Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Does This Make Me Racist Or Just Weirdly Obsessed?

Last night I covered a Tribeca Film Festival Arts dinner thingie at AGO, the new DeNiro restaurant in Tribeca for Page Six Magazine. I was psyched because Padma Lakshmi was going to be there. I like Padma Lakshmi alot. I was planning on suggesting we hike up in Harriman State Park (they have some great trails!) and then maybe smoke a fat joint and listen to NPR. Maybe Lopate. Maybe Lehrer. Maybe even Jonathan Schwartz if it's on the weekend.

Anyway, so I'm there. I just spoke to Christo and Jeannne-Claude. Oh, sorry. They insist it be written as Jeanne-Claude & Christo when I spotted Padma from across the room. She was so cute. So svelte. So all over Ed Burns. Whatever. I thought. He's got nothing on me. So I was all ready to make my move when a kind hearted PR woman informed me that no indeed, that was Christy Turlington I was going to ask out on a date. My inamorata was not coming. I felt foolish and at the same time full of awe that these two women look almost exactly alike. Did I think this because one is a minority and one is a half minority;. Indian, Latina, respectively.? Could it be that I--as a white male--am fundamentally unable to tell the difference between those outside of my immediate racial cohorts? But then I thought of that Nat King Cole song "The Very Thought of You":

The mere idea of you, the longing here for you
Youll never know how slow the moments go till Im near to you
I see your face in every flower
Your eyes in stars above
Its just the thought of you
The very thought of you, my love

Maybe I was just being sweet and I didn't even know it. "I see your face in every supermodel/ Your eyes in every half-El Salvadorean covergirl...

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Best Party Photo Blog In Existence (I'm Pretty Sure)


Look Whoo Whoo Whoo Is Out Now!

Gabe Stulman, once partner in Little Owl and Market Table with Joey Campanaro. In late February, we once posted he was out at Little Owl. But he emailed us and said that wasn't true. So then we said he said he was in at Little Owl. Guess what? From an inside source: He's out at Little Owl. He's out at Market Table. Joey and he parted ways. He's still a part owner at one of the restaurants (I forget which one. I'm pretty sure though it's Little Owl he's the part owner of still) but definitely the partnership is doneski. This from a reputable person telling us this. Also, a little bit, WE TOLD YOU SO! And finally, Abbe Diaz: You are crazy and you have a dirty idiot wind filled mouth. And of course Gabe is denying the whole thing (not the Diaz thing. The other one.) Time will tell.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Another Thing I Hate

As long as I'm in a crummy mood, another thing I hate are those "Official Lifeguard" t-shirts that people wear even though they are emphatically not official lifeguards. It's a little bit like--at least in my weltenschauung in which choking accidents and CPR are just a faulty swallow away at every moment--wearing a souvenir EMT outfit that says, "Official Medical Personnel" at a crime scene. It also reminds me of that David Cross bit where he bemoans the misuse of the world "literally."


When the Ex Writes a Blog, Dirty Laundry Is Aired [NYT]

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

New York Times Front Page

Click to enlarge.

Street Food Without the Street

I have a piece today that went up in the Guardian about "Street Food Without the Street" in New York. Here it is!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Things I Hate: A Partial List

  • Waiting
  • David Sedaris (his voice is annoying. He's twee and naff.)
  • Terry Gross (I used to lover her but she got more dumb!)
  • Dane Cook (that is obvious)
  • Andy Borowitz (because he always tries to hit on whatever girlfriend I have at the time)
  • How you can't cut and paste emails on the iPhone
  • Asshole publicists (You know I'm writing the story so why not cooperate?)
  • Taxes!
  • People who Clip Their Toe or Fingernails on the Subway. It's not a public activity that.
  • Ingrown Hairs (Unsightly and Painful)
  • Cilantro (It's genetic!)
  • Bright Eyes
  • Genetics
  • Dianetics
  • Diegesis
  • Exegesis
  • Some of my ex's
  • When men sign emails "xo"
  • Verizon

Going Upstate!

I'm going upstate in late April for a few days for a travel piece for the Guardian. Laurel Ptak is coming with me. She'll be taking photographs. We're winding our way up the Hudson River for four days. If anyone has any suggestions of what to do please send me an email at joshuadavidstein@gmail.com. Thank you and good night.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Now I Get it, Jezebel!

I just watched William Wyler's 1938 film Jezebel starring Bette Davis (and her eyes) as a southern belle who refuses to conform to hegemonic gender and class norms. I used to work for Gawker, whose sister site is Jezebel and I began to wonder why Nick and Anna named it that. Clearly Jezebel as a concept precedes the movie (starting with the Old Testament carrying into the New and reiterated in thousands of forms) but Bette Davis arguably is the kind of communally called upon image associated with the word. Weirdly, when a Jezebel writer named Moe Tkacik explained why they chose the name, she neglected completely to mention the movie.

Clearly the appeal of a beautiful outspoken forward-thinking woman is self-explanatory but--in the movie and probably inadvertently in the blog but definitely there as well, is the knowledge---obscured from the writers in one case by dramatic irony and the other by narcissism, that one's Jezebellian outspokenness and flailings for attention operate within a system in which complete devotion to fulfillment of desires is or can be harmful to others. The underlying assumption in the behavior of Davis' character Julie is that freedom of expression and from societal mores are ends in themselves; What one actually says or does is immaterial; who one hurts in the process is incidental. This same treatment of what is essentially a means as an end underlies the logic of aspirationally iconoclastic writers that one finds on the pages of Jezebel. (Not all of them, some of them.) And you can almost see the resolution and character arc. Just as Davis repents for wearing the red dress at the Olympus Ball--not because she has come to agree with the rigid strictures of New Orleans society but because she learns to love Preston more than her pride--so too will these writers who spray binary shit into the world under the guise of wit and intelligence be led off to a leper colony where their colleagues-- who too have shared so much of themselves that their limbs and noses are falling off--finally repent of their selfish heedlessness.

Friday, April 04, 2008

B2 is the Ideal Newspaper Page

Sitting at Florent, next to, incidentally Miranda July, I picked up a copy of today's Times and flipped to the Metro section. Unlikely choice (like the steak frites at 10:30 in the morning) but similarly fulfilling. The entire section was mindblowing but page B2 was weirdly the best single page of news I've ever read. That's not to say it's good news. The story focused on rape, murder, animal abuse, and drugs. But as measured by sensationalism and sordid details one couldn't ask for more.

  • Rape Word Not on the Sleeve But Over the Heart: Susan Dominus' profile of a never-been-raped Williamsburg feminist named Jennifer Baumgardner who has designed t-shirts that say "Raped" on them to be worn by women who have been sexually assaulted to "force [the issue] into everyday conversation." This idea is so so so bad on so many levels. Not the least of which is that perhaps rape shouldn't be forced into everyday conversation and certainly not one instigated by a t-shirt. It does however include this line about a raped woman wearing the shirt. "[A]s Ms. Clifford walked out the door, intending to wear the T-shirt to pick up her preschooler around the corner, it was easy to worry on her behalf about the other mothers’ reactions. Would they assume her son’s mother was deeply damaged, not just by the information displayed on the shirt, but by her choice to announce it on a pale pink T-shirt?"
  • Battling to Retain a Touch of the 19th Century: The perfect Metro story. Ye olde horse and carriage argument. A bunch of liberal activists (including "pop singer Pink" grandstanding on an issue (horse and carriage rides in the city) about which they know little versus the salt-of-the-earth stable proprietor "Irish-born Mr. McKeever, a goateed string bean of 39" who "grew up riding and grooming the dozen horses, mostly hunters, on his parents’ farm."
  • In Plainfield, N.J., 27 Are Arrested in Raid Aimed at Gangs: "When the raids were over, the police said, they had seized, from 39 homes, a dozen handguns, about $18,000 in cash, as well as crack cocaine, heroin, marijuana and a three-foot-long alligator."
  • After backing Father in Murder Tiral, Sons Now Blame Him: A 72-year old man kills his 57-year old wife. His sons, in their 20s, defend him and blame her. Spare him punishment. A year later, they change their story. He's now to blame. The best part of this story is why he killed her. "Mrs. Odierno became increasingly unstable, hoarding toilet paper, bumping into her sons for no reason, and once unscrewing every light bulb in the chandelier."

Thursday, April 03, 2008

LOL: The sentence is doneville!

From this NYT article on this report:
James H. Billington, the librarian of Congress, drew laughs when he expressed concern about what he called “the slow destruction of the basic unit of human thought, the sentence,” because young Americans are doing most of their writing in disjointed prose composed in Internet chat rooms or in cellphone text messages.
“The sentence is the biggest casualty,” Mr. Billington said. “To what extent is students’ writing getting clearer? Is that still being taught?”

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Recent Activities

  • Saw Julie White in the new play called From Up Here. Recommended.
  • Saw Grupo Corpo at BAM. Somewhat recommended.
  • Ate at Franny's Pizza in Park Slope. Great pizza but their eagerness to inform you of their locally sourced sustainable produce/pork/energy is really grating.
  • Read Journey to the End of the Night and Death on the Installment Plan (Celine); Dan Yack and The Confessions of Dan Yack, (Blaise Cendrars); Berlin Stories (Christopher Isherwood).
  • Made my mom read Journey to the End of the Night. "It's so depressing!"
  • Ran into a now married ex working at Dumont Burger. Delicious burger...after all these years.
  • Gruyere and black peppercorn sausage at Cafe Katja. Six Points Ale. Righteous.
  • Watched Tampopo. Got excited for ramen and the newly opened Ippudo and also raw egg sucking.
  • Applied for a new credit card which was dumb since I can't even pay the one I have and this one has a $450 annual fee.
  • Debated going to see the Counterfeiters and decided against it. Will go tonight. Maybe with a German.
  • Ducked out of ballet class after the barre to finish an article on deadline.
  • While at Cafe Katja, a friend and I had a very loud discussion in which he used the word "taint" often, much to the distress of the dining dating couple next to us. The tables are close together.
  • Became embroiled in a discussion with said couple as to whether Pinkberry, Yolato or Red Mango is the best frozen yogurt. The lady part of the couple wouldn't engage with us since she had been listening from the start to our debased conversation and clearly thought little of us.
  • Uploaded a bunch of new and old clips to my site. Check out the pelican piece.
  • Totally 100% fell for Jezebel's April Fool's joke. (We sold ourselves to Conde Nast.)