Saturday, August 25, 2012

Colonize your mind

I have been lazy and uninspired as all get out, but I thought I'd round up some random bits of "news" that I've taken note of over the last couple of months.

You've surely heard about the imminent closure of the Colony by now.  If not, check out JVNY, the Post, the News, the TimesGothamist, and WQXR.

Speaking of record store closings, the Capital New York site presented a half-hour documentary about Bleecker Bob`s last month, entitled For the Records. (The site also had a post about the Colony a couple days ago.)

And while we're on the subject of bygone eras in NYC record shopping, this ain't news, but it was new info to me.  A couple of weeks ago, Norton co-honcho/A-Bones lead shouter Billy Miller told a great story about Second Avenue-centric rekkid retail on his FB page. I'd never heard about this before, but in the early '70s, one of the best and most economical places to score records was situated right across the street from the Fillmore East.  And it wasn't really a record store in the traditional sense, though at the time the neighborhood was chock full of them--Billy mentioned such shops as Free Being, Hall Place Music, and Gramophone, and noted that most secondhand bookshops in the area sold records too.  But this joint was different, and was way more wallet-friendly than most. It was a drop off center/thrift shop type of place run by Guru Maharaj Ji's Divine Light Mission.  Apparently, new converts to the Mission were obliged to shed all their worldly possessions when they joined, and those cast-off material goods wound up here, priced to move.  LPs, even double albums, sold for a dime.  Surprisingly, Billy didn't mention the cost of 45s, but I imagine they went for pennies.  And the demographics of the devotees must've been ideal.  At a time when he was just discovering the wylder side of '50s and '60s rock and roll, Billy purchased several hundred primo platters there on the super-cheap--and anything he didn't dig could be re-sold to unsuspecting school pals at a tidy profit.  Anybody know a mantra that could reincarnate such a divoon record nirvana today?

On a near-weekly basis since June, the Times' Local East Village blog has been hosting excellent posts by the Nightclubbing ladies, Emily Armstrong and Pat Ivers.

When you've had your fill of Nightclubbing's late '70s punk video, you can listen to Ira Robbins discuss the '77 NYC scene with Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot, on last week's episode of WBEZ-Chicago's Sound Opinions.  You may also want to hear the previous week's installment, which featured Jon Savage discussing '77-era London.

LastlyPeppermint Twist: The Mob, the Music, and the Most Famous Dance Club of the '60s, by John Johnson Jr. and Joel Selvin with Dick Cami, is due in November.