Jim Joe. Jim Joe!

When I visited in May in the run up to moving here, I spotted this tag on a garbage can in Greenpoint.

Womp Womp!

Since then, I’ve seen Jim Joe’s handiwork everywhere, and I’ve tried to capture it every time I can.

So, who is Jim Joe, you ask?

According to this link at Subway Art Blog, he’s

“…a graffiti artist, currently hyperactive in New York City. He has made quite a name for himself with his simple, sometimes humorous writings, especially in the Lower East Side and East Village, where his tag is ubiquitous. He first caught the attention of Subway Art Blog in February for hitting up the Essex Street station on the J train.”

Fascinating. He’s got a website here, and is also on Twitter. The Subway Art Blog link above has the most comprehensive info I’ve seen so far.

You can see my photos by clicking on the Flickr badge above or here if you’re lazy.

I’ll be posting more as I see them. But if you spot any, please feel free to send along at staff@obviatemedia.net!

Teenage Dream

It felt I had come so far to be right back home again.

So much has been said about Weezer – the limitless promise of their first two albums, the glacially slow fall that came with everything after. Still, there’s something perfect about those first two albums – how effortlessly they tap into something adolescent and pure. Also, there’s those relatable themes of being pissed off at half-Japanese girls and falling in love with lesbians, right?

Despite their countless missteps and pretty much all of “Make Believe,” Weezer knows that too. Nothing quite matches up to their first two albums. With a lead single from their latest mediocre album titled “Memories,” there was no better time to revisit their classics.

Weezer at Roseland Ballroom, New York City, New York
Saturday, December 18, 2010

Watching “Pinkerton” unfold in front of me last night – every bit of tortured “Tired Of Sex” feedback to the final, gentle strums of “Butterfly” brought me eight years and seven hundred and fifty miles from where I was. Instead of being twenty-five and in Manhattan’s Theatre District, I was back in my room in West Dundee, wide eyed and unable to understand girls. Okay, so maybe not a whole lot has changed.

Obviously, there was a strong sense of nostalgia to the show, which was enforced by an incredible one-two-three punch of “You Gave Your Love To Me Softly,” “Suzanne,” and “Jamie”. I can’t help but think that it was a not-so-subtle wink at their long-suffering fans. Beyond all of this, I was more impressed by the audience that the show brought out – folks who probably attended Weezer shows when the album first came out, folks like myself who lived through their tortured middle period, and a staggering number of teenagers who were toddlers when the first two albums came out. I mentioned to one young guy that I had first seen them in 2002 when they were touring behind “Maladroit,” and he responded with “I wish I could have seen them then, but I was like, twelve.”

“Memories,” indeed.

New York Groove

Illustration by Ashley Elander

It’s been two weeks since I moved to New York City, and taking the time to write this feels like the first stretch that I’ve been able to focus on one thing in quite some time.

In short, it’s been a rush, but completely magnificent.

Really, this is a hell of a place. I understand I’m still wide-eyed with the newness and excitement of being in a different place, but I think that’s something that even the most hardened New Yorker doesn’t actually forget. This place feels endless. It’s like a theme park with all these different rides, and even if you have been on them a million times already, they never get old.

Most people from back home approach me here with a bit of tenuousness about my experiences here thus far – and that’s understandable, because I have a less than stellar track record when throwing myself into a new situation. This time, though, I’m not writing to detail my feelings of nervousness or anxiety, mainly, because they have been minimal. Since I got situated here, I’ve really felt one thing.


Besides the initial first-day “WHAT DID I JUST DO?” after I moved in to my apartment, it’s been really fun. In my free time, I’m constantly moving about Manhattan and Brooklyn, learning the subway lines (and all of the transfer points, natch), stopping at bodega after bodega for water (the heat wave here has been totally insane – moving day, it was over 100 degrees out) and any pizza joint that looks remotely decent. I’ve had arepas from an Argentinian restaurant, taken advantage of being geographically close to a Pinkberry, and devoured Tastycakes Kandy Kakes that are available at Duane Reade.

I don’t think I truly understood how much of a cultural melting pot this is. There is really an insane division of people here. Chicago, it’s more or less black and white (literally and figuratively) but here – I don’t think I’ve heard so many different languages in an enclosed space.

There’s something about New York City that separates it from any of the other cities I’ve visited. It feels so huge, so self-contained, like it’s completely independent from America and operates as it’s own country. I don’t know how to explain it other than recommending a visit here. You’ll feel it soon as you hit the ground. It whacked me in the face when I was sitting in one of the pedestrian plazas in Times Square last week. It’s weird to feel so alien and so home in one place.

We’ll see where it goes from here. There’s still a lot of this story that has yet to be written. I’ve found plenty of things to do, may it be shows that pop up, places I want to visit for the first time, or people to see that I’ve met through my various travels over the years. I’m excited for what’s to come and I think that’s the best attitude to have going forward.

Visit Ashley’s site here.