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1. Roadtrip to Bethlehem, PA.
It's only 90 minutes from NYC, but it's an amazing, post-industrial steel town worthy of a remake of The Deerhunter. The steel mill is still intact and looms large over the scenery, and the Sands casino has moved in, which is sterile, tacky and quirky at the same time. Definitely feels a lot further than 90 minutes from NYC! After, you can get a hot dog at Yocco's, a local hot dog chain owned by Lee Iacocca's family.
2. John Baldessari at the MET
I usually avoid the Met like the plague since it's rife with tourists and harbors a very conservative aesthetic taste. But the Baldessari show was great because it very clearly showed his evolution from clever but pointless aesthetic games and memes to his later work, which showed a unified, accessible, glossy and well-crafted west-coast aesthetic that still maintained his conceptual pranksterism. Such style, substance and humor is increasingly rare in shows like this!
3. Simon Reynolds's Generation Ecstasy (along with acid house vinyl rips on youtube)
Simon Reynolds is like the cool music archivist big brother I never had. This book is from 1999, but I had a great time checking out UK 90s rave/dance genres I missed out on like acid house, breakbeat 'ardkore, ambient house, jungle, big beat and speed garage in real time via the awesome array of vinyl rips from this era on YouTube. He writes in a way that a skeptical rocker like me who always hated "electronica" can appreciate. Certain classic tracks that he recommended like "Papa New Guinea" by the Future Sound of London or "Stakka Humanoid" by Humanoid or "Mentasm" by Joey Beltram or "LSI" by The Shamen are gonna be on repeat for many years on my stereo.
4. Unconscious Collective at Manhattan Inn
It's nice that every Wednesday night I know exactly where to find my buddies Angus, Brian and Andrew: behind the DJ booth playing some 80s darkwave or minimal techno jams. A social routine is nice in a city where people are constantly moving in ten different directions or moving away to go to law school or something lame like that.
5. My Band Manager, Sam
Sam, the manager of my band Dinowalrus has been a godsend! The first time around, when we were getting started, managing the band on my own was a fun challenge filled with surprises and excitement. Now that I'm a cynical and jaded curmudgeon, having an enthusiastic partner to help us do the hustle with bookers, writers, etc., has really been keeping me sane and properly focused on making music.