SLUG & LETTUCE #32
When I walk down to ABC NO RIO these days I am continuously harassed by people trying to sell me a "body bag." I've had discussions with people about the worsening condition of drug use in New York, in the LES and amongst "the scene," and opinions vary. It is something that has always been there but at times it escalates a bit more, like now, at least it seems to be suddenly in my face. I think it fucking sucks. For the first time ever I now feel sort of nervous as I walk down Rivington Street alone. I never used to be phased by any of it. Likewise no one used to bother me or really talk to me there, anymore than anywhere else. But now, with in the course of one block I have up to 10 different people trying to sell me drugs. "Body Bag," what an ironic name. Heroin. It seems to have gotten all the more popular. I suppose besides a lot of the popularity pushed by various grungy musicians, after a while alcohol no longer works at getting you drunk or 'high,' and apparently heroin is really cheap. What so many people are doing now, is just snorting the shit and thinking it isn't so bad. But it is. It's fucking bullshit. I'm not a "straight edge" type. I like to drink and indulge sometimes, though those times seem to be less and less these days. I get too depressed at what I see around me to bother, cause the point seems to be lost. It's caught up to me. I also come to realize that so much of my life was like one big party, and it got to seem sort of ridiculous. I've always enjoyed drinking but not at the expense of the rest of my life. I schedule a night of drinking in along with all the rest of the tasks I have to do. But I find myself going out less and less. And when I do I just get more and more depressed. But heroin just isn't cool and it's not punk. It's fucking stupid. What can it possibly do for you? It's like putting yourself in a toilet and flushing and it is a growing problem. People within the punk scene are wasting awy. ODing is becoming more and more common, and while it's great that GG did it to himself, I hate to see people that I have known and hung out with for the past several years wasting away. I really think that there is a certain amount of awareness that we can all bring about to realize that there is a point at which indulging and getting high becomes dangerous as well as stupid.
I think it's really sad that there is so little appreciation for the good things that go on here in NY, especially when there seem to be so few. I think it's pretty sad and pathetic that people would rather bitch about what they've got, rather than try to make things more the way they want things to be. There has been continuous feuds, if you will, between ABC NO RIO and just about everyone else. I have argued this one with just about everyone, and the worst part about it, is that I'm usually on the person's side that I argue with, but still I try to get a point across--that ABC is what you make of it. ABC is a collective group of people. It's not one person, it's not one band. We all have say in what goes on, and we all try to make it work, by pitching in and doing whatever we can. We try to be diverse and included as many different things as possible. However, what it comes down to is that there is a core group of people who come down every week regardless of how cool the bands playing are, or of what other things they would rather be doing on that particular day, because ABC is something that means a lot to all of them. And likewise it is those people, who put their time and energy into the place to make it what it is and keep it going, who call the shots when there is a situation which needs to be handled. And it is only fair that those people who put the time into the place are the ones who do that. When the people who are there every weekend up in a situation that they don't like and/or don't want to be in, or when things get handled in a way which they don't agree with, then it is that person's right to speak out and change it. What everyone has to understand is that anyone has the opportunity to come down and help out and work at making ABC what they want it to be. If you don't like the bands that play, then book your own show. But more importantly come to the meetings or the events and help out, and COMMUNICATE with the other people. Get to know them and show that you really care and are interested in what is going on. It's not a matter of ass kissing. It's a matter of dedication. And it doesn't have to be much, but just enough to show that it is something that matters to you. ABC has the potential to be so much, it only requires people to care about making it something and dedicate the time and energy to do this. I won't get into any sort of unity thing, cause it's pointless.
