Sweet Ride of The Day: Yellow Mustang

Yellow Mustang Front View
Photos By Gail

I was so smitten by this Yellow Mustang of indeterminate model year that I stopped to take photos of it in the rain. The car was parked on a street in Long Island City and even though it has a bit of tree detritus on the hood (from the rain) it still looks like a sweet ride.

I once had a boyfriend who drove a car that somewhat resembled this one, but that is a story that takes too long to talk about.

Yellow Mustang Rear View

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Modern Art Monday Presents: Lynda Benglis, Modern Art 1970 – 1974

Modern Art 1970-74

Modern Art 1970 – 1974 is a cast-in-two-parts Bronze and Aluminum modular sculpture by American Sculptor and Visual Artist, Lynda Benglis. The work (created between 1973 and 1974) includes four individual sculptures that are identical in form while maintaining an organic feel. To me they look like molten lead, tongues or platypus bills. Modern Art 1970 – 1974 can be viewed at NYC’s Museum of Modern Art in Painting and Sculpture II, Gallery 23, 4th Floor.

Modern Art 1970-74

Video Clip of The Week: Big Wreck, “Come What May”



I’ve got a story about the band Big Wreck – specifically involving lead vocalist/ guitarist Ian Thornley — and it goes all the way back to 1997. In those glory days, I was writing about Rock music exclusively and interviewing bands at a pretty steady clip. Big Wreck had signed to Atlantic Records and their debut, In Loving Memory Of… was creating a pretty respectable buzz (radio hits, etc), so I was assigned to Interview Ian for I don’t even remember which outlet. Since Big Wreck had a gig booked at NYC’s Irving Plaza, the interview was scheduled to take place at the venue during sound check the evening of the show. Pretty standard procedure.

Aside from the fact that Ian was a cool and candid guy who did a hilarious Eddie Vedder imitation (plus, I was a fan of the record), what makes this incident stand out in my memory from hundreds of other interviews is that it took place in the ladies restroom. This was pre-renovation Irving Plaza, so the place still had tons of character and the Ladies Room had a big, antique velvet sofa, so we had a nice, quiet and comfortable place to chat. Plus the acoustics were insane. Ah, Big Wreck. What a good Rock band.

Big Wreck has been through some changes in the 17 years since Ian and I hung out together in the bathroom. The group’s original lineup disbanded in 2002. Ian went on to have a very successful career in his native Toronto with his band Thornley, and in 2010 he and original Big Wreck guitarist Brian Doherty reformed the band, absorbing the members of Thornley into the new Big Wreck.

Big Wreck’s fourth album, Ghosts, was just released in the US on July 15th, 2024 (on Rounder Records) and the biggest compliment I can pay it is to say that Ghosts – represented here by this amazing performance of “Come What May” – proves that Big Wreck is still a force to be reckoned with, both in the studio and live. Obviously, Ian Thornley knows that he can let the music do all the talking. Enjoy!

Big Wreck Ghosts
Ian Thornley (Far Left) and Big Wreck

Big Smoke Burger Opens Flagship Store in Chelsea

Big Smoke Burger Storefront
All Photos By Gail

Do you like Burgers? I sure do. Burgers have been a bit of a Thing for a while now, so there are many different places competing for your money when you want a red meat fix. There are a few places scattered around the city that I frequent, and each does something special with the simple culinary pleasure that is the hamburger. Now, I am adding a new favorite to that list.

Burger Prep

Canadian Burger Chain Big Smoke Burger has just opened its flagship store in Chelsea and I recently had the pleasure of being won over by their no-frills approach to creating a big, juicy burger the way you would make one to fire up on your own backyard grill.

This past Sunday, July 13th, Big Smoke Burger held a private event in their new home on 7th Avenue, at which owner Anthony Fauci pledged a $20 donation for every person in the door from 6-10 PM. All proceeds went to The National Urban Technology Center and the Legacy School for Integrated Studies, located on West 14th Street, to help to transform young lives through the use of technology. So, good burgers for a good cause, woo!

