Sunday, December 27, 2009

Best Videos of 2009

I spend a lot of time listening to a college station from Tel Aviv called Kol HaCampus. Recently, they posted their best of 2009 list, along with YouTube videos for a lot of the artists. I've gone through their list and here are my 20 favorite videos. I recommend connecting your computer to a projector and amplifier and watching these videos in full-screen mode.
  • 1 - St. Vincent - Actor Out of Work. A powerful song with an even more powerful video.
  • 2 - Who Made Who - Keep Me In My Plane. This one is my favorite.
  • 3 - Röyksopp - Happy Up Here. Fun and light. I like the Space Invaders.
  • 4 - Matt & Kim - Lessons Learned. I've seen this in Times Square, like, a million times.
  • 5 - Shantel - Citizen of Planet Paprika. Here's what Parliament might have been if George Clinton was born in Eastern Europe. Or wherever Shantel comes from.
  • 6 - Franz Ferdinand - Ulysses.
  • 7 - Datarock - Give It Up. I saw them this year at South By Southwest. Here's the video.
  • 8 - Passion Pit - The Reeling. These folks must have listened to a lot of 80s music.
  • 9 - Yacht - Psychic City. I think they're trying to make a statement about religion.
  • 10 - Kinny - Enough Said. Her retro sound with the retro look and feel of the video make a great combination.
  • 11 - Marissa Nadler - River of Dirt. Haunting vocals.
  • 12 - Ian Brown - Stellify. Reminds me of Fleetwood Mac - Tusk. In a good way.
  • 13 - Grizzly Bear - Two Weeks. This is from Veckatimest, which is one of my favorite albums of the year. I even put a track from it on my ill-concieved Corn Forks mix.
  • 14 - múm - Sing Along. For fans of long Iclelandic Winters.
  • 15 - The Flaming Lips - I Can Be A Frog. I was a fan of this track before I saw the video.
  • 16 - Kings of Convenience - Boat Behind. This is from the third Kings of Convenience album, Declaration of Dependence. Pitchfork didn't like it because it is too much like their other albums. I like it for that very same reason. What would be great, though, would be another Versus based on this album.
  • 17 - Eels - The Look You Give That Guy. Lucky dog.
  • 18 - Broadcast & The Focus Group - #1: Witch Cults. Trippy.
  • 19 - Califone - Funeral Singers. Supermellow.
  • 20 - Andrew Bird - Anonanimal. Very cool video.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Happiest People On Earth

This past weekend I went to Denmark to visit with my old roommate, Thomas Schack von Brockdorff. I learned a number of lessons during the trip. First of all, Thomas no longer goes by SvB, and hasn't for the past decade. His current last name contains an Æ one of the three letters (Æ, Ø, and Å) that Danish has, and English doesn't. Perhaps that's why I had a hard time finding him.

Thomas and I were roommates in 1988-89 in Jerusalem. You may wonder, why a non-Jewish Dane was living in Jerusalem? Thomas went to Israel in 1987 together with some of his high school buddies to volunteer at a kibbutz. Thomas eventually left the kibbutz and found a job at Cowboy Fudge, located in the back of Happening on Ben Yehudah Street. My girlfriend at the time was the manager of the fudge stand, and in one fell swoop, Thomas found a job and a place to live. Things didn't work out with my girlfriend, and the weekend she moved out, in late November 1988, I went AWOL from the army with two of my friends, Phil and Freddie Fresh. The next twelve days became "Freedom Fest," a time when our little group would grow closer and wilder, and our apartment became known as The Swamp.

Recently, Oprah called the Danes "The Happiest People on Earth." I wanted to find out if this was true, so I took every opportunity to ask Danes if they agreed. In this clip, I get answers from Thomas, his old friends who came to Israel with him in 1987, strangers in night clubs, and Thomas' girlfriend Chrissilda. (Look for the segment where the Danish goyim break into song with "Heveinu Shalom Aleichem.")

Clipping the card:

When using the public transportation system in Denmark, one of the most economical ways to go is to get at 10 ride klippekort, or cut card. When entering a station, you put your clip card into a machine that stamps the time and cuts off a piece of the card itself. The card can be used for transfers within two hours of clipping. By the end of the weekend, I was an expert in clipping the card.

Quick Summary of the Vacation:
What I leaned on the trip:
  • The Danish eat danishes, but they call it wienerbrød, which means Viennese Bread.
  • Danes don't dress up for Halloween, but kids do for Fastelavn, which, like other Carnival celebrations, falls out closer to Purim. During this holiday, kids play slå katten af tønden, which means "beating the cat out of the barrel." Although today it's more of a piñata-style game, it began with a real black cat beaten out of a suspended barrel.
  • When you share your wisdom with someone, it's called, sharing the golden nuggets. At least that's what Christian Brøns told me as he wrote down some of my classic one-liners.
  • Hi in Danish means, "hi." Like the word shalom in Hebrew, it's used for hello and goodbye.
At the end of a long Swampy weekend, both Thomas and I were wiped out. After 20 years, nothing has changed.

Thomas in 2009:
The Aftermath
Thomas in 1989:
Thomas in 1988
Hi hi, Danmark, tak for alt det sjove.

Here's all the pictures:

Monday, October 26, 2009

Spying on the Monkeys

Today I became a member of the Philadelphia Zoo. As zoos go, I guess it's alright. I hadn't anticipated how packed it would be, and how many small children would be in costume. So, it was a little crowded. Also, I went to the zoo today in order to observe the golden lion tamarins. After having a conversation with a zoo employee dressed as Super Mario, I learned that, the golden lion tamarins weren't available to hang with the guests. Instead I got stuck looking at the pied tamarins. The pied tamarin is a hideous beast, with a glare that is disturbing. A big momma walking near the pied tamarin cage at first told her daughter to look at the monkey, but after giving it a good look, changed her mind and said, "Yo, that monkey's crazy." A good friend of mine has suggested that, even though he's a member of the gorilla society, the only way to deal with the pied tamarin is with fire. And lots of it. In fact, the native population of humans made their best attempt to exterminate this freakish species. But the Philadelphia Zoo is taking the lead in helping this hideous creature survive.

The most confounding thing is that I couldn't find my camera today. I figured it was with my hoodie, since I couldn't find that either. So as I rode my bike to the zoo, I stopped at a drugstore and picked up smallest cheapest digital camera I could find. I doesn't really have a viewfinder or screen or anything, so there was a lot of guesswork. I didn't take many pictures in the zoo, because I felt creepy, being an adult male, alone, and surrounded by families and small children in halloween costumes. I did manage to get one picture of the Bolivian titi monkeys. It's not that great a pic, but if you know titi monkeys, you will have no problem identifying them in the photo.

On the way home, I decided to walk my bicycle along the banks of the Schuylkill while listening to Gil Scott-Heron's Pieces of a Man. Every once and I while I would attempt to take pictures of things. As I was finishing one of these picture taking attempts, a man noticed my tiny camera and asked if I was a spy. I assured him that I was not, and that he wouldn't be able to prove it anyways.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Corn Forks Version 0.8

I was having a tech problem with this mix. After discussing the issue with some of my geekier friends, I've resolved the tech problem.

I'm having a problem with the mix itself. It was created for the drive to and from the shore this summer. Now the leaves are starting to change colors, and I feel differently about the mix.

So, after a long delay, here's your preview of Corn Forks.
Download the mix as a zipped folder with MP3s.
Download the mix as one big WMA file.
See the playlist with links to videos of the songs.

Feedback and comments are appreciated.

Monday, September 28, 2009

A Happy Yom Kippur on Twitter

Yom Kippur was trending on Twitter this year. Trending means that it's one of the most common terms being used on Twitter at that moment. It's interesting to see what people were tweeting about. There were a ton of tweets about either having the day off of school or not having it off. The same applies to work. It also seems a lot of people had extra time on their hands since the commute was so much easier without all the Jews going to work. Then there were people saying "happy yom kippur," others saying, "it's solemn, not happy," and yet others saying, "get over it."

Here's My Top Ten Yom Kippur Tweets for 5770:

  • 10 - Ground Rules
A rabbi says atoning for Yom Kippur on Twitter & Facebook doesn't work. Gosh darn it.

  • 9 - Half Jewish
waaaait...I just realized, if it's Yom Kippur, and I'm semi-jewish..I'm not supposed to work..which means I can leave the office
(It launched a discussion of being half-Jewish on his page: are you half-circumcized?)

  • 8 - Not Even Half
Yom Kippur. Jewish day for repentance & thoughts of atomement. I am remembering my at-one-ment with God thru the Messiah, Jesus.

  • 7 - I Am My Own Jewish Friend
Called a colleague today, totally forgetting he's Jewish and today is Yom Kippur. What makes it really bad is *I'm* Jewish. Oops.

  • 6 - Twitter Is Better Than Hebrew School
Thanks twitter for reminding me I need to call my grandparents... it's Yom Kippur. I already missed Rosh Hashanah... oops.

  • 5 - No Clue About Yom Kippur or Jews
Happy Yom Kippur to all my Jewish buddies out there. Take it easy on the Menishevitz. That could lead to one nasty hangover.

  • 4 - Noticing the Divine Hand
i think god may be punishing me for going to work on yom kippur. "oh you want to work on the holiday? Fine, work all 24 hours then."

  • 3 - Wishing On A Weinstein
TBS is playing the banned-by-Fox Jewish episode of Family Guy. On Yom Kippur. Huh. #badtiming

  • 2 - Where Do YOU Go To Shul?
Tweeted about my breasts in a synagogue and gained a handful of pornbots and a @TinyJesus. I *might* be doing Yom Kippur wrong.

  • 1 - Just As Fast
It's ok to eat Burger King on Yom Kippur because it's "Fast food"

Sunday, September 27, 2009

I Went Out And Achieved Anyways!

I forgot to bring my camera to Lebowski Fest. There were so many Dudes, Walters, Maudes, and Jesuses with a few Jackie Treehorns and nihilists added in for good measure. There were a pair of guys dressed as Lennin, John and V.I.

And I got no pics.

I asked my #1 to take a single picture with me standing near Adrienne the Waitress dressed as Maude the Valkyrie.

She wants to go on Birthright...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Jury Dude

I'm serving on a jury. Don't roll your eyes. Don't think that I'm some kind of sucker. I'm not.

"Couldn't you get out of it?"

Why would I want to get out of it? Why do you think it's something to get out of?

Check out my post about it on Alef (The NEXT Conversation): click here.

For all the gravitas of this situation, I keep thinking about a routine from an old Jewish comedy album. It's called The Jury. (right click to download track)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Summer Mix Making Process: Corn Forks (Version 0.8)

I've been driving back and forth from Philly to the shore this month. I'm about halfway through the month, and it seems that a playlist has begun to emerge. It's named after the compostable flatware we stock in the shore house.

My mix making technology is acting up, otherwise this mix would be online as a mix. Instead, this mix is online as links.

Corn Forks (Version 0.8)

1-Elizabeth And The Catapult-Taller Children
3-God Lives Underwater-From Your Mouth
4-MGMT-Time to Pretend
5-The Ting Tings-Great DJ
7-Hot Chip-Ready For The Floor
8-Vampire Weekend-A-Punk
10-Laze and Carnival-Girls Talk
11-Grizzly Bear-Southern Point
12-The Kingsbury Manx-These Three Things
13-Fila Brazilia-President Chimp Toe
15-Telepopmusik-Brighton Beach
16-The Pictish Trail-Winter Home Disco
17-My Latest Novel-Pretty In A Panic

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Red Things On My Head

Just got some new headphones in anticipation of my summer jet setting. I feel like I might be wearing too much red on my head.

In the lens on the left, you can see my hand holding up the camera. In the right lens you can see Bread Street.

Last night I met a person who told me that, because of online pictures, he "quit the internet." I suppose he's going back to attaching notes to pigeon's legs, sending smoke signals and maybe using a fax machine.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Bicycle Ride Along The Schuylkill River

I took a long bicycle ride to Conshohocken. On the way back, I stopped for a break at the Manayunk Brewery. The first video here is leaving the brewery while a live band covered Jimi Hendrix "Little Wing." The rest of the videos were taken while riding my bicycle. It's like the opening to "It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia," only slower.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Israel Day At Penn's Landing

Israel day featured most major Jewish organizations in Philly, and a live concert by Rami Kleinstein.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Black Landlord LIve

Above are video clips of Black Landlord live in May 2009. I saw them twice this week, and could see them a third time tonight. I recommend seeing them live. You can check their tour schedule here.

Their new album, "Addicted to Distraction" is out. You can buy it at AKA Music on 27 N Second St Philadelphia, PA 19106. AKA music is a record store. You can walk in there and hand them cash and they will give you a CD. Of course you can also buy it online.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Lag BaOmer In Northern Liberties

Last night I attended the Annual Crazy Bonfire and Music Festival at the Jewish Center of Northern Liberties. It was the best Lag BaOmer scene I've seen outside of Israel. It was a who's who of the Philadelphia Jewish Scene: friends, fellows, frenemies and colleagues were all there.

The music was led by Rabbi Menachem Schmidt, wailing away on an electric guitar, after being released from the hospital that day. He is an inspiration to me both as a Jew and a Rocker.

Monday, April 27, 2009

lo rotzim? lo tzarich! the mennu method celebrates Israel's 61st Birthday and Tel Aviv's 100th

I just finished making a mix in honor if Israel's 61st birthday. 
You can download it as a zip file here, or as a wma here. You can find them both on the mix page.

Here's the picture that inspired the title.

Anyone who's seen The Big Lebowski knows Herzl's famous quote about the possibility of a Jewish State, "If you will it, it is no dream." In the picture here, he says, "lo rotzim, lo tzarich..."  It translates as "you don't want?  you don't need!"  It's the kind of thing that an Israeli teacher might say to his class when they are acting up.  Kind of like, "if you don't want you recess, you don't need your recess!"  In this case, I think Herzl is saying this to a new generation of Israelis: You want to complain about the state?  You don't want a state?  Then you don't need one.

