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Cultural Capital

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Whiskey, You're the Devil

Drinking Games
Pop quiz: Do you remember being interviewed by a New York camera crew outside of McSorley's or Bull McCabe's on Saturday night? No? We asked you how many drinks you had, if you knew who Saint Patrick was, and what "Erin Go Bragh" meant. Then you told us that you used to hate the Irish, that your knowledge of the holiday comes entirely from The Simpsons, and something else we couldn't quite catch. It was late, and you were pretty drunk. So watch the video to see what might come up at your future intervention. And remember: We're just here to help. Video: Overheard: Saint Patrick's Day [NYM]

Farley Granger's Hollywood Bed-hopping Tell-all

Perhaps best known for his roles in Hitchcock's Rope and Strangers on a Train before ditching Hollywood for the New York stage, handsome Farley Granger (now 81) slept with some of the biggest names in mid-century entertainment (Ava Gardner, Leonard Bernstein, Arthur Laurents) before settling down with TV producer Robert Calhoun on the Upper West Side. The two recently wrote Include Me Out, Granger's sweetly chatty memoir of evolving from the wide-eyed pretty boy of the postwar Goldwyn lot (the title refers to his long, hard-won effort to break his contract with the studio) to a liberated man of cinema, TV, and the theatuh, working and playing with the likes of Helen Hayes and Aaron Copland. So how does he feel about today's pretty boys? Find out after the jump.

Better Buy a Hybrid


Wherein we arrange Times headlines in verse to bring you secret knowledge from the Gray Lady.
Real Stars of Darwin's Turf
Just Like Life, With Quiet Journeys and Cosmic Whirls Call for Speed Limit Has German Blood at 178 m.p.h. Boil. Bending Toward Elegance With a Virtuosic Efficiency, Fiat Plans a Low-Cost Car. Relighting Snuffed Candles, Green Energy Enthusiasts Are Also Betting on Fossil Fuels... Between the Precise Layers, a Cultural Narrative: The Sky Is Falling. Really. The Greenness of Al Gore— Do You Know Where Your Slogan Is?

Inspiring a Beat Down

If you're in the mood for some scantily clad men beating on things, you're in luck tonight. Kodo, Japan's most prominent taiko collective, are doing two shows at Joe's Pub. So what exactly is taiko? It's an athletic, high-energy Japanese drumming tradition rooted in Buddhist ritual. Heavy rhythms; colorful costumes; flutes; harps; lean, half-naked men jumping and leaping into enormous drums; yelling; and wild calligraphers splashing the canvas — that all sort of explains it. Performing taiko requires physical strength as well as natural rhythm, as we learned this morning during a doddering attempt at the drums. The members of Kodo live, work out (the artistic director runs ten kilometers a day, he told us), and rehearse together in what we can only imagine is a utopian collective on Sado Island. "There is no one around," manager Sun Akimoto says. "So we can drum very loudly." That too. —Jonah Green

Andy Richter, We Love You. Your Show? Not So Much.

Andy Richter
Just when Emily Nussbaum and Adam Sternbergh declared their love for 30 Rock, NBC yanks it off the air temporarily and tries out Andy Barker, P.I., the new sitcom from Andy Richter. It's been years since Richter left the Conan O'Brien show (no Ed McMahon is he), but his last sitcom venture, Andy Richter Controls the Universe aired fifteen episodes in 2002–2003 on Fox. Does his new show have a chance? Emily and Adam watched the premiere last night, then did their postmortem on IM.
Nussbaum: That was freakin' depressing.
Sternbergh: Hmmm. A "freakin' depressing" right out of the gate.
Sternbergh: I don't smell five stars a-comin'.
Nussbaum: Are you filled with foolish, young hope?
Nussbaum: The hope of a man who just saw a first episode...
Nussbaum: ...and sees a great season ahead, and then three excellent DVD sets with hilarious commentary and cool extras?
Sternbergh: I am, uh, er ... well ...

‘The Godfather’ at 35

Thirty-five years ago tonight, The Godfather premiered at the Loews State Theater in Times Square. The good people at Variety remind us of this milestone, and to mark it run their original review on Variety.com. ("[I]t is also overlong at about 175 minutes (played without intermission), and occasionally confusing," the film-land bible's critic, A.D. Murphy, wrote in 1972. "While never so placid as to be boring, it is never so gripping as to be superior screen drama.") Over at the Times, Vincent Canby was more impressed: "Francis Ford Coppola has made one of the most brutal and moving chronicles of American life ever designed within the limits of popular entertainment." What did New York think? Not so much, apparently.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: The View From the Press Room

In the Waldorf-Astoria's Grand Ballroom at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony last night, rock journalism's upper crust — folks like Ann Powers, Joe Levy, and, of course, Jann Wenner, all decked out in their Sunday best — dined alongside music-industry suits, long-suffering band girlfriends, and anyone else willing to spend $3,000 to eat a cheese pâté with smoked salmon in the same room as Michael Stipe. Lesser press, however, was consigned to a chandeliered conference room elsewhere in the hotel, where more than a hundred surly non-big-name writers killed time between occasional artist pop-ins by sampling the cold-cut spread and avoiding mustard stains. Oh, and watching one dude play a furious air bass to Grandmaster Flash's "White Lines."

‘Times’ Couplets: Even the Galaxy Knows Urban Renewal

Wherein we arrange Times headlines in verse to bring you secret knowledge from the Gray Lady. Big Wishes, Easy Credit, Tough Times "A Seedy Stretch, Sure, but Worth Saving, Denizens Say— (Faith-Based Initiative). Modernity and Tradition at a Cultural Crossroads"— Where Is the Clarion Call to Arms? Winners Amid Gloom and Doom Describe How They Hope to Improve the World. (Take a Big Hit? Then Deliver a Bigger Blow.) Dividing Wall Starts to FallFinding Peace, and Looking for a Job, Saturn Goes Back to Warm and Fuzzy, Finds He Can Go Home AgainGoes Around, Comes Around.

‘30 Rock’: Two Thumbs Finally Up, Way Up

Dedicated Daily Intel readers no doubt remember Emily Nussbaum and Adam Sternbergh's IM review of 30 Rock's premiere. Emily liked it; Adam not so much. (He likened it to wallpaper.) Five months later, how do their first impressions stand up? They checked in with each other on IM after last night's episode to find out.
Sternbergh: I'm so excited to tell everyone to run to their TVs and watch 30 Rock — oh, wait. It's being yanked off the schedule for six weeks.
Nussbaum: What??
Nussbaum: Oh, man.
Sternbergh: Didn't you see the promos for Andy Richter's new show?
Sternbergh: Andy Barker P.I.?
Nussbaum: No, I was too out of it. Oh, the sorrow of it all.
Nussbaum: People! You're watching the wrong TV!
Sternbergh: NBC finally comes up with two shows you want to watch.
Sternbergh: And schedules them IN THE SAME TIME SLOT.

Paul Auster Is Huge in France, on Crosby Street

The two women hurried to finish their cigarettes on the steps of Housing Works bookstore last night, exchanging excited, quick trills in French: Paul Auster was about to arrive in person. This was not surprising: The first thing you hear as you approach an Auster reading, anywhere in the world, is French. Merely a best-selling author in these parts, Auster is a rock star in Paris. He is a subject of picture books — one, called Paul Auster’s New York, contains photos of locales from le maître’s novels — regarded as an official ambassador of authentic New Yorkiness, alongside Woody Allen. And a quick scan of the fans who turned out for a reading from his new novel, Travels in the Scriptorium, suggested a similar ardor can be found in many foreign countries.

Upper Upper West Side Story

New York's Jeremy McCarter loved In the Heights, a new musical at 37 Arts, and he's not the only one. At an all-high-school matinee organized by the Theater Development Fund yesterday, a packed house of almost entirely black and Latino teens from Washington Heights screamed and stomped wildly through the show, which weaves hip-hop, salsa, and old-fashioned storytelling into a nouveau–West Side Story tale of love, loss, dreams, and change in the gentrifying-but-still- mostly-Dominican Heights. The kids went crazy from the first (rapped) mention of the D.R., and they stayed entranced through the electrifying dance sequence at the end of Act One to the hysteria-inducing moment when hunky heartthrob Christopher Jackson (who plays limo dispatcher Benny) sauntered onstage for a raucous audience Q&A after the show. It was quite a scene to take in, like being in the audience for the very first B'nai Brith night at Fiddler. After the talkback, we asked six audience members — all Heights residents, all seniors at the neighborhood's International High School of Business and Finance — how the show stacked up against their hood.

Hanson Comes to New York: MMMBop Till You Puke!

Andrew W.K. played piano at Hanson's big Supper Club show last night. That was strange enough. And Harlem's entire Young Love Choir sang. But no one who joined the blond brothers onstage was louder than the roomful of Hanson fans. This spring marks the tenth anniversary of the sibling-pop trio's single "MMMBop" (yes, they played it), and every guitar solo, song introduction, and minor gesture to the audience elicited a wave of Woo!s louder than the last. Despite the single-digit weather, fans camped out on the sidewalk early to get in, as evidenced by the Starbucks cups dotting the pavement. (See? Way more mature than the Mountain Dew they were drinking on line a decade ago.) But why did Andrew W.K. sign himself up for the popsters' comeback?

‘Times’ Couplets: Urban Cowboys

Wherein we arrange headlines in verse to bring you secret messages from the paper of record. Man Is Convicted of Attempted Murder as Hate Crime in Village Rampage Athlete and a 'Cultured' Tarzan Savior of a Crumbling Village, Dies. 'The Rats Will Not Win,' Chief Varmint Hunter Vows Hunting a Killer as the Age of Aquarius Dies. In the Shootout, Two Stars, One GoalMore Than Just Two Ex-Cowboys Hitting the Road for Some Hot Man-on-Bike Action, Exploring Identity as a Problematic Condition. Deconstructing the Costs, and Emotions, of Warfare Everything Crumbles Toward EternitiesThe Big Meltdown A Suddenly Convenient Truth. Imagine More Hope, All Ye Who Enter Here. As Night Falls, Farmer Trades His Tractor for the Blues.

We Understand, and We're Talking About It

Miranda July
L.A.-based artist and filmmaker Miranda July’s new performance piece, Things We Don’t Understand and Are Definitely Not Going to Talk About — potentially the basis for a new film — opened last night at the Kitchen for a sold-out weekend run to an enthusiastic crowd, which included David Byrne. Things, in essence, is a love triangle, a clichéd story you might see on a Saved By the Bell rerun. But July’s gentle charm and engaging use of video, audience participation, and a dead cat demonstrate how the story itself can be much less important than the telling.

Patti Smith Rocks Carnegie Hall, Tibet

Death loomed large at the Philip Glass–curated benefit concert for Tibet House U.S. Monday night at Carnegie Hall, when a parade of legendary talents — among them Lou Reed, Patti Smith, and Michael Stipe — performed numbers in honor of deceased friends. And as if that weren't depressing enough, when the thrilling succession of reimagined hits and covers stopped, we suddenly realized that all our idols onstage talking about death will die, too. Oh, God. There were chanting monks, a beautiful, minimalist set from Sigur Rós, and Ben Harper. Debbie Harry happily danced to an acoustic version of "Heart of Glass." And then came Lou Reed, the first to sing about getting old. Ray Davies harkened back to the Kinks' glory days, getting the crowd to sing along with "Lola," "Sunday Afternoon," and "Dedicated Follower of Fashion." He admitted to being foggy about why, exactly, he was there: "This is a great event. I'm not sure of all the details, but the spirit moved me." And then he, too, got wistful about age. "Being in a band at this point in my life is a separation anxiety of the worst sort," he said. "We never know when we'll meet again."

MoMA, Guggenheim Experts Say You'd Be Better Off Buying Real Estate

With the big-money contemporary-art fairs in town last week and the big-money contemporary-art auctions set for this week, we had to wonder whether all these big-tickets works are good investments. “No Picasso is worth what people are paying today," MoMA president emerita Agnes Gund told us at a party for Joel Gray's photography last week. "They just aren’t that valuable in comparison. There are really Van Goghs and drawings that are worth more.” So where should you put your money? “Real estate is always the better investment because real estate will always be here, but the prices of art fluctuates,” she said. “Oops, I guess I shouldn’t say that!” Guggenheim director Lisa Dennison concurred. “I’d have to say real estate," she said. "You can live in it, you can hang art in it, and the prices seem more reasonable.” Real-estate prices seem reasonable? “As a museum director, it’s hard for me to say you should invest in art.” —Justin Ravitz