Tag Archive | Coney Island

Video Clip of The Week: Swervedriver, “Spiked Flower”


‘Transcendent’ is not a world that I find myself using very often these days when talking about modern music, if I talk about it at all. I looked at the Billboard charts a couple months ago for the first time in probably a decade — just being serious — and when I realized that every band or artist in the top 20 or so positions on that chart was either someone I’ve never heard of, or someone I am familiar enough with to have a strong distaste for their songs, I knew l’d made the right decision to abandon rock journalism and start writing about art and food. Because I would rather listen to The Beatles or Led Zeppelin for one hundred million billion years than any of the boring, shitty, derivative, eardrum excoriating garbage that ‘the kids’ are downloading for 15 minutes. Fuck the kids.

Of course, it’s not that everything sucks, but the really good stuff is now back in the underground, and this is why it takes me a week to uncover even one song worth featuring in this column. Fortunately, hard work pays off. This week’s clip, “Spiked Flower,” comes to us from the band Swervedriver, who were being pitched to me when you were in diapers: when I was cranking out CD reviews and long-form interviews with top musicians at a pretty steady clip. How are they still around, and how do they still sound so fucking good? “Spiked Flower” is song that’s transcendence distilled, and I don’t even feel compelled to defend it beyond offering that it sounds like if Husker Du had a baby with the Jesus and Mary Chain. Sometimes the only quality that good music has to have to is that it sounds good“Spiked Flower” can be found on Swervedriver’s upcoming album, Future Ruins — earning bonus points for featuring Coney Island’s iconic Parachute Drop and Thunderbolt roller coaster on its cover — which will be released on January 25th, 2019 on Dangerbird Records. Enjoy!

future ruins hi-res cover

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Video Clip of The Week: Boss Hog, “Ground Control”


I believe that if you happen to be a famous person — and good-looking famous person at that — it is worthwhile to reinvent your look every so often, if only to keep people from getting bored of looking at you. Take The Beatles as an excellent example; a band whose members’ personal styles and sense of fashion evolved wildly from album to album, just as their sound morphed from the Backstreet Boys to Radiohead. No wonder they continue to serve as such significant cultural touchstone. But what started me thinking along this path on a Sunday morning is this week’s Video Clip, “Ground Control” from the legendary NYC band, Boss Hog. For those not in-the-know, Boss Hog’s core members are husband and wife team Jon Spencer (of the eponymous Blues Explosion) and Cristina Martinez (ex-Pussy Galore). As you will see by this video, since we last saw them, Martinez has adopted a sort of Pris from Bladerunner persona, while Spencer is rocking a classic Andrew Eldrich look which, I  think you will agree, works for him. Bravo, you two.

Keeping things close to home, the video for “Ground Control” appears to have been shot on early-morning location at Coney Island, as you will see the band members pass by the How & Nosm mural at the Coney Art Walls as well as recognizing the unmistakable sky line of the Luna Park thrill rides. The complete desolation of the landscape works well for this modern, dystopian protest song, on which Martinez and Spencer share vocal duties in their own unique  styles. “Ground Control” does not disappoint as a minimalist, punk-blues aural assault, punctuated by with James Bond-soundtrack flourishes. Pretty awesome.

“Ground Control” can be found on Brood X, the band’s first album of new music in 17 years – wow! – which was released in March. Read a true New York Story about the last time I spotted Martinez and Spencer wandering anonymously on the Streets of NYC at This Link Right Here! Enjoy!

Boss Hog By Jeri Lampert
Boss Hog’s Cristina Martinez and Jon Spencer By Jeri Lampert

Pink Thing of The Day: Pink Panther on the Coney Island Board Walk!

Pink Panther on the Boardwalk
All Photos By Gail

Jamie and I were out at Coney Island to see the Fireworks on the Friday before the Friday before the Labor Day Weekend. As we sat eating hot dogs and fries at the boardwalk-adjacent tables by the Nathan’s that faces the beach, I noticed a Pink Panther earning some cash by posing for photos with tourists. Because a panther’s gotta make a living.

Pink Panther on the Boardwalk
Also, Batman.

Warriors Mural By London Police at Coney Art Walls

London Police Warriors Mural
All Photos By Gail

I don’t pretend to be an authority on the subject, but I’d guess that there’s no modern-era film more closely associated with the locale of Coney Island, Brooklyn than Walter Hill’s 1979 adventure/ drama, The Warriors. If you haven’t seen the film, I recommend it. Two thumbs up! My point being that it’s completely appropriate that this year’s Coney Art Walls installation includes an underwater-themed, mermaid fantasy mural by British street art collective, The London Police that includes an homage to this now classic, cinematic favorite.

Three Warriors Left

At the mural’s very top, you will recognize the likenesses of six of the film’s main characters. Above are the three Warriors on the left side of the wall.

Three Warriors Right

And here are the three Warriors seen on the wall’s right side. Can you dig it?

Let’s Go: Coney Island Summer Friday Fireworks!

Boardwalk at Dusk
All Photos By Gail

If you haven’t been out to Coney Island yet to see the Summer Fireworks, then this coming Friday, September 2nd is your last chance to experience the magic until they start again next June! So, you must plan your trip right now. Let’s go!

