LINEN-LINED POCKETS, AND WHISKERS ON CROCKETT.
Visiting my sister over Thanksgiving means sneaking into her high school yearbook for the graduating class of 1986. 1986 at my high school meant a lot of things, most of which can be gleaned by reading the senior class' individual lists of "favorite things". At my high school, each senior was allowed five favorite things to list with his/her club activities, nickname and senior quote. Among the favorite things I saw were: "6-packs of Budweiser", "Black Kangols", and "hobbit holes".
But nothing I saw on those pages filled with feather-earringed ladies (and guys) and over-the-collar gold chains could prepare me for this perfect list of favorite things, submitted by one graduating senior: "Being alive, partying, friends, Jan Hammer, family."
PIMP IN DISTRESS.
Who saw Friday After Next just moments after it was released? Me. Who published my review of it? Film Threat. Who is more culpable in this instance? I'll leave it to the jury.
One more on Mr. Potter, since I am on a total wizard streak this week. (having just seen the latest three-hour eyes-agog installment last night. aside from a couple friends and myself, there were about 8 other people in the theater for this 10pm show. five of those people were a puerto-rican family with children ranging from two years old to about seven. it was one of those occasions that made me wish i knew how to say "your babies probably wouldn't be screaming hysterically right now if you'd put them to bed before 12am" in spanish. honestly, i would have even settled for "are you seriously walking into this theater in the middle of a cell phone conversation?" or "i'm sure there's a more convenient, private place to beat your children.")
Here is my impression of every exchange between Harry Potter and Headmaster Dumbledore immediately following an act of reckless bravery on Harry's part:
INT. DUMBLEDORE'S CHAMBERS - DAY.
"You wished to see me, Professor Dumbledore?"
"Yes, Harry. You realize your daring rescue of the Saucer of Immortality put your life, and the lives of your classmates, in grave danger. Had things gone differently, it would have meant the end of Hogwarts School and possibly the end of wizardry as we know it. Your behavior was foolhardy, and I have enough evidence to expel you from this institution. Do you understand this, Potter?"
"Y-y-yes, Professor Dumbledore."
"Very well then. Now I'm sure you also understand something must be done. That's why I'm forced to...award ELEVENTY-BILLION POINTS to the house of Gryffindor for bravery, sacrifice, and pure, dumb luck!!"
[HARRY STARES IN WIDE-EYED, SLACK-JAWED WONDER. HE THEN EXCHANGES BUG-EYED STARES WITH RON, HERMIONE, PROFESSOR DUMBLEDORE, HAGRID, ELFINMUFFLE, SQUIDWIG, SIR KICKYPANTS, AND A POTTED PLANT. PROFESSOR SNAPE, HAVING WITNESSED THIS ENTIRE SCENE WITH A SENSE OF SMUG PRIDE GIVING WAY TO GREAT DISGUST, NARROWS HIS EYES AND STORMS OUT OF DUMBLEDORE'S CHAMBERS, TO RETURN TO HIS EVENING JOB AS THE LEAD SINGER OF NINE INCH NAILS.]
WELCOME TO FIGGLESMOORE CASTLE.
For cable subscribers, children whose parents don't love them enough to wait in line for opening night tickets, and incurable nerds, I hereby dub this past weekend National Harry Potter Weekend. The new film was out in theaters for its second strong week, fighting its way past tough contenders like Femme Fatale and Friday After Next to rise to the top of the movie charts. The old film was on HBO. And I finally got my taste of young Harry. (i would like that comment stricken from the records, by the way.)
It has been said that children are rather difficult to direct in films. However, I think Chris Columbus had it fairly easy. He had two cards to play, asking children to alternate between reacting as if they'd just laid eyes upon the most wonderful thing they'd ever seen, and reacting as if they'd just laid eyes upon the most horrifying thing they'd ever seen. When they weren't doing either of those things, they were eating or smoking cigarettes. Easy. I think the hardest job must have been trying to get bigger and bigger reactions, based on previous ones.
"OK, now I want you to act as if you're seeing the most Splendifferiffic thing you've ever seen!"
