Monday, December 28, 2009

Brooklyn Boxing

[I wrote this a while ago, never posted it, figured I should, for L Magazine pride and all.]

Photo courtesy of HBO.

November 10th, 2009

Last Sunday brought us the season finale of HBO’s Bored to Death, a very New-York-City-centric show penned by Jonathan Ames, where Ames-the-character, as played by Jason Schwartzman, is a writer who solves crimes on the side. Jason Schwartzman and Zach Galifianakis walk around Fort Greene Park! They trek to Brighton Beach! They run around DUMBO taking in the views of the Brooklyn Bridge! They take the F train (my train)!

The finale revolved around a boxing match challenged between New York Edition (which bears a striking resemblance to New York Magazine…) editor George Christopher (played by Ted Danson) and GQ editor Richard Antrem (played by Oliver Platt) after George pens a vicious slandering editor’s note about Antrem.

Writers? Boxing? Really? The idea’s a bit outrageous ad a bit too physical for writers, but somehow it seemed right, familiar even. Seeing Schwartzman and Danson don their boxing gloves, it hit me: This has happened before.

According to writer-Jonathan Ames’ blog about the show, he was indeed inspired by The L Magazine/NY Press showdown:

“[…]a few years ago, New York Press and The L Magazine, here in New York, had a boxing match to take out their animus for each other's publication in the ring. I wasn't part of that, but it set a precedent in my mind for two magazines fighting, and thus I felt it wasn't beyond the pale for Edition NY and GQ to go at it.”

The New York Press had beef with L Magazine back during L’s foundling days in 2003, stemming from the same orange color of their respective magazine bins on street corners. Soon it evolved into a back-and-forth lashing, Jeff Koyen of the NY Press called L “dreadful,” Scott Stedman of L (who’s still there today) challenged him to a soccer match. Koyen declined, but then agreed to the boxing match, which Stedman announced with an ad in the magazine.

The L Magazine/NY Press showdown took place at Gleason’s Gym, which is where writer-Ames boxed in real life and TV-Ames and George trained.

As for the fight, Mediabistro reported that it was a draw.

Vernacular: It's Always Sunny at Emerson College

[This is really late, but I'm posting it anyway. Next year, I'll be more on top of things...Anyway, from Emerson's Grad Blog, Vernacular, November 9th, 2009]

I’m a devout fan of all things It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (it’s only because of the show that I want to go to Philly, having never actually visited). So, imagine my elation at a recent episode, in which Mac (played by show creator Rob McElhenney) enters wearing that familiar purple-and-yellow Emerson football shirt (you know, “undefeated since 1880,” haw haw).

Did he go to Emerson? Because that would be a damn cool alum to have mad connections with, and that would mean he’d have to visit, no?

Unfortunately, that dream didn’t come true. My hopes were dashed with a quick Google search. According to the message board at Television Without Pity, someone found out that “last spring in our ‘Writing for TV’ class, we had a conference call with [McElhenney]. As a thank you our class sent him a t-shirt that reads ‘Emerson College Football - Undefeated Since 1880.’”

(Emerson has never had a football team, what irony!)

There’s good news, though. On the season’s hi-larious third season finale, Rob reprised his choice of garment, sporting very same t-shirt. Much to my dismay, he did not cut the sleeves off. To give credit, there’s also a brief write-up about the shirt on Emerson’s VMA page.

And unfortunately, the blog I mentioned earlier with the Emerson-McElhenney connection post isn’t up anymore. But in the meantime, there is a cool write-up about one Emerson student interning on the show. Now there’s an idea…

Monday, October 12, 2009

Vernacular: Revealing the ongoing blight on Boston decency (Emerson students, apparently)

The dangerous streets of the North End...

[A blog entry I wrote for Vernacular, Emerson's Writing, Literature and Publishing Graduate blog.]

Emerson needs to live up to our newfound title of Boston’s Most Dangerous (if you ignore all the fine print). Downtown Boston’s so claustrophobic, tacky and, let’s be honest, a bit touristy, no? It ain’t enough for us Emersonians. We’re not the Warriors; we’re the Turnbull ACs in this Boston version of The Warriors.

