"Blogging isn't journalism, it's graffiti with punctuation."

Jef Aerosol

Word on the Street in New York is …

Post No Selfie.

Post No Bills, Give No Fucks.

Know Thy Selfie.

I Reeeally Dislike The Word ‘Artist.’

Fuck Your Phone – Keep Your Head Up!

I’m More Of An Internet Artist.

no more tears.

SOUP NAZI!

The Power Of Kanye Compels You.

All I See Are Naked Emperors. –Gilf

Never Let Go.

Loveless (I am not).

Black Is Beautiful – Jef Aerosol.

We’re all alone
Bound by fear
Seeking the mirage of love.

 

I photographed this three years ago. It seems the #FairyTalesfortheFatherless wheatpaste crew is still at it.

Sound familiar? Look to the right of this blog.

Aren’t we all.

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Word on the Street in Paris


This above and below is by Seth aka Globepainter, near Rue Mouffetard coming down from Place Contrescarpe. I love how expressive and bold they are, with the thick lines and rounded curves. And the childlike enthusiasm.

And the disappearing into walls…


Ha! Look at this slug trying to be a repairman! I think my favourite detail is the tool belt. I found this near Abesses metro station.


This is a classic Jef Aerosol piece that I’ve photographed many times before in other cities.


Nina Simone by Miss Me. The first time I found a Miss Me was in Montreal, but I also found her work in Berlin when I was living there this summer. She’s also in Paris! Good for her! Canadians are taking over the planet, just you wait. I found this in the hilly staircases of Montmartre.

TYPEWRITER PORNOGRAPHY. by WRDSMITH

see him?


J’ai demandé à la lune….


I suspect the artist behind this carebear piece is the same artist behind The Kiss (pixelated) that I blogged about last week.


The following, including this one, were all found on Rue Denoyez. The last time I blogged from Rue denoyez was 2 years ago, and this time the experience was much less enjoyable, because of all the disgusting sexual harassment that happens in the Belleville area. I literally had to run in, photograph, and run out. I was being hounded at every corner. Seriously Paris, fuck you. Do something about your sexual harassment problem.

 

Arbeit Macht Lazy, huh?


There was no artist name next to this one, anyone know who’s behind this? It’s great, wasn’t far from the Victor Hugo museum…

Ha ha ha.


It’s an animal menagerie at Porte de Vanves.

Check out my Paris category for all the wonderfully cool finds I’ve photographed over the years, from street art to writer-hangouts to relics of the past, and everything in between.


The Best Life

I’ve been on the road for three weeks now, and I’m so glad I decided to throw off the shackles of suspended animation and stationary living that were cutting into my skin (In short, paying rent is for suckers). I’ve been a backpacker for nine years now, and even though I have been to so many places, and learned a lot, I always seem to discover new places and learn new things. So far all the cities on this journey are places I have been to/lived in before (Brussels, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and soon Berlin), but it’s hard to be bored in these cities. I’ve forsaken flying, and have been taking the delightful European trains like a civilized person. I’ve been Couchsurfing and house-sitting, which has allowed me to make new friends, snuggle with some snuggle-pets, and take the time to really explore without feeling rushed. My days consist of drinking sweet lattes, writing in my journal while sneaking glances at the pretty bearded hipster dudebro behind the counter, walking around a European metropolis in the sunshine, taking photographs of provocative street art and urban art, indulging in Pain au Chocolat’s without a trace of guilt, going to flea markets, spending hours at enthralling museums, rocking out to Nils Frahm, and partaking in SO MUCH EUROVISION (I had no idea when I came to Copenhagen that I’d be here at the same time as the Eurovision Song Contest, but boy has it been fun! Go Conchita go).

A friend of mine recently sent me this message:

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I am forced to agree.

Here are some highlights and urban art from my travels this past month.

