Addendum: A Comparison

December 31, 2011

I didn’t think this deserved a separate blog post, but as I sit outside the Cinematheque Francais, locked out, due to the apparent inability of one cashier to sell me a different kind of ticket. (“Monsieur Americain.” they snickered at me before a previous film), it seemed like the right time to expound on a comparison that came to my head, drunkenly wandering this city.

New York is like my mother, though I know it may not be to many. It’s my home, the place I know best, where I come from and where I sometimes need to escape from.

And if New York is my mother, then Paris is my douchebag friend.

Hear me out! I have a reason for this. These words chosen carefully and if that carefulness came at an intoxicated time, let me elucidate them in a time of lucidity.

See, Paris is frequently late, snobby about shit and making fun of you (and everyone else it seems like). It’s more fashionable, better looking, it is *constantly* reminding you how much more sex it is having than you. It likes shitty European house music and “the best of” American Jews (Dylan, Cohen, Woody Allen) and sometimes it just totally fucking bails on you.

So why do you keep it around?

Well you don’t always hang out with Paris. Sometimes you try ditching it and talking to your New York friends on G-Chat or playing video games, just to piss it off.

But at the same time, let’s be honest, Paris is fucking interesting. It’s really, really cool. And for every time the Karaoke at the Pub St. Michel won’t start (with its pitiful list of songs) because they don’t know or care where the DJ is, there’s the cinema you discover doing dual Cronenberg-Scorsese retrospectives, the video-game district you didn’t know existed, the conversation about Clint Eastwood’s “The Rookie” you have with an Abu Dhabi TA who you never meet again. Even on the shitty nights, Paris can sometimes turn around and make you feel like it really does care about you, like you’re special because you’re chilling with it. Like you got your own cool rapport.

I’m still pissed off that the Karaoke didn’t work. The alternate joint I went to our of frustration with waiting closed as I got there and said they didn’t know when they’d be open (really?). And it’s annoying to be sitting on the damp bench across the street from the closed bistro across the street from the Cinematheque.

It’s New Year’s Eve and if I was in New York City, I would be near people who care about me, with places to go and be warm and taken care of, I’d have a plan. And I’d be sure to check in with my mom.

But sometimes, you don’t stay at home, because you want an adventure, because you want something new in your life. Because you want to see what can happen.

So you call up your douchebag friend Paris. It knows a few parties it’s heard about vaguely, though who really knows, man. Maybe we can try to find some chicks from Latin America and get ’em dancing. Or talking about how depressed you are or whatever you do, Nick.

Yep, Paris, whatever you say.

It’s going to be a new year.

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No Sleep Till…

August 23, 2011

So.

This is the corner where I get pseudo-mugged.

It’s a stupid story, full of stupid decisions, that somehow turned out ok.

But as it’s vaguely more dramatic than the usual me just complaining about my life, I’ll tell it here.

It was a sad night, to begin with.

I hadn’t just gotten out from my class show, having done two crappy sets with a talented group of people, the sort of show where nobody even really attempts to drink with each other afterwards. Everyone just scatters their separate ways to try to pretend that this didn’t just happen.

Except I had nobody to scatter with.

I didn’t have any close friends in that particular improv class. I hadn’t invited my friends because I knew that this was not going to be a good class show.

And, perhaps more saliently, I had been disconnected with my main group of people, due to my intense dive into the world of comedy, I had not seen the Robert Malone or John Beamers–

Or even the Andrew Parrishes of the world for a while.

The people who I had known for the longest and was closest too were now all distant from me, not in their friendship, but just in our worlds. My diet had taken me mostly off drinking and partying, leaving me not wanting to go out to Brooklyn late at night for adventures and not seeing movies as often, because I was seeing so many improv shows.

So when I walked out of my class show on a Saturday night, with no one to talk to or drink with or commiserate over how crappy that just was, I felt bad.

And Andrew Parrish, to his credit, told me he wasn’t doing anything when I asked “How Parrishes” and he walked over to meet me down on 7th Avenue as we marched slowly downtown.

***

I’m sorry to tease y’all or break up the (still non-existant) action, but this was the point in the evening where we to Dirty Bird to Go, where I found out, happily, that the chopped-fried chicken wrap there was whole wheat and thus I could eat it for my diet.

It was huge and full of pieces torn off the bone, with hearts of palm and tomatoes and romaine lettuce and a mix of buttermilk ranch and hot sauce that was recommended to me the first time I ever went there, taken by my ‘rents.

I could only finish half with my sadly and strangely newly-diminished appetite, but it filled me up, was more delicious than Andrew’s roasted version and, quite importantly, reheated well the next day, with all the hot sauce and buttermilk evaporating into pure flavor.

It was comfort food, on a night I wanted it.

***

Anyway.

Over chicken wraps, Andrew and I began to discuss the crappiness of the shows I’d just been in and how I felt so weird about my love life. I’d been seeing my ex in mostly fun situations, but I had invited to a show she really wanted to see and I wondered that she had chosen to reconnect with me, if that meant anything more than wanting to hang out and watch movies.

It’s dumb, I know. and I’ve been there before.

But sometimes, you just wanna know.

As I walked, Andrew, who recently had experienced a break-up of his own, did not act villain-ly, or goob-ish, or any of the other ways I’ve described in my blog, jokingly.

He just walked with me and listened to my spout of uncertainty and self-loathing and rationalization and talked with me for a long while as we walked down 7th Avenue, just offering his best advice and giving me an ear of someone who knew me.

I appreciated it.

And then we got psuedo-mugged.

We had reached the corner of Spring and West Broadway near my house but Andrew wasn’t going there and if I went home the conversation was over.

So we stood on the corner, leaning on a building as Europeans passed us by sometime before 11, just shooting shit about getting over exes and being ok with one’s self and the Chester Brown book that we had all read at this point.

When some guy asked us if we were dealing drugs and we said no, obviously.

“Well there has been that sort of activity here and there’s an ongoing investigation. I’m an undercover cop and I’m going to need you two to open your bags.”

So we did, dumbly. Neither of us were drunk, it just sounded like a cop-like request.

“What are all those wires?” He asked.

“It’s a solar-powered backpack.” I explained expertly. “That’s a battery and my PSP.”

“Let me see your phones.” He said and I, of course, gave him my phone.

My first realization that something wasn’t right was when the dude didn’t take Andrew’s shitty flip phone.

“Wait a second,” I asked. “Can we see your badge?”

Of course, this would have been smart to ask when he did not have my phone already, but I asked.

“This is getting really uncomfortable.” Andrew said.

Which prompted me to repeat: “Wait a second, where’s your badge?”

“I have a badge.” He said backing off a bit.

“No.” I said. “This is not happening.”

