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

Wednesday, August 30

Happy 10th Birthday Co!

Ten years ago today my beautiful daughter Co was born (that's her at about six months, and, below, on her first birthday), part two of the best thing that has ever happened in my life. So how do I feel, now that I have TWO double-digit daughters?

I feel excited and a little nervous for them as they begin new chapters in their lives: Bo into 7th grade and a new school, Co into 5th grade, and all the social pressures that really kick in for girls at that age (see the wonderful Odd Girl Out for more on that).

I feel unbelievably grateful that I can be an involved and active part of their lives, both emotionally and just by my physical presence.

I feel proud to have two such courageous, friendly, well-balanced, smart, funny, warm, chatty, energetic, curious, strong, creative, adventurous girls.

Mostly, though, what I feel is love, deep and unwavering, the kind that will never go away.

I feel like a father.

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Tuesday, August 29

MyMix 8.29

I make a new On-the-Go mix just about every morning. Here's what I'm listening to, shuffled, today...

Under the Influence of Giants: In the Clouds*
Ani Difranco: Hypnotized
Dirty Pretty Things: Bang Bang You're Dead
Hellogoodbye: Here (In Your Arms)*
The Rapture: Get Myself Into It
Say Hi to Your Mom: Sweet Sweet Heartkiller*
Mobius Band: Radio Coup
Sonic Youth: Jams Run Free
Tapes 'n Tapes: Insistor
Nelly Furtado & Timbaland: Promiscuous
Hot Chip: Over and Over*
I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness: The Ghost
Thom Yorke: Black Swan
Psapp: Cosy in the Rocket
James Blunt: High
Natasha Bedingfield: Unwritten
Ghostface Killah: Shakey Dog
The Rakes: Strasbourg

*This seems to be the season for infectious, bounce on your toes while you ride the train, sweet-energy indie dance tunes. Disposable? Probably. But for now, I'm totally hooked.


Monday, August 28

Fatty Crab

I guess I just can't eat sambal-laced Nasi Lemak like I used to... nor, for that matter, hefty chunks of mercilessly fatty, densely seasoned pork belly. Don't get me wrong: I thought just about everything we had at Fatty Crab last week was delicious (please note: DGlass was not as convinced). It's just that my body doesn't handle such enthusiastically funky food so well anymore.

Fatty Crab's been open for about a year, and it's still crawling with foodies swooning over Zak Pelaccio's intense Malaysian food, as well as sexed-up scenesters getting a feeding in before heading a couple blocks north to the Meatpacking Zoo. DGlass and I had to wait about 30 minutes for a table last Tuesday night, and we got there pretty early (around 7:00, I think), though our friendly hipster host assured us that the longish delay was caused by the band Razorlight, who had booked half the restaurant for a post-Letterman-taping feast.

Anyway, the food: I loved the Fatty Duck "speciality" and the Watermelon Pickle and Pork "salad", both pictured here, though as DGlass pointed out these were essentially the same dish done two ways: both were deeply, exotically seasoned hunks of meat, dripping with fat, punctuated by a refreshing counterpoint. The Nasi Lemak consisted of a spicy, tender whole chicken leg and a poached egg on coconut rice, surrounded by piles of dried anchovies, cilantro, pickled carrots, (maybe) fish flakes and several other "condiments". Interesting and flavorful, I thought; DGlass was less charmed. We also ordered the disappointing Fatty Tea Sandwiches, which basically tasted like spicy white bread.

The prices are reasonable, the food messy, tasty and designed to share, the ambience all noisy, pre-party fun. Now if only my stomach would cooperate a little more...

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Tuesday, August 22

Noguchi Museum

There are signs everywhere begging you not to, but at some point during your visit here, you're going to succumb to the urge: you are going to touch at least one of the 35 or so stone, metal, wood or clay sculptures that are the centerpiece of this lovely little museum. Maybe just for a compulsive instant, maybe for a furtive, more sustained caress, but trust me: Isamu Noguchi's best work is irresistible.

