First of all, I just realized that Top Chef premieres Wednesday and it's kind of embarrassing how much I'm looking forward to this. Some people I know and trust to have excellent taste are crazy about Mad Men and given that I've reduced my tv schedule down to approximately nothing else besides CNN, Bones (God I love that show) and The Office I'm a little afraid to watch it once because I'm sure that I'd get just as crazy. Also I have never seen True Blood. Don't talk to me about it, please. I can't add anything else to my already epic procrastination files, not a thing.
In the "intentions for the universe" department, I went to an art show at an oppressively hot D.C. gallery on Friday night. It was mixed media but a lot of it was photography. I think I could put some of my own stuff out there, judging from what I saw. Some of it is way better than mine, some of it is just, eh, I'll admit I thought "Wow, I have some pictures that can kick that picture's ass." (I immediately feel guilty about that and want to erase it. I'm not going to. Go ahead. Judge me.) Anyway, I think I might try. If I write it down maybe I'll actually do it.
I guest-posted on Greeblemonkey yesterday because I love Aimee and she asked and honestly I was totally flattered that she asked. I ended up rambling on about a Dave Matthews Band show I went to with her last summer when I was in Denver for the DNC, and Duran Duran discussions with Sarah and her and other matters related to music and making friends on the Internet who you totally would have been friends with if you had met them in real life first. The Internet - and the blogging community I happen to hang out in - came in quite handy in these cases.
This is Aimee and me at that show. I love that she included this photo and thank her in advance for letting me share it here. I'm not sure why I look like I'm crying, or maybe stoned, because no, neither. At least I don't remember crying. Maybe I was overcome with Internet friendship, or altitude. I worked so hard that week and my D90 was stolen and I fell unceremoniously in a street in downtown Denver when I was hanging out with my girl Heather C. and also lost my press pass (I'm not kidding when I say I need a minder) so this night out with Aimee was pretty much the highlight, second only to being in Invesco/Mile High Stadium when President Obama accepted the nomination - a first place that she would understand better than almost anyone.)
Note: Aimee will come and pick you up on a street corner after you've met her one time and take you to dinner and to the amazing Red Rocks, if you call her and ask her and throw in a show ticket. Total score.
She also included this shot of Sarah and me that I'll put here again just because I can and I want it on my blog too, yo.
Sarah makes me look good in general. I first recall meeting her for real while attempting to slice my finger off in a door at BlogHer DC last fall. (If this was not the first time I'm sorry, it's like you've always been here dude what can I say? ;)) This didn't bode well for good pictures but we've had a run of good luck since then. I can't make her stand next to me all the time which is a shame. This photo - especially notable because it was way past wine o'clock and my eyes are still open - was taken by Laurie Smithwick, another friend who makes the best kind in real life because she makes me think better and makes me smile big.
Oh, what the hell. It's Laurie and me. Lauries, even.
I like you guys, all y'all. I keep threatening (like, myself, in my own brain) to do a really late BlogHer post and maybe I will. This year was good.
Haha, Denise, look! I wrote "really late BlogHer post" and I actually meant the conference but that is such an honestly ambiguous statement. May this new leaf turn over with reckless abandon.
The post I wrote for Aimee is largely about music. And somewhat related, I'm currently stalking archives because as stated above I have these friends now from the computer and I'm realizing how much of their actual blogs I've missed over my past three years of failing at reading blogs (or because I didn't really know them well yet so it wasn't technically my fault. Deflect, deflect! Also I could link like 20 more people which I probably should if I'm going to do it at all but I can't take the pressure. You know who you are.) I am forcing myself to sit still for much of today because I'm fried, and therefore just read a list of Sarah's top 100 albums that she wrote three years ago (do not go back and read it Sarah because you might start arguing with yourself. Leave it alone.)
Sarah and I have some things in common so it's not so surprising that large parts of her music category, in fact, (minus some of the kids' stuff with which I'm not familiar because I just have no reason to turn it on most of the time although I'm essentially a child, and the death metal because I just never went there in spite of my obsession with hair and harder, albeit mainstream, metal) are right out of my life. I'm kind of tempted to try my own list but the thought is so daunting that I'm trying to talk myself out of it, and I'd have to follow the honesty rule and frankly I like some really embarrassing shit. Let's just say reading this made me want to write about music more. I'll probably start with this a little later, just for grins. Maybe you should too.
