Archived entries for

Focus Group

This was a nice surprise to wake up to today. I’m equally thrilled to be sandwiched between both books. Listing courtesy of Bookforum.

So Twentieth Century

Rome’s old Jewish ghetto is full of arresting political and religious posters and flyers.

World War II is everywhere, or so it seems. Famagosta tube station, Milan, mid-February.

Out For Lunch

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you will have noticed that a number of posts disappeared over the last few days. We’re having some kind of crisis with the database. The assumption is that it occurred as a result of changing hosts last week, from our longtime provider to a newer and better service. Hopefully we’ll be able to recover what’s been lost, and get everything back on track soon.

I’m surprised that after two years of intense use, this blog had not suffered from any hiccups. Here’s to WordPress, and our amazing webdev, Mike Lee, who takes care of Jennifer’s website as well. It’s probably for the best that I take a little downtime anyway, even if its just for a few days. There’s an unbelievable amount of stuff going on right now. The last place I should be is online.

In the interim, check out this amazing mural, which I encountered painted on the wall of a squat in Navigli, not long after McDonalds announced its new ‘Italian’ recipe, the McItaly burger. Apparently it’s a big hit, with over a hundred thousand sold each day. The Guardian’s Matthew Fort disagreed, and had a particularly good time dissing the dish last month. I’d wager he’d appreciate this satire, too.

Wild in the Streets

For the last fortnight, I’ve run into this truck on my morning dog walks. Pixel and Raster always stare up at the collection of  animals quietly, looking a little perplexed.  The driver, a fifty something Arab-looking guy, smiles.

Yesterday, Pixel broke form, and barked repeatedly at the big white tiger. I was unsure as to whether it was because he was the closest to the sidewalk, or because it looked familiar, but didn’t smell particularly alive.

Theory of Labor

If it were up to me, I’d write in the morning, edit in the afternoon, and make music after dinner. In reality, I’m lucky if I get to do anything besides edit. Still in the throes of recovering from a simultaneous magazine and book launch last October, (followed by a US book tour in November), I’m anxious to get creative again.

Since I returned to Milan, I’ve been consumed with editing Zeek, and troubleshooting the inevitable problems one encounters with a brand new site. Starting out each morning writing short posts for the magazine’s Facebook group and Tweeting related copy, I publish an article each weekday, while Jo Ellen handles the columnists.

It’s a decidedly different experience than when I worked as the editor at Allvoices, writing and editing between five and six pieces a day. But, once I found the stories that needed covering, I had no problem losing myself in my flow of responsibilities. Today, I can expend just as much time doing half that, without blinking an eye.

I have three partially completed book outlines to finish, which I began last year, that I plan on returning to. I’ve also started working on several audio projects, including a set of remixes of American belly dance recordings from the 1950s, together with an essay about the records I’m using, that I am anxious to complete.

First things first, though. As soon as I’ve resumed writing my weekly column, in all likelihood, I’ll feel like I’m on top of everything else.

Going Underground

The coffee is okay. Perhaps a little too nutty for my taste. It’s probably one of the same discount brands on offer in the deli. However, the piadina sandwiches are pretty good, during the winter it’s always warm inside, and there’s a newsstand with an excellent selection of international newspapers less than twenty feet away.

Located in the tube station underneath our building, I increasingly find myself eschewing above-ground establishments in Piazzale Loreto in favor of this cafe’s womb-like environs. Despite the fact that it’s always busy, there’s something calming about the cheap cappuccinos and availability of familiar news periodicals.

Like the majority of the cafes in our neighborhood, it is also full of foreigners. Eavesdrop on any of the conversations taking place and one will hear everything from Albanian and Arabic to Portugese and Tagalog. If I have any difficulty ordering, there’s oftentimes one or two Peruvians on staff whom I can speak to in Spanish.

If you were to ask me for an example of present day Milan, I’d be hard-pressed to offer something more au courant. No, its not Peck, or one of the hip cafes in Isola or Brera, where the coffee is indeed superior. It’s the fact that this place is both so totally comfortable and contrary, simultaneously, to Italy, as we imagined it to be.

It’s Snowing Inside

It was so cold inside our apartment today, Jennifer covered our oldest dog, Raster, with a fleece blanket. Already wearing a sweater, the arthritis-ridden six-year-old Schnauzer is so easily impacted by the cold that his first impulse, whenever we take him outside, is to freeze. In his tracks, that is.

It has been a cold winter in Milan, the likes of which I haven’t experienced in years. Though Europe as a whole has been experiencing record low temperatures, we’ve been unfortunate enough to have our building’s heat switched off a total of fourteen days in the last twelve weeks.

Unbelievable, isn’t it? There is something distinctly cruel about it. However, the owners of the roof, who decided to build an entire new floor above us (we live on the top floor) say that there’s no way around it. What’s worse is that they have no inclination to warn anyone. We find out when we get cold.

The heat was turned off last Friday. Eager to warm myself up, I decided to take a walk, and shoot some pictures of falling snow. One block way. I found the dog above, relieving himself in front of these election posters, urging Milanese to vote for the Lega Nord, Italy’s leading anti-immigrant party.

The Money Channel

Self-explanatory. Watching TV in Rome, January 31st.


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