ALLOTROPE PRESS the 6th
SHADOW SPACES Guest Edited by Steven Mykietyn
Credits I would like to thank everyone that helped to make this possible in order of appearance; Lindsay Dye, G Lucas Crane, Nat Roe, The Jane Mirror, Catherine Lepp, Nadia Khalaf, Will Yackulic, Bethany Ides, Matthew Blair, Jerry Rio, The Nomadic Slave Theater, Gary Levitt, Bill Bilowit, Laura Krapacher, Zuriel Waters, Alexander Duke and Roby One ISSN 2046-2859 Copywright © 2012 Steven Mykietyn and individual authors/contributors herein.
Shadow Spaces, or the animals and insects as it should be called is a collection of rumors, tales and truths about New York as seen by its resident artists living in the swamps of decay mostly in Brooklyn. Although the big G word hangs around our necks like assholes, let’s just remember how much is really unknown, events, people and spaces. Little nooks of the mind, small basement galleries and music spots, warehouse lofts, alleys and sheds all places that time eats away at. Our living spaces, our corner bodegas, rooftops, our trunks of parked cars, storage spaces all of which will seem somehow lost if not recorded, so many little areas that are not really explored by our minds. The best ones are the ones we can see everyday but give little thought about, others are real events of confusion and things that you would never see because you wouldn’t even know what it was. If I could hint at this idea of the real grit of city living and the hard work done by its creative folks who only really just pave the way for raising rents, I would have to include that this is a place that becomes a dream that is never reached. A place that lives in the shadow, like the water moving back from a wave on the beach, the real wetness of creative mire, a place of swamps, small creeks and puddles of old gray water that you kick a piece of candy into. One or two gum drops don’t add up to much, which is where things really stand from my point of view, but with enough kicking of candy into puddles you could pave all the way to Canarsie. Time will erode us off this shit filled planet and our only way to pass knowledge will be in our media. I would like to thank the proprietors of Allotrope Press for so kindly producing this artifact so we can all enjoy a subway ride while reading.
All Rights Reserved. Cover Images- Lindsay Dye, Steven Mykietyn
The Filth and the Stew and the Fury
By G Lucas Crane and Nat Roe, on behalf of The Silent Barn
Living collectively is a sin insofar as being alive and covering everything with gunk is a sin. Humans love restaurants and hotels and clubs. Someone else cleans up. We get to be big party babies, throw our shit everywhere and then get back to our clean apartments and forget what being alive has wrought. Compress all sound made inside a cavernous urban space over the course of, say, a party. The resulting sonic data sounds like a mixture of meat being ripped from bones and a motor coming apart at 120 rpms. Or like the braying of hell hounds mixed with the screams of orgasm. Overlay it with a back-beat and you get the carnal horror that is any given moment. This beautiful, and terrible and irreducibly basic sound-horror has a potent physical analogue in the accretion of cast off leavings. Fun breeds a terrible sculptural sublimity. Small sculpture gardens of carefully poised filth are created by parties and daily life alike. Lives intersecting randomly create tiny installations in a “museum of people coming over and hanging a lot”. A small art installation of geometrically folded paper placed in one corner. It’s A+ art from conception to production to installation, and we are better for it. But across the room, in the far corner, lay another installation that could be considered pure art only after months of random collection yielded to the poetry of composed form: a single black human hair, stuck in a petrified marshmallow, stuck to the top of the toe of a Chuck Taylor sneaker cut in half, crammed in a crushed 16oz beer can, wrapped in a black plastic bag, perched in a bed of underwear and take-out rice in foil. Amazing. Before we got trash picked up by a carting service, we paid moving rates to a crook who was gouging us to back a box truck up and fill it with trash, taking trash from our dump to everybody’s dump. We could only afford this everyone once in a while. So until we could get the box truck crook to show up, we had to store this trash.
