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MDP tall halucination

On the boardwalk Mermaid Parade 2009

Last Saturday was the Mermaid Parade at Coney Island. Every news outlet in New York covered the parade, so I won’t rehash it here. Though I will throw some of my personal pix in the mix for your viewing pleasure.

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Priceless

Priceless

A picture is worth a thousand words — especially when the letters have been rearranged to spell “vomit.” What more needs to be said?

Merch of V actors in Q and A

The Propeller company cast doing Q & A after the show

Last Thursday some of the Propeller company’s all-male cast sat down with the audience to discuss their production of William Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice.

The last time I saw the Propeller company was two years ago when they did Midsummer Night’s Dream and Taming of the Shrew in repertory at BAM. The Taming production highlighted the text’s sexual violence by by playing on LGBT domestic violence issues. Petruchio as an abusive boyfriend just seems scarier when it’s a big, butch, swaggering cowpoke beating up on a skinny, emo boy. Or maybe they were reading too much into a cute, human story of a man teaching his new wife to be respectful. Either way, it was powerful — that is to say good theater — and good theater is always interesting.

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Hipster riot for free guac

The 5th of May is a lot of things to a lot of people. You couldn’t turn on the radio or open up a web browser yesterday without someone telling you that the 5th of May is the day Karl Marx was born, the day Cy Young threw the first perfect game in modern baseball, the Day that Kublai Khan became the ruler of the Mongol empire, and the day that Coco Chanel debuted Chanel No. 5. It also happens to be the day that Mexican troops led by Ignacio Zaragoza repulsed repeated attacks by French troops under Charles de Lorencez at the Battle of Puebla. This is the occasion celebrated as “Cinco de Mayo.”

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by J.D. Oxblood

Our livery car driver has inexplicitly decided to roll all the way down Flatbush, which is like a Christmas Eve parking lot considering that it’s Saturday night in Park Slope.  I’m wearing a gangster-fied pinstriped double-breasted jacket, my editor is in a full tux, and our other accomplice looks like a 1950s cartoon character.  We’re rolling with three gorgeous women and a bodyguard; I somehow feel that we’re one gorgeous woman short—I like to ride with a spare.

We arrive at the Montauk Club, designed by Francis H. Kimball and completed in 1891.  The story goes that he was inspired by a palace on Venice’s Grand Canal, and the imposing Venetian gothic architecture rises from the banality of the Slope like a monolith in a highlands desert.  Stone.  Mahogany.  Stained glass.  My jacket pocket feels suddenly empty—I really should be packing hooch to fully be in character.

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357 performs at the Coney Island benefit party at Southpaw Saturday night

.357 Lover performs at the Coney Island benefit party at Southpaw Saturday night

The band .357 Lover promises on its website to sacrifice their souls so that we may be properly rocked, and Saturday night they delivered.

The Coney Island benefit party at Southpaw was Brooklyn to a T. Freaks, Geeks, Hipsters, Lezzies, Homos, Straights, Bents, Rockers, Mods, Burlesquers, and B-Boys all showed up to save the dilapidated symbol of Brooklyn Soul. The World Famous Bob co-Emceed the Burlesque potion of the show with Miss Astrid, and let me tell you dear reader, they are two of the funniest women in show biz. (Murray Hill, who was not there, is the funniest man.)

It was a night of New York burlesque all stars including Julie Atlas Muze, Gigi La Femme and the World Famous Pontani sisters who performed together and separately.

Peekaboo Pointe

Peekaboo Pointe

You can’t go wrong with that lineup. Angie Pontani sealed the deal with her show stopping tub act, courtesy of Hendrick’s Gin. After that it was hard (so to speak) to walk out of the club upright.

The special surprise of the evening, what made it really special and not just really good, were the Daisy Spurs. They tore up the stage with sizzling energy and heart-pounding dance moves. It was my first time seeing the Daisy Spurs, and I was so impressed I imediately updated my mobile FB status to “Daisy Spurs, my new favorite crazy.” That impressed.

