Friday, May 29, 2009
Thursday, May 28, 2009
"What happened to you?" asked Bree Dawson critically. She was sitting at the bar, laptop open, cruising the web while Thom was busy working, loading kegs in from the street.
"Aww, you know," said Jesse, slouching against the wall nonchalantly. "Late night."
"Oh?" Bree Dawson raised her eyebrows. Even though she was happily dating Thom, she still liked keeping tabs on Jesse -- a difficult task since they had first met
"You heard of Kiki Ann's, in Manhattan, right?" asked Jesse. It was an uber-hip joint recently established as a new fave, and Jesse was quite certain Bree Dawson had never been.
"Yeah, I've heard of it," said Bree, closing the top of her laptop slightly. "I heard it's open til dawn and filled with cokeheads and 14-year-olds," she added snidely.
Jesse snorted in response. "Well, it's open late, for sure," he replied, choosing to ignore the second part of her statement. "Good DJs. Killer times."
"Well...great," said Bree. "I'm glad you finally found an outlet for all that stamina."
Now Jesse Milkovich raised his eyebrows. "I do what I can," he replied. He knew Bree was dying to ask who he went with, and purposely chose to omit this information. If she wanted to know, she'd have to ask herself. He smiled, as if prompting her.
But Bree Dawson was no fool. She smiled back, opened her laptop again, and pretended to peruse an email until Thom came back inside...
It wasn't a park as much as a playground a couple of blocks away from the Triple Hook coffee shop, and as they wandered down, Marilyn Morrissey and Derek found themselves confronted with a rambunctious group of children, ages 2 through 13, approximately, climbing all over the jungle gym and slides as their parents and nannies looked on tiredly.
"I love watching other people's children," said Derek, taking a seat on a vacant picnic table. "Especially when they misbehave." As if on cue, a tiny girl in a brown jumper pushed a little boy down the slide. "Classic," said Derek. "Also, makes me very happy not to have kids."
Marilyn Morrissey nodded in agreement. "Don't have to tell me," she said. "I can barely take care of myself!"
She sat down across from him, and glanced at the children nervously, afraid to look Derek in the eye directly. She was still reeling from his straight-edge confession, and was afraid the whole afternoon had been a waste, that it wasn't going to work. Gazing into his eyes at this point just seemed cruel.
The little boy began climbing back up the slide. Derek chuckled.
"That was totally me when I was a kid," he said, working hard to catch Marilyn's gaze. "Slides were always more fun the wrong way. Who doesn't love a challenge?"
"I was always more a merry-go-round person myself," replied Marilyn. "I liked spinning around faster and faster until I was so dizzy I thought I would vomit, than laying down on the grass and watching the sky spin. It was a rush."
Derek smiled and reached his hand out over the table, almost as if to grab hers, but then just placed it in front of her awkwardly. "Ahh, natural highs," he said. "It really doesn't get any better than that."
As a lawyer, Ronald Harris dealt with concepts like "justice" and "ethics" quite frequently...but still maintained somewhat of a disconnect when it came to applying them to his own life. Doing the right thing was important...overall...but it would be ridiculous not to allow a few pre-ordained "slip-ups" now and then. Among these acceptable vices: excessive drinking, pot-smoking, cocaine-snorting, lying on taxes, gratuitous fucking. Still, Harris knew the key to dealing with any of these vices was to quit before you got caught, and thus when Sazz Tuttle walked out of his apartment just about a week ago, Harris decided it was time to move on. No more gratuitous fucking for now. It was time to get serious.
Harris loved Rachel Lubovich, and while their love wasn't spicy hot and invigorating, it was comfortable and safe, and he knew Rachel would make a good life partner. Thus, Saturday afternoon while Rachel was out shopping, he decided to surprise her with a delicious home-cooked meal (lemon pepper chicken with asparagus and fennel, a favorite!), lit the apartment with candles, and sprinkled rose petals all over the table top.
When Rachel returned home, shopping bags in hand, she let out a cheery "Hey Ron!" then stopped dead in her tracks, dropping the bags to the floor as she entered the candlelit kitchen.
