WHITE WEDDING 2: The Sitting. A quiet love letter.

Posted in Uncategorized on August 30, 2013 by SLUTLUST

ImageI’ve been on little sleep for the last 3 days.

The paint on the picture finally dried up.

I woke her up.

I asked her… “What where you two talking about anyway?”

“I know exactly what we are talking about…” She giggled.

“That’s when I decided to start La Petite Mort”.

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All I remembered from that wedding was picking her up passed out in front of Le-Bain.

She threw up and the next day had a tax ID number.

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WHITE WEDDING

Posted in Uncategorized on August 1, 2013 by SLUTLUST

“It’s tough to marry a young girl (you have to be out of your damn mind)…” M*****a Lawrence; August 1, 2013 30070026 The invite came in the mail with little fanfare. The letters where in Times New Roman and were flushed to the left with a small red flower graphic that could have been done in Microsoft Paint 1.0 as the header. The cardboard it was printed on was white and flimsy with one side completely neglected. No calligraphy no gold glitter inside the envelope tied by a white ribbon or anything that young girls dream of when planning their future weddings while they’re playing with their Barbie’s. Just an email with 2 phone numbers in case you wanted to hear the voice of the stranger that would be taking your RSVP. Personally I’ve seen flyers for secret parties in even more secret locations with more information. But I knew what this was: I, along with my girlfriend, was being invited to M*****a’s & T*’s backyard wedding. 30030010 “The first time I met M****** I thought to myself who is this girl looking at me with these big beautiful eyes and she is smiling at me!! Then she bought me a drink and we talked for a bit. She invited me for a smoke. So we walked upstairs from the basement of Lit and I remember thinking what an amazing booty she had and I couldn’t make out what she was. Italian? Mexican? I’ve never seen a girl like this. When we got upstairs we smoked and she played me some music from her headphones and we talked about Kool Keith. I then thought to myself I met the one…”

T* Lawrence; August 1, 2013

I met M*****a a couple of years ago in a bathroom at Webster Hall. I was backstage doing my usual as a human party favor vending machine for urban ravers and the inebriated industry that caters to them. A**x E*****h – one of the head promoters of this weekly neon & sweat fest – needed my services and led me to the bathroom in VIP. Inside were two five foot nothing girls with faces not far from when they both hit puberty. The other girl was a fiery chain smoking red-head with a raspy voice and freckles that betrayed it. M*****a had these eyes that reminded me of my crush from Steven King’s “Sleepwalkers” film, Mädchen Amick, who I swore for a while did Cover Girl commercials. She had jet black Paul Mitchel curls and a skimpy tank that she wore braless likes a teenager with breasts that were a day old. Both of them where rolling on mushrooms and wanted to buy some coke to take the edge off their rollercoaster of a trip. Both of them received my presence with suspicion even after my Super Bowl introduction by A**x. The red head fumbled for several 20 dollar bills while we all did a line off a grimy paper towel dispenser. Melissa shot me a dirty look after I took an overhead unsolicited photo – the redhead took my phone number – A**x gave me some drink tickets. 30030011 “I was coming off a double shift at Porchetta, and an even longer hangover. I pushed on to Milk studios after and got dragged to Lit partially against my will, because the girls wanted to hang out with DJ Medhi… And thank God for them because that decision changed my life. We get into that old familiar basement and the only thing I thought that would keep me standing that night was cocaine. We were with our friend Sophie from Bristol and she remarks “Oi that’s my friend T*!” I had never seen anyone like him before… There was something about his eyes that projected this sort of kindness that you knew could do no harm. I asked her if she was talking to him in any way… She said no and I said “mine!” I had no money in my pockets when they were buying T* a tequila OJ. I told them to let me take it to him. I was wearing my good butt shorts so I asked him to come outside for a cigarette (I’d be bumming them from him for years to come) and wiggle my way up the stairs in front of him. We talked about Kool Keith. We talked about dub music. I played him the Zombies from my iPod and we fell in love. He tokes my number as “M*****a NJ musical genius” he’s in my phone as “T***y Longstroke” … we talked all night and he was the first boy in a long time who didn’t try to take me home.”

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30030005I don’t remember when I met T*. But then again I never remembered much when I hung out with this best friend B** J**z who introduced us. Every night it was a game of chicken with our brittle & drug addled hearts. I never left J**z side before sunrise and I never left without my body sweating out whiskey and my nose clogged from shoveling a nor’easter in there. Somewhere in between every single night and every single day I met T*. We bonded over our love for 90’s backpack rap and sleep inducing house music. When they filmed for their electric – disco house – rap group I brought a bag of fried chicken and they included a shot of me eating it in the video. T* had a wild coke jaw and a wild sense of humor that wasn’t lost on anyone and did not spare anyone. It went perfect with B** J**z self-deprecating narcissism and my sponge like need for the darkest of all experiences. Somewhere in between empty fifty bags that were split opened and licked clean and cigarette filled beer cans I wound up in a loft on South 4th & Kent Avenue and TK and Melissa were engaged.

I chipped in $120 for the party bus that drove us upstate. My girlfriend wore a black asymmetrical dress from Oak with one sleeve cut off and huge Breakfast at Tiffany sunglasses to hide her hangover. I wore a navy blue blazer embroidered with preppy patches, khaki’s, brown Cole Haan shoes with investment banker tassels, a peach Ralph Lauren polo, and Spanx to hold in my beer gut. My wallet had a couple hundred dollars in crumpled up 20’s and a zipper compartment that held about $700 in nose candy I forgot to remove before leaving my apartment. As I found a spot in a bus filled with all of my insatiable nightlife friends/ perpetual clients I promised myself not to tell ANYONE of my illicit cargo.

And then we all saw Paz.

30070021 Paz Del La Huerta was an actress I discovered in the pages of Page Six. She was a party girl with a mouth full of dirt and the hands to throw it. The more I read about her in the gossip rags the higher she went up on my list of celebrities I would fuck if given a hall pass by my girlfriend. She was the Hipster’s Lindsay Lohan with lips the size of throw pillows and perky pornstar titties that stole every scene she was in. Her acting reminded me of a swirly sailor on leave burdened with one to many shots of whiskey and one too many secrets. We were all mesmerized by her, our eyes inconspicuously glued to her waiting to see if she would do something Gawker worthy. Maybe she would drink herself into a fistfight with one of the girls, take her dress off and wear the uncut wedding cake over her chest. Maybe she would pass out on the lawn spread eagle with her baby rat of a vagina in plain sight or maybe she – we didn’t know and we didn’t care but we couldn’t stop looking and waiting.

Then I made the mistake of suggesting to my girlfriend how cool it would be to do coke with her. 30030002 Soon enough the word got out and everyone I knew ran out of the wedding reception looking for the nearest ATM. We were upstate. Everyone was one eye opened drunk. I was the only “guy”. No one took no for an answer. I went from being a guest – to a drug dealer – at a wedding. 30070014 The bride wore a white vintage bodysuit with a matching skirt tailored to her size and no shoes. The groom wore sunglasses. The minister was a popular LA DJ/ producer and the cameraman was a Hollywood film actor. The aisles were filled with family and friends. The weather was perfect. The location was a beautiful lake house in the middle of a wonderful nowhere. After the “I Do’s” we all ran into the nearby lake baptizing ourselves in the newlywed’s eternal commitment to each other. We all ate and danced with each other exchanging adult pleasantries with the sincerity of people that didn’t stay up for 36 hours feeding their adolescent demons every immediate urge their selfishness demands. No one asked me for a bump or to help them cut some line to some club and instead asked me when I was going to get married and posed graciously for my photos. 30070005 As the groom’s dad played his electric guitar and the guests shuffled through the greenest blades of grass I’ve had ever seen I thought of my one life under the sun. I rarely got to see the sun except when leave some degenerate after hour’s party – clothes ratty and nose caked up like a busy bakery. I thought about the type of husband I would be. The thought got me sick to my stomach like week old milk. I saw the much younger bride as my wholesome side, the young boy who adored his family, a virgin to vice and a beacon of promise. The I can be anything type of optimism that conquered nations and built empires, the thing that sent a man to the moon and cured polio. Then I saw the older groom as my creative, tortured side. They type that suffered every decision he ever made. Who hid himself in whatever foxhole that shielded him from the war of integrity and responsibility. Whose insecurity and embarrassing self-indulgent lifestyle crippled his fingers so it didn’t allow him to place a simple hello call to his mother or son for months?

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30050005With every bag that left my wallet another $20 bill was added to the pool that was drowning me in self-guilt. I didn’t want to be “that guy”. Not today, not tonight, not ever again. I wanted to be married, I wanted my family, I wanted the DJ to turn off the music and send me and everyone else home. I wanted my connect to stop calling me burying me in slavery by asking if I needed more grams. I wanted to never be invited to another party again. I wanted a life… any life except the one that I had. My breath grew heavier and faster with every loathsome thought and the little Tweety birds of summer love started to turn into angry ravens of hate and regret – pecking at my forehead with an intensity of a jackhammer. I was screaming in my silence, my eyes crying with blood and my time sacrificed to my all-consuming addiction and….

“Babe!”

“What K**a?!”

I turn and dagger my girlfriend with my eyes filled with contempt.

“I did it!!!” she screams to me in her hushed whispers, her face glowing like an expecting mother.

