Friday, December 19, 2008

The End.

Studio B looks to be closing forever. Well, they certainly caused their own demise. Still, it definitely feels like a bit of a victory, and can't say I'll be sorry to see them go.

Wonder what comes next in that space?

Gone Away, Come Back: Mickey Rourke

I've always loved Mickey Rourke, even as he became a huge freak seemingly bent on destroying his acting career. There was always something about him onscreen that made him the center of any scene, even when the movie flat out sucked. Check out this great and thorough article by Shelia O'Malley on his 25-yr career on The House Next Door. O'Malley on his latest film, The Wrestler:
It is a great performance, one that I am still processing and thinking about. I am not sure where Mickey Rourke fits in now. He "fit in" when he was young because he made it to the Alpha-Dog position of male Hollywood stars, and was gorgeous and sexy. He can no longer rely on those things. He must rely on something else that is much more permanent: his talent. He needs to choose wisely, and the problem still remains that it is difficult to cast Rourke properly, even more so now.
I can't wait to see the Wrestler.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Neil at MSG

Wilco opened. I'm always interested in what they are doing, even if I don't like all of what they do. I sometimes can't believe how far Jeff Tweedy has come since the Uncle Tupelo days but I'm glad and impressed by what he has done. A six piece band since the last time I saw them, the 9 song set had lots of joyous noisy endings. Didn't knock me out, but liked most of it. Solid.

As for Neil Young: what is there to say? The man has been making good music for longer than I've been alive. I will always go see him play, no matter what tour it is or what his last record release was. The first part of the set was the highlight for me, with the first ten songs including Hey Hey My My, Powderfinger, Everybody Knows this Nowhere, Oh Lonesome Me, Cinnamon Girl, Needle and the Damage Done and maybe the best version of Cortez the Killer I've ever heard. Stunning. The ;atter part of the set was lamer, as it usually is, with lots of his newer, topical call-and-response crap ("Cough Up the Bucks? Please). He's gotta play the new stuff, I get it, but his ticket prices seem to go up as the new song quality goes down. I know he can't just play the oldies, but we were debating how many hours Neil could play without playing a crappy song. Three hours? Longer?? As it was we got about 2:45 of Neil, with about 40% being decent.

In case you forget sometimes, the 63-year old man still completely rips it up on guitar. More energy than bands full of kids 40 years younger than him, he gets such a great sound, so full and big and clean. Still blows me away.

I can't get over how expensive tickets at almost $100 a pop for GA standing room on the floor, but being on center court at MSG is always cool. And those 'seats' are the place to be, good views and lots of space. I only came into mine as a Christmas present at the last minute when SL got sick and I got to be Greg's replacement date.

I can still remember listening to Live Rust with my family in our blue wood-paneled Country Squire station wagon. We had a tape we played over and over again on vacation travels; and because my older brother brought Neil into my life when I was about ten, I will always and forever love Neil. Live Rust is still one of my favorite records and I'm going to go listen to it right now.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


An interesting new blog that pulls materials from the archives of The Brooklyn Collection at the Brooklyn Public Library can be found here.

Check out the beautiful map of my home borough from 1835.

The Rockettes

My friend and co-worker Allison from LBM scored the production team free tix to Radio City Music Hall's Christmas show last night. She's the biggest Christmas queer ever, and got all 4 of us wound up about going. Snow fell, skaters skated on stage, bears danced, fireworks flew, Rockettes kicked high, 45 Santas danced at once, and there were real live camels on stage. Not to mention a 10 minute 3d movie mid-show complete with cardboard glasses.

As the ads say, it was spectacular. Also hilarious and show stopping, causing big smiles all around. Now I can check another "classic New York thing I've never done" off my list. I mean, if I had that list.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Eatin' Out - Simply Fondue

71-19 80th Street, Glendale NY

A new branch of this Texas-based chain fondue restaurant has opened in the Atlas Park Mall in Queens (80th/Metropolitan). It's fancy, in that shiny surface /tall black leather banquette / we-have-80-kinds-of-horrible-"martinis" way. I love fondue in all forms, so no complaints on my end. You are looking at $18 per person for your basic and decent swiss fondue served with bread, fruit and weird things like cocktail onions. We had a very nice young man providing extremely accommodating table service while whipping up our bowl o' cheese on site.

Gotta think it would be a good place to take your baby mama out for date night, but make a reservation if it's prime time. Our server said they served over 200 people in the place last Saturday night.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

On the Street Where You Live

I was there tonight when a man named Dennis on a small, shiny red dirt bike was run down by a giant tanker on the corner of Franklin and Greenpoint around 8:30. I heard the collision -- and looked out the window of the Pencil Factory to see a bike crushed beneath the wheels. A huge 18-wheeler was turning right onto Greenpoint from Franklin, and Dennis was in the crosswalk. Who knows who had the light? Most likely they both did and the truck simply didn't see him from the cab high above the street. No matter -- it's wrong that it even happened how it did.

Dennis pulled himself on his stomach from beneath the tires and began tossing back and forth on his back in the crosswalk. I bolted to the bar to ask Charles at the PF to call 911, then ran outside to do....something. His jeans were torn in places they shouldn't have been. I crouched down to ask Dennis his name, tried to keep him still, and held his hand to assure him he would be okay as we waited the longest 4 or 5 minutes in the world for the ambulances to arrive. The driver stood nearby anguished, with his hands in the air repeating "I didn't see him, I didn't see him." A ubiquitous, drunk Greenpoint Avenue Polacki did his part to add to the confusion in the street, while people stood around gawking and not knowing what to do -- and how can you?? The world turns upside down during such instants. It's unexpected and all out of order in one second. There I am, finding again that I am much better with others' traumas than my own.

I saw the ring on his finger and asked who to call. He gave us his wife's Karen's number and I spoke with her for ten minutes on someone's borrowed phone as he was loaded onto a backboard and into the ambulance. While his child talked about his bedtime in the background, Karen tried to process what was going on. I told her that her husband seemed coherent with no obvious head or body injuries, although he was in a lot of pain as legs were probably broken, and that she should go to Bellevue. (Thankfully, they weren't taking him to Woodhull. Bellevue is the best trauma center in NYC, at least post-9/11. If you are at all coherent in an accident, tell the guys take you there). For their family -- for him -- in an instant -- everything changed. Man, I hope he's okay.

As a side note, Charles mentioned that this was the 5th time he has seen an accident similar to this right there on the corner. I wonder how many more it takes. When does the light on a major truck route need to become an arrow-only turn with a clear crosswalk?

So, ahem. As I was saying right before I left home, strangers can become part of your lives in NYC for the most poignant and intense ten minutes you can imagine. And there's no other way you can be sometimes. We all live half on the street; and there are crystallized instances where if we are at all human, we are flung deep into each other's lives.


When the thing happens again that you never imagined and you feel shattered into little pieces, you try to turn to others to reaffirm that you are still alive and whole and valid. Double whammy -- Your shit is inconvenient around the holidays and most other times; Or you are forcing someone else to confront their own personal, unrealized dreams; Or the hardest of all, you asked someone to step outside of their own tenuous world to hold onto your hand, just for a minute, so you won't drift too far away.

And that's when you are surprised to find that some of the greatest kindness comes from strangers. No one knows exactly what to say, and it's hard and awkward like life is sometimes. But they offer you an ear and comfort, because that's all it really takes.