Monday, November 24, 2008

Street Stories NYC: "I’m tired of it, I’m sick of it, I’m fed up with it."

Posted By on Mon, Nov 24, 2008 at 11:30 AM

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This is contributor Jessica Hall's weekly column, in which she interviews the street and homeless people she meets around the city.

I met Francina when I was walking down Broadway and she was sitting on a milk crate trying to sell some duct tape and a body stocking. She was weeping and shivering. She said that she got those items out of the garbage and was just trying to make a little money so she could get something to eat. She is very lonely and tired.

Francina Jones, 48

I'm so tired. I'm so tired. I just want to die. I want to cry and cry. I don't have no friends in the world.

Where are you staying now?

I'm stayin' in the Williams Shelter for Women, it's on Williams Ave right off Pennsylvania. Get them, and get them real good. They keep takin' away my Medicaid and everything. I want my teeth and to go back to school and make something of my life, be a nurse's aid, like my mother, she took care of people, but I gotta get my teeth fixed 'cause nobody can understand me.

The beds are messed up with bugs, bedbugs, the showers are dirty, there's bugs in there too, with fleas and bugs. It's nasty, somebody need to do something about it. It's not right. They don't help nobody get into no place. They don't do nothin' right. How do they expect somebody to do something right when they're not guiding them right?

I'm tired, I'm so tired.

How long have you been at Williams?


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Sex Advice from a Goose: Interference, Offense

Posted By on Mon, Nov 24, 2008 at 10:00 AM

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Welcome to our weekly feature in which I, Gary, The L's wooden goose, shall answer the questions asked of Audrey Ference, The Natural Redhead, in the current issue of the L.

Dear Audrey Gary,
I am a 28-year-old hetero male. My masturbatory needs over the past several years have pushed the limits of social and perhaps legal acceptability. It seems I can't get off unless I'm doing something quasi wrong. However politically incorrect it is to call it "wrong," it started with simple interracial porn. From there I graduated to jacking it from my apartment window, which had a clear view of the beach and bare skin (but I was hidden as I did the deed). The greatest length to which this habit progressed was jerking it in the faculty bathroom of the public high school I was working in at the time. There are times when just trying on a pair of jeans in a flimsy dressing room gets the juices flowing. Am I a ticking time bomb? Should I volunteer myself to jail now and save myself the ordeal or is this some standard shit that you hear all the time and aren't even interested in?


Dear sir, the solution to your problem is so simple I am surprised the normally perspicacious Ms. Ference did not think of it: replace all your windows with one-way mirrors like they have in police interrogation rooms.


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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sunday Video: 'Viva La Hoya'

Posted By on Sun, Nov 23, 2008 at 1:30 PM

Coldplay + Jay-Z = A Not As Annoying As Usual Chris Martin! Beyonce's man kicks in at the 2:20 mark, stick around for it.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Saturday's Apparent Video Tribute to Georges Franju's Eyes Without a Face

Posted By on Sat, Nov 22, 2008 at 10:00 PM

Friday, November 21, 2008

Your Weekend (And Next Couple Weeks): Carole Lombard

Posted By on Fri, Nov 21, 2008 at 6:00 PM

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Beginning today and continuing through December 2nd, Film Forum presents a centennial celebration of Carole Lombard — screwball spitfire, glamour goddess and embodiment of all the good things America still occasionally thought about itself during the Great Depression. In the current issue of the L, Cullen Gallagher worships at the altar:

An earthly deity of the silver screen, she was more than just blonde and beautiful — she also possessed a quick wit and daffy lunacy that remains unsurpassed over seventy years later. Fiercely independent, sexually confident and always cunning, Lombard sent an ordered, masculine-driven society into an irreversible tailspin.
Cullen would also like you to know the following phun phacts about her [not included in his piece so when I say "jump" you say "how hard [should I click on the Read More link]?"]:


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The Cable Newsers Really Miss the Election Drama

Posted By on Fri, Nov 21, 2008 at 5:00 PM

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It's like what happened to publishing when J.K. Rowling stopped writing Harry Potter books, except now the hand-wringing, says the Washington Post, is happening inside the cable news networks. Ohhhh, wahhh, what WILL WE DO, now that Barack Obama is That One, but in a good way, and there's nothing left to scream about -- except for, like, the fact that his Chief of Staff is going to send you a dead fish if you screw up.

Americans became smitten with the high drama of the presidential election, but the transition of power is proving less than sexy.
Maybe the pundits should just striptease while they bellow insults and interrupt each other. Keith is so totally into that idea.

You And Your TV, Unhappily Together 4-Eva

Posted By on Fri, Nov 21, 2008 at 4:00 PM

Unhappy people watch television, according to some sociology nut at the University of Maryland, who wants me and everyone else I know who sometimes organizes their calendars around sweeps to feel even more awful about themselves.

