Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

copyright © 2009 Wyatt Doyle

The Return of Paul Silva!

One of our most popular contributors returns to New Texture at last, after too long an absence from our virtual pages.

The great Paul Silva is back!

But despite our joy at his return, it is with heavy heart that he offers 98 Tears at the 98.

Click here to read it.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Josh Alan Friedman Puts the Bite on Laraine Newman

“The original Dracula was never frightening, it was sexual. The Dracula legend itself was erotic. They brought it to its truest form in Hammer films, showing women with cleavage and teeth. Also in a film called Uncle Was a Vampire, with Christopher Lee: A little bellboy at this grand hotel ends up inheriting the whole place, and he becomes a playboy. But he’s been bitten by his uncle, who was a vampire. In the daytime, these women would be swimming over to him on the beach, going ‘Bite me, bite me!’”

"Shirley Temple Meets Mr. Death": Josh Alan Friedman in conversation with Laraine Newman, circa 1978.

Sink your teeth into it at Black Cracker Online.

Plato Jesus' That's Newstastic! (Late Edition)

Due to an editorial gaffe, Plato Jesus' latest collection of That's Newstastics did not make it online when originally scheduled (just after Columbus Day).

"In case you didn't get enough yucks celebrating the genocide of the indigenous in the America's during Columbus Day, here's 9 new Newstastics to make you feel just right," he wrote.

Two weeks ago.

Fortunately our man does not hold a grudge (at least we're hoping not), and what's more, he's used the lag time to surface 6 more Newstastics.

It's that kind of "can-do" spirit that made - and continues to make - this country great.

And now, without further delay:

ready to revolt: oath keepers pledges to prevent dictatorship in the u.s.

gold courses now grow in vietnam's rice fields

one reporter's lonely beat, witnessing executions

ritter's on-air gaffe is tops

colorado newspaper searches for cannabis critic

driver of a la-z-boy lounged a bit too long

note to gunrunners: don't use gmail

tackles of michael vick could mean food for animal shelters

mission impossible: peacekeeping in somalia

the gay sons of allah: wave of homophobia sweeps the muslim world

s.c. candidate hosts 'machine gun social,' 'ak-47 giveaway'

hikers: eat bananas - but take your skins home

gadget to help women feign virginity angers many in egypt

U.S. speeding up delivery of bunker-buster bomb; denies iran is the reason

CMMG tactical bacon

the ruins

copyright © 2008, 2009 Wyatt Doyle

Halloween at the 99

copyright © 2009 Wyatt Doyle

Monday, October 19, 2009

"Famous New York Widows" by Josh Alan Friedman

Rich doyennes are suspicious of people’s motives. They become the prey of “tombstone ghouls”—Earl Scheib-types who try to persuade them to erect bigger graveside monuments over the phone. Perhaps they feared I was scheming for their jewels.

"Famous New York Widows: Notes from an Unfinished Article" by Josh Alan Friedman.

Click here to read it at Black Cracker Online.

west coast krichners

copyright © 2008, 2009 Wyatt Doyle

Halloween at the 99

copyright © 2009 Wyatt Doyle

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Dixon Society

For many at New Texture, the enormous influence of the work, career, and artistic philosophies of musician/composer/painter/author/educator/raconteur Bill Dixon has been constant and immeasurable.

But, like too many great things, following Dixon's continued output closely (to say nothing of tracking outside analysis of that work) has frequently required an instinct for detective work and tenacity comparable to that of Miss Marple.

However in recent years, The Dixon Society has emerged to do its part to keep the Dixon torch burning bright online, sharing information and insight into this important artist.

Since October is Bill Dixon's birth month, our friends at The Dixon Society are celebrating with worthy posts of some length; this is a very good thing indeed.

In addition to the video above (shot by Nick Skrowaczewski in 2007), take the time to explore:

Dixonia Corrections
An exhaustive series of additions, corrections and supplements to Dixonia: A Bio-Discography of Bill Dixon by Ben Young.

An Interview with Justin Perdue
The guitarist and visual artist discusses his years of study under Dixon in the Black Music Department of Bennington College.

Thank you, Dixon Society, and Happy Birthday, Bill Dixon!

Fulcher Flips Off Big Ben

One man, one mission, one finger.

(The saga begins here.)

Halloween at the 99

copyright © 2009 Wyatt Doyle

Monday, October 12, 2009

Josh Alan Friedman Gets Tiny

Tiny Tim: ...I did a song for Koo Stark in Australia last August [singing Eddie Cantor-style]:

If I had a girl like Koo Stark, brother
I would never pine
I’d love her so much every day
Prince Andrew would be sorry he let her get away
For every kiss she’d give me, I’d give her 20 back
For her I’d even diet and give up all my snacks
If I had a girl like Koo Stark, brother
I’d simply go cuckoo, cuckoo, cuckoo—all the time

OUI: What was her reaction to that?

Tiny Tim: She left town.

"Getting Hard with Tiny Tim" by Josh Alan Friedman.

Click here to read it at Black Cracker Online.

Claremont, CA

copyright © 2008, 2009 Wyatt Doyle

Halloween at the 99

copyright © 2009 Wyatt Doyle

Friday, October 2, 2009


In the spirit of last month’s confluence of Labor Day, September 11th, New York Fashion Week and the Pittsburgh circle-jerk (you can stick your 24-hour news cycle), allow me to indulge in a brief, optimistic and maybe even plausible meditation on the future of work in New York City. I mean beyond selling hot dogs at Ratner's Prokhorov's Nets Arena.

