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Archive for December, 2009

SHELFLIFE #28B: CARFIRE

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

THIS VEHICLE HAS BEEN SCHEDULED FOR REMOVAL. Looking over this book for the first time in a few years just now, I’m realizing that the cover has a replica of a sticker from the NYC Department of Sanitation Derelict Vehicle Removal Program adhered to an offset-printed detail of what looks to be a fried, black, car body-panel. The sticker’s filled out in ballpoint pen to mark my book’s place in the edition. John Furgason and John Ayala signed #18/100 at 9:57 on 11/21/03 and stamped the sticker, “000018”.

As a child growing up in New York, the ubiquity of carfires around the city was magical. My great grandmother lived and died on Houston & Sullivan. I don’t think she ever really spoke English–nor did she really need to–living in a neighborhood that was still then largely Italian. We’d often drive down to her apartment to grab and shuttle her over to the rest of my Mom’s family on Staten Island. That meant barreling down the FDR Drive to East Houston from the Upper East Side. East Houston was bewitching. Hookers, addicts, explosive graffiti, squeegee-amputees with piss in windex bottles and blood & shit-stained t-shirt rags soiling car windshields worse than they’d been pre-squooodge. That stretch was Lower-Manhattan’s funhouse. More than any of those other attractions, though…the carfires always got my little boner going. TV says, “Car catches fire. Car blows up.” It kind of works that way, but not really. It’s more like, “Car catches fire. Car burns and burns. Gas tank catches. Car catches more awesome fire.” There’s this incredible sigh of auxiliary flame, but there’s no real concussive force.

Carfires…East Houston, Harlem, the South Bronx I loved being stuck in traffic in any of those neighborhoods. There was always something burning. I’d just sit there in the backseat of the car, anxiously gnawing on the plastic and foam upholstery of our car’s door–hypnotized by whatever vehicle, barrel or building happened to be blazing at the moment. All of that makes Furgason and Ayala’s book particularly attractive.

If memory serves, I was given this book in 2004. It’s a pretty exceptional conceptual info-piece. Almost entirely composed of video stills from Furgason & Ayala’s film of the same title, CARFIRE‘s an impressionistic study of dynamic, incidental sculpture in the industrial landscape. Details, portraits and under-the-hood porn of freshly-torched autos litter the first-half of the book–each image or image sequence assigned a catalog number. The second-half of the book resolves the histories of the images. A primary appendix describes each of the previously-numbered vehicles by location, make/model, color and year. A second appendix marks the locations from Appendix A’s table on aerial maps. A final appendix is reserved for incidents sniped from a police scanner and witnessed mid-flame.

carfire book cover

SHELFLIFE#28A: M.D., F.A.C.S. HAIKU ZINE VOL. 1

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

I don’t have the attention span for creative blocks. I procrastinate my way around them by inventing newer/quicker projects to cough-up with Heimlich-like thrust. The first of what’ll be a two to four-issue stretch of M.D, F.A.C.S. Poetry Zine was my most recent heave of creative bulimia.

I was born on the Upper East Side of New York City. I’ve lived there most of my life. The neighborhood has the same perverse magnetism that homeless men shitting in phone booths, crime scenes, multi-car pile-ups, serial killers, bottled siamese fetuses and pregnant crack addicts have. It’s a Morrissey fan’s wet-dream–a wilted daisy to tear flaccid petals from–all the while mumbling,”she hates me. she hates me more.” The Upper East Side’s a bottomless banquet of pop-corn vulgarity and beer-battered decadence, and the shame I carry knowing that I’m an alum of the Madison Presbyterian Day School is enough to make me want to gift every anxious mommy-business-card-toting, wait-list-play-group-attending mother in the ‘hood an Hermes-boxed, stainless-steel razor blade for Christmas. That, or… write a zine.

