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November 8, 2010

Moe's Closing?

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Word on the internets is that Fort Greene's neighborhood bar, Moe's may be closing due to an astronomical rent increase. A lot of things can happen between now and February, so I'm not giving up hope just yet.

May 18, 2010

Self Promotion: City Seen at Habana Outpost

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I'm very excited to announce that Habana Outpost has invited me to put up a show of my photography next month. It will run for the first half of June, with photos up on Tuesday, June 1st through Monday, June, 14th.

The show, which I'm calling "City Seen" will center on my street photography, with some photos that should be familiar to those who have followed the blog for a while including a couple of my all-time favorites.

For updates and further details, rsvp to the City Seen event page on Facebook.

April 5, 2010

Bar Sputnik Closed Down

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I was disappointed this weekend to find Sputnik, on the Bed-Stuy/Clinton Hill border shuttered with an 'out of business' sign on the door.

After years of wanting to go, I only ended up there twice. Last fall, I was there two weeks in a row, shooting Pharoahe Monch and Brand Nubian for some of my first Examiner columns. With Evil D on the turntables and legends literally inches away, it was Hip-hop at its finest.

I wasn't anywhere near a regular, but I'm sad to see it go.

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December 9, 2009

Quick Bite: Bar 35 Pizza

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This may look like a generic bar pizza, but this mini-pie from Bar 35 in Honolulu's Chinatown was topped with Chinese sausage and sweet Thai chili sauce instead of the usual pepperoni and tomato sauce. It was certainly novel and actually pretty good. What I was really curious about was the Gyro pizza they served, but Tammi wasn't hearing it.

August 25, 2009

Tuesdays at The Blue Owl

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My friend, DJ Jon Oliver has started a new weekly party Tuesday nights at The Blue Owl in the East Village. It's coordinated with his weekly radio show on East Village Radio, The Main Ingredient.

Last weekend, Tammi and I stopped in and heard some tunes. It was a good time. If you're around tonight, come through.

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The Main Ingredient
Tuesdays at The Blue Owl
9pm - 2am
196 2nd Avenue (12th & 13th)

July 29, 2009

DC: Dinner at Marvin

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On our second night in DC the other weekend, Tammi and I met up with friends for dinner at Marvin. As I mentioned in a previous post, Marvin's menu stars the somewhat startling combination of Southern American and Belgian dishes. Though it seems odd at first, I have to say it worked well.

I had the chicken and waffle, above, which was wonderful. The breading had just the right crispy crunch to it and was complemented wonderfully by the sweetness of the syrup. Even the side of sauteed greens with a cream sauce that sat beneath the waffle mixed well, adding a slightly bitter edge to all that sweet and savory.

Tammi went with an order of Moules Frites, which came with a huge pile of mussels. She was so full from that, that she barely touched her fries. If you knew how much she loves fries, you'd understand how good the mussels must have been.

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After dinner we headed upstairs and listened to the DJ spin some tunes while we relaxed for a couple hours. The space filled up over the evening and there was a great vibe. Good times.

May 27, 2009

I Love Vinyl Party

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Saturday night saw the debut of the I Love Vinyl party at Le Poisson Rouge in The Village. Friends DJs Jon Oliver and Scribelove among others went retro and ditched their laptops for an evening of old-fashioned record spinning.

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We weren't there very late, but Tammi and I had a great time listening to the beats and feeling the crowd.

The word is that the party was such a success that they're already planning a follow up for next month:

June 26, 2009
10pm-4am

The Gallery Bar @ Le Poisson Rouge
158 Bleecker St, NYC.

January 20, 2009

Photo of the Day: History

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Today's the big day.

January 9, 2009

SF: 111 Minna

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The other night, we checked out 111 Minna, an art gallery and bar a couple blocks away from the convention center. It's an awesome concept that I would love to find in New York. I always mean to go to more art galleries, particularly the openings of graffiti artists I've been following, but somehow never manage to go. Worse, a gallery has opened up in Bed-Stuy, mere blocks from my house that I have yet to walk into much less photograph.

In any case, 111 Minna is a gallery by day and a bar/club on the weekends and some nights during the week. I went on Wednesday night for a DJ night they have on Wednesdays and got a look at some of the pieces going up for an exhibition that opened last night.

See the photos of the work here.

October 13, 2008

Deity Art Show


IMG_1936, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

In another display of serendipity this weekend, I planned to meet up with Tammi and our friend Mandy Saturday evening having no idea that there was going to be an art show starting right when I got there.

It turned out that a group named fokus was hosting a gallery show of John Wright, whose work I don't really know and AV One, who I've seen all over town for ages. I got to meet AV One and talk briefly, which was great after all these years of shooting his stuff and seeing his art on Flickr.

I somehow always manage to miss these art openings, so I was really happy to finally have one fall in my lap. It was a good time, I hope to finally start going to more.

