Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Best Way to Get the Ball Rolling

A couple weeks ago a friendly bookshelf on 41st Street lent me a great looking book and I started it and then I realized that it was 600 pages long. I didn't feel I had it in me to read something that long right then, so I borrowed some shorter books from a friendly bookshelf on 2nd Street. Thanks to these winners, I'm now well on my way to conquering "Illywhacker" by Peter Carey.

"Great Jones Street" by Don DeLillo I like DeLillo, I've read several of his books, and he's really got his own style and way of doing things that I admire (for example, it seems he likes to spend the first 100 pages of most of his books just introducing the main character and what they do on a usual day.) In "Great Jones Street", DeLillo seems to be channeling Pynchon (not a bad thing at all) and the result is a story that resembles the domestic half of "V." told in the much smaller space taken by the much shorter "The Crying of Lot 49." "Great Jones Street" is the tale of a rockstar in the 70s who retreats from his tour to an apartment on Great Jones Street in New York City and gets caught up in a drug-development conspiracy. (For Your Informations: Great Jones Street is 3rd Street between Broadway and Bowery, and 3rd Street is the street that I live on, and Broadway is three blocks east of my place) If I owned "Great Jones Street" my copy would be full of underlinings and notations, as the book is full of choice cleverness and ideas, and, as it takes place in a neighborhood I'm familiar with but back when it was a different place entirely, it's quite interesting on a historical/anthropological level. Stay tuned for a photo-album dedicated to modern day Great Jones Street.

"After the Quake" by Haruki Murakami Haruki Murakami is another author I'm fairly familiar with, I was on a Murakami-reading streak for a while before I got a little tired of solitary protagonists cooking noodles and listening to jazz until they have quiet sex with quiet girls and then smoke and think about their childhoods. With this collection of short stories, Murakami breaks from his typical solitary hero mold (most of the time) as he examines the lives of various people after the 1995 Kobe earthquakes. I don't know where Murakami gets his ideas for stories, and I don't mean this in a "oh, they're so creative!" way (with the exception of "Super Frog Saves Tokyo" which is so creative and probably the most immediately enjoyable of these stories) I mean it in the "who would've thought to write a story about a menopausal Japanese doctor who goes swimming a lot in Thailand and thinks about her ex-husband a little? Well, no matter where he gets his stories from, Murakami really knows how to tell them and they're as satisfying as an understated sushi lunch.

Best Way to Keep Down Property Values

Out of control success has caused briggie.blogspot to become one of the hottest up and coming neighborhoods of the moment. Property values in "BrigBlo" are expected to hit the very fashionable $1000/sq. foot mark by the end of the season, turning the website into just another neighborhood to have become too pricey for the residents that made it so cool in the first place. Not that I have anything against trustafari, (in fact, I'd love to meet more), but in an effort to stabilize rents around here I'm going to be including crap content from time to time, the sort of stuff we all sort of dread finding in our inboxes, but nevertheless still provide us with temporary escapes. For example, below you'll find one of those "about me" surveys you're always supposed to fill out and mail back. I tried to answer it as seriously and briefly as possible, but you know that's a problem for me. If the mood hits you, why not copy it and post your own answers in the comments section? There's a prize for the best final answer.

About Brigham
Favorite Color: Judging from my clothes, it looks like blue, black, red, and, er, pink.
Worst Color: My sister used to always say her favorite color was “indigo”, and I always thought that was ridiculous of her, she wouldn’t have even known what indigo was were it not for the Indian girl by that name on Rainbow Brite. What is indigo, anyway?
Favorite food: Real tacos al pastor straight off a Mexico City street vendor, Tostadas de Tinga at the Garavito’s house, Pork Shoulder in Coconut Milk with a variety of Thai garnishes at Pete and Hannahs
Worst food: A pile of peas.
Best characteristic in another person: Decisiveness, having a plan, being chill, laughing really hard at "Budonkadonk"
Worst characteristic in another person: Presumptiveness, jackassedness, chronic tardiness
Favorite place to visit: Barcelona, the Lower East Side, Downey Idaho
Worst place visited: The 30’s between 8th and Park Avenues.
Your best characteristic: I roll with the punches and can teach kids not to be afraid of snakes.
Best memory: Dropping from a 1:06.66 to a 1:02.75 at Sectionals to qualify for state in the 100 Breast my Junior year of high school, negative splitting and placing 3rd in the 200 Breast at Summer State the next year. Playing in the pool with this kid named Karl. Getting my LSAT score. Getting over a 99% on a pathology exam.
Worst memory: Maybe in 3rd grade when I tried to block a shot in scooter-hockey and instead knocked it into the goal and the teacher had to sit everyone down and tell them to stop yelling at me while I tried to stop crying
Biggest fear: Underwater creatures, singing in public
Best book: “Ulysses” (Joyce), “Cat’s Cradle” (Vonnegut), “V.” (Pynchon), “The Broom of the System” (Wallace), “Training in Christianity” (Kierkegaard), “Lolita” (Nabokov).
Worst book: Of the books I’ve stuck all the way through with, “A Thing or Two About Curtis and Camilla” by Mr. Full of Himself
Best movie: “Iron Giant,” “Wings of Desire,” “Can’t Hardly Wait,” “Dr. Strangelove”
Worst movie: There are so many of them.
Best cd/song: Velvet Underground’s third album (“Velvet Underground”), “Pump up the Volume” by Marrs, I sure listen to “Turn on the Bright Lights” and “Fever to Tell” a whole lot. “Hypnotize” by the Notorious B.I.G.
Worst cd/song: It makes me no friends, but I can’t stand Outkast, especially that “Roses” song.
Great thing about the person who sent this to you: Her smarts and her shoes.


That wasn't so bad, was it? A brilliant backlog of content from the weekend shall be posted shortly.

Friday, June 25, 2004

Best Secret Mission Ever

Tomorrow morning I'm headed off on a secret mission for the record books (some of you know what it is, some of you don't). It's quite possible, and extremely likely, that Steady Mobbin' will be without fresh content until Wednesday the 30th. If you need something great to last until then, may I suggest (again) that you read "The Smoker."

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Best Coincidence of the Week

So, everyone's at the park tonight because the weather is better than perfect and it turns out that if you're a law student and you're at the park, you'll be wearing red, because that's what Ajay, Jeff, and I were doing. Swear it wasn't planned.

I put up a new album at shutterfly (login is my email, password is "pictures") where you'll see that (among other things) 1) I completely forgot to say that I spent Saturday afternoon at East River Park with Lisa Howie (from High School) watching Clem Snide 2) Today I saw ANOTHER Rolls Royce Phantom. Geeze. What are these things, the new H2s?

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Bringing Back the Rock

This weekend I got a well-deserved email from a close friend and dear reader chastising me (quite deservedly) for the completely non-rock content of Steady Mobbin’. As he so eloquently said himself:

rock n' roll was there for you when you were young and rock n' roll will be there when you're old. rock n' roll made you what you are toady and it can break you in four-beats time. I suggest you pay due to rock n' roll before it thinks you take it for granted and leaves you for good.

My only excuse is that I haven’t been going to many rock shows or buying many CDs ever since I started this site, but those excuses need excuses themselves. So, in an effort to get my life straight, here’s my first half-rockin’ collection of rock n roll tidbits.

-Lollapalooza 2004 has been cancelled. The press release is great, you can really feel Perry and Company trying to lay the guilt on us, the consumers, for not jumping all over this present they had prepared for us. While the lineup was spectacular, especially considering it had featured New York’s only dose of the Pixies regrouping, nothing short of a real Eastcoast Coachella could make me want to spend two days at a music festival. Here’s hoping the Pixies come over soon.

-Interpol has finished their second record (“Antics”!) and now all we have to do is wait until September 28th to get it. (Check their site for details and track listings. Nice names, but where are Obstacle 3 and Obstacle 4?) Don’t get me started on how much I dig Turn on the Bright Lights (props to Pitchforkmedia for making it their Best Album of 2002). It’s my number one favorite middle of the night record (I can’t imagine what it’s like to listen to during the day.) Along with Fever to Tell and Original Pirate Material, it’s one of the records that I keep reaching into my ipod for while I haven’t even listened to the new Wilco all the way through more than once, let alone the Secret Machines record (which I really only got because I dig that song of theirs that sounds like the Flaming Lips/Chemical Brothers song “The Golden Path” except a whole lot louder). You know how first the Backstreet Boys were all popular, and N*Sync seemed like lame copies, but then the Backstreet Boys fell off and N*Sync took over? And how, at first, Ricky Martin was el caca, and Enrique Iglesias was nothing, then Ricky went bust and now Enrique is the guy? That’s how I feel it’s going to be with the Strokes (whose teat I never quite took to anyway) and Interpol. I’m expecting that soon the kids will be saying “Room on Fire, what? Antics, all right!”

-What if someone made a record called “Yankee Hotel Cockrock”? That’d be hilarious.

-Saturday I got tickets for the Streets in a week. I wasn’t able to get tickets to the Hives, which is too bad, because I had a whole post already planned in my head where I’d be all like “2002 nostalgia gripped Irving Plaza last night when a sell-out crowd turned out to pay tribute to the Swedish Invasion that drove us all wild so long ago.” Apparently 2002 nostalgia has already gripped New York a little too hard.

-Actually, I might have a concert review tomorrow night if I decide to brave the line at Mercury Lounge to see the Killers (should be killer . . . I mean, crazy). Is there even time to get the jump on this Killers thing, or are they already all Franz Ferdinanded out?

Sunday through Tuesday Miscellany

As illustrated above, Sunday afternoon was celebrated atop the Young home in good company. Despite my best efforts to ruin everything, everyone, even I, had a good time.

