May 30, 2006



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May 25, 2006



Please, people—enough with this shooting of your fellow. Though, if you must shoot someone, the arm is a better target than the head.

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May 24, 2006



Ladies garments?

Third floor.

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May 19, 2006



Listen to "You Know Who."

Go outside.

Come home. Listen to "You Know Who." Switch to "Get It." Go back to "You Know Who."


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David Carr of The New York Times weighs in.

I understand why my use of the word “cracker" disturbed people. But if the consensus is that “cracker” belongs in the Not OK category, I assume that “Ku Klux Klan” is equally Not OK. The Crackers™, for instance, have not yet chosen to hang a black man from the neck until he was dead, simply because he was black. The Klan has, repeatedly. So either these terms are both kosher trash talk, or they’re both offensive references that cannot be justified. Any attempt to give them differential value, in the context of this minor debate, is utterly fucked.

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May 17, 2006



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A recent interview.

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Thank you, Stan Emmerson.

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May 16, 2006



Man who will give you an excellent haircut for ten dollars: Wally at Ray's Barber Shop, corner of Chambers and West Broadway.

Small restaurant that does not play bad music and serves many good things, including the best fruit salad in New York and a godly concoction called avocado toast: Café Gitane.

Larger restaurant that serves dozens of great vegetarian dishes, including green tea noodles in a vegetarian bolognese sauce: Gobo on Sixth Avenue and Eighth Street. (Caveat: Though the restaurant bills itself as "food for the five senses," the tables are placed quite close together and the room is high-ceilinged and boxy. If you are not plunked right into the middle of your neighbor's conversation, the combined noise of the piped-in music and the juicer will be unkind to at least one of your senses.)

Place to sit, drink tea and wonder what you should do next: Casablanca Tea Room. Friendly staff, pretty insides.

Best spot for fresh juices (try apple and ginger combined), falafel and hummus: Pita City Falafel.

Your kölsch options in New York (unless you have a supersonic jet and go to Cologne every few minutes): Some delis carry Gaffel, others carry Reissdorf. Sadly, the excellent Otheroom on Perry Street no longer offers kölsch on tap. You can get fresh kölsch at The Ginger Man on 36th Street.

Slightly terrifying but addictive Japanese snack that will make you enormously fat, instantly: Beard Papa's.

Man who will attach a watch band when you cannot find the tiny and very specific tool that would enable you to do it yourself: David's Shoe & Watch Repair at 460 Hudson Street, right below Grove Street. The telephone number is 646.486.2680.

Best class trip for third graders, as long as you have a warm sweater: The Clearwater sloop, founded by Pete Seeger and others in 1969. Very large sail, attached to an equally large mast.

Only New Yorker insane enough to say Jay-Z looks like "Joe Camel" in public: Cameron Giles.

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"Just My Luck" is cynicism striving for synergy, a consumerist teen dating flick awkwardly translated into the magic unrealist terms of a Disney kid flick, zoomy heels paired with washing machines that burp suds while Lohan does a passable imitation of Lucille Ball's woman versus machines slapstick routine. Dean Jones, meet Candace Bushnell. You see the anxiety in the movie's inability to decide how real this unrealism will be. (What single twenty-year-old PR flack has a Fifth Avenue apartment? and so on. This would not be a problem, in terms of suspended disbelief, in a true kid flick, but this movie wants to pull in both "Herbie" and Gawker fans.) Fans of Faizon Love will despair that he is reduced to one not funny "my time is money" schtick. The only winners are Chris Pine, whose good nature gives the movie its scraps of humanity, and the Brit boy band McFly, who are given an infomercial-sized role.

Even the faithful could worry that La Lohan will end up being no more or less than "Mean Girls", where she radiated in multiple directions and ways. Here, her charm is lost inside a weak premise (that she is unsually lucky and can pass along that fortune with a kiss), and a terrifying color wheel of skin tones. It's a dermatology class done in time-lapse: Lohan goes from silvery to orange to sort of mottled pink. You don't have to read tabloids to think she must have doing something exhausting and low in nutrients off-screen. Her two onscreen buddies, Samaire Armstrong and Bree Turner, are quite appealing and appear to have slept through the night before filming their scenes.

