That trash ain’t going nowhere.
Cajun Tomato’s NYC 100 is a periodic series chronicling my experiences and observations as a New Yorker. Post No. 48 chronicles the start of the Blizzard of 2015.
QUEENS – Outside my second-story window, pellets of snow, aided by a brisk north-south wind, are hurtling toward the concrete like a legion of kamikazes intent on arriving in hell at the exact same time. The sidewalks are turning to chalk with each passing minute. The N/Q trains are playing their standard, deafening soundtrack this morning as they rush past my apartment window. How long until their hum goes silent remains unknown.
The blizzard of 2015 is in its infancy. New York City could be inundated with up to three feet of snow the next two days, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio. Such a scenario would rank as one of the worst blizzards in the city’s history. As someone raised on the humid, mosquito-infested bayous of south Louisiana any amount of snow that sticks is notable. Three feet of snow? Sounds like the winter equivalent of a hurricane minus the hours of gridlock on the highways. (Two weeks ago I wrote about not enjoying snow. That sentiment remains true but this is more exciting because it involves watching history, not just dealing with shitty weather.)
Even Leon Bridges’s photos look cut from another era.
It’s 20 days into 2015, winter is taking glee in slapping my fragile ginger ass around, and I have discovered my favorite song of the year. *Whispers* It’s a song released in 2014 (albeit on Soundcloud).
Even Drake is perplexed at Gov Ball’s lineup.
Earlier this week I wrote a piece for the music and travel blog Mixologi titled “Hip Hop Curiously Absent From Governors Ball” comparing the NYC festival’s hip hop offerings to that of fellow festival giants Coachella and Bonnaroo. The article could have easily been called “Hip Hop MIA From Governors Ball Lineup”. I encourage you to read it, like it, share it, the whole nine yards.
When Coachella 2015’s lineup appeared out of dry, thin desert air earlier this week I breathed a sigh of relief. The lineup disappointed, sure, but at least I wouldn’t feel tempted to fly out to California at the cost of my firstborn son. Especially not when Governors Ball dropped its talent rich lineup the following day. Let’s see: Go to Governors Ball 20 minutes from my apartment or Coachella 3,000 miles away? It took me two seconds to decide.
Here are my 10 most highly anticipated acts of Governors Ball 2015. Acts like My Morning Jacket, Ryan Adams, St. Vincent, and Drake (yes, Drake!) were on the cusp of making the cut, and I would love to see/hear them.
Paul Bowles’s Post WWII classic, The Sheltering Sky
I stumbled upon Paul Bowles’s classic post-WWII novel, The Sheltering Sky, while perusing the new fiction table inside McNally Jackson Books in SoHo one night as summer turned to fall. The Sheltering Sky found a home on that specific table because it had just received a 65th anniversary release from ecco, a HarperCollins imprint. The cover, with its endless blue sky and Middle Eastern cityscape, seduced me with its promise of an unknown world. So did Dave Eggers’s blurb, “A strange and hypnotic masterpiece.”
The Sheltering Sky frustrated me from time to time because its three protagonists – young, twenty-something ex-pats traveling Africa after the war in an ill-fated pursuit of meaning in their lives – invited calamity upon themselves and were not great company, not people I would root for, per se. To be sure, I read better books in 2014 (i.e., Peter Matthiessen’s The Snow Leopard; Andy Weir’s The Martian; George Packer’s The Unwinding, etc.). The Sheltering Sky sticks with me, in large part, due to one dynamic passage in which the protagonist’s wife relays her husband’s thoughts on life and death, in the form of a flashback following an ill-fated journey into the desert.
The book excerpt that follows could be interpreted as morbid but I find it sobering, even freeing. For instance, I am dreading today’s cold weather. Yet, after reviewing this quote, I am reminded to provide the present its proper attention and respect, even if that present is one in which my teeth are chattering. Life is a gift, a mysterious and frustrating one at times, but a gift all the same.
Even taxis aren’t immune to the snow.
Cajun Tomato’s NYC 100 is a periodic series chronicling my experiences and observations as a New Yorker. Post No. 47 explores my love-hate relationship with New York City in winter.
I have a love-hate relationship with snow, I told a co-worker Wednesday. You have a love-hate relationship with New York City then, she replied without hesitation.
This is my third winter in New York City. When it comes to adapting to freezing weather I am still a rookie struggling to acclimate myself to the landscape before me. I wonder how New Yorkers thrive in this shit. On days like today, I feel like a block of ice, skidding from one place to another without any desire to linger and soak in the essence of the city.
It’s nine degrees outside my apartment. The wind chill is seven-below. I want to wrap myself in walrus fat and crawl into an igloo made of whale bones and hibernate till Spring.
Oh, and it’s supposed to snow today.
New Year’s resolutions don’t interest me much. They speak to artificial, short-term change, and reek of herd mentality. The emotional guts of “4th and Roebling”, the first single from Lancaster, Penn. rock quartet The Districts’ new record, center around change, and I guess in that way it reminds me of New Year’s. Not in a dismissive way though.
Angel Olsen, 2014’s unlikeliest self-help guru.
Mike Brown. Eric Garner. The Senate torture report. Ebola.
The world is going up in flames, as Charles Bradley presciently sang in 2011.
The songs below represent the sounds and words that captivated me in 2014, a year filled with strife, injustice, and fear in America. Not to mention the year I turned 30, a year of internal strife and restlessness spent charting and reconciling my life’s course, and a year in which I chopped the term guilty pleasure, as it pertained to music, from my vocabulary.
Welcome to Cajun Tomato’s Favorite Songs 2014 Edition! All songs were released in 2014 in some degree either on an album, single, music video, or figment of my imagination. At the bottom of the list you can listen to my Favorite Songs 2014 Spotify playlist. Songs not featured on Spotify include a link to SoundCloud. Enjoy!
In the past week I’ve shared my favorite albums of 2014 and my favorite concerts of 2014. In that spirit let’s keep the parade rolling.
I snapped a lot of bad photos at concerts in 2014. A lot of dark, out of focus photos. Here is a collection of not so bad photos I snapped in 2014, or as I headlined it my favorite concerts photos 2014 edition.
Click the link below for my first-ever attempt at a WordPress slideshow! What could possibly go wrong?!
Wayne Coyne doin’ Wayne Coyne stuff at Hudson Valley Project. Photo: Cajun Tomato
My 2014 concert-going adventures matched my age, or came damn close. I witnessed around 30 live performances this year, a number that suggests maybe I am slowing down as my vintage increases or slowing down as my New York City rent obligations grow.
The news isn’t all bad though. 2014 provided me the opportunity to check off several artists from my bucket list and witness many others who I had loved in previous years. It even provided me a chance to see Jennifer Lopez lip-sync for 90 minutes in the Bronx, and live to tell the tale (which I haven’t).
You will notice this list skews heavily toward festival performances. That is because I am poor – to maintain an active concert-going existence in NYC means buying tickets bloated with Ticketmaster and Live Nation fees four or five months in advance – and the club shows featuring up-and-coming acts I witnessed were mostly misses, with one key exception.
Here is my favorite concerts 2014 edition list: