Manhattan Melodrama Circa ‘92

“Journals? Give me a break. Who’d want to read someone’s journals?”

—Me, two posts ago.


August 18, 1992

Bonnie and I saw Neil Diamond at Madison Square Garden the other night. Neither one of us can stand his music but she got free press seats so we went. I’ll see practically anyone for free.

Before the show we had dinner at Pete’s Tavern. She knows the owners so we didn’t have to pay for the drinks, thank God. We’re both broke. I ordered a veal chop and when the waitress set the plate down in front of me, a cockroach walked out from underneath it. He probably hitched a ride from the kitchen. Neither the waitress nor Bonnie saw it. I was worried that Bonnie was going to spot it and scream.

I watched it walk across the table and wished it out of eyesight. It crawled onto the pepper mill so I back-handed it to the floor. I made it look like a clumsy accident. Roaches are fast but I’m clever. $20 for a veal chop and I have to watch a fucking cockroach stroll across my table. I’m ruined for veal chops. I hallucinated it was a giant, upturned cockroach. I cut into its belly, extracted its guts and put it my mouth. The same thing happened to me at the Hard Rock Café over a slab of ribs. What the hell’s wrong with this town, anyway?

The waitress was a beautiful, olive-skinned Egyptian who I wanted to ravage right there on their roach-infested table. She’s married to the guy managing the joint so I kept the roach story to myself. I told Oswaldo and he couldn’t stop laughing, but I won’t repeat it to anyone else. [Note: The hell I won’t.] I paid for both meals and the cab ride to Madison Square Garden. I miss Dorothy if, for no other reason, she pulled her weight during the lean times.

Growing up, mom fed us a steady diet of Neil Diamond so I knew every lyric to every song. She had a live album called Hot August Night and it was a hot August night, so that’s a full circle. I took Jennifer to the Lone Star Café to see Robert Gordon last week and the two shows couldn’t have been more dissimilar. Diamond had a surprisingly complicated laser and light show and a killer sound system. Robert Gordon? Not so much. Just straight ahead, kick-ass rockabilly. At the end of the Diamond show, some guy ran up on stage to embrace him. It was kind of scary. He could have had a big knife and stabbed him in front of thousands of adoring fans. By the time the show started, Bonnie and I were loaded out of our minds. We kept a running commentary that criticized his clothes, hair, bland songs and over-zealous fans. We got a lot of dirty looks. Not our finest hour.

I stayed overnight at Bonnie’s. The doorman always gives me this “way-to-go” look that annoys the shit out of me. I had worked all day, then the meal with drinks and the long concert, so my expectation was that I’d fall asleep instantaneously. I laid down on the sofa and tried to understand CNN while she went to change. She came out in a plush, white terrycloth robe with a Four Seasons crest on it. I knew she wasn’t wearing anything underneath.

She sat next to me on the sofa and the next thing I knew I got a second wind. Older women are better. They know what they’re doing. Also, there was something about the robe. It made me woozy with desire. I threw her down onto the sofa in a not-very-delicate manner and tore it open. In one swift, smooth, fluid motion she unclasped my belt and unzipped. No fumbling around. Again…older women. Being so worked-up that you can’t be bothered to take your clothes off is kind of hot. I should’ve used the robe sash to tie her hands but I didn’t think about it until the next day.

We washed up, brushed our teeth, got under the covers and after some spirited encouragement from Bonnie, surprise, surprise. Once again, I grossly overestimated how tired I was. At one point I put a condom on and everything came to a screeching halt, as it always does when I do that. I wonder if Bonnie can still get pregnant? We went at it again the following morning and now I’m kind of raw. I won’t be able to abuse myself for a week. Our morning pillow talk was about AIDS and how we really should be more careful.

She made an incredible breakfast. I was watching and initially, it didn’t look like she knew what she was doing but everything turned out okay. She made French toast. She cut thick slices of bread from a loaf of challah and fried thick slices of honey cured bacon. She fried the bacon until it looked like blackened strips of ash. I thought she’d overcooked it but it was delicious. A good pot of hot coffee, too. We sat on her sofa and read the Sunday New York Times.

Jennifer told me she’s seeing some guy who’s 39, divorced and has two kids. Why would she get involved with some decrepit 39 year-old with kids?

 Saturday morning, March 20th.
The first day of spring in suburban New Jersey.



snow3 snow4

Sure, it’s pretty…in DECEMBER. Enough, already.

A public service announcement. Gruesome pics. Viewer discretion is advised.

I debated whether or not to write this. I did an identical post four years ago so why repeat myself? Why preach and berate and bore you with the same tired sermon? But I’ve decided to pulpit-up and warn you about the dangers of overexposure to the sun. Some disturbing imagery follows so if you’re squeamish, bail out now.

For the second time in four years, I was diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma. It’s a benign form of skin cancer that (thankfully) rarely metastasizes beyond the original tumor site. You get it from going to the beach year after year and not using enough sunscreen. As my dermatologist hectored, even wearing strong sunblock is no guarantee. He said that people mistake a high SPF as a suit of iron. It’s not. The only true protection is to stay in the shade, although he acknowledges the unlikelihood of that.

Here are the consequence of my folly. Once again, I went under the knife and had a precious piece of me removed.

Heart-shaped wound, as opposed to a wounded heart.

BCC1 I thought I was being clever by popping earbuds in during the procedure. I thought the music would drown out the violence that was being perpetrated upon my head. Do you know how if you plug your fingers in your ears and eat a potato chip, you can hear the crunching inside your head really loud? That’s what happened here. I heard the music playing but I also heard the amplified scrape, scrape, scrape of my scalp being removed.

I got lectured again by a dermatologist with perfect skin. He’s right, of course. We all know the danger of overexposure to the sun. But, like moths to the flame, we do it anyway. It feels good. It looks good. What fools we mortals be. I’ll have a proper scar on the right side of my forehead to match the one on the left side from the first procedure. I’m hoping it makes me look a little more bad-ass. BCC2The procedure wasn’t painful but I felt everything. There was more psychological terror than physical pain. In addition to the scraping, I also felt the thread pass through my skin and the two flaps being pulled together.

Same warning as last time, folks. The usual clichés apply. Be careful. Don’t think it can’t happen to you. We love you and wouldn’t want to lose any of you. USE SUNSCREEN.BCC3 I get my stitches out in the morning. Instead of scurrying back to the office, I’ll take a sick day, drive down to Atlantic City and visit the casinos. It was never a very dignified place to begin with but now, with all the casino closings, it’s a sad, broken hulk of a town. Every time I feel bad about myself—I don’t make enough money, I’m not passionate about my work, I didn’t set the world on fire artistically, etc.—I visit Atlantic City and have look around. It turns out I’m doing fine. With the hand I was dealt early on, I could’ve easily wound up down there with the other 8:00 a.m. denizens of the crap tables. I do feel a genuine kinship with those busted guys, but I’m glad I have a place to go after 7-out.

In my previous post, I had a proper chuckle at the expense of the Björk exhibit at MoMA. But on a different floor in the same museum is this: marcelThese are considered to be 20th century masterpieces that changed the definition of what constitutes art. It’s also a snow shovel hanging from the ceiling and a bicycle wheel stuck to a stool. Back in 2002, a bicycle wheel sold for $1.7 million. Can you imagine what it’d sell for today?!

Who knows? One day, Björk might be seen as someone who was ahead of her time. This is not a pipe, indeed.

Critics sharpen knives. Björk gets filleted.

I’ve read some negative reviews in my time but nothing like what’s raining down on the Björk “mid-career” exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, the Björk show at MoMA is bad, really bad.”
Ben Davis


“…the show reeks of ambivalence.”
Roberta Smith
The New York Times

Ouch. She said it reeks.

“And the dresses, honey, the dresses.”
Jason Farago
The Guardian

I attended a preview and thought the show was okay (just), but after reading some of the scathing critiques, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s as bad as they say it is. They make some astute observations, these critics.

I’ve had a bug up my ass about Björk for years. Occasionally, an artist will say something that’s so insipid and void of perspective that it leaves me with an ambivalence towards their work that won’t fade away. For instance, back in 2010, while one-note actor Michael Cera was promoting Scott Pilgrim vs The World, he delivered this nugget of clarity:

“I don’t really want to be famous, and I’m kind of scared that might be happening.”

Then don’t be a MOVIE STAR or take a lead role in a BROADWAY PLAY, stupid. I could go on with similar examples. (And, in fact, I have.)

In 2000, Björk was promoting Dancer in the Dark, a movie she starred in with Catherine Deneuve for which she received much praise and an Oscar nomination. During a press junket, she said filming was:

“…like signing on to war, going to the Vietnam War. I believed I might die. Acting is like jumping from a cliff without a parachute.”

What an idiot. I’ve done neither, but I’m fairly certain that making a movie is nothing at all like fighting in Vietnam. She lives in a vacuum. I’ve dated girls like Björk. They’re in a constant state of crisis—a crisis that’s usually of their own construct. They’re malcontents who’re always spoiling for a fight and feel the world is against them. After she said that, I lost interest in her work.

Flash forward. I entered the exhibit with an open heart. I resolved to judge her work on its merits and forget about this foolishness from 15 years ago. I had a nice enough time but it’s like the Orlando Hard Rock Café without the overpriced hamburgers. Examples of her hand written lyrics and journals were under glass. Man, I don’t care about her scribblings. And journals? Give me a break. Who wants to read someone’s journals?

Before entering the exhibit, you’re given an iPod and a pair of pretty decent Bang & Olufsen headphones. There’s music and spoken-word narration for each individual gallery. The tracks are triggered by motion detectors. As you move between the small, cramped galleries, the music and narration changes automatically when you cross a threshold. It’s a clever conceit but I soon lost interest and relegated the audio portion to the back of my mind. I couldn’t understand the dialogue over the music. It was only later after reading some reviews I discovered there’s a linear story being told about Björk being on a journey. Who knew?

The galleries contained videos and costumes from her live performances. There was her swan dress from her night at the Oscars (on a cartoonish likeness of her). The eggs are a nice touch.


A translucent, nipple-pierced Björk was dressed in this Alexander McQueen gown. It slowly rotated on a pedestal.

bjork1 bjork7

The Bell Dress, another McQueen creation, along with headpiece hair sculpture by Hrafnhildur Arnardottir.


The cool robots from her All Is Full of Love video.

bjork6 bjork2


I’m not entirely certain where these were used. The gallery was packed and I couldn’t get to the description card. But they were interesting. They must have been uncomfortable to wear. If anyone can fill in the blanks, feel free.

bjork10 bjork9

Her videos, arguably the bread and butter of her oeuvre, are relegated to a room with serviceable projection and uncomfortable foam furniture. It’s a shame because the camera loves her. The guy sitting in front of me had horrific B.O. and I had to leave earlier than I would have liked. That’s not Björk’s fault.

She created a new work specifically for this exhibit. It’s a :10 minute film for Black Lake, which appears on her new album. It’s about her breakup with conceptual artist Matthew Barney. You enter a dark, circular room with two large facing screens and sit on the floor. A great sound system cranks up and you see a film of Björk crawling around on her knees in a cave, emoting, beating her chest and singing a song of unrelenting heartache.

Family was always our sacred mutual mission
Which you abandoned

You have nothing to give
Your heart is hollow
I’m drowned in sorrows
No hope in sight of ever recover
Eternal pain and horrors

Oy. What melodrama. Even during my worst break-ups I never thought the pain and horror was eternal. I would never commit thoughts like that to paper. They say artists “feel” more. Maybe that’s true.

This is the 7th anniversary of my blog. Here’s to another seven years *ting*.

Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

Did Shakespeare maintain a blog? Sure sounds like it.

NYC Snow Job Walkabout Photo Bomb

I was going to start with a caveat that this was a “lazy” post because it’s mainly photos. Then I remembered that photography is a legitimate art form. I like to fancy myself an advanced beginner. I used to develop my own black and white photos in high school. I had an excellent instructor who taught me the basics about composition, framing, light, texture and all that jazz. The lessons stuck. Probably the only ones from high school that did. So I retract the caveat that I have not offered.

I went out on my lunch hour while it was snowing and took these in Bryant Park, which is located just behind the big library on 42nd St.

winter1Winter’s last gasp. We hope.

winter3There’s a fountain at the 6th Avenue entrance. They don’t turn it off when it gets below freezing. The water continues to flow until it’s a solid mass.

winter5Now it’s sculpture. [Mistyped as “scripture.” Hilarious, considering my feelings about scripture. ]

winter6Poor Patience. Blinded by snow. (Or is he Fortitude? I forget which is which. They all look alike to me.)

winter4I love this shot from my office. The best part? The water towers. Tiny white circles that punctuate the neighborhood.

winter12There’s an installation currently on Broadway in the garment district. Avian Avatars by Donna Dodson and Andy Moerlein. Five bird sculptures that are, according to the literature, considering the state of the world. Don’t we all?

winter7 This owl is the best of the lot. Two pics for him.

winter9winter8Crow with caution tape.

winter10Yet another illegal depriving an honest, hard-working American of a food delivery job. Obama’s liberal immigration policy must be STOPPED. Send this lazy, entitlement-sucking bum back to where he came from.*

winter11*If you think I’m serious, you are not allowed to read my blog anymore. If what I’ve written reflects your true feelings about this poor bastard, you are not allowed to read my blog anymore. If you don’t feel any compassion welling-up inside you, there’s a hole in the space where your heart should be and you are not allowed to read my blog anymore. Go away and don’t come back.

I (bravely) took on Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh at the Brooklyn Academy of Music starring Brian Dennehy and, in a rare dramatic turn, Nathan Lane. The program said it was 4:45 long but what the hell, let’s call it an even 5:00.

icemanIt was pretty rough stuff. Curtain was at 7:00 and we got out just before midnight. Three intermissions. It was a Herculean effort and while it was awfully good, it fell short of greatness. Dennehy is a hulking mass of actor. Lane, on the other hand, is burdened with the baggage of his success. This happens with movie actors who take the stage. He had a long, passionate soliloquy near the end and I kept hearing Timon peeking through singing Hakuna Matata.

