What We Did The Past Two Weekends

Hello again, our fine friends, and welcome to another installment of the ever-popular “What We Did This Weekend” feature of this most awesome of websites.  This week we’re cramming two weekends together, due to an absurd amount of laziness/popularity, and the necessary lengthy recovery time from the first weekend due to the fact that it was not just any weekend….it was Laura’s birthday!

So naturally we began the weekend before last with a properly rockin’ party.  Yes, Brooklyn was once again proven to be the real New York hotspot, when the glitterati rushed over the bridge in droves to ring in Laura’s 24th year.  “Come on down to the graveyard, y’hear, and we’ll party real good,” the invitation called, and let us tell you, it was a smashing success all around, by which we mean, we got plastered.  Yes, many whistles were wet, many streamers were thrown, but the real highlight of the evening came, naturally, when people were properly tight.  At one point, and, let me say, the details are a little hazy, one of our good old friends from Tucson had just left, then came back in, noticing she lacked her cell phone, a most important accessory in these modern times.  As we began to look around for where this precious item might be, she started to say things that suggested her cell phone “might” have gotten into the toilet.  This we all immediately dismissed as being ridiculous, because who could forget something like dropping your phone in the toilet, with the loud, disease-ridden splash that it would surely cause?  Liz began calling the missing telephone in vain, insisting there must be some mistake, but the phoneless partygoer in question insisted that it could be nowhere else.  Before long, several plastic forks and a trash can-bound wooden spoon later, the phone was discovered to actually be lodged somewhere deep in the innards of the toilet, and after some more awkward squirming and hand-dirtying, it was actually recovered.  Much to our lack of surprise, the phone was ruined, but at least our toilet wasn’t.  Our landlord doesn’t need to know about any of this, by the way.   While Laura at least pretended to lend some sort of moral support, Liz, in her drunken stupor, couldn’t help but enjoy the spectacle.  She waited for this moment, and this moment alone, to pull out the long-forgotten party poppers we’d purchased in preparation for this event, and set off a plethora of bursting streamers in our wee bathroom, and cavorted around photographing the madness, much to the chagrin of the phone diggers.  Days later, we were still picking bits of streamer out of random corners of the bathroom, and the remnants of cheap streamer dye will forever be a reminder of this amazing night….that and the photographs, of course.

As if anything could top our Friday night, Saturday proved to be something of a fabulous drunkathon as well.  This was the day Laura was to be featured in an “Alice in Wonderland”-themed Mandate of Heaven fashion show.  For poor Laura, the day required hours of toiling in preparation, i.e. getting drunk with a bunch of models and getting her hair done.  But boy did she look fabulous!  (Laura’s note: Yes I did.)  The show turned out quite well; the models were thin, the booze was free, and Carissa (the designer and our friend) was adorably overjoyed.  The models played characters from “Alice in Wonderland” and “Alice Through the Looking Glass,” dressed appropriately, with Laura playing the Queen of Hearts!  Laura, of course, pulled it off with impeccable charm and bountiful bosoms; upon first impression, Liz declared that she could describe the outfit in one word, “busty.”  We rounded out the evening by stopping by a few of our favorite Billyburg haunts, and grabbing a quick bite at Food Swings, the vegan fast food place that actually makes a decent imitation of Chili Cheese Fries.  As Sunday was a hungover blur as usual, we will skip straight ahead to this past weekend, which was another whirl of excitement.

Friday was a pretty laid back night.  We were thrilled to discover that The Science of Sleep, the new Michel Gondry movie starring that sexy Gael Garcia Bernal, had just arrived in theaters, so after spiking some oversized sodas, we headed straight there.  In the fashionable Upper West Side, where the movie was showing, there are limited options for hideable food.  Luckily, the Food Emporium was still open, and they have those wonderful pre-packaged sandwiches, whose expiration dates would suggest that they are fresher than they taste.  Despite the sub-par grub, we got some kick-ass seats in the front, and we were ready to go.  Please see our review of the film for details, but we can say right now, we loved it, Gael was indeed sexy, and it was an excellent time all around.

