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Pictionary Art II

Jordan | Out & About | Monday, February 28th, 2005

It had been over a year since we had last played Pictionary, and the remnant works of art are as impressive as last time. Behold:

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Skilift, by Jordan Hoffman

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Clone, by Chris From San Francisco Whose Last Name I Either Forgot Or Never Knew

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Soldier, by Denise Stockman

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Maine, by Jordan Hoffman

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Jackpot, by Chris From San Francisco Whose Last Name I Either Forgot Or Never Knew

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Gore, by Jordan Hoffman

A Pox On Domestic Stability!

Jordan | E-motions | Monday, February 28th, 2005

I don’t want to get too into this, but: Six months ago I moved in with the wonderful Ann, who is, in addition to so many other marvelous things, a fantastic cook. Six months ago was also the last time I was “weighed-in” in any official capacity. And just when I thought there was no more room for me hang any more fat, I find myself TWENTY FREAKIN’ POUNDS heavier!?!!? And what is so amazing is that I have been excersizing a lot more now than I’ve been in years. Stars are aligned, though — a new month is beginning; I will spend the next six months eating salad and grilled chicken.

9 More Pictures Of The Gates

Jordan | Out & About | Friday, February 25th, 2005

Sick of The Gates yet? I’ve got dozens of these fuckin’ pictures on my hard drive and, dammit, I am going to share them with you whether you like it or not.

These photos were taken on Tues, Feb 22. It was the third time I saw The Gates, but the first time I had done so inadvertantly. In other words, I simply was trying to get somewhere and this once-in-a-lifetime site-specific work of art got in the way.

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Memories Come RUSHing Back

Jordan | E-motions | Friday, February 25th, 2005

At the same time I was listening to Rush’s “2112,” (7th grade? 8th grade? 9th grade?) I was looking the part, too. Oh, if only I had a photo. Let me break it down for you:

The big glasses. The size of a SETI dish.

The hair. Do I have to use the word? It starts with an M and ends with a T. Two Ts. Lou Reed wore one, too, so it couldn’t've been THAT uncool.

The jacket. Ah, yes, the jacket. The jacket I wore pretty much every day from 1987 to 1990. Denim, natch. Acid washed, of course. Acid bathed. More white than blue.

Above the left breast pocket a sewn on patch of the Union Jack that said ‘The Who” on it. And the “o” in “Who” had an arrow pointing off to the northeast, like the symbol of masculinity.

Above the right breast pocket a large and genuine pin of Chairman Mao. This was a gift from a Mr. James Muhall, my Chinese teacher. (I took one year of Chinese in 8th grade, one of the only two years it was offered in my school) The only thing I remember from this class was how to say hello, goodbye, thank you and Mrs. But Mr. Muhall (or was it Mulhall?) did bring us in to Chinatown one day to have Dim Sum. It was a small class (4 of us) so we packed into his car and drove in. There was a curious moment during this class trip when Mr. Muhall parked the car in what I now know to be the East Village (we were near CBGB, where I knew Punk Rock, an idiom I was less-than-impressed with at the time, was born). He said, “stay here, folks, I’ll be right back. I’ve got to pick something up from a friend of mine.” We stayed in the car and listened to the radio. We were old enough to be left unattended for a few minutes (there was one kid in the class in 10th or 11th grade) so we just sat there and did nothing. We had no idea where Mr. Muhall had gone off to, but didn’t spend too much time wondering. When he came back we asked what he was doing and he only said, “I had to pick something up.” Only years and years later did it dawn on me — Mr. Muhall was getting weed! How could I not have known that? ANYWAY, the Chairman Mao pin was a gift we all got at the end of the year (he’d spent some time in China) and I wore it and it was, and probably still is, cool. Only once did anyone say anything about it. I was at the dentist’s and Dr. Stern looked at my jacket and said, “Chairman Mao!?? What are you, a red?” I didn’t know what the hell he was talking about. I thought it was a cool pin of a guy in a uniform with a star on his hat. I shrugged and he looked in my mouth.

