Little Annie Bandez spreads the word about her top websites. Annie is in The Wire 349 featured in an Invisible Jukebox, tested by Dave Mandl.
Graffiti and tagging are so much a part of the landscape that I don't think about it anymore than I do trees, for example: I am glad they are there, unique and beautiful. Christian Acker's Handselecta delves into not just the various styles and lines of graffiti, but opens up the honeycomb of their origins, migrations and language. Like all good living history it is full of the unexpected, and like all good art, doesn't happen within a vacuum. Instead, it is enriched by all that surrounds it. Really, all art is tagging, it's proof that one was there.
I don' t know if they still release them but when I was a kid, Ripley's Believe It Or Not would put out an annual anthology cataloguing all things strange and awesome, eg: a cemetery in some tiny Eastern European village where all the headstones were written backwards, or an 80 pound potato shaped like Abraham Lincoln's profile grown in Bora Bora. Each piece ended with the tagline scrawled in a bold font "BELIEVE IT OR NOT". Each of these amazing entries would be illustrated with a line drawn artist rendition, lest one needed visual proof. When younger, my sister and I poured over these books, promising to one day see all these wonders with our own eyes. This site is in the same ilk but actually informs one how to find the quirky things that exist, because, well they can. Which to me is not only always magical but life affirming and God pleasing.
I've yet to find the ultimate portal for sacred sites online but this is as good a place as any for a cyber-opium den – for those times one needs to escape into beautiful minute vignettes of places magical and mysterious. It's an easy hop click and a jump to go from Machu Picchu to Cuzco paintings and back via Via Dolorosa and the witchcraft market in La Paz. I worked for quite a few years in an incredibly sad place, NYC's Lower East Side Harm Reduction Center (though sometimes rewarding) and that's when I discovered the healing powers of daydreaming online. It's important to remember the world is often a wonderful place, especially while being stuck somewhere not so wonderful.
Steve Barker's On The Wire (BBC Radio Lancashire). His musical tastes and knowledge is so vast, open eared and comprehensive. I think his criteria as to what he plays is that it must be good. There's nothing obtuse or clever-for-the-sake-of-it. And the man knows his stuff! Like all great teachers he loves the subject and embraces the details, and genius is in the details. He should be made a Sir or a Knight or a Bishop.
International Folk Art
I've not always been a huge fan of museums. Maybe because of the name, it's too close to a mausoleum housing old bones, a feeling which some share. What I love about Santa Fe's Museum of International Folk Art is that it is so alive, ultra-alive... so alive that it would take a month to do it justice, and that's just on a surface. If you get the chance to go there in person it's not to be missed. It's friendly and layed out for your inner kid-in-the-candy-shop. Indeed this website is more of a rabbit hole than a portal. It's an entrance to a whole universe.
Seeking Justice For
A website that I've spent quite a lot of time on this past year – which is four years less than Donovan Drayton, son of legendary guitar genius Ronny Drayton, has spent wrongly incarcerated on Rikers Island in New York despite never being found guilty of any crime. This young man, with grace, dignity and wisdom way beyond his years is the victim a gross miscarriage of justice that has stolen five years of his life (from the age of 19 till 24). It has been hell for his family whose strength and faith is truly awesome and is being drained financially by the enormous legal costs to retain legal council. I've heard of many courtroom antics but the one employed against Donovan are right up there on the morally reprehensible charts. Donovan is about to embark on his second trial. This could be your child, your sibling, your parent, your lover…there are many like Donovan in the world, read this and get outraged and then get involved. And yes I'm on a soapbox, a soapbox I'm honored to share with a whole bunch of amazing people. There's room for everyone, so step up.
It's easy in New York, as with most other cities, to go years without running into people you love dearly, especially when those cites are fast becoming figments of the imagination due to the bulldozer of urban renewal. The business of day to day living with a a career thrown into the mix – even with the best intentions, life in general is the first victim of well... having a life. I believe that the Internet plays a huge part in this malady but it is also a remedy, an avenue in which to keep a connection. This hub is just such a place. In the mid to late 90s the amazing nightlife shook what used to be the old meat packing district (now MEPA oy vey Maria). Chi Chi Valenti and Johnny Dynell Jon by Kitty Boots and Richard Move were behind the Jackie Factory in the mid 90s and out of which sprouted nights and 'events', Jackie 60 and Mother, Click and Drag Messy, Verbal Abuse, a poetry periodical and more. It was eclectic, gorgeous, edgy and FUN – the talent was staggering, Tony Brown, Hattie Hathaway, Paul Alexander, Armen Ra, Amanda Lepore , Jennifer Blowdryer, the late Dean Johnson, Poison Eve, Sweetie, Joey Arias, Justin Bond, Antony, the list is endless – the Motherboard, like Jon Whitney's The Brain, is a way to retain some kind of link to those people I adore and to see their undertakings, even if only through a modem.