Thursday, December 30, 2010

Quivering with desire and the ecstasy of unbridled avarice

Don't blame me. The sexy girlfriend who hopped on the uptown E within a squeaker hairsbreadth of the "stand clear of the closing doors" was everything I have dreamt about: vintage wool jacket with leather darts and big-ass skull-kickin' buckle, velvet cuffs, steampunk black boots. And ooo la la. A folded-up scooter on a strap flung over one shoulder. I began to covet the scooter immediately.

Imagine what a person could do with a scooter that folds up so you can toss it across your back like a two-wheeled samurai sword! I could make it crosstown to the East Village without waiting for the goddammed L train. I could scooter to East 42nd at rush hour without squishing tushies. OMG, I could roll over to the Union Square green market with a bungie cord and lash groceries to the scooter. It would surely happen if I only had a scooter.

I mentioned the scooter possibility to Tom. Once or twice. I said I wanted a scooter with handbrakes and also a back fender because I saw a kid with a scooter with a back fender and it looks rad because you can put your foot on it.

Despite my extreme subtlty and veiled, almost subliminal, hinting, I was overjoyed and completely taken aback when I opened up a big box on Christmas morning and espied with my wondering eyes A SCOOTER. Tom picked out one with a titanium frame and patented ball bearings. Immediately, I ran outside with my scooter. I scootered up the block, scootered down the block. Then it snowed twenty inches and I have not been able to scooter anyplace except back and forth in front of the sofa. I seethe with disgruntlement.

Tomorrow, I intend to kick off some outdoor scootering. I have practiced folding and unfolding the scooter using the ergonomic locking pin so I do not embarrass myself in front of Cafe Grumpy, a priority scooter destination. I have not practiced avoiding foot slaves on the sidewalk or hopping curbs. I will rely on my roller skating core wheelsmanship skillz. Hopefully I will live to see the sundown.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Bringing 'em up Right

Baby Einstein has no taste in music, which is why I make Jackson and Ella mix-CDs. Right out of the womb, my niece and nephew could operate the stereo. So I was prouder than the proudest Aunt on record after the incident at the fancy mall in Princeton.

A guy and his colossal organ setup belted out Christmas tunes in the atrium when apparently Jackson and his three-year-old sensibilities had enough of Jingle Bells. His wispy blond hair flared out in a tangle of determination as he marched up to the organist and asked if he could please sing a song.

Despite his surprise and the possible pitfalls, the dumbfounded organist handed over a big-ass microphone into Jackson's tiny clutches."Um, what song do you want to sing, young man?" he asked.

"Tokyo Police Club," answered my nephew, the prodigy, in his chipmunky little kid voice.

"I don't know that one," replied the organist, "What else do you know?"

"Julian Cassablancas" said Jackson with an air of cool expertise.

Finally, they settled on London Bridges.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

The Green Fairy on All Hallow's Eve

Kick Ass and Red Myst kept running by our booth, but I never did see the Green Fairy. Honestly, the absinthe didn't look all that green even, but maybe it was because the White Star Lounge was bathed only in the dim light seeping from LED bulbs on Tron's spandex outfit.

Tom and Tracie were scared, but Andrew and I manned up to the bar and ordered the fancy hooch. The bartender shuttled this absinthe fountain in front of us and filled up the reservoir with ice water. He positioned two glasses under the little spigots, balanced a silver spoon on the tops of the glasses and popped on a sugar cube. Cold water dripped over the sugar and dissolved it into the glass. It was all very decadent. It would have been more decadent if Sexy Sailor Moon hadn't flounced past right there at the end. Hola panties.

Charles Baudelaire, Paul Verlaine, Arthur Rimbaud, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Amedeo Modigliani, Vincent van Gogh, Oscar Wilde, Aleister Crowley, and Alfred Jarry were all slaves to la fée verte. Also some trannies who may or may not have just finished building a leather swingset.We sipped our absinthe and discussed poetry and the pros and cons of a jelly fish costume. On the pro side, you could run around and pinch people. On the con side, somebody might pee on you.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Doing the Boonton Carnival

Really the carnies have classed up some. Yesterday at the Boonton Fire Department Street Fair, I saw none of the soot-covered grizzle, flared nostrils and dangling cigarettes I recall so fondly from the olden days. I'd always assumed that kind of lifestyle - hard drinking, heavy smoking, strapping people into teacups - takes its toll on your body. But yesterday, the staff was all natty in turquoise golf shirts. It was uncanny. There was an alternate universe moment when I fully expected the cotton candy boy to break into his impersonation of Boston Symphony conductor Seiji Ozaw.

Fortunately, I spotted a battalion of jellybean homegirls in their summer stretch denim tottering off the Scrambler looking like very short hoochie mammas with acute inner ear infections. And then there was a screecher of a catfight by the 50/50 booth. After the guy vaulted over the cajun hotdog counter to break it up and rescue the one from under the other one's enormous pleather handbag, I felt totally serene. It's a comfort to know nothing much changes at the cosmos level.

Tom got a little sweaty taking in the swings with Sean and Lea:


When the ice cream and spinning around in circles had raised the spew red alert to dangerous thresholds, we shambled back to Jen and Eric's. The kids strung little alphabet beads into cute bracelets. Adison spelled out "Celebrate Labor Day," which wrapped three times around her little wrist. I was surprised she managed to find all the letters but I believe anything Jennifer says.

Monday, August 09, 2010

90 is the New 80

Nothing says you love your Grammy like hoofing 400 pounds of potato knishes twelve blocks across midtown in a cute skirt and new shoes, sweating like a fry cook trapped in satan's armpit. Right after we'd come back from his doctor appointment in the Bronx, my brother handed me the cooler and darted in the other direction. He said if he didn't catch the 4:07 and be on time for their dinner reservation, Mary's fiery ovary would wear him like a scrunchie.

The gantze michpocha showed up at Ron and Bonnie's lovely home for the big shindig.

The Gramme Dame of the Affair insisted that she was not entirely in the know about the extent of the preparations and/or guest list. She also did not blatantly pump anyone, like Seth, for information in an attempt to nail down the exact specifications of her surprise 90th birthday party.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Show Me Some Fashion Shit

I took it as a lucky sign when the freakishly tall flower stalk twanged out of nowhere and clocked me on the side of the head, spilling a river of dewy rainwater into my ear canal. You know the Jack Reduction Sauce is going to be brazenly fucking awesome when shrubbery defends the perimeter.

Tracie had a little hitch in her giddyup. Her bunyonless foot dangled limply, wrapped in the love child of a bed sheet, a snack bag, and the lead actress's costume from a little-known musical called Harriet Carter's Big Black Bondage Sandal. T-"less one"-bone rocked a confined area from a reclined position. She is lucky Chef Andrew is such a master of culinary talent and furniture moving. If I were in charge, we'd both be eating a lot of canned vegetarian chili off a floor mat.

In the seven-helpings slackjawed aftermath, the guests: Janet, Marc, Tom and I, were shown some onscreen fashion shit. Luckily, there were subtitles because I got a little lost at several points during the rich and textured dialogue.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Jim, get in there and rustle out those lions

Tom says he loves running in Central park because it’s easy to sidewind around on the trails to customize the length and terrain of his morning constitutional.

And also because sometimes a guy rides by on his sit-down recumbent bike that is the Schwinn equivalent of a mutant with a second, albeit smallish, head. This bike is a triangularly double-decker affair. The guy puts his 8-year old shortie up top and the kid pedals away in full spandex. You know the duo is out doing their thing when half the people on the Outer Loop are running by with swiveled eyeballs.

I like running in Central Park because it is like going on Safari except I don’t have to wear a pith helmet (although some days safety gear might be a sensible choice). Regardless of whether I do, or do not, elect to rig myself out like Teddy Roosevelt, as soon as I step foot across 59th street and onto that weird sandy white gravel, I fade into the scenery and become part of the jungle.

I always run the same loop, but every week it’s a brand new box of chocolates. The pathway might be choked by packs of Asians in wide-brimmed head ornaments, family units pushing big-ass strollers, pedi-cabs, piles of horseshit, roller bladers, walkers with powerful hips, bandannas, guys on those cross-country skis with wheels and/or gaggles of helmeted people from Wisconsin and Prague on rented bikes wobbling up bigger hills than the bike rental guys let on.

Fierce battles of strength and speed are waged. Sometimes it's mutual. Sometimes only one party has any idea a war is afoot. Sometimes the contender is an obnoxious huffing walrus who kept sprinting to catch up with me in a wild sprawl of flailing arms and legs. As soon as my blue-suited velor nemesis got one foot in front of me, he flagellated to a standstill and started walking. Add enormous earphones and grunting along to Rock Me Like a Hurricane.

Repeat 7x.

Subtract three minutes from my time as I poured every ounce of stamina into kicking his ass down the rollers by the reservoir.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Boston. Instant Feedback.

I take a shine to rock that rolls, spins, and shimmies across the floor mostly in a diagonal fashion. I covet a groove that comes at you fast and darts sideways at the last second. I like music circular as a sea anemone swinging on a pendulum.

So despite how much I enjoy the company, and restaurant recommendations, of certain astrophysicists living in Boston who are credited with installing MacBarf on my Star Apple clone circa 1987, I know I don't belong in this city. It vibrates at a frequency that strikes me as straight up vertical, staccato with locked knees and a ruler. (In striking contrast to Boston's roads, which are a hot scalding mess.)

Some towns I walk into and I feel my shadow blur and blend into the streets. New York.

In Beantown, it's like I got dropped in from a different altitude and teeter on the brink of the bends. Except in Boston, there would be no actual bends. They'd be ramrod straight up and down.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

A Triptych of Incidents that Happened Outside The Blue Store

In a move which hindsight would label really ill-advised, I decided to film a poster of "The Boys from Israel" hanging in the entrance to the Blue Store on 8th Avenue. At the time I thought it would really spice up my Lip Syncho de Mayo video because, although Jewish, these boys had some holy Jesus six-pack abs.

Unfortunately, the moment I hit "record" and started to roll film, two buff Chelsea boys blocked my shot when they stepped through the doorway. Their biceps bulged under all their tattoos. I was hit with twin full-on laser death stares. I popped on my lens cap and sprinted two blocks down the street. Luckily, they weren't following me, but if they had been, my plan was to vanish into the Payless Shoe Store, because no self-respecting Chelsea playa would ever be caught dead in there.

* * *

A couple weeks ago, at 8 o'clock in the morning, a stringy fellow in purple pants loitering out front The Blue Store asked Tom if he knew where he could find an all-night nightclub, and did Tom want to accompany him there.

Tom replied no, he was going to Murray's to get a bagel and a cup of coffee. Tom was especially polite, due to the blurb featured in the last issue of the Chelsea Now Police Blotter. The blurb told of a Blue Store customer who went into the restroom. Suddenly, a dude appeared in his stall and declared, "I'm a hustler." The customer said, "Fuck you get out of this stall." And then the hustler punched him in the face.

* * *

Across 8th Avenue from the Blue Store is another exotic shop called The Rainbow Junction. I also thought it was noteworthy, that one time we were walking uptown and suddenly, a guy comes sprinting like a bat out of hell from the Blue Store. He dashes straight into traffic-- taxis honking, squealing brakes-- crosses the street and disappears inside the Rainbow Junction.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

The Hippest Thing We've Ever Done

We hauled our sorry Friday-dragging asses over to Pier 66, otherwise known as The Frying Pan. The Frying Pan used to be a greasy spoon diner, completely average except that it was located on an old boat hooked to the side of Pier 66. One day, The Frying Pan sank to the bottom of the Hudson.

Eventually, they pulled The Frying Pan out of the grimy water along with its namesake-- an enormous iron frying pan with a circumference larger even than Jay Leno's ego. This twelve ton skillet was positioned cityside, right up front on Pier 66 and now both the pier and the boat are known collectively as The Frying Pan.

At least, I think this is how it went down but as usual have not bothered to check.

The scene was dark, lit by flickering gaslamps and the barge creaked on its chains and rotting wood and smelled like minnow-breath and old leather and kerosene. We walked across a plain of steel plates and pilings into a half tent/half ramshackle building that reminded me of one of those long houses the Indians lived in.

The Renegades of Armory Art Week

Except when we got inside, it was like an art bomb had exploded and covered every available surface with canvases and painted shovels and feathers and bejeweled firearms. It was the opening reception of FountainNY, so there was a full bar set up to serve imported beer and soup to the beautifully pierced and tattooed people in skinny jeans. Tom mused over the possibility he could fully pull off the skinny jean look himself, concluding that he could not.

Besides the other amenities, you could get your picture taken by The Onion if you signed a publicity release and wanted to be, for example, the "Area Man who hopes cell phone breaks so he can get a new one." I considered mugging for the camera, but the interns manning the operation were more interested in flirting with the girls than taking photos of bespectacled married people busily taking the opportunity to pocket AV Club Hater buttons and a set of Huffington Post coasters.

The Little People

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart were supposed to play, which was why I had originally taken note of the affair. We were standing in the back and there was a step stool right behind me. I was contemplating sitting down on the step stool when out of the corner of my eye I saw a midget run by. I was thinking the midget was going to stand on the step stool, which would make sense but he did not. I told Tom that I'd just spied a midget, but Tom snorted in a completely unimpressed fashion. He said he'd already seen three midgets.

I Travel the World And the Seven Seas, Everybody Lookin For Something

On the way out, I passed right by Annie Lennox so close I could smell her. She looked stunning, a whiter shade of pale in a white cashmere coat with a white collar and a sparkly skinny belt. She stood out like a spot of pristine clean amidst a cacophony of smeared color and sunken, sweaty desire with dirty fingers.

As we walked down the gangplank onto terra firma Manhattan concrete, Tom noted, "Wow, that's the hippest thing we've ever done."

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Take the Last Train to Yorkville

I must have that kind of face. The kind of face that declares I know not only know how to work the subway, but am also willing to help the wayward find Ground Zero, Barney’s CoOp or the Met. Yesterday I was giving some lost Russians directions to the Ellis Island Ferry when a group of three women lined up in back of them. This whole every-time-I-go-uptown-somebody-asks-me-how-to-get-someplace has been going on for a while, but yesterday was the first time I’d ever earned myself a queue.

Somewhat inexplicable when considering my allure to lost tourists, is that I never ride the subway without music and big white earphones. This necessitates the tourists to get right up in my business and scream to get my attention. Additionally, I appear to be most attractive on my way back from a run around Central Park. My sweaty aroma must be a powerful pheromone for befuddled mainlanders.

Mostly I’m a sure thing when it comes to on-demand transit advice to Fodor's Top 5 Sights, but sometimes I get hit with a stumper. I hate it when I come up short. One time an English guy asked me how to get to the Brooklyn Navy Yard and I have no idea how to get to the Brooklyn Navy Yard. When I responded with a blank stare, the dude gave me this look, like I knew how to get to the Brooklyn Navy Yard but was holding out on him.

I should have put him on the 2 uptown to the Bronx.


Sunday, January 10, 2010

And the Funk Squirted Out at Authur's Tavern

After Swedish Club, which went down like an episode of Real World: I-had/have-a-Crush-on-a-Nordic-Hottie, Tom and I ate turnip stew. In the warm odoriferous root-vegetable aftermath, we decided to amble down to the West Village. The ambling part didn’t work out because it was so cold pee froze on the sidewalk in slippery little yellow circles. We took the A train to West 4th.

I couldn’t see where the bargirl with little stars tattooed on her face was taking us because my glasses were all steamed up. But after acclimating to the indoors environment, I was surprised to discover I was sitting on stage holding a broken microphone together while the guitar player duct-taped it into working order. Lucky for him, I spent my childhood assisting relentless duct-tapers hard at work on their shoes, rowboats, pants, wall joists and internal combustion engines. I was also instrumental in a project affixing 1/2 liters of grape juice to the inside of a closet.

The guitar player was strictly an amateur as far as duct-taping was concerned but more than a pro when it came to actually playing his guitar. He lit up the entire dingy dive bar with his lightening fingers-- and I know this indisputably because we were sitting so close I almost got smacked in the head with the guitar neck at least twice. Our seats were at a make-shift bar that completely penned in the band. All four guys were squeezed in the middle with their instruments like a Walmart shopper packed inside her lycra. But in this case, the funk was all good when it squirted out and exploded.