Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Republicans In Disarray!!!!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Society Blues

In the Stephen Sondheim musical Company, perhaps the most emotional song is "Here's to the Ladies that Lunch!" -- a sad lament about the withering of Old Money New York Society. The musical came out in 1970 and the song was, perhaps, a bit premature. After all, the doyenne of NYC society, Brooke Astor, lived for another thirty-plus years, and the old money clubs still boast a strong membership. Society did not, and has not, gone away. Rich people love, and always will love, being rich. People are always saying that old guard institutions or traditions and in some cases it's true -- but rumors of Society's demise have been greatly exaggerated. 

But like everything else in NYC, Society has evolved.

The term "socialite" -- thanks to the ilk of Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian -- has became en epithet. Being a socialite isn't exactly what those in polite society aspire to (if making a sex tape is what you have to do to become a socialite, then most will pass). But those who come from or aspire to be part of Society want to be seen as classy but not lazy

Basically, it is no longer fashionable to be a part of Society and do nothing.

That's who Ladies who Lunched basically were -- people who did nothing. They were married to rich men and had hours to spend during the week going to lunch at fancy restaurants and gossipping. Today, even in the conservative world of Society and old money -- where feminism has not necessarily penetrated -- women who don't work and just spend their days shopping and spending their husband's money are frowned upon. Same goes for men. The Bertie Wooster types, cads who just flinted around, getting into scrapes and living off their inheritances, are basically about as popular as leprosy in polite society. 

Not being able to answer the question "What do you do?" does fly in today' Society. It's a different world.

Ah, but we still have memories! Specifically, Vanity Fair -- that catalogue of classiness -- has a big new article on the Ladies Who Used to Lunch. This is Old New York Society from the inside, first person stories of the Old Guard. It's fascinating to read and makes you a little sad -- lazy as they were, these ladies provided a classiness to a time gone by.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Gotta Love ... Has Beens ...

Growing up in the late 1980s/early 1990s, I regularly watched what was probably the last great era of Saturday Night Live -- the Phil Hartman/Dana Carvey/Mike Myers/Kevin Nealon years. They created some classic characters and sketches like "Wayne's World", "Sprockets", "Coffee Talk", "Hanz and Franz",  and "Church Lady", plus Phil Hartman and Dana Carvey did some amazing presidential impressions (Hartman nailed Reagan and Clinton perfectly, and Carvey's Bush Sr. impression -- "Notgonnadoit! Wouldn't be prudent at this juncture" -- has gone down in history).

This was back when SNL was still considered edgy, hip, dangerous. The show hadn't become totally respectable yet, An Institution. There was no Daily Show or Onion or Howard Stern or YouTube or really anything else to compete with it. In comedy, back then, it was the final world.

It was the Bronze Age of SNL.

And one of those Bronze Age players was named Victoria Jackson. 

There weren't a lot of women on SNL back then, and most of them had very little to do, in fairness. Jan Hooks and Nora Dunn and Victoria Jackson were the only women players of the Bronze Age and they were good if not great (no Tina Fey's them). Victoria Jackson was, in talent terms, the third of the three. She was basically a supporting player and she was fine but she crafted no memorable characters and her talent wasn't overwhelming. Her biggest talents were that she was pretty, blond, had a high squeaky voice, and could stand on her head when required. Eventually, in 1992, she was dropped from the cast.

Like many other former SNL cast members, some went on to super stardom, some went on to respectable careers, and some vanished. Ms. Jackson was the latter. After SNL, she moved back to her home state of Florida, married a cop, had kids, and basically was forgotten by show business. 

Until Barack Obama became President and the Tea Party sprang to life to oppose him.

Ms. Jackson has now turned out to be one of the this gross movement's most prominent characters. No longer a not yet ready for prime time player, she is now a tea party player. She appears on Fox News and at Herman Cain rallies and in creepy videos preaching about how Obama is the Devil and the Tea Party will save America's soul. She is one of their "celebrity" spokespersons and uses what little prominence she has for this cause. 

Popular culture's loss is the political culture's grain, I suppose. 

There's nothing more depressing than seeing people you used to like go wrong. Victoria Jackson was part of a great era of a classic TV show -- and now she's become a bad joke. What's even more depressing is that she appears to actually believe this Tea Party crap, too. 

You'd like to think her comedy background would make her realize how silly it is.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Grim news for Grimm

Looks like the newly elected Staten Island Republican congressman Michael Grimm is dirty.