September 10, 2008

Bars: Hurricane Party at Soda


IMG_3778, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Who doesn't love bacon? No one I want to meet, that's for sure (Jon, we've already met, so it doesn't count). The bacon here is part of a chicken BLT Tammi had at Soda. I had an incredible kielbasa sandwich that I ate far too quickly to get around to photographing.

Saturday afternoon, while Hurricane Hanna swept down on New York, dumping a month's rainfall in a couple hours, Tammi and I spent the afternoon hanging out in Prospect Heights.

I had been to Soda once or twice before after years of meaning to go. Both Jon and Mike performed there regularly a couple years ago, but I never made it until recently.

While there, ostensibly looking for Parisian vacation rentals, we ended up running into Ethan and Anna. We sat there for hours hanging out and chatting completely oblivious to the general productivity we all planned out when heading there. It was great.

Meanwhile, outside,
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September 9, 2008

Photo of the Day: The Phantom DJ of the West


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Skylark Lounge. The Mission, San Francisco. 2008.

August 15, 2008

Photo of the Day: Beer Ticket


IMG_5572, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Happy Hour at Moe's, Fort Greene, Brooklyn. 2008.

July 2, 2008

Photo of the Day: Soul Bar


IMG_0117, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Las CaƱitas, Buenos Aires, Argentina. 2006.

I can't remember if we just stumbled upon Soul Bar or if we saw it in a guidebook. Either way, we had a great time here, sitting for hours listening to American soul music and snacking while Tammi tried the various cocktails and I worked my way through the local Malbecs they stocked.

June 25, 2008

Bars: Deity


IMG_5149, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Before we headed out of town, Tammi and I ha a joint birthday party at Deity, a bar set up in an old Synagogue. We've been stopping in here semi-regularly for the last few months. The space is stealthily concealed behind an obscured entryway. I'm pretty fond of it because it's nearly always empty, which I suppose isn't particularly good for business, but makes for a great lounge as far as I'm concerned. Especially since they also stock a number of great beers and bourbons that Tammi loves.

The hours are pretty limited during the week, although they aren't about to kick folks out if there's a crowd. They stayed open an hour after the usual closing time of 9pm for our group, which pretty much filled up the space.

On the weekend, the real show is downstairs, which opens up as a club. I haven't been, since clubs aren't really my thing, but I'll have to check it out one of these days.

June 5, 2008

Photo of the Day: The Phantom DJ


The Phantom DJ, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

DJ Jon Oliver at Madame X, NYC. 2007.

May 29, 2008

DJ Dhundee at the Renaissance Times Square


IMG_9501, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Last night I stopped in for a couple rounds at the bar at the Renaissance Hotel Times Square. Typically, I'd avoid lingering in Times Square, but my friend Mike, a.k.a. DJ Dhundee DJs there every Wednesday night.

As soon as I got out of the elevator into the lobby, I heard "Feel Like Makin' Love" by D'Angelo and knew I was in the right place. There weren't a ton of folks out last night, which Fiona, the organizer attributed to the long weekend. I'll be sure to stop in again to see what a regular night is like. Crowds or not, it's nice to find a place to to hear some good music and have a beer in that part of the city.

Renaissance Hotel New York
714 Seventh Ave
New York, NY 10036

May 12, 2008

Photo of the Day: Skeptical


IMG_8973, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Rani tends bar at Madame X when Jon DJs there. She often puts up with my incessant shooting at the bar, which I appreciate greatly.


May 10, 2008

Photo of the Day: Feeling the Music


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This is Sauniel, a friend of Jon's from high school. I met her at Madame X a few weeks back.

May 3, 2008

Photo of the Day: Brooklyn EIPA


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Madame X, Greenwich Village, NYC. 2008.

November 24, 2007

Mexico City Bar Snacks


IMG00092.jpg, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

I have no idea what this is. They served it as a bar snack at El Mitote in Condesa. Tastes sort of like seaweed, but I suppose it could bugs...

Turns out it's Perejil, which is just dried parsley. Clearly I should be concerned, as I was a little disappointed when I found out it wasn't bugs.

June 18, 2007

Bars: Rub-A-Dub

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We only swung by Rub-a-dub in Ponto Cho, Kyoto to see what a Reggae bar in Japan could possibly be like. It turned out to be a lot of fun. It's a very small place that could probably only fit 20 people. Maybe.

We were there late on our last night. The only ones there were the bartenders, a girl who was friend with them and an old Japanese man who had been sitting next to us at the bar, wearing a cowboy hat.

I yelled out a request for some Bob Marley and they invited me over to pick something out. As we listened to "War/No More Trouble" from of Babylon By Bus, the old man got starting moving to the music. Before the song was over, he was dancing in the middle of the bar.

