Archive for nyc

We Live In Public opening @ IFC Center

Posted in film, talk, tv with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 29, 2009 by thebrooklynsocialite

Last night I saw this completely tripped out documentary called We Live In Public, check out the site, but do it during off hours ’cause it looks like their sever is crashing (ironically). Too many hits! That could be the subtitle of this Orwellian film about a time in the late 90’s, yes back when I was living in NYC as a 18-year old activist kid, in fact going to some of these parties, but having no idea what it was all about, this Internet mogul, dot-comer, Josh Harris was throwing crazy art projects parties and doing psychological and social experiments on people by way of Internet reality tv.

One might even venture to say that he created reality TV, but did it on the internet, before The Real World NYC, before Big Brother and before it morphed into the present day manifestation of completely scripted, un-real, reality TV shows like The Bachelor and The Real Housewives of NYC.

This guy actually did an experiment called “Quiet” in 1999, in which he housed 150 people for 30 days in an underground bunker, pimped out as a “Pod Hotel.” He dressed them in orange jail-chic jumpsuits and required them to sign their commitment to being filmed 24 hours a day, in every possible position, including showering, having sex, going to the bathroom, eating, fighting, and obliterating themselves with drugs and alcohol if they should chose to do so.

Everything was provided free of charge, free food, booze, what have you, but they would have no rights to the video that was taken of them and they wouldn’t be allowed to leave, once they committed to the project.  Where this begins to get even more grotesque, is that the underground, lower Manhattan, created-world, was complete with a shooting range, large collection of guns and an interrogation chamber. This M.O.D. style interview room, was where people would go to confess all of their psychological and historical messes. Think the “confession room” on The Real World crossed with Guantanomo Bay. This was sick shit. But the most fascinating part is that the people involved were all volunteers, many of whom were artists, friends, part of a larger social scene. It was meant to be fun.

In a way I suspect it was fun, the simulation of freedom, followed by a realization of the fundamental trap. Something like the philosophy of re-living pain in a safer-feeling environment, in order to exorcise the trauma. It reminds me of RENT crossed with Lord of the Flies. This was an experiment with human guinea pigs and it had an aim. The film, and the Quiet project itself records this fascistic, capitalist, gold-rush project of exploitation, an attempt to rush down the slope into internet addiction, and total lack of privacy.

As a prediction it proves to be quite true, our lives have changed enormously as a result of the Internet. In 1999, I didn’t own a phone didn’t really know how to use the computer and everything operated on this slower delivery system called word-of-mouth. I remember the New York of that time being a really vibrant place, but I  have doubted whether that’s true. It could just be me glorifying a left past. This film seems to corroborate my memory though. Perhaps since facebook, and myspace, blogs and online-newspapers have taken over our lives, we know about infinitely more things, yet there is less passionate and exciting fun to be had out there. New York does feel flat.

Beyond asking some very frightening moral questions, this film lovingly reminds us our city past.

Andy L’s Proletariat Yelp page just saved my life.

Posted in art, Food, Guide to What's Good with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 26, 2009 by thebrooklynsocialite

Just when I thought that I would drown in the post-bullshit of NYC, after a weekend of overpriced and over SALTED dinner at Blue Hill restaurant (which by the way claims to be awesome, and local and multiple-star, but actually is just a salt paddy with really snobby people inside of it), artstar self-importance, tonight at a DEITCH opening, which required a trek to LIC and seemed to be more about the scene than the medium, errant roommates that don’t pay their bills and even fake-farmers-market-hippies who sell milk at the farmers market and are obviously fake hippies, because they’re not even nice! After all of this, I discovered Andy L, on a trackback mission from here, my blog spot, to Bed-Stuy Banana, then finally to Andy L. Every so often, I make a virtual friend, who doesn’t know me yet, and Andy is one such friend.

Not only is he subverting the culture sufficiently by using yelp as his blog, like that poet who Amazon reviews like it’s her job, but he, like me, has a crush on that Hasidic Bartender who works at Sputnik. Yes Andy, I agree:

“Dear Hasidic Waiter at Sputnik,

You’re a darling of a man. You’ve changed the way I think about Sputnik. I used to hate Sputnik…..I’m not sure where to go from here. I don’t want to come on too strong and seem like a creep, although I pretty much am a creep. For now, I guess I’ll do what I always do with a crush; stare at them awkwardly, possibly mumble something incoherent, and run away. Maybe it’s for the best.

As for Sputnik Bar itself, I don’t really like it there. Like I mentioned earlier, I hate Pratt and the Taaffe Lofts.” read more

But don’t stop there that is just the tip of the iceberg, he reviews every single place in the neighborhood from Tip Top Bar, which he loves to Home Depot, which he hates, not forgeting to discuss schools, fried chicken joints, dry cleaners and all manner of place in between. That’s art Dietch.

August Osage County

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on February 17, 2009 by thebrooklynsocialite

I finally saw August Osage County and I have to say it was pretty damn brilliant. It makes my dysfunctional family look OK after all. Grandma’s a pill-popping drug addict, mom and dad are getting divorced, but pretending to be still happily coupled, and mom’s 2 sisters are perfectly wacky. One is married to a sleazy republican type who’s trying to sleep with mom and dad’s 14 year old daughter. The other is sleeping with her cousin, or wait is he her brother?

All the madness takes place around a well-lit and seamlessly designed 3-story house set. The drama begins when grandpa goes off missing and soon turns up drowned in his favorite fishing lake. Suicide? A very Desperate call for help?  Whatever it is this event gets the whole family up in arms, including an excessively grand, great-aunt,  her son(the one who’s sleeping with his cousin) and her obese, still very warm and reasonable husband. Oh, and they also have a Native American housekeeper. who peaceably witnesses it all.

I won’t spoil the ending but suffice it to say, the drama is convincing and the tenuous lines between self-determination and family responsibility are clearly illuminated. Plus a lot of (fake?) whiskey is consumed on stage!

Now playing on Broadway.

Las Vidas Possibles- Review by Slate

Posted in film, Mr Slate Honey with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 20, 2009 by thebrooklynsocialite

By Slate Honey

Las Vidas Posibles (Possible Lives) is a beautiful, slow-moving film by Argentian director Sandra Gugliotta.  It follows Carla in her journey of loss and denial, as she searches for her disappeared husband, Luciano, in the breathtaking and desolate landscapes of Patagonia.  The morning after his birthday party, Luciano takes off from their apartment quietly and with an air of regret.  Carla wakes up suddenly just as the door of the elevator slams shut, shocked by an intuitive sense of knowing something is wrong.  Days pass and Carla becomes increasingly frantic over Luciano’s absence and her unanswered calls to his cell phone.  She decides to take matters into her own hands after being met with skepticism from the police about beginning a search for him.  Carla drives to the south where Luciano regularly travels for work as a geologist.  In a sleepy coastal town, Carla discovers a man named Luis who bears an eerie resemblance to Luciano.  Carla begins to follow Luis, slowly seducing him under false pretenses just as other evidence emerges about the truth of Luciano’s disappearance.

Director Sandra Gugliotta leaves all matters of interpretation in the viewers’ hands.  Things are unspoken, mood is everywhere thick in the film and and we have only the characters’ emotive expressions to piece together this mystery.  Perhaps Luciano has long lived a double life, sometimes as Carla’s husband in Buenos Aires and sometimes as Luis, husband to another woman in Patagonia.  Perhaps Luciano suffered some accident and lost his mind and memory, becoming Luis and forgetting Carla and his former life.  Perhaps the strange resemblance between the men is merely a coincidence that is convenient to Carla’s holding onto a delusion that will save her from facing Luciano’s death.  Whatever the interpretation, Las Vidas Posibles centers on the experience of loss, the silences and heart aches of disconnected intimacy, and those who wander through their own lives, quietly dreaming of other possibilities.

The extremely subtle messages of Gugliotta’s beautiful and mysterious film take a while to sink in.  Gugliotta favors complex emotional realities and psychological subjectivity to clear conclusions.  Las Vidas Posibles closes with an understated full circle.  At the beginning of the film, we see a man (Luis/Luciano) sanding the side of a large boat in the early morning fog.  He sits down for a moment bearing a look of deep sorrow, his eyes moist with tears.  We do not know this man, or the possibilities of what may be hurting him.  At the end of the film, we see the man again, raising the sail of his boat and drifting off to sea, pensive and stoic.  Even now, we still cannot clearly locate what inner turmoil burdens this man.  Gugliotta leaves us with an emotional question that is more important than possible answers:  Where is it that we go when we leave others in our silence?

Las Vidas Posibles is playing at the MoMA as part of Global Lens 2009 until January 30.

Bad Habits-Christy C. Road

Posted in Book, People of Color, queer with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 10, 2009 by thebrooklynsocialite

Wow, my staycation is almost over, can you believe it? I have been so busy, listening to the sounds of dogs playing with their toys and icicles slowly dripping, hell I’ve even been reading and catching up on Bad Reality TV. Expect posts to come depicting the utter cuteness of dog gloves and the trashy hellishness of The Real Housewives of (insert geographical location, Atlanta, Orange County, NYC). This is post-post feminism.

Speaking of post-feminism, I will now launch into my review of Cristy C. Road’s Bad Habits. But first, I must establish my own lack of total impartiality. 1. I have a few casual friends, who are friends with her, this certainly doesn’t make her my friend by any stretch of the Will Smith/Kevin Beacon association laws. Nevertheless, I still feel some kind of allegiance for any friend of my friends. Except for the unfortunate situation of number 2. We once met on a couch, waiting for a reading to begin at Bluestockings. I had arrived early to read and she had as well, perhaps because she was on the bill that night. I didn’t recognize her in any way (this was over a year ago, pre-mutual friends), I had just arrived back into the city and was in the Friendly Zone, so as I recall, I tried to strike up a conversation, she gave me a pretty horrified look and proceeded to ignore me.  Do I have visible lice? Or was she on an especially bad trip that day? Who knows. So the point of this very long disclaimer is, I have one reason to look kindly upon her and one to look unkindly, so let’s just say they balance each other out and I am hereby rendered impartial again!

Whew, that’s a weight off my shoulders, on to the book. Bad Habits: A Love Story is very post-post indeed. Should we be proud of  the Cristy-resembling-let’s-assume-it-is-her protagonist for being drug crazed and on a manic search for love?  Should we apply a modicum of shame?  Or should we just look-on refusing to judge her in any way whatsoever? I’m not so sure.

The book is undeniably readable, contagious, absorbing, but is it a diary, or literature? When did books stop needing to have a point or to bestow a significant degree of wisdom? Cristy’s “I” character is sex positive, great, bi-sexual, awesome really and truly, and a person of color, who likes punk music and isn’t some trite stereotype, fabulous. Still I feel like I’m peeking at her through some window of outsider vs insider fascination. Is it enough to just be a voyeur after the cool kid at school/ uncool kid at school who decided to grow up and be an asshole to everybody as a means of healing?

Road is a great illustrator and every page that  interrupts the text with image really helps to move the story along. I like reading about this particular slice of life in New York, that wades between the queer/punk/and drug scenes, especially since much of it is based in Brooklyn. As a diary it’s juicy and at times piercingly lost, in a way that many people are and can relate to. However, I wish that it would offer some insights, on her quest for love, forgetting and self-absorbed self-annihilation, does she find anything? Should we follow her, or run in the opposite direction. Perhaps the thing to do is walk by and pretend not to see her.

I love that one constant throughout the book’s journey is Christy’s love for her friends and connection to her familial/cultural roots. The narrative is lacking in direction and there are few moments of deeper truth, but in today’s trash consumption culture, where exuding a generalized sense of disconnection and apathy is the ultimate cool, Bad Habits will allow you to join in by vicariously snorting coke through your nose ring.