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Esky Daze

rocksprings

Hey Hey,

Know it’s been slower n slow around here these days—and thanks to Will for keeping a light on. That’s because I’m spending all my time curating and editing the Esquire Classic site. Oh, it’s a long story but I got job eliminated last December after 13 years at Time Inc. I arrived there in the spring of 2002 as a temp having spent my twenties working in film cutting rooms. I had a good, long run at the company—saved money, got married, saw a parent die, and created this site. I don’t think about it often but I’m as proud of this blog as I am of anything I’ve ever been involved with.

The Banter isn’t going anywhere. Even though I’m busy, and even though the posting has been nonexistent of late, I have no desire to close-up shop (The beauty part about the Banter for me is that at some point I let go of having expectations of what the site should be; I just let it flow and that helps me continue). But things are different and I’m not sure they’ll soon return to what they’ve been in the past. All I can say is that I’m happy to have you and I hope you dig whatever it is I can offer at any given time.

I plan to be around for the season but at this point you’re getting your Yankee fix elsewhere. All I can do is keep the jernt open so you old timer’s can fall through and hang out.

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In the meantime, I’ve segued nicely into this gig with Esquire. You guys are aware of the preservation work I’ve done with classic journalism and criticism. Well, Esky is an embarrassment of riches. I’ve got so much reading on my plate, I can’t keep up. It’s overwhelming and exhilarating. There are so many distinct voices: John Sack, Sally Kempton, Bill Zehme, Norman Mailer, David Foster Wallace, Tom Wolfe, Nora Ephron, Pete Dexter, Mark Jacobson, Richard Ben. It’s amazing.

There’s a bunch of pressure too and no guarantee that Esquire Classic will pan out—with or without me. You gotta pay for it—$5 a month or $40 for the year. If you’re into that sort of thing it’s worth the dough, believe me. But no pressure at all on my part—I certainly won’t be offended if you don’t subscribe.

Meantime, I’ve strapped myself in for the ride and am having a great time. Learning a ton and not taking any of it for granted. Here’s the blog.

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[Illustration by Gottfried Helnwein]

S’Long, Peyton

luckyluke

Peyton goes out on top. He wasn’t great—far from it—but he rides off a winner…unless, of course those pesky HGH rumors come back to haunt him. But wait—this isn’t baseball and Peyton isn’t Alex Rodriguez: he should be just fine.

Fulfillingness’ First Finale

dbowie

Head on over to Rolling Stone and check out Brian Hiatt’s excellent look at Bowie’s final years. 

[Photo Via: Cos]

Million Dollar Movie

onceupon

Check out Michael Sragow’s admiring review of Once Upon A Time In America and then dig the restored director’s cut that was released a few years back. I haven’t seen the movie since the Eighties. It’s time.

 

Beat of the Day

jeanseaberg

The Jean Genie.

[Photo Credit: Raymond Cauchetier]

Taster’s Cherce

soup

Flourishing Foodie gives us this lovely-looking vegetable soup with white beans and rice.

New York Minute

nycharlem

Ah, Winter—yiz finally here. Kinda makes you pine for a warm summer day, nu?

Photograph by Ida Wyman via Lover of Beauty.

Morning Art

flowereater

Photo by Clara Nebeling via This Isn’t Happiness.

What’s New?

aroldis

The latest on Aroldis Chapman.

BGS: Trading Places

eddieboomerang

This past weekend over at The Stacks, I reprinted Peter Richmond’s 1992 GQ profile of Eddie:

“[My] popularity after Beverly Hills Cop—all that ‘He’s so hot’ shit—everything was going out of control. Everything came too easy … And when the laughs come too easy, you start doing things like walking through movies. You get too comfortable. You start getting out of control. You start tripping. You argue. You get the big head. You wear a leather suit and a glove with a ring on the outside.

“And I let myself get fat. There’s nothing like going into a movie theater and looking up on screen and you’re a fat guy in a bad movie.”

Here he laughs. Not the “Eh! Eh! Eh!” laugh, though—he never laughed that laugh in his customized bus.

“But I came out of that head … Now I’m as happy as I’ve ever been. I’ve got a beautiful chick, a beautiful daughter [Bria, age 3], a great record, a great movie. But it was a long time coming.”

Image via A Quiet Lion.

Are You Ready for Some Numbskulls?

bagstruck

Sorry I’ve been so quiet round these parts of late–and without even a word of explanation either. Well, excuse my poor manners. I’ve just been busy that’s all. Anyhow, lots of NFL Playoff action this weekend for those of you who dig that sort of thing. I’ll be checking in on the game I suppose–why the hell not, right?

No matter what you’re doing, hope you’re having a good one.

You know me,

AB

Funk to Funky

bowietour

David Bowie was the first singer I was ever mad for. This was during his Serious Moonlight Tour. Man, I’ll never forget my grandfather agreeing to take my younger brother and me to see Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence and then wanting to leave in the middle (we stayed).

Bowie died yesterday. A sad moment but also a wonderful one–let’s celebrate, shall we?

[Photo Credit: Denis O’Regan]

What’s the Rumpus?

barberbags

Chad Jennings pokes around and delivers a few Yankee tidbits to keep you warm.

Picture by Bags

New York Minute

ziz

The end of an era.

Beat of the Day

liquote

Sonny Liston dug this tunes.

Picture by Bags

Taster’s Cherce

kewpie

Homemade. 

Million Dollar Movie

orsonchimes

Here’s my pal Malcolm Jones on Orson Welles’s forgotten masterpiece. 

Where There is Smoke…

rainwoman

What to make of the Yankees’ trade for Aroldis Chapman? The guy is clearly a stud on the mound but also possibly a huge asshole. And I don’t mean your run-of-the-mill Dave Kingman jagoff but a woman-beating creep. Kind of takes the fun out of imagining him in pinstripes, doesn’t it?

Okay, maybe he’s not a jerk, maybe he’s innocent of the charges against him–I’m sure it’s complicated. I know I’m presuming his guilt and that’s hardly fair. Regardless, this is a departure from how the Yanks have conduced business in recent years. They’re back to chasing talent with questionable character–let’s see if it blows up in their face or is a success.

I know Miller’s vulnerable to being traded and my hunch is that he will be moved. Still, Chapman, Betances and Miller at the end of games–that’s a formidable trio.

Picture by Bags

‘Tis the Season

nycstreet

All’s quiet in Yankee land. Sure do hope you guys are enjoying your holidays. Meanwhile, there’s always this.

Update: Wait–I guess I spoke to soon. Between Castro and Chapman, the Yanks are going for talent-first, character-second players. Interesting…

Picture by Bags

Carve the Turkey, Turn the Ballgame On

lights

This has become one of my favorite Christmas songs. I love the specificity of the lyrics as well as the arrangement. Just love this sucker.

Thanks to my pal John Schulian for putting me on to this cut.

Merry Christmas Everyone.

Picture by Agata Korlak III

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver