11 June 2011

Yann Tiersen: Ashes

I just got home from a couple of days in Switzerland, and I feel like I'm floating across the floor still - from the time travel, the time difference, and the time spent with a wonky internal clock. This song fits it perfectly, and I've been listening to it all night.

The explosion and swelling at 0:55 makes me short of breath, and the shift at 1:49 makes me want to cry. I was privileged enough to see Yann Tiersen do this one live back in February with Lauren; she wrote about it afterward too. We're nearly halfway through the year, and it's still the best concert I've been to of 2011. Anyway, enjoy :]

09 June 2011

Some music about rhubarb.

I've been making mixes for a few years now, but this is the first one I put together with the intent of sharing with a bigger set of people. Also, usually I make one to immortalize a big-deal-something – there is one for the trip I took to Japan in 2008, for example. This one had a much more desultory inspiration: rhubarb.

I went to Seattle twice over the past month. Each time, I could not pick up a single menu without seeing rhubarb featured as an ingredient somewhere. I ate rhubarb preserves on steel cut oats, rhubarb compote on doughnuts, rhubarb juice/extract in a cocktail... you get the idea. It was so strange to me that I asked a server if it was in season, or if Seattle was just particularly nuts about rhubarb. It was mostly the former, coupled with the fact that rhubarb is grown locally in that area.

Tokyohanna - Rhubarb XXVIII1 by tokyohanna

So there you have it. I got a very strong set of audio associations to mirror the different forms all of this rhubarb took, and it turned into 32 minutes of music that matches the taste perfectly in my head. There's a bit of a tart kick, a drowning syrupy layer, and something else that I can only describe as feeling like the end of a very long dress train. Enjoy!

08 June 2011


It has been exactly a year since I last saw my friend Zachary. I've actually been meaning to write this post for a year, but whenever I try to summarize anything from around 2005, my brain turns into a jumbly mess since it was my first real time in New York and there were stimuli everywhere (this happened when I tried writing about Don Hill's death a few weeks ago too). So here we are, at an anniversary of sorts.

Mister Zachary

I met Zachary at a dance party at Rififi in the summer of 2005, and we became instant friends. He is the closest thing to a Renaissance Man that I know – always (and I mean always) writing, drawing, making music, doing little projects, and daydreaming about things. He kind of reminds me of Ray Johnson in a way I can't quite place. The last night I saw him was at his solo art show, 1 to 61 - a few days later, he moved to Ohio.

1 to 61

One thing Zachary has done in life (among stuff like being Nightlife Editor of The L Magazine, singing briefly in a super metal band, and popping up on The Sartorialist) is work coat check at Don Hill's. If you never saw it, it was located in a drippy, dark, freezing basement, its leaks covered by a makeshift ceiling made of the cardboard sides of beer boxes. One of the things Zachary did to pass the time over the years was draw on the cardboard with a Sharpie; his art show was the entire collection of these sketches (as a supplement, he kept a blog called Coats from the Underground, documenting everything from Brooklyn Industries and J.Crew to Chloe and Oak). The Culture of Me wrote a nice little thing about Zachary after the show (plus photos better than mine).

Sound board

No Requests

I could say a million more things – that he knows everything there is to know about both Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen; that he owns a Hot Lixx guitar in impressively good quality; that reading pages of his writing while walking a different way home one day in 2007 was what gave me the idea for this; or that he is pretty hilarious...

This is about someone we know.

Oh, Zachary,

... but then this would just turn into another jumbled mess since there's so much I want to talk about! So I'll leave it with that, and with the hope that Zachary comes back to New York soon. The city misses your light.

05 June 2011

Sing For Hope's Pop-Up Pianos 2011: A Preview

I got a text message from my friend Marc yesterday morning, saying he was painting an upright piano downtown and that I should visit him. He was working in a huge corporate building, so I was prepared to see him painting a piano all by himself in a cavernous lobby. When he led me through the door to his work space, I was standing in a room filled with pianos – uprights, baby grands, and grands – all hand painted.

Rococo confetti

Scott Taylor?

Drip and sparkles


If you live in New York, you might remember that there were 60 pianos placed all over the city for a couple of weeks last summer. Well, it's happening again this year, brought to us by Sing for Hope – an organization that brings artists together to volunteer their time for the benefit of the local community (schools, hospitals, etc.). This particular initiative is called Pop-Up Pianos, and will run from June 18th until July 2nd. Their vision is "that all New Yorkers – from Rockaway to Riverdale, Stapleton to Sunset Park – have access to the arts." Watch this trailer of sorts --

Here are shots of Marc's --


Marc painting jellyfish

Almost done

Fucking beautiful, no? Also stunning: Here are two of Chris's (one of Marc's best friends, and a friend of mine as well) --



This might be Chris's piano's keys? Half of them?

Marc's paint and inspiration

(See the rest here.)

First of all, I've never been in the midst of so many pianos before (there are 88 this year).* This – along with (1) Knowing exactly what these pianos in various stages of transformation were planned for; and (2) That I've been playing for 24 years/pianos have great significance to me – made yesterday afternoon the most overwhelming thing that has happened to me all year.

Be on the lookout come June 18th; on that day you'll be able to see which artist's piano is where on the map on the site (Marc is hoping his goes to Coney Island). You can also follow them on Twitter for news. Man, I haven't felt this strongly about a local nonprofit in ages. Sing For Hope, this is going to be awesome.


For more (all over the place) perusing:
A piano-related video I made a while ago
A crazy discussion on major & minor key on AskMeFi
Antiquated Giant, a mural Chris painted a couple of years ago
BeyoncĂ©'s new Run The World (Girls) video – Marc painted a bunch of the posters in the background

* Coincidence that there are 88 keys on a piano, and 88 pianos this year? I don't think so ;)
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