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Faith No More, "Superhero"

It was a little strange to discover that in this, the two thousand and fifteenth year of the Common Era, when Faith No More cruised through Webster Hall a couple of weeks ago to promote its new album, Sol Invictus, not only had tickets sold out almost immediately, but they were going for nearly two hundred dollars on the secondary market. The lead single from its first album in seventeen years, “Superhero,” like the rest of Sol Invictus—and apparently Mike Patton, judging by the most recent round of press of photos—has a similar ability to distort time: Most of it sounds neither old or new, like it could have come out anytime between 1998’s Album of the Year and today. It might even still sound that way in five years.

The Great Underwear Shift

prattA few months ago, Bloomberg reported on how thoroughly the relatively new-fangled boxer brief had infiltrated men’s pants, which have grown too form-fitting in recent years to stuff baggy boxer shorts into:

Boxer briefs—with the length of traditional boxer shorts and the form-fitting profile of briefs—are the overwhelming national favorite, laying claim to nearly 40 percent of the $2.7 billion U.S. men’s underwear market, according to data from NPD Group. The style has continued to gain ground as men abandon loose underwear in favor of slimmer, more secure undies. Boxer briefs have “become the expected product, rather than the experimental one,” says NPD’s Marshal Cohen. “It started out as very avant-garde—a statement piece. … The shock factor of what it was, and why it was, is gone.”

Yesterday, the New York Times argued that an analogous shift—though, one that is not nearly as widespread—is happening in women’s underwear, from thongs to “full-bottom bikinis, boy shorts and high-waist briefs”:

“Within millennial and Generation Y consumer groups, it’s considered cool to be wearing full-bottom underwear,” said Bernadette Kissane, an apparel analyst at the market intelligence firm Euromonitor. “Thongs have had their moment.”

Data provided by the research company NPD Group back her up. Sales of thongs decreased 7 percent over the last year, while sales of fuller styles — briefs, boy shorts and high-waist briefs — have grown a collective 17 percent.

For the first time in decades, in other words, the silhouettes of men’s and women’s underwear, which, during peak thong and peak boxer shorts, were highly divergent, have re-aligned: full, form-fitting, slimming coverage for both sexes. There is probably a cultural anthropologist who can more readily explain the precise causal relation between underwear styles, gender dynamics, and geopolitics, but the last time everybody wore the basically same underwear, Reagan was in office.

New York City, May 27, 2015

weather review sky 052715★★★★ The sun shone blearily through thick, smelly morning air. The cross street was pungent like feces newly stepped on. Even the fresh cooking odors being generated by a food cart had a note of rot. The gray in the sky burned away to a thin whiteness over blue. The light was lovely and the air was cool and there was a smell by the gutter that was nauseating after perhaps one glass too many, or too hasty, of iced coffee. People were gladly sunstruck, invigorated by it, trying out their body parts. The platinum bleach jobs going around were brilliant. The barber could not stop sneezing till the shampooist ran out and brought back an over-the-counter pill and a cup of water. The windowshades had been opaque from outside the shop but from the chair, the street was visible, with only the details of the sidewalk stains fuzzed out. The temperature was neither warm nor cool enough to call attention to the absent hair. At the workday’s end there was a purposeful wind, and then uptown a big, light gray cloud stood over Broadway. The apartment lobby was suddenly dark, and the living room window showed heavy clouds over the river. A figure like a giant dangling torso with clawed hands dangled by its waist from the bottom of the main cloud, arched its back, and broke apart. Then the turmoil was replaced by a smooth and featureless gradient of light and color: “I think it’s a mixed-up color,” the three-year-old said. “I think it’s brownish orange.” “Blue to purple to orange,” the seven-year-old said. The orange fraction, glowing at the bottom, brightened and grew. The clouds acquired texture and turned lavender, then pink. It was well after they’d faded again that the rain began at last to fall.

Watch Don Hertzfeldt's Profoundly Affecting 'World of Tomorrow'

You may already know Don Hertzfeldt from films like “It’s Such a Beautiful Day,” “The Meaning of Life,” “Billy’s Balloon,” and “Rejected.” His work has played around the world, receiving over 200 awards, and most recently appeared in a special guest appearance on “The Simpsons.” Seven of his films have screened in competition at the Sundance Film Festival, where he is the only filmmaker to have won the overall Grand Jury Prize for Short Film twice.

“World of Tomorrow” tells the story of a young girl named Emily, who meets a clone of herself from the future. According to Splitsider’s Chris Kopcow, “‘World Of Tomorrow’ peers into the future to ask big questions about how we live and fail to live, how technology hurts and helps us, how there’s a possibility, however remote, that you may just end up alone and afraid.”

