I spent the last month and a half in NYC with the hopes of being able to film and create some of the ideas I have had for a while. The reality was that I was excessively busy and was not able to get some solid film time. Outside of not being able to film as much as I hoped, the trip was awesome. I met some amazing people and got to hang out with an old friend.
When I say old friend I do not mean a friend I have not seen in a couple of years. I am talking about a friend I have not seen or talked with in over 12-13 years. This friend, his name is Gray Matter. He was my travel buddy. We were the two who were always looking for something to do and of course, good times and trouble would follow. We both lived in Texas at the time and if we could think of it, we would do it. Seriously, let me tell you some of the things.
I remember we both had this crazy desire to climb buildings – no, I am not talking about taking the stairs to the top or climbing the fire escape. Apparently, we thought we were spiderm(e)n. We would climb up drainpipes, window ledges, anything we could grab and pull ourselves up until we got to the top. We set off many alarms in our day and caused some sparks. Gray Matter and I made our way to Hollywood, Ca – I will go more into that trip later in this blog – and our desire to climb things almost got us killed and arrested. One night, we were hanging out with the local squatter punks in an alley behind Hotel Roosevelt – when one of us looked up and saw how tall this building was – it seems both of us knew what we had to do without saying a word. Next to the fire escape was a pipe that ran from the ground all the way up to the roof. With no hesitation, Gray and I starting making our way up that pipe. With both hands on the pipe and our feet on the wall, we walked ourselves up. We were laughing and having a good time until we reached, if I can remember correctly, the 5th or 6th floor and out of nowhere – well, out of the pipe we were climbing – came these HUGE sparks and this loud pop. We both freaked out and continued to laugh. I said to Gray, we could jump onto the fire escape and climb down. Once we started making our way down the fire escape, he told me that he felt the heat from the sparks on his hands, as he was checking them to make sure he was not burned. The next day, we were walking around trying to find something to do when we came around the corner and saw these old tires lying around this old gas station. What made those tires so special was that they were under one of those huge billboards; you know the kind you see on the side of the highway – the ones that are very tall. As we looked at the tires, we noticed that if we stood on those tires we would be able to reach the ladder that would take us all the way to the top of the sign. So guess what we did. We made our way to the top. We hung out there for a while checking out the world below. We were bored and climbed down – as we made our way down the ladder, we heard, in the distance, an army of cop car sirens. We did not think anything of it until we got to the bottom of the ladder and jumped off because as soon as we turned the corner we saw all of these cop cars speeding into the old gas station. So we ran into the nearest fast food restaurant. All the cops jumped out of their car and started searching the area for us. Therefore, the moral of this story is if you are going to climb billboards -do it fast, because the cops will be there shortly.
The reason Gray and I went to California was to attend ‘Chaos Days’
– Side note -What is Chaos Days?: Chaos Days (German: Chaostage) was a punk annual manifestation, held in Hanover starting in 1982 and reviving in the mid-1990s.
The Chaos-Tage (“chaos days”), were a West German punk scene phenomenon, which began in the mid-1980s in Hanover and Wuppertal and consisted of meetings of punks from all over Germany. The most well-known “chaos days” took place in Hanover in 1994 and 1995 and resulted in huge riots and the destruction of cars and buildings. These “chaos days” were the main topic of TV debates and newspapers for several weeks. Popular bands like WIZO spontaneously played a show there, and Terrorgruppe wrote a classic song about it (“Wochenendticket”, named after a train ticket that most punks used in order to get to Hanover from all across the country).
Chaos Days USA
Chaos Days were organized in the United States in 1995 and 1996, to be held in the San Francisco Bay Area during the same period of time as the German Chaos Days.
We were in Texas, it was a late night and we were riding around with a friend in his car. The question that kept coming up was, “What do you want to do tonight?” This question was thrown around several times throughout the night. Until, I said, “Let’s go to California!” Gray answered jokingly, ‘You know Chaos Days is coming up soon – we should go!’ I said, ‘Take me to my work so I can get my clothes’
– Another side note: I worked at Olan Mills at the time – I was the studio photographer and what the other Olan Mills employees did not know was that I lived in the studio. I kept all my clothes, etc up in the ceiling. I had an alarm clock that would go off an hour before everyone would begin showing up to the office to begin their day. I would take a shower in the sink and get ready for the day, leave the office, go across the street to the coffee shop and wait until it was time for me to arrive at work and then come in and start my day.
We went to the Olan Mills office a.k.a. my home and I packed up my stuff and left a note that read, “By the time you read this I will be well on my way to California and won’t be in today. I quit!’
We drove all night and all day – and arrived in San Diego, Ca – I do not remember how long we stayed there – it was not too long – we made our way up to LA and on the first day we got there, we went to Hollywood. Within the first couple of hours in Hollywood this woman with clipboard in hand pop out from around a corner and said, “how would you two like to be in a video – we will pay you” Since we both didn’t have jobs and limited cash flow – we said yes. To make a long story short – here is the video we are in – we are on the bus about half way into the video.So, back to NYC – As I said earlier in this blog, it was good to see an old friend. I have some video of me and Gray messing around in New York but I have not had time to edit the footage – I will do it soon and post it -but until then here is a video I made the last night I was in NYC – enjoy! (scroll down and push play – there is a 10 sec buffer and then it will start)