"Remember that last scene? Well, this time you're seeing something even bigger and better. When I yell 'action', I want you to act as if you're seeing the most Magnittlefribberous thing ever!!! NO! Ron, you're giving me Wonderjistic and I really need Magnittlefribberous. Please - focus!!"
"Now my assistant is going to hand out copies of Goonies, which 'Cahiers du Cinema' once called a 'masterwork in wide-eyed takes'. I want you to study this intently, particularly Chunk's reaction to first seeing Sloth. Tomorrow's going to be a big day. We have both the introduction of the Fussy Book Case and Thideous, The Dancing Conflagration to film, so I'm going to need some Giggleblusteristic faces from all of you. Whoosh!"
That said, I liked the chocolate-covered frog.
THE WARNING SIGNS HAVE BEEN REPORTED.
Lately, new forces are dominating my down-time. Things I haven't yet been able to control. For the moment, I hope, a thickening social itinerary and television have outpaced quietude and inspiration. I barely have time to look at my cats, or get them drunk and steal their best ideas. I've become so restless, so busy that I often have to split a single act of masturbation in two separate sessions. (sometimes three.)
I've been catching video burn between reading some really unsatisfying fiction. (damn you, eggers! why am i so quick to drink your kool-aid when the tin drum continues to haunt me from my book shelves, bullied and wedged between robert mckee's story and chicken soup for incurable racists?) Then I turn to my TV, and it shows me 24 and , Julien, Donkey-Boy and How High. Rare TV has even made its way into my home. The Conan O'Brien/Robert Smigel pilot for "Lookwell" (starring adam west); The Gong Show Movie (yes, movie); the Werner Herzog documentary concerning my favorite late-night evangelist/lunatic, Dr. Gene Scott. I like to be shown things. I'm not complaining.
Today I decided, by any means necessary, this would all change. I watched a segment of "The Other Half", a morning show starring a panel of men, but still very clearly for pill-popping, stretch-pantsing, unemployed women. I was led to this segment via a link on cockybastard.com, a site I promised God I would never stop reading, for reasons strictly between us. In the segment, people with long hair were getting it DRASTICALLY cut.
Like many things on morning television, the segment really went nowhere but here's what surprised me. If you were to watch this segment - or any segment on "The Other Half" - without sound, you would lose none of its meaning. Isn't that odd? I mean, it's ostensibly a talk show. But I had it muted for nearly the entire video and I followed it just fine.
In fact, when I did put the volume back on, it only became more confusing. Listening to the banter of the hosts - Dick Clark, the Partridge Family drug addict with a classic rock DJ voice, that dude who kept calling the other dude "preppy" on "Saved by the Bell", and some quiet guy with muscles who is probably supposed to make the audience think about fucking - was sincerely no different than listen to caged lab monkeys shriek. The hosts were prancing around the stage, swinging around the recently cut hair locks of their special guests, and only occasionally forming actual phrases. Sometimes you'd catch snatches of subjects and/or verbs, like "Look at me!" or "That' something else!" or "He's a live one!!" or "Just like Dachau!!" But mostly it was just a series of unfinished interjections, gutteral sounds, and intense sonic noise designed to move the show along. The producers probably have a rule hanging in the conference room on a plaque or carved into some polished granite, and placed on the desk: SILENCE MEANS DEATH. One of the interns (a Wellesley graduate?), would love to point out the ironic similarity to the AIDS activism slogan, but she keeps quiet and tries not to flinch when Dick Clark throws open packets of half-and-half at her head. In six months she'll turn her back on this horror show forever, and be well on her way to infiltrating the entertainment industry's power structure, producing shows of her own. Shows with SMART women talking about IMPORTANT things. Her only rule, on a future slab of granite she only imagines today: "FUCK THOSE 'RULES' BITCHES." She'll create something powerful and unique. A SPONTANEOUS, UNREHEARSED talk show? What about it? Guests being real! All! The! Time! Why hasn't anyone thought of that, she wonders as a packet of Equal hits her on the cheek, and sprays its contents across the bridge of her nose.
But I digress. I'm polishing my own clean granite slab, sending it to the engraver, so I can worship my own rule: LESS LIQUOR, MORE PROTEIN. LESS DIGITAL, MORE ANALOG. LESS ANGRY, MORE SEXY. It's going to be a big, heavy stone.
Who will win?
- Steve O vs. The Skullverizer
- Albert Minor vs. Mr. Homunculus
- Al Grimaldi vs. Nickelbag tha Ice-Grill Killa
- Textile Workers' Union Local #43 vs. The Death of French Cinema
- Stay at Home Mom vs. The King of Fissured Rock
- Logan's Run vs. Sharkey's Machine
- The LordÍs Prayer vs. 18-inch Stack of Illicit Pornography
- Christmas Day vs. Unexpected Dick Punch
- Home Cooking vs. Your FatherÍs Looming, Drunken Shadow
- Lil Wayne vs. Lil Zane vs. Lil Bow Wow vs. Lil Abner vs. Little House on the Prairie, special 2-part episode
- The Blue Danube vs. Dragonface
- Captain Nail Gun vs. Lost Love Letter
- Atomic Sit-Up vs. Indian Rope Burn
- Soft Kitten vs. Deathy!
(this has been a missy elliott EXCLUSIVE.)
If you don't live in New York City right now, it wouldn't hurt to move here. (providing you don't move into my neighborhood. if i have to wait in line for a hamburger at bonnie's ever again, i will start checking ids.) I'm not assuming a state of metropolitan superiority, although I can see how that first statement might suggest that. I just think it would be easier for me to promote Jest Magazine if you lived here.
Jest launched semi-officially today. It's a new, free monthly humor magazine from and about New York. Jest is staffed predominantly by comics and comedy writers, and much of it is really damn funny. And yes, I have a story in it. (secret surprise self-promotion flim-flam) As does this bitch. And this Quaker. And they're good. I promise.
Right now Jest is being dropped in various downtown and outer-borough spots through the end of this week. I believe 10,000 copies have gone out, with another 30,000 more to follow. Look for it at bars, record stores, cute restaurants, and any place kids with expensive haircuts and second-hand clothing spend their unemployment checks. I think it's still in its infancy, but it's nice. And it's free. And it actually made me laugh, even though I thought my heart turned to ice years ago. Think of what it could do for you. So move here. OK?
STOP THE VIOLENCE IN LIP SYNCH.
There were two near-outbreaks of violence at the hip-hop karaoke event I attended in Williamsburg last evening. I wish I could say that statement was a fabricated setup to a joke, but it's true. There was a spate of crackers threatening to rock the mic, and bust a freestyle rhyme. And the few who were granted mic privileges sadly squandered them on rhymes like "yo, yo, yo, let the beat go, i need the flow to go, so let the beat go slow, oh no, here i go from the top of my dome, it's going on and on and on, my name's ron, here we go, almost ready to flow, keep it go-ING, i am the king", etc.
I think 8 Mile has given some white kids brain parasites, making them believe they can perform super-human feats usually reserved for black guys. There was a similar outbreak when Rocky III came out and white men all across America became delusional, believing they were the ready-fist upholders of their race. It's like a poor-man's messianic complex. The battle rap fever 8 Mile seems to be provoking is thankfully less aggressive than RIII fever, but infinitely more embarrassing.
When one of the kids finished performing his nowhere rhymes, which were laced by a scratched out drumbeat and the merciless boos of the audience (some people in the back were waving him off in the style of the apollo theater, evoking the spirits of sandman sims and jp lacey), the hip-hop karaoke host laid into him in a good-natured manner - justifiably, considering all the fuss this kid made before farting on the mic. This caused a near uprising, as the kid's cadre of drunk Italian and Irish friends started pushing weight against the hosts' chests. Please, I cried to the inside of my skull as I held myself tight - Stop the violence in hip-hop karaoke.