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by J.D. Oxblood

It’s so rare that I make it to a Broadway show—what with most of the Great White Way awash in Disney-fied claptrap, reincarnations of old musicals and old movies reincarnated as new musicals—that we decided to make a night of it.  So much so that I actually went out and purchased an umbrella to keep my suit from getting soaked in the dismal, rainy April night.  I was excited, yet anxious, because the last time I tried to get my fill of some good, old-fashioned absurdist drama, I was cringingly disappointed:  to anyone else who shelled out the big bucks to sit through last years revival of (Harold Pinter’s exquisite test) “The Homecoming,” my condolences.  Reeked so bad it took a month to get the smell out of my tux.

The Roundabout Theatre Company’s revival of Samuel Beckett’s anti-classic, at Studio 54, features Bill Irwin and Nathan Lane as Didi and Gogo, with none other than John Goodman as Pozzo and the spellbinding John Glover as Lucky, under the direction of Anthony Page.  (FYI: everyone in the previous sentence has won a Tony, with the exception of Goodman, who’s won a Golden Globe.)

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The Positive Brothers

I kind of forgot how bad the bad old days of the late 80s / early 90s were until the DJIA hit 7750 and the unbroken chilly gloom of February made pedestrians look like frosty denizens of an Edward Hopper painting. Then I went for a walk in Battery Park and saw the Postive Brothers doing their show, and I remembered how good it was to see guys performing acrobatics in the old fountain at Washington Square Park, telling me my monetary contribution was keeping my home safe from burglary later that night.

The show is much the same as it was back then: witty chatter, tension-diffusing racial jokes, break dancing, and some crazy acrobatics, usually concluded with a spectacular leap over the heads of six or seven terrified audince members. But these guys make it new every time with their good humor and positive vibes. If you’re feeling down with the market, unemployment, and empty pockets, go down to Battery Park on a sunny day and check out their show. Throw a dollar in the hat if you have it. They also accept enthusiastic applause for payment.

Hell(o) (t)here

Hell(o) (t)here

I am truly in Hell.  The only work I have managed to get is in the comic book convention world.  Which, judging by the sold-out numbers of people at the Javits for the New York Comic Con, is still kinda recession-proof.  I fell into the work, really.  I don’t even read comic books*  (Get the whole story here).   And I definitely don’t “get” comic book geeks.  I mean, they’re sweet enough, in their own, special, pasty, basement-dwelling way, but I mean, puh-lease.  You weren’t all home-schooled, were you?  There has to be an ounce of social skills somewhere in that cranium, right???  Whatever the case may be, these skills were not on display (yet again) at this year’s New York Comic Con.  Actual snippet of overheard conversation on the crosstown bus on the way to the Javits:

Geek Girl1: So when I finally saw X-Men 3…

Geek 2: Oh you didn’t!  It was HORRIBLE.

GG1: I didn’t think it was so bad, at first, you know, just taking it at face value, but then they explained to me how it was totally in opposition to the art and color scheme by so-and-so and blahdy-blahdy-geek-blah…

… and this drivel went on the ENTIRE CROSSTOWN RIDE.  Nightmare.  How do I get myself into these situations?  Anyway, I was working a booth for my new semi-F/T gig with the longest running independent comic book convention in NYC.  I have biz cards and everything!  I am officially one of THEM.  O.M.F.G.

... themmm

... themmm

And I work for one of the top guys in the comic book collecting world.  Somehow he’s one of them and not one of them at the same time.  He knows them all, but he used to  ski with the beautiful people at Studio 54.  High and low, as it were.  Anyway, scads of people come by his booth and I get to people watch them all.  I could go on and on about the various freaks and geeks**, but the ones who really caught my eye were the Gothic Lolitas: you know, Asian girls in a mix of goth and maid uniforms, with a Lolita twist.

nycmc-2009-06

Essentially, these girls are walking manga.  I was Goth, bitd, but this is a Japanese twist on an old classic.  I talked with one self-professed Gothic Lolita, 18 year old Kana from Manhattan.  She said she first got into the look 8 years ago after seeing J Rock artists on TV (example here).  She saw the fans of that style of music and wanted to dress like them.  It’s a very cute world with which to identify.  As opposed to Cosplay fans at the Comic Con, Kana said this is her normal style of dress.  She likes bands like Plastic Tree, and she and her friends get together for karaoke parties.  She seemed really well-adjusted.  It was refreshing, in this land of make-believe.