“Did what?!” as my contempt goes from annoyance to stubborn curiosity.

“I did coke with Paz!!!” she exclaimed with a pride that is usually reserved for genius children that graduate from medical school.

“What?!” Her joy infecting me, slowing my breathing and warming my checks up into a satisfied smile.

I looked over to T* & M*****a and there they were on the dance floor, her head sunk into his shoulder dancing slowly to Michael Jackson’s “Pretty Young Thing” without a care in the world. Then I looked at my pretty young thing… and inside my heart T* & M*****a got married all over again.

“When M*****a asked me to marry her we were in the shower. A very small shower we barely fit in. She was already on her knees. She looked up at me and asked me “Will you marry me?” I responded “Yes of course! Let’s get married!” We proceeded to plan the wedding in the shower. I remember thinking to myself damn I wanted to ask her. I only just told her I wanted to marry her a few days before and was trying to figure out how to go about doing it. She had beat me to the punch. I knew that she loved me with all her heart right then and there so there was no question in my mind that we were getting married.” T* Lawrence; August 1, 2013 “We are both dreamers, two fish swimming in the sea. We can never make up our minds until we did for the only decision in life that mattered… that I’d never have to say goodbye to him. He was going to surprise me and ask but I asked him in the shower. I claimed him from the minute we met so it was only natural. We were together for not even a year, and we knew. We are both messes.” “T* has never spoken down to me or made me feel less important in my life. My life is full of shit but also full of so much love that when I look at him I feel like I’m going to be torn apart by it. It’s a beautiful feeling. I am the richest person I know… And wherever he goes, I go. :)

M*****a Lawrence; August 1, 2013

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SANDYLAND: The Blacked Out Peter Pan Edition.

Posted in Uncategorized on March 7, 2013 by SLUTLUST

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The Sunday before Sandy aggressively agitated the casual and symbiotic relationship between the Atlantic Ocean and the New York City coastline I spent it as any other responsible New Yorker within an ear shot of Mayor Bloomberg’s repeated apocalyptic rants would: at a Jets/ Dolphins game – at the tail end of a 24 hour booze and drug binge. It was my 1st ever NFL game, a thing I’ve always wanted to remove off my make-up-as-you-go-long bucket list. The experience was complete with tailgating with the visiting team (where I met Fergie from the Black Eye Peas and one of the billionaire Dolphin team owners, who was promptly hit in the face with a condiment filled cheeseburger thrown by a Jets fan) and the worst whiskey you could ever poor into a plastic cup doubling as a shot glass. By the 3rd quarter my caked up nose made it impossible to breathe while the delirium from my lack of sleep turned the ominous pre-storm sky into a tie dye of grey cotton balls.

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My last memory before completely blacking out was the cab ride home with my next door party/porn photographing neighbor. I didn’t know the city had already started systematically shutting down all forms of public transportation. I made nothing of the long lines at the local Walgreen’s or the drizzle that had been pelting me all day. I came home, pushed my girlfriend aside and crashed in an explosion of empty cocaine baggies and stolen football memorabilia. I would remember little of the football game except for urinating in a man troth, watching part of the game from season ticket holder seats, and The Jets losing miserably. The following events survived the booze-ocaine.69580005

My eyes parted around 5 pm on Monday at the behest of my insatiable hangover food hunger. I wobbled off into the kitchen and peeped my girlfriend’s ill prepared storm provisions on the counter – one bottle of smart water, ice cream, wine (her thing) and what I could only define as starving supermodel gerbil food. I rolled my eyes at her in a reluctant agreement and rolled myself a blunt as my hand slid up and down my ATM machine of a cell phone. There I noticed a text message from a friend of mine offering me all the food and drink my heart could desire at her restaurant in the West Village. My Girlfriend was not too fond of this Idea as we lived across the bridge in Brooklyn and the trains where no longer running. She had been watching the consistent warnings all day – although she wasn’t  that convinced – being that she remembered all the hype surrounding Hurricane Irene from last year. I was persistent in my immature need to play in the rain. After her 5th “no” I messaged S**F – who lived a couple of blocks away – to join me on my adventure instead.

His stomach knew no obstacle.

We made plans to meet and walk the bridge into the city together.

I readied myself with the most weatherproof outer-wear I could find. We were a half hour away from Hurricane Sandy touching land-side and I was beside myself like a child’s first time in a bouncy castle. My eyes had the insane hypnotic swirl you’d find on a pair of comic book x-ray glasses. My excitement was contagious. My girlfriend, annoyed but ever so supportive, convinced herself and one of her friends to come with. Soon enough we were standing in 70 miles per hour (and increasing) winds on the corner out South 5th and Hooper. The rain poured from the sky horizontally – stinging the side of our faces as every raindrop strengthened with the consistency of uncooked peas. This charged me up like a dominatrix lashing her whip on a submissive. Soon enough S**F showed up – draped in head to toe North Face Gore-Tex wear and his water sponge of a beard. We both had the same insane look in our eyes.

The first thing we said to each other? Without skipping a beat it rolled off our tongues like drool at a dentist office; “YO YOU GOT PAINT?!”

Nope.

Neither of us had any minus the few Krink markers S**F had on him. This was enough. Soon we were making our way across the bridge while Sandy’s g-force wind pushed us around like the plastic bag in “American Beauty”. Each tag we took on the Williamsburg Bridge washed out, only staining the metal with the ink drips trailing horizontally. The rain turned the bridge into a dangerous Slip & Side prompting us to surf our way into Manhattan until S**F cracked his head on the concrete. Sandy had just made landfall. The narrow Soho streets turned into wind tunnels tearing down store awnings and tossing garbage around like an ice cubes in a bartender’s shaker. Our trip to the West Village went from roller coaster anxious to “The Day After Tomorrow” frightening.

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We made a pit stop at our friend Dave’s loft on Lafayette Street. His house was stocked with all the beer, weed, and all the whiskey we needed to warm our damp & chilled adventurer hearts. His 5th floor loft provided the perfect view of a city under siege by Mother Nature. I stepped outside of his window to Instagram a picture of all of the pretty lights flickering under the now 90 miles per hour winds. Ever smoke a joint under those conditions? The fact that I wasn’t blown off the fire escape imbibed me more than all of the substances I was enjoying at the moment.

Then it happened.

As I was crawling back into Dave’s apartment we all witnessed what appeared to be lighting fill up the sky. We all faced the window in amazement of the hurricane’s powerful flood light.

Then we saw another one.

This flash didn’t come from the sky as we initially thought but from behind the buildings in front of us facing towards the direction of the East River.

Then all of the lights in the apartment sputtered and dimmed as the TV went from High Definition to who-put-the-TV-in-the-green-fish-tank.

Then darkness.

Black out.

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S**F excitement is now at drug addict locked in pharmacy levels of frenzy. Dave satisfied his craving by giving him a bag full of spray paint he had kept for him under his sink. My girlfriend wanted no parts of this. She abandons us for a group of her lady friends who had stopped by moments earlier to have a mushroom and codeine party at an apartment one of them was house sitting. I tell her to call me when the all-girl trippy orgy starts. She laughs, tells me not to get arrested, and disappears into the shadows of Batman’s Gotham city. We met up with C**Z and commenced to decorate all of Soho with our aliases – but not until S**F tried to climb up and beat up some random who politely asked us not to tag on his property. His Spiderman agility bordered on impressive yet comical. I couldn’t stop laughing.

We were drunk and out of our faces.

By 1am we were drenched and out of paint. We all wanted to go to the downtown studio The M**F kept for more but by then S**F’s girlfriend was making her way into the city to meet him. I tried to call my girlfriend but by then her phone died. I tried calling everyone of her friends until it dawned me that there was no electricity to keep cell phone towers working. My calls where nothing but a drain on the little bit of battery life my phone had left. Soon I was walking back over the bridge to a brightly lit and warm Brooklyn. I go home, turn on the news, and slumped heartbroken into my anxiously because I had lost my innocent and helpless girlfriend in the urban darkness.

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The next morning I woke up to NY1 news drilling the travesties that blanketed my city into my porous consciousness. Very minute was a new level of bum out. From the flooding to the power outages to an entire Queens neighborhood burning down to the ground, the world tiniest violin had grown into a bass that could only be played by King Kong. This put the fear of God into my irresponsible heart. I grabbed the most weather proof outfit I could find and proceeded to walk the bridge back into the city for the 3rd time in 24 hours. The bridge has been closed to car and walking traffic. I bargained and negotiated with the cops blocking the entrance – going as far as faking an illness – but to no avail.

Now my selfish guilt was turning into a minor panic. I went back home and took to every single form of social media available in hopes that someone that followed me had seen my girlfriend. After a couple of hours of brewing in my misery the city announces the bridges are open to foot traffic and emergency vehicles only. K**O, another one of my local acquaintances, gives me a ride into the Lower East Side where I meet up with another friend (Omari) and proceeded to yell my girlfriends name all throughout the eerily muted Soho streets for hours. Omari kept a safe that’s-not-my-friend distance behind me as my antics teetered on lunacy.

After walking to Chinatown – the only part of downtown Manhattan with phone reception – I finally get ahold of her and we meet on Delancey Street where give her one of those “Gone with the Wind” kisses that the jaded exclusively barf at. We crossed the bridge back home and had the ravenous blackout sex I’ve dreamed about since the sexually disappointing 2003 blackout.