Trash from shows and weird cooking. Coffee grounds. Uncomposted vegetable leavings. Uncompressed milk cartons with a small amount of lazy milk in the corner. A million beer cans, each with beer in the bottom, wherein floated one cigarette. The trash could only be half looked at, because there was so much of it. Yes, it was shameful. We wanted to ignore it like you ignore the vomit next to the only vacant seat on the subway. But you can’t when it’s always there, leering at you through fraying garbage bags. There was a cinderblock hallway in the back where we would make a garbage wall. The rats would climb and chew through the bags at random points making the Swiss cheese garbage bag wall ooze and effervesce. There was still a small standing space, just large enough to open the door. I used to find people here arguing or making out, or smoking cigarettes furiously. It was an emotional area, and its bubbly putridness would underscore any conversation or exchange like a symphony. I used to stand there, staring at the wall of trash, feeling disgust but also the boundary of my disgust, the razor’s edge of what is horrible. And sometimes, deep inside, I felt that boundary move. Sometimes I felt a connection with this trash. There was a responsibility and a shame at producing it and only kinda dealing with it. But there was also a pride at what this filth represented - a thousand amazing parties, a thousand delicious meals, ten thousand beautiful kids laughing and dancing under clamp lights. Being alive and together in infinite fecund togetherness radiating outwards in a shining spider web of mucous. I was one with the filth at that moment. I loved it. I loved the beer cans and the rats and the pile of rotten milk up to my shoulders. It was beautiful and my disgust flaked away like dead skin in the shower. One winter it was just too cold to do anything outside, and so we experimented with keeping the trash wall in the basement, at the bottom of the stairs. We piled it up around the electrical meters, for convenience, and when he arrived, to have something to talk to the meter reader man about. “That’s……that’s a lot of rats…” he would say quietly.
This set up led to the most artful filth art installation we ever had. It waited in a secret corner, only catching my eye because I knew where to look for our little filth diorama. The inside trash experience didn’t last too long. Hot trash is infinitely harder to accept bodily than cold trash. Cold trash moves by itself less. We piled the trash wall to the ceiling as always, and the fact that it was inside led the occupying rat swarm to find new holes in the ceiling and upper wall to explore. Since our electrical wiring was never up to code, a lot of conduit outside the walls and ceiling carried the household current. Many of these conduits were installed shoddily and had slipped at the edges, exposing bare wires. And so it came to pass that a rat entering a hole in the ceiling from the surrounding bags of oozing trash completed a filth-circuit with an exposed wire and was electrocuted. Lucky for us, he was charged with so much electricity that the poor beast went past the “explosion” phase and went right to the “having all flesh stripped from bones” phase. He instantly became a mummy, reaching out with a little clawed skeleton hand. We got rid of the trash wall shortly, concluding the horrible experiment in urban shame. I cleaned up the basement and started having shows again. I always eyed the little corpse when I came down the stairs, feeling his dead eyes simultaneously condemning me for his death and supporting me for the awesome show we were invariably having. He was my little secret, until one night, cleaning up after a show, I discovered that someone had stuck a cigarette butt in his ribcage. “I found this, and I know what it is to make a joke out it, but look, his ribcage is smoking!” Someone at the show knew. Look, they put the cig in filter first. I felt too much weird reverence to touch it. Later that month, there was a band playing in the basement who blew glitter and tiny pompoms everywhere. You cannot ever win against glitter, you will clean it up forever. Glitter is the genital herpes of DIY venues. Cleaning the larger glitter dunes up, I looked
up in the secret rat corner to find that a tiny red pompom had lighted effortlessly upon his craggy outstretched claw. Now, the tiny skeletal cheerleader who smoked from his ribcage was a masterpiece in my eyes, no longer simply the evidence of years of fucked up storms of filth. The rat was but a microcosm of the obscure glory of having people over all the time. We had done it. We had reached a unique state. Even the dead smoking rats were cheering us on.
Afterparty: Den of Scum and Color The 13 Twenty-something House By The Jane Mirror
Mixing old friends into new things is challenging. This spot was challenging. This spot, a house that looked like it ran away from the street and stretched out flat in the backyard to be alone. Inside was alone too, for the most part. There was a rap booth, a vodka bong, a brand new iMac. These were at the back of the house along with the only other people. To get there from the entrance of the house was a series of 4 or 5 turns in almost darkness. Along these turns, were a feature of images and items: • An art project of a wicker cabinet that was first painted solid gloss black, and then splattered in a velvet painting pallet. • A 2 x 4 spanning a sink with neat pepper piles, a remote control, and a hole saw bit sitting on top. • The nasty residue of evaporated long distance phone calls featuring arguments and phone sex. • A shovel bent into a circle, and in my way. • A small room partitioned by hanging rugs in the corner of a large living room.
That room made by the rugs was not quite big enough to practically serve as a bedroom, but I didn’t look behind it. I was thinking it was a grow room, or a storage area for chemicals or an animal zone or something. I was ok for it to be a few assumptions rather than a confirmed anything. The rugs had lion graphics on some of them, some were burgundy. The hosts were quite welcoming as if they were balancing their attitudes against the vibe of the house. I appreciated it, so much, that when we were unsupervised, I convinced Kundo to take the aforementioned remote control out of the microwave just before he turned the timer wheel.