Kutie Kana

Kutie Kana

So I am officially an insider in this crazy comic book world.  But I guess now I can finally finish my Sandman collection.  I’m only missing #2 and #43.  Christ.  Kill me now.

*Except Neil Gaiman’s Sandman in the 90’s.  Brilliant.  Oh, and the occasional Betty and Veronica when I was little.  Can you say cat fight?  Me-ow!

**New rule: Guys, if you’re wearing spandex, will you PLEASE wear a cup?!?!?!?  I am still scrubbing those lumpy images from my brain.

Michael DeCapite at Telephone

Michael DeCapite at Telephone

by J.D. Oxblood

Last night I stumbled into the Telephone Bar on Second Avenue and discovered that there was a reading series happening in the back room. A true masochist, I decided to check it out.

The first reader was a pleasant surprise. Michael DeCapite read from his book THROUGH THE WINDSHIELD, an outright hilarious piece describing a conversation between two men; one of them has been recommended, by his father, to move into a Veterans retirement home—at the age of 31. DeCapite read smoothly, charismatically, and in a move of programming genius had the audience rolling with laughter for the first 15 minutes. Then he moved into the heavy stuff, a couple of pieces from another novel that described the pain and regret of two blown marriages, told in an almost poetic style. He was naked on the stage, and the audience was rapt.

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hendricks-three-men

If you haven’t already, slide on up to the Studio Museum Harlem and check out the Barkley L. Hendrix show up from now until March 15th. Hendricks’s painting is a dialogue between American realism and post-modernism — kind of like if Grant Wood and (the early) Chuck Close had met on a street corner at Lenox and 135th to find Rinehart, their hook-up. They say a picture is worth … well, you know. I’ll let them speak for themselves. But there is no excuse if you live in this city for not going up to Harlem to see them for yourself.

hendricks-flaming-heart

Sunday night is free night at the Studio Museum Harlem, and on Free Sundays they feature free programs and events from 12 to 6 p.m.. Yesterday was a poetry reading by five amazing poets inspired by the work of Barkley Hendricks: Nicole Sealey, Myronn Hardy, Hallie S. Hobson, Marcus Jackson, and Bakar Wilson. Mr. Jackson, a graduate from NYU’s prestigious creative writing MFA in poetry, won the CulturalCapitol award for best metaphors in an “Ode to Kool-Aid”. He also had some great metaphors for describing the Hendricks painting “Sweet Thang” — notably when he said her lips are the color of cinnamon sticks, a funny thing to say seeing as you can’t see her lips in the painting.

barkley-l-sweet-thang

Sweet Thang

The best over all line (and perfect answer to Mr. Jackson) was given by Ms. Hobson: “who needs metaphor when you look this good?” Ms. Sealey won most graceful, and Mr. Hardy took the award for most books on sale at the gift shop. Finally, Mr. Wilson won the award for most fabulous, an award he’s won more times than the Steelers have won Super Bowls.

oil-fields

Dubai is a palace of excess and contradition. It is a mushroom that paradoxically bloomed under the whithering rays of the sun. But the leadership of the UAE is a lot smarter than anyone in America today. From today’s New York Times:

[The UAE’s] new investment [in renewable energy] aims to maintain the gulf’s dominant position as a global energy supplier, gaining patents from the new technologies and promoting green manufacturing. But if the United States and the European Union have set energy independence from the gulf states as a goal of new renewable energy efforts, they may find they are arriving late at the party.

