October 17, 2006

Like so many others, for years we've been obsessed a building in our neighborhood which we refer to as "the candle building." If you've put your stuff up in Manhattan, then you are probably familiar with the building, as over the years it's become an outdoor museum for street art with artists from all over the world contributing.

Last Sunday the New York Times ran a piece about 11 Spring Street, and since the building is so easily recognizable, we thought we'd pass it along.


Neighborhood Mystery
Ghosts Amid the Graffiti

THE five-story, 19th-century brick building at the corner of Elizabeth and Spring Streets may be the best-known unknown building in New York. It is not designated as a landmark, it has no official name, and it is referred to only by its address, 11 Spring Street, or simply as “the building in NoLIta with all the graffiti on it.”

Yet 11 Spring Street is known worldwide as a mecca for street artists, some of whom have covered its sooty facade with a pastiche of graffiti and poster art. It is the subject of a poem that the singer Lou Reed recited on an album by a Danish band called Kashmir, and the London-based artist D*Face proposed by writing the words “Eve B, will you marry me?” on one wall.

The building, a boarded-up palazzolike structure, has elegant archways, an intricate stone carving of two horses that repeats along the building’s northern edge, and a garage door that remains ominously shut. It also has many local admirers, who have long speculated about who owns it, what it’s like inside and why, in a neighborhood like NoLIta, where a one-bedroom apartment rents for $3,000 a month, it sits vacant.

“I’ve been obsessed with that building for years,” said Jen Bekman, who owns an art gallery across the street.

Ms. Bekman often compares notes with Lockhart Steele, who runs the real estate Web log Curbed and also counts himself as a fan of the mystery building. “I used to think it was my own private fascination,” Mr. Steele said. “In a decade when real estate in New York has been so ascendant, it’s unique to find this massive building not being put to any particular use.”

Over the years, the building has become the New York equivalent of the spooky suburban home with the chipped paint and weedy lawn. The curtains and lighted candles that for years adorned the upper-story windows only added to the haunted-house aura. Some wonder if the interior is full of bizarre mechanical gadgets, an architectural version of the game Mousetrap. Others say there are no stairs, only ramps. “I heard it was an icehouse, where the mob kept bodies,” Mr. Steele said.

Whatever the truth, 11 Spring Street evolved into an unforgettable local attraction.

“Over time, a lot of international artists would come and put up a piece,” said Marc Schiller, whose Web site, Wooster Collective, documents ephemeral art. “Because it was never cleaned, these posters and stencils would collect. It became an outdoor museum for street art. It became a destination.

“You could meet people from Barcelona to Tokyo to Sao Paulo who know that building,” he went on. “That building, by circumstance, has become a focal point of a movement of public art.”

A few weeks ago, one of the mysteries surrounding the place was solved when Corcoran Real Estate Group, which had been listing the building for sale, noted on its Web site that 11 Spring Street had been sold. It was purchased by a firm called Elias Cummings Development, which plans to transform it into condominiums, with construction to start in a month.

With the sale of the building, its past is poised to become public. And that past is a rich and complex one.

Eleven Spring Street was built in 1888 as a carriage house and horse stable, and for years was equipped with ramps instead of stairs. The owner most strongly associated with the building was a theatrical set designer named John Simpson, who bought it in the 1970’s, lived there alone and tended to the curtains-and-candles display.

According to the photographer Jay Maisel, who lives a block away at 190 Bowery in another graffiti-covered, mystery building, and Edward Asfour, an architect who later worked on 11 Spring, Mr. Simpson was an eccentric man taken with the idea of mechanization. He outfitted his space with all sorts of primitive but ingenious gadgets, creating quarters that called to mind those of a downtown Da Vinci.

When someone entered the bathroom, for example, and turned on the light switch, a window shade dropped and a transistor radio turned on. A push of a button lowered a soap tray; a push of another button dispensed two sheets of toilet paper. At work stations around the building, Mr. Simpson kept a set of drills, so that no matter what floor he was on, he was never without a tool.

ONE day a few years ago, Mr. Maisel saw all of Mr. Simpson’s creations appear on the sidewalk, followed by Mr. Simpson. “I asked him what was going on,” Mr. Maisel recalled, “and he said: ‘I sold the building. I’m walking out with just the clothes on my back.’ ”

According to Mr. Maisel and others, Mr. Simpson is said to be in Italy somewhere; attempts to locate him for this article were unsuccessful.

In 2003, Mr. Simpson sold the building to Lachlan Murdoch, son of the media baron Rupert Murdoch, who planned to transform 11 Spring Street into a spectacular single-family residence, with a lap pool in the basement. Last year, when the son returned to his native Australia, the building again languished.

The new owners are Caroline Cummings, who comes from a family of developers, and Bob Elias, a Palm Beach developer. They plan to convert the building into a three-unit condominium.

One recent afternoon, Ms. Cummings and her project manager, Malcolm Stevenson, offered a tour of the interior, which has been stripped down to the wood studs and, given its equine past, appears pleasantly barnlike.

The developers plan to restore the facade — so sooty that the poem Mr. Reed read was titled “Black Building” — to its former glory. As for the building’s role as a global street art museum, Ms. Cummings, who holds a degree in art history from New York University, is uncertain but said, “We’re sensitive to the street-art issue.”

Ever since the announcement of the sale was posted on the Internet, there has been no shortage of visitors curious about the building’s fate, especially the day Ms. Cummings and Mr. Stevenson conducted an impromptu tour for a reporter.

“What is this building?” demanded Jasna Radonjic, a music publisher who lives nearby. “Tell me. I’ve always wondered.”

Informed that it had been a carriage house and would soon be condominiums, Ms. Radonjic offered a design suggestion. “I hope you keep the candles,” she said.

Posted by marc at 4:37 AM in City Guides |

March 26, 2004

Essential Guide to Manchester, England by United Art City

1. Favorite Location to See Street Art

Stickers are everywhere, but especially concentrated around the northern quarter (an area of streets dominated by independent record shops, skate shops, clothes shops, galleries and bars and cafes etc ) and Oxford Road ( the start of the student area.

Manchester has about 60,000+ students). Graff isn't as immediately obvious, though tags are everywhere around the centre. However if you walk though the underpasses off of Oxford Road to Hulme and/or Bruswick there are plenty of large full colour pieces. Rochdale (a borough to the North of Manchester) has legal walls in all of it's underpasses so you can park you're car and walk through here at any time of the day and find someone painting summat. Aside from that, take some public transport somewhere and you'll see something worth seeing.

2. Favorite Art Gallery

The Richard Goodall Gallery. Photo exhibitions and classic rock posters.

The Whitworth Art Gallery - there are a lot of galleries in town, a lot showing edgier work or more famous work but I love
this gallery. On the edge of student land and primarily free this venue hosts a lot of varied shows...always something to
stimulate the mind as well as to look nice. great building too, with huge windows...if the light is in the right place it is
swamped with sunlight and you could be in California and an episode of Columbo.

3. Favorite Place to Buy Paint and Supplies

There is always a debate about this on UAC, but people from all over the north west seem in general to head for Exit - a
skateshop on Oldham street with graff panels outside. You can mail order Graphotism cheap too.

4. Favorite Local Magazine

Magma sells loads of arts magazines, but a new local one has just popped up called Cake (?2.80) that is reporting exclusively on Manchester arts.

5. Favorite Place to Drink

So many choices that this is totally unrepresentative of everyones' tastes but here are some good bars to drop into if in Mancland; Matt & Phreds Jazz bar is either relaxed as hell or full of great music., Cord, BigHands, and both the KroBars,are all worth checking out for an independent non-chain bar experience. And for a scuzzy punk expereice check Grand Central on Oxford Road. (There is even a real Rovers Return in Salford - home of Coronation Street - if you stroll just a few minutes away from the posh shops on Deansgate. )

6. Favorite Place to Eat

Fuel - vegeatarian coffee shop. The food is really good. They have a vast collection of music that they play on random
rotation ( or so they boast...always sounds like coffee background lite to me...but there you go...better than Kylie ). Great
coffee. Definitely don't feel crushed by the forces of corporate globalism or anything like that in here.

Fuel Cafe Address:
448 Wilmslow Road

7. Favourite Architecture

Piccadilly train station - has been renovated and is like a science fiction film set right in the town centre. Old Victorian
architecture - huge cast iron rich green columns and huge skylighted dark roofs - butt right up to 21st century airport chic.
Also right on the edge of Ancoats so leads away from safe town into real Manchester and lovely delapidated warehouses. Light & dark all at once. Also has the only underground metrolink station which feels all ' proper ' big city transport system.

Urbis is our new urban museum, and our show piece building...for the time being, but more stuff is going up all the time. The ground floor hosts art exhibitions - quite often street art based shows.

Posted by marc at 8:13 AM in City Guides |

March 1, 2004

The Essentials of Washington D.C by Kelly Towles

This city has quite a bit to offer, you just have to get around the conservative part of this city.


The Wall of Fame- 14th and D street NW. Best thing is to take the Metro (subway) to the Smithsonian stop. It is a bitch to find parking in a major tourist area. Now this spot is under the bridge by the water. Classic spot, but.... you need to try to get down there during the day. They just built a new office building next to the tracks, so you may get fucked with by cops- just tell them you're from out of town and you didn't know, but it is still illegal. Trains still roll through there and there are always the homeless elements. Either way, keep one eye open. You may still see some old Felon joints, Demon202 and some other names.


As I know it, we don't have a graff store in town so here are the next best things. Homedepot- 901 Rhode Island Ave NE (202)526-8760 The Art Store- 3019 M street NW. (202)342-7030. They have Krylon- but not alot, they have a load of other useful things. AC Moore- Crossroads Center 5800 Crossroads Ctr Way Falls Church, VA (703)578-1401. You need a car for this one, but they have paint.

Food and booze

The Black Cat- 14th street NW, between S st and T st. Ust/Cardozo stop Classic indie/punkrocker bar. Stiff drinks, good
music, pool table, and they have a cafe that serves a wide selection of food (alot of vegetarian stuff). I go during the week, not so crowded.

The Big Hunt-1345 Connecticut Avenue NW. Dupont stop. drinks food and pool table. It can be a mixture of messengers and business type, but not bad.

Bens Chili Bowl- 1213 U St. NW U st stop. A classic food joint, great vegetarian chili. You may see some Black Panthers Chillin there- it has been a classic spot for them to meet.

