Monday, February 26, 2007

One Time For Yo' Mind (Or, The Lives of Others)

I have something funny to post about the Oscars later...and, yes, if you happen to be a regular reader of this recently, once again, forever and always semi-neglected blog, I am writing this over a week late. Instead of the usual "I'm lame" post to cover two weeks of nothing, I'm back tracking all up on your asses. So, although the world is well into March, let's pretend it's still the twilight of February....

The one and only time I got excited and beside myself and upside down and hot and bothered during this year's Oscars, was when The Lives of Others won the award for Best Foreign Film. I know awards really mean nothing in terms of validating art, but I was shits and giggles nonetheless. The Lives of Others, Germany's entry, is a perfect film - period. Of course, being more than a little German myself, I was also happy that a film like this (one that addresses - head on - the climate of the now defunct East Germany) was recognized in such a big way. The film also addresses something deep and difficult in the German psyche - the tension between control and romanticism.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Not-So-Future Camp Icon (Or, Lick the Star)



I've had much to say about Juliette Lewis and her (nearly) rockstar stylings in the past...some of what I said mistakenly incriminated friends*, so, this time, I'll just let the magic of (internet) television do all the talking for me.

Above: "Hot Kiss"

*I was asked once to qualify a story I wrote here about a friend and his/her fictional relationship with Juliette. "For Christ's Sake," s/he said, "Everyone keeps asking me if I'm really on tour with her, washing her tits and rinsing vaseline out of chainmail."

Monday, February 19, 2007

Elevator to the Gallows (Or, Hell in New York)


Last weekend, I made an unfortunate decision. I chose - of my own free will - to see a movie at the Angelika on a Saturday afternoon. To add this already catastrophic situation, the movie I went to see (The Lives of Others), had just opened to glowing reviews from the Times and the New Yorker, which meant the stakes were even higher - long lines, bitter out-of-place patrons, the close-to-blows skirmish for seats. I was hot to see it and it was only showing at the Angelika, so there I was.

The trauma began untramatically enough - there was a line formed for another, earlier movie in the queue upstairs, so I got to sit for a while without incident. There was the usual, frantic set of patrons wailing about what movie was lined up - and the subsequent set of I-Can't-Believe-We-Were-Waiting-On-Line-For The Wrong-Movie bitch and moaners. I shouldn't be so harsh, though. As cozy and smug as their upstairs cafe is, the situation in the waiting area is always a shitstorm.

Hell began once the movie I was there to see was allowed to line up. In the rush to get a place on line, I managed to get close to the head of the line. A moment passed before I realized all was not well with where I stood. Just ahead of me was an elderly woman who was clearly in the throes of a panic attack. Every few seconds, she jolted around to face me, bobbing and weaving her head to see past me.

"Can you please just move! I can't see my husband!" she welped at me.

Given that she was close to hyperventilation, dehydration, and complete nervous breakdown, I complied.

A minute later, she performed the same set of bobs, weaves, and jolts. She glared at me and said:

"I asked you to move so I could see my husband! I can't see my husband! He's sitting over there and I can't see him. He can't stand on this line. He needs to use a cane! Goddamn this line - he can't stand. It's not fair. It tell you it's not fair!"

With that, she turned around again. Another minute, and she was facing me again. Before she could speak, I told her I would hold her place in line so she could go sit with her husband. Without a word of thanks, she rolled her eyes, grunted at me, and pushed her way out of line to sit with her husband.

After another twenty five minutes of uncomfortable, stressful standing (and compulsory eavesdropping on conversations I would rather not hear - like two straight guys - just out of their wives' earshot - discussing the fuckability of Cate Blanchett), we were released - like calves to the slaughter - downstairs to the theater. I moved as quickly as I could to get a seat. I ended up in an aisle seat in an empty row close to the screen. As soon as I sat down, a giant of a man was standing next to me.

"Is the seat next to you taken?" he asked.

Before I could shake my head shook no, he was climbing over me to take the seat next to me. He was so large, a good portion of him spilled into my seat, making the remainder of the afternoon a bit, well, intimate. Luckily, I was distracted by the screams of a woman in the row behind me:

"OUCH! YOU'RE PINCHING MY ARM! BE CAREFUL!"

I thought, did the giant next to me have a twin brother in the row behind us?

She wailed again: "THIS IS HORRIBLE. THIS PLACE IS HORRIBLE!"

Thankfully, the film was anything but. The Lives of Others is a nearly perfect movie - I left the theater blissed out and sated.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Je Suis Un Cochon (Or, Year of the Pig)

Happy Chinese New Year Y'All...It's the Year of the Pig.

In other words, smack this pig - it's my year bitch.

As for the title, well, I don't speak French. At all. "Je suis un cochon" is just about the only thing I know how to say.

It means "I am a pig."

I'm not sure why I know how to say that.

I just do.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Fire and Ice (Or, Down Pat)

Quite a few years ago, I went out to Montauk with a group of friends. My friend Jon's parents have a place out there (and, by out there I do mean out there - despite being a little tortuous to get to, Montauk is deliciously isolated and quiet on the easternmost tip of Long Island). Anyway, there were six of us smashed into the car with my friend Patty acting as co-pilot/DJ in the passenger seat. Before we left Manhattan, we all tossed our travel CD wallets (yes, this was pre iPod days) into Patty's lap so she could manage music for the four-plus hour car ride. After an hour or two, Patty started browsing through my CD wallet. One disk immediately caught her attention.