The irony that the most wasteful and oil dependent part of the globe should be on the cutting edge of green energy is unremarkable next to the ambition — characteristic of the Gulf states — to go all the way all at once. Consider Masdar City, a planned community outside of Abu Dhabi that claims it will have a zero-carbon footprint. Even though skeptics doubt this claim, it is notable not for its complete success in execution, but for its audacity.

According to the Times article, Qatar has invested $225 million into a British research fund, and Saudi Arabia has invested untold millions into American universities, including $25 million for Michael McGehee an associate professor at Stanford, to develop cutting edge technologies. That is fifty times the amount invested by Western governments or industry.

Finally, the Times tells us Masdar City “goes beyond creating new materials and is in fact exploring a new model for urban life.” To wit: “The city will have no cars; people will move around using driverless electric vehicles that move on a subterranean level. The air-conditioning will be solar powered.” As a New Yorker I take exception to this. After all, we also have subterranean electric cars that move people around. It’s called the subway. If only the city, state, and federal government could get their posteriors and capitals wired together they could see that a massive investment in the New York City subway is a necessary good faith effort to putting America into the 21st century.

muslim-women-buying-barbies

Muslim women buying Barbies

Dubai, unlike it’s neighbor Abu Dhabi, does not have oil riches. Though oil and gas were discovered in the 1960s, the Al Maktoum Emirs of Dubai knew early on they had to capitalize on oil money in the 80s, 90s, and 00s before the gravy train ran out of steam. Dubai creek was dredged several times over those decades so that today Dubai is the largest deep water port in the region.

Dubai’s rulers have also worked hard to make their town a financial center, giving sweetheart deals to major western financial houses to locate offices there. With finance comes real estate, which, according to Wikipedia, accounted for 22% of Dubai’s GDP before the housing bubble of started to inflate in 2004. It is difficult to find up-to-date figures on the financial situation in Dubai, probably for two reasons: first, if its economy was driven by a bubble, those interested in it do not want to spread the news it has popped and cause a panic; second, the government of Dubai and the UAE does not seem to be particularly transparent, at least if you are looking at the official website. (This article is indicative.) That said, my eyeball estimate of the economy in Dubai shows three salient categories of economic activity: commerce, service and tourism, and finance, under which I include real estate. (If you don’t like my categories, go talk to a professional economist.)

1) Kelly McEvers of Marketplace reported a couple of months ago that confidence in the Dubai’s real estate market has evaporated. 2) If players like Morgan Stanley are in trouble here, then you can be sure they’re in trouble at the Dubai satellite office. 3) And news that China is rethinking its investment in USD bonds should make any country with its currency pegged to the dollar (like the UAE) think twice about its future purchasing power. That leaves us with the service and tourism sector.

Kareoke machine in the Emirates Mall

Kareoke machine in the Emirates Mall

It’s true, everyone loves kareoke. And in the Mall of the Emirates you can record yourself in sound and vision doing a cover of Bowie to send to your friends back home.

Indoor skiing at the Emirates Mall

Indoor skiing at the Emirates Mall

I was particularly thrilled to know I could leave cold, rainy New York to go to the warm, sunny desert, and not have to miss a day of skiing. Not that it was so cold in New York. On the day we left for Dubai a friend who lives near Whiteface ski resort upstate lamented in a Facebook status update that it was unnatural to have 60 degree days at the end of December. But that makes indoor skiing in the desert all the more desirable.

Westerners working at the ski slopes in the Emirates Mall

Westerners working at the ski slopes in the Emirates Mall

When they close down mountain resorts in the US for lack of snow all the ski bums will be able to get jobs at the Mall in Dubai. The Dubai Mall also has ice skating and hockey…

dubai-ice-rink

Ice rink in the Dubai Mall

… and a massive indoor aquarium.