Happy people go to church, socialize (does this mean drink?), and read newspapers. Guess we know who reads blog posts recapping their favorite TV shows.

Salon Brings Sexy Back

Posted By on Fri, Nov 21, 2008 at 2:30 PM

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Salon thinks that there are some men who are really sexy right now! And thus, they have chosen a whole boatload of them, the "Sexiest Men Living," to be exact, to showcase on their website. Sooooo dreamy. Guess who our favorite is? Ezra Koenig, from Vampire Weekend, a band that's really starting to build some buzz, we hear...

The "Ivy-educated, button-cute musician who rocks our world with songs about the serial comma," is profiled under Salon's Indie Heartthrob category, alongside a dubious photograph that makes him look like a piece of stripey cardigan jailbait with a guitar that's too big for his adorably emo-emaciated frame. Hot or not? Gross or acceptable?

There is something so charming and hilarious about this entire justification:

It could be argued that Of Montreal's Kevin Barnes is the sexiest man in indie rock, with his art-school androgyny and his pit-black torch songs of love gone bad, mad and dangerous to know. But Barnes is a throwback to superstars of another era -- David Bowie, Prince -- while Koenig is very much of the moment. Vampire Weekend released the best indie rock record of 2008, a near-perfect debut so fantastic that even its overblown hype could not diminish its pure pleasure. And Koenig is a pleasure all his own. He's a graduate of Columbia, a sometime filmmaker, the son of a therapist, a blue-eyed charmer who can get you out of your undies and talk about your feelings. Now that's rock 'n' roll.
Oh, my god, like, the Saloners maybe had a debate about who's sexier, Ezra or Kevin? And then someone stood on top of their desk chair and bellowed: "Koenig can get you out of your undies and talk about your feelings!!" So they had to write that in. SERIOUSLY? Heebie jeebies x infinity.

Aravind Adiga was selected as their sexy novelist: he won the Man Booker Prize this year, and you know Salman Rushdie is fucking fuming right now, even more so than before. These lists are TROUBLE, unless they are scratch 'n' sniff. Count on People to reinvent the wheel.

Angelina Jolie's Journalistic Mind Control

Posted By on Fri, Nov 21, 2008 at 1:30 PM

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Here's a piece of "gotcha" media journalism for your Friday afternoon perusal: Angelina Jolie, former blood-vial carrier and brother-kisser -- never forget! -- has spent the last few years transforming herself into Hollywood's Mother Theresa. Also, she stole Brad Pitt from jilted Jen, which was "really uncool" and "inappropriate."

But now, reports have been unearthed by a Times reporter who wants to make sure we all care about celebrity gossip just as much as the S & P. On today's front page, there's a story about Angelina Jolie's Carefully Orchestrated Image, which covers her famous, "scary smart" (according to Bonnie Fuller!) ability to control the gossip rags. They agree to give her money for photographs and not to say anything mean about her, and her face sells gazillions of magazines for them. Everybody wins! (Except Jen.) Now that's how you build a brand!

Did you know that Angie doesn't have a publicist? Just a lawyer? And a cell-phone? And her own scary-smarts? Coupled with her impending sainthood, this makes her a goddess among men, or whatever.

Anyway, Jen and John are totally back together.

Anyway, the credit markets have seized up!

We no longer have any perspective about these matters.

Everyone's An Author: Ivanka Trump

Posted By on Fri, Nov 21, 2008 at 12:30 PM

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Long live the celebrity book deal! The whimsical hummingbirds who spin the sun-dappled, sparkling web of gossip behind Page Six bring the news that Ivanka Trump, a really really pretty, really really ridiculously rich young lady, is going to write a book! For Simon Spotlight Entertainment. What will it be about? Not her boyfriend. Not how she got her job, or at least, not specifically. Not how she gets her hair so straight and shiny. It will be motivational! Which is like the unisex version of self-help:

My father always impressed upon me the idea that America is a meritocracy and that you must work for everything you get," Ivanka said in a statement, adding that she hopes to share a "positive perspective with the women of my generation."
Yes, it's so true, this meritocracy thingie... it's practically jumping right out of that photo, no? Happy writing, Ivanka. We hope your first draft flows effortlessly onto the page.

The Docks of New York

Posted By on Fri, Nov 21, 2008 at 11:30 AM

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Made a year after his Underworld established the rules for the genre the French would eventually figure out ought to be called film noir, Josef von Sternberg made The Docks of New York, a parallel study in chiaroscuro-lit nightfall, secret lowlife urban locations, and the expressionist poetry of moral anguish. It's a love story, this time, though.