Super-luxury automobiles are the new celebrities. On my way to the East Village on Monday (see the following paragraph for details on that) I saw my first ever Rolls Royce 2004 Phantom on the road (for the record, I’ve seen three Maybachs in the city so far). The sucker (absolutely enormous) was parked in front of Il Mulino, the Village’s most mysterious and hard-to-see-inside-of restaurant. Tuxedoed waiters loaded tray after tray of food into the saloon’s (it’s not a sedan, dude, it’s a saloon). The ride didn’t have plates yet, so I’m thinking it’s not impossible that its proud new owner was bringing home some serious takeout to celebrate his new $320,000 set of wheels.

Seduced by a newspaper article promising me the incomparable Sarah Silverman (a media lie [perhaps an error, at best] that drew plenty of people to the club), I went to Eating It at the Luna Lounge on Ludlow last night with Pete & Hannah and Visitor, who I’m pretty sure was named Patrick. Eating It is a weekly comedy showcase of fairly big-name talent who, for some reason, choose to come down to this bar and perform short sets for very cheap (even cheaper when the guy at the door turns out to be Pete and Hannah’s neighbor). “Eating It” is comedian talk for bombing, but in the case of this show, “Eating It” means “Putting forth a little effort, but not trying incredibly hard.” The comedians we saw – Ted Alexandro, Laura Kightlinger (I’ve been a fan of her’s for a while), Ed Helms (Daily Show guy), and Patton Oswalt – all told some funny jokes, but also managed to complain a bit about the long days they just had filming things for Comedy Central or whatnot. Even worn-out, they remained plenty funny, and, for those keeping track, the hot jokes right now seem to be all about the Chinese, the Mentally Handicapped (“retarded”), and Ronald Regan’s corpse.

On the sociological tip, it was an odd crowd that filled the Luna Lounge last night, there was a dude pushing 7’ and a girl coming up short of 5’ (pretty much satisfying my need to understand what Rachel Owlglass from Pynchon’s “V” looks like), and my joke-companions and I somehow wound up encircled by a band of East Eggers slumming it for a night, all that was lacking were tennis rackets and sweaters tied around the shoulders. Lower East Hamptons, perhaps?

Tuesday. Check this first sentence of a brief I read today at work:

“COMES NOW, the defendant-movant, xxxxx xxxxx, and moves this Court for an Order, denying petitioner Essex County short notice relief on the grounds that there are no emergent conditions which would cause petitioner to suffer immediate and irreparable
damage necessitating short notice relief . . .”

Call me a loser, but it reminds me of the first line of Finnigans Wake:

“riverrun, past Eve and Adam’s, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs.”

Tonight, after passing it on various occasions, suspicious that it might be good, I finally found out that El Maguey y La Tuna on Houston is a great restaurant. Good Mexican in Manhattan unearthed! Also found out that Napoleon Dynamite (or “Nappy-D” as I wish it were called) holds up quite well on its second viewing. Coming home I passed some guy I’ve seen on cable before, but I’m not even going to look him up on imdb because I’m sick and tired of celebrities following me around all the time. Why don’t they just get out of my life and shut up?

Best Sign of Editorial Consistency

Looking over many of my previous posts and reviews, I’ve noticed I tend to take a highly subjective, lookin’-down-my-nose, overly-critical of things that are pretty good approach, yet I often act overwhelmed by very simple, decent things. As I set out to review David Sedaris’ latest, “Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim”, I see that I’m not about to change anything. Why? Because “Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim” is a very good book, but I’m not going to come off as overly positive about it.

At this point, despite meeting people all the time who have never heard of David Sedaris, I’m going to say that dude is a literary superstar, almost practically a household name, depending on the household. And for the households that know their Sedaris, there aren’t any surprises to be found in “Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim”—especially when you consider that every single essay in this collection has already been published in a major magazine like GQ, Esquire, or the New Yorker (it’s possible that one or two of the essays in the book haven’t been published before, but I’m writing from my bed, and the book is over on my desk, clearly there is no time or space for fact-checking.) If there’s a work of Sedaris’ that “Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim” resembles most closely, it’s “Holidays on Ice”, because both are collections of previously available material collected by theme (“Holidays on Ice” is about Christmas, “Dress Your Family . . . “ is 85% about Sedaris’ family.) Sure Sedaris’ other collections (and I realize that “collections” is a word that means something) were of mostly previously available material, but Mr. Sedaris wasn’t such a superstar until “Me Talk Pretty One Day” caught everyone’s attention.

I don’t mean to ruin this whole party, there is definitely some very, very funny stuff in this book. Yeah, that was me on the PATH train laughing out loud and closing the book for a moment to regain myself, but in the cold, cool land of the internet critic which I inhabit when I write, a good time on public transportation is hard to recreate in my mind and I’m left with nothing but a lot of “ehh” about this book. Read it yourself, if you’ve got the time, or give it to someone who has never done Sedaris, they’ll probably think it’s really great.

Saturday, June 19, 2004

Best Excuse to Go Down on Subway Tracks

If that was my basketball, I'd have gotten it back.

"Best Play Ever, Man!"

