Monday, August 31, 2009
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Smack: Heroin and the American City
by Eric C. Schneider
Published: 2008 by University of Pennsylvania Press
Includes fascinating glimpses into the history of heroin's use, distribution and it's rise in popularity among certain cultures in the United States in general and New York City in particular throughout the 20th century. An amazing read, highly recommended for those who can never get enough New York City history...
From the book jacket:
During the twentieth century, New York City was the nation's heroin capital—over half of all known addicts lived there, and underworld bosses like Vito Genovese, Nicky Barnes, and Frank Lucas used their international networks to import and distribute the drug to cities throughout the country, generating vast sums of capital in return. Schneider uncovers how New York, as the principal distribution hub, organized the global trade in heroin and sustained the subcultures that supported its use.
Through interviews with former junkies and clinic workers and in-depth archival research, Schneider also chronicles the dramatically shifting demographic profile of heroin users. Originally popular among working-class whites in the 1920s, heroin became associated with jazz musicians and Beat writers in the 1940s. Musician Red Rodney called heroin the trademark of the bebop generation. "It was the thing that gave us membership in a unique club," he proclaimed. Smack takes readers through the typical haunts of heroin users—52nd Street jazz clubs, Times Square cafeterias, Chicago's South Side street corners—to explain how young people were initiated into the drug culture.
Smack recounts the explosion of heroin use among middle-class young people in the 1960s and 1970s. It became the drug of choice among a wide swath of youth, from hippies in Haight-Ashbury and soldiers in Vietnam to punks on the Lower East Side. Panics over the drug led to the passage of increasingly severe legislation that entrapped heroin users in the criminal justice system without addressing the issues that led to its use in the first place. The book ends with a meditation on the evolution of the war on drugs and addresses why efforts to solve the drug problem must go beyond eliminating supply.
...and check out this little comic book gem, discussed in the book, published by the Welfare Council of New York City in 1951 and handed out to high school and college students throughout the city. You can read the whole sordid! shocking! thing by clicking: Trapped!
I saw this in the magazine rack at the grocery store this morning...
"If you think the city is wild today, you should have seen it in 1609. See what New York might have looked like 400 years ago."
BEFORE NEW YORK
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
The Minnesota State Fair, which starts this Thursday and runs through September 7th, usually has at least a few good concerts during it's two-week run. Nine years ago today Styx and REO Speedwagon appeared in concert at the State Fair Grandstand, this was the first show I'd ever attended at the Fair. It was about what you think a Styx/REO show would be - nothing more, nothing less. They played all their respective hit songs and there were really no surprises. One cool thing that did happen was that during Styx's set, there were some thunderstorms a few miles away and as we were watching Styx play, far off in the distance behind the stage, we could see quite a lightning show going on, so that was kind of cool. Luckily the rains never made it to the fairgrounds so we stayed nice and dry.
REO Speedwagon and Styx, along with guest .38 Special, will again be appearing at the MN State Fair this year, this time on September 5th. The ticket price in 2000 was only $12.00, this year it's $34.00 PLUS $10.00 Gate Admission to the fair. Ain't gonna do it...
Monday, August 24, 2009
I was listening to Black Sabbath's masterpiece double-live CD "Live Evil" today while I was at work. When the song "Iron Man" came on, I thought of this version recorded by the Cardigans in 1996. 13 years later, I'm still scratching my head over this one...
Our friend the NYCRhymologist has just started another project, this one featuring original music he has written and recorded using his "Rhymology" method. It is titled, appropriately enough, Rhymology Music. Click over there and check it out...
Sunday, August 23, 2009
This was one of the swingingest, most happening places in all of New York City in the mid-late 1960's. It's was a place you might catch a drunken Doors vocalist Jim Morrison jamming with Jimi Hendrix. (You can listen to a recording of that March 1968 disaster HERE.) It was place you could see acts as varied as Tiny Tim and Alice Cooper perform. A place you might catch a glimpse of Andy Warhol holding court with members of his entourage before they took over the back room at Max's.
You can read all about the scene at Steve Paul's The Scene over at:
It's All The Streets You Crossed Not So Long Ago
(Images via: NYCDreamin Archives)
Ad from 11/04/67 issue of "Host - A Weekly Guide to New York"
Here we have a pair of circa 1960's print ads from New York City's notorious "Club 82".