And it's playing tonight, at the Walter Reade. A potential Bonus! inducement is that if you go, you will almost certainly be the youngest person seeing a silent movie at Lincoln Center on a Friday night. And it's sometimes nice to feel like you're lagging behind most other people in the race to the grave, isn't it?

Parents Just Don't Understand

Posted By on Fri, Nov 21, 2008 at 10:00 AM

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No, no they don't, but it's Thanksgiving next week and you're going to have to spend a lot of time with them anyway, and as was the case in high school you're going to want to have a cathartic experience with 70s punk rock immediately thereafter. Thus, BAM's end-of-November series Punk 'n' Pie (geddit?) (I actually mean that seriously, I didn't get it until it was pointed out to me; it's a pun playing off the Thanksgiving staple pumpkin pie).

Things start off tonight with Breaking Glass, about a young punk girl who becomes a new wave star — sort of like a Brit version of Ladies and Gentlemen the Fabulous Stains, maybe? After that, there'll be of-the-moment looks at punk, New Wave and reggae-ska; biopics and docs on Joe Strummer and Ian Curtis/Joy Division; Derek Jarman weirdness; and the greatest love story of our time, Sid and Nancy.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Oh, Cruel World: "My Lover Left Me In My 90s"

Posted By on Thu, Nov 20, 2008 at 6:00 PM

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From the Guardian, our favorite independent newspaper across the Pond, comes a heartwarming tale about love, life, and douchbags. What happens when you are in your 90s, you meet a handsome fellow 30 years your junior while lobbying at Parliament for better state pensions, and he dumps you for someone new when you become "less mobile"?:
We spent more than a decade in constant contact, visiting friends and going on holidays together. After the first flush of love, he never spoke of love again, but I hope I may be forgiven for thinking that love still bound us. He liked women and they liked him but I really didn't mind this, because I was the one he visited, called or accompanied on trips away.

In recent years, I have grown less mobile, but he was patient and our daily contact continued - until last week, when I didn't hear from him. He eventually came to see me and told me he had "met somebody".
Whether or not this lady's lack of mobility involved adult diapers, I just think this is about the saddest thing I've heard all day. There's a whole wealth of advice from readers following her plaintive query about how to "recover from a broken heart." One person suggests she still has time to "meet someone else"... via the Webz.

I suspect you fear this was your last chance to feel such strong emotions for a man, but that is not necessarily so. You are clearly young at heart and though you mention you have been less mobile of late, you can still contribute to the campaigns you care about via the internet, and perhaps meet someone else that way. I hope I reach 90 with half the verve you have now.
Generation Internet is going to have some super-serious senior-citizen social networking sites up and running in the next couple of decades, assuming, of course, we all don't go down in the fiery economic hellfire.

Sometimes a Crackpot Notion: Mitt Romney for CEO of General Motors?

Posted By on Thu, Nov 20, 2008 at 5:00 PM

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I would be for this, mostly because I look forward to many happy photographs of Dear Willard touring auto plants in comical protective goggles. But there we are, already ahead of ourselves. So.


Continue reading »

The Butler Is Going To Hollywood

Posted By on Thu, Nov 20, 2008 at 4:30 PM

Remember the front-page Washington Post story about Eugene Allen, an African-American White House butler who started working in the White House when segregation was still in effect and whose wife passed away on November 4? It probably made you weep a little weep a few days after the election -- when, let's face it, the whole country was fawning, crying, and politically PMS-ing over something or other? Well, the article is now being made into a feature film by Sony.

On the one hand, it's nice that a human-interest tale of this nature is being produced, instead of, like, Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2. On the other hand, gross. Why can't good things just exist in and of themselves anymore?

M.I.A.: "I've Always Had That 'Fuck-The-System' Mentality"

Posted By on Thu, Nov 20, 2008 at 3:00 PM

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M.I.A. may be one of the few cover girls out there who is happy to spew private nuggets about her relationship. The December issue of SPIN has her discussing the details of how she came to fall in love with fiancé and baby-daddy Ben Brewer of the Exit. Also, his family, which owns the liquor company Seagram:
"They're rich because they threw big, illegal parties, so I don't mind.

"Still, I know I'll catch flak," she admits. "But I think I would've been screwed either way. I kept dating guys who were broke, who came from the streets, or from backgrounds like mine, but they didn't necessarily treat me any better. My fiancé is really a great guy."

Beyoncé would just purse her lips be all, "next question, bitch" but Maya's just like, "Sure, I'll tell you exactly what I think of my future in-laws in a music magazine. Why not?" Also, she can get away with wearing a gold-studded doorman's cap and a bronze-ified junk necklace as cover accessories.