As a follow up to this wonderful film, we thought we’d go see the exhibit featuring pieces of the set and related art objects by Writer/Director Michel Gondry himself.  The Deitch Gallery in SoHo is a nice little space, and one of our friends works there, which is cool.  The four tiny rooms were crammed with not only objects from the movie, but, keeping with the theme, objects Gondry had made for past girlfriends.  These “Pathological” little gifts were intimate, adorable, and familiar, in that they remind you of things you probably gave your first high school sweetheart, although some of them verged on creepy, like a necklace made with fingernail clippings (the ‘nailklace’).  Awesomely enough, Liz turned a corner and ran smack into Gondry himself.  She quickly informed Laura, who awkwardly complimented his movie, much to his delight, while Liz hung around the counter flipping through random ‘zines’ and trying to look cool.  What an awesome guy that Michel is.  Modest, adorable, and an all around bang-up guy.  And also, he’s French.

After leaving the gallery, we begun the second leg of a walking tour of New York that we’ve been trying to complete.  This part of the tour took place in Chinatown, and let me tell you, it was sure informative and enlightening.  We strolled around that bustling, filthy neighborhood, absorbing all the history and trying to ignore the suggestions as to all the knock-off products we should purchase.  We enjoyed a delicious dumpling meal at the Excellent Dumpling House, which is cheap and awesome, before touring such sights as the “Bloody Angle,” a crooked street infamous from gangster times for its violent goings-on, and a whole load of banks.  Seriously, they have a lot of banks down there.  What’s up with that?

After so much culture and healthy outdoor activity, we decided to down some pitchers at our beloved Nancy Whiskey Pub (see review).  We had other plans, but as always seems to happen when you start drinking pitchers at four p.m., our plans were soon tossed aside in favor of eating White Castle on the couch at home.

Couch-sitting was a recurring theme this weekend, as on Sunday we settled in for a Dustin Hoffman movie marathon.  With our ever-evolving Netflix queue having randomly spewed out Midnight Cowboy and The Graduate simultaneously, we had no other choice but to sit back and take in the glory that is Dustin Hoffman’s chameleon-like method acting all at once.  Finally Liz knows what she’s referencing when she screeches out “I’m walkin’ here!” in a surly tone at cab drivers.

Until next week, we wish you a pleasant work week and a pleasanter drunk weekend.

Gallery-hopping in Chelsea

Liz and Laura are many things.   You may not be aware of this, but one of these things is cultured.  Oh, you bet, baby.  We got culture coming out the wazoo.  So in the spirit of growing as human beings, sharing this wonderful experience called life, and getting a whole bunch of red wine for free, we decided to have a Gallery night, Chelsea style (cue Queer Eye theme song to a montage of us getting dressed fabulously).

We started at the Amos Eno Gallery, whose current exhibition is “An Articulate Chicken Recipe” by artist Steven Travis, running September 5th to September 30th.  Polymer clay provides the basis of his sculptures, which appear to be more like small, biblically-themed wall hangings at first.  We were saddened to find that there was no liquor, but they did provide a variety of crispy snacks and some lukewarm soda.  There’s a whole crazy mythology behind the sculptures, apparently, but all we were thinking was, “where’s the wine?”

Next we saw Gabriel Vormstein’s oddly-titled work “(oII (OO) oI) -:” at the Casey Kaplan gallery, running from September 8th to October 7th. It consisted of newspapers covered in paint and tape, and often affixed to the wall, as well as a few scattered stick sculptures.  We won’t even get into how we feel about stick sculptures, but as for the wall art, some of it was pretty cool, and he chose interesting foreign newspapers, but we couldn’t help but wonder what the lifespan of this sort of thing could be.  Maybe that’s, like, the point, man.  Whoa.

As Casey Kaplan was out of beer at this point, we were thirsty when we arrived at D’Amelio Terras and, gladly, found the wine to be flowing.  Two artists were featured at this opening: Sara Vanderbeek displayed her photography in “Mirror in the Sky” (September 8th to October 14th), and Dario Robleto‘s morbid sculpture took center-stage in “Fear and Tenderness in Men” (September 8th to October 21st).  The photographs, of various creepy juxtapositions of objects, mostly, were so-so, but the Robleto exhibit was wonderful.  It consisted of vaguely memorial-type objects, incorporating pieces of human corpses (in the form of old-fashioned human hair-decorated memorial plaques, as well as human bones and other sundry parts) in interesting new ways.  All in all it was thought-provoking and bizarre, but kind of gothic.

The Friedrich Petzel Gallery showed the work of Seth Price and Georg Herold.  Seth Price’s film, consisting of a close-up of ocean waves, and surrounding film stills, were greatly enhanced by the ice-cold Stella Artois served.  The film strip itself was entrancing and beautiful, but kind of boring.  Georg Herold’s buckshot-strewn paintings and odd sculpture tickled our fancies far more.  They were original and oddly fascinating, for panels covered in bullets.

Two artists were showing at the David Zwirner gallery as well.  Jockum Nordström‘s exhibition, running from September 8th through October 14th, consisted of the odd combination of dioramas and childlike pencil sketches, while the hilariously named John McCracken chose to display a number of large, shiny, black monoliths.  The monoliths were pretty pointless, we thought, but the Jockum Nordström (actually, his name is pretty hilarious too, and reminds one of a Devo song) art was not so great either.  It bore some of the same awkward quirks as better artists, say, Marcel Dzama, but with far less charming results.  And his dioramas were sort of boring as well.

One of our favorite exhibitions of the night was “You Are Not Alone,” by artist Nir Hod (on display September 8th through October 7th at Jack Shaiman).  The artist used airbrush, a medium not seen so often in the Chelsea scene as others, but reflected a bit of the cartoonish, 80’s-style pizzazz that so often accompanies the airbrush medium.  In the intentionally shocking “I Love…,” we see from the point of view of someone cutting the titular words into their arm, about to begin spelling out the name of their lover; meanwhile, a shadowy figure lurks in the background (the lover?).

We ended the evening with a semi-cold beer at the André Schlechtriem Temporary, where Marc Brandenburg‘s “Tilt” is on display from September 8th through October 4th.  The artist made ‘sticker collages’ out of homemade stickers with negative photographic images.  Some of these reflect alternative New York culture, and some, old-fashioned Americana, in the form of fast food mascots, along with a whole lot of other stuff that you could spend hours inspecting, as long as they keep the free beer flowing.

All in all, it was an enjoyable night, and as we lurched back to the subway, half-cheesed and fully snooty, we knew we could now impress people with how cultured we were.

Featured Galleries:

Amos Eno  – 530 W. 25th St

Andre Schlechtriem Temporary – 524 W. 19th St.

Casey Kaplan – 525 W. 21st St.

D’Amelio Terras – 525 W. 22nd St.

David Zwirner – 525 W. 19th St.

Friedrich Petzel – 535 W. 22nd St.

Jack Shainman – 513 W. 20th St.

What we did this weekend

Well, this weekend came nice and quickly due to the four-day week, but all the same, we were hankering for a stiff drink come 5pm.  So we decided to take advantage of the plethora of cultural resources and enrichment available in our fair city, and headed on over to Chelsea.  Gallery openings are fun if, like us, you enjoy free liquor.  However, don’t come expecting anything to absorb the wine; we only saw a meager tray of chips the whole night, and that was to make up for the fact that the snack-bearing gallery didn’t have any liquor.  (See “Gallery hopping in Chelsea” for more details).  A fine dinner at White Castle capped off the evening, as it does so many of our evenings.

On Saturday, we were super excited about seeing the Michel Gondry exhibit at the Deitch gallery in SoHo, which promised to feature pieces of the set from The Science of Sleep, i.e. Gael Garcia Bernal: The Movie.  Yeah, he’s hot.  But actually, we happen to be Gondry fans. We trekked there in great anticipation, for what we’d hoped would be the perfect opening to the fabulous Art Parade (see article).  But alas, it was closed!  Those bastards!  Yes, we understand that getting ready to be in a huge, important parade that you also run may require a large amount of preparation, but come on, post such information on your website.

Not to be deterred, however, after vowing to return again sometime soon, we marched on and secured ourselves a fine spot on the street of the day, West Broadway. We didn’t know what to expect really, but all the young kids wandering about, as well as the numerous booths of craftspeople displaying their wares, added to the arty feel of this Art Parade.  How fitting.  What followed was a wonderful orgy of music, extravagance, colors, confetti and candy.  And pair after pair of fake nipples.  I mean, there were a shitload of people wearing those things.

After this joyous affair, we were off to merry Wlliamsburg to the clothing store/design center Mandate of Heaven, for the dress rehearsal for their fall fashion extravaganza, taking place just a day after fashion week ends, September 16th, to be exact.  Since designer Carissa Ackerman is up-and-coming in the fashion world (and our good friend), we are always glad to help out, and Laura, as one of the store’s “Mandate Girls,” often lends her, ahem, talents.  Check out our review of the fashion show next week, and in the meantime, see our Links page for the Mandate of Heaven website.  See Laura lookin’ oh so fine!

