Tuesday, July 26, 2005

if for nothing else

i'm pained to do this, but i have to thank the new york times for allowing me to wring a droplet of material out of the (overpoweringly) perfume drenched wet rag that is stephanie klein. because bitching about her got me my first comment ever not written by a usual suspect. so, if nothing else, um, thanks for being wretched, disliked, and um, kinda not hot, despite what you may say on the ijc.

in my line of work...

images sent back from a co-worker on vacation. now that's relaxing.

money, poof!

"Discovery is scheduled for a 12 day mission to test new shuttle safety features and to deliver supplies to the international space station"
And thus the US launches the first interstellar FreshDirect. $500,000,000 minimum order.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

this is what happens when we spend too much time in the sun. we turn into martha, then take pictures of it.this is the reason we're on the next train back to manhattan tonight.

sharm

sharm al shaykh was bombed last night. over 83 people were killed. sharm was the first place i went in my exploration of the wider world of egypt outside cairo. this mall was where i ate dinner with what would become the wednesday night drinking club. the taba bombings last year destroyed the hotel where i spent a long weekend, made longer by a sandstorm, with the people who introduced me to the marvels of arabic and the middle east.

it's a personal tragedy, but selfishly so. i can't express how saddened i am by the wanton destruction and murder. the media will say al-qaida, but this was probably home-grown egyptian terrorism that planned to claim links to al-qaida post-bombing. i doubt it is part of a larger network.

83 people were killed last night, almost twice the number of the london bombings. at the time of press, admittedly, the report was 49, but this is still the equivalence of those in the tube and on the bus. yet- not a single paper ran it as their lead. i find this a repulsive trait of the western news media. last night i happened to be rewatching the documentary control room. in it, one of the lead figures, an american military spokesman, discusses his dismay at the feelings of horror he experienced when exposed to images of the injured and dead. revulsion and anger at the damage done to americans but only brief dismay and sadness upon seeing iraqi casualties. it also reminded me of the american media's response to the tsunami... hundreds of thousands dead, but the real lede was about the handful of missing americans. i don't seek to discount anyone's grief, but there is a distinct assymmetry to our empathy.

as the new yorker's william finnegan points out in one of the more compelling articles i've read in a while, the 1990 crackdown on the ikhwan in egypt brought shaykh omar abdel rahman to the states, the main instigator of the '93 bombing of the world trade center. these sort of events, regardless of their provenance, will echo through the region and the wider world. it does us well not to forget that over 60 million people live in egypt, and the presidential and parliamentary elections are coming up in september and october, and that this bombing has consequences for that too. that's about the limit of this event's appropriateness for this site, but more will be here shortly. (and here, for some local knowledge.)

oh sweet

my least favorite narcissistic person on the planet has her very own article in the times today, sure to swell her ego to unscalable heights!

let me be clear: i enjoy writing online. it's for my friends (when they chose to read it), it's because i live in a neighborhood that inspires rants, and its because i like the sound of my own voice.

however, a few ground rules.

i do not write about my personal life.

my friends rarely make it on here, except in the role of 'old roommate' or 'friend.'

affairs of the heart will never merit a mention.

people who shamelessly expose themselves emotionally ought to be flogged and subject to persecution, just like in the offline world. if i don't want to see your genitals on a street corner, i don't need to hear about your romps through dimly lit meatpacking lounges when you're feeling slick or disappointing drinks with scruffy brooklynites for when you're experimenting with your artsy side.

i'm not interested in your thread count, i don't care about your dye job, i'm don't want to read about your endless search for the right guy when any sane guy would steer clear away. you think you're going to meet anyone special when you're liveblogging your first impressions?

your wretched and pathetic childhood ought to be dealt with alone, offline. the comments of some syncophant readers are not going to help you through your mother's death, your divorce, or your first manuscript rejection.

and finally, paying $12 for a martini and bragging about it does not make you glamourous. it makes you insufferable.

weekend shots

every weekend i'm in the country i get camera access.now that i'm a working stiff, i wake up early, even on the weekends. (if i went to sleep relatively sober) i don't like it, but sometimes it means seeing things like 3" dragonflies on the back porch.

and it means i'm the one who gets to claim the best part of the weekend ritual: picking up the sunday times on a saturday. barefoot.

Friday, July 22, 2005

brilliance!

see what happens when alcoholism and technology meet?
MyOpenBar
so i can spend more hungover mornings lying in bed, listening to the alarm and wondering if its worth it to get up. because what i need is to be drunk at work more. this is like monster.com. this is the key to corporate advancement.

la hype

Following all the hype over some new lounge that is right around the corner from us, we decided to Citysearch it, because that’s always a surefire way to find out about the clientele. Read the user comments, establish level of dickery, and decide whether to avoid or enjoy. Since we are not at all the sort to frequent places where we have to call to get in (having successfully avoided milk and honey despite our friends’ gushing reviews and its two block proximity from our home) we doubted we’d be making an appearance at la esquiwhadever any time soon. While there were no user comments yet, the Citysearch-bot confirmed our suspicions.

Yeah. We thought so.

NB: We dislike daily candiers intensely and would have been extremely unlikely to show up, regardless of reviews. And ToTC, what is this shameless shilling for Eater? We all know you work for its mothership.


like where the fishies swim?

From "Rice Makes Surprise Visit to Lebanon"

She then visited the grave of Hariri, assassinated in Beirut in February, where she laid a reef of white flowers and, head bowed, paid her respects with Saad at her side. A few bystanders clapped when she arrived and she waved to them.

Grey Lady, where are your editors? It's no excuse that Reuters wrote it. They're Brits. Let's keep our editing consistent, please? Bodies never end up in the boot, do they?

taking the words out of my mouth

home for the weekend on family business, i sit compulsively reading blogs to feel connected to my city. the prevelance of pieces on the subway searches gets my hackles raised, as i feel scooped, having sat around grand central for an hour yesterday watching cameras and reporters with notepads (actual notepads- i didn't know they used those anymore- how romantic. made me want to go drink a whiskey and don a fedora) interview unsuspecting travelers and then getting caught in a photographers lens myself.

my younger brother and i take the same line, now that he's staying at my place, so spend a lot of time together, not speaking, just staring at the commuters and elbowing each other when we see the oddities of manhattan, like the guy with a parakeet on his shoulder, or the family of tourists all wearing their 'i heart nyc' t-shirts. so when i turned to him this morning to recount some exciting information i leaned in the times, i shouldn't have been surprised at his world weary sixteen year old response.

you know those really annoying subway ads?

the mitchum ones?

how'd you know?

you said annoying, didn't you?

yeah. well, they're coming down. direct violation of MTA policies.

i wondered about that.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

my wussiness prevails

i pretend i'm hard but i'm really her.

oh the irony


just found this surfing archives. this is the weekend i roll out the Upsaida tee shirt. the only problem is, a shirt with this sort of magnitude of irony is really best worn in the lion's den itself... but that would require going uptown. hmm, lion's den. $50 says there is probably is a faux celtic pub up there by that very name.

update: there is no uptown lion's den. i was completely remiss in assuming that the neighborhood would be that unoriginal. come on, this is the home of american spirits! however, there is a downtown faux-celtic lion's den, and it is firmly within the boundaries of WoBro, which is actually just where UES initiates must aquire their mandatory beer paunches before they can join the big leagues by getting a job in finance, moving in with a fake blonde, and walking an emasculating dog wearing a sweater.
update: the lion's den is city hall of WoBro! how did i miss this cozy little atmospheric brasserie when i was at nyu? argh, the regrets and lamentations!

CYHSY

yeah, i know i willingly gave up tickets to their concert last night at southpaw. please refrain from rubbing it in.

i'll get you yet JG

i think we can all agree that it is a safe bet that i did not nominate jason george as gawker's men of the times hottie. in fact, while it is a physical impossibility that he could be nominated for anything with the word 'hottie' in the title, if his name did come up, i would veto it.

the old grey lady is up to it again

I’m kinda a little bit in love with this guy… a 69 year old man who gets worked up about trail mix, curses Sam Walton, and shills for the Democrats.

“Wal-Mart, for example, boasts that its Sam's Club division has the lowest prices of any retailer. Mr. Sinegal emphatically dismissed that assertion with a one-word barnyard epithet. Sam's might make the case that its ketchup is cheaper than Costco's, he said, "but you can't compare Hunt's ketchup with Heinz ketchup."

Bullhonky? Since when is that an epithet?


And more on the NYT jag… last night happened to be out with friends, one of whom is going to go work for Lenny Kravitz in his new design firm. Cause everyone needs a little boudoir in their life. Kravitz you’ll recall, has such fine taste that his fully decorated apartment in Soho has been on the market for over three years and has had its price slashed twice. Another acquaintance of mine knew five guys who split the rent there and treated it as a giant i-banker rumpus room. He said it had more Lucite than he’d seen in his life. I’m gonna go with Lenny’s former design partner when he expresses his doubts as to the Kravitization of high style; “I don't know how he'd mold his design to other people's taste.”

les fame... and shame

walking down ludlow last night, slightly tipsy and on the phone, a guy grabs my arm outside motor city. i know you! he says, and drags me over to his friends. i've never seen this guy before in my life that i can remember. you're the chick from happy ending! this is not the way i want to be associated, my face forever inspiring references to masturbatory massage. you're the girl who does the trashbag clothes! hey now, i work with shower curtains too. yeah, yeah, i was wearing your skirt last week. uh huh, well, do your own thing pardner, i want nothing to do with your sexuality issues.

just to reiterate, even though i work in trashbags, i had nothing to do with this.

er...

native design

it's funny how sometimes you can just take a look at something and know exactly where it is from.

igloo? the arctic.

baguettes and brie? paris.

fur hats? mother russia.

the loftcube? ja. berlin, natch.

where "white washed peebles (sic) massage your feet and provide comfort to your soul."

sweet! sorta like mac and cheese but without the calories and cheaper than a pedicure.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

craigliststers

okay, okay, so we missed siren fest to go out to save the whales, but we raised $1000 for the whales and the lineup wasn't so impressive anyway. even if we had to hang out with a bunch of people in french blue shirts with raspberry ties and reefs and oakleys on in the middle of the night. $1000... maris will wet herself.

missing siren fest doesn't mean that we didn't follow the coverage and die laughing when we saw this, which put us in a great mood for our tuesday night pbr slosh fest.

too fucking funny. because even though i live near them, drink with them, listen to them and (sometimes) dress like them, goodness i dislike dirty hipsters.

Monday, July 18, 2005

chinoistown, home of... deals?

this is cute. totally wishful, but adorably sincere.

tell me, who wants to navigate the miasma of chinoistown today?

didn't think so.

for the extra $1.25 for my hot sauce, i'll shop all afternoon in airconditioned, savory climes of whole foods. y'all can keep your 75 cent bottles of curry and your putrid bags of trash.

i'm sorry i'm hating on my 'hood today, but with the weather as it is, how could i not be? you try waking up to the smell of rat shit, fish heads and dim sum.

Friday, July 15, 2005

so hot


the weekend is almost here. it's save the whales, and you know what that means. the annual excuse to go out to the country, throw a party in a barn, and run a tab where all the proceeds go to uh, saving the whales. and then we all make complete fools of ourselves, which will be vaguely remembered for recounting at the awards ceremony in late august. i know that the courtney love award is probably all locked up, but perhaps i can make my mark somehow... fabian basabe award, anyone? right, cause i'm classy like that.

of course, the real signifigance of save the whales lies less in the whale saving, although that is key, and a good deal in the sartorial entertainment the night provides. our male friends don their best in thrift store excellence, complete with plumy tuxedo shirts and tails. some of the women opt for homemade dresses. one of my friends is planning on wearing fins. me? i'm a simple gal. i think this in XXL, with a belt a la shirtdress, will do nicely.

aww


like kissing dinosaurs. i don't really have any words for this. i just can't stop staring at it. i stole it off FishbowlNY. i'd tell you the context but it would kinda ruin the whole image.

but the emotional cost was staggering

Not to keep on keeping on with the Gawker thing today, but I’m hard at work cranking out reports on the fall of this government and that regime, so Gawker’s kinda like a quickie I sneak off for when I just can’t handle any more coup d’etats.

Lifted from the NYDN today, they argue that there ain’t no such thing as a cheap date. However, they seem almost bashfully modest. Ironic shots as ESPN SportsZone, $43 including tip? Wasted cab ride home, $15 including tip? Pizza on the corner, the $4.50 slice? ATM, $1.50 withdrawal fee? I don’t know what sort of utopian consumer Shangri-la they live in. It’s a full $2.00 subway fare equivalance down in these parts.

But why stop there? This is supposed to be a date, after all, yes? And you have been doing tequila shots at SportsZone all night, right? Let’s follow it to the logical conclusion then.

Condoms at the bodega on the corner, $10 pack? Check. Oh wait you’re on the pill? Okay, Parliament Lights instead, $7 pack? Check. A late night six of PBR that you’ll open two bottles and drink three sips of, $6.99? Check. Upholstery cleaning for the beer you knocked over on your roommate’s couch as you two started to go at it, $53.69? Check. Emergency contraceptive at planned parenthood cause she actually forgot to take the pill the day before, $45? Check. Coffee while you wait outside cause there ain’t no way you’re going to get involved in this and you’ve already deleted her number from your phone, $1.50? Check. Her cab ride back to Williamsburg, just so she stops trying to put her arm around you and say don’t worry it’s not a big deal but what are you doing tomorrow, $20? Check. Drinks for your buddy that night at Welcome to the Johnsons so you can recount to him the worst fucking lay you’ve ever had? $6, including tip. At least some things come cheap.

she was such a sweet young thing

From an April 12th ’05 edition of Gawker Stalker --

I went to see The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill at the Quad Theater on Friday night, and sat two rows behind Katie Holmes! Surprised to see she of Dawson’s Creek fame at such an obscure documentary film. More surprised to see her with a very tall, thin, good-looking guy I didn’t recognize. They were very cute throughout the whole movie, stroking eachother (sic), giggling, whispering. He squeezed her leg at an especially moving part. On the way out I got a good look—prettier than on film but shorter than I suspected (she was with the tall guy, though.) When she returned from the bathroom, he was waiting for her and she grabbed his butt!

-- So sad how hard and fast they fall.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

sticky fingers

So that’s where all those ashtrays in my house come from. And the matching set of beer steins, and the reserved table plaque, and the spoons from CZA, and the fleece Virgin blankets, and- I should just stop right there. Otherwise someone is going to get jealous of what fine taste and collectables I have and come try to steal all my stuff.

"Even the most upstanding citizens, it seems, can find justifications for a certain amount of petty thievery. Bad service in an expensive restaurant? Slip one of their fancy forks into your purse. Hankering for a souvenir from the cafe in Vienna where you ate that unforgettable Sachertorte? Take a linen napkin. A hotel's prices seem extortionist? You might as well swipe a monogrammed bath mat."

