Remembering Beastie Boy Adam Yauch

The passing of Adam Yauch saddens me. I wasn’t going to write today, as food poisoning has debilitated me beyond the patience to sit and type. Adam’s passing has me here. I didn’t really know him as a Beastie Boy, although I had a coincidental meal with him at the airport when they signed their big deal. They were off to Vegas or someplace like that to celebrate and we were off to Paris to pick up my wife’s wedding dress from Thierry Mugler. I met the crew when they were youngins tooling around St. Marks Place on skateboards. There were four that I remember; Shadi was still alive. I was holding meetings at the Holiday every day as my new promo business couldn’t afford an office. I had a table in the back and, for the cost of a few drinks a day, Stefan the owner was happy to have me.

I guess they heard I was doing a show, a hardcore punk show featuring The Undead and Khmer Rouge, two bands I was managing into obscurity. The Undead actually got signed by Stiff Records just a few weeks before Stiff closed down. It was like that. They asked me if they could open. They called themselves the Young and the Useless and for that alone they earned a spot on the bill. I’m not sure what the deal was, but I think I paid them $15 and they had to help load in the gear. It was like that. The space was some second-floor dance studio or loft on, I believe, 2nd Avenue just above Houston. It’s unimportant. What was important was they weren’t a joke.

I wasn’t surprised when I and the rest of downtown was invited by Vito Bruno in’83 or’84 to see them perform in some club…maybe 21st Street. You must forgive me as I am really ill and my mind cannot focus. I seem to remember being surprised that Kate Schellenbach (drummed for Luscious Jackson) wasn’t on drums – maybe it was Rick Rubin who was. They weren’t punks anymore, not physically and not musically. The Beastie Boys came to be what they are famous for. Maybe Shadi had passed by then, I can’t remember. I remember a sadness hung over the scene for quite some time. I remember how much fun he was but I strain to remember his face. I do remember seeing his tag all over town for quite awhile. There was one by the Midtown Tunnel that lasted forever. Over the years, I would see Adam in a club or on the street and he would say hello. He was way cool and I know a great many people who can’t deal with this news.

I can’t really speak to this or much of anything more today, so in their words:

"All I wanna know is when is checkout time, So I could be in heaven with the rhythm rock rhyme, And when I’m with my man Shadi rock at the gates, We’ll be rockin’ rhythms over disco breaks."

What To Keep In Mind This Memorial Day Weekend (Slideshow Inside)

And suddenly it’s summer. Memorial Day weekend will happen mostly elsewhere, but I love the empty city and will use the time to relax, reflect, and regroup. I most note the death of Robin Gibb reportedly from a cancer which could have been treated if only he had taken a test. I had no contact with Mr. Gibbs. I once tried to book the Bee Gees for the Palladium for New Year’s Eve, but my high offer was about one-third their low. The loss of Robin Gibbs, Donna Summer, and Adam Yauch from cancer way before any reasonable expectation of life sends a shudder through me. There are no guarantees, there are no guarantees. I do believe the rain will stop and this summer will be hot, Al Gore-hot, but the now-keener awareness of my immortality is embracing the rain and all the other miracles I enjoy every day.

I almost went to Vienna this year for the Life Ball. It was held in Vienna, Austria at its City Hall last Saturday, May 19th. The world’s flamboyant, fabulous, and fierce gathered as they have for the last 20 years. Party planner Kevin Crawford tried to coax me to go with him and his, but alas, I couldn’t swing it. His entourage included my dear friend Marko Kalfa, who sent me these wonderful photos. Around us, people are still suffering from AIDS. People are dying far before their time. From the amFAR website:

"Life Ball is the world’s most extravagant HIV/AIDS benefit. Held annually in Vienna, Austria, Life Ball combines the great Viennese Ball tradition with glamorous, outlandish performances and inspirational speeches. Organized by the AIDS Life Association, Life Ball has raised more than $22 million during the past 19 years for HIV/AIDS projects worldwide through partnerships with amfAR, the William J. Clinton Foundation, the Elton John AIDS Foundation, and UNAIDS. Through the Life Ball, the AIDS Life Association has been a major supporter of amfAR’s TREAT Asia Pediatric HIV/AIDS Initiative."

This year, Life Ball celebrated its twentieth anniversary under the banner “Fight the Flames of Ignorance.” Attending Life Ball for the first time, Milla Jovovich was amfAR’s representative. “For me, Life Ball is about solidarity,” she said. “It’s a wonderful example of how people and organizations coming together can change the world.

