Williamsburg Idiots Outsmart Cops, Race Their Shopping Carts
At around 1 p.m. Saturday afternoon, seven colorfully costumed shopping-cart racers, six cops on horseback, five fully loaded cop vans, one police helicopter, twenty-five or so members of the media, and a number of non-affiliated camera-wielding denizens of Brooklyn descended on Greenpoint’s McCarren Park for the promised spectacle of cart-racing insanity from Brooklyn into Long Island City. There was only one problem: The Idiotarod had been rescheduled.
Lewis Black Lost It for CharityPoor Lewis Black. It’s his shtick to be irritated, yes. But usually it’s because he wants to be irritated. At Jon Bon Jovi and Kenneth Cole’s R.S.V.P to HELP benefit last night, the Tribeca Rooftop crowd was so noisy Black couldn’t get a word in — and he wasn’t pleased. The comic launched his act with a tirade about the long Christmas season — and we can’t imagine why that bit didn’t grab the crowd in late January — before growing frustrated with the noise. He first tried to just laugh it off, telling people go ahead and talk, it’s not like anyone’s onstage or anything. But partygoers — who seemed so unfamiliar with the benefit scene that one gal bid $50,000 on a Harley only to rescind it seconds later — took the joke as direction and turned up the volume of their chitchat.
Sundance Report: ‘Angel-A’ Actress Goes to Park City, Turns on New York
Rie Rasmussen, the 31-year-old Danish model, artist, filmmaker, and actress, calls New York home these days, but she’s in Park City this week with Angel-A, the Luc Besson film in which she stars. The story of a Parisian lowlife whose attempted suicide is thwarted by mysterious blonde, played by Rasmussen, Angel-A drew a young and enthusiastic crowd — mostly twentysomething guys — to the Library Center Theatre Tuesday night. After the screening, Besson, creator of fan favorites Nikita and The Professional, entered to cheers; the cheers turned to hoots and whistles when Rasmussen sprinted down the aisle to join him onstage. But the next day, just before last night’s screening, Rasmussen wasn’t exactly returning the love.
Sundance Report: Columbia Profs Can Be Good-Luck Charms, TooWriter-director Christopher Zalla prepared for a Sundance screening of his New York immigrant drama Padre Nuestro Tuesday afternoon with a lobby pep talk from his Columbia professor. Park City’s Eccles Center, where his Spanish-language film screened, holds more than a thousand people, and the young filmmaker was well aware of the many empty seats and dearth of press photographers. And he had even more reason to be worried: A projection error at a prior screening turned the film’s rich blacks into blurry darkness. Key scenes were hard to see.
Trapped in GalapagosWe thought R. Kelly’s “hip-hopera,” Trapped in the Closet, with its midget strippers and “spatula/nuts” rhymes, was absurd enough already. But Monday night at Williamsburg’s Galapagos Art Space, we witnessed something even crazier: The “R. Kelly Trapped in the Closet Sing-along,” in which a room full of (hopefully) drunken strangers belted out the words to all twelve chapters, karaoke style.
Dinner at Deitch: It’s All Legs and Breasts
Most dinner parties don’t kick off with the hostess stripping to fishnets. But at Soho’s tony Deitch Projects art gallery Saturday night, barely dressed was the dress code — for at least some guests. About 100 people turned out for a medieval-style banquet hosted by performance artist Julie Atlas Muz in honor of the “stars of the New York burlesque world,” according Jeffrey Deitch. The food was Flintstone-size turkey legs, giant bowls of Brussels sprouts, ham hocks, and fruit, all served amid overactive fog machines. Seated at the groaning tables: a coterie of directors (Michel Gondry, Darren Aronofsky), art worlders (artists Jack Pierson, Brooklyn Museum head Arnold Lehman), plus stars Tatum O’Neal and Bambi the Mermaid. It was not your typical gallery party.
