Friday, June 29, 2007

Tango Palace

A million years ago, Adam and I were in a show called 'Tango Palace.' In a surreal Purgatorial environment, my evil-clown character sexually and emotionally tormented his innocent naive character for the better part of an hour. Minimal tango was involved.

Two weeks ago, at Alyson's wedding, the kick-ass band played one tango. Adam and I gave it a whirl (we were the only ones on the floor):

Neither of us can tango worth a damn, but I thought it was a cool picture.

Here's one of Alyson and me dancing. We couldn't decide who should lead, but since she was the bride, she got to pick.

As floofy, 13-pound wedding dresses go, hers in pretty bitchin', no? And I'm not exaggerating; the dress really did weigh 13 pounds. Day-um. She pulled it off with loads of grace for 7 hours, and then, when the time came, literally pulled it off, pleading with her aunt, Tracy, and me to "get it off! Just get it off!" No joke, that thing is friggin' heavy.

And, for the fans, here's one of me and my man (he's only stepping on my foot just the wee tiniest bit).

Don't know where the hell the Tina Turner crazy bicep came from, but I'm totally running with it!

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Decline of an Empire

In college, I lived in the West Village for 3 years, way over on Greenwich Street. NYU’s campus, if you can call it a campus, is primarily based around Washington Square, so it was always a bit of a hike to get to class and rehearsal, though there was something wonderful to be said about leaving Tisch late at night and grabbing a delectable ice cream at Cones on Bleecker to inhale on those last blocks home.

I loved living in the West Village, and my walk to and from home usually took me down Christopher Street, which is so steeped in gay identity, it makes the Castro look like the Vatican. Rainbow flags everywhere, the Stonewall Bar, S&M shops cheek by jowl with boutiques selling Liza Minelli tribute dolls. Oh, and drag queens who are far more lovely than I’ll ever be – better posture, more expertly applied makeup, better legs, and bigger tits.

Back in the day, Christopher Street was definitely exciting, and indisputably a little seedy. There was Two Potato, where I stopped in on one of my first days living out there, thinking about dinner, only to discover it was pretty much the place for hulking black gay male prostitutes to ply their trade. There was Henrietta Hudson, where the awning proclaimed ‘Bar and Girl.’ There were the tranny prostitutes who parked themselves outside of the PATH station, probably waiting for closeted NJ family men who wanted a quick spin before they went home to the wife and kids in Metuchen.

Amongst all of this urban splendor was also my very favorite bar of all time, the Blind Tiger. It had been a speakeasy during Prohibition, and had somehow survived the intervening years marvelously intact. Old dark wood bar, wide wooden planks on the floor, rough-hewn benches and tables. Bartenders who pulled pints and seemed to actually like doing it, an amazing pumpkin pie ale around Halloween, Sunday brunch with free bagels and fixings. It was a great small neighborhood bar with a mix of all types of people; NYU kids, hippies, yuppies, gays, straights, old regulars. The kind of bar you could go to by yourself and not feel out of place, or go with a group of friends and have a rowdy good time.

Kelda was in town, so yesterday we all met up at Cowgirl on Hudson for dinner and drinks. It’d been a long time since I had been in my old stomping grounds. I got off the 9 train and took a minute to get my bearings. I didn’t recognize a single store, and I wasn’t even sure I was walking in the right direction. Then I passed the church and the Lortel Theater, and at least I knew I was walking west.

A lot of the seedy sex shops were still there, still flaunting their remarkably bulging mannequins in rainbow-striped Speedos, but there were more cutesy teeny boutiques than I thought the street ever could have accommodated – jewelry, shoes, clothes, coffees and teas, perfumes – it’s like an extremely overpriced Turkish bazaar, but for really rich people.

“Well,” I thought, “it’s New York. Nothing stays the same for long.” Then I turned off Christopher and onto Hudson, and I saw it – the Blind Tiger, my beloved Blind Tiger, had been turned into a Starbucks.

A fucking Starbucks.

Anyone who knows me knows I loathe Starbucks. Actively hate it. Hate coffee that costs $5. Hate people who order shit like “non-fat double frap cappadinkydoo vente grande filter with skim.” Seriously, I hate you people. I hate that you can stand by the cube at Astor Place and count not one, not two, but 5 Starbucks without any effort (I’m counting the one in the Barnes and Noble).

I really started to hate Starbucks when they turned a lovely little café, Pasqua, into a big fucking Starbucks, and that was 9 years ago. Relations haven’t improved. They’re like a cancer in this city, and I don’t care about how awesome their special bottled Ethos water is supposed to make me feel, or how awesome their super special Starbucks-only CD is, or how awesome their wi-fi Mac using freakbag clientele thinks they are – Starbucks is the Walmart of coffee, and they can bite me.

All of this rage was present before I saw the Blind Tiger yesterday; I have now gone from rageful to incensed. It’s just one more reason I feel like I’m over New York, and ready for the next big thing. I’ll miss Brooklyn like the dickens, but there’s only one Starbucks in Park Slope.

For now . . .

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