A dad and his daughters, loving life in New York City

Monday, February 27

gaudi at bam

antonio gaudi, a film by the i guess famous japanese art-house director hiroshi teshigahara, is playing at the bam rose cinemas through thursday the 2nd, and if you're a fan of this catalan architect and his pile-it-on, whimsical, sensual style, you should definitely try to catch it. i took bo and co this past saturday and we all three enjoyed it quite a bit.

make no mistake: this is an art-house film. there is virtually no narration of any kind. there's no exposition, no history, no intellectual context, no biography. we're talking an hour and fifteen minutes of a camera slowly panning over the interior and exterior of gaudi's famous buildings and parks in barcelona, set to slow, somewhat discordant background music. the fact that boco had been there two years ago and seen these places in person certainly helped keep their interest. i've never seen his stuff live, but it totally speaks to me. and it was interesting to see a couple of things--like an undulating roof--that have beeen picked up by spanish architect salvatore calatrava, the subject of a fine, recent show at the met.


Friday, February 24

three good books

well with both boco AND dglass away on vacations (washington dc and buenos aries, respectively), i haven't really been doing much that's bloggable this week... though on tuesday i did grab dinner with a friend at sushi hana, on amsterdam in the low 80s. i've now had their spicy chirashi three times, and each time it's been pretty tasty.

anyway, what i've really been loving recently is reading. i mean, i always love reading, but you know how you sometimes get on a roll, and everything you pick up is a total winner? that's the way it's been with for about a month or so. here's my last three novels, all of which, i think, do an excellent job of evoking what it feels like to be alive.

prep by curtis sittenfeld the setting is ault, a small new england boarding school (think concord academy, where i spent a year back in 1976; or groton, sittenfeld's alma mater); the narrator is lee fiora, a not-terribly-pretty, not-terribly-smart, painfully self-conscious and self-centered scholarship kid from south bend, indiana; the feelings she invokes as she takes us through her four years at ault are everything you struggled with in high school, everything you wish you could go back and change, everything you've ever disliked about yourself. it's a pitch-perfect portrait of teen angst that stays honest with itself right through the end.

extremely loud and incredibly close by jonathan safron-foer first things first: i couldn't get into jsf's first book, the much-loved everything is illuminated. twice i tried, twice i put it down. so i was definitely not predisposed to even pay much notice to el&ic. except dglass read it and cried and cried and couldn't stop talking about it. so i had to try it... and i cried and cried and couldn't stop talking about it. really: this is is probably the most affecting, most beautiful, most unforgettable book i've read in years and years. at the center of the story, and the novel's primary narrator, is nine-year-old, nyc-kid oskar schell, whose father has just died in the sept 11th world trade center attacks. his emotional journey to try to make sense of his father's murder, his instinctive strategies for dealing with feelings he can't even begin to let loose, his courage, his character, his sense of humor, his creativity, his humanity... yeah, you're not going to forget oskar anytime soon.

saturday by ian mcewan henry perowne is a comfortable, prosperous, 40-something london neurosurgeon, husband to the head legal counsel at one of the city's newspapers, father to two clever, talented, loving teenager/young adult children. life is good.... so why doesn't it feel that way? as we follow the ruminating, almost pompous, mostly likable henry step-by-step through a saturday of banal chores and extraordinary--and, as it turns out, extraordinarily violent--events, mcewan's riffs on security and aging and parenting and fear and racism and despair and love and a post-9/11 world where anything can happen are smart, provocative, and entirely welcome.


Wednesday, February 22

imix 2.22

i make a new on-the-go mix just about every morning. here's what i'm listening to, shuffled, today:

feist: mushaboom (postal service remix)
the diableros: sugar laced soul
beyoncé: check on it
envelopes: it is the law
johnny cash: folsom prison blues*
dilated people: back again
smashing pumpkins: mayonaise
now that i know: devendra banhart
teddy thompson: i should get up
josé gonzalez: heartbeats**
the knife: you take my breath away
robert wyatt: yesterday man
nine black alps: cosmopolitan
matisyahu: king without a crown
jawbreaker: do you still hate me?
the strokes: heart in a cage
ciara: oh
sunny day real estate: rodeo jones
red hot chili peppers: breaking the girl
timbaland/magoo: love to love ya
sneaker pimps: spin spin sugar

* yes, i downloaded this after finally seeing walk the line last week, which i loved: i laughed, i cried, i danced in my seat, i thought reese was beautiful, i LOVED the romance... and that opening sequence, the long tracking shot into the prison, with this tune thumping in the background? totally killer.