Time Warner’s Future Is Now
Time Warner has shown us the future — and it is remarkably like the present, but with retro interior design. We arrived at the Time Warner Center last night for the opening of the media company’s “Home to the Future” exhibit expecting robot caterers, smell-o-vision televisions, and Dick Parsons’s clone. Instead we got demonstrations of Time Warner’s revolutionary new concepts, DVR and VOD, and news that apparently Samsung has figured out a way to make a television screen flat. Also, it seems there’s something called the Internet, which allows you, as a sign explained, to get all the music you want, just at the touch of a button. All this breathtaking new technology was set in an exhibit designed by Edwin Schlossberg, best known as Mr. Caroline Kennedy, who used lots of orange-on-orange and blue-on-blue hexagons, plus furniture made out of puffy white-leather circles. It was Camelot! The demi-celebs in the room were as confused as we were. “Whatever this is, I’m underwhelmed,” said man-about-town Boykin Curry. “I thought maybe the food was the vision of the future, that Time Warner was going to start home delivery of tiny pieces of steak through your television.” At around 8:30, guests began filing upstairs for a concert by Tony Bennett. (Again: The future will be like Camelot!) We left for a much more interesting use of flat-screen televisions, Robert Wilson’s video portraits at the Phillips de Pury gallery downtown. They were awesome. —Jada Yuan
Janeane Garofalo, Mellower With AgeA diminutive, slightly disheveled, and seemingly mellowed with age Janeane Garofalo officially returned to standup last night – and had her first headlining gig in years – at Comix, the new comedy club in the Meatpacking District. “Don’t ask to borrow any money from me,” the notoriously angsty and self-deprecating comic said. “It’s not like that now. My career tanked in 1998. After Mystery Men it was over.” She went on to talk about her dilapidated co-op (an impulse buy circa 1996), her herniated disk (a 2000 injury endured after drunkenly falling off a golf cart), and her decision to quit drinking entirely (see previous parenthetical). She said she now spends her time taking copious notes while watching the History Channel, ruminating on the Big Bang Theory, finding Rachael Ray’s $40 A Day “horribly offensive,” and swooning over any and all incarnations of Pride and Prejudice’s Mr. Darcy. (“I’m not made of wood, people. Come on!”). And Garofalo has even discovered beading; she tossed out handmade necklaces to the eager yupster crowd. —Rachel Wolff
But Where Do You Put Your MetroCard?
CORRECTION: Due to an editing error, we inadvertently published a modified version of the Times email newsletter UrbanEye’s brief on the No-Pants Subway Ride as our own content. Daily Intel regrets our stupidity and apologizes to both the Times and UrbanEye’s author, Melena Ryzik.
So now we’ll just leave it that the No-Pants Subway Ride is Saturday, and interested participants should meet in Foley Square at 3 p.m.
UrbanEye [NYT (last item)]
Improv Everywhere [Official site]
Although We See More Potential for Murder and Mayhem at Atlantic YardsAward-winning mystery writer S.J. Rozan’s latest book, In This Rain, is about — isn’t everything these days about? — New York’s redevelopment. A standing-room-only crowd turned out last night at Partners & Crime, in Greenwich Village, for a launch reading of the book, set squarely at the intersection of developers, activists, and City Hall in the gentrification of Harlem. (A large portion of Rozan’s research, she said, apparently involved consuming sticky goods at Wimp’s Bakery on 125th Street.) So who gets a cameo in this whodunit? “There’s a character who’s Bloomberg, and people keep telling me they see him in the book,” commented Rozan. “But they also keep seeing Rangel. Poor Rangel! I didn’t mean to have him in there.” No word yet on whether Harlem’s most presidential neighbor gets a role — or whether people think they see him there. — Lizzie Skurnick
S.J. Rozan [Official site]
M&M’s Opens Times Square Store, Tortures Willing Pedestrians
If you’re anything like us, nothing attracts your sweet tooth like “heavy, thin, old and young New Yorkers” sprayed in candy coating. So when we received a press release from the M&M’s people announcing that they’d be marking the opening of their new Times Square location by spraying those folks in their favorite M&M’s colors — and then branding their chests with an M, candy style — we knew we’d have to attend. Intern Everett was on the scene, where he snapped some pix and reported that nothing says yum like bikini-clad people, standing in 40-degree weather, getting sprayed with cold paint. Hey, at least the victims froze in their mouths, not in their hands.
Aerosmith Plays Beacon; Steven Tyler Confesses to Using His Daughter’s Career For Personal Gain
Aerosmith played a private concert at the relatively tiny Beacon Theater Sunday night, exclusively for members of the new Citi/AAdvantage card. (This on the heels of similar, AmEx-only events featuring Kanye West and Lauryn Hill earlier this year.) It was a rare opportunity to see the stadium rockers up close, and we learned several things: Tom Hamilton, who’d missed part of the recent tour due to throat-cancer treatment is back in fine form. Joe Perry still has his abs. And Steven Tyler advises his daughter, Liv, on her movie choices. “She called me up and said, ‘Dad, Jerry Bruckheimer’s doing this movie,’” he said about Armageddon. “I said, ‘What’s it about?’ And she said, ‘It starts off with Bruce Willis hitting golf balls into the Gulf from an oil rig and then a meteor comes down, and everything goes to hell.’ I said, ‘Take that shit!’ They wanted four songs from Aerosmith. KA-CHING!” Ah, the joys of fatherhood. —Jada Yuan
Earlier: Lauryn Hill: Not Crazy After All These Years?
Nascar and Tiffany: Together at Last!
Much to our chagrin, we missed Nascar’s so-called “Victory Lap” around midtown yesterday — starting at Times Square, across 42nd Street, up Madison, back west at 53rd, and then down the home stretch of Seventh Avenue to Times Square. (We tried to snag a pic as the cars passed our beloved 444 Madison, but the only person in the office at the ungodly hour of 9 a.m. was a little too slow to get downstairs with her camera phone.) A press release sitting in our in-box, however, offered us another chance: A big Nascar event at Tiffany & Company. We do not quite understand the cross-promotion between the two organizations (is there insufficient Elsa Peretti at the speedway?), but, hey, we figured, at least it’d be a chance to see some stock cars on city streets. Wrong! The event featured drivers dressed like normal people, not in logo-festooned jumpsuits, and the only automotive excitement on display was some cabs decked out in quasi-stock-car livery. So there you have it, kids. Nascar at Tiffany. With taxicabs. Yee-haw.
A Nascar Victory Lap Crawls Down Broadway [NYT]
McNally Robinson Reading Keeps Al Goldstein From Suicide
And in our continuing coverage of noteworthy occurrences at last night’s social events, here’s the quote of the day, from Al Goldstein’s I, Goldstein: My Screwed Life reading at Soho’s McNally Robinson bookstore. He had been asked whether he was surprised his memoir received major, and favorable, coverage in Sunday’s Times Book Review:
“I was shocked. When every piece of furniture and your underwear are taken by the bank, when you lose your house in Florida, in New York, in Amsterdam and L.A., when your wife is dying and your son abandons you, you don’t feel very good. I’m not very optimistic. I mean, do you want me to be like Pangloss and say that this is the best of all possible worlds? I gave up the lithium and I’m trying to stay alive, but I have enough Ambien to kill myself.”
He did allow, however, that he was pleased with the evening’s turnout and the crowd’s enthusiastic response. “That makes me not want to kill myself,” he said.
— Mary Reinholz
Alfonso Cuarón’s Happily Interminable Birthday
Last night’s screening of Alfonso Cuarón’s apocalyptic infertility thriller Children of Men was shaping up to be just another ho-hum night of free food and booze at the MoMA. Then in walked the Mexican-film-director power trio of Cuarón (Y Tú Mamá También), Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth), and Alejandro Iñárritu (Babel), followed minutes later by a fanfare of trumpets from what might be the city’s best-sounding mariachi band. It seems it was a shocked Cuarón’s 45th birthday. He accepted a cake from one of his Universal Pictures producers and then stood there for a good five minutes while Del Toro and Iñárritu sang along to the exceedingly long Mexican birthday song, Las Mañanitas, which translates to “little morning songs.” Cuarón shook his head as they finished. “It’s kind of embarrassing when you’re holding the cake and you’re under the spot and you know that it’s a damn long song. You never know how many verses they’ll sing. If you sing the whole thing, it could be days. There’s, like, 30 verses. I don’t even know what they’re all about. Something to do with birds and flowers, the sun rising around your day, different metaphors around the same thing.” Del Toro, the most enthusiastic cantante of the bunch, laughed. “It’s a really long song, but I think the longest it ever goes is twenty minutes.”
— Jada Yuan
Happy Thanksgiving to All, and to All a Good Night!
Well, folks, that’s about it for us. On Grub Street, Josh Ozersky imparts his hard-earned Four Simple Rules for Having a Pleasant City Thanksgiving. And earlier we let David Rockwell tell you how the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade makes the city feel smaller, literally. That’s all we got, and now we have to start prepping for maximum pigs-in-a-blanket intake. Be careful out there, and we’ll catch you Monday morning.
Your Last-Minute NYC Thanksgiving, and How Not to Blow It [Grub Street]
David Rockwell Loves a Parade
The New York architect David Rockwell, known for his designs of restaurants (like Nobu), hotels (including several Ws), and, lately, Broadway musicals (his first was Hairspray, with those brilliant moving, dancing posters), has published a coffee-table book called Spectacle. It includes photos, interviews, and information on many of the world’s great spectator events — including, naturally, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. He spoke to Daily Intel yesterday.
