Archive for Diary entry

Frankies Fail

Posted in Food with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 21, 2009 by thebrooklynsocialite

To me, a birthday is like the Sabbath, no matter how much you may hate the observance, you respect it, recognize there is something sacred about it, and put aside some time for Peace! Though I’ve never been orthodox and now certainly don’t consider myself to be religious, I respect that silence. I’m down with the not working, driving, stressing etc on the holy days, and whether you feel blue about aging or not,  whatever you do respect the process!

Don’t be like Frankies Spuntino 457 and pay me lip service! That means don’t say, “I’d really like to accommodate you but there’s nothing I can do. Our system makes everyone happy, really everyone  loves how we do things here. When you’re a community restaurant, you can’t piss off the community, so this is our policy.” — all quotes. I wanted to scream, But I am your community and you’re pissing me off followed by, Everyone is not happy. I, for one, am not happy.

This logic was lost on them though and they insisted that they do not take reservations (yes even if it is the day of your birthday and you have already invited your friends, who have already confirmed their attendance) unless there is a party of exactly 8-10 people, in which case everyone has to have a prix fixe meal, not of their choosing, for the price of either $35 or $45 dollars.”But,” I explained, “my friends don’t have that much money, I can’t just spring it on them, the day of the party that they are going to have to spend $35 (not including drinks) for the privilege of dining with me on my birthday. This is not fair, I can’t do this to them.” “Yes.” the general manager echoed, “I understand and I’d like to accommodate you so I can offer you a reservation for 10 people max at 9:30 for $35 minimum.” He clearly wasn’t listening and I was starting to seethe up inside. But its my birthday! I mused, wondering where his sense of justice was. “Would you like to make that reservation now, or call back later?” He peculiarly insisted. Was I talking to a looping answering machine? Should I, as he implied, feel guilty for expecting them to break with routine and their policy of 5 years?

Sure, I don’t know how to run a restaurant. But I do know how to respect the sanctity of someone’s birthday. The rules:

1. Don’t fire them

2. Don’t break up with them

3. Don’t get into a fight with them and

4. Try to make sure their birthday celebration goes well. ie. don’t be snooty, talk down at them, or refuse to let them appreciate your goshdarn restaurant by refusing them reservations at your normal menu rates!

Frankies Fail- Well it looks like you may have lost about 8-10 loyal customers.

Busy–Al Franken: God Spoke

Posted in art, film with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 15, 2009 by thebrooklynsocialite

The past couple of weeks have been really busy. As soon as I got back from Full Frame I was back into the thick of New York. I went to hear the COO of facebook, Sheryl Sanberg talk about selective sharing and the way that social networking is monetized. Then the Gen Art closing with Ella, Chin Chih Yang’s opening at the Chelsea museum and then it was already time for Passover and Bedstuy wildflower planting. Chin Chih’s show was great. Awesome to see my writing in action as the wall text and in the catalog. Then Passover offered the traditional family version and our liberation in times of war version. I enjoyed revamping the Haggadah and leading my first Seder.

This week, the festivities continued as we brought our second installment of Sal P’s punkfunk supper club to Brooklyn. Our curated version in the Chocolate Factory apartments, featured Sal’s incredible dosas and mango chutney + beet and eggplant salads and pure vegan soup. + Wine + in depth late night conversations covering all manner of topic from radical pedagogy to Queens bath castles.

Last night also ended in fascinating chats as Ella and I found ourselves perched on stools next to filmmakers, authors and legends! D.A. Pennebaker (the legend in question) was in the house. He produced Al Franken: God Spoke, which his wife, Chris Hegedus, co-directed with Nick Doob. The screening was, of course, another STF great and the film focused on Al Franken’s journey from actor to Senatorial hopeful. It ends before he is elected as the Minnesota Senator, but details his comedy speaking tours, turned political rallies for his friend, then Senator, Paul Wellstone. Franken ultimately decides to pick up the campaign mantle after Wellstone’s mysterious death in a plane crash.

Franken, who you may remember from his Saturday Night Live alteregos, Jack Handy, Stuart Smalley and Pat, comes off as a pretty nice guy. What you may not know about him is that he is a Harvard grad, a published writer and rumored to by quite prickly in person…so I hear. After the film I met another non-fiction writer, Russ Baker, who’s book Family of Secrets, sheds a lot of doubt on the already highly adored Bush family. After talking to him for quite sometime, Ella and I taxi-ed it back to Brooklyn considerably more paranoid then we were when we started the evening.

On a brighter note, I spent a great day upstate at the Dia-Beacon today. If you haven’t gone there, just go. $27 on metro-north gets you a return ticket, entrance to the museum and a chance to walk around the lovely town of Beacon, where you will meet friendly glass-blowers, eat local ice cream, and if you’re anything like me, get shockingly hit on by a 12 year-old boy, who thinks your 16!

Brooklyn Socialite on Huffington Post-Bedstuy Meadow

Posted in film, politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 14, 2009 by thebrooklynsocialite

I hope you all have had the chance to check out my Huffpo post on the Bedstuy Meadow project. Here’s a little excerpt below and a link to rest of the post. Tonight I’m going to check out a doco on Al Franken at Stranger than Fiction. Report back to come, and I hope to see you all there!
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Last week I interviewed a Brit, Andy Lang, about his new film based in Cuba. I was thinking Global then, but this week’s interview is all about acting local. Saturday morning I woke up early and suited up in full-body rain-gear, then trudged through the downpour to my rendezvous point in Zone 4, which happened to be about 3 blocks from my apartment. I was feeling quite stealth and shrouded in mystery as I arrived at lab 24/7, a basement apartment, which doubles as an event space. There I met, for the first time, about 30 of my neighbors and was given a seed bag, a map and a small team to work with. Me and my new planting crew then spread out over Bedstuy to begin scattering wildflower seeds. There were 5 meet-up zones and 100 volunteers in total. We all found each other and signed on to the project after a new website sprung up, promoting the Bedstuy Meadow Project, created by one woman who envisioned it all, Deborah Fisher.

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Some Southerners are Awesome- my Top 5 Meets

Posted in film, Guide to What's Good, queer with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 6, 2009 by thebrooklynsocialite

Woah guys, let’s not take me too literally, I actually had a great time in the South and met a lot of really cool people. These are my top 5 in order of most to least Southern.

1.Laura Edwards, the founder of Lillian’s List and her partner Elaine Andrews. They are both from NC and were super hospitable, they invited me to sit at there presenters table while I was nervously reliving a cafeteria scene in some 90s coming of age film. They called over to me, ” There’s a free seat here!” Finally, I was the popular kid.

Ok, beyond my tendency to see life as theater, what is so awesome about these ladies is 1. Their personalities and 2. What they do. Lillian’s list, inspired by Emily’s list was founded in 1998 with the mission of getting Democratic pro-Choice women elected to the North Carolina legislature. So far they have succeeded at getting 18 such women elected.

2. One of these NC legislators, Laura’s sister, is number 2 on my list. Pricey Harrison of the NC House of Representatives, told me about the excessively offensive emails she gets from people. Apparently some idiots out there in Internet land think that it’s acceptable to issue death threats against those who support gay and women’s rights, food safety and the environment. Well I say keep up the good work Pricey, and those lurkers out there reading this, please speak up to support her work!

3. Alright, confession: the remaining 3 people on my list are not actually from the South, but I did meet them there, so it counts. Number 3 is slightly further South, in my old school digs, yes that’s right, New Jersey. Hailing from Jersey City, Justin Strawhand came to Full Frame to promote his film War Against the Weak. I haven’t seen it yet, so I won’t say much, but I can report that I had a very engaging conversation with him about the film’s topic: Eugenics. What I learned is that the US had a active program up until World War II, the legacy of which remains with us today in the form of the SAT’s, people who experience forced sterilizations, and in several other surprising manifestations. More to come on this subject.

4. The next person on the list is from Manhattan, but I’m still counting that as South of Brooklyn. Cameron Yates  writes for Indiewire and is working on a new documentary called The Canal Street Madam, watch the trailer here. It is about a New Orleans madam, who ran a brothel with her mother as bookkeeper, and her daughter as one of the call girls. He was given the Garret Scott Award by Full Frame, in honor of a young documentary filmmaker who died a few years ago. The grant helps, emerging filmmakers, who are in the process of making their first feature film, to gain fiscal support and mentorship. This year the award was co-presented by our friend Thom Powers from Stranger than Fiction.

5. Number 5, who does a poor job of being from the South (unless you count South Brooklyn) is Rachael Rakes, from the Feminist Press. She is the former partner of Garrett Scott and also a co-presenter of that award, and she told me that she is actively seeking trans writers and transrights advocates for publication in the Feminist press. This def. gets her on the awesome south list, not to even mention the fact that she is also a writer at Brooklyn Based and has starting a doc film series in Brooklyn at the Bell House! What what, is all I can say.

Did you meet someone interesting this week? Who?! Comment comment, wherever you are.

Gen Art Film Fest- Lymelife Review

Posted in ella, film with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 5, 2009 by thebrooklynsocialite

While I’ve been in North Carolina running from doc to doc at Full Frame, Ella has been keeping track of the premiers at Gen Art. Here’s her review of Lymelife:

Looming  freakishly tall people lifted their  cameras as I walked the “red carpet” (which was NOT RED. Or carpeted. Much to my disappointment) of  the 14th Gen Art Film Festival, only to drop them in disappointment when they realized that this particular short, anemic-looking girl wasn’t an aspiring indie-actress, but just a confused blogger looking for the press entrance.

The first discovery at the official premiere of  coming-of-age in the 70’s indie–flick Lymelife was that being a paparazzi-photographer is a bit like being a basketball player – if you’re short, you better be fast as heck so you can get in there first. At 5’3 (on a good day), I really didn’t stand a chance of seeing any of the celebrities starring in the evening’s feature. So I headed for the free beer, cunningly avoided the chirpy Neutrogena girls (somehow giving away lipstick reminds me of my mother’s admonition to not accept candy from strangers. I have no idea why), noted a couple of those faces that “I’m sure I’ve seen them somewhere, so they must be famous”, smirked at the inevitable surfacing of fugly men wearing their best “I’m tortured because I’m talented”-faces accessorized by at least one, preferably two, willowy young things and headed in to get my seat.

The volunteer ushers in the cinema did an amazing job of avoiding chaos as people were pretty much fighting to get seats. While probably not fun for the volunteers, watching uptight artsy folk barely managing to not completely lose their shit when their (clearly exaggerated) sense of entitlement wasn’t catered for,  was a misanthrope’s dream come true.

The introductory short film, Trece Anos, directed by Topaz Adisez, addressed the issues confronting a young man returning to his native Havana after 13 years in the US. In the Q&A which followed, Adisez explained that the short had originally been part of his feature project (www.theamericanaproject.com), but that he had decided to show it separately.  The pressures of filming illegally in Cuba may be to blame for some of the weaker parts of the short (especially during the massive family argument, where some of the acting was a little forced). Mostly though, the documentary-style storytelling worked well, with the reunion between the son and his mother a genuine highlight.

Lymelife was a pleasant surprise. From the website’s description as a coming-of-age tale set in Long Island during a 1970’s Lyme disease scare, I feared the worst: 90 minutes of awkward teenagers in bad clothes discovering their sexuality and complaining about their parents. Luckily, it’s genuinely funny. Derrick Martini, the director, mentioned that he thought the love story between Rory Culkin (the Home Alone kid’s little brother) and Emma Roberts (niece-of-Pretty-Woman) was the most important and interesting part of the film — I don’t agree, but maybe that’s because I failed to find teenagers interesting when I was one. Admittedly, Roberts adds the long-legged, brown-eyed Bambi-on-ice charm that was her aunt’s trademark before she decided to accost us with the truly dreadful Ocean’s Twelve, but her character strikes me as a more a fantasy of a hot but intelligent high school girl, rather than a convincing character. Still, it’s a minor gripe, because the rest of the characters are really sensitively drawn. Sure, Kieran Culkin has a natural advantage in playing the younger Culkin’s brother, but his interactions with the other characters are equally nuanced. Alec Baldwin is suitably self-centered but charming as the nouveau riche philandering father of the Culkins, who is sleeping with his Roberts’s mother (suburbia gets messy). Cynthia Nixon, playing Roberts’s mother, comes across as appropriately neurotic and trapped in a life she hadn’t bargained for.

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Timothy Hutton, playing her husband, has been driven mad by Lyme disease and is unemployed, but is shown to be more perceptive than the other characters think. The scene in the local bar where Hutton’s character lets Baldwin believe he has been driven insane by syphilis, meaning Baldwin may have caught it from Hutton’s wife, is an awesome exercise in darkly funny revenge. Headed out, I ran in to a woman in a tiger-print dress who actually had Lyme disease, who was excited that the film would raise awareness about the illness. She insisted it had driven her crazy at one stage, and that Hutton’s portrayal “really showed what it’s like”. Assuming Hutton doesn’t actually have Lyme, that’s high praise.

The acting award, though, goes to Jill Hennessy, whom I’ve only seen in police series like Law and Order and Crossing Jordan. She’s truly impressive as the Culkin’s mother and Baldwin’s wife. Transplanted from her native Queens, Hennessy’s character struggles to repress her frustration at the family’s new found wealth, her husband’s infidelities and juggling the emotions of the children she’s desperately trying to protect; from the army, from Lyme disease and, ultimately, from her relationship with their father.  Alternatively weak, strong, submissive and angry, Hennessy isn’t afraid to let things get ugly – while managing to remain the most compelling character in a very strong cast.

The main test, of course, is whether you would pay to see the film – and for Lymelife, the answer’s a “yes”.