DGlass and I made our maiden voyage to the renovated and expanded Noguchi Museum last Saturday—it's a fairly quick trip on the N/W to the Broadway stop in Long Island City, then an easy ten block walk, more details here—and both of us were thoroughly charmed to be surrounded by so many compelling pieces in such a pretty environment. Some of Noguchi's work is so smooth and inviting it's hard not fantasize how cool and gentle it would feel against your cheek. Other pieces are rocky, rough-hewn, scarred with striations, and with an intense visual density. Still more masterfully combine textures, or sometimes shapes, in unique, provocative ways.The current exhibition on the museum's second floor focuses on Noguchi's decades-long friendship and artistic collaboration with Buckminster Fuller. It's solid and informative, but perhaps the most exciting discovery of our day was Noguchi's delightful playground and play-equipment designs (many proposed for New York City; most, sadly, never realized) as well his fantastic fountains and other creative contributions to public space in the United States, Japan, Mexico, and Italy. As DGlass said, it's rare (and welcome) that such an accomplished and aesthetically ambitious artist has also been so active in sharing his vision with the everyday world.

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Friday, August 18

scoboco does broadway

so it's come to this: i'm a man who cries during mamma mia.


and not just a lump in the throat, mind you... i'm talking actual tears coming from these actual eyes. i can hear dglass now: what happened to the apollo days, dude?! i can hear tod now, if he was still alive: what happened to your vow?! you know, the one you made as we snuck out of evita during that spanish class trip in 11th grade, and then repeated to me a bazillion times for years, just to be annoying?! that you'd NEVER to see another musical again?!! yeah well...

oh... i also danced. boco were a little embarrased and all, but the wtf, you know? i figure if you're going to bother to go to mamma mia, you definitely have to dance!

anyway, yes, scoboco made it broadway twice this summer, most recently to see the matinee of mamma mia (courtesy of the tkts down at the south street seaport, which opens four hours earlier than the tkts in times square, though no one seems to know if that's really an advantage), and in early july, for wicked.* both were huge hits with all three of us, but with wicked definitely getting the nod for "BEST musical of my life!" honors.

briefly, mamma mia is touching and sweet; the 20+ abba tunes irresistable; the cast mixed in their abilities, but the leads were strong; the sets clever. if you're already thinking of going, if it seems at all appealing, you definitely won't be disappointed (conversely, there's no point if you're just going to be cynical about it).

wicked is really pretty incredible. the sets, the acting, the singing, the story, the costumes, the lighting... it's all amusing and moving and smart and busy and a real spectacle and huge amounts of fun... totally worth a full-priced ticket.

* full disclosure: boco actually saw wicked twice... once with me, thanks to kristina (merry christmas!), and then two weeks later with their "summer musical theater workshop" at the lucy moses school (part of the kaufman center, on west 67th)... an EXCELLENT program, by the way, with great counselors, mostly nice kids, and a terrific end-of-camp performance, all pretty reasonably priced. and boco also saw "hot feet" because a friend of ours worked on it. it's that earth, wind and fire show that maybe isn't even around anymore, and which they thought was ok.

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Wednesday, August 16

big pleasure point

if you been anywhere near lincoln center this summer, you've definitely seen it: "big pleasure point"--aka, the boat sculpture--by nancy rubins. created from 60 different water-going craft (from speedboats to kayaks to surfboards), this gigantic boat-flower-explosion definitely commands your attention, and will continue to do so into september. scoboco's review... from a distance, it looks cool and gives a nice big splash of color to the plaza; kinda disappointing when you get up close and see all the cables. awwwww scoboco... no appreciation for the engineering, dudes!

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max brenner: chocolate by the bald man

well that qt over at kt beat us to it, but scoboco finally made it to the new max brenner chocolapolis in union square, and the bald guy definitely put us into a glorious sugar stupor.

we had dinner first, and it was fine: pepperoni waffles, pepperoni sandwich, ham crepe. something had too much garlic in it for my taste, but it was definitely solid, servicable food. but the point of max brenner's is dessert--there's a hardbound, 20-page book devoted to chocolate everythingyoucanimagine: ice cream, pizza, waffles, cakes, bagels, hot and cold and boozy drinks, cookies, fondue, s'mores, etc etc etc. rather than try to decide, we went for the "sharing (tasting for two)"--in english, that means "tasting for four"--which included a heavenly crunchy chocolate covered cream "snack," gooey banana split waffles (because i didn't get enough waffles at dinner) and, most original, pop rocks in this liquidy, dark chocolate pudding thing. anyway, it was all unbelievably sweet and chocolately (obviously) and delicious.

the vibe here is very friendly and hipster, with lounge music and lots of big graphic elements as the decor. the take-out counter is non-stop busy. the cups are beautiful, and all the sauces come in these cute little beakers. and about half way through our dessert platter, co looked up and said "this is DEFINITELY where i'm having my birthday dinner!"

