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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Photo Wednesday 9/24/08 Harvey's Back

Harvey Keitel was filming a TV show in Brooklyn this week.

Harvey Keitel in Brooklyn
I wasn't sure but then checked and found, yep, in addition to starring in Mean Streets, Reservoir Dogs, The Bad Lieutenant..etc, Harvey is also Brooklyn Born. And in a dweebish bit of trivia, Harvey attended Lincoln HS out near Coney Island, which is one of several NYC High Schools built with the design seen here.

There's a great story that goes with this photo, suffice it to say he's cooler than all his roles and quick to give a pound. I won't be telling where or what they're shooting cause if you really care you'll sniff it out. But don't look to gawker for help, despite their stalker m.o. their map shows they don't mean streets outside a' Manhattan.

Unfortunately photo-wise all you get from me is Harvey's back, thanks to my none zooming iPhone. If you squint you can barely make out the groovy silver shoes Harv'was rocking.

Yeh the wide shot is unfortunate but I couldn't go rank amateur with Mr. Wolf by shovin a camera in his mug.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Lords of Flatbush 35 years later

Okay I see the Fonz and Rocky, but who are those other guys?
Lenny and Squiggy?

It was the late movie on Channel 7 here in New York that introduced me to "The Lords of Flatbush" a film released in 1973 the celebrated the rough and tumble always edgy lives of leather jacketed teens in the 1950's. yeah.

As I was want to do then (and am now) I leaped on to anything in the culture that referenced things I was familiar with. So a movie with "Flatbush" in the title was so provocative even for my then preschool-self, that I can still remember peppering my grandmother with questions about the movie that she couldn't answer.

To make it more interesting for me the movie had the Fonz in it, in fact there is the suggestion that Henry Winkler's turn on happy days had a alot to do with his casting in this tribute to urban American 50's youth culture.

My then teenaged aunt was as excited to see Sylvester Stallone in the movie.

Years later I was on the high school year book committee (nerd) and it was the 60th anniversary of Samuel J. Tilden High School out in East Flatbush. We were creating one of those oh-so-cheesy photo-collages of all things good about our high school and lo and behold, there was a still from the Lords of Flatbush. Turns out the film had scenes shot out in front of the very High School I was attending (duhn Dunnn!).

It's late so just imagine a better ending, one in which I stumble into the forgotten teacher's lounge and find, behind a paneled wall, a leather jacket, caked with blood and surrounded by still burning candles, that NEVER MELT, or imagine your own better twisted ending...

Anyway. It's 35 years later and courtesy of the Wall Street Journal there is an article about Hollywood's interest in the film all these years later.

The book reveals how everyone involved went on to become legends in their fields: From Sylvester Stallone who went on to become Rocky to Henry Winkler who became the Fonz, from Richard Gere who was cast as the original lead to Bette Midler whose manager pulled her out at the last minute...from composer Joe Brooks who won an Academy Award for "You Light Up My Life" to Paul Jabara who won an Oscar for Donna Summer's "Last Dance"...add to the list the names of Perry King, Armand Assante, Ray Sharkey and Susan Blakely and the impact of this picture in Hollywood is more than evident.

This film started a cultural revolution with the TV shows that it inspired. Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley and Welcome Back Kotter all found their inspiration in "Flatbush." It was the beginning of Hollywood's ongoing strolls down memory lane that account for some of its biggest hits...The Wonder Years, That '70s Show, Mad Men...because sometimes it's just more fun to look back.

Here's a pict of the Samuel J. Tilden High School which you can slightly see in the background of the photo at the top:

Photo Wednesdays will resume in two weeks....

Final Fatigue: Astroland's last go round.

Coney Parachute JumpBy now you probably know the Astroland section of Coney Island's storied amusement center has closed, most likely forever. As is my way I got a story from my childhood, I'll make it short.

There was a tower ride at Astroland called the Enterprise. Shaped like a donut on a pole, it simply went up, reallly slowly, while revolving (even slower). Once it reached it's peak, maybe higher than the Cyclone, it stopped motionless and after a while it came down.

My mom took me on the Enterprise when I was six. She was thrilled by the slow enterprise and had been looking out into the distance when she glanced back at me looking bummed. She apologized for the ride being so boring. To my (and maybe her) surprise I consoled her with the truth, I loved it. I had never seen anything from so high up, and the view of the ocean, beach, Coney Island and the city in the distance, it blew my mind in a quiet way.

That day was my first time on the rides at Astroland, and it's gone and to be honest, there's been so many things closed in this city in the short span of ten years (Empire Skate, the Roxy, CBGB's, Florent, Tonic, Vinyl, Wetlands, The Tunnel, The Brooklyn Jewish Hospital, Albee Square Mall, Gil Hodges Lanes; The Kenmore, Plaza, Metropolitan and Duffield movie theaters to name a few, that I have final fatigue.

So as far as Astroland goes, I'll never forget how much more exciting it was for my mother to watch me ride the rides, than the rides were themselves, especially now that she's gone. But like her and alot of other things, memories is all we got now, and the best we can do is hang on to and make the most of out of whatever emotions we got left.

Gowanus Lounge had this intensely anti-climatic video of the closing at Astroland, which demonstrates why memories are better than endings.

But don't worry the Cyclone and Wonder Wheel will be there next year.
Aft the Fireworks

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Primary Day for NYC, Didja Vote?

IMG_9821.JPGIt's Votin' time! Think of this as a relevant dress rehearsal.

Biggest stakes in this primary are congressional seats. Here in Brooklyn that pits 25 year incumbent Ed Towns vs political newcomer Kevin Powell, yep that Kevin Powell.

If nothing else you can be like me and realize I haven't changed my polling place since the ice age, and I have no desire to be cast a drift on icy seas... so tomorrow I'll fix that.

Vote or Do (something as useful.)
here's some links

NYC Board of Elections

Monday, September 1, 2008

Pah-tee dun? Pah-tee dun!

and so went my summer of 08 on the parkway in brooklyn proudly two fisted flag waving next to a see of caribbean pride and serenaded by Wyclef and crew...
um..? i just got back and i'm sticky with goat gravy, barbecue and dance sweat, so later the fuller writing on the Carnival that is the West Indian Day Parade,for now, the tidbits:

today the sky was beautiful, a blue of metallic sheen reflecting a spectacular illusion of endlessness....(i am an illustrator after all)

but starting with last night,
I came back from the Michael Jackson vs Prince party, ran into family
got back to BK at 4am and wandered into the parkway which looked like this....

next morn, headed over to grannie in crown heights and wandered threw this....
and then after visiting feisty grannie, I wandered back with a sense of perfection except for my lack of flag waving experiences,

but then, to the rescue, came the unstoppable force-wave of Haitian Pride...
(there's Wyclef flag waving on the truck)

this truck had my favorite chant of the day, if you missed it, it went
"mighty..." "mighty..." "mighty..." "mighty..."
"mighty..." "mighty..." "mighty..." "mighty..."
"o-bah-mah" "o-bah-mah" "o-bah-mah" "o-bah-mah"
"o-bah-mah" "o-bah-mah" "o-bah-mah" "o-bah-mah"
(*2&4th verses gets the oomph)

Which in light of recent events, summer ending, labor day, school starting, politics, weather...make me think
pah-tee dun? pah-tee dun!
pah-tee dun? pah-tee dun!
(*both times oomph!)