Monthly Archives: March 2006

felty bracelet.

felty bracelet
Originally uploaded by stephiblu.

starry superheroe bracelet.


felty bracelet

felty bracelet
Originally uploaded by stephiblu.

this one is for bethy


march draw-a-thon

march draw-a-thon
Originally uploaded by stephiblu.

cardboard costume–mask.

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Posted by on March 28, 2006 in art, brooklyn, williamsburg


draw-a-thon drawings

here are some of my drawings from the march draw-a-thon.
below is the news about next months event.

April Draw-a-thon

Thursday April 13th, 2006

Michael Alan and Artistic Revolution invite you to our sixth eight-hour figure drawing marathon session. This one-of-a-kind art event will feature 12 models taking theatrical, improvisational and dynamic poses to alternative, dramatic and original music to spark a creative vibe and set the stage for a truly unique and dynamic drawing experience. The draw-a-thon will take place on April 13th at Fix in Williamsburg at Bedford & N11th. Doors will open at 7pm. Participants are encouraged to arrive early and will be admitted on a first come first served basis. Supplies will not be provided. However, a limited amount of basic materials will be available for purchase.
Click the thumbnails for photos from our last events and check the music page to listen to original music composed for the draw-a-thon by Michael Alan.

Date: Thursday April 13th, 2006
Time: 7pm – 3am
Place: Fix Cafe on Bedford & N11th in Williamsburg Brooklyn
Travel: L train to Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn or B61 to N11th
Admission: $14

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Posted by on March 28, 2006 in art, brooklyn, williamsburg


march draw-a-thon

march draw-a-thon
Originally uploaded by stephiblu.

gesture drawing


march draw-a-thon

march draw-a-thon
Originally uploaded by stephiblu.

irish man.


Dark 2BR Loft? That’s Code for a Club

photo credit Elizabeth Lippman for The New York Times.


james, steve,+black dice go underground in the nytimes

in the following article you can see a photo with james and steve @ the black dice show a few days ago.
Dark 2BR Loft? That’s Code for a Club
In Brooklyn a group of roommates opened the doors of their loft to create High Five, an underground club.

Published: March 26, 2006
AT midnight one recent Friday, dozens of people lined up in one of Brooklyn’s bleakest warehouse districts, waiting to enter a rock show. Tickets had been sold at a Greenpoint record store, but the show’s address was only revealed to buyers at the last minute by e-mail.
A ticket taker stamped the hands of nearly 500 fans who eventually jammed into a room to drink beer and hear the Black Dice, local favorites. The band’s dressing room was a bit odd: there was a bed in it. The bathroom for the audience had somebody’s used toothbrush and a package of Q-tips. A big mural in the hall read, “Home Sweet Home.”

This was no rock club. This was someone’s home.

The loft, shared by several art school graduates in a desolate part of Bushwick, is transformed every other month into an underground club, the High Five.

“I’ve always been pretty obsessed with underground music,” said Peter Buxton, 24, one of the roommates. “In the back of my head I was thinking it would be cool to do shows. And as soon we spotted this loft, we thought it would be a crime not to do something.”

Mr. Buxton and his roommates, who make enough money from their bimonthly shows to cover the $2,800 rent for their loft, have plenty of company around the city.

From former industrial lofts in Brooklyn and Queens to stylish pads in Manhattan’s meatpacking district, living quarters are being used as cash-producing spaces for under-the-radar parties.

Given the high costs and stringent laws governing licensed night spots — from no-smoking ordinances to laws regulating closing hours, alcohol sales and dancing — underground parties, where guests can smoke, boogie and drink as long as they like, seem to have an increasing appeal, in no small part because they are illicit.

“It feels super-sneaky,” said Solana Larson, 26, a Brooklynite who went to a party in an apartment in the meatpacking district. “I brought some friends, and they were like, ‘Wow, this is so underground.’ You can’t help but feel like it’s kind of a select crowd.”