Below Chairman Mao, around the button which you’d manipulate to get into the right breast pocket I hung a small Led Zeppelin keychain. It was black and had the words “Led Zeppelin” in yellow and the “Swan Song” insignia. . .which was basically a naked man with Pegasus wings flailing his arms and legs around.

Along the lapels of both sides: the little buttons. I had the following. A tiny button which read “Queensryche: The Warning.” Another was just a bullseye which I picked up in a box of 25 cent tiny buttons at The Record Store. (The Record Store on Rte 9 in Howell, nicknamed “The” for short, still exists, but in a new location. It still has a giant Led Zeppelin IV cassette on its roof.) This bullseye pin was an insignia for some local Jersey band I had never heard of, but I just kinda dug it and wore it anyway. I also wore a fairly large yellow eyeball pin. And then, of course, not one, not two, but three Star Trek pins.

One Star Trek pin was an image of Kirk, Spock and (I believe) Scotty, not Bones on the Transporter Deck. Above it read the word “Energize.” Another was just a close up of Kirk which read “The Captain.” The third was of Spock doing something goofy with his hands. I can’t remember what it said above that, but it was something like “A Creature of Logic.”

So this was the front of the jacket. The least embarrasing side of the jacket.

The back was covered entirely with a gigantic, near tapestry-sized patch. The bottom third had something like the lunar landscape, except there was a little bit of color thrown in — some light use of bright purple and green dotting the gray. The top two thirds were black, save for the twinkling of stars and some laser-like outlines pyramids. Kinda like a waveform monitor or the game “Battlezone.” At the top border read, in a registered trademark font, the words “Pink Floyd.” And on the bottom border, the words “The Great Gig In The Sky.”

I remember buying this thing. It was at a head shop (only I didn’t know it was a head shop, I just thought they sold cool rock patches) at the Englishtown Auction, which was a giant collection of tents and trailers selling cheap shit not too far from our house. My mother liked to go there periodically, and when I was told we were going there I said I would only come along if I could buy something cool for my jacket. It took me a loooooong time to figure out which gargantuan back-patch I wanted. When I finally zeroed in on Pink Floyd (my favorite band at the time) I had many within this subset to choose from. Part of me wanted the traditional “Dark Side of the Moon” design. Just a beam of white light entering a prism triangle and coming out the other side as a rainbow. But this one was more esoteric — I’d never seen it before (or since. . .it was probably an unlicensed knock-off) and I liked that it said “Pink Floyd” in large letters lest anyone think for a moment that I did not rock.

The jacket doesn’t exist anymore. I don’t know when my mother threw it away, but I sure wish she didn’t. It should be in the Smithsonian. Or, at least, in Jpeg form on my blog.

We Are The Priests of the Temples of Syrinx

Jordan | Cram it in Your Ear | Friday, February 25th, 2005

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The first Rush album I ever bought is still my favorite.

I know itís most unusual
To come before you so
But Iíve found an ancient miracle
I thought that you should know

Economics played a part in my love of bands like Rush, Yes, Emerson Lake & Palmer and Genesis. The tapes were cheap! As a youngster I received $10 a week in “allowance” from my father. This was under the rubric that I would occasionally “do stuff” around the house. I did not have an organized or ordained list of “chores” that I could tick off throughout the week. It would be random and haphazard. “Jordan! Set the table!” or “Jordan! Come outside and pick some weeds!” Now, as a middle-school kid, sometimes I just didn’t want to be bothered that moment. Maybe if I knew in advance that at some point before Sunday it would be my responsibility to pick weeds out of the slate patio in the back I wouldn’t be so quick to rebel against the task. I mean, here I am, happily watching a rerun of “M*A*S*H” or “The Jeffersons” and out of nowhere I am summoned to do manual labor. Occasionally I would protest — and if I did I was reminded — “You don’t want to do it? Fine. But don’t expect your allowance this week.”

And that always got me going. Because with the $10 I could buy a cassette tape of my choice. (I hailed from a Rhode Island-size sliver of adolescent zeitgeist wherein records were out but CDs were not yet in.) A cassette at the local Music Den (later to be bought out by Sam Goody) was $8.99, so, with tax, this came to just under a ten spot. But my point is this: tapes by Rush cost $3.99. $3.99! For that low fee I could by TWO a week! And I did. Lucky for me the music kicked ass, too.