I really do love archives, which I actually don't think is so weird. I read Eden Kennedy's and Wendy McClure's sometimes just because the writing is so good and it doesn't get old for me. I'll take inspiration where I can get it.
And on a few key points that I'll mention here, Sarah, so I can embarrass myself on my own blog rather than going back and obsessively commenting on three-year-old posts: You said "counterpoint structure in rock music" and I have no idea what that means so I'm glad there are people like you who do; Night Songs is the far superior record for Somebody Save Me and Nobody's Fool alone, although Coming Home is one of my favorite songs of all time and I think I might write about a recent interaction with it next; Soundgarden is one of the greatest bands ever and this is why I despise my ex-boyfriend Chris Cornell all the more for the travesty of his recent inexcusable solo material wherein he managed to remind me of Cher; I'm confused however by your omission of Temple of the Dog; none of Simon LeBon's lyrics make sense, except in Save a Prayer, marginally, and props to you for bonding with the first record because it's by far the best besides "New Religion" and "Last Chance on the Stairway" on Rio which win for (naturally) bass lines alone; I'd like a world with Cliff Burton, Shannon Hoon (my personal addition), Kurt Cobain and Layne Staley still in it. At the very least I feel confident that Cliff would have saved the world from the Napster hearings and the documentary where the band went through group therapy; more people should have always listened to the Cult because some of their stuff is genius, Fire Woman alone, good Lord, and Blood Sugar Sex Magic and Appetite = totally in my top ten, BSSM might have to be 1 or 2. Ten is in the top 15. Also Ramble On is my favorite Zeppelin song and on my top-ten favorite songs ever list as well. And I'll stop there. We are both very smart people with excellent taste, in my own mind. The end.
I could have e-mailed that but I really think my Chris Cornell rage needs to be shared with a wider audience. Bottom line? This archive-stalking really saves a lot of catch-up time.
(Also I'm using the word "stalk" facetiously here. Real, creepy stalking is not funny or appealing at all in the slightest. Don't make me tell you how in-depth my site stats are. Really, because I don't want to talk about it. Moving on. Lalala.)
Finally, because my mother is making me leave my house to go see Julie and Julia, a book I disliked for much the same reasons that I disliked Eat, Pray, Love (I know. I'm not a real person, and also clearly not a girl either. Bring on the hate, bring it.) and a movie I'm not too excited to see either but she is and I'm curious in a voyeuristic sort of way about how blogging will be portrayed so I'm going, I want this. Badly.
I just got my time capsule e-mail from Photojojo.com, and they sell it through their site (in the "awesomeness" category in their store. I concur.) I've had a combined camerabag/purse for a number of months now because I take my SLR everywhere - hi robbers please don't follow me and steal it, I'm scrappy and hard to pin down anyway, always on the move, yes - and it's fraying on the edges and generally making me look like the crazy camera bag lady, so I needed something cute and functional and this totally scores.
You should get the Time Capsule too. Connect it to your Flickr account and twice a month they e-mail you with a bunch of images that you uploaded exactly a year ago. It's very cool. If you're a nostalgia junkie like me it fits that bill plus it reminds me of pictures I'd completely forgotten about. The only sad part is they sent me photos of my dog after he died and I was in a crappy mood and it kind of made me cry to see him pop up in my e-mail and I'm sure the same will happen with my grandma but whatever, it's still a genius idea and I support it completely. I'm sure they've been waiting for me to weigh in on it, so there it is.
He was cute though.
I think that's more than enough from me. Make it a great day.
When Diana, Princess of Wales, died in a car crash in a Paris tunnel,any remaining illusions I had of charmed lives for princesses did too. I was a teenaged Anglophile, one of the millions who woke up extra early to watch her wedding day on tv, and felt real sadness - whether I should have or not - in the years after as that initial fairy tale story crumbled.