Heads I like my friendâ€™s friends. I can usually warm right up to them. I would want to say that I could anticipate positive contact between my buddies that have yet to be acquainted, but I have guessed wrong a good bit. I imagine that a house like said house might be a suitable glue to make one friend stick to another. I mean that in the sense that this spot is truly a coin. It is a potential as well as a mentally mapped arena for future unconscious pitfalls and nightmares. I was in the house for about 35 minutes holding conversations backlit by the cotton-mouthed raps of the young white guys. I had thoughts to watch my own back at a point because I was facing away from that rug room, but barely was on guard. Here I got swallowed into the stimulus; rap critiques, my good friend Eli, goof-balling around until my party collectively agreed to imagine daylight and leave after not too long.
fig 6, 7
fig 8, 9
“It seemed to me odd that I could have passed this enchanting haunt so often without suspecting that here was the entrance.” – Louis Aragon, Paris Peasant Arcades are ceilinged walkways flanked by boutiques, grocers, and other businesses, and therefore the precursor to the mall. To Louis Aragon arcades represented the past, as many were bulldozed to incorporate modern thoroughfares into Paris’ street design. To Walter Benjamin, however, they represented the future: one of bourgeois appetites and the places that appease them. I was particularly struck then, upon encountering a contemporary, albeit slight, arcade in Bushwick: not a mall, rather a hall with shops residing, fittingly, in a former textile mill. None of it was ornamental even in the slightest: the shoddiest construction streamlined for commercial ventures of a decidedly ephemeral nature. Within one of these spaces was a history of late 70’s early 80’s Bushwick called “Defying Devastation”, with Meryl Meisler’s photographs accompanied by Vanessa Martir’s text. It chronicled the time period following the citywide blackouts of 1977 in which large swaths of Bushwick burned to the ground. A unique set of conditions involving NYC’s near bankruptcy the previous year, the subsequent closure of a record number of firehouses, and Mayor Lindsay’s egregiously misguided housing policy had been leading up to this event and the subsequent score of years did nothing to alleviate its symptoms or causes. This gallery and its immediate environs, which will doubtless be replaced by a Starbucks or a purveyor of avant gastronomy in time, now speaks to me of the present and the transitory condition of its place in the margins. The fact that it resides in a former textile mill is a reminder of the manufacturing jobs that began to disappear in the 60’s, which prompted white flight and contributed to Bushwick’s former(?) status as a slum. Its present fecundity is the result of decades of upheaval, and the dynamic life that is sprouting from the wreckage will doubtless give way to something familiarly monotonous. It’s just a matter of when. Within a generation many now living in Bushwick may be priced out of their spaces, of course, and the usual set of urban professionals and moneyed college grads will take up residence in newly minted luxury condos. Indeed, they are already at the gates, propelled by the slow and steady crush of finance. As a matter of necessity I’ve always inhabited marginal spaces prior to this final metamorphosis: The Lower Haight, The Mission, Harlem, Williamsburg, presently Bed-Stuy. These liminal spaces give up the ghost of their prior life on the periphery, just as the Lenape sold Boswijk to the Dutch, as our monoculture continues relentlessly onward. For a brief span, though, the memory of the past exists in the present, even as the future casts its long shadow over all. fig 10
- Will Yackulic June 21, 2012
The Same Abe Bethany Ides
The Same Abe which was wherefore predicated 12 years previous when a short, hairy, bald man stopped me in the street & implored me to join him for tea. It seemed natural, I thought, for Abe to stop me because I was dressed as though I’d misinterpreted my stage directions. I am reconstructing now a sense of motion, of glancing down at the depression a droplet makes in a pool, seeing only tulle and swinging beads. Then, once we’d reached the macro-biotic place w/ tea on our table, Abe began crying and took comfort in holding both my hands at once. It was dramatic. He was unmistakably a bothered dramatist. There was something he said about a woman in a bathtub full of cold water with all the lights turned off & him crying because she was so sensitive to the electricity. Then, a week or so later, Abe found me again. He appeared relieved as he produced several rolls of film he’d just gotten developed, all pictures of gum on the sidewalk. A few days before the hurricane that never came, I called Abe & told him this story. I remembered “Abe,” & googling around, I’d found his poster on an NYU student’s blog – FEEL YOUR ALIVENESS – & concluded this must be the same Abe. He let the answering machine answer before picking up & began recounting for himself the traumatized woman’s childhood memories, the textures of the gum, the many people he says he stopped then. But he didn’t remember me. Abe raised his voice saying he would not wear a color or make a scene, but in his nervousness, he did. He said, “What is it you’re looking for?” & when I arrived in a disguise & then removed that disguise I kept asking him the whole time, “Do I look familiar to you?” He repeated the lines he’d written on his yellow legal pad in private preparation: “It was 12 years ago” & “She said she knew me,” to
anyone who looked his way. He believed me & started to sing about the government. I said, “Do you want to wear my wig?” & then I had to hold his head up so he wouldn’t fall over & so the wig wouldn’t fall off & into the river. Whether it was over before it began or is still going, I get calls from Abe now every other week like clockwork. Whenever I wear the beads, I run into him again. He’ll be looking lost in front of a row of flowers at the bodega or at a rally standing still as the crowd marches forth around him. He’s so upset all over again when he sees me. In his messages, he says, “Where are you? Are you in New York? I have no idea.” His troubles are the same, so I say the same in response. It’s useless to insist I can’t help him. I can’t help him break the rules at his office rental by staying after hours all Saturday long, observing a rehearsal for his 1-man show. It’s written out on brown paper bags, he showed me. It’s about a man whose clients stop seeing him & he gets his hip replaced & doesn’t know who to turn to.
