Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Tommy Gets His Tonsils Out

Our John Weitz Zephyr

What I dislike about Facebook- is the same thing I like about it. The shortness of statements. Most posts run about one line and in this twittered, attention deficit-ed world we live in, it makes a lot of sense.

I like to ramble on, as anyone who reads this here blog will tell you. What is worse that this- is if you read the liner notes I have been including on the last few mix CDs I have made.. oh boy-- they are usually 2-panels of one run-on sentence. I used to sit and type (at a typewriter) long paragraphs of nonsense and I called this 'writing.' Sometimes the very same thing needs to be said with way-too-many words as you can say with just a few.

I found this great ad the other day for local 'store for men' the wm. henger co. located in downtown, Amherst and the Seneca Mall. Illustrated with a typical for the era 'dept. store line art' this coat was designed by men, for men. Yeah! Comes in 2 colors: Rum Gold and Cognac. Sounds good, eh men..?

I can respect the white space of this ad- it is actually a light screen boxed in and cut by the logo bar. I am also a fan of the watercolor swash behind the coat to add some dimension to the flat art. The man's furrowed brow, sensitive look with a neat haircut, and just the little hint of plaid slacks- this man owns the Zephyr!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

3 A.M. Eternal

Back in the day (now I sound like my friend Andre) we used to go out clubbing on a Friday and a Saturday night. In the late eighties/early nineties, there were dance clubs you could dance in, located in Buffalo that aren't the poor excuse that passes for a dance club now. I am talking 'alternative dance' clubs that included the Continental upstairs, Little Harlem (for after hours), the ICON and, my favorite, the JAM Club on Main Street. (with its complimentary downstairs space called Hell). The JAM club space is no longer there, they gutted the building and rehabbed the space just like so many great things of Buffalo's past that are no longer. But in it's heyday it was the space to go. The mix of alternative, house music, early hip hop, industrial and goth was like no other space.

My recent venture into Facebook has brought back a flood of old memories as club kids and DJs from the past post flyers and photos from back in this day I speak of. Old ICON flyers and concert tickets designed way back when I was designing under the guise of Wizard Graphics. I recently unearthed a bunch of old photo albums where the snapshots are supplemented with ticket stubs, ads, newspaper clippings, handbills and a lot of Buffalo club history. I found some Apollo Records monthly Prime Movers flyers listing the hot records that owner Gary Sperazza thought we all needed to know about. And I also found the (above pictured) stolen hand stamp from the front door of the JAM club-- I didn't steal it, but I have it. Talk about a piece of history, eh?

So where are we going tonight, The Continental...? Relax, we have a lot of time, we aren't going to leave the house until probably 11:00 PM tonight. I'll meet you later at the Old Pink, say 3:00 AM or so.... see you there.

Friday, January 23, 2009

This is Radio Clash (on pirate radio...)

Strummerville- The Joe Strummer Foundation For New Music has added a video to their home page promoting the Foundation and the things they do for kids and music. Strummerville is really like the 'Music is Art of England' set up in Mr Clash, Joe Strummer's name.

What I like about this video is that they have a quick montage of Joe Strummer tribute concert posters, like the ones we do for the annual event that happens at the Mohawk Place (7 years running). Well the top of the heap of the montage in this video is a Take The Fifth poster that we did for the 5 ft annual rock show here in 2006! Wolf Tickets leader and Strummerville concert organized Chris Malachowski gave me the heads ups. See the link below.

>> Check out the video on the Strumerville site, here.

>> See all our Joe Strummer tribute rock poster collection here.
Click on image to go back in time thru all 7.

I like to reinterpret the same gig every year in this poster. It's a lot of fun and challenging designwisz to keep coming up with something fresh & punk rock for this every year. A few years back, the Strummerville site used one of our posters as a link on their home page to their 'Events' section and that was quite an honor.

I just watched The Last Testament- the making of London Calling by Don Letts-- with all it's fuzzy black and white footage of producer Guy Stevens throwing chairs and swinging a ladder. He wasn't drunk and obnoxious, he was just insane! Good stuff. And when I saw this, hmmmm.. design karma perhaps.....

As a poster guy, I can only hope that remaining Clash members Mick Jones, Topper Headon or Paul Simonon might have caught a glimpse of some OtherWisz graphics. Or maybe Joe is smiling down and saying "rock."

THE STRUMMERVILLE MISSION: for those of who who want to know....
Strummerville is a registered charity that aims to create new opportunities for aspiring musicians. Set up by the friends and family of Joe Strummer in the year after his death, the charity seeks to reflect Joe's unique contribution to the music world by offering support, resources and performance opportunities to artists who would not normally have access to them.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Something in The Way

"Comparing the jocks at the Planet and the Edge
with the on-air staff at CFNY
is akin to comparing Piel's beer with Sam Adams lager."
rom "The Battle of The Alternative"
subtitled "Bumbling Into The Brave New Territory of The Dreaded 'A' Word... Alternative and The Battle For The Top of The Heap in Buffalo's New World of Alternative Radio"

"Remember, civil disobedience and
taking matters into your own hands can get you into trouble..."
Civil Disobedience, The DMV & Growing Hemp in the 90s
by Strick

It the guise of Kurt Cobain I am wearing 3 shirts and wool hat in the office tonight. In fact I have been running around in piles of clothes for weeks. I think today was the longest period of time in one day where I didn't have a hat on my head constantly- besides while sleeping of course (but don't think I haven't thought about it!). Oh, I think it was 5-1/2 hours, by the way. So yeah, it's cold as hell.