What makes the parade so interesting to you?
I’ve always been interested in larger-than-life events, and larger-than-life communal events. At the parade, there’s a breaking down of the boundary between viewer and participant. The viewer is as much a part of the parade as the people in it. In your field of vision, you’re seeing other people across the street, and you’re seeing their reactions — were they surprised? These giant balloons transform our view of the city. They make the city seem smaller, literally, by inhabiting the space up in the air. And it’s just an amazing time where New Yorkers get out of their temperature-controlled boxes and have this celebration that spills out into the streets.
Brice Marden Once Touched a Picasso
Seven things we learned about Brice Marden last night at the Strand bookstore, where he gave a talk promoting his current retrospective at the MoMA and the accompanying book, Plane Image:
1. He’s left-handed.
2. He won a painting by an elephant at a circus three years ago.
3. His first New York apartment was on Avenue C.
4. As a kid, he’d skip school to visit MoMA.
5. He once touched a Picasso there.
6. He was not kicked out for having done so.
7. He thinks New York is no longer the American art mecca because it’s too expensive for many young artists, who are instead moving to L.A.— Kendall Herbst
Brice Marden: A Retrospective of Paintings and Drawings [NYM]
Anything You Can Do, Denzel Can Do Better
Last night, Jada Yuan, New York’s intrepid party reporter, witnessed a rarity: Red-carpet gridlock. At right, arrivals for the premiere of Denzel Washington’s Déjà Vu at the Ziegfeld. At left, arrivals for the International Emmy Awards at the Hilton. At center, West 54th Street, jammed with limos, camera crews, and the occasional Hummer.
Only in New York, kids.
‘Against the Day,’ at Night
There are, apparently, some people so eager to read Thomas Pynchon’s new, 1,000-page novel, Against the Day, that they couldn’t wait till this morning, when it went on sale, to purchase a copy. For them, the St. Mark’s Bookshop stayed open past midnight last night. “It was a symbolic gesture in the wake of the Harry Potter phenomenon,” explained Robert, a clerk there. “Sort of the antithesis of that.” Of course.
Mrs. Gotti Wants to See Bill Clinton Naked
“In Praise of Older Women,” an exhibition of paintings by Victoria Gotti Sr. — that would be Growing Up Gotti Victoria’s mom, the late Dapper Don’s widow — opened last night at MW Gallery in Chelsea. Many of the paintings, as it turns out, are her impressions of famous faces, from Bill Clinton to Johnny Depp. “I only paint pictures of people that I like, and I love Bill Clinton,” Gotti told us at the reception. “I voted for him twice. I don’t think this country would be in the mess that it’s in now with Iraq if he was still president.”
We asked if celebrities sit for her. “No, I wish,” she said. “Can you put in a good word? I’d paint Bill Clinton nude.” She paused for a second. “Don’t print that,” she said. Sorry, Mrs. G.
— Fiona Byrne
Guggenheim Presents Hugo Boss Prize; Winner Gets Cash, Show, Dinner Next to Dennis Hopper
There were about 1,300 people crammed into the Guggenheim for the Hugo Boss Prize party last night, and virtually all of them were in black, as if by commandment. (The crowd, curling up the building’s ramp, looked like one enormous, dark martini-carrying centipede.) The $50,000 prize, funded by the German clothing company and administered by the Guggenheim Foundation, is presented every other year and, since its founding in 1996, has become the U.S. equivalent of Britain’s very big-deal Turner Prize.
‘Chicago’ Tenth Anniversary Razzles and Dazzles
We have seen gay heaven — or, at least, the older gentleman sitting in front of us at the Ambassador Theater, prone to wild clapping, spontaneous standing ovations, and a few outbursts of “Oh, my God! It’s Chita Rivera! It’s Chita Rivera!” has — and it looks like last night’s tenth-anniversary performance of Chicago, a benefit for Safe Horizons, in which every person who’s been in the revival’s cast either made a cameo appearance or performed an entire number. Who was there?
Mario Batali, Slowly RoastedWe confess we’ve been a bit confused all along about why there was a big-deal celebrity roast scheduled for Mario Batali: Aren’t these sorts of things usually reserved for comedians? We always thought so. But somehow last night’s for-charity skewering of the chubby chef at Capitale became one of the big high-profile parties of the week. Roasters included Sarah Silverman, Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, and Anthony Bourdain. Josh Ozersky was there, too, and he reports the night’s best jibes at Grub Street.
