the photography, music and ramblings of Matt Lipstein

Apartment Tour

This is a long overdue tour of our new(ish) apartment in Park Slope. Check the slideshow below or click here for the gallery of images.

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Speed Director

Today Amanda, Jeff, Rebecca and myself participated in a game at the Come Out and Play Festival. We joined in on a game called Speed Director. In short the idea for the game is to use NYC as our backdrop to recreate 10 famous movie scenes in still photos. We were given a list of 20, but only had to do 10 and were encouraged to utilize people who were not on our team.

It was a fun and exhausting day - running around, crazy in the heat, trying to find the perfect prop or setting. What a blast!

The photos from all the teams are all being compiled on this website, which will be live after 8pm Sunday. In the meantime, our 10 shots are below - see if you can guess what movies we're trying to recreate! Click on one for a larger image.

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Inspaworld: Welcome to the future

I had this past week off from work. It's been really nice, sleeping in a little bit later, seeing lots of real estate, drinking a ton of coffee and just generally mackin'. Amanda had Tuesday off too, so we decided to take our first trip over to Inspaworld. This is a Korean five-floor spa mecca, which reminded Amanda of similar establishments in merry ol' Japan.

They have very strict rules there, including no photography so you'll have to use these promotional shots from their website and add in some of your own imagination.

First thing you should know, when you get there they give you an electronic bracelet that controls everything, including paying for food & drink through the day (it looks like a swatch watch with no clock on it). You go into the locker room, and use your watch to unlock your shoe bin and then your locker. Then you put on your Man uniform which is blue shorts and a beige shirt - different than the Woman uniform of orange shorts and a red shirt. Once you've suited up you're ready to hit the spa.

This isn't a spa in the traditional new-age, mud bath, eucalyptus smellin', feel goodery sense. THIS IS THE FUTURE! On the first floor you have an option of seven themed sauna huts where you join other guests, mostly Korean, and either lie on the floor or crouch in a ball. I enjoyed the Salt Sauna and LED Light Sauna's most, while the Mrs. liked the Jade and Gold Saunas. Again, everyone is wearing the same uniform so there's this feeling that you're on The Island or something. It's crazy.

As we walked upstairs we noticed that there are leather recliners everywhere where people are enjoying a lil' nap for themselves. This place is relaxation central.

Next floor up are the indoor and heated-outdoor pools. It was just warm enough for us to run outside to the pools, and I'm sure glad we did. If you associate laps, horse-play and Marco Polo with being a pool, you're in for a shock at Inspaworld. There are no fewer than 10 electronically controlled gadget areas all over the pool, most of them relying on some sort of super-sonic jet power. You can lie down in a Dream Chair, in the water mind you, where with a touch of your hands jets blast you in just the right places. They've installed currents in the pool to carry you from section to section (we called this the Lazy River). It's awesome!

After enjoying all that the pools had to offer, we split up and took in the rest of the sights. I did a short workout in their fitness center, while Amanda enjoyed the female only saunas and bathing areas in the women's locker room. We regrouped later, had some delicious Korean food and sushi and called it a day.

Here's the kicker - for access to all of these wonderful delights it costs $30 per person! That's for the use of all the facilities - you only get charged extra for anything you eat or drink, or any massages you want. Amazing and cheap!

If you have the means I highly recommend you get over there - it's a quick drive out of Manhattan, just before the Whitestone Bridge in Queens. In the next few weeks we'll be looking to get a big crew to go - this is one of these special New York City experiences, where you can't quite believe where you are, what's happening, and mostly that you are still in New York City!

Treat yourself to Inspaworld - you'll be glad you did.

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Tomorrow Night: DJ Lippy presents Stupidfresh

Please know I have procured vinyl copies of:
  • "No Diggity" by Blackstreet
  • "Islands in the Stream" by Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton
  • and Aretha Franklin doing a soul rendition of "Bridge Over Troubled Water"

It's all incredibly correct. Hope to see you and yours tomorrow night!

The Final Countdown:
What: DJ Lippy presents Stupidfresh
When: Friday November 16th, 10pm until really late
Where: Last Exit - 136 Atlantic (Clinton/Henry)
Why: Because you need this
$: FREE!

Check below for all the graphical details. Invite any and all, the more the sweatier. Keep Bangin'...

