Behind the News: From Pitch to TV…
Via Google images: Jigga and Obama…

By Ray LeMoine
Here’s a short film about New York’s young blacks on the eve of the elections. I worked on it with my neighbor, Hugh I Gilmore, a British journalist and filmmaker. Growing up, I always wondered how TV news was made. Well, in the case of this film, it began as this pitch I wrote:

6. My President is Black: Young Urban Blacks Ponder a Barack Future
“My President is Black”: that’s the title of the biggest song on New York’s airwaves right now. Next week America’s two biggest rappers, Jay Z and Lil Wayne, are performing in New Jersey. On the eve of the election, how does black America feel about one of their own finally coming to power? We’ll look at the Obama euphoria sweeping the Bronx, Harlem, and Brooklyn, following some Obama volunteers to the show. We will visit Power 105, the radio station sponsoring the show–which right now has an Obama ad in the headlines. We will interview Nas, the controversial rapper who’s recently taken to political activism. And we will go to the Power 105:Powerhouse concert at the IZod Center.

That went out on October 20th. Initial response was positive, but unlike other stories I’ve worked on, it didn’t get picked up right away. Then on Monday, October 27th, it was a go. But the Jay Z and Wayne concert was the next night, meaning we didn’t have much time. We went straight to Power 105 in Tribeca. They wouldn’t let us upstairs, but the publicist came down and said no access unless you go through Universal. We spent the next 20 hours trying to get the ok to film but were denied. But we decided to film the show guerilla style.

A field trip to Harlem came next, where we visited the Obama hq and met some young rap fans. The next night we went to see Murs, a political rapper, at the Bowery Ballroom. That concluded filming. Unfortunately, we never got Nas. Editing was done at Ole Schell’s in-house studio…and took about 20 hours longer than the 4 hours I’d promised him. (Sorry Ole.) The piece was finished Friday and aired Monday, November 3, the day before the election.

And that’s how this news sausage was made.


By Ray LeMoine

Nas played a free show last night. And while I missed the show I did happen to chill with that motherfucker at Goldbar until almost 5am. Yes, that’s right, Nasir Jones, Kelis, Cee Lo, Eve, and a dozen or so others were with Christian Alexander smoking blunts and dancing at a relatively empty Goldbar. The DJ was superb, mixing old school rap, funk, and soul. 

NYMag was at the Nas show, saying he “generally just looked like a top contender in a Coolest Person Alive tournament.” Well, it’s safe to say that when Nas (wearing a blue velour track suit and crooked ALIFE hat) and Kelis (white tights, experimental jumper, Chanel bag) were dancing and smoking a blunt to some weird funk jam at 345am this morning he officially won the tournament. Further proof: Nas had no attitude—his bodyguards were dancing not being dicks—and he was friendly to any well-wishers. 

How did this party come together? Christian Alexander used to be VIP host at The Box, a crazy sex theater/nightclub downtown. He’s also an American hero, and my old pot dealer’s ex-roommate (long story). Anyway, last night I met up with Christian at about 2am after leaving, uh, The Box, having heard he set up this Nas afterparty. Without Christian, The Box misses out on these strange impromptu rap-world parties. Still, The Box has been packed two Tuesdays straight. It seems all The Box’s legal troubles—complaining neighbors, community boards, and employees—have led them to kind of re-launch. I saw a bunch of new promoters there, but no “celebrities” and few familiar faces.

Christian’s held two crazy parties this week: On Monday, he hosted a small party at La Esquina attended by both James Nachtwey and Cee Lo. Who else can get a Grammy winning rapper in the same room as the world’s foremost photojournalist—at 230am? 

Nachtwey and Nas? WTF? Only in Christian Alexander’s world…

Anthony Pappalardo’s book, Radio Silence, about the art and aesthetic of American hardcore, is out now. This weekend, he’s hosting two parties in Brooklyn. The flyers (shown above) are by Nathan Nedersteck, the book’s co-author, and look almost as amazing as the book. Go to these events!