Organizers employ various tactics to avoid attracting police attention, including checking guests’ identification to make sure they are 21 and asking them to sign a release form. Shadi Shahrokhi, a host of parties in his loft in the meatpacking district, puts his neighbors in the expensive Maritime hotel for the night to avoid having them file noise complaints with authorities.

Nonetheless most of the parties are in violation of the law, the police say. “With those parties comes noise, comes crowding,” said Detective Brian Sessa, a New York Police Department spokesman. “It’s a building code violation. If you charge overhead or charge for drinks, you need a liquor license. Basically they are illegal on multiple levels.”

To avoid leaving a paper trail, almost none of the loft-party organizers print fliers. Some declined to speak in detail for this article for fear of exposure. Secrecy, they said, is both their best defense and their biggest draw.

Advertised through online Listservs, Web sites like and word of mouth, the house parties are open to anyone who unearths the secret address and is willing to pay the $5 to $15 cover charges.

They include rock shows, performance art and D.J.-fueled discos.

Even though part of their appeal is the do-it-yourself vibe — kitchens that serve as bars, bedrooms that double as V.I.P. areas — some are increasingly mimicking professional spaces.

Organizers book acts that also play legitimate clubs like Avalon, and they hire promoters, bouncers, bartenders and coat-check girls. But they still say they’re in it as much for the fun and socializing as for the money.

“It’s really just a labor of love, plus pocket change,” said Arvin Ajamian, an audio producer who, with the help of some partners, turned his unassuming four-bedroom Williamsburg house into a club called Brooklyn Tuning, complete with disco ball, lights and professional sound system. Mr. Ajamian, 27, charges a $10 cover and offers an open bar. Though as many as 300 people have come for his monthly parties, he says he only makes enough to recoup expenses and maybe pay for dinner and a few drinks.

Mr. Shahrokhi, 38, an architect, agrees. He regularly spends about $2,500 on Buyrum, a party that he and a few D.J.’s play host to every few months in his loft in the meatpacking district. “We do it as a cultural event,” he said. “It’s not about me making 200 bucks, because obviously doing architecture is a lot less work and a lot more profit.”

Gadi Mizrahi and Zev Eisenberg, a D.J. team that goes by the name Wolf & Lamb, spent over $20,000 to turn a two-bedroom apartment in a former machine shop in Brooklyn near the Williamsburg Bridge into a party space. Their events have already outgrown their 2,000-square-foot loft, but they say they’ve not made their money back. And they don’t seem to care.

Instead they want to build an audience for their brand of minimal techno and recently started a record label. “It’s all supporting each other now,” Mr. Eisenberg, 24, said.

Still, someone makes money off these events. At the High Five in Bushwick the headlining band can make as much as $1,000 a performance. At other parties D.J.’s are flown in and paid several hundred dollars for a gig. Bartenders also rake in the money; they get bigger tips because the drinks are cheaper than at real clubs.

“This is a much more relaxed atmosphere,” said Dave, a patron at the Black Dice show in Bushwick. He declined to give his full name because, he said, he works for the government. He described his age as “grown-up,” which in that crowd meant older than 35. “Clubs are so restrictive,” he said. “If you’ve been to the Bowery Ballroom, all the bouncers are scowling. Here it’s like being in someone’s living room, because you are.”

That sense — of being outside the club establishment — is what seems to attract patrons like Emily Spurr, 23, who works in advertising. “Everyone likes to feel like a rebel in a little way,” she said at the High Five.

Many organizers said their landlords turn a blind eye as long as the rent is paid on time and there is no trouble with authorities. “The building manager was on my case, but I think he just wanted me to invite him,” said Karen Williams, 46, a theater artist who recently started giving parties in her Chinatown loft. (She did not invite him, she said.)

“The club scene can be a drag,” said Ms. Williams, a veteran of the 80’s-era East Village. Conventional clubs are “expensive, and there can be an attitude,” she said. “I just wanted to have fun.”

Despite efforts to keep the parties secret and under the radar of authorities, it can be hard to disguise that hundreds of people are crowded into a living space, swilling beer and dancing to loud music.