P.S. During an impromptu "rhyme battle" between a self-declared Sicilian in a botched Caesar haircult, and a karaoke regular, the Sicilian kid actually removed his shirt (just like eminem!) to reveal a white tank top underneath it. (just like eminem!) It was highly irregular, but no more irregular than his rehearsed, generic insults against his opponents gear, haircut, and sexuality. He promised to "rip ya, and slit ya" but his spit-ya was shit-ya. From the audience I wrote my own personal response to his rap - and convinced myself it was highly dope - and then quickly realized exactly how easy that was to do...from the audience. Here is a sample, for your own enjoyment, and from the safe confines of my web site:
Look! It's Little Caesar!
Nice to meet ya
But it's nicer to beat ya
Uh oh duck for cover - the shirt came off
Now we know you're a wife beater
And the ladies see you're an over-eater
I got a six-pack
you got a twelve
Put your microphone back on the shelf
and listen to Tupac Shakur some more
cause your rhymes were too wack, for sure
I like your Caesar
Did your barber have a seizure?
I'm sorry - that verse was the worst
But now I'm feeling murderous
Think I'll stab you with the mic
While you scream out "Et Tu Brutus???"
Being onstage with you, these people should pity me
You rap so shittily
Now go take your sorry ass 8 miles back to Little Italy
(at this point, the crowd would pick me up in their arms and shout "levin boom-ba-yay!" repeatedly. as their shouts drowned out all other noise, the scene would become fuzzy and then dissolve to me, sitting in the audience, drunk, snappling out of the dream, and accidentally knocking a light beer over on an attractive woman.)
#1 Stunna. Manny Fresh. Lil Wayne. Goodie Mob. These are a few of the many reasons Southern (atlanta, new orleans, carolinas, whatevers) hip-hop is crazier than all other brands. It really does exist outside the norm. The artists, despite their excessive investment in fresh gear, platinum and ice, always manage to look like they work the day shift at a scrap metal yard. I don't know what it is. Identifying characteristics of a Southern rap artist: dark-skinned, very sweaty, either too thin or too fat, and a mouth so sloppy with gold fronts that it looks like he (or she) just finished eating a whole bag of solid gold oreo cookies and didn't bother to brush or floss afterwards. That's the dirty dirty archetype.
One of my favorite Southern artists is Petey Pablo primarily because he, more than most of his peers, appears to have just walked right off the street. He has dents in his head and a wide-spread torso that owes its shape to the Convicted Felon Workout Program. Pablo looks like a pit bull standing on its hind legs, and most of his videos find him running around from barbecue grill to grill, in various states of removing his tank top. Pablo's first really big single was "Raise Up", in which he delivered some very complicated instructions to listeners. He insisted they remove their shirts and then spin them 'round (over their heads) like a helicopter. He should have also issued instructions to resist the temptation to shout "wheeeeee!" as you spin your shirt, because that shit is kind of fun. I liked this song because it took the art of call and response to a new level. Jay-Z was satisfied with hearing "nigga who?" in response to his "nigga what?" Old school rappers made it easy by standardizing. Every single artist had the same request: throw your hands in the air and wave them like you just don't care. (some artists would build on this. biz markie would sometimes add things like "and if you got clean socks and underwears everybody say 'oh yeah!'") It was easy to learn, and easy to follow. But Petey doesn't care. His call and response requires disrobing, gannt charts, storyboards, etc.
So it only makes sense that his new single has taken Pablo's body of work chest-deep into the absurd. The single is called "Blow Your Whistle", which is probably a tribute to the soul searchers song of the same title, and to a sort of lost phenomenon of whistle-salutes that accompanied soul and dance music in the disco-era, though I keep trying to figure out if it also means something dirty. (fingers crossed) Here's the thing that's brilliant about the video for "Blow Your Whistle". The song is an elaborate imperative, asking people to blow their whistles for Petey Pablo, even if it drives parents and other authority figures insane. The video, however, actually contains tons of footage of people BLOWING WHISTLES. And not just those crappy crossing guard whistles. These instruments are hot - long, plastic slide whistles.
In the video, men, women, and children are all seen blowing whistles, and Pablo himself (still not far from a recent incarceration) can be seen leading a group of hoodrats, Pied Piper-style down the street of his neighborhood. (just before disappearing into a manhole for reasons unknown to me) He has his own whistle, too, but there's no way Petey Pablo is going to be seen carrying a colorful plastic whistle. He's got a pimp-flute: a slide whistle made of platinum, and encrusted with diamonds. Yes. Yes he does. Now blow it.
