Tuesday, July 31, 2007

a week of PENN

this past week, i met up with several former PENN classmates.

-- I played basketball with my buddy SCOTT - Class of '98. He is in law school now, so it's always nice to catch him in between reading/ studying/ debating.

-- On the way to a meeting about a wedding i'm soon to dj, i ran into MIKE, Class of '98 on the street. He works for a small company you may have heard of called GOOGLE. ;) - and is married, lives in soho and is generally doing well.

-- DOUG(gie) FRESH. Class of 2000. he turned 29 a few days ago - and came in from Las Vegas, where he does real estate, to celebrate his and his father's birthday in the city. a bunch of us met up at CITRUS on the upper west side. Another fellow PENN alum, TINO, joined the party with his new fiancee.

-- CLAY, YURIEL, RICH, MIKE & KIM. Class(es) of '97, '98. my good friend Clay was in from Chicago, so a crew met up at OPUS 22 for drinks and various rabble-wrouzing activities. good to see those guys - it'd been a while.

-- I went to my friend, Ian's, BBQ - not your average cook-out in brooklyn, though. it was sponsored by Vitamin Water, Smirnoff and a magazine. It featured performances, and 5 djs.
Check out some pics ----> here. So, as I sipped my FOCUS flavor water, I spotted my old friend from university, AARON. Class of '95. He, along with some other friends of mine, was part of an underground group at PENN that i'll write more about later. anyhow, check out the site Aaron works on:: limachips.com.

-- My friend Darryl, Class of '98, was in town again. so we hung out - drank and caught up with Method Man who performed at the Rock the Bells concert. (shout out to a-sun and dj mathematics)

Anyhow, next year, is my 10 year reunion --- crazy how time flies.

Friday, July 27, 2007

una mescla tremendo

only in NYC can you find a mix like this!!!

on 14th street on the west side, there is CHINESE/ LATIN eatery.
they are called Ch(ee)na-Latina, aqui en Nueva York.

"i'll have the number 4, please -- Chorizo to start - with Pork Fried ... Rice - and Beans, Chicken and Broccoli for my entree - Platanos on the side - and Flan and Fortune Cookies for dessert."

nutty - kooky - crazy.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

ride 'um, cowboy!

back in 2002, i started djing at a new lounge in the east village called 2nd Nature. A cool non-pretentious place to go for a drink to hang out with friends. one of the few bars i'd been to in NYC that looked as good with all the lights ON as with them off. after 3 years of successful business, they sold it off for a profit. their next venture was opening an upper scale restaurant called Gin Lane, where i still periodically dj today.

their latest place is called Johnny Utah's - a bar/ restaurant place near rockefeller center that features a western theme -- and YES - a mechanical bull. no bulls**t. they really have one. in fact, it's pictured here. see --- i told ya! so, stop on in - and jump on.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

a park in soho?

today, my mom and i walked around soho and nolita. when we both got hungry my mom spotted a place i'd wanted to check out for months but hadn't yet - so, perfect opportunity. the place is called SOHO PARK - but it's really a garden -- a beer garden -- and an eatery. we chowed on belgium frites with garlic aioli and curry mayo dipping sauces to accompany our '0 grams of trans fat' hot dogs. yum! i'll go back for beer another time. de koninck is my new favorite belgium beer. what's yours???

R2's gone Postal!

this is a cool example of Ambient Marketing - an R2D2 wrapped mailbox.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

a sunny saturday of shopping and eating

my mom and i wandered to the upper west side today. i have been procrastinating on doing my renovation, and tasked my self and her with coming up with solidified plans for bathroom and kitchen and actually buying stuff. so, in the past few days we've found bathroom faucets and some fixturing, kitchen appliances and strategized on how to re-do the rooms in the cheapest way possible, while maintaining our high standards. :) we got some great ideas today at Gracious Home. tomorrow we choose tiles. on the back-end of our excursion, i treated mom to lunch at a lovely restaurant, with a lovely little garden in back - called Bello Giardino. as many of you are aware, i'm no foodie - but this place is good. check it out. the tiramisu was magnificent. additionally, our waiter had the same Tibetan ring as i -- and reminded me what it said, since i'd forgotten. OM MANI PADME HUM - "hail to the jewel in the lotus" - a buddhist mantra - written in sanskrit.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

jazz on the north sea

mccoy tyner
Originally uploaded by djtakefive.

for the 4th year in a row, my dad and i met up in holland to attend the north sea jazz festival. it is a 3 day festival -- a jazz extravaganza! and real jazz -- not like the concerts we have here in the States, where Dave Matthews and Cream perform and they still call it a "jazz" festival. last year, due to the scheduled performers, we chose to only go 2 of the 3 days. it was nice and manageable -- but this year it was unavoidable to go all 3 days. plus, for the first time, we went to a few venues where an additional fee is required -- they are more intimate and a seat is assigned - so no pushing and fighting to get a good view.

Ok - so here goes:
DAY 1: (jam-packed)
1) TERENCE BLANCHARD played the scores that he wrote for SPIKE LEE movies thruout the years. Spike took the time to cut footage from each of the featured films to show while Terence and crew played - brilliant stuff. Bilal, Patti Austin & Jamie Cullum each performed 2 songs to accompany Blanchard. the highlight, both from a visual and lyrical perspective was Cullum's rendition of Sam Cooke's 'change gonna come'. the closing song and sort of anthem for Spike's 'X' - about black leader Malcolm X. the fact that we went to a paid venue to start the whole festival was a great move -- civilized before the crazy crowds.

2) McCOY TYNER quartet - WOW! we saw them last year as well. this is just straight up INCREDIBLE real jazz. the mean age of the performers was 60 - and their experience showed. wonderful stuff.

3) THE ROOTS - there are 2 really big venues at the festival where they book more mainstream acts. I dragged my dad to go so the "LEGENDARY ROOTS CREW FROM PHILLY" -- and as usual - they were great. they played their, now signature, ode to hiphop today and yesterday, by skillfully mimicked 30 different songs by other artists. they delved into rock and jazz and performed some of their hits. my dad actually really enjoyed their set.

4) WYNTON MARSALIS and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra - I flew 7.5 hours to see the guys that play a 10 minute subway ride away here in NYC.. hahahahahaha. they were great though.

5) BUENA VISTA SOCIAL CLUB - we ended the night at a paid venue too. when you've started your day at 6pm - and its now midnight, a seat is a wonderful thing. the Cubanos did not disappoint. a stellar end to the day.

DAY 2 : (more dancing, more singing, less acts)
1) TRIBUTE TO JAMES BROWN - Instead of going to see a live act, my dad was really excited to see DJ Manga play james brown hits. he had some wonderful live tracks that i've never heard before -- and he also rocked some other great soulful dancy tunes.

2) RAUL MIDON - I've written about him before, and suffice it to say -- go out and buy his album STATE OF MIND. just buy it - he's freakin' amazing. India Aire who performed later on at another stage surprised him for one song - he had no idea what was going on... my dad and i went to see her briefly on the big stage, but opted to get food instead of listening to her seemingly 10 minute introductions for each song.

3) DEE DEE BRIDGEWATER - She is normally a lounge singer - who went to Mali (africa) to discover her roots and returned to perform some great african inspired tunes with a wonderful group of musician from Mali and around the world. Again, a seat in the paid venue at night's end was lovely.

DAY 3 : (amy no-show)
I, along with many other attendees, was most excited to see Amy Winehouse on sunday -- however, she cancelled at the last minute due to exhaustion - understandable as she's been globe-trotting on her tour -- but disappointing nonetheless.

1) We wandered in and out of littler venues and saw some nice straight-ahead jazz -- very chilled -- as we have done historically on sundays.

2) SLY STONE - a shadow of himself at nearly 60 years old, it was nice to see him get out there and try to do his thing -- but disheartening to see his staggering declining health.

3) JOSHUA REDMAN trio - in a word INCREDIBLE. he made a few references to his latest album "Back East" - especially poking fun at the fact that he was competing for audience with Snoop Dogg - who was performing on the main stage for the festivals conclusion simultaneously - saying "i feel bad stealing some of his crowd -- Snoop and I basically share alot of the same audience" -- and "the next song is from my newest album BACK EAST - no offense to Snoop -- i still love the West Coast." Josh brought on two friends, with whom he belted out phenomenal alto/ tenor sax collaborative "solos".

My dad and I again had a great time. It is a nice chance for us to reconnect like the old days, just he and i sharing our love of jazz and of each other's company. more photos on my flickr page.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

mom arrives - and is beat

are you ready for this one?! my mom was was supposed to fly out of la paz - headed to miami - then eventually nyc on monday morning. that didn't happen. el alto (the highest portion of bolivia) got a severe snow storm and all flights were grounded. the airport in el alto is the highest in the world. when i was there 2 years ago, i witnessed the sun rise from beneath the airport - no joke. anyhow, no flights on monday -- tuesday flights completely booked -- but we got her on wednesday's flight - thankfully. so now - here's the kicker. i was planning to be in miami for a meeting wed anyhow, and had booked that trip about 10 days ago. turns out the connecting flight for my mom from bolivia was the same flight i'd booked myself on to return from my meeting. crazy - right?!?!?!? so -- long story short :: today i saw my mom for the first time in a year, and we embraced at miami int'l airport, of all places. i was able to use miles and upgrade us to first class, so we chatted about the family, her flight and our plans for her visit while sipping on frosty beverages - eating warmed mix nuts - and scarfing down our ravioli dinner.

my mom had awoken at 5am to catch her flight, she you might surmise she is exhausted. thus, after minimal unpacking, she collapsed. pictured above. :) tomorrow i fly to see my dad for the weekend -- don't worry mom is here for 3 weeks, so we'll see plenty of one another despite my jaunting off for a few days for the jazz festival.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

all the summer's a stage

central park summer stage
Originally uploaded by djtakefive.

today i went to central park's summer stage to see CINEMATIC ORCHESTRA & hear DJ SPINNA play some tunes. i was joined by my friends scott & oren. it's nice to go to these great NYC events in the summer - and there are so many that are FREE. oren and i were discussing how so many people enjoy heading out to the hamptons, fire island and the like.. but for us, the best time to be in the city is now. with some new yorkers headed out for the weekends and the heat keeping away a portion of the regular barage of tourists, it leaves the loveliness NYC has to offer to the those you truly love the big apple...even when it's steamy. for more info on summer events, click here.