There it was. Princesses - at least one,anyway - marry people who don't love them all that much, or at least not enough to cut ties with his ex-girlfriend. She gets an eating disorder and never quite gets over her parents' divorce. She goes through a series of bad relationships and then ends up unthinkably dead in a traffic tunnel. And this when it seems, only just seems, that she might be beyond the worst part of the learning curve.
I'm tempted to sugar-coat this as some kind of life lesson but I fail miserably at that, which may be why Dina Goldstein's Fallen Princesses photo series remains very much on my mind, a week after I saw it for the first time on the JPG Magazine site.
Even Cinderella's coach breaks down in a sketchy neighborhood. All images brilliantly shot by and courtesy of Dina Goldstein.
Goldstein takes princesses - the Disney versions, this time - and depicts what may have happened after the closing credits. Cinderella's hitching because she got drunk in a dive bar. Snow White looks miserable with a house full of children. And in the ones that hurt me to look at the most, Rapunzel holds her wig of long braids during chemotherapy, and Belle lies on an operating table during a plastic surgery procedure.
As a strictly in-the-moment shooter who knows and chooses not to take on the work that goes into studio photography, I'm impressed with Goldstein's work on a technical level and also of any use of photography to intentionally comment on larger issues. It's one of its most important uses, I think.. In Goldstein's words on JPGMag.com:
As a young girl, growing up abroad, I was not exposed to Fairy tales. These new discoveries lead to my fascination with the origins of Fairy tales. I explored the original brothers Grimm's stories and found that they have very dark and sometimes gruesome aspects, many of which were changed by Disney. I began to imagine Disney's perfect Princesses juxtaposed with real issues that were affecting women around me, such as illness, addiction and self-image issues.
Now, despite what any Facebook quiz would have me think, I am not any kind of Disney princess, unless upcoming releases include Princess Who Swears-a-lot, or @Laurie of Twitterlandia. I grew up in the generation after the classics were released - Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and Cinderella, and they really didn't work for me. I was honestly freaked out even at an early age by the recurring theme of women needing to pass out for indeterminate periods of time in order for things to get better. No thank you. I was way into 101 Dalmations and Mary Poppins, stuff like that, and if anything really scarred me for life it was Bambi.
Real life has not been princessy either. Issues, I have issues. Externally, weight gain, a congenital facial scar, eyeglasses, unfortunate spiral perms. Internally, a crazy penchant for overanalysis and an occasional attitude problem. You name it, I got it. For more appropriate pop culture references, I was Winona Ryder in Heathers, minus the Christian Slater killer boyfriend, or Janeane Garofalo to my best friend's Uma Thurman in the Truth About Cats and Dogs. I maybe passed out sometimes, but there was no guy standing over me at the end crying. (And if there was, he needed money for the tab.)
Now that's just a cheap parenthetical joke. But the truth is, I've been jealous of women whose lives have appeared to be more charmed, more princessy than mine, at least aesthetically. I've thought that real-life girls who were popular, and pretty, and consistently boyfriended, were better off than me.
That's the truth. Sometimes I thought it because they strongly insinuated it, or because social interactions made me feel that way. Or maybe I thought it because of music videos, or movies with impossibly happy endings that looked nothing like my life (or to be honest, anyone's I knew, but we all kind of live in our own head until jarred out of it.) Even last night, watching a rerun of The Office at the gym, I was all, "Look how cute Jim is. Where's MY Jim? Pam's life is AWESOME. I'll just keep doing this here elliptical exercise for thousands more hours and some day, my Jim will come up to me in the parking lot with Dwight who will hand me things to photocopy!"
I said there were issues, right, just so we're clear? Now, I know and you know that Pam is not real, and in most cases I would not indeed like to be a paper company receptionist in Scranton, Pa., (unless Jon Krasinski really did work there, oh my word) but this is what happens to my brain while watching closed-captioned sitcoms while exercising. I have no real desire to fly around with a guy on a magic carpet Jasmine-style, or dance with talking tea cups and butter dishes waiting for a beast to transform in some creepy castle. I would not have argued, however, if Lloyd Dobler showed up in the Malibu. Alas, the person I mistook for him showed up in a trashed Jetta for which he paid $1 and moved into an undergraduate dorm five years later at an advanced age, leaving me behind with a stack of books about letting go Buddhist style and an assortment of irrational behaviors.
Would a princess have better luck? I don't know, because I haven't met any. But life proves to me frequently that real life is not charmed really, for anyone. Happiness is fleeting and weird. Princessy people are happy or sad depending, just like average people, whatever that may mean. I know people who I believe to be very attractive who pick themselves apart worse than I ever have, who are not happy with their internal or external selves. Beauty pageant winners are dethroned, while it is considered remarkable that Susan Boyle can sing at all given her physical appearance, and when she opens her mouth the world pats itself on the back for its enlightenment until she gets second place and ends up hospitalized (there's a Disney theme for you.) And you know, while I'm on the uplifting tip: nobody gets out alive.
Like my co-contributing editor and brilliant blogger Rita Arens wrote about the Fallen Princesses, happiness is relative, and hard-won:
In real life, happiness is the time spent being thankful you aren't going through hell anymore. In real life, we don't know happy unless we've been sad, really sad, or really angry, or really sick. Once we've been all of those things, we learn to appreciate moments when nothing is wrong --- and see them as happiness instead of the status quo.
If Rita's right, I should be accompanied by bluebirds 24/7, and even though I'm not currently bursting with joy, what I'm learning to identify as happiness in her terms is simple contentment, best experienced by not comparing other peoples' experiences and circumstances with mine. This may be why I choose not to watch the Real Housewives of New Jersey.
A larger aim of Goldstein's set might be to realize the very obvious and basic truth that is nonetheless easy to miss when you're caught up in bibbity-bobbity-boo and whatnot: I don't decide happy for princesses and their ilk any more than they ought to decide it for me, no matter what the zeitgeist says. And if I think for a minute that anyone is immune to common suffering like disease, addiction, lost love, or body image issues - no matter what slice of princess life we've seen in movies or through the media lens - that misconception is mostly on me.
As another well-known BlogHer, co-founder Lisa Stone wrote on Surfette in response to Rita's post:
Amen. We live, we learn, we grow up, we are thankful, we learn to find our happiness.
Unless, for some reason, we don't.
A Cup of Jo finds the series "genius and heartbreaking."
Kelly at DesignCrush liked "seeing the flip side of the typical fairytale."
The Queen of the Quarterlife Crisis was "enthralled" by the images.
My friends and I have been saying for years that it's really the fairytales we heard as children that actually fucked us up. These grand illusions of men climbing up a girl's braid to "rescue her" can really give a girl a COMPLEX. Anyhow, the artist here replaces the "happily ever after" with reality that addresses current issues such as war in the middle east, addiction and self-image.
Check out a small bit of the conversation I had with my grandmother. I explain at the link why I recorded it and you can hear a small segment of it there. I've never worked with Adobe Audition before and I am now running screaming back to GarageBand.
I set the Vox site up specifically for my "slice" multimedia class, because adding that stuff here plus inviting my professors to read my BLOG seemed a bit much. Turns out I really like it there though. It's much easier to add audio and video files - even pictures, come to think of it. I'll probably be moving over there more seriously at some point.
I don't want it because in spite of my love for all things Roald Dahl and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, I don't need a big-ass metal WONKA screaming at me in 2,000 point font on my bed, or really even anywhere in my bedroom. And also, this might be just me, but if you happen to be sharing your bed, and perhaps engaging in some activity best enhanced by a Marvin Gaye cd, I think it might just be a bit unnerving to be either staring at a big WONKA in 2,000 point font at the time, or thinking that someone else is.
There's something really wrong about that.
In other Wonka news (and yes I am a person for whom it is entirely possible that two Wonka newsbriefs exist simultaneously. Suck on THAT Everlasting Gobstopper.) I bought one of my favorite things that I've bought in recent memory this weekend: the 25th anniversary reissue of the soundtrack to Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
(Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the Tim Burton film, is dead to me, by the way. I can barely speak of it, so I won't.)
I've been listening to this cd in my car all weekend and have really been loving it. It has the several different versions of the Oompa Loompa song that were in the movie, plus a lot of the best dialogue, and, of course, "Pure Imagination."
"Come with me and you'll be
In a world of pure imagination
Take a look and you'll see
Into your imagination
We'll begin with a spin
Trav'ling in the world of my creation
What we'll see will defy
If you want to view paradise
Simply look around and view it
Anything you want to, do it
Want to change the world, there's nothing to it
There is no life I know
To compare with pure imagination
Living there, you'll be free
If you truly wish to be
If you want to view paradise
Simply look around and view it
Anything you want to, do it
Want to change the world, there's nothing to it
There is no life I know
To compare with pure imagination
Living there, you'll be free
If you truly wish to be"
Sigh. Love it.
I want to keep stuff like this in my heart this month. It's so nice when people do nice things. I am very inarticulate tonight and the most random my random self can be tonight, I think. I'm still a broken record of tiredness. It's so boring, I know. I just can't help it. It's like I can't put myself to sleep, I am just so incredibly riveting to myself. Oh how much more time can I possibly spend with myself, awake, riveted? Clearly hours and hours.
Anyway, the person who came up with the 25 days project that I linked above is a girl named Laura, and she is 10 years old. Pretty cool. There are nice people all over the place, it seems. I saw one of my favorite people this weekend. Her name is Dolores and she is all of a sudden oh my God going to have a baby. She lives in Canada so I rarely see her, but she was home for a baby shower-type thing and quick visit, and it was just so great. She is one of the most truly nice and at the same time interesting people that I've ever met in my life. As I told a friend of mine on the phone on the way home, because of her and my grandma lunch, "Today reminded me of why I actually do love my life." That truth has gotten a little...ummmmmm....obscured, if you will (and again, I compulsively say, "Why wouldn't you????" I'm such an ass.) by the mountain of assignments I've somehow accumulated, along with a side order of neurosis about my spring schedule and the variety of usual other neurosis-inducing stimuli. Like walking. And talking. And thinking. Blast the thinking, most of all. Don't let's God bless it, everyone.
Wait. I all of a sudden want to use the word "verisimilitude", but I forget what it means. It just popped into my head. If it means something appropriate to this post I'm spilling out currently, I'm gonna be kind of pleased.
American Heritage sayeth:
Holy. I just typed the word "truth". Neat. Hmm. I wonder how that happened? Maybe tomorrow I'll walk around saying, "Yes, there certainly is some verisimilitude to that." And people will punch me in the face.
Anyway, speaking of not punching anyone, especially me, really, because it's not nice, in the face, here's an advent calendar at Jen Stewart's place.Beliefnet has a nice one too, with audio files and lots of information if you're a spiritual seeker-type like I am. The online calendar from the Episcopal Diocese of Washington is REALLY cool. Look at today's entry.
Intute's Arts & Humanities Blog has one I like, because it's not specifically religious if you're not into that sort of thing, but it has a nice focus on the world. And also it's British, so that elevates it, perhaps unfairly, for me.
Hence, I also dig the one from National Museums Liverpool. Very, very nice. Make sure you go to December 1st, especially if you could use a photo of a real live reindeer in your life. And who couldn't?
If this collection doesn't get me in the spirit, I really am beyond help.
I've been yelping quite a bit lately. I get to opine about the places I go and give them ratings and talk smack about them if I feel like it, which is actually turning out to be a great writing exercise if I have other work to do that I can't quite get jump-started.
The site is really helpful if you want to check out public opinion on anything from restaurants and bars to dry cleaners and beauty salons. We used it a lot on our last trip to New York, to confirm or deny locations and to get a general vibe for what people thought about restaurants, specifically. It's good if you're traveling somewhere new. I know I'll use it like crazy for Chicago places.
Go ahead - yelp yourself. It's liberating.
Check out the New York Times article on civility in cyberspace, that features Blogher, the awesome spot where I write sometimes. Also a nice picture of the three founders - Lisa Stone (you can find more insight into the piece in her post on the matter.), Jory des Jardins, and Elisa Camahort at the top of the piece.
