Saturday, November 29, 2008

No White Meat

I did not eat Turkey because I hate birds. Two weeks ago I was on my way to grab lunch near my midtown office, when I was confronted with one of New York's least pleasant occurrences. Lying between Subway and one of those nameless health food stores that sells Luna bars and fat free cookies for twice the price of Key Food was a decapitated pigeon.

This would have been repulsive to anyone, except maybe a budding sociopath, but almost instantly, I thought of chowing on poultry and wanted to vom. Even chicken fingers, which at one point made my list of top 10 favorite foods.

Thinking I was going nuts, I consulted my trusty shrink, Dr. D, who informed me I wasn't. In fact, my reaction was very "common." Although I've yet to meet anyone else who eliminated fowl from their diet after seeing a dead one. She asked if I'd had any negative experiences with birds in the past.

I explained that in first grade, I'd become friendly with a stubby dark-haired girl, Ruby, who lived a block away from me in suburban Boston. She was a friend of convenience. I could tell most of Ruby's stories, like the one about how her short curly hair grew 10 feet in the bathtub, were not true, so when she told me she had a shed of birds in her backyard, I didn’t believe her.

Ruby wanted to show me her beautiful pets and as she opened the door to the old wooden barn, what seemed like hundreds of flapping wings surrounded me on all sides. She'd slammed the door and wouldn't let me out. I was trapped with frantic fowls.

Dr. D. reassured me that after a few months it was very possible my taste for white meat would come back. But it hasn't.

I’m not a vegetarian. I’m a proud meat eating, steakhouse lover, who is opposed to all birds.

My boyfriend of two years has asked me countless times, “When are you going to stop? You’re obviously doing this for attention.” Which sounds harsh, but I’m a bit of an attention whore, so it’s not unfounded. But it’s honestly become a character trait. One that I’m especially proud of this time of year.

-Alyson Gerber

Friday, November 21, 2008

I Know What Worried Me Last Summer: AC Newman

I was worried about AC Newman last summer, when the ginger-headed New Pornographer updated his Facebook status with heartfelt commentary on VH1 realitard show, I Love Money on the daily.

The show mashes up the day-drunk dollies from Rock of Love with Bret Fucking Michaels, Flavor of Love and I Love New York to compete for a million dollars (and the opportunity to eke out a couple more pop culture radar blips so they can still get those lucrative hosting gigs at dance clubs in Clearwater, FL).

I admit I caught an episode or seven of I <3 $$$. J’adore Rock of Love. Fucking sue me. I knew shit was dumb, but I couldn’t sense even a hiccup of irony in Newman’s devotion to Hoopz.

Watching I Love Money is an exercise in brain cell depletion, and it concerned me greatly one of my fave pop songwriters was so taken with it. Would his work suffer too, resulting in some sort of sad Flowers for Algernon kinda thing? Instead of "Sing Me Spanish Techno" would the New Pornographers rollick through songs called "Titties and Cash"?

I had to find out. Newman was at the Bell House Saturday night to debut his forthcoming solo record, Get Guilty (Matador). Tucked away in industrial Gowanus, Brooklyn, the Bell House is what Twin Peaks’ Great Northern hotel ballroom might have looked like if Ben Horne had been an indie rocker: red velvet curtains, latticed oak, high ceilings, giant brass chandeliers.

After escaping the rain I waited in line directly behind Eugene Mirman (always just one degree away from Jermain Clement, sigh). I caught the tail-end of openers the Birds of Youth and sipped a vodka soda. After a lull with sounds of the ’70s playing over the house (Fleetwood Mac, Heart) the Oranges Band played. I saw the Baltimore band years ago in Lawrence, KS, and their music recalls a time when indie rock was just some unassuming, hirsute dudes playing scraggly guitar rock for gas money. Sometimes the bro-show jamming was a little boring. Wholly delightful was the appearance by Oranges’ frontman Roman Kuebler’s dad, who is also their merch guy. Pops called them a “seminal Maryland band,” and urged the enchanted crowd to buy some gear.

Newman went solo for the first time in 2004, releasing Slow Wonder, whose track On the Table ended up on The OC Mix 4. For a guy gone solo, he sure brings a lot of folks with him. Utility players alternated between accordion, horn and keyboard while Newman shared vocals with two adorable girls playing typical cute instrument: tambourines, violins and recorders. I hadn’t seen a recorder since 3rd grade music class with Sr. Sheila.

Like New Porno songs, Newman’s were spun sugar pop stompers, drizzled with boy-girl call-and-response vocals and sprinkled with yeah-yeahs and la-las. Newman repeatedly prefaced songs with, “this is probably inspired from some French film,” but I know homeboy gets all his rhymes from VH1 programming.

While Neko Case has her country twang, and the lupine Dan Bejar is off in Destroyer and all his other solo projects, Newman sticks to what he knows. I’m totally fine with that.

-Megan Metzger

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Mean Greens

After class, shivering in Tribeca I longed for fireplaces in log cabins like we had at my art school in Vermont, or at least my overheated BK apartment - but I wanted to be a supportive friend.

My friends' band, The Kiss Off, was playing for the opening of new green nightclub in NYC The Greenhouse (*joe six-packs, have a beer for every mention of the word green from here on in). It turned out to be in an area of the city made desolate after rush hour.

The band came out to join me smoking and complain about lack of management while we eyed the praying mantis looking she-guard behind the velvet ropes. There was a growing line on the other side of the door and I did not want to be on it. But I was curious to see what an all-green nightclub would look like from the inside (I admired the greenhouse effect outside with glass encased plants, but wondered what would happen when the roots outgrew their casing). Would the toilet paper be organic? Would the ice always be melty to signify the inconvenient truth we live with on a day-to-day basis? Most importantly, would there be any heat?

I discovered no heat when the manager finally strong armed us past the growling bouncer. Inside the lights flickered and the Ting Tings blasted over the speakers. Drinks were *gasp* inducing expensive. Especially for my Bushwick attitude. I nursed one drink and tried to make it count. $12 cocktails, $8 beers, $5 for club soda. My friend with the $5 club soda kept giggling at the ridiculousness. People were a combination of Long Island deep throater and New Jersey glam joker. Thank God The Kiss Off got to go first.

They played some of the newer songs they've been working on, running the gamut from epic guitar and keyboard journeys to rhythm and bass thumpers, either way, they had people push up from the polished pleather booths to dance. It was great to see The Kiss Off let go and flail around in time to their own music. They sounded and looked more confident, like they were having more fun. I guess that's what happens when you have to find your own sound guy hours before the show, but those things only prove how much shit you can handle. The Kiss Off can handle some shit. And if I were you I would definitely go to their show at the Mercury Lounge December 4th.

But I digress.

It was at the end of their set that I let myself look around at the glass coffee tables filled with planted grass and the ceiling with it's undulating waves of crystals and the walls with their strange sporadic lighting and let myself enjoy it for just a little bit. As annoying as it was, it's not often that a girl like me gets to see what's on the other side of those velvet ropes.

- Kastoory

Friday, November 14, 2008

Screw Turkey, Let's Talk Chocolate

I’m on team chocolate. When my friend Sarah Michelson invited me to KB Hall Creative Group’s 11th annual chocolate show, I leapt at the opportunity.

There were at least sixty booths set up at packed Pier 94, devoted to all things cocoa. Each of these booths handed out samples of their best. The highlights were dark chocolate with chili and cayenne pepper, both milk and dark chocolate fountains, chocolate covered orange peels, and probably the most curious, chocolate covered fried bacon strips! Don’t knock it ‘till you try it. The most wonderful sight to behold was an enormous chocolate sculpture of Obama’s head. I made out with it.

Normally tickets are $28 for adults, and $250 if you attend the opening night super hero themed fashion show. Even though I was given a media badge, I still wasn’t allowed in on Thursday, the opening night. Something about limited space…I think they thought I was too fat, whatever. It’s okay though, because I was able to view all of the fashion entries at the general show, up close and personal, the way I like it. With 70 percent of each outrageous outfit made of chocolate, I could easily see why I wasn’t invited to opening night. I might have jumped up on the runway and eaten some important bits and pieces.

Surprisingly enough not everything was chocolate. There were two huge stages set up at each end of the convention center for chef demonstrations of both chocolate and non dishes. I’m a fool for the food network, so I found these demonstrations fascinating. I watched a chef make a fetching alternative Thanksgiving dinner from spinach and pigeon. How New York. There was also a whole flagged off section for tasting savory gourmet foods and alcohol. This was a welcome alternative to the chocolate, because after about an hour there I thought I was going to throw up from the sweet overload. Thank God I was able to stifle that feeling with glass upon glass of imported wine and liquor, each one better than the last.

By the time I had my fill I was somewhat delirious and thanking everyone, which got a little awkward considering some people were just regular goers like myself. They were gracious enough. They probably could smell my booze and coco breath and gave me a break. Don't miss the show next year guys, it's utterly orgasmic and worth the bones.

-Corinne Kassor

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Get Out Of My Car/ Get Into My Pants

I’d love to know what it is I’m casting out into the universe that makes me so g’damned appealing to cab drivers. Really. Just in these last odd weeks, I’ve received a marriage proposal, been offered a free ride in exchange for my phone number, and been told “you look real hot tonight, Mama.”

These pick-up artists are pretty much my sole admirers in the L-U-V department these days, aside from the pockmarked darling who works the hot food counter at my deli, and the middle-aged shwarma cart dudes who call me “sweetie,” and hook me up with free falafel from time to time.

My roommate asks if I’m doing anything that might lead the cabbies on. Am I wearing or saying anything that suggests I’m open to some backseat action (meter off, obvs)? Lately my wardrobe choices teeter on demure and unsexed. I’m all jeans and cardigans and penny loafers these days. Very phoned in.

And I’m not one to get all taxicab confessional. Actually, I don’t exchange any more words than I have to with drivers. It’s not that I’m some elitist dick, I just loathe small talk. It’s so forced. If I’m not willing to discuss how cuh-razy the weather’s been, I sure as hell am not going to humor sexy murmurs. Please, good sir, just drive the fucking car across the BQE already. Don’t make some mildly drunk chick named me feel threatened cos you’re feeling frisky. Does this usually work? Do your female charges ever succumb to your advances? I’m gonna guess no. First of all, if you’re doing your job adequately, we can only see the back of your head. Like, what if you turn around and you’re not even cute? Deal breaker.

I will admit I find the attention mildly flattering. Sometimes it feels like if it weren’t for these hacks being so hot for my snatch, no one else would be. So, yeah, there’s that. Maybe I’ll find a way to transfer my mojo from the backseat of the cab into the bars or the church basements or the Laundromats or the wherever-place-people-go-to-meet-other-people-on-a-romantical-level. That way, when I turn the cabbie down with the old “I have a boyfriend” lie, it would be true.

–Megan Metzger

Thursday, November 6, 2008


After my sweaty second behind the black voting booth curtain, I hopped on the L train to escape Manhattan. I headed for the emptier streets off Lorimer Street. I was on my way to the Union Docs ( community house, a non-profit documentary artscollaborative and the home of a friend. I hoped this would be the site of a triumph I could almost taste.

Before most of the guests even arrived, Pennsylvania and Ohio had already been Obamanated, and the popping of balloons seemed to signify last gasps of air escaping from the war hero's wounded campaign. As the anticipation mounted and the smiles broadened, visitors donned candidate masks to enjoy the arm wrestling table--Palin imposters won most of the bouts. The line at the makeshift bar lengthened. For $2, you could get an "Obama Mama," a pineapple and rum concoction, or the "Cindy McCain Special," a good ole can of Budweiser, served with a fistful of painkillers for an extra $0.50. Just kidding!

When change officially swept over Union Ave, the dangling Bush pinata was promptly destroyed, while "Na Na Na Na, Hey Hey Hey, Goodbye" and "Signed Sealed Delivered" exploded from house band The Weight. We shook the building with dancing that would have summoned the cops on any other night.

Drained and elated, I jabbered to my Spanish speaking cab driver about the new man in the White House. Whether he understood my words I don't know, but with a huge smile he declared, "It's very good.”

Well said amigo.