Brussels


In Brussels, of course my first stop was the Jeu de Balle flea market to spend hours upon hours rummaging through boxes to find some love letters. Remember this? Anyway, I found 10 love letters written between a husband and wife from 1956-8 in Brussels. He was a military doctor and so he was stationed away from home quite often. Look at that lipstick kiss in the letter! They totally got it bad for each other. I also found a letter written during WWII (it’s undated but I’m guessing from the letters’ contents that it’s from about 1944) written between cousins about how “les sales boches” (aka The Nazis) have invaded Belgium and the family misses their homeland. They are in exile in an area of France that was not occupied by the Nazis and 12 family members are living in a small flat. The cousin writes to the other cousin, begging him to join her, saying, “we will make space on the mattress for you.”

I love you, Jeu de Balle.


Jef Aerosol has an ongoing exhibit just around the corner from Jeu de Balle.

Amsterdam


Of course no trip to Amsterdam is complete without going hunting for a few Laser 314‘s 🙂


I also spent a great deal of time at Amsterdam’s Resistance Museum, and then following a map to all of the important locations in the city during the Nazi occupation, including where Jews had to buy their Star of David armbands, the theatre converted for mass deportations, the Carlton hotel that a war plane smashed into, the bombs that dropped on a home on the Herengracht, the air-raid shelters, and more. Highly recommended if you’re into WWII history like me


This is Laser’s nod to 1984.

 

Copenhagen


When you take the train from Hamburg to Copenhagen, the train (which is only 4 small carriages) goes ONTO THE FERRY. No one ever believes me when I tell them this.


SELFIE.


Ah, Copenhagen. I was last here in 2006 (read my post from that time here, and this post has all my photographs from back then). If I’m being honest, my memory of my time here in 2006 is rather hazy, so I’m glad I’m spending a good chunk of time here.


This is wonderful. An underwater sculpture in one of the canals.


The boats have to be careful, otherwise their propellers will be destroyed.


Kirekegaard’s grave!


Hans Christian Andersen’s grave!


I swear, Copenhagen is filled with so much antiquity, and so few people, that sometimes, you can walk down a street, preserved in detail for 200 years, and wonder if you’ve stepped through time, without the presence of cars and technology to distract you.

I’m still in Copenhagen, so this section is a work in progress. More photographs to come! I have SO MUCH STREET ART TO SHARE!

Stay glued.

 


Belgian Catfish

Time for a photo-dump! I’ve taken hundreds of street art pics in the past two months since I arrived in Brussels, and haven’t done all that much blogging.

I’ve had this blog for eight years but and have lovingly updated it frequently (dedication + tenacity), but while I sort things out in my life, please excuse the quietude around here.

Also, before I get to the pictures, I would like to state something for the record: Twice now (or at least twice THAT I KNOW ABOUT), I have been the victim of a Catfish, in that someone has ripped my photos off of here (or my Twitter or Instagram), and created fake profiles with them. The first time happened with a fake Twitter account a few years ago, and last year it was a fake Facebook account (both of which I had successfully shut down by contacting both Twitter HQ and Facebook HQ). Now, I have been informed someone has created an OkCupid profile using my photos. FOR THE RECORD, I am NOT on OkCupid nor am I on any dating website! So if you ever see my face or my photos on ANY dating website, you can rest assured that it is fake! Please report them!

When I was alerted to the fake OkCupid profile, the guy who found it confronted the pathetic loser, who was using the username SweetTea (eww), and they immediately freaked and deleted the account. But that doesn’t mean they won’t create another one using my pics.

Seriously what kind of sad, pathetic person uses someone else’s photos like that? IT’S CREEPY, and just like the people who are fooled, I feel violated.

STOP USING MY PHOTOS. I’M SURE YOU LOOK FINE IN YOUR PHOTOS, USE THEM

Anyway, you Catfishes should know that I’m well-connected on the internet, and all your thievery will get back to me. Duncecaps.

Anyway, here’s the photo dump I promised!

First, MORE SPACE INVADER!

I invade Bruxelles!

This is the same colour scheme as the Belgian flag 🙂


This one was in Ghent 🙂


Another peeing ‘Vader.

Check out my Space Invader category for more of his work that I’ve photographed around the world!

Next – ROA!


Roa is from Belgium (Ghent, to be specific), so I have been searching really hard for his work, but so far have come up with only this one, and another I found in Ghent! WHERE ARE ALL THE ROA’S?


This is the Ghent Roa I found. I thought I’d find many more there! Gutted!

Check out my Roa category for more of his work I’ve photographed around the world!

Next – Sonke!


These were next to the Roa up above!

Check out my Sonke category!

And now some randoms:


This says, “le chemin de bonheur n’est pas une autoroute,” which translates to “the road to happiness is not a highway.”


A Jef Aerosol… beyond those doors is his exhibition, but I didn’t both to go in.


PAC MAN NOM NOM NOM.


People keep naming streets after me.


That’s a small but very noticeable Shepard Fairey (aka Obey)


This was in Ghent.


Ghent


ha! yeah right.

One of my favs.


This is the end.


Jef Aerosol and friends in Paris

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Check out my Jef Aerosol category for more of his works that I’ve photographed around the world.
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Eurail day 4: Ljubljana street art!

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Today was awesome! My full day in Ljubljana could not have been more fun, and it’s still not over yet! Last night when I arrived from Split, my Couchsurfing host Primoz picked me up from the train station! How kind is that. We went back to his place and I met his brother Blaz. I was pretty tired from the long days journey so we just went to bed, but today was wonderful. After Primoz went to work, Blaz said he was going to his friend Jaka’s house for breakfast and invited me along! They made me spicey eggs with tea and toast and I got to play with a cat. Epic win! This is Blaz in the above photo serving the eggs.
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And this is Jaka hamming it up for the camera! Anyway, before they set off for the day, they drove me to this area of Ljubljana called Metelkova where all the wonderful graffiti and street art is located. SOLD.

Anyone who knows me know that I’m a huge fan of street art. It’s ephemeral, it’s democratic, it’s liveable, but most of all, it’s beautiful. And since this Eurail Extravaganza is all about doing activities that are free or cheap in order to stay under budget, street art makes for the perfect activity because its free to enjoy! Why pay entry into the museum of modern art, when your streets are the best museum!

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Do you know who did this beautiful piece of street art, munchkins?
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It’s only one of the more famous artists out there, C215! I’ve photographed him in New York, London, and now Slovenia!
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Hey camera, what are you looking at?
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This looks like a collage of my ex boyfriends. KIDDING!
(Not kidding.)

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I’ve made that face before.
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I make that face all the time.
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Blech.
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Aw. Sisterly love.
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Pet the owl!
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Polaroid!
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The shoes, good gawd the shoes!
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Omg! Do you know who that is?! When I found this I shrieked and people on a bus stared at me oddly.
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It’s a Jef Aerosol! I’ve photographed him a lot all over Brooklyn and at some point he came here to Slovenia! who knew?
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He’s done this exact piece in Brooklyn before, and it never ceases to move me. It’s very potent and lovely.
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Ahhhhhhhh, Motherland!
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I think this piece is my favourite. Has a Picasso feel to it, a quiet sadness, and an ethereal beauty.
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So after all the wonderful graff hunting, I decided to do more touristy things, and ventured into the old town that looks like it was preserved from the 17th century and influenced by Vienna’s artisans. Because it’s the low tourist season, I really had the place to myself. Just a few people on bikes, people drinking coffee, and some shop owners milling about. SO EUROPEAN!

Then I decided to climb the mountain in the centre of town that has the old 15th century castle at the top. At first I was going to use the funicular, but it turns out the cost of the funicular was €4 round trip! AIN’T NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT. So I asked if I could climb the mountain for free, and they showed me where the path was. So I pulled my legwarmers up and marched up that steep mountain. A gal loves her exercise! Once at the top, I stood on the castle fortress walls to overlook the city, but it was rainy and foggy, so no photos.

Headed back down the mountain and stumbled across this amazing bridge where lovers engrave their names on a lock, attach it to the bridge, then throw the key in the river. Their love is eternal. I’ve photographed many bridges around the world where people do this, it’s quite a common practice, but I enjoy it nonetheless.
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So many lovers locks!
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You see that first name? It’s Tadej. I saw that and immediately remembered a task I was given.

