Thursday, July 29, 2004

Three More Nights of Idiocy:
"The other night was typical. By midnight, two women were dancing topless on the creaky old bar, splashing beer over the whooping post-frat-boy crowd, as a buxom blond barmaid hollered, 'Who wants a drink? And who wants to buy me one?'

Those who dove forward to throw their money on the bar were rewarded with a flash of breast.

'Mine are pierced!' yelled another barmaid over the honky-tonk rhythms. And so they were. Elsewhere, a woman invited men to pour their cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon over her, at only $1.75 a pop. Many guys seemed to think it was a bargain. "
[Bye, Bye Bawdy]

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Live Fast. Love Hard. Die Young. Village Idiot, 1994-2004: To be honest I’m still not ready to properly memorialize the Village Idiot. For one thing, it’s not dead yet. It’s got four good nights left. For another, yeah, I'm hungover again.

Anyway, here's the sink where you clean up after using the restroom. I'm going to miss the Idiot.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Another reason we love Karen De Coster:

[Karen De Coster]

Canada Gets Serious About Border Security
The potential dancers have to prove they can dance in the nude, immigration lawyer Mendel Green said yesterday.

"They can't be partially nude," he said. "If they don't have pictures in the nude, they are not going to wiggle their bottoms in Canada."

The Bar You've Been Practicing For: There probably won't be any pretty stories today. After last night's experiments with pills and whiskey, I'm simply too hungover to push any words from my brain to my fingertips, and from there to the keyboard and the interwebby. The words keep getting caught somewhere near my elbows. Ah, well. I'll be doing it all again tonight at the Village Idiot, saying goodbye to the old joint. Probably around happy hour.

In the meantime, here are a couple of links to the closing of the Village Idiot.
The Idiot, labeled "The bar you've been practicing for," has operated in its current location for nine years, and for a few more before that on First Avenue in the East Village. Like all of Mr. McNeil's taverns, it offers a venerable country jukebox, utterly unpleasant restrooms and scantily clad female bartenders with hearts of gold. It's what Mr. McNeil thinks a bar should be.
[As Dive Bar Mogul Takes a Rest, Don't Rule Out Another Round: New York Times.]

I went back to the Village Idiot for one last visit. It was a sleepy Sunday and when I arrived about half a dozen men sat at the bar drinking beer and ogling Michelle, the buxom blonde bartender who was wearing a cowboy hat. Several of the beer taps were out. There was no running water in the toilets. Tiny flies swarmed and scurried about the warped wood of the bar.

Over the bar was posted a large sign notifying its patrons about the bar's upcoming closing. The sign read in part: WE THANK YOU FOR YEARS OF GREAT TIMES -- ESPECIALLY THE ONES WE (AND YOU) ACTUALLY REMEMBER!!
[Greenwich Village Loses Its ‘Idiot’:Knot Magazine.]

Monday, July 26, 2004

Sunday Morning, Coming Up: I order the Curry Up wrap just to be polite. The lads and lasses are demanding food but there is no way I’m going to be able to eat anything in this state. My head is filled with a dulled mess of half-thoughts, regrets and memories of Saturday night. The drinks had started flowing early, and returned often. Mimosas through brunch, followed by the clarifying power of vodka and soda to fill out the afternoon. Welcoming the evening with a new drink we’re calling the Salito for the evening: corona over ice, with lots of lime and a pinch of sea salt. White wine with the lobster bake dinner. Jameson’s Irish Whiskey for desert, and then for everything else at the next two or three bars. My calves hurt from dancing, which is what we called it but we’re sure now it looked a lot more like falling over and jumping around. The last thing I clearly remember is being very happy when the DJ agreed to replay AC/DC’s You Shook Me All Night Long. It was one of those nights.

I’m not really paying attention to my food because I’m watching a woman in the bakery with obscenity diamonds on her hand. Three bands of diamonds plus an enormous three stone engagement ring. She’s pretty but pretty in that way that so many other wealthy women in the Hamptons are pretty—blonde, small, great skin and sparkling eyes but any bit of hell or rebellion that might have existed has long since been overcome by shingled beach houses, tennis, riding lessons and the scent of freshly minted money. For a moment I consider cutting off her diamond laden finger and making a run for it. That would put a bit of the flame of life back into her.

