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The U.E.S. Journal

Yearly Archives: 2006

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C.K. writes about the huge flag on 1088 Park Ave.

Whenever I mention the building I grew up in, I invariably get, “Oooh, that’s the building with the flag” or “that’s a fucking big flag on that building.” It is. After September 11 and the proliferation of stars and stripes running up Park Avenue, any building without a flag was suspect in its lack of, shall we say, support. On an average, there were ten flags per city block. I grew up in 1088 Park off Eighty-Eighth Street. It hung up a flag the size of, lets say, all the other flags on the block put together. Upon my estimation, the flag measures seven by eleven feet. In fact, it may be size of my bedroom. Exact measurements are not subject to release by the superintendent at this time. It hangs above the green awning in a large circular window. When the other flags slowly came down after a sufficient mourning time, 1088′s flag remained prominently. A flag that size on an apartment building is always garish. The German flag is not even that large atop the Reichstag. However, with the onset of the Iraq war and the political climate in America become more of a farce, the flag has become, to put it as some inhabitants of the building might say, “in poor taste”. I write this to say there are some stirring of moans and groans behind the flag. Not everyone is pleased.

How did our building get the biggest damn flag on the block? Insider
information tries to explain it like this . . . Mostly to blame is the chairman of the building’s board, who makes decisions of this sort. “The chairman is a man from Texas.” Ohhh. “He served in the army intelligence in Vietnam.” There you go. I can imagine the sentiment of some board members. “He feels so strongly, why argue?” Or, “I’ve had a long day, I need a drink.” Or, “Enough is enough, let him have his flag.” Maybe the inhabitants just don’t realize that other people really notice. Although with a message that size hanging on the front door, that may be too lenient. To be fair, recently the flag is not raised all the time, but on specific American holidays, such as July Fourth. Maybe as Operation Iraqi Liberation or Freedom or whatever becomes a bigger mess and flagrant violations of law by the government are reported in the newspaper daily, the flag was a little too embarrassed to be paraded all the time.

So, at least there is some comfort in knowing that controversy exists. That not everyone in the building, probably very few, in fact, are American patriots who love the flying of this flag. The majority probably disapproves. But, I suppose the thesis of this is that flag is a metaphor for how people are acting in this country right now. They may not like the flag, and there are some that whine about it, but people are too “fill in the blank” to get together and take it down.

A Haiku by Stephanie Stratigos – a Spence alumna.

Japanese Toilets

Japanese Toilets
Squat Over Porcelain Tub
Splash Guard Catches Pee

The Lynching on 88th St between Park and Lex


X-treme Pigeon

View of East River from Carl Shurz Park

7/31/06

7/22/06

5/31/06

Photos of The Upper Crust with comments.

When I say The Upper Crust, I mean the rock band from Boston, famous for their powedered wigs, witty banter, and driving guitars, which has been playing since the mid-90′s. Regardless of the fact that I like them a lot, they belong in The U.E.S. Journal for their both sarcastic and loving embrace of aristocratic hypocrisy. Last night The Upper Crust performed at The Knitting Factory to a hall of dedicated fans. The Upper Crust consists of Lord Bendover (guitar, vocals), Count Basie (bass), Duc D’Istortion (lead guitar), and Jackie Kickassis (drums).

Besides always appearing in 18th Century garb (with a hint of glam rock which has always seemed an intuitive combination, as visible in their use of flying V guitars and Count Basie’s leopard tights) all members of the group are quite at home using a set of old aristocratic vocabluary for their between-song banter. Lord Bendover, the front man, fully assumes this persona with a snooty sneer and an impeccable rolling of his “R”s, while Count Basie stands to the side maintaining a serious frown for the entire two-hour performance.

I found myself just as captivated between songs and eagerly awaiting Lord Bendover’s careful and deliberate placement of these nougats of old-fashioned but familiar-from-books-I-read-in-school-language.

One reason this seemingly gimicky group has had such longevity and loyal fans is the fact that they’re also a really awesome rock-n-roll band. They’re often compared to AC/DC with Bon Scott, and justly so, although they do have a number of solid songs with a surprisingly unique sound. In their more musically cliche tunes, the lyrics are the unique part, with a sense of parody , i.e. “Finished with Finishing School” and “Let Them Eat Rock” – they manage to simultaneously parody rock music as well as 18th Century foppishness. It’s a fitting match-the Upper Crust’s unabashed dandyism is similar to rockstar primadonna-ishness but with a refreshing added touch of formality, politeness, humility- and when they refer to dirty subjects it’s all the more titillating. As far as trying to describe The Upper Crust to someone who might already be a rock-nerd, if you know the song “Big Balls” by AC/DC it seems as if The Upper Crust took the character that Bon Scott assumes in that song and developped it into something larger and more refined. But see for yourself. Here is the band’s website: www.theuppercrust.org

One tidbit of trivia: Former Upper Crust member, Lord Rockingham, is actually Ted Widmer, former Clinton administration speech writer and noted American History scholar.

-Rebecca

The U.E.S. Journal is pleased to present an on-line exhibition of photographs by Yoni Zonszein.

Click here to view the entire exhibition

Part 2/3 Jeffrey Lewis Comic Strip about The History of The Guggenheim


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