** this is such a pretty song, used beautifully here, and even here.


Saturday, February 18

merry pranksters: cell phone symphony

me and about a hundred other "agents" pulled off another prank tonight, with charlie todd and the inimitable improv everywhere crew leading the way.

yes, it was unbelievably, bone-chillingly, FREEZINGLY cold. and, yes, it was a privilege to help create a "scene of chaos and joy" in this amazing city.

the set-up was simple. we were told to show up at the north end of union sqaure with a backpack/messenger bag and a fully-charged cell phone. (given all the press and police attention at their "no pants 2k6" prank last month, we were also asked to not blog about the event before it happened). then agent todd split us into two groups... half the people coordinated their ringtones (all motorolos used the "moto" ring, all nokias used whatever the most obnoxious nokia ring is, etc.), then gave their number to a partner, put their cell phone in their bag, and headed down to the strand bookstore, with its strict all-bags-must-be-checked policy. the other half of us--their partners--stood ready to make some calls...

for the callers, like me, there was little immediate gratification in the prank. we couldn't see or hear the result. we just stood there in the freezingness making choreographed calls. but the image of the employees' faces when all the bags started ringing at once--and everyone else in the store... someone said later you could hear on it the third floor--and general goofiness and camaraderie of the event made it totally worthwhile.

improv everywhere posts exhaustive mission reports after each "scene," so check out their site in the coming days for the full audio replay. can't wait to hear it myself.

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Wednesday, February 15

french fries, habitats, lemons

scoboco teamed up with dglass last saturday for lunch at pop burger and art in chelsea.

first: the food. i've gone on about pop burger before, but let me just reiterate... maybe it's the extra batter, or the just-cooked freshness, or maybe they have special super-potatoes, but these have got to be the best french fries in the city, period. the sliders (which are mini-burgers, and come two-to-an-order) are pretty dope, too.

as for the art... kind of mixed reviews. we spent most of our time at the new museum of contemporary art, on the corner of 22nd and 10th, mostly to see andrea zittel's new exhibit, "critical space", which'll be there until may 27. i don't really have the vocabularly to fully describe what was going on (you can find lots of that sort of info here), but it seems she's concerned with how we interact with world and our space in it, whether in our home or in natural environments. or something. my overall impression was that she has lots of interesting ideas (like she spent a week in a time-deprived environment--no clocks, no sun--to see what her internal clock would do), but the execution was kind of lame. the physical "habitats" on display seemed sort of thrown together, using cheesy materials. the way she presented her time-deprivation results were vague and hard to understand (at least for me). bo and co, on the other hand, liked the show quite a bit--it's big and three-dimensional--so what do i know?

and did you realize that every model on the covers of i-d magazine is winking? and that the masthead is an emoticon-like wink? neither did we! this got dglass very excited.

the other art of note we saw that day was... lemons! or, rather, "unstable lemon pigs," as artist olaf breuning calls them. either way, scoboco loved this piece, despite (or because of?) the bad lemmings/lemons pun. at metro pictures, 519 w24th, through february 18.

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Friday, February 10


scoboco had a big-time pasta/pizza craving tonight, and with all the recent reviews of del posto, i was reminded of the excellent meal dglass and i had around christmas at otto, mario batali's casual "pizzeria" on 8th street and 5th avenue. so downtown bo, co and i went for a ton of truly tasty food, very reasonably priced; attentive, friendly service; a welcoming, energetic vibe; an all-around good time.

the menu's structured so that you can enjoy a lot of different flavors for not a lot of money. the three of us shared two sides (ramekins of snappy roasted beets and intense, warm, house-cured olives), the special bruschetta (schmeared with batali's signature "lardo", aka pork fat) and a beautifully seasoned salad of artichokes "alla romana" (which maybe means "with delicious salty cheese and roasted onions"). then i had the special pasta, a rigatoni dish rich in a sweet braised pork; bo totally loved her pasta alla norma, with roasted eggplant and luscious, melted ricotta; and co had the basic tomato/basil/mozzarella pizza, which was fine. the portions are the perfect size... we walked away nice and full, but by no means bloated. and the bill was like $60, including a (well-deserved) nice tip!

otto now takes reservations for parties up to 11 people. when i called around lunch, the only things left for the night were at 6:00 and 10:00. six was totally fine for us, and they serve the whole menu in the bar area, but this place is rightfully crowded, with rightfully happy people.

