Did you find artwork?

released jan 22, 2013

released jan 22, 2013

We’ve been leaving art around the city. One of our new projects. “Have a nice day.”

You might find art in the grocery market, on a subway seat, in a bathroom stall. If you do, take it home. It’s yours, keep it give it away. Have a nice day.

Let us know where you found it!  If you are on instagram or twitter hashtag a photo of your treasure #ifoundaniceday

industrial noise

here’s a series i’ve been working on focused on urban landscapes. all the pictures are taken and edited with an iphone 4s. for this series i wanted to see if it was possible to take something interesting while moving through the urban landscape. so these photos are taken on the run. most through car or train windows. we spend so much time in motion here. rushing from place to place. looking out the window i see some beautiful things.

Review: The Raid

Garth Evans, Welsh born director of the new Indonesian action/ martial arts film The Raid, knows how to stage some great action.  His first work, Merantau, was very watchable and it seemed as if Iko Uwais (his star, master of Silat) was on his way to becoming the next Tony Jaa.  Unfortunately, the hype about The Raid is as excessive as his use of elbowing people in the back while they try for a take down.  It’s pretty cool, but we can’t figure out what exactly makes it so noteworthy.

At first the film builds a decent amount of tension and the timing is spot on, making the viewer cringe with the feeling of anticipation Tarantino gave us in Inglorious Bastards.  There’s some decent gun-fu, improvised explosions, and a few crazy kills.  These shots place The Raid in the “must check out on Netflix” category, but not quite in the “get the gang together and lets meet at the theater” category.

Some of the typical flaws you might find in any fight flick are here and are a bit distracting:  Why isn’t he picking up any of the weapons all over the floor?  Why is that other guy waiting to attack in the one vs many fights?  The scoring is also terrible, spoiling the flow of the action and peaking before the final blow is dealt. It’s as if the composer really hated the idea of his audience being surprised at all.

At one point we were able to predict what moves we’re coming next, as if Evans (or Uwais and his team) ran out of techniques and tried re-remixing their own work within a single film.  Elbow to the knee, whirl around and knee to the head… Uwais does a fair job and moves really well, but quickly you can tell he is more fighter than stuntman.  This limits the entertainment value of what is essentially an hour long fight scene with a brief setup attached to it.

Our other complaint is that the women in this film (of which there are nearly zero) are depicted as weak and sick.  Evans should take some cues from the Chinese and Thai martial arts film scenes (and the US in some cases) and grow up a bit when it comes to depicting female characters.  We would much rather see women getting in on the killing action than lying in bed, weak, pregnant, or addicted to drugs.

With Trent Reznor tweeting about it and all of the cool kids lining up to see it, we had hoped for more from The Raid.  Action fanboys and MMA kids will love it.  Those who prefer their violence served up with substance can pass.  For long time genre fans, here’s hoping TYG2 (which has Jija Yanin and Tony Jaa) is as good as it should be.

The Last Great Kung Fu Gym

New York, like Baguazhang, never stops changing. Every new citizen’s history is painted over the last. Recently the brush came down on another amazing space: the original home of the Wu Tang Physical Culture Association.

Sitting or training in the Gym, it was impossible to see all of it, even if it was only a room or two. The place read like a history book, from the old gang symbols carved into the window ledges, to the seemingly endless layers of posters, flyers, awards, photos, drawings, book covers, and who-knows-what, coating the place like wallpaper.

There’s so much to miss about the Gym: catching the foam football with a key in it tossed down from the window. The creak of the floor. The smell of a New York that hadn’t yet been completely eviscerated of crime and grime.

For many years the residents of 7 1/2 second ave were able to fend off developers, but inevitably the money won. As this blog is being written it’s a hole in the ground. Gone, brick and mortar to be replaced with glass and the crap that looks like sterility and is eco-friendly. Yeah, it’s the same block as Mars Bar.

Right before the gym closed Mathew Zucker brought his cameras to the space, captured stills and video of the Gym including it’s primary occupant, the great Kung Fu master Frank Allen.

There’s a photo gallery below of his fantastic shots. Everything from the yin-yang painted floor, to pics of Frank’s mentor and friend, Verne “Bulldog” Williams (remember the guy that barked and busted a table in half with his head in The Last Dragon…. that was Verne).

You can see our interview with Frank, hacked down from three hours to about 20 min, on our YouTube channel. You can also click on it below and watch it in the comfort of our blog.

He’ll tell you the legends of Irish Jimmy O’Mara (boxer and Taiji teacher), Dangerous Doug (master grappler and musician), Jan Stacy (author, artists, founder of youth drug rehab center Encounter), and a pack of other characters.  Anyone interested in martial arts theory should hear his explanation of internal vs external (and hard vs soft) practices.  We’ve stolen from that lecture countless times.

Artist Auxiliary won’t ever forget the last great Kung Fu gym, home to a generation of artists, martial artists, and a unique breed of New Yorkers.

Frank Allen continues to teach Baguazhang, XingYiQuan, and Taijiquan at his new space in Chinatown at 217 Centre Street, Manhattan.