History | A Continuous Lean. - Page 3

Dim The Lights | NYC’s Bygone Music Venues

Oct 16th, 2014 | Categories: History, Jake Gallagher, Music, New York City | by Jake Gallagher

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On any given night within New York’s incalculable array of musical venues, you can find pretty much every act imaginable. From whisper quiet jazz quartets, to over-distorted art rockers, to spoken word slam poets backed by garbage can percussionists, the nightly roster of musical acts can be as diverse as the city itself.

Regardless of your melodic tastes, there’s bound to be a show each night that you’ll find at the very least amusing, but honestly the venues themselves all fall a bit flat. Music clubs in New York used to have as much (if not far more) character as the bands that played in them, but nowadays, these venues just sort of blend together. Whether big or small they all just feel boring, if not altogether sterile. So let’s reset the record and raise a glass, or at least raise the volume to New York’s rowdy, raucous, rough-around-the-edges clubs of yore.





The Surprisingly Stylish Side of Hugh Hefner.

Oct 13th, 2014 | Categories: Americana, History, Jake Gallagher, Magazines, Style | by Jake Gallagher

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Hugh Hefner is one of those rare individuals that appears to exist in a universe all his own. Sure, there’s the physical “universe” of the Mansion, the Bunnies, and the never-ending party that is Playboy, but there’s also something much deeper. Hefner has made a career out of the sort of images that you wouldn’t want your boss, girlfriend, mother, or fellow straphanger to catch you looking at, and yet, Hef still manages to come across as a gentleman at every turn. Of course, there is something slightly off about a nearly-ninety year old man that wears robes in public and is married to a women sixty years his junior, which is why we prefer to remember Hef for his younger, more presentable years.

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Revisiting McSorley’s Old Ale House

Oct 7th, 2014 | Categories: Drinking, History, Jake Gallagher, New York City | by Jake Gallagher

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As more and more of New York’s endearingly grimy dive bars are pushed out daily (R.I.P. Milady’s) to make room for whatever organic farm to table “bespoke ale experience,” is trending that month, the precious few hole-in-the-wall joints that we have left in this city must be treasured, least they end up out on the curb like a kicked keg. And no gritty saloon is more worthy of our admiration than McSorley’s, the self proclaimed “first Irish Tavern” in New York City.

With a tap list that includes just two options, a grimy straw floor, and an interior that hasn’t been altered since 1910, “McSorley’s Old Ale House” on 7th Street is where you go when you’ve had enough of the preening and pretension that runs rampant in downtown’s bar scene. “Light” and “dark” are the only words you’ll need to know at McSorley’s, as their minute mugs are exclusively filled with the soapy suds of their two in-house brews.





The Ultimate | An Ode to the Polo Coat.

Oct 6th, 2014 | Categories: History, Jake Gallagher, Menswear, Outerwear | by Jake Gallagher

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Could it be? Are the leaves already changing? Is the temperature already dropping? Is winter already rounding the corner on us? It feels like summer started just a month ago. Maybe it’s because here in New York, we never had to fully face the syrupy air and searing heat that mark most East Coast summers. But we’ll admit, a mild summer felt like a gift from heavens after last winter’s endless freeze, but it also ensured that those frostbitten memories never quite faded away.

We can still recall mornings where we thought our fingers were going to crack in half, afternoons where seven layers weren’t quite enough, and evenings in which the prospect of building a fire right on the floor of the living room didn’t really seem that insane. This winter experience has us thinking of the weather ahead and considering the purchase of the ultimate overcoat: The Polo Coat.

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The Caricature and the Impossible Interview.

Oct 2nd, 2014 | Categories: Art, History, Jake Gallagher | by Jake Gallagher

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Tourist traps the world over are littered with self-proclaimed caricaturists, but these shoddy scribblers that churn out cutesy watercolors for a handful of cash are nothing compared to the classics. Over time, the term caricaturist has come to signify an artist that is inferior, one that creates works more for shallow entertainment than for true expression. Caricaturists of the past did paint in a style that largely endures today in the rapid-fire works that hang throughout touristy locales, but back then it was the message that the artist was trying to convey through this aesthetic that really mattered. As Marshall McLuhan would say, the medium has now become the message, and that’s a shame, because it has trivialized the works of great artists like Miguel Covarrubias, who were really saying something through their caricatures.

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Remembering The Golden Age of the American Airport

Sep 26th, 2014 | Categories: Americana, History, Travel | by Jake Gallagher

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At this point, modern air travel is so unpleasant, so inconveniencing, so downright annoying that talking about it almost seems pointless, like shouting into a jet engine. If there is one positive to be extracted from all of our collective airline agony, it’s that it forces us to reflect upon a time when air travel was not only enjoyable, but dare I say, sexy. Shows like Mad Men, and movies like Catch Me if You Can play into our rosy-eyed curiosity with mid-century air travel, portraying well-heeled passengers, sociable stewardesses, and those beautiful modernist concourses. Airports of today are drab reminders of just how far you are from home, but in the early decades of air travel these buildings were sleek, shiny shrines to the future. The terminals that serviced America’s larger cities at this time were designed to not only help carry passengers from point A to point B, but also to reflect the progressive spirit of commercial air travel, which had really only taken off (no pun intended) in 1958 with the advent of the Boeing 707. So buckle up, make sure your seat backs and tray tables are in their full upright position, and travel back in time with us to the golden age of the American airport.





The Escape Artist | Dennis Hopper in Taos.

Sep 21st, 2014 | Categories: Americana, History, Jake Gallagher, Movies | by Jake Gallagher

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It’s become a standard Hollywood story: an actor gets burnt out by the scene and decides that they need to get out of L.A. for a little. They disappear to Marfa, or Capri, or Burning Man only to make a public re-immersion a month or so later, capped off by an interview about how “refreshing” their sabbatical was. Even vacations are punctuated by press releases these days.

The roots of these restorative respites can be traced back to Dennis Hopper, who in 1970 decamped to Taos, New Mexico. Unlike his contemporaries Hopper was driven not by his public image, but by a genuine desire to escape. After fifteen years on the silver screen – beginning with Rebel Without a Cause and concluding with his period-defining masterpiece, Easy Rider, Hopper was in need of a change of scenery. When he had arrived in Hollywood in 1955, he was a straight-laced, baby-faced kid that hadn’t even reached his twentieth birthday yet. In his polo shirts, traddy suits, and slim ties, Hopper had the clean-cut look that execs were looking for, but unfortunately, so did countless other young actors just like him.

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