Monday, April 30, 2007

Inside and Out

Sure, spending a springtime afternoon watching a baseball game in a dimly lit bar on the Upper East Side is fun and all, but nothing beats taking a trip out to the Bronx to see the Yankees live in action. Sunday’s game was apparently historic, it being the Yankees versus the Red Sox. I wouldn’t really know anything about that, but I can say that for the first time ever, I actually enjoyed watching a game.

We were perched behind home plate -- way, way behind home plate -- which gave the players a clay figure effect. And I have to admit, I might've been more entertained by the drama in the stands than the drama on the field. Those baseball fans have more passion spewing out of them than anything you'll ever witness at a Joan Didion play.

We saw a fight erupt, and the cops threaten, "Yo, who wants to watch the rest of da the game in Queens?" My personal favorite, though, are the peanut vendors who chuck bags at customers in distances that double those between bases. And the hecklers! Bless the hecklers who think their voices register above all of that.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Diamond Sea

It’s Tribeca Film Fest week, which means sneaking into as many glam parties and overpriced Indie flicks as possible. There’s nothing like watching a pal try to finagle his way into some hoity-toity night club by saying, "Look, you might have heard of my film. It’s about a horse and it’s going to Cannes!" Alas, we never made it in, because it’s the newest club and we weren’t on the list. This being New York, only a bunch of nimrods would stand in line, fighting for a chance to get into a place that is actually called the Box. So we split. Later, we ended up talking to Julie Delpy, who is very tall, very French, and very charming, dressed in all black w/ red, patent leather high heels.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Under The Folding Branches

Finally, it’s spring here and everybody knows it. Friday was mojito 4.20 in Hell’s Kitchen, freeloading at a birthday party for a total stranger, and Saturday was the first barbecue of the year, on a spectacular rooftop in Park Slope, with people I (thankfully) know pretty damned well. And no spring weekend would be complete without the handlebar bike ride I took down Houston Street on Sunday afternoon, like somebody who has all the health insurance in the world.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Bring Da Ruckus

Rock the Bells is a documentary that's kinda like Gimme Shelter meets Dave Chappelle's Block Party, except it's much more fuming with momentum and DIY energy. The film follows concert promoter, Chang, as he frantically tries to organize the last show the notorious Wu-Tang Clan will ever play together (Old Dirty Bastard died four months after the concert). To assemble the nine hip-hop legends takes multiple phone calls, drugs, coaxing, and money, money, money, but Chang somehow pulls it off, making for a very compelling climax in which over 10,000 hyperactive fans attempt to storm the stage. I would not pass on this film.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Hands Across The Void

Cormac McCarthy's The Road is the best piece of fiction I've read in a long time, maybe even since college. No wonder he won the Pulitzer and the the Tournament of Books; it truly is a masterpiece of literature. Each paragraph reads like an elegiac, post-apocalyptic poem, and I swallowed the whole collection down in two days flat.
I've always been reluctant to read McCarthy's work, known for his violence with words, but the violence in The Road is somehow made accessible. Even a baby roasting on a spit doesn’t seem nearly as horrific when he describes it. It's pure structuralism, the barren setting reflecting every inch of the tone, with beautifully bare language and punctuation (there is only about one comma or apostrophe every five pages), unnamed characters, very limited dialogue, and an incredibly bleak plot.
A brief example:
They stood on the far shore of a river and called to him. Tattered gods slouching in their rags across the waste. Trekking the dried floor of a mineral sea where it lay cracked and broken like a fallen plate. Paths of feral fire in the coagulate sands. The figures faded in the distance. He woke and lay in the dark.

Clap Hands

Yes, please.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Curtain Call For A Whispering Ghost

I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you different.
Kurt Vonnegut

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Someone Great

Inspired by a little bit of MFK Fisher, and a little bit of Woody Guthrie, one of my dearest friends has produced one my favorite new sites. It is the most fabulous page on the entire Internet, and that's the truth. You see, Maggie does, what is in my opinion, the impossible: She makes cooking look fun and, not only that, she also makes vegan food look appetizing. Plus! In real life, not just cyberspace, Maggie's gastronomical creations are so delectable that I just want to reach through the screen and devour them all.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Earth Intruders

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

3 Legs


It is not very cool these days to criticize Joan Didion. And I'm not, even though it has been done. No, instead I worship Didion for her work, both fiction and nonfiction. Her prose is the kind that I could only dream of writing, or for that matter truly comprehending.

Some of Didion’s sentences extend for days on end, never faltering to draw inspiration,masterfully weaving around her own thoughts a web of narrow access veering immutably toward the particular.

Nobody can do it like Didion.

And so of course I loved The Year of Magical Thinking, even though I cannot relate to her reflections on widowhood, or her upper Manhattan lifestyle that differs so vastly from my own. To take the universal topic of death and compose it to suit your own life already alienates an audience to a certain degree, which is a schism that only Didion can execute with skill. It is a book of style, like all of her work, and that much I appreciate.

Her glamour is the last of its kind; there are no other celebrities today who are both intellectual and beautiful.

Conversely, it was at one point cool to criticize Vanessa Redgrave who, for 90 minutes, sat on stage at the Booth Theatre and screwed up Joan Didion’s words. Sure, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but from where I was sitting (fourth row, thank you very much), Redgrave looked too technical, and I do not appreciate the manic slant she gave to Didion’s character.

Or maybe it is not Redgrave’s fault. Maybe, instead, Didion’s work is too private to be set to stage, out in the open like that. Simply put, the book was not meant to be a play.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Tonight Will Be Fine

I'm going to a Passover seder tonight and I'm a little worried about the part of the ritual where you have to drink four glasses of wine. Because when it comes down to it, I'm all talk; I can't drink four glasses of anything.

When discussing the dilemma with my dear friend, Tina, I ask for her advice about how to avoid getting plastered at a Passover seder in Scarsdale, New York. Tina, always one to offer a lending hand -- but maybe not the best consultant for matters of Judaic tradition -- had this to say:

"Don't worry, you'll be okay. Just eat a lot of bread."