Slack issue #17- The Radio Issue August 1995
(published 06.09.95)

This is one of the last four issues of Slack. As this lumbering beast was approaching it's 2-year anniversary and the end of it's reign the following Spring, we kept driving with our eyes closed. I have been thinking about Kurt a lot lately as I have just finished reading a very tactile Cobain Unseen by Charles R. Cross and the weather has forced me to dress like him- layerly. This issue from Fall 1995 had a review of the new release by Dave Grohl's new band the Foo Fighters. Reviewer Doug McKee added, "By using a formula familiar to him, he (Dave Grohl) still might make a name for himself." Good prediction Doug!

This, the Radio Issue is full of Buffalo radio 1995- Toronto's CFNY versus everyone else including local station, The Planet with Kerry Grey (ick) and the birth of a new station 103.3, The Edge. It has a lot of anti-alternative rhetoric as the term 'alternative' was starting to get bandied about as the post-grudge, 90s suck-rock began to flutter onto the air waves. There's an article about specialized 90s radio stations (All Elvis Impersonators Radio), History of Rock and Roll Radio, and a cool club DJs perspective on radio DJs by Dre. More period piece record reviews include: Sleepy Eyed by Buffalo Tom, the self-titled Treble Charger LP (more Toronto boys) and another love-fest review for the 7th Ani sunnyDiFranco record, Not a Pretty Girl by me.

All and all there is a lot trashing of local radio in this issue, in 1995, and it doesn't seem like much has changed. Still no one listens to the radio to hear what's new anymore. The only radio I listen to is news, hockey, some BNY, or weird AM transmissions that sometimes sound like they are from another planet.. and they may be for all I know.

Final Note: The Comix by Hump (as seen below) asked the question that people still ask me: Who is Bitter Boy? Veteran Slack writers still think it was me, and as far as I know, there are only a handful of people who do know who he was/is. I can tell you it wasn't me, though strangely enough we have always possessed a lot of the same ill will in the past....

Download PDF here:
Slack Magazine n. 17, the Radio Issue (3.5 mg)

Don't forget these issues already up (2 more to go)!:
Slack Magazine n. 18, The Two-Year Anniversary! issue
Slack issue n. 16- The Summer Fun Issue (#2)
Slack Magazine n. 15, The Local Music Issue
Slack Magazine n. 14, The Cartoon Issue
Slack Magazine n. 13, The Food & Beverage Issue
Slack Magazine n. 12, The One-Year Anniversary Issue
Slack Magazine n. 11, The True Crime Issue
Slack Magazine n. 10, Summer Fun Issue
Slack Magazine n. 9, The Dead Rock Stars Issue
Slack Magazine n. 8, The Beer Issue
Slack Magazine n. 7, Slack Goes to The Movies Issue
Slack Magazine n. 6, The Buffalo Issue
Slack Magazine n.5, The Slack TV Issue
Slack Magazine n. 4, SEX in the '90s Issue
Slack Magazine n. 3, The Politico Issue
Slack Magazine n. 2, The Travel Issue
Slack Magazine n. 1, The Debut Issue

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back

I recently discovered JAMSBIO, an online magazine which has taken a new angle on record reviews by reviewing records from the past. Often set up as various cool lists such as "10 Songs That Make Me Cry," "26 Songs About Butts," "Best Lyrics by Jim Morrison" and "Most Under Appreciated Beatles Songs." They have even ranked every Beatles songs from worst to best in another list!

The list that I really liked defends the sophomore slump theory with: Second Coming, 25 Great Sophomore Records and includes these greats:

  • Fun House, The Stooges
  • This Year's Model by Elvis Costello
  • Power, Corruption and Lies by New Order
  • Meat is Murder by The Smiths
  • It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, by Public Enemy
  • Paul's Boutique, by The Beastie Boys
I would agree with most on the list. The last two I mentioned above are indisputable as better than the albums they followed. Even though The Beastie's License to Ill was a huge sellers and introduced the world to the boys, Paul's is a classic and gets better with age. It has been called the Sgt. Pepper's of hip hop!

JAMSBIO also will take a single LP and review each and every song. They did this with one on my favorite LPS, Anodyne by Uncle Tupelo. They also did a full write up on Jimi Hendrix's Electricladyland LP. This mag is a must read for all you music heads out there.

They do review some new things and gave a relly thrashing to the new G-n-R CD (Extra! Extra! White Guy With Cornrows Releases an Album)... Check it out...

Second Coming, 25 Great Sophomore Records:

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Tattoo You

I am thinking of getting a tattoo and this is kinda what I think would really be great across my entire back. I think it would be pretty dangerous looking, don't you?

I have broken a few hearts back in the day. And I am loco...