Ronald Harris got down on one knee. "Rachel," he said, taking her hand gingerly. He hadn't felt this nervous since he got his law school acceptance letter. Rachel let out a squeal -- she couldn't believe this was happening!
"Will you marry me?" asked Harris.
The next time Josh Stadt was in Key Foods (3 days later, for toilet paper and ice cream) he made a point to go in Reid Pinkin's checkout line.
And Pinkin, who had been avoiding his cousin for over a week now, and was in serious need of a pick-me-up, was delighted to see him.
"Reid! My man!" said Josh, as he approached. They made small talk for about 20 seconds, while Reid rung up his purchases, and as Josh was getting ready to head out, Reid leaned forward.
"Hey dude, this is, uh, kinda awkward, but I don't have anyone else to ask so I figure maybe you might know..." Reid exhaled nervously. Josh looked at him quizzically.
"Uhhh...you don't know where I can get any uhh, of the shit that the Back Lot was busted for, do you?"
Josh wrinkled his eyebrows. "Honestly dude," he said, trying to determine why Reid was asking him. "I really have no idea."
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Tuesday, May 26, 2009
The Inqy uses big words and lots of name-dropping to review the show, which can apparently be described as such:
"Her guitar playing sounded like some unholy union of King Crimson's Robert Fripp and the Butthole Surfers' Paul Leary; her singing evoked the dream-pop enchantment of the Cocteau Twins, Elizabeth Fraser, and the whisper-to-a-scream inscrutability of Bjork and Kate Bush. The whole ensemble was strikingly lit like a David Lynch dream sequence, with washes of bordello red and cerulean blue flickering in time with the music's shape-shifting permutations."
I'm not sure I can picture quite what he's getting at here...but perhaps that's just me. Either way, killer show. Exhibit A (click to enlarge.)
Wondering...who the hell is St. Vincent anyway? Watch this video. I promise it will change your life. (Aren't actors the greatest?)
Friday, May 22, 2009
And just for fun, here's a third mash-up:
Kim is a close contender!
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Hint: it's not the one responsible for this. How could I say no to anything so bad-ass?
Yes, television. I don't know why, but for some reason, whenever I give into this mind-numbing device, which according to Roald Dahl, can turn you into a chocolate bar, I feel guilty. Catholic guilt, I suppose. Except for I never go to church and don't believe in god, and this never makes me feel bad in the slightest.
Perhaps it's because my mom was strict with television when I was a child, limiting my bro and I to classics like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Legends of the Hidden Temple (obvi) and Tiny Toon Adventures (all excellent.) But it was always: no television 'til your homework's done. Now I feel like I'm misbehaving whenever I have a freelance web assignment on the back burner (almost always) or an unread e-mail. I limit myself to a few guilty pleasures which I download: Top Model, the Office, It's Always Sunny, et cetera.
"Champion of the sun."
I haven't had television in my apartment for the past year now, and I admit: I don't really miss it. Besides, I've heard people say that television is the opiate of the masses, and I don't want to do anything with mass appeal. And...hey! That's NOT television you say? It's RELIGION? Huh. Funny of mom to tell me different. In that case...please disregard what I just said. Television as we know it is a lost art. Everything good's on the internet, nowadays, and if I believe in anything, I believe in the internet.
"Bree, I'm kinda freaked out right now," he responded.
Bree was noticeably surprised. "Why's that?" she said.
"Sazz, or whatever," said Thom, lowering his voice, and cupping his hand so no one could hear him. "...just came in here, telling me about some lawyer dude she was fucking, who bought coke from Bernstein, some old school dealer who used to hang here. Turns out, the dude is my ex-girlfriend, Rachel's, current boyfriend!"
"Woah," said Bree. It was a lot to take in. She paused, and thought about it. "So he's cheating on her?" she said.
"Yeah. And runs with a shady crowd." Thom exhaled loudly.
There was another pause.
"So you gonna tell her?" asked Bree, finally.
"Tell her?" replied Thom, incredulous. "Are you insane? What do I tell her? 'Yo, your boyfriend sucks and is cheating on you. FYI." I'd sound like a jackass."
