A couple days ago. Two 40-something year old men are walking down 8th Avenue and 43rd street, during rush hour. I’m annoyed by their gait. One of them is smoking a cigarette and talking loudly to the other. Both smell drunk but look upbeat.
The guy’s cigarette falls out of his mouth because his piehole won’t stop moving. They two abruptly stop, looking for it on the sidewalk. It’s rolling around their feet, rolling over decades of chewing gum, spit, disease, feces, did I mention feces, millions of footprints. The man finally manages to pick it up and puts it back in his mouth.
The other man looks at him and says “you gotta be careful around here.” He adds:
You don’t want to get caught bending over like that in Times Square. "I dropped my soap!" you know what I mean?
This is the single most disturbing and surreal article I have ever read.
Everything about this is totally surreal. The headline, the syntax, the facts:
A 28 year old female army veteran was found strangled to death on Valentine’s Day (boyfriend is suspect), but in the article, this detail cuts immediately to the fact that her gravestone is a 7-foot statue of SpongeBob Squarepants based on the family’s observance of her obsession with the character (she even decorated her bedroom with paraphernalia). None of that is news, though, in this article. The item is over the disagreement between the cemetery and the deceased’s family over the appropriateness of the statue…
This is all unrelated to the Big Easy. Also, please don’t bother reading this if you’re faint of loin. Even my imaginary psychoanalyst wonders why I came up with so many molest-y jokes.
I ran into an ex at the liquor store the other day. Actually, he was the first guy I ever slept with. It was embarrassing. Not because I was in a liquor store… at 11am… but because I didn’t have any makeup on, and was wearing pajamas. Though, I suppose it’s appropriate. That’s probably how my uncle remembers me from the first time.
I take my issues pretty seriously. In fact I saw a shrink for a while, but I think in hindsight it might have been a bad idea to see a middle-aged man about my problems. He wanted everything to be about my dad. Like it wasn’t enough I am morbidly depressed about “chick stuff.” My problems obviously have to do with how a middle-aged man feels about me. He convinced me I was trying to live up to his ideals. If I were trying to live up to my dad’s ideals, I’d look like Ed Harris in a sumo thong.
“Turning is the motion that disrupts the vision of fine red and blue lines weaving through the western skies. It is the motion that sets into trembling the subtle water movements of shadows, like lines following the disappearance of a man beneath the surface of an abandoned lake.”—CLOSE TO THE KNIVES, David Wojnarowicz
"Add a word ruin a movie" had me thinking about bad American remakes, and then Canadian translations of American English, which had me thinking about these fine British remakes of American classics.
Fast Times At Secondary
Guvnah Wifout A Cause
Guvnah of the Rings
Guvnah’s Gotta Have It
Fin Red Queue
Dead Prime Ministers
Guvnah Aluminium (Iron Man)
Blokes in the Hood
Dances With Scots
The light in me sees th-- DON'T YOU WORRY DON'T YOU WORRY CHILD...
I go to yoga. I’m a wannabe yogi. You could say I do it to stay limber. It’s the most measured indication I’ve taken a class; not the spiritual ergs of my rainbow of chakras.
I’d be lying, though, if I said I didn’t sort of enjoy the “om”s and “ah”s and even the occasional erotic moan let out by a neighboring Warrior-2-lululemonite [I am not, however, as big a fan of “George Hamilton in a banana boat” slow-beating it on his chamois, but I accept him in my vicinity as well]. It’s nice to breathe and move as one, and in New York it’s important to have nice things. God knows it’s hard enough to afford bad things (rent on stalls they call apartments, the copay on private health centers, leaking barriers against neighbors, miscreants, people who eat shwarma on the subway…).
I go to yoga mostly because I have body-image issues. In this I am 100% not different from any other woman. I diet and go to the gym for the body part of my neurosis and to yoga and the local bar (i.e. my bathroom), for peace of mind and the occasional bottle of secret-tequila.
Yesterday I caught my reflection in a mirror, and in ways that are impossible to justify, I felt abject shame.
Why am I aging? Why does my belly look like that? The gays are secretly judging me. Some of them not so secretly. Oh God, why do I care? This is why we all left Asia, isn’t it?
I went into the yoga studio and tried hard to “let it go.” Then I tried to “hold onto everything with all the strength I could muster.” It was a little messy.
Yet like psychic clockwork, by the end of the class I was approaching savasana (corpse pose) in a state of pure peace. I didn’t care how I felt, or where I was going. I just wanted to play dead.
I was grateful to the class, the instructor. I like this instructor. She has always managed to render platitudes informative, and interprets emotional Janus to every physical contortion. By complicating the simple and simplifying the moribund, I managed to find a little light in me.
Savasana. “Feel the earth support you.”
Savasana. “Let it all go.”
Silence. Big silence. The kind that could peel the skin off electrons.
Then, I kid you not, she decided to end the practice with this…
What I saw in the mirror after that class was a beautiful woman full of confidence… Beautiful because she was failing to contain hysterical laughter. Confident because she couldn’t wait to make everyone else laugh at this along with her.
My mother was born into poverty, illegally entered a Japan that was hostile to “her kind.” Her father, a patriarchal neanderthal by today’s gauge, promptly sent her off to America when she fell in love with a local. That poor family would go on to found a blue chip company worth millions of dollars that have driven siblings mad with greed.
His mother was born into a reputable Roman family; followed an American Dream free of the detritus of world war, full of promises of glamour. She left an Italy that then became sexiest in its reconstruction years. Her family would remain generous, if less wealthy.
Mine is grateful to be alive. His is grateful she has lived.
Mine is full of regret. His is full of judgement.
Mine struggles for penance. His struggles for tolerance.
Mine is affluent in cheap affections. His is spare with immaculate endorsements.
Mine can’t fathom anymore of her life serving a husband. His can’t imagine a day without hers.
Mine can’t get far enough away from the past. His is pathologically nostalgic.
Mine champions the artifacts of Asia’s future. His rues the passing of Europe’s golden age.
Mine doubts she loves us enough. His doubts her sons love her at all.
Mine gets a call from me about once a month. His gets a call from him once a week like clockwork.
Post Office. Saturday afternoon. (I don’t relish in ever bombasting the USPS but it’s Monday so screw it.)
Clerk: Where is this package going? I can’t read this.
Me: Japan (points at big bold alphabetic letters at bottom of package). The customs form is in English.
Clerk: (Starts typing in the information on my customs form) Is that I-S-H-I-I?
Manager in background: I-S-H-I-I-I-I-I-I-~~~ (singing, then chanting the letter “I” over and over. Staff laughs. I believe at this point they may be on LSD.)
Very large black man behind me: (to my clerk) Excuse me, ma’am you said to come back here when I was done.
Clerk: Sir, you can wait right there I’ll be with you when I’m done with this woman.
Man: Did you just call me son?!
Man: Did you just call me son?!
Clerk: Sir, I said wait right there!
Me: We’re almost finished.
Clerk: (guffaws) This is going to take a while. (To me) He didn’t like what I had to say, he can just hear it from someone else.
Clerk: It’s good you wrote the address in Japanese. They’ll understand it in Japan.
Momofuku Milk at Carroll Street. Noon. I am second in a five-person line waiting for coffee. The one and only clerk is listing all of the lunch options to the guy ahead of me. The two people at the end of the line leave, impatient.
Clerk: With the lunch special you can get a bun, a beverage and a side and the sides are potato chips, kimchi slaw or a cookie.
As we flagged for you late last week, a local TV station on Friday ran what was one of the most cringe-worthy Asiana segments you’re going to see anywhere. A KTVU anchor read the “names” of the four pilots who were on board the 777 when it crash-landed in San…
I had a lot of problems with “Lost in Translation” when it came out, and when people fought my claims of its racism, I’d say, “you think Sofia Coppola would get away with this bullshit if it were set in Harlem? Or if she clowned Southern Whites?” No, of course not.
These days the movie offends me less, which is to say I won’t tell everyone I meet how much I hate it. But I’ve realized there are actually a lot of seemingly funny things, things we think are sweetly humorous, that aren’t really precious or funny at all.
1. A toddler in a temper tantrum.
A child, nay, a human screaming “I DON’T WANNA (leave the supermarket check-out line even though the end-of-shift Staples manager waiting behind my mother is psychotically gripping his twist-off Cabernet, counting the seconds till he is home in front of a television watching Storage Wars because it was that kind of work week hell)” is not asking us to “awww” at his dry little sobs and conclude “little Joey must be hungry.” He is telling us he wishes he was never born. A problem easily solved, by the way.
2. A cat swatting at a ball of yarn.
It’s disgusting, how we torture animals. Kipling’s abattoirs are no match for the psychological horror to which we subject domesticated cats. Don’t we see that the cat, by fighting a proxy prey, has been forced to bring out its most predatory instincts, for what? Our entertainment. Just imagine if we switched roles. Imagine a giant ball of yarn thwacking a helpless little cat till it fell apart. Would you have the audacity then, to video-record and publish it to YouTube?
3. Dogs farting.
How many of you have been in the presence of an aging Boxer? I don’t mean George Foreman. I’m referring to that most flatulent of dog species, who clearly has no understanding of its own disorder. Years of eating its own vomit—a canine perversion of body dysmorphia/bulemia nervosa—have led to irreparable damage on its lower GI and now it farts just to know it’s alive. Plus it smells fucking disgusting.
4. Straight men wearing women’s clothing.
Women have to wear women’s clothing every day. What are men trying to say here? That women’s clothing is “funny”? That it’s a “lesser” vestiment? That it’s a liability to the army or that it has smaller brains? Psh. I won’t be satisfied till we’re laughing at any woman wearing cargo shorts or a jock strap.
-I was biking (on a cliché vintage piece of shit) through the East Village when I noticed a man in Armani-Casual attempting to parallel park a full-size Hummer into a space as wide as my fist. The bus behind him patiently waited but I made eye contact with the driver who shook his head. We smiled, and I snickered “what a douchbag” under my breath as I rode on and then a pigeon shit on my face.
-I rose above ground from the subway at 1am and beelined for the taco truck at 14th and 8th, hangry for a carnitas taco. I got on line behind a flamboyant Latino man with his significantly older (and dowdy) white lady-patron/client. He was very touchy-feely with her and she was so excited when he ordered chicken flautas in Spanish-Spanish (as opposed to Mexican Spanish). As I inched forward to place my order, a 7 foot tall black man walked right up in front of me and started ordering himself, in really shitty Spanish (as opposed to Spanish-Spanish).
Dose poh-lo tacos pararara var, por favor. Oh, and por favor, servietas.
I stepped up as close to him as I could, basically rubbing up on him, and STARED at his face until he would turn to look at me, and instead of saying “oh I’m sorry I didn’t realize I cut in front of you,” he says “These guys are so great, but it’s better to order in Spanish.”
I’ve had the pleasure of touring gay erotica master Gengoroh Tagame through Toronto and New York City with the help of many friends this past week. I won’t name everyone (I’m slightly lazy, totally inconsiderate), but on our way to New York, Chip Kidd did a MAJOR last-minute favor for us in housing Tagame, after we discovered his original reservation at La Maison de Flea Bag International was not much more than a slave cot surrounded by plywood and latticed fencing for a ceiling. Without exaggeration, the first thing I thought when I saw his room was “comfort women station.” For a second I thought maybe this might work to Tagame’s advantage: it being feasibly the perfect setting for a hard core BDSM storyline. But no. A thousand times no.
Long story short, we moved Tagame into Chip’s place and Chip moved himself into his partner Sandy’s place.
So come Wednesday, Tagame and I were scheduled for a Skype video interview with BUTT Magazine. I went over to Chip’s with my laptop, and soon enough we were hooked up on speakerphone face-to-face with Zac Bayly.
Zac started with questions about New York and Tokyo, but swiftly moved into Tagame’s sex life (with the artist’s permission, of course). I mean, what good is BUTT if it doesn’t talk about butt, amiright?
How much of your work is based on real life?
What is the freakiest thing you’ve done?
[I won’t steal Zac’s thunder by belaboring the answers but I promise… you won’t want to miss this interview, so stay tuned over at buttmagazine.com.]