Now if you party in Adams Morgan (too many bars to list-but a good place for a Thursday night- maybe Heaven and Hell bar or the Pharmacy) there is always a big slice at pizza mart for the quickie or sit down and sober up at El Tamarindo- down towards Florida ave. I would say cab it, the subway isn't to close if your drinkin.

For the eyes

Signal 66 - 926 N Street, REAR, NW in Blagden Alley. One of my favorites. Near the new convention center. A little sketchy, but worth an opening night. Giant warehouse spot.

Transformer Gallery - 1404 P Street NW, Dupont stop or Ust. Small, but usually has a good show. There is also a nice wall near there.

Moca DC - 1054 31st NW. Foggy bottom stop. Always supports graff artists.

enjoy your stay and come again, ohh please don't feed the politicians.

Posted by marc at 7:50 AM in City Guides |

January 31, 2004

Essential Guide to Vilnius City (Lithuania) by Meq from Icu Productions

what you should do first, is buy "vilnius in my pocket" just to find everything easier ...

1. graff supplies. "nasa skateshop" is in the city center and it's the only real skate/graff/hiphop shop in Vilnius. you can find paint, magazines, markers, caps there ... it's in the yard of gedimino ave.39 (main avenue of vilnius)

2. place to see art. Contemporary Arts Center (vokieciu str.) for sure. there are some dope exhibitions of the modern art. you should check that for sure! it's near the city hall, so it shouldn't be hard to find it.

3. places to eat. there are few great places to eat here. my fav. is "mano kavine" (in english it would sound "my cafe"). it's also in the oldtown of vilnius, boksto str. ... it's kinnda hard to find it, but it's worth i ! "cafe de paris" (didzioji str. 1) is also one dope cafe. you can hear some djs play there from wednesday to saturday nights ... good atmosphere, good people...

4. places to party. first if you want to find a good party, go to www.ore.lt/kal.php and check for all good lithuanian parties list and then choose one or go to one of the clubs here in vilnius. there are only few good clubs here, it's "gravity" (jasinskio str.) and "intro" (maironio str.). both sometimes makes real shitty parties, so you better check what music will they be playing that evening.

5. place to stay. youth hostel in filaretu str. VERY cheap. you have to live with more people in one room, but it's the way to hook up with some dope people, it's interesting.

6. places to make art. the whole city. but watch out for cops, they will fine you hard if you're doing graff, but they'll only tell you to remove your pasted poster or sticker. in lithuania there is almost no street-art so they don't fine you for few posters or stickers.

7. places you must check out. of course the whole old-town, it's very pretty place, very good for street-art, good for partying and just for a walk to see what lithuanian people are like.

cheers ! Meq from Icu Productions

Posted by marc at 11:23 AM in City Guides |

January 29, 2004

Portland Oregon Guide by Hason

Raw and elegant, white-trash and sophisticated, Portland is the artsy sustainable nirvana you never knew existed. Originally the spot lumberjacks would come to party in, now it's like some little European city-state, with lots of gardens and parks, bio-regional fast food outlets that carry rice milk. Everyone's making rad art, often in multiple disciplines. And they're MAKING the art, not just talking about it. Though the cops are harsh on street art, stencils, culture-jamming billboards and tons of stickers are all around. But there's no jobs and it rains all the time, so don't move here. Just come visit and spend all your money.

Stumptown Coffee
SW 3rd + Ash
SE 34th + Belmont
SE 45th + Division
Best coffee shops in town. And people REALLY care about coffee here, because of the constant rain.

Just Be Toys/Compound Gallery
107 NW 5th
Downstairs it's full of up-to-the-minute Japanese toys, video rentals, candy and magazines. Upstairs at Compound the art gallery hosts national up and comers, with a select array of books, prints, and arty items.

Reading Frenzy
921 SW Oak
Amazing zine shop on downtowns' "indie alley", all the other spots on this block are worth a visit too.

Fabric Depot
SE122nd + Stark
Two fucking acres of fabrics, notions, + craft supplies, every time I go it's either 30 or 40 % off everything. Dangerous territory. Luckily it's on the outskirts of town.

I've Been Framed
SE 50th + Foster
The only cheap art supply store I've ever seen, with lots of random closeout materials. No good for expensive fancy brushes, perfect for treasure troves of paper.

SE 34th + Belmont
This clothing store nutures the burgeoning local fashion explosion, and gives help + props to local artists and musicians. Chock full of reworked vintage materials and stellar originals. There are lots of stores like this (and Seaplane has 40 local designers, it's almost scary how creative and crafty people are in this town) but this one is the original, and continues to set the bar.

SE 10th + Morrison
Big, elegant club dedicated to electronic and experimental music. Sweet dance parties on the weekends. Lots of special events and film showings happen here, too. Low cover except for big national acts (even then it's still only $10) and it's a good spot for late-night debauchery.

1909 NE MLK Blvd
The black hole to Holocene's full moon, this club is tiny and way undercover. The old owner once yelled at me, "we're for lovers, not for haters! If you won't dance, then you can just get out!" Mike Ladd likened it to the
cantina in Star Wars. No sign outside, no cover, free bands and Djs every night.

