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Archive for the ‘Manhattan’ Category

Employment Laws Whaaat?

In an ingenious move to cut through the stupid red tape hassle of not being able to hire employees based on their looks, Salt Jeans posted this on craigslist:

MODELS WANTED TO WORK IN OUR OFFICE FULL TIME (Midtown)
Reply to: job-527311652@craigslist.org
Date: 2008-01-03, 3:33PM EST

Salt Jeans, a premium denim company is looking for a model to work in our office permanently and do modeling as well as office tasks as well such as follow up paperwork, phone calls, greet customers, asist President in his travel arrangements, manage agenda for President and other office work. Must be knoledgable in Excel and Microsoft Word. Salary plus Health Insurance. Must submit your picture with resumee.(Must be guud spallr to.)

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Today my visiting-from-LA sister and I braved the midtown crowds, Christmas-crazed and gift-bogged that they were, to venture up to the MOMA. I was there during the erstwhile summer months to check out the Richard Serra exhibit – but it was sis’s first trip in a while. The initially daunting line notwithstanding, the entrance fee (one genuine student and one fake student: $8 off the entrance price!) paid and complimentary coat check checked, we headed into the depths to check out this “art” thing.

In one of the first main galleries we encountered HUGE wood pieces – a convoluted and slightly arthritic looking ladder was suspended above our heads and extended into the horizon. Or rather, as your eye traveled up the length of the ladder you saw that the physical narrowing of the piece itself tricked your eye into thinking it was significantly longer than it actually was. The same was true for a contraption with a huge base of treated wood that was topped with a long, unfinished piece of wood that extended into the air and narrowed to a deceiving point.

ladder
“Ladder for Booker T. Washington.” Am I as long as you think I am?

The most interesting art for me retains a flickering quality, where opposed ideas can be held in a tense coexistence. – Martin Puryear, 2007

I like reading the artists’ quotes and curators’ statements at exhibits like this. Being left alone to contextualize a roll of paper suspended from the ceiling and dribbled with ketchup and graphite can be a daunting task – at least when I’m reading I know the right spot to nod or furrow my brow. So I guess Martin Puryear’s quote above, whose art I was so admiring, helps me get the juxtapositions of space and solid, flexibility and rigidity, that he’s getting at with his pieces. But all these highfalootin’ words can’t do justice to the strength, comfort, and appeal of these huge wooden pieces.

Upon viewing Puryear’s gallery as it continued on the 6th floor, I decided that the dude has a thing for dinosaurs. (Who doesn’t?) Several pieces significantly resembled brontosauruses (brontonsauri), with lofty necks extending at a graceful angle from a grounded, boxy base.

puryearlever.jpg
“Lever #1.” I look like a dinosaur.

Another theme running through Puryear’s work was a recreation of lattice work that at first glance looked pliable, and on second look was revealed to be rigid pieces of wood coaxed and stapled and glued into curving, organic looking shapes. The space inside these overturned baskets was a nice place to dwell mentally, and I imagined curling up comfortably inside a few of the larger ones.

Brunhilde
Big enough to hide in. Small enough to love. “Brunhilde”

So instead of taking a trip all the way up to Sturbridge Village to see quaint handicrafts, take a shorter trip to the MOMA and see quaint handicrafts, rendered in mammoth proportions. When a lot of art is exhausting to look at and doesn’t leave me feeling any better equipped to do, well, anything, Puryear’s sculptures really did seem to have something to say about the relationships between carved wood and the hands that carve them, and the natural world and the Brooklyn world we live in.

Martin Puryear’s exhibition is at the MOMA through January 14, 2008.

The MOMA costs $20 for adults and $12 if you still have your student ID. Every Friday 4-8 PM is free. The cost of admission also gets you into PS 1 for free if you go within a month.

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One Sunday matinée of Milk-n-Honey + One Monday night Foundry Theatre Free-Range Thanksgiving = Whoa! Amazing!

Sunday was the final day in the inaugural run of Milk-n-Honey, a multimedia theater piece put on by LightBox at 3-Legged Dog Theater. After interviews with eaters, chefs, pickers, doctors, food scientists, dumpster divers, farmers, and more, they came up with a series of short vignettes following a collection of stories about how food affects all these people.

Two supermarket clerks crushing on each other figure out if going on dumpster diving, urban foraging dates are romantic or gross. After regaining his taste buds from a jellyfish sting, a flavor scientist searches for the elusive flavor of light. A Mexican man takes a new job in America as a picker, trying to make the money to send back to his family while coming to terms with what it means to be living in the United States illegally. A sugar fiend gets diagnosed with diabetes, and tries to learn to navigate the supermarket without going into diabetic shock.

These stories were told in a dynamic, mobile set – supermarket shelves on wheels were whirled around to create evocative spaces. A camera mounted to a supermarket cart added a degree of meta-awareness to a scene unfolding directly in front of you.

An after show cafe featured homemade brownies by the Lower East Side Girls Club and a presentation from NYU students in an Oxfam Chapter about the Farm Bill.

After being an audience-member at Milk-n-Honey, I was thrust into the spotlight at The Foundry Theatre’s fully participatory Free-Range Thanksgiving.

Ten playwrights had been commissioned to write short plays for the event, and each of them, paired with a director, were charged with turning a dinner table of strangers into the stars of the premiere of their new work.

Each table was named for one of the plays, and sitting at “And Only Now Is It As Clear As It Has Ever Been,” I was not sure what was coming for me from award-winning playwright Carl Hancock Rux. What I was sure of was that I should take advantage of the copious amounts of free NYS wine that were provided, and get a little smashed. That was the whole idea of the event! Get everyone smashed and acting. A high school drama geek’s wildest fantasy.

When combined with a surprising and seasonal menu prepared by Chef Eric Hunter with food from Golden Earthworm Organic Farm and Roxbury Farm, and an audience made up of writers, actors, directors, and food activists, it was an exciting and totally original night.

I learned that I like Lily Flower, a pickled-tasted bundle of petals added to the salad varietals and doused with grapefruit-lemon thyme vinaigrette. To describe the savory back-of-tongue feelings from the miso-marinated local greens I drew back on the Milk-n-Honey flavor scientists’ explanation of the way our tongues and noses decipher tastes and memories. The dessert, homemade gingerbread with poached apple-rosemary sauce, was as delicious as it sounded, and possibly even more so at ten minutes to midnight and some number of bottles of wine in, as it was served.

So, congratulations to LightBox and The Foundry Theatre! These were fantastic and innovative events, and completely proactive at involving people from many and varied experiences with food, eating, living, and performing.

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Oh man, last night was dudely. My hand hurts from high-fiving. My stomach hurts from attempting to digest chili, wings and beer. But most of all, my heart hurts from watching a hundred or so Bengals fans witness a tragic loss to the New England Patriots.

To explain. I don’t know anything about football. If I were a character in Varsity Blues, I would be James Van Der Beek sitting on the bench reading Kurt Vonnegut instead of the playbook. And then instead of being put in to replace the injured quarterback, I would continue reading Kurt Vonnegut and tell Jon Voight he’s a jerk. Last night however, I was invited to meet my roommates at Phebe’s Tavern & Grill on Bowery and 4th Street. This is a Cincinnati Bengals bar, and my roommate had a Bengals sweatshirt and plenty of enthusiasm to spare. The bar was separated into two rooms. In the front room, there is the main bar, as well as nice tables set up for dinner. The backroom has a smaller bar, with tons of tables set up for drinking and general merriment. We sat in the back room.

Apparently the famous dish at Bengals games is the Skyline Chili. This dish consists of spaghetti with a cheese and runny meat chili sauce on top of it. This deceptively simple dish was quite delicious, and we all joined the clean plate club within minutes of getting served. After a few more beers, the game started. I tried my best to relate to my surroundings by saying things like “The New England Patriots aren’t patriotic, they hate freedom!” and “Has anyone seen the movie Little Giants? It’s awesome!” The Patriots then scored a field goal, and the smiles around the room vanished momentarily. Luckily the waitress was efficient and the beers came at a steady pace. The pain was numbed.

Next we got wings. My roommate ChezJJP knows my aversion to spicy things, and ordered the wings at a medium spiciness. They were hot. Again, the waitress continued to supply drinks at a wonderful pace, which put the fire out in my mouth. The Patriots scored again, followed by the Bengals. It was then that I got to hear a song from everyone. I can’t recreate it here, but I can say that it was a beautiful and melodic aria sung by a collection of drunk people banging on tables. After this, the night got a little hazy. We left shortly before the game ended, but considering the 34-13 loss, we didn’t miss much. It should be said that it was a genuinely easy going and friendly crowd who never let the loss get to them too much.

Speaking as someone who most would say is more likely to attend a Bangles concert than a Bengals game, I had a pretty good time. So basically, if you aren’t really a sports fan, but are looking for a place to watch a sporting event, drink cheap beer and eat deliciously unhealthy meals with friends, Phebe’s is a pretty decent place. Obviously, if you’re a Bengals fan, this is a pretty good place too. You can say whatever you want about football, as long as you say it loud and follow it up with a high five. Isn’t that what being dudely is all about?

Phebe’s Tavern & Grill
359 Bowery at 4th Street
New York, NY

Who Dey?

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I watched an amazing show last week. An amazing show called “Gossip Girl.” And just so you know, I could not be more serious. It’s my new fave teen dram. This show is pretty much the best thing to sprout from the CW, ever. And I’ve seen a few episodes of the revived-from-the-dead 10th season of “7th Heaven” on this network, so you know there’s some stiff competition going on there in terms of quality television.

“Gossip Girl” is basically “The OC” meets “Bev 9” meets “Mean Girls” meets the Upper East Side of Manhattan (need I say more?). But since I’m sure most of you crazies chose to ignore this new tv series, I’ll review for you the highlights of the pilot.

The New Class.

The pilot starts off with the return of Serena van der Woodsen (lead character and former Queen Bee), who for the past year was away at boarding school in CT. And while this may not seem like a big deal, it is. As Serena abruptly left without telling anyone, not even her best friend Blair (who is clearly the Gretchen of this version of The Plastics). Though, it’s evident Blair is both insecure and annoying, not to mention a brunette, so I probably wouldn’t have told her I was leaving either, especially if I had just slept with her boyfriend. Oh, snap. That’s right. Serena got drunk and slept with her best friend’s boyfriend. Total ho move. But, that does explain why Serena had to leave NY in such haste. This incident is also an indication of Serena’s alcoholism, which is a foreshadow to all the fantastic events to come later in the season. (I can’t wait.)

Moving along, we also within the first 5 minutes of the premiere meet the Humphrey clan. The Humphreys are unpretentious Upper East Siders. They are, for those of us tuning in, a breath of fresh air. They are the Walshes and the Cohens of the series. The Brad and Angelinas. The rich humanitarians. We need them to keep sane. In the Humphrey family are Dan, Jenny, and Rufus. I love these guys. Dan considers himself a nobody amongst the elite prep school crowd. He is in love with Serena but has only spoken to her once in his life. And although Dan is clearly the best looking character on the show (in my opinion) and has a hip sense of style, he is ignored by everyone at school. But maybe that’s because he is a sensitive chap who drops everything to go help his 15-year old sister, Jenny, pick out an outfit for the annual *Kiss on the Lips event. What a good brother. And last but not least is Rufus Humphrey, a has-been musician whose free-spirited wife just left him. He is both Dan and Jenny’s father.

Soon after we meet Serena, Blair, and the Humphreys, we find out more about the rest of the series’ characters: both Serena and Blair’s mothers have hearts of stone, Serena’s little brother tried to commit suicide even though he’s only like, 13 years old, Blair’s boyfriend is definitely the biggest tool on the program, and finally we come into contact with the comic relief of the show — bona fide asshole/molester Chuck Bass. This guy is ridiculous…and hilarious. Not on purpose, obviously. One can’t really put into words the type of character Chuck is, but hopefully you can grasp some sort of inkling as to what he’s like from this photo:

 

Do you love it?

It’s great. He’s great. Anyway, during the premiere, Blair discovers why Serena skipped town (she slept with Blair’s boyfriend, in case you already forgot) and subsequently Blair dumps them both, only she forgives Nate the next day, but not Serena. (Girl hate.) Then a little later on, Serena (surprisingly) goes on a date with Dan, and while on their date Dan gets an urgent text from Jenny asking for his help, so Dan goes to save Jenny and finds Chuck trying to rape her at the Kiss on the Lips bash. Dan punches Chuck, Chuck says “big mistake,” then Dan, Serena, and Jenny all leave in a cab together. A perfect ending to a perfect pilot.

If you enjoy “The OC” or “90210” or things that are good in general, I’d say watch “Gossip Girl.” Especially because I might be reviewing it on an occasional basis. Also, the show is narrated through the words of THE “Gossip Girl” who knows all and tells all….through her blog. But no one knows who she is. And who doesn’t love that? It’s like if Lisa Turtle had access to the internet, and didn’t have a face. And lastly, rich teens in Manhattan…is there anything better? I didn’t think so.

So do yourselves a favor and watch “Gossip Girl” tonight. It airs, as I’ve already mentioned, on the CW network at 9pm.

End Note: It should probably be addressed that Blake Lively plays the lead as Serena. Blake Lively who is the younger sister of Robin Lively. Robin Lively who played Louise in “Teen Witch.” I’m just saying.

The Best.

*The Kiss on the Lips party is the social event of the year. It marks the beginning of the school year, and only those who receive a hand crafted calligraph-ied invitation are allowed to attend.

—-

Edit: The Humphreys do not actually live on the Upper East Side, but reside in Brooklyn.

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Dear Strand Bookstore Clerk,

When I say “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay,” don’t say “Children’s Section.”

Trying not to punch,

Recklesley

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Like many great men before him, Barack Obama will descend upon Washington Square Park to spread his word to New Yorkers. And boy, is his word inspiring. Unlike the Brooklyn debacle I attended last month, this event will be free and outside. Probably, the speech will be exactly the same and you’ll leave the park in utter despair about the current state of electoral politics…but he’s so charming! If you have not yet heard what’s Obama’s been saying, I really recommend checking him out.

Barack Obama in NYC
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Washington Square Park, Manhattan
Gates open at 5:00 PM

Let’s just hope this doesn’t end up like the stonecutters’ rally of 1834. You all know what I’m saying.

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