Tag Archives: Brooklyn


4 May


“Now my name is MCA I’ve got a license to kill/ I think you know what time it is it’s time to get ill/ Now what do we have here an outlaw and his beer/ I run this land, you understand I make myself clear”

Today’s passing of Adam Yauch, MCA of the Beastie Boys, was surprising and incredibly saddening.  We don’t have the wisdom or eloquence to give MCA the comprehensive tribute that he deserves, but wish to salute this visionary artist with a few words and some auditory proof of his greatness.

MCA often began his verses on Beastie songs with an introduction – “Now my name is MCA..” – but there was really no need to remind listeners who this masterful MC was.  His voice and worldview were wholly unique and will never be seen again.  Behind crazily diverse beats, MCA unleashed his thoughts upon the world with a swaggering blend of humorous, weird and brilliant lyrics; his phrases will be repeated by music fans forever.

MCA never took his and the Beasties’ success for granted, and he never stopped innovating and growing as an artist throughout his entire career.  Watching MCA’s progression as a performer was a rare chance to see someone embrace their staggering talent and use it to push their beloved art form into the future.  He never stopped trying, never did anything halfway.  The respect and love MCA had for hip-hop and music in general was evident in every one of his performances, and the world has lost a vital artistic force today.

If you happen to go out somewhere tonight, and the music being played is not the product of MCA and the Beastie Boys – just leave.  And find somewhere that is celebrating the legacy of a musical pioneer by cranking up his music as loud as it will go.


Personal Soundtrack

12 Mar

The Song

Sinful Nature by Bear In Heaven


Bear In Heaven love their synthesizers.  Nowhere is that more apparent than on their newest single “Sinful Nature,” which begins with a flickering synth line that swoops in and buzzes around like a low-flying ‘copter behind the band for the rest of the song.  “Sinful Nature” has an expansive feel, as the group confidently takes their time and lets the sound breathe around them.  The result is a subtle build of momentum that feels organic, as if the sound is building upon itself naturally until the synthesizers finally take over in a storm of noise.

The overall sound is unique and subtly engrossing.  Bear In Heaven don’t come out and grab you with catchy hooks or high-energy anthems but they nevertheless draw you in and demand repeated listening.  The  Brooklyn band is riding a lot of buzz into the April release date of their new album, and “Sinful Nature” shows why with it’s assured and excellent weirdness.  Frontman Jon Philpot’s lyrics in “Sinful” offer airy invitations to “get loaded and make some strange things come true.”  The subdued yet hypnotic dance party going on behind him makes it hard to resist.

The Activity

You’re in a strange city and it’s been a long and stressful week.  You don’t really know anyone around here, but the bright lights and pulsing beats of the night offer an opportunity to let loose and get away from the pressure you’ve been dealing with.  The hotel bar looks like a good place to plot your next move, so you head there for the first drink of the night.  As you take a sip, a group of young and sharply dressed foreigners slide on to the bar stools next to you.  You’re feeling particularly outgoing tonight and you strike up a conversation with the friendlier ones of the group.  In heavy accents that sound vaguely Eastern European, they share that they are venturing out for a night of big-city partying and invite you to join them.  You figure why not and follow them to the limo they have waiting outside.

After slipping into a seat between two stoic gentlemen sporting sunglasses, one of them wordlessly offers you a fresh cocktail.  What Is This you yell over the synths clattering from the sound system.  Johan, one of the friendlier ones from before, leans over and explains that it’s a special offering from their home country, and that it’s better than anything you’ve ever had.  But Take It Easy, he cautions before leaning back to enjoy his own drink.  Shrugging, you polish off the drink, which tastes vaguely like vodka, and turn your attention to the beautiful blonde sitting across from you.  The rest of the limo ride passes uneventfully, but as you step out to the first bar, your feet seem to leave the ground.  One of your new stoic friends notices your change in expression and he hands you his sunglasses with an encouraging thumbs up.

You gladly slip on these Party ‘Bans, and the night takes off into a haze of flashing lights and open dance floors.  At one point, you find yourself standing in the open sunroof of the limo – not yelling or waving your arms, just wearing your shades and taking in the night.  You’re not sure how you got there or where the rest of the night will take you, but you’re content just to go with it.

A Season of Predicaments, Cont’d

14 Feb

[Valentine’s Day is the fickle beast of holidays – your feelings towards the fateful day can swing wildly from year to year, and you never know when it will be great, or when it will leave you confused, drunk, and alone.  With all of the fluctuating emotions in the air, it can be tough to be young and (maybe) in love during this time of year.  It’s important to remember that you’re not the only one.

There are plenty of people out there facing predicaments like your own, and we here at Dan Swanky’s have been there ourselves.  We want you to get through this holiday without any broken windows or restraining orders, so we’ve studied a few predicaments common to Valentine’s Day and have come up with some insight.  We are not responsible for whatever happens as a result of taking or ignoring our advice.]

4)  Long-lost love

Valentine’s Day brings with it a barrage of love-related multimedia, and that could bring up some memories of lovers past.  Not of all of us can get lucky with our first high-school relationship, and among the wreckage of past flings there’s often The One That Got Away.  If you’re currently single and this holiday has you feeling pangs of nostalgia for someone you never really got over, then you’ve got a choice to make.  You can do nothing and spend the night in a darkened room listening to “Crash” on repeat.  Or you can put it all on the line and give love one more shot.  We recommend going for it, but this is an important person in your life and you don’t want to go after it uncontrolled and unprepared.