Thanks to DCBlogs for the shoutout, and hi to everyone who's ended up here from there. I'm glad to provide you with support for your cell phone camera habits. Speaking of which, if I'd seen the awesome phone my cousin showed me yesterday before my old contract ran out, I would not have signed on for two years with the piece of crap I currently own. I hate this phone. It's just terrible. And rest assured that when it breaks, Verizon will only try to charge you FIFTY BUCKS to replace it, even under insurance. That just wasn't happening.
A little late, but Peeps for Passover still deserves a look. Very (indeed, I just typed "vewy") funny. And for more of the Peepshow, check out the winners in the Washington Post contest. This is some heavy duty marshmallow art, guys.
This article about Joshua Bell clarifies why I won't mind getting out of DC when I finally do. You have to go to #7 in the photostream to see my favorite: the Peeps rendition of John Cusack's classic "In Your Eyes" boombox scene from "Say Anything." Pure retro genius.
Have you checked out Etsy yet if you like to buy pretty things? You should. This is my friend's storefront there - all the cool kids are doing it. As soon as I can figure out how to produce prints on a regular basis, this is likely where they're going.
I can haz cheezburger? I know, I know. I don't know why either.
I made this my movie weekend, thrilled as I was to not have to go to work at all, or to be somewhere else trying to have fun, thinking about how I should be at work. That's a major drag, by the way, and I don't recommend it. Work sucks in general (I much prefer play, to be honest) but when it's hanging over my head, the suckage goes forth and multiplies.
After "Stranger Than Fiction," which is detailed in sickening detail below, I let someone else pick the movie. My friend Jeremy came down yesterday and he chose "Copying Beethoven," which really didn't do it for either one of us, I don't think. The music was great, but Ed Harris annoyed me, and the story was weak. Plus the cinematography created an atmosphere that made early-1800s Vienna resemble my memories of Three Mile Island from the endless newsreel of my childhood. Bleak. Grey. Ick. And maybe that's what Vienna looked like then, but in that case I hope they had some early substitute for antidepressants, cause cry me a river...it was unbearable.
Today I saw "Shut Up and Sing," which I was really excited about, and it was fabulous. I loved it. It made me cry it was so good, although I'm a Dixie Chicks fan, so I'm not exactly unbiased. Or not at all unbiased, depending on how you look at it. I'm not a country music fan in general these days, and certainly not part of the base that burned and steamrolled cds (overreact much?) or held their kids up to say "Screw you" outside of their concerts after the remark about George Bush essentially led country radio to wipe them off the map. I just think they're really talented women. "Taking the Long Way" is arguably the best album released in 2006, and although I was a fan before, now that they're writing their songs and expanding their reach, I like them even more. (I really like them. I'm sorry. I know, it's gross.)
I wrote a paper for a Language and Politics class this past summer about the controversy, and got really into researching the (literally) thousands of words that were written in every possible media outlet about these women. When Natalie Maines said at a London concert that, "We're ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas," the day before we sent troops to Iraq, she got scourged in red state America overnight. Toby Keith put a picture of her on the screen at his concerts with Saddam Hussein, and her head on the body of a toad, and it's cool. His free speech is okay. Hers is not. In the film, she's shown playing one of the first shows after the controversy started, and she heard people booing. "Go ahead, you let it out," she said, "because I support free speech." And that's really what goes on the chopping block when people aren't allowed to voice an opposing view.
In any event, it's a really well done film. Stephen Hunter's review in the Post was harsher on Natalie than it needed to be. Again, I'm biased, but I hardly think his characterization of her as a "blowhard" is anything that the women shy away from, or that needed to be pointed out by the filmmaker in the way he suggests. Natalie's opinions and freedom in expressing them started the whole business in the first place, and she references her big mouth several times in the movie. It's no secret. I wonder if the same depiction would be given if she were a man expressing himself in the same way.
The core of the film for me came almost at the end, with a bit in which Martie Maguire says she just wants Natalie to be safe and happy with the way things turn out. I actually found Martie to be the most compelling person in the film. She's obviously dedicated to the music and to the life she and her sister have created from the time they were pre-teens, and watching her it was easy to see what was threatened by an incident that grew beyond what any of them intended or planned. Her statements at the end were also the only time any of them are shown crying. Her defense of Natalie was honest and heartfelt, and I really felt throughout that these women were a team, no bullshit, which is refreshing in an industry and unfortunately a world where that often doesn't seem to be the case. I wish them luck, because I think they took the harder - and longer way - round with all of this, and would that more of us spoke up in whatever venue we find ourselves in, large or small.