And I got on the other side of the guy slowly and deliberately, using my improv skills (laugh) and just took my phone from his hand.

“Snatching something from the hand of an officer. You guys are in trouble. Stay here while I get backup.”

And the dude just walked away.

“Want to get out of here?” I asked Parrish.

“Yeah.” He replied and we zipped up our bags and left.

Leaving my first thought was, was that guy really a cop?

10 minutes later, my thoughts ranged from “Why didn’t I  get stabbed or punch trying to take my phone from somebody?” to “Why didn’t I ask to see a badge earlier?” to “Was he just doing some sort of weird drunk game?”

It was all very confusing but it shook Andrew and I up and I went home and Andrew to a party.

Full of strange and unresolved emotions.

***

The next day was mostly anti-climax.

The nice thing was that I saw Parrish and Malone and Beamer and Alex Hilhorst. And we all had fun seeing stupid Conan and bitching. And Beamer even said he missed living with me which I told him was sweet.

The show with my ex was fine, I drank too much, but did nothing stupid to my ex, except feel weird (though not awful) seeing some dude hit on her.

I found myself drinking more to keep the buzz going through another show and then some time spent mutually rapping with an improv friend about our lack of romantic prospects, back to regular life.

The only thing was that through the combination of 3-or-so too-many drinks, a stomach bug I was fighting, and spending too much time in depressive-commiseration, I didn’t get to bed till 5 and woke up at 9, held together by leftovers and the 65-cent coffee refills I could get with the cup I smartly saved from nearby Porto Rico.

I ended up talking it out with my ex after seeing Out Of Sight, her choice which I dug actually and appreciated that we both thought J-Lo reminded us of a young Barbara Streisand in that movie.

After the mostly-fine, surprisingly, after-math of that (the worst torture is in lack of clarity, or wondering, or second-guessing) I ended up drawn in to:

a. A beautiful dinner with my Grandma.

and

b. An event called Punderdome.

I had a good reason to be there. A cute girl had invited me. End good reason.

But my friend J-Sam had shown up too and we ended up dragged in from me, a falling-apart on four hours of sleep spectator, to a full-on balls-to-the-wall competitor.

The competition, which turned out to be extremely fun, involved making up puns on the spor based on prompt with 90 seconds to think on it, multiple rounds of competition and a human applause-o-meter.

“A pun competition?” My dad said when I told him about it this morning. “That reminds me of a story. A British dude said that he could make a pun about any subject. A crass American asked him, OK, make a joke about the Queen. To which he curtly replied, the Queen is not a subject.”

To which my Dad laughed over the phone for several minutes.

But J-Sam and I competed yelled and mugged for the crowd for our puns. I was even called up to the stage to sing, improbably, “Copacabana” during another group’s 90-second interlude. I knew about a sixth of the words.

Our first two puns were pretty impressive. The first prompt was “That’s What She Said” and I came up with the non-sensical but slick:

“What did Ulysses S. Grant say to the South after banging their Mom? That’s What Lee Said.” J-Sam was real impressed and we made it to the next round.

But it was Sam in all of his Jew-fro-y-ness that got the next round for us when the prompt was “The 31 Flavors of Baskin Robbins.”

He came up with:

“I watched the Shawshank Redemption last night, because I wanted to Bask In Robbins.”

I thought that was pretty cool.

In the interlude we got some cheers and jeers. Some old dude in front of us called us “Slimon and Garfunkel.”

“Are you Garfunkel?” I asked J. Sam.

“I’m always Garfunkel.” He said.

“Well I think it’s better to be Garfunkel than Slimon.” I told him. “I mean, you can knock Garfunkel, but he’s calling me Slimon.”

“Yeah, glad I’m not Slimon.” He replied.

We got knocked out of the competition in the semi-finals when the prompt was “Great Works of Literature” and all we had was me saying “James Joyce” and collapsing to the floor, while J-Sam told the crowd I was having a “Ulys-seizure”. Weak, I know. The pun we came up with later was not much better in it’s cheapness which was:

“Fans of electro-pop despair! Terrible news! Moby’s Sick!”

Might have gotten a laugh but wasn’t as good.

The finals was “uses of ketchup” and both guys did real well with super-slick punny stories and won lame prizes like a bucket of cheese-balls and waffle-iron.

But when I got home I thought to myself, that if we had made the finals, we would have elected to go second and after one of those punny long stories, I would have just said:

“There’s no topping that.”

And walked off stage, killing.

A man can dream, can’t he?

***

DIRTY BIRD TO GO

Fried Chicken Whole Wheat Wrap w/Hot-Buttermilk Dressing- $7.75

14th St bet 7th and 8th Avenues.

123FML to 14th St-7th Ave, ACEL to 14th St-8th Ave.

***

PORTO RICO COFFEE

Refill of your saved cup (You’re smart!), with Splenda and Milk, if you’re me- $.65

Thompson bet. Prince and Spring Sts.

CE to Spring St. 1 to Houston St.

 


Dick Night

August 7, 2011

It’s been an interesting week.

Perhaps I should give some explanation to the poster above.

Or maybe it should just come later.

Let’s start here: I’ve been dieting.

For those of you who follow the blog, or at least read the last post, you know that I tried doing a carb reductive diet and, mostly, I’ve stuck to it.

I haven’t eaten a significant portion of bread or potatoes or rice in about a week and a half. I’ve stayed away from anything with added sugar.

My only times breaking were drinks, with no mixers, once to celebrate the launch of “Skinnygirl Sangria”, which I think would have been disrespectful if I wasn’t drinking it at the party, and once to commemorate good-man Chadd Harbold’s first week down on his first feature film.

Both times, I tried to keep it to a limit. I break rules sometimes about fried things, because they are delicious and their restriction seems less based on the science of my diet and more on heart concerns for people who are not 24 (I said “23” out loud when I typed that).

But mostly I’ve been good, which has changed me, how?

Well, I’ve been cycling through rapid mood swings in the mornings even for me, veering between sadness and anger and a nervous energy, the last of which is at least applicable to some improv. My book calls this “sugar withdrawal” and it’s the first real withdrawal of any kind I’ve gone through, at least in my memory.

Sometimes this means I just need to drink a coffee (sugar-free vanilla, 1-percent milk, not allowed Soy, too much sugar) or a swig of the Diet Coke in my refrigerator. Sometimes it means I need to eat a salad somewhere and wait.

Or sometimes, like Thursday, it means I get anxious and upset and my eyes see red and I tell most of my friends to go fuck themselves to their faces and storm out, catch a cab and retreat to an improv show, wondering why, as soon as I’ve extricated myself, I was just such a douchebag.