"Well, whatever," said Bree. "Just forget about it. I mean, it's not like you hang out with her anymore. Sucks for her, but oh well." On the other end of the line, Bree Dawson bit her fingernail. All she wanted to hear about was Thom's ex-girlfriend!
"Yeah, I don't know," said Thom. "I guess you're right." He looked behind him nervously to see if anyone was paying attention. "Anyway, sorry for bothering you. I just wanted to tell someone." He could sense hostility in Bree's voice, and wanted to drop it. Suddenly, he felt very alone.
"Hey, no problem," said Bree, and then "Are you doing anything tonight when you get off? You want to come over?"
Thomas Sandleby smiled. "Yeah, I might be up for that," he said. "I'll let you know how I feel."
(ignore the second person in the background), summer 2005
"Honestly?" said Marilyn. "I have no idea!" She giggled. "Maybe someone got really mad about something we wrote on our blog; maybe it was just a random act of violence. It all happened so quickly! And the details were kinda strange...12 o'clock in the afternoon, broad daylight, tons of people around. I'm waiting to find out it was some sort of large scale sociological experiment to see if anyone will stop a kidnapping in Bushwick these days. If that's the case, Bushwick definitely fails." She giggled again.
Marilyn Morrissey was realizing that talking about her kidnapping was surprisingly easy, and even fun.
"Maybe it's because you're related to Morrissey," suggested Derek. "You know, maybe someone who really really hates Morrissey, and credits him with inspiring Liars." He gave her an inquisitive glance, as it to say, I'm down with your cutting edge blog speak.
Once again, Marilyn was taken aback, but smiled and continued. "I don't know man, why are people kidnapped these days? Extortion? Maybe. Drugs? Maybe they wanted to extort from my second cousin, which would be ridiculous, since I barely know him. Maybe it was drugs. Who knows?"
"Tsk, tsk," said Derek. "Drugs will always get you into trouble." He looked down. "Seriously. That's why I'm straight-edge."
Marilyn Morrissey couldn't determine if he was joking or not.
"Wait, really?" she asked. The straight-edge movement was either dying or dead, she thought, except among right-wing nut-jobs and recovering addicts. Maybe he was in rehab, she thought.
"Yeah, I don't know, just something I believe in," said Derek, seemingly seriously. "Haven't done drugs ever, and drank only a couple of times, during toasts and maybe on New Year's or something." He made eye contact, then looked away.
"Anyway, it's totally cool if other people drink or do whatever; I'm always down for a trip to the bar with people," he continued. "Just not my thing."
Marilyn focused on closing her gaping mouth and forcing a smile. She felt like her eyes were going to bug out of her head. "Yeah, that's cool dude, I don't go out to the bars that much anyway unless there's a show going on," she said. It was a total lie, but it felt encouraging...yes, let's go out anyway, she was saying.
Derek seemed relieved.
"Welllll...I don't know about you, but I am long since done with my coffee," Derek said shyly, pitching his cup into the garbage behind him. He pushed his hair out of his eye. "Want to go for a walk through the park?"
Marilyn Morrissey's insides were going crazy. She did NOT want to go for a walk in the park right now...she wanted to run home and maybe smoke a bowl and think about all that had happened. But she remembered Derek's profile...laidback chicks who can go with the flow...
"Let's do it," she said, standing up and tossing her coffee cup into the garbage as well. This is going to be a brand new me...
When Jesse Milkovich arrived at the 400 club, around 9 p.m., it was moderately crowded. By 11 p.m., it was pretty damn crowded, and by midnight, it was packed. Jesse hadn't been to a dance party like this in years -- not since him and Bree started hanging out -- and he felt slightly unhip having arrived so early. But Lulu and her friends seemed to have an in with the owner, who kept free drinks rolling all night...and by midnight, when the crowds were rolling in in droves, he was pretty tipsy, and Lulu, who had been pounding even more beers than him, despite being near 100 lbs, was fucking drunk.
It was no matter. They had a great time dancing near the front, right next to the DJ, screaming witty banter over the music and making funny faces and looking hip-as-thou for the photographer, snapping away their every move.
