Saturday, December 03, 2016

A Penny Arcade Discussion Guide

To be candid, I was taken by surprise last night at Penny Arcade's performance at St. Anne’s Theater in DUMBO. Apparently, when I buy tickets to shows, I’m more of a “look at the pictures” kind of online shopper. Here’s the show promo:

I thought we signing up for some sort of drag cabaret. I thought there might be cake. I was wrong. 

In case you are unfamiliar with the work of Penny Arcade, as I was until yestereve, let me clue you in. She’s a 60ish ingenue formerly of the Andy Warhol set. She's hell bent to rage against the machine for 90 minutes. Except it’s not a rant. It’s art. This was a thing in the early 80s downtown.

I can distill 90 minutes with Penny Arcade into four bullets, and I mention this because it’s actually my main point. But here we go:

  1. Penny Arcade considers herself in the “control group” immune from the idiocy perpetuated by uptight suburbanites and their entitled lily-livered, gay and straight children who indulge in artisanal ramen and fancy cocktails and cry great wailing sobs when someone calls them by the wrong pronoun or dares to say something the hive mind rejects.

  2. Penny Arcade is in this "control group" because she has never seen Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Arc or Sex in the City.

    Also because in the east village in the 70’s, a plus-sized, topless beatnik jabbed a meth needle in her ass, right through her clothes, and she learned a valuable lesson that night.

    And lastly, because she is very smart. Much smarter than anyone who didn’t go to Max’s Kansas City every night for a decade and have words with Patti Smith.

  3. Penny Arcade bitches about slow-walking tourists who don’t look where they’re going and run right into you. She dislikes Hummer-sized baby carriages in Park Slope. She also has a problem with hipsters and cupcake shops. She pinpoints gentrification as a problem because local communities lose their unique identity.

  4. Maybe because of her "control group" status, Penny Arcade seems unaware of the 400-500 stand up comedians and 90% of the NYC journalism community who have already beaten the tourist, baby carriage, hipster and gentrification memes into one big-ass vapid chestnut.

    I gather there’s a certain cohort who loves Penny Arcade and it’s not a crew I particularly want to upset. First, she's well-loved by your old queers (her term) who were part of the larger-than-life Lou-Reed-ish scene back in the day, or at least were part of it in their imaginations. 

    Also there’s younger white folk sporting vintage hats hooting and clapping and desperately seeking… something. It could be truth. But I thought of another audience end game. It’s possible I’m rationalizing my evening.

    I could certainly watch Penny Arcade in the same way I watched the new Twisted Sister documentary. Or that biopic on Hugo Chavez or Anthony Weiner. The point isn’t trying to find the lessons in what comes out of anyone’s mouth, but to ponder why they believe what they seem to believe about themselves and about everybody else.

    It's all about the context-- seeing the chess board top down, not taking a queens-eye view on blind faith and because she lectured you for an hour and half. 

    In an ironic twist, I'd bet money that Penny Arcade would fucking hate to be anything other than the all-star big star of her show. In another ironic twist... she did berate us endlessly to think for ourselves. So maybe in the end Penny Arcade had her masterful way with me.

    Wednesday, November 30, 2016

    We are Concert Champions

    To get into the luxury boxes in Madison Square Garden, you gotta know a guy. Or Diana. She gives you these big fancy red tickets and you plan all week how you'll approach the ensuite buffet. 

    Tom, Stacie and I arrived early. We wanted to take full advantage of the amenities. This was an astute move since Tom required six trips through the metal detector to successfully empty all his pockets.

    We stepped out of the damp and noisy crowd and into a serenely quiet private elevator reserved for suite guests. A tall man looking awfully suburban was already in there. He chatted up the elevator guy. He said to us in a jocular tone, "So nice to get out of the plebeian masses." We didn't do a fist bump or anything, but there were "same here" looks all around. 

    Then the suburban man told the elevator guy he was going to the 9th floor. We said we were on the 7th, closer to the stage. The man gave us a mock salute. We totally won that round.

    Upon arrival, we attacked the buffet. They had these tiny grilled cheese sandwiches and dip that looked like tomato soup. They had dumplings and sushi, a lovely arrangement of sandwiches and shrimp on toast. Lots of salad and a huge fruit plate. All this action went very well with the provided adult beverages. We had our own steward and our own bathroom.

