Manhattan Project

Dispatches from CMJ: 12:15 a.m, The Protomen

October 28, 2009
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Nerds rejoice! This Nashville-based outfit transformed the Mega Man series into a merciless tumult of balls-to-the-wall rock. In support of their just-released Act II, the Trash Bar gig displayed the band’s potent guitar attacks, dreamy vocal chants and ominous rhythm. The audience literally hung onto Panther’s every fist pump. “You’re way more fucking awesome than the ones in Manhattan. And I mean that shit, too,” Panther told the Proto-faithful in reference to their earlier CMJ set at The Studio at Webster Hall. In the BK, this revolution wasn’t televised.


Creative Commons: Lance & Co


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The trumpet of the swan: How I beat the MTA in 5 easy steps

August 24, 2009
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291974774_b5653f720dOn the 59th Columbus Circle stop, down the urine soaked stairwell with its freshly Windex-ed Hearst Corporation billboard, I silently curse the Metropolitan Transit Authority. Rambling and unwieldy, the MTA is a bottomless money pit with a racked up debt to the tune of $26.8 billion. In fact, it’s an apt byproduct of our excessive capitalist system, thanks to its boom-and-bust crisis mode. The love spawn of Milton Friedman and a Chicago School bukakke, I say! But sometimes, I think the pastoral squalor of the Queens bound E train is the sexiest thing I have ever seen in my life. Especially with the ratty whirr of a sloth-cloth air conditioner and luscious leftover juices from a clogged track chute.

The  MTA is paved with shattered working-class dreams, dashed Dunkin’ Donuts flatbread sammiches and random grubby pamphlets from apocalypse-twiddlin’ Christians. In the history of MTA clusterfuckery, the Republicans and Republican-lites way up thar in Albany set aside bundles of cash baggies for upgrades and the like. Meanwhile, Mayor Bloomy throws us salivating pleebs an election year bone, as we lick our lips and thank our massers for pretending to give two shits. Yezzur, we’ll shine them shoes sure ’nuff. We’ll get right on that, masser…and so it goes.

Everyone expects their piece of the pie, by Carl, not realizing that their near 100 bucks monthly Metrocard will deliver scattershot weekend service and crumbling ceiling collapses. Since my curmudgeonly Millienial gevalting is usually repressed, I’ve got nothing to lose in the shysterin’ the MTA department. (I know, I know, quitters don’t quit in America!) Here’s a blurby primer for circumventing the MTA. Please note: some of these suggestions deliver the possibility of hefty fines ($100) and arrest for fare evasion. But I say: why let a little thing like the penal system stop you? If history is your guide, you’ll be in fine company: Malcolm X, MLK, and yes, Gary Glitter!

Ikea buses: You’ll be ridin’ the public transportation dirty in style with uppercrust and coach-style buses. Granted, the Red Hook shuttle service is rather limited in its reach (read: Court St., Fourth Ave., Smith, Ninth Sts subway stations and the Beard St. Ikea store.) But don’t let a little thing like shopping in a Swedish furniture store stop you. The Brooklyn News found that most riders never set foot in the Ikea, save for two Ikea employees. Sez Bianca Colon, “”It’s like a free car service. It takes us straight downtown and I don’t have to wait for the bus to stop every block to let people on and off.”

Freegan Bikes: The wooly insurgents hold monthly bike workshops for how-tos on fixing bikes, simple maintenance and tune-ups. A life without complications: leave the This Bike Is A Pipe Bomb bumper stickers at home, kids. The po pos can not tell the difference between pop cultural references and honest to God terrorism.

Date A Cripple: Yes, disabled boyfies come with perks, including the clandestine sneak-in behind emergency-exit-cum-disability-doors. I know, I know, the downside to this recommendation is looking like a heartless bastid. Obvious protip: Milk the boothers dry with the prolonged door hold for a hint of doe-eyed, hapless Good Samaritan stranger. As a general rule of thumb, check unlatched exit doors for easy access.

Disengage the simulator: The stuff of urban legend goodness. Hey rabblerousers and blusterbrowns of all ages, guess if this tip is an outdated has-been. Apparently, the myth goes that bending the Metrocard in just the right place demagnetizes the black strip. In the early 00s, this trick left the MTA with a gnawing void, and efforts to crack down on these muzzeins became the cause de jour. Sez 3tmk, “A friend of mine always tried to bend his card when riding the subway, but it never worked. He’s wasted quite a lot of cards, and he never made it. I’m sure with some luck some guy achieved success, but with a lot of luck to find the exact spot.” BTW, this tip may lead to run-ins with the fuzz.

Pay It Forward…literally: Whenever I hear the phrase “pay it forward,” I automatically dredge up memories of that fuzzy wuzzy sub-Lifetime flick starring Kevin Spacey and the kid from The Sixth Sense. The sight of disgruntled Brooklyn-ites swiping straphangers through turnstiles would make the follicles on Jesus’ beard stand on end. That’s where the People’s Transportation Program comes in. On the third Saturday of every month, this Sunset Park collective doles out the freebie swipes. The best thing about this tip: it’s technically not against MTA regs. “As long as they’re not charging people [for swipes], we can’t stop them from buying the cards and providing the service free to the people,” MTA spokesperson Paul Fleuranges told The Indypendent in a June 2009 article.

Creative Commons: John&Julie C

Further reading: Anti-capitalist actions around mass transit in San Francisco 1993-1995

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Mine Magazine: Big Media Fail

July 13, 2009
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3445944115_84f63bfeda[1]It didn’t need to come to this: the magazine industry hacking up its last phelgm of dignity for custom made publishing.  For once again, just as we were warming up to long-form narratives and detailed investigative reporting, along comes this hare-brained print version of the RSS feed to piggyback off the Intertubes’ good name.

Time Inc. unveiled Mine Magazine in March as the last ditch checkmate to reader selected content (which, of course, the Web provides in spades, durh.) This free and hatchet job-rich Time Warner mash-up cherrypicks evergreen articles from a smattering of its publications (Money, Time, In Style and Sports Illustrated, to name a few) and frames said articles around the reader’s interests with Lexus-bankrolled adverts thrown in for good measure.

Each new Mine Magazine becomes an exploration in tolerance-building exercises, thanks to its jacked-up zoom features (especially frustrating on a POS Dell laptop) and vaguely creepy corpo-fascism:  “Knowing how much you enjoy singing in the car, Fritz, we offer a 15-speaker Mark Levinson audio system,” reads the typical ad.

Teehee. The singing in the car is emboldened, you see, because I filled out answers on a half-assed survey so that Time Inc. could get a feel for my interests. Questions include  “Which do you crave more: sushi or pizza?” (Apparently, Time Inc. is employing the same asshole who infects Facebook with inane quizzes.)

Old media fogies can read into it what they want, but Mine Magazine‘s greatest weakness lies in its ability to provide cherrypicked content that I would never seek out in the first place.  In my third issue, delivered last week, celeb stylist Ken Paves blurbed Jessica Simpson-ready hair advice (In Style), while Money advised me on, get this, bonds.

Bottom line: for a venture so invested in me-ness, Mine Magazine reads like it barely knows me at all.

Posted in Corporations, Media

Calendar on the Fritz-zzz (Because everything looks better with 3zs)

May 30, 2009
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It has been suggested that in my previous meegan bashing to Manhattan Project stockholders and slack jawed rabblerousers, published here last month, I failed to mention the sickmode permeating from our fair city’s bowels. So here, especially in light of shignella sickness suffered by one Mr. Fuckleberry Hound, are the list of other ailments we’ve acquired from non-Really Really Free Market sources (please give me a verbal fact checker lashing, Ben McGrath):

  • A general vomity feeling overtook both our bodies after we watched a Real Housewives of New York City marathon
  • Various stages of the croup.
  • Fuckleberry Hound was briefly hospitalized for shignella. (Rhymes with Anthony Minghella)

Ho ho, a real hornswagler, that list. In any event, you’re probably asking yerself, “self, where can I stir the sh-t with two sticks and a bag of sugar this weekend?” Glad you asked, my little crumpet.

The NYC Grassroots Media Conference will be held at Hunter College tomorrow starting at 10:30am. Of course, I don’t know a damn thing about it. Here’s a techy poster ripe with not-so-subtle inspirational metaphor: poster

Flopping around on the lineonium like a dying squid, traditional newspapers are so passe. Who cares  about professional journalists when you can read the ramblings of some random asshole on the Internet. I keed.

“In this moment of great opportunity and great challenge, the NYC Grassroots Media community asks: What role can the media play as a catalyst for social justice? How can we use the media tools at our disposal to turn HOPE for social justice into ACTION in our communities?” reads the official pub drub.

As Whoopi Goldberg said on The View earlier this week (yes, I know; it’s my only View reference this month), responsible citizens need truth tellers in the egalitarian media age. So thank your lucky stars for orgs like NYC Grassroots Media. They’re doing the work of Jesus. (And if you’re a true blooded ragamuffin, you can attend the conference for ten bones.) Slated to appear: The Bitch! Magazine-friendly anarcho-feminists of $pread Magazine, Democracy Now, Twitter activist Pollie Barden and a self described “Funky Brown Chick.” Click here for a complete schedule.

Fancy yerself a pleeb uprising? Well, look no further than the Bronx tomorrow at high noon. The Stella D’ Oro strikers are telling the corpo-fascists to shove their baked cookies where the sun don’t shine.

The Indypendent Newspaper, who will be appearing at NYC Grassroots Media conference, by the way, documented the Bronx bakery battle in their March issue:

The strike had been launched to protest, among other concessions, wage cuts of up to 26 percent demanded by Brynwood Partners, the private equity firm that purchased Stella D’oro from Kraft Foods, Inc. in 2006.

Declaring Brynwood’s terms unacceptable, the workers set up a 24-hour picket line outside the factory gates at 237th Street and Broadway that by their own account better resembled a neighborhood party than a scene of dissent.

Brynwood’s other proposals, which extended to the entire Stella D’oro workforce, included the elimination of overtime pay and all sick days, plus the loss of one week of vacation and four holiday days. Brynwood also wanted employees to pay for 20 percent of the cost of a company healthcare plan, whereas before the employees had paid nothing for health benefits.

But to get back to the DIY muzak. Todd P.’s Unamplified Acoustic Barbeque goes down June 14th at Fort Tilden Beach in Queens. I was in a very sarcastic/ironic/bitchy mood during my last Todd P. hootenanny, so I threw profanity laden epits in Mr. P’s direction, bless his heart. The New York Decider has 4 acts to catch.


An Open Letter to Freecycle™ NYC FreeMeet: please don’t give me the poops

May 6, 2009

I learned my lesson after last month’s Really Really Free Market at the Judson Memorial Church. Note to self: if it looks like fermented cow dung, but possesses the texture and twang of BBQ tofu, an animal probably died somewhere along the way.

In fairness to the RRFM, the tainted dish was properly flounced by a plastic wrapper which read, “party size mini-Meatballs.” Apparently, I can barely read at a fifth grade level, I’ll tell you whut.

Things are looking up for Freecycle™ NYC FreeMeet! in Flatbush, Brooklyn this weekend. I swear to Carl.

The FreeCycle NYC Web site provides a Craiglist-y hook-up for discarded tevees from the uppercrust richies and spotless exercise equipment that was probably plucked from Suzanne Somers’ Botoxed hands. Deets and RRFM party reels after the jump….

Freecycle™ NYC FreeMeet!

Saturday, May 9, 2009, 11am-3pm 
P.S. 217 Playground (1100 Newkirk Avenue at Coney Island Avenue) Flatbush, Brooklyn

WHY: New Yorkers discard some 12,000 tons of waste each day, much of which is exported to landfills and incinerators in other states. Here’s your chance to help reduce waste and keep our environment clean by finding new homes for your old stuff, and getting some things you can use in the process. Leftovers will be donated or recycled to every extent possible.

WHAT TO BRING: Bring unwanted clothing, housewares and other reusable items* to share or simply bring a tote bag to fill. Bring friends and family too!

Got wire hangers? Bring ’em to the FreeMeet so we can hang clothes and
recycle the hangers afterwards.


*please bring portable items only and log on to http://www.Freecycle. org to give away furniture and other heavy stuff.

And now, onto the highlights and lowlights of the Really Really Free Market.

Poopportunity Knocks More than Once:

This skankifed cesspool of globby meatballs was possibly extracted from the Trader Joe's dumpster near Union Square. The aftermath? An unfortunate case of Poops McGee, where I cursed my mother, father and meegans everywhere.

This skankifed cesspool of globby meatballs was possibly extracted from the Trader Joe's dumpster near Union Square. The aftermath? An unfortunate case of Poops McGee, from whence I cursed my mother, father and meegans everywhere.


Free shiz that did not make me contemplate Seppuku:


RRFM's accupuncturist whipped out her business card. I promptly misplaced said card seconds later. Citizen journalism fail.