To watch “World of Tomorrow,” simply create a Vimeo account and rent or buy the new season by clicking the “purchase” button in the video player above. Or you can just go here.

The Juice Wars

juicewars

On the south side of East 9th Street, a couple of storefronts down from the corner, is a small juice bar called Bequ—stylized “beQu,” for “Beyond Quality.” Taras Strachnyi and his brother Peter opened it at the beginning of last year. Strachnyi has been in the juice business, he told me, for nearly fifteen years, learning his trade as a teenager and in his early twenties at the long-standing East Village juice emporium Liquiteria. Strachnyi’s family moved to the East Village from Ukraine when he was nine years old, and he grew up going to the Ninth Street Bakery that closed in 2013 after eighty-seven years in business, whose space Bequ now occupies. (According to the Village Voice, the landlord raised the rent by 38 percent.) “I’ve been coming to the bakery since I was a kid,” Strachnyi told me. “This location means more to me than just some juice bar.”

Bequ, Strachnyi said, sources all of its juices’ ingredients locally, makes them in micro-batches, and doesn’t pasteurize them. When a location of the East Village coffee colossus The Bean started selling juice across the street from Bequ a few months ago, Strachnyi took it as a personal affront. “We were building out for seven months, and then they just happen to put in a juice press?” Strachnyi asked. Then, in the winter, The Bean dropped its juice prices and put a sign out advertising that they had done so—a sign facing Bequ’s storefront. “It was cold, and I had to come in every day and see that sign,” Strachnyi griped. “As a consumer, even if you don’t care about Bequ, or The Bean, wouldn’t that piss you off?”

A Poem by Gabrielle Calvocoressi

“I was popular in certain circles”

Among the river rats and the leaves.
For example. I was huge among the lichen,
and the waterfall couldn’t get enough
of me. And the gravestones?
I was hugely popular with the gravestones.
Also with the meat liquefying
beneath. I’d say to the carrion birds,
I’d say, “Are you an eagle? I can’t see
so well.” That made them laugh until we
were screaming. Eagle. Imagine.

The 'We're All Going to Die' Candidate

The campaign for U.S. Senate candidate Mike Beitiks begins with a message of comfort to his prospective constituents: “ISIS. Obamacare. Russia. The NSA. Wealth disparity. Immigration reform. Gun control. What do all of these hot issues for the 2016 election have in common? None of them matter because we’re all going to die.” Beitiks’ platform is singular: Halt government action until climate change is addressed. While the San Franciscan native is certain this message won’t get him elected, he’s hopeful that his extremely narrow campaign will at least offer consolation to those who fear human extinction, if only by letting them know they’re not alone.

The other day, I spoke with Beitiks—a licensed lawyer and father of two—about his first foray into politics.

Where did the campaign come from?

I’m pretty much just a regular person. I have a law degree and I’m not completely unfamiliar with the political system. But, like many people, I have a certain level of unresolved anxiety about the climate crisis, and was not seeing any political reaction I found satisfactory, or even close to satisfactory. I just decided, well, if no one else is going to be the voice of reason, I’m more than happy to do this.

Heathered Pearls, "Interior Architecture Software"


Some songs just sort of roll along in the background for a bit before you suddenly snap forward and say, “You know what? I think I like this.” I had this new one from Heathered Pearls going earlier this morning, not particularly calling attention to itself but simply setting a sound, and you know what? I think I like it. Perhaps you will as well. Enjoy.

New York City, May 26, 2015

weather review sky 052615★★★★ The indoor air had held a minatory heaviness, but outside the humid breeze was forbearing, the plaza under its translucent green awning of trees was busy with people gone out to face the day. The twin subway stairs downtown inhaled fresh currents from above. Up on the roof the bone-tinged glare hurt the eyes and made them water, but the rest of the body sank into the warmth. A new birdsong sounded, and something barred and dun—a house finch, most likely, in the blurry light—tugged at the wine-colored maple leaves. The way home was not the least bit hot. One white-brick facade, on the daily route, somehow now stood out luminously from its neighbors.

Rachel Grimes, "Transverse Plane Vertical"


What? You don’t think you can really get behind the emerging wave of neo-classical music that, thanks to the diverse set of influences embraced by its creators, has finally shed the staid, pretentious parlor-room associations with which it was so easily dismissed in the past? Well, fuck you. Be an idiot, what do I care? The world gets dumber every day and the acceleration by which that overwhelming stupidity encroaches has probably reached escape velocity, so if you choose to live a life of gleeful fatuity you can be sure at least that you will have plenty of compatriots with whom to spend your remaining days of drool discharge in agreeably innocuous company. If, on the other hand, you are willing to give something a little less obvious a try, please press play and, if possible, enjoy. You can stream the whole of Rachel Grimes’ excellent The Clearing here.