Thursday, July 24, 2008

New York Tenement Blues

I'm not even going to lie about it: There is absolutely nothing sexy about tenement living. It's taken me nearly a week to free up enough space in my Manhattan studio to lay my mattress down horizontally, making this past Wednesday the very first time in damn near a month that I was able to finally sleep in my own bed. I think I'm ready to tour with Cirque de Soleil as a contortionist after slithering my way around all the stacked boxes and oversized Atlanta furniture.

But the place is coming along, slowly but surely. I have my Internet working, scored a new fridge from my building management, and *hopefully* by tonight I'll be able to catch up with Project Runway (no spoilers!). Even had a cute delivery man help me move furniture.

Otherwise, I've been keeping busy trying to overthrow world media (yes, again). Finished writing some riveting liner notes for a Wu-Tang Clan DVD, attended my first cable TV pitch meeting today and took a call about another really cool, creative project I might just get involved with. Had lunch with a fellow Super Deluxe refugee the other day, while sadly missing another one passing through town. Hopefully there will be plenty of time to see everyone, both local and visiting. 

It's also been a really Erlene-heavy day. It's really hard not to think of her all the time anyway, but today was particularly intense. As I was organizing my stuff, I found the two items I'd taken to remember her by: her Burberry scarf and the weird little "Graffiti Wars" painting she had displayed in her cube. That, and staring at the shelf unit we assembled together one drunken, hazy night in my Atl apt. has been hard. I still can't believe she won't be coming to stay here with me.

So yeah, living in a tiny-ass apartment—albeit one that's rent stabilized and in an awesome neighborhood—kinda sucks. But when I walk outside and feel the NYC energy buzzing through the air, and see all the gorgeous women dressed to kill at all times, it inspires me; it makes me happy. It makes me feel like I'm home.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

"Dude, I Woke Up in Jersey This Morning."

What other excuse could I have given my pal, Dean Haspiel? I'd been invited to Brooklyn Social last night, but wasn't fully aware that it was to celebrate Dean's new Web comic for Zuda, called Street Code. So belated congrats (again!). And it's true, I did wake up in Jersey City yesterday. No, it wasn't some slumming booty call. I was at the infamous DC's to party with my Austin-based best friend, Merilee 666, who was in town for her birthday. It was great finally seeing her, though I was disappointed I wasn't able to hang at her mom's palatial Jersey Shore house. Those deep-fried Oreos will have to wait another season.

It's been a rough couple of weeks. After a succession of blue-collar professionals upgraded my little Manhattan apartment all last week, my furniture was FINALLY delivered from Georgia by two shining examples of why I'm not all that sad about leaving the South. According to the truck scale, I have 4,550 pounds worth of stuff. Ever wondered what that looks like in a space that's roughly 325 square feet? Wonder no more:

The Right Side Of My Studio

Needless to say, I'm still not able to actually live there, and it'll probably be at least until Monday before I'm able to make enough space to fit my bed in horizontally. Fun times, indeed. At least I have air conditioning, and my beautiful Plasma TV seems to have made it OK. Anyone willing to help me move around some light furniture early next week? Holler.

Can't wait to be settled in so I can focus on looking for my next full-time gig. Want to know how bad the economy is? The other day, a tall milky-white redheaded young woman asked me for money in the subway station. When redheaded White people are begging for money, you know we're in shit shape as a nation.

On that note... time to write about the Wu. Let's see how many Voltron references I can slip in.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

At The Gates: Live In NYC - Review

At The Gates

I don't even know why I bothered showering and changing into a dress. Everyone pretty much assumed At The Gates’ first U.S. show this millennium would be a packed, sweaty affair. But neither those folks (like me) who'd experienced their magic before—nor the younger acolytes who know them primarily for their watershed record, Slaughter Of The Soul—expected such a tight first-night performance. Then again, it's not like the five original members have been idle since disbanding in 1996. End result: This was no reunion show, this was a motherfucking powerhouse.

Starting predictably—albeit appropriately—with "Slaughter Of The Soul," lead singer Tomas Lindberg had the crowd at "Go!," and the sold-out audience was soon singing along with the title track's every word. This was followed by a blistering, heavy-handed helping of Soul-shattering songs like "Cold," "Under A Serpent Sun," "Suicide Nation," and anchored by cult faves "Raped By The Light Of Christ," "All Life Ends" and "The Beautiful Wound," that sounded as good—if not better—than they did the first time around.

The thrash metal frenzy only intensified the stifling heat inside the venue and pretty soon it was hard to maintain any kind of composure. By the time ATG launched into the encore, "Blinded By Fear," the crowd was more spent than the legends onstage.

I couldn't even listen to music on the way home. No point. My ears and the rest of my drenched body felt like they were in a post-coital state: sweaty, satisfied and ultimately ready to do it again in a few more hours.

Thanks to Municipal Waste's Tony Foresta for hooking me up at the 11th hour and for the stellar set.

PS: My pic made Brooklyn Vegan. Thanks for the head's up, McNicholas!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

A New York Moment: The Wackness

There are some things you just can't beat living in New York. Unabashed prejudice and sexism are some of those things. And when the two meet, well, that is truly something to behold. Example, you ask? Try this:

My contractor, Al "Appetite For Construction" Huckabee, and I were carrying an old loveseat out of my apartment and throwing it into a dumpster when a 60-ish yr. old man who was walking his dog felt the need to ask about my ethnicity. But he didn't ask me.

"Is she Russian?" he asked Al.

Al did not respond.

"Is she Russian?" he asked again.

I turned to him and said, "SHE speaks English!"

Without missing a beat—and completely ignoring me—Old Man continues, "'Cause you know no American girl would lift furniture like that. Only a Russian."

Amazing. I just shook my head and headed back into my apartment. The worst part? I AM RUSSIAN.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Welcome Home (Sanitarium)

Last night, I closed the chapter on my 18-month long existence in Atlanta to start anew in NYC. Surprisingly, I was a little sad as the plane ascended, but all of that melted when we flew over the beautiful lit-up Manhattan skyline. It was almost 10 pm, the city was lit up and looked like it should've been encased in a snow globe. Then, inexplicably, I started seeing fireworks go off in no less than three nearby locations. Now this was July 2nd, not the 4th, so I'd like to assume that those were welcome gifts for me.

Though the future is still a little ambiguous, I'm certain that the city will be an inspiration, a foil, and sometimes a cruel mistress. I'm glad to be back.