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Craig -

Just wanted to log in and let you know how well everything is going out here. It's been a fantastic summer so far, the work is going really well and we're both stoked, and being back in New York for the summer has been great. New York and the New Yorkers are, with a very few notable exceptions, all and everything that they can and should be. Which, IMHO, tends to make the few stinkeroos stand out in bold relief. I wonder, can you or your office do anything to help with these annoying problems:
1. You may recall that there is or was an artist named Keith Haring. For some unfathomable reason and by what means I know not, a cabal of unscrupulous art dealers have managed to turn the entire island of Manhattan into a garish one-man show of his doodlings. Huge sculptures have been deposited on every corner of Park Avenue for miles. These oversize stick figures, done up in primary colors, have turned a swank and sophisticated part of the city (described by a local Japanese eatery as "The Town of Taste") into the tawdry playground of a Montessori preschool, or worse. Billboards and banners with other puerile renderings adorn every other corner of Madison Avenue from here to wherever - this is a full-bore assault on the sensibilities of every New Yorker within eyeshot. It's like being back in West Hollywood or worse.

2. As you know, I am, or try to be, a jazz fan. What happens when I go into a club to hear some live music of my favorite sort? First, after being clipped for $30-40 a head, my guests and I are driven to some far corner of a tiny half-lit room and scrunched into a space barely adequate for half our number, and in that we are closed in on either side by sleepy Japanese tourists or madras-wearing suburbanites who have come to the jazz club by mistake. Then, often as not, the air-conditioners are shut down and we are harangued by the M.C. about not talking and paying strict and reverent attention during the "performance". The music itself - indescribably bad. Unrehearsed, or even uncomposed, utterly without soul or rhythmic bounce, performed by scornful over-the-hill leaders and a small aggregation of hapless students. When good players are present, they are rarely allowed to solo. Half the time, key elements in the orchestration will be completely missing - no drummer, no bass player, on one occasion no drummer OR bass player - shame on you, Mr Postmodern Guitarist, Mr Sad Piano Player, Mr Harmolodic Bassist, Mr Tribute-Band-Leader/ Trombone-Playing-Fool. Which way to Tower?

3. Of course, when I get to Tower, when I casually check the Steely Dan bin as is my wont, I find it chock full of bootleg CD's of 30 year-old demos and almost nothing but. 'Nuff said.

4. That lovely bookstore on Madison and 74th is gone, gobbled up by the big bad Whitless Museum up the block. They're in on the Haring caper too.

5. Try though I may, I cannot seem to find a Tibetan carpet that matches my couch.

6. On most nights, the signal from the local jazz FM station is so weak that you can't listen. And on the other nights, the music is even weaker. Exception: Marion McPartland's excellent show.

7. The elevator man in my building: nothing but trouble. Frequently out of sorts, but not dependably so. Whistles tunelessly. Examines tenants' mail and deliveries shamelessly. Offers frequent and mutually contradictory updates on what kind of weather he likes vs. what kind we are having today or yesterday or tomorrow -

Speaking of which - the weather, that is - it's such a blindingly beautiful summer day outside that I just can't sit in here bitching for one minute more. If you want the rest of the sordid details, call later. Let the phone ring about 25 times, that way I'll know it's you.

ciao fun,


Header Graphic: Eric "Rudy" Schuttler

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