Last night I wound up watching the Terminal in Brooklyn Heights before wandering DUMBO looking for food that was eventually found back in Brooklyn Heights. Regarding the Terminal: sometimes you've just got to admit that Steven Spielberg knows how to make a movie and that Tom Hanks knows how to be in movies. But, in case you haven't figured it out yet, the thing to be loved about the Terminal is that it features Kumar Pallana in his biggest movie role ever. Watching every scene that he was in, it really made me long for my roommates and associates from the Avenues (back in my posh Provo dwelling days.)

Here's a great interview with Mr. Pallana, I was so excited to find it and post it that I haven't really even read it yet.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Celebrities: Not Even Making Me Try Anymore

It's getting too easy. How about I go stand in a corner and count to 200 this time and you famous folk can take extra-long to hide. Yesterday there was some sort of event at NYU that I walked by on my way to catch the train to the park to see Madame Butterfly.
As you can see, Al Franken (whose Saturday Night Live work I've always really admired) was there, as was Peter Boyle (the dad on Everybody Loves Raymond, but I had to go to to figure that out), and so was Uma Thurman, who is all blonde hair, bronze skin, and bone. Uma's a fast walker, and not much of a kneel and talker, so Franken is my best photo and I didn't even really try for Mr. Boyle. You know how it is, I don't watch sitcoms much.

Above the flash-lit silver haired guy, that's Uma Thurman's skeletal head making its way into the Skirball Center.

Best-kept Non-Secret in New York

Forget the fenced in views at street level, if you really want to see all of Ground Zero, ride the PATH train. As it pulls into the WTC station, the train makes a slow, eerie, Disney Jungle Cruise-like circle through the site. You can always tell who is coming into the station for the first time from the dropping of jaws and rushing to the windows, not that it doesn't startle old-timers like myself either.

Better Painted Truck of the Week?

Parked in front of my building, this might be better than some dumb dwarves.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Best Man Won?

I'm so glad the Pistons beat the Lakers. Not that I watched a minute of a game or even really realized that the Finals were on. While it isn't that I have much love for Detroit, I'm always just happy to see Southern California taken down a notch, and I'm glad Karl Malone's little "two year mission" has been 50% a failure so far, and, most importantly, one of the creepiest things I ever saw was my roommate Brad's overjoyous reaction to the Lakers' 2002 victory. I'm just happy to know that somewhere out there last night, Brad wasn't running around the block, cackling and high-fiving himself and shouting for joy.

Best Holiday for People who Like Acting All Smart

One hundred years ago today, James Joyce and Nora Barnacle took a walk together in Dublin. Ever the romantic, Joyce chose to immortalize the date of his first outing with Nora by setting Ulysses, the story of a single day in Dublin as experienced by Stephen Dedalus and Mr. Leopold Bloom, on June 16, 1904, a date celebrated amongst devotees of Joyce’s as “Bloomsday.” I don’t know that I want to describe myself as a devotee of Joyce’s or as celebrating Bloomsday, but I do believe Ulysses to be the finest book I’ve ever read, and, until I read anything better, I’ll consider it the greatest literary work ever created by the hand of man alone.

At first I had written well over 1,000 words on Ulysses with quotes from secondary sources and everything, but I couldn’t even stand proofreading the post, let alone expect anyone to want to read it. So, instead, I’m just going to memorialize 100 years of June 16ths with some of my favorite quotes from Ulysses. While their strength and (at times) beauty are severely weakened by pulling them from their proper context in the book, I still hope you like them and I’d like to go on the record as to have said that I don’t believe that one will have fully enjoyed their mortal existence if they don’t take the time and make the effort to read Ulysses.

“Time shocked rebounds, shock by shock. Jousts, slush, and uproar of battles, the frozen deathspew of the slain, a shout of spear spikes baited with men’s bloodied guts.” (pg.32)

“The carcass lay on his path. He stopped, sniffed, stalked round it, brother, nosing closer, went round it, sniffing rapidly like a dog all over the dead dog’s bedraggled fell. Dogskull, dogsniff, eyes on the ground, moves to one great goal. Ah, poor dogsbody. Here lies poor dogsbody’s body.” (pg. 46) (It needs to be said that this is a description of a dog sniffing a dead dog, not an Irishman sniffing a dead dog.)

“A soft qualm regret, flowed down his backbone, increasing. Will happen, yes. Prevent. Useless: can’t move. Girl’s sweet light lips. Will happen too. He felt the flowing qualm spread over him. Useless to move now. Lips kissed, kissing kissed. Full gluey woman’s lips.” (pg. 67)

“(Closeclutched swift swifter with glareblareflare scudding they scootlootshoot lubering by. Baraabum!!)” (pg. 578)

And, for me, this last quote is just about the best bunch of words ever put together by man:

“What spectacle confronted them when they, first the host, then the guest, emerged silently, doubly dark, from obscurity by a passage from the rere of the house into the penumbra of the garden?
The heaventree of stars hung with humid nightblue fruit.” (pg. 698)

I wrote these paragraphs on the 12th floor terrace of my apartment building on 3rd street in Greenwich Village with the sun setting and the day’s heat cooling off. I hope this post to be the stuffiest and most self-indulgent I ever put up on Steady Mobbin’, and I will make every effort to getting back to my typical nonsense as soon as possible.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Best Last Post of the Night

Seriously, I've never had so much content I've wanted to post before bed. But, as I'll probably spend tomorrow writing Wednesday's post, this is all you're getting for a little while.