Just like in the good old days, thought Jesse, who had it been 4 years ago, would have asked Lulu back to his place for sure, maybe popped in some Aqua Teen Hunger Force and made out with her on the couch. But he couldn't pull the same shit at 26 that he could at 22.
Once you hit 25, you gotta play it cool and let the ladies come to you, was the rule as he knew it (not that Jesse Milkovich really payed "the rules" any mind) and in general, he felt being elusive worked well. But Lulu was so damn elusive herself, it made him WANT to invite her back, or else he knew she might not come...
"Hotness, fun times," said Jesse to Lulu when the DJs finally stopped spinning at 3 a.m., eager to either head home with Lulu or head home alone. The dancing and drinking was making him tired. "So what's next?"
"Wellllll..." said Lulu, enunciating each syllable. "I'M heading down to Kiki Ann's, in Manhattan, where the party goes at LEAST until sunrise...I'd love it if you joined me. There should be all sorts of goodies for grabs there." She smiled sweetly, pulling her hands on his shoulders.
Jesse Milkovich couldn't resist. Thank goodness for freelance jobs, he thought, and wrapped her tightly in a hug, kissing her softly in the mouth. "I go where ever you lead, my lady."
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Monday, May 18, 2009
Battlestar G -- seriously?
As an English major, I'm probably not as good with my books as I should be. I write in them, leave them open and destroy the spines, throw wet towels on them and sit on top of them accidentally, lend them to people who never give them back...et cetera. Even so, I appreciate the physical value of a nicely constructed, beautifully illustrated book, and take good care of books that are not The Hipster Handbook (which is totally falling apart, btw).
One of my faves? T.S. Eliot's Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats, the bizarrely compelling poetry collection about a made-up kingdom of imaginary cats, which later became the lyrical inspiration behind Andrew Lloyd Weber's Broadway monstrosity CATS.
Think about it. T.S. Eliot, famous Lost Generation poet. Responsible for works such as The Wasteland, which tormented me through most of high school and college, and The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock (you know you remember this), decides, in his '40s, to throw aside these serious topics and write a volume of rhyming poetry about cats. And why not? Meow.
I came across this book in my late grandmother's apartment, sorting through generations of memories stuffed into one tiny bedroom, hidden in a stack on a window behind a dresser...along with tons of Hemingway, and Wilde and Fitzgerald (my grandma had awesome taste!), signed proudly by grams herself.
To solve this mystery, I turned to my mom, who informed me that Susan E. Orr (the name on the backpage of the book) was a co-worker and close friend of my grandmother's. They met at Union Carbide, where my grandmother worked for years -- Susan also met her husband there, and my grandmother attended their wedding.
my grandmother knew how to look KICKIN' -- here she
is at my bro Dan's graduation looking fly, in 2006. Age 69.
Thank you genetics.
My grandmother never liked cats -- but perhaps Susan did, and gave her this book -- I don't know. Perhaps it was a retirement gift from the late 80s. (My grandmother would have been 62 in 1989). Either way, I find it particularly awesome since I myself acted in CATS (I told you this post was outrageously dorky) AND totally love books of poetry.
This is definitely the coolest book I own. And according to EBay, some people will pay up to $125 for this bad boy!
Friday, May 15, 2009
Luna broke up in 2005, but Dean and Britta (Dean Wareham and wife/former Jem and the Holograms chica Britta Philips) are still making tunes, and are playing JBs June 5. Ten points if they play this song, and you get drunk and sing along.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Turns out it's a style of music as well (and it doesn't just mean crazy drunk bands, which is kinda what I assumed.) Well, actually I guess it kinda does. CRUNK, according to Wikipedia, is "almost exclusively party music" in which "drum machines are usually accompanied by simple, repeated synthesizer melodies and heavy bass stabs." (Wikipedia thinks it actually means "chronic" and "drunk", where chronic means, high on marijuana and drunk means drunk.)
