maystephen’s photographs

You’ve listened to his mixtapes, now look at his photographs. My pal Steve toys, oh, let’s say semiannually with an honest-to-goodness Web blog/journal of writing, and but until we get some commitment on that end, what luck that he’s consistent about updating his Tumblr photo blog.

They’re really good, right? What I like about Steve’s photos is that they all feel very old, very NYC-between-the-wars, even when the frame is full of neon and Spandex. And it’s not just because of the use of greyscale. You can tell, flipping through the pages of photos, that he’s got a sensibility developing: a city seesawing on every block between abundance and decay.

Find the snowy horsetrack photos. They’ll break your heart, and then somehow warm it.

Jacks of all trades! It’s like when I found out that Zach also made movies.

NYC Roundup, an Unordered List

  • penelopeSpent four days at the AMNH archives squinting at the atrocious scribbles of Clarance Ethan and Mary L. Jobe Akeley, where I found that these two (she was his second wife) were probably living together while Carl was still married. Then I found out that Penelope Bodry-Sanders (right) already had this info in her biography. Not that it’s a competition.
  • drank Manhattans at Barracuda, where they played X and some other surprises.
  • had a bit of a West Village gay bar tour with D & N, where my Official Non-Pick-Up Pick-Up Line was “Hi! I’m from out of town.” (It works.)
  • saw BODIES … The Exhibition, which was overpriced ($28!!) and not, turns out, the original Gunther von Hagens exhibition, which is called Körperwelten. This one, the one at the South Street Seaport, has a sign with this impressively vague language:

    This exhibit displays full body cadavers as well as human body parts, organs, fetuses and embryos that come from cadavers of Chinese citizens or residents. With respect to the human parts, organs, fetuses and embryos you are viewing, Premier relies solely on the representations of its Chinese partners and cannot independently verify that they do not belong to persons executed while incarcerated in Chinese prisons.

  • stared at the plasticized brains and tumors (and worse) of executed Chinese prisoners.
  • dumplingate eight friend dumplings at the Dumpling House (right) on the Lower East Side/Chinatown, which dumplings cost $2 total.
  • visited the Tenement Museum nearby, where we had Jeffrey (Jonathan?) as a tour guide, and if you go ask for him by name, because he is very good, despite his affected bowtie.
  • sat in a cab while Heather gave step-by-step phone-GPS directions to some house in Queens where Mathias gave a reading (with Lily Brown and Joshua Marie Wilkinson) that started off silly and great and then ended sudden and heartbreaking—a masterful move.
  • got stood up by an unnamed taxidermist with delusions of grandeur who will forever remain unnamed.
  • had a couple high-octane beers with Natalie Stevens, who takes fur scraps, makes new animals out of them, and photographs them in the wild—very cool stuff.
  • petted a cat and didn’t sneeze.
  • took more photographs of a cat than anyone really should ever take, which seems to be the norm when one lives with a cat.
  • hipsterssat on a Sunday for an hour in McCarren Park (pictured, right) with Steve and ate sandwiches and counted fedoras—they averaged one on every tenth head.
  • walked north on Fifth Avenue past the relentlessly paused NYC Pride parade, which had a decided lack of drag queens, I felt, as an out-of-towner.
  • applauded, pretty sure, at/during the Mazda of Lodi (N.J.) um … float?
  • spent far too long on a Tuesday night standing in the vicinity of a scandalous photograph (made, it seemed, of a bunch of 8.5 ” x 11″ pages taped/stapled together) inside a bear bar called “Nowhere” where they also played X, among other bands, and realized there’s something going among NYC gay men and LA post-punk (new wave?), which heartens me somewhat.
  • paid $6.50 for a Yuengling.
  • paid $3 for same at aforementioned bear bar.
  • had a nice inexpensive Thai dinner in Park Slope with Nick, and regrettably didn’t get around to hanging out with him more (sorry N & A); also missed seeing Mark, again regrettably
  • got caught in a sudden freak windblown rainstorm with Amanda at a bar called the High Life on the Upper West Side, ran inside for shelter.
  • very lovely seafood dinner at the … um, Mermaid Lounge? with Lisa and Paul, in same neighborhood, where we talked mostly about books and Pittsburgh.
  • read Phillip Pullman’s The Amber Spyglass, Melissa Kwasny’s Reading Novalis in Montana, Junot Diaz’s The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Dustin Long’s Icelander, two-sevenths of Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose, and John Cheever’s Oh What a Paradise It Seems! (book roundup to come).
  • Made it home okay. Hello!

The Joys of New York

For the last fifteen minutes, someone has been double-parked in what might a BMW outside with all windows and the sunroof open, playing top 40 hip-hop radio more loudly than I thought cars could. Just, like, so loud.

Were I an echt New Yorker and not some idiot housesitting for 10 days, I would have shouted “Turn it down ya jackass!” Instead I just stared from the three-stories-up window.

Then, just now, a nice older lady in culottes from across the street came out of her house and walked up to the car. She had a knowing smile on her face. All she did was stand next to the driver’s window and put her fingers in her ears. What else could she do, really, with all the noise.

The radio was promptly muted. I’d never get such results. Who can deny a senior citizen her quiet?