M.D, F.A.C.S. is my trophy room. After a 2-week safari–armed with only a pen, a book of cloakroom check tickets and an intimate familiarity with the migratory habits of the garishly wealthy–I’d accumulated the shorthand genomes of a dozen botox-rigored corpses in dire need of taxidermic attention. Two-dimensional pen and ink busts upon Haiku pedestals would be the aesthetic. Each set of trophies would be displayed behind a vitrine bearing the tools of the hunt. The entire exhibition hall would be cloned 200 times–stapled, folded, chopped, signed and numbered.

Neighbor, won’t you sniff my sawdust and hides? Please?

M.D., F.A.C.S. HAIKU ZINE VOL. 1: Upper East Side Women

mdfacs cover
mdfacs note spread
mdfacs haiku spread

SHELFLIFE #27B: X-GIRL CATALOG 1995

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

I promised more of these catalogs. Here’s another. Dorien, Carisa, Pumpkin and Chloe look incredible. Memories retrieved by leafing thru this look-book: drawing a tattoo for Dorien and taking her to get it inked before tattooing was legalized in NYC; having Chloe recklessly wheel me around Rita and Susan’s roof in a shopping cart while I filmed No Neck Blues Band on super-8; shooting Pumpkin at Guv’ner gigs; invading the X-Girl shop on Lafayette with two nude girls painted orange, wielding ray-guns and decorated by Phil Frost for an unreleased film that Phil and I made; all of Mike Mills’ great TG-170 posters wheatpasted atop much of lower-Manhattan; Kim’s then-omnipresent Bonjour bag; High-Octane.

Thurston also once told me about a Bad Brains video in which Carisa can be seen headbanging in the front row. I guess I’m recollecting that as well.

catalog jpgs:
part 1 | part 2

SHELFLIFE #26B: MY FIRST NOISE RECORDS

Friday, December 18th, 2009

I have every record anyone’s ever given me–EVERY RECORD. In fact–I rarely buy records, so nearly every record I own is an object of sentimentality. Santa brought me these three noise ragers on my third Christmas.

They were tucked into a Sesame Street 7″ case and were part of a suite of gifts that included my first turntable–also a product of the Children’s Television Workshop. I loved these records–always preferring them to my Disney Soundtracks, Hokey Pokey albums and holiday-specific superhero audiocomics. In the canon of children’s recordings, these noise records perhaps only eventually took a backseat to Frog & Toad and Why Mosquitoes Buzz In People’s Ears.

The fact that I loved them so was perplexing to my mom–who JUST. WANTED. A NORMAL. CHILD–a boy who’d sing along to normal music–communing with his peers thru song. Fate, however–rarely one to subscribe to the hopes and dreams of mothers–blessed her womb with a hellion who’d scream his entire life away in tongues of industry, zoology and appliances.

noises volume 1
noises volume 2
noises volume 3

SHELFLIFE #27A: OVERSIZED WASTE NEWSPRINT POSTER

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

Every step of WASTE has taken considerably longer to complete than I’d hoped. I’m finally starting to letterpress finished books on laser-cut, grommet-bound canvas pages. Printed Matter should have at least a few early copies in the next 2 weeks. Upset with how much time each book takes to make–and the resulting book price associated with those hours–I decided to do something to at least make the content of the book accessible to people who might not otherwise want to shell-out for a spendy edition.

I made 50 MASSIVE newsprint xeroxes of a first-proof collage from the hand-burnished prints I pulled off of the woodblocks. That basically means that the artwork represented in this edition is, in some cases, substantially different than the artwork that’ll be in the final book. I’ve made a number of revisions after having seen these proofs. So, in effect, this poster is an artifact of my book-making process.

The posters are 36″ x 72″ in a numbered edition of 50 and have obi wrappers to keep them rolled. The obis are all coffee cup hand-protectors I’ve been pulling out of the trash and spraypainting with a stencil of the WASTE logotype. Dunkin’ Donuts, Starbucks, 7-11 and an assortment of other random local coffee houses are represented in the re-purposed cardboard wraps.

Printed Matter has them here for $30. If you contact me directly, I can sell you one for $20 in NYC or $25 shipped in the US.

waste poster edition