I think there should be a museum dedicated to everyday objects that have been inappropriately bling'd for the purpose of serving as props in rap videos. The whistle is definitely a personal favorite, and holds a spot in my heart right beside the diamond-studded children's school desk used in Ali's "Boughetto" video earlier this year. (scroll down to the video dated "3.02.02" and get booji and ghetto at once.)
PEDESTRIAN STREET MAP.
There is copy center in my neighborhood. I pass it nearly every day and enter it about four times a year - for holiday cards and faxes. Recently, I noticed a change in the sandwich board sign that sits in front of the building. The sign, which employs those slide-in plastic letters that make it difficult to correct a mis-spelling, now reads: "UPS AND FED-EX SHIPMENTS UNTIL 4:30 EVERY DAY". And just below that, a new notice: "FROG FEEDINGS 3:30PM TUE. THUR." And that is the difference between Brooklyn and Manhattan.
MY HOMIE, GARY SHANDLING.
By now, most people are pretty familiar with HOMIES, the 2-inch high barrio figurines that are vended from gumball machines in most urban areas. My supermarket has been carrying them alongside reflective WWE stickers for a long time now. (i think they're already at series 4 or 5) The figures are pretty amazing. Clutching paper bags filled with 40s, chilling in wheelchairs, or just being obese, they get closer to what actual urban kids look like than the product of any series of multi-million dollar focus groups funded by Brian Grazer can ever hope to. And they were all designed by one guy, whose name I haven't bothered to research.
Last night I went to see the film, Roger Dodger. (a movie that made me almost cry tears of joy at its visual looseness and precision dialogue.) It was playing in a large arthouse theater that just reopened in Manhattan earlier this year. (or late last year?) The theater is also screening the Seinfeld documentary, Comedian, a movie I would also recommend to anyone curious about how totally degrading stand-up comedy can be as a profession - for both the comic and the audience. In the lobby I found these vending machines that professed to contain "Documentary Action Figures". The vending display was designed to mimic the Homies backdrop, but the drawings and plasticine figures were all based on characters from Comedian. I thought it was pretty fantastic. Imagine having a Gary Shandling or Colin Quinn figurine, and then making them fuck. (and why wouldn't you?) I couldn't resist, and shared $1.50 with then vending machine. In return, it gave me a Seinfeld and Robert Klein small enough to crush in my hand. Aren't they adorable?
By the way, in searching out that link for HOMIES, I discovered how many great things you can stick inside vending machines. Look - SUPERBALLS! Also, I had no idea how many things you could stuff inside plastic capsules. Check it out - Homies Clowns. Makes perfect sense. Of course, if your mom's on welfare (or you're just super-corny) you can always get the slightly more affordable Hipsters, the inevitable knock-off of Homies. (please take special note of the use of red, gold, and green in the logo to connote down-ness, as well as a very familiar neighborhood fixture located in the bottom-right of this image - the bare-chested barbarian carrying dumbells.)
LET'S PUT THIS BEHIND US.
Thanks to everyone who attended the reading last night, and apologies to anyone who was turned away at the door. I simply told the bouncer "no skeezers", and the rest was far beyond my control.
Actually, it was nice to see the room sell out, even if it meant putting some friends of mine out in the cold. And it was even nicer to discover that I didn't have to follow Jim Gaffigan, as I was originally made to believe when I arrived at the club. Because nothing is more fun than following an A-list stand-up comic with a bunch of stapled together pages. "I hope everyone loves to listen patiently," is not a great opening line.
(backstage, another performer told me about having to follow a surprise appearance by Al Franken at a show last week. apparently, he was preparing for a big show and did an "impromptu" 45 minute set without indicating its length ahead of time, or thanking the hosts who gave him stage time. how does one follow that? with a shower dance?)
I taped the reading, which went OK. I think it would have gone better if a couple of factors had changed. First, if I knew exactly what I was going to read more than three minutes in advance of the show - I was waffling between a new, very long piece and two, older, shorter pieces up until the last moment. Second, if I could learn to control my crying.
Since this is the first time I've ever come away with a halfway decent recording, I am going to digitize it, and post an MP3 of my reading later today. If you're on my mailing list, you'll receive an email with a secret URL. (POST-SCRIPT: this URL was sent to my mailing list 11.9.02. if you missed the cut-off, apologies. if you want to get in on supplements like these, as well as chatty emails and updates to this site, just sign up sign up for my mailing list.)
GETTING IT COMPLETELY WRONG.
I have a children's clothing shop near my apartment. Wait, I have about 300 shops dedicated to children right near my apartment. The whole neighborhood is actually a baby settlement for aging liberals who carry their groceries in recyclable cardboard boxes, shop enthusiastically for beeswax candles and regularly curse the absence of an I.R.S. Records boxed set. In short, I love it. I love it because, besides being absolutely bucolic at times, it presents no contribution whatsoever to my problematic self-consciousness. You are never reviled for hopping out of bed, sleep crust in the corners of your eyes, and heading outside in a sweatshirt and jeans to grab a cup of chai or a new potpourri basket from the area's newest boutique, Something Wicker This Way Comes. This may sound like a ridiculous point of praise to most people living outside of NYC, but just try living in Williamsburg, where leather pants, wristbands, and post-coital tousled hair are still required uniform for an early morning cat food run.
So, yes, I have many children's clothing shops in my neighborhood. But one in particular gets it all wrong. It's incredible, actually, how wrong they get it. From their name, PEEK-A-BOO CLOTHING, which suggests something slightly more pornographic than it should, down to every last detail, this store does not understand its audience. The awning itself is a collection of violations of good taste. First of all, it's BLACK, which is everyone's least favorite baby color. But don't worry, because the lettering is pink. Well, not pink exactly. More like fuschia. And fuschia on black is a great combination if you're selling roller skates or dildos, but it doesn't do much to reflect the soft joy of a newborn child.
Between the name of the store and the colors of the sign, you're already sending out a mixed message. That confusion is only further agitated by the managerial decision to turn the "OO" of "boo" into a pair of leering eyes. Look once and you won't be wrong to ask yourself, "face or titties?" And that's not a good question to put in the mind of someone who might potentially want to buy some pull-ups or a onesie, unless it's for himself.
It gets even worse because the owners of the store, possibly in an effort to diffuse some of the ambiguity raised by its name and brand identity, also added a pair of silhouetted figures to the sign. Judging by the few details that the silhouettes reveal via clothing and hairstyle, the artwork must be clip art dated from the 1950s. It depicts, as far as I can tell, a girl in pigtails and party dress, age 4 or 5, backing into a small boy around the same age. The boy is pressed up against the girl closely, intimately, as if attempting to mount her from the rear. And I can honestly say, after showing the sign to several people, the inference is not mine; the implication is theirs. New parents and friends and families of new parents might approach this store and wonder, quite correctly, "are these guys trying to get my toddler laid?"
If you even get past the sign - and shame on you if you do - and let your eyes wander to the window display, you are in for another horrible shock. As PEEK-A-BOO CLOTHING got ready for autumn, they prepared a "Halloween Sale" and holiday-themed window display. I have no interest in ever opening a children's clothing store but if I did - really, if anyone without a total hatred for children did - and I wanted people to buy warm weather clothing or Halloween costumes for their new additions, I would borrow from a few fail-safe elements. Warm colors, gourds, silk leaves, trick or treat sacks, and the occasional baby mannequin dressed as something adorable, like a pumpkin or news anchor. This common sense somehow escaped the proprietors of PEEK-A-BOO. Instead, they filled the window with little baby mannequins in quilted jumpers, not unlike the kind worn by the evil spawn in Cronenberg's film, The Brood. But even if that's an obscure pop cultural reference that would be lost on most consumers, I don't think the other decoration would: the baby mannequins were covered in fake spiderwebs and plastic spiders. Covered. Head to toe, they were entangled in cobwebs, waiting to have their fluids extracted by some unseen super-spider. It's a really horrifying sight. So horrifying that it makes me wish I owned a digital camera so everyone could see as clearly as I do.