It’s the diet, but is it the diet? I counseled a friend who recently went through a bipolar break that they didn’t have to own their behavior, this was something they couldn’t control, the first time it had manifested. But they told me, laughingly, in the psych ward that was the only thing they kept telling them: that it was their behavior, their thoughts, their ability to control.

Maybe I should tell the story:

It was a Thursday night and I’d spent most of the day whittling down a 2-minute monologue about my blog that I had to perform for an audition I’d been asked to. It was the story of getting over a girl and how writing about it had helped and it was raunchy and weird and funny-ish. I rehearsed it over and over in my head, in the mirror, in the hallway of Shetler Studios, waiting to be called. I headed in and gave my monologue, thinking I had confidence in it, that it would kill, I had been asked to audition, after all, I could use this story, go to Moth or RISK story-slams and tell it, my pseudo-celebrity would help, this was one of the nice things, I bombed.

Or I don’t know if I bombed, I was fine, they didn’t laugh. But they called me in to read a bunch of other stuff, lines tweets, other people’s blog posts. I kept doing three or four callbacks into the room until they let the person next to me stay and told me to go.

And I hadn’t auditioned in a while. And I just felt silly in my expectations. And an hour earlier I had dropped my halal chicken platter into the cart-man’s metal bucket of lettuce, to much Arabic cursing.

Basically, I felt like a fuck-up.

I went to the end of my improv class that I’d missed, was told a rare “good work today” on my way out, but literally didn’t hear it with my headphones in and then when I took them out, still didn’t hear it either. It was another situation that was the bane of me, commitments to two different groups of friends I’d made, to see my friend’s show at the Magnet, or to go out karaoke-ing with Rob and Blake and Andrew Parrish (who had gamely come with to the Skinnygirl party earlier). I chose Karaoke but didn’t tell them I was definitely coming, thinking I just needed the catharsis, to yell, to croon, even if I couldn’t get drunk, I felt it, it’d be enough. Shaun Farrugia would understand if I missed his show, as long as I could tell myself and him that I was doing what I needed to to let off steam.

When I got to Planet Rose, the screens were all funked-up and Rob and crew were nowhere to be found. I discovered via texting and calling that too many of the machines were broken and the only ones working were in the back where people were concentrated and that they had all gone to play billiards and I should come.

Billiards? Billiards! I thought. This is what I would ditch my friend Shaun for? This is what I would not do unto others as I would have them do unto me for? I would violate my ethical code to go stand around and watch people play pool while I couldn’t drink because of my diet and just feel like crap and continue to feel like crap.

And of course what made me angriest of all is that I let myself be talked into this, I made decisions I shouldn’t have.

And when I walked into Amsterdam Billiards I was angry already and started yelling at them and being sarcastic as they obvious were just standing around playing pool. Where was my catharsis?

When Dan Pleck came in, who I had invited off his late-night work to tell me that we had to pay-up or leave even if weren’t playing pool, I told my friends to go fuck themselves and got in a cab.

The show at the Magnet was good and I even made it in time. It felt good to support my friends there and to see people I knew. But it just kept nagging at me after.

As I made that lade night walk, as I do so many nights now, to that 23rd St CE train station, I saw a post-dated poster for Mike Birbiglia’s “My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend”, a storytelling show my mom had seen and thought was good.

And as you can see, someone had visually told him to go suck a dick.

I wish I had a better reason than that to through that in there, but I don’t. I guess just looking at that at 20 past midnight made me just think or surrender a little bit. Or back down.

When I got home, I texted my friends apologies and they all accepted.

I don’t own a scale, but I tried stepping on a novelty “Weight/Horoscope” machine in Penn Station about a week ago.

It told me I was about as heavy as I thought I was. So I’ll step on it again when I’m done with this.

And try to tell how crazy at least a few things are.

***

So in case you guys were wondering what I ate during all this dieting, it sometimes looked like this, though actually, this was a night that I was treating myself.

I had just helped my boss Jason move into his new apartment, shipped a bunch of things and schlepped around the city with my laptop in my backpack, weighing me down and causing me to sweat clean through the back of my shirt, which I wish I could say does not happen often.

Anyway, he lives near Tamarind Tribeca so that’s where I went afterwards to recuperate.

I ate a bowl of Chicken Tikka Masala, no flour or sugar in it, they assured me, with no rice and no naan, eating less of the sauce than I normally would.

With this diet, it seems like the way to survive is to find ways to treat yourself, to find things that would seem bad but are permitted, to find ways to indulge other pathways, thus super-ceding the need for potatoes and stuff.

Chicken Tikka Masala from Tamarind Tribeca is perhaps the best example of such a thing, creamy, with saffron and fenugreek, brought steaming to you sitting over at the hyper-modern bar.

The attendent outside recognized me and invited me in. I even met up with a girl I knew from college.

But, in both cases, I didn’t get anything special because of who I am.

I guess I’ll have to find a way to treat myself emotionally, someday.

***

TAMARIND TRIBECA

Chicken Tikka Masala- $21.50 (!) *Not my normal expenditure.

SW Corner of Hudson and Franklin Sts.

1 to Franklin St.

 


Openings, et cetera

July 21, 2011

I karaoked for the first time in a while on Tuesday.

And it was good.

It almost didn’t happen, in its own roundabout way.

Rob-beardo who had initiated the want to go back to our hallowed Planet Rose of summers past, was not even the one to let me know.

It was that dastardly Andrew Parrish who inconsiderately foiled what was doubtless Rob’s plan to surprise me with a night of karaoke and beards.

“Who told you?” Rob asked demandingly. “Goddamit, now it has to happen.”

But like I said, it almost didn’t. Rob and Katie Rotondi saw “Passione” at the Film Forum and were so depressed by the musical quality in that film, they thought to abandon the whole endeavor entirely.

Plus, well, um, they weren’t sure who was going to come.

“I just don’t know if it’s worth it.” Rob said through the sweat-soaked rubber of my phone. “I just feel like it won’t be any breaks if we’re just sitting there doing song after song.”

“Three people is enough.” I replied. “You’ll get some breaks. Drink some beers.”

“I guess so, babe.” Rob said. “Where are you?”

“About, um, 20 blocks away.”

“Why?”

Why was because I had employed several of my strategies for getting through pockets of empty time on a free-day:

1. I had gone on a quest, this time to a library to read Mick Napier’s book “Improvise” which I heard was a good one for those studying the craft. It was interesting though I felt the usual amount of daunted by how many years I’d have to do this if I wanted to be “good” at it.

2. I went t the Apple Store to dick around and continue a previous quest, which was to jailbreak one of the iPad 2s that was on display there using jailbreakme.com. Unfortunately, I was thwarted by AT&T’s delightfully crappy 3G service.

3. I dropped by the Time Warner center to pick up a cookie, be annoyed they were out of a different cookie and bother friends who work there (My friend Sam Song is a baker there but he’s unfindable in some hidden kitchen).

and finally

4. I decided to walk to the place I had an hour-and-a-half to be at. It’s something passed down from my dad, an avid walker, who recently had to be dissuaded utilizing the combined jew-guilting forces of me and my mother from walking to Red Hook from my parent’s place in the Far West Village to pick up a rental car (a distance of 5.2 miles).

It was poor idea on my part, this time, that last one, because it was hot out and sweaty. I soaked through my shirt, my back especially. I got dehydrated. I spent too much time playing Words With Friends on my phone.

The only can say for myself is that at least I felt I was doing something, because all of that sunlight was charging my phone through my cool backpack that whole time.

The allure of cool things.

Eventually we all made it there, Rob convinced over time, Katie getting over her anti-Karaoke bias.

My attempts at rehearsing Rob Thomas’s “Lonely No More” which I thought appropriate given my love of Rick Astley, were not so successful though my rendition of “What I Like About You” was pretty spot on if I do say so myself, though Rob critiqued it for “just generally being one of [his] least favorite songs”.

As I’m wont to do when my friends dither, I chose songs for them, letting Rob do a sadly half-hearted version of “Uptown Girl” and watching Katie pretty much nail 4 Non-Blondes, though she complained because she was an alto, though she pretty much nailed all the tonal shifts and I told her so.

We went on the three of us, transitioning through the hard-core early crowd who had been there to watch Law+Order SVU (the pre-karaoke entertainment) to an empty bar with just us three doing songs, to a bar full of our friends as my relentless texting and twittering paid off and our friends came in with their own friends, like branching into some sort of beautiful karaoke tree.

As I drank Bud Light, after Bud Light, after Bud Light and went from songs I knew, to songs I was just drunk enough to sing.

Blake LaRue even showed up, cast on-foot to belt a few 2000s-era raps from his couched perch, to everyone’s delight.

It was a time.

If I had a complaint about the evening, it was that the bartender (who had a good voice/song selection himself) was new and didn’t buy me back any drinks or beers, like they usually do there after a while.

I guess I felt pretty high on my horse as the person whom everyone knew in that karaoke bar of friends.

Also, in my drunkenness, I took some pride in my pseudo-celebrity. Very dangerous (though I have never even come close to “do you know who I am” territory).

But I got through my songs, including Gaga’s “Bad Romance” because it’s a gravelly song with parts for the whole bar to sing and doing man/woman swaps in Karaoke can be one of the more effective and impressive techniques. I even did a finisher that I stumbled through of “Dancing in the Dark” by the Boss and mumbled along to “You’re So Vain” which I had picked for Katie and came up several hours later and which she was embarrassed into doing when someone complimented her on her song choice.

I stumbled home, Smart Water in hand, catharsis achieved, not even sad for my drunkenness.

I was proud that I didn’t get Taco Bell on that long walk back.

I only got KFC.

***

I was also part of this hip new (old) thing recently called “The Mp3 Experiment”.

My friend Keith Haskel, of the coolness and the professionalism and (even) the hot lady action (come on man, you don’t have to have that too, that just sucks) helps run the event and films it, as part of “Improv Everywhere” the organization he’s a part of that helps do things like no-pants subway rides as social/art experiments. It’s pretty much as cool as you can get in the street-art-performance world nowadays and Haskel’s at the epicenter.

The concept of this event was relatively simple. Show up at a specific location (Pier 25 near TriBeCa) at a specific time (8:30). Bring some items (in this case, a mask, a flashlight, a glowing object, a glowstick) wait until precisely 8:30 and then press play on mp3 on your device. And then, just see what happens.

What happened this time was a massive mingling of people, a sort of combination, dance, meet-greet, walk, sillyness, high-five parade and massive aerial light show.

Within the confines of the structure of “two tribes having first contact” we took pictured of each other looking silly, slow danced, tried making weird clapping noises and generally smiled a lot.

It’s difficult to describe except to say before it I was worried about writing a sketch and afterwards I just did.

I went to bed happy having accomplished what I needed having not imbibed any mind-altering substances.

I saw Haskel a few times, from the crowd, filming with his Canon T2i only for a moment as he ran to catch up with the migrating crowds.

At the finale we all were instructed to take a picture ourselves and mine you see before you.

I ran into Keith on the way out talking to a pretty lady.

“This is my friend Nick,” He introduced me, gesturing. “Star of stage and screen.”

“And this is my friend Keith.” I replied looking at her. “He runs this thing and makes funny stuff and cuts funny stuff and has chiseled abs.”

“Alright, thanks Nick.” Keith said desperately waving me off.

“Chiseled abs.” I repeated.

And left the park, over toward the West Side Highway.

***

After my previous post, in which I tried to incite some sort of response to the food-truck craziness in NYC, it felt good to have a conversation about it with a real live person.

That talk came when I finally got my druthers up to visit the Mexicue Store over on 7th Avenue, in a district I found out bizarrely from my OKCupid app that is called “The Tenderloin” (bizarrely both from the name and the fact that I was using OKCupid’s disturbing new Grindr-like function).

The owner I had a long talk precipitated by my blatant declarations within the store about the nature of food trucks that caused him to approach me, where we discussed many things that were mostly espoused in the last post.

The point was, he recommended the Mac and Cheese.

Which I can tell you is both delicious and not offered in the traditional Mexicue truck.

It’s called “Green Chili” mac and cheese and I’m not sure if that’s accurate, but it’s yummy.

Full of subtle, subdued spiciness and my favorite man-add-on, green onions, it balances a nice tight-rope walk between creaminess and subdued flavor, enough to compliment the BB(or Mexi-)Q it’s supposed to be serving.

It comes in a little cup, sealed tight and hot and nice.

Some of the other items are still being tweaked, they’ve only been open for a week.

But this one.

This one should stay.

***

MEXICUE: THE STORE

Green Chili Mac and Cheese- $5

7th Ave bet. 29 and 30th Sts.

1 to 28th St NR to 28th St ACE to 34th St- Penn Station. BDFMQ to 34th- St- Herald Square

***

BONUS: This is an episode of a recent public access show directed by successful friend J.D. Amato, featuring the dancing stylings of Robert Martin Malone. Apparently it’s quite the viral hit. Enjoy.

 


Yes, And

May 25, 2011

Without a doubt, improv comedy has taken over my life.

I am now in a place where I am actively “doing improv” seven days a week, each day, for at least two hours a day.

Most of this is due to an intensive improv class I’m taking over at the Magnet, a place I’ve written about before, with a bunch of really great people who are very talented and enthusiastic and whose openness and offers of friendship feel all the more suspicious due to the sudden-ness of our bonds.

“We must always be open and suspicious”. Our second week teacher, the slightly-mulleted Russ Armstrong told us, pacing near the stage before a scene in which we were supposed to be natural. “Open, so that we are listening to what our partner says and suspicious, so we are able to find meaning.”

He was referring to the scene, but as I’ve said here before, I apply improv philosophy to my life and it’s hard not to, again, when you’re doing it seven days a week.

Is the girl who emails me, but who is constantly unavailable, trying to draw me in or repel me? Am I supposed to follow her, pursue her, or take a hint?

Is my boss firing me when he says my availability doesn’t work for him for the next couple weeks, or is he just trying to be honest?

As improvisers in a scene, we make a choice and we don’t second guess ourselves. We trust in our partners and know whatever we are inferring from them is what they are implying to us and that they agree to the truth of that when it’s stated.

But in life, on a film set, next to your parents, staring at the girl across the room from you in class; you fear that these people do not see the same truth you do, you fear being shunned or shut down.

There’s no teacher yelling scene in real-life, no “back-line” to edit.

You’re just stuck with the choice and the consequences, which accounts for some of, at least my, emotional paralysis.

But on the other hand, there’s that phrase that’s central to improv, that “Yes and…”, a central concept which denotes agreement in a scene, the idea that we support the other person in their reality.

“You are all funny people.” funny-teacher Will Hines told our Saturday class in his non-emotive constant-deadpan. “But in the beginning, we’re not looking for funny. We’re looking simply to agree with each other. We’re looking at each other and building a story together, agreeing on the details and the world.”

This may also seem improv-exclusive, but I’ve noticed in my life.

The dynamic is action-validation.

It’s seen for granted in a parents’ love or approval. In someone knowing what gift to get you for your birthday, in your parents letting you take a class or study something silly.

In a young lady letting you rub your head on her belly and laughing and wanting to kiss you afterwards.

Knowing that someone takes what you give them, what’s personal about you and values it, that you agree on a reality.

Such things exists not just in scenes but in all relationships and, by contrast, when I find myself most upset is when I feel that I don’t understand reality, that I’m crazy, that I’ve made a move so poorly informed or unreal that it reveals my total ignorance of what the accepted reality might be.

This shock could come when I didn’t get in to Stuyvesant after feeling like tough-shit, or when a girl’s soft objections fade as I stop before kissing her on a subway ride back from Brooklyn.

“All pain comes from denial of acceptance.” said another improv teacher, David Razowsky, who I try frequently to beat now in iPhone Scrabble.

When I look at my life, my pain or my character, my relationship with that “yes, and” that acceptance or denial of reality, those moments of breakthrough and happiness, it makes sense that I’ve found myself thrown into improv so frequently: It’s a medium where people are bound-obligated to accept me. Where at least, for a scene, they won’t turn me away.

But as you learn to be a stronger improviser, as I throw myself more under the wheels of it all, though this current pace won’t last, you learn to make stronger choices in life. To show some confidence. To try for the result you want and deal with the fallout later.

As Jonny-Jon-Jon told me, after a surprise appearance coming to see one of my shows: “You don’t take enough high-chance risks, man. Sure, it could be awful. But how will you know unless you try?”

I don’t know if I’ll find that confidence. It’s one things to have in a scene where to goal is to agree on a reality and another to find it in a life that’s experienced rejection.

But yesterday, after yet another date fell through, a woman on the street stopped me and said: “Hey, you’re Nick the Foodie.”

And I said “Yeah, what’s your name?”

“What are you doing here?” She asked me.

“Karaoke, just practicing.” I told her.

And then:

“Why, wanna come?”

“Now?” She asked perplexed.

“Yeah, now.” I replied.

“Sure.” She said and we walked.

And we spent the next few hours together, talking, discovering our reality.

And it was as easy as that.

***

Robert Martin Malone, pictured above, is often a character in this blog.

He was also a character in the first season of a web-series I wrote based on this blog called, fittingly, “Feitelogram Film Blog”.

In that series, he was, hearkening back to my days of watching the Power Rangers TV Show, a “Zordon“-like figure called “Virtual Rob” who would appear to me via G-Chat to hear me out for advice on my misadventures and to offer me virtual advice.

The joke was, back then, that even though Rob (or Rob-beardo, Ro-beardo, Beardo, what have you) was one of my better friends, I’d rarely see him due to his strange habits of dancing somewhere in Brooklyn or staying in to watch marathon episodes of Cheers or “edit”, a state which I always imagined to be more hanging around making beard-jokes with his roommates Blake (who was labeled a “Goob” by one of the commenters of my previous post) and occasional/part-time effeminate cartoon-villain Andrew Parrish.

But Rob has his own life and I’m happy to hang with him when he’s around to experience his beard-y foibles.

The other night, Rob staged a screening for a bunch of his friends (me included), of his latest feature film, made with fellow miscreant Zach Weintraub, which is called “Fresh Starts For Stale People”. The film, a gonzo road-movie/post-college coming-of-age tale strikes upon themes of discovering America, dealing with new-found fiscal responsibility, the perils/pleasures of moving to Los Angeles and the influences of late 80s action films on the human psyche.

While I can’t show the film (Rob is currently prepping it to try to apply to Fantastic Fest, which if I have ANY clout due to this weird pseudo-celebrity, I would like to extend in asking them to unequivocally accept this film), I can show the voyeuristically-taped talkback Rob had with us after the film.

Now, I must warn you, I haven’t SEEN this; I’ve just lived it.

But my quasi-roommate John Beamer told me it was, quote, “pretty fucked up” and I’ve also heard it’s “like 36 minutes”.

That said, if you are, for some strange reason, a “Feitel Fan” and want to check out my one-to-two comments, they’re there as well as the semi-coherent ramblings of some post-film students.

Why do I post this?

I don’t know.

I guess I just feel or felt after the last post, that for all the characterization of my friends that are on this blog, their exaggeration, their twisted or invented comments, their general pissed-off-ed-ness toward me, it might be nice to introduce some reality, some sense of what “The Real Schlub Life of New York City” looks like.

God that was an awful joke, even for me.

Anyway, here it is, with Rob and all of us, in our glory.

“Enjoy”?

***

I had my first non-class improv show the other night and it was actually pretty funny.

But it was almost upstaged by some home-made french-fries.

I had never been to “The Creek and The Cave” in Long Island City, though I had heard tale that it was a near legendary haven for both fledgling practitioners of New York City comedy and a pretty decent burrito joint.

My crew from my intensive class who I was performing with had tried (inadvertantly?) to ditch me on the 7 train, but I had found them only for I to ditch them to grab a bite at this place I heard was somewhat legendary, as good comedy and good food rarely go together.

True, there were a couple of places on MacDougal St in Greenwich Village. The Comedy Cellar, New York’s premier “street cred” venue, was founded by an Israeli who was looking for something to do with the basement of his Israeli restaurant, the Olive Vine Cafe.

C.B.’s, where my friend and much more successful/hard-working comedian Zac Amico works, is in the basement of a not-half-bad Italian joint and they even give artisinal pizza to the starving stand-ups at their open mikes, if you stay till the end.

But anyway, The Creek and the Cave was known not just for hosting indie teams’ improv shows, but also for having excellent and inexpensive food and I deinied myself my usual 8-8:30 dinner for a pop at that 9-o’clock mexican/improv fix.

I ended up forswearing the burrito because the sandwiches were cheaper and came with home-cut fries, which always appeal to me. As I tweeted recently, it’s also nice to have a side or a counter-point to a meal: chips with a spicy egg-sandwich, a side-salad with a Better Being Highline, some mac and cheese or roasted Brussel Sprouts with some BBQ Chicken.

Or just some nice big-ass fries.

The ‘Wich I found was under the 10-buck credit card limit and my only complaint was that, for a pulled chicken sandwich, it should have come covered in BBQ sauce rather than the useful but not entirely welcome mayo it was squirted with. I saw how it was necessary to flavor-up the tender, but on the bland-side pulled chicken, but it did violate one of cardinal tenets of “being careful, mixing mayo and cheese”.

What it lacked though in that one area, it made up for greatly in value and portion size. The home-made fries were huge, golden, fresh, cooked-to-order. They layered the plate, leaving no empty space underneath.

The sandwich came with fresh tomato and lettuce and some welcome REAL cheddar, which were protected from the mayo by the lettuce, smartly.

It was quick and scarfable, with or without beer, though I felt I might have done it more justice if I had given it more time.

But, alas, I had an improv show to do, where I had to masturbate using a fishing rod and play a part-time improvising scuba-instructor.

Even in eating, we must find balance.

***

THE CREEK AND THE CAVE

Pulled Chicken Sandwich w/Lettuce, Tomato, Mayo and Home-Cut Fries- $7.95 (w/o tax)

Vernon Avenue bet 50th and 51st Aves, L.I.C., NY.

7 to Vernon-Jackson Aves.


How I Got Addicted to Bubble Tea (and back again…)

January 14, 2011

It started with a gap in time between work and class.

I had gotten off another shift making popcorn and needed somewhere to go in the time between, so I wandered down St. Marks, aiming for “Cheep’s”, an inexpensive falafel/shawarma joint that had popped up overo n 2nd Ave and promised at least the homonym of it’s title, as well as some saucy satisfaction.

I ended up sucked in to Spot by a sign on the sidewalk, near my walk back to the subway, with an offer of Bubble Tea and a cupcake for 5 dollars.

I came for cupcake, but it was the Bubble Tea that took me.

Bubble Tea, for the uninitiated, is something like a milkshake or a “frappucino”: a milk-heavy beverage made with tea and other flavors, with small balls of tapioca floating around its base, lingering there to be sucked up and chewed upon while one drinks their tea.

When Asian nerd-friend Matt Chao (who else?) first introduced me to this product, I was unsure how to drink it an tentative about its uses. If I wanted a milkshake, wasn’t I better off getting one of those? Did those “bubbles” even taste good? How would I avoid not just swallowing them?

So I didn’t drink it for a long time, but then, on the off time I went to Spot, I became enchanted.

Spot, it turned out, was a venture undertaken by a former favorite of mine, a man named Pichet Ong, who used to own the gayest bakery in the West Village, a place called “Batch”, that my mom and I would go to sometimes for “stir-in” chocolate-spoon hot chocolates. It was an inventive place, part of the dessert bar craze that petered about a year ago and closed right when its sit-down attached restaurant “P*ong” closed with it. Thus, I was happy to find Spot, even though it didn’t have Mr. Ong and his charming mother there, who used to minister to me and mine.

I sat down for my special, a “Thai Iced Bubble Tea” and a lemon-yuzu vanilla cupcake and suddenly it clicked in me.

I already loved Thai Iced Teas, with their condensed milk sweetness, but Bubble Tea was the drink of the bored, the loungers, the in-betweens. It was not cloying sweet, but tastefully so. The bubbles were there for consideration; something to ruminate on, literally, during breaks in conversation, or while listening. It was something to do, a combination drink/activity. Something to take your mind off, with sweetness, to relax.

I left Spot happy that day and returned other days, with cravings.

I went to St. Alp’s Teahouse in the East Village and a place named Crazy Bananas in Koreatown. I frequented these places a few times, soliciting advice from the aforementioned Matt for the best places to get it, the best flavors, et cetera.

After an improv class, or a sketch class, before, as a reward, or an incentive.

I became an addict, for a couple days, I admitted to Matt.

And then I got a cold.

***

I haven’t talked here for a while, save for a top 10 list, which was understandably attacked by my friends, but at least a read a few times.

One girl even subscribed to my blog and it notified me. That made me feel good.

When I wrote my first episode of the web-series adaptation of this blog, the running theme was the cathartic experience of writing it; the idea that I was somehow redeemed by clicks or views, by having “peeps out on the internet”. I remember when my friend Chadd Harbold read that one, it was soundly criticized, not just for the idea of that character having that experience be unrealistic, but as a critique potentially of my own life. It’s hard to tell when you blur the line between yourself and your art-work so much.

I went in this past week to a show called “Watch What Happens: Live” with a fellow I’d never met named Andy Cohen, who I later found out had a NYTimes feature article written about him, who nonetheless knew me and introduced himself as though I was the part of the media empire he oversees, which of course, to some degree, I am. Regardless of whether the stuff I shot for one of his shows ends up on the air, there’s bound to more representations, more versions of me out there than I know how to handle.

At work today, I was threatened with firing for a customer complaint of rudeness to someone trying to exchange a ticket. I remember in that moment sympathizing with my boss, who was trying to handle it gracefully, not just firing me but continuing to tell me to “change”. But when I sit in that box office and greet those customers, it’s hard for me to tell which me to give, which me I am, which me they’re seeing. I try to be polite to people, but it weighs on me in a way that recalls my mother’s self -proclamation of “thin-skinnedness”, in describing her depression, without her indefatigable resilience or grace. As people are mean to me, or callous, or just wave their Prada bags or Lacoste items, it’s hard to judge them, or more accurately, feel like you’re being judged. It’s difficult to interact, to know what to give them. You could call it me being a method actor, or just not knowing how to fake it: there’s only a limited amount of “nice” I can be, without anything to play on. It’s scary though to see the disconnection between this realization and the ability to figure out how change it.

I went on a date, this past weekend, while I was getting my cold, with a girl I met online. It went pretty well, I thought just then, but I haven’t heard from her since. We sang karaoke songs at Planet Rose (she was pretty good) and got kinda drunk and walked to the train and ate tacos. My “game” as it is, online, (spoiler alert) isn’t much game at all, but  just trying to offer some questions and accept some and to see if I could “swap truths” with someone and see if I like what I get, or if they do mine. When we talked online, this online girl and I, there was a lot of talk of back-sliding, in this time after college, feeling like you weren’t making progress, feeling like you were going to become someone you didn’t want or someone you used to be. It’s the same thing I talked about, if they use it, on the TV show I shot.

I also talked to Eva, sometime and worked some things out, without closing things. I’m left feeling better, that some part of her is still interested in me, if not in the way I need, but it’s painful too to revisit what you tried to move on from.

I hung out with Dan Pleck last night, who gave me some good advice about my meeting with Eva and seems, scarily enough, in a better place than me nowadays, emotions-wise. Dan used to be a parable for what I might become in my post-break-up situation, a fellow off-the-rails, and our interactions would be fraught with fear on my part along with frustration, in a way I now know also echoes my lack of control over other downward spirals in my life (including my sister’s, who is once again on the lam). Yesterday he came out with me to School Night, one of the several free shows at UCB that no one goes too, but that anybody interested in a career in comedy should, since they’re free showcases of good performances testing their limits and trying new material. Last night, Louis C.K. materialized at the show I was at to do a set, like something out of his own T.V. show, trolling open-mics late night, to just do it.

Dan got to shake his hand after his set, though he was eviscerated by the comedian on stage (who later said he wish he could have snuck out on his own set to do the same) and was ecstatic, wanting to celebrate after the luck of our free discovery.

“The thing is, I just got into him recently.” Dan said. “The stuff he talks about, feeling old and divorced and needing to feel manly: well, that’s pretty much how I feel nowadays.”

I was happy too, happy more that I could make Dan happy, but the problem was is that the person who introduced me to Louis C.K., as well as many of the cool things in my life, was Eva Dougherty.

The way we left things, when we talked, well, it meant we could talk, I guess.

So I told her she wouldn’t believe who I saw and sent her the picture I took from the theater.

She thanked me for telling her, in a text with many exclamation points and told me she was jealous.

The text I didn’t send said “Wish you were there.”

***

I woke up this morning sicker than I’d been.

Since it was cold I just kept expecting to get better and it got worse, I made a doctor’s appointment to be safe.

I didn’t get bubble tea much, recently, though I’ve craved it on occasion.

Like video games, it’s a distraction and a comfort; a sweet place to be.

I took some Zyrtec-D and some Motrin I had in my over-sized wallet to deal with the headache that didn’t go away when my nose cleared up, from my sinuses.

I felt floaty, sitting their in the box-office, like everything going on with me was still there, but I was just shifted, three inches above it.

The email and the firing stuff came at the end of the day and unsettled me, as they would most people I guess.

When I went to go change, a coworker of mine sat in the changing room staring at his phone, getting ready to get out.

For all intents and purposes, I should be friends with this man, who owns the same gaming systems as me, enjoys the same nerdy humor, has the same blaze attitude and occasional self-seriousness that I have.

But as I stand there, changing my clothes, I say nothing to him and he says nothing back.

I heard sometime that I offended him, that he thought I was talking shit about him (which I wasn’t), that I did slight to him that I didn’t know how to undo.

I offered to lend him I game I had he’d be interested in, but by that point he was wary of greeks bearing gifts.

Standing their in the locker room, changing, I didn’t know how to be or who.

So I said nothing and he said “later” and I said, “good night”.

And we all went on awkwardly, a little floaty, but still there.

Now I’m at home here sitting, on the end of pills and comfort.

Not knowing how to be, or who.

***

SPOT

Lemon-Yuzu Vanilla Cupcake with Thai Iced Bubble Tea- $5 (available 11-6 only)

St. Mark’s Place between 3rd and 2nd Avenues.

NR to 8th St-NYU. 6 to Astor Pl.


Stuffy Noses

December 16, 2010

I tried to describe to John Beamer the other day which sort of weather New York was actually good in.

“The fall, obviously.” We agreed on. “But summer nights too.”

“Not so much the summer days.” John chimed in, questioningly.

“No man, it’s fucking disgusting here on summer days. The humidity just hangs between the buildings. But summer nights, it doesn’t get dark out until 9 or so and at that point your night has just begun. Plus it feels beautifully temperate out in Jeans and a T-shirt, like you’re walking around San Juan.”

“Summer nights,” John repeated. “I regret I haven’t experienced more of them here.”

“Plus, as my buddy Chadd would say, the girls wear less.” I finished.

This was all mentioned in the context of a cold, windy December day spent walking up to Old Navy to go pants-shopping, since for the many-ieth time, my jeans had developed a non-useful hole in their crotch and John, well, John was just a girl who liked clothes.

He had been crashing with me on and off for a few months now, springboarding back and forth from Palo Alto, where life had less trajectory and I was glad to have him around. It had helped, so far, in getting through the transition of being partner-less, even if my former partner was only a visitor in my home.

At least, it was someone I could give my spare set of keys to, so they didn’t sit on my shelf, another curio, next to my big red hair-ball (gross).

“I think I’m developing a cold.” John told me one night, spoken loudly from the ceiling-snug loft he slept in at my place, known as the “John-cave”.

“Fair.” I told him.

“Nah, it’s a bummer.” He said realistically. “But at least I know this, I’ll get over it soon.”

What was unmentioned was my own impending illness, a symptom of the season, but also of the proximity to someone sick. I used to joke with Eva when she came over that the sniffles I had were an STD foisted on me and that I’d be looking out on the streets for men with tissues while we walked, to stare at her accusingly.

I wasn’t fucking John (sorry, everyone?) but living in a small space has it’s consequences and I’d rather accept them than Lysol the shit out of everything, like I see people do at work.

“I feel like I’ve missed out on too many summers here.” John told me. “Too many things I could have been doing.”

“Well, you’re here now.” I told him. “Shit’s here. Stay.”

But John had other places, other friends, other commitments in his life. He’d be home for Christmas and he’d be back again most likely.

When we got to Old Navy, I almost got some flannel-lined pants, until a call to my father (and an unsuccessful attempt at my mother) pointed out to me that they’d be hot when I was inside.

“And I can’t take off my pants when I get places.” I told my father over the phone.

Which must have drawn some approval, parenting-wise, on his part.

***

I sent this picture one morning in the movie theater this week, to Eva, which I didn’t like thinking about later.

I used to send her pictures like this all the time and after hearing from her once in a brief text-message exchange that took place over a vintage Mrs. Potato doll, it felt hard not to send her something like this when I saw it, sitting reading by the concession stand, on a chilly, early morning.

This past week I’d experienced a couple of breakthroughs of sorts. I got a girl’s number who snuck me jungle-juice at a comedy club. I even chatted up a nerdy-cute girl I had a crush on in one of my comedy classes while sitting in a holiday-themed McDonalds, an experience that made me feel “electric” on my way home and stopped me from falling asleep, until I did.

When I went to my therapist, she had little in the way of advice again, hearing my torrent of confessionary information until finishing off with a “what now?” question, only answered with a:

“Nothing. You sound better than most people in your position would.”

Still I feel diverted, I feel wanting, I feel like I’m in withdrawal for something that feels all the more painful for my denial of its addiction in my life. Is love an addiction or was this one just one? Is it an addiction that’s ok to have?

Amidst the responses that I got to my last blog-post was a cavalcade of friends (and my mom) chiming in to let me know it was ok to relax, to recover that in Penny-Arcade reader Matt Chao’s unusually articulate words: “You can’t outrun yourself, no matter how fast you go.”

Still, the words that hit me most were just from someone I didn’t know posting under a pseudonym telling me that the relationship I had entered into was some sort of faustian bargain, where the pain of heartbreak was endemic to the joy of a relationship. That my feelings would fade into pleasantness and nothing and “this girl you dated when you were 23” would be just that.

I remember having a good day on Saturday, when I read my web-series adapted from my blog to my sketch-writing class full of stand-ups and actors and people who didn’t know me and they commiserated and felt for the characters. It was good to know that people outside my life could identify with it. But it’s strange to think how you stack an outsider’s word against your friend’s. How you wonder what someone who sees your life, your pictures, your facebook page thinks of you and your worries outside of your direct experience with them.

It’s a question I ask when I think about that still active, though less used, online dating profile from last week. But it’s also applicable here, where I write what’s on my mind, or near it, but there are invisible borders between representation and truth. Is the character I play in life more or less desperate for love and acceptance? More or less relatable? And how does this all translate to the way I see myself and my world.

All I know is when I tried to write last night for my writer’s group, I just kept writing about the break-up, stopping, realizing there wasn’t enough time, before walking to Kinko’s and printing out a sketch I wrote earlier about an irredeemable Charlie Sheen. I felt bad just walking in the bar, though people showed up and enjoyed themselves.

Half-way through the group, midway through Alex Hilhorst’s historical-fantasy about lion-headed rape-goddesses, I felt my nasal passages occlude to a place where I could no longer breathe. I struggled and was absorbed as I often am when such things happen, lamenting the alcohol and fighting the symptoms, though I knew there was no stopping it.

A cold is a cold after all, and all that stops it is rest and the certainty that, after reaching a head, it will get better over time.

There was talk of Holiday karaoke afterwards, but I excused myself, even from that, to go home, to lie down, and fell asleep early. I knew then it was right to sleep.

I guess sometimes, in some cases, I capable of some common sense.

I woke up to a cold apartment, after a few snoring stirrings in the middle of the night.

John had unplugged the half-broken electric heater, which lost a wheel when Matt Chao sat on it, months earlier.

As Rob-it’s useful-this-time-of-year-to-have-a-Beard-o Malone would tell you, the loft gets very hot at night, when the warm air collects near the top of the apartment, amplified by its tight walls and mirrored body heat.

John couldn’t sleep with it on though sometimes, so I didn’t blame him.

“I have your cold.” I told him, when he woke up to his chiming cell-phone.

“Really? Sorry about that.” He commented groggily. “I hate that.”

“It’s alright.” I replied. “It’s not like you could help it.”

“I guess it just comes with the territory.”

***

I sat alone for a while, after an improv class with some time to kill before my next event.

John was getting up for a 2 minute 55 second stint at an open mike at the PIT, where I was taking classes, but my last class had gotten out, and though I didn’t feel too bad about it, I still needed somewhere to be in the intermittent hour between class and mic.

I tried sitting lobby in the theater, inquiring if it was ok, hearing an affirmative, but realizing that sitting in such a small place for an hour was still a little too sad.

So  I found a place with four-dollar Peronis and a combination Garlic-Knot/Chicken Parm Sandwich.

I remember in the days I found myself in the fashion district playing Magic cards, Cavallo’s Pizza was remembered as the lesser of the pizzerias one could go to, when compared with the late-game refinement of a brick oven place like Waldy’s or the sheer beefiness of a nuts-and-bolts joint like (New) Pizza Town.

Since Neutral Ground closed however, Cavallo’s has changed it’s game somewhat, keeping its unimpressive slices, but adding the aforementioned Chicken Parm on Homemade Garlic Bread sandwich at the impressive cost of 2.75, which is how much it’ll cost you for a plain slice at some of the overpriced joints in this city.

However, the kicker was the little beer selection, all 4 bucks, which beat out the local bars for me which all were crowded with sports nuts and the 35-plus crowd and would doubtless involve tipping and bad looks. Though I had a Peroni with this sandwich, in an act of lax will/deliciousness, I got two of these babies as well as two of a different kind of beer, a sort of IPA made by Italian maker Moretti (think Italian for “Miller”) called, attractively, La Rossa.

By the time I got to the PIT, 45 minutes later, my stomach was as filled with chewy garlic and sauce as my head was with a light easy buzz, which I would later regrettably compliment with several Bud Lights.

The headache the next day was beaten with a single Tylenol and a good mocha.

So I’ll call this one a victory.

***

CAVALLO’S PIZZERIA

Chicken Parm on Homemade Garlic Bread Sandwich w/your choice of bottled beer (Peroni shown above)- $6.75

NW Corner of 28th St and 7th Ave

1 to 28th St.

***

BONUS 1:

A successful appearance of the “McGangBang” (a McDouble with a McChicken between it, 4 dollars in NYC, 2 dollars elsewhere) and my first visualization of it, courtesy of local fast-food master and eternal 17 year-old Blake LaRue:

***

BONUS 2:

Please check out friend of the blog Nandan Rao (who never calls me anymore, asshole) and Zach Weintraub’s trailer for their new film “Tender is the D”. Obviously they should have cast me in it, but seriously, fuck those guys.

Link is here.

***

BONUS 3:

If you are a reader of the blog but missed this, I will be being (not) funny on stage for my UCB class show on Saturday, Dec. 18th at 2:20pm at the UCB Theater. Improv, the most reliable form of comedy, eh? See, that’s what you’ll be getting if you decide to come.