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Tuesday, August 15

alinea, in chicago

you wouldn't know it if she were standing right here in front of you (the general gorgeousness tends to addle and distract), but dglass actually turned 45 this summer! to help celebrate this amazing event (our third dglass birthday together!) the two of us played jetsetters and went to chicago for a beautiful weekend filled with laughter and love, adventure and affection, walking walking walking walking, and quite possibly the most tastiest, most romantic, most creative, absolutely coolest meal of our lives, dinner at alinea.

now, i'm not going to go into a lot of detail here about our dinner--this was a three-and-a-half hour meal... and we got the 12-course "tasting" (plus two bonus courses!) rather than the 23-course "tour"---but just to give you an example of how things work, take the "hot potato/cold potato" dish, pictured, above. when coming up with his menu, chef grant achatz often works with designer/sculptor martin kastner, who creates the actual physical dishes required to make the food work. in this case, you pull out that toothpick-thingy and the cold potato, the black truffle and parmesan plop into the hot potato soup, and you immediately pour the whole thing into your mouth and you just feel like you've entered some kind of food heaven. truly spectacular stuff.

needless to say, alinea is a pretty hot ticket. i got our reservation--a saturday night at i think 8:45--six weeks in advance. but if you can do a little planning, and you've got a special occasion, and you're into creative, delicious food, then this is the place you want to be.

oh, and dglass? you are the best, babe. the absolute best.

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helter swelter

when the weather gets hot, the gallery scene gets quiet, but scoboco did see one great show this season: justin lowe's evocative and dynamic "helter swelter", at oliver kamm 5be gallery (on 27th street, all the way over near 12th...).

the set up is this: the outside gallery door looks like any other... tasteful, discreet type; frosted glass. but open the door and suddenly you're inside what looks EXACTLY like a washington heights bodega. the shelves are stocked with sad groceries, the fridge is stocked with cheap beer and off-brand soda, the gallery employees sit behind one of those "robbery proof" clear plastic walls, with all the now-and-laters and smokes and phone cards and there's the little area where you can pay for your things... it's TOTALLY a bodega... a bodega with a secret door on the back wall that leads you into what looks like a construction site, which you quickly realize is the inside of some kind of vehicle. and when you exit up front, you see you were in a "kool man" ice cream truck! parked on a wildly colorful "rug"! with annoying music blasting! we had lots of fun checking out all the amazing detail, goofing with the gallery employees, and trying to figure out what it all meant (other than, like, "summer in the city").

the bad news: the exhibit's no longer there. sorry for the last post. the good news: this was only lowe's first solo show (he had something cool at ps1 last summer, too), so there's bound to be a lot more to come.

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summer movies 2: duece's wild?

a quick look at what we've seen...

little miss sunshine a family--suicidal gay uncle; failed self-help-guru dad; harried mom (toni collette!); angst-ridden, silent, teen boy; foul-mouthed, heroin addict grandpa; 10-year-old unlikely beauty contest entrant--on a road trip. this is the best movie of the summer... it's laugh-out-loud funny, touching, original, sweet, has an excellent cast, good music, and a script that stays just on the extremely likable side of quirky. enormously appealing. as either m or the chef said: "it's this year's garden state!!"

step up angry, scared, poor hip-hop boy meets overachieving ballet-trained girl at an art school... love and tragedy and lots of dancing ensues. what does it say about me that i liked this more than my kids? i'm not sure, but i thought the attractive characters, the energizing dance sequences, and the love story that brought a lump to my throat all overcame the see-it-coming-from-a-mile-away script.

pirates: dead man's chest yes, it's bloated, but scoboco had a blast on one of those hot-as-hell afternoon watching how much pure entertainment $100+ million and superbly choreographed action sequences can deliver. the solid cast certainly helps. as do the squid- barnacle- hammerhead shark- hermit-crab- faced villians.

united 93 a harrowing, visceral reenactment--on the ground and in the air--of the 9/11 flight that crashed in pennsylvania. dglass wouldn't see this with me so i finally went on my own in the last theater still showing it. yes, i cried a lot, but all the emotion was honestly earned. and it was so unsettling to remember what it felt like to not understand what was happening... because how could it really be happening? director paul greengrass does an excellent job of evoking the terror and the what-the-fuck??!!!-ness of that morning. does it need to exist? i don't know. but it's an expertly executed movie.

