Monday, March 29, 2010

The Killers

I've been a fan of film noir over the years, The Maltese Falcon being my favorite example. But The Killers (1946) has a great intro that I've posted below. The way these two thugs riff off of each other is hilarious. That's one of the best things about film noir besides all the great shadowplay; the dialog.

The Killers stars Burt Lancaster in his first film and the beautiful Ava Gardner. If you love this intro you may be disappointed if you rent it to see the rest....the two bantering hitmen are only in the beginning of the film.

Sunday, March 28, 2010


Ok, I am no grease-monkey or car freak, so I will try not to get too technical here since I don't entirely know what I'm talking about. My dad has a very nice ride that is kept in his garage most of the time. We make a point of taking it out every time I come and visit (except in the snowy winter). It's a 1967 Chevy Camaro SSRS, '67 being the first year the Camaro was introduced (to try to compete with the Ford Mustang). It's a combination of the super-sport (SS) and rally-sport (RS) 2-door coupe with a 295 horse power, 350 cubic inch V8 engine. In combination with the 4-on-the-floor high performance Muncie gear box with a heavy duty clutch, it's a very powerful beast. It's great to open the hood because there's nothing in there except the engine. No clutter caused by computers, fluid storage or any of that. Very simple and to the point, and big! Not good on mileage, I will tell you that.

My dad inherited it from his dad, who bought it in its model year and shipped it to England where he was living at the time. I can imagine the large American beast didn't fit in well in that country of small, cute cars. Anyway, he eventually brought it back to the states and my dad's been taking care of it since the '80's. It's funny, but I never had much of an interest in it until recently.

I love driving it, although we don
't really open it up ever, which is a shame. Not possible on the wooded roads in the area. The car has a really cool smell. Just a smell of age, like an old leather book. The steering wheel is wood. The gears are hard to change and we need to clean the sparkplugs because they're getting grimey and cause stalling problems while the engine gets warmed up. It's funny driving it around, because all the local "dudes" are checking it out as it goes by and giving the thumbs up, but I am definitely no car-buff. But you don't have to be to enjoy riding a classic like this. It just feels cool.

My father with the Camaro at the car show.
Anyway, last year my dad and I took it to the Vermont Car show. It was a riot. All those cars in one field! Saw some beautiful designs, spent hours just walking about. The Camaro is in good shape, but is nowhere near polished up and shiny as the other cars we saw.
I totally want this truck. Very Misfits.

This guy's straight outta the cold war era. Top Brite to keep those engines spotless!

He's from Quebec.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Goodbye Freddy's?

Freddy's is a great dive bar, situated on the corner of Dean St. and 6th Ave in the Atlantic/Flatbush area of Brooklyn. Donald O'Finn, the proprietor, runs the place like a small-town juke joint, with cluttered artwork in every corner and his own edited tv mayhem video installations causing chaos on the screen above the bar. I've always had a good time there, although the last time the music on the juke box was a bit too loud to talk over.

The place has been eminently domained and will eventually be evicted due to Bruce Ratner wanting to turn the corner into luxury housing. Apparently, Bloomberg and Co. think this is what the neighborhood needs and is tearing down block after block since the Atlantic Yards themselves didn't seem like enough space for rich people. There will also be a gigantic basketball stadium for a New Jersey team. Strange days.

No one knows when Freddy's last days will be, so I went on one of the last cold nights of winter to celebrate my fondness for the place with a few friends. Before hand, I stopped by another fave rave in the hood; Re-Pop. This hodge-podge little store is run by great people and is a fun place to pick up decorative furnishings for your apt, but it's also a great place to hang out and meet new folks on their first Fridays, which they host most months.

All in all, it was a good Friday night.

Templo Adventista Del Septimo Dia

Every time I would head to home Brooklyn from the lower east side I would do a double-take while passing the Templo Adventista on the corner of Delancey and Forsyth. A large mural facing Delancey would perplex and surprise me as I tried to get a full understanding of what was going on in the giant picture. I passed by it dozens, if not hundreds, of times and each time I would shake my head in disbelief. Surely I was reading it wrong? It appeared to be a jubilant Jesus getting toweled off after a refreshing shower by two young boys. I tried to see it in a different way, but this is the way my mind interpreted it. With all the Catholic priest scandals and Vatican cover-ups, it seems a strange depiction to put on display.

After many years the mural finally was consumed by the ravages of nature. The last time I saw it intact was this past fall when it was torn and tattered, hanging on by a few strings after wind and rain made their disastrous mark. Today, there is no sign of the old painting, a distant memory. Luckily a friend of mine photographed it before its downfall and I have since studied the seemingly perverted depiction in depth and realize my view, while understandable, is probably a bit off-base.

First a word on the Templo Adventista Del Septimo Dia. The building was originally built as a synagogue back when the lower east side was a Jewish-immigrant bastion; sometime in the early 20th century. It probably became a seventh-day adventist church sometime in the seventies as the areas ethnic makeup shifted and changed. Like the Jewish worshippers before them, Adventists obs
erve the Sabbath on Saturday, unlike most other Sunday Christian denominations.

So, the picture? Well, upon closer examination, I see it is actually a depiction of the Bible story of the Jesus resurrection. You can see the primitive stone door of his tomb moved open in the left background as described in the gospels. The two "young boys" are supposed to be the two angels in the gospel of Luke and John, anointing Christ for his ascension into heaven. The Jesus character looks quite modern and I think he must be depicting someone the artist may have known, perhaps the artist himself. In a way, I wasn't that far off in my assumption because anointing is in a way bathing and angels are usually depicted as young boys in many renaissance paintings.

Either way you look at it, deviant or devout, the mural is now gone, perhaps ascended to the heavens itself.