Tuesday, August 29, 2006

FBO: 'Entertainment Planner for Late Summer'


New York City's Black Orchid (tel 212-734-5980, 303 E 81st St), for 12 years and running, has put love and know-how behind the mystery and crime books, old and new, in its skinny two-floor shop in a less luxe pocket of the Upper East Side. FBO Admin stopped in to talk about a potential 'Entertainment Planner' substitute to movie bio-pics, sequels and TV remakes, and chatted with Bonnie, one of the store's owners.

She said, 'It's hard being a small store. It's not enough to be good when you're small. It's not enough to make the best coffee or have the nicest store. You have to be big to survive.' The owners had memorized the nominations (and winners of course) of a recent mystery novel contest.

I asked about Oklahoma.

'Ohh! Books about Oklahoma? That would be excellent for us... People love series novels based on destinations, where authors really know the place... People are interested in Oklahoma because no one knows about it much, and it has the lore of the Native Americans. If you write one, just make sure not to kill your main character. Readers like to know a character is going to survive, so they can follow it.'

She clearly wants books about Oklahoma. You should write it.


--> Writing about Oklahoma is good
--> Don't kill your lead characters

Please post your suggestions for the lead character (not to be killed).

FBO Admin
Mobile HQ -- Upper East Side, New York City

Thursday, August 24, 2006

FBO: 'Our Top Fan'

The FBO's biggest fan is Rich Trott, a brown-haired gentleman from San Francisco who runs his own collective The Palace Family Steakhouse. Mr Trott has provided a recent boost of energy in getting the 'panhandle show' done. 'Just set it up,' he says, 'And it'll come together.' Mr Trott has offered to play. We asked him a few questions about the FBO.

You've been voted the FBO's 'top fan' -- what do you like about it?
I like the Google ads near the top of the site.

What bands have you failed in?
Bands that I have personally failed in include Crystal Tears (fired after less than four weeks for sucking at my instrument, wearing a pink shirt to a gig, and having a haircut that made it look like I just got out of prison) and the Pride (fired for excessive passive-aggressive behavior like ignoring the fact that the band existed until the day of a show). You probably meant to ask what failed bands have I been involved with, but just because the band fails doesn't mean that I've failed. Sometimes, as Pee Wee Herman said, I meant to do that.

What upsets you most about the FBO?
Failure of the Oklahoma Panhandle show to materialize.

Why are you interested in an FBO show in the Oklahoma Panhandle?
Why would I not be interested in an FBO show in the Oklahoma Panhandle?

What's the most out-of-the-way show you've done?
Paducah, Kentucky, with the Slow Poisoners--also, one of the best and most satisfying shows I've ever played. Newman, California, is pretty out-of-the-way too, as is Fallon, Nevada.

Comments on the FBO logo?
The FBO logo is a little bit too sexy.

--> Feel free to post your own questions to Mr Trott here, and we'll ask him to respond.

Thanks Mr Trott.

FBO Admin
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

FBO: 'Disappointed with New Jersey'

As travel writer, cartographic expert and architectural historian John SPE Spelman once said, 'Even Bruce Springsteen can't make New Jersey cool.' The state is famed for being the butt of jokes from some of its neighbors, particularly New York. It calls itself the 'garden state' but its top half is a smear of suburbs and industry, and the turnpike that crosses it -- used by travelers between NYC and Philadelphia or DC -- gets choked with traffic wanting out as quickly as possible. I've long defended New Jersey, but I won't be until they address an issue I noticed while stopping off en route to a FBO-publicity event in Georgetown, Delaware.

The men's restrooms at all turnpike rest stops, including one named James Cooper, clearly want men to see each other's penises. The wall-free urinals jut out from the wall like a toilet, unecessarily. Men cannot 'crowd the porcelain', as the popular privacy-embracing technique is called. Instead they must stand two feet from the wall, about mid-way down in the toilet hall of the busy bathroom. The absence of privacy walls leads one to believe New Jersey wants this inevitably voyeuristic exercise to happen. A Google search on 'urinal models' couldn't find one as irrational in its first 80 finds. Meaning New Jersey really SOUGHT OUT such irrational urinals. Why?

Urinals are meant to hang from walls, Trenton!

The FBO will not pursue activities in New Jersey until this issue has been solved.

FBO Admin
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY

Thursday, August 17, 2006

FBO: 'Spots Some Geniuses'

It's important to gauge the beating heart of the ultra-insider, indie-rock world on occasion. Recently FBO Admin attended such an event, a free show double-billing Beirut and Deerhoof at Brooklyn's McCarren Pool. The outdoor 'pool party' welcomed thousands with big shades, half-way beards, ironic t-shirts, who came to hear various levels of challenging indie rock, plus slip-n-slide on a giant slide or play dodgeball.

San Francisco-bred Deerhoof is a trio fronted by a small Japanese woman (Satomi Matsuzaki) and featuring possibly the greatest drummer in rock'n'roll (Greg Saunier), who plays a tiny two-piece set with alarming effect. The stop-n-start songs spaz along, defying co-dancing for more than 12 consecutive bars, yet remain catchy with the shrill vocals of absurdist lyrics ('dog on the sidewalk... dog on the sidewalk... I SEE' or 'come...see...the...duck' etc), used more as an instrument.

Beirut is a more contrived band, fronted by a 20-year-old guy who noticed that 'gypsy music' might be cool in the indie-rock setting. We applaud their t-shirts, which showed a circa-1980 illustration of a Czechoslovakian town labelled in cursive 'Beirut.' Lots of horns and bellowing vocals. Not FBO Admin's taste necessarily.