Either way, it exists, and this video kinda tries to explain it:
Crunk. If you like Belle & Sebastian, it's probably not for you.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
It made Jesse nervous. He was used to girls fawning over him, thinking he was sexy and brilliant (which he was quite sure he was) and Lulu didn't fit that mold at all...she had skipped out right after the Creaky Boards show the previous week when her friend invited her to a loft dance party (to which she did NOT invite Jesse) and had ignored his text message the night after, waiting 2 more days to respond before sending a "wanna be my date at 400 tonite? I hope so b/c you are already on the list!" and Jesse, who had planned to take the night off and hang out at the Sandlot, deliberated for a while before catching a cab and heading uptown, quite certain that if Lulu was flaky, he could chat up another chick quite easily.
Luckily, this was not the case. The second he walked into the door, Lulu spotted him and rushed over, exclaiming "you made it!" and "sorry I've been MIA lately," and "let's get this boy a beer!", introducing him to a half-dozen friends and flitting about merrily. And Jesse Milkovich was still unsure what to make of it.
While Jesse Milkovich was trying to decide how he felt about Lulu, Sazz Tuttle was waiting to hear back from him. It had been three days now since she'd heard from EITHER of her boys, and she felt depressed and unhappy just thinking about it. Two weeks ago, two boys. Now, none.
She wasn't entirely surprised -- she knew her affair with Harris was a short-term thing, that he wanted to stop before his girlfriend caught on, and she suspected the incident with Bernstein had been just the excuse he needed.
Still, Jesse had promised to call her if he heard anything else about the kidnapping, and she had heard nothing...so rather than call him herself (too obvious!) she decided she'd run into him "accidentally" (à la Rachel Lubovitch) by showing up at the Sandlot. It would be just like a date, only completely unplanned!
Of course, the problem with not planning is that sometimes things don't work out as you expect, and as luck would have it, Sazz Tuttle showed up to the Sandlot the same night Jesse Milkovich was out gallivanting across town with Lulu. With no one to talk to except for Thomas Sandleby, who was stuck behind the bar anyway, and was too polite to tell her that Jesse didn't like her, really, she plopped down and let loose the whole torrid story of Harris, and Dan Bernstein, and Thom grunted and nodded, and zoned in and out, then finally said, "...wait a minute, what did you say this dude's name is? The one dealing with Bernstein?"
"Ronald Harris?" said Sazz.
"Yeah, Harris," said Thom. "I've heard that name before. I can't remember where."
"What was the name of that dude talking to Marilyn's kidnapper on the phone?" asked Thom inquisitively. He scratched his head. "Could that have been it?"
"That guy's name was Reed," said Sazz. "I'm pretty sure." She dug into her bag and pulled out a Blackberry, and started typing. "I have the blog post bookmarked. I'll bring it up."
"Aha!" she exclaimed a few seconds later. "Reed, indeed. Harris is just some douchebag NYU grad student I met at a bar and have been sleeping with."
"NYU grad?" sputtered Thom. He started sweating. Coud it be? "I think I know who he is!" he shouted. "Wait here," he said to Sazz, dashing out from behind the bar and into his office in the back. He returned 2 minutes later, breathless, holding a letter.
"Ronald Harris," he spit out, eager, slamming the letter down on the bar, "is dating my ex-girlfriend from Buffalo. She goes to NYU law. He was cheating on her with YOU!"
Thomas Sandleby's head was spinning. Why did everything have to be so damn incestuous? He didn't know whether to be happy that he had solved some part of this big, unusual mystery, or mad at Sazz for being a dumb slut involved with his friend Jesse, or elated that Rachel was somehow getting her just desserts, or sorry for Rachel, because really, she was a nice girl and didn't deserve to be cheated on by some slimy, cokehead lawyer...
"Pardon me, I need a moment here," he said, turning away from Sazz.
Derek lived not too far from Marilyn in Bed Stuy, and so he agreed to meet her at Triple Hook coffee shop, an indie joint on the Bed Stuy/Bushwick border. Let's do coffee first -- blind dates in bars always make feel like I'm on some bad reality tv show, Derek had written, and Marilyn had happily agreed.
Now, walking up to it Saturday afternoon, she wished more than anything that she was drunk, and popped a benzo before heading in.
