Archive for Agent Angie

Agent Angie gets Techy at El Guincho

Posted in Music, Party with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 7, 2008 by thebrooklynsocialite

I headed to (Le) Poisson Rouge the other night to see El Guincho, aka Pablo Díaz-Reixa an electro-pop artist based in Barcelona. I arrived very early. I must admit a few things that threaten to undermine my status as a “socialite” dear readers. The first thing is that I don’t know if I am capable of attending these late night shows anymore. I really enjoy going to (Le) Poisson Rouge, but most of their shows start barely before midnight. When you work full time during the day, is going to a show that starts at 11:30 feasible? Not really.

Finally, Lemonade, the opener started, whose weird electronic mix of pops, blips, pings, and buzzes accompanied by occasional vocals provided the best electro-dance music I’ve heard in a long while. Everyone was gyrating to the music and thoroughly enjoying themselves. Later, when I listened to it again on myspace I felt more ambivalent. This type of music is better in person.

El Guincho drew an impressive crowd, (Le) Poisson Rouge was packed, but I wasn’t so impressed by him. A part of me wondered what all the fuss was about. His enthusiasm and personality were wonderful to watch, but the music didn’t win me over.

Therefore, I will go back to discussing my experience as a bad socialite that night at (Le) Poisson Rouge. I arrived early because I didn’t want to bother going back uptown after work. I thought it started at ten (I have a terrible habit of confusing the “doors” time and the actual time the show is set to begin). Arriving early did afford me the opportunity of observing the people around me. There was a dj, a pretty decent dj at that, but everyone was standing around looking bored (including myself). I kept thinking, ‘aren’t we supposed to be dancing? Someone dance with me.’ I was alone for most of the show and kept trying to push myself to strike up conversations with strangers who were also alone, but never did. I looked around at everyone clicking away on their BlackBerrys and iPhones and regretted that technology has driven a wedge between us. Who knows if I would have worked up the courage to do it even if the BlackBerrys weren’t present, but it’s a little harder to do when someone is preoccupied texting or twittering or what have you.

I feel I have a love/hate relationship with technology. In this instance, before I made a point to put away my iPhone in order to stop discouraging others from being friendly, I caught up on some reading. I read a wonderful article by Roger Ebert about the struggles in the journalism world of late. I was grateful that my iPhone allowed me to be productive and escape the boredom of being alone. However, it also made me feel very cowardly for using it (partly) to avoid being social. It made me wonder if depending on technology since my first year of college, when I first started to develop my social skills in an adult world and develop relationships independent of family, crippled me socially in the long run. And, what does this tell us about individuals growing up in front of screens? Imagine having a facebook profile in middle school. Any thoughts dear readers?

-by Angie Venezia

Agent Angie on Relationship Therapy, Courtesy of Evelyn Waugh

Posted in Book, Guide to What's Good with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 16, 2008 by thebrooklynsocialite

Faitful to her book club duties, Agent Angie provides astute observations on Brideshead Revisited.

The relationship in Brideshead Revisited, between the narrator Charles Ryder and the Flyte family is of interest to me. I’m about halfway through, and after reading how the Flytes romance Ryder and take him in, before setting out to use him for their own selfish purposes, I find myself disturbed by the level of dysfunction that exists, and greatly respect Evelyn Waugh for his talent at portraying the destruction of codependancy on relationships.

Lady Marchmain’s destructive, Catholic guilt tripping has a profound effect on the text. She holds Charles responsible for her son Sebastian’s well-being. At first Charles submits to the weight the Flytes place on his shoulders, allowing himself to be pulled in two directions by Lady Marchmain’s pressure to keep Sebastian out of trouble and Sebastion’s fear of begin eclipsed by his family. It would be impossible for Charles to fulfill both roles of informant to Lady Marchmain and true friend to Sebastian. After Sebastian begs for Charles’s money for liquor, and Lady Marchmain’s discovery of Charles’s betrayal, she says:

I don’t understand it. […] I simply don’t understand how anyone could be so callously wicked […]. I’m not going to reproach you. […] God knows it’s not for me to reproach anyone. Any failure in my children is my failure. But […] I don’t understand how you can have been so nice in so many ways, and then do something so wantonly cruel.

I doubt I need to pick apart the method to Lady Marchmain’s guilt-ridden madness and her efforts to exercise them upon Charles for you all. What is interesting to me is the moment in which Charles’s response to her shifts from compliance to rebellion and complete lack of concern. Charles can only participate in this emotional abuse for so long before he attempts to extricate himself from the relationship:

I was unmoved; there was no part of me remotely touched by her distress. […] But as I drove away and turned back in the car to take what promised to be my last view of the house, I felt that I was leaving part of myself behind, […] ‘I shall never go back,’ I said to myself.

Charles’s knowledge that he’s left some part of himself behind is a foreshadowing of the corruption of his concern for others. The impossible position that Lady Marchmain forces him into motivates him to turn aside the part of him that cared about Sebastian and the rest of the Flyte family. In order to survive the guilt that was being put on his shoulders he had to care more for himself and stop caring for them.

A few pages on is Charles’s dinner with Rex Mottram in Paris, which validates the perception of foreshadowing. Charles feels so inconvenienced and frustrated at the prospect of dinner with Rex and the inevitable conversation about the Flytes, that he proceeds to use Rex for his money, thus making the situation more palatable to himself:

If I had to spend an evening with [Rex], it should, at any rate, be in my own way. I remember the dinner well–soup of oseille, a sole quite simply cooked in a white wine sauce, a caneton a la presse, a lemon souffle. At the last minute, fearing that the whole things was too simple for Rex, I added caviare aux blinis. And for wine I let him give me a bottle of 1906 Montrachet, then at its prime, and, with the duck, a Clos de Bere of 1904.

Charles’s description of the extravagant meal, purchased on Rex’s pocketbook, and his sense of entitlement to the meal, is indicative of his retreat to the self with less concern for the Flytes. Throughout the conversation between Rex and Charles, Waugh interrupts dialogue with Charles’s further descriptions of the meal and his and Rex’s appreciation of it. This narrative technique cements Charles’s new-found selfishness and propensity to use others.

Waugh’s explication of this type of relationship elevates Brideshead Revisited to a novel not merely of manners and post-WWI British society and snobbery, but to a psychological one; embroiled in thoughtful and constructive studies of non-familial relationships that, I imagine, most can relate to. The novel inspires me to be more aware of not expecting too much of others, and not allowing others to expect unfair things of me. As Waugh points out, these kinds of expectations ruin relationships.

-Angie Venezia

Agent Angie Sings to us

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

92Y Tribeca Opening

If you read my review of 92nd Street Y’s Jorie Graham and Yusuf Komunyakaa reading last week you know of my hope that the good ole’ Y could become a little more hip. They book the best literary events around, yet manage to put their audience to sleep. Well, it seems my wish has been granted. 92nd Street Y opened their Tribeca location, on Hudson and Canal, last Saturday. I’ve heard that 92Y Tribeca won’t be hosting many readings in the near future, leaving that to their uptown patriarch. Hopefully that changes, because 92Y Tribeca’s space could potentially excel in providing the intimacy that literary readings need to be as satisfying and exciting as possible (yes, readings can be exciting!).

92Y Tribeca has a fabulous line-up of music events scheduled. Check out their site. John Vanderslice kicked off their series, 18 Nights of Inspiration on Saturday, while also celebrating the opening of the Tribeca location. Michael Showalter opened for and introduced Vanderslice with a stand-up routine. He was a little unprepared but otherwise hilarious as usual (remember Wet Hot American Summer?). Most of his routine recapped the current events surrounding the election.

Vanderslice’s performance was what I was excited about. He put on a great show, visibly elated to be performing at 92Y Tribeca and to be introduced by Showalter, whom he’s performed with before. The San Francisco-based singer/songwriter has intrigued me ever since I heard that he produced Spoon’s Gimme Fiction and two recent Mountain Goats’ albums, The Sunset Tree (2005) and Heretic Pride (2007), which also happen to be two of my favorites. One of the most prolific, yet under-the-radar musicians of his generation, Vanderslice was slated to intrigue, delight, and of course, entertain.

Vanderslice’s lyrics remind me a bit of anecdotal, folkloric/nursery rhymes, in particular “Dear Sarah Shu,” which he dedicated to John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats at the show:

Dear Sarah Shu,
I leave for you
All i knew about this job
On microcassette for further review

What it meant to me
How you’ll make it dear, hopefully
It’s dangerous here
Yes it’s dangerous here

Peer round corners with dental mirrors,
Heed the threats, taking cautionary measures,
In the end, it is love
You’ll have to learn to survive
…”

and “Angela”

Angela
Don’t be mad
There’s something i’ve got to tell you dear
Before you come back here

I lost, i lost your bunny
I let him out of the cage
He was eating spring mix on the carpet
He jumped through a window into the haze

And hopped down magnolia boulevard
No way he’ll survive
Maybe those last days of freedom
Were the best of his life
…”

92Y Tribeca picked a great inaugural act! I had a blast.

The space was very well orchestrated. There are gallery spaces displaying the exhibit “Goddess, Mouse, and Man” featuring the etchings of Lauren Weinstein, Tom Hart, and Matthew Thurber. I went to a reading of Weinstein’s fantasy graphic novel Goddess of War (the etchings of which are currently displayed in this show) at the Strand a couple months ago. She is definitely worth checking out.


Expect some exciting things to come from the Y in the coming months. I’m interested to see what happens.

by Angie Venezia