Save Toby

Jordan | No News Is Good News | Friday, February 25th, 2005

Save Toby.

You say you’re sorry/For tellin’ stories/That you know I believe are true.

Jordan | Cram it in Your Ear | Thursday, February 24th, 2005

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My reaction to Bob Dylan’s “Chronicles Vol I,” which I read at a lightning pace, is, oddly, similar to that of Mel Gibson’s “Passion of the Christ.” It is a story for insiders. If you don’t know your way around the Folk Revival scene or Dylan’s discography, you will be lost. While some of the yarns he spins are fun (some are hilarious) and his turns of phrase are, well, Dylanesque, I could understand if someone threw this book across the room and shouted, “Who cares?!?” (I know one woman who did.) A large chunk of the small book gives exacting details on the recording process of his relatively obscure late 80s album “Oh Mercy.” Now, as it happens, “Oh Mercy” is one of my favorite Dylan albums — and, since it was released at an imprssionable time for me, it is one of the most important albums in the soundtrack of my life. But the average person who is fond of “Like A Rolling Stone” and “Tangled Up In Blue” will not have heard of any of these songs. . . so despite how jauntily Dylan writes, it may be flat out uninteresting to anyone who isn’t already a Dylan enthusiast. But who cares? I liked the book and await parts 2 and 3. Interesting to know Dylan considers whimsical conceptual artist Red Grooms an influence on his songwriting. And that he liked Barry Goldwater. I was particularly delighted by all the nice things he said about Dave Van Ronk. I was lucky enough to chew the fat with Dave on more than one occassion (back when *I* positively lived on 4th St.) and he was a hell of a guy.

The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie (2003), Stephen Hillenburg, B

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Thursday, February 24th, 2005

If you told me when I woke up this morning I’d be watching the Spongebob movie in a theater filled with (relatively) well behaved children I’d say you were mad. It was clever and funny, for the most part. I was most impressed that the whole message of the film was to be a Goofy Goober.

Work Hard, Play Hard (2003), Jean-Marc Moutout, D

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Thursday, February 24th, 2005

People who don’t know anything sometimes like to crack wise that French movies are nothing but gloomy, boring talk. In the case of this piece of cinematic merd, the stereotype is justified. I watched this because the logline bares an odd similarity to the project Kerry and I have cooking. If only we lived in a European country where arts are government funded and could get our hands on one one hundreth of the budget. Whereas our brilliant film uses the same logline as a launching point, this cure for insomnia just kicks it around for 90 minutes. And then it ends with a man staring out to the sea.

Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle (2004), Danny Leiner, A

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Thursday, February 24th, 2005

A profound work. Hysterical, tender and wise. Perhaps this struck home as I spent some of my lost youth wandering around Monmouth County, New Jersey, too (why didn’t they just go to the White Castle on 9 in Sayerville?) but Harold and Kumar have universal appeal. From the Shofar bong the Jewish neighbors smoked from to Neil Patrick Harris leaving love stains in the car, I laughed out loud many times all by myself in my apartment. And when the movie was over I went to the deli and bought a 99 cent pack of Suzi Qs. ‘Cause they were exactly what I wanted.

Zombie Holocaust (1980), Marino Girolami, D

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Wednesday, February 23rd, 2005

You’d think a movie with a title like this would be good fun, wouldn’t ya? This movie is a goddamn bore. Fun to see a little 1980 New York City location photography. That and loinclothed Indonesians eating hearts.

Kiss Me Goodbye (1982), Robert Mulligan, B

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Wednesday, February 23rd, 2005

A little dated (heck, a lot dated) but still fun filmed play of James Caan as the ghost of a Ben Vereen-type out to spike the romance between his surviving wife, Sally Field, to a Bill Pullman (or is it Paxton?)-esque Jeff Bridges. There are a few very clever scenes with lots of rapid-fire dialogue. I used to watch this and “Seems Like Old Times” a lot as a kid.