DJ Lippy

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DJ Lippy presents Stupidfresh - November 16th

Oh my goodness. Click on the pic below for the full blown flyer. Go out now and start buying your outfit.

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Daft Punk is playing in your house...

While it was another barn burner of a weekend (I guess I'll sleep when I'm dead), the highlight was most definitely the Saturday night Halloween party. We hightailed it up to Queens for the MSLK costume party.

That trip to get there is always a long one, so we decided to spice it up by traveling in our costumes. Which of course was the French robot DJs from the future, Daft Punk.

It was a blast riding the rails incognito. We also went totally non-verbal as we communicated with each other and other riders through hand signals and body language.

Other highlights of the weekend were: Darren's birthday dinner in Fort Green, dim sum in Chinatown, and catching Morrissey at the Hammerstein!

Check the slideshow below for more Halloween shots, and see you on Wednesday for the parade.

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Open House NY Rundown

It's Wednesday and I think I may still be tired from this past weekend! It was the 5th annual Open House New York festival and we did it up big. As in big-time. OHNY is a yearly event that opens the doors of some 200 sites that are normally closed to New Yorkers. The locations have an Architecture or Design bent to them, and almost all offer something interesting.

We saw 10 sites over two days, and traversed just as many neighborhoods. I won't go into all the details here, I'll let the photo set on this page do the talking. However I will indulge with a few highlights:

• We started the weekend by volunteering at a site. Not only does it feel good to give back for a change, it also feels good to get a pin that lets you cut the line at all the other locations! We were switched at the last minute to the Target Community Garden that just opened in Bed-Stuy (do-or-die, Biggie Smalls baby-baby! Uh.) The neighborhood folk were really excited about this beautiful place taking over what had been a lot "filled with crap" as one local explained to me. Nice.

• The Forbes Galleries were the biggest surprise of the weekend. Housed in the Forbes building just below 14th street, these galleries are the private collection of Malcolm Forbes' childhood relics. I have never seen so many odd things in such numbers! There were easily 5,000 toy soldiers alone, each one more mint than the last. The design of the galleries are as unique as the collection. highly recommended.

• Not a stop you'll find in the Open House event guide, but we couldn't pass up a few sesame pancake sandwiches from the Dumpling House on Eldridge. Perfect when on the go, and quite a bargain at 75 cents each!

• The last stop of the weekend was also the most impressive. We rode the tram to Roosevelt Island (see video below) for a special public art project setup on the normally off-limits south side of the island. Yes, this is the area that houses the small pox hospital that burned down. The exhibit was top-notch and the experience was thrilling.

Don't forget to check the full photo set here!


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East Village Then & Now

The sky got weird on Friday night. It was right before the heavens opened up and started a heavy downpour. They tore down the building on 3rd avenue between 6th and 7th. I was walking on Tara Schevenko Alley opposite McSorleys pub and was afforded an amazing view.

This shot shows a little bit of old EV, new EV and a whole lot of weird sky.

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Design Overload

It's been a huge two weeks for Design in NYC. On Mother's Day weekend there was the BKLYN Design show in DUMBO and last week was both the International Contemporary Furniture Fair and the National Stationary Show at the Javitz Convention Center.

I didn't go to any of these events.

However, I feel like I did because I've been obsessively reading the posts over on Design*Sponge. Grace has been straight killing it with photos galore, and links to designers sites.

So I present to you the best of all the design shows, poached from the Design*Sponge blog! My apologies...
BKLYN Designs

Furniture Fair

Stationary Show

Do yourself a favor and go to Design*Sponge and read the full posts and see what's cooking in design world.

bklyn designs

icff 2007: part one

icff 2007: part two

icff 2007: part three

stationery show 2007: part one

stationery show 2007: part two

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Air / TV on the Radio Review - May 10 Theater at MSG

Amanda & I went to see Air play at the Theater at MSG last week (May 10th) as part of the Highline Festival. A few days earlier, it was announced that TV on the Radio were going to open with an acoustic set. Did someone creep into my brain and ask me what my favorite line up would be? This was pretty close.

The show was great. TV killed it, playing stripped down versions of rocking tunes. To be honest, I'd written them off as of late - so much press as the indie darlings in the last year. I guess I still get that little 18 year old in me who gets all pissed when other people start liking my favorite band (lets call this the Pearl Jam Problem).