Immediately upon entering, Derek rose to greet her. "Marilyn!" he exclaimed. He blushed slightly. "Hi, I'm Derek," he said, extending his hand. He was about 5'8", skinny, with light red hair and a smattering of freckles across his nose. Not exactly her type, but cute in a boyish way. She shook his hand weakly.
"So...Marilyn Morrissey of the Brooklyn Meatball, right?" asked Derek, as they took seats near the window. Marilyn's mouth dropped open.
"Sorry, didn't mean to seem creepy!" said Derek smiling. "It's just...you asked me to guess what blog you wrote for, and I knew you were the cousin of Morrissey...so I just googled Morrissey, Brooklyn, and blog and it came right up!" He paused, and looked down nervously. "I hope that wasn't weird."
Marilyn didn't know what to say. It's cool that he looked me up! she thought. No one ever looked her up.
"Oh, it's cool," she said shyly. "I would have done the same thing, if I had more to go on that just Derek." There was a flirty pause. "So uh, do you read the Meatball?" said Marilyn finally. "What do you think?"
"Yeah, sometimes I do, it seems pretty cool," replied Derek, his voice trailing off. "I read about...are you the same Marilyn that got kidnapped? What in the world was that about?"
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Monday, May 11, 2009
Now just imagine, instead of "Green Cleaners" it was "Rock n'Roll Cleaners." And maybe black, with lighting bolts. Kinda like this:
Everyone knows authenticity is important in the world of indie rock, and what's more authentic that the illusion of authenticity! In these smelly, disgusting clothes, everyone will assume you're totally rock n'roll, even if you spend your day doing very un-rock n'roll things like studying for graduate exams or working at a job. Regular cleaners just clean your clothes, but anyone can clean something! Getting something very, very, authentically dirty, and dirty in the coolest of ways is much harder, and luckily for you, we're pros! After all, it's kinda our job.
Also, I figure if this lady can make a living (and get mad pubz), we have a pretty good shot.
Friday, May 8, 2009
Turns out, she was wrong about the alcoholic part (since moving a few blocks away, I almost NEVER have beer in the fridge) but right about one thing: I DO have an addictive personality. In my youth, it was Robin Hood and Legends of the Hidden Temple; now, in my 20s, it's gum.
Ahhh gum. There's not a morning when I wake up and DON'T pop a piece or two into my mouth before trekking to work -- not to mention a train or subway ride sans the chewy stuff. Why gum? I don't know, other than my mouth feels dry without it, and it gives me something to do while traveling.
Of course, not just any kind of gum will do -- I'm very picky about what I put into my mouth. (!!! that's what she said!!!) Right now the flavor of choice is Trident Watermelon Twist -- tastes like summer, and happiness -- and lasts for over an hour. I'm also fond of Orbit and --if necessary -- Juicy Fruit -- but I stay away from crap like Bazooka, which loses its flavor in approximately 3 chews.
What happens if I don't have gum? Well, nothing really I suppose, other than I get slightly nervous and chew my nails instead. And too much gum-chewing makes my teeth hurt -- but the pleasure I derive is totally worth it.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Oh wait, you are still making albums? And they are totally awesome and rocking and just what I needed on this rainy summer day? And oh wait, Kim Gordon is still cooler than me even though she is 56 and looks about 38? (Not related to their sound...just sayin'.)
Jeffrey Monteiro and Melinda Wansbrough. Yes, I'm serious.
What's this? A disco beat? Gracious. And the sound of Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon making rather conjugal grunts is about as close as we're likely to get to know about how their marital life impacts on Sonic Youth. Again, it's the dynamics within the track that make 'Anti-Orgasm' work so well. (of "Anti-Orgasm.")
I had a dream last night of Sonic Youth watching the telly. Thurston, Kim and Coco watching America's Got Talent, piles of Freaks and Geeks DVDs on the floor and a poster of Stone Cold Steve Austin on the back of the door. All Lee's books by EM Cioran given away to the charity shop and an X-Box Live with Virtua Tennis 3 sits in front of the box. Steve Shelley reading Barbara Cartland. Mark Ibold eating pop tarts. ...Like our friend Manish says: "They're best when they're cornball." What are corn balls when they're at home? Like Whatsits but round? Like cheese footballs? (of "What we know.")
