Young, nearly naked, lithe and Irish. 0% body fat.

I could take the high road and say I was interested in seeing this show to study its aesthetics, but instead I’ll tell the truth. I was intrigued by this provocative and highly effective ad:


Just look at them. Couldn’t you just eat them up? They’re dancers and you can see them in a blast furnace of a show called NOĊTÚ that’s in previews at the Irish Rep.

I’ve started this sentence three times and still cannot find the right combination of words to convey how much fun this show is. And, mind you, I’m not a big fan of dance. It’s choreographed and directed by Riverdance Principal Dancer Breandán de Gallaí, but to simply call it “Irish dancing” seems wholly inadequate. It uses traditional step dancing merely as a jumping off point.

Maybe it’s because the Irish Rep is such a small venue and the dancers are right in your FACE. (I’m not certain it would work as well in a larger house.) Or perhaps it’s the perfect song selections. Or maybe it’s because they’re such accomplished dancers (they all have impressive bios). But this is such a powerful piece of theater. I wish I could take you to see it.

13 superb dancers wind their way through routines choreographed to the likes of Björk, Goldfrapp, Leonard Cohen (of course) and Kate Bush. There’s a seductive pas de trois to Imelda May’s My Big Bad Handsome Man that made me wish I had taken more chances when I was in my 20s. There’s a section of Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite that’s worth another viewing (which I hope to get before word gets out and tickets vanish). Although, please, can you spare me the false ending? It’s unnecessary. False endings are right up there with audience participation for spoiling my night out.

* * *

Can the Irish Rep ever do wrong?! It would seem not. Their next show is the rarely performed Dancing at Lughnasa by Brian Friel. The autumn theater season is just underway. Tonight, it’s seasoned pro Frank Langella in Terrence Rattigan’s 1963 drama Man and Boy at the Roundabout. It’s time, once again, for those dreary theater posts that you all pass over.

* * *

I did not listen to the President’s speech last night. Nor did I watch the Republican presidential candidate debate on Wednesday. My apathy towards politicians is at an absolute nadir. None of those fucking clowns can help me with my problem. No one can. I have to figure it out for myself. We should all pray that NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg runs for President. There’s a guy who could light the political fires under my ass again. But this current crop? Worse than useless.

Are New York Yankee fans brain damaged?

Steiner Sports Gifts and Collectibles is an outfit that deals in sports memorabilia. Aside from the usual bubble gum cards and signed baseballs, they specialize in catering to wealthy micro-collectors. They cut “exclusive” deals with players and teams. They are big on partnering with the New York Yankees.

Yankee deity Derek Jeter hit his 3,000th major league hit this summer. Steiner Sports, in partnership with the Yankees consigliere, swooped in and created the following collectible items from the game where he achieved this milestone.

  • Bases used in the game: $7,000
  • Balls (unsigned): $2,000
  • Dirt that Jeter walked on from the shortstop and right-hand batters box: $250 for a half-ounce container
  • Jeter’s used sox: $1,000

Under a separate agreement, you can buy a vial of dirt from the old Yankee stadium that was demolished in 2008. And there’s no need to worry whether or not it’s legitimate Yankee Stadium dirt. Rest assured. All dirt sold by Steiner Sports Marketing is collected “under strict supervision to assure authenticity.” The target audience for these items appears to be brain damaged Yankee fans with deep pockets.

I understand the pull of nostalgia and the want to hold onto a piece of your youth. But this strikes me as both tragic and laughable. Ladies…if you walked into some guy’s apartment and saw a container of (potentially bogus) Yankee Stadium dirt sitting in worship up on his mantle, would you not run for the hills as fast as your feet could carry you? I wouldn’t want The Daughters to date someone of this ilk.

* * *

Well! That was uncharacteristically mean-spirited! I usually try not to judge people too harshly but as long as I rang that bell, I might as well get it all out of my system. Buckle up.

* * *

If I was emperor of the planet for one day, I would write an irrevocable law that would state; if you are caught talking on a cell phone while walking down the sidewalk so loudly that everyone can hear you, you have to go to the county jail for seven days. If you’re using a Bluetooth, you have to go to a federal penitentiary for nine months. I know that sounds a bit harsh but things have gotten pretty bad out here.

* * *

I hurt myself at the gym in the stupidest way imaginable.

I was doing reverse curls (grab a barbell with palms facing inwards and pull it up to your chin). In front of me were two TV monitors. One was playing an interview with Sean Hannity and Dick Cheney. Sean, he of the steely look in the eye and jutting square jaw and Good Ole’ Dick, looking every bit the Bond villain he is, sat in front of an animated waving American flag backdrop. Two heroes. The other monitor played the corporate cyborg New York Yankees beating-up on the small-market Toronto Blue Jays.

My eyes frantically darted from one monitor to the other. I became so angry that I lost my concentration, pulled the barbell up too fast and smacked myself in the chin. My jaw snapped shut so hard that my teeth banged together. They still kind of hurt.

Anger. It’ll get you nowhere, brothers and sisters.

Winnie-the-Pooh’s big cancer scare

I had a horrendous dream yesterday morning. I was walking through a half animated/half real forest. Waddling down a pretty, sun speckled trail appeared none other than Winnie-the-Pooh, your favorite “bear of very little brain.” But right behind him, waddling in hot pursuit, was ANOTHER Winnie-the-Pooh. The second Winnie had cancer! He was trying to catch the first Winnie to give him his cancer.

The only physical difference between the two was that the second, cancerous, Winnie-the-Pooh had white eyes instead of black. “Jesus Christ, Winnie, run! It’s cancer, for fuck’s sake!,” I yelled. Realizing he was in mortal danger, healthy Winnie waddled as fast as he could, big, stupid smile frozen on his face, and kept repeating over and over “Oh, bother!, Oh, bother!”

My alarm went off and I woke up in an absolute stupor. I walked to the bathroom through thick air and replayed the dream over and over while in the shower. I got into the city, still not fully awake, turned the corner at 44th and Broadway and was hit in the face with this:

Sweet Mother Mary! The big Times Square Disney store animated billboard is featuring Pooh characters. It’s as though this town is a living entity that peers into my innermost thoughts and daydreams and uses them to torment me. My iTouch shuffle does it sometimes, too.

* * *

A friend invited me over for a post-work glass of vino and a bite to eat. He lives on the Upper West Side and was home with his charming 3-year old daughter while his wife was out at a business dinner. I had some time to kill so I walked up from 54th and 6th, cut across a corner of Central Park, and then up Amsterdam Avenue into the west 70’s. The sky was a brilliant blue hue and there was just a slight twinge of a cool breeze to announce the coming of autumn.

I didn’t listen to my iTouch or bury my face in a smart phone (as many did). Instead, I did a lot of people-watching and soaked it all in. Walking up Central Park West and winding through the neighborhood, I was suddenly overwhelmed with the sense that I was surrounded by successful, happy people. People who had interesting careers and lots of friends. Pretty homes, perfect marriages, stable work they enjoyed and no financial duress. They don’t get bad haircuts, don’t drive a car with a big dent in the front quarter panel and don’t wear shoes that hurt their feet. Frankly, it made me feel kind of sad.

Now, I know better. All those people who I clandestinely envied are probably just as neurotic and I am. Possibly more so. The Upper West Side of Manhattan is one of the top two epicenters in the U.S. for neurotic behavior (the other being the Upper East Side). But it seems to me they handle their neurosis with a lot more panache and joie de vivre than I do mine. I felt melancholy.

What are we longing for? Where does all this yearning come from?

—Pina Bausch