Thursday, August 31, 2006

((don't forget not to work on monday))

The Sun Goes Down and the World Goes Dancing

Somewhere in the depths of the Lower East Side, maybe on Norfolk and Essex, there is a bar that posed as a toy company during the Prohibition era. You have to enter past two huge men through an unmarked door. Drinks are served in tea cups; paisley upholstery lines the walls; Belle and Sebastion is playing in the background; the clientele is understated, by LES standards, and the lighting is muted. You can park yourself on a velvet settee and recall with friends at least six impossible things before midnight. If only I could remember the name of this cavernous spot, it would surely be my favorite bar in all of Manhattan and this wouldn’t look like a fabrication.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

54321 Wave

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Sailing the Seas of Cheese

Last night we saw Paul F. Tompkins, of Mr. Show fame, perform at the UCB, which was funny enough to get me out of a Monday funk.

He wore a white suit with teal stripes, and manged to keep the audience entertained for over an hour, which is pretty hard to do just by talking.

He had just the right amount of personality and cursed just the right amount and used just the right amount of physical humor and current events and all that good stuff.

I mean, not everything was laugh-out-loud funny.

He did one bit about a talking ape that dragged on a little too long, in my opinion.

Yet for the most part, everybody was laughing the entire time.

Except for this bald guy who was sitting directly next to me-- he was not laughing at all. It was kind of funny, how much he was not laughing. To sit in a room, where everyone around you is in stiches, and not let a single peep drop out of your mouth. What kind of freak was I sitting next to for an hour and fifteen minutes?

Monday, August 28, 2006

Mashed Potato-Time

The majority of last weekend was spent packing, stuffing, cleaning, scrubbing, carrying, lugging, schlepping and climbing. Yes, I finally moved apartments, down four flights of stairs and up five more, several times over. It was not fun, my friends. I can only imagine what the agony of that episode would have been if I owned more material goods, like furniture, for instance.
Now I am most certain that moving – no matter how few things you own, how conveniently located your apartment, or how well you hit it off with your new roommate – is the least thrilling part of living in this little metropolis.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Physical Graffiti

A few nights ago, I was forced to use the bathroom at the Lit Lounge. In my opinion, this is the skankiest bathroom in all of Manhattan. It makes the bathroom in Trainspotting look like the Ritz Carlton -- I’ll just leave it at that.

As I was leaving this dungeon of a washroom, I heard someone call in my direction, “Hey SATAN!”

Naturally, I turned around.

It was then that I was met with the embrace of a dark-haired female whose platforms caused her to tower over me.

“How are you doing, Satan? It’s me, Sasha!”

It took me a moment to remember Sasha and, for that matter, why she refers to me as ‘Satan’.

Last Halloween, I signed up for a free makeover at the Yves Saint Laurent counter in Bloomingdales. I had only been in New York for about three weeks and the same goes for Sasha, who had just moved here from Russia and found a cosmetic job at Bloomingdales.

I had my heart set on being the Devil in the Blue Dress that night because it was a quick fix: $10 blue dress at H&M, $5 devil horns at the costume store.

But I don’t do makeup and Sasha does. I told her I wanted to look Satanic.

“You mean you want smoky eyes?”

“Yeah. Smoky and SATANIC.”

She had fun doing a real number on my makeup. That makeover would be the first of several Craigslist screw-ups as I soon learned that there is no such thing as a free YSL makeover.

After she had finished one Satanic eye, with red shadow and twelve layers of eyeliner, Sasha informed me that I had to buy at least one YSL product. What I didn’t know then, naïve thing, was that the least expensive YSL product is a $35 lip gloss.

Sasha, with her Russian sympathy, let me get away with not buying anything and, even though she spent at least ten minutes perched directly in front of my face, I hadn’t thought of her since then.

Now. I cannot be held accountable for anybody/anything I met in my first month here. I was bombarded with newness at every turn that month and so October of last year is now only a vague impression.

But that was last October and now it is August; I don’t remember this girl and she is pushing me back into the bathroom.

It’s a single stall bathroom but she wants me to hold the door for her just in case somebody opens it while she’s going. I really don’t want to be back in that bathroom but I continue with small talk anyway.

When she finished, Sasha asked me if I wanted her to touch up my makeup.

No, I kind of want to get the hell out of this bathroom.

But she convinced me that I had to try some product or another and so I agreed. As she began to show me lipsticks, she told me how she quit her job at Bloomingdales and had since been working as a makeup artist for various music video productions around town.

I’m almost positive she was coked up or something because her hands weren’t as steady as they were last time she applied mascara to my lashes and, well, she had drip coming out of her right nostril.

“Do you want to look SATANIC again?”

No, not as Satanic tonight. Well, O.K., maybe a little.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Wind Driving Dogs

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Miniature Sun


About once a week, I eat a family dinner with a family that is not my own. There’s this street vendor cart a couple blocks from my apartment that provides a veggie gyro that has become one of the staples of my diet. (When taking it to the streets, I like to stick with vegetarian options.) The food is prepared by a family who moved here about fifteen years ago from Egypt. I don’t know when it started, maybe sometime last May, but they always have an open lawn chair ready for me.