"Just My Luck" looks like "Ma Vie En Rose" next to the preview for " John Tucker Must Die," which may have been developed as supplemental viewing for college professors who have added Ariel Levy's brilliant book to their syllabi. In the myspace trailer (turn off the "Sweet Dreams"-y song below to hear the audio), John Tucker is introduced as the captain of the basketball team who "lost his virginity at 14 to the French teacher and English teacher…at the same time!" Later, one of the five wrathful girls he's two-timed remarks that another girl's mother—played by Jenny McCarthy—is "so hot!" Later, we see a faux lesbian kiss being egged on by a twelve-year old. Then one girl urges another to wear underwear to school. It is Cahiers du Cinema guest edited by Girls Gone Wild. Interestingly, the theater preview tweaks the raunch, and is different from the internet edit. Tucker loses his virginity to the "prom and the homecoming queen…at the same time!" (Avoiding potential teacher-student sex stigma?) What seems to follow is a "Mean Girls"-style plot to humiliate and falsely seduce Tucker, but don’t sweat the peripeteia, bros—girls are ready to PARTY FOR YOU at ANY TIME.

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May 15, 2006



Go say hey to the birthday girl.

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May 12, 2006



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May 11, 2006



Or when. Or where.

Most of you know that Grant McLennan of The Go-Betweens died on May 6th in Brisbane. Here are some follow-up articles about McLennan: Billboard, The Sydney Morning Herald, NME.

He was preparing for a house party. He didn't feel well. He didn't wake up.

If you watch this film from the National Film Board of Canada, you will get to hear Neko Case (and Kelly Hogan, I think) sing a song called "I Want A Dog." That might help. Or, listen to Love Is All, the only band I know of that sounds like both The Concretes and Rip, Rig and Panic. Or just play "Cattle and Cane" again.

Rae Armantrout was great last night. I would like to quote her line about the erotic possibilities of "of," but I cannot find the poem and do not trust my memory.

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May 10, 2006



On the new Nouvelle Vague, the band, and singer Phoebe Killdeer (no relation to Killdozer), turn The Cramps' "Human Fly" into Peggy Lee's version of "Fever," more or less.

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Gig injuries we've been worried about.

Dita Von Teese: Possible Champagne Butt, or maybe just Champagne Elbow. It was hard to see.

It was not hard to see Roxanne Stephen reissue her hair and bring back the head-shake for Th' Faith Healers's reunion show. It was hard, though, not to worry that she was going to wake up with serious Punk Neck.

And at the Gorillaz show, we almost suffered Camera Loss. Why the ushers didn't want me blowing up Ms. Buffalo Stance is a question only they can answer. But we can answer this: Do people in New York know who Shaun Ryder is? Not so much. Weirder still: Why did he look so sober and fit? Is that some new idea?

Monica Bill Barnes has been courting Tube Sock Wipeout recklessly, for years. We are suggesting maybe shoes, or at least more rubbery socks.

The biggest potential injury of all—WHICH LOOMS LARGE FOR ALL OF MY BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN THE GREAT, BEAUTIFULLY MULTIRACIAL COMMUNITY OF NEW YORK, SO PLEASE LISTEN TO THIS DENOTATIVE STATEMENT—is Rock Lung. What is with this lawlessness? Everywhere? Why am I inhaling your illegal freaking 1985 overstock cigarette? PUT IT OUT, TURDY MCGURDY. You are going to stink up my threads, light the drapes on fire and generally HARSH OUT YOUR BROTHER.

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1. Do our tastes say nothing about the choices we make as social actors? If so, why? If not, why not?

2. Do we expect critics to have an unusually catholic range of hearing, or do we see them as "normal people" broadcasting their preferences to a readership?

3. Is it possible to look at your own preferences and find something that your consciousness was not letting you in on?

4. Are some people just terrified that entertainment might be tainted by the problems of the social sphere that entertainment is so often employed to block out?

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May 09, 2006



Branding? Pay to play? New? Ber-ha. Arthouse shocka "Belle De Jour": What is bonkers? That some shut-in might find it "steamy"? That daily writers might find the second stream exploitation of content new?

Catherine wears strictly YSL in BDJ. Again and again. One of the best moments involves Deneuve's feet ascending a staircase, stopping, and turning for their close-up. Later, Madame Anais's whores admire Severine's tastebut it's no tangent. The moment even has its moral.

Unrelatedly, our favorite one-two script moment: One, two.

Survey says: French people are cold!

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May 05, 2006



Wednesday night, I saw the Yeah Yeah Yeahs at Roseland. (I missed a chunk of the set, which I regret, and walked in on "Warrior," only a song or two before the encore.) Karen looked tony and yogic, like she is rocking strictly tempeh. No flying beer. She hopped, repeatedly, and was comfortable commanding the stage. It felt like that Mountain Goats show at Knitting Factory last year, when Darnielle and the audience both realized that the moment was NOW.