Poutine

During the fun evening, guests were invited to sample a full range of Big Smoke’s delicious sandwiches and sides, which include first rate hand-cut fries and also Poutine – a Canadian specialty similar to NYC’s own Disco Fries – which adds cheese curds and brown gravy atop a generous portion of fries. These indulgent fries are a meal on their own and are sure to win lots of fans!

Big Smoke Burgers on a Tray

The trays of fresh-from-the-grill burgers made the rounds every few minutes – it was sheer burger heaven!

Big Smoke Burger

Big Smoke’s menu is divided into a Classic Burgers section featuring Cheese and Double Cheese Burgers, Veggie Burgers and Grilled Chicken Breast Burgers, and Signature Burgers, including the namesake Big Smoke Burger, dressed with Lettuce, tomato, caramelized onions, smoked cheddar cheese and horseradish mayo, which you see pictured above. This burger is amazing, so flavorful and juicy with fresh toppings. Plus, look how huge it is! A fresh Lamb Burger topped with Cilantro Feta spread is also on the menu and many other burgers include toppings such as goat cheese, roasted red peppers, avocado, sautéed mushrooms and variety of delicious mayonnaise-based sauces.

Big Smoke Menu Board

Milk Shake Shots

And who could resist a shot of one of Big Smoke Burger’s fresh and luscious Milkshakes? Not this girl!

Outdoor Patio Coming Soon
Outdoor Patio Coming Soon

There’s lots of room to dine in at communal tables and even a small bar, and the restaurant also has 880 square feet of outdoor space which should be open as a partially covered patio by fall 2014.

King
Meet King

Service is also friendly, quick and personal, which is important and very much appreciated! One of our servers at Sunday’s event was King, who was all about friendly service. Thanks King, I hope to see you again on my next visit!

Big Smoke Burger is Located at 70 7th Avenue, Between 14th and 15th Streets, in Chelsea, New York City. Visit them online at This Link.

Big Smoke Burger Signage

Pink Thing of The Day: Pink Crates

Stacked Pink Crates
Photo By Gail

Geoffrey and I walked past these stacks of assorted Pink Crates, which were sitting on the sidewalk outside a restaurant, somewhere on Madison Avenue, while we were walking on our way from the Whitney Museum to The Met. I had to stop and photograph them for a Pink Thing of The Day post, because they are so beautiful.

Must See Art: Jeff Koons Retrospective at The Whitney Museum

Jeff Koons Retrospective Signage
Jeff Koons Retrospective Signage Depicting Michael Jackson and Bubbles Sculpture from the Banality Series (All Photos By Gail)

It is no secret that Jeff Koons is one of my most-loved artists. A lot of haters take issue with the fact that Koons is so rich and successful, like that is a bad, thing. I say, if a billionaire wants to pay $58 million dollars for one of his Balloon Dog sculptures, good for him. Good for everybody! If I had $58 Million to blow on some rad artwork, I would do the same thing. Jeff Koons!

Jeff Koons is currently the subject of a retrospective at The Whitney Museum, surveying the full scope of his career, and it is a must see show. Comprised of almost 150 objects dating from 1978 to the present, this exhibition is the most comprehensive ever devoted to Koons’ Artwork, his first major museum presentation in New York, and the first to fill nearly the entire Marcel Breuer-designed Whitney building with a single artist’s work. The Koons Retrospective will also be the final exhibition to take place there before the Whitney opens its new building in the Meatpacking District in 2015 — but what a way to go!

Mail Box with Gazing Ball
Gazing Ball Series (2013)

The Koons Retrospective fills four floors of the building including the lobby, plus the lower level (adjacent to the restaurant) and the small outdoor “garden.” The work is organized chronologically with his newest work, which includes the Gazing Ball series that debuted at the David Zwirner Gallery last year, in a lobby adjacent gallery. Geoffrey and I started on the 4th floor and worked our way down.

Non-flash photography is allowed (thank god) and I took about 100 photos. Here are some highlights from the show!

Inflatable Flowers
Inflatable Flowers

The Inflatables Series (1978–79) features works that look like weightless, air-filled plastic flowers, though the works are made of stainless Steel.