“345” (an excerpt from The Guardist) By Matthew Blair
Things went downhill fast at the loft. Two roommates disappeared with two months rent. On top of that Milosz had had his rent, in cash, stolen from an envelope off of his desk. ‘Who could it have been?’ he asked me, ‘Who would have done such a thing?’ I immediately thought of the disappeared roommates. They hadn’t paid their own rent but would they have had the nerve to steal cash out of Milosz’s room? From an envelope tucked away on his desk? It would have taken some rummaging. And they had always seemed vaguely afraid to go up there. Then I thought of the stream of quasi-tenants, guests and visitors that were as much a part of the loft as the furniture. As long as I had lived there, there had always been one or two random heads sleeping on the couch or yakking in the kitchen. Some were friends, but most were essentially strangers, posing as friends, who had nowhere to go or were marathon talkers in need of an ear for a few days. I couldn’t name all of them. They had very little to connect themselves with us. The lease was between me and Milosz. And now that we were in the midst of a crisis, these heads were nowhere to be found. It was as if our desperation had formed a puddle outside the door. The bell finally stopped ringing for a change. There was also a massive Con Edison bill that no one had paid for almost six months. Each lettered threat was a degree more drastic than the last, but we were so far gone we had long since convinced ourselves that they were just bluffing. Of course they weren’t just bluffing. And two days after the two roommates disappeared, as we discussed yet again who could have stolen the money, the electricity was abruptly shut off. It gets dark early in the wintertime. Especially when there’s no lights. I gave the landlords almost everything I had. Then I gave Con
Edison whatever was left. It was two drops in the bucket to merely cover my end. I had less than $10 left in my bank account. I was waiting for my last check from the Met. The lights came back on but my existence had quickly become threadbare. I walked the streets late at night. In the day I would sit in the park until I was covered in snow. I thought of Vincent and his world of troubles. The building I lived in was a massive factory smack dab in the most remote corner of a remote ghetto in Brooklyn. It’s 80 units and several hide-out rooms were stuffed to the gills with young people and lorded over by Carnegie Management, a cut-throat conglomeration of Hasidic Jews. Clearly they had their own prerogative. Their management style had somehow devolved to a state where they perpetually wanted everyone out of every apartment. And they were patient enough to wait another four thousand years. They believed in procreation! That’s how serious they were. What were we pseudo-Bohemian tenants compared to these stolid landlords? We were like lice, hopping around the city from neighborhood to neighborhood, building to building, while their very presence seemed as old and unshakeable as the Word. They wore wool suits all summer. Our concerns meant absolutely nothing to them. And together we were playing out a story that had been played out for years and generations in New York. In short they wanted us out. It was almost better that way. We each knew our role. The enormous building was a stew of violations – from the rooftop to the boiler room. Had the Buildings Department ever come around they would have discovered a network of shanties built into every crevice of the industrial husk. It was as much a termite nest as any human dwelling space. Windowless rooms were proliferate. Zero fire escapes. There were barred windows and loose dogs! Jacob Riis would have spit on the floor! Milosz lived a mere plywood panel