Some history on the venue from About.com:
This basement space set very discreetly behind a simple, unmarked door has quite a history with New York's gay community. From 1958 until 1978, Club 82 (82 E. 4th St.) was a beloved drag cabaret and glam-rock venue made famous by the likes of David Bowie, Lou Reed, Harvey Fierstein, Blondie, and the New York Dolls - in this sense, it's one of the more important sites of gay history in the East Village, and it even has its own fan site, which celebrates its colorful past. It then became an indie-film theater, and in the early 1990s, the dark, underground (figuratively and literally - it's in a basement) space became a quite popular gay adult theater and sex club called the Bijou Cinema (although still known by many as Club 82). More recently, it's been closed at different times, but it was spruced up at one point and now continues to be a gay sex club.
This is a quirky and happily sleazy little spot that's especially popular after the bars closed - it used to be open 24/7, but more recent reports suggest it now closes by 5 or 6 in the morning. You enter through the ominous unmarked door, descend the brightly lit stairs, and pay a cover fee ($10 at last check) to enter. Inside there's a 48-seat cinema that used to show gay porn and more recently has played conventional movies, some with an arty bent. Forming an L-shape behind the cinema area is a corridor lined with private booths that contain monitors showing gay porn. These are basically walk-in-closet-size booths - no beds or facilities to speak of. Guys hang out in these rooms, cruise the corridors, etc., etc. Off the main corridor and theater, there's also a TV lounge, some rental lockers, and a bar no longer serving drinks. There's something strangely and endearingly retro about the entire set-up.
Random Blast From The Past - War: What Is It Good For? A Book Deal And A TV Series. And Hero Status to a 10 Year Old Boy.
(Photo by Dad - NYCDreamin Archives)
For several years when I was younger, my father and I made a yearly trek to the annual "EAA Air Show and Fly-In" held in Oshkosh, WI. Dad had obtained his small pilots licence a few years prior and was consumed with learning all he could about avionics and the history of flight and Oshkosh was the perfect place to do this. I tagged along and hoped for something exciting to happen. On our trip in August of 1980, something did...
Sew-on logo patch comemorating the 1980 Oshkosh, WI Air Show.
(Image via: NYCDreamin Archives)
About this time, my favorite TV show was called "Black Sheep Squadron", a show about famed WWII fighter pilot Greg "Pappy" Boyington. I watched enthusiastically each week as Pappy and his crew of misfits broke the rules and gave the finger to those in authority, all while flying around the South Pacific in their shiny Navy-blue Corsair fighters, gunning down the inferior enemy Japanese Zeros with deadly accuracy. They would then return to base and drink and carrouse and celebrate their victories. I thought they were probably the coolest guys who ever lived.
In August of 1980 we arrived in Oshkosh for the Air Show and one afternoon a few days later, my dad said he had a big surprise for me. We were going to go meet "the real" Pappy Boyington. I couldn't believe it - I was gonna get to meet one of my idols! So we went over to this huge air-conditioned merchandise building, my dad plunked down some cash for a copy of Pappy's book ("Baa Baa Blacksheep", published in 1958) and we got in line and waited to meet the man. After a while we were at the front of the line and then we were standing in front of this old guy who looked nothing like Pappy Boyington - I was a bit disappointed - this guy was all old and stuff and kind of smallish in stature. My father assured me that this was indeed "the real" Pappy Boyington, (who was 67 years of age at the time) explaining that the much younger, tougher-looking guy on TV, Robert Conrad, was just an actor playing the part of this hero who was sitting here in front of us. It took me a minute to sort out the reality of the situation but I figured it out and then I remember stepping up to the table and saying "hello" and handing him my copy of the book to sign. He asked my name and then he inscribed a personalized autograph just inside the front cover, smiling and thanking us for coming as he did so. My dad snapped a few photos of me standing with Pappy but unfortunately when we got the film developed upon our return from the air show, those photos did not turn out for some reason. All these years later I still wish they had. My dad and Pappy talked for just a minute or two as I looked on in admiration and as a long line of others waiting to obtain an autograph and meet a War Hero waited their turn behind us. A few seconds later our turn was up and we began to walk out of the building, me clutching my freshly autographed book tightly beside me.