Light Mounted Toaster
Toaster Mounted on Lit Base

Pre-New (1979–80) includes a series of small, counter top kitchen appliances mounted on deco-style lit bases.

Red Telephone
Red Telephone, Pre-New Series

I never thought I would live in an era where some people will neither know how the above object is used, nor understand the significance of its red color.

Vacuum Cleaners
Vacuum Cleaners, New Series

The News Series (1980–87) features billboard-sized product adverts as well as a large collection of sculptures comprised of early model vacuum cleaners encased in vitrines lit by fluorescent tubing. These works reminded me favorably of The Carousel of Progress attraction at Disneyland.

Vacuum Cleaner Gallery View
New Series Gallery View

Basketballs in a Tank
Three Basketballs in a Tank, Equilibrium Series (1983–93)

Frangelico Ad
Frangelico Ad, Luxury and Degradation Series (1986)

Baccarat Crystal Cocktail Set
Baccarat Crystal Cocktail Service Set, Luxury and Degradation Series

Mermaid Sculpture
Mermaid, Statuary Series (1986)

Bob Hope Statue
Bob Hope, Statuary Series

Banality Series Gallery
Banality Series (1988) Installation View

Surprised Bather
Surprised Bather, Banality Series

Gilded Mirror
Gilt Mirror, Banality Series

Made in Heaven Signage
Made in Heaven Series (1989–91)

Between 1989 and 1991, Koons and his then wife, Italian Porn star and Politician Cicciolina, posed for a series of sexually explicit artworks that became the Made in Heaven Series and Coffee Table Book. While Koons and Cicciolina are unbelievably hot and fun to look at, some of these photos show lots of Peen and Vajayjay, so you are going to want to keep any kids out of the galleries that are labeled “Sexually Explicit Material/Not for Children” or something similar.

Made in Heaven
Made In Heaven Series

Koons Bust with Crystals
Koons Bust with Crystals, Made in Heaven Series

Made in Heaven Amethyst Sculpture
Made In Heaven Series Amethyst Sculpture

Pink Cake
Pink Cake, Celebration Series (1994 Onward)

The Celebration Series gallery is probably my favorite in the entire exhibit.

Purple Heart
Purple Heart, Celebration Series

Giant Pile of Play Doh
Play-Doh with Balloon Dog in the Background, Celebration Series

Pink Button
Pink Button with Random Gallery Visitor, Included for Scale, Celebration Series

Purple Giraffe Mirror
Purple Giraffe Silhouette Mirror, Easyfun Series (1999–2000)

Mirror Reflected in a Mirror
Easyfun Series

Betty Page and Dolphin
Easyfun-Ethereal Series (2000–02)

Lunch Meat Faces with Mustache
Easyfun-Ethereal Series

Beach Chairs and Seals
Seal Walrus (Chairs) Sculpture (Foreground), Elvis (Background), Popeye Series (2002 Onward)

Inflatable Lobster
Lobster, Popeye Series

Hulk Organ
Hulk (Organ), Hulk Elvis Series (2004–14)

Yellow Mirrored Sculpture
Pluto and Proserpina, Antiquity Series (2013 Onward)

Balloon Venus
Balloon Venus (Orange), Antiquity Series

I know there are a ton of photos in this post, but consider that they represent only one tenth of what’s in the exhibit and you know you gotta go check this out! I’ll be going back at least once more. Helpful Hint to Avoid Crowds: Try to get to The Whitney by 12 Noon or earlier on a weekend. Although crowds are unpredictable, an early arrival made the difference between waiting on line just inside the lobby when we arrived a line that went outside and around the block when we left!

Jeff Koons: A Retrospective Will be on Exhibit Through October 19th, 2014, at the Whitney Museum of American Art, Located at 945 Madison Avenue (at 75th Street) in NYC. The exhibition then travels to the Centre Pompidou, Musée national d’art moderne, Paris (November 26, 2014–April 27, 2015) and to the Guggenheim Bilbao (June 5–September 27, 2015).