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Murakami Vader Pounds a Brew: Chopped Up Remixed Subway Star Wars Posters

April 21st, 2008 by Jeff Simmermon

Those great big billboard ads you see on the subway are nothing but giant peel-and-stick Coloforms, really. I love the accidental collages you see when people randomly pick and peel those thing like they’re great big scabs, and I just knew it was a matter of time before someone started making art out of them.

Then I saw this ad for Star Wars that had been chopped and remixed with bits from a beer ad and a poster for a Takashi Murakami exhibit and I heard a horde of angels singing a song titled “Shit Yeah!”:

Murakami Vader Drinks a Beer

You can see the whole billboard and a gold-bikini Princess Leia mixed with Iron Man after the jump …

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Five Boroughs, Seven Circles — This is the Baddest Bike Anywhere

February 12th, 2008 by Jeff Simmermon

Found on the streets of Bed-Stuy, this bike is the baddest thing on earth, in heaven and on any astral plane you care to imagine. Ghost Rider is pushing a played-out second-hand Green Machine with a cracked front wheel compared to this three-wheeled death chariot …

highway-to-hell-front

highway-to-hell-side

I found these photos on the incomparable blog New York Shitty– check out some of Miss Heather’s fantastic photos here, too.

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Overheard on the Subway: L Train to Brooklyn

January 31st, 2008 by Jeff Simmermon

So I told him that I had cheated on him while he was out of town. And you know what? He turned around and tried to use it against me!


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Letter From Prison: Trans-Dimensional Travel

January 27th, 2008 by Jeff Simmermon

prison_letter1tease

Listen: transdimensional travel already exists. It’s not as dramatic as ripping open a hole in the fabric of space-time and shaking hands with some lizard men on the other side, or painting a pentagram in infants’ blood on the floor of a church and conjuring up a smoldering slobbering demon.

I was walking back from a bar in Clinton Hill this summer, and even though I’d had a pretty good evening, I was feeling kinda sorry for myself. I’d just moved to New York and my work had dried up, my girlfriend had dropped me, and I was sharing a bedroom with another grown man. I’d had a decent dinner and a few drinks and was flagellating myself internally for spending money, any money at all, when my resources were at such a rapid dwindle.

A breeze kicked up and a piece of paper hit my foot. I picked it up and fell through a wormhole in my own reality to a serious realness congruent to, but utterly different than my own. The letter was from a guy in prison to a friend on the outside. Although technically written in English, the words were in a language I barely spoke.

You can see the letter itself here:

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Hate The Hair, Love the Balls

January 25th, 2008 by Jeff Simmermon

I posted something last night about the worst haircut I’ve ever seen, complete with a cute little drawing to illustrate it. At about 6 pm, both BoingBoing and Gawker linked to it, increasing my traffic tenfold.

“Oh look,” I thought. “Everyone thinks I’m witty, brilliant and wonderful. It must be true if the Internet says so!”

Then I left work and got on the subway — and saw the owner of said haircut. I felt really, really bad. On the one hand, this guy was obviously seeking attention with his ‘do, and now he’s gotten it. But then again, taking cheap shots at strangers kind of sucks, I think, even if it does pay off in the dizzying sweet nectar of Internet attention.

When I got home, I saw this comment, which really made me think:

Style is a product of Risk Taking… & those of you who laugh @ people who take risks are simply too scared to be true inventors…

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Get Your Electro-Yacht On: Francis & the Lights at Mercury Lounge 1/26

January 24th, 2008 by Jeff Simmermon

Francis & the Lights at Galapagos

Brooklyn’s Francis and the Lights (free EP here) will be rocking their nervous relaxing jams at the Mercury Lounge this Saturday, January 26th with The Giraffes, Baby Dayliner and others.

They’re hands-down my favorite New York band of late — as mentioned on an earlier post:

They’re the musical equivalent of doing coke and drinking Fresca on the back of a yacht while wearing a white linen jacket.

The rhythm section is tight like the L train on a Monday morning, both drummers locked into each other perfectly with no room for error and every beat in the exact right place. Spare dual keyboards flow over and through the silky rhythms like robot bees flying over plastic flowers, and the singer’s high voice and ostentatious dance moves — delivered with occasional popped collar or shirtlessness — perfectly interact with the music to create something that is both self-consciously retro and very, very heartfelt.

