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How a Bike Messenger Captured ’70s and ’80s NYC in a Tarot Deck

In 1987, bike messenger Giani Siri self-published The New York Tarot, a 93-card deck with photos of New Yorkers and city scenes used as art for the traditional major and minor arcana characters. Largely unknown and never widely available, the deck is both a time capsule and a love letter to New York in the 1970s and ‘80s.

The sepia-toned images feature “NY’s resident alien” Quentin Crisp as Strength, pagan journalist Margot Adler as the High Priestess, Hugo-winning science fiction novelist Samuel Delany as the Hanged Man, and high-wire walker Philippe Petit as The Fool. There are also non-human icons: Lady Liberty is the Empress, the Unisphere is The World, the Moondance Diner is (what else?) the Moon. And there are the thoroughly unknown, untold people and corners of a New York more than three decades past. Giani herself is featured as the Queen of Swords.

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A ‘Central Park Five’ Exoneree Who Was Smeared By Trump Is Now Living His Fashion Dream

Raymond Santana Jr., the company’s founder.

Park Madison NYC plasters graphic designs on otherwise plain garments — cars, angels and logos decorate hoodies, t-shirts and hats. Cherubs peek out from the corner of t-shirts, and hoodies depict angels that proudly occupy a spot over the wearer’s heart, gazing with pride at the outside world. The angels are emblematic, as they represent designer Raymond Santana Jr.’s belief in a higher power — the one that got him out of prison.

In 1989, Donald Trump wanted 14-year-old Santana dead. In fact, he took out several full-page advertisements in New York publications advocating for the death penalty for Santana and four other young men, known as the Central Park Five. He even went on Larry King’s CNN show to express himself, saying that “maybe hate is what we need if we’re going to get something done.”

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Tracy Morgan, Last O.G., Returns to Bed-Stuy to Show Off New Basketball Courts

Tracy Morgan at Marcy Playground (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for TBS)

Bed Stuy has new hoops thanks to comedian Tracy Morgan, who returned to his childhood neighborhood yesterday to unveil new basketball courts at Marcy Playground.

The $215,000 park renovation was funded by TBS in conjunction with The Last O.G., in which Morgan’s character returns to the once hardscrabble streets of Brooklyn after 15 years in prison, only to find moms “alkalizing” their tots with seaweed and hipsters expounding on Michelin starred vs. Michelin rated. 

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Performance Picks: Trashy Comedy, Asian Drag, 4/20 Monotony

WEDNESDAY

(flyer via Wonders Of Nature / Facebook)

What’s Your Damage?
Wednesday, April 18 at Wonders Of Nature, 8 pm: $5

A show called What’s Your Damage taking place at a space called Wonders Of Nature sort of feels like it could be a metaphor or political statement talking about the ways we have irreparably damaged the natural world, because at this point it would be hard to deny we haven’t. However, that’s not what this show is about. Quite simply, hosts Sachi Ezura and Halle Kiefer will ask performers what exactly their damage is, which is just a snappier way of asking them to reveal past embarrassments and drama that have shaped them into “the weird, wonderful people they are today.” This time around, Carmen Christopher, Aaron Jackson, Marcia Belsky, and Joyelle Nicole are the ones to tell all. Keep Reading »

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We Went Station to Station Trying to Score the New David Bowie MetroCards

“New Yorkers don’t wait on line for anything, except for David Bowie,” said a woman waiting in line this afternoon for the MTA’s new David Bowie MetroCards.

Available at the booths and most kiosks at both Broadway-Lafayette and Bleecker Street stations, the 250,000 cards feature five images of Bowie from across his entire career, and are in general pretty groovy.

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You Talkin’ to Paul Schrader? Your Chance to Ask the Director About Taxi Driver

Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver.

Paul Schrader will be back in movie theaters May 18 with First Reformed, a new one starring Ethan Hawke as a conflicted upstate priest who’s “cut from the same holy cloth as Yukio Mishima or Travis Bickle,” in the words of one review. But let’s face it, it’s Bickle, the mohawked madman from Taxi Driver, that will likely remain Schrader’s most enduring character. Starting May 4, Lower East Side arthouse Metrograph will screen four Schrader films that explore what the director calls the “man in a room” premise, in which a man faces his inner demons and asks the tough questions. Like: “You talkin’ to me?” Schrader himself will be on hand for a Q&A following the screening of Taxi Driver on May 5, and tickets are now on sale. If you go, ask him about filming in the East Village, on a block that, back in 1975, had “developed somewhat of a notorious reputation for seediness and crime.”

Here’s the rest of the “Paul Schrader x 4″ program, direct from Metrograph.

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LES Scores City’s First Public Squash Court

(Photo: Daniel Avila)

When NYU shuttered its Coles Sports Center, we mourned the loss of its squash courts– one of the only downtown places where you could reenact the racquetball scene from Manhattan. Problem solved: The Parks Department today opened a public squash court in Hamilton Fish Park– said to be the first of its kind in the world.

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Listen Up, Maggots: 3 Chances to See the Late R. Lee Ermey in Full Metal Jacket

R. Lee Ermey died of pneumonia complications on Sunday at the age of 74. The former Marine Corps drill instructor started his acting career as an uncredited helicopter pilot during the famous “Ride of the Valkyries” strike in Apocalypse Now!, but it was another seminal Vietnam war movie, Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket, that brought him fame. If you pukes want to reacquaint yourself with his tough-talking character, Gunnery Sergeant Hartman, you’ll have no less than three opportunities to enter a world of shit in the coming weeks.

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Bike Messengers Name Tompkins Bench After Biker-Photographer ‘Fast Eddie’ Williams

The attendees of ‘Fast Eddie’ Williams’ bench dedication at Tomkins Square Park, 4/13/18 at 6pm.

Members of the bike messenger community came together in Tompkins Square Park on Friday to mark the naming of a bench for bike messenger and photographer ‘Fast’ Eddie Williams. Friends featured in his 2004 photo book Bike Messengers Life – New York City‘ joined Eddie’s son Nagi, daughter Koko and dozens of working messengers for the service. The beautiful weather allowed for a fitting sun set over the bench that sits opposite the big tree on the south side of the park, a longtime gathering spot for New York bike messengers.

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Art This Week: Immigrant Stories and Secondhand Paintings

(image courtesy of Baxter Street Camera Club of New York)

Walking In Lightness
Opening Thursday, April 19 at Baxter St at the Camera Club of New York, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through May 12.

Some photography is staged, utilizing the lens to create a fantastical scene that would very likely never be encountered in a candid sense. Rather than doing that, Mexico City-born photographer Amanda Gutiérrez seeks to document her surroundings as she ventures through Brooklyn’s Sunset Park, focusing both on her “subjective experience as a Mexican woman living and working in New York” and painting a photographic portrait of the neighborhood’s Mexican immigrant community. In addition to photography (shot with a 35mm disposable camera), Gutiérrez’s solo show will also feature videos of her working in the darkroom, animations created from her own prints, and binaural audio tracks of her walking through various environments, welcoming you in on multiple sensory levels. Keep Reading »