    Our suite was well situated. We lounged on bar stools at a bar table facing out over the stage. So Tom could continue to surgically clean out every single mango slice from the fruit plate. And when the steward handed out chocolate pretzel covered ice cream pops, we devoured them very suavely. 


    Billy Joel came out. Andy's friend the guitar player came out. We cheered wildly.

    Monday, November 28, 2016

    ...and Tom just laughed

    I went to the alternative doctor today to see what could be done about these sinus headaches. He looked at my tongue and told me my digestive system was weak. He advised me to immediately:

    1. Give up coffee.
    2. No dairy. No gluten.
    3. Quit drinking.
    4. Go to bed before 11pm. (He actually said 10pm, but given that 10pm is like the middle of the afternoon, I am deliberately not hearing that right.)
    I didn't even make it 2 hours. Tomorrow I will try again. 

    NaBloPoMo #28.
    2 More Days!

    Sunday, November 27, 2016

    Things I've Seen on The Sidewalk Lately

    1. A pressed cloth napkin on Greenwich Avenue near 7th.
      I imagine someone got up from a lovely brunch and made it the whole way out onto the street before the napkin static-clinging to their pants tumbled to the curb.
    2. A huge dead rat on 8th Avenue by 15th Street. The rat was grey and very well fed. It lay on its side, in the dead center (ha ha) of the sidewalk. Someone had carefully stuck a red baseball cap on the rat's head. At first, I thought it was a "Make America Great Again" hat, but it turns out it was not. 

    NaBloPoMo #27

    Saturday, November 26, 2016

    Changing of the Guard

    Friday turned into Saturday and family turned into friends. Then other friends bearing Gibson Les Pauls and Fender amps (twinsies!). And drums. And a ukulele. And some kind of weird cigar box slide guitar thing. We found Tom a microphone and. Band Night.

    Darcey with the recap:

    "I don't mind talking into a microphone. But singing...."

    "I can play Gs and As all day."

    "We should be called The Soft Pants."

    Now it's 1:30AM and we're watching old music videos. Everlong. Closer. Karma Police. Toxic.


    Thursday, November 24, 2016

    A Righteous Thanksgiving Agenda

    Our family knows how to do Thanksgiving. We stick to a tight agenda:

    9:00 - Arise.

    9:00-12:00 Eat Breakfast.

    12-4:00 Eat Lunch.

    4:00-6:30 Eat Dinner.

    6:30-7:30 Play heavily censored Cards against Humanity. Great for the under 10 and over 70 crowd. Also the 10-70 crowd.

    7:30- 8:30 Play some new charades game with the phone on your forehead that was on the Ellen Show and somehow Tom cottoned onto. Turn off all the lights and play a cut-throat game of hide-and-go-seek in the dark.

    8:30-9:00 Watch OK Go videos. Fight over which one is best.

    9:00 - Build an elaborate nest out of pillows for Mark to sleep in.

    9:15 - Go to Bed.

    NaBloPoMo #24!

    Wednesday, November 23, 2016

    On top of a mouse chassis

    I don't know why Daniel Kitson doesn't wear velour trousers. I think he would relish velour. He reminds me of the kind of guy who would appreciate an excellent soft pant.

    During Mouse, Daniel Kitson's latest one-man show, don't get me wrong, his attire was perfectly serviceable. He looked comfortable. He's just so uncomfortable.

    I like Daniel Kitson. I want him to be happy.

    If this Mouse show were a painting, I'd say it would be this painting by Paul Klee:

    I'm imagining Paul Klee had just broken out a fresh canvas and dabbed some red on his brush, maybe to mix it on his palette, but no. There came a gigantic red drip, right in the middle of the composition. 

    Klee steps back from his easel and stares and stares and stares. Against impossible odds, he makes a painting that looks like it was supposed to have a giant red hypnotic dot in the middle of it.

    And so I imagine Kitson with this mouse thread of a story. He's a little spectrum-y so he's stuck with it. And then he manages to fabricate this whole show on top of a weird-ass mouse chassis. 

    I loved it.

    Here's the other post I wrote about a Kitson show: here