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Dubai Mall Aquarium

Cool huh?! Notice all the folks in Western dress. That’s because most of the people in the malls were either Indian/Pakistani or European. I saw a few Emiratis, but not enough to keep these massive emporia open. Most of the shops are Western too, from Hardee’s and KFC (the writing is Arabic)…

dubai-hardees

YUM brands

… to lingerie.

dubai-baby-doll-nightie

This may be what Emirati women wear under their black robes, but I wouldn’t know.

Lingerie shoppers?

Lingerie shoppers?

The malls all have a space for “local” stuff, either tourist kitch or jewelry that is dressed up in a faux souk.

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Gold "souk" in the Dubai Mall

If you have any problems shopping, any disgruntled counter help or problems with your credit card, you can appeal either to the mall management or to God.

A higher power

A higher power

In sum, as long as tourists can afford to spend money, as long as novelty and kitch can last, as long as a flower can grow in the desert, Dubai will have a future.

jdx-avatar-pick-1

by J. D. Oxblood

After that fateful day in September, 2001, I was shocked by how many long-term New Yorkers told me, “I never went to the top.” It’s a common behavior. When you live in a town, you tend to eschew the “touristy” destinations and activities, unless family comes to town and you’re suddenly dragged along to some god-awful destination that usually fades off into the background of your own piddling, self-interested life. It’s easy, as a New Yorker, to get caught up in the unending drama of your friends’ love life, your hatred of your landlord and your apartment’s idiosyncrasies, your unending search for a better gig. In short, it’s easy to forget that tourists from all over the world come here to see the sights, and just as easy to forget that there are sights to be seen. The Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, the Twin Towers (now no longer an option)—how many New Yorkers have never bothered?

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Helen Pontani, Angie Pontani, and Peekaboo Pointe

Big thanks to Angie Pontani for her love.  She must have liked our ridiculously thorough coverage of the burlesque festival, and invited us to come and see her show at Corio (Weekly, Thurs.-Sat.). And by “invite,” I mean free tickets, which is a big deal considering how completely broke I am these days. Congrats to Murry & Angie:  this recession-proof extravaganza was sold out for both the 7:30 and 9:30 shows!

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Sandy and Chris at PPS

Happy Halloween! This is Sandy and Chris, employees of Project for Public Spaces whose offices are in Manhattan.

This intervention almost speaks for itself. The Stepford Wives of Orange county are faceless, but their pudenda speak immodestly loud.

Whoever did the bruise makeup on this poster is a genius. Kudos to you my anonymous friend. (Poster Boy, is it you?!)

"Party's Over" -- NYC subway, October 2008

"PARTYS OVER" graffiti, NYC subway, October 2008

The editor asked me to write more about NYC and less about national politics. So this is it.

We’ve all heard about the vices of city living: gangs, drugs, AIDS, high taxes, poor schools, crowded apartments, and no place to park. What are the virtues of urban living?

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by J.D. Oxblood

I’ve been out of town and fairly preoccupied, and am sorry to say that
I won’t be able to make it to the championship bout this weekend due to
a pressing social engagement. However, as it’s between the Bronx and
Queens, it’s sure to be a nail-biter–vicious and epic. As this is
your last chance to catch Derby fever until next season, I encourage
any and all to get out there and scream for your fave.

Tickets here.

http://www.gothamgirlsrollerderby.com/merch/?item=tickets

Kiss kiss,
JDX

No, the picture above isn’t the Old West, or Kansas in the 1930s, or a movie set. This ruined house is in urban Buffalo, 2008.

Stephen Dubner of Freakonomics fame asks the question: why is it that major macroeconomics texts books gloss over the fact that periodical economic crises are endemic to capitalist accumulation? The discipline of macroeconomics came into being as a reaction to the Great Depression of the 1930s. Its purpose as an academic endeavor was to minimize or eliminate the business cycle.  The promise of macroeconomics tells us, if we’re smart enough we can think our way out of what looks like a permanent feature of capitalism.

The financial crisis of the last month has given the ultimate lie to the thought that economies can grow without also shrinking. (With two small exceptions in 1990 and 2002 the US has had sustained growth for 25 years. The unwinding of the current asset bubble in housing is the final end of that growth period.) Conservatives fear the business cycle because in a crisis the people look to the government to keep them from starving, and that, they feel, is socialism. This essay by Murray Rothbard puts the free market fundamentalist case eloquently. Liberals are hoping Obama can turn disaffection over jobs into votes, though liberals also are wary of being too gleeful about the impending crisis.

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With the economy making us all feel like it’s Halloween 24/7 out there, let’s look a little closer at NYC’s 365 Halloween and costume headquarters, Halloween Adventure, located at 104 4th Ave near Union Square. This store has managed to stick around for 16 years, growing and expanding to serve the needs of freaks, geeks, Goths, nerds, fetishists, exhibitionists and party-goers all year round. I’d like to say I just went to the store and observed the employees and customers, studiously taking notes and watching them from afar like some urban Serengeti journalist, but alas, that would be a lie. For you see, I am a casualty of these scary economic times, and as a means of self-preservation I took a job there so that I could have a reason to get up and out of the apartment in the morning, instead of obsessing over my non-existent career and meeting with yet another headhunter who is unable to get me a job earning a living wage. So I thought, “Why not see if I can find a seasonal job selling costumes for Halloween? They MUST be hiring.” And that’s exactly what I did. I put on my gothiest outfit and did my gothiest make-up and went down and got myself a job. So here are some of my findings thus far:

1) The economy is bad, but people’s escapist tendencies are in full swing. Even though the store says it’s figures are down from last year, the place does HUGE business. I happen to think that this is going to be the last BIG Halloween for a while, for 2 reasons:

A) Halloween is on a Friday this year. Parties all weekend! More parties = more costumes.

B) This is the last year regular, non-trust-fund, non-Wall Street people are going to be able to cling to the illusion that they have enough disposable income to blow hundreds of dollars on a costume and a night out for a pagan holiday (with economic depressions come piousness. Why is that??? Rhetorical: I’m familiar with the concept that God favors the good with prosperity.) Most costumes start off at around $50 and go up from there. A decent one is gonna run you closer to $100. And rentals are about $200. Even with my employee discount my costume came to $65. And that’s not counting the special modifications and additions I need to make to it or all the drinks that will be consumed.

2) No matter what the weather is like, girls wanna dress like hoochies on Halloween. It is the one day in our culture when women are expected and encouraged to wear as little as possible (We all know the “slutty” thing. You’re not just a nurse, you’re a slutty nurse. You’re not just Marie Antionette, you’re slutty Marie Antionette). This is NYC, folks, not Miami. And this year is shaping up to be a cooooolllllldddd Halloween! I’m working down in the “Adult” costumes and lemme tell ya, these girls can’t find outfits SHORT enough. Except if they’re hispanic and come in with their b/fs. Those guys practically want their g/fs in gorilla costumes. I thought these guys would love to have their girls show off their goodies! With all the white couples the guys wanted their g/fs to dare to bare as much as legally possible; with the hispanic guys, not so much. These guys don’t want their g/fs to look like hos, and they tell them so. Some more forcefully than others.

3) We don’t get a lot of requests for political or current events costumes down in the “Adult” costumes. Maybe it’s just that the political masks are readily found upstairs, or maybe people just aren’t doing the McCain/Obama/Palin thing this year. I’ve heard they’re selling fairly well, I just haven’t seen it. People tend to stick to the archetypes: Roman, Greek, Egyptian, Pirate, Queen, King, etc. My fave this year is Beer Garden Wench. V cute, and you get to try to get your b/f to do a couples costume, and for him that means lederhosen. Priceless.

4) And lastly, the biggest hooligans like the sexy cop uniforms. Go figure.

So enjoy this last big Halloween. Party likes it’s 1999. Because this may be the last good time we collectively have for a while. I’m even predicting a quiet New Year’s Eve this year. It’s scary out there!