The financial industry doesn’t yet seem to have fully acknowledged the extent to which it so massively bungled the civic basket we’d entrusted to it (you know, the one with all our golden eggs in it), but it’s exciting to see people’s interest in fashion expand incrementally into an interest in the garment industry, because I think it could be poised to make a comeback as a staple industry and save the city.

Yes, I know that the conventional wisdom of the last thirty years has held that the job of the future would be in a cubicle, and that we would move away from the economy of things and into the economy of ideas. I’ve yet to grasp the connection between cubicles and ideas, but I think anyone with a brain can see that much of the last thirty years’ prevailing wisdom has proven to be fairly well full of shit.

Manufacturing matters. It creates jobs. And, if you don’t put the screws to your workforce in order to hoard profit, it could create good-paying jobs and meaningful rewards for innovation.

I’m not talking about going back to the days of Triangle Shirtwaist. I’m talking about building safe, clean and energy-efficient production infrastructure and paychecks sufficient to keep up with fair rents and sustain a robust retail and service sector, stabilize the real estate market and generate a tax base solid enough to maintain high-level civic services.

Along with media, garments are perhaps the best-suited form of manufacturing for a high-density population center: not too many toxic by-products and plenty of jobs for a skilled work force.

“Cash for Clunkers” aside, good pay for good work is often the very thing that people who complain about “redistribution of wealth” are complaining about. According to them, those smart enough to sucker the greatest amount of money out of the greatest number of people deserve the greatest rewards.

So this is my plug for systemic investment in the garment industry. If “systemic risk” is accepted to be justification for bailing out the white-collar casinos, “systemic investment” ought to be the other side of it, providing a lifeline to everyone else.

I know. Pipe-dream. Fine.

But just for kicks, what would need to happen?

First, and least likely, is a shift in investment capital away from the quick-blast-of-money-every-five-minute cokehead culture of Wall Street and into the more modest, demanding and challenging world of maintaining steady long-term returns.

(Yes. People love to gamble. And they should be allowed to. I hear Vegas needs help too.)

Second, there would need to be cooperation between designers, manufacturers and national retailers that builds on the current -- and encouraging -- trend toward more targeted regional buying strategies and greater attention to quality mid-market designs.

At some point, vertical integration beyond a particular scale (say, American Apparel) would inevitably become tempting, and if we’re truly doomed to keep repeating history over and over again, this would be where we slip up.

It might not be a prescription to save high-end fashion, but what most of us think of as “fashion” might prove to be its own worst enemy.

One of the nicer things to come out of this Recession, from where I sit, is that more credibility is going to people who can mix and match affordable items in creative and attractive ways than in sporting head-to-toe hot labels or prefab looks. It favors style (which I associate with taste and individuality) over fashion (which I associate with conformity and sounds like ‘fascism,’ which I hate).

Encouraging the co-existence of individuals’ personal tastes, be they aesthetic or utilitarian, and increasing the availability of diverse items in multiple markets exponentially increases the potential for brand development and sustenance.

The third fundamental systemic change we’d need to see is a return of respect for the trades. Gifted tailors, seamstresses, printers and machinists capable of innovation and teaching others are as valuable an asset as a designer or marketer, no?

There are already muted cultural rumblings of it, and not just in the form of ex-bankers buying books by phDs waxing romantic about motorcycle maintenance (I’ll leave it alone, but as someone who’s spent much of my post-collegiate life in the presence of power tools and seriously skilled craftsmen, I feel the same way about that as baseball fans feel about guys who try to turn a game into a philosophical treatise).

But what we need isn’t simply more i-bankers to buy custom shelving and have a beer with the installer (not to say they shouldn’t). What we need is a serious re-consideration of aptitude assessment in the educational system and reinvestment in trade education.

Which means that we, as a culture, would have to stop equating work to cosmic punishment and somehow figure out how to break the cycle of exploitation and loafing that has so defined the labor relations of the industrial and post-industrial age.

(That’s why this city needs to ditch Bloomberg. He’s smart enough in his way, but he still doesn’t get it. If you look at the link, keep in mind that the MTA is a private company providing a public service and chew on that.)

For the time being, until our workforce becomes competitive again, most of these skilled jobs (and I don’t care what anybody says, I consider sewing as much of a skill as knowing Excel) would go to immigrants. As per tradition. An excellent opportunity to revamp the immigration system: give people a reason to go on the books and a chance to straight-up contribute to society. Duh.

As for my generation, our skilled labor pool seems to be dominated by lawyers, media and the military. So one might think we ought to have enough business plans, marketing apparatus and trained logistical support to go around.

Yet here we are.

Since so much of our private capital can’t seem to see their small intestine in front of their nose (do the math), such initiatives may need to come from the public sector.

And since Biden’s supposed to start opening the valve on the remainder of the stimulus funds ramping into the mid-terms, now’s the time to get those plans in order. Otherwise it’ll surely fizzle and poop out just like the Republicans seem to want it to.

Forgive my indulgence in speculation, but these kinds of vague and general ideas are really all I can afford to invest at the moment, and as a survival-wage media piece-worker, all I stand to gain is a decent city to live in and a chance at a job someday.

copyright, © 2009 Andy Biscontini

Halloween at the 99

copyright © 2009 Wyatt Doyle