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My phone squealed for attention after a couple of hours of napping in my sex sweat. M**T has finally decided to make an appearance and is at my local bar with S**F, S*, and B** J**Z. The city is still in the dark and begging for the clanking sound of a shaking spray can. I look at my girl in the eye and can tell that she doesn’t want me to leave. I do the “yeah I’m not going to go” spiel with the aw-shucks-frown that drags out the “sigh, you can go” response from her that I needed. Once again she punctuates my goodbye with a threat about me and jail. I casually dismiss it behind the closing door.

I dressed extra ready for the adventure, the rain had subsided by then and I chose an outfit straight out of Complex Magazine’s How-To-Look-Like-a-Graffiti-Douche issue. The minute I get to the bar S* calls me out on my hunter neon orange Carhart hat with some joke about how it could be spotted from space. “Yo you are not bombing with that hat on.” B** J**Z pops out of nowhere to punctuate my embarrassment with comical humiliation. After a couple of starter whiskey shots we all piled into a car and traveled back into Batman’s Gotham.

The active loudness of Brooklyn was dwarfed the empty silence of the city. The only light for miles where the strategically placed NYPD police floodlights that covered the major traffic intersections and the roving siren lights on top of the ever patrolling police cars. Regular traffic had come to a near halt as it was way too dangerous to maneuver the streets with all the fallen trees and debris you couldn’t see without your headlights on scare-a-deer high beams. Certain intersections were being manned by pedestrians who took it upon themselves to direct traffic with flares and glow sticks. I knew it was serious when I saw Mott St Deli – a store frequented by taxi driver and nightlife junkies and stood open for 24 a day since the crucifixion of Jesus – was closed. Certain local bars stood open by candlelight while restaurants took to grilling the rest of their stock in the streets in hopes to recoup some of their impending and surmounting loses. Several high-end stores boarded up their store fronts in hopes to deter looters and the occasional fashionable opportunist. Everyone we came across had a flashlight in one hand and a beer in another. Everyone was oblivious to how severe of an ass whooping NYC had endured.

Lower Manhattan had become a lawless temporary autonomous zone.

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The lack of order provided a perfect cover for our exterior decorating. All you heard was the clanking of our steadily emptying and hissing spray cans and the crushing of the Budweiser cans we sucked down like air. We all took turns looking out for one another. Because of blackout the police were forced to ride around with every light in their possession on making them easy for a blind man to spot. No one questioned our clandestine activities, choosing to cross to the other side of the street than to confront the drunk vandals taking full advantage of a crippling scenario.  B** J**Z provided the eyes and humor of the night until his drug lust took precedent and he found one of the last cabs still operating and commandeered it back to Brooklyn. We proceeded to tag on every neighborhood any art lover, rival graffiti writer, or future girl we wanted to “impress” would frequent.

Nolita.

Soho.

Alphabet City.

Both of the Villages.

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The less paint our cans held the more we wanted liquor and drugs. The guys had one more spot they wanted to hit, a permanent spot on top of some grates on a quiet but highly visible and well traveled street in Nolita. Like marauding ants at an unattended picnic they quickly climbed the grates to reach their coveted spot while I looked out on the intersection that faced the oncoming traffic. Soon M**T joined me as S**F needed to complete the outline on the giant M**F fill-in while S* completed his. I texted a drug dealer back in Brooklyn and patiently waited for a response while my eyes scanned the streets like a really old copier. M**T entertained me while off his new skinhead haircut while smoking my last rationed cigarette.

And then we spotted them.

Until then we hadn’t seen any cops walking the beat. We assumed every officer was in cars as to cover more ground being that everything from 34th street to Battery Park was Wesley Snipes dark. What gave them away was the crackle of their radio’s and the reflective shine off their badges. M**T and I slowly sauntered off while trying to whisper loud signals to S* and S**F. The cops were waaaaayyyy too close. As soon as I was far enough for a running start I called out for an imaginary girl (I was pretty experienced at this by then). All we heard was a fat donut filled “HEY!” before we started speed walking like it was an exercise in a mall full of old people. All I could think about was having to spend a week in a jail with no power and my girlfriend chucking all of my belonging on to the street. She warned, if I got arrested she would leave me with the rapey cellmate to procreate and die. Then I thought about S**F in jail with the same rapey inmate, petting his beard and signing him a lullaby.  Then I snapped out of it.

This is what I wanted, this thrill, the rush, my name all over lower Manhattan – I had no time to be scared. I didn’t know how I was going to help, but I did know I had too. M**T and I retraced our steps back to where we last as S**F and S* and all we saw was S*’s car peeling off like they robbed a bank – complete with the Dukes of Hazards tire shredding screech.

Whew, they got away.

M**T and I just looked at each other. My phone vibrates with a message from my drug dealer saying he was in Brooklyn and ready for us. This was PPPoooiiifect (perfect). We grabbed the first cab we spotted – this point they were as rare as Unicorns – and Back to the Future-ed it over the Williamsburg Bridge to South Brooklyn…

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Brooklyn, or how it would be known for the next couple of days; The New Downtown New York.

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Thanksgiving At The End Of The World. SANDYLAND: Sea Bright Edition

Posted in Uncategorized on December 6, 2012 by SLUTLUST


Dedicated to the memory of Rocco Grecco
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It’s always the same shit at afterhours.

The creatively maintained sense of entitlement paraded under the false pretense of familiarity. The bullshit bargaining and the usual name-drop-of-the-week or drug associated bribery. The nightlife industry politicians and their pork filled proposals along with the street market retailer and his discounts. You hear it so much you hate it then know it so well you start repeating them.

You can’t help it.

It’s 4 in the morning and you’ve spent half of your rent on vices on a girl whose vices include snorting all of your rent. You’ve been barhopping all night and you still haven’t sold your quota so you’re trying to beat the other dealers to the market without paying the door douche his cut. You just want to get wasted and you’re wearing the right bra with the right jeans. Someone’s trying to fuck tonight. You just want to get in. Fuck this guy and his 15 dollars. Fuck the DJ’s and whoever needs to get paid. “I’m so-and-so and I want free”. Oh I get it; lord knows I’ve committed the faux pas. But now it’s the last thanksgiving morning 2012… and I’m the after-hours door douche.

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I’m less than a couple of weeks away from Art Basel and I’ve only saved a couple of hundred bucks at the most. My weekend fundraising efforts were nothing but an endless dog-chasing-his-tail of nose cake hangovers only to financially breaking even and spiritually break slowly. I needed the legal but still highly illegal cash. I put on my big boy pants and left my autumn cozy apartment at 3:30 in the morning for the lonely tall shadow-y junkyard and warehouse part of Bushwhick.

I find my boss, get my bank, meet my security detail and start charging away. I charged everyone. I charged on looks. I charged on emotions. I didn’t charge my crew. Ok I did charge most of them. If I knew you “worked” I charged you extra. “Support the arts” was repeated over every groan and creak of their stiff and rarely opened but totally exhausted wallets, each bill holding on to each other like they were being ripped away from their family. Greedy fucks. If you didn’t have any money I didn’t even consider letting you in. The after hours business doesn’t run on ego’s but sex, drugs, and money…
Why are you even here?

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People offer me everything, from their just lit cigarettes to felony amounts of substances. I turn most of them down, blaming my rare form on a disease called “Job Integrity”. I break only after M**T and S**E show up with a flask of Siberian miserable Vodka. It’s S**E’s birthday. Some neighborhood retailer pays the entrance free with a molly pill. Oh cool the hip drug. I take it. Its not one for the highlight reels. The next thing you know its 9 am and DKDS is playing minimal techno to a bunch of molly-heads withering under invasive sunlight flooding the huge loft like plastic knifes in an oven.

I did too much.

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I collected my money and blind-man-reading-braille my way home. D* is due to show up in her car at any minute. My girlfriend, K**A, is already awake and judging me for breaking our suggested curfew. I smell like nicotine and degeneracy. I Freebreeze myself into some resemblance of fresh and cold water assault my face in shock therapy. This was the orphan Thanksgiving I’ve always wanted. My son lived with his mother (not happening), my sister had all of her kids in the Bronx (wasn’t going to the Bronx), my brother had “weed and pussy” (well, alright), and my mother was in love and spending the holiday in Florida (bummer?!). I wanted to spend it with all of my midnight friends. The idea was to have dinner with M***Y in New Jersey then return to Brooklyn later in the night and go on a local turkey dinner tour starting with a binge at D****S & J***A’s. The minute I moved D*’s permanent back seat luggage aside to take a nap I knew I that part wasn’t happening.

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After an hour and a half of driving we stop at a gas station to buy M***Y some cigarettes. I asked the counter lady for an American flag. After the storm the flag popped up everywhere. It was a sign of American resilience that only Hemingway could write or Norman Rockwell could paint. The coastline of New York City and New Jersey looked like a table filled with a toppled Jenga puzzle. Power outages everywhere and complete homes ripped out of their foundations, super storm Sandy was the gentle child that surprised us and toppled our wooden Lego land that took centuries to build. Entire islands and peninsulas disappeared under the rushing flood waters only to reappear days later as rubble filled Normandy beaches. I was headed to one of those peninsulas. I was headed to a Thanksgiving dinner at the end of the world.

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“Sea Bright has seven members-only beach clubs of which five are in the North Beach area: Ship Ahoy, Sands, Surf rider, The Sea Bright Beach Club and Chapel Beach Club; and two are south of the center of town: Driftwood and Edgewater, all of which charge thousands of dollars for membership and have waiting lists of several years for prospective members. In addition, there is a large public, municipal beach in the center of town which charges a fee, but includes free parking and is protected by lifeguards, with entry limited to those who have purchased a beach badge. The traditional surfing beach area, called the Anchorage, is free and public, but unguarded. In addition, there are numerous public access stairs to other unguarded beaches for fishing, recreation and sun tanning.”

“As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 1,412 people, 792 households, and 324.7 families residing in the borough”

Shannon Mullen, US Census Bureau

M***Y had moved to Sea Bright a couple of weeks before R***Y’s death. Between managing his 2 dive bars and nursing him in the hospital along with her own personal turbulence she needed a timeout. She was watching R****Y die for a year without one. She needed an out. She found a quaint apartment in a beach community and signed the lease like she was endorsing a lottery check. Her house was surrounded by water on 3 different sides. Behind her house was a river and in front of it was the Atlantic Ocean. To the right was a shipping dock with a weird yacht in the shape of a swan. We named it “Swammie”. Everyone in the neighborhood was suburbia polite and very different from the leathery faces she saw every day at work. She loved her job though and loved R***Y like an adopted father but it was exasperating. So she did the next best thing; she made a vacation her new home and her responsibilities her vacation.

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Pepperoni bread

Stuffed mushrooms

Brie and honey in pastry shells

Turkey

Stuffing

Mashed potatoes

Roasted Brussels sprouts w/ pancetta

Baked corn and cheese casserole

Pumpkin cheesecake

Red velvet brownies

M***Y’s Thanksgiving Menu. Thanksgiving 2012.

The girl can cook. If I had the money I’d buy her a food truck in exchange for a single plate of leftovers. For as long as I’ve been dating K**A they’ve invited me but I was far too shy – well that’s what I told them. I always felt that because I was “different” (Dominican, poor, unmotivated, a baby daddy, whatever) I wouldn’t be accepted and only treated as a disposable, a taboo that would last as long as the curiosity. Once they saw how much in love K**A and I were they had no choice.
Thanksgiving is the highlight of the social calendar year for them. They worked out and ate gerbil food all year round just for the honor of feasting like a Greek minus the feather and the pedophilia. My family lived in New York City so attending was always difficult but K**A would make me a plate – a plate I would lick clean then cry like a girl after her first real orgasm. This year I was an orphan. I was finally going to put in my 24 hours of giving thanks with the gang. I smoked enough to give me the appetite of an elephant in the desert. I passed out on top of a pile of coats after 1 plate.

I wake up around 3 in the morning to my phone vibrating like a massager in a single woman’s home. Some work related issue. I’m too far to deal with it so I pass the buck as a managerial privilege and turn my ringer off. I returned to the table to find the Thanksgiving festivities still in full swing. The girls were done taking turns napping (a tradition) and were yapping away fueled by bottomless bottles of wine, whiskey and tryptophan roofies. T**A, still nursing her foot from a karate class accident, stuck to her tall glasses of beer and ice and pre rolled up joints. A local contractor friend of M***Y’s almost convinces me to become a Republican over lines of George Bush Jr’s favorite vice cut on a Vice magazine cover. Every bump was a step closer to post election Romney vote. Nothing felt more natural. I was orphan-ed out. Soon our conversation turned to FEMA and the damage Sea Bright and the surrounding communities sustained.
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The entire Peninsula was closed off to residents and the general public for weeks after Sandy. The military stood guard to prevent the plundering that would follow. M***Y and her two dogs camped out with the contractor and his family. Their house was located on higher ground in the mainland. The military finally allowed residents to enter the area with proof of residence only couple of days before thanksgiving, but not without imposing a mandatory 5pm curfew. M***Y would then told us about how afraid and convinced she was. How the devastation she witnessed as she reached her home emptied out everything inside her. She had just lost the bars she managed and lost the only boss she ever loved and respected. Her house was at the furthest tip of the peninsula and every traffic light she stopped at broke her heart a inch closer to bankruptcy. There was no possible way her home survived all of this. When she pulled up to her drive way there was a trailer on its side that used to be stationed on the beach several blocks away. Sand and debris covered everything like a comforter on a poorly made bed.

“That’s it.” she thought “I have nothing…”

Tears were already swelling up in her eyes as she slowly opened her outside door. She felt the carpet in the hallway. It’s was still soaking wet. She hesitated before as her fear was now a plausible reality. Her vacation house was no more. God didn’t want her to have shit. FUCK IT FUCK IT ALL TO HELL. She took a deep breath and choked on it. She opened her door and threw herself on her knees ready to confirm what she already felt deep in her existence. She was not destined to be happy. All of her hard work and sacrifice just to have God send her the mother of all storms and wash it away. FUCK IT FUCK IT ALLLLLLLLLL!!!!

Her carpet was dry.

All of her furniture was intact. Not one item moved, mind you she had a floor to ceiling sliding window door on her tiny porch that faced the ocean. She lived on the ground floor. Mind you every building surrounding her with the exception of a few other apartments was destroyed or completely uninhabitable. Her power was turned on the next day. The only apartment on the peninsula with electricity and gas was hosting a Thanksgiving dinner. She told us she rolled on the floor and couldn’t stop laughing. R***Y, who always took care of her as she took care of him, had put a force field over her house. His spirit was watching over her. It was the only way she or any of us could logically explain it.
And there we were at 5 in the morning, in true R****Y fashion, partying like we were in R**K***R Bar at 7am. Fuck the curfew, it was 5am and I was on the beach with a weed clip and a camera taking really bad pictures of the waves. My own private party… wilding at the after sandy hours.

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Earlier before my 7 hour nap M***Y overcooked her pancetta while smoking a cigarette on her odd first floor balcony thingie. The smoke had set off her fire alarm. This alarm sounded like it warned London of impending Nazi bombings back in World War 2. We were the only sound for miles. The few remaining police and the volunteer firefighters showed at our door with nerves still scabbing up from the pins and needles of a post-apocalyptic beach zombie town. An older couple from one of the only other livable apartments rubbernecked at our party in disapproval. T**A curses them out (she’s their age its kind-of cool). I started hiding stuff. The girls flirted apologies with cheerleader enthusiasm and invited the front liners in for a plate. They just smiled, comforted by the false alarmed and surprised that someone was actually having Thanksgiving at the very end of the world.

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PPP SGU Abroad Edition Part 3: “The Apology” JAPAN

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 30, 2012 by SLUTLUST

“If someone does something wrong they are expect to come clean and apologize. One of the worst sins is to deny guilt and not come clean in such a situation. In the past, issues involving loss of face were often dealt with by revenge or suicide.”

Jeffrey Hays

Tokyo, also known as the Eastern Capital, is a beautiful florescent empire in neon and plasma. As far into the future as the ever present technologies of their daily modern lives go, their traditions are based in roots deeper than the shallowness of our Western philosophies and arrogant appearances. There are as many temples as there are skyscrapers. One thing I learned that if you wrong someone else, the law doesn’t interfere as much if both parties can settle the dispute themselves. Another thing I learned was that when you hand a person an item you use both hands as a sign of fair play and transparency—even when a cashier would give me my change in coins, they passed it to me with two hands.

Apparently Tokyo is very model-friendly, complete with model houses that could double as out of state college campuses. I also saw the foreign women that came in from all over Africa and other 3rd world countries because Japanese businessmen spend fortunes on the touch of an “ethnic” girl, and how in some marriages a stop at the Blow Job Store before you got home was widely accepted and encouraged. I saw these mega video gambling malls where the prize was a basket of ball bearing, and pet adoption stores that kept the animals in what appeared to be vending machines. Every street had a confusing alley to go with it and the building numbers were based on the years the building was made and not on any particular grid order  making getting around without a local a guaranteed fall into the rabbit hole. Basically what I’m trying to say is that Tokyo was as traditional and mysterious as it was very advanced, progressive, and very weird.

K*****s was the owner of Club Feria, located in the Roppongi District. He was about 5 ft. 7 with a real chill backpack rapper feel about him. He came to the live graffiti art that LOVE ME and M**F did as a guest of DJ LINO and Z**T. You had to love Z**T’s hustle; he’d had no problem negotiating a party for us complete with a flyer and enough bottles to stock up for the 2nd coming of prohibition. He also somehow also got Kiwanis to consider having our gang do the live art exhibition in his nightclub. You’d think that a bunch of New York graffiti writers – whose idea of a live graffiti show was to rag each other’s name until the wall was completely textured with overlaying colors and perceived disrespect – would graciously turn down someone with a pristine five-star nightclub and very gang affiliated, but no, we accepted. Kiwanis loved us. Being that he also studied and lived in New York City from time to time, he missed the hooliganism that decorated his East Coast neighborhood. In my life I had never seen a venue owner literally ask a bunch of vandals to tag up their bathroom, and here he was asking us to do that to his entire club. Did I mention that he was the Yakuza member that owned the place?

One day, while awaiting our host at And A, we bump into a friend of N**S. Yutaman was a born and raised Japanese kid that knew him from his stay in Florida during their “INKHEADS” days. He invited us out for some authentic Japanese barbeque in a tiny local eatery were we discussed N**S dismal situation. Japanese barbeque is basically anything you can grow in a garden – wrapped in meat. Even the meat was wrapped in meat and deep fried in vegetable oil. Instead of ordering from the menu we allowed our fiery lady chef to feed us her personal choices. Somewhere after the 4th course my heart tapped out but my stomach ignored him and continued to wrestle on.

Yutamans assessment of N**S’s situation was not a welcomed one. What we thought was going to be a night in jail was looking more like a couple of weeks. On top of that the Tokyo police where actively searching for his “co-conspirators” after arresting N**S with a flyer in his possession for the And A event. In what had to be our favorite “Lost in Translation” moment: when they investigated N**S’s scrawl they saw it as “N**S LOVE ME Art Show!” announcing the exhibition and not as 2 individual and separate tags. And A was immediately notified and they nervously called our host who then tore M**T and S**F an extra asshole to bullshit out of. And A was being accused of gorilla marketing and wide spread vandalism. The guys basically had to use embassy levels of diplomacy to separate us from N**S, signing papers and downplaying our connection to him to the point where we called N**S a deranged fan. The exhibition was still allowed to go on but LOVE ME changed his tagged and signed everything with “NEVER EVER”. S**F used a spray can like a blow torch and we all had our American rock stars moment. Then we were told that the police would be there by 10pm… We cleaned up and left by 9:59.

We didn’t see N**S until a month later in New York City.

When our conversation turned towards our art project in Club Feria and K*****s’s name was mentioned, everyone within eavesdropping distance gasped and N**S’s friend face went blank like a shaken Etch-a-Sketch. I wish this moment was made up. As soon as he drew his face again he told us a story of how K*****s got into a tiff with a sumo wrestler who tried to resolve the argument by punching him in the face. The sumo wrestler – realizing what he had done – then made a public apology, paid him like a million dollars and disappeared. Do you know how bad ass you have to be to make something as big as a sumo wrestler vanish? And we have to tag up his club?? Talk about your artistic anxiety.

I saw firsthand how bad ass K*****s was.  After several members of his security team couldn’t control a drunk and unruly patron, he calmly approached the wasted guy, disarmed him of his 9mm, and then casually walked him out. This – mind you – was an ultra-aggressive drunk that was shaking down very single canopy on the roof, punching in walls, and grappling with five bouncers at once while screaming his lungs out- the veins on his neck bulging like any fighter in an anime cartoon. Now he was walking out with his free will, very relaxed and sedated as if he was headed towards his first communion.

But back to us:


We had no filter.

Nothing scared us; we were too drunk to rationalize anything. Like a toddler’s first time playing with fire, one minute we were being cautious and the next catastrophic. One night in one of Feria many levels A**O and S**F thought it would be cool to play a game of “Why are you so pouty? Here, catch this beer bottle!” One bottle landed squarely on A**O face resulting in a black eye and blood shooting out of his cheek  like a faulty water gun. We didn’t even as much as look for First Aid; we just hopped in a cab and went to what I found out was the freshest fish market in the world. A**O held his face together with bar napkins while N*W and I sniffed raw wasabi to the sound of Ghostface Killah’s “Fish” coming from Z**T’s iPhone. I even boothed (inserted into my asshole) some of it, and till this day I don’t know why. A better use of my time would have been volunteering to help a Japan still reeling from a major earthquake or at least trying to find some medical help for my friend’s battered face – maybe even some legal advice for my arrested friend…

But no.

I stole the cup I was served beer in and we got chased out of the first market. Even LOVE ME, whom I had met for the first time, got into the act. My impression of him was that he was more reserved and level headed than the rest of us, but how accurate are first impressions? He dyed his hair blonde, got belligerently drunk, and tore up the dance floor with the smooth moves he learned from that “Cornhulio” episode of Beavis & Butthead – complete with his army jacket pulled over his head. One night he spent the better half of the evening covering every M**F sticker his long arms could reach while M**T followed him covering LOVE ME stickers in some drunken competition in waste.

A**O’s bruised face and our crumpled sticker cakes was a perfect analogy for our trip. We were unkempt and faceless for six days straight, not one of us ever exercising any restraint or common sense at all.

Now let’s rewind back.

The lights of Roppongi started to shimmer during my minor panic attack. I was alone – and dirty. Everyone looked suspect. With S**F and his pursuer’s gone with the wind, my paranoia induced xenophobia was starting to set in. I felt like a child in one of those “I forgot my son at an airport” commercials. Every step I took was another one met with a vomiting Asian or an aggressive African who felt I really needed a blow job and knew just the girls with the skill sets for my ailment. In retrospect my anxiety made it feel like I was alone for an hour; in all honesty, it was about two minutes. DJ LINO and his Swedish meatball of a model where standing right outside to the left of where everything had just went down. They weren’t even aware of the malarkey S**F and I had gotten ourselves into and didn’t waste time in asking me questions as they quickly shoved me into a getaway cab. I wasn’t even being chased, but that didn’t stop me from ducking into the back seat when we drove past Club Jumangi.

The ride was what I could only describe as a couple of lefts and rights. My overwhelming “vandal on the run” fright night had me on blackout levels of drunken nervousness. How I got to White Room—another after hour’s club in the Roppongi district (every club felt like it was an afterhours)—at 6AM still eludes me to this day. How I randomly found A**O in front of a Japanese 7-11 also eludes me. I told him about S**F and he traded me a story about how he was at some club called “Club Asia” (racist?) and was chased out by security and escaped by wriggling out of his really cool shark swallowing a shark t-shirt.

The shark t-shirt anecdote broke my frozen in headlights anxiety (not really; I was too alcohol-dumb to be scared, which is a very necessary emotion needed for basic survival) and off to White Room we went. We said goodbye to DJ LINO and ping ponged shots with two Canadian girls till eight in the morning. A**O slobbered on one ‘til she evicted his fingers from her vagina, while I promised the other one marriage if she ever came to the States and needed a work visa. Finally I was just a jolly old wing man.

Both girls abandoned us with our liquor boners and we stumbled out into the eyeball-rape that was the Tokyo morning sun. We walked half a block until we reach a major intersection where we could catch a cab, then realized we were only around the corner from Club Jumangi. Before I could do an “uh oh” and turn the other way, we magically bumped into S**F and Z**T. That brought out the way-too-intoxicated, happy-to-see-you cheerleaders-in-high-school greetings from all of us. Except for S**F. Z**T thought this was hilarious, especially being that he’d slept twenty hours from when I’d last seen him the night before and was now in great spirits.

But S**F was definitely not amused.

Not in the slightest.

“Yo you motherfuckers look crossed-eyed,” he said, a disgusted look on his face.

“Son what happened?” I asked.

“I got fucking chased out because of you! Why did you even take that big ass tag in the bathroom?”

My eyes rolled back into my head like a turn on a losing slot machine and the letters ‘TILT’ popped up.

“Fuck this I’m out.”

“But yo where are you going?”

“I’m going back to the hotel with Z**T to get breakfast.”

He stops a cab; they both get in.

“Yo son hold up we going with you…”

I go to reach for the door, but S**F grabbed it and slammed it shut, punctuating the moment with a “FUCK YOU GUYS!” as the cab sped off. A**O and I just looked at each other, grimaced, then broke out into laughter. We grabbed some food and a couple more cans of beer and went back to his hotel room where we shared a bed and promised to never tell anyone.

Later, I woke up and walked all the way back to my hotel room. After sleeping for most of the day I dusted myself off and asked S**F what had happened, being I couldn’t recall our previous conversation or anything for that matter

“Motherfucker I got arrested because of you. I ran as fast as I could but then my legs gave out and that Nigerian fuck caught me. They held me in jail until the club owner accepted my apology or some shit. They me had in a cell for like four hours till DJ LINO and Z**T came and got me.”

“HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Wow, um, well how did you apologize? Did you say I’m sorry?”

“Fuck no…”

PPP

PPP SGU Abroad Edition Part Two: “Tokyo Drift” JAPAN

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on August 23, 2012 by SLUTLUST

“In April 2010, the National Police Agency instructed police nationwide to begin cracking down more seriously on “small” crimes like shoplifting, littering, graffiti writing and other “behavior that could disrupt social order” as a way isolating petty criminals early and preventing from committing worse offenses. The aim of the effort was to make Japan “a society in which crimes cannot easily take place.”

Jeffrey Hays

I wish I could describe the feeling in the room without using a dated reference to “The Matrix” but I can’t.  You know the scene when Neo finally does that gravity defying awkward lean backwards while dodging an insane amount of bullets? The near-stillness of the moving shrapnel fluttering around him that then suddenly speeds up? How the surrounding sound that was muted before filters rapidly back into a loud BOOM as Keanu goes from slow motion to real time?

That’s how I’ll remember it: the sloppy and pointless hiding of evidence and the failed erasing of internet posts that were already reposted and the coordinating of the alibis. The stressful rubbing of the forehead and the witch hunt for someone to blame that infected each of us. Well, we all agreed that it was Pablo’s fault: that fact was certain to us like the blue sky, but in the end it was all of our faults. Once we accepted that inevitable truth, as intense the moment was, it was over and everything settled like the dust after a fall out. We are vandals—international vandals now—we all knew the risk and the only rule we followed is every man for himself. Well, there are other rules (fill-ins over tags over markers and yadda yadda yadda) but in the trenches when those lights come on you’re nothing but a roach amongst many on a tenement apartment floor.

LOVE ME decided that he had enough for one evening and calls it early. M**T, exhausted from trying to rationalize all of this, followed suit. SERF and I were electric. We were in total vacation mode — far from the “lay low” mode we were obviously supposed to be exercising. We both needed drinks, something to suffocate and erase the memory from our frazzled nerves. I needed it more the comedown from the rush of almost being locked up was professional steel-cage wrestling match brutal. I received a text from N*W with directions to some bar not far from the hotel and thankfully in the opposite direction from the scene of the crime. Our responsible adult selves committed to being well behaved, banning the shenanigans like our 1st night in Tokyo and our 2nd night at the train tracks. Our manic, compulsive ignore-what-our-responsible-selves-just-committed-to selves grabbed some moremarkers and a couple more cans of paint.

I grabbed another camera to document it all.

The bar could have made millions in the Williamsburg part of Brooklyn. It had a seedy hotel feel with red velvet walls, plus a ski-lodge sensibility that came embellished with elk horns and exuberant antique picture frames. The chandeliers that filled every inch of the ceiling were as Victorian as they where dusty, although the dust took nothing away from their eloquent and dignified beauty. N*W was outside smoking a cigarette while Will and the two models, Tanya and Kamaryn, sat inside what looked like the tableau of a sexy high fashion gothic photo shoot. In the back of the bar there were a couple of older Asian gangster types smoking cigars, and a bald, leather-faced bartender that could have been the Japanese Vin Diesel. I felt his aggression in my heart when he told me I couldn’t take a photo in his bar. The disconnect between my heart and brain became apparent as I ordered a shot, turned the flash off, and marker mopped his entire bathroom.

I love tagging bathrooms.

Everyone chatted up the “Great Alaskan Escape” (Will and the two girls shared the same flight to Tokyo, which had to make an emergency landing in Alaska due to engine trouble, delaying their trip by a day) while I bummed N*W for a cigarette outside. Before we left the hotel room we all had agreed not to tell ANYONE about N**S’s arrest, as to not alert Tanya – whose mother just happened to be our host – and endanger the upcoming exhibition for And A and not get paid. Of course, after three drags off my duty free cigarette my diarrhea of the mouth made its appearance. I topped off the gossip with a “but don’t tell anyone else” cherry that decorated the N**S cake NAW would then slowly share with the rest of the group – and why not?! One of us was already in jail and most people would consider that important news. For someone whose sole means of income was based on keeping things quiet I sucked at being the clandestine person I should have been.

The more drinks we poured, the later the night went, and the more removed I was from our “Great Tokyo Escape” the more it set in. Excitement like that you just don’t hide. This was me receiving my Boy Scout adventure badge—and what was the purpose of having one if anyone doesn’t know? (This particular conviction won me a “what the fuck is wrong with you?” award from S**F – who stated this fine piece of contradiction as I played look out for him as he casually defaced half of Japan.)

We paid our tab and left what could easily have been—décor-wise—the inside of a Betsy Johnson purse for a better party with a clientele less “townie” and without the murderous edge. Le Baron, a well known “It” bar in France, had recently opened up a Tokyo outpost. We opted out of taking a cab and walked what felt like thirty blocks to get there. The girls skipped in their slender heels and giggled charming drunky girl stuff while the boys leaped-frogged over each other scribbling on any surface within reach. Our friend had been in jail for no less than two hours, and whatever lesson we should have learned from that fiasco we skyrocketed it out of Tokyo like a clown in the circus cannon.

By the time we got to Le Baron it was around 3 in the morning, and the Tuesday or Monday (in all honesty, by then I had lost track of the days, and I was only in Japan for two days) night lull had cleared out the spot, which was closing their doors. DJ LINO, a good friend of Z**T (whom we had not heard from since the “Great Hand Job” escape), who had a three-month DJ residency in Japan, met us outside the dead venue and suggested we all go to Club Jumangi in the Roppongi Hills District. It was “Models Night”, also known as “No Need to Twist Our Arms We Are Going Night”. I took a deep breath after vomiting bits of the previous night’s anxiety in my mouth – swallowed it – pulled up my jeans and we all split up into separate cabs.

There is some rule in Tokyo nightlife where if you are hired for a residency, you’re not allowed to appear in another competing nightclub. You’re not even allowed to walk in as a client. DJ LINO’s residency was at a club called Fiera, a spot rumored to have been owned by a member of The Yakuza, a very well known and feared Japanese mob or gang or whatever you picked up from any nineties action flick. None of this meant anything to this New York City DJ as he used his tongue to grant us free passage into a club we paid to get into the night before. Now we were being ushered into for free like visiting celebrities. Since it was “Models Night” any female model (or male? We never *ahem* got asked) got to drink top shelf liquor for free. We had two of them; both ethnic-looking with legs longer than the attention span a simpleton could have used to pay attention to calculus. The ladies received their magical free booze wrist bands and the men feverishly sent the ladies to the bar for drinks so many times you could have swore our models were over worked cocktail waitresses.

The activity in the booth we acquired for ourselves reached microwave popcorn levels of frenzy. DJ LINO and his imported Swedish model arm candy were the first to leave our 4am straight-out-of-a-movie – night – bowl of excitement. Before he left, he introduced me to a friend who was selling the coveted green plant I had been fiending for. Before he even told me the price, I was already pulling out yens like a sex addict at a strip club. His boy slipped me what I would normally pay $10 for on my block: an honest third of a gram. “Okay,” I tell myself, confident that getting stoned in Japan was going to be cheaper than my duty-free cigarettes.

“How much?” I asked, scanning the room as if I could spot a Japanese undercover cop.

“5000 yen”.

The DJ might as well have stopped the music; everyone in the club might as well have turned to me and gasped in unison.  I paid what equated to $75 for a $10 bag of weed. You only live once. Right?

Soon enough Will and N*W decided to leave with the girls in tow – leaving only S**F and I to troll the spectacle of a Tokyo “Models Night gone after-hours”. If I don’t mention how apprehensive I was about the intense one-on-one hang out time I was going to have to with him then I’d only be telling half the story. You would swear S**F was bipolar by the stories you would hear of him. He was known to be as charismatic as he was chaotic. Before I could find out if the rumors where true, we were approached by a bouncer, who upon finding us quickly proceeded to talk on his headset while shouting accusations none of us could understand. Then another bouncer followed, translating what the first bouncer was shouting at SERF.

“You graffiti up our bathroom!!!”

“Yo, what are you talking about? I didn’t even go to the bathroom.”

When we first entered the club a bouncer had searched the plastic bag S**F was carrying with him which still held a couple of full spray cans. The bouncer didn’t care- as long as it wasn’t booze and S**F promised to keep it in the bag. S**F kept repeating over and over that he didn’t go to the bathroom, but the bouncer wasn’t having it; he called more staff over and pointed to the hidden cameras located in the booth we occupied and in the surrounding nightclub. Exhausted from defending himself, S**F demanded to be taken to the bathroom and shown what exactly he was being accused of. I followed, knowing exactly what they are going to see: a huge S**TL**T tag I took a couple of minutes earlier with a Krink ink mop. The drips from the ink were still running wet down the wall, staining the fingers of a really pissed-off club manager.

“%^$^%#%^$&^$*&%&^$@#@#&^*(&(*&%^$%#$@^@&!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

From what I gathered we were being kicked out.

S**F led the pack with an intensity that could only be described as a General going to war. The entire staff of the club followed his march with me several steps behind like a curious but cautious shadow. Before we descended down the stairs that lead to the exit, I ditched the Krink that was seeping ink through my jeans like a Tell Tale Heart. S**F was still holding the bag of spray cans when we reached the exit and one of the Nigerian bouncers posted outside tried to snatch the bag from him. This prompted S**F to flail his arms around like he was defending a rebound he caught in a basketball game. The Nigerian then tries to bear hug S**F but couldn’t find a grip on S**F’s wiry frame and wound up hugging himself. Another bouncer, a chubby Ukrainian in a Men’s Warehouse suit, popped out of nowhere from the left of me and gave chase—but quickly fell victim to S**F’s fancy footwork. The bouncer lost his footing and landed on his face. When he fell every single item in his pocket and one of his shoes exploded from his person like an Andy Capp cartoon cloud.

S**F’s moves went from basketball court to Track & Field as he sprinted down the block—knees nearly touching his chest—as the Nigerian bouncer again joined the hunt and followed. The only thing missing from this montage was theme song from “Benny Hill”. Soon they both vanished around the corner to the right. I, under the disguise of feigned confusion, slowly shuffled to the left of the street, undisturbed in the opposite direction of the commotion. My only thought being “We just saw Pablo get arrested several hours ago—what the fuck?!”

It was 5 AM in Tokyo and the only person who knew where the hell we were – and who had the room key to our hotel room – was now gone. And I had weed on me; a drug I would find out later that’s very punishable by Japanese law, on my person.

I was in Japan, riding dirty, lost and alone.

But let’s fast forward for a minute.