He's been engaging in some very sleazy, illegal fundraising activities.

It's almost old-fashioned cash-in-a-bag shenanigans. In 2012, it's so 20th century.

Let's hope this brings him down.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Jorge Posada Retires a Yankee


Should Ray Kelly Resign?

Ray Kelly been the NYPD Police Commissioner for ten years.

He claimed that he was not interviewed for a viciously anti-Islam film that was apparently being shown on a continuous loop to NYPD trainees. He said that his appearance in this film was from archival footage.

This was a lie and has been proven to be so. Now the NYPD has admitted it. Mayor Bloomberg himself has said that showing this film was wrong.

So should Ray Kelly resign?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Woody and Marty get Nominated

Drumroll ... drumroll ... drumroll ... 

Voice of God Announcer:

Woody Allen. Martin Scorsese.

Two legendary movie directors. 

Two great New Yorkers. 

Both past recipients of the Academy Award for Best Director. 

Now both nominated in the same category again -- this time pitted against each other for the ultimate prize.

Who will win? Who will walk off with the trophy?

Will it be Woody?  

Will it be Marty?

Or will it be someone else?

Find out this February at the 84th Annual Academy Awards!

Monday, January 23, 2012

New Yorkers are rude? Getouttahere!!!!

According to Travel & Leisure magazine we are.

What's their criteria? Who knows!  

Seriously, how can something like "rudest" or "nicest" city really be measured? Why kind of metric do you use to measure that? It's a totally subjective, random, anecdotal thing to determine. And how many people actually read this stupid magazine? 

Hey, Travel & Leisure magazine: got to hell!

*MUST SEE* 2012 NFC Championship: Giants vs. 49ers Highlights [HD]

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Scandal! Society! Real Estate!

The National Arts Club in Gramercy Square is an Old New York, Old Money institution where cultural highbrows like to congregate. I've been there a few times myself (heathen that I am) and I can tell you that it is a beautiful, classy, lovely place.

Not only that but they have a really great restaurant.

Problem: the place is in turmoil. It's former president apparently was a first-class hoarder who was misappropriating funds and taking over apartments at the club, costing it rental income, to store his stuff. It's a very weird, strange story full of ego and money and just downright odd behavior. This exhaustive story in the Times goes into it in detail. Hopefully everything will work out for the best.

Memo from NYC

"South Carolina is too small for a republic and too large for an insane asylum." - James Louis Petigru

Thank you, South Carolina. 

Specifically, thank you South Carolina Republicans for giving Newton Leroy Gingrich a whopping victory last night in your state's primary. Now the former Speaker has the Big Mo going into Florida and future primaries and Willard Romney, the once inevitable nominee, has stumbled badly. 

Thank you, South Carolina, for making it more possible for the most unelectable Republican candidate since Barry Goldwater to become the 2012 nominee. Barack Obama must be smiling this morning. Democrats must be smiling this morning.

Mr NYC is certainly smiling this morning.

Can you imagine if Newt Gingrich ends up running against Obama? If that's the case, I don't think Obama will even need to campaign. He can just point at Newt Gingrich, say to the country "You're seriously going to make this guy President?", laugh, and get the whole country to laugh with him -- and then go on to win a second term in a huge landslide.

Go Newt!

Occupy Wall Street: The Collector's Edition

Ever since the Occupy Wall Street movement sprang to life last September, debates have raged about whether or not this is a passing fad or an historic change in the flow of American politics, economics, and culture. Needless to say, Americans Left and Right have very different ideas about the impact of OWS -- but it's made its mark, nonetheless.

And now it's being collected.

The New-York Historical society has been acquiring kitsch and knickknacks and stuff that has been produced by OWS: posters, news releases, lists of demands, and various odds and ends. So far they have about twelves items that they have indexed and produced here on the Vanity Fair website. It's interesting to look at but what's probably more interesting is whether or not one day there'll be an actual OWS exhibit or whether or not this stuff will put in some box in the bowels of the NYHS, to be forgotten about. 

We shall see (or not).

Thursday, January 19, 2012

And then there were four ...

... Republican city council members, that is.

Until today, there were five. But Peter Koo -- a Republican member from Flushing, Queens who was elected in 2009 -- is apparently planning to become a Democrat next week. That means the Democratic advantage of 45/51 will become 46/51. Not exactly an earth shattering political realignment but a change nonetheless.

