Jay McCarroll Sits on a Bench
Gothamist today points us to a week-old Observer profile of The Bench, the park bench in front of the American Apparel at Houston and Orchard Streets, which apparently has been turned into a sort of hipster anti-scene scene, especially on Saturday nights. And who’s apparently the token celebrity to frequent The Bench? Project Runway alum Jay McCarroll, natch. Which, when you think of it, comes as no surprise at all. Of course the dude hangs out on a park bench; he’s homeless.
The Bench Bunch [NYO via Gothamist]
Earlier: Is Jay McCarroll Homeless? He Sure Said So (and So Did His Publicist)
Manhattan Mini-Storage Ads Go Over Line, West Side HighwayBushwick: It’s hard out there in the ‘shwick … for a gay, twentysomething yuppie when he’s waiting for the hood to gentrify so he can cash in on your property and leave. [BushwickBK]
Chelsea: Manhattan Mini-Storage’s ads can sometimes be annoying, but how excellent is it that this flagrantly pro-choice one, hangin’ large over the West Side Highway, has NYC’s six conservatives enraged? [Gothamist]
Flushing: Brace yourself for a big, shiny new development here with a Home Depot, Target, and million-dollar condos for folks who, according to the developer, are “upscale, middle-income and multiethnic” … all at once! [OuterB]
Gowanus: State enviro-honchos and Keyspan have reached an agreement on cleaning up the subterranean toxic goop at two sites in this area, plus at several others in the borough. [Gowanus Lounge]
Kensington: Faced with choosing between two blights on society to fill a long-empty building — methadone users or law students — it seems locals will gladly suffer the latter. [Kensington Blog]
Lower Manhattan: Is it an art installation … or the indoor bike-parking facility set up at 280 Broadway for city workers? Click and decide. [Streetsblog]
Williamsburg: All the hipsters had a good, self-referential laugh last night during the McCarren Pool’s screening of Bonnie and Clyde when the screen duo’s sidekick C.W. Moss is scolded by his dad not for being a criminal but for getting a tat. Ha ha ha, movie stars, they’re just like Us! [Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn]
R. Kelly Comes to Greenwich Village, Premieres Videos, Wows Vulture
R. Kelly! Live in New York! For the official premiere of Trapped in the Closet: Chapters 13–22! Omg omg omg! Okay, yeah, so he barely said anything. And wouldn’t talk to press. And didn’t have much of a boldface-name turnout. So what? Vulture was at the IFC Center for that momentous occasion, and its minions report back.
R. Kelly Even More Awesome in Person [Vulture]
At PEN Gala, Rushdie (With Lakshmi!) and Shteyngart Bemoan Demise of Book ReviewsThe T. Rex cantilevered over the famous writerly heads at the PEN gala last week at the Museum of Natural History supplied a metaphor too crushingly obvious for any of the assembled literary luminaries to use. Which didn’t make it any less valid: With one daily newspaper after another dropping book coverage, the world of letters hasn’t felt this vulnerable since the first TVs flickered on. “Literature is going the way of this dinosaur!” proclaimed a very trim Gary Shteyngart. “Wait, Salman Rushdie has already said something like that, ” he continued. “Let’s elaborate. Hang on. If the literature is the dinosaur, then the creeping national illiteracy is the meteoric event that Okay, this is not working. I can’t be pithy with my clothes on.” Within minutes, Rushdie himself arrived, accompanied by supposedly estranged wife Padma Lakshmi. His take on the book-critic shortage: “When I was starting out, any novelist’s debut, no matter how small, would get reviewed across the country. I would hate to be a young writer right now.” Letting Lakshmi get momentarily lost in the crowd while he finished his point, Rushdie added, “But let me tell you, it’s a dangerous game. The newspapers that are cutting people’s attention to reading may be cutting their own throats.” —Michael Idov
‘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: 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.
The Book Reviewer’s SongIn all the brouhaha over Christopher Hitchens’s paean to poop jokes in the new Vanity Fair, you might have missed the Proust Questionnaire with literary warhorse Norman Mailer. The venerable writer-cum-political agitator dishes on his hatred for Reagan, Bush, Hitler, and — oh, yeah — Pulitzer-winning Times book critic Michiko Kakutani:
What is your greatest fear?
That I will never meet Michiko Kakutani and so not be able to tell her what I think of her. She has an unseemly haste to rush into print with the first very bad review of any book I write. She does this ahead of publication. That is a strategy. If the first review of a book is dreadful, an author needs at least three good ones to change that first impression.
Hitler, in comparison, gets off easy. Not that we’re surprised: We hear he thought pretty highly of The Naked and the Dead.
Proust Questionnaire: Normal Mailer [VF]
New York Critics Honor ‘United 93,’ Doom Its Best Picture HopesNew York Film Critics Circle has picked Paul Greengrass’s United 93 as the best picture of the year. (“Should Hollywood be in the 9/11 business?” wondered New York’s David Edelstein, one of the Circle’s 27 members, when the film came out. “Only if it can make movies like United 93.” He went on to call it “brilliant, tightly focused, and momentous.”) But here’s the question: Does the picture — a stark, minimalist retelling of the passenger revolt that brought down the flight — stand a chance at the big awards show on the other coast? For now, we can only go on the Circle’s track record.
in other news
‘Time Out’ Likes Our Critics! They Really Like Our Critics!So Time Out New York is out today with a big cover story rating and ranking all the city’s cultural critics. It must be said: We give two thumbs up to this review of the reviews. Of course, why wouldn’t we? New York’s critics fared well (if not quite as well as Time Out’s own critics, who did — surprise! — fabulously). Our Peter G. Davis was the No. 2 classical-music reviewer, Adam Platt came in third for foodies, Jeremy McCarter was named the fourth best theater critic, and Mark Stevens was No. 6 among the art experts.
The one exception was our esteemed film reviewer, David Edelstein, who ranked an unimpressive eleventh. Why is that? Well, according to his Zagatian write-up, it’s because he’s insufficiently attentive to independent film. “If you were to read only his column, you’d never know that foreign-language films and independent documentaries were opening,” wrote one panelist. “A fine critic for first-run films. I wish he was able to write more about off-the-beaten-path films,” wrote another. And just what industry experts came to these damning conclusions? Well, from the roster of reviewer-reviewers provided, we can pick out the director of the Film Forum; the publicist for the Film Forum; the publicist for the IFC Center, who was formerly at the Film Forum; the publicist for the Museum of the Moving Image; and two independent publicists of indie films. Hey, at least they know about indie film.
Judgment Day [TONY]