Chapter 3:
Sunday, 9/21: The Golden Pastie Awards Show at SOB’s
By J.D. Oxblood

Photos by DJ 13

Helen Pontani, Angie Pontani, Jen Gapay

Helen Pontani, Angie Pontani, Jen Gapay

Needless to say (but I’m gonna say it anyway), I stayed up till 7 in the freaking morning with miscreants and derelicts, and Sunday had a hangover the size of Wisconsin and could. Not. Believe that I was going to look at more T&A. Is there no limit to what a man can endure? Someone has to do it, folks, and that man is me.

The single greatest thing about Sunday’s Golden Pastie Awards was that the audience was full of performers. All the great, hot, sexy women that I’d been drooling over all weekend were there, in the crowd, with the scumbag likes of me. What’s hotter than watching hot women with a bunch of hot women?

Click here to find out!!!

Chapter 2:
Saturday, 9/20: the Saturday Spectacular at Le Poisson Rouge
By J.D. Oxblood
Photos by T-Bone Caruthers, Willy G., and Jane Smith

Ruby Valentine

Ruby Valentine

[***3 kisses indicate J.D.’s faves.]

The crowd at the Saturday Spectacular was decidedly older and more well-heeled. And completely sold out. Turns out that getting people to the West Village is easier than getting people to Gowanus—who knew?—and the place was weirdly, if not wisely, laid out to accommodate VIPs at tables close to the stage and standing room only everywhere else. Which is to say that if you didn’t pay the tab or have the connections to score a dope seat, you couldn’t get within fifty feet of the stage. My entourage and I were lucky enough to find a quaint little spot wedged in between the exit door and upstage left, putting us in the path of performers entering from stage left (Trixie Little rubbed up against me! I’ll never wash that shoulder!) and I had the added pleasure of having Jo Boobs sit right in front of me for the first act in her civvies. It isn’t just that she’s so hot, you dig?—like any man, I can get hot pushed in close to a middle-aged Puerto Rican woman on the morning G train—but, this woman is, like, a legend. You can feel it steaming off her. And I am honored to be so close.

It’s gettin’ hot in herrrre!!!

Chapter 1:
Friday, 9/19: Premiere Party at the Bell House
By J.D. Oxblood
Photos by Jane Smith

The Love Show

The Love Show

[***3 kisses indicate J.D.’s faves.]

I showed up early and was hit in the face by the smell of wood varnish. The space is brand spanking new and I can’t really figure out why they opened a venue of this size in this location. It’s Gowanus, people, which sounds like something you get from raggedy chicks on Craigslist and might very well be. The walk from the elevated F/G stop at Smith and 9th was like a descent into something from Dante’s imagination. Or Cleveland. You choose. And this joint is the kind of high-ceiling, wooden beam affair where you expect to see moose heads on the wall. And the crowd in the lounge? These are the kinds of guys that make you ashamed to be an American—guys who are used to yelling at each other in somebody’s kitchen. They still reek of Bolognese sauce. They’re so psyched to have a bar in their neighborhood they might never go home. Fortunately, the big room was, in fact, very big, so it was possible to get close to the performers. The crowd was mixed and fairly young—those brave enough to make the trek to Gowanus—with an extra helping of young dudes rubbing up against their young babes with the unbridled optimism of knowing they’ll have something to do with their boners when the show is over. Ah, the fantasy of a threesome. Girls, don’t be upset that your boy isn’t thinking about you; just be glad it’s you he’s fucking. The first two gogo dancers were, um, not much of dancers and less of gogo, but they were soon replaced by a smokin’ hot black girl with Supremes sensibilities, and a big, fleshy redhead who was so generous in spreading her ass for the crowd that I considered trying to take her home and skip the whole damn festival. It would take the entire weekend to work THAT out.

Scotty, the Big Blue Bunny is right this way!

THE MOST COMPREHENSIVE %*&#! COVERAGE OF THE 6TH ANNUAL NEW YORK BURLESQUE FESTIVAL ANYWHERE ON THE INTERWEB!

