10 October 2008

The Village Petstore and Charcoal Grill

Banksy's NYC installation:

New Yorkers have welcomed the reclusive graffiti artist Banksy with caution.In his first official exhibition in the city, the Briton has set up a fake pet supply shop, complete with large furry animals, rhesus monkeys and rabbits, in Manhattan.

But the would-be creatures are all fakes created by the artist who aimed to question "our relationship with animals and the ethics and sustainability of factory farming" in his work at The Village Pet Store and Charcoal Grill.

His exhibition, which contains no paintings or graffiti, features a robot monkey wearing headphones and watching television in a cage, a fake-rabbit wearing a pearl necklace, and chicken nuggets with legs, busily dipping themselves in sauce.

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The Village Petstore and Charcoal Grill

08 October 2008

10 things to love about the credit crunch

LONDON (MarketWatch) -- While the global credit crunch is clearly beginning to bite hard, there are some positives to the financial turmoil that it has wrought.

The U.S. election is no longer leading the news.

Whatever your brother-in-law's brilliant financial move was last year probably looks pretty boneheaded now.

Wall Street bigwigs are exposed as blubbering hypocrites in congressional hearings.

You probably didn't do anything as embarrassing as the head of Iceland's central bank, who issued a statement announcing a 4 billion euro loan from Russia when Moscow hadn't actually agreed to it.

The world will no longer have to spend trillions of dollars to cut carbon emissions since the crisis will do more to reduce greenhouse gases than all the government initiatives, wind farms and cap-and-trade schemes combined.

Capitol Hill bigwigs are exposed as blubbering hypocrites in congressional press conferences.

You probably didn't do anything as embarrassing as Germany's KfW Bankengrouppe, which transferred 300 million euros to Lehman Bros. just before the investment bank filed for bankruptcy.

Instead of foreign aid programs or the United Nations, your tax dollars will now go to fund assistance where it's really needed -- Wall Street.

Gasoline's back down to merely extortionate prices from obscenely extortionate prices.

It's as good a distraction as any from the Chicago Cubs' abject playoff failure.

- Tom Bemis, assistant managing editor

06 October 2008

Hippie, Yippie, Yuppie, Hipster! Schlemiel, Schlimazel, Hasenpfeffer Incorporated!

With New York City caught in the vortex of one of the worst financial crisis in history, is the New York of old to be the New York of new?

Jay McInerney looks back at 20 plus years...

I first remember hearing the Y-word in ’83, when I was living in the East Village... I was enjoying a hung-over midday breakfast (we didn’t use the word brunch in the East Village; it was breakfast whenever you woke up)... An ostentatiously besplattered painter was sitting next to me at the counter, and I heard him mutter, “Fucking yuppies.” I looked up to see a young couple I myself would have characterized as “preppy” waiting to be seated. They looked as if they were visiting from the Upper East Side—all chinos and oxford cloth. We were all uniformly nonconformist in our black jeans and our black Ramones and Television T-shirts. As a Williams alum, I knew all about preppies even before they’d gone mainstream with the publication of The Official Preppy Handbook in 1980. My younger brother, a Deerfield senior, was a preppy. Many of my classmates were preppies. But this yuppie thing was new to me.

The term probably first appeared in print in 1983, when columnist Bob Greene wrote a piece about former Yippie leader Jerry Rubin, who was hosting “networking” events at Studio 54. Greene quoted a participant as saying that Rubin had gone from being the leader of the Yippies to the leader of the yuppies. The neologism stood for Young Urban Professionals and might have gone down in history as yups if not for the Rubin connection. The term yuppies suggested a certain evolutionary—or devolutionary—trajectory from the hippie and the Yippie. The story had everything—the double irony of the revolutionary trickster turned entrepreneurial capitalist cheerleader and the setting in the glam palace of mindless hedonism, as well as a zippy catchphrase that actually seemed to describe an instantly recognizable new minority. Once we had a name for them, we suddenly realized that they were everywhere, like the pod people of Invasion of the Body Snatchers—especially here in New York, the urbanest place of all. We might have even recognized them as us.

From the beginning, there was a certain subject/object confusion associated with the yuppie concept, a certain “we have met the enemy and he is us” self-reflexivity to the phenomenon. Downtown mohawked squatters aside, it was sometimes hard to find a Manhattanite without some taint of the new lifestyle. Did gym membership qualify you as a yuppie? Snorting coke? Eating raw fish? When I heard a movie agent slinging the term at a group of bankers at the Odeon, I wondered about pots and kettles.

“Who are all those upwardly mobile folk with designer water, running shoes, pickled parquet floors, and $450,000 condos in semi-slum buildings?” asked Time magazine in its January 9, 1984, issue. “Yuppies,” we were informed, “are dedicated to the twin goals of making piles of money and achieving perfection through physical fitness and therapy.” The Yuppie Handbook, which had just been published, defined its subject: “(hot new name for Young Urban Professional): A person of either sex who meets the following criteria: (1) resides in or near one of the major cities; (2) claims to be between the ages of 25 and 45; (3) lives on aspirations of glory, prestige, recognition, fame, social status, power, money, or any and all combinations of the above; (4) anyone who brunches on the weekends or works out after work.”

Apparently, the creatures anatomized in The Yuppie Handbook were just common enough to elicit recognition, but not so general as to provoke a shrug. The concepts of “brunching” and “working out” were apparently new and humorous. A few of their defining characteristics—dhurrie rugs, potted ferns, pickled parquet floors—sound suitably dated. But many more—European automobiles, gourmet kitchens, computer literacy, designer clothing, and sushi—fail 25 years later to convey the exoticism that the authors seem to have intended. Oh, those wacky yuppies, eating raw fish and going to the gym.

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