"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice
Category: 1: Featured
     Category Main      Newer posts

Still Life


Because mo’ Buster is mo’ better.

Buster Keaton – The Art of the Gag from Tony Zhou on Vimeo.

What’s Happening?


Catching up with the Yanks is the ever-excellent Chad Jennings. A good over-view of what’s what on an otherwise slow news day round these parts.

Meanwhile, slide on over to Esquire Classic and check out the little Q&A I did with my pal John Ed Bradley on a story he once wrote for Esky on Lawrence Taylor. 

Picture by Bags

Saturdazed Soul


Smooth out the R&B.

Picture by Bags

Put the Needle to the Groove


Peter Guralnick’s new biography, Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock ‘n’ Roll, looks promising.

From Dwight Garner’s review in the Times:

Phillips was ahead of his time. So-called race records were selling in the early 1950s, but not widely. The singles he recorded in Memphis weren’t moving. He was in danger of going out of business. When the mystery train that was Presley came around the bend, he was not too stupid to climb aboard.

It’s worth pausing, for a moment, to consider how lucky it was that Presley walked into Phillips’s studio and not someone else’s. Another producer (that term had not yet come into use in the record industry) might have put him to work singing country-pop ditties with string sections. He might have been another Eddy Arnold.

Phillips already had an aesthetic ethos. In some ways, he had prepared his whole life for Elvis’s arrival. Part of Phillips’s ethos, Mr. Guralnick writes, was his “sense that there were all these people of little education and even less social standing, both black and white, who had so much to say but were prohibited from saying it.”

And here’s Louis Menand in the New Yorker:

“We Record Anything—Anywhere—Anytime” was the slogan. This meant a lot of church services, weddings, and funerals, but Phillips’s dream, the reason that he set up the studio, was to have a place where any aspiring musician could come in and try out, no questions asked. Phillips would listen and offer suggestions and encouragement. If he liked what he heard, he would record it. For a fee, the performer could cut his or her own record.

Phillips was extremely good at this. He was patient with the musicians; he was adept with the technology; above all, he was supportive. He hated formulas. He thought that music was about self-expression, and he liked songs that were different. The pop sound in 1950 was smooth and harmonic. Phillips preferred imperfection. It made the music sound alive and authentic. Word got around, and musicians no one else would record started turning up at the Memphis Recording Service. Phillips got them to believe in him by getting them to believe in themselves.

All They Do is Give Out Awards


Dallas and Jake. No soup for Zach.

Million Dollar Movie


One of the wife’s favorite movies…

Movin’ Right Along


S’long JR Muphy, hello Aaron Hicks.

And say, children: what does it all mean?

Murphy was a nice Yankee. Wish the dude good luck.

Picture by Bags

Ain’t it the Truth, Ain’t it the Truth?


I’ve been reading through Joy Ride, John Lahr’s recent anthology of theater criticism and personality profiles. In the introduction, he has this to say about his editor at The New Yorker, Deborah Treisman:

But, short or long, the mind-meld never lost its thrill. On the edited page, you are still you, but somehow brighter, clearer, smoother, almost glamorous. You words dip and swing with their proper music; your hard-won meanings land with their intended clout. No wonder the relationship feels so intimate and joyous. You are being given the greatest of gifts: to be your best self in print.

This is so true and when you’re lucky enough to work with an editor like this it is something to be savored. I love that Lahr was generous enough to point this out.

[Photo Credit: Graham Turner]

Sundazed Soul


Easy, Now.

Picture by Bags

Million Dollar Movie


“F” for Fatale.

Oy and Veh


Oh, what a painful loss for the Mets. They had a great season. It didn’t end well.

Congrats to the Royals. 

Photo via: Getty Images

You Gotta Believe!


the dark knight

It’s Matt Harvey, the so-called Dark Knight with the season on the line in Game 5 tonight in Queens.

The fans have been great at Citi Field. Last game home game of the season, be beautiful to end it on a high note.

Volquez on the hill for the Royals and it’s hard not to root for him after his father’s death. Whole lot on the table…

Let’s Go Base-ball!

Drawing by the great Frank Miller.

The Tide is High


Tough break for Daniel Murphy and the Mets last night. Series ain’t over yet, though.

New York Marathon this morning as the clocks turn back.

Enjoy the afternoon, we’ll see ya for Game 5 tonight.

Photo Credit: contemporist via This Isn’t Happiness

Trick or Treat?


This is gonna be a Halloween to remember for Mets fans–either in a good way or an awful way. We shall soon find out but it says here that they win again and even the Serious.

I know Chris Young is a great story but can he do it again? I’d put my money on the kid the Mets have going for them instead.

Never mind the cavity creeps:

Let’s Go Base-balls!


Queens Get the Money (Long Time No Cash)


Thor’s on the hill as the Whirled Serious moves to Queens. Gonna be some noise tonight. The kid Ventura’s got the redass and it’s easy to see him unravelling if things get tight; on the other hand, I can see him being a stud and just shutting the Mets down. Hopefully, that won’t happen.

Pulling for the Mets to make this a series. Set up a big Game 4 tomorrow for Halloween.

Be nice to see all those Met fans cheering–loud and proud: “You Gotta Believe!”

Let’s Go Base-ball.

Drawing by Walt Simonson

Dig’em Smack


Gonna be some fine feasting’ for the Mets tonightski. I figure they’ll cream the Royals and return home tied-up.

Let’s Go Base-ball!

[Photo Via: Groupon]

Royals Win A Thriller


Terrific and weird Game 1, overshadowed by the death of Edison Volquez’s father.

Final Score: Royals 5, Mets 4 in 14 innings.

[Photo Via: USA Today]

The Whirled Serious


Last night I go to my wife, “Holy shit, the Mets are in the Whirled Serious.” And she goes, “I know isn’t it so awesome?”

And it is, for so many friends and relatives and wonderful people I know who root for the Mets–and who have rooted for the Mets, through it all. What’s not to like about that? It’s great for the city. Truth be told, this is about as likable a Mets team as this non-Mets fan can imagine. Love Grandy, of course, and David Wright, and my favorite, Lucas Duda (Duda’s my favorite because The Wife and I randomly went to Spanish Appreciation Night and Dominican Heritage Night at Citified a few years back and the announcer had a particular way of saying Duda’s name–LooooKas Doo-Dah–sounding just like Ricardo Montalban).

I mean, I’m still rooting for the Royals, but it’s awesome for the Mets and if they win it, good for them (I know some Mets fans are prickly about the idea of any Yankee fan rooting for their team, but lighten, up, Francis, you know? We can be happy for you, if it’s as clean as that–if it’s about something else, I can see the beef).

The real pickle would have been in the Mets played the Blue Jays. Then, for the first time in my life, I would have actually felt–even privately–some real pain at Mets pain, and that would have perhaps been too much to handle. Being forced to be a Mets fan. Even if I didn’t tell anyone, just by circumstances. Because believe me, after the Yanks’ painless exit, I was rooting harder for the Jays to lose than I’ve rooted for anyone to win.

I just hope the Mets and Royals play a long series, maybe some extra inning games. Hopefully nobody will be a Bill Buckner Goat on either side–got to say a littler prayer for that. I like the Royals, they’re fun. The Mets are fun. No matter who wins, I just hope it’s one to remember.

Let’s Go Base-ball!

Picture by Bags

Lucky Strike


Vic Ziegel got around. His career in journalism spanned more than 40 years. Vic worked at the New York Post, New York Daily News and New York Magazine. He also contributed to Rolling Stone and Inside Sports and co-wrote a funny book with Lew Grossberger called The Non-Runner’s Book. He was, at various times, a reporter, columnist, feature writer and editor. He was always funny and was interested in a good many things other than sports, particularly early jazz records (Bix Beiderbecke!), country music, and film noir.

It’s hard to believe that he’s been gone five years now. I grew up reading Vic in the News and got to know him a little about ten years ago. He generously answered my emails with the playful, cynical wit that marked his column. We once met for a pastrami sandwich and conversation at Liebmann’s in the Bronx.

Yesterday, I spent a few hours with his lovely wife, Roberta. We looked through a few boxes of Vic’s old stories and clippings when we came across an old leather bag stuffed with matchbooks. Vic didn’t smoke but he got around.

I thought you guys would enjoy this so dig in.













And maybe the coolest matchbook of them all:



My It Sure Am Sweet

ALCS Blue Jays Royals Baseball

The Royals beat the Blue Jays last night in a tense game replete with misfortune, controversy, and regret for the visiting team. Jose Bautista hit two big home runs but was on the wrong side of a great running play by Lorenzo Cain (not to mention KC’s third base coach) and his season ended with him on deck when Josh Donaldson grounded out with the tying and winning runs on base.

KC goes back to the Serious where they’ll face the Mets.

Happy Baseball.

Photo Credit: AP

feed Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share via email
"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver