Hey folks, I know I’ve been an errant blogger. Bad girl! ha ha, i mean bad Woman, I mean, good effort, nice try, better luck next time. I mean…. here are some photos of my recent trip to Silver Lake aka a fun neighborhood in L A. There are some photos of Venice and Santa Monica too. I really enjoyed hanging out at Intelligentsia cafe on Sunset and checking out the local take on Hipster fashion, going to the West Hollywood Farmer’s Market, where I had amazing lavender honey ice cream and dipping into the hot springs in Ohai. Here are the pics:
Archive for Brooklyn Socialite
Well, friends I’ve been a little busy. I moved to Ft Greene, so it looks like the Brooklyn Socialite just got a little bit more central (and high-class). The transition was crazy, it involved movers and me breaking my little back, oh(!) it was exhausting, it’s taken a while to recover, but I think I’m getting there. I have still been voraciously consuming culture, that has not changed and there is much to be discussed. I really can’t imagine where to begin.
Hmmm, just before my blogging blackout, I saw DJ Spooky’s Terra Nova: Sinfonia Antarctica at BAM (my new neighbor). Ah, it was so good, just my speed, with text and film projections, symphony live mixed-by Mr.Spooky and an interrogation of borders, neutrality and environmental preservation, the event was twisted good. He straight-up went to Antarctica and recorded the sounds of ice in preparation for this event. I also learned that DJ Spooky aka That subliminal kid Paul D. Miller is a pretty legit working artist, am I the last to know? I knew I was impressed when I saw him at Southpaw in like 2006 with Don Letts (that’s reggae god to you), he had some crazy projections going and a well-tailored set, but that was nothing compared with the BAM show. Here is a teaser of Spooky’s Antarctica project.
I have so much more to say but one thing at a time…
Lately, there have been two noteworthy openings in the hood. Bed-stuy, Nostrand ave, right next door to each other in fact. One boasts food for the soul and the other can provide physical healing, among other things. The first is Ms. Dahlia’s cafe on Nostrand between Hancock and Halsey, right by the A. They have great coffee, including decaf espresso, yes hood, you finally answered my prayers, and there’s more, they have a self-serve, massive cinnamon shaker! I have a not so secret cinnamon addiction so this suits me just fine. They also have a fairly priced collection of food items that are not a. Chinese chicken b. Jamaican patties or c.pizza, so this is exactly what the neighborhood needs.
A few sample menu items include:
Bagels and Balthazar breads with spreads
Sweets: including Cupcakes and excellent pie!
They also have some pretty amazing Cucumber Lemonade. I recommend it!
Here is a pic of the two lovely owners:
And one of my friends, Decaf Latte and Cinnamon.
As for their stupendous neighbor, I can only continue to rave. Safiya at N-Diya, gives great massages and for the best prices around for miles. $95 gets you a 60 minute Aromatherapy massage and you can get a facial for even less. She makes all of her own products using super natural ingredients. Shampoo without sodium laurel sulfate and leave-in conditioner made out of rosemary, lemongrass, and coconut oil. Trust me it smells great and it works. I know this sounds like an info-mercial, but it’s all true! Check them both out and let me know what you think xR
As you may have noticed I have been missing in action over the summer. It started out with Swine Flu, alright alright, it was bronchitis, but whatever. The point is that illness gave way to quietude and multiple trips to the beach, park and ice cream store and now I’m back ready to make comments again! And, what makes this return to the old arrangement even better is that from now on I will expand upon the grime behind the glitter, that’s right it’s time you all know what keeps the Brooklyn Socialite in business, yes the nitty gritty, jobs of all variety that I have to do to get by.
I’m working on a novel, and being a writer is never easy, in fact artistry of all kinds requires a very steel-faced resolve. And, for me specifically this creative venture is paired with my desire to be about town, drinking in culture and then offering my 2 cents on just about everything.
In other words, if I was more computer-savvy, I would change the small print under the BROOKLYN SOCIALITE line from the green text that you can’t currently read without squinting, to the following words:
I DO ODD JOBS
I’m kind of proud of it, I mostly like it this way, but that doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t prefer to have health insurance when swine flu comes knocking on my door, or the luxury to ever stay in a hotel on vacation (it hasn’t happened yet… I love couchsurfing but there is a time and a place girl.) or you know take a date out to dinner (yes, I would do that if I could.)
So prepare to get a fine selection of ODD JOB posts, peppered in with your Brooklyn Socialite posts, cause we are now going to be real with each other. So continue to bring on the invitations to events, but if you should offer me an odd job, I will most likely not catch pride and take offense.
The truth is that in the dark hours of making this all work I have been known to dogsit, housesit, bake brownies and sell them at parties, assist artists, write grants, write articles, sew bridesmaids dresses from scratch, move boxes, organize offices, care for children, be an extra in art films, be a back up dancer/art in the Whitney Biennial, do research, paint bathrooms, install light fixtures, operate a mail order business, be a remote administrator, fashion blog…yes you can only imagine the odd jobs I do and have done.
Whew! Well now a quick word about Eileen Myles reading last night at Bluestockings, appropriate that this should be my welcome back Brooklyn Socialite post because I was reading her book Chelsea Girls during my bout with Cancer, ok Bronchitis, the point is it was bad and I was bed-ridden.
Any way… these are my notes from last night.
Someone asks for a spare tampon over the loudspeaker and we know this has to be bluestockings. Where else does that sweetly feral brand of feminism rule. The ladies mull around meeting each other, finding their spots on blue plastic chairs and the literary boys pepper the crowd as Myles herself sits in the back row watching it all unfold.
The room is about 95 degrees and packed even in standing room when Myles takes the stage. She is reading from her new book The Importance of Being Iceland, which is a compilation of mainly previously published works. The first piece she reads is one I have already read, which originally appeared in the anthology Live Through This. It’s about flossing and how it’s a metaphor for the self-harming that comes with youth eventually being replaced by self-care. Funny and charming, although subtly so. The thing I notice most during this piece is her accent, so older Boston. It is so much like the voices you can hear in old films, which I so rarely hear in real life these days. It’s strong and distinct.
She, then also refers to this growing homogeneity of language in reference to Iceland, sagas and the way that T.V. deafens regional accents. The next piece is about a $25 therapist who she, or the “Eileen Character” as she refers to the protagonists of her fiction (not memoir), saw for a few years during her thirties. This was the 80s, she qualifies, and one day the guy suggested to her that it may be that she is a man, in other words transgendered. Somehow the story renders this a breakthrough, yet not a definite commitment to identity, something just to consider.
The last piece seems to be much more strictly non-fiction, a travel essay, on Iceland. Having spent some time one August hitchhiking around Iceland, I have a pretty loving connection to the place and was listening along from this angle. The essay was academic and experiential, and it seemed to be less rigid, in terms of point of view than some of her other work.
Alright, that’s it for now. Stay tuned for more thoughts and rants.
Since last we spoke, I spent a busy few days in Brooklyn, taking in the Northside festival in Williamsburg and Greenpoint (saw a fun band called The Dodos, which confirmed that I am not too old to be pushed around by crowds of hipsters) , spent time with my friends (going to rainy Brooklyn Pride) and feeling guilty that I had no time left to make it to The Brooklyn International Film Festival. Ahhh, my alma-mater suffers, but to make up for it I have traveled all the way to the lost (and found) beautiful end of the known (gay) world. That’s right, Provincetown. The pilgrims landed here, the artists came and planted flags, soon those flags turned rainbow colored and now I’m here for a film festival.
The Provincetown International Film Festival opened last night with Woody Allen’s new film Whatever Works. It was typical Allen with a lot of wildly unrealistic Oedipal scenarios. The basic premise is attractive yes, but why must it always be couched in the notion that anyone, let alone a young, beautiful, perfect-bodied, long haired woman would want to sleep with Woody Allen or one of his stand ins, in this case Larry David.
Allen is very funny, David is funny, Seinfeld his award-winning show was hysterical, but all three rest upon some very misogynistic assumptions, which in my experience just aren’t true. Usually when the young girl goes for the old guy, he is modelesque not a limping hostile geriatric. Whatever Hugh Heifner would have us believe this is not a sane norm.
Okay, if you have not seen the film and would prefer not to read the Sony Pictures Synopsis I’ll tell you what happens: Larry David is an unhappy old guy, he has a hot rich wife, teaches string theory and considers himself to be a genius, but he doesn’t appreciate any of it and tries to commit suicide. He fails even at this, and then one day meets a runaway played by Evan Rachel Wood, who begs him to let her stay in his apt and eventually develops a huge crush on him. She is a southern beauty pageant princess and is ignorant in many ways. Wood and David serve as an odd couple until both of her parents in turn journey to NYC and try to get her to return to the south. Instead of her leaving they both stay and go through significant transformations.
Polyamory plays a role, along with the concept of New York as re-education camp and the lesson that David’s monologues issue directly to the audience is Whatever Works. This means, maybe your perfect sophisticated wife and great job wont make you happy, maybe a simpleton who worships you will, and maybe not. In his final speech David’s character, Boris Yellnikoff, says basically ‘If your not hurting anyone else do whatever makes you happy, take whatever bit of love you can find in this world.’
Hmmm, almost convincing, except when that translates to sleeping with minors and people who are, I don’t know, your adoptive children.
Ahh yes! After a too long absence I’m back in Brooktown, broke town-broke down, built up, rockstar, artstar, blogger…whatever you want to call it. My upstate days have come to a close, that means I’m back on the streets rolling from event to event.
I touched down on Friday, off the Amtrak train and onto the rainy streets of New York. Since then I’ve been busy, between the Celebrate Brooklyn opening gala, the Amadou and Miriam concert, Molly Davies dance at BAC, Asclepius at La Mama, restaurant soft openings at Palace Gate and BDGB, not to mention the events I didn’t successfully show up at, including Internet week’s Webutante Ball and the opening of the Brooklyn International Film Festival.
Among the most fun weekend outings was the sailing trip I went on with the Gotham Yacht club. There is nothing quite like turning the back to the city and sailing off up the Hudson. Even Jersey looks stunning from the right vantage point and sunning with charming international types, Gossip Girls in training and a few day traders, who are kind enough to share their boat wealth with the plebs isn’t a bad way to spend a Sunday.
After that Asclepius at La MaMa was wonderfully funny without necessarily setting out to be. Ellen Stewart, the Genius Award winning director and founder of La MaMa was truly an inspiring sight as she addressed the crowd from her wheelchair to thank us all for attending. She said she hadn’t been outside for 3 months. If you’re looking for a hero, I nominate her. For 45 years she’s been keeping the theater scene real.
In contrast Saturday’s Molly Davies dance was considerably more abstract and inaccessible. I loved the toe-monster sequence pictured below, but the opening ladder meets Victorian era gesture was a bit out of my reach. The last piece which involved a long story telling session by an Indonesian choreographer was equally far out there, but that’s just my novice opinion. The blog doesn’t hold back, alas, there is no tight ass editor on my back here, shame that.
As for last night, the Celebrate Brooklyn Green Gala opening was quite lovely in fact. I found myself after an hour or so happily marooned at a table with the young singles! It was me, the daughter of Two Boots, the young workers from somewhere and the owner of Teany. I also met a nice woman from the South African consulate and the director of BRIC arts. The dinner was served eco-fabulously on bamboo plates and quinoa was among the selection. Kimora’s green guru would have been pleased.
Amadou and Miriam was definitely the height of my night though, that blind Malian couple are strictly brilliant. At one point a rapper, who’s identity is yet to be confirmed, joined them on stage and the music went off into this crazy trip hop, David Bowie, Bjork direction, I almost shit myself, it was that fucking good. Thanks to some good PR karma we were in the VIP section and dancing along side of us were the band members families, very cute kids, and fun music enthusiasts. It was a great place to be and it capped off an excellent night.
I will just preface this by saying that as someone with a degree in History, yes not your typical socialite trade, nonetheless true…Howard Zinn is my idol. Take that American Idol, last week, while I was paying my dues in the country, Ella went to hear him speak along with a few other visionaries at the 92 street Y. Here’s her report back. R
Entering the 92nd Street Y last Wednesday, I may have been guilty of bringing more than a healthy dose of cynicism. Don’t get me wrong – I cried as much as the next liberal during Obama’s acceptance speech. But, well… I struggle with a lot of the liberal left’s self-righteousness and lack of self-criticism. Especially when confronted with it in its Park Slope post-hippie incarnation. And let’s be honest – if I struggle to stay polite to Park Slope liberals, Upper East Side liberals should entice me to set off fire alarms by smoking Marlboro Reds, and to loudly proclaim my affection for clubbing baby seals.
Also, taking the subway from Crown Heights to 86th street is such a bizarre exercise in people watching. Not a situation geared to inspiring faith in the existence of a post-racial America. Even in oh-so-liberal New York.
The high schoolers carrying AP-study guides and the people handing out fliers for every cause and demonstration under the sun did nothing to raise my spirits. I haven’t been grumpier since my mother forced me to take part in a Swedish outdoor Hannukah celebration.
Imagine my surprise when A Young People’s History of the United States
turned out to be the most inspiring and intellectually challenging event I’ve been to in a long time.
Howard Zinn, I shouldn’t have doubted you. Surprisingly tall and gangly, Zinn’s introduction to the evening showed not only that he’s still sharp and funny but also that he can command an audience without bogarting the stage. Despite the fact that the evening tied in with the publication of A Young People’s History of the United States, the self-evidently titled young reader’s version of Zinn’s non-fiction bestseller, it didn’t feel like an excuse to hawk books.
Instead, the evening introduced me to several historical speeches I’m going to have to revisit, and several performers I’m keen to check out again. Tim Robbins has been a long-term favorite of mine, but Avery Brooks is definitely someone I’d love to see act again. And I want to hear Shontina Vernon sing again and Staceyann Chin perform poetry.
For me, one of the very genuine effects of the evening was a return to the feeling that dissent and questioning of the ruling order can be intellectually satisfying. And that this doesn’t have to be done mockingly. The Martin Luther King Jr speech, Where Do We Go from Here?, performed by Brian Jones, was a picture of sincerity, while at the same time addressing the troubling link between race and class which was true in the 60s and has not yet been overcome.
Emphasizing the role of young people in shaping the world, Evann Orleck-Jetter, the twelve year old girl whose testimony helped sway the Vermont state legislature to allow equal marriage rights, read the piece she’d delivered early this year, as well as a document against child labor from 1913. I was worried for a while that this would be gimmicky and embarrassing. Instead, her calm performance was a restrained tear-jerker –- impressive in anyone and incredibly dignified for someone that young –- which highlighted Zinn’s argument that the study of history should inspire people to participate in the struggles of their own age.
The evening inspired me to email one of the poems performed to an old teacher of mine, from back when I was a super idealistic teenager. She wrote back, thanking me, saying she’d needed it that day. I guess the evening brought back those feelings of I matter-ness that otherwise tend to get trapped beneath my everyday life. Maybe, sometimes, the enthusiastic young person in me needs to be given space to push the post-ironic jaded city dweller aside.
By Ella Fitzsimmons