Fortunately, I’m too hung-over to indulge my inner sociopath. My friends are urging us out of the bakery and towards the beachside bar. A band is playing all those songs that bands play when you have sand in between your toes. Jimmy the bartender sets up the Bloody Marys, and soon we’re humming along with the band because we know all these songs, even if we know them against our will.

“Catch anything?” Jimmy asks me.

That’s when I realize I’m carrying my fishing rod. I haven’t been fishing all weekend, so this is a bit surprising. “Uhm, no luck yet.”

“Looks to me like you’ve got the catch of the day,” he says nodding toward the girls who are still willing to hang around with me despite my behavior this weekend. He makes more jokes like this as noon becomes the afternoon and the Marys get Bloodier. He asks if I’ll be fishing later, and I make some lame reply about having already caught my limit. It’s funnier than he knows, but I don’t go in to details.

There’s a guy at the bar who is mumbling and stumbling and sporting an enormous black eye. He’s trying to get Jimmy to serve him a drink but Jimmy keeps giving him water. I lean in to hear what he’s saying.

“The liver is evil,” he says. “It must be punished.”

I understand what he means but that’s not how I feel today. There’s nothing evil in us anymore. Only fire and light and beauty. And about twenty-two ounces of vodka.

Friday, July 23, 2004

More on the Demise of the Village Idiot:
Its secret? According to writer Eddie Goldman, the Village Idiot is a cash bar—lots of Johnny, and no credit cards accepted. Implicit is McNeil's founding principle: Guys like getting shit-faced for cheap, ogling breasts and singing "Why Don't We Get Drunk and Screw?" like it's a mating call.

Here, suits mingle with electricians, frat boys with hipsters, and everyone shoots three-dollar Wild Turkey shots chased by foamy, six-dollar Coors pitchers. The hypercharged stew is kept boiling by buxom women whose finest assets are not making martinis.

At the Idiot, an ever-rotating troupe of navel-baring, sass-mouthed bartenders (no men, natch) serves canned beer beneath dirty bras, lovingly tacked to the wall. They break into spontaneous, bar-top two-steps—then shower patrons with suds and worse. They coyly banter about the Yankees, then Fuck you for not tipping, motherfucker. It is a sadistic charm; masochism means matching patrons, shot for shot.

New York Press.

And the Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth:

[Ed. Isn't it possible that this is fighting the last war? The age of the geek has come and will soon be gone. The future will belong to someone else. Like, uhm, the drunk? Ed. Wishful thinking, MT.]

It's a Sad, Sad World: I've got one of those hangovers where you feel you need to call your friends and apologize for things you don't remember and you want to bury yourself in the the sludge that builds up along the East River after a rain storm to hide from the things that you do remember. What's worse, outdated, girlie pop songs seem to sum up my life right now. Ugh. Someone save me.

I've been a bad, bad girl
I've been careless with a delicate man
And it's a sad, sad world
When a girl will break a boy just because she can

Don't you tell me to deny it
I've done wrong and I want to suffer for my sins
I've come to you 'cause I need guidance to be true
And I just don't know where I can begin

What I need is a good defense
'Cause I'm feeling like a criminal
And I need to be redeemed
To the one I've sinned against
Because he's all I ever knew of love

Heaven help me for the way I am
Save me from these evil deeds before I get them done
I know tomorrow brings the consequence at hand
But I keep living this day like the next will never come

Oh help me but don't tell me to deny it
I've got to cleanse myself of all these lies
'till I'm good enough for him
I've got a lot to lose and I'm bettin' high so I'm begging you
Before it ends just tell me where to begin

What I need is a good defense
'Cause I'm feeling like a criminal
And I need to be redeemed
To the one I've sinned against
Because he's all I ever knew of love

Let me know the way
Before there's hell to pay
Give me room to lay the law and let me go
I've got to make a play
To make my lover stay
So what would an angel say the devil wants to know

What I need is a good defense
'Cause I'm feeling like a criminal
And I need to be redeemed
To the one I've sinned against
Because he's all I ever knew of love

What I need is a good defense
'Cause I'm feeling like a criminal
And I need to be redeemed
To the one I've sinned against
Because he's all I ever knew of love

Thursday, July 22, 2004

When It's Over:

Me: So, uhm, what are we drinking to anyway?

Her: My annulment just came through. Now my marriage never really happened.

Me: That’s a good thing, right? You hate him.

Her: Oh, MT. It’s a shame that you really don’t know anything at all about women. I am furious at him for annulling our marriage, for trying to pretend like it never happened. And now, in the eyes of God, it never did.

Me: You think God approved your annulment? Came down and told some bishop that you were never married? Come on.

Her: Great. So not only did my marriage never happen, now you tell me maybe it really did and if I get married again God will hate me for that.

Me: I give up. I’m just going to sit here and drink with you, okay?

Her: I think the annulment makes me angry because it reminds me that he still exists. I hate hearing about him at parties, about his stupid baseball team just because other people we know play on it. Why can’t he have the common decency to just go away?

Me: Look, you know he can’t do that right. He is still alive, and is going to keep on keeping on. It’s solipsism or histrionics to wish that he’d vanish just because you're through with him.

Her: Yeah. I guess so. But I’m going to go with that. Solipsism is the new black.

Me: Two more Jameson’s on the rocks, please. Make hers a double.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Sunset Drinks at the Gramercy Hotel: Luke clenches his jaw with the determination of a man who is quite proud of his chin.

“Frankly,” he says, “I’m going to write the sequel exactly as I laid it out in the proposal and I don’t give a fuck what the marketing people are saying.”

The sun is setting somewhere in the west. You cannot actually see the horizon from where you’re sitting on the rooftop bar of the Gramercy Hotel but the sky has gone a pale blue with hints of orange. You reduce your gin-and-tonic to ice and lime before speaking again.

“Luke, you know I love what you’re doing right?” you tell. “But people think you’re being a dick about this. I mean, I can’t see why you cannot include at least a few sympathetic women characters. The last one was full of them. The two Mary’s, etcetera.”

“Look, I’m not responsible for meeting some damn politically correct quota. People can read the fucking Jeffery Eugenides or Jonathan Frazen if they want women. Or the fucking new Oprah book club, where they’re reading Madame Ovaries. That’s not the book I’m writing,” Luke says in a tone meant to remind you that wrote the most successful of the Gospels, in part because the others were regarded as a bit too Jewish.

You don’t want to convince Luke that he needs to change Acts. You want to facilitate art, not further the commercialization of publishing. You wonder whether it would have been better to have gone to work for an investment bank and made real money and spent your free time reading literature on the beach in the Hamptons. That way you wouldn’t be actively working to destroy the vision of writers. Do no harm, someone once said. Do no fucking harm.

“Haley!” You call to the hostess. She is tall and almost beautiful, and when you look directly into her green eyes you forget about literature for a moment. “Look. We’re having a problem with our waitress. Can you ask her to get us two more tank and tonics?” She smiles and nods and disappears into the crowd to fetch another pair of thirteen dollar drinks. You definitely should have been an investment banker.

“Okay. I understand the no women part. But maybe we can get a bit creative here. Comment on the lack of good women. You’ve got Sapphia and that bitch who has John killed. Don’t you think it works better if you offset this somehow? I know you, Luke. You’re not a misogynist but what are people going to think?”

“They can think about their fucking own souls rather than worry about mine, okay? I’m not in the business of writing comfort food,” Luke says.

It’s not a bad point. And it is hard to see what women would do in this story anyway. You think about that collection of adventure stories put out by McSweeney’s and cannot recall one woman. You wonder how that sold.

“I guess we could pitch it as an adventure story. There is a sort of buddy thing going on with the narrator and Paul there. Almost like a Hemingway thing.”

The waitress comes to the table with two drinks. You hardly notice her scowl as she puts them down because you’re thinking about the Sun Also Rises. That’s the point: The Son Also Rises. “How about the Jesus character?” you say. “Can we bring him back? He was the heart of the first one. This one is like the Sun Also Rises without Jake Barnes. I mean, think about the potential for pathos—the injured hero returns, perhaps his awful experience has made him doubt himself. Didn’t he have regrets and anger toward the end?”

Luke takes the top off his drink. He catches the lime in his teeth and squeezes it between his teeth, letting the lime juice drip back into his glass. You’ve never seen anyone do this before and have to try not to curl your upper-lip at the sight.

“No. Jesus does not come back. It’s perfectly clear in the first book that when he comes back it is the end of the world. The world didn’t fucking end, right, so Jesus doesn’t come back in Acts.”

“I don’t get it. He died and came back already, right? What’s the problem? I mean, you can still follow around Paul and John and all the rest but Acts lacks a center. And magic. Who’s going to do all the magic if you don’t have Jesus.”

“The other guys can do magic, uhm, miracles now. So we’ll still have magic.”

