I’m at the Vice magazine party surrounded by the marginally famous and enough booze to turn me into a literal piss drunk. I arrive in poor shape from a Sunday spent doing yak and taking triples of tequila on an hourly basis, trying to forget a girl who came and saw and conquered. Stuck in the elevator trying to get to the Penthouse, uneasy, anxious and absurdly overblown with an outbreak of self-pity. The weather is caressing, cloudy but sweet, I stare at the Hudson, I wish I was drowning. Rapidly accelerating my alcohol intake, two three four, god I’m fucked. I strike up conversations, I’ll charm your pants off. Negative correlation between my outward cheeriness and my inward nostalgia. You wouldn’t know it. I hide it well. Champagne, Vodka, Gin, Whisky, Beer and white Wine. Kill me please. Start rummaging through the pockets of a jacket left on the chair I’m sitting on. It’s Suroosh Alvi’s, fuck fuck fuck. We head downstairs to a private party, I tell our guide that my friend Scott is Suroosh, he looks kinda Arabic, not entirely un-feasible. We smoke, I run out, take a cab to midtown and go to sleep at my job, wake up in a puddle of piss. The gluttony of love.
A little while ago, Sparrow Hall covered a new regular event, titled Ask Me Stories. It's all about short and usually hilarious stories about a certain topic, featuring performers and stand-up comics. Last night they had a show at Arlo&Esme - a classy establishment with a beautiful basement space - and it did not disappoint.
Stories ranged from the gross (master cleanse gone horribly wrong in a public bathroom), to the sad but stomach-achingly funny (a hilarious story, aptly titled "Assoline"). The players kept the audience engaged with numerous tidbits and pieces of what can only be called a righteous kind of overshare. And the audience loved it, getting to know these people and some of their mortifying personal stories. Community was being built and it wasn't on Facebook or (taking it back OG) geocities.
You can download the Ask Me Stories podcast for free on iTunes, and check out their teaser trailer for the body talk event.
The monied streets of New York's Meatpacking District provided the perfect backdrop for David Goodwillie's book party. Goodwillie's debut novel American Subversive (Scribner, April 2010) is a brilliant literary thriller and romance between Aidan Cole, a failed journalist turned gossip blogger and Paige Roderick, a radical who blows up Barney's high end department store.
After a reading at 192 Books, a crowd of mod Manhattanites headed to Bottino for drinks and hors d' oeuvres. The revelers reminded me of my carefree underage drinking days when Marquee was the club to be seen at. Strangely, after reading Goodwillie's debut novel, I related more to fictional Paige, a disenfranchised woman who turns to terrorism after her brother's death in Iraq. I also understood Aidan's fascination with fanaticism, a world where people will go to extremes for their ideals, far removed from the insular New York party circuit.
After a few glasses of Pinot Noir and some steak tartare snacks, I left feeling slightly reactionary. Perhaps what American Subversive is all about.
Guests included Nan Graham, David Goodwillie, Leah Rudick of Skinny Bitch Jesus Meeting, authors Susan Shapiro and Liza Monroy, and the Scribner team.
The Banksy I was acquainted with in this movie might not even be Banksy, an elusive, allegedly Bristolian street artist who has graduated said art to a level above and beyond its ruffian, deviant beginnings. His subversion is meditative, inquisitive, complex and beautiful. He is truly an artist, not just a street marking wall pisser who knows how to blow up an image at Kinko’s or how to use Photoshop Pro: @Sheppard Fairey.
But the movie isn’t about Banksy entirely, it’s by Banksy. It might even be an over everyone’s head work of art, meaning its subject, Thierry Guetta, might himself be a Banksy creation and a commentary on the Art World and its De Rigueur pretense. It could be a mind fuck- I give Banksy the benefit of doubt on the side of cunning.
It’s a movie about obsessions that snowball and transform, but it also has “Banksy” in it, making clever observations and displaying a knack for comedic timing and dry wit that suggests a level of intelligence of a higher plane.
Thierry, we are told, is a Frenchman who lives and once owned a Vintage store in L.A, a cunning businessman who began video recording everything at a very early age. Without a doubt Thierry’s obsessive nonstop recording of everything- getting out of the shower, brushing his teeth, eating dinner- is in the autistic spectrum. Then his obsession, serendipitously finds a channel, an exclusive source of focus: street art. Through his kinship with Space Invader, a French street artist cousin, Thierry begins to document the perilous and obscure subculture. He becomes the sole documenter of this world and vows to make a documentary of it all. Through persistence and indefatigability he earns street cred and is brought into contact, knighted even, with and by King Bansky. This is the prettiest part of the movie, we are shown the world of Banksy, how it’s done, who it is done with, we see his workshop, his team of loyal aids, we are even introduced to his former spokesperson. This level of intimacy with a pixilated warped voice Banksy is as close as we will ever get to him, and that’s fine. But then it stops, the movie refocuses on Thierry, who is by now himself a street artist: Mister Brainwash.
Another obsession on its exponential freefall.
Thierry takes being an artist as a business and invests all his money into a studio and a team of assistants, who make the work for him, he cuts, pastes, and steals from every artist he has come into contact with and makes millions doing so. He swallowed, digested and defecated an entire subculture, raped it, pillaged it and...what of it? If the adage “Good Artists Copy, Great Artists Steal” is true, then Thierry is the truest artist alive today. Maybe it’s all been commissioned by Banksy, some people even think Banksy is a member of the British Secret Service, I wouldn’t put anything past him, because I can’t grasp Banksy, he’s out of my league.
Comedy duo Skinny Bitch Jesus Meeting started their recent sketch set at The Pit as banjo wielding nuns. Singing an alluring song to the audience, they quickly revealed themselves to be habit wearing orphan haters.
This darkly funny flirtatious style seems to be their staple. Members Leah Rudick and Kate Hartman pen hilarious harmonies bewailing their post feminist fate (they plan on changing their names to Rucunt and Hartwoman), and pose awkward questions while listening to their roommate's thundering off stage sex "Would you rather be able to have the only orgasm of your life or make it so 9/11 never happened?" Dizzily dancing the line between inappropriate and insightful, Skinny Bitch Jesus Meeting drew me in with their lyricism and kept me laughing with their cutting one liners.
Check out upcoming performances:
May 6th-9th: Ladies Are Funny Festival, Austin, TX. Headline Saturday at 9 May 19th: 7:30PM The Weeping Skull Show at Parkside Lounge May 20th: 8PM Daddy's Basement at Identity Bar May 27th: 8PM Supercream Supreme at Legion Bar May 29th: 11 PM at the PIT
Every time some phase in life ends it is the scariest thing in the world. All that lays out before you is a black hole of endless possibilities and failures. This song has helped the dreamer in me wake up.