We need bigger and better drags to claim. And what’s fair game for the bored riffraff of a small communications and arts college, where the city’s supposed to be our grand campus? That’s right: the unsuspecting cobblestoned paths of the North End.

Last week the Boston Globe took a look at the burgeoning battle in the changing face of the North End: you’ve got your late night bar and restaurant crowds and the newly transplanted twenty-somethings who move into the neighborhood as their first time in an off-campus apartment, and then you’ve got your families that want to settle down in one of Boston’s quaint historic areas. So, for the families’ part, there’s there’s plenty to complain about: all that noise and booze and just livin’ it up, jeez, what do those lushes think they’re doing?

Now, Boston’s a big college town, there’s no doubt about that. But who gets singled out?

Oh yeah, US, the badasses of downtown Boston.

From the Globe:

“Boston Police Captain Bernie O’Rourke confirmed that students, mostly from Suffolk and Emerson College, cause most of the problems reported, not patrons at bars.”


So, okay, it’s not the bars that are causing the problems: it’s the house parties. Specifically, our house parties. These shindigs must be really hoppin’ cause, c’mon, they’re competing with bars.

Listen up, people. We don’t have a campus. This is our way of living out that famed college dream: wild college parties run amok, Emerson-style, of course, with illegal clove cigarettes, flannel shirts and skinny jeans.

So a toast to Emerson once again. We’re so very look-at-these-fuckin’-hipsters, we desecrate neighborhoods. What else can’t we do?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Boston24: The Launch: Boston Designers To Watch

The Launch celebrated Boston's up and coming fashion designs for Boston's Fashion Week in September, where the emphasis was on the clothes. So here are some photos I took for Boston24.

I included this one because he reminds me of Dr. Horrible.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Boston24: Movin' Day

This is kinda a bit old, but I took these photos of Boston's (in)famous moving day, when all the college kids that fled Boston during the summer returned back to the coop (Get it? The Coop? The Harvard Co-op? I'm kinda proud of myself for bad Boston humor.) Anyway, I shot this photoessay for my friend Valeria's website, Boston24.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Metro: Link up to get ahead

In Metro:

How social networking can help and hurt your career

As the old adage about getting ahead goes — it all depends on who you know. In prehistoric times (before Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter), in order to expand your professional contacts, you would have to attend networking conferences and awkward work happy hours. But now, because of such sites, your social and professional networks have expanded indefinitely. And as many experts point out, it’s up to you to navigate it correctly.

“Social networking gives you the opportunity to build relationships with people across the globe, 365 days a year,” says Rebekah Hudder, a social media specialist. “It opens doors to meeting new people who could be potential clients, referral sources or employers. You can further your career and promote your personal brand recognition.”

But with the ease of the Internet comes the constant work of updating your pages and maintaining proper relationships online, as Diane Coffey, a public relations manager at Kel & Partners, a Web marketing firm, points out. “You need to give more than you receive. Be ready to offer information that can help others. People don’t forget who helped lead them to a great job opportunity.”

However, online social networking can also be detrimental because if you’re using it, you can bet potential human resources managers and bosses have seen your profile.

“Social networking can end your career as fast as you can say the word ‘Facebook,’” says Stephen Viscusi, founder of “No boss would admit it, but every HR department uses it to make hires and fires.”

And in the end, you can’t forget about your old ways of connecting with contacts. “Social networking sites are used to connect with people,” says Coffey. “But they can only take you so far. Jobseekers should use social networking sites as a way to begin a relationship with a potential employer.”

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The L Magazine: Museums Go To War on the High Seas of Queens

On The L Magazine:

I left Duke Riley’s Naumachia (Latin for “naval battle”) completely soaked and covered with dried fake blood and tomato bits and completely satisfied. But before we get into all that, what exactly is the Naumachia?

Duke Riley, rogue waterfront artist extraordinaire, with help from the Queens Museum, called for homemade boats to participate in an epic, Roman-style live battle. Using the abandoned hockey rink attached to the Queens Museum as a boat shop, Riley and participants built recycled boats, using items like reeds from beaches and even materials from the hockey rink itself.
Before the battle, toga-clad spectators and participants crowded into the lobby of the Queens Museum of Art, downing free special lemonade after beer after wine. (Alcohol was free to those donning togas.) Last minute preparations were still being made with the boats. The battle would take place at the reflecting pool at Flushing Meadows Park in Queens, former home of the 1964 World’s Fair, within view of the Unisphere.

