The centerpiece of my day today was going underground--specifically under Atlantic Avenue, into the subway tunnel that hasn't been used for well over a century, at this event. The show had gotten a bit of publicity, but that didn't prepare me for the immense line: Lauren, Aaron and I got there a quarter of an hour before it opened (and were joined by Aileen, Geoff and Jess), but there was very shortly a two-plus-hour wait to get in. The tunnel stretches for perhaps a quarter of a mile; all access, in and out, is via a ladder leading down a single manhole in the middle of the avenue. (Twenty people out/twenty people in seemed to be the most sensible strategy.) When we paid our admission fees, they stamped our hands with a little rubber stamp of a man climbing down a ladder into a hole, actually.

So what was down there? Not a lot, actually, other than aura--there were some dim lights up, a couple of son et lumiére installations, some semi-abstract photos having to do with subways and tunnels and stuff, some models of subway trains of the '70s and '80s (I recognized some of the models from Henry Chalfant's movie Style Wars, about the early graffiti artists--Chalfant was our guest speaker this week at NAJP), and a few bronze pieces that spelled out REVS. On a hunch, I asked the guy dressed in dirty hunter's orange resting against the wall opposite them if he himself was in REVS, as in COST and REVS; he was! (For the uninitiated: COST and REVS were a duo who plastered their names all over town ca. 1990 via wheatpasted posters and paint attacks in unexpected places, like the wall by the parking lot at Leonard & Broadway, where it remained until last year.) I want to see if there's some way I can interview him...

Weird disappointment du jour: At CMJ, I picked up a videotape that had an "unreleased demo and video" (!) by Liz Phair--a song called "Down." It comes off as a sort of botched attempt at a Madonna ballad (insight Lisa's, opinion mine); recognizably Liz P., but but but why? According to some Phair fan sites, the version of her long overdue album that she attempted to record with Michael Penn has been scrapped, and she's now working with the song-factory team behind Avril Lavigne. Something makes me sort of sad about that.



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