As you head out into the weekend and all its glory, think preemptively, and think of how precious life is and drive slow… be safe and have fun. Talk to you Tuesday.

Why Not Spend Some Time This Week in Adam Yauch Park?

Last week was kind of weird and dumb overall, and depending on where you live, your preference of activities and the circles you run with, this weekend was maybe kind of weird and dumb too, if insufferable and probably racist “Drinko de Mayo” celebrations,Star Wars Day Facebook posts and people spending all day pregaming for two minutes of TV are all things that make you recoil. If recent events have been bumming you out, remember that last Friday, at least one really awesome thing happened.

As you probably already know from the influx of Twitpics of the dedication sign, Palmetto Playground, a small Brooklyn park near an expressway ramp, has been renamed Adam Yauch Park, after the late Beastie Boy and proud New York native son Adam “MCA” Yauch. The dedication ceremony for the park sounds like it was a pretty cool affair, with Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz adding additional verses to “An Open Letter to NYC” and MCA’s mother, Frances Yauch, giving a touching tribute to her son. But it wouldn’t be a proper tribute to MCA without words from his former groupmates, and Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz’s words for his friend are beautiful and fitting for the occasion:

"It’s fitting that we’re here today to dedicate a playground to Adam Yauch because like the Wu-Tang Clan, Beastie Boys is for the children. I was trying to think of what to say today, and I was thinking what it means to be a New York kid: People come to New York to be themselves, to express themselves and to be who they want to be. And although Adam’s mom Frances is a New York kid herself, his father Noel came to New York to be himself.

And together they raised a New York kid, Adam Yauch, and Noel and Frances raised him right. They taught Adam to be curious, thoughtful, kind and just enough crazy – that craziness that is New York. That New York frenetic energy: It’s musical, artful and always moving forward. And that’s not only Brooklyn, that’s Adam Yauch.”

As for the park itself, the NYC Parks Department shouts out its namesake on its website with a quote from “No Sleep Til Brooklyn” and notes that the park is where Yauch’s father taught him how to ride a bike. But if Beasties history isn’t enough impetus for a visit to Adam Yauch Park, then perhaps the description of the local foliage and park features will:

“When you visit his namesake park, be sure to take in the wide variety of trees, including silver lindens, London planes, pin oaks, and Norway maples. The playground also includes full and half basketball courts, a community garden, a greenhouse, a small fitness area, an open play space, drinking fountains, and a dog run.”

Watch Ad-Rock’s speech below, and be sure to spend sometime outside this week. It will be good for you. We promise.

Remaining Beastie Boys Sue Monster Energy Drink Over Megamix

New Yorkers, hip-hop heads and appreciative fans of things that are good have all been careful about honoring the legacy of gone-too-soon Beastie Boy Adam "MCA" Yauch, saluting the rapper and artist through every means from a Senator giving him official recognition to a superfan giving fellow enthusiasts a "life tour" to kids on a corner somewhere blasting "Sabotage." Now, MCA’s fellow bandmates are paying respect to him in a different way. 

Earlier this week, it was revealed that MCA stipulated in his will that even in the wake of his passing, companies would be unable to use his music, art or likeness for commercial means. Given that an artist’s death will often lead to exploitation of said artist’s image and work for profit, this measure makes sense. At first, it was unclear whether or not that meant songs the Beasties wrote as a collaborative effort, but given the suit Mike D, Ad-Rock and Dechen Yauch have filed against Monster Energy Drink over a 26-song Beasties promotional megamix used as part of a web advertising campaign for Monster’s "Ruckus in the Rockies," as well alleging the company used misleading language implying the Beasties consented to the project. Although the terms of MCA’s will are not explicitly cited in the grounds for the suit, the timing is pretty apt. The suit accuses Monster of being in violation of the Lanham Act, which regulates trademark infringement; and they will seek $150,000 in damages.. 

SPIN has the original court complaint, which you can view here. Or, you can remember the good times, with some of the songs featured in the megamix: 

Linkage: The Shocking Price of a Break-Up, Jay-Z Thinks Gay Is OK

One of BlackBook‘s favorite funny gals Julie Klausner shares the lessons she learned from creating her hilarious podcast, How Was Your Week? [FastCoCreate]

"It was hard, very hard," says Chloe Sevigney of the prosthetic penis she had to wear on her new show, Hit & Miss, on which she plays a pre-op transgendered hit-man. [Telegraph]

Breaking-up is hard to do, but when your boyfriend suddenly leaves you for another country, the resulting anxiety can be pretty pricey. [The Billfold]

Jay-Z comes out in support of President Obama’s support for marriage equality, calling it "the right thing to do." [NewNowNext]