Benoit Monin, professor of psychology at Stanford University opines:


"I might think that a hotel guest is immoral for stealing a bathrobe, whereas morality doesn't even cross her mind. On the other hand, she might find my drinking habits immoral, whereas I might not give them a second thought."

What if I don’t remember? Can I blame my drinking habits? Is it moral to blame alcoholics? Can’t you see they just need help? I mean, that's just heartless.

RI can't catch a break

see? i'm not the only one hating on the other island. even if i am probably the only one who should feel legitimately bad about it.

the futility of it all

What’s the difference between my blog and Chris Mohney’s? Mine’s more likely to get me fired than hired. I don’t know whether it’ll be because I find inspiration for it during working hours, or whether it’ll be when I’m connected through my brilliant analysis at work and my brilliant analysis online… (given that there are only so many middle-east hands living in a grimy Chinatown apartment) but one of these days, someone will find it, and I will be a casualty of the Seduction of the Blogger, which will then likely become the title for my off-off-off-Broadway play that will be staged in the recesses of my mind late at night as I contemplate selling my body to pay the rent, like a certain roommate I once knew. Of course, if I lose my apartment because I lose my job, then I also lose the cachet of being Chinoistown. Ah, conundrums! Luckily I am safe in the knowledge that aside from one or two or three shouts on Curbed, no one even reads this shit. Phew.

back to business

The Observer (my new favorite time-killer!) has an uplifting and realistic take on the London blasts. While I was in the office till 9:00 last night working on an op-ed on the 'real causes of terror,' most Britons were apparently snug in bed without a care in the world. We americans really are overly excitable. The best paragraph comes at the end:

One newspaper columnist even thought "it was a good thing" that the bombs had gone off in Britain rather than in the U.S., where it would have been "used by the Bush administration as an argument for locking people up indefinitely, taking away Americans' civil liberties, and perhaps even for invading some other unsuspecting country. One bomb in an American city, and it would have a free run down to 2008." The debt owed the British people for swallowing this particular grenade may be greater than we thought.

But I still encourage reading the whole article.

under the stars

Dinosaur Jr. and Broken Social Scene play Central Park Summer Stage tonight. The tickets are $37.50, and while we know it’s for a good cause – keeping Cheb Khaled and Batoto Yetu and Femi Kuti et al playing for free – we’re broke as Humpty Dumpty after the fall.

So we’re packing a picnic (beer and PB + J sandwiches) and heading for the park anyway. Settle ourselves on a blanket, brown bag a brew, and lie back and listen.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

gurgle cough die

so unbelievably hungover. the night involved cross-dressing, so you know it had to be good. now i need to go die. back tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

ah, memories

unBeige brings up Czech design. Prague reminds us too of catwalks and absinthe, but in our four months teetering around on three inch heels and three too many, we actually did make it to the spectacular displays of Czech design tucked around the city. We started at the Obneci Dum in the center of Namesti Miro and threw back a few free glasses of vino with de Klerk, Havel, and the Dalai Lama at the annual Prague Forum 2000, all the while gaping at the Art Deco light fixtures and gold filigree.

From there we moved on, in a eager, open, and exploratory state, to the Umeleckoprumyslove Muzeum (or the Museum of the Decorative Arts, your call) where we looked at crystal, glass, costumes, porcelain, silver and all sorts of collected trinkets and oddities. It was actually a spectacular display of applied design. Nifty. Feeling like we were really on a jag, we made our way to the Museum of Communism, a nasty little tourist trap operated by a nasty little man named Glen. It was disappointing and expensive and intensely inauthentic. Feeling like we needed a refresher, we stopped quickly for a belly-warmer at U Medvidku and cleared our spirits. We charged on, to the Mucha Museum, home of the collection of famed Art Nouveau graphic artist Mucha, known best for his portraits of Sarah Bernhardt.

And then, after spending a lot of time doing intense cultural exploration, we got drunk. You expected depth? All I was trying to say here was that unBeige missed out. And then insulted us with obvious played post title. Got that?

oh!

you're saying you want to hear about the gigolo ex-roommate?!

well stay tuned. thanks curbed.

ist, isti... don't you see it?

Gothamist seems to be on a roll these days. With the unrolling of Phillyist, Shanghaiist, and Parisist, they're swinging for the fences and going for the gold.

I think they're only Gothamist 'cause my boy Jim is already the New Yorkest.

I'm thinking though, given that not only am I the -ist, I am the Isti, that I oughta consider representing. Cairoist and Damascusist and Beirutist are still up for grabs, no? (Plesk says na'am.)


Then when they come asking for those domains (in a future when people equate Cairo with it's monuments, Damascus with it's heritage, and Beirut with it's food and nightlife, instead of beggars, terrorists, and bombs) I'll smirk and force them to make me editor. and if not editor, copywriter. And if not copywriter, the girl who knows the guy who sells the black market whiskey during Ramadan. -- and real proper Johnny Walker Black Label, none of that Jonnie Waddie Black Table nonsense.

try great books

a report by forbes says that 60% of american kids will read the new harry potter book. it's the sixth by brit author j.k. rowling, and it comes in at 672 pages. 1/4 of their parents also said they would read the book, although no word on whether this is reading aloud (which i fully support) or grabbing it out of their child's hands while sticking out their tongue and laughing cause your kid's little fists can't swing that far when you're holding them at arm's length.

i'd like to stop now and reiterate. this is children's lit. it's for kids. 6-16, i think the publishers say. even oprah is reading faulkner these days. for fuck's sake, go act your age, buy some real literature. it's cheap these days, thanks to great books programs and publishers like penguin classics, at about $10-$15 a pop.

here are some suggestions to get you started, courtesy of the MLA. and if flights of fancy ain't your thing, or you happen to be a democrat (good on ya!), some reality-based work. and if you're a giving soul, with about $7,989.99 to spare, donate a set to a local PS near you. you'll save $5,324.75 off the cover price... score!

bootleggy

last night was another foray to upsaida for burritos and beer at the old roomies cubby. we wanted a movie, but are all in hiding from the blockbuster kneecappers (end of late fees, my ass) and on-demand was experiencing some sort of service related blackout, per the usual.

so instead, we went right to the source -- the asian lady on the subway. my friend was standing there, train a-rockin', about to make the trade for the fantastic four, when a bum came up to him and starting yelling. no! no! that's no good man. get war of the worlds. fantastic four sucks man! no! no! our friend tried bargaining the movie down from five, but as we pointed out, giving the subway lady a fiver was a hell of a lot better than giving xenu $42.00.

the movie itself? i'm going to try to avoid slipping into more movie reviews, cause they're silly, and i don't know what i'm talking about. all i will say -- spoiler -- is that the best part is definitely when the guy covers up the camcorder with his coat in the theatre, the screen goes black, and you can only hear muffled screaming. that was a nice dramatic flair. so was the performance of cruise, acting like he was from jersey, when in fact he's from... oh right, jersey. and made out with my cousin. and got his ass kicked in front of her house. and had to be rescued by my uncle. pussy.

Monday, July 11, 2005

manhattanhenge

it's really just such a shame i live outside the confines of perfect griddation.

isti can't afford the sort of law and order that living above 14th street provides, which is why she slums it in her 250 sq ft side of the chinoistown walkup. our crazily aligned streets of lower manhattan make no concession to the griddation of 1811, taking their cues instead from the former waterways and farms that zig-zagged and criss-crossed their ways across the swampy lower reaches of the island. while this provides us with a dead end alleyway to send tourists down, and innumerable nooks, crannies, and strangely shaped lots and buildings, it does deny us the fantastic sight that our uptown neighbors enjoy.

every year, on july 12 (and may 28), the stars align and the sun sets on manhattan. (only literally, natch.) not only does it set, but set it does- in a glorious glow that hovers off our western edge and treats those on the streets to the image of a fire consuming the outer banks of our island, lapping its way on shore and blazing down the usually darkened afternoon concrete canyons. it is new york's version of the equinox, that time when the sun is at it's perfect true alignment, perfect because it corresponds to our versions of east and west instead of those pesky ordinal ones.

one will note, oddly enough, that this burning sensation seems to come from the direction of jersey.

unfortunately, we here in our darkened little cubby out in the cut will not be privy to such a display of the sun's awesome powers of light and heat. we will instead likely be sitting on the fire escape, fanning ourselves against the heat, and hurling invectives at the truck with the never-ending shriek pawning ghettosicles. we understand bloomberg now, we really do. jealous of our uptown neighbors for perhaps the first time, we will take some comfort in the fact that living uptown probably also endows them with just enough brilliance to cluster on top of their buildings, crowing about their views, and stare directly at the sun.

luckily, gothamist notes, the weather is the perfect sort for all of them to burn their retinas.

dark, cold places

This weekend was hot. Those liars on the Weather Channel promised rain, otherwise I would have skipped town for the weekend. Instead, I ended up sticking it out stickily with everybody else in our fair city. It was nasty.

So sweaty and hot, I waited for ten minutes behind some porky hipster guy with tipped blond hair (Hipster, chubby, and frosted blond hair? Contraindications? You'd think) and his simpering, indecisive girlfriend at Laboratorio del Gelato and finally stomped off, sans chilly anything, because even in an ice cream store the A/C wasn't working for me.

Hot enough and sweaty enough that an afternoon at the Yanks game in the sun on Saturday was exhausting enough that we were unwilling to brave the Saturday night B&T influx and instead headed straight for the Angelika.

So sweaty and hot that after a Sunday pounding the pavement looking for apartment for rent signs in the still-Losaida area of the LES, we had to seek refuge in the second movie of the weekend, thus pitting the two hottest-to-trottest docs of the moment against each other for the box office kingship.

Saturday night was Rize, of David Lachapelle fame. Sunday was Murderball, of violent quad-rugby fame. Which was better? Hands down, Murderball.