Earlier this month when I was in Cambodia, I met a man who worked at the hostel I was staying at in Sihanoukville. His name was Tadej but everyone called him Speedy and he was Slovenian. I told him one night that I was going to go to Ljubljana, and he said he used to work at a pub here called Premier Pub. He asked me if I could go to this pub and tell the staff there simply that “Speedy says hello.” I told him I would.

Fast forward to today and I had almost forgotten about it until I saw this lock! So I looked on the map for the location of Premier Pub, and as luck would have it, IT WAS RIGHT IN FRONT OF THIS BRIDGE! So I marched inside, found some staff, and said, “Speedy says hi!” The barmaid burst out laughing and said, “You were in Cambodia!”

I told her the story, and she said she would pass it on to the rest of the staff. Then I messaged Speedy on Facebook to let him know the job was done.

See? I’m a woman of my word.
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This face was painted right outside the block of flats I’m staying in. So pretty.
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So in terms of money, I’m doing rather well. Primoz made me dinner and tonight he’s taking me to see the new James Bond movie which we can get in for free because he works at a cinema! SAVINGS ALL AROUND! Tomorrow I head to Padova, Italy for my “mini challenge” portion of this trip. Here’s how I spent my money today. The savings just keep piling up!
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Jef Aerosol


i found this Jef Aerosol piece in Bushwick.


He’s known for doing forlorn-looking people sitting down in the fetal position.

i stared at this wheatpaste for a while, and i knew instinctively that i had photographed one of his pieces in Bushwick before.

sure enough, i did some digging, and found this below photo that I took this past Spring when I was in Bushwick:

inspiring, moving work.


