Archive for September, 2008

Day Off- Live Through This

Posted in day off with tags , , , , on September 30, 2008 by thebrooklynsocialite

So even socialites eventually need a rest, and maybe even a moment away from Brooklyn. Family called and I have found myself in Connecticut, by a lake being pulled into Bridge games and getting email flack from NY which I’d prefer to ignore. The lake is beautiful, I need to rest my head.

I thought I’d take this opportunity to briefly discuss a book I’ve recently read called Live Through This: On Creativity and Self-destruction Yes, even the very act of reading has become work. Books are assigned to me for review or I solicit them for potential review. Live Though This kind of falls into that second category. My relationship with it remains unclear… but…

Content is all that really matters right? So lets get into it. This book in an anthology of women writers who have experienced abuse, mental illness, self-injuring, basically some form of pain that could have stopped them from creating and maybe instead catalysed them to start or continue to make art. Nicole Blackman, Fly, Bell Hooks, Cristy C. Roads, Daphne Gotlieb, Eileen Myles, Nan Goldin, Patricia Smith, countless women seem to swell the ranks of survival literature, poetry of the oppressed, struggle till it gets better penmanship. To be honest, I don’t know quite what to make of it. I like many of the contributors, and spoke for a bit with the editor, still I guess I feel this crumbling sensation that perhaps past suffering is not what brings these writers together- what it is I reckon is talent, consistent vision and just general ability to kick ass.

Besides my qualms with the premise, I definitely dug some of the submissions, especially Fly and some of the other names I’ve mentioned above.

Peaches and No. 7 Greene

Posted in Guide to What's Good with tags , , , , , on September 29, 2008 by thebrooklynsocialite

“Do not fear the blogger,” I wanted to whisper into the ear of both Peaches owner, pictured below (with his daughter behind the cashier) and GM/owner of No. 7, not pictured. I wasn’t really trying to be ingognito, maybe the big camera and little notebook completely gave me away. As a paying customer, I felt free to dine as I pleased. For their part though, they seemed a little unsettled by my presence.

I will try to step outside the situation nevertheless and focus instead on squash. At Peaches, I had butternut squash soup with honey and cinnamon for brunch, which reminded me of the way I like to eat oatmeal. Savory sweet, oats with maple syrup and cinnamon, sweet breakie soup, yellow squash puree under a tender little mountain of just raw seared hangar steak, with Chinese broccoli and kimchi perogies- that is what I had at No. 7. Again squash, savory battles sweet again.

Beyond yellow gourds, the two restaurants have precious little in common. No 7 boasts charming wait staff, a competitive wine list, art-deco-blanc interior design and lush food pairings. Peaches remembers it’s in Brooklyn, totally unpretentious, with definite potential, but I’d like to see espresso, alcohol, and a microwave-free promise join their menu.

Wild Combination: A Portrait of Arthur Russell

Posted in film, Music with tags , , , , , on September 28, 2008 by thebrooklynsocialite

Wow, its 3am this time and exhaustion is setting in, but I can’t sleep without getting a first draft of this statement out. I will revise, but it starts like this:

Allen Ginsberg was famous for the inspiration he found in Visions. William Blake appeared to him, as did Aurthur Russell, in the flesh. Ginsberg found him dressed in urban monks attire and ever after referred to him and his music as Pop Buddhist. They later lived for many years in a building stuffed with artists flats. Whether they were ever lovers, I’m not sure, but Russell lived out his life there with his faithful beloved partner, who was at the IFC center tonight to answer questions about Matt Wolf’s new film Wild Combination (GL).

Continuing with this week’s sea fascination: At the edge of The World, Cathie Opie’s depiction of surfers and Trouble the Water, Wild Combination emphasized Russell’s love of water. Fish tanks, the Staten Island Ferry, oceanic jaunts through midtown- wherever the water came from, he synthesized it into his work. Mastering cello, keys, guitar, vocals-this musician was a Brooklyn Socialite indeed- he could compose like his friend Philip Glass, create disco for raves at the Loft, and croon electro-cello-poetry. Arthur Russell rocks.

Tre, Bembe, Metropolitan, Catherine Opie preview and opening, Corner shop, Carmen Valle

Posted in art, Book, Food, Guide to What's Good with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 27, 2008 by thebrooklynsocialite

Committed readers, welcome back! I am determined to blog every day, which sometimes means 2 am the next day- true Brooklyn Socialites are immune to exhaustion. I wish I could say that were true. It is the end of the month, which means that rent has to be paid, the GO deadline met ( I’m working towards Monday), and that all my visions are starting to pile up. They get cleared out on the 1st- kind of like how I’m not tired now.

Let’s work backwards. I rolled home tonight around 10 after Carmen Valle’s reading from Haiku de NuevaYork at McNally Jackson (both are additions to the GOOD List, GL). My once awesome Spanish comprehension skills (yes folks, I was a Spanish/History major in College) had abandoned me in a hungover fog of Lavender tea, beautiful chicken soup (Thanks Corner Shop Cafe, GL), and an all day jittery, shot of afternoon espresso (from my Bedstuy local Tiny Cup), which brings me to last night and why I am not at my freshest.

The reason is, because my cutely awkward streak emerged among the Lit Icons and Art Stars who were in attendance at last nights Catherine Opie: American Photographer, Guggenheim opening (GL). This drove me to free shwag wine and after party mojitos. The best conversation I had during the night was with Hans and Johan pictured below.(Checkout the October Go for more photos). We talked about hitchhiking, Situationists, Hans’ films, Johan’s design collective-The House of Very Much, my latent fiction, polyamory and then in the end we just danced! Justin Bond, T Cooper, Felicia Luna Lemus, Thelma Goldin, Eileen Myles, Debbie Harry, John Waters, Opie and countless others equally, failed to resist the dance floor as JD Sampson dropped fly beats.

Hans is the subject of some of Catherine’s photos, which are on display at the museum. I enjoyed my chance to preview the exhibition yesterday morning and promise to post a link to my review and interview with the artist as soon as it is out! That is all I’ll say about that right now, except to explain that yesterday morning in heels at the museum was mitigated by my too recent memory of Wed night, my best mate in town, exorcising demons in the dive splendor of Metropolitan (GL). This after a false start at Bembe (apparently it was groove night or something, who knows what that music genre is called? Tuesday nights are great though! GL) and a bottle of Sangiovese at Tre (GL). Authentic Italian’s serving wines from Italy’s regions only- a little pricey but the staff are cute.

From back to front that’s where I’ve been.

At the Edge of the World Q&A w/Dan Stone

Posted in film, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 25, 2008 by thebrooklynsocialite

I used to live in Melbourne, Australia, not Florida. One day the Sea Shepherd docked on our shores and I got to meet some of the people on board, including former Greenpeace activist, Captain Paul Watson. People in Melb were so inspired by the Direct Action Whale Rescue that the Sea Shepherd crew engaged in. A benefit party was organized, t-shirts were bought and one of my friends even decided to join them on their next mission.

Roll forward to last night in NYC, I saw Dan Stone’s film about one of their Antarctic missions, At the Edge of The World as part of IFC‘s Stranger Than Fiction documentary series. I was struck during the Q&A by the apparently contentious relationship that Stone has with Watson and the Sea Shepherd crew. He told us that many of them did not like the final cut. This is a curiosity that I will have to explore further; I intend to interview him and will update this tangent later.

As for last night, I can say that the film was rocky and oceanic, after the dubious Q&A, I ran into an old old NYC activist friend and cracked into some Belgian Beer and lively debate at Vol de Nuit (def on the GOOD list). Obama and Pallin, Stone and Watson, Preservation and Indigenous hunting ceremony, Old gays vs. New Queers, all the relevant rivalries were discussed!

Ballast and The General of the Dead Army

Posted in Book, film with tags , , , , , , , , on September 23, 2008 by thebrooklynsocialite

The General of the Dead Army rightfully earned Ismail Kadare the Booker Prize. It is a stark investigation into loss and lingering sanity, which takes the form of an anti-hero’s quest, while borrowing heavily from the dystopia genre. The protagonist is an Italian General who wanders the emotionally barren landscape of Albania in search of the bodies of fallen Italian soldiers from World War II. His journey into darkness, whether intentionally or coincidentally, references such magnificently tragic journey’s as those that comprised 1884, the Time Machine, C.S. Lewis’s Space Trilogy and naturally, Heart of Darkness.

After a significant amount of procrastination, I managed to write my review of A General of the Dead Army for Bookslut. That is the first paragraph and the rest will soon be available on their sight. As a B S exclusive though, I wanted to talk about this book and the film Ballast together. I interviewed the film’s director, Lance Hammer, last week and that will soon see the light of print, I promise. Meanwhile- let’s talk Tragedy.

Hammer used non actors, who were local to the two towns in the Mississippi Delta where he shot the film. After 10 years of research, he decided to make a film that as he told me, “wasn’t so much about race, but about universal human suffering.” He chose African Americans to play the main roles, and encouraged them to use their own distinct vernacular. Rather than hand them a script, he gave them a situation and encouraged them to improvise language around that particular scenario. What remains of this method, in the edited movie is a steely, classical, cinematic gem. Like The General of the Dead Army, Ballast is a tragic play of emotions, which seems to take place in real time. It is similarly stark, subtle and quietly passionate.

NYC Adult Spelling Bee recap at Choice

Posted in Guide to What's Good with tags , , , , on September 22, 2008 by thebrooklynsocialite

“If you’re looking for an opportunity to hit the spelling bee circuit, look no further. Since staring down 8 year-olds at the Scribbs National Spelling Bee, seems you know, kinda unfair, or just plain creepy, The New York City Spelling Bee is strictly for adults.” read more

I am really not above quoting myself, so that was an excerpt from my flavorpill preview of the NYC Spelling Bee at Housing Works. Now for the review…from the vantage point of Brooklyn

Continuing the conversation of the challenging hunt for goodness in Manhattan, I began to ponder what makes Brooklyn So God-dammed Good. The answer was clear- At least in my neighborhood, the lovely Bed Stuy (which some friends are truly afraid to visit ), there is not a plethora of choice. There is however, Choice bakery. This flaky croissant home to the excellent Mocha, fresh squeezed-one gulp grapefruit hot gourmet to take away-mecca of Goodness exists at the intersection of Grand and Lafayette, in Petit Panam. That is, half a block of stoop sale, Parisian, french African anomaly, contrasted against the hundreds of blocks lined with residences, laundromats and Pentecostal Churches.

I love Choice! As I sat there 5 separate people I knew, came past to grab their Sunday vitals, while I told the Philosopher about my Sat night Spelling Bee. “It was so much more fun than you can imagine,” I said. “It’s a hipster librarian’s ultimate contest, you win book vouchers and feel validated at last!” He just nodded, as philosophers do.