While Lachapelle is a fantastically accomplished photographer and a focused music video director, he seems to be a victim of his own MTV generation. Rize is beautifully shot, the cinematography stunning, the colors saturated like they were leaking off the screen... This is what the introduction of Kodachrome must have felt like. But he couldn't hold his train of thought. One minute Watts is burning, the next Tommy the Clown is dancing. The contextual background to krumping is clowning, and clowning comes from the stripper dance, which comes from...? There are montages of African tribal dance, overdone and repetitive. He intersperses them with scenes of street dancing, and while drawing the unnecessarily obvious parallel visually, never explores the thematic or cultural connections. He shouldn't have- it would have been exhausting and trite, but he didn't need to use the same sepia wrestling clips multiple times either.

The thematic balance was simply dancing, and the narrative moved in three minute bursts, like endless music videos. An attempt to replicate onscreen the evident tension between krumpers and clowners falls flat, and Lachapelle loses interest in the lives of his dancers, preferring to shoot them, glistening in the California sun, in scenes that replicate the 'grittiness' of their environs. Boring and trite, the film is being lauded because it can't be torn apart. Despite the painful shortcomings of the director, the dancers evoke such power that each vacillation of the hips and thrust of the arms demands acclaim. Besides, it's not PC for the bourgeois liberal critics to pick on the kids from the ghetto, right?

Murderball, on the other hand, couldn't have been done as fiction. Losses, wins, heart attacks, defeat and defeat again, the lives of the players wrote themselves. The foil character emerges softer and kinder, the friends reconcile but not without pain, the only concession to sentimentality is the raw sobbing of a father proud of his son in defeat. The players don't struggle- they're athletes and could outlift and outdistance my able bodied ass- but they do fight, pushing harder and harder and the very determination of their fibers forcing viewers to not only confront what might frighten them- maimed and foreshortened legs and arms- but to behold with awe, respect, and profound esteem these players. It becomes embarassing to go on at length about how amazing it is, because that accents the disability and makes the ability seem extraordinary, which of course, it is. The players prefer to minimalize that aspect though, asking for nothing more and nothing less then complete parity. It is impossible not to feel ashamed that you would have ever thought otherwise.

The film itself follows a narrative arc that Rize lacked, the storied glory of Team USA, their loss to Team Canada, coached by a 'traitor,' the eventual Olympic upset that leaves both teams on the podium but neither clutching gold. The players personal lives are vivid and rich, candid about the circumstances of their disability, something able bodied people are often not. The subplot of a recently disabled extreme-sports athlete charts the beginning of the competitive process and the empowerment it enables, the coach of Team Canada shows the difficulty of phasing competition out of one's lifestyle. Tiptoeing along the edge of pain and avoiding the cliche of redemption, the film ends with the stories still unfinished, and the next Olympic match in Beijing three years away... And three years begins to seem like a really long time.

next up... tuxes vs. tuxes. let the mad hot feathers fly.

Friday, July 08, 2005

alcohol kills

sure, it's not as fast as a 10 lb. sack of dynamite, but still. fatalities from alcohol abuse are known to far exceed annual terrorism-related deaths.

this, however, does not seem to concern kathy reul.

ms. reul enjoys a healthy tipple every day on the subway, and never attempts to be discreet.

Kathy Reul, 44, a health care worker from Queens, confided to a reporter: "I drink a beer every day on the subway. I don't have it in a cup. I have not seen a police officer on a subway train in a long time. If I can get away with having a beer, I can get away with having a bomb."

as much as we are worrying about the chance of getting killed by a fanatic on some poorly articulated religious jag, we really ought to be more concerned with the state of health care in the US today. when those responsible for keeping us whole are knocking back brewskies before they've changed out of their scrubs, i think the message might be getting lost.

abortions, get 'em while they last!


oh goodness. we're super super fucked. let's go frolic and fuck and abort and burn flags and desecrate holy images now. cause in a year, that's going to feel like some sort of dream.

via wonkette.

i can't hardly wait

i am so totally going to smoke everyone.

why? cause i lived in the middle east.

that makes me threat numero uno. i clearly picked up some serious technique over there.

who wants to team up? i'm sorry but i will absolutely pick the fat kid last. big target. bad for business.

the other island

hey, roosevelt island's not that bad. i've even been there. once. just for the night, and only cause his parents were out of town.

but seriously- it's got a cutesy euro-style tram, a commitment to some weird socialist utopian diaspora socio-economic mingling ideals, and like, trees. and sun. and the views! manhattan baby, manhattan. because everyone who can't live here insists it's like, sooooo much better to get to look at it.

so i'm sure the residents are going to be kinda disappointed to find out there is an entire movie about how creepy they all are.

of course, they are turning the old mental ward into condos. but this is new york, right?! (note: not manhattan. new york, okay. manhattan? no.) real estate and crazy people are as complimentary as kim jong il and a.q. khan.

oh this is embarassing

well, somehow or another, the friend of a friend of a friend who somehow showed up at shit hammered the other night found his way onto last night's party. of all the people i expected to make it on there, phil was definetely the last.

i want to take this moment to point out that our sartorial sense was much more derelicte than darien, and managed to get us free drinks at the bar, but somehow...

not only did phil make it onto lnp, he also found his way onto TOTC's new weekly feature 'blue states lose.' yup phil, that's you. loser #9. for the record though, i'm pretty sure phil is a republican.