(To be continued…)

PPP SGU Abroad Edition Part One: “I Want To Take… A Sentimental Journey” JAPAN

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on August 15, 2012 by SLUTLUST

“…Not surprisingly, the rise of hip-hop music also hasn’t meant a rise in gangs or violent crime in Japan. But it has meant a rise in the crime of vandalism-namely graffiti. (Japan has a native word for graffiti, “rakugaki”, but this term usually describes simple etchings of the “yoko likes yuya” or “ichiro is a geek” variety.)”

Natalie Stanchfield.

A hacking cough wakes me up sometime late in the afternoon. I’m begging God it’s not the Swine Flu or a nuclear fallout cold I caught from dry humping the streets of Tokyo on my first night out. It had only been only 5 months since a major earthquake/ tsunami decimated the Japanese coastline causing a meltdown in 2 out of the 3 nuclear reactors. I pretty much felt my worries were justified. The air was humid with only an uneasy hint of fall making the simplest wardrobe choices terribly difficult. One minute you were glass cutting nipples chilly – the next minute you were clawing yourself out of your layers like you were on fire. My eyes were glazed and my face balmy as my hands reeked of cheap whisky and acrylic paint. I looked sick.

M**T was kind enough to let me sleep my stray dog antics off on his bed at the Cerulean Towers hotel while he put in a day’s work at this installation he was creating for “And A” along with S**F and LOVE ME. “And A” was a clothing/ lifestyle brand/ store that was hosting them for their 10th anniversary – and had something to do with the Sotheby’s enterprise. Sotheby’s sounded fancy – I recognized the name from Page Six when celebrities would buy stuff from other rich folk that they would then auction off for outrageous prices. We would later find out it was “Sasabee’s” which meant something huge in Japan but nothing to us in America. I needed to clean myself up. I was there to do important shit. I was supposed to be taking pictures and not sleeping off a night that started off with a 16 hour flight and ended at 9am running out of a Tokyo hand job shop.

“You pay now!”

That played over and over in my head as I blew a pack of cigarettes out of my nose. I never drank with such boorish behavior back in New York City. Apparently I snored. Something that’s always cool to find out when you’re bunking with other men. When I was approached about joining this fieldtrip a couple of months ago in truth I didn’t really want to attend. I had never did an all homeboy camping trip so my first one being on the other side of the planet had me a little apprehensive. I also remembered reading a story about M**T and S**F almost dying in a gang fight in Beijing so yeah I was definitely apprehensive. Japan, with its mystery dragon, lady boy, Yakuza, samurai shit – and these two certified wild boys? No thank you. I’ve gotten into violent boxing matches with my shadows that have ended in decision.

And then I found out Pablo “P3D” aka “The Kentucky Gentleman” himself, N**S, was going. Greg NAW and ZOOTED also agreed to come along with the guys from Roberta’s Pizza in Brooklyn. DJ Will Robbins also attached himself to the line up along with his girlfriend Tanya (who was the daughter of our host who facilitated the And A deal) and her best friend forever Kamaryn, who I swore were sisters until I befriended them on Facebook. I didn’t know LOVE ME, whose moniker was all over my city and easily spotted in the opening credits of Saturday Night Live was going till we got there. And then you have my very eager camera and 18 rolls of film – all just dying to go.

That decided it… If I was going to die out in Japan, this was going to be a very crowded and fun way to die.

I did the best (or worst) I could’ve to saved up enough money to cover my flight and a little bit of pocket change so I could feed myself. Our hotel room was booked in a 5 star hotel in the Shibuya district. According to The M**F’s – who had already visited Tokyo – the room was big enough to fit at least 4 people.  They set it up so N**S and I would bunk with them. A graffiti writer sleepover! I thought to myself. A graffiti writer sleep over scented with the fresh smell of Krink markers and spray cans, paint splattered sneakers and half empty bottles of booze. Our sleepover would also have the proverbial “loose cannon” (N**S), the crankiest Jesus Christ/ ZZ Top impersonator on the illegal side of a spray can (S**F), a human Smirnoff vodka bottle (M**T), and myself, a wide eyed Mogwai (from the movie “Gremlins”) minutes away from midnight and his next meal. I made sure to pack an extra liver and opened up a bank account with 2 separate ATM cards in case I lost one in this perfect maelstrom of a “working vacation”.

The room goes from dark and quiet to really colorful and busy. M**T and S**F entered the room from working all day to pick up a few more supplies and to wait for Pablo’s arrival. It’s around 6pm. I drag myself into the bathroom and peel off last night from my skin. My fingernails are caked with spray can fluid and my clothes are spotted with ink. I’m pretty sure the streets of Tokyo looked worst – our urban nicknames scrawled on anything not neon or florescent. The quick shower I took does little for my composure – just enough to allow me a legible word in between my disruptive coughs. After I brush my teeth I use a shot of whiskey and Red Bull as mouth wash. The jolt to my system shakes me like a battered woman. When N**S finally arrives I throw up a little in my mouth out of sheer excitement. After exchanging pleasantries we each grab a bag with supplies and head out to And A.

Our walk through Shibuya is all anticipation with no expectations greater than more drinks and more painting. Every intersection was four more roads we could travel and vandalize. As we turn the corner to the store we are confronted with a huge M**F wheat pasted on the side of a 2 story Japanese version of an Urban Outfitters – but neater. The inside of the store was all glass, mirrors, and wood grain shelves combined into some post modernist concept only a nerd into architecture, design, and fashion could love. Everything down to the drink coasters they sold had this feel of “New York won’t be seeing the likes of this until next year” vibe. Even the T-shirts they sold had more technology than most of our inner city public schools. The staff was extremely pleasant and disarming to the point where we felt uncomfortable trusting them. Our sarcastic jokes fell flat and our bravado felt dated amongst their honorable posture– Japan is where egos go to die under the wrath of manners.

On top of the huge fill-in that decorated the outside of the store the crew was given a separate room inside of the store to defile. This would be the room that kept most of the products illustrated with the vandalism that used to be exclusive to the concrete walls and delivery trucks of a city in urban blight. From coats to a coffee mug with a velvet handle and high tech head phones, this was graffiti meets Skymall. The LOVE ME/ M**F tag had went from being blackbook scribble to an actual brand – as if tagging your building wasn’t enough these guys wanted to tag up your home interior and everything in it. The room was filled with a repetitive LOVE ME written over and over on a mirrored wall and glass with the M**F fill-in painted over it. A huge “Peter Pan Posse Forever Young Having Fun” was painted over everything complete with the ink drips that turned the room into an acrylic forest. Standing inside the room felt like you were watching the store form the point of view of the painted walls, trapped inside a black, silver, and red doodle.

The guys wrapped up their work for the day as our host in Tokyo arrives to the store. Her daughter (Tanya), who was supposed to have arrived in Japan with us the night before but had to spend a day in Alaska with Will and Kamaryn due to airplane trouble, finally arrive. Everyone applauds the fact that they are not shrapnel scattered all over Canada in some horrific engine malfunction. Our New York City in Japan crew is now a basket ball team with a full bench. Our host, in a celebratory mood – invites us all to a few drinks and food at a nearby restaurant. This turns out to be my first meal in Japan, interrupting was felt like a 24 hour alcohol binge. Before we leave the store we snatch up a few cans of paint at the behest of a suspiciously animated N**S. He repeatedly keeps telling us of this wall along some train track he wants to hit. It was like he wouldn’t shut up about it. Our host warns us of any shenanigans and advises us not to go bombing. Of course we agreed, while filling our pockets with an assorted collection of markers and mops. N**S blatantly grabs an entire box of spray-paint. This is when we learn that he’s already downed 3 bottles of sake. He’s been in Japan now for about 3 hours.

The dinner was cozy and jubilant – an authentic Japanese fare with a dash of western curiosity. Any place where you have to remove your shoes and sit on an embroidered cushion is automatically humbling. Our boisterous “happy to see you alive in Japan” vibe was muffled by the ambiance into a quiet scream. Everyone was on their best behavior outside of a formal dinner with your parents. As the foreign food and sake flowed our respectful apprehension turned into a welcomed familiarity. This is when I first started to notice N**S’s voice. It went from gentle giant to ardent politician. It got worst as the wood chip he was given that held the key to the cubby hole that held his shoes went missing:

“Come on guys, who got my piece of wood?”

“Hahahahahaha! Pause, N**S…”

“No I’m fucking serious who got my block of wood?”

“Shhhhh chill did you check where you were sitting at?” I say, trying to weather the tempest.

“Yeah it’s not there come on guys give me my block.”

By this time our host and the others had already filtered out of the restaurant, M**T and S**F couldn’t contain their laughter at Pablo’s growing temper tantrum and skipped outside leaving me to deal with it. This only agitated the situation.

“Are you fucking guys kidding me COME ON GUYS GIVE ME MY WOOD.”

“N**S I think you put it in the box with the paint did you check it?”

“YEAH I DID IT’S NOT IN THERE!”

(This was the 1st time in Japan I felt slightly embarrassed – and I ran out on a hand job the night before.)

“No I don’t think you did, let me check it” as I go reaching for the box of paint.

“NO!” he pouts like a spoiled child in a day care.

“N**S, just give me the box.”

“NO!”

I passively wrestle the box out of his hand and after a few moments he reluctantly lets it go.

Of course the wood chip in question was in the box. I had to bite my lip to keep me from exploding with laughter.

