, I have what professionals call “separation anxiety”.  But what’s great about our new apartment is that it’s in the same building as other people’s apartments.  And some of those apartments are literally RIGHT NEXT to ours.  So when I get lonely, I just scream at the top of my lungs until one of them calls the land lord and then Pete shows up to keep me company – easy breezy!

I also bark when Pete goes into the deli to get his morning coffee and ties me to the patio railing outside.  He’s under the impression that this is another bout of separation anxiety, but it’s not.  I’m just yelling at the cheap bastard to buy me a goddamn bacon egg and cheese for once in his goddamn life.

People tell me I’m good looking, so I ignore them.  As is the custom here.

I swear on the bitch that bore me that I am going to murder every single one of those proud goddamn squirrels in Tompkins Square Park.

I’m a nine-year-old 80lb dog and folks still occasionally confuse me for a puppy.  Pete says it’s the exercise that keeps me so young looking, but we both know what it really is: cashew nuts, ‘Nilla Wafers, tinfoil and other assorted accouterments I steal off the counter top – hey, it’s for my health.

Yours,
Bones

PS – Check out this sweet web vid of me raging to my favorite television theme songs