RRFM's accupuncturist whipped out her contact information. I promptly misplaced said card seconds later. (Citizen journalism fail.) My pithy review: homegirl had the skills to pay various bills.

An assortment of breads.

This book made me have strange dreams about Bill Cosby and Jell-O pudding.

After thumbing through this book on the subway, I suffered strange afternoon nap dreams involving Bill Cosby and Jell-O pudding.

Do-It-Yourselfers feel the burn with cheap-o gym equipment

April 21, 2009
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From Illogical42

Traffic Sign Hoop

I’ve been prone to unleash the haterade on celebs partaking in corpo-autofellatio bukkakes. But as I passed by Derek Jeter’s pristine, glass paneled vanity gym last week,  all I could do was choke back years of titty-twisters, horrified gang showers and fed stamped ‘physical fitness tests.’ (As a 9-year-old, John F. Kennedy was pegged as my least favorite prez for this very reason. The womanizing rat bastard.)

But I’ve been getting in shape, by God. Some fitness meatheads consider yoga to be a form of “stretching,” and I would naturally concede this point. (But whaddya say about Pilates for Indie Rockers?)

I’ve been looking to amp up my workout routine, which basically means locating the great beyond somewhere between the tree pose and sitting on my ass and watching TiVo-ed episodes of The View.

A few DIY gymrat tips I dredged up on the Intertubes (feel free to share yer own, dear readers):

Posted in DIY, Sports

New York anarchists play rabblerousing to the hilt

April 14, 2009
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For the 3rd Annual New York City AnarchyFest, the MM blurbaturbs took the plunge with half-assed punchlines late last week: patchouli body odors, trotkyist hyuks, etc. Who woulda thunk that subterranean Leno-isms make for compelling alternative weekly listing copy?

No matter. Last Saturday, the Judson Memorial Church was teeming with spiky haired dissidents and paunchy New York University adjuncts, respectively.

At 11am, I met Christian anarchist Kenny Andrew for the culture jamming caucus. Lecturer ClarkClarke, a potbellied hipster with an un-touche straw hat, was a refugee from Republican wastelands with a hard-on for Banksy. The diff: “Graffiti is about fame and identity. But in my work, it’s about message.”

In his video presentation, ClarkClarke demonstrated how to attract the attention of mainstream media zombies (cough: Fox News, cough) by dressing up as destitute Wall Street yuppies, busking for hard cash.

By the way, taggers, garbing yerself in enough black for a Johnny Cash biopic? It’s about as douchetastic as getting a tribal tattoo.

ClarkClarke recommends milling around construction sites and swiping orange mesh MTA vests in order to pull off that look of pure officiousness.

“When I was younger, I had fake IDs for getting into bars. Now, I have fake IDs for getting into subway tunnels.”

Repeat after him, kids: the dirtier, the better.

“Don’t graffiti in black. It’s pretty obvious…you should also make small talk with subway workers (when decked out in official gear,)” he added.

For the second hour, Larkin from HollabackNYC and the MTA Service Specialists chatted about streetside sickos and subway fare hikes, respectively.

HollabackNYC is an ingenious act of patriarchy-shaming. The Web site encourages New Yorkers to snap pix of wang-twiddling subway pervs. “Catch that jerk with your video phone or do journalistic style feature on street harassment and we’ll post it!” reads the disclaimer.

“I started seeing the power of creating your own media. If you impersonate, you can gain a lot of authority,” Larkin told attendees.

Enter MTA Service Specialists. With her 1940s-inspired stewardess getup, Larkin and three other “specialists” traverse subway trains to provide straphangers with sanitary wipes and snacks.

From The New York Daily News:

The MTA has found yet another way to make riding the subways more miserable.

On top of fare hikes and service cuts, it’s now dumping on “MTA service specialists,” four women who voluntarily ride the rails to help straphangers get around quicker and happier.


The Metropolitan Transportation Authority thinks the smiling women in their 1940s-style stewardess uniforms are giving riders the idea that the MTA is actually improving service, said specialist Kiki Valentine.

MTA lawyers filed a cease-and-desist order Tuesday giving the volunteers 72 hours to remove a video and make other changes on their Web site,, which the MTA says makes unfair use of the agency’s “intellectual property.”

But back at AnarchyFest, Larkin remains undettered. “I don’t take cease and desist e-mails very seriously,” she said.

[Numero Dos of AnarchyFest coverage will come later this week.]