Strip Clubs of Portland
(all over)
Honestly, here are about 150 of them, so everyone has a particular favorite. Somehow the strip clubs are more wholesome and nonchalant here, though they do get totally naked. Sassy's across from Holocene on Morrison is pretty good.

Independent Record Stores of Portland
(all over)
You can get any record you want in Portland. This town is full of music geeks, and bands, and kids who love the vinyl. Find an Ozone or a Jackpot and get the map they carry of the 20 or so killer indie shops in town. Drive or bike around. Go nuts.

Photography by S. Hason

Posted by marc at 6:57 AM in City Guides |

January 28, 2004

Essential Guide to Cape Town, South Africa by Carl Newby of CircusNinja. Laboratories

Cape Town is an amazing city; we've got some of the most picturesque scapes with white sand beaches, mountains and wine farms all easily accessible. You can pick up a number of city guides at the many backpackers scattered around town, but what you'll struggle to find is what I'm going to try tell you a bit about...

The town area is not very big and if you looking for something to do at night go down to Long Street where most of the things happen... Bars like Jo'burg and Marvel are always busy and you're bound to meet some interesting people. Camps Bay is the prissy capital and if you want to get sundowners and feel part of some stupid movie then head on down to Victoria Street.

If you want to get your stuff seen from a street art perspective the most effective way is to stick up in Long Street, watch out for the cctv cameras on every corner. Other "hotspots" include De Waal Park on Camp Street, and Kloof Street. But the city as a whole is well travelled and quick to walk through... Stick artists getting up include Theory, Toe and PotFiction. Street-art clothing label CircusNinja. Laboratories is also well spread.

If you want to buy paint LT Discount paints in lower main road, Woodstock is a good place; otherwise Baseline Studios on Long Street [next to Mr. Pickwicks] often has a bit of stock. The local paints available are Duco, Spray-On, Spectra and Aerolak which are all of a below par standard [compared to paints like Rustoleum, Molotov, the Montana's and Krylon] Spray-On and Duco are probably your best bets. Paint is also pretty available from most hardware stores and supermarkets. There is not real availability of international paint but if you meet other artists ask around as there is a bit of circulation. Local paints are all male cans and therefore use female caps. You can buy most stencil cutting equipment, including triplex board at graphics shops like The Deckled Edge. Print stickers at Wizards and Silver Banana, or ask around...

If you get hungry while in Cape Town eat at Mr. Pickwicks and Royale, pickwicks is world renowned for their super good milkshakes and Royale Eatery has a good variety menu at decent prices, otherwise Fontana's Roastery has some good cheap chicken deals.

Don't hesitate to get hold of me if you want to know anything more about Cape Town or if you're coming for a visit.

I don't endorse any of the companies mentioned in this guide and are using their names purely as an indicator to help foreign travellers.


Posted by marc at 9:37 AM in City Guides |

January 27, 2004

NYC favorites by kgbe ROTGUT

Not being a native New Yorker, I am certainly not the most qualified tour guide but I have spent a fair amount of time exploring the city on a limited budget so here are some of my favorite places and things to do.

1. Drinking Part 1

Since Mayor Bloomberg instituted the smoking ban on all restaurants and bars it has forced smokers like me to find alternative ways to drink and smoke simultaneously. My solution is to return to the old standby, drinking on the street. But rather then sit in front of a bodega like the old Puerto-Rican guys, I suggest you walk around and explore while getting soused. One route I recommend is for you to buy some beers on Delancey, walk over the Williamsburg Bridge and then north along the Brooklyn waterfront till you get to those big expensive lofts. Then you wait outside the doors till a resident comes in or out and without looking suspicious go on up to the roof. There you will have a great view of the city and you can shed your brown bags and get drunk and have a good time.

2. Drinking Part 2

If you have no interest in getting ticketed for drinking on the street or its February and its freezing, there are countless bars you can go to but I think its better to go to art openings instead. There's almost always free beer and wine and sometimes cheese and grapes and the like. It's best if its set up so you can serve yourself but usually you have to wait in a long line, especially at popular shows. Resourceful people use gallery shows to "network" and "make connections."

3. Eating

Like most major cosmopolitan cities, New York City has a plethora of culinary options from all sorts of diverse cultures. But if your in the mood for cheap fast food I recommend just going to the Dumpling House at 118A Eldridge and get those 5 for 1 dollar dumplings. They are rather good in the hot sauce and they are ridiculously cheap. If you have lots of money and are not a vegetarian I recommend going to Peter Luger at 178 Broadway in Brooklyn. My girlfriend got a Christmas bonus one year and took me out to eat there. It was very very good. I recommend the steak.

4. Sightseeing

Too many visitors to New York restrict their visit to the island of Manhattan only. I advise you to go explore the outer boroughs. The website, www.forgotten-ny.com really delves in to a lot of the physical characteristics and history which make the outer boroughs so interesting to me. I don't think the guy who runs the sight likes graffiti or street art very much but regardless, I recommend using it as a guide if you have any interest in old railroad tracks, tunnels, signage, or abandoned buildings. But if that stuff is too boring, just stick with the foam statue of liberty hat, a carriage ride around Central Park, and catch a showing of Rent, and then shoot yourself for being a fucker.

5. Shopping

The flea market down at Coney Island has a lot of strange people hanging around piles of crap. Its pretty seedy but its cheaper then the Chelsea flea market and the selection of things for sale is less about antiques and collectibles and more about straight razors and dog collar choke chains. My friend Chris got a crossbow there. They have lots of junk.

Posted by marc at 7:09 AM in City Guides |

January 5, 2004

The Essentials of Stockholm by Erik Larsson

There are no such things as polar bears harassing the people in Stockholm. And NO, Eskimos do not come from here.

There is one thing that is for sure, Stockholm is hell on earth during the winter. As I look out through my window, snow is laying the deep and the temperature is below 15 degrees Celsius. When I tried to post some shit in the early morning yesterday, I had problems sticking it because of the thin layer of ice on the wall I had chosen for my action. So my first essential for Stockholm is DO NOT COME HERE DURING WINTERTIME.

During the summer Stockholm is a perfect city for street actions. It's hot all through the night and the sun never goes down. After done pasting, I always run down to the water for a swim to get rid of dust and sweat before I jump on to my bike and return home. A great thing is the water that surrounds Stockholm you can jump in anywhere without being afraid of poison or sharks (since it's sweet water) troubling you.

Tasty, simple and cheap food (if you don't prefer McDonalds) can sometimes be hard to find. But these are my tips if you're hooked on the India kitchen:

Govinda is a vegetarian restaurant at Fridhemsgatan 22 next to Fridhemsplan subway station. This place is actually run by Hare Krishna so watching all the weird people at this place gives an extra thrill apart from the food that is superb. Of curse no alcohol is served here. If you don't dig vegetables as much as I do, or if you're just afraid of the local church brainwashing you, try Happy India at St. Paulsgatan 35 A. If you're not digging the India kitchen, be sure to visit Bla Porten at Djurgardsvagen 64, maybe to combine with a visit at the Liljevalchs museum? Best food on earth, lamb meatballs mmmm..

To find art you should visit the place under St. Eriksbron (bro - bridge) near St. Eriksplan subway station. This is below the subway tracks and next to the long distance train tracks. The spot is actually next to the headquarters of SAPO, the special police in Sweden, but nobody cares if you post or even spray something down here. The exhibit changes every time you visit and I always find new stuff going there. The Akay Temple is a big cave/tunnel system below Slussen subway station which you reach by going in from behind the station building. This can be hard to find but with a little help from some local writer there shouldn't be any problem. The place got its name from Akayism and Bacteria who put up tons of art down there. And now it's turned into a place where every artist has at least put up something. Flashlight required. For more traditional art visit Liljevalchs at Djurgarden, Djurgardsvagen 60. The best time to see alternative art here is during the spring, where there is a big show featuring both famous artists and art students selling their work, its fantastic.

For writers equipment check Highlights at Ostgotagatan 16, subway station Medborgarplatsen.

My favourite in Stockholm has for the last years been ICS, a really tiny streetwear store at Wollmaryxkullsgatan around the corner from Mariatorget subway station. The place is run by a friend of mine. This is the perfect place to get further tips on the city, chill, listen to good music, sketch or just by extremely cool and original streeetwear to amaze your friends with. If often chill here for a little while before going home (I live in the suburbs 20 minutes from the inner city) after a hard day at my art school (that is really close).

Posted by marc at 7:12 AM in City Guides |

December 11, 2003

The Essentials of Montreal... by Other

Posted by marc at 6:31 AM in City Guides |

December 2, 2003

The Essentials of Milwaukee, Wisconsin By Laps One

1) Riverwest, the Eastside and Walkers Point = best neighborhoods for graf and street art.

2) The Riverhorse, Onopa, the Cactus Club, the Social and Foundation -- for drinks, dj'd music and live shows.

3) PHASE 2, SKY HIGH, DETOUR, UPROC, YELLOWJACKET -- for clothes and sneakers

4) ATOMIC RECORDS -- for indie records and cd's

5) COMET, FUEL, and BREWED AWAKENINGS-- for coffee and food.

Posted by marc at 7:12 AM in City Guides |

December 1, 2003

You Are Beautiful's Essential Guide to Chicago

"Chicago's buff is strong. They like to keep their streets clean (or at least brown & patchy). We're showcasing a few that continue to produce work in the harsh climate of weather and buff.

Some really incredible work has come out of the collaboration of Chris
, Juan Chavez, and Mike Genovese

Juan Chavez has also done some great sculpture collage pieces.

Cody Hudson of Struggle Inc recently co-curated the newest Select Magazine which featured over 20 fold-out large scale posters by various artists.

sighn's dedications always seem to stop you in your tracks.

CRAP Art, Create Random Acts of Public Art has been gracing the streets with some interesting work.

Rena Leinberger wrapped lightposts, fire-hydrants, bike racks, and the like with tube socks as a part of Post Chicago, who has some interesting poster campaigns under its umbrella.

We're having a bit of a turf war with a cup fence in the warehouse district: someone changed it to read 'you are bad' but did a silly job at it. It has been restored. Curious to see what happens next..."

Posted by marc at 7:34 AM in City Guides |

November 19, 2003

Mackplakt's Top Ten City Guide to Antwerp

Hi everybody. I'll be your guide for the evening. I am born, raised, and am a current citizen of Antwerp (a city of fashion, diamonds, chocolate and fries). Antwerp's got a street art history. It dates back 10 years with artists such as Spaghettiman and Nikske Fluo. Other people such as Tyfusch, Apetown and Prutpuss became involved in the scene in the middle nineties. They became the most well known sticker artists in Antwerp during that period. Lots of Dutch and French people had previously visited and invaded our city with their stencils and tags. In '99 the Antwerp street art scene got a lot of media attention, primarily because of an overdose of stickers. The result was lots of cleaning.

What can I say? Should I tell you about the Kammenstraat, a so-called "hip" street with overprised streetwear clothing and trendy rich children running around like crazy? Maybe not. That is, except for a record store called 'Stereophonic'. The store features a painted wall by Tyfusch and has a great taste for experimental music.

For cans and mags you say? You go to Mekanik Strip, the biggest comic shop in Belgium, located at Sint Jacobsmarkt 73. You can also buy Rotkop magazine there, the Antwerp based art zine.

Also for magazines, some cool clothes, and toys you should go to Shutzmarket at the Zakstraat 1. They also had some great expos in the past (Krsn, Zedz, Heavyweight, Flying Fortress...)

The only real skateboard shop in town is Lockwood, at the Lange Klarenstraat 21, where my girl Ephameron works.

For food you must go and try the sandwiches at Lombardia. They're way too expensive but very good. It is situated at the Lombardenvest 78.

Art books can be found at the Nationalestraat 28a in an arty farty bookshop called Copyright. It's next to the fashion museum. It's really worth the walk.

When you need to get something printed, it's best to go to Printshop, Vleminckstraat 13.

There's a legal graffiti spot, the Muntplein near the river. Sometimes there's stuff worth checking out. Watch out for dog poo, though.

The Museum for contemporary art, MUHKA, is also around there, but a bit down the river in a trendy neighbourhood called "'t Zuid". There are some nice galleries, museums, bars and clubs located there. Leuvenstraat 32.

A nice old bars is called "De Billenkletser" at the Hoogstraat 22. It has the coolest toilet- occupied-sign-construction ever. If you want to know what that means, you must certainly go there sometime. (Over 100 kinds of beer!)

For further questions or anything else, you can always contact me at mackplakt@hotmail.com



Posted by marc at 7:20 AM in City Guides |

November 15, 2003

Today's Essential Guide takes us from the bars of London and into Bristol

Nick Walker's (aka Apishangel) Guide to Bristol, England

1. Favorite Location to See Street Art

It's all about, but there's a good concentration of it at Bedminster Skate Park off Dean Lane - That's been the spot for a long time now.

2. Favorite Art Gallery

That'll be the Hotwell Gallery on Hotwells Road. They're into showcasing the edgier stuff none of the other galleries want to touch.

3. Favorite Place to Buy Paint and Supplies

Millards on Gloucester Road, Damn this place is great. They're a proper old school car maintenance shop that stock Hycote. You got these three guys in blue overalls all stood behind this long counter. Also it's cheapest place to buy your paint if you nut fussy about what you paint with. Suit you sir!

4. Favorite Local Magazine

Venue Magazine pretty much tells you what's going on in town and are on it when it comes to the graffiti scene and what artists have been up to here.

5. Favorite Place to Drink

Il Bordello on the Welshback is a good place to go drink. It's on a boat, an old Dutch barge to be exact formerly owned by the Hell's Angels but has now been revamped into a lovely seedy drinking parlor - low lights good art and music ta boot! Check out the front door! Check out all the doors!

6. Favorite Place to Eat

If I'm on the move I go to Ciao Burger on Gloucester Road. Get the Veggie Blue Cheese it rocks and all served up by some ones old Dad rattling about to hard core drum & bass every time you go in there. If you want a good old sit down - the River Bar on the water front off the city centre does a fuckin' great Bangers & Mash and also serves up Leff beer.

Cheers All


Posted by marc at 8:21 AM in City Guides |

November 14, 2003

A few months back, I had the distinct pleasure of hooking up one Friday evening in the East End of London with PMH and his crew. It was clear to me after the third spot we hit, that this guy knows his bars. I had an amazing time that night and, in all truth, didn't fully recover from it until I was safely back at home in Manhattan three days later. So when PMH sent us his essential guide to London last night, I wan't at all surprised that he had chosen to hightlight the best places to drink in London. Nor was I surprised that he had me laughing out loud and wishing that I was back in the East End buying the next round of drinks with PMH and his mates....


Theres nothing better we english do is to drink. Trust me, we're world masters. Americans drink coors light or some shit, aussies drink pussy VB which tastes like granny juice, and the japanese love Sake which I think white spirit beats it in taste tests (trust me, me and mysterious al have experienced drinking meths .. but that's another story). So if your coming to london you gotta get your drinking shoes on, so let me take you by the hand and guide you through the bars of london...

1. garlic and shots (frith st, w1)

Dude, if your on a crash course for a stomach pump you gotta hit the garlic and shots and hit that shit HARD!! It's a metal pub run by norweigen bikers (no joke no lie), and has a basement bar with skeletons, coves and everything else that you wanna see when you've just outdone a james belushi drinks binge. And if you like garlic, check out the food menu - but garlic ice cream? Hell yeah!

2. cafe 2001 (trumans brewery brick lane)

kinda like a warehouse bar, like the kids from heartbreaks highs crib, but nice and inviting. Dj's play some of the finest beats ranging from rephlex electonica to cool fania style latin. But the highlight is not the communal chilled cozy atmosphere, but the fact that when its busy it's a good place to smoke - nudge nudge wink wink. Serious guys it's a nice place to chill and escape from the harsh london winter.

3. Dragon Bar (Leonard St,ec2)

perhaps London's finest writers hang out. Exposed brick? Check. Tasty Modern art? Check. Bombed out Toilets? Check. Yup, still there and still got it. Everyone's been there at least once to put up a sticker or tag. Again with live dj's often (or well picked cds by the bar staff), it's a regular haunt for me and regular associates of mine. However, as I've learnt the hard way, keep Krink away from the door in case some donught brushes into it and complains. But come prepared (i.e stickers and pens)

4. The Endurance (berwick st,w1)

on Friday night all the media whores cram into this pub so if you easily get pissed at hoxton fins fawning over their latest topshop wares, stand your ground. Why? Because its one of the best pubs in soho, that's why. They have the best jukebox around (zeppelin and the stooges, enough for me but they have more, ho ho ho! So much more), darts (I entered and lost at their darts league), stuffed animals (my mate cosmo got so pissed he climbed on the table and tongues the boars head) and mainly because they sometimes hook me up with TRIPLE shots which is illegal but sure does warm the cockels of my hearts.let me hear a hell yeah! HELL YEAH!

5. The Dive Bar (Chinatown)

ok I don't know why I'm telling you about this place, as its my favourite 'secret' from the tourists, but guys, I love you, so here it is the dive bar (but you still gotta' find it in chinatown, no exact address! Some things in life you gotta earn). Its expensive, they don't except credit cards and you can't dance (some shitty bylaw) but its still cool as hell. It's a shitty door in dodgy chinatown and its basically a shitty flight of stairs down that lead to a subterranean drinking den. The bouncers are cheery cockernies, so don't be put off by them. Once your downstairs there two so badly lit its almost black wine tunnels where you can get cheeky with a lady and the main room just gets rammed. Its hasn't been redecorated since the fifties and you can tell. The head bar man is a gay Chinese man who always wears a silver shirt and is super cool - he reminds me of that bar owner from 'good morning vietnam'. There always an amazingly dope dj playing either latin, jazz, or reggae, which is THE SHIT. always hardcore, no played to shit stuff just crate digger classics (to peep the DJ he always has his back to the audience). The crowd is a mix of mods, east end types, stag nights, indie kids, and peeps in the know like you and me. Now go and act like you heard

Go, check these places out, drink and be merry and if you see me buy me a drink, mines a triple rum (dark) and coke

... PMH

Posted by marc at 6:55 AM in City Guides |

November 13, 2003

Today's Essential Guide takes us from San Francisco to Brighton England.....

Matt Sewell's Essential Guide to Brighton, England

The most essential place to this funny little city called Brighton and (not forgettin' ) Hove is the sea. Its easy to forget that it's there when you've been livin' here for years and the wind and rain is whippin' round your knackers. Its probably the main reason peeps travel down here. The beach in the summer can be a bit chocka with London pikey day trippers, so in that case head further up Hove Way, there it's a lot more chilled and the air is full of the lovely smell of worthing home-grown. Even at this time of year it's lush. I heartily recommend going to the Meeting Point Cafe (sea-front, on the border of Brigton and Hove) and getting' a slice of cake and a cup of tea in a polystyrene cup (get them to leave the tea bag in tho') and go and sit on the beach and watch the tide come in. well good.

A nice little Sunday treat if you're not too bothered about getting' up before noon is the Car Boot Sale in Brighton Station Carpark...Well good for potterin' and gettin' little bits to paint on and stuff and also you can check out whose been getting' up and busy with their backpacks full of chrome on the cliff front which over looks the station.

Someone who definitely deserves a visit is Dave down at his Rarekind Gallery on North Street, North Laines. He set up the gallery to promote his own and local writers spraycan canvases and does a good range in belton and montana as well as lots of little t-shirt companies and one-off products.

Another top shop is 3012 in the South Laines which also stocks the smaller local brands such as Muju, Broody and my own Friends of Friends tee's and bags. They also have lots of my canvases there too, so go check out what's been comin' out of the tree-house recently.

For you street art spotters, the best place to visit is probably the North Laines, in particularly would be the side and back streets. It gets buffed lots, but you never know you might get lucky and spot a few badgers or other strange creatures that pop up in the darkness.

For graff, then Black Rock is a must. Its not gonna be there for too much longer but it is a hall of fame with international repute and you can always catch some amazin' productions down there. Its situated just before the marina which is probably a 5 minute bus ride from town or a 20 minute walk. But a word of advice if your walkin', do not venture into The Bushes. Which is the wooded spot just before the wall, cos you will receive a lot of unwanted attention and they wont be after ya fat caps!!

big love from the tree house


To learn more about Matt, check out Friends of Friends, Matt's website.

Posted by marc at 8:42 AM in City Guides |

November 12, 2003

Today we continue our exclusive series of insider's city guides, moving from Amsterdam to San Francisco.


