20Sept2006apple2.jpgMy first experience with a famous musician in my cab was unpleasant at best. I was a fan of Bjork’s “It’s Oh So Quiet” Spike Jonze video, because I’m a sucker for a dancing mail box. So I was excited when I saw she was hailing me out front of Lombardi’s Pizzeria (she hadn't eaten there, it was 2 a.m.).

After she told me “Sixthhh Hhhavenueh hhand Hhhhhouston Street” in that breathy whisper otherwise known as Bjork's voice, she went completely silent for the rest of the ride. I asked her how her night was, as I do every passenger, but she acted as though I wasn’t there. Her husband, on the other hand, spent most of the ride staring into my soul through the rear view mirror with, what I was later told, are the eyes of an intense artist. I found his stare to be identical to the creepy gaze of a paranoid psychotic who I would consider driving to the nearest police station.

20Sept2006apple.jpgThe fare was $4.60. Bjork handed me a five dollar bill and made another motion toward her purse as if to admit that she owed me more of a tip. Then she thought better of it, walked out of my cab without a word, and lost one minor fan forever.

However, I have become a major fan of Sono Oto. Mark Phillips, the creative force behind the bouncy, Lennon-esque pop sensation, has ridden in my cab as well. And not only is Mark a good tipper, he has recently written and recorded an entire EP about apples. He calls it the Apple EP, because each of the six songs is named for a different apple. There is no faster way to my hungry heart than through food, and I've fallen in love with this record.

My favorite song is Northern Spy. The lyrics on that one have nothing really to do with apples: “All my phones are tapped so I speak in tongues/All you left behind was a loaded gun.” But the Northern Spy might be my favorite variety of apple, so that’s got to have something to do with it. The lyrics on Granny Smith are a little more relevant: “Irradiated fruit last long/ Slowly slowly your taste is gone/ I wonder what your shelf-life will be.”

20Sept2006apple3.jpgSono Oto is playing their much-anticipated cd release party/ concert tonight at Mercury Lounge at 10:30. In preparation for the festivities, I spent the weekend in apple country. Upstate, I suppose, is the ultimate outer borough of New York. I drove to Lake George in Adirondack Park to enjoy the last warm days of the year and take these photos of the abundant, ripe apples to be had up there.

Mark suggested that I hit the Fort Greene Greenmarket because the stellar apple vendor there helped inspire him to write the Apple EP. But I couldn’t resist road-tripping to The Adirondacks before that rush of city folk floods the area to watch the leaves change. The Family Guy best described that yearly phenomenon when those honking “idiot” New Yorkers take over town bobbing their heads saying, “Yo, Matty. Check out those colors.” “Yellow like a taxi, orange like the ball at the Knicks game, and red like the sauce on my Mamma Mia’s cu cazz.” “Yeah, and brown like the guys I don’t pick up in my cab.”

No, I wouldn’t want to be a leafer like that. I’ll just stick to apples.

Apple EP Release Party, Mercury Lounge, 217 E Houston, 10:30 2nite, $10 and free EP
Fort Greene Greenmarket, Every Saturday 8am to 5pm

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