Japanese Human Beatbox Under Union Square

The übergeek in me has always enjoyed human beatboxes: The passion. The striving to emulate percussion and melody simultaneousy with incredibly difficult circular breathing. The disgusting atomized spittle in pursuit of sonic perfection. The rejection shame when one asks to borrow a mike at a gig.

Kinda like being a Highland Bagpiper.

One might assume the best beatboxers started out as poor kids who took it up to play the beats they heard in their heads because their Moms couldn’t afford lessons and a kit. Or a Roland. Or so they wouldn’t get their asses beat so regularly on The Corner. Like impromptu comedians in jail.

Reo Matsumoto is the best I’ve ever heard. Lack of access to technology was likely not an issue for a kid coming up in Yokahama, but he’s clearly taken the form to supreme technical and artistic levels.

My brief video doesn’t do him justice. He’s got a lot more game than it represents. Watch in 1080p if you dare.

A quick bit of research showed beatboxing is hugely popular in Japan. There are a number of home favorite virtuosos, particularly Daichi san, otaku par excellence, who has tens of millions of views on YouTube.

Not for nothin, but I think my Union Square guy is a bit farther west on the autism spectrum. More of a rastah impostah. And more likley to get laid.

I love his stuff. Reo blows away most of the strong conventional musical competition at Union Square, even though he has no MTA sanction (official cop repellant banner, etc.) Throw him some love if you see him.

Gorgeous Old Dodge Sedan

Found this completely original and unrestored 1949 Dodge Meadowbrook treasure while wandering the far East Village. Love the flat pane glass Windshield o’ Death. Hope the owner doesn’t leave it on the street overnight.

An oddly charming bulgemobile whose original owner clearly cherished it. GI Joe would have liberated a car like this to bang somebody’s sister AWOL.


Testing out the Android WordPress app on my Droid phone here. Let’s see if it works.

Dick Move Vandal “Street Art”

One self-important fuckwit has been gleefully pissing all over what’s left of the downtown street art scene of late.

Witness his recent artful remix of this classic.





“Jim Joe” is his moniker. Banksy he ain’t. If you see this guttersnipe scrawling meth head banalities on stuff and photographing it, kindly consider punching him in the crotch.

Virtuoso Operatic Balafoniste Under 14th Street

Good music in the subways is getting rarer, but this West African guy lifts my soul without fail every time I’m lucky enough to encounter him.

If you see him, flip him a buck or five and bask in the music for a while. There’s always another train right behind. And the check is in the mail. And it’s only a cold sore.

Guerilla NYC Subway Etiquette

Thoreau said it:

Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.

These words have too often come to mind when I’ve taken the subway to work over the past decades. Every morning I squeeze into a packed car, I die a little. I die a little more when the aircon is on the fritz.

And my “song” is too often courtesy of a wannabe-DJ straphanger with an urge to share Lady Gaga’s latest by means of leaky iPhone earbuds pushed to their tinny sonic limits.

New Yorkers are supposedly quick to get in your face when you invade their personal space.

The false bravado of Dustin Hoffman’s Ratso Rizzo is the cliché:

I’m walkin’ here! I’m walkin’ here!

That was over 40 years ago. Times have changed. Most New Yorkers have switched to passive aggression nowadays. The increasing pussification of the City continues, some might say. It’s even worse underground.

Nobody makes eye contact with strangers on the subway except rubes, drunks, panhandlers, perverts, cops, criminals and schizophrenics. It’s an ironclad rule as old as the tracks. Getting into a beef with a fellow passenger can turn violent quickly and with no place to go you’re flirting with the front page of the New York Post no matter how it turns out.


Artist Jason Shelowitz has begun posting brilliant  parody MTA change service signs instructing passengers on proper subway etiquette. Gotta love it, but Jason suggests savvy riders swipe the silkscreened signs before the MTA tears them down.

Subway Douchery is now recording for posterity, with sharp commentary, photographs of self-entitled douchebag underthings shattering the Golden Rule worldwide.

It’s a start, anyway.

A decade or so back, the MTA launched a campaign to encourage the most basic and sensible subway rule: Let the passengers off before you try to crowd into the train. It actually worked! For a year or two. Now it’s worse than ever.

Most riders wisely won’t risk saying shit when they see douchebags behaving badly underground. The MTA should hire Jason Shelowitz to continue his guerrilla campaign.