-Jake Englander

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

What's your Obama-won-face?

Due to technical difficulties of feeling cut off from the world because of no election news coverage, the Pomp election watch was shortly canceled and we made our way down to another LES hang out, preferably one with drink specials and television screens; all the while staying close to the Williamsburg bridge so that the trip to BK would be quick and painless no matter who the victor. Our group consisted of Pomp editors, photographers, writers and illustrators, armed with red and blue glowsticks and huge Obama pins, we made our way through the strangely quiet streets. In bars, people were glued to television screens in a rapt alcoholic daze.

Inside Iggy's (great jukebox, $2 pbr and $3 red white and blue shots) with it's multitude of news channels and it's guardedly optimistic patrons we were able to rejoin the rest of the world in waiting with baited breath. Yes Obama's lead was pretty extensive but the talk of the town was "dirty tricks". The general murmur was of great enthusiasm - and as the night wore on and the red white and blue shots were imbibed aplenty - growing wariness.

In the middle of talking to a friend, a cheer went up. We turned towards the TV to see CNN declaring Obama president-elect. Everyone started screaming until someone shouted "Wait! Isn't it too soon to tell?" People immediately stopped cheering and started drinking like mad. Like I said already, guarded optimism.

Finally the news reached our paranoid minds! Whoops and shouts, people laughing hysterically, me and my roommate jump up and down and hold on to each other. Everyone else hugging, talking rapidly and smiling hugely. We find noisemakers and start blowing like Lewinsky. Strangers hugging, kissing and high-fiving as if there is absolutely nothing separating them (because at that moment nothing is). Like New Years but better, all that hope and expectation distilled into a balmy November night.

The rest of the evening was an ecstatic haze of taking pictures of Obama-won-faces, celebrating loudly and reveling in the noise. The LES was a parade of insane elation. The city felt like a community again.

- Kastoory

PostScript: Obama's speech was also a high point of the night as all the noisemakers and revelers silenced to hear him speak. It just further cemented his place in history. How many presidential acceptance speeches are that humble? And give we-the-people so much credit? I don't know, but seeing Oprah as just one of millions in a crowd thawed my cold dead heart even further, it might even start beating again.

Sunday, November 2, 2008


As a struggling young film director the dire economy and upcoming election make me feel like my future is frightening. I went to see “W.” to get inside the head of a man who has been a joke of a president these last two terms.

I was disappointed with the lack of coverage of the 2000 election in the film. This is Bush’s biggest moment, from abortions and drunken tirades to the White House. Why don’t we see this major turning point for his character?

The large cast of principal characters (mainly Bush’s cabinet) managed to grow and have transitions as people, with the exceptions of Condoleezza Rice and Donald Rumsfeld. Rice served purely as comic relief, Rummy voiceless until his sudden infuriated resignation.

Screenwriter Stanley Weiser perfectly depicted a man who has faced a huge amount of ridicule in a very human way. The Bush we watch is not simply dumb, dyslexic, or even unkind, but full of conviction, naiveté, and a soft heart (besides the killing soldiers and torture thing). Though he is in scenes laughable, eating habits and dialectics aside, this seems part of his nature, nothing purposefully malicious. We don’t get mad at rap stars for never shedding their hood slang. Josh Brolin pulls off Bush by taking his subject’s political strategy "I'm just a normal guy", in his portrayal of the character. I felt compassion for this charmingly pitiful man. The film's commentary on George's presidency, and the overall premise, is that blind conviction leads to botched success.

Though the film’s premise is strong, I wanted resolution to my protagonist’s inner conflict, not a political statement in the end.

-Fury Young

You Have To Peep This

With election day looming, I'm beginning to wonder if I should cop a gun for the crib. Not to be a crunchy hippie and all, but at a time like this, we seriously need something, ANYTHING, to break this tension and crack a smile.

I grabbed this video from (cuz its sweet) and it seems safe to assume this was originally aired on CNN (derf).

I'm not sure where these kids are from or who wrote these genius lyrics, but i think its safe to say T.I. would be proud... and Obama.... and even maybe McCain. Besides, these kids have some fucken bad ass moves.

-Amanda S.