Families walked around with children, who waded in the pool. Darkness soon settled, and floodlights bathed the pool in light. The audience was getting restless, and took advantage of the boxes of bread and tomatoes that lay around the area, begging to be used, bombarding members of each side.

And then the battle really began. Each ship came out to be greeted by cheering and tomatoes. From my vantage point, it was difficult to see exactly what was going on, as the scene was shrouded in smoke, criss-crossed with flying tomatoes, and obscured behind huge splashes of water. Nevertheless, chaos ruled the scene. Bystanders jumped into the pool, taking part in the battle themselves. When the pigboat sailed in in all its swine-y glory, the audience gleefully jumped aboard.

Near the end, a replica of Riley’s favorite ship, the Queen Mary 2, came out and was promptly set on fire, as the battle went on around it. Soon, fireworks rocketed out of the ship, nearly hitting the audience at times.

According to other sources, since I couldn’t tell what exactly went on, the Queens Museum won the battle, but really, everyone did, in his or her own way – I even spotted a few audience members lugging chunks of boats back to the 7 train.

For the rest of the photos, go here.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Metro: Row, row, row a boat in Brooklyn

In Metro:

PREVIEW. Instead of walking around New York, wouldn’t it be so much nicer to float around New York? It’s possible in Brooklyn, thanks to the Village Community Boathouse (VCB) and the Downtown Boathouse (DB).

The two nonprofit organizations are offering community rowing and kayaking every Saturday in August at DUMBO Cove in Brooklyn.

The idea behind the program is, “to introduce Brooklynites to on-water recreation,” says Rob Buchanan, president of VCB. “And to build citizen support for a flourishing network of community boathouses all along the Brooklyn side of the East River.” If you’re still interested after an East River paddle this summer, both groups offer rowing and paddling all season long.

Community rowing and kayaking


Saturday, 2-6 p.m.
Brooklyn Bridge Park
End of Main and Plymouth streets
Aug. 22, 11-3 p.m.
Aug. 29, 2-6 p.m.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Metro: You need a ‘Hero’? Chris Kattan goes full-on Bollywood in new IFC miniseries

Chris Kattan, left, knows a thing or two about cheesy dancing. Photo courtesy of IFC.

In Metro:

Cue swirling bright colors, dancing, extravagant sets, and lip-synced Hindi songs. This isn’t a typical Bollywood flick however, it’s “Bollywood Hero,” IFC’s new original miniseries. Chris Kattan, formerly of “Saturday Night Live,” stars in “Bollywood Hero” as, essentially, himself. Kattan becomes tired of Hollywood so when he’s offered a starring role in a Bollywood film, he goes to India.

“To make fun of Mango and Mr. Peepers [two of Kattan’s “SNL” characters] and play someone grounded and real was attractive to me,” he says. “It was great working with some of the most beautiful women [I’ve seen] in my life. It doesn’t happen that often.”

But “Bollywood Hero” isn’t all dance numbers and gorgeous ladies. The miniseries also offers glimpses of India’s underside — the tiny shacks in crowded slums.

“The poverty situation is strong there and reminded me this is what’s going on outside my little box, but we can make a difference,” he admitted. The L.A. screening of “Bollywood Hero” helped fund Project Crayons, a Mumbai-based organization that helps orphanages like the ones used in the miniseries.

Kattan hopes that “Bollywood Hero” will mark a new direction for his career post-“SNL.” “It’s kind of a change for me, getting smart stuff. It’s nice to get acknowledged in that area,” he says. “It’s a big step from Mr. Peepers.”

‘Bollywood Hero’
Thursday, Friday, Saturday
10 p.m., IFC

And just because I went to the premiere and got a picture with him:

The L Magazine: Governors Island: Reimagined and Still Creepy

My second L Magazine photoessay, about the PLOT09 art exhibit on Governors Island. Text on the site by Hannah Levine.