In December of 2005, You Learned:
HOW TO HOST A SHOW ED EMBERLY WOULD BE PROUD OF.
This is surely a bit of advance notice, but it's never too early to mark one's calendar. Bob Powers (of girlsarepretty.com) and I are hosting a new show, this January 9th, in addition to our regular monthly comedy reading show, HOW TO KICK PEOPLE.
The show is called THE STRIP SHOW, and it's a multi-media comedy show featuring some of the funniest and most original cartoonists presenting their own comics. I'm insanely excited about this, because all of our guests are really favorites of mine and I sort of can't believe we have them all together for a night. Check out the line-up, and information on getting advance tickets below. (I should say this: last time we did a show like this, it was in a much bigger space and we still had people sitting and standing in the aisles. I expect this one will fill up pretty fast, too.)
Mo Pitkin's and CBS-NY Present
THE STRIP SHOW
with Bob Powers & Todd Levin
and featuring the drawing skills of:
EVAN DORKIN (Milk & Cheese, DORK Comics, Space Ghost Coast 2 Coast)
LAUREN R. WEINSTEIN (Inside Vineyland, Girl Comics)
EMILY FLAKE (Lulu Eightball)
MICHAEL KUPPERMAN (Snake 'n' Bacon, Tales Designed to Thrizzle, The New Yorker)
NICHOLAS GUREWITCH (Perry Bible Fellowship)
Monday, January 9th, at 8:30pm
MO PITKIN'S HOUSE OF SATISFACTION
34 Avenue A (between 2nd and 3rd Streets)
for advance tickets, go here
HOW TO LIPOSUCTION OUT THE MEANING.
Here's a neat trick I discovered purely by accident. Position yourself at the southwest corner of Houston Street and West Broadway in NYC's Soho neighborhood. Then, as you start to make your way south along West Broadway, place some headphones on and cue The Professionals' "Mods, Skins, Punks." Make it nice and loud to drown out the loud clanging of tourists' gold and diamond jewelry.
By the time you pass MAX MARA, and The Professionals demand to know, "ARE YOU A MOD, ARE YOU A SKIN?" you will need to either laugh out loud like a crazy person (as I did) or sit down and rest, because you're going to be sweating irony out of your pores like all get-out.
HOW TO TAKE OUT THE TRASH.
I can't believe it, but I'm still not totally unpacked. The thing is, every time I think I'm done, a few more items appear from my previous apartment. It's gotten weird lately. I've been forced to make choices I would have never imagined I'd be making at my age, like, "should I move this 30-inch, fully-articulated plastic skeleton to the new place or leave it out with the trash?" (Guess which one I picked.)
I've also been educated in all the different non-trash channels for getting rid of your stuff, and I've tried nearly all of them. For example, I dropped off several bags of clothing at the Salvation Army. Then I dropped off a few more at Beacon's Closet for some consignment cash. (Hope you guys like air force parkas, because I don't anymore.) Got rid of a bulky box containing a rocker base for an Eames chair by trying out I SOLD IT ON EBAY! (I cannot emphasize how utterly ridiculous this store is, and how ashamed I am for having participated in their profit model. When I walked in there, curious about how it worked, it was exactly like you'd expect. There were all these racks filled with large or oddly shaped GARBAGE, like mannequin torsos and old typewriters and air hockey tables, and all the items had little tags hanging off them. The customer in front of me was sincerely dropping off a snowboard, which seems to me the exact item a store like that would use as a prop in their television advertising campaign. In fact, in a colorful sign above the registers, there are photographs of "stuff we typically take" and one of them was a SNOWBOARD. Problem solved. When I was dropping off my item, and showing the employee where he could find similar items sold on eBay, then actually pointing out which eBay listing descriptions he could basically copy to write my listing, it occurred to me that this place was providing next to zero value-added service for the 30% commission they were taking. I nearly took my box of rocker base, turned around, and marched right back out the front door. Then I realized it would mean carrying around a large box for a few blocks, and said fuck it. Sigh. I SOLD IT ON EBAY, you have served me!)
Finally, I got hooked into the "freecycle.org" scene, and rid myself of an old office chair that had previously been employed as a rolling surface to throw stuff that wasn't quite trash and wasn't quite suited for any special destination in my apartment. (This is a problem I have quite a bit. I start defaulting certain locations in my apartment for this purpose. I used to throw stuff on an extra table, which I then gave to my building super just to break me of the habit. After that, I put stuff on a loveseat I didn't need, until I gave that to my super as well, again to break the habit. I have found I'm good at eliminating options and very bad at eliminating behaviors.) Freecycle is odd. At first, when I posted my listing there was total internet silence. Then, 48 hours later, my inbox was crowded with at least 15-20 responses, one right on the heels of the last. Some were simple and to the point – "you got that chair still? me want." – and others kind of pleaded their case, like a panhandler who promises your 25 cents will be siphoned directly into the purchase of Similac or baby shoes and not more of the crack rock crumbs that have collected in his beard. One guy appealed to my sympathy, by explaining his current seating arrangement was a broken folding chair with diabetes. Another let me know he'd use the chair for his "home music studio," perhaps thinking I would sleep better at night knowing my chair was being utilized to create art. (i.e. commercial jingles) I found that email particularly funny, and wondered if he thought he was going to edge out other respondents who were leaving messages like, "Hello, sir. I wonder if your office chair is still available. I think it would make a wonderful addition to my 'Rape Room.' Please call me between 8am - 5pm, before prime raping time."
I finally settled on a guy with a Dutch name, mostly because his emails were straightforward and perfunctory, and partly because he was the first to respond and, unlike another top contender, didn't balk at the fact that I live two flights up by moaning, "TWO FLIGHTS??? Oh, I can't carry a chair down two flights of stairs..." (That ellipsis represents the space in our telephone conversation that she clearly hoped I'd fill with, "WHY I'D BE HAPPY TO CARRY MY FREE CHAIR DOWNSTAIRS FOR YOU!!!" And, of course, that's just what I said for I am a sucker.)
The chair pick-up was not unlike his emails. He walked into my nearly empty apartment, remarked on how nice it was (Buddy, you already got the chair. Stop kissing my ass.), saw the chair and remarked on how nice it was, then carried it out without another word, not even a goodbye. As he was leaving, I asked him if he needed a vaccum (he did not) or a fully-articulated, realistic plastic skeleton. (again, he did not)
HOW TO PLAY IN PEORIA.
For the last two weeks I've been unable to focus on anything that doesn't involve unpacking shipping boxes or drilling holes straight into a drywall stud, swearing at myself for being a frail shadow of a man, then drilling another hole 3/4" away from the first one, and sending a large chunk of plaster spilling to the floor, all in the interest of installing a tie rack.
But sometimes it's important to take a moment, if only to point out a peculiarity in the universe. I haven't seen the film Brokeback Mountain yet, though I long to. (Oh, how I long to.) And I'm pretty sure they've been marketing it honestly, as "City Slickers for Gaylords." It looks like a very beautiful movie, in any case, and everything I've read about it supports this belief. (The NY Times ate it up, and Honcho gave it "4 and 1/2 Unironic Mustaches.")
And that's why it's frustrating when, even a movie like Brokeback Mountain, which has no chance of really gaining "blockbuster" status, still tries—very cynically—to grab an extra piece of the audience demographic pie. Check out this advertising I saw for Brokeback Mountain on "Ain't It Cool News", a hardcore movie geek web site:
See anything weird in there? Well look more closely:
Oh, and this: If you happen to be unemployed, or work the night shift at a morgue, and are looking for a decent way to fill up an hour in your afternoon, I'll be hosting a showcase for the Aspen Comedy Festival at 3pm today. Here are the details:
OFF THE WEB
a showcase for the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen
Thursday, December 15th, at 3pm
at the People's Improv Theater
154 West 29th St. (b/w 6th & 7th Aves.)
RESERVATIONS: 212.563 7488
HOW TO STAGE A COMEBACK.
In observation of KING KONG DAY, I got FUCKED UP. I'm still recuperating, honestly, and it's mostly from eating a Double Kong Burger with an Empire State Sized Cherry Coke at Burger King.* The Kong Burger is basically a King Ralph Sandwich, but instead of putting cheese sauce on it, they just leave the burger in a room with Adrien Brody for fifteen minutes at a press junket.
If you order a "Double Kong" Adrien will come over to your table, or follow you back to work, and just "rap" with you while you eat. He mostly talked to me about dancehall reggae and said "no, you think you understand but you really can't understand." However, I've heard he is conversant in many other subjects, which was a skill he developed out of necessity with the BK internal marketing team and their advertising agency, Crispin Porter, as a tool to encourage repeat sales. For instance, other BK customers ordering the Double Kong might get to hear Adrien Brody tell them:
- How, growing up around a lot of black people who lived near his performing arts high school, he was into rap music a long time before most people. ("Ever heard of Tim Dog?" he asked.)
- Why he would totally go to the wall for Roman Polanski
- What Halle Berry tastes like
- The difference between "clowning" and "krumping" ("Krumping comes from a place of real aggression, you know," he'll say. "It's a much more honest art form. I totally respect how Miss Prissy and the Thundercats Krew are holding it down. In fact, I have a krumping zone in my new loft, in case I'm ever working some shit out and need to krump, knowhatimsayin'?")
- Dub reggae
- How the Holocaust was just a figment of the collective Jewish imagination
- How to tell if you're eating "authentic" Soul food
- Why slavery was wack
- Sunflower oil and its health benefits over traditional canola
- Asian poon
- How the brontosaurus dinosaurs in Peter Jackson's KING KONG were not real, even though they probably look real when you see his character's reactions to them. ("As an actor, it's your job to make homeboys watching the movie, like, 'OH SNAP! LOOK AT THAT MUTHAFUCKA'S FACE. TELL ME THEM DINOSAURS AIN'T REAL!!")
The Double Kong Burger is more than most people can digest.
*Also, I drank a tub of gin and then threw my poop at a police officer. He hit me really hard with a stick. REALLY hard. Like, King Kong hard.
HOW TO ENSURE AN APPLAUSE BREAK.
Here's a hint: make fun of Nazis onstage! Apparently, audiences hate those guys.
You can curl up next to your television, or send your TiVo to fetch it while you go out and take party drugs. Either way, tonight, at 11:30pm E.S.T., I will be appearing on Comedy Central's "Premium Blend. I am still trying to figure out where to watch the show, since my television set will be unplugged, and my cable box wrapped in packing tape, and my Premium Blend blazer stored in dry ice.