wordplay like spellbound, but about crossword junkies. everyone in this lively, likable documentary is just about the biggest nerd you'll ever see... including our hero, the times puzzle editor will shortz. that they found something in the world that provokes in them an unbelievable amount of passion--in this case, crossword puzzles--will make you totally envious. this is funny, entertaining and, if nothing else, will teach you everything you never knew you wanted to know about puzzle mechanics. bo enjoyed it too.

superman returns superman... ummmm... returns. solid summer fun. better than x-men 3.

the groomsmen four high school buddies reunite ten-or-so years later for one of their weddings. edward burns has made this movie at least three times now, and this is the least successful version (the lack of humor is the big liability). still, it's nice to hear guys talk about their feelings for an hour and a half, even if you don't quite believe them.

the devil wears prada an intern at vogue overcomes the conde-nasties and learns to be true to herself. yes, meryl streep is entertaining, and i think deserves the oscar-nominee buzz for making this movie four or five times better than it would have been without her. anne hathaway is cute and all, but she gets off the hook way to easily for climbing over the back of her coworker, as well as screwing over--then basically cheating on--her boyfriend.

a scanner darkly
animated junkies talking all kinds of boring paranoid junkie nonsense... just like non-animated junkies! plus: confusing and/or nonsensical. for stoners only.


Monday, August 14

dada at moma

you have another month to see the excellent dada exhibit at the museum of modern art--it'll be on the sixth floor until september 11--and if you have any personal affinity for this sort of thing, there's really no way you want to miss it. this is a crowdpleaser in the best sense of the word: scoboco saw it all the way back in june and loved it. dglass went a couple of weeks ago and loved it. dglass's parents loved it. my man fred loved it. gallery expert eric loved it (well... if he didn't, he should have).

organized by city--new york, paris, zurich, berlin, a couple more--and with some of the best, most informative "liner notes" i've ever read (these really helped boco fully appreciate what they were seeing), the show features work by some 50 artists, including marcel duchamp's amusing "readymades" and sculptures, jean arp's lively collages, paintings by picabia and schwitters and grosz, a few great films (the one of the hat sailing through streets was our favorite--so beautiful and so somehow sad), assemblages by man ray, some terrific typographic stuff and on and on. and aside from the obvious aesthetic appeal, what struck me most was how influential this era continues to be on contemporary art. wander around chelsea for an hour or two and you'll see so much of what was so shocking and provocative in the 19-teens and -twenties still being used today.

also worth checking out while you're there: douglas gordon's 24-hour psycho (the hitchcock movie, slowed down so it takes a full day to complete), and the new piece in that big main room where "water lillies" used to be. i forget the artist, but it consists of more than (i think) 700 individual frames and covers three walls and is fun and creative and a terrific use of the space.

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shakespeare in the parking lot

for years this event has caught my eye--most of the appeal being the clever name, i guess--so when scoboco was faced with a free saturday night last week we headed down to ludlow and broome for this summer's final performance of "as you like it", courtesy of the drilling company. and, really? despite the uncomfortable seats (thank god, though, we got there early enough to GET a seat... most of the 100 or so people sat on the asphalt for the two-plus hour performance), i haven't enjoyed shakespeare this much in a long time. and bo and co really liked it too: laughing at the right moments and seeming to follow the story pretty well and just soaking in the whole "guerilla" vibe of the setting... this is an active parking lot, after all, with cars pulling in and out and neighborhood kids on bikes letting out the occasional silly scream and just life in the city going on around you.

anyway, the actors were across-the-board talented, attractive, likable. the pacing was quick. the costumes and props simple and effective. and what i think made it seem so fresh and appealing to me was the actor's delivery of the lines: the words and structure were all shakespeare, of course, but the cadance, the facial expressions, the inflections, all were completely contemporary. even the songs--there are four of them in "as you like it"--were given modern rhythms and melodies, and they pretty much brought down the lot each time. we'll definitely check it out again next year.

one more thing: i know i've mentioned the sticky toffee pudding at schiller's liquor bar before, but we wolfed two of them before the show and it definitely remains on my top five best-treats-in-town list.

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