Addendum: Because I decided I needed my creative energy to be even more disposable, I recently procured a digital camera. This has meant many things - artsy, shaky, long shuttered shots; even more photos of my cats; a beard diary - but, to your benefit, it has meant I now have a dark, poorly composed photo of the Peek-a-Boo awning. Here:
PLEA FOR ATTENTION ALERT.
I have another show coming up next thursday, NOVEMBER 7th. I'll be performing in a monthly show at the Village Lantern called "In Short Order". I keep hearing good things about the show, so I'm looking forward to it. I'll be doing something I've never done before: succeeding. Actually, I will be reading something new and your presence and support will only serve to make it seem more funny and rousing. At a certain point, momentum carries you. Here are the details I have so far:
THE PREMIERE OF 'IN SHORT ORDER'
an evening of comic stuff featuring:
Todd Levin, Jim Gaffigan, Rosario Vaina, Becky Donohue & more
Thursday, November 7th, at 8pm
Village Lantern (downstairs in lounge)
167 Bleecker Street, b/w Sullivan & Thompson
for reservations, 212.592.3291 or www.wipproductions.com
Cover charge is $12 and a no drink minimum, which I realize is a little bit ouchy, but you do get to see JIM GAFFIGAN, who usually headlines proper comedy clubs. I hope that's some kind of comfort. In the meantime, I hope to see you and your troubled, confused teenage daughter there.
There's nothing more heart-breaking than a sad Dracula (or, as i like to say, "drackala"). But that's what I saw last night, less than two avenues away from NYC's annual Halloween Parade. A kid, maybe 12 years old, in one of those drackala-in-a-bag or drackala-on-a-hanger costumes, nicely done (meaning he bothered to use the chalky face makeup, including under-eye black for extra ghoulishness), sitting on a hyrdrant, drackala head in drackala hands. His treat bag hung by his side, swinging slowly, like a song from the cotton fields.
I always hurt a little when I see very young children displaying adult signs of depression. Low energy, exhausted sighs, too much drinking, sleeping with strangers, taking a job in public relations. But it hurts a lot when one of those same kids is acting like a depressed adult on Halloween, in full costume. If you're 12 and you can't enjoy yourself on Halloween, even if your mom is a bitch (which clearly this kid's was), what's next? Welbutrin Jr.? Is this where the cycle of medication starts?
I guess I can understand how it might be a little bit disappointing to go trick or treating in downtown Manhattan, where you're more likely to be greeted by a night manager at Baby Gap than your next-door neighbor. But still - Monster Makeup! Stage Blood! Free Candy! Late Night! Cheer up, sad drak. If you can't enjoy this stuff, you're in for a big surprise when your armpits start to smell.
As for me, I did what adults do on Halloween, and every other day of the year: drank. The only difference was last night I got to drink in a false moustache and Bill Bixby steel frame glasses. Also had a strange experience. A friend of mine got together with several other apartments in her West Village building and had one of those drink flight parties. Very collegiate, except for the guest list and the large, bald black man guarding that list and the front door.
Here's the thing: my friend, J, whose apartment made up 1/4 of the party, is a performer in De La Guarda. If you're not familiar with this performance-based show - and that's perfectly understandable - look it up, because it's difficult to describe. Here's my best shot: South American drums play as well-toned, attractive 20-somethings fly over your head on harnesses and occasionally land on the ground, where they try to make out with you or your girlfriend, or both. In other words, art.
That detail is important because the party was swarming with attractive De La Guarda performers and incidentals. And the women apparently got together and decided to bypass the traditionally coy female costumes - kittykat, devil girl, garbage can - and cut right to the chase. They were dressed like the kinds of whores that even real whores would be ashamed of. I refused to go near the dip. One of them explained to me, "I was told to dress in the style of "Moulin Rouge", but no one told me whether they meant "Moulin Rouge" the place, or "Moulin Rouge" the video with Christine Aguilera and Lil Kim." Guess which one everybody picked?