Their performance last week brought me back to why I love them in the first place. It's indie rock soul music. Tunde is belting out some deep, and often times dark lyrics up there. He throws his whole boy into it and the band is along for the ride. Testify Tunde!

Here's a clip of the song "Tonight" from the show, that also showcases their use of typewriter in the set.

Air followed with a mellow and sexy set - no shocker there. This was my first Air show, and I never realised that while one of the Frenchies is playing keyboard, the other on the bass guitar. Ripping it no less!

This clip doesn't feature the bass, but it does show a nice version of "Cherry Blossom Girl".

Is anyone else amazed that I can go onto youtube and find someone who filmed lots of songs from this show and now I can blog about here? For me it's a mix of great and gross (also known as a situation of "crap-candy"). I mean, awesome that I can share this, but it does take away from the special memories I have of living through these songs.

Is this my new Pearl Jam problem?

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It's good to know people still do this (directly lifted from the Brooklyn Record):

The Coney Island Polar Bears took their New Year's swim yesterday afternoon in chilly — but not freezing — waters. According to Howard N2GOT, the water temperature was around 48°F. (Still sounds uncomfortably cold to us!) Check our more photos after the jump.


The Best There is: Difara's Pizza

Went earlier this week to the famed Difara's Pizza in Midwood, Brooklyn. Difara's has been named best pizza in NYC by practically anyone worth asking It really is an experience.

Dom Demarco has been working with pizzas since the old country in Italy. He's combines some of those authentic flavors and techniques, not to mention an incredible work ethic , to make signature made to order pies. There are no ingredients pre-chopped. Everything is made right before your eyes.

After rolling out your dough, and dousing it in his magic tin can of extra virgin olive oil, he'll apply the homemade sauce with juicy chunks of tomato. The he'll break apart a piece of mozzarella sparingly over the pie. Then with the application of your selected toppings it goes, via his bare hand, into the oven.

When that baby pops out, he snips some fresh basil directly on it and give it a last sprinkle of Parmesan-Romano cheese. Whomp there it is.

Needless to say this exercise is time consuming - we were there for 2 hours for 2 pies.

We went for two pies: the classic plain for true flavor critique, and a sausage/porcini mushroom combo. Damn. I mean damn. They were both cooked to perfection.

Check the photoset from the night
, and watch this short movie of:

Dom Demarco at work on a Difara's Pizza

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A Moment in Time : 11 Spring

*To see the full set of photos from the 11 Spring event, head over to the photo page*

As mentioned a few days ago right here on this very site, and elsewhere, this last weekend hosted possibly the largest and most diverse showing of Street Art to date.

The abandoned building at 11 Spring Street (on the corner of Elizabeth Street) in Soho has been a touchstone for Street Artists for years. This mega-canvas has hosted work from international street art stars and local graffiti artists alike, with its walls covered in the good, the bad and the ugly .

The mysterious building has been bought recently and the developers will be turning the location into condos - no surprise there. However, the new owners are aware of the buildings artistic significance and wished to celebrate it.

After collaborating with Street Art aficionado group the Wooster Collective, a one weekend only show was conceived, setting up works by artists inside the empty building.

With camera in hand, I went to experience this moment in time.

When I arrived at 11:30 am (the doors opened at 11) the line had already snaked down Elizabeth, clear across Spring, and was about a quarter of the way down the Bowery. I lined up behind a large group of students with a few chaperones. In all, it took about two hours of shuffling along before entering the threshold to the building.

It was nice having that time to appreciate the building and its architecture from the outside - 11 Spring is huge taking up about half of that entire city block. From my starting point there were only traces of Street Art to be seen - a few tags here, some stickers there. But as I worked my way around the building the art started to creep closer. This was due, in part, to the continuing stream of artists who were installing works on the building as we waited.

The air was filled with excitement. I began chatting it up with some of my neighbors and exchanging predictions of what we would see once inside. Crowds were forming in, around and across the street. Before long, I was at the entrance. TV crews and reporters started to show. Free water was being given out. A real sense of community had developed in that short time.

Right before I passed through the entrance, a blind man and his assistant asked if they could come in and see the show. The guard let them through - and I got to catch glimpses of him as he felt his way through the show.