May 15, 2007

Wonder-Full Party

(Originally Posted on The Brooklyn Record):

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Saturday night in Willamsburg, hundreds came out to for "WONDER-Full IX - An annual tribute to the genius Stevie Wonder" at the Sugar Factory. World famous DJs Bobbito and DJ Spinna came together once again to play any and every song that the legendary Stevie had a hand in. Any songs written and ghost-written by the artist were fair game, as were songs that sampled his works. Now hosted by Keistar Productions, Wonder-Full started out nine years ago as a way to celebrate the Stevie Wonder's birthday, May 13th. Back then, the crowd was small enough to fit in a venue with a 75-person capacity. This weekend there were easily over 1000 party-goers in attendance in the 14,000 square foot, multi-level venue.

While glad for the success, some worry that the party may have lost something. DJ Jon Oliver has been attending these parties for years and plugged it on his website weeks ago. After it was all over though, he worried that all the hype may have backfired.

This year's Wonder-Full party did not feel as intimate as in previous years. Their success is well-deserved but as is always the case, when an event becomes "the place to be" you get less people coming for (in this case) love of Stevie Wonder and more people who just want to be up on what's hot.

-clay williams

Photo of DJ Bobbito by Ultraclay!

May 11, 2007

Bars: Moe's

I don't go to Moe's anymore. It's not that it's changed at all - at least not that I know of. In part it's just that I lost my patience for crowded bars a couple years ago. And Moe's can get pretty crowded.

On the weekends they have DJs spinning some great tunes. Jon DJed there from time to time. I don't remember how many times I've sat there just getting amped over the music. Even the jukebox is great. It's got old school hip-hop, soul and funk with an eclectic mix of everything else swirled in.

Unfortunately, the vibe at Moe's changes on the weekends too. It almost becomes more of a club than a bar and it has all the hazards that includes: Way too many over-dressed people crammed into a tight place. Maybe I've just gotten old, but that doesn't appeal to me so much these days.

During the week it's more of a neighborhood bar. Relaxed regulars hang out with the bartender or lounge on the couches in the back. Writing about it, I'm starting to miss it. I'll have to swing by for a round soon. Maybe this weekend before it gets too crowded.

Moe's is definitely a cool place to relax, but you have to hit it at the right time.
::c::

80 Lafayette Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11217
(718) 797-9536

April 28, 2007

Bars: Black Star Bar

FKA Black Star

I miss Black Star.

For me and Eric, along with a bunch of our friends, it was 'our' bar back when. Our 'local' - except neither of us actually lived over there.

It's gone now. They closed up in January '04 after the landlord outpriced them. The people who took over turned into a crappy place called Kabin that has giant plasma screens and no soul. I walked in once and it all just seemed wrong.

Kim g put me on to that place for her birthday. Maybe in 2001?

On Friday nights, Garfield the DJ played some great music. I must have run up to his booth dozens of times to ask for the names of songs he was playing. Every now and then I'll come across a page in a notebook with a drunken scrawl, "take me to the mardi gras - bob james" or some other such classic sample that I first heard at Black Star.

They packed them in on Saturday nights. Even with the lounge in the back room open, it was jammed. But we knew the staff, so we could always get a good spot.

On weeknights, after work it wasn't nearly so busy. Usually there were no more than a dozen of us there sitting at the bar hanging out with the bartenders and bullshitting. Thinking back to that, I understand the appeal of social clubs and lodges for old men.

To this day, I've never found a bar I felt as at home in. Blind Tiger got pretty close, until they closed. I'm holding out hope for the new place, but so far it's just too crowded. Black Star is pretty much the standard to which I judge nearly every other bar.


::c::

February 8, 2007

Toronto: The Sunday Lime


iflute?, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Summer 2005: Tammi and I took a long weekend out to Toronto. The timing was perfect. The weather was gorgeous and there just happened to be a graffiti festival on Queen Street. We wandered about and I shot some of the fresh art up on the walls.
Sunday afternoon, we headed back to Queen to catch the last of the festival. We could hear music from a block away. It was coming from a bar called Big Papa's Bordello. In the fenced off garden space, we could see musicians playing as the DJ spun beats.

This was the bar's Sunday ritual, the Sunday Lime. Musicians from a group called The iDrum Collective played percussion over what Tammi called 'soulful house.' I don't know from House music, but this wasn't like any I'd heard before. It was a mix of funk and soul and the songs just flowed into each other. What drew me in the most was the musicians. There wasn't much structure to the group, The flowed in and out just like the music. They came and walked off periodically. They switched instruments from time to time, one guy drummed for a while, then took out a trumpet and played that.

A little before we left, an older man came in and hung out for a few minutes. He chat with the others for a bit, then he took out his flute. He hooked up his mic and caught the beat. As he played, he meandered through the garden passing us by, bending and moving with his lilting tune.

When he was ready for his solo, he waved his arm with a flair.
"Just like that." The band held the beat and the old man took over.

He finished, packed up his flute, said his goodbyes and left.

Continue reading "Toronto: The Sunday Lime" »


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