We all exchange goodbyes with our host and plan on meeting the other kids later on in the evening for some Tokyo nightlife. We leave them under the guise of returning back to our hotel room for a disco nap. They all stress again for us not to do anything stupid informing us that the Tokyo police doesn’t take kindly to vandalism. We adamantly agree not to, nodding our heads in agreement as N**S is climbing on a garbage can to catch a tag in the foreground. There is no taming him now. No one noticed this incredibly loud and sloppy move but me.

The minute our host got into a cab – once again – we were climbing over everything to like ants at a picnic leaving our names as evidence of our infestation. Somehow, in what was the ball dropping move of the trip, N**S became our Peter Pan and we all blindly follow him.

This is when the deal goes sour.

It’s about a 20 minute walk from the restaurant to the dearly coveted, and oversold, wall. N**S leads the charge – like a pirate declaring anarchy against clean surfaces – with M**T and LOVE ME in tow. S**F and I hang back, slowed down by his need to tag every 3 seconds, my taking a picture every 3 seconds, and our paranoid need for caution. Soon enough we reach the train track which is outside and down a steep ditch several meters away from an entry to an underground tunnel. While walking along the outside of a track we notice a large team of train workers sorting out their equipment and getting ready to start their shift – complete with flood lights and a video camera. For a minute I thought the workers were being interviewed by the media about their DEVO’ish (80’s nu- wave band) work outfits. You would think this would have been seen as a major red flag – but no. We address it with a wise crack and proceed to walk another 100 or so yards before breaking into the Tokyo transit system

I’ve always loved graffiti. Since I was young I would change my name over and over again till I found a moniker easy enough for me to write and connect all the letters with a respectable street penmanship. I never went bombing. I always kept my vandalism to art blackbooks and whatever desk I was stationed at in public school. By the time I was old enough to move around the city without my mother chaperoning me the train era of graffiti was over. The first time I actually grabbed a can of paint was in my senior year of high school while attending night school at Washington Irving in lower Manhattan. My friend at the time, FOCUS RFC, took me right after class and we tagged the entire length of 14th St. from the West Side Highway all the way to Avenue D on the Lower East Side. Mind it you was 9pm and a very different New York from the homogenized metropolis it is now.

I would tell you the feeling was better than sex or drugs but I couldn’t – being that back then I was still a sober, wide eyed virgin. 18 years later and every conceivable vice I could get my hands on and try at least one confirmed it – nothing beats seeing your name up on a wall or when other people tell you that they have seen it. Nothing would ever beat the fear of getting caught or the feeling of paint shooting out of your hands like a super hero blasting a complex signature from his palm onto someone else’s property.

Nothing.

In.

The.

World.

And now I was all the way the fuck over in Japan about to do the same with some of the most infamous writers ever to touch a fat cap. And tagging in a train yard? My inner child couldn’t stop masturbating to the thought.

We find entry to the train track at a part of the gate with not that much barbed wire and next to a wall making it easier for us to scale it. Once over the gate and through some bushes, the trench dipped at an angle for about 10 feet before touching a ledge and then it went down for another 20 stories. I was the last one to hop over. By the time I reach my motley crew LOVE ME and N**S where already on the train tracks decorating the holy grail of walls. M**T and S**F were still on the upper ledge changing spray can caps. I readied my camera. This was going to be my film version of Video Graf (a graffiti video magazine from the 90’s that showed writers bombing all of existence), Ryan McGinley (a well-known NY based photographer that started with photo’s of street art) moment. In my excitement I take a photo of S**F catching a tag with the flash on – forgetting everything I had learned from watching Mr. Brainwash fumble around in Exit through the Gift Shop. This wins me a resounding “What the fuck are you doing!?” quickly cooling my first time at an amusement park experience. The bass in S**F’s voice reminded me of how tense and dangerous everything we were doing was and how I wasn’t on the other side of the gate looking in, I was a now a co-defendant.

Before I could allow the thought to settle in and cement itself into common sense we are met with a running and out of breath LOVE ME. The train workers who we had seen earlier had started their shift and were make their way down the track in our direction. He quickly scurried up the wall and hid with us under the shadows of an over pass that was near us on the upper ledge. We could only assume that N**S was still hiding somewhere on the track. This was it: my “Locked up Abroad” moment. I refused to allow the guys to see me shake in fear and instead of going with my better judgment of leaving I stayed in the shadows with my team.

We laid still under the silent Tokyo darkness with only our heartbeat and gasps for air as our conversation. Each second felt like an hour. Once the track maintenance train shuffled passed us without incident we relaxed and waited for its light to fade into the tunnel. The minute the coast was clear M**T and LOVE ME slid down to the rail road to finish what they started while S**F stayed with me on the ledge to work on the fill-in he started. N**S came out of from whatever whole he was hiding in and continued painting. The worst was now over.

Or so I thought.

The last few paragraph repeated itself exactly 3 more times.

Back at the hotel room we kept trying to figure out where we went so wrong. The consensus was that if this had been NYC we would have never entered the tracks after seeing all of those transit workers idly standing by. Not only did we walk right by them we broke into the tracks only a couple of feet away from them – basically the equivalent of holding the door for them. If that wasn’t enough of a bad omen how did we even conceive it was of a sound mind decision to stay in those tracks after the first maintenance train rolled by? Did we believe that a police force in Tokyo was nonexistent? We definitely acted as such that the first night we arrived, ragging any surface without care as to what property it was or who was watching.

Things we never would have done in NYC…

Well that’s all not entirely true.

So we blamed NEWS, who was so drunk we are all still experiencing his hangover till this day.

LOVE ME scaled back up the wall in what appeared to be one hop. M**T followed like he was still in communist Russia trying to fly his way out of Siberia. All I heard was that there was someone with a flash light on foot. Cops?! We didn’t wait around. One by one we flew over the gate like it was an Olympic hurdle and we were all going for the one gold medal. In my anxious escape I scraped half of my shin off but didn’t realize it until several days later as the adrenaline masked any pain I should have felt. I looked back once to make sure N**S was following but I only saw the guy with his light saber of a flash light screaming like an extra in a Godzilla movie. N**S was nowhere behind us. We quickly spot a cab and pile into it. I keep yelling at everyone to wait for N**S but I was in such a frenzied shock I couldn’t even hear myself. This gave me my first lesson in graffiti: every man for his motherfucking self. I didn’t even have my door shut before the cab pulled off into the neon city – as if our driver knew he was our getaway car. I look back towards the scene of the crime to see N**S face finally appear over the gate. I try to get our car to stop for him but my voice is lost amongst the commotion. I closed my eyes in exhaustion and quietly pray he finds his way back to our hotel.

We pour out of our taxi and into our lobby in an exhilarated rush of “we fucking made it”. Everyone picked a corner of the room to nervously giggle off almost being caught and “Locked up Abroad”. I grab the lukewarm whiskey I had stashed behind the window blinds and do a shot straight out of the bottle like it was a much needed sedative. I’m so pumped up my hacking cough is no longer. Everyone catches their breath and the room starts to fill up with everyone escalating and elated gibberish. This was normal shit to the others – it was a moment of an entire lifetime for me. I was no longer playing it safe, taking pictures from afar, I was in the story. Shit I almost was the story. My common sense and need for adventure collided at the bargaining table and the negotiations fell apart. Everything was one big “what the fuck what the fuck what the fuck???”

Soon M**T’s voice cuts through our slowly settling rabble; “Yo call N**S’s phone.”

I scrolled through my Black Berry until I reached his name quickly like my fingers just remembered it had some chores to do and our mother was almost home. I even didn’t care about how much I’m was being charged in roaming fees my main concern was The Kentucky Gentleman’s safety. Each ring had my finger crossed and an offering to the God of Overseas Vandalism. By the 4th ring he picks up.

“Yo you ok?”

(Obviously.)

“Yeah yeah I’m good where are you guys?”

“We are at the hotel, come to the hotel.”

“Yeah but how do I get there?”

“Just grab a cab any cab tell them the name of the hotel they’ll take you.”

“Nah fuck it I’m gonna walk.”

“NO DON’T WALK, GET IN A CAR!”

“Ok ok I’ll get a cab, but where?”

“THEY ARE EVERY WHERE!!!”

“Ok ok”

The phone hangs up and the room explodes with life again. S**F stops with the doomsdays scenarios and M**t stops hiding all of the evidence that littered our room, LOVE ME starts laughing. I go on a 20 post twitter rant about what had just happened to us. The last thing any of us needed was N**S getting arrested and starting some huge international incident and getting us all into major trouble with our host. Everyone relaxed and the next few minute are filled with the congratulatory jargon and the “what if’s” every graffiti writers showers each other with after a great escape.

Once again this was common place for them but for me – this was now Heaven.

Fifteen minutes have passed. We all collectively stop with our bullshitting and wonder why N**S hasn’t arrived yet. I call him back. This time he answers in one ring:

“Yo I’m getting arrested…”

That’s followed by a bunch of inaudible screaming in Japanese.

“What?!” I yell into my phone, eyebrow raised and the smile dripping off my face.

“yeah I’m getting arrested I’ll talk to you la…’

And the phone goes dead. And the air leaves our room. Our jaws drop and everyone starts frantically hiding paint and stickers again and I start erasing tweets. This was only my 2nd evening in Japan – N**WS 6 hour in Tokyo – and the deal has gone extremely sour.

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