new york city loves to mess around with the LA sound, the LA sound…

in NYC for almost a week and i haven’t blogged! this just won’t do, no no no.
customs were jerks, i slept the entire bus ride, arriving in a new place and hating the journey or barely registering it in your brain is typical with greyhound . passing through upstate new york is basically passing one giant junkyard.  as the new jersey turnpike came into view, i broke open the champagne bottle between my ears.
settling in astoria with Amber, i started immediately doing research on street culture, graffiti artists areas, and things i had to do in NYC that were un-tourist-y (seeing as how i’ve been here 3 times before and have done all that empire-rockefeller-times square-radio city-ellis island-wtc-5th ave-macys-brooklyn bridge bullshit) that gave me a sense of the subcultures, vibes, and shadows that only the locals know about. i could blend right in, disappear, become a ghost.
found out through so much digging that the following night pop-culture-icon Sasha Grey was having a book launch in Soho.
i jumped on that quicker than a bread truck hauling bodies
if you don’t know about Sasha Grey, she became a porn star at the age of 18, immediately became notorious in her first film for asking her scene partner to punch her in the stomach while he was going to town on her….then she did an interview on Tyra Banks which brought her into the mainstream consciousness. After years in the adult world, and doing lots of fashion spreads for Vice Magazine and interviews in hipster mags, Steven Soderbergh cast her in his 2009 film The Girlfriend Experience, which received mixed reviews veering mostly on the positive. Now she has a book out, fronts a band, and is trynna make it in mainstream films.
i haven’t decided how i feel about sasha grey. i will concede that she does occupy a place in the collective conscious, and has tapped into something that seems to hold people’s attention, mine included. but i’m not completely sold that what she does is “performance art.” she’s provocative and different and an incredibly saavy business woman, but i refuse at this junction to put her on the same level as Annie Sprinkle or Chris Burden.  she’s definitely multidisciplinary and draws attention to the work she does in a cerebral and thought-provoking way.
but reading some of the sections in her book Neu Sex, i was actually quite disappointed with the quality of writing and the themes and motifs therein. she’s not a particularly unique writer. in fact, it was quite derivative. she quotes a lot of great philosophers in her writing, so at least we know who she’s thinking with, but she doesn’t seem to engage the intellect of the reader in a way that portrays her opinion on different veins of thought in question.
to be brief, her book sucks . . .
 . . .   and then swallows…
..and then takes it up the ass.
she’s definitely a beaut. and dressed rather demurely. i ALMOST forgot that i’ve seen inside her lady bits.
aw. bless.
see the dude with the ‘fro? that’s Questlove from The Roots!!
Sasha (the picture of dorian)Grey has admirers in high places.
but let’s remember that i’m not in NYC to schmooze with the celebs and star fuckers, i’m here to do research for my novel.
time to beat the street.
originally my research told me to check out places like Chelsea and the East Village and Alphabet City and St Marks Place….but these areas, after much inspection, really were only great for street art in the 70, 80s and 90s and kinda lost their pulse on the street culture nation after people like Basquiat and Keith Haring died.
that’s not to say, as you can see from my pictures here, that there isn’t still remnants of those great days left behind in the areas. they’re just cleverly hidden.
the core of street culture in NYC has moved to Brooklyn, and each year moves further and further inland. so off to Bushwick i went to strike out for deep water.
i was specifically looking for this piece because in my research i had read that it had just gone up on this wall a few days before and was garnering a lot of buzz online. this piece is called Helping Hand and the artist’s name is No Touching Ground.
apparently No Touching Ground actually has that memo notepad tattoo’d on his wrist, and just fills it in with Things To Do in pen. so when he decided to turn his wrist into street art, he decided that reminding himself and others to donate to the Japan quake relief effort was something not to forget. art + philanthropy= win.
you can read all about the backstory and creation of this piece here.
walking around Bushwick, you come across some of the most innovative and beautiful murals one never finds in a 4-walled gallery.
yesterday was a total coup for me because i managed to score an impromptu interview with Jake Dobkin, co-founder of Gothamist and head honcho behind Streetsy.com, one of the best street art and culture websites out there. he was totally cool and chatted with me for an hour about his thoughts on the scene here and answered all of my questions and comments with such thoughtful and insightful responses. getting the backstory on the scene is invaluable info for my book, so it’s not like going to directly quote him or anything, but i will deffo give him a mega-fanks in my book when it’s published. jake dobkin, aka super awesome.
shit guy. totes. HI MUM!
street art is….what? what is it? TELL ME!!
I think i originally saw this piece online, generating some buzz, so when i found it, i got a bit giddy. fuck me if i remember who did it or what it symbolizes. i just think it’s fucking righteous.
aw. pookie.
this dude was skateboarding by as i was taking the shot, and i think he ducked down so he wouldn’t obstruct my view, but i actually wanted him in the frame and timed it perfectly, methinks. FANKS GUY.
the street art piece in the background is by Roa 
ha!
it’s actually called Bogart street, as you can see below, but some clever git bent the sign back so it reads as ART street….and really, that is way more apropos.
i spent a few hours in the Bushwick area at Swallow Cafe which seemed to be populated exclusively by street artists, purveyors, carpenters, people working in mixed disciplines, and hot hot hot hot men in chuck taylors.

i’ll be back to that cafe, fo’shizzle.

the actual area is called WYCKOFF but someone put an A over the Y.
shock me shock me shock me with that deeeeeviant behaviour.
call me crazy, but i look at this, and i see either a replica or an homage to Keith Haring’s work….am i right?
welcome to ChrisTopia. Population: dis gal.

yes yes, ya’ll. i reserved my ticket to the show a month ago, and STILL hadda wait outside in the fricken cold to get in cuz even with a reservation, entry was first-come first-serve basis and i was in the middle-to-back of the line. i eventually got in the studio, but many who reserved were left out in the cold. GET A BIGGER STUDIO, JON! (ps love you)
this is what it says over the door when you enter the building.
they were playing The Kooks on the speakers as i entered the studio. first the warm up guy Paul comes out and chats up the audience, gets us a bit giggly and stupid. when another person in the audience told him they were from Toronto, i screamed “yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa” and Paul focuses on me and goes “well you’re much prettier than the last guy.” (true story) So Paul asks my name and what i do. when i tell him i’m a writer, and he asks what kind, i say “I just finished my first book” and the audience gave me a rousing ovation.

awww shucks.

so Paul asks what the title is.

having been in the audience for many a show where comedians rip audience members a new rectum, i said “errr, i don’t wanna tell you!”

cue audience laughter. others shouted “don’t tell him!” and here’s paul insisting “oh no, i wont’ make fun of it, i swear.”

yeah fucking right! so i said, “err…it’s called War and Peace, mkay?”

He got the hint. sorry paul.

so then Jon comes out and we all cheer like groupies. i’ve seen jon stewart live before, about 5 or 6 years ago he did a standup gig at Massey Hall, but for some reason, my memory of that event is rather hazy.
so jon asks if we have any questions for him, a kinda informal Q & A session, and my hand immediately shoots up. he calls upon me with a “yes madame!” yay, first person to ask a question=most memorable surely.
so i ask, “i was wondering if either you or Norm Macdonald (guest on show) have an opinion on the current heart-palpitating (sarcasm) Canadian election?”
and jon says with all the sardonic bite classic to his humour, “who DOESN’T have an opinion, there are too many opinions really…” audience laughs. “yeah your government collapsed, didn’t it” and this girl in the aud from vancouver says the government was “a sham!” to which jon goes “now now, we don’t want canadians fighting here! you do that often enough on the ice. your hockey games are brutal.”
a few more questions from the audience and the show starts. during the first two segments, it was kinda hard from where i was sitting to see jon as the cameras blocked much of his view, but i still could definitely see him.  Jon Oliver’s segment about “oilfrica” in libya made jon piss his pants with laughter when the cameras weren’t on him. during the commercial breaks, two guys with headsets kept talking to jon and saying what didn’t look like too important stuff to occupy his thoughts. i’ve been the audience for other talk shows before, and the hosts there liked to talk to the audience during commercial breaks…not jon. sadness:(

anyway, norm macdonald comes out as the guest (i had perfect view, cameras had shifted position) and jon uses my question from the Q & A earlier to talk to Canuck Norm about our election and our government! i felt pretty chuffed about that. i DIRECTLY AFFECTED The Daily Show. all hail me.

so if you missed the episode, you can watch it in full in canada here or in the usa here.

PAY ATTENTION when watching cuz you can totally hear my laughter standing out in the audience. especially if you know how i laugh, you’ll undoubtably hear me. also when norm comes out and canada is mentioned, you can hear me squeal-shout a bit.

my laugh is kinda stupid-redonkulous and hard to miss.

hahaha, even when in another country, i’m STILL winning like a fiend at Roll Up The Rim.
i saw this car in brooklyn yesterday and had a braingasm. The Big Bang Theory car that sheldon would approve of, surely.
it’s been hard this past week being in NYC as well. the last two times i was here, it was to visit someone that i have decided i should no longer contact. no bad words have been exchanged between us. in fact, the last time we chatted, it was rather pleasant. i just think any contact now would be somewhat inappropriate.
problem is, i’m trynna make new memories in NYC and it’s hard when i pass by Union Square or the cinema at 19th & Broadway, or go for a run along the Hudson river….even going into Bushwick was a bit of a mind-fuck. i didn’t think i felt this strongly about a person that i really didn’t have that much in common with.
in fact, i’m not even sure i liked this person that much. but refraining from contacting them by my own choice whilst here has been kind of painful. there are ghosts all over the city, and it’s made me rather sad when i stop to think about it.
one good thing about here to work and to write is that i’ve gotten a free 2 week membership at Paragraph, which is the NYC writers centre. I got it for free because i’m a member of the Toronto Writers Centre and they have a reciprocal agreement. the other night after The Daily Show, I was writing at the centre until about 1am. then i was gonna hop on the subway back to astoria….instead i walked up broadway for about 20 blocks in the middle of the night.
in the rain.
listening to misanthropic tunes.
i just  needed to walk and to think….
i still have another week loaded with subcultural adventures to be had.

all i hafta say is, when trying to understand the nature of a city’s stone, don’t stick to the comfortable thin skins of bus tours, museums, and flashy lights. bite down into the meaty layers underneath. become a local. see what isn’t seen from the safety of guidebooks.

no i will not visit the Magnolia bakery or Zabars.

fuck that.

enough blogging, the day is still sunny and adolescent-esque. and the city is awaiting this young canadian lass….