Karen's first outfit was, roughly, a two-piece silver bathing suit, worn with fishnets and shoes inside silver plastic bags. She returned for the encore with MORE clothing on, an inversion of the standard Sexy Woman On Stage Routine that I enjoyed. Her more clothing was very more: a friend described it as something that either George Clinton or David Bowie could wear. But Karen did. Here is an attempt at describing it: A brindled grey diving suit painted to resemble a red and white skeleton. There was a hood on the suit (slipped on only twice) and the whole thing was covered with furry tentacles. (Here are pictures from the band's April 23rd show. The outfit doesn't look grey here.)

"Maps" was done acoustically, no drums. I missed the long, long opening drone. But I always like Karen's shout-outs to Brian's and Nick's squeezes.

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May 04, 2006



Tuesday night, I paid one hundred dollars to go to The Paris Review Spring Revel. I did this because I thought Joan Didion was going to show up. (She did.)

The event was held in the Grand Ballroom of Gotham Hall. The hoi polloi (we hundred dollar-billers) were allowed to stand one flight up on a mezzanine, drink "free" drinks and watch Norman Mailer eat dinner forty feet below us. His two-cane style is still unfadeable, and he rolls with tall, beautiful women who body-tackle those who seek to block his egress. (His ears will sweep away any remaining gawkers.) Norman's mojo is operational.

There may have been many famous people in attendance but, if so, they were famous writers and nobody knows what they look like. (I think Ahmet Ertegun—not a writer—was there, but I cannot be sure. A man will try to bite Ahmet's style as he ages, he will.)

A woman asked me if I knew of any good new music. For example, music with "charisma." I offered the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, but she told me she had already heard of them. I tried to narrow the field.

"What was the last CD you bought?" I asked.

"The Bee Gees' Greatest Hits," she said.

"Oh. So you like that."

"No," she said.

Hungry March Band opened the festivities, marching around the perimeter of the ballroom and then mounting the stage. The band contained about twenty people, including a baton-twirler and several dancers. The whole bacchanal suited the room. It sounded like "reveling." Their music bore little relation to Didion or her work, not that it mattered. No music comes to mind when I think of Didion. Not even the Bee Gees.

Bob Balaban introduced the readers. Gotham Hall is a former bank, and made largely of various kinds of stone, and the Grand Ballroom is enormously round, wide and high-ceilinged. Because of the stone and its size, the Grand Ballroom causes sound to reflect and hang in the air for ages, especially amplified speech. This made it hard to hear Mr. Bob Balaban, a situation not aided by an intern who was whisper-hollering about his short story problems. (Why would you pay one hundred dollars to talk to somebody you see at work? This is a question I cannot answer. You may want to ask a similar question about the wisdom of paying one hundred dollars to get a glimpse of a tiny writer, but that is life.)

Eric Bogosian read from "The White Album," Hope Davis read from "Slouching Towards Bethlehem," Jessica Lange read from "The Year of Magical Thinking," Calvin Trillin read from "Where I Was From" and somebody else read from something else. Bob Silvers got up and explained the "hadada," which is the name of the bird seen on the cover of The Paris Review, and of the prize awarded to "people who have made exceptional contributions to the state of literature." (From memory, not an exact quote. There is a more reliable description of the prize here.)

Then Didion got up, to a standing O. Her hair is silvery, and she is still as tiny as she has always been described as being. Unlike anyone else who spoke, she was funny. She told a story of The Paris Review offices being locked at night, meaning that laggards had to climb out the window and dangle from the sill by their fingertips. This was harder on the shorter staff members, she noted. She also noted that she wanted to be one of those shorter staffers, because The Paris Review sounded like more fun than Vogue, where she then worked. I am not sure why The Paris Review would have been more fun than Vogue, beyond the jumping out of windows. I was totally excited to be actually seeing the actual Didion, even though she spoke for about 200 seconds. Then she sat down and that was that.

I saw Jessica Lange and Sam Shephard downstairs, afterwards. They should donate some of their good-lookingness to charity because they are fucking up the whole curve just by walking around and being bodacious. Maybe when Keith Richards falls down, God foxies each of them up a little more.

Here is an interview with Joan Didion, originally published in The Paris Review, 1978. (Link boosted from Jessica.)

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Also, dated web ephemera with equally dated follow-up links: here, here and here.

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May 03, 2006



The chess wizards at Time Warner have kneecapped my email, so if you are trying to get in touch with me and think I have run off with Lisa Miskovsky to start a wheatgrass farm, you think wrong. Just try again in a few days. Or call, if it's important.

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May 01, 2006



While I try to figure out my goddamn Squidoo lens.

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[After home viewing of "Stuart Little."]

"What is going on with my life? That movie was so long I couldn’t tell if I was still alive."

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Who likes cherry blossoms? Totoro!

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