Roxy Dlight Friday at the Bell House

(Sound of Alka Seltzer plop plop fizz fizzing. A Zippo lighter clicks, lights, clicks shut. Venetian blinds are drawn. J.D.’s voice is heard; a voice scarred by cigarettes, Hendricks Gin, and late, late nights of carousing with half-naked… er, people.)

If I sound exhausted it’s because I am. Tore up from the floor up. Shredded like my mini-wheats without the frosting. My four-day stubble has four-day stubble. My front room is knee-deep in beer and whiskey. I think I may have seen too many boobies. Let me say that again. I think I may have seen too many boobies. The last time I saw that much flesh it was Mardi Gras in New Orleans and Katrina was just the name of a sweet young girl from Kansas who took a left turn at Albuquerque.

You gotta hand it to Angie Pontani—the lady knows how to throw a party. Four days, four venues, eighty-eight acts by my count—adds up to well over a hundred performers—and so much hotness the Devil himself had to go back home to cool off. My knees ache from standing at attention, my [unmentionable] aches from standing at attention, my feet are swollen, my fingers are nicotine- and ink-stained, my lungs are crying out for non-nicotine-flavored air, my liver has straight-up packed its bags and left me—AND it took the dog—my sinuses are about to fall to the floor and I’m pretty sure I raised the GNP of Columbia this weekend. I’ve given out a dozen fake names, and at least four other people have claimed to be me in the hopes of getting free schwag, which basically adds up to a half dozen people thinking they had sex with J.D. Oxblood this weekend, or a half dozen people who don’t know they had sex with J.D. Oxblood this weekend, depending on your point of view. Murray, I told you, that’s confectioner’s sugar, it’s Monday morning, and you need to get the hell out of my bathtub. Anita, you can stop acting drunk, it’s over. Let me call you a car, and yes, I’ll call you. Purrhaps. Scotty, I meant everything I said and at least half of what we did, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still be friends.

Get some!


By J.D. Oxblood

Hunter College, Friday night, September 12, a perfect way to recover
from lingering Sept. 11 syndrome -- and the endless exploitation of a
day hallowly remembered -- roller derby!  Hot chicks on wheels!

Well maybe, just maybe, some of you slackers out in cyberspace are
actually reading these missives, as the Friday night bout was sold out.
Folks lined up for hours (well, ok, an hour) just to get a glimpse of
the Gotham Girls giving their all with guts and grit. The gym was
packed, energy was high, and the all-around theme of the night was
just like my last date:  hot and sweaty.

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The first great thing I have to say about the New York roller derby scene is this: the Gotham Girls want everyone to come to the party. The pre-party at a bar near the venue was touted on their website — an open invitation — and while I was still patting myself on the back for my uber-super-reporting skills at getting an invite to the after party, I saw the open invitation in the program. You gotta love a bunch of tough girls who want everyone to come and get drunk with them. But here’s the bad news: there’s a reason why you need a “pre” and a “post.” There are no alcoholic beverages served in the basement of Hunter College, and between the metal detectors (read: metal flasks) and the hand searches (read: sniffing water bottles) it’s nigh on impossible to smuggle in booze. And that, my pretties, is the only bad thing I can say about Saturday night’s bout between the Bronx Gridlock and the Queens of Pain.

click to read the rest of this missive

Are we happy the days of dingy subway stations are gone? (Don’t look at Jay St. — you might think it was the 70s again.) Even if the stations aren’t covered in spray paint, some old-fashioned smart-asses are taking the burden of de-corpratizing the subway on their shoulders to make our commute a little more fun.

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This is a jazz band taking a break at Astor Place in Manhattan. It is a perfect example of the spontaneous and organic enrichment of life that happens in a pedestrian oriented city like New York. By interacting with people on the street you encounter culture that broadens your horizons while you’re on your way to work. And it’s completely free — unlike books on tape.

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