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Thursday, February 9

imix 2.9

i make a new on-the-go mix just about every morning. here's what i'm listening to, shuffled, today:

wolf parade: i'll believe in anything
stiff little fingers: no more of that
film school: on and on
snow patrol: chocolate
damien rice: cannonball
slapp happy: the drum*
secret machines: road leads where it's led
postal service: natural anthem**
the strokes: heart in a cage
lcd soundsystem: tribulations
jawbreaker: do you still hate me?
flaming lips: the w.a.n.d.
and you will know us by the trail of dead: will you smile again for me
editors: munich
arctic monkeys: i bet that you look good on the dance floor
ok go: invincible
danger doom/talib kweli: old school
film school: deep lake
custom: beat me
the frames: sideways down
death cab for cutie: we laugh indoors

* a sad story. on one of the last really good nights i spent with my best friend tod, we played this song like five times in a row, geeking out with massive air guitar maneuvers and singing the chorus at the top of our lungs. tod died five years ago this january. i miss him all the time.

** a happy story. i met dglass on nerve a year and three-quarters ago, and while there were many many reasons i responded to her profile (gorgeousness being a big factor), definitely in the top five was that she mentioned she listened to postal service... "while bopping in my chair while i work," i believe she said.


Tuesday, February 7


care to sample a little "chocolate and leather" the next time you're in soho? you know.. just to remind yourself what "guilty" tastes like.


then how about some "fresh soil" to perk up your palate? or "jet fuel and metal"? perhaps "sea spray and sweat" is more to your fancy?


between now and march 3, stop by the visionaire gallery, 11 mercer street, and you can taste the flavors that the perfumers of iff (international flavors and fragrance, inc.) believe evoke such concepts as "youth", or "mommy", or "orgasm."

here's how it works...

you stop by a table up front and pick up a bottle of voss water.

trust me, you'll need it.

then you go to any one of twelve windows, each dedicated to a different concept. for example, the "luxury" window. here you help yourself to a "taste film" from a plastic container, (think: those listerine fresh-breath strips) and, as you're staring at a photograph of a honey-coated tongue, you put the film in your mouth and experience an intense burst of... pine needles.

see. i told you you'd need the water.

ok, this is definitely cool and all, and they do clearly label what you're about to put into your mouth, but really?... talk about queasy! (btw you can buy the book with all the art and taste film packets for $175). the "fresh soil" totally did me in... dglass never really got past "glue"... her daughter m was pretty brave, but took home the nastiest-sounding ones to give to her sister!

my advice? if you do check it out, make sure your next stop is marie belle, on broome between west broadway and wooster, for some excellent hot chocolate and even better cookies.

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Wednesday, February 1

andy borowitz at mo's

on monday dglass and i were invited out to see some comedy... specifically: the andy borowitz show, upstairs at mo pitkin's (on avenue a and i think 2nd street). we didn't know what to expect--neither one of us was familiar with the guy--but our friends were fans, and it was only $6, and i was curious about the shows at mo's, so why not, right?

so, yeah, it was totally, totally hilarious. it's so rare that we go to comedy shows--the concept always seems kind of cheesy to me, or something--so i forget how much fun it can be. when borowitz came out i sort of recognized him (i guess he's cnn's official political humorist, and he's got this website where you sign up for a daily "news" e-column), but either way, he cracked us up. and his three guest-comedians were great, too, especially the two men. each did a stand-up routine for about 5 - 10 minutes or so, with borowitz emceeing, and all of us laughed a lot.

the place seats 60 (it was totally packed for borowitz, but you can buy tickets online), it's reasonably comfy, there's drinks and food, and, like i said, it was only six bucks (and a can of dr. brown's black cherry? only $2!). the borowitz show returns on feb 27.

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