Make sure you think about what kind of gesture will make the best impression on your old lovah – you used to be very close, so you should know what will work best.  Are they they laid-back scholarly type, who would appreciate a heartfelt and handwritten series of love haikus?  Or are they the hopeless romantic type, who would melt if you showed up outside their window with a Bose stero held aloft over your head, belting out the song you first danced to?  There are high stakes involved when you’re pursuing the potential love of your life, so be prepared.

DON’T:  overplay your hand when reaching out to a past flame.  Sure, you want to let them know how you feel, and show that your emotions are true.  But if you come on too strong, you could start to appear needy, and that won’t help your cause at all.  It is certainly tempting to emulate iconic scenes from romantic movies, but know the difference between what’s okay in real-life and what’s only okay with movie magic.  Don’t start to think that you’re Ryan Gosling, and can get away with pulling cute Gosling stunts.

DO:  have confidence in yourself.  We’re assuming that this long-lost love was a reciprocal one, so you know that once upon a time this person had strong feelings for you as well.  You should remember what worked for you back then, which was most likely just being yourself.  Take a look in the mirror, give that megawatt smile, and go get your groove back.

5)  On-again/off-again

While many people may have a long-lost love in their past, just as many have a messy relationship with an ex that never seems to truly disappear.  There can be long stretches where you don’t even think about this person, but then sure enough, after a long night of mojitos and Amstel, there they happen to be at the other end of the bar.  One thing leads to another, and you fall back in to an intense two-week fling that inevitably ends with shouting and an inner voice telling you, “I Told You So.”

While the healthiness of this kind of relationship is highly questionable, it’s  nevertheless a part of growing up, and you should be prepared for what happens if the Ex pops up for this year’s Big Day.  It’s not uncommon for several bottles of wine to be consumed on Valentine’s Day, and your impaired judgment paired with the pervasive theme of love in the air can lead to a few impulsive texts or calls.  The whirlwind of destructive past love can lay waste to your current romantic situations, so some self-control may be in order.  Or, you can just be at a point where questionable decisions are the name of the game, and if that’s the case, then carry on.

DON’T:  make any contact with your Ex if you have a current relationship or person that you’re interested in.  You could be telling yourself, It’s Okay, It’s Just a Polite Happy Valentine’s Day, How’s It Going message, but we all know what that can lead to.  Don’t play with fire, because you will get burned.  It may be an enjoyable burn at first, but sooner or later, things get out of control.

DO:  decide where you’re at with this Ex relationship going in to the holiday.  Be honest with yourself, and then you can know the right choice of action to take.  You could do a preemptive strike and delete certain numbers from your phone, or avoid specific bars in your area.  Or you could buy a couple bottles of Cab, clear your schedule for the next two weeks, and do what you need to do.

6)  Love in the digital age

[We didn’t have any first-person experience with online dating, but we had a hunch and checked with our resident Steed to see if he had anything to offer.  Turns out he’s been kicked off more sites than we even knew existed, so we asked for a few words of wisdom.]

“I started out in the dating game by focusing on meeting ladies in bars, as I figured everyone was going in to those with the same mindset.  That worked for a bit, but it was eventually turning into too much of a crapshoot the next morning, and the long-term faithfulness left a lot to be desired.  I then moved on to spin class, which petered out pretty quickly, and at that point I decided to throw my hat in the online ring.  There have been quite a few twists and turns since then, and I’ve learned a thing or two.  The first site I dipped in on was J-Date, because a buddy of mine kept insisting that Jewish girls were unselfish lovers.  I still can’t verify if that’s a general rule, because I only got through a few dates before I went on an outing that ended in a broken menorah and a prompt booting from the site.  I never got my “Social Network” DVD back either.

After that incident, I moved on to the basic sites, your eHarmonys and PlentyOfFishes, and have been keeping a profile on those for most of the past year (check me out at LoveLeeFellow88, ladies) without too many issues.  I’ve definitely developed a few hard-earned principles to follow that are good for staying safe and clean out there.

DON’T:  let a pair of vivid green eyes and a low-cut dress put your common sense on the back-burner.  For one of my first online dates on [redacted], I was having a grand old time with ‘Ella,’ a firecracker blonde who spent all of dinner ordering me dirty martinis and squeezing my thighs under the table.  In an olive- and love-fueled haze, I took a cab back to her place, where I was promptly offered more drinks and asked how I felt about handcuffs.  Six hours later, I came to with a splitting headache, no pants, and both hands cuffed to a hot dog stand in Brooklyn.  She actually emailed me back a few days afterwards and was somewhat pleasant when asking where I wanted my license dropped off, but I had learned my lesson.  Keep your wits about you with strangers.

Also, don’t go on sites like ChristianMingle.com or similar, unless you are actually looking for their kind of relationship.  I went on there thinking I could find some straight-laced ladies who would actually turn out to be freaks behind closed doors, but all I was left with after a few dates was a lingering sense of guilt and a large bill for khakis and promise rings.

DO:  be honest with your dating profile, and in what you’re looking for in potential dates – to a point.  When I first started on the mainstream sites, I was pretty honest with my history, and even went into the whole Denzel incident.  I was also upfront that I was looking for a ‘hard 10’ who ‘would be totally fine staying in for a weekly Schlitz and “Road House” night.’ I was batting .000 with total honesty for a while, so I asked my sister to help me soften some edges and ever since then, it’s been a high-traffic area.  There are definitely a lot more misses than hits with the actual dates, but I’m just glad to be Livin’ and learning.”