Art Catch Extra: Continuous City

Posted By on Thu, Nov 20, 2008 at 1:15 PM

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In her weekly (sometimes bi-weekly!) column Art Catch, The L's Patricia Milder tells you which art exhibits and theatrical productions are worth visually stalking. Mark Zuckerberg, this one's for you.

Maybe the fact that I'm the only person I know who isn't on Facebook and doesn't video chat makes me, individually, the wrong target audience for Continuous City. But I don't know, you tell me – do people actually think this kind of Internet communication (chatting, video dating, games, and so on) is a satisfying alternative to actual human contact? In my eyes the play's conclusion seems overly obvious: we (as a society) are glued to the computer/internet/phone and that's becoming a pretty fucked up way to live.

This could be a rich, relevant topic, but unfortunately the Builders Association seems to be almost singularly focused on choreographing multiple video screens and overlapping interactions between onstage actors and onscreen actors to mimic and exaggerate everyday mediated interactions. The story itself gets lost irretrievably in a labyrinth of multi-sized screens and mediocre acting, and the result – even with its up to the moment references – comes off as dated, even boring. This play sets up an extreme version of what is happening, or what will happen, as our interactions become more and more removed through electronics, especially because of global travel and immigration. Reality gets blurry, relationships become unclear, and even those closest in proximity evolve into strangers who cannot be faced without the help of a mediating device.

In what was supposed to represent one of the most depressing moments in the story, a young girl refuses to respond to a nanny in person, and the nanny resorts to texting her "milk or juice?" to get an answer. First of all, juice. Of course. And second, before cell phones (in the mid 90s) when we were both kids, I would call my sister from separate landlines in the same house. Before landlines, I'm sure that notes were sometimes passed when words could have been spoken. I'm conflicted as to whether texting, combined with the fickle and distancing attitudes of children, really amounts to much of a tragedy. In any event, this incident definitely isn't as profound and illuminating about the nature of humanity as it is made out to be.

The girl with the juice is upset because her father, a present day Internet social networking entrepreneur, is traveling the globe to promote Xubu – "get used to saying that name" – the new international video Facebook. He calls her and they v-chat about the mundane things a father talks to a young daughter about. These calls alternate with his international reports – New York (or Vegas?), Paris (or Vegas?), China (really is China) and a lot of airports – to a Xubu business partner. His partner is a douchey man with an Internet dating addiction and a proclivity toward wooing unattractive women. Meeting in person, he tells one of them, would be just too much pressure and way too much of a commitment. Although the man with the daughter eventually becomes disillusioned by Xubu, realizes the emptiness of life on the road and the irreplaceability of his real life daughter, it may be too late. She may be too busy video blogging to notice him.

Five minutes into Continuous City and I can't imagine there is a person in the place that doesn't see the rest of the hour and a half coming. But the idea of using live theater to critique Internet culture is intriguing and could be successful if the strong visual and intellectual juxtapositions are exploited. I do hope there continue to be plays on the subject because although almost all attempts to capture online chatting dialogue in the theater have been annoying, it's surely worth a few more tries.

Playing at BAM Harvey Theatre, 651 Fulton St, closes November 22

Screening Log: La Fin Du Jour

Posted By on Thu, Nov 20, 2008 at 11:30 AM

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David Cairns, the Scotland-based filmmaker, critic/instructor and proprietor of the most delightful film blog on the internet, recently announced that he'd be mailing DVD-Rs, burned from VHS recorded off TV in the 80s, of Julien Duvivier's 1939 film La Fin Du Jour (The End of the Day) to anyone who asked nice. This is something like the ultimate cinephiliac gesture — an unknown, unavailable film from a once-renowned, now-out-of-fashion director, recorded from a chance broadcast, dug up out of an archive, and advocated passionately for. (He's said he's doing this because he wants to rewrite film history for the movie's sake.) It's a lovely film and I thank him for the opportunity to see it.


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The New Yorker Reader: "Ghosts," by Edwidge Danticat

Posted By on Thu, Nov 20, 2008 at 10:00 AM

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When I met you in the restaurant...

It's really only at the very end that this story provides any sort of kick, but it's a decent one.


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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

What Is Ashley Dupré Reading?

Posted By on Wed, Nov 19, 2008 at 6:15 PM

The trick-turner and Girls Gone Wild! starlet is gonna have a heartwarming little chat with Diane Sawyer on Friday's 20/20. But first, Dupré -- who engaged in hanky-panky shenanigans for money with Eliot Spitzer -- chatted with feel-good American magazine People. The Post has some excerpts. Noteable:

Dupre said she spends her time working out and reading, and is speaking out now in a bid to "get on with my life."
What the hell is she reading? The Twilight books? (If so, Team Edward, I'd imagine.) The House of Sand and Fog? Middlesex? Outliers?

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