Eugene O’Neill was mad. Sitting through one of his plays is a long, hard slog, but it’s usually worth it. Here are some memes I found that will tell you everything you need to know about an O’Neill play.


Don’t sleep in the subway, darlin’

Are you ready for another spin in the time machine? Set the controls for Brooklyn, circa early 1990’s. Fasten your seat belts, bitches.


October 4, 1992

I was standing on the subway platform in Times Square waiting for the uptown A train. I was reading Casino Royal. I love these Bond books. They’re preposterous. In Goldfinger, Bond converts a lesbian named Pussy Galore to heterosexuality with his superior lovemaking skills. Fantastic. So real. Anyway, there’s a scene in Casino Royal where Bond is being tortured. SMERSH operative Le Chiffre ties Bond to a seatless cane chair and repeatedly hits him in the nuts with a big knot of rope. It’s shockingly well-written. As I was reading it, I began sweating and felt myself getting dizzy and nauseous. My head was throbbing and I got tunnel vision. In slow motion, I eased myself into a lying position in the middle of the platform and PASSED OUT.

When I came-to there was a circle of people standing around me staring. Two guys helped me onto a bench. Another guy handed me my backpack. A woman, thinking I might be diabetic, gave me a piece of candy. Initially, I thought everyone was just gawking but that wasn’t the case. They were all genuinely concerned. I was astonished at how many people helped me. The train arrived and it was pretty crowded. A giant black guy made someone get up out of his seat so I could sit down. I love this town.

I finally took Margaret out. She’s a piece of work. She made some cheap cracks about gays and Jews. I told her I lived in a predominantly black neighborhood and she said, “Why would you do that!? Oh! I know! Because it’s cheap!” She added that she would never, under any circumstances, visit me. She’s Russian and lives with her granny in a one-bedroom apartment in Brighton Beach, so it’s not like I’ll visit her, either. It’s just as well. We don’t seem to have any chemistry. But, Christ, she’s beautiful. Beautiful but stupid.

I took her to Remembrance. It’s an off-Broadway drama about two families in Northern Ireland. It’s got a good cast. Milo O’Shea, Frances Sternhagen and Mia Dillon. I thought it was fine but Margaret was yawning a lot and said it was too long.

Afterwards, we ate at The Riv. We both had sesame chicken. She was so hungry that she ate the ornamental bed of lettuce. It was kind of gross because it was all soggy and waterlogged from soaking in the sesame sauce. She told me her brother is an overly-protective gorilla and interrogates her about her dates. She said, “He still thinks I’m a virgin!” and barked a laugh that was a little too loud. Everyone stared at us. I paid. It was an uncomfortable parting at the subway, as they always are. I wanted to kiss her but I was mad because she insulted my neighborhood. I asked her when I could see her again.

The Ramones were on the Tonight Show. Last week, Morrissey was on. I think they’re trying for a hipper audience. Good luck. I saw an infomercial for, I kid you not, aerosol spray paint for balding men. These bald dudes were sitting in a row of barber chairs and the treatment involved spraying their bald patch with black paint (or whatever color their hair used to be). Then they were sprayed with a finisher. Initially, I thought it was a comedy sketch but it wasn’t. It was serious. Oswaldo came up and the two of us were laughing our assess off.

Speaking of Oswaldo…he drove Ellis and I to the outlet stores in Secaucus. At Harvey Electronics, I told a salesman I had $200 to spend on speakers. He immediately showed me $300 speakers. Why do they do that!? He then showed me some speakers in my price range and I, naturally, bought the $300 speakers.

I love watching Oswaldo and Ellis shop for clothes because they get all bitchy. Ellis wanted a coat at Anthony Marc but Oswaldo wouldn’t let him buy it because it had a big rip down the front. As we were driving away, Ellis said the rip could’ve easily been repaired started complaining that we prevented him from buying the coat. Oswaldo stopped the car in the middle of the road, did a fast, illegal U-turn and said “We’re going back because I don’t want you holding this over us!” Ellis didn’t buy the coat.

It was sunny and crisp outside and Oswaldo said it’d be a good day to toss a football around. Ellis said, “That’s what you guys can get me for Christmas! A football!” Then they went at it.

“What would you do with a football?”
“Hey, I’m a tight end! Wooo!”
“I’ll bet you are. I hear you’re a fast forward, too.”
“That’s right.”
“I’m a wide receiver.”
“Ewwww! Not me! I’m an ineligible receiver!”

This sort of thing goes on all afternoon. I feel bad for people who don’t have gay friends.

When we got back to Brooklyn we ate at a diner that opened in 1936. Oswaldo said he was going to show me a newer place where I can take my “white friends” when they come to Brooklyn.

Reporting on the death of Leonard Nimoy, The New York Post crammed not one, not two, but THREE Star Trek catchphrases into a single headline. How do they do it?


Muffin and Hermes.