There’s Lisa, the eldest daughter, who is around my age. We’ve become pretty good friends over recent weeks and she often confides in me about her boy troubles. She’s under strict supervision from her father and is not allowed to go out with boys until she is engaged to one.

Then there’s the brother, Mo, 16 years-old, who likes to watch me squirm as I struggle to come up with new excuses each week as to why I can’t go to the movies with him.

My favorite, though, is the 4 year-old girl, Tulla. I’ve been trying to figure out a way to get on whatever train she’s on. She just sits there with her little flower-face and carries on and on in a mixture of Egyptian and English. Mainly, she talks about ice cream.

Then there’s the father, a good-humored man of small stature. I’m pretty sure he thinks I’m some white anorexic orphan because he’s always trying to load me up with second helpings. He’s got a funny way about him where he’s all business up front, but the second a group of customers walk away, he starts making fun of the way they smell.

Finally, there’s the mother, who is kind of like the soul provider of the family. She never speaks directly to me; Lisa usually translates her. Once, she explained to us how, “you see how 1st avenue looks so much lighter, more relaxing at night? It's not because of the bright lights. It's because the avenue is made of concrete, which is lighter, and not asphalt, which is what other avenues are made of, and that's why they appear darker.”

Monday, August 21, 2006

Circus Walk

That was the second to last official weekend of the summer and you could see signs of it everywhere. The true fashionites, who dress for the season and not the weather, are beginning to replace their sandals with ankle boots; swimming seems less feasible than ever; responsibility is harder to ignore.

Everybody knows it’s the end of summer, even if they don’t want to admit it. I didn’t think you could still feel glum about that sort of thing if you were no longer in school.

Nevertheless, I met with pen pals, mashed up on stage with Girl Talk, was introduced to an old Manhattan dive bar, stayed out too late, woke up too early, had my expectations met by Snakes on a Plane, accidentally ended up in the Meatpacking District, and visited Brooklyn for one more rooftop barbeque, as New York presses the shutter release on its camera.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Transmitting Live From Mars

Oh happy freaking Friday.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Ping Pong Affair


We pay continuous partial attention in an effort NOT TO MISS ANYTHING. It is an always-on, anywhere, anytime, any place behavior that involves an artificial sense of constant crisis. We are always in high alert when we pay continuous partial attention. This artificial sense of constant crisis is more typical of continuous partial attention than it is of multi-tasking.

I think I found my diagnosis. Sure, it’s kinda bullshit, or at least not legitimate enough to be featured on Web MD, House, or a waiting room medical poster. I think that if you’re reading this, you’re plagued as well. I think it’s somewhat hereditary – don’t argue –easily transmissible and unfortunately untreatable yet not deadly. Or maybe it’s just a symptom of being in your 20’s in the 21st Century. I don’t know; I didn’t even finish reading the article.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Another Day on Earth

Monday, August 14, 2006

Power Doesn't Run On Nothing

Last weekend, I watched Sonic Youth from the inside of an Olympic-sized swimming pool that hasn’t been filled with water since the Depression Era. McCarren Park Pool in Brooklyn is one of my favorite music venues and I’ve been dying to see Sonic Youth play in New York. And it was wonderful. I wish the same could be said for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, who, in some undignified fit of disrespect, played after Sonic Youth. Following Sonic Youth’s well practiced brilliance, and Kim Gordon’s edgy grace, Karen O looked like a fluorescent piñata pouncing around the stage in an act that could have stayed in 2003 for all I care.

There was also a rooftop party all the way up on West 96t, 16th floor, and a trannie karaoke club, Strawberry Fields in Central Park, a hefty lasagna dinner, Woody Allen's non-New York film, Scoop, lots of running around in between, and a Vespa ride through lower Manhattan that surprisingly turned out to be the calmest part of my weekend.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Fever to Tell


Last night, I was home before midnight, after eating a sushi dinner with old friends.

One of whom is Michaela Mckee, who I hadn’t seen since the seventh grade, when she went by Mickey Mckee. I will always refer to her as Mickey Mickee because it’s simply too good of a name to drop.

Michaela has been living in New York for about four years and ten months longer than I have and you can tell. She knows of all the great hole-in-the-wall restaurants, she probably never gets lost, and she has a job that she loves. (Film producer.) She even knows how to hold her chopsticks just so, which may not necessarily be an attribute that is site specific to New York.

“How did you get past this?” I asked her.


“This phase where you feel the need to go out every night, for fear of missing something.”

“Oh,” she said wisely, “you’ll get over it. Trust me.”

I’ll take her word for it but at the moment, I cannot recall a single night this summer where I caught eight hours of sleep in a row. And I’ve found that it’s taken me over two weeks to read a book that would normally take me only a few days.

It’s hard work, this flaneur business. To be a granddaughter of Baudelaire, you must know when to conserve your energy, which I haven’t quite mastered as of now.

Anyway, I ate these Cheetos today -- the puffed kind, even. Out of all the terrible things I do and do not do to my body, somehow eating Cheetos seems like the worst of it.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Father Cannot Yell

I would strongly suggest buying a picnic dinner for a friend who is willing to wait in line, from 7AM-1PM, in order to get tickets for Mother Courage and Her Children at Central Park.

