So last night around 2 am I smelled what I thought might be smoke. I checked to make sure the stove and oven were off, and looked at my radiators to make sure no small animals were dying inside. After confirming that the stove and oven were off, and no mice were coming to an untimely death I called maintenance. I explained that I wanted to make sure my building was not burning down. They said they would look into it, I asked if it was safe to be in my apartment. They were like “lol safety.” Before I hung up the phone, I heard one dude say to another “that’s the second call we’ve gotten.”
Then I called again and they said fire trucks were going across the street. I called ten minutes later, they said it was probably a gas leak. In conclusion, I have not burned down, but I think maintenance could do a better job at acting as if they are on top of things. Couldn’t they at least pretend to want to placate the lady calling at 2am?
Following a dispiriting job interview, equally dispiriting dates, and the onslaught of the holidays, aka wrist-slitting season, I had to take action. Those more fitness-inclined than me might suggest a run, but I’m into dark rooms and Diet Cokes the size of my head, so the answer was movies. Three of them in a week in fact.
I started with Anchorman 2 on Christmas Eve, which convinced that no one has said no Adam McKay and Will Ferrell in ten years. Particularly during the family dinner scene. Steve Carell saved this one for me. No one is funnier with a straight face, and the ability to induce laughter with a twitch of the eyebrow.
Next up was American Hustle, starring Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence, and their respective hair cuts. Which are all brilliant, and not even in an unintentionally comic way. Their collective curls offer glimpses into their interior lives, men included. Christian Bale is rarely angrier than when his comb-over is out of order. Bradley Cooper’s scheming, ambitious FBI agent talks a big game, and even physically assaults his boss, but he never looks more vulnerable than the scene at home with his mother, his hair in curlers.
Inside Llewyn Davis was my favorite of the three. The Coen Brother’s chronicle of a cold week in the life of a folksinger struggling to hold on to a career amid the early 60s folk scene in the Village, right on the cusp of Dylan. The pain of being good but not quite great, being just a shade behind the musical times, are beautifully, frustratingly drawn. Davis is both incredibly stubborn and idealistic, but not quite willing to do the work or make the compromises that might actually get him to where he wants to be. The music and the performances were even great enough to shut the inner voices that these themes brought up in me.
Run DMC-Christmas in Hollis
The Waitresses-Christmas Wrapping
The Pogues-Fairytale of New York
And on certain occasions, the Jimmy Fallon/The Roots/Classroom Instruments/Mariah Carey-All I Want for Christmas is You. But only this version.
I’m having some last minute mayoral primary panic. I should know enough by now to realize that no candidate is going to cover public sector union raises, pensions, or health care plans, or be specific about how they would tackle NYCHA’s deficit. But I still wish they would. Indecisiveness is one thing when it comes to breakfast choices, but I should probably learn to stand by a decision maybe sooner than the night before the primary.
Not to mention my district’s city council race, which has featured more clip art and bad photoshop jobs clogging my mailbox than I ever thought possible. Still, I think that’s a clear decision.
Now can we just bring back the lever machines? Now they were a good time.
Babies with tiny headphones, breezes, beer, and big guitars all make an appearance in my latest for Brooklyn Based. As does my new and improved (for now) attitude towards festivals.
"no radio, coins or valuables."—sign on car in Washington Heights. #nyc #cars #WaHi #Manhattan #NotThe1980s
file under nyc childhood memories.
Tig Notaro made me laugh like the idiot that I am tonight with her set at Soundcheck live. I had no idea this would occur after a story about wisdom teeth removal. But that’s my fault for being dumb enough to question whether she can make anything funny.
Then, my broken foot and I chair-danced to to the Randolph Family Band, who did things with pedal steel guitar that I have no words for. Tina Fey was in the audience as her husband was the second person on the bill, and he’s even charming too. Dense New Yorker that I am, I almost didn’t notice, but when I did, I still stared like a creep, but at her cute red sandals. Her daughter is illegally adorable.
And then I did a shot with the bartender at Nancy Whiskey, which also makes me unreasonably happy.
New Neko Case. Did she know today was a little stressful and I needed a new song?
She gets upset when I tell her I love her. She tells me that I’m quite “dear” to her, but she can’t reciprocate all this “love,” because of Kevin (not his real name), the not-quite-ex-boyfriend. “Oh, the complexities of modern life!” I write to her. “So many goofy, earnest middle-class boys to choose from.”
I’m such an easy mark for almost anything Shteyngart writes.
Also, between this and the 10 pages on Kim Gordon last week, I feel like the New Yorker really has my back. At least until the next article on the secret life of mold.