Saturday, June 30, 2007

A Day in Sunset Park

Spent the day with Signe and Josh in their hood of three years, Sunset Park. Although it's only 15 minutes by car from home, I've never made it over there to visit. And it's nice. They are 3 blocks from Sunset Park itself, the highest point in Brooklyn, which is home to a filled and working WPA-era swimming pool, opened for the season yesterday. Signe and I spent a couple hours there, dipping and watching the many-hues-of-Brooklyn-children dunk and toss each other in the pool. We watched, fascinated, as 40-50 teenage boys made a mad group dash of prohibited diving into the pool. It was hilarious to watch the lifeguards blowing their whistles like mad, as they tried to figure who they needed to kick out but were utterly unable to separate out the hordes of Latino youngsters in Jams from one another.

The park is gorgeous and well-maintained with a thriving, diverse community of mostly Latino and Chinese residents living, playing, barbecuing and relaxing in it at all hours of the day. The city runs tons of programs out of the park for the neighborhood, and for once, the NYC government is doing something right, for you can see the pride everyone takes in this jewel of their community. It was impressive (and not much like McCarren Park) but a model of what a park should be to the taxpayers in this land of concrete and grass free spaces.

We also strolled around Chinatown on 8th Avenue (the boroughs have FIVE different Chinatowns!), had some pretty good Vietnamese at Nha Trang Palace, pastries from a Chinese bakery and then drove over to Victorian Flatbush (Cortelylou/Argyle/Marlborough Sts, etc) on the other side of Green-Wood Cemetery to gawk at the giant Victorians with yards in the heart of Brooklyn. How do I get me one of those? Some of them are fixed up but a bunch are a little faded, and seem an almost reachable dream. What a gem of a neighborhood. Brooklyn never ceases to amaze me with it many facets and ranges of communities.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Have a couple days to kill next week before meeting up with friends in Madrid. Any opinions via email on Cordoba, Sevilla, or Valencia welcomed...

That's It.

It's basically over for two members of my softball team, who have hit the pinnacle of success, at least in my small world, by having their names on the lead page of today's NY Times Dining section.

Well played, Cindy and Keller!

(It's A/T day in the Times, as our shortstop Jordan is mentioned on Pg 2 of the same section.)

Friday, June 22, 2007

God Boy Would Say No

One of the owners of my company (gay makeup artist) was asking me who #46 was on the Yankees -- as I am the go-to sports expert in my office of 25 women and gay men, go figure -- and was going on about how hot Pettitte is, blah blah blah.

The debate is if they can get him to pose for V Man, our "men's" magazine, i.e. gay men's magazine. But I just had to tell him.... Um, I don't think he'll do it because he thinks you gays are going to hell. He's got a pro-Jesus book out, and he does those weird late night commercials for Power For Living....

Thursday, June 21, 2007

At Least Rickey's Back to Help

Me and my friend Brooks went to Shea last night on his 38th birthday so he could see his fave team, the Twins, beat up on the Mets.

I love that Oliver Perez (now 7-6, 3.16 ERA), but he walked five as the Mets dropped 2 of 3 to the Twins. And man, they looked REALLY bad doing it. Hope they snap out of this funk where they've dropped 14 of their last 18. Horrid, flat and downtrodden- looking as each of them dejectedly shuffled out of the batter's box.

They ARE getting some always entertaining quotes from Rickey. And Delgado is pulling up his socks, copping El Duque's look, in hopes that he can hit more than .250.

NEW YORK -- With the return of summer -- actually, one day before its return -- has come the return of a man who used to own summer in these parts, one Rickey Henley Henderson, also known as Jose Reyes' personal tutor. Henderson, officially identified as a special instructor in the Mets media guide, is back for five days of ... well, special instruction, and, as he put it, "Give 'em a boost with my special lucky charms."

"Back in the day," Henderson said, "I had something that I would rub when we got into a funk. And they thought I lost my mind."

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Stripes at Fillmore?

Attended a 'secret' White Stripes show last night at Irving Plaza --- sorry, The Fillmore at Irving Plaza -- courtesy of my little buddy K. and his flagship band.

Weird, that new moniker. I associate that venue's name so much with my years in SF, after the Fillmore was reopened in 1994 and became an excellent place to see shows, second only to Great American Music Hall. Only change I could see at Irving is the old rock posters and photos hung all over the joint now. And terrible security who dig through bags at will, but do nothing about crowd control and idiots causing problems.

Jack and Meg played for nearly two hours, with half the set comprised of older songs, and half from the new 13-song album released yesterday. I haven't heard the new record yet, but about 50 people in front sure had downloaded it early and knew every single word. Bizarre to watch those super-fans sing every word. At first listen, the new flavor seems to tend towards longer, slower and more narrative songs. Although not my favorite band EVER, The Stripes are always quite good and loud as hell, with stomping rock-blues being the basis of any tune, even if there's piano layered on top. Jack had several rambling off-the-cuff stories to tell, and Meg sang to a backing track (at the very least) on the chorus on "In the Cold Cold Night."

Must admit I prefer a 50-minute rock show these days with maybe one encore, so it was a bit long to stand. Still, nice to see Jack only getting more talented, and the two back at a smaller place after their 7-year trajectory from 2 shows@Mercury, 4@Bowery, Irving Plaza, Union Square, Hammerstein, 3@Roseland, 2@Coney Island, and the amazing bill this July 24th at Madison Square Garden (currently at 12,000 seats and almost sold out) with Grinderman and Porter Wagoner.

Best in Decades

Good column from John Pricci on why this year's Triple Crown races, and the crop of 3 year old horses involved, are the best since the hallowed days of the 70s.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Revenge is Immature

Draining, and yet often strangely satisfying. Just ask a cunty ex-friend of mine who, four years later, still carries her anger around and irrelevantly writes in her sex advice column about the end of our friendship (three days before my dad died, nice.) The ax-grinding is due to the fact that a crush of hers dared to decide he dug me, instead of her victimized ass. We had seriously bad chemistry as friends, but on the off-chance I read her column (she is smart and I did miss her voice), finding a mention for the umpteenth time only reinforces a "good riddance" to the best thing to ever leave my life. I am fortunate I escaped only a couple years in.

Anyhoo, I digress. Summary of the link: When a boyfriend dumped her by email, French artist Sophie Calle asked 100 women to read it - and became the star of the Venice Biennale.

Here's an much-discussed post in a similar vein. After reading about Calle's project, I think I let him off easy, and shoulda made a billboard calling it art. Against my instincts, I took crazy's name off that original post, after he repeatedly Googled himself, found his emails online in all their glory, REALLY flipped out, and wrote me threatening emails. He continued to Google himself every day thereafter for, oh, about 3 months, promising to sue me for libel. Again, I only breathe a sigh of relief that I didn't get in any deeper.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Today's Questions

Why is it that mosquitos treat me like a goddamn fat kid stranded on an island of cannibals? The minute I am outside anywhere near nature after 7 pm, I have 14 bites. Usually on my feet. And why do my bites only start itching around 6 pm??

Am I the only person in the world whose therapist has stood them up twice? There's always an (alleged) good reason, but seriously -- What does it say when the person I am PAYING to talk to me doesn't show? Christ. New complex developing: I am going to need a second shrink to talk about the ongoing conflict with my first shrink. Only in frickin' New York. Yet, I'm sure it is all my parents fault...

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Schedules and Dates

Boring work rant that I try not to do but am indulging myself with today: The past two weeks at work have been hellacious, with an increased need to boss people into keeping planned-months-in-advance dates to meet release schedules, with every single project quickly going south due to the ridiculous demands of big deal fashion photographers. No names, but my god, it's like pulling teeth to get final retouched images from people. We all want the publication to look gorgeous and beautiful, and it will, believe me. But I need something to work with in a time frame that's reasonable. All of it driving me nuts and making it impossible to plan the rest of my life/summer, I've had to lay down the law with pretty much everyone from editorial, printers, retouchers, the publisher and my bosses, getting into draining conflict every single day just for asking people to do their jobs. I can't make magic with no time, dammit. And don't make me keep repeating myself.

That said, I've finally (almost) sorted out the next trip to print and finish the next just-in- under-the-wire Vis 52 titled PRIVATE. Two weeks in Verona in mid-July, and visiting Spain, Madrid + Helen prior to work for 6 days. I'm looking forward to it, for it will be warm, relatively mellow, full of reading, great food and one of the hotels I will be in has a pool. And I'll get to be in Verona for the first time during opera season at the Arena. I suppose should find something real to complain about.

Another date: today's my 38th birthday. Another year, another number, another tick, another marker, another measure. You wonder if this is where you thought you'd be. And then you also don't care, although it's hard not to have a twinge of excitement, or a sense of expectation (always a bad idea, that concept), like you did when you were a kid. I always knew it was my birthday when I woke up on the morning of, for a parent had hung the flag up in honor of Flag Day, and my birthday. My lovely assistant gave me a BAG O' CHEESE as a gift today. Five kinds sitting on my desk at 9:30 am. He knows me well.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Guest Blogger

Best paragraph I got in an blog-esque email today from my brother Chris in Dayton:

Its baseball season, the Reds and the Alter JV team suck. The Dragons [Dayton Single A Reds farm team] and Jake's [my 11-yr old nephew] team are great. Went to the Dragons game last week and they get it. They are well organized, know how to entertain, put on an event and oh by the way the team is decent. The Reds should take note.
Jake's playing baseball for the first time since he was about 6 and like the Dragons he gets it. Strong arm but needs to use better mechanics, good field sense, good glove, and can hit the hell out of the ball. The catcher got hurt so Jake moved to catcher and does a decent job especially never having played before. He is also very proud of his cup but that's no big surprise, all boys are.

Sunday, June 10, 2007


My two cents: I've never been hugely into the Sopranos. I like it, it's fine, but I liked Six Feet Under and Sex and the City way more. So fifteen minutes left in the Sopranos finale, and I'm dead asleep on the couch. The DVR let me rewind, and see for myself just how NOTHING it was. I seriously was thinking I had missed a pivotal line/scene/something. Nope. Snore. And Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" as the exit song? Weak.

Belmont 2007

Great day with Tania, Julia and Goldie for this year's Belmont, with Denis, of course, around and in attendance, plus were able to accommodate Keller, Schoenfeld (carrying about 200 Xanax), Culyba, and Shelby into the area of our clubhouse seats for much silliness and bullshitting.

I was down about $85 on the five graded races prior to the big one, but after seeing that big, gorgeous girl in the paddock, I was even more sure who to bet. So I hit the tri, had her across the board, and walked with about $120, i.e. about broke even for the day. Filly or no: she simply looked like, and ran as the best horse. A good horse is a good horse, colt or filly. My men Pletcher/Velazquez finally won a Triple Crown race together, after Pletcher posted an 0-fer 28 in previous races.

There were three incredibly competitive races comprising this year's Triple Crown, but seeing this gal stumble out of the gate, recover without incident, make a huge four-wide move on the last turn, and fight Curlin off down the stretch turned this one into the most exciting of the three. Do yourself a favor and watch the replay online, for I am still getting goosebumps thinking about the race. The cheer the crowd gave her as she paraded in front of the grandstand on the way back to the winner's circle was stirring and deserved. It's going to be interesting to see what they do with her next but I hope they keep running her with the best competition, rather than playing it safe and taking her back to only Distaff (f.) races.

Although only 46,000 were there to see it, it was a race for the ages, one for the record books, etc. etc. And where were YOU when the filly won for the first time in 102 years? I say it every year, but THIS truly was the best Belmont ever.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

DL Watch 2007: Part 2

Denis Leary was at the Turkey's Nest last night filming Rescue Me. I, goddamn it unfortunately, was not, but was getting text updates from Gina. For some reason, this intriguing softball-playing boy from Ohio I was out to dinner with refused to humor my excitement by going a-stalking with me.

Denis Leary and The Nest?? I can't think of a better combination.

New season of Rescue Me premieres this Wednesday at 10pm on F/X

UPDATE 6/13: And they were filming at Cheaters, my local, all day today. Missed it by an hour, although we did chat up the crew. Groupies for a TV show: that's pathetic. So close, yet so far. Hell, Leary's stalking ME.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Belmont Preview

Big news this week is that Rags to Riches, champion filly and winner of the Kentucky Oaks (girl horse version of the Derby), will be running against the boys in The Belmont. Only two fillies have ever won the mile-and-a-half Belmont, and only 22 chick horses have ever been entered. Daughter of A.P. Indy (lost Derby, won damn near everything else in 1992), and half-sister to last year's Belmont winner, Jazil, she brings a buzz to the already-strong field of seven. Best quote from my man Todd Pletcher: "Aside from having testicles, she has it all." Curlin, winner of the Preakness, will go off as the favorite at 6-5. Value bet: Tiago.

My bets: boxing Curlin/Tiago/Rags to Riches in some Tri/Exacta combo depending on odds; and Tiago and Rags to Riches across the board.

It's going to be a nice day at Belmont on Saturday - Six (!!) graded stakes races including the Belmont version of the Oaks, the Acorn, now moved to Saturday; It won't the madhouse it is when there's a Triple Crown at stake, with attendance cut in half to about 60,000; The weather is predicted to be gorgeous; And we have my favorite clubhouse seats just past the finish line where I will, once again, make an attempt to become the third, younger, wife of a 65-year old man who owns horses. Although I'm sure I am already too old, and surely lack the trashy blonde hair and fake tits needed for that role.

Someone who is way funnier than me has a great preview here.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Kurowycky Meats Closed

This sucks. The providers of this year's Derby ham (The best one so far, beating out the country ham and traditional smoked hams straight from KY) is going out of business. From Lost City:

Owner Jerry Kurowyckyj said in a statement:

It is with great sadness that I am announcing the closing of Kurowycky Meat products after 52 years. Today’s economic climate just does not support a small business on the scale that ours endeavors to survive in. Thank you all for all your years of support. We are closing as of this Saturday, June 2nd [2007]. It was a great ride and again, we thank you all.

An article in the Times revealed that a rent hike didn't do them in. The family owns the building. Profit margins have just steadily declined over the years, what with the changing nabe and changing eating habits. Slavic laborers eat ham. Artsy hipsters do not.

The business was founded in 1955 by Erast Kurowycky, who arrived in New York in 1949, having evaded the Nazis and Communists. His first store was located on Avenue B between 10th and 11th streets in New York City’s East Village. When Erast retired, his son Jaroslaw took over, and they moved to their present location. The shop is currently run by the third generation. Their website states that they "continue to operate one of the last existing smokehouses in New York City and still manufacture our sausages using the same methods that were used in Eastern Europe before the Second World War." Oh, and it's pronounced KOO-duh-vit-sky

Guess I won't walk around next year with a 15 pound ham in my bag, and then have to check it with the receptionist (quote: 'I don't think anyone's asked me to hold a ham before') when I go into to get my hair did.

Eatin' Out - Prime Burger

5 E. 51st Street btw 5th and Madison
I've gone on about this place for the past ten years, since I first started eating here when I worked at 666 Fifth Avenue. It's always been my standby for meeting friends for a midtown lunch or to take a short sit-down respite when up near St Patrick's.

Their slogan is "A burger is a burger is a burger. Ours is PRIME!". Gotta love a diner with it's own slogan. They have individual tables where the top swings out, like a grade school desk, decor that hasn't changed since the early 60s, homemade pie, decent burgers (make sure you ask for any extras beyond meat, bun and cheese) PLUS grilled cheese and tomato soup every day of the year. They also were given a James Beard Award in 2004 for being an "American Classic."

Gene Shalit once harassed me during lunch; I sat next to a guy with a HUGE Yankees 1996 World Series ring (never did find out who he was); and a waiter in the white jacket-and-tie staff uniform once sang the whole of "Wichita Lineman" to me while I was eating. Home of the nicest staff ever, most of whom have been there at least for the past 10 years, they always remember me and say "Where have you been? Don't you work nearby anymore?" when I don't show up for awhile. A truly only-in-NYC type of vibe, it makes me happy to walk through the doors and sit at the huge counter.

Quote of the Week

From one of my oldest friends, the Little Feat-loving Roger, in reference to making out with people you've traditionally been "just friends" with. "Yeah, if it keeps happening, than you move up one base per episode, and see if you care enough to eventually get to home." Had me cryin'.