The first autograph I ever obtained - My dad purchased a copy of the book "Baa Baa Blacksheep" and a few minutes later I was standing in front of my hero as he smiled at me and signed my book.
Pappy died of cancer eight years later on 01/11/88 at the age of 75 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery with the other war heroes of his generation. I had long since moved on to other interests but was still saddened a bit when I learned of his passing.
Click HERE to see a great History Channel documentary titled
"The Real Story of the Black Sheep Squadron."
Saturday, August 22, 2009
(Photo by Mom - NYCDreamin Archives)
Yes, long before I became obsessed with girls, Rock and Roll on a broader spectrum, and New York City, I was a total geek. I was already a few years into my life-long career in the Kiss-Army, but I thought they were the only band on the planet in those days. Nothing else mattered. Except space exploration...
I dreamed of someday leaving the planet myself. I was seriously interested in astronomy during my pre-teens in the early part of the 1980's, and as such was always launching model rockets and reading up all I could on the then-new Space Shuttle program. On my 11th birthday, 04/12/81, I woke up early to sit, glued to the TV, as the very first Space Shuttle mission (known as "STS-1" for all you non-geeks) lifetd off from Cape Canaveral Florida. I was amazed at the sight of the powerful rockets lifting the orbiter vehicle into space and I wished I could be going with them.
NASA Astronaut John W. Young, Commander of STS-1.
(Image via: NYCDreamin Archives)
Several weeks after the two-day mission had concluded, I decided to write to the astronauts who had piloted the historic flight and ask them to send me a few autographed photos. A few weeks later I was thrilled to get a package in the mail, from NASA. Young and Crippen had taken the time to send me the photos as I'd requested. My mom and dad bought me a few picture frames and the images hung proudly on my bedroom wall for several years, eventually being replaced by a W.A.S.P. or Anthrax poster I would imagine.
Friday, August 21, 2009
Thursday, August 20, 2009
*Thanks to Sesu Coleman (Magic Tramps) for sending along this information...
A night of music benefitting the Max's Kansas City Project.
WHEN: Thursday, September 10th, 2009
WHERE: Triad Theater at 158 West 72nd Street, NYC, NY
(located between Broadway and Columbus Avenue, 2nd Floor)
WHO: Star 69 Grateful Dead Tribute Band/Mojo Myles featuring Ellen Foley and Ira Stone/Ann Klein/Jahn Xavier/Joy Rider/Peter Sabatino (of The Vagrants)/David Amram/David Bennett Cohen (of Country Joe & the Fish)/The ASCAP House Band with Sesu Coleman (of the Magic Tramps) featuring Julie Peng/Jon Sobol/Cindy Lopez/Aviv Roth/Lin McEwan/Lilly Hatchett/Helen Hooke (of The Deadly Nightshade)/Karl Reamer
PRICE: $25.00 Minimum Donation - 2 Drink Minimum
Tickets are available online and at the door.
Seating is EXTREMELY LIMITED to 150 guests.
It is highly suggested to purchase tickets online in advance.
FOR COMPLETE INFORMATION on performance lineup, tickets, venue information and more information on the Max's Kansas City Project, please visit:
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Monday, August 17, 2009
The famous El down in the Bowery photographed in 1895.A drawing from "Police Gazette", December 23, 1882. The caption reads: "Shooting at the Elevated. A party of New York girls enjoy a little after-dinner pistol practice at the trains that rush by the windows of their hotel."
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Friday, August 14, 2009
(Image via: Manitoba'sWildKingdom.com)
Click over to The Brew Yorker (!) to see HDM in front of his bar, Manitoba's, telling a sad tale of his aquisition and subsequent loss of a leather jacket that had previously belonged to Sid Vicious.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
The inventor of the meanest fuckin' guitar in the world has passed away: Les Paul, dead at age 94 of complications from Pneumonia . Full details at MSN.com.
This is a sad day indeed...
My hero - Ace Frehley (and his Signature Model Gibson Les Paul Sunburst), with his friend, Les Paul.
(Photo via: Blabbermouth.net)
Statement from Ace Frehley.com on the passing of Les Paul:
"The music industry has lost a giant! I'm very saddened by the news of Les Paul's passing.I was lucky enough to have known Les as a friend, and admired him as a musician and innovator.He forever changed the way we listen to music."-- Ace Frehley
(Images via: NYCDreamin Archives)
08/12/94 Minneapolis Star Tribune Article featuring Pantera. Click HERE to see and read an enlarged version.
I was launched up again, and almost immediately there was a surge in the crowd - what seemed like about a hundred people started to fall down as a result of the crush of people behind pushing and pushing and pushing, and I just happened to be on top of several of them. All I remember is the peolpe below me falling to the ground, me falling down on top of them, and more people from behind falling in on top of me. As I came to rest and the bodies fell in on top of me, I felt my back go SNAP and I was in immediate and excruciating pain. I paniced for a moment, thinking I'd broken my back. People began picking themselves up and I managed to stand as well, so the back was not broken. But I was fucked up, that was for sure. I limped my ass away from the crowd, over to the concession stand where I ordered a beer, then trudged over to one of the fences that lined the grounds and slowly sat down to asess my situation. I was drunk and now I was seriously hurt. As I was doing this bit of self analysis, I noticed up on stage, as Prong continued to kick the crowd's ass, the members of Pantera were now on stage with them. They had pushed BBQ grills out on the stage and while Prong tried to finish their set, Dime, Phil, Vinnie and Rex were busy whipping up hamburgers and hot dogs and tossing them into the crowd. I started to laugh and it hurt when I did so. They soon retreated backstage to get ready (which I'm sure included having several drinks and smoking several joints) for their own set as Prong finished up theirs.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Sunday, August 9, 2009
(Images via: NYCDreamin Archives)
Saturday, August 8, 2009
Flyer and ticket stub for 08/08/97 S.T./Druel/Stray Bullets Concert
(Images via: NYCDreamin Archives)
I don't remember much in particular about this show except that Druel (one of the best ever from Minneapolis) kicked major league ass and Suicidal Tendencies seemed to be a shadow of their former self - they were not very good on this particular evening.
(Photo by: Allan Tannenbaum for SoHoWeekly News)
Ed Siejka - On the inspiration for his piece "Man Taking Money":
"I used to frequent Max's Kansas City during 1971 - 1973, especially during the spring of 1973. Always a nice crowd...occasional famous people or event. Some of us would leave Max's no later than 12 midnight and grab an early breakfast at a local diner located on 13th street. On some Saturday nights the diner was standing room only.
From the looks of the people who came to Max's after midnight and the stories I heard, Max's became a place where a lot of dealing went on...money, drugs - and some of it out in the open. The photo (above) reminds me of what I used to see outside Max's. It's a night-time shot and looks like it had just stopped raining. A couple is in front of the club...looks like a man talking to his girlfriend and the passersby are just ignoring them and walking by the scene. The poem itself, "Man Taking Money", is based not only on that photo but from what I recall.
To be fair, Max's was always an exciting place to go and no one was ever really made to leave despite the fact that some of the patrons made it a habit to nurse a drink for the entire night."
"Man Taking Money" - by Ed Siejka
Outside a club
Just past the music
And swaying bodies
They stand together
Isolated in a corner
He towering over her
Theirs is an intense conversation
Of muted voices
Arms folded over her chest
Looking toward the ground
She opens her purse
Passersby see nothing wrong
And continue walking
Overhead neon lights
Distorted from the rain soaked streets
On another street scene
A few steps away
Cradled in the
Bosom of night
A restless city yawns
And goes to sleep.
More writing by Ed Siejka:
"St. Adrian's, 1971" and "Journey to New York"
Previously at Max's:
Summer 1970 - Velvet Underground and 12/06/65 - Max's Grand Opening
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Thanks to Stupefaction for bringing this website and film to our attention. This is a MUST SEE video for fans of the birth of the 70's era NYC punk scene and is one of THE most important historical visual documents of the entire movement. After seeing this you'll REALLY wish you had been there...like you don't wish that already!
Saturday, August 1, 2009
You can view photos from the party HERE at StarTraksPhoto.com.