After this, Laura pussed out after her long day of “hard work” modelling and partying, but Liz kept on keepin’ on.  She headed out with the fabulous Mandate Girl Claudia Lopez, to the East Village standby Sophie’s and met up with another crew.  Many frosty and delicious pints were knocked back in this small, and slightly cramped, yet delightful establishment.  After everyone was nice and full of brew, we all stumbled over to Crif Dogs for those wonderful, bacon-wrapped beef snacks that taste so damn good at 3AM.  Ah, the East Village and its tiny, denlike and newly student-filled holes.

Only one word can describe Sunday: Amadeus.  Yes, it was a day of recovery and a day of joy as we sat back and finally watched this fine classic film in all its 2 hour, 40 minute glory.  That is one long-ass goddamn film.  And there’s something terrifying about Mozart’s laugh that haunts us still.  Or, should we say, Academy Award-winning actor Tom Hulce’s laugh.

We realized late Sunday that, being as popular as we are, we’re already booked for next weekend, so stay tuned for some classic escapades, Fashion Week style!  (P.S. Liz works next to Bryant Park, so it truly affects her life, and/or commute, daily).

Theater Review: Spamalot

A few of the higher-ups at my place of employment did an adorable thing; they organized a night at the theater for all employees at a significantly discounted price.  How very classy indeed.  Just like that, little ol’ Liz found herself heading, with co-workers young and old, off to glamorous Times Square to attend this Spamalot that people have been raving about forever and have paid a pretty penny to see.

When we arrived, my buddies and I were crammed through a small doorway, and I felt particularly important as the usher accepted my hard-earned ticket to the event of the season.  We shuffled along and were directed up the stairs, for our seats were located up yonder in the balcony.  “Ah, the balcony,” I thought, “how very nice.”  Once there, another usher looked at our tickets and said “Nope, keep going, second balcony.”  I didn’t know that second balconies existed, but this did in no way dispel my accumulating excitement as we filed proudly on.

My God was it steep up in there!  The second we came through the entrance and looked down towards the stage I felt the need to grab onto something for support.  We stood as if on the peak of a harrowing mountain climb and my buddy exclaimed “Oh man, we’re in the nose bleeds!”  I’d like to admit to you here folks that never before had I fully understood this oft used, and I must say delightfully hilarious phrase.  For when she said this little line, I thought to myself “Now, why would she say that?  The thought of such ruffian behavior at the theater, absurd!”  You see, for some reason I had always thought that ‘the nosebleeds’ referred to the fact that the seats you had obtained were so shitty that a rowdy fight was bound to break out at any moment, the impact of which may cause your nose to bleed.  Never before had I known that this phrase was meant to be an inference as to the quality of the air in a particular section.  I guess it’s just one of those things, an idiom if you will, that you learn not through logical deduction, but rather societal interaction.  Learning is good.

Oh right, the play.  I had come in with a relatively well-informed understanding of the comedic styles and film collection of the Monty Python crew, in particular the film on which this production was to be based.  However, one of my co-workers was armed with not a drop of Monty Python knowledge or viewing history, so together I feel we adequately represented the “general audience.” What proceeded was mainly a lot of quiet chuckling on my part as I recognized all the old lines, and many confused glances from my poor little friend.  Spamalot proved to be in large part a mashing together of all the beloved lines and jokes, somewhat pleasing to an old time fan, but rather ineffective and out of context for the newcomers.  While we both couldn’t help but be entertained by the general wackiness of the production, and the fine performances from the actors, as a whole this musical ain’t no Cats.  The next day in the office I was to learn that most all of my fellow theatre goers shared a similar opinion, that we were entertained, but not to a point that would cause our pants to come off.  Oh, and the sets were kick-ass.

Much ado about Liz

Here is something I wrote when Liz got a boyfriend and started hanging out with him a lot.  God, I’m funny.