At the last Buyrum party, the kitchen-cum-bar was doing a brisk business in Coronas and rum and Cokes. The dance floor was packed, videos played on a screen, and a dozen people were smoking on benches in the front of the apartment.

A sign on the bathroom door read: “When crowded this bathroom for women only. Guys use the roof.” The D.J.’s tunes were accompanied by a guy playing bongos in the corner. The next act, a Brazilian band, had just finished setting up when, at 1:30 a.m., the police arrived in response to a neighbor’s complaint.

The lights went on and the crowd let out a collective groan. Mr. Shahrokhi, the host, looked livid, but people were forced to file out as the officers waited in the hallway. Mr. Shahrokhi wound up with hundreds of dollars worth of tickets and a court date.

The threat of legal action isn’t the only obstacle for party organizers. There are also the logistical and personal difficulties of regularly playing host to hundreds of strangers, especially when stragglers linger into the next morning. “A lot of the normal life stuff starts to bend around the will of the parties,” Mr. Ajamian said. Furniture is pushed out. The stress level is high.

“There’s 200 people in your place, neighbors calling the police, the toilets ready to leak, 20 people hanging on the roof,” Mr. Shahrokhi said. “All I’m doing is going back and forth: go to the roof, come back downstairs, go to the bar. It’s a production.”

Still, these residential nightlife impresarios say it’s worth it.

For Mr. Buxton, the High Five party host, “nothing is more thrilling than standing in my bedroom, looking down, and watching my favorite band play in my living room.”

Mr. Shahrokhi, the host of Buyrum, said: “Our job is to challenge certain conventions. The key is having some element of what New York was all about continue.”

Which means, after the police left his party, the Brazilian band played on.

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Posted by on March 27, 2006 in brooklyn, james, music, new york


today. march 26, 2006.

today. march 26, 2006.
Originally uploaded by stephiblu.

sickies. taking my nebulizer.


bearded hotties

we all know i have a bearded hottie but who new he was so in fashion….
Bunyan, Modern-Day Sex Symbol
Published: March 23, 2006
LAST December John Martin sat in on a focus group for a trend-forecasting company at which young professionals were asked about their grooming habits. Mr. Martin found he had nothing useful to contribute. His shaving regimen involves the use of a razor about as frequently as the seasons change.

Warner Brothers Pictures
George Clooney grew a beard for his role in “Syriana.”

A Ralph Lauren model with the big beard that is the look of the moment.
“Everyone else was chiming in about the products they use,” said Mr. Martin, the advertising director for Vice, a lad magazine based in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. “I was totally mystified. I blanked.”

Mr. Martin’s idea of a style symbol, seriously, is Ulysses S. Grant, whose beard he came to admire after watching the 2003 Civil War-era drama “Cold Mountain.” Two years ago, when he began experimenting with different beard styles, which he described as ranging from neat to burly to unkempt, his facial hair was an expression of individuality in a tide of metrosexual conformity. Now 10 of his 15 co-workers at Vice wear full, bushy beards. In that, they vie with the pro-facial-hair contingent of an editorial rival, Spin, where a rash of new beards has broken out.

“It’s a sign of the times,” Mr. Martin said. “People are into beards right now.”

At hipster hangouts and within fashion circles, the bearded revolution that began with raffishly trimmed whiskers a year or more ago has evolved into full-fledged Benjamin Harrisons. At New York Fashion Week last month at least a half-dozen designers turned up with furry faces.

“This is some sort of reaction to men who look scrubbed, shaved, plucked and waxed,” said the designer Bryan Bradley, who stepped onto the runway after his Tuleh presentation looking like a renegade from the John Bartlett show, at which more than half the models wore beards: untidy ones that scaled a spectrum from wiry to ratty to shabby to fully bushy.

“It’s less ‘little boy,’ ” Mr. Bradley said. “For a while men have looked too much like Boy Scouts going off to day camp.”