above me, in a low-ceilinged room with a thick vein of electrical wires steadily humming in a box bolted onto his ceiling. They were powerful enough that they erased all of his High-8 tapes. ‘Priceless footage,’ he told me, ‘Bed-Stuy fights through a peep-hole! Sabrina! My grandfather dying in bed! All gone! Can you imagine? And I sleep under that thing… that fucking box! Can you imagine what it’s doing to my brain?’ Occasionally tramps would crash in the electrical room over Milosz’s ceiling. Strangers who coughed all night. Sometimes piss would leak through the holes. Milosz and I shared two industrial windows that looked onto an alley. Twice a week, a white box truck would load up and disappear in the middle of the night. The rest of the week the lot was unused. Eventually an old woman planted some grass there. In the daylight hours the Dominican guys on the corner would blast snippets of Reggaeton while they pretended to be working on their cars for a living. Ice cream men circled the block like sharks. Kids would play in the hydrants. A viscous layering of daytime racket was unavoidable. So to create a realm of sanctity Milosz would play his songs late at night. He was singing to the ghost of a little girl, he told me, ‘I met her here in this room… she was sitting on the edge of the bed.’ He played them every night like saying his prayers. And I would fall asleep to those songs like medicine. Every few days I would go upstairs and sleep with Mars in her little doghouse. There the sun would wake me up in the morning and I would dash out the side door while the halls were still empty. I walked down Covert street to the subway. This particular block was one of the most beautiful places I had ever passed through. A crumbling, immaculate brutalism. There were burnt cars parked on the sidewalk, stripped and torched on the spot, and always at night. Sporadically one would disappear, another would appear, and so on in a strange game of chess. It was very calming to walk down Co-
vert street in the morning - probably the most peaceful time of my day. I would examine the blackened Hondas and the painterly decay on the walls. There were stacks of tires, First Communion dresses, Dutchmaster wrappers, all tossed indiscriminately on the sidewalk. A huge scarred slab of metal lay over a cellar door to an abandoned, almost non-existent warehouse. It was a more like a series of brick fortifications ringing the block, with a huge open space in the middle – big enough to host a bullfight. I would walk past the burnt out turret of this fortress and check on my underground tree, which had grown almost eight feet beneath a grate, and was slowly preparing to burst through to the sidewalk. Roll down gates, pebbles, smashed cement pilings. What was not on that block in the early morning, save for life? But even that’s not completely true – one time I saw a black rabbit, all alone, hopping across Covert street in the shadow of a giant crane.
The Red Parrot by Jerry Rio
Well it’s another Friday night in 1983 and I’m somewhere near the end of a block long line way, way west, overlooking the Hudson River on W 57th Street. In my, and the other fifteen hundred people on lines hand is our Susan and Bruce five dollar discount club pass for the Friday night party at the Red Parrot. Somehow like a kind of disco telepathy all us night clubbers of more modest means got word that these passes were available from a mysterious couple known as Susan and Bruce. No one actually knew who this couple was but their names were printed on each of the invites. Obviously this was some type of marketing scheme to direct a herd of heavy drinking customers into a club. You could get on a mailing list and wouldn’t get any more new passes if you didn’t use your last ones. I used to get mine from some guy giving them out on the trading floor when I worked at the NYSE. I think you could also get them at places like Tower Records and such. With a coveted Susan and Bruce pass in your hand a twenty dollar admission was only 5 dollars until 11:00 when it went back up to twenty. Sometimes admission was free and on occasion they even had an open bar from 10:00 to11:00 where you could drink as many plastic cupfuls of Gorgi vodka screwdrivers you can manage to fight your way to the front of the bar for. There was also a discount party pass available from the promoter Baird Jones. On each pass was a cartoon image of the weird baseball cap wearing gossip columnist promoter. He currently is known as a curator for Webster Hall who occasionally spreads his tittle-tattle celebrity quotes from page six of the NY Post. I suppose someone could look at the crowd as a bunch of disco losers looking for a night out on the cheap, but there were lots of really outgoing friendly people and plenty of women out for some major partying. And the passes always guaranteed that the club would be packed. Plus it was Friday night.
