Slow Fast

I was told to fast for 24 hours. Doctors orders. It actually stretched to about 36 hours but it felt like it went on forever. It just about darn near killed me, although it certainly shouldn’t have. Jews fast for Yom Kippur. Muslims fast for Ramadan. Every summer, C fasts for 10 days. She has nothing but liquids for 10 friggin’days. An untold number of people go to bed hungry every night.

I tried to think of the last time I went 36 hours without eating and realized I never have. Ever! Isn’t that astonishing?

Do you know what else I learned? I learned that I’m a big baby. Right around hour 20 I got very cranky and felt the world was a cruel and unfair place to live. What a whiner! During the lunch hour my brother called and started eating a bag of Doritos over the phone. On purpose. To be funny. I was allowed to eat Jell-O. A cup of Jell-O in midtown Manhattan costs $1.95. $2.11 with tax. Upon completion of my fast I drove at a very high rate of speed to the nearest KFC. I almost crashed through the front door. I broke my fast in finger lickin’ style. Ahhh.

Zombies Take Manhattan!

Preparatory to Halloween, the fourth annual ZombieCon takes place on Saturday in Manhattan. Participants roam the streets of midtown dressed as zombies.



According to ZombieCon curator Irene Kaoru Malatesta, My all-time favorite might be zombie Charlie Brown—he carried a handmade thought bubble that said simply, ‘Grief.’

You can see some real zombies any day of the year just by taking a stroll through the Port Authority bus terminal. Zombies are cool. Who doesn’t love zombies?

Very Bad Theater

What a train wreck. My heart bled for those poor actors. I did something that I can only recall doing on one other occasion; I left the theater at the intermission and kept on walking.

Last night, CB and I saw a production of Ibsen’s The Master Builder at the Irish Rep.


It had a great pedigree and all the signs pointed to a satisfying evening of theater. The Irish Rep is sure-fire. It’s an elegant, intimate off-Broadway venue. Not like one of those crappy, uncomfortable black boxes. The director, Cirán O’Reilly, has directed a TON of really great plays there. It certainly looked more interesting than going home to watch the dreary old debates.

The lead was played by James Naughton, who’s a pretty big deal in the theater community. He’s had some prominent roles on Broadway, including the original Billy Flynn in the revival of Chicago, and some amusing TV paycheck-jobs like The Planet of the Apes (the series) and The Birds II. Ibsen is, well, Ibsen. He wrote Hedda Gabler and An Enemy of the People, for cryin’ out loud! How could it go wrong?

Well, it did. The story seems comically dated. What passed for high drama in 1892 now seems like overwrought melodrama and, in CB’s words, “A cheap soap opera.” The entire cast was stiff. They displayed the same depth and emotion that you would expect to see at the first table read of the script. When intermission came, CB said, “I don’t think I want to stay for the second act,” which was fine by me. It’s still in previews so perhaps they can salvage it by opening night. It’ll be interesting to read the reviews. Ironically, the only other time I can recall walking out on a play was also with CB (and Mrs. Wife), many years ago. It was an off-Broadway production of a Sam Sheppard play starring Vincent d’Onofrio. That was pretty awful, as well.

I always stay for the entire show out of respect for the actors. Can you imagine walking back on stage after the interval, looking out at the house and seeing empty seats that just :10 minutes earlier had patrons in them? Ugh. I’d never get over it.

* * *

CB is just back from his annual business trip to New Zealand. He writes for a fashion trade publication. If there’s a fashion week somewhere on the planet, he’s usually there to cover it. He has somehow managed to achieve B-list celebrity status in the Auckland fashion community. He’s, like, been on TV and stuff. During this most recent trip, while at an evening fête, a college student nervously approached him and said, “Excuse me. Are you CB?” He admitted he was. “Look, I’m sorry, I don’t mean to bother you but, could I please have my picture taken with you? My friends will just die that I got to meet you.”

Oh, brother. Are you kidding me? I’m so jealous. Naturally, he wants to move there. Who wouldn’t?

* * *
R.I.P. Iceland.

Declaring His Love

This probably isn’t going to be meaningful to anyone other than myself but I’ll post it anyway.

The New York Times asked some notable New Yorkers what they’re looking forward to in the upcoming fall season. A gaggle of bold names contributed a paragraph each. Much of it was fairly ego-centric; theater people were looking forward to upcoming openings, restaurant people were anticipating the fall menu changes, museum curators were anxious for the fall exhibits to open.