Berthold Brecht’s Mother Courage and Her Children, translated (and updated) from German by Tony Kushner, directed by George C. Wolfe, with music by Jeanine Tesori, stars Kevin Kline, Austin Pendleton, Meryl Streep, and some other people.

Well, mainly, the play stars Meryl Streep. Not only because she plays the title character, a mother who must persevere through the Thirty Years War, in order to make a profit, only to lose her three children, but mainly due to the fact that it’s Meryl Streep.

It is her energy that carries the show, in addition to Kushner’s witty political commentary, and the fact that you are watching a play about a 30 year war, outside, in Central Park, under a fullish moon.

I wonder if you really need to stand in line for five hours for tickets to this performance. You could probably stand at any point in Central Park, even way up on 110th Street, and still hear Meryl Streep scream.

I bet her glare reaches that far, too.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Disconnection Notice


While on my lunch break this afternoon, I had to act as mediator between one of my roommates and my landlord. Isn’t that how everybody wants to spend the precious minutes of their lunch break?

I don’t really know what the full story is, because to be quite honest, I wasn’t paying all that much attention.

Apparently, Anne (who quit her job back in May, in order to plan her wedding, which is not until December), is all up in arms because Leora, our landlord, is not giving Anne proper notice of when she is showing our apartment to potential tenants.

So Anne decided to call me on my lunch break, interrupting me at the peak of people-watching time, to churn out a bunch of jargon from the Tenant’s Rights Guide, which her lawyer fiancé (who is currently paying her rent) printed out for her.

She also wants me to chip in $25 for an alarm she bought at Radioshack. That way, Leora can’t “break into” our apartment.

Now, Anne. Is this some kind of joke played by you on me?

You really expect me to use my hard earned dollars on an alarm system to protect what? My 2001 hunk of a laptop, Julie’s trampoline, or your spineless, Penguin edition, Jane Austen box set?

At that point, I had to hang up with Anne, to answer Leora, who declared:

“Anne has issues. I wouldn’t get mixed up with a girl like that if I were you.”

Thank you, Leora.

And you know what? I don’t care anymore; I really don’t. I don’t care anymore because last week, I met with my new roommate, for a beer, in her rent stabilized apartment. And it was nice. Because that is the way it is meant to be: you should want to sit down and have a drink with your roommate.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The One on the Right Is on the Left

Well, my trip back to the left coast was everything I hoped for and then some. There was one afternoon in Seattle, on the beach, and one evening of gallivanting around Capital Hill, which left me feeling dreamy at first, until I remembered how to get back into the laid back swing of things. It is funny how the familiarity and drama of my old stomping ground seems more claustrophobic to me now than New York ever has. The next day was spent driving east, with a slight detour in the dustbowl desert of Ellensburg, a town I hope to visit never again, and then an arrival in the roaming wheat fields of Colfax, Washington.

The wedding, a three day event, was made perfect only by the perfect pairing of bride and groom. Hey, weddings are fun. I wish all of my friends would get married now. Although I felt a little left out because I was the only member of the wedding party without a tattoo. The ceremony was given by a slightly senile priest, who almost forgot the most important piece of the ritual. The backyard reception was entirely vegan and D.I.Y, in which we all pitched in with our assigned chores, and, finally, there was a toast in which the best man revealed that the marriage is surely fit for longevity, since the bride makes the groom “less of an asshole.” There was also an afternoon of swimming and jumping in the massive ravine of the Snake River, and a night spent on a tarp, in between two of my fondest, underneath a slew of stars in a bigger sky than I have seen in quite some time.

It felt better than good to see some of my most favorite people in the entire universe in one fell swoop, because sometimes (all of the times) e-mails and phone conversations simply don’t cut it. Yet even though most of my darlings reside there, in apartments that are twice the size of mine at less than half the rent, Seattle is a nice place to visit, but I don’t think I could live there anymore. And now that I am back from vacation, it is time to get back to reality, or at least my version of it.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Pastures of Plenty

Around this time last year, I was in Seattle for the funeral of a very dear friend. Tomorrow, I am going back to Seattle to be the Maid of Honor in the wedding of a very dear friend.

It seems premature, at twenty-four years of age, to be attending either of these affairs.

Yet nothing can be done about the passing of a friend in death -- it is a gloomy detail of life. For reasons that seem related, one feels the same about a marriage -- compared to a funeral, it has about it the same fact/fate/fatality. Until death do us part: Marriage is a chain to the death.

For this particular bride, who will tie the knot on Saturday, it is printed in the stars that she is to be chained to her groom for life, before death. They have a wonderful linkage, those two. To celebrate this union, they are throwing the most low-key, unconventional of ceremonies, where we will all be Vegan, but far from straight edge.

I appreciate this more than the bride knows and look forward to sharing a tent with old friends, under the stars, outside a house that lies so far east in Washington state, that one could practically call it Idaho.

And twenty-four is not so young; my grandmother was married at this age and so was yours. Moreover, if I were not living in New York, and chose instead a smaller town, I would probably be married by now and super-pregnant.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Type Slowly