Still mourning MCA? Cheer up with this adorable video of kids re-enacting the "Sabotage" video. [Sound of the City]

Carrie: The Musical, the play based on the Stephen King novel and which recently saw an Off-Broadway run earlier this year, will be licensed for regional productions. Anyone want to start up a theater group and/or get jobs running high school musical theater departments? [Playbill]

Speaking of Carries, Julianne Moore has signed on to play the evil Margaret White in Kimberly Peirce’s remake of the Brian DePalma film. [Deadline]

"I lost my limbs after five years of butt injections!" We are so sorry! [Hypervocal]

Bummed about last night’s season finale of Smash? Need your fix for the insane plotlines, ridiculous Broadway scheming, and Debra Messing’s dumb son? Fear not: I suggest you go back and read the brilliant Rachel Shukert’s recaps of the first season. [Vulture]

Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino celebrates her sophomore album’s release today, but did you know she’s a budding fashion designer? [Death & Taxes]

Alright, we admit it: we’re stupid as hell. [Jake Fogelnest]

Linkage: Rick Backs Mitt, Beasties Speak, and the Return of CBGBs

Last night, former Republican Presidential candidate (and Google problem extraordinaire) Rick Santorum emailed his supporters to let them know he’s endorsing Mitt Romney in the upcoming race to the White House. "Above all else, we both agree that President Obama must be defeated," Santorum wrote about his new crush Romney, who was until recently his bitter foe. [Politico]

The owners of the assets of infamous rock club CBGBs say they’re planning a festival in New York City for this summer, and that they hope to buy a Lower Manhattan building in which to open a new version of the venue. [NYT

Actor John Travolta is being sued by a masseur for an alleged series of unwanted sexual advances that took place during a massage and burger-eating session at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Reps for Travolta, who has long dealt with rumors about his sexuality, say he wasn’t even in town on the date in question. [TMZ

Surviving Beastie Boys Mike D and Ad-Rock have broken their silence surrounding the death of Adam Yauch. The rappers shared memories and photos of their recently deceased cohort Yauch on the band’s Facebook page, and wrote, “We should have tweeted and instagrammed every sad, happy and inspired thought, smile or tear by now. But honestly the last few days have just been a blur of deep emotions for our closest friend, band mate and really brother. I miss Adam so much.” [Facebook

Watch Coldplay’s Tribute to Beastie Boy Adam Yauch

After a long battle with cancer, Beastie Boys co-founder Adam Yauch, aka "MCA," died yesterday at the age of 47. Yauch’s passing elicited tributes from all over the music world, including one from Coldplay–and its frontman, Chris Martin–during the band’s concert last night at the Hollywood Bowl. After the jump, watch Martin and Co’s acoustic rendition of the seminal Beastie Boys classic, "(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!) [via ONTD]

Adam Yauch’s Best Moments

Beastie Boys co-founder, Adam Yauch, better known as MCA died today at the age of 47 after a battle with cancer. Reports are still scarce though his cancer had been reported on before. Yauch is survived by his wife and daughter and, of course, his Beastie Boys cohorts Mike D and Ad-Rock. After the jump, check out our favorite videos of the trio’s 33-year career.

Plus, for further reading, here’s something from the BlackBook archives: litte-seen footage of Beastie Boys performing on ’80s public access show, The Scott & Gary Show.

LCD Soundsystem Documentary Set for Theaters This Summer

Thank Brooklyn for this one. Regarding of what the blogosphere might lead us to believe, Shut Up and Play the Hits, the documentary chronicling LCD Soundsystem’s last days as a band, probably wouldn’t have found much of an audience for a theatrical release (outside of NYC and LA, of course). But thanks to Beastie Boy Adam Yauch’s Oscilloscope Laboratories film company, a happy medium has been reached between a cinematic release and video-on-demand: The movie will be shown at special one-night-only engagements this summer, in theaters that won’t mind if their patrons start dancing in the aisles. The exclusivity will parallel the finality of LCD’s last show, but it’s also just a convenient way to make sure everyone gets their taste.

"Perhaps having grown up in a band for most of my life – a band that formed when I was 16 years old – and having released our first record when I was still in high school, this film addresses so many questions," Yauch said in a press release. "For instance, it can be pretty clear when a band starts, but perhaps less so when it ends, or how it should end. In that sense, it’s brilliant of James to end it in such a definitive way." Poignant, if not a big self-congratulatory, though I suppose if I was in the Beastie Boys I’d bring it up every time I could. No dates have been announced, but keep an eye out.