Everybody knows that Saturday night was date night. But tonight was FRIDAY! Unlike Studio 54 this club was accessible to all. If you waited on line you got in, as long as you weren’t too visibly intoxicated and not wearing jeans or sneakers. There were always some couples making out on line as a prelude for all the sexed up dancing they would do inside. It was always amusing to see the cheap guys using this discounted night of clubbing as an inexpensive date. It could be a bit of a rough crowd. Actually, in the clubs later years I think there were two stabbings on the dance floor one night after I left the club. Near the end run of the club there were so many bouncers frisking you, and with the giant metal detector you had to walk through it felt a bit like you were being incarcerated and one did have a slight feeling you were taking your life in your hands for a night of dancing. When the club first opened in 1979 it was very exclusive and trying to compete head on with the opulence of Studio 54. Being the size of a gigantic airplane hanger with a slightly cheesy but elegant futuristic art deco look the club was quite impressive. The club also had a first class big band swing outfit called “Joe Cain and the Red Parrot Orchestra” This was quite a sight as they went out all the way with a huge art deco stage. There must have been thirty to forty musicians all wearing velvet tuxedos playing energized sets of blaring first rate swing music. Owner Jimmy Merry, who was supposed to be a really nice guy and a cool person to work for made his fortune primarily in Gay clubs in Fire Island and places like New York’s Ice Palace spared no expense. Then there were the parrots. Yes there were real live actual parrots right there in the club but I will get back to them later. When it first opened the club was mostly filled with insider New York City inhabitants, VIP execs, veterans of the downtown gay scene, even celebrities like Liza and Diana Ross. Then as a common progression in a NY nightclubs life, a once exclusive A list club evolves into a night of the living bridge and tunnel people. And this Friday night was during the Parrots mid to late period when the
clubs clientele had already began changing into the nightclub crowd that filled the place until its closing in 1987. But this was still NY city and hey….who am I…I ain’t no celebrity. Fuck that VIP bullshit anyway. The long line was truly a multi ethnic diverse crowd, made up of all kinds including: Some Manhattanite downtown types, Jersey girls all done up, Latinas from the Bronx in skintight dresses, well dressed buppies, breakdancers in big parachute pants, Wall Street and office workers, super hot guidettes, superfly dressed soul Bruthas, a few disco/new wavers and of course the ever present car loads of hair gelled, weight lifting testosterone fueled Guido pick up teams from Bay Ridge seriously on the prowl. Late night early morning around two AM the Tony Montana (Scarface) types would strut in wearing the full uniform, floor length black leather jacket with gold chains and the obligatory coke spoon necklace.
That night I made the big mistake of taking the three qualudes on an empty stomach way too early. The line was moving slower than a Friday rush hour summer traffic jam on the LIE. You see they spend hours checking ID’s of the many many underage little hotties trying to gain entrance with all kinds of phony or borrowed ID’s. And here I was getting all tingly and ready to hit the dance floor in a buzzed out disco frenzy. Feeling that woozy confidence and quite debonair I start chatting up the nearest attractive female on line. “Like to dance…..lets dance when we get inside…..live in the city?” I would sometimes go out on my disco odysseys with a buddy or two but what I really liked was flying solo. The flexibility was exciting and you never knew where the night would take you. No worries about if your friend didn’t hit it off with the friend of the Jersey girl you were trying to get better acquainted with or anything like that. Also I had nightclub attention deficit disorder meaning if I didn’t like the crowd or the ratio of men to women was terribly offset with the usual way too many guys I would be off to another club leaving my friend saying, “leave, we just got here”. This was especially true when doing ludes and drinking, when there was a few hour window of opportunity for maximum disco nirvana before you wanted to just lie down and pass out with your shoes on. Seeming like hours later I finally make it to the entrance and get frisked by the huge shouldered bouncer at the door. Already almost an hour and half since I took the pills I’m already getting sleepy eyed and feeling dizzy and slightly nauseous. But when I hear Rick James’ “Super Freak” knowing it’s a song I can really groove to, immediately energized I charge for the dance floor and go for my first attempt in a long night of “wanna dance” approaches . The performance of these dance mating rituals was quite a sight to behold. Often the dancing was intensely sexual enabling partners to show each other how great they would be in bed. At the entrance was a long futuristic looking wire mesh surrounding a huge dance floor, I guess for atmosphere and maybe to contain the frenzied dancers. I think at this point they still had the orchestra which
would alternate sets with the DJ’s. As much as I liked the swinging jazz band I couldn’t wait until the DJ would take over and play something like “Don’t You Want Me Baby” by the Human League so I could head back to the floor. Swing dancing was not my thing. The tops of the long art deco bars were white frosted glass neon lit from underneath. The bar itself seemed to emanate this weird sci fi white glow that looked really cool after few drinks. Like you were in some kind of disco dream world roaming around in the glow of New York nightlife. Then on each side of the massive room were the parrot cages. Real live parrots, two per cage in two big lit displays on each side of the room. I remembered the parrots to be in just in open cages. I wondered how it was possible they could survive a night after night of smoke, loud music and human BO. Often drunk club goers could be seen yelling at or taunting the poor parrots. Well they were a novel conversation starter. I read on a disco blog recently that the parrots were actually in air filtered glass booths protected from the disco masses. I wonder if the society of cruelty to animals ever looked into the emotional well being of the parrots having to go through so much disco partying. Maybe they liked it. The huge cavernous space was a perfect place to utilize my hit and run dance floor strategy. You see in a small club or lounge with a small area for dancing you go up to your perspective dance partner and ask “wanna dance,” “No thanks”. Now everyone in earshot knows you’ve just been rejected. Obviously you can’t just walk up to the next group and ask one of them “do you wanna dance”. Although in certain cases when intoxicated enough I have been known to just go down a long line of females asking each one to dance until I got a positive response. That numbers game has been championed by disco sleazoids forever. But in a club as big as the Red Parrot after getting rejected a few times in one corner you simply jog over to another quadrant of the football field sized dance floor and start all over. I remember trolling around the sides of large oval floor where
small groupings of women would be positioning themselves to either accept a dance or continue talking with their friends. I remember one spot along the side on the right as the Filipina corner as large groups of Filipinas would congregate there. Well, it’s almost three thirty and the dance floor is finally thinning out. In my groggy assed state it all seems rather surreal at this hour. Why did they always play the really annoying “Saftey Dance”at this point in the night. Got three phone numbers and my legs are tired from a long night of dance floor maneuvering which includes my sort of new wave version of the sixties dance “the slop”. Still pretty buzzed I decide to walk back to my Upper West Side apartment and maybe stop at the all night pizza place on Broadway for a slice of heartburn delight that really hits the spot right before passing out in my bed. Very Film noir. Just another Friday night.
fig 14, 15, 16
fig 17, 18
fig 20, 21
fig 22, 23
Scraped Hip Laura Krapacher
I crashed on my bicycle in Hoboken, NJ and it was absolutely MY FAULT. On a hot midsummer evening in Hudson County I was riding my bike towards Hoboken train station on the NJ Transit employee parking road that is parallel to Observer Highway. That road is notorious for some vicious bumps. They weren’t put there purposefully but rather, came into existence when the asphalt expanded and pushed against itself thus rising some sharp peaks at roughly 3 yard intervals. I was flooring it down this road in an attempt to not miss my train to go see my folks in Dover, NJ. I looked to the Lackawana clock tower to see the time but couldn’t tell since I didn’t wear my glasses that day. So I reached for my cell phone, took a glance at the time then POW! I was airborne. CRASH! I hit the asphalt. CRASH! My bike lands on me. I layed for a few seconds to breath and to deal with my pain. My hands were scraped. My hip was very badly scraped and bleeding. Some strange woman watched me from a distance while standing next to her car. She didn’t ask me if I was okay or any questions. She just stared and then booked it in her car after I was on my feet again. I groaned and made awful noises until I was able to stand up again and continue to the train station by bike. Luckily I had just made my train. I ask the conductor for a first aid kit to treat my wounded hip. He laughed at me. Turned out the first aid kit was completely empty (and who knows for how long).
Throughout my train ride I searched through my belongings for make shift treatment. than check my cell phone. I applied aloe lotion on my wound and made a bandaid out of some tissue and masking tape I had in my back pack. This all could have been avoided if I had kept my eyes on the bumpy road.
Places to Shit Alexander Duke
On The Run Route 23 Wayne NJ Mens bathroom single occupancy one toilet one sink stained toilet seat out of paper towels hand operated flusher door lock broken very busy someone may enter penis may be seen Rating 1 out of 5 stars Starbucks Route 23 Wayne NJ Mens bathroom single occupancy one toilet one sink clean toilet air dryers hands hand operated flusher lockable door soothing music playing Rating 4 out of 5 stars A&P Route 46 little falls NJ Where is the fucking bathroom Barnes N Noble Mens multiple 1 stall 1 toilet no lock clean automated flush slightly busy Fireproof BK NY 119 ingraham single occupancy, dirty, water in toilet is very high good chance poop in water & still coming out of ass gross. sometimes busy 1 out of 5 stars fig 25
Index of images fig, 1-3 photos by Lyndsay Dye fig, 4 image by Nadia Khalaf fig, 5-7 images by The Jane Mirror fig, 8 image by Bill Bilowit, Spring 1977, me posing on handiwork at the tail end of a job to make this husky but joyful mechanized beaver for a rolling paper company. Subsequent riders would be busty ersatz bikini models working the client’s trade show circuit. This place is the Brooklyn backyard of William DePaolo, my high school buddy and a special props genius who ﬁgured out and constructed all the hard stuff, like making it “clap.” Beneath the hand-dyed rabbit fur patchwork, ﬁberglass laid over thick plywood skeleton, were steel armature arms. The electro-mechanical clap could be deadly if one’s temples got between the paws (none did?). The client never paid us the balance and lawsuits were threatened but I don’t remember if by us or them. Their main complaint was its fur was unrealistic (!), and they had to replace it. At barely 20 years old this giant beaver got us broke, questioning our careers, until NBC’s giant lobsters came along. fig, 9 ink drawing by Catherine Lepp fig, 10 hand drawing map from google of Bushwick, Will Yackulic fig, 11 still from The Same Abe, performance/encounter Bethany Ides, courtesy of Renee Peperone fig, 12 photo by Nadia Khalaf fig, 13-16 screen shots from Jerry Rio man on the streets videos, shot on 8mm video 1995 fig, 17 The Nomadic Slave Theater, which is the term I’ve been writing about ever since the city closed the doors on us. The banner was dropped on Juneteenth to commemorate the abolition of slavery in the states. We see the selling of the theater that pays homage to slavery as stemming from the same power relations as those that once sold slaves. June 19th in 1865 it was read out loud that “All Slaves Are Free” in Texas. fig, 18 There’s No Time for Shit, Gary Levitt fig, 19 Trash neatly stacked on 39th street over near 7th ave. snapped while waiting for a delivery truck, Steven Mykietyn
fig, 20 Here is a cold autumn 1983 evening in alphabet city during production of Amos Poe’s 35mm pseudo-mainstream feature ﬁlm debut, Alphabet City. My beautiful black collapsible Time-Zero polaroid took this shot that took forever to develop in the frigid air, but its color integrity is eternal. Rising star cinematographer Oliver Wood lit up the neighborhood with unnatural hues, a beautiful background for the hokey action at our location that night-- a shooting gallery simulacrum in an abandoned tenement. This is the only job I ever quit (hired as art director under a ﬁrst-time production designer), other than a bike messenger gig when I was 17. Obtusely shown in the ﬁnished ﬁlm, the dance club scenes were shot at newly-opened Area, squandering yet another opportunity to infuse a rare and intense presence of essential, ﬂeeting NYC history. Set in amazing places in a pivotal era, the ﬁlm didn’t show the forest for the trees. Bill Bilowit fig, 21 It’s summer 1983 and I am the production designer on C.H.U.D. from start to ﬁnish, here as we shoot the next-to-last scene in desolate and unsavory Tribeca; a truck blowing up would annoy very few residents. If you recognize this ofﬁcial Nuclear Regulatory Commission vehicle (a retired bread truck we painted “NRC blue”), you know it has driven over a manhole just as the sewer system is ﬂooded with gas, causing the immolation of the bad guy behind the wheel who’s just taken a bullet. Most of the crew mill about at a distance (see them?-- no) as the demolition guys rig the engine compartment and cab. We were told to hide behind the plywood-Lexan barriers as the hot wires got attached. I didn’t hide then or during the blow, instead snapping polaroids from this same distance (fearless, drugs). For my art crew, this was a welcome outdoor respite from the deeply ﬁlthy forsaken subterranean hells we haunted for many sweltering weeks. And something blew up, which is always nice. Bill Bilowit fig, 22, 23 Somewhere beneath the Manhattan-end roadway of the Brooklyn Bridge, just above and northeast of an abandoned stretch of IRT subway station, for a scene from C.H.U.D. was laid out the aftermath of an ill-fated NRC and SWAT patrol. The brave boys had been armed with ﬂamethrowers but were no match for the movie’s eponymous mansters. These victim parts, not yet applied with wet blood, were created by the hard-working and gifted make-up effects artist Ed French. I’d worked with Ed on Sleepaway Camp with great results. His budget was low even by C.H.U.D. standards, but he produced a healthy and appropriate measure of gore. We did in fact run out of stage blood budget, and for a later massacre aftermath on Cleveland Place had to thin out the dregs with black cherry soda. Bill Bilowit fig, 24 drawing by Laura Krapacher fig, 25 Dump It, song by Zuriel Waters
fig, 26 I suggested using the thin and ﬂexible retro-reﬂective material Scotchlite to allow for glowing C.H.U.D. eyes without the need of battery-powered embedded lights in the actual masks and heads. Scotchlite is the wonderful 3M stuff that big movies often used for front-screen image projection, from 2001 to Catch 22 to Close Encounters. This is an early polaroid ﬂash test with a cast sculpture of the creature made for the purpose, in the producer’s midtown ofﬁce. Bill Bilowit fig, 27 (back cover) collage/assemblage on wood panel created in a basement studio in Brooklyn, Roby One
for further information on contributors please contact; Steve Mykietyn firstname.lastname@example.org
The dark nooks and crannies of Brooklyn's art scenes explored in a limited edition perfect-bound zine edited by Steve Mykietyn. ' S H A D O...