9) Last Night's Party. Un-Tuesday photo #5553: "If my garbage bag bowtie is any indication, the future's so bright I gotta wear shades! ...to cover my teary eyes because my dad hates me."

i have always kinda wanted to come to the attention of TOTC, but not like this. this was the same night the bouncer told me welcome back. no more happy ending. no more.



Thursday, July 07, 2005

putting my foot in it

Riding the tube in the summer. Jesus.

I need to shut up for a bit. I've talked about who may be behind this on my other blog. Below is an excerpt from an email as an initial response to people who are concerned about my constant traveling and penchant for places that attract trouble.

Other than that, I'm going to be quiet as I contemplate what happened today to my next city of residence. I'm also going to keep hoping my friends in London get back in touch.

From: [isti]
To: [concerned friends]
Cc:
Sent: Thu 7/7/2005 10:54 AM
Subject: RE: London

...everywhere in my life will be some degree of dangerous... whether its stepping on an electrified grate on a flooded chinatown street corner, or walking through khan al-khalili. I took the subway to work this morning just to get an email when I got explicitly asking all of us to take cabs and be reimbursed. al left me a phone message to the same effect, which of course I didn't check till I got off the subway.

I hate buying into this rhetoric, but letting it affect my life is letting them win. it's horrible. don't think I didn't immediately picture myself on the tube, having spent plenty of time transferring through king's cross this spring. unfortunately, it's life today. nothing- even being conciliatory instead of martial in our foreign policy- would prevent this. unfortunately, this is a phase- a growing, painful phase- of islam right now. guy fawkes might know something about this. as might john brown. it's what happens as the discourse is stretched and challenged. we now live in a time where the discourse is the diaspora, and we are all touched by it.

things will change. it's imperative that everyone remembers the main message of christianity- peace- was not always that message. the qur'an contains as many inconsistencies as the bible, and I know that what people who commit acts like this are reading is selective. there is an entire system which determines precedent and negation, and the vast majority of religious scholars read muhamad's ultimate message as one of peace and protection of the people of the book. it will be a while before the secularism of islam begins in earnest. think of this as the mediaeval period's final flare and implosion- it just may last a while. the inquisition sure did- and fewer people so far have been killed in islam's internal struggle than all the atrocities of christianity claimed. 100,000 through global acts of terror and war? certainly the raging tides of war in europe - the crusades alone - were responsible for as many.

I hate to speak of terrorism so glibly- oh you should see how I put my foot in my mouth on my blog yesterday- but as much as sometimes I think, gee, tin cans full of people are not the best idea- underground, in the air, on the roads- i'd prefer to lose my life in a bomb than isolate myself. even more importantly- i'd prefer to keep riding public transport and wean myself off of petroleum-based transport- that's a huge part of the problem now, isn't it? a true cynic might say that these terrorists just want us to drive more, drive alone, and up-armour ourselves into 5 mpg oblivion.

so i'll go abroad, i'll take the tube, i'll keep my eye out for loose knapsacks. it's all any of us can do. that, and express our resolute determination to continue. we'll celebrate the olympics in London in 7 years time, and when we do, we'll remember the 40+ people who died today. we'll also find inspiration in what humanity and humility has managed to accomplish since.


Wednesday, July 06, 2005

oops

oops

Right now on newsweek.com! RIGHT NOW! at 1:52 pm on July 6th!
Exactly 6 hours and 22 minutes after London was granted the bid. I don't know why people are so bent out of shape about the state of the media these days. I mean, what if they had called it wrong? Perhaps they were taking their lessons from 2000. Could have caused massive confusion among IOC voters, and we all might have ended up in Moscow. And as everyone knows, even riding the tube in the summer is better than that.

stop the presses

We can all breathe a sigh of relief. Just as predicted, New York did not win the 2012 Olympic Summer Games bid. No one here really wanted it anyway. The tourists we deal with now are plenty, thank you. Besides, taking the world's favorite punching-bag city and bringing hundreds of thousands of athletes and tourists is sort of like drawing a festive and multicolored interlocking-ring bulls-eye on the place. In fact, some people were really against the whole idea, for all sorts of silly reasons, including the $12bn land grab of Queens, the red herring West Side Stadium, and the idea that Staten Island could be rightfully called part of NYC or that tourists would go there.

Reporters on CNN, who had long called Paris to be the favorite, noted that it was because of intense last-minute campaigning by Tony Blair that the London bid was re-reviewed and found to be favorable. Is that fair?

Putin was on Moscow, sure. Chirac seemed nonplussed but did make a public appearance or two, while Zapatero, who lacks name brand recognition, couldn't have done much. Blair, like the king charles he is, was running about in a tizzy jumping into everyone's laps. For New York, The World's Second HomeTM, Bush treated it the way he usually does- completely ignored it unless he could take credit. This may not have helped the bid, but an absence of Bush never seems to hurt in the eyes of the international community.