For now, just use your imagination. And bear in mind, I am uttering everything Tagame says in English, in the first person, for transcription. In other words, Tagame would answer at length in Japanese but what you end up hearing is me saying, “I am Gengoroh Tagame and I am a gay erotic artist.”
In the middle of Tagame’s barding, Chip’s door unlocks and opens itself. A diminutive middle-aged woman walks in. It’s Esther the housekeeper.
Esther: Hi, I’m here to clean the apartment. Is that OK?
Anne: Oh yeah totally. We’re in the middle of an interview though so if you wouldn’t mind just avoiding the vacuum for now?
Esther: Chip’s not here?
Anne: (Realizing of course that she has no idea who we are) Yes sorry, I should’ve explained that first. He’s staying here for the week (motioning to Tagame).
Esther smiles and goes to the kitchen sink for supplies. Tagame and I promptly turn our attention back to the screen and continue our interview. That is, I dive as if in media res back into the dialogue and translate what Tagame just said into English, in the first person, and it went a little something like this:
The first time I saw fist-fucking I thought wow how beautiful and how fucked up… (Again: see the rest of this at BUTT online!)
I went on in minute detail channeling a Tagamian voice. One anecdote involved duct tape and an old leather belt… and pre-cum. Such extreme details of sexual activity would make even the heartiest Dom perk up but the rest of us…
I heard something drop. A bottle of window cleaner. Or something. Esther. The housekeeper…
For five intense seconds we were all silent, and then Esther left the room. I do sincerely hope she has a bad ear or a good sense of humor. Chip: I apologize if you have to find a new housekeeper. Esther: God bless you.
I was recently told that despite my live-in boyfriend being six years my senior, my building mates secretly call me the “cradle robber.” I presume this is because I have a subscription to Cigar Aficionado and he has a subscription to the Pizza-Bagel-of-the-Month-Club.
I watched the UFC Championship match a few days ago on TV and was heartened to hear them announce the names of the scantily-clad women who parade Round Number cards. And look at me now: totally unable to remember any of those names. If I were a UFC jock, I’d relish in being able to say “she has a name, you know.” Oh… I know.
I ate at an extraordinary Japanese restaurant the other day called Kyo-ya (which I highly recommend), where I joked to a Spaniard that tequila was as good as Spanish because it came from Mexico, and he jokingly affirmed an Australian’s supposition that a Portuguese woman was from Spain. The Australian then asked why my English and Japanese were both so clearly fluent, which I found ironic because the Japanese conversation I had with the waitor was over my ethnic heritage. He assumed I was “half” (which generally means half white), and when I said, “technically half, yes, but half-Korean,” he said “which is more or less like full Japanese.” Now you know the full meaning of post-racial America, America.
Stranger on Delancey St. subway platform at 3am:Do you know what hipster fashion is?
Me:(Convinced he is going to push me in the tracks if I take him seriously) Excuse me?
Stranger:Hipster fashion. You have that look. You have hipster style.
Me:(offended) Thaaaanksssss ?
Stranger:Do you mind if I sit next to you? (As he sits down right next to me.) So what kind of things are you into?
Me:(Dismissively) Same things as everyone else.
Stranger:Well is there anything you like that might be different or special?
Me:(Considering saying something so outrageous he leaves me alone but decide I'll just have this conversation with him) Comics? (Which I figured might just be outrageous enough.)
Stranger:Oh yeah? Like what kind?
Stranger:Like what is your favorite comic book ever?
Me:(Thinking of something he might look into later; relishing my role here as a shepherd to a promised land of cartoons) JoJo's Bizarre Adventure. (Laughing to myself as I picture him looking JoJo up later)
Stranger:Do you have favorite shows? TV shows?
Me:(With exaggerated sarcasm) oh, I LOVE TV!
Stranger:(really excited) Yeah I'm really into TV too!
Me:What's your favorite show?
Stranger:I like shows like "Once Upon a Time."
Me:(dead-eyed smile) Right....
Well-dressed Stranger in basement lounge bathroom corridor at the toney TriBeCa Grand Hotel:(To women's bathroom attendant in hotel uniform, through open entrance) Say, where are you from?
Bathroom Attendant who clearly doesn't understand:Men's room over there.
Stranger:(slower) Where are you from?
Attendant:Yes. Over there.
Stranger:I knew it. I only know "ni hao" in Chinese. Oh wait and also "xie xie."
Me:(staring at stranger, baffled) Excuse me.
Stranger:Oh I'm sorry I wasn't trying to go into the ladies room or anything.
The AP Manual recently gave a fuck about the phrase “Illegal Immigrants.” In a nutshell: actions are illegal, not people. Let’s use different phraseology.
The same can probably be argued for calling someone a creative. It’s an adjective not a noun… right?
And so, it’s kind of hilarious to me that the Harvard Business Review came up with these tips on managing creative people. Not the least of reasons being that the most self-involved intellectual branding experiment in the history of academia arguing that creative people are ego-obsessed is the pot calling the kettle a Harvard grad. (via @alexanderchee)
1. Spoil them and let them fail. You can’t let someone fail. You might not hear it but we shart on your shit with or without you.
2. Surround them by semi-boring people. You will do just fine.
3. Only involve them in meaningful work. (hand job)
4. Don’t pressure them. My skills as a writer are not an invitation to rape.
5. Pay them poorly. I will fuck you forever in the face with a rusty soup kitchen ladle if you pay me less than you already do. If you don’t pay me:
6. Surprise them. Surprise motherfucker, I just took your whole dev team with me to Larry H. Parker. Enjoy the class action lawsuit.
7. Make them feel important. You can’t make someone feel important. You might not hear it but we shart on your shit with or without you.
Hate is a strong word but it’s not strong enough when you commute in and out of midtown Manhattan on a bicycle. I mean seriously… I don’t know who I want to hate-punch in the face more:
A. The oblivious FIT fashion marketing business major with her straight blond hair in a high ponytail bobbing perfectly in time to her Nazi Werhmacht knee-high boots, marching up the green lane (for bikes only), carrying a Vera Bradley duffel bag no doubt full of nothing but yoga clothes, cum-stained tissues and a Vanilla-scented e-book reader, on her way to the Bolt Bus line to Greenwich Connecticut, who doesn’t see or hear me yell “meep meep to your left!” because she’s listening to Mumford & Sons and Facebooking her date rapist on a smart phone.
B. The Bronx-bred cab driver who no doubt deserves his own televised grudge-match-in-a-cage, but who for the time being has decided to yell at me as he cut me off to turn left, “you wait for the light, China,”as if I had just moved to the US from the lawless streets of Shanghai, even as I stood completely still behind the crosswalk… WAITING FOR THE GODDAMNED LIGHT TO TURN GREEN. At whom I yelled, “I WAS waiting, asshole!” no doubt misinterpreted through the noise of AM hip-hop in his car as “ching chong me so solly.” My only consolation as I ride off, is knowing he has to mop down vomit from his plexi-glass divider every night with a generic brand of paper towels that was Made in China.
C. The passenger seat “mover” from the double-parked delivery truck, who thinks the world owes him a candy bar and a blow job (or whatever it is kids want these days) and can’t wait to go back to his man cave. His man cave being the velour couch in mom’s living room the confines from which he will play Metal Gear Solid till the sun comes up tonight. A “mover” whose presence on local delivery sites is a complete mystery, but for standing in the middle of a one-way street diverting traffic by any means necessary—including blocking the bike-wide aisle of roadway between all the vehicles so a five foot-Asian woman on a cruiser bicycle knows she’s running with wolves. The mover who stares this small Chink down, arms puffed out and eyes gauging my weight class, like he will clothesline me if I so much as get within another centimeter of the truck’s perimeter. To be fair, he is no doubt protecting very precious cargo—Restaurant Depot water and Valu-Pak chips for the local bodega. Why else did your cousin rent a five ton-12-wheeler on a Thursday morning. Semper fi, Passenger Seat Mover. We all know that a five-ton truck is much more fragile than a 90 pound Dominican kid smoking cigarettes with the glazed “I have no dreams” look painted in grey across his face. Frankly I’d still hedge my bets against you.