Two of the four Republicans on the city council are from Staten Island, and their seats are as safe as can be. The two others are from Queens and are in seats previously held by Democrats. One of them (Ulrich) is pretty safe. The other (Halloran, who I've blogged about on here before) is probably the most vulnerable. Next year, we might end up with only three Republican city council.

A blogger can dream can't he?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Once more into the breach ... of contract

Last year New Yorkers and tourists alike guffawed at the bloated mess that was the "Spider-Man" musical.

It was a $75 million train wreck of bad songs, confusing story lines, and accidents galore. It was shaping up to the biggest disaster in the history of Broadway and the clock seemed to be ticking on when it would close and all the investors would lose their shirts. 

Then the producers got smart: they closed the show down, fired the director, Julie Taymor, brought in some new writers to fix the songs and story, worked out the kinks, re-opened it ... and the show actually turned out to be a success

But this musical is far from having a happy ending -- yet. 

Now the producers and Ms. Taymor are suing and counter suing each other for breach of contract. They are dumping emails and private information into publically filed lawsuits, bringing the whole nightmare back to life and giving this show -- which was just getting over its bad press -- even more bad press.  

You gotta be a genius to do something this dumb. 

And I don't know who's dumber: Julie Taymor, for suing the producers of a show that she almost wrecked, or the producers for not quietly settling with her and putting this whole situation behind them. It's not just about money, clearly -- it's about ego. What's really dumb, is that Taymor and these producers seem to want to drag "Spider-Man" down with it at just the moment its fortunes seems to be turning around.

Oh what a tangled "Spider-Man" web we weave when first we sue ... 

A Giants Bet

Daddy duties have prevented me from blogging lately but I did manage to catch the recent Giants/Packers game last Sunday where our hometown team beat Green Bay and landed in the NFC Championship Game. Big Blue will be playing against the San Francisco 49ers this Sunday and the heat is on: whoever wins goes straight to the Super Bowl.

Needless to say, I'm rooting for the Giants. 

So is the entire City of New York and, of course, dear Mayor Bloomberg. He made a bet with San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee. If we win, San Fran will send us some sourdough bread and hang a Giant flag from a cab car. If they win, 49th street and Broadway will (hopefully temporarily) be named 49ers street and we'll be sending them bagel.

Interesting: the Giants and 49ers have a long history of playing against each other in championship games. The 49ers have a 4 to 3 edge over us -- something that will hopefully be evened out this Sunday. 

Sunday, January 1, 2012

NYC in 2012

2012 is one of those years -- a Leap Year, a Summer Olympics year, and a presidential election year. It's going to be a busy, busy year in America and around the world (add to the list that this year is Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee or 60th anniversary on the throne for even more interest).

So what about NYC? 

Hard to say. Nothing big -- like a mayoral election or political convention or Superbowl -- scheduled. Anything and everything "big" that might occur (like a World Series or the continuation of Occupy Wall Street) will happen by happenstance. 2011 taught us that A LOT of unexpected stuff can happen and to shape events. Only time will tell.

Talking about time, today is an anniversary of sorts: January 1, 2012 marks the 10th anniversary since Mike Bloomberg became mayor. Yes, that's right, he's been mayor for a whole decade now. It's getting hard to remember a time when he wasn't mayor. (If my kid had been born ten years ago when he became mayor, she'd be in the fourth grade by now. Scary). 

So the Decade of Bloomberg is official. And there's only two years to go! Let's hope for him, and the city, 2012 all goes well. That'll be good for all New Yorkers.

Lynn Samuels RIP

A little late in blogging about this but I was very sad to hear about the death of Lynn Samuels, the radio talk show host, who bounced around the airwaves of NYC for many decades.

She was a one of a kind, and a real New Yorker (or "Noo Yawka" as she would probably say). Her voice bled the city, her attitude and views were totally New York -- strong, in-your-face, honest, unpredictable, and one-of-a-kind. She an iconoclast: a woman in a man's business, a liberal in a conservative world, a screeching voice in an industry that rewarded smoothness.

We probably won't see her likes again in radio ever.

Lynn Samuels broke every rule and offended every sensibility -- and for that, she'll deeply missed. 

Happy New Year NYC

Well, well well -- it's 2012.

And NYC has never been better.
Yours truly is doing well too -- as a sleep deprived but happy new daddy.

I will be posting as much as possible over the course of this new year. Of course, the baby will take much of my time. But I'll always find time for you, my loyal readers. I'm just that great a guy.