And just cause I like moody music when it's bleak out, an older vid (one of my faves!) from Philly psych-rockers the Cobbs:
On a day like today, who wants to do anything but lay out on the couch, zoning out to some indulgent space rock?
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Wednesday evening he was working the register at the Key Foods, scanning vegetables for spoiled hipsters that looked at him like a lackey, when who should appear in his check-out line but Josh Stadt and Marcus Roy.
"Hey I know you," said Josh, placing a two-liter soda bottle, 4-pack of Red Bull and cantaloupe on the conveyor belt. It was 2 o'clock in the afternoon and the joint was mostly empty. "I've seen you at the Sandlot before. Cool place."
Reid nodded. Play it cool, he told himself. Like an actor.
"Crazy all the shit that's been going down there, huh?" said Josh. Marcus Roy was staring at the gum section, feet tapping, humming a tune. Reid glanced at him distractedly. Did he pump Josh for information, or just let him go?
"Yeah, I don't know," said Reid. "I've been hanging out at that place for years, back in the '90s even." It was semi-true, if you dis-counted his stints in jail and the movie biz. "There's always something crazy going on there."
"Word," said Josh, sliding his debit card through the reader to pay. Reid handed him his receipt, and he turned towards Marcus, gesturing for him to leave.
"Well...see ya," said Josh Stadt, gathering up his bags and starting to head out...
"Wait -- Josh!" called out Reid.
Josh Stadt turned around slowly, taken aback. Even though Fraggle was a semi-popular band, it always freaked him out a little every time a stranger knew his name.
Reid exhaled nervously. Quick, think of something to say!
"Uhhh...just wanted to say...I like your band! You guys rock! When are you going to be releasing a new album?" He sighed. Close one!
Josh Stadt smiled. "I couldn't tell ya," he said, "but hopefully soon. Been working on some new stuff recently...it's gonna be great. I'll let you know when I got something good and -- hey, what's your name anyway?" He squinted and glanced at his name tag. "Reid," he said. "I'll make sure and let you know, Reid," and headed out.
Reid Pinkin stood motionless for a second at the cash register, trying to take it all in. On the one hand, he was tempted to call his cousin, let him know he had an in with Josh Stadt and could gradually -- over time -- work information out of him...but on the other hand, he just wanted to lay low and enjoy this. Josh Stadt was the first person -- not counting Bree and Marilyn, who he was trying to swindle -- with whom he had had a real conversation in months, and it felt great.
Plus there was something about Josh...he couldn't put his finger on it...something about his attitude and outlook that reminded Reid Pinkin a lot of himself. And maybe (just maybe!) more than anything, Reid Pinkin wanted to be his friend...
While Reid Pinkin was mulling over his run-in with a man 10 years younger, his cousin Weinstein was enjoying drinks and smokes with his friend and longtime confident, Dan Bernstein.
"The scene around here is fucking dead," Bernstein was saying, sipping a scotch, no ice, from a highball glass on the roof deck of his Tribeca apartment. "I say we get out of Brooklyn, move downtown. Manhattan. NYU law. There's a fresh crop of fledgling lawyers out there with more money than they know what to do with out there, looking for a little nose candy."
Weinstein Pinkin was skeptical. "But Brooklyn's our scene, man, always has been. I don't wanna step on the toes of 'em Village dealers that already got 'turf set up. Brooklyn is busted, but the air is clearing. Everyone's already forgotten about the shit that went down at the Backlot. We just stay outta there, like we have been, scope out some other bars. In the meantime, maybe we chase down this Jesse fellow and find out his source, maybe we don't. No skin off our teeth."
Bernstein nodded. "I hear you man. But at the same time, young lawyer wants a sale, I'm not gonna deny him." He paused, and glanced around him. "By the way, did I tell you who I ran into the other day at one of said transactions? Fucking Sazz the spaz, sleeping her way through law school, or some shit."
Weinstein laughed. "Fucking hippie cokehead," he said. "Some people just can't get away."
Marilyn Morrissey, awkward in real life, was absolutely reveling in chatting with Derek on the internet.
What kinda blog do you write? I can dig it, Derek had written back to her message about laptopping in the park, and Marilyn and had responded coyly with I'd love to tell you, but my job depends on anonymity and Derek, intrigued, had shot back with, well how 'bout we meet in real life and I try to guess based on my impressions and Marilyn had paused...did she do it? what if it was a hoax...and called up Bree for reassurance who insisted, yes, go for it! and then waited a whole day and typed back:
well...ok. you tell me when and where and I'm there. you'll recognize me as the Brit with attitude --
and sat back and waited for a response.
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Monday, May 4, 2009
Peter Bjorn and John are one of my favorite bands. Their 2006 hit “Young Folks” (off the perhaps erroneously named Writer’s Block) was one of my (and everyone else I know’s) top tracks of the year, the light-hearted, infectious whistle-stop pop ditty that claimed, “we don’t care about the young folks, talking ‘bout their young folk style…”
The song made countless “Best of” lists, including the number 5 spot on the ever elusive Pitchfork Top 100, and for a little while, it seemed that PB+J were the hot ticket in indie rock. But then something strange happened. They released Seaside Rock, a mostly inaccessible, instrumental record, with whispered monologues in Swedish, that no matter how many times I listened to, I couldn’t get into.
So when their newest, Living Thing, came out, I was excited – but skeptical. A few dozen listens only confirmed my mixed reaction. A stripped-down record which focused more on vocals and experimentation, Living Thing didn’t have any of the immediately captivating pop momentum of “Young Folks” – but offered (perhaps) something better – sparse song structures, moody lyrics, emphatic percussion…but how enjoyable was it really? It took a live performance to convince me that Living Thing is truly alive.
Luke Top opened, clad in a cowboy hat, and joined by a 4-piece back-up ensemble who contributed to the wistful, toe-tapping tunes. Songs started slow, with only acoustic guitar and weepy vocals, and grew organically, with layers of tinkering keys, syncopated percussion, and twang-y slide guitar.
Chairlift was next, offering their signature blend of moody vocals and poppy dance beats. I first caught the band back in December, opening for Yeasayer, and was impressed by their seamless incorporation of spacey melodies and effortless pop – especially on tracks like “Bruises” (of iPod commercial fame.)
At WCL though, they seemed more focused on dramatics – they appeared pitched in blackness, with only flashes of light illuminating singer/keyboardist Caroline Polachek, who rolled her head wildly and banged on a cowbell – while emitting gorgeous airy vocals that hypnotized the audience with their fervor and passion.
PB+J took the stage last, opening with a radiant rendition of “Just the past,” a brand new track off Living Thing. Live, they sounded glorious and energetic, with Peter Morén’s vocals ringing crystal clear, and John Erikkson’s bongo-drumming laying down a steady beat. Bassist Bjorn Yttling was equally on-point, offering well-timed bass grooves and a steady stream of vocal percussion.
Songs like “Lay it down” – a new, upbeat ditty with racy lyrics that insist, “Hey, shut the fuck up boy!/ You are starting to piss me off” – were real crowd pleasers, and a maraca-tinged version of “Young folks” had the audience in a frenzy.
Their hour-plus set contained both hits from Writer’s Block (“The chills”; “Let’s call it off”) as well as new tracks “I want you”, “It don’t move me”, “Living thing” and “I’m losing my mind.” “It’s so great to be back on the same stage we played on this morning!” joked Morén between numbers. The audience laughed, appreciatively.
The band ended their set with a heartbreaking rendition of “Object of my affection,” off Writer’s Block, stripping the song down to just a capella vocals, then building it back up with a fury that resulted in Morén wailing on his guitar and jumping in the air enthusiastically. For their encore, they chose new tracks “Stay this way” and “Nothing to worry about” (the first single off Living Thing), as well as an impressive 20 minute rendition of “Up against a wall.” By the time the show ended, I was exhausted and spent – but more convinced than ever that Living Thing is alive and well.