I just got back from NYC and I have so much to say, and so much work to do, and I'm full up from hanging out with excellent people and talking and walking and watching shows and shopping so I haven't really sorted it all out yet. I do have a few small details straight already, though.
Best overheard bit of conversation on the street: "I have his password. I could have gone in there and fucked that shit UP."
I have much friendlier interactions with people in NYC than I ever do in DC.
And now, onto the food. There are many reasons to be in this city on a regular basis, but one was prevalent this weekend: food, food, food. Lord have mercy. I was with several people who love to eat good food (and also drink decent wine, which is a plus) so we did our best to get the most we could out of three days. There are just great, funky places to eat all over the place, and to get good stuff, too, even in unassuming locations. I got lunch from the deli around the street from the hotel before we left this morning and ate it on the bus rather than kill myself with Delaware rest-stop food, and it was incredible. We walked in there early this morning to get coffee, and the hot food bar was already set up, and it just smelled so GOOD. I couldn't believe it. It made Whole Foods look like the Piggly Wiggly. So when I went back by on the way back from my (first ever, by the way) visit to Ground Zero, I decided to stop in and get it to go for the trip. Good move. When my fellow travelers were in the Roy Rogers and Sbarro lines, I was like, "I am so good right now, with my excellent salad and chicken from the place whose name I can't remember. It's fine." So, a tip: If you're ever in the theatre district 'round the corner from the Novotel, check out the deli with the hot food and salad bar. You won't be sorry...awesome salad and actually really good coffee too.
I also took my friends to Frank in Greenwich Village, which my friend Steven introduced me to on a very hungover but absolutely perfect New Year's Day about four years ago. They liked it. although they weren't crazy about how cramped it is in there. I love it. It is a tiny place, but it's got such a great vibe and the food is awesome. Also great is John's Pizzeria, which my father loves, so we went there before The Color Purple on Saturday night. It's very cool - it's in what used to be the Gospel Tabernacle Church, and I'll spare you any statements about how the salad is heavenly or, you know, how eating there was a religious experience, because I just can't do that to you when you're kind enough to drop by and visit me here. It really is a good restaurant. Best pizza I've ever had, I do believe - and one of the markers of a fine Italian place for me is salad dressing. John's kicked the ass of many house dressings I've had in my life, and I've had many. I think it was even better than any I've had in Little Italy in Baltimore.
Let's see, where else did we eat? Little piggies we were, no? I plead vacation. Oh right, I almost forgot Peanut Butter & Co on Sullivan Street in the Village, where the streets are paved with six varieties of the stuff and every sandwich comes with carrots and chips, just like school lunches. I had the Elvis, which is "a grilled peanut butter sandwich, stuffed with bananas and honey. Try it with bacon for that extra indulgence. Long live the King!" And yes we went twice, but who's counting?
On the way back from shopping yesterday, we stopped in at a place called Gonzales y Gonzales, for chips and salsa and maybe some margaritas too. The bartender was a doll, so that was nice. He was originally from Maryland and switched careers to go to the Corcoran in DC for photo school, and ended up moving to NYC and becoming a film editor, so it was cool to talk to him about that. He had lots to say about the city and switching careers, and following the things you loved and finding inspiration instead of going the soul-crushing route of real estate law, so that was helpful. And he also made good margaritas, which was helpful in a different sort of way.
Is that it? Oh, wait...no. I left out Prune, where we had brunch yesterday.
Again, it was in Greenwich Village, where we seemed to spend most of our time - and that's very fine with me. I was working from three hours of sleep, which is never a good situation, so I wasn't in the best position to judge the experience overall, but the Bloody Marys were good and the food was quite nice as well. I love brunch - it's a treat and something I rarely do anymore, so it was fun in spite of the exhaustion and it set me up for a nice mid-day rebound so it must have been pretty good.
Wow. We ate a lot. Hopefully all the walking helped to stave off major damage.