The first floor was overwhelming. The space was raw - wooden boards on the floor, no heat, jacked up lighting to allow some vision. Large panels covered the interior walls with imagery , painting and graffiti. I spied a larger than life version of the Street Art campaigns that cover the Walk/Don't Walk signs with miniature people that light up from the mechanics of the sign (see inset photo). I found long colored rubber bands, strung together sneaking between the floorboards above me (I would find later these extended up the fifth floor where you could still pull on the and feel their elasticity through the building. ) There were also gigantic letters that covered most of the ceiling which read: YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL

There were still a ton of people inside on the ground level, but many were on yet another line to go up to the above floors. The guard only let the same number of people come up that would go down, which maintained a low number of attendees on the higher floors, which was great after being shoulder to shoulder for the past few hours!

As opposed to talking through each floor and the works they contained I'll leave that to the photos. I'd rather concentrate on a feeling.

As I ascended from one floor to the next, taking my time to absorb the works that were covered everywhere (literally everywhere - stuck in the rafters, underneath the staircases, painted on the windows), I was overwhelmed with that feeling. That feeling one gets living in New York City, being a part of something that will only happen once, in this town at that time.

This is an age where there is corporate sponsorship of just about everything you can be a label on, and a city hellbent on squashing creativity in the interest of raw profits. This special "it can only happen in New York" feeling is becoming more and more rare.

On a grander scale, this was a moment for street art - a celebration for a medium that has existed outside of the law, outside of galleries and traditional methods of distribution. This is art for the people.

This is art for you.

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Street Art : For a Limited Time Only

There is only one thing you should do this weekend. This is the most important Street Art exhibition in the world, and it's only happening for the next 3 days. I'm basically freaking out.

The following is from the Nonsense weekly email (where you can get all the good dirt on what to do in NYC). Also check this New York times article (thanks Darren).

Wooster on Spring

Three-day street art mega-installation. The Candle Building on 11
Spring Street in lower Manhattan has been an ever-changing and
evolving canvas for graffiti and street artists from around the world
for decades. The new owners of the building have decided to respect
and celebrate the history of 11 Spring by allowing artists to create
work inside on all five floors, as well as the exterior. They
enlisted the help of Marc and Sara Schiller of Wooster Collective,
who have rounded up artists from around the globe for the event.
Artists have spent the past weeks creating work on all five floors
and the exterior.

The exhibition will take place for three days only after which the
building will be turned into condos. The interior work will be
entombed and the exterior blasted clean.

Also, don't forget that the SoundLab will be placing "Sonic Tags"
inside 11 Spring, so if you are in the area set you from Dec 15-17
set you transmission frequency modulation to 100.1

All weekend long we Soundlab will be broadcasting sounds live at the
event. Don't forget that we need you to help us make up the
soundsystem. Dig out your Boomboxes and handheld transistors; tune
when at the building to 100.1 on the FM dial.

Panel discussion at 3p on Sunday.

11 Spring, Manhattan
11a-5p; $free
Continues SATURDAY and SUNDAY 11a-5p

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Sing your heart out, and help yourself to a sip of courage...

This Saturday, 12/16 I'll be participating in the annual Hinkle Christmas Carroling fest in Brooklyn Heights. I've done it for years, and it really is a wild time. Think holiday spirits mixed with partying. There will be wassail served- so good.

You should come along - Yes, YOU!

Email me for more info.

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Form or Function?

Went last night to a Design Within Reach store to see a few of the short Eames design films. Overall the movies were great - inspirational, beautiful, and just an overall cool asthetic.

The few that stood out were:

Tops (1969, 8 minutes) Tops – many, many tops. In the words of a child who was asked to describe the story of the film: “Tops are born, they live, and then they die.” A gem, with a beautiful Elmer Bernstein score, Tops is the second in the unfinished trilogy of toy films (Shipswould have been next).

Toccata for Toy Trains (1957, 14 minutes) Vintage toy trains journey through a world of toy people, props and scenery–Toccata for Toy Trains gives a feel of immersion into the visually rich painted sets. On another level, it addresses the honest use of materials, a critical theme in the Eameses’ work, demonstrated by the clean lines and forms of the molded plywood furniture. Toccata for Toy Trainswas used to conclude the Norton lectures.

(Abstracts taken directly from the DWR Press Release)

I had some trouble tracking down footage online, but check them out if you can - the film series is travelling all over the country.

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