Nathan's

First of all, you should plan to arrive on the scene early enough so that you can get a Hot Dog and some Fries (or whatever else you like to eat) at Nathan’s. There is also a Nathan’s right on the Boardwalk, if you prefer a bumped up level of quality freak watching to that available at the original location on the corner of Surf and Stillwell Avenues. The food is exactly the same at either location.

Art Wall By Crash
Art Wall By Crash

Don’t forget to stop by the Coney Art Walls, which will be up until October!

Art Wall By Nychos
Art Wall By Nychos

Art Wall By D-Face
Art Wall By D*Face

Snow Cone Stand

While you stroll along the Boardwalk, stop by this Snow Cone Stand and treat yourself to an additional refreshment!

View of Boardwalk from Sand

Even if you are going to pass on checking out any of the Luna Park rides, because you have just eaten at Nathan’s and do not want to barf,  it is wonderful just to look at everything when it is all lit up against the night sky. Head out to the sand early and watch all of the action from the beach, while you listen to the delighted screams and shrieks from people on the rides! Wee!

Scream Zone

Wonder Wheel

Oh, the beautifulness.

Parachute Jump at Night

Now it is 9:30 PM, and time for the Fireworks to begin! Lets go to the video!

The full show lasts much longer than 2 minutes, but you get the idea.

Luna Park at Night

Williams Candy Shop

And then stop by Williams Candy Shop on the way to the train to pick up a sweet treat to take home! What a fun adventure!

Find out more about the Coney Island Fireworks, as well as other fun stuff to do on your visit, at This Link!

Red Wheel

Ten Photographs of the Coney Island Parachute Jump

Coney Island Parachute Jump
All Photos By Gail

The Parachute Jump is a defunct amusement ride in Coney Island, whose iconic open-frame steel structure remains a Brooklyn landmark. Standing 250 feet tall and weighing 170 tons, it has been called the Eiffel Tower of Brooklyn. Well, I’ve never called it that, but apparently some people have.

Thunderbolt and Parachute Jump
Parachute Jump in the Shadow of the Thunderbolt Roller-Coaster

If you Google “Photos of Coney Island” you will see that it is arguably the single most photographed landmark near the Boardwalk. Originally built for the 1939 New York World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows–Corona Park, Queens, the tower was moved to its current site, then part of the Steeplechase Park amusement park, in 1941.

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Seen from Inside a Burger Joint on The Boardwalk

It is the only portion of Steeplechase Park still standing today. The ride ceased operations in 1964, when that park shut down for good. How old were you in 1964? I was 3.

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The ride was based on functional parachutes which were held open by metal rings throughout the ascent and descent. Twelve cantilevered steel arms sprout from the top of the tower, each of which supported a parachute attached to a lift rope and a set of surrounding guide cables.

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Riders were belted into a two-person canvas seat hanging below the closed chute, then hoisted to the top, where a release mechanism would drop them, the descent slowed only by the parachute. Shock absorbers at the bottom, consisting of pole-mounted springs, cushioned the landing. Each parachute required three cable operators, keeping labor expenses high.

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The tower lights up at night, and colorful the patterns change constantly. It is quite mesmerizing to view.

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2 Gs Parachute Jump 2

I love how my hair looks in this photo. I cropped Geoffrey out, because he said he looked fat. Which, not true. But whatever.
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We had fun. We always do.

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Coney Art Walls 2016: A Different View

Coney Art Walls 2016 Signage
All Photos By Gail

Geoffrey and I went out to Coney Island equipped with a minor agenda that included eating at Wahlburgers (disappointing), attending a concert at the new amphitheater (nice venue, underwhelming artist) and visiting the new-for-2016 Coney Art Walls. We saw the Art Walls Last Summer and they were amazing! Unfortunately, when we tried to enter the space this past weekend, we were told that they were closed for a private party, and that we could pay $15 if we wanted to gain admittance to see them, and also be subjected to what sounded like the worst music ever in the universe of all time. We declined. “Come back tomorrow,” we were told, but that wasn’t going to happen when a 90-minmute subway ride is involved.

Marie Roberts
Art By Marie Roberts

So, what I decided to do was take some photos of the walls that surround the exterior border of the Art Wall Pavilion (or whatever they call it) and also shove my camera between gaps in the chain link fence to get some other crappy shots. Because it was overcast and rainy out, so not great picture-taking weather anyway. You’re welcome.

John Ahearn, Haze Tribute to MCA
Foreground by John Ahearn, Background, A Tribute to MCA By Haze

New artists participating in the 2016 Art Walls include Nina Chanel Abney, John Ahearn, Timothy Curtis, D*Face, Jessica Diamond, Tristan Eaton, Gaia, Eric Haze, Icy & Sot, London Police, Nychos, Pose, Stephen Powers, Tats Cru, and Sam Vernon. Returning artists who created new works are Lady Aiko, Mister Cartoon, Crash, Daze, Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, and Marie Roberts.

D*Face
Art By D*Face

Tristan Eaton
Art By Tristan Eaton

A few of the 2015 Walls are still on display, including those by Buff Monster, Eine, Ron English, How & Nosm, IRAK, Kashink, Lady Pink, Miss Van, RETNA, eL Seed and Sheryo & Yok. You can see some of those in last year’s post at This Link! There are also three community walls.

Nychos
Nychos After Dark: Dissected Ronald McDonald

The Coney Art Walls are located at on Stillwell Avenue (right behind Nathan’s) at Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY 11224.

Cyclops Mermaid

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