Friday, March 28, 2008

F/U/C: A.O. Scott, Bill Clinton, Lou Duva

The new Fuck, Marry, Kill has been replaced in these fatherless times with a paternal version: Father, Uncle, Cousin. In our first installment, we feature A.O. Scott, the New York Times film critic; Bill Clinton, a former United States President; and Lou Duva, a legendary boxing trainer. Things to keep in mind, I suppose, are level of support (both financially and emotionally); level of patience, tough love/coddling love. DNA isn't an issue since they aren't your biological fathers at any rate. Cousin is also not exactly equal to kill. It's more like a stranger but with an underlying current of affection. Uncle is clearly more paternal but without real responsibility (but also without the rewards that that intimacy brings). Father is clearly the most involved in your life, the man who metes out discipline but also love.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Courbet and His Lady Coverin' Ways

At the exhaustive and exciting Courbet exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, one is immediately struck by how much of a woman Courbet shows. Even though you knew it was coming, his Origin of the World, a close-up of a hirsute lady-flower, is shocking. Ditto Sleep, a painting of two naked women, who are definitely not asleep though they are sleeping together. But the more interesting part to me was what he covered up about women. In both of the above paintings, The Wounded Man and the posthumous portrait of the Socialist philosophe Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, Courbet obscured images of women with a blanket and a work basket, respectively. This we know, or at least I know, from the helpful curatorial texts alongside the paintings. (Hats off to Gary Tinterow abd Kathryn Calley Galitzm the curators in charge of the show.)

In L'homme Blessé, Courbet paints himself sensually on the brink of either sleep or death. It turns out that the wound and the blanket are latecomers to the piece. In the original version, revealed in an x-radiograph, the brown blanket is occupied with the presumably toothsome figure of Virginie Binet, a young lady with whom Courbet was involved. (They were doin' it.) By the time the painting was finished however, the couple was doneski. In the aftermath, he replaced her with a blankie. Kind of sweet. Kind of savvy. By replacing the wounds of war for the hounds of love, Courbet completely changes the theme of the painting into something much more serious. A teacher at Mt. Holyoke recently wrote, the painting "shows a Christ-like figure who has presumably sacrificed his life for a cause. Courbet sacrificed his comfortable bourgeoisie lifestyle to live like a bohemian in Paris." Um, or he is just a fuckin' baby who in a fit of pique threw a blanket over a picture of an ex. Something we've all done before.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Department of Blithe Idiocy: Pot. Kettle. Black. Starring Danyelle Freeman!

From idiotic smushy-face restaurant critic Danyelle Freeman's review of Commerce in the Daily News that came with the headline Trying Too Hard Can Be Trying. A few words into the review Freeman writes the cuisine is "rife with ambition and refinement" and that the Oysters are "luxuriating in a Champagne sauce." She's right! Trying too hard can be trying. Wait. There's more. Particularly germane blatant hypocrisy in red.

Though there are a handful of successes on the menu, too many dishes amounted to overworked compositions with little payoff. A poached chicken breast, deprived of its skin, proved a bland centerpiece for a mushy assemblage of potato purée, mushrooms and a braised mixture of cabbage and brussel sprouts. A $52 steamed dorade for two offered no real flavor at all, sinking into a watery verjus scattered with plum tomatoes. Even worse, a stuffed veal breast was entirely obscured by a chalky stuffing and a heavy-handed tarragon mustard sauce.

Then there were misplaced sweet potato tortelloni doused in a pomegranate molasses, so cloying that they were better suited to the dessert menu.

Bent on proving his versatility and culinary repertoire, Moore overreaches with a self-conscious and pricey menu that feels notably out of sync with the informal tavern setting.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Meet Audrina's New Love Interest: A Douche Named Mitch

Hey do you watch the MTV series called The Hills? Me neither! But I do know it's scripted? How? Well first of all it's obvious. Second of all, according to our very well placed tipster, they just auditioned and cast this dude for Audrina's new love interest. His name is Mitch. He's in a shitty band called Love Automatic, managed weirdly by Josh Madden. From our tipster: "He's not supposed to be telling anyone but he is." Also, his MySpace page says, "big things are happening for me.i write music with the band Love automatic. my life is good and only getting better." Just keep telling yourself that, Mitch C!

The Burger Shoppe: How to Be Gassy and Happy and Full

Photo: Steve Bryant

The other night I checked out Burger Shoppe, the latest addition to this city's mania for burgers. It's in the Financial District, deep in the Financial District, right in the seamy monied and at the moment panicked heart of the economy. Kevin O'Connell, who is the man who created the original Pop Burger and consulted for my personal favorite burger, the Hickory Short Rib Burger at the otherwise douche-infested Spitzer's Corner, is in the kitchen. Heather Tierney, the very very good looking restaurant concierge behind sorted, is responsible for the look of the place which is extremely retro. First floor is a straight-out-of-the-1950's diner countery place and the second floor is a more restaurantish bar with actual tables. The remaining three or four floors (they have the whole building) may or may not be developed into an exclusive club (a la Upstairs at Cipriani's, minus the D-bags) or, hopefully this one, an illegal poker room (my idea). The man who will make this happen is Greg Seider, the mixologist once from Norwood, who is just killing time until the place gets its liquor license. (It's already been approved by CB1.) Really this all wouldn't mean anything if the burgers are crap.

Thankfully the burgers aren't crap. One particular burger is extremely far from crap. The Shoppe Burger which is reminiscent of the Pop Burger: a grilled Hereford beef burger with Cheddar, lettuce, tomato and Shoppe sauce is delicious. It rivals and perhaps beats Shake Shack or any other simple retro burger. The Burger Shoppe's entry for nouveau burger, the Barroom Burger, (gruyere, braised pork belly, sauteed mushroom and onions) needs a little more work. (Too much mushroom. Too pork belly-ee) but is again pretty solid. The sleeper hit of the menu, for me, is the House Chopped Chicken Livers and the Short Rib Pudding. One is oniony and creamy; one is red-winey and creamy. One lacks the metallic aftertaste that spoiled me on liver, the other lacks the caloric information that spoiled me on pudding.

In terms of milkshakes, yes. Banana Rum Walnut, I think. It had Kahlua in it and made my gassy drunk and happy for the rest of the night.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Song of the Day: Come To My Show With Your Boyfriend

I wrote this song a while ago. Kyle Forester is singing with me. I actually saw the girl this was written about with her boyfriend on the day of my show but--and this is a moment of cowardice for which I will forevermore drub myself--didn't invite them.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Inconceivable! Restaurateur and Actress Canoodle.

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Ken Friedman, the man behind the Spotted Pig and the newly opened Rusty Knot is, according to an eyewitness (?!) dating Robin Wright who until recently was Robin Wright Penn, the wife of Sean Penn and before that simply known to us as the beautiful princess from Princess Bride. Ken Friedman, not a bad looking guy by any means but no Westley, is treading in some deeeeep waters. Wright is totally out of his league. However, from our tipster, "The man is smitten and she's loving every minute of it."

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Downside of Living in Williamsburg

I called Verizon today to get high speed cable and they told me that too many people in Williamsburg had requested cable and that I might get it, if I'm lucky, next month. The other hipsters in my building (it's the cast-iron one you see coming in Brooklyn on the JMZ right next to the Marcy Ave. stop) have cleverly password-protected their networks, networks with names like "The Bog" and "=============>>!!!<<==========" This means I can either be one of the legion of hipster/writers at Atlas, cadging free internet and drinking crap coffee or I can come to the News Corp building, where I am now, to be a hipster/writer, cadging free internet and drinking crap coffee but in the comfort of a fluorescent-lit cubicle-farm!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

What Project Runway Means For America

It's simple. If Gillian wins Hillary wins. If Christian wins Obama wins. If Romi wins McCain wins. It's a good sign for Gillian that Hillary won large last night. It shows Americans, at least the smart ones, privilege songs of experience over innocence, no matter how fierce said innocence is.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

The Fourth Type of New York Times Commenter.

The New York Times, in discussing the woeful case of the Margaret Seltzer, the latest memoirist to admit to fabricating her entire life story, highlights a comment made by a "fiction writer" from glorious Ambler, PA. His name is Seth Pollins and he writes: "I'm a fiction writer. I lie through my teeth. And yet, every single word I write is pure autobiography." This, however, is idiotic at worst and superfluous at best. His artugment has nothing to do with the case of Ms. Seltzer as any LSAT student would know.