Benedick/Laura: I do much wonder that one man, seeing how much another man is a fool when he dedicates his behaviors to love, will, after he hath laughed at such shallow follies in others, become the argument of his own scorn by falling in love, and such a man is Liz. I have known when there was no movie with her but Clockwork Orange; and now had she rather see Sweet Home Alabama. I have known when she would have walked ten miles a-foot to drink a good forty; and now will she lie ten nights awake, carving the fashion of a new dog sweater. She was wont to speak slyly and sarcastically, like a clever woman and loose; and now is she turned away from orthography; her words are a very mundane banquet, just so many predictable dishes. May I be so converted and see with these eyes? I cannot tell; I think not. I will not be sworn but love may transform me to an oyster; but I’ll take my oath on it, till he have made an oyster of me, he shall never make me such a fool. One man has a nice ass, yet I am well; another is wise, yet I am well; another buys me diamonds, yet I am well; but till all graces be in one man, one man shall not come in my grace. Extremely ridiculously rich he shall be, that’s certain; smart, without getting all Prousty on me, or I’ll none; virtuous, or I’ll never bail him out; hot or I’ll never look at him; mild or at least not leave bruises; noble, or not I for an angel; of good discourse, an excellent musician, and his hair shall be of what colour it please God.

-Adapted from Much Ado About Nothing, Act II, Scene 3, Leonato’s orchard

Letter to the makers of “Joy” (the dishwashing detergent)

Our letter to ‘Joy’ is first, and their response second.

February 14, 2005

Procter & Gamble

1 Procter & Gamble Plaza

Cincinnati, OH 45202

To Whom It May Concern:

Earlier this afternoon, while washing my family’s dishes, I happened to glance at my bottle of “Joy” detergent. Your “Droppy” character and subsequent web address caught my eye, and I soon found myself typing ‘www.joydroppy.com’ into my AOL browser [note to readers: the URL has since been changed to http://www.joydish.com]. Little could I have foreseen the hellish carnival of poop I was about to behold. Dear God, what the hell is wrong with you people? This website is twisted, frightening and wrong, not to mention retarded. Who do you expect to take this seriously? Is it the demented, drunken, valium’d up housewife looking for a sweet ray of cartoon distraction in her otherwise miserable day? Do you expect people to get such a kick out of a dishwashing soap and soap-related activities that they’ll download a picture of its terrifying mascot for their very own? It’s soap, for Christ’s sake! And the recipes are just stupid. Welcome to reality; your company is a decent and upstanding one, but you will never be hip or entertaining. You make soap. Although the entire website is both distressing and creepy, the most disturbing and acid-trip resembling part has to be the “Meet Droppy” page. What twisted mind envisioned this madness? Nobody wishes they “could spend a little more time with [their] favorite joy-loving dish guy.” I wish I had never read the “Who Is Droppy” section of this page, for maybe then I could sleep at night, knowing not that this kind of foul weirdness existed in an otherwise sane and logical world. Somebody thought way too hard about this, or perhaps composed this website copy in a drunken stupor. Either way, damn. Furthermore, who the hell is Lauren Groveman, and why are we supposed to give a shit? Thank you for your time, and please continue to make your fine product available in all major grocery and drug stores.

Sincerely,

Elizabeth (Last name withheld)

—————————————————————

Response:

Product: Joy Question

Category: Website

Date Created: 02/14/2005 07:25 PM

Last Updated: 02/23/2005 02:41 PM

Status: Solved

Response (Linda) – 02/23/2005 02:41 PM

Hi Elizabeth,

Thanks for sharing your reaction to our website for Joy. I’m sorry you don’t like it. Comments on our advertising and the content of our website guide us as we plan for the future. I appreciate the time you’ve taken to share your thoughts and I’m sharing them with the team responsible for http://www.joydroppy.com. Stop by any time.

Linda

Joy Team

Letter to the makers of “Combos” (the snack treat)

We sent this letter to whoever makes “Combos” a while back. For some reason, they never wrote back.

Monday, February 14, 2005

To Whom it May Concern:

On today, this most revered day of St. Valentine, I purchased a package of your delicious snack treats in the cheddar cheese pretzel variety for my sweetheart in Hoboken, NJ. However, after tasting these “fine delicacies,” my sweetie, Lorraine, expressed concern over your naming conventions. It seems as though your product branding strategy is somewhat askew with this particular snack item. The term “combos” would typically denote a juxtaposition of two or more disparate items, which one might find surprising to appear side by side in a delightful treat. However, cheese and crackers are no strange bedfellows and often appear in many snack foods without such great to-do. In conclusion, we and our makeshift focus group have determined that “Jizzfuls” might be a more appropriate brand title for your product. Please take this under consideration and forward my letter to the appropriate department head. Thank you for your time.

Joe