Tonight the Uptown and Downtown factions of the 3rd Ward set aside their differences and came together to enjoy Broadway Under the Stars at Bryant Park. A few pictures are up in an album at shutterfly(as always, login is my email and password is "pictures")(and might I add that I feel these photos have some of my best captions ever). Since the NYC scheduled the event to start at 8:30, I actually didn't catch a single song (see following paragraphy for why) but I'm sure it was great and that my girl Sutton Foster nailed her number. Perhaps I'll watch Saturday at 7 on Channel 2?

Anyway, I left Bryant Park early to go see the Lebanese/French film "The Kite" at Lincoln Center (info is down the page a bit). It was truly an excellent film, and, for fear of tarnishing something great with my inability to be serious, let me just say that it was better than Titanic and My Big Fat Greek Wedding combined. Yeah, that good. But seriously, with so many dreary films being made about dire situations around the world, it was such a relief to see a film that was able to address a serious topic that I know too little about and retain its heart and a sense of humor. (You really ought to click on that link to find out what the movie's about, 'cuz I'm not going to write a plot synopsis, it's 1 in the morning, afterall). The Kite will be playing once more on Thursday night, I strongly recommend seeing it instead of Garfield.

Steady Mobbin' Story of the Month Club

Book after book and magazine after magazine and link after link are explored to find tales of the quality found in this story here. It's called "The Smoker" by David Schickler, it comes from a collection of stories called "Kissing in Manhattan" (which I first picked up thinking it was an instruction manual, but that's neither here nor there.) Anyway, if you love yourself at all, you'll print this up, sit somewhere comfortable, and read it once or twice. It's got that certain something that makes literacy really worth it, and can be dismissed as either a piece of light entertainment or an examination of the horror of being able to possess that which you most desire (disciples of Kierkegaard are welcome to consider it lightly in relation to the Concept of Anxiety.) But seriously, dear reader, I love you, and I want you to be happy, so I want you to read this story. And if people want to discuss it in the comments section below, I think that'd be really great.

P.S. The rest of the stories from "Kissing in Manhattan" aren't worth bothering with.

Best Weekend in a Week

Let me give you a quick rundown on June 11-13. Friday night I wound up on a cruise around Manhattan that I hadn't expected to find myself on, but it wasn't so bad. It must've been all the drinking, because I've never produced a blurrier batch of photos. The little album (the best photo of the night missing due to third-party deviousness) is up at shutterfly (as usual, login is my email, password is "pictures.") Like a genius I didn't think to take a picture of the boat.

I started Saturday out doing a little birthday shopping and hamburger eating with Paul Jacobsen. As if I'm even still reporting on celebrity-sightings, we walked past Famke Janssen on 6th Avenue. The evening was split between a great fireside with Gordon B. Hinckley at Radio City Music Hall which I won't go into for my inability to be reverent on this page and a great party at Paul and Joe's down in, hmm, Little Italy? Soho? China Town? Call it what you will, but I should've been taking pictures, sorry, I was busy conversating and admiring pointy pink shoes. Right before calling it a night I checked out the Misshapes prom at Luke and Leroy's from the outside. Looked cool, I really ought to get over my fear of nightlife and go to Misshapes sometime. I saw Carlos D. of Interpol greeting people with sophisticated man-kisses outside as well as Brian Battjer, who I think I know, but it turns out I've just spent a lot of time at his website.

Sunday was the Manhattan Temple Dedication, once again, I'll leave the serious stuff be, but for the record: even though he repeated some of his jokes from the night before, President Hinckley never ceases to amaze or inspire. Post-dedication Genevieve whipped up some magnificent curry at her place and a pleasant evening was had by all.

Best Painted on Truck of this Week

The happiest, dopiest, grumpiest, sleepiest garbage truck in the city . . . and don't think I was the only guy taking pictures of it right then.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Best Job Opening I've Read in a While

Someone please try to get this job, then tell me all about it.

Saturday, June 12, 2004

Best Book of Last Week

A real life MF'nA lent me her copy of Dave Hickey's Air Guitar after she said that a review of the Whitney Biennial I did for the law school paper reminded her of his writing. Having just finished Air Guitar, I'm certainly flattered by the comparison, but won't dwell on it any longer because I'm two sentences into a three paragraph post about someone else being awesome and my ego is already out of control.

For the uninformed (and this I pretty much take straight from the book's back page, because the uniformed is what I was before I read it myself), Dave Hickey, formerly a owner and director of several art galleries and editor or staff writer for various art magazines and currently a professor of art criticism and theory at UNLV, has written for most major American cultural publications and Air Guitar gathers the finest of his magazine writing into an easy to hold book form. Having read next to no art criticism, I know enough to see that Hickey's writing isn't typical. It's down to earth, without pretension, and you can really feel that he's trying to connect with his reader on a very straight-forward, straight-shooting level. It reminds me of the writing of Berkeley philosopher John Searle: neither man chooses to hide behind the artifices of intellectualism that their peers often build between themselves and their audiences, both hunker down with the reader and explain themselves in clear, concise terms without a hint of pandering to or patronizing the reader.

Hickey's essays are cleverly arranged in the book to draw the reader in with several simple topics (a defense of Las Vegas, a peak into his childhood and the formation of his creative self, problems with art dealers these days, a panegyric on Liberace, etc.) that establish 1) That Dave has been around, 2) That Dave knows what he's talking about, 3) That Dave is cool, and 4) That Dave is your pal and he respects your intelligence. Then, about 18 essays into the book, you hit his titular essay. Suddenly, with the "Air Guitar" inside Air Guitar, Hickey hits you with 8 pages of unrestrained meta-criticism that, if you at all enjoy talking about art or literature, or talking about talking about art or literature, or even talking about talking about talking about art and literature, will give you goose bumps and make your brain fire. After gaining your confidence and trust for 163 pages, the gloves come off and Hickey shows you that he really, really knows what he's talking about and that he really, really knows how to say it. After Air Guitar, Hickey finishes the book with a few more brainy essays and a few more along the lines of what he started the book off with, and when you finish the book and close the book for the last time, you can't help but look at the little sticker on the cover that reads "Dave Hickey: Winner of the "Genius Award"/MacArthur Fellow 2001-2006" and agree that they picked the right guy.

1) I didn't have anywhere else to put this, but I must warn potential readers of Air Guitar that they better already know what "quotidian" means, or be ready to look it up, because Hickey's use of "quotidian" per page ratio is the highest I've encountered since Quotidious Quotidium's "Quotidiae Quotinium."
2) When I was in grade school I used to stay up late on weekends watching GLOW (the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling) and for a long time I've wondered if I was the only person who did because, hey, where's the GLOW nostalgia? If we can stay up all night talking about GI Joe and Transformers and classic WWF, why not GLOW? But thanks to Hickey's behind-the-scenes look at GLOW, "Godiva Speaks," I'm more than taken care of.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Best Handouts of the Week

The last of the great free Napoleon Dynamite screenings was tonight in Chelsea, the theater was rotten with enthusiastic Cougs, Utes, and the unsuspecting. The movie was a good time, but I think we all need to calm down about how good. But, hey, thanks for the t-shirts and chapstick! Jeff and Lexia, so dang photogenic.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Best Miscellaneous Information

Pictures from last night are up at shutterfly. They're only medium interesting. As before, login is my email, password is "pictures."

Some have told me they aren't commenting because they don't want to create a Blogger account, which is reasonable. However, geniuses like Pete and Mystery Person have found you post as "Anonymous", so why not do that if you've got something to say? Just don't forget to sign your post, or else you'll really, really be Anonymous (like Mystery Person).

Tonight I set a new personal record on Rocket Mania, level 32, 2465220 points. I think that qualifies as hardcore, as far as games downloaded off MSN go.

Best Way to Spend Tuesday Night

Lastnight, with a backpack full of sandwiches and salads, I made my way up to Rockefeller Center for an evening screening of an almost family-safe edit of the new film Garden State. The clever planners of the event (actually the first of three nights of movies at Rockefeller Center) decorated the place like a drive-in movie theater, complete with classic convertibles providing seating for the evening’s VIPs. Sitting there, at the foot of a skyscraper under a purple sky with the sounds of 5th Avenue being drowned out by an absolutely aggressive speaker system, I couldn’t think of a better way to spend a warm summer (it’s summer now, right?) night.

The fact that Garden State was a great movie didn’t hurt either, and I’m sorry that most people will have to wait until the end of July to see it. It’s written/directed/and starred-in by Zack Braff, apparently he’s on that show Scrubs that I’ve never seen. His co-star/love interest is Natalie Portman, yes, I know, there’s a name that hasn’t come up lately on this page. Braff and Portman were at the movie, sitting in a nearby sportscar . . . it seemed like the perfect opportunity for me to apologize for Friday night’s little incident, but I didn’t really get much of a chance to talk with her.

But, yeah, anyway, the movie itself: as I was saying, it’s great. Sort of the saddest movie in the world infused with the comedic sensibility of the Naked Gun movies, if you can imagine such a creature. Braff plays Large, a 27-year old minimally successful actor who hasn’t been home to Jersey for 9 years who returns for his mother’s funeral (if you didn’t know I was a sucker for movies about artists who come home after there mom dies just wait until June 16), meets up with his friends who never left home (one’s a cop, one’s the wealthy inventor of “silent velcro”, one’s a gravedigger, the another works at a hardware store and is involved in multi-level marketing) and meets compulsive-liar and Sam (Natalie Portman). Hilarity, soul-searching, and love-falling-into ensue. On the whole, a very, very satisfying movie that left me feeling good all over, perhaps, as my viewing-partner pointed out, because it featured some of the best hugs in cinematic history?

If I had any problem at all with this movie, it’s that the otherwise great soundtrack featured too much Shins (a problem with Brigham: I can’t stand the Shins) . . . one song blaring out during a motorcycle ride had me rolling my eyes, but when one major scene featured Sam and Large bonding over/talking about a song of the Shins, man, they almost lost me.

Photographs from the evening will be up later on shutterfly.

Best Follow Up

After a little internet digging I found these tiny pictures taken by the professionals Friday night. One more post and I'll be done with this story.  Posted by Hello

 Posted by Hello

 Posted by Hello

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Best Sandwich-Shop Story of the Afternoon

This afternoon I went to get numerous sandwiches and salads from Grey Dog Coffee for an about-to-be-written-about event and, as I waited patiently at a table for my order to come up, I realized I was sitting right beside Puff Daddy's dapper man-servant, Farnsworth Bentley, and his assistant. (Yes! Assistants have assistants now!) Farnsworth was wearing a tweed jacket with a hot pink pocket square, a madras shirt, and bowtie. He kept taking calls on his cell phone (disguised as a furry puppy) saying things like "I have to run that by Sean" or "Andre 3000 said it was the best interview he ever read." (After that little comment he explained to his assistant that he had an interview in Sister 2 Sister magazine, which is "in every beauty shop across the country.") Apparently one of his callers was asking a few too many questions about a pilot Farnsworth just taped, but he took it in stride. And then my sandwiches were ready. And I just wrote too much about Puff Daddy's fake butler.  Posted by Hello

Saturday, June 05, 2004

I saw this truck once before in the East Village and cursed myself for not having my camera on me. As I am in the middle of the luckiest weekend of my life, the Mr. Rogers Truck was sighted today on Spring Street and I was packin' the Cannon S45. Would you be mine, could you be mine, won't you be my "Best Piece of Art South of Houston"? Posted by Hello

Best Triple Celebrity Beatdown of My Life

So, after my Alias-Dad sighting earlier this week I said to myself "Man, Brigham, you're always seeing famous old men (Woody Allen, Tom Wolfe, Robin Williams, Tim Robbins, etc.) Why don't you start running into famous young actresses?" So I resolved to start running into young women of fame, and I was unexpectedly succesful . . . read on, if you dare!

Friday night I was standing around with about a dozen other kids in front of Bryant's place on Waverly, trying to decide on what restaurant to go to, trying to decide if we'd wait for the last couple of straglers who hadn't turned up yet when I look west to 6th avenue and my eye is caught by this pretty, yet tiny young woman and in a milisecond that lasts 1000 years I realize that the head on the tiny body is the head of Natalie Portman, so that would mean that the body is Natalie Portman's, so that would mean that Natalie Portman is walking right at me. I did the only thing I could do: gawk. And gawk hard I did as she passed through my group of amigos (all oblivious to her presence because they're too busy on their cellphones and whatnot) and I watch Ms. Portman enter Babbo (Mario Eats Italy's big-time Italian restaurant that Bryant lives right next to) and, well, for the rest of the night I had a pretty hard time saying anything besides "I can't believe I saw Natalie Portman, I can't believe I saw Padme Amidala."

And it would've been pretty sweet if my story stopped there, but the madness continues.

Headed back to Bryant after dinner in midtown, I'm sort of thinking: "I wonder if I'll see Natalie on her way out of Babbo, that'd be pretty cool." And when we get to Waverly there's this pack of Paparazzi hanging out outside of the restaurant. A little talking and it turns out they're there because word is Julia Roberts is having dinner inside, but when people ask them who they're waiting for, they just say "Diane Sawyer." So I stick around outside, because it's a nice night and it's sort of fun talking with the photographers and whatnot and sure enough, a little while later soon-to-be mother of two Julia Roberts (surprisingly small and eggplant-haired) slips out of the restaurant and into a waiting towncar with her husband. Yet, upon her departure, the photographers do not disperse, and a little while later Diane Sawyer (tall and rather handsome) does leave the restaurant and I step in to get a little closer and try to snap some pictures of her (why? I don't know, I was caught up in the moment) when a couple of my friends start yelling my name really excitedly and I turn around to see why and BAM! I bump right into Ms. Portman. She swerves around me with her head down low and slides into the car with Diane Sawyer and is followed closely by some dude. Don't believe me? Check out the photos below! (More are available at shutterfly, login is my email, password is "pictures")

But for real, as far as close encounters of the celebrity-kind go, I don't think I'm going to be topping this story any time soon. And maybe, just maybe, Natalie will always remember me as the idiot outside of Babbo that slammed into as she was leaving.

Oh yeah, and famous chef Mario Batali was chilling out across the street from his restaurant the whole time, if that matters. But he's out there on just about any given afternoon or evening.