During Deerhoof's show, FBO Admin spotted geniuses. Four backstage VIPs set up directly behind the stage, standing as visibly as possible while still carefully slouching against a red-brick wall. Shades on. Flirting. Party dress. Black denim contrasting acely with the red. Whispering comments -- probably about the artwork for their next show's flyer; they must be in a band -- and lazily clapping after songs, prompted by the thousands of fans before them doing the same. (Note photograph carefully -- mindful of other on-stage 'VIP' spectators siiting in the shade, tucked nearly out of view to the left.)

The FBO feels a mix of emotions from their 80s-style tenacity -- something straight out of a backstage-set video by Poison or Warrant in 1988. It's both contemptuous, highly self indulgent and yet strangely compelling.

The FBO awards these four people, and particularly the two bandmate guys, the status of GENIUS for their display in the full gaze of Williamsburg, the designated coolest neighborhood of North America.

FBO Admin
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY

Photo credit: Tom Caw, of Connecticut

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

FBO: 'Who Won Super Bowl I?'

Fact: North Carolina and Ohio hate each other and have been fighting over their respective links to the Wright Brothers' historic flight from 1903. North Carolina -- where Putt Putt was invented, Blackbeard settled with his 14th wife, Michael Jordan was born -- has long adopted 'First in Flight' as its motto, adorning its sky-blue and white license plates; Ohio rebutted with 'Birthplace of Aviation,' as the Wright Brothers designed and built their planes, and made early experiments in their home in Dayton.

Who's right?

Consider this question: who won Super Bowl I in 1967 when the Green Bay Packers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs, 35-10? Green Bay? Well, if you support North Carolina, you are WRONG. Because the game was arbitrarily held in Los Angeles, LA then 'won' Super Bowl I. Per North Carolinian reasoning, Dallas and San Francisco and Chicago and New York and Denver and Green Bay and Pittsburgh have NEVER won the Super Bowl, while New Orleans has won eight titles, Los Angeles six, San Diego three, Houston two, even Minnesota, Arizona and Detroit have won one.

According to North Carolina the achievement has NOTHING to do with the players/teams/engineers/bicycle-repairmen on the field, but the setting of the field. Green Bay won in LA? LA is the champion. Einstein figured out E=MC[squared] in Phoenix? Phoenix is the genius. Britain defeats Napoleon at Waterloo? Thus BELGIUM conquers France. JFK is assassinated in Dallas? Forget Oswald or your conspiracy theories, TEXAS killed the president.

The Wrights only picked Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, from the recommendation of the US Weather Bureau. They were, paraphrasing here, 'looking for a lonely, sandy, windy place where no one will be in the way and nothing's going on -- not the sort of place we'd ever really want to spend time on our own.' The WB immediately replied, 'North Carolina.

--> The FBO sides with Ohio on this. The FBO encourages North Carolina to change their license plate, state motto immediately -- phasing out all old ones by mandate. Perhaps they could focus on the natural beauty of the state or Blackbeard.

FBO Admin
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY

Friday, August 11, 2006

FBO: 'Favorite Failed League'

This week the NFL is celebrating its new commissioner, and ESPN I'm told is making a nod at the 25th anniversary of the death of the wonderful USFL league that featured the Oklahoma Outlaws, but the FBO's favorite failed league is the ABA. The American Basketball Association played hoops with a red-white-and-blue ball in the colorful period between 1967 to 1976, including players like Julius Erving and Moses Malone and teams like the Kentucky Colonels and Dallas Chaparrals.

The ABA folded with some teams being incorporated into the NBA -- eg San Antonio Spurs, Indiana Pacers, NY Nets, Denver Nuggets -- but we particularly applaud those who refused to move to the NBA, such as the Pittsburgh Condors and Virginia Squires. We encourage you to learn more at from this fan site.

Please contribute to this week's poll -- your favorite failures in sports.

FBO Admin
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY

Monday, August 07, 2006

FBO: 'Rule on Listening to Music'

ON OCCASION music listeners are so enamored with a song -- say an Oasis one -- they cannot stop listening to it. Three, five, eight times in a row. A rule is needed: don't stop. The moment you start to censor or limit your rotation, the enamoring dies, and dies quickly. It's better to take 'Wonderwall' and just kill it.

FBO Admin
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY

Thursday, August 03, 2006

FBO: 'Failure Growing in Importance'

FAILURE is a growing part of our culture, our life. No where is this more obvious than in the growing trend seen in the past half-decade in TV commercials. About half are 'promoted' by 'misfits' and ironic heroes, such as the patronizing use of pudgy ethnic men (eg Indian) with moustaches and thick glass lenses and the inability to articulate sentences, sometimes standing helplessly before 'product' with the buzz of a fluorescent light bulb in the background. Another recent ad campaign -- of a bald man with glasses -- is holding for some service's telephone customer service -- having to say his password ('big boy') on a train just before he goes under a tunnel and loses the connection.

Advertising and marketing departments are banking that you will LAUGH at these people.

The new Red Stripe campaign is the biggest failure of all. It's a failed attempt at 'failure for irony' ad. In it, unlikely things happen -- a dorky guy oohs over the bare feet a man stretched out on a table. A presumably Jamaican man with a big smile appears in an all-white suit and proclaims 'creepy foot doctor: bad... hooray beer!' while holding a bottle of Red Stripe. It does not work on any level. In another he consoles a man sitting peacefully. 'You are very ugly.' Then hands him a Red Stripe. 'Now you are beautiful.... hooray beer!' It's possibly revolutionary failure, or a bad director who doesn't 'get' the failure aesthetic. The FBO suspects the latter.

For the moment, a definition is needed. There are three types of failure: Failing at earnest desires to do well (as shown by FBO members in their initial incarnations), failing on purpose to create humour ('big boy' commercial), and failing at failing on purpose to create humor (Red Stripe).

FBO Admin
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY