Archive for March, 2012
1) As I’m going into yoga class, coming out is…Harvey Keitel.
2) There are zero laundromats in my neighborhood. The only one, the wonderful Second Wave Laundrette at 55th Street and Ninth Avenue, closed almost two years ago. Now, what’s going into that space? Just what midtown needs: another Citibank.
3) The plaques affixed shin-level at giant office buildings around New York that used to broadcast the alluring phrase Standpipe Siamese (Andy used it as the name of a rock band in his novel) have been replaced with signs written in much more mundane, threadbare language: Siamese For Retail Only, Standpipe and Sprinkler Combination. Sigh.
4) The people have spoken:
The Style Issue features several articles that reveal in great, sometimes disheartening detail how things are made these days:
* John Seabrook’s closely observed story about Ester Dean and the phenomenon of “top-liners,” the people who create the semi-coherent, fragmented, not-quite-lyrics that accompany hit singles these days…and make beaucoup bucks at it;
* Jonah Lehrer’s entertaining profile of Roger Thomas, in-house designer for Steve Wynn’s over-the-top Vegas hotels, whose obscenely luxurious decor apparently boost casino income exponentially;
* Ian Parker’s preview (“Expletive Not Deleted”) of the forthcoming HBO comedy series “Veep,” whose British show-runner Armando Iannucci apparently keeps a stable of writers onhand who specialize in supplying high-volume zesty swearing for his hit shows (such as the BBC’s “The Thick of It”). The series stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus as the vice president who refers to her bumbling staff as “the Keystone Cunts” and in one scene is heard to say, “Well, God bless the President. he is really a great man. but he is busting my fucking lady balls here.”
Another highlight is the latest of Paul Rudnick’s laugh-out-loud Shouts and Murmurs pieces, this one a take-off on recent books touting the superiority of French women in all things. “To maintain my figure, I eat only half portions of any food, always arranging it on my plate in the shape of a semicolon. For exercise, at least once a day I approach a total stranger and slap him. And late each afternoon I read a paragraph of any work of acclaimed American literary fiction, which makes me vomit.”
Speaking of fiction, there’s also a story by Antonya Nelson, “Chapter Two,” that trafficks in the misrepresentation of what AA meetings are like, with what has become a fiction cliche, the supposedly sober character who drinks on her way to and from meetings. Yawn. It’s been done.
The murder of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin by a self-appointed neighborhood watchman in Sanford, FL (a suburb of Orlando), has touched a lot of Americans, including the couple of thousand New Yorkers who showed up in Union Square as part of the national Million Hoodie March demanding that the killer, George Zimmerman, be brought to justice. The speakers at the rally included Trayvon’s parents, Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton (below). They spoke briefly and received a communal laying on of hands.
One of the other speakers enumerated some of the outrageous facts of the case — that the police who arrived at the scene ran a background check on the victim, not on the shooter, and ran a drug-and-alcohol test on the victim, not on the shooter. If the victim had been white and the shooter had been black, would the police have questioned the killer for an hour and then let him go home? That was one of a string of rhetorical questions the speaker posed to the crowd. Another, alluding to Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee, was “What do you do when your employer won’t do his job?” Someone yelled out, “Execute him!” which caused the people around me to both gasp and chuckle in disbelief. The woman standing next to me and I exchanged bemused looks. “Wrong answer,” she said.