Nonetheless, it kind of hurts to know our president dislikes and discounts our city so much. I mean, we don't like him, and we don't want him anywhere near the place, but being standoffish and unwelcoming isn't nearly as effective or fun when the other half of the standoff doesn't want to play along.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

229 years of bombs bursting in air

Happy birthday America. From isti's vantage point on her back in a grassy field, it looked an awful lot like the world's largest military power celebrating a ideological revolution with displays of martial prowess.

We ditched the sweltering environs of nyc for a breezy perch on a hill in ct, a poolside lounger and a lot of sunscreen. After being willingly disinvited from hamptonia over the weekend, it seemed like a no-brainer to trade backbreaking manual labor for fresh fruit salad and cocktails on the back porch. There's something intensely satisfying about taking an exacto knife to the industrial carpet I drenched in beer so often in the earlier years.

Just to prove that the sun didn't addle my brain too much, I'd like to draw attention to the Sunday auto section of the NYT. An article revealing that the main buyers of toyota's scion line are mostly old people didn't come as too much of a surprise to my cohort of 'gen y'- those of us who look at the $100,000 in college debt, the possibility of another $100,000 in grad school debt, our $1000/mo rents and out-of-pocket health care and sub-$50,000 salaries and think- cars? Who the fuck are you kidding at $2.00 a gallon and $250/mo in insurance?

However, it did come as a surprise when my friend, in town from Dallas, wheeled up in a fully loaded ($22,000 the article helpfully points out) Scion xB in a tasteful silver. It was her father's, a solid sexagenarian who just traded in a Saab convertible for a taste of something roomier, younger, angular-er and shaped suspiciously like a bomb squad concern.

Nice work douggie fresh. Excellent job keeping up with the times.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

backyard christo



now that i've disinvited myself from the hamptons this weekend, i had to find an alternative way of getting out of manhattan. as i often do, i headed for the family home out in connecticut, to raid a full fridge and play with dogs that weigh ten times your average park ave pooch.
the heavy rains that had us boiling our water in manhattan hit the surrounding connecticut and upstate area with gusto, and the next morning my family rose to find 2 inches of water in the finished basement.
as part of earning my keep for this long weekend, i willingly pitched in ripping up the entire carpet and gutting the paneling along the walls. we moved all the furniture out into the yard, including our massive 8' long sofa and matching loveseat.
shadows started to grow long, and with evening plans for all it didn't look like there would be time to return the couches to the basement.
what to do to avoid the dew?

dad pulled a christo. i got to play jean-claude.

Friday, July 01, 2005

requiem for a... oh we're fucked

thank god i got rid of that unwanted embryo when i did.

bye sandra, thanks for being there for us.

c'mon gawker

Gawker, in it's undying love for Jon Fine, rounds up his BusinessWeek column Media Centric. This time he talks about the confluence of marketing and the underground, how Levi's sponsors bands and malt liquor sponsors bands and Xbox sponsors- no! not bands!- record stores. (See? You thought there was a trend there or something.)

Gawker actually applauds this article as being "an interesting piece, with clear utility for his mag's businessman audience. Most notably, it tells us about something that both actually exists and isn't yet common knowledge."

I'm curious as to what Gawker is smoking this morning. News like this ain't, um, news. I'm not saying Fine doesn't have a point- it's true, marketing is increasingly viral and creative, using people who are trendsetters and notable personages in their ultra-hip communities. They get the ball rolling, people follow, and pretty soon all of America is wearing this.

But for Gawker to state that this is News and "isn't yet common knowledge" means they haven't been reading the paper over their Wheaties. The first example I can remember of this sort of coverage (and bear in mind, a) I'm still a wee young thing, so remembering too far back just brings me to the elephant wall paper in my nursery b) I lived in the 3rd world for about 3 years at the beginning of the decade, so media was mighty scarce) was back in 2003.

The New York Times published an article* by Rob Walker in the Times Magazine entitled "The Marketing of No Marketing,"** which was an account of the comeback of PBR. Of course, anyone who considered themselves anything on the downtown scene had been guzzling PBR for quite some time at this point, but that's irrelevant- everyone knows that by the Times hits a trend it might as well be over. The point is, the Times was reporting on hipsters, viral marketing, and word of mouth campaigning two years ago... and if the Times is behind, you know there must be other sources with a far longer memory.

In fact, after poking around a bit, I found evidence of BusinessWeek itself running a cover story on the matter all the way back in 2001. (remember? that's when people thought that computers would destroy the world.) "Buzz Marketing" by Gerry Khermouch was a piece that declared "suddenly this strategy is hot, but it's still fraught with risk." So Fine is rehashing what his editors have already wrought? Or is he cribbing from a more recent piece by that least favorite of our generally reviled Post correspondents, Maureen Callahan: "Under Their Influence: Fashion, Music Biz Use These Young Stealth Tastemakers To Get You."

It appears this topic, to anyone who reads (and I've given you quite a range to choose from in terms of your preferred sources, so no highbrow-lowbrow claims) is actually wide out in the open. Was the piece well written? Uh, sure, I guess. But news? Yeah. My Bolle-wearing, K2-riding, Spyder-outfitted professional freestyle skier best friend? She was shocked, SHOCKED.

*the ny times requires you to pay to play...
**so i found it for free here. steal this blog.