It’s true, too. Their live show’s like nothing I’ve ever seen before, a jittery and confident mashup of James Brown and something from beyond the Phantom Zone. I saw the show in the video below, and it was way better than it seems here on Youtube … go on out Saturday and see ‘em for yourself if you can.

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Hair, Not Commentary

January 23rd, 2008 by Jeff Simmermon

Last weekend I saw a haircut ugly and evil enough to impregnate a nun just so it could kick her down a set of steep stairs. I’ve seen some stupid haircuts in my day, rocked more than a few regrettable ‘dos my damn self. My own hair in high school was shaven on the sides and back and semi-sorta-not-really-at-all long on the top in a ‘do that would have looked like a brain handle had I been able to pull it into a ponytail. I used to wonder why girls didn’t take me seriously.

I used to pour concrete with a man whose braided mullet hung low enough to tickle the tanned top third of his ever-exposed ass. I’ve seen cuts on the subway here in New York that I found personally offensive, hairdos whose cheeky chunkiness screamed of disposable income, willful ignorance and a powerfully asexual aesthetic retardation.

I live in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where ironic commentary on the fashion choices of the American working class has collapsed in on itself warping into a white dwarf shaped like a Mobius strip: a one-sided form that slows down light and the passage of time so aggressively that silver tights underneath ’70s running shorts seem like a good idea.

But I have never seen any shit like this.

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Burying the Bat In A Pile Of Ham Biscuits

January 10th, 2008 by Jeff Simmermon


I lay in bed in Brooklyn yesterday afternoon, staring up at the ceiling and watching the sunlight fade from the room. I couldn’t nap, couldn’t rest. A creature had taken up residence in my throat and chest. I imagined it to be black and very hairy, with large leathery wings. It wasn’t quite a bird and wasn’t quite a mammal, just this hairy winged thing, like a shaggy, greasy bat.

It moved around, pacing between my uvula and heart, shuffling and trying to stretch its wings. I imagined what it would feel like when the shaggy bat burst past my lips and lifted off, cutting ragged figure-8s around the paper lamps hanging from my ceiling.

Smithfield Ham is a meat like no other. A close cousin to Italian prosciutto, Smithfield ham is the meat of peanut-fed hogs, salt-cured and hickory smoked for a minimum of six months in the corporate limits of Smithfield, Virginia — home to my grandparents, aunt and uncle. Smithfield ham is drier and more thickly cut than supple, subtle prosciutto. Compared to Smithfield ham, prosciutto is the damp rag used to wipe a hog farmer’s work boots.

In a purely physical sense, Smithfield ham is terrible for you. The only way it could harm your heart more from a medical perspective would be if a surgeon were to slice your chest open and manually pack your arteries with wads of the stuff. From an emotional perspective, it is Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, love and forgiveness and bedtime stories all in one salty, fat-filled bite. Draped over a handmade biscuit with butter, it is also Prozac, Lithium and THC.

The bat flapped tireless, frustrated laps up and down my throat all last night, all this morning, in the cab to La Guardia, on the plane and all the way through the airport. It wouldn’t come out, and it was getting hairier by the hour, so hairy it got heavy when it settled on my chest to tongue its wet wings clean.

I keep waiting for the real grief to happen, but I just feel numb. I feel like I’m made out of balsa wood or something — soft and flexible, but easily shattered. All I want to do is read. I am an Easy Reader of epic proportions on a normal day, but now I am positively EATING words. I finished “Bonfire of the Vanities” on the plane and started right in on Haruki Murakami’s “Dance Dance Dance.” I was able to take a break from reading and joke around with my dad and sister while we shopped for funeral suits this afternoon, but after reading Pop-Pop’s obituary in the local paper, I couldn’t stop. It was all I could do not to wad the newspaper up and stuff it in my mouth — knocked out the front page, local section, comics and started in on the classifieds by the time we pulled up to my aunt and uncle’s house.

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Francis and the Lights: Nervous Relaxing Favorites in a Future Retro Style

November 12th, 2007 by Jeff Simmermon

band4

You think you know what’s right and what’s wrong, think you got it all figured out when it comes to video game etiquette and music and style, and then one night winds everything up like a tangled nest of clock springs and throws all your tools right off the bench.