Maz.com

Jordan | No News Is Good News | Wednesday, February 23rd, 2005

He may’ve moved to another city, but Adam Mazmanian’s musings can now be read online.

Someone Else’s City, Not Mine

Jordan | Out & About | Wednesday, February 23rd, 2005

199 Chambers St., in the heart of hip Tribeca, is actually a time warp to the Ford Administration and some horrible, horrible architecture.

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How To Cheat On Your Fiancee, Drink From A Spit Bucket and Devolve Into A Chasm Of Suicidal Pity — A Vacation!!

Jordan | E-motions | Wednesday, February 23rd, 2005

Has the whole world gone crazy? Am I the only sane person left?! Sideways is an absolutely brilliant film about emotionally stunted men who use sex and alcohol to mask their pain. But, apparantly, when you tour the Santa Ynez wine region you can be one of 40,000 to pick up a brochure called The Sideways Guide to Wine and Life. Did they see the same movie I did?

Masculine-Feminine (1966), Jean-Luc Godard, A

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Monday, February 21st, 2005

Godard’s balls are so huge. Thinking economically, he essentially borrows his friend Truffaut’s character Antoine Doinel and sticks him in his own movie. (There’s even a little wink as Paul, as Jean-Pierre Leaud’s character is called here, refers to himself as “General Doinel” when trying to hijack a car from an army outpost.) This is an artist at the top of his game — zipping around Paris, babbling about love, poetry and workers’ rights. Godard’s early films are like sweet chunks of quasi-intellectual candy.

Downfall (2005), Oliver Hirschbiegel, A

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Monday, February 21st, 2005

I was only partially enthused about the first half of this film. It would be interesting to someone into history — like “A Bridge Too Far” or a TV mini-series with Maximillian Schell. Then about an hour into it something grabbed me by the throat and wouldn’t let me go. Inside Hitler’s dingy blue-gray bunker during the last days of the Thousand Year Reich we are witness to the death throes of a sick ideology as it degenerates into drunkeness and suicide. Bruno Ganz plays Hitler teetering on dementia. He talks like Howard Hughes and looks like Ed Sullivan. He’s also nice to his secretary (before dictating to her how proud he is for making Deutchland Judenrein.) The New York Daily News’s Jack Matthews writes “But the very thought of humanizing Hitler makes me queasy. If he had a good side, I don’t want to know about it.” This is idiotic for two reasons. No one is going to come away from this film a Hitler fan. He dies as a stain on the couch, a miserable, Parkinson’s-shaken neurotic cursing the men who fought for him. Secondly, what makes Hitler fascinating is that he isn’t an alien monster taken from a DC comic. He was a human being. And, yes, he probably was sweet to his secretary. (Jesus was a human being, too, and people got bent out of shape when Scorsese’s “Last Temptation” showed him getting a hard-on. Hey — you gotta face facts.) To explore the human elements of these larger-than-life characters from history, names that create isms and anities, this is something only good art can do. And Hirschbiegel’s film is art. The tension in the bunker scenes ranks with, oddly, a film like “Das Boot.” And the performances here are incredible. Josef & Mrs. Goebells are remarkable. A chill shot through me as Goebells condemns the civilians of Berlin to death, because Hitler has decreed no surrender — and the peoples’ prior support of Hitler was a mandate that they would follow his orders to the end. The use of the current buzzword shook me — these political ideologies that lead to mass death, this is not far away history. This is happening today, in different forms, all over the worlds — and even just up the block from the Film Forum where I am watching this. (If you figure Film Forum and Fox News are both right off of 6th Ave in Manhattan.)

Mark The Calendar, I Agree With George Bush

Jordan | No News Is Good News | Monday, February 21st, 2005

I know that one should always keep in mind the axiom that whatever W. thinks, think the opposite. However I must say that I am on his side, and not the side of Chirac and Schroeder with respect to lifting the arms embargo to China. Why on Earth should defence companies get even richer selling weapons to China? Even though 95% of the clothes you wear are made in China (if you shop at the same cheap stores I do) it is still a horrible, repressive government. Am I missing an angle here? Would other loony members of the fringe left explain to me why I should be against Bush’s refusal to lift the ban?

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