On the physical CD, I've been trying to graft on a few more pictures. One of them is of Golda Meir (on the right) wearing a party hat, but that's from Israel's 60th birthday last year. She looks thrilled to hell.  It almost looks like she's giving me a disapproving look about the mix.

What I really wanted on the CD was this picture of the sun setting over Tel Aviv. The lightscribe that burns images onto CDs doesn't really do this picture justice.  I took the picture from the roof of my friend's apartment building this past January.  He lives in Kerem haTemanim, right near Shuk HaCarmel.  His street is called Najara, which I looked up in my Guide to Street Names of Tel Aviv.  Here's what I learned:

Israel Najara (1555-1625) was a kabbalist, rabbi and poet who lived in the land of Israel.  Born in Damascus where his father was a rabbi, he moved to Tzfat and then eventually settled in Gaza where he served as a rabbi for the rest of his life.  His most well known poem is "Ya Ribon Olam VeAlmaya," which is commonly sung on Shabbat morning. 
So happy birthday Israel!  And Tel Aviv, I don't care how old you are, you'll always look young to me. Shine on!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

SXSW 2009

I just returned from South By Southwest.  Birthright Israel NEXT and JDub Records sponsored an event called Rest Stop.  Alan Jay Sufrin and Miriam Brosseau of Stereo Sinai did a great writeup of that day. Check it out here.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Oops, I'm Doing It Again

Once again I will be serving as DJ for the Richter Brothers Purim Party.

El Taller.



Need I say more?

Have something to eat after megilla reading and head right over.

Monday, January 26, 2009

International Jet Set at Cosa Nostra

The past few times I've visited Tel Aviv, I end up DJing a party for my good friend and host, Howard Glanzman. This time, instead of trashing Howard's apartment, we decided to have the party in a bar. On the right is a picture of us at a local bistro, still in our pajamas, having a conversation about the party over coffee. And so we decided that we would have the party at Cosa Nostra, this Saturday night, January 31, 2009 from 8:30PM until, like, whenever. Cosa has agreed to let me handle the music that night. So it's gonna be good.

I'm going to spin some Israeli alternative along with some other international selections. I've already managed to pick up new music from Haim Laroz, Lemmus Lemmus and The Apples.

Yesterday I bought the second Braad Sessions album. The guy who makes them is a hair stylist named Collie. On the website, it lists a phone number to call if you want the new album. I called it and Collie invited me to pick it up from him in the salon. I've been enjoying it and plan on giving him some positive feedback before I leave.

Also, while buying discs in Krembo, I ran into Kutiman. I told him that his music is awesome and that he's a big hit among my friends. When I asked if he would be on tour, he said no. He prefers to work in the studio. The road is not for him. Oh well.

I'll have lots of new music to share when I return.

And now, the links: International Jet Set at Cosa Nostra Facebook Event Page, Cosa Nostra on Facebook and MySpace.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A Quick Post Before I Split

I was asked to construct an alternative Shabbat morning service. Here's a traditional Shabbat morning song accompanied by a guitar:

And here's my plane landing in Newark:

And the Jet-Set DJ is up in the air again...

Thursday, January 01, 2009

New Year's Day Vastation

Boppy New Year! I'm about to be out of town for a month. During the month I am away, I will be in New Orleans, New York, Passaic, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. So, before I go off to my travels, I just wanted to unload some of my latest observations and projects which have been accumulating for the past few months.

Sondre Lerche

I recently saw Sondre Lerche in Philadelphia. In the past four years, I've seen him 5 times in four states. And Sondre is only 26 years old. My nephew went to see him in New York the Thursday before I saw him in Philadelphia, and they took this picture:
I printed the picture and had it signed by Sondre and myself:

Then I gave the picture to my nephew:
My nephew was upset that they wouldn't let him record Sondre and Sylvie Lewish doing Modern Nature. So I filmed it. Here it is:

Sondre Lerche & Sylvie Lewis - Modern Nature
At The World Cafe Live in Philadelphia on November 25, 2008.

Recipes: Wicked Seitan

I've been hanging out with vegans again. Used to be a vegan myself at an earlier thinner point in my life. Here's one of my favorite vegan recipes. Click on the pic to go to the recipe page.


On Hanukkah, I sponsored a party where j.viewz played live. I will be brining them back to Philly sometime this summer. Not only are they awesome, but they leave a trail of goodness wherever they go. Here's two video clips:

Snow in Philadelphia:

And on New Year's Eve, it started snowing, but it wasn't just snowing, it was snowing sideways and upwards:


And I have a mix that I've been working on. I gave away a few preview versions and asked for feedback. Then I decided that I didn't really care for the feedback, and that I should just go with my gut as usual. I've taken in a lot of new music and I feel like I'm about to start on a new mix. So instead of confusing a mix that was made from June through November 2008, I'll start a new one. Here's the mix, I'm calling it Chairman.