I was teaching some friends the finer points of Big Buck Hunter II at the East River on Saturday night. The bar was packed and the game was old and fast, blurry deer rocketing around the screen which would’ve been hard enough except we’d been impairing our hand-eye coordination around the corner for a few hours, too.

You’ve got to stand back a bit from the machine just to give it a fair go, and it was right as I was trying to explain that the bucks usually hide behind the does and sometimes you’ve gotta give a blast into the air to get things moving that this dude tried to walk between the machine and the little neon plastic shotgun.

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Three Days a Brooklyn Resident: Thunk, Thunk, Thunk

July 4th, 2007 by Jeff Simmermon

I’m settled in now, mostly. I’m living out of garbage bags and boxes in my friend’s sublet … but the truck’s been returned, the storage shed filled and I’ve managed to make a tub of hand-cranked ice cream in the new kitchen.

Here’s a tip for all you ice cream makers out there: if you’re making coffee ice cream, never, ever flavor it with espresso. The results are cold and creamy, yes, but suffused with a black grit that triggers the bowels while destroying your bedtime. The taste is not unlike eating the sweet sludge from the bottom of a Turkish coffee.

My farewell party was better than I could have hoped. All the folks I loved the most in DC came … along with a mysterious emissary.

Suicide_blond has been a regular reader and frequent commenter here over the past year or so. She’s always had a few kind words for me, punctuated with vigorous ellipses. When some of the DC blog scene’s egregious rotten twats have had a good go at me, she’s stuck up for me. I’ve never met her in person and I’m not sure I ever will.

After the farewell drinks had flowed for a few hours, a tall, grey-haired man in sunglasses and a suit walked into the bar. He immediately began shouting my name at the top of his lungs. All the patrons around him followed suit, until finally my friends grabbed me. He said

This card’s from Suicide_blonde. She wants to stay anonymous

He handed me a card, addressed to my name at And I Am Not Lying, For Real. It read “Dear Mr. Simmermon: Enjoy the Big Apple … or die trying!! Put some Johnny Cash on the jukebox & have a round on me …” There was a twenty dollar bill inside.

The man in the suit took a photo of me with the card and us together, then walked out into the night.

That’s class right there — weird, story-worthy class. It’s better than meeting in person, if you ask me.

Moving day was clear, cool for July. Every other time I’ve moved, it’s been a hundred degrees out. The one time I moved in December I was in Australia, so it was still a hundred degrees. I had plenty of help packing and cleaning from some incredible people, and the day was pretty painless, all around.

I got up early Sunday morning, well before the alarm. I was heading up to hail a cab to the U-Haul facility (never, ever use U-Haul), when I just had to freeze. The street was completely quiet except for the trees whispering. I was just absorbing it all when I heard this sound all around me, from inside and outside my eardrums — a sort of THUNK, THUNK that shook me to the mitochondria.

I’ve heard that sound before and I love the way it makes me feel. It’s the best feeling in the world.

I got the truck, we loaded it up, ate some pizza and swept the apartment out. Me and my friends stood there in the empty place, swapping stories and toasting from a warm bottle of ouzo. Our laughter rang out in the empty apartment, and the stories started to fall flat pretty quick. It was time to go — two hard dude-hugs and I was out.

I was driving the truck down 16th Street, taxidermied owl in attack position strapped into the passenger seat and lucky ram’s skull on the dash with “Like a Rolling Stone” blaring when I heard it again: THUNK, THUNK, THUNK, louder this time, and feeling better with each THUNK.

I heard the sound at 16, as the theme from “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly” announced the Ramones’ imminent performance. I heard the THUNK an hour before landing overseas with 3 grand and nowhere to live, heard it when I flew to LA this winter to pitch a TV show.

It’s the sound of my life as a giant roller coaster, THUNKing its way up that first big hill with me in the car up front. I can see the track curving away up ahead and I’ve got no idea what that first drop’s going to feel like, but I know what it is. It’s the wild ride of the rest of my life, fast and full of turns. It scares the crap out of me and it’s the most exhilarating feeling in the world … and every time I feel it I say “hello, old friend. Didn’t think I’d see you again, and I’m so glad you’re back.

I’ve been living out of trash bags in Brooklyn for the past three days. Haven’t got a job yet, but I’ve got some leads and I can’t think of anything at all that I’d rather be doing.

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