I had the bad luck of hearing the new Kings of Leon record last night. Man, what shit. This band is Exhibit A as for why I’m on a guitar boycott. The dude’s voice sounds like the guy from Barenaked Ladies (Chickity China the Chinese chicken/Have a drumstick and your brain stops tickin’ ) doing a bad Skynard impersonation, or Blues Traveler (Suck it in suck it in suck it in, If you’re Rin Tin Tin) meets the Crue circa Dr Feelgood. Yes, that bad…

By Ray LeMoine

We never really liked those banker dudes anyways…

A lot of hype about the market crash’s effects on nightlife have been spewing forth. Mainly, people are saying that without jr i-bankers the bottle service model—where nightclubs only let in those who buy $600 tables—will die, and with it New York nightlife as we know it. A few corny clubs (Myst, Prime—both of which I’ve never even heard of) have announced they’ll no longer require a bottle service for entry.

In order to gauge the effect of the market crash on nightlife, I stopped by The Box, Beatrice, Hotel Delmano, and Apothke over the past few days. Guess who’s gone missing (to some extent)? Dickheads with cop haircuts in suit-vests and ties. And now, guess who’s still out? Yup, hot chicks. From what I saw, The Great Manhunt of 2008 has never been more fierce, and if anything, more girls than ever are on the scene.

So the end of investment banking means more girls for anyone not in banking. It also means a few of the lamer clubs will become more like your Tunnels and Twilos of yesteryear, where all you need to get in is a cover charge. But NY’s economy is diverse enough to sustain a handful of premium clubs—The Boxes, 1Oaks, Marquees, Beatrices, SubMercers.

See, unlike the 30s, when America was a third-rate power, we now have the most diverse economy in world history. After we won the war against Germany and Japan, we wound up with a third of the world’s wealth. With our newfound, unprecedented $$$, we made a deal to rebuilding Europe and Japan. Included in that deal was a clause stating that US culture and product gets unrestricted access to these markets. This gave the US the chance to build a large “creative economy.”

Despite the market crash, NY’s creative class remains in tact. Industries like television and fashion have never had more cash. Even Hollywood is having a decent year, with Batman grossing a billion worldwide. Live music is played in NY more than ever (motherf–king My Bloody Valentine are playing tonight for heck’s sake). Advertising is still based here. The art world hasn’t slowed much (see: Hirst, Damien).

All this makes me believe that New York will survive this “greatest collapse since the Great Depression” without shanty towns on the East River. People are right to be worried about the nationalization of a trillion in Wall St assets, but the IRS, another huge federal agency, runs just fine.

Fear not, party folk. As a bunch of entitled sociopaths (and last week’s short-selling was sociopathy) with Roman numerals at the end of their names downsize, the rest of us can enjoy one aspect our victory against the Nazis wrought: the rise of the American creative class.

By Tommy T

When my girl in the car, gotta cover my seat
Cuz that thang get ta skeetin’ when I cut up my beat

T.I. – Let My Beat Pound (produced by JR Rotem)

You gotta give it up for Tip.  The man has given me so many years of trunk rattlin’ fire, I could never repay my debt to him, even if I paid for his music.  He ain’t got the soul of a Pac or the swag of a Jigga or the dementia of a Weezy, but he knows how to drop a damn banger!  He is the everyman meat-and-three hood kid who makes millions but never loses the realness of Bankhead or Riverdale or wherever he’s from.  He is the best rapper alive and will be until someone else, cough, can learn how to write a song and not just a verse.

By Ray LeMoine

I attended the Prada event last night with my self-proclaimed “wanker flatmate” (he’s a Brit). The semiannual event was held at their Rem Koolhaus-designed Soho store, which is shaped like a half-pipe. It was a great party, packed until the end, and whoever did the lighting is brilliant. Kanye West was talking to every person there. So much for that diva reputation. I heard a guy try to the cut the line at the bar by using this line: “Heather Graham needs vodka.” The bartender just stared at him. Pretty sure I spotted Perry Farrell there with a Sunset Strip-ish blonde.