Brooklyn Socialite, Comfort, Emily Gould

Posted in Food, Guide to What's Good with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 19, 2009 by thebrooklynsocialite

Failing at the tittle of Socialite, this is one of those terms that people clearly don’t want to understand when paired with the word Brooklyn, so sadly instead of them getting it, I hear a lot of:  “but your not a socialite.” “You don’t have a millionaire dad or live uptown.” “You don’t even wear nice dresses that often.”

All true. Astute observations, but the point is that I’m reclaiming the term! And subverting its meaning, so until you really think about it, please clear your palate of ‘the hate.’ I will no longer feel obliged to regale you with news of my social goings on about town, except when I feel compelled, but rest assured, I’m still going out, culture lives on, but I’m getting a bit tired of the report backs. My picks for the week though, ( preview style and all) are centered around comfort food. Why is this? Well I’m in need of some comfort. Go to Char #4 for homemade biscuits and bacon or make your own. Trust me this is a really good recipe, I’ve made them twice now! For dessert, go old school and combine original toll house cookie dough with Green and Black’s Organic chocolate ice cream. Or if your in Brooklyn like I am, go to Blue Marble. They make possibly the best vanilla I have ever had. In a rare candid moment (that’s now) I am sharing with you a picture of the actual me, eating the real deal ice cream….

img_0453Amazing right? I especially love how the cupcakes on my shirt match my activity. Alright one more comfort food tip, dumplings at Wild Ginger, not bootleg dumplings at the sweet yet overpriced vegan place next to Bluestockings, where you bought a zine and then left it there ’cause you were so distracted rushing off to a Battlestar Gallactica panel with Woopi Goldberg at the UN (who’s the socialite now.)

Any way, that sort of run on sentencing although generally unacceptable is just fine in Socialite world, I know this because I have been catching up on socialite scandals via The City, New York Mag, Socialite Rank, Gawker and yes this long line of Internet  “research” led me back to Emily Gould. I first heard about Emily nearly a year ago at a Gawker drinks night, the new-mediarati had gathered in spades and the gossip was circulating. I felt a little bit like I had to pretend I knew about the people being discussed just to join the convo, the result of my bout of humoring was a long tirade from a smoking man, which could of been summed up in a short, simple “leave Britney alone” type whine, except insert Emily where Brittney is. I was intrigued, the Times article. about her fall from Blog queendom to bad Pr target, had just come out, so I read it without realizing that she had been part of Gawker and that a CNN newscaster had accused her of aiding real life stalkers by working as  an editor of Gawker Stalker.

Now my google journey led me back to her, and here are some of my thoughts  about what happened… 1 why was she blamed  for the job she did on behalf of a male-dominated company that was founded on the principle of cutting gossip. That’s what Gawker is, it wasn’t her unique and evil conspiracy. 2 Reading her blog today, gave me the feeling that  perhaps she is one of us, the Brooklyn Socialites, a culture lover on a street covered in discarded chicken wings, a risk taker, a ghetto superstar? Ok I’m kidding a little bit here, but I do think that opinionated, outspoken women deserve a place in our media. I’m not saying that bad-mouthing people is alright, but its not ok to bully her either.

x

Moody from Drinking?-Rant

Posted in day off with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 25, 2009 by thebrooklynsocialite

Hey Guys,

I’ve missed you, its time for an irreverent ranting session, hold on to your hats. After recently beginning a residency as a Blog editor in training at an institution of repute, which will remain nameless,  I have to admit that my head is sorta spinning. It’s not only that, my personal life, which will also remain a somewhat secret is also spinning a bit as well. What was constant and weekly has now become irregular, while what was freelance has become institutionalized. While I remain cryptic, I have to reflect on some of the comments that were hurled at me last night in a series of conversations with drunk friends. Note to all: Avoid being sober, while surrounded by drunk friends, especially if you’re given to fits of introspection at such times.

In fact, I’ve noticed this to be something of a problem more than once lately. As if I’ve been unwittingly placed inside a scene in the B film What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas, even though 1. I have never seen this film actually and 2. My Brooklyn life is not aesthetically similar to Vegas in any way…ok, but the point is, that ( and I hope this is ranty enough for you!) I keep finding myself, who has the alcohol tolerance of an old sailor, in bars and cabs at parties etc with friends, lovers, strangers who are in a significantly altered state, while I’m straight sober- almost-but not sober enough to know when to not engage- this is the tragic flaw. So, I find myself taking these people seriously, when it  would probably be best to expect less. But, if I can’t have genuine interactions with people while drinking then why drink at all?

This perhaps is a watershed moment.

Wow, I feel a detox coming on. So to calm my raging moods, feelings of disappointment, excitement etc, this time I will drink an orange juice or something, cause clearly the booze are not working.