Ich bin ein Krapfen in Berlin

I spent much of Thursday, my first day in Berlin, walking around chilly Friedrichshain in the rain. I took a few shots, but nothing to write home about. Yesterday, however, was a glorious day–cool and crisp with beautiful fall light. I went for a long walk from my hotel in Friedrichshain to Kreuzberg, the district just southwest. Here are some pictures (and by the way, as you probably know, JFK didn’t really call himself a jelly doughnut when giving a speech to West Berliners in 1963).

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Shop window in Friedrichshain, Berlin. Photo: Jim Newberry

Friedrichshain, Berlin facade. Photo: Jim Newberry

Sushi Guerilla. Photo: Jim Newberry

Photo: Jim Newberry

Click below to view more images…

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Chicagogo dance party righteousness

A couple weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending a taping of the long-running and always fabulous public access TV show Chicagogo. As usual, the guests were top-notch, including entertainment industry greats Monotonix and Neil Hamburger. As I’m a big fan of both of those acts I was already pretty excited, but the thrills didn’t stop there; I had been enlisted by Internet revenge-rapper Rap Master Maurice to assume the identity of my freshly-minted alter ego DJ Oh Jeez. In the top Youtube vid below you can see me spinning the wheels of steel on RMM’s right, with Judas on cue cards standing to the hip-hopper’s left.

Below, from top to bottom: panoramic still of the taping, and performances from Rap Master Maurice, Monotonix, and Neil Hamburger respectively.

photo: Jim Newberry
photo: Jim Newberry




Superwoman, Superman spotted in Chicago

Superwoman and Superman in Chicago
Photo: Jim Newberry

A couple months ago I had the great pleasure of bumping into Superwoman and Superman, on Damen Avenue in Chicago. Seeing as it was nowhere near Halloween, I wondered WTF.

Me: If you don’t mind my asking, what are you guys up to?
Superman: Fighting crime and keeping the streets clean.

I guess that was a pretty dumb question…

Superwoman and Superman in Chicago
Photo: Jim Newberry

In Chicago we’re partying like it’s 1993

Chicago music fans: remember the early nineties, when music industry douches decided Wicker Park was “one of the more buzz-oriented cities,” and Billboard magazine published a map of the neighborhood on their cover, dubbing it “Cutting Edge’s New Capital?” When Liz Phair’s Exile in Guyville and Urge Overkill’s Saturation were released? When Sub Pop put out Red Red Meat’s second album, Jimmywine Majestic? In a 1994 NYT article on the indie rock “alternative” rock mecca that was said to be Wicker Park, Red Red Meat’s Tim Rutili succinctly put things in perspective:

“Everybody is worried about Wicker Park being made out to be some kind of Disneyland, when it’s just a dumb neighborhood with a lot of bad artists.”

Mr. Rutili said: “This is not Paris in the 20’s. It’s really not.”

I can’t remember, did Steve Albini have an opinion on any of this?

Anyhow, for you young kids that missed 1993 the first time, it’s back! You had your chance to see Phair perform the entire Exile album live in Chicago last week; this Thursday Red Red Meat is reuniting (!!) at The Hideout; and Saturday, Urge Overkill has a gig at the Bottom Lounge.

In this post I reminisced about the first concert I shot–a Sly Stone show. My first record cover was UO’s Lineman single, their first release on Touch and Go.

Urge Overkill Lineman single

Here’s a snapshot of a chrome I shot of Red Red Meat in 1996.

Red Red Meat

Here’s a publicity shot I took of Ms. Phair, made while she was recording Whitechocolatespaceegg:

Liz Phair

I sure miss the Busy Bee!

Stash of Weegee prints and letters found

From tomorrow’s New York Times:

…this week the Indianapolis Museum of Art plans to announce that it has acquired a trove of work and correspondence by Weegee, the crepuscular, stogie-smoking New York photographer whose visceral pictures became a template not only for artists like Diane Arbus but also for much of the uncomfortably close tabloid imagery that exists today. The museum described the acquisition as a partial gift and partial purchase from the dealer.
The trunk is assumed to have once been the possession of Wilma Wilcox, a social worker who was Weegee’s companion and lived with him from 1957 until his death in 1968. Upon her death in 1993, she bequeathed the bulk of his work — thousands of prints and negatives — to the International Center of Photography in Manhattan. How the trunk full of prints and 62 letters to Ms. Wilcox from Weegee (born Usher Fellig in what is now Ukraine, and later known as Arthur Fellig) ended up in Kentucky is a mystery that neither the Indianapolis Museum nor the dealer, Steve H. Nowlin, has solved.

“People who work in the daytime are suckers,” he once said. Before the publication of his first book, “Naked City,” made him famous in 1945, he lived in a cheap room near police headquarters and was said to be so accustomed to working on the run that he once developed a picture of a prizefight in a subway motorman’s cab while rushing back to a newspaper office.

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Camera phone pictures part two: Fullerton Avenue

No Cruising Zone 9PM-9PM

I found this sign on Fullerton Avenue (in Logan Square, Chicago, not far from where I live). I’m really stumped here–why 9PM to 9PM? WTF does that mean? Does it mean cruising is allowed, as long as it’s not 9PM? Does it mean don’t cruise between 9PM and 9PM, ie, no cruising 24 hours a day? If that’s the case, then why not just say, “no cruising zone” period? If you have any thoughts, please post them in the comments–I’d love to hear from you.

Fullerton Avenue, Chicago cornerstone

This is just down the block from the “no cruising zone” sign above–another Logan Square curiosity. I Googled this slogan, including the year, and found this page from the book The New Constitutions of Europe, which you can download in its entirety, if you’re so inclined. According to Title II, Article 6, of the Belgian Constitution:

There shall be no distinction of classes in the state. All Belgians are equal before the law; they alone are admissible to civil and military offices, with such exceptions as may be established by law for particular cases.

Good to know. Why do I suddenly crave waffles?

Bring the Rage!

Bring on the Rage!

I find it charming that Seagram’s is encouraging folks to “bring on the (presumably alcoholic) rage.” I guess drunken rages can be “exciting,” as the following example proves; a few drinks and this guy thinks he’s Ozzy Osbourne:

Mark Andrew Johnson, 45, of Seaford, Victoria, got home drunk, falsely accusing his partner of infidelity before assaulting her and pulling the budgie out of its cage.

Johnson tore the bird’s head from its body, throwing it into the yard, prosecutor Bruce Nibbs told the County Court yesterday.

Johnson then asked his partner where the dog was.

(By Shelley Hodgson, from News.com.au) Billboard photo by Jim Newberry