On a more positive not, there have been a few shows at ABC this fall that were really inspiring. First off was the Huasipungo and Los Crudos show. This one blew my mind! Now I have been making a conscious effort to see Huasipungo now for what seems like a year, but thanks to a lot of obscure Tuesday night shows in strange clubs, I never made it. Finally after a tour across the country, both bands ended up at ABC the first weekend of September. There was a great turnout that was quite mixed with people, which is always nice to see. It was one of those shows that had me tingling, cause it seemed to bring everything together. This doesn't seem to happen anymore, but when it does, it's a great feeling, and one which keeps me going for quite awhile. It's like the assembledge of all the ideas and energy which floarts around sort of uncontained all the time only to be pulled together and trapped in this small building for a few hours. When Huasipungo played, I grabbed my camera to go downstairs and take some photos. I had to fight my way to get downstairs and up to the front. I couldn't believe it. By the time I finally got there, and elevated myself and wrapped an arm and a leg around the pole o taht I could brace myself and get some photos, I just looked around in disbelief with my mouth aghast! Wow. I said. Wow!!! I can't even explain the energy that was contained in that basement and the great vibes that floated around. It was truly astonishing, and so meaningful in so many different ways. Oh, I feel the perfect opportunity to reminisce about ABC...but I won't.
On a different and yet similar not, the following weekend was the beer olympics out in Brooklyn. I was pretty siked for this one, even though I barely even knew about it, until the last minute. I went with totally good spirits, ready with my plastic slurpy thing to drink some beer. Everyone seemed to have their hairdo's freshly dyed and spiked up, which I thought was sort of funny, but cool at the same time. I really had a blast and the whole time flew by me way too fast. It seemed that I enver got to talk to half the people I wanted to, and I didn't see a few of the bands that I wanted to see either. The whole thing could have been so much better, after the success of last year, if this one had of been publicized, and more bands would have played, and even come from a far. I figure that, with not a lot of effort it could have been one fucking hell of a punk rock extravaganza. I mean just think, if you had bands from all over come, and people from all over come, as I know they would have. Just think how many people would have loved to plan a little road trip to NY to see 20 odd punk bands play at a thing like that, the possibilities are endless. But the reality was that actually there were veryf ew people there, compared to what it could have been. I think that next year everyone should work at making a big festival out of it, that people can travel from afar too. By the time I was home, I wanted to call Johnny up and say, het let's do this again next week. But of course that couldn't happen. How about again next year? You bet!
So with all my exuberation over punk rock once again, I'm still desperate to get out of the city. Someone so simply wrote to me, "if you hate NY so much, why don't you just leave?" Ah, if only it were so simple. Well I'm getting to the point, where there isn't such an internal conflict anymore inside me. In fact, it has never seemed clearer to me; that it is time to go. Time to move onto an environment where I can once again be productive. I feel like I am stuck in a hole, a rut. I can barely stand to leave my house. I hate going into the city, it depresses me. Everything and everyone seems so desperate. And I just don't want to go and be a part of the rat race dog eat dog struggle you have to be a part of to survive. Oh, well I'm managing, but I am not advancing in any way, and I just don't see a way to. I won't even get into my frustrations with the art world, which I have come to hate, even before graduating from art school. I can't bear to get involved in that. It seems so pointless. Art? What the fuck is it anyway? Hang anything on the wall and it becomes art, so that a bunch of pseudo-intellectuals can analyze it. Stupid, is more like it. I am more interested in social documentary work. But that is pretty hard to break into as well. It doesn't that my self-confidence is lacking immensely. Beat down from the city? For sure.
But my favorite time of year is here--Fall. I absolutely love it! The weather gets comfortable, jeans and sweaters become ordinary once again. The leaves change and fall. Though you wouldn't know it in New York. One day they are there, all green. The next day they are gone. So sad. New Yorkers miss out on the best part of the year. They are totally out of touch with the seasons and with nature. This is what I have to save myself from. I want to be in touch with what is going on. I want to feel the seasons change. And now the clocks have changed, and it's more depressing than ever. It's dark before I even get out of work. Now is the time when I fondly remember those unbearable hot summer days I bitched about relentlessly; when I would come home, relax and then go on long walks in the evening with my dog. But, now, it's dark before I even get home, and it makes it seem like the day is over so much faster and I can't do anything, which is depressing, even if it is all psychological. I think I suffer from that lack of sunlight depression, but then again I think everyone in the city must. Sunlight barely comes through all those high buildings. I was on 42 Street recently, for a job interview and I nearly lost it. It was so dark, because the buildings are so tall and all the people are nuts from it. It's deranged and I was so claustrophobic. I hope that I can avoid ever having to go there again.
I don't know when I'm moving. I'm trying, but it's hard. I think the city will drive me to the extreme that I'll probably end up on a mountain somewhere, where there are no people around for miles.
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