Pollins justifies Meltzer's actions by pointing out that though he writes fiction, "every single word" he writes is "pure autobiography." Fair enough though it clearly seems like a case of miscategorization. He errs however in implying the converse of the statement is true; that Meltzer would be correct in saying, "I'm a autobiographical writer Any yet every single I write is pure fiction." This is a clear example of illicit conversion, the logical fallacy whereby "argument...entails the arbitrary assignment of a specific trait of a set to one of its subsets." All wolves are animals therefore all animals are wolves, for example.

Anyway, throw another type onto the NYT commenter pyre: logically vexed fiction writers from North Philadelphia suburbs!

Thirteen Wonderful Words Learned From Blaise Cendrars

Swiss-born French-based author Blaise Cendrars one fifth of the men I love in this world. So far I've only read Dan Yack but am desperately trying to find his other books. (He wrote over 20.) Frustratingly the ones I most want to find, The Severed Hand and I Killed both memoirs of his time at the front during WWI, are hard to find. Maybe even impossible. There is a Spanish translation on ebay of La Mano Cortado but that's about it. Anyway, Dan Yack, which i'm reading now, is full of wonderful words that I plan to fit awkwardly into whatever I'm writing at the moment. So! If you pick up a copy of Page Six magazine and see any of these words in it, you know where they came from!
  • verglas--a thin coating of ice, as on rock.
  • diapason--a full, rich outpouring of melodious sound.
  • diamantine--consisting of diamonds or resembling diamonds
  • doggo--lie doggo, British Slang. to keep out of sight; hide
  • menhir--an upright monumental stone standing either alone or with others, as in an alignment, found chiefly in Cornwall and Brittany.
  • fo'c'sle-a superstructure at or immediately aft of the bow of a vessel, used as a shelter for stores, machinery, etc., or as quarters for sailors.
  • periwigs--a wig, especially a peruke.
  • guesquel--from a Cendrars footnote:
The quesquel is an instrument used by the Patagonian Indians to pleasure their women. It consists of a little crown of tufts, made out of mule-hair, carefully mounted on a fine tricolour thread. The man attaches this thread behind the glans and during coitus he introduces the instrument, bristles foremost, intotthe woman's vagina. These tufts are stiff and at least as long as a finger; their effect is so biolent that the woman cries out, weeps, grinds her teeth, bites, bursts out laughing, sobs, tosses, foams at the mouth, slobber, twitches and writehes her hips (this is why the Patagonians call white women corcoveadores: because they do not need the guesquel to stimulate them, but take an active part in the love act and writhe naturally, to the delight of the men): the orgasm is sos powerful that, after detumescence, the woman remains exhausted, at her last gasp, sated, replete, overcome, dizzy with happiness, stupified to the point of tears and utterly helpless."
  • clew up- to haul (the lower corners of a square-rig sail) up to the yard by means of the clew lines.
  • stevedore- a firm or individual engaged in the loading or unloading of a vessel.
  • heteroclite- irregular or abnormal; anomalous.
  • guttersnipe-a person belonging to or characteristic of the lowest social group in a city.
  • aerophagy--the swallowing of air especially in hysteria

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Marcel Dzama Tattoos and Regained Youth All Mine

Feeling old, I've decided to recapture my youth. At least whatever it is I thought my youth was I want it back and whoever the youth I wish I was was I want to be now. Except more emotionally mature! So!

  • Moved to a loft in Williamsburg.....check! We moved on Monday. It took 14 hours from ten pm to noon the next morning. No sleep. All sleet. With a zipcar minivan. Two people. But! Now I'm finally in a place where one can't touch all four walls at once. Also, it's the first time I've ever seen my roommate Eric from afar! He's so small standing at the other side of the apartment.
  • Got a tattoo by Canadian artist Marcel Dzama.....check! This image is from a collection of prints put out by McSweeney's called The Berlin Years. It was also used in a book called Ugly Feelings by Siann Ngai. A guy named Daniel did it at NYC Adorned. Next Friday I'm getting the frog man. This Wednesday, Marcel Dzama will be at the opening of his show at David Zwirner gallery so hopefully the scabbing will have ceased by then so I can show it to him. I mean, either way it'll be creepy.
  • Shaved my head....check! Yeah, my hair was at that awkward stage where I looked like I was in my early fifties. I went to some horrendous barber on the Lower East Side for a trim but they kept on screwing it up so finally I said, "Fine, give me a one on the sides and a two up top." And he did. Now I look like a skinhead. In fact, when I look at myself in the mirror I'm both happy (I look kinda younger!) and angry (I look like the kind of dude who would kill my own ancestors!)