“Oh, that’s good.” You’re smiling now and trying to remember the proposal you helped Luke put together. At the time you were dating that actress from Oz and doing lots of coke. It seemed brilliant then and now you are remembering why. Lots of magic. Almost at a Harry Potter level. And a bloody ending, gruesome martyrdom stuff. Maybe this would work.

“Luke,” you say. “How about this? During the slow parts, we’ll just have the characters mention Jesus whenever there is nothing else going on. That will tie things back to the Gospel. Just give it some thought.”

“Fine. I’ll think about it. But, in any case, that won’t happen too often.”

Monday, July 19, 2004

Overserved Is Going Away, Again:
I am going to see Black 47 at South Street Seaport this Wednesday, and you should too. The show starts at 6pm and The Damnwells (never heard of them) are opening; so I wouldn't think Black 47 would be starting before 7pm.

Black 47 is always a good show. What better way is there to see one of NYC's best hometown bands than for free at the Seaport? (Also, they’ll have beer there).

Come one, come all. Bring your friends. This is the also the first installment of my going away celebrations. I'm  planning at least one event each week for the next 4 weeks. Attend all 4 and you get a special gift. (Probably in the form 4 enormous hangovers.)

See you there, Overserved.

Now the dawn's comin' up on the Bowery
And you're heartsick and soakin' wet
With your tongue hangin' out for some Irish Rose
You'd sell your soul for a cigarette
"And someday I'm gonna give up this drinkin'
But then maybe someday I'll win the lottery too
Then I'll go back home to old Wexford Town
And paint her 40 shades off blue"

Friday, July 16, 2004

Much Ado and a Don’t:  Went to see the latest Shakespeare in the Park production recently.  After seeing every show for the last six years, I’m convinced that the comedies work better than the tragedies or histories in  Central Park’s outdoor Delacorte Theater.  The air of summer nights calls out for laughter, especially if you bring along a bottle of wine to drink on the lawn before the show, and another to drink during intermission. 
(Actually, I should offer a word of caution about drinking around the Delacorte.  The lines for the restrooms are horrendous, and if you don’t have a strong bladder you might want to exercise an extra measure of moderation.)
Nevertheless, I didn’t expect to like this production of Much Ado About Nothing.  The lead roles are played by two actors who I don’t really care for--Kristen Johnston (of the horrendous Third Rock from the Sun) plays Beatrice, the Cybil Shepherd in Moonlighting character, and Jimmy Smits (who was the worst partner Sipowitz ever had) plays Benedick, the Bruce Willis character.  I also dislike Sam Waterston (Leonato, the play’s patriarch) and was skeptical that his daughter was cast as his daughter.  It was set in nineteen-nineteen Italy, which seemed weird and arbitrary.
Somehow it all worked.  Smits was very funny, and now I know why I hated his NYPD character—he was to serious by half.  His talent is clearly comedy, and the sort of over-the-top, physical comedy that made Chevy Chase funny when Chevy Chase was funny.  Johnston was great as well.  Every line of Shakespeare’s that was meant to be funny was actually funny when she spoke it, which is no small feat.  The setting allowed for modernish dress, pushing distracting Elizabethean era costumes out of the way, without updating it so much that the outrage at the brides alleged infidelity was implausible.  And the costumes were stylish.  I’m going to buy a Tom Wolfe white suit this weekend.
With apologies to Charles Bukowski, there was something about the audience that was exactly right.  The Delacorte draws a younger crowd than is typical for big-time theater, and the laughter of pretty girls in summer is one of God’s greatest gifts to man.

After the show I walked east toward Fifth Avenue, and along the way a small piece of shiny piping caught my eye.  It looked like something that had fallen off a bicycle.  Long ago in college I once gave a Villanova girl a piece of lead pipe which she wore on her finger until she got engaged and her husband insisted she lose the "ring" before the wedding.  It was the memory of this story that convinced me to pick up the piece of junk.  It was golden—made of a series of shiny yellow bands connected in some way.  It was a very ugly ring that reminded me of a miniature Chinese finger torture game.  If not for the memory of the Villanova girl I probably would have flung it into the pond.
Turns out that it is not just golden; it is gold.  Engraved into one edge is the word BVLGARI.  I figured it was a fake and brought it to the Bulgari store.  They told me they sell the ring for $1,100.  It’s ugly as all get out but, you know, cha-ching.  Gadanga.  Hooo-ah.  Whatever.  Money. 

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Awfully Appropriate, Actually:  I'm not proud to say that I'm the number one eleven google hit for "worst ways to dump your girlfriend".
Update: Thanks Uch.  Not as bad as it seemed.

The End of an Idiotic Era: More reports coming in on the impending closing of the Village Idiot.

First, an interview with Jen, Idiot bartender for an unbelievable six years. Hard to believe any living creature could survive in those conditions for that long.

Second, Page Six interviews Tommy McNeil, who seems oddly sober and coherent.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Well, that about settles tonight's dinner plans, doesn't it? Woke up this morning feeling almost human for the first time since last Thursday. Looks like I might not just fade to black and cease to exist after all.

The serialization of The Great Gatsby has been terrifically helpful. This should go on all the time. Much easier to read novels as bits of newsprint than lug around books on the morning commute only to lose them in the gin mills late at night. Also, the Times is printing Gatsby beautifully, with wide columns and large type, in a tabloid format. Perfecto.

This sentence reminded of one of the hottest women fortune ever threw in my path: "there was an immediately perceptible vitality about her as if the nerves of her body were continually smouldering." This woman shook when you held her, quivered as if nothing could contain the energies that flowed through her veins. But maybe it was just the drugs.

Fortunately, I didn't throw away the rest of the paper this morning. Otherwise I might have missed the article on minimally marked-up wines at NYC restuarants. Turns out Mermaid Inn adds a straight fifteen dollars to all its wines, which means the better wine you order the less the mark-up. Even better, Landmarc (which replaced my beloved Independent) has 1989 Krug for $165. Mmmm.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Dancing in the Streets:

Went to a party near the UN last night. Strong drinks and Moroccans mix very well aparently. Turns out one of my friends has decided to invest in a young designer who is going out on his own and who has already thrown his clothes over the skinny rump of Nicole Kidman.

The only other thing I remember is the news that next Saturday there is some called a Public Urban Ritual Experience (PURE), which involves dozens of dancers and precussionists dancing from the cube at Astor Place to Union Square, then through subways and around the World Trade Center Site, past the New York Stock Exchange, to Battery Park. There's a party afterwards at Tagine Dining Gallery, where they serve the best Moroccan cuisine in New York.


Monday, July 12, 2004

The Superfluous Man: The best book you’ve never read is Mikhail Lermontov’s A Hero of Our Time. Lermontov arose to fame in Russia after the publication of his poem “The Poet’s Death,” written shortly after the death of Pushkin in a duel. A collection of his work would be slim—a few hundred lyrics, two narrative poems and Hero. He died in a duel at twenty-six, beating Pushkin to the grave by eleven years. Toward the end of Hero, the narrator discusses the possibility of dying with his doctor.
“Forgive me, but don’t you have friends to whom you would send a final word?”

I shook my head.

“Do you mean there isn’t a woman on earth to whom you would like to leave something in memory?”

“Would you like me doctor,” I answered him, “to bare my soul to you? You see, I’ve outlived those years when men die uttering their beloved’s name and bequeathing to a friend a tuft of pomaded or unpomaded hair. When I think about possible imminent death, I think about myself alone; other people don’t do even this. The friends who will forget me tomorrow, or, worse, impute God knows what fairy tales to my account, the women who, while embracing another man, will laugh at me…never mind them! From life’s storm I have taken only a few ideas—and not one emotion. I have lived by my wits, not my heart. I weigh and analyze my own passions and actions with strict curiosity but without attachment. There are two men in me: one lives in the full sense of the word, the other thinks and judges him. The first may in an hour say goodbye to you and the world forever, while the second…the second? Look, doctor. Do you see the three black figures on that cliff on the right? These must be our opponents.”

We set off on a trot.
These are the words of a man who has grown deeply disillusioned by life, joined the ranks of Eugene Onegin and others of that type called by literature professors "the Byronic hero." A phrase I originally heard from Albert Jay Nock, the Superfluous Man, turns out to have been coined by Turgenev in a short story and perfectly describes Lermontov’s narrator: a man who is out of place in the world, who has stepped off the main path and can no longer play any practical part in society.

Hero is a young man’s book, basically a foreign adventure story, and to young men the outlook Superfluous Men seems like wisdom. Wracked by biologically induced emotions, uncertainty of purpose, relentless boredom and pressures to conformity, the Superfluous Man appears to be the most noble of characters, one who confronts inescapable suffering with an attitude of detachment and individualism that amounts to triumph.

But Lermontov’s Hero is more than this. The unanswered question toward the end of the narrator’s speech points toward a problem, an incompleteness, with the Superfluous Man. “There are two men in me: one lives in the full sense of the word, the other thinks and judges him. The first may in an hour say goodbye to you and the world forever, while the second…the second?” What does the second man say while the first says goodbye? Silence is the answer in Hero, as we’re quickly trotted off this question and into the coming confrontation.

What’s behind this silence? What thoughts and judgments? It's on rain soaked days like today, days where I need brightness desperately but have nothing but darkness and grey, that I start to suspect I know why the second voice gives no answer in the Hero. I think the silence masks a mourning that is almost impossible to articulate. Almost, but not quite, because the closest I have come to such an articulation comes from Lermontov's hero Pushkin, in the words Tatiana writes in her letter to Eugene Onegin:
I write to you--what would one more?
What else is there that I could say?
'Tis now, I know, within your will
to punish me with scorn.
But you, for my unhappy lot
keeping at least one drop of pity,
you'll not abandon me.
At first, I wanted to be silent;
believe me: of my shame
you never would have known
if I had had the hope,
even seldom, even once a week,
to see you at our country place,
only to hear your speeches,
to say a word to you, and then
to think and think about one thing,
both day and night, till a new meeting.
But, they say, you're unsociable;
in backwoods, in the country, all bores you,
while we...with nothing do we glitter
thought simpleheartedly we welcome you.

Why did you visit us?
In the backwoods of a forgotten village,
I would have never known you
nor have known bitter torment.
The tumult of an inexperienced soul
having subdued with time (who knows?)
I would have found a friend after my heart,
have been a faithful wife
and a virtuous mother.

Another!...No, to nobody on earth
would I have given my heart away!
That has been destined in a higher council
that is the will of heaven: I am thine;
my entire life has been the gage
of a sure tryst with you;
I know, you're sent to me by God,
you are my guardian to the tomb....
You had appeared to me in dreams,
unseen, you were already dear to me,
your wondrous glance pervaded me with languor,
your voice resounded in my soul
long since... No, it was not a dream!

Scarcely had you entered, instantly I knew you,
I felt all faint, I felt aflame,
and in my thoughts I uttered: It is he!
Is it not true that it way you I heard:
you in the stillness spoke to me
when I would help the poor
or assuage with a prayer
the yearning of my agitated soul?

And at this very moment
was it not you, dear vision,
that slipped through the transparent darkness,
softly bent close to my bed head?
Was it not you that with joy and love
words of hope whispered to me?
Who are you? My guardian angel
or a perfidious tempter?
Resolve my doubts.
Perhaps, 'tis nonsense all,
an inexperienced soul's delusion,
and some quite different thing is destined...

But so be it! My fate
henceforth I place into you hands,
before you I shed tears,
for your defense I plead.
Imagine: I am here alone,
none understands me,
my reason is breaking down,
and, silent, I must perish.
I'm waiting for you: with a single look
revive my heart's hopes,
or interrupt the heavy dream,
alas, with a deserved rebuke!

I close! I dread to read this over.
I'm fait with shame and fear...
But to me your honor is a pledge,
and boldly I entrust myself to it.
That is all.

Friday, July 09, 2004

Friday Morning Update: In my continuing ascent toward asceticism via the road of Jameson's Irish Whisky, I managed to shed my cell phone last night. I'm pretty sure it's somewhere between that lower east side bar in which I was poisoning myself last night and that Washington Square Park bench that looked so cozy at quarter to five.

Well, it's nice to know that this is becoming a regular thing. If I ran into you last night, you should be ashamed. Don't you people have any decency? Really. One of us has got to be adult about this relationship and it's clearly not going to be me.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Sienna Miller, Not Quite a Hilton But Still Not Safe for Work:
Page Six plugs the new issue of W. with some juicy quotes from Jude Law's girlfriend, Sienna Miller, including her reaction to being called an "It" girl: "Do I look like a [bleep]ing Hilton sister?...Yeah, and check me out on the Internet having sex. The fact is I'd rather be at home cooking."

We're glad Jude's found himself a Stepford-wives type, the kind who likes too cook, clean, and have hot lesbian sex on horseback. [That's the nsfw link. Duh.] Much classier than those Hilton sisters.

[Page Six via Gawker, of course]

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

The Meatpacking District Eats Its Parents:

"For all fans of dive bars and bathrooms that smell like puke, take note. The Village Idiot is about to close for a second time. It was originally on First Avenue. Ten years ago it moved to its current location. Come September 1, it will be gone for good," writes Kevin Fitzpatrick of NYCBP.com.
This has long been in the cards. The Wild Turkey and PBR drenched Idiot is a wild-eyed drunk in the recently tamed meatpacking district. Still, the Idiot's long-served as one of the best places to get falling down drunk in New York City, a haven of honest vice and filth in our increasingly polished metropolis. It will be missed.

Update: Someone has already written an 800-word elegy for the Village Idiot.

"Drinking at the Idiot meant that you had a certain philosophy of life. You did not feel guilty spending as little on as much beer as you could, wearing as unfashionable and raggedy clothes as you had, reveling in as dilapidated a dive bar as was imaginable and yet still allowed to remain open. It was always Anti-Fashion Week at the Village Idiot, and it was not for Barbie Doll-types."
Days are numbered for the Village Idiot--NYCBP.COM.

The Village Idiot Bartenders page on NYCBP.COM.

Pictures of Nights at the Idiot

What happened to the Meatpacking District

Scenes from Independence Day: Six of us enter the small saloon on the harbor. It's a small, dark place that smells like burnt nicotine, hops and the sea. The girls push dollars into the jukebox, and before long the sounds of last summer's songs fill the bar. (This summer's songs are too new to have found their way into the jukeboxes of this kind of dive.)

I'm at the bar, ordering drinks. Jameson's Irish Whisky for lads, with beer chasers. Mandarin and soda with limes for the girls. There are a half-dozen or so salty drinkers bellied up the bar. I hear the two next to me grumbling about "summer people." They aren't happy that we've invaded their bar and filled it with bass, beats and non-melodious vocals. I ask the barmaid to open a couple of bottles of beer for them. They nod their heads at my peace offering but hardly look any happier about our presence.

It only takes three more rounds of whisky and vodka and seven or eight songs to change this. Now the girls are on the tables, kicking their legs out from under their pleated skirts, singing along to the songs. The old fisherman are smiling from the bar, and I imagine they're thinking that we're not so bad afterall.

We've all got our sunglasses on because the blindness makes us feel somehow less visible, more anonymous, less vulnerable. Booze, shades and music: these are our ring of Ganges, allowing us to ignore the requirements of civilization. One of the fisherman reaches into his breast pocket and pulls out his own sunglasses. A moment later he's wearing his sunglasses in the dark, dancing alongside us, a part of our fraternity of immortal, beyond good and evil, rockstar decadants.

I guess I shoulda known
By the way u parked your car sideways
That it wouldn't last

See you're the kinda person
That believes in makin' out once
Love 'em and leave 'em fast

Little Red Corvette is our last song. We climb down from the tables, take down our last swallows, and stumble out into the night. The sky is full of stars and tonight, right now, the stars are telling us that we are young, we are beautiful and we've been right all along.

Friday, July 02, 2004

When I sober up this will seem much less funny. “The world is a sad and beautiful place,” a nineteen year old Polish girl once told me. This is what I was thinking when I woke up at 12:45 this afternoon, only I put it slightly differently: “Holy Fuck!”

I crawled to the tiny ball of pin striped wool that once was my charcoal Paul Stuart suit, and rummaged through my pockets for evidence of crimes or miracles.

Leather money clip. Check.

No cash.

No credit cards or identification.

No card holder.

Cell phone. Check.

ATM receipt: 3:35 a.m. $122. 145 First Avenue.

Taxi receipt. Start 5:30 am. End 5:35 am. $6.50.

None of this makes any sense. How did I pay the cab driver if I had no money? Did I have exact change? Did I give him a $115.50 tip? Would he have given me a receipt if I didn’t pay him at all? What did I do between 3:35 and 5:35?

Not too worried about the cards. Bills are so overdue that none of them work anyway. But I suspect I had a very good time last night. It would be nice if someone would bring me up to speed about what I missed.

Fuck it, then. If I can't have an empire, what good is this blog anyway?

"Elizabeth Spiers, a former editor at Gawker.com who recently moved to New York Magazine, is currently working on a novel about her experiences working on Wall Street.

'A lot of people will blog because they want to write and they want some audience feedback. That's why I did it,' Spiers said. 'It's a good small business, but it's not something you can turn into a media empire."

Blogging fuels cottage industry