'The Essentials' of San Francisco...according to Dave

My favorite places to see graffiti and murals are:

Clarion Alley (in between Mission and Valencia)
Balmy Alley (off 24th Street)
Norfolk Alley (off Folsom)

When you get hungry, wander over the the Mission District in search of burritos. The Mission is full of great Mexican restaurants, try them all. Also check out Tu-Lan, on 6th Street off Market It's a hole-in-the-wall Vietnamese restaurant, on perhaps the worst street in the city. The food is always good and cheap.

For people who enjoy looking at stickers, take a walk down Haight Street. When you get to Haight also check out the Kid Robot store, Red Five, The Noc Noc Bar, The Zim Zam and Escape from New York Pizza.

If you're into cheap beer, a colorful crowd, pin ball, a pool table and free popcorn, then head over to the 500 Club on the corner of Guerrero and 17th. Also has the city's best neon sign.

The Musee Mecanique is an arcade full of old fashion mechanical games and toys. It's on the lower level of the Cliff House, near Ocean Beach It's a ton of fun and has some of the best views in the area. Overlooking Ocean Beach and the Pacific. Bring extra quarters!

The best bathroom graffiti is at the Uptown Club, on the corner of Capp and 15th Street.

If you're interested in seeing art indoors go to:

The Cartoon Museum, on Mission Street.
The Yerba Buena Center For The Arts, also on Mission.
Culture Cache Gallery, on Bryant.
Jack Hanley Gallery, on Valencia.
The Luggage Store Gallery, on Market
And Lizabeth Oliveria Gallery, at 49 Geary Street.

If you're planing on making some art while you're in the Bay Area, then Pearl Paints on Market street is the place to shop for supplies.

When you're done eating and looking at art go see a film at one of these movie theaters The Castro, on Castro Street; The Red Vic, on Haight or The Roxie, on 16th Street.

Enjoy yourself!

Posted by marc at 7:10 AM in City Guides |

November 11, 2003

On the airplane coming back to New York, after a few glasses of fairly decent South African wine, we came up with a new feature to the site that we're calling "The Essentials"

One of the best things about the Wooster site is that it truly is international and brings together artists from all over the world. Over the last twelve months we've met up with artists in various cities and in every case they've shown us some of the most amazing places, from local bars to unknown locations to see street art.

We thought it would be a cool way to create the ultimate insiders guide to cities around the world by asking our favorite artists to contribute a listing of their favorite things in the cities where they currently live.

Over next few weeks we'll be presenting a series of collection of guides including:

Dalek's 10 Favorite Spots in New York

London's Best by CUE of So Fuzzy Crew

Matt Sewell's Guide to Brighton

Barcelona by Pez

The Essentials of San Francisco According to Dave

Meet 'n greet's Guide to Rotterdam, the Netherlands

Mackplakt's Top Ten City Guide to Antwerp

Ignorancia's Essentials for Madrid City

Psalm's Tour of Melbourne Australia

Robot, Inc.'s Guide to Milano

Lister's Top 5 Spots in Brisbane City, Australia

The Essentials of Milwaukee, Wisconsin by Laps One

... and many, many more.

(If you'd like to submit an "Essential Guide" to your hometown, please let us know)

So without further adeu, here's our first installment of "The Essentials" --


The London Police's Guide to Amsterdam

(November 9, 2003)

Do yourself a favor and get the requisite trips to the redlight district and coffeeshops (we weren't born yesterday, y'know) outta the way so you can get down to the REAL.

After you've taken care of the above, get yourself a bike! Walking is for lightweights and tourists. There are a lot of rental places in and around the city. Kill three birds with one stone, and make your way to the WATERLOOPLEIN (tram 9) from CENTRAAL STATION: here you can 1) rent a bike from MAC BIKE and 2) pick up paint/markers from HENXS (Sint Antoniesbreestraat 136, 020-6389478), and 3) make that stop for at COFFEESHOP BLUEBIRD (Sint Antoniesbreestraat 71, 020-6225232).

yo, the isolator + tram tracks + bike tires ='s death. it has a way of cutting short your vacation-time in amsterdam, so be careful!!!

Check your head and bust to the KNSM EILAND (by bike it's a short 12 minute ride from centraal station. or, take the 32 bus. better yet: jump on a free ferry behind centraal station with your bike) - shhhhh: the island is one of the best kept secrets in the city. here, you can peep some nice architecture, grab some lunch at THE WERELDBOL EETCAFE (Piraeusplein 59, 020-3628725) and make a stop at our boy ido's place, 90 SQUARE METERS (Levantplein 52, 020-4192525) ido's is a shop/show space that is a must see. recent shows have included the likes of kami and sasu. miss van will show there in february and tlp has something up their sleeve for march - don't sleep!

by now, the isolator is creeping on your stomach like undercover 5-0 on shepard fairey. here's two restaurants that have literally been keeping us alive for the past four years: THE GOLDEN TEMPLE (Utrechtsestraat 126, 020-6239807) is one of the only non-smoking restaurants in the city. they offer incredible vegetarian food. or, SONG KWAE (Koningsstraat 13, 020-4230868) always comes correct with some serious thai.

have a great time in amsterdam! Peace

The London Police

Posted by marc at 7:34 AM in City Guides |