I first encountered Edward Burtynsky’s work at a show curated by the Brooklyn Museum of Art. There is an emotional paradox one feels when looking at his massive prints. The images are so beautiful and crafted with a masterful eye for detail. And yet, these photos are documents of how industry has changed our visual landscape. Burtynsky gave a TED talk a few years back which is certainly worth checking out. Additionally, a documentary entitled Manufactured Landscapes on the photographer’s work was released last year.

 

My laudromat has lost their lease and now I have to start using the old spot again. The down side is that it is a longer walk and the lady who works there is a real grouch; I mean the type that kids are afraid to go near. On the other hand, her husband pictured below is one of those sweeter than sugar people that always has a smile plastered to his face. He once let me do a test shoot there at no charge. Time to go pick up some laundry. I wonder which one I’ll encounter today.

If you live in Brooklyn and happen to be a beer guzzling foodie like myself, you should know about Grab. The small specialty food shop opened just a few months back in Park Slope. They have a wonderful selection of cheeses, meats, chocolates and beer. And now they offer beer growlers featuring different brews each week. Today I stopped in for bread and olive oil and John Hodgman let me cut in line in front of him.

At the other end of the Slope is Bierkraft. Much like Grab, they offer an amazing assortment of specialty food items, however they’ve been around for many years now. While both shops are worth knowing about, Bierkraft does boast a larger selection of beers and chocolate, as well as a more pleasant staff.

I just found out about the Chinatown Soccer Club. The league has been around since 2002 and is comprised of creative people whose passions off the pitch range from careers in design and writing to photography and skateboarding. The squad includes accomplished artist Ryan McGinness and skateboarder Mark Gonzalez. Apparently these guys take their game seriously, playing in the mornings before work and go late into the cold season. I so want in. Where do I sign up?

I’ve lived in the south end of Park Slope, Brooklyn for 8 years. The neighborhood is fantastic and the location is ideal. Just a few hundred paces away the neighborhood changes names and becomes known as Gowanus. As a musician who has rehearsed in Gowanus for many years, I was pretty excited when a watering hole called Bar Tano opened up just across the street from my studio. Little by little this industrial area built along a polluted canal is beginning to transform.

The latest news is that two music venues will be opening up in the neighborhood this fall. I’m told that The Bell House will be something very special. Knowing that the venue’s proprietors did a bang-up job with another local bar-venue called Union Hall, I have no doubt that the space will be a success. A hop skip and jump away, a 6200 square foot warehouse has been converted into Littlefield. I guess this is all very exciting. I’m just wondering how long before the Williamsberg hipster population discovers the neighborhood. Between the too-cool-for-schoolers and the hideous over-priced condo buildings going up, I may have to start searching for a new place to call home. European suggestions anyone?

 

A few nights ago, I met a group of other directors at a little summer roof party. One of the directors, Joe Stevens was telling me about a short documentary that he recently finished. The film’s focus is on a group of teens in Queens who have taken to rigging big stereo equipment to their BMX bikes. Coincidentally, yesterday I came across a nice bit of press on the project. Made in Queens looks quite interesting.

Despite the popularity of boxing as a means to stay in shape, the number of proper boxing gyms in NYC has plummeted over the years. This weekend, I spent a day filming in the world renowned Gleason’s Gym in DUMBO. The environment is simply inspiring. Every angle of the gym provided a visual feast to the camera’s lens; the walls are wrapped with the faces of champions.

This boxing gym is a place of pure inspiration. Though everyone from Muhammad Ali to Mike Tyson have trained in Gleason’s, a novice can easily see themselves hitting the bag there even if only for a good workout. The sweaty smell of the air is the perfect accompaniment to the worn ropes on the ring and fading paint on the lockers. The gym is clearly a melting pot of race, gender and age. Boxers range from small children to men well into their fifties. And while I was there to shoot one particular female fighter whom had recently won the Golden Gloves Tournament, I was overwhelmed by the number of ladies training tough as nails. Like the boardwalk of Coney Island or the small shops of the Lower East Side, Gleason’s Gym is one of the very special old-world parts of New York that simply can’t be replicated.

Thank you for all of your help and generosity Bruce & Fire.


A 600 person capacity music venue combined with 16 lanes of bowling is coming to Williamsberg this Fall. The venue called Brooklyn Bowl will boast a menu created by Blue Ribbon, a very celebrated series of eateries in the city.

 

I have a neighbor who is keen on making paintings of places in New York. He is drawn towards subjects that represent an old world, places that are hanging by a thread to exist. Yesterday, he told me about a graveyard for tugboats that exists in Staten Island. Apparently, there are literally hundreds of boats docked in their final resting place. Some of these ships are wooden tugs dating back to the early 20th Century. Curious to see what these may look like, I found a flickr photo-set that someone had taken of the area. I also, found some info on a short film made about this very place.

A gallery of images from this year’s “Running of the Bulls” week in Pamplona, Spain. Culture seems like an absurd excuse for such a barbaric game that is built entirely on machismo. So every time a person is gored by the animal, my congratulations to that bull.