Recovering from a massive blow to her tiny frame, Natalie Portman gets into Diane Sawyer's BMW . . . as you can see, she is wearing a shirt and jeans. Posted by Hello

Natalie is now inside the car. Please believe me. Posted by Hello

Natalie Portman inside Diane Sawyer's car. Look closely, squint, and believe. Posted by Hello

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Best Cranky Old Man

When I see George Clooney or Kirstin Dunst on TV, talking at some movie premiere about the war or the US government in general, I'm not paying attention. But when Kurt Vonnegut does it (minus the movie premiere, of course) I'll listen.

"Cold Turkey" by Kurt Vonnegut

Yes, yes, it's on the Epitaph website, very embarassing, I know. But hey, did you notice the Refused reissues over there on the side? Rock n Roll!

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Best Full-Price Movie of the Week

Recently I found out about a movie from Turkey that was made in 1973 without any regard to copyright or any of that called "3 Dev Adam" where Captain America and Lucha Libre hero Santo team up to fight a homicidal Spider-man and his clone henchmen who are on a killing rampage of some sorts . . . and Spider-Man's costume is red and green instead of blue and green and his bushy, Turkish eyebrows stick out of his costume's eye holes. I know, I know, it sounds like the most awesome, most top secret sort of thing in the world.

Except there is something more awesome and more top secret, and it's "The Saddest Music in the World" and it's playing in every major city of the United States. When movies were invented, this is the sort of thing they were invented to be. You want to go somewhere you've never been before and you'll never go to again? See the Saddest Music in the World. The less you know, the better, and it will trip you out. It was so great, I hope I never see it again.

Best Book of Next Week: An exercise in excessive linking

Yesterday I picked up my copy of David Sedaris' newest, "Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim" and can't wait to start it as soon as I finish the Best Book of this Week, "Air Guitar" by Dave Hickey. With a new David Foster Wallace fiction collection coming out on the 8th, could June 2004 be the Most Hardcover-Book-Buyingest Month of my life? It's looking like it.

Has anyone started Dress Your Family yet? What's the word?

Oh, and Broom of the System is back in print, this is very, very good news. If Infinite Jest looks like too much, and a few essays and stories are too little, this is the model for you!

Best Critical Desalinization Point of the Week

Among the secret bonuses of ongoing relationship with New York University is that the ticket office sells vouchers to get into movies on weekdays for $5.50 (and this comes with a small popcorn, too). To those of you that live in cities that have dollar theaters, this isn't a big deal, but in NYC movies push $10.25 a showing, so the $5.50 tickets are an outrageous bargain that allow me to go see movies I wouldn't be willing to put the dough down on otherwise. For example, yesterday I saw "The Day After Tomorrow". While I've heard plenty of people curse the film, it really isn't that bad, I mean, it's got Donnie Darko in it acting just a tiny bit more friendly, and you get to hear Dennis Quaid explaining critical desalinization points like they're going to end the world . . . and they do. And, as en ex-Mexican myself, it's pretty great to see that Mexico saves the world (crap, did I just give away the ending?)

However, to consider this film a serious political statement and a valid "threat" to Bush this election year is as ridiculous as citing "Independence Day" as an important election year criticism of Clinton's policy on UFOs. I can't wait for "I, Robot" to open my eyes to Bush's neglect of the pressing deadly robots in the future issue that we're all so worried about right now.

Oh, and I hear they made a "snow storm" for the New York premiere of the Day After Tomorrow . . . isn't that like holding the premiere for "Titanic" on a sinking boat, or stabbing everyone that attends the next slasher-flick premiere?

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Second Best Walk of the Week

So the Hudson doesn't feel so down, I've put pictures from my Saturday exploration up at shutterfly, (same login, same password). I've also included pictures of my Sunday trip to Central Park. Sunday trip to Central Park? Here's the story . . .

So after church I'm walking home with Bryant, Jason, and Dave (heretofor to be known as "The Waverly Guys") and Bryant offers to cook a pizza for everyone and we're all like "yeah" and Jason's like "it's such a nice day, let's go to the park" and we're like "ok" and we're all thinking that Jason must mean "Washington Square Park" as it's the park we all live a block away from, but it turns out by "park" he meant "central park" and by "let's go to the park" Jason meant "I need to go meet my girl at the park."

But why complain about a trip to Central Park? It was a great day, and I checked some stuff out I hadn't seen before, the place was full of 8th Warders making their way home, and Bryant's pizza was great, even if we had to wait an extra couple hours to be having it.

Best Walk of the Week

Up until Monday, it would've been my Saturday trek through the West Village and Meat Packing District to the Chelsea Piers where I spent some time watching lame kids pulling lame tricks on their Razor scooters at the skate park before walking home along the Hudson . . . but out of nowhere, I get invited on a Memorial Day hike on the Appalachian Trail. Yeah, the Appalachian Trail, turns out you can take a train to it from Grand Central like it ain't no thing.

The whole expedition was mostly Bryant's idea, and the event proved to be well attended. The actual distance hiked remains disputed, I'm tempted to guess maybe 1.75-2.0 miles each way with lots of hillage and switchbacks. New friendships were made and no bones were broken (but an ankle was sprained, go figure.)

So that the entire world can enjoy the magic of the hike, I've posted the pictures at Login is my email, password is "pictures." No troublemaking!