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

All The Young Punks (New Boots and Contracts)

The past in the past until you burn it to CD or something like that....

It is a test in 'drifting-off-idness', trying to burn records to CD. You gotta pay attention. You don't always want to just stand there while it is burning. You have to track each song by pushing the red REC button or else you have one long 'track 1' on your CD. So inevitability, I usually do something else while it is happening: often paperwork, writing proposals, business emails, but not usually designing. When I am deep in design, the CD or record will always end and then 1 hour later, I'll notice... so I have to just do busy work. It's better for us all.

All of a sudden, you have to jump up for the end of one/ beginning of the next song to 'track' that space. Not a big deal, but when you are distracted, you forget and have to leap over to the CD burner. Missing the track- hitting the button after the song started = not good.

Miss-tracking is not the end of the world, but it does make the CD crappy when you are in a situation when you just want to play that one song. If you just pop the CD in and let it play all the way through, then you are good to go.... but for us DJ-types-- no good!

So then I got greedy, I tried to squeeze 2 albums onto a single CD. It was going to be the Super 70's NYC Punk Legends CDs with Robert Mapplethorpe Cover Photos CD:
Patti Smith Horses - Television Marquee Moon
What even made it all the better-- was the fact that Patti and Tom Verlaine from TV had been an item back in the day! It was the perfect double-burn CD- punk girlfriend-boyfriend CD.

... and then I didn't find out-- until the middle of the second last song (the long guitaraastic Prove It!)-- that it wasn't going to fit. Damn! So then I had to decide whether to live with it or throw it out and start again burning two single albums to their own CDs. I was a bit disgusted so I decided to chuck it and burn the Clash 2nd LP Give Them Enough Rope LP instead. And, for all you authorities out there, this is "for personal consumption only."

Shit I had to just jump up, there are a lot of short songs on this LP! Now what a value, I just made a new favorite Clash song: Guns On The Roof, and what about Last Gang In Town, now there's a song. They don't make them like that anymore.... Oh, and I just missed the start of Safe European Home, by a few seconds, damn!

I'm still keeping it.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Fire For The People

A little positive reinforcement for myself & ya'all-->

While I try and remain solid and positive for this new 2009 the man keeps pushing back on me-- but I am not going to let it stop me!

The last year ended with the basement flood, the expensive radiator replacement on the car all wrapped up in tough economical times. But I try to remain upbeat and push through... A lot of business are cutting back on their marketing, but we have some new prospects... The back of the car window exploded Sat. night, but our auto insurance had full glass coverage... The Maceo Parker CD I picked up from the Crane Library was all-jazzy and not funky (boooooo), but the other CD I picked up 'Bayani', by west coast asian-american hip hoppers Blue Scholars is awesome.

So while I am being forced to take a step back, I will keep pushing to take two leaps forward. It is a new year and I will be a year wiszer, the business will be another year stronger and we will stay on top. Yeah- 2009 is the year of the ox!

NOTE: The above photo is what was left of the back window. To prove my point, the OW logo sticker was the only thing left after the window shattered!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Remote Control

Design in 2009

This year will bring us the release of Objectified, the new design film by Gary Huswit the man behind the wonderful Helvetica. The trailer is up now so you can get a little preview of the new flick. It is a feature-length independent documentary about industrial design and a look at the creative world behind conceptualizing, designing, developing and building 'things"-- everything from toothbrushes to automobiles. It's about the people that make things- think about them, research them and really study, study, study as they are designing every detail and nuance about products. You think you have everything you need in this modern world?!? but right not someone is examining all the things you are using with plans to make them better.

The just posted trailer will give you a sneak peak into the upcoming flick. If it is anything like Helvetica, then it should be super-- Objectified- Trailer, click me to watch.

Font Off!
... and speaking of Helvetica
, PBS is having the US television debut of this movie and is showing it this week as part of the Independent Lens series! They have launched a mini-site, and the local affiliate, WNED is showing it Sunday night (Jan. 11th) at 11:00 PM. What a time slot, eh? I am guessing there are predicating giant ratings with this time slot. Here are the details on the PBS showing. All public TV mocking aside, it's a good documentary so watch it if you haven't seen it. Fonts rule!

Bonus Beats:
Take the PBS mini-site What Font Are You Test (I am ___________).

Saturday, January 3, 2009

1999, Gonna Party Like It's

Why 2009 is already better than 2008:

12) I have discovered weird old country music on AM 1300.
11) I got to see the Wilco episode of Austin City Limits last night (very good).
10) My basement is not flooded.
09) My car radiator is new.
08) The Sabres are 1-0 for 2009.
07) No friends have died yet.
06) The sun is shining today.
05) The Christmas music has stopped.
04) All my reading, so far, has been Clash-oriented.
03) I can stop watering the Xmas tree twice a day.
02) I have goals!
01) My beard is better.

My friend Paul (aka John Paul Jones) who just moved to Atlanta was sufficiently inspired to produce his own "Why 2009 is Better..." list, I thought I would share:

I wish I could see the 'non rock hair' Paul!

BB2- Make that SABRES 2-0,
after beating the Bruins, breaking the Killer B's 10 game winning streak, 14 game home wining streak!