We sent our reporter to watch him as he went through the first 24 hours of his 60-hour stint of hanging upside-down in Central Park. He doesn't look so hot. Anybody remember when that dude used to do magic?
The $3,000-a-ticket Billy Joel show in the Hamptons Saturday was billed as "the ultimate rock 'n' roll fantasy," and it was — if your idea of rock and roll begins and ends with wretched excess. Upon arrival, guests were whisked to a quasi-secret location in a fleet of chartered buses that came so often they practically formed a train; once inside the perimeter, they had to contend with troupes of caterers, candy girls, cigar-toting Davidoff reps, and the like. We weren't too surprised to find megamagician David Blaine, bulkier than we remembered him, moodily walking around, but our hearts sank a bit once we realized the guy had been hired as pre-show entertainment. Because Blaine is mostly famous for very public acts of endurance, we inquired how long, in his estimation, he'd be able to continuously listen to Billy Joel. "Ha-ha," said the magician. "Seriously, he's awesome." (Actually, later, Billy Joel would prove to be, well, Billy Joel.)
• Nassau County had its first poet laureate all picked out: Maxwell Corydon Wheat Jr. Then they discovered his poem that begins "Males and one woman / Sip coffee mornings in the White House, / Talk of desires about Iraq." So that's a no. Good call, incidentally: The poem is beyond awful. [NYT]
• Meet Dr. Alain Kaloyeros, a SUNY-Albany nanotech scientist who happens to be the best-remunerated state employee in New York. After last week's record pay hike, his various salaries add up to an annual windfall of $947,538. Not that anyone's counting. [NYP]
• Nothing like a crazed-insurance-broker yarn: Noel Lauria bought a bow and fired arrows out his UES window, landing a stray one through a neighbor's terrace door. His explanation to the cops: "I'm turning 40." [NYDN]
• Oh, goody, another "edgy" magician dangling over Times Square. The ingredients in the current mess: a guy named Criss Angel, a glass box, 6,000 pounds of concrete, and a crappy A&E show to promote. Go concrete! [amNY]
• And over the weekend, all manner of deformed, tattooed, and hairy freaks played baseball. Also, there was a Coney Island charity game, with the Sideshow By the Seashore performers battling the Cyclone staff. See what we did there? [Metro NY]