Mario Batali Is a Kobe Human, and Other Great Lines From His Roast [Grub Street]
in other news
Bloomberg: Yo Soy Un Berliner
This was a year of firsts for the Latin Grammys, held yesterday at Madison Square Garden: the first year in New York, the first time a woman (Shakira) swept the top four categories, and the first time the ceremony proceeded almost entirely in Spanish. And the most spectacular victim of that last development was Mayor Mike “Boriqua” Bloomberg. The mayor had tested his Spanish at an earlier City Hall press conference, rolling out the impressive “Hoy me siento muy orgulloso al anunciar que la 7a. entrega Anual del Latin Grammy se realizará por primera vez en la Gran Manzana.” Sadly, he fared a little worse at the telecast. We’ll let the implacable Times tell the tale:
New York City’s mayor, Michael R. Bloomberg, spoke Spanish when he arrived onstage behind a chorus line of women in red, though he seemed unaware that “Hasta la vista” is a good-bye, not a greeting.
Great. Just what we need: another mayor who doesn’t know how to say good-bye.
Awards Celebrate a City Pulsing With Latin Sounds [NYT]
Bloomberg press release [Univision]
On Delta Airlines’ Secret Service
You can’t bring water on your flight anymore, but that doesn’t mean you can’t wet your beak. At least if you’re flying Delta, where efforts to ease passenger tension in this age of check-in delays and cavity searches have turned to that time-tested panacea: designer booze. Well aware that a buzzed flier is likely a happier one, the airline enlisted nightlife mogul Rande Gerber to create a special cocktail list, which will be available on Delta flights starting next year. To promote this, and for reasons we don’t begin to comprehend, last night the airline gathered a trio of former James Bond girls (Delta is adding a direct New York-to-London flight later this month, and yes, Bond is British, but that’s a tenuous connection at best) and a gaggle of guests — mostly men, most old enough to prefer Pussy Galore to Christmas Jones — at Gerber’s Stone Rose, which is in the Time Warner Center and thus far from any airport, to drink to drunk flying.
Grace Jones — perhaps you know her as May Day from A View to a Kill — was clad in a shimmering vintage Issey Miyake number replete with a hood and definitely could use that drink. “I actually have to fly back to London tomorrow at 8 a.m.,” she said. “Not on Delta, though. I need me a sleeper bed, so I’m flying British Airways.”
‘Glamour’ Awards Reduce Winners, Audience, Our Reporter to Tears
We’re not the type who cries during Extreme Makeover: Home Edition or Verizon commercials or when that diamond-ad music starts playing. (Duh duh da da, duh duh da da.) Still, we had a hard time fighting the stereotype during Glamour’s tissue-fest of an awards show Monday night at Carnegie Hall. The magazine’s “Women of the Year” honorees ranged from three generations of Missoni women to Queen Latifah — who, judging from chorus of screams that greeted the mere mention of her name, is the most popular person in the world — and all of them, plus nearly everyone in the audience, had wet eyes through much of the evening.
‘Village Voice’r Outspells Famous Novelists
Just because you’re a great writer doesn’t mean, as it turns out, you’re also a great speller. This was the disappointing lesson of “A Better Bee,” a literary-celeb-studded spelling bee held at Exit Art in Chelsea last night to benefit the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses.
Contestants included big-name writers like Garden State author Rick Moody, The Position scribe Meg Wolitzer, and Prep’s Curtis Sittenfeld. (Last year’s champion, Ghost Town author Patrick McGrath, couldn’t attend and was instead represented by a Hello Kitty doll.)
The Magician Was a Spy? Ask Him Today!The latest tale conjured about Harry Houdini, who died 80 years ago today, is that the famed magician and showman was actually an American and British spy — and that he was murdered as part of an elaborate plot concocted by his arch-enemies, a trans-national clique of turn-of-the-century mediums supported by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. And perhaps at the annual Houdini séance this afternoon at the Center for Jewish History, in Chelsea, ol’ Harry will come back from his Long Island grave to answer shed some light on these new charges.
Beer, Glorious Beer
Over at Grub Street, Josh Ozersky, Grubber-in-chief, has pointed us to what might be the single best thing going on in New York this weekend — or, for that matter, ever. It’s the Brewtopia Great World Beer Festival, and it’s at the Javits Center today and tomorrow. It costs $60 to get in, as we understand it, and then it’s all you can drink. And, hell, that’s cheaper than our average weekend-night bar tab, which is certainly not all you can drink. (Well, at least not de jure, anyway.) Grub’s got the full info.
Beer-Fueled Madness at Javits Center This Weekend [Grub Street]