"What's this?" she asked me as she held up the disk in question. It was a CD I burned myself. It was labeled vaguely "I ROCK HARD" in sloppy, Sharpied, all capital I-made-this-while-drunk lettering. Patty looked over her shoulder at me and raised an eyebrow.

I could only reply:

"I rock pretty hard."

Since we had been deep in the throes of various disco tit-bang remix singles of whatever Madonna album was popular at that time, Patty was all for something a little less, well, g-a-y. She popped my disk in and clapped her hands in excitement.

"No more unts-unts-unts gayass boots in the dryer shit!"

No sooner than Patty's balls-to-the-wall need for rock had dropped into the air, the first track of my disk started...quietly...to the slow opening sequence of...

Pat Benatar's "Promises in the Dark."

Patty shot a look at me. "Hard rock disk?"

"Hey, I never said it wasn't without camp."

Friday, February 16, 2007

You Baby You (Or, 1989)



More from the bowels of YouTube...my favorite clip from "Stick Figure Theater" from MTV's late, great Liquid Television.

1989 was a very good year. A very good year, indeed.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

V.D. (Or, The Sea Is Awash With Roses)


I'm not one for over-silly-sentiment on days like today - but I am all for poetry - which, as an art form, is too often shamefully ignored.

Here's one of my favorite love poems by Kenneth Patchen, "The Sea Is Awash With Roses":

The sea is awash with roses O they blow
Upon the land

The still hills fill with their scent
O the hills flow on their sweetness
As on God's hand

O love, it is so little we know of pleasure
Pleasure that lasts as the snow

But the sea is awash with roses O they blow
Upon the land

Monday, February 12, 2007

Telephone Telegraph Telewho (Or, A Teeny Tiny Mind of One's Own)

My cellphone is kind of busted these days. Just as it began its slow descent into a semi-permanent state of brokedown-dom (about a month ago), Apple announced its creamy, dreamy iPhone. I got excited, thinking that all was well and good with the universe...my phone breaks just as a badder, wetter, wilder version happens along. Of course, anyone hot for technology knows that the iPhone won't be available for some time - it's just a juicy, fantasy pin-up for now. Until the iPhone is available, I'm stuck with scenarios like this:

One Friday night, I got a text message from my friend Torrey. Before I could finish typing a response, I had to duck into a bank's indoor ATM area to get some cash. After I got cash, I finished my text message to Torrey. Five seconds later, I got another text from Torrey that said, simply: "Are you OK?" Given that my message to him was "Going to dinner", I thought Torrey was being rather alarmist. I went to text him back when I realized that "Going to dinner" was only the tail end of the message I sent. The whole of what I sent him went a little something like this:

ffff
dfff

f
d
d
can't talk now
dfdsa

ff
sssssdfr
sstd
sdf
sscssa
vcaee23
d
fa

adsd

cad
fff
ssssssssssst

Going to dinner

Sadly, this isn't the only time my phone has tried to converse with friends without my assistance. This in turn prompts replies from friends like "was that German?" and "are you drunk?" at various hours of the day.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Friday, February 02, 2007

What's So Small About Small Talk? (Or, Beat It, Needy)


I have an odd relationship with one of my downstairs neighbors. And, by odd, I mean vaguely and unneccessarily co-dependent. Despite the fact that she once called me fat to my face, she thinks we're best friends. Like, totally. I'm not at all sure why she thinks this, especially since I've successfully avoided her since said incident.

Early this morning, I broke the glass carafe/pot/whatever-the-fuck-that's-called part of my coffee maker at absolutely the wrong moment. I had a slew of things I had to send out and no time to run to the corner deli for coffee, so I was stuck strapped to the computer for a number of hours sans morning caffeine fix. In hindsight, I should have had the sense to order breakfast in from a diner. Anyway, when I finally pulled away long enough to run down the street, I got stopped by my Best-Friend-Forever-My-Girl in our building's entrance. As I tried to get around her, she moved to physically block me from leaving and attempted conversation:

NEIGHBOR LADY: Oh, hi. It's so cold outside. Brrr! Oh, my goodness, can you believe it's February...

As she continued ten simultaneous threads of small talk with herself, I tried to duck past her. I managed to get halfway around her when she pinned me to the wall, banging me up against the mailboxes.

NEIGHBOR LADY: Oh, I have so much to tell you. I'm so worried about my daughter...you know she's....

At this point, I thought my head was going to implode, I needed caffeine so desperately. I pushed her off of me and finally got out the door.

NEIGHBOR LADY: Where are you going! Why are you always in a hurry. My daughter...she...

Finally, guilt set in, so I attemped a polite exit, full of lies, lies, lies.

ME: Look, I have a meeting to go to. I'm late. Excuse me.

One would think such direct statements would work. Not even close.

As I turned to finally walk down the street to get my long-awaited, much-delayed, semi-shitty deli coffee, the neighbor lady's finger caught the crook of my elbow.

NEIGHBOR LADY: What is going on with the guy next door to you? He's always moving his furniture. He's so loud! Can you talk to...

With a quick turn, I broke free of her in-need-of-conversing finger and took off down the street. I could still hear her talking to me as I made my way to the deli. Despite the fact that I felt like I'd bitchslapped someone's grandmother, I let the intoxicating New York rush of being rude wash over me.