Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Short Changed at the Bowery Ballroom

On Saturday December 11 I went to the Bowery Ballroom to see Jesse Malin perform. I was on the main level (where the stage is) standing next to the bar in the back of the room. There was a female blonde bartender with a "fashionable pageboy haircut" serving drinks. I ordered a $5 Budweiser and gave her a twenty dollar bill. She gave me 5 singles back. I called her over and said " I gave you a twenty"....she nodded and then I said " and this is the change you gave me" ( as I showed her my 5 singles). She opened the register and said " You gave me a ten." I said " Okay, I'm sorry" and left her a dollar tip. I am 99% sure that I gave her a 20 dollar bill. I don't think that the fact that she opened the register and looked in really meant anything.( She was doing multiple transactions while mine was taking place.) I did not want to start trouble and ask for the manager because it was her word against mine. ( I assumed that the Bowery Ballroom would have taken the bartender's side over the customer's .) Should I mark my money in the future? Should I bring a flask into the Bowery Ballroom and not purchase alcohol? Should I loudly announce the denomination of money I am handing the bartender in the future? Was it an honest mistake or was I ripped off? My gut feeling tells me I was ripped off.

-Brother Mike Cohen Sunday December 11, 2010. NYC

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Outtakes from Ethan Minsker's Upcoming Book, The Bar Stool Prophet


The door opened and I looked up to see a figure with a giant head walk in. Orlando was flirting with a girl, and the guy stood in front of me. He had brass colored hair. His looks were plain. I pointed to Orlando, but he kept staring at me.

“If you want a drink, he’s the bartender,” I said annoyed, but he was still looking at me. Was this guy gay? Was he crusing me? Did he know me? Or maybe he wanted to fight.

“What?” I barked at him.

“It’s Charlie. From DC,” he said. That was the bad part about working in a bar in New York City. At some point everyone you ever met would walk through. I flipped through the faces in my memory, stopping at Charlie’s. I had known him as long as Mary Jane and Baxter. Charlie was the guy who talked too much. Saying hello was like firing the pistol at the start of a race and his mouth would be off and running. Once you blocked out his rants, he was a sweet guy who had few friends.

He pulled out a stick of vanilla lip balm and applied it, making several trips around his mouth. “I was walking down the street and I saw this kid wearing a hat that had a patch of Baxter’s old band, so I asked the kid if he knew Baxter, he said he didn’t but that Baxter hung out at this bar, so I came over here and thought that it was you behind the bar, the last time I saw you I had just got back from LA, I had that cut, the half smile those gang bangers gave me, remember that?” I nodded since I thought he wanted acknowledgement that I was listening to him, but he didn’t even slowdown. “You can barely see it now, I have been living in New York for a few months, I moved in with these artists who live on a boat, they are sculptors and the boat is really great, they rent it out for parties, it’s off the pier down by the World Trade Center, it would make a great location, you should come down and see it sometime—”

My mind went numb with his words. How did he breathe? It was a constant flow without pauses, one long sentence from the start of his day till the end. I worked, cleaned, and moved away from him, but he kept talking even when I was out of range and couldn’t hear him.

Charlie was sitting at the other end of the bar. He leaned over to me. “I like how you handled that. No bullshit. And that’s just how--”

“Not now, Charlie. I’ve got shit to do.”

He held my glance, then looked away. Charlie’s girlfriend, a graphic designer, had died in the towers. She wasn’t supposed to be there that day, but she had a meeting in the North Tower. The meeting was scheduled for 10, but she and her colleagues had shown up early to go over some things and they’d all been caught when the first plane hit at 8:46. Ever since then, Charlie had talked his way through the sadness. I listened as much as I could, but I had my limits. I couldn’t spend my whole life playing therapist to him. And he couldn’t spend his whole life talking about it. He was my friend, but we all had to get on with things. He pulled out his lip balm and looked at it like a childhood blankie.

Launch Eleven - December 30, 2010

Launch Eleven - December 30, 2010

Monday, November 29, 2010

Outtakes from Ethan Minsker's Upcoming Book, The Bar Stool Prophet

On the Cutting Room Floor

Outtakes from Ethan Minsker’s Upcoming Book,

The Bar Stool Prophet

Saturday, I was out walking Darby along Fifth Street between A and B when three little dogs spilled out of a Cadillac and darted straight for her. The owner was in the car, and he didn’t react at all. They were barking, but not in a friendly way. They wanted blood. Circling around us, a white dog bit Darby on the paw. Darby howled. I stumbled forward and swiftly kicked the white dog back into the open door. The other two dogs scampered out of my kicking range.

“What the fuck man?” the owner said in broken English. His hair was in a pompadour. “Why you be kicking me fucking dog?”

Puerto Rican. Maybe Dominican. The music coming from his car was the same I heard in the bodega on the corner.

Darby bared her teeth at the man. I held her leash tight. I had protected her from the dogs, and now it was her turn to return the favor.

“Back the fuck up!” I shouted at the guy. He looked at Darby, then at me. We were on the brink of violence. He didn’t say anything. I knew he didn’t want to fight. Now it was my choice. I could have pressed it, but I walked on down the street pulling Darby. The threat to Darby was gone. Fuck it. He was only trying to protect his dogs. I thought of his hair. It was characteristic of the young rocker crowd that used to hang out in the bars. We would probably have been friends if we had met at the bar. There was no need to fight. At the corner we stopped, and I checked her paw. I didn’t find anything. She always cried more than she was hurt. It was typical of her.

Finally, I dropped Darby off at home and went to work. I was late.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Dolls of Lisbon

As part of Pop Up Lisboa 2010, the Antagonist Movement has a current exhibit of art dolls by over 60 artists. The show, which runs until mid-December, is being held in the Miradouro de Santa Catarina, an old palace which overlooks the city of Lisbon.

Eleven Antagonist Artists visited Lisbon for two weeks, from October 31st to November 13th. While in Lisbon, we did art on the street and in a gallery, showed films and worked with a youth center.

Check out our pictures below.

Pictures - Antagonist Artists in Lisbon November 2010

Monday, September 6, 2010

Excerpt cut from "Rich Boy Cries for Mama"

After years of writing and editing and re-writing and more editing, here are some final pieces that have been cut from Ethan H. Minsker's upcoming book, Rich Boy Cries for Mama. These weren't cut because they're crap, they were cut because an overload of interesting stuff might hurt the reader's mind. And it makes the book flow better. Enjoy!

It was September and we were back at school. I was fifteen now and a bit taller. I had bought a pair of army boots and wore them all the time. I wanted a leather jacket but my parents wouldn’t buy it for me, and I didn’t have enough money. They didn’t like the idea of their son in a biker jacket. If I had asked for a blazer and tie, I’m sure they would have gotten it for me. I had everything I needed, except a leather jacket. The other kids whose parents had money treated me like shit, so I didn’t want anything to do with them. I wanted to dress down, like a poor rebel. Sometimes I was ashamed of all the things we had, especially if I was at Pierre’s house. He didn’t even have his own room. He slept on a pull out sofa.

I had on a new Clash shirt. The image was of the band standing in an alley. I rolled up the sleeves. My hair was spiked to complete the look. Charlie’s fat head came bobbing around the corner and then stopped in front of me.

“What are you doing after school?” His bad breath came wafting up at me.


“Cool, let’s hang out.”

Charlie went down the hall. Pierre stood in the doorway of his next class talking with an ugly girl. There weren’t many black kids in the Lab School. I wondered if there were just less black kids who were dyslexic. It was more likely that they just didn’t know about it and were doing badly in the public school. Pierre was lucky in a way; at least his adopted white liberal mother figured out that the city would pay for him to be at the Lab School.

Later that night, Ted knocked at my door, his raggedy mutt sitting at his side. I followed behind, not speaking, when we passed the back of Nazi Shawn’s garage. Nazi Shawn’s mother was yelling at him.

“I don’t understand. Every day I wash the car and it still smells of piss. Are you pissing in the car?” I wondered where Sermon’s car was; maybe I could piss in that too.