On city streets, too, trends in scruff have reached new levels of unruliness, a backlash, some beard enthusiasts say, against the heightened grooming expectations that were unleashed with the rise of metrosexuality as a cultural trend. Men both straight and gay, it appears, want to feel rough and manly.

Other designers who appeared in scruffy beards during Fashion Week included Brian Kirkby of Boudicca, Nathan Jenden and Matthew Williamson. Santino Rice gave the look national exposure on “Project Runway” this season, with weekly variations. Among the models that Ralph Lauren cast in his men’s show was a wildly bearded young man with long tresses, like Brad Pitt circa 2002.

And with their fully furry chins Ariel Foxman and Bruce Pask, the editor in chief and the style director, respectively, of Cargo magazine, the metrosexual manifesto, seem now to be endorsing a lumberjack ideal.

“It’s a nice masculine aesthetic,” said Robert Tagliapietra, who with his similarly bearded partner, Jeffrey Costello, designs a collection of pretty silk jersey dresses under the Costello Tagliapietra label. “We both like that aesthetic of New England cabins with antlers on the wall, plaid shirts and a beard.”

Beyond the fashion world, any number of celebrities are exhibiting luxuriant facial hair, including George Clooney with a Hussein-like beard in “Syriana”; Heath Ledger in GQ, looking like Snoopy’s sad cousin, Spike (the beagle with a skinny mustache who is always depressed); and Mel Gibson on a good day. At the New York premiere of “V for Vendetta” last week, Hugo Weaving appeared (with his co-star Natalie Portman, an adopter of last summer’s iteration of the Mohawk) in the beard of the moment, grown for the stage production of “Hedda Gabler.”John Allan, the owner of several clublike grooming salons in New York, reports seeing newly bearded customers, but not enough to warrant concerns for the health of his shaving business.

“It will be interesting to see over the next six to eight months what mainland America is going to do with it,” Mr. Allan said. “For the past several years we’ve been stripping guys of their body hair. Maybe now it’s time for the pendulum to swing the other way.”

Whenever a countercultural trend becomes a mainstream one, there is a natural tendency to look for deeper meaning. Do beards that call to mind Charles Manson suggest dissatisfaction with “the system”? Are broody beards, like the dark and somber mood of the fall fashion collections, physical manifestations of a melancholia in the air? Are they a reflection of the stylistic impact on mainstream fashion of the subculture of gay men known as bears, who embrace natural body hair?

But such theories seem to have less relevance — and beards less shock value — than they once did.

“Style has separated itself from viewpoint,” said Tim Harrington, the lead singer of the rock band Les Savy Fav, who is known for his full beard and balding head. “This is not like when beards were worn by hippies. Now you pick a style for aesthetic reasons as opposed to a viewpoint. I wonder if beards can have the oomph they once had when it feels like someone will ask you: ‘Where did you get that beard? Is that beard from Dolce & Gabbana?’ ”

No survey ever conducted about women’s attitudes toward beards, even those not underwritten by the Gillette Company, has indicated that more than 2 or 3 percent of women would describe a full beard as sexy. (“I hang out with those girls who are in that 2 or 3 percent,” Mr. Martin, of Vice, said.)

Yet the return of the wild beard carries a certain erotic charge that has been missing from beards since the Furry Freak look of the 1970’s, or at least those who grow them hope they do.

Andrew Deutsch, a designer of interactive Web videos, swears that having a beard has changed his life, giving him an air of confidence. “I met my current girlfriend a week after I started growing my beard in November,” Mr. Deutsch said. Now he finds himself constantly touching and stroking the beard, as if it were a talisman. “It’s like a security blanket on my face,” he said.

That a full beard can suddenly look right — or, more accurately, not so awful — illustrates how quickly ideals of masculinity can change.

“You know, it’s funny,” said Lola Phonpadith, a public relations manager for the fashion company BCBG. “I’ve been talking about this with my friends for weeks. I’m kind of into guys with beards today, and I’m embarrassed to say that. But the pretty-boy look can only last for so long.”

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Posted by on March 24, 2006 in james