The very last contribution was from composer and lyricist Charles Strouse. He didn’t mention the latest musicals, as I expected. Rather, he spoke about the city as a whole and it put a big, stupid, humiliating skip in my heart:

Autumn is the time when New York has found the perfect tempo, the perfect weather, when its people walk the streets and look up at the buildings and see the theater marquees and the millions of other people from here and everywhere and swear: this is the best, the most vibrant of cities! People of Denver: please forgive me, I’m in love!

I realize that’s a bushel of hooey but I didn’t see it coming. It was a sneak attack and it clobbered me pretty good.

Predator Catches Prey

Two weeks ago, as I came out of the shower at the gym, I saw someone closing my locker. I asked what he was doing and he said my lock was open and he was shutting it for me. I thanked him for being so thoughtful! A few hours later I noticed my credit card missing. I called the bank and shut down the account, but not before a $1,500 purchase was made at an Upper East Side boutique. I filed a police report. I called the boutique and the salesman remembered someone peculiar so I asked him to contact the NYPD. I asked the manger of the gym file a police report as well.

Friday morning I got a call from Detective “Smith” of the Midtown Precinct. He said an arrest was made and the suspect might have something to do with the theft of my credit card. He asked if I would be willing to come down and look at a lineup. Are you kidding me? An authentic NYPD lineup? What a thrill! Hell yes! Who would say no to that? Detective Smith was everything you’d imagine a New York City detective being; a deep voice, a firm handshake, a tight haircut, a stern look in the eye, an inexpensive tie, a thick Noo Yawk accent and accessorized with a 9mm.

The precinct house on 35th St. was a disheveled mess; as though someone picked up the building by its roof, gave it a good shake and set it back down. Not dirty. Just a mess. I was taken to a small, windowless cinderblock room that contained a table and a few blue plastic chairs and was asked to sit tight until the “perp’s” lawyer arrived. They also needed to gather a few “fillers” for the lineup. It was all very surreal and I was having a pretty great time. It was like an amusement park thrill ride or a very authentic theater piece. :20 minutes later, however, Detective Smith came to escort me to the lineup room and it got very serious and very real.

He led me down a short, pitch black corridor into a tiny room. The perp’s attorney and another Detective were already there. The room was so small that it couldn’t have accommodated another person. They lifted a piece of cardboard that covered a rectangular one-way window. It wasn’t like the movies. I expected this:



I thought they’d all turn, show their profiles and deliver a clever witticism.

There were five sad-faced men seated along the length of a table. Each held a manila folder in front of them with a number written on it. Detective Smith said, “Do you recognize any of these men? Take your time.” I looked them over. I let my eyes rest on each face for a moment because I didn’t want to make a mistake. I said, “I recognize number three.” “Where do you recognize him from?” “I saw him closing my locker at the gym.” Detective Smith gave me a flat, non-committal “Thank you.” The perp’s attorney also turned to me and brightly said, “Thank you very much!”

What was that suppose to mean? Did I blow the I.D.? It suddenly felt that way. My heart sank. My certainty had dissolved into doubt. I was escorted out of the tiny room, down the dark corridor. Once outside, I glancd over at the second Detective. He gave me a quick look and pumped his fist. Got him.

Evidently, this was no ordinary robbery. The thief is a foot soldier in the Albanian mob. Who knew the Albanians had an organized mob!? Their scam is to steal credit cards from gym locker rooms. There has been an epidemic of thefts from city gyms in the past few months and I am, apparently, their first break in the case. Detective Smith told me they have a device, easily obtained on the internet, which jimmies a padlock open in a matter of seconds. Once inside, they take a credit card or two, but leave the wallet, which is very clever of them. You’d notice right away if your wallet was missing but you might not notice one card missing for a few days. Mrs. Wife and I only have one credit card so believe me, when you go from one credit card to none, you notice right away.

The Detective said that the suspect’s lawyer is one of the better criminal defense attorneys in the city. The fact that he got to the precinct house in only :20 minutes and carries a pedigree as shark means that there is some significant money behind his hire. The NYPD would, of course, like the foot soldier to give up his boss. He was denied bail and has been incarcerated all weekend. I was told that I might have to testify in front of a Grand Jury. Stay tuned.