I've just had an hour-long jaccuzi and two Exedrin PM, so I'm too fileted to get into the whole story, but the abbreviated version is I met this playwright last year after a permormance of his one act FEEDER: A Love Story. He got my name from the mailing list sign-in sheet in the lobby, and phoned me to discuss the needs of the play. (The needs were many.) He asked for technical assistance with a yet-to-be-written second act, and I hooked him up with a peep or two possessing practical knowledge of the subject matter. The rest was written, and today I got an e-mail from Mr. Carter, quoting The Daily News thusly:

Tony Bennett's daughter Johanna will soon be treading - or trampling - the boards in a new play. At the We Are Family benefit, the actress told us she'll be co-starring in "Feeder," wearing a fat suit to play a masochist who is force-fed by a sadist. (Yes, it's a sexual thing.) Playwright James Carter is developing the production out of a one-man show he performed last year. Later at the benefit, Johanna's dad told us, unrelatedly but appropriately: "New York is the capital of the world - there's nowhere like it. Anything can happen here."

What? Weren't there any real live fat actresses with popses famous enough to draw the much needed attention (and backing)?

I'll never forget the first time I saw Equus live. Yikes! There's a naked stranger just four feet from me! So different from naked strangers in the movies. I'm thinking I may have the same reaction seeing a fat suit in the non-flesh.

Sure hope I can keep from blurting that out in the middle of the play.

Cheesecake, Fried and Otherwise

So last week I'm having fried cheesecake (wonton-y and crazy good, Okinawa Restaurant on LaGuardia Place) with my friend Janie (of broken speculum fame), and she tells me I was responsible for her getting a gig modeling her ample undiewears in the May issue of Details Magazine. I couldn't be a prouder cheesecake pimp. Girlfriend knows how to represent.

Cut to days later. I’m nosing around Penn Station trying to find the place that has the insane Buffalo chicken panini, and I spot it. The May Details. It’d be quite a feat to exude more femininity than cover girl Orlando Bloom, but I’m keen to see if my Janie pulled it off.

I grab a seat on the Amtrak to Philly (where I sampled the faboo new TastyKake TastyGrahams pudding pie in a Graham cracker crust) and I settle in with my mag. And therrrrre’s Janie, the downward pull on her plush corpulence mimicked by the flesh colored draping behind her. In other shots, she’s crawling through an Elmer Battersesque setting, and reposing across a covetable divan, lustfully eyeing an even more covetable side table of pastries and cakes.

Also in undiepants: a fella. With a sheet-wrinkled belly and a respectable rack.

The accompanying article (“Super-Size Me, These men and women are hot for partners with more than a little meat on their bones.”) is silly in parts, and wildly misinformed in others (I know 400-pound people who fuck like bunnies) but mostly fair, to have been penned by vanillafolk.

Excited as I am to see such a thing in a mainstream magazine, and pleased as I am to have hooked Janie up with both fried cheesecake, and the men’s mag sort, I am distracted by a pages-away article on grilling, my eyes landing on the fully pornographic images of grill-striped sea scallops post-coitally dripping creamy orange tarragon butter sauce, and a sublime looking pepper-flecked pork tenderloin rubbed with mustard and bourbon (my favorite act of foreplay, by the way). As I gaze hungrily at the glistening grill marks, I feel myself being stared at.

Across the aisle, Mr. Sensitive Ponytail Guy gives up a smile. When his mouth starts to move, I yank off my ear buds.

“…turn back to the naked lady?”

Hmmm… cute or creep? So hard to tell, especially with the long-haireds. Either way, an article on fat sex ain’t no community event, certainly not one I’m inviting stranger-on-a-train to. I pointed to the magazine meats and said apologetically, “Kinda groovin’ on the pork right now.” And in what may have been the cruelest act of dismissal I’ve ever done without meaning to, I put my buds back in and returned to the article, which I then had to pretend to actually read until dude got off at Princeton.

I’ve since wished I’d taken his number and had The Naked Lady phone him. Then he’d be writing about this in his blog.

The Bacon Scarf

‘Bout a month ago I came this close to dropping twenty-five crispies on a Towelie towel. I finally talked myself down, using the argument I’m a grown-ass woman, not a dreadheaded dorm-hound. I managed to get past it, but it took damn near as much restraint as it takes me to make an 8-oz. tub of scallion cream cheese last through a weekend’s worth of bagels.

Well, again I’m tempted by a silly swath of cloth. Temptation at the hands of Shopsin’s General Store. (Click the bacon above to see the latest coded announcement I’ve gotten in the mail from Mr. S.) I’ve seen other bacon scarves (!), not all of them intentional. But this one’s by far the porkiest. Even if it is unscented. (Sad face.)

A Testicular Taste Treat

Woke up in the middle of the night last night, and turned to the tube to put me back to sleep. Heard a phrase that made me understand the ex who once put a foot through his TV, then spent the next ten years without one. “Countdown to custody.” Jesus god. Remember when news wasn’t about Anna Nicole Smith and her sad satellite souls? I almost don’t.

Turned the TV off (but resisted the kicking thing), and rooted around on my nightstand for a Tootsie Pop I thought I’d seen there. Found something even better to stick in my face. A Cuban.

The beau and I had been to a party at a friend’s place, where one of the guests had just returned to the US with a box of Cuban cigars in their carry-on. (If the embargo police are reading this, I do not recall the name of said guest. Nor that of the party’s host. Or even what he looked like. In fact, I think he’s changed his name. And left the country. And died, maybe. Yeah.) The bold smuggler had managed not to get Homeland Securitied at the airport, and we were handed an aluminum cylinder on our way out. I’d forgotten about it. But last night, I discovered a comfort combo guaranteed to make me forget all about doomed methadone babies and Giuliani campaign coffers and Paris Hilton and Al Sharpton and Nancy Grace and all of ‘em.

<> One big-ass jumbo shrimp cocktail.

<> Frosty-cold bottle of Guinness Extra Stout.
<> A flamin’ Montecristo, and no one you have to share it with.

I’d read about the anointing of the “smooth, brown thighs of young Cuban girls” (Hiaasen, maybe? Elmore Leonard? Hunter S. Thompson?), but I’d never tasted their bounty. I lit up. Drag one: Wondrous. Drag two: I feel a little guilt. Drag three: I feel a little buzz. Drags four through seven: I make a somewhat frantic effort to find my copy of the stunning 1959ish propaganda film, I Am Cuba. Drags eight through god-knows: I swear I feel Fidel Castro patting me on the head. I give up on the movie and put on some Tito Puente. Yes, I know he’s not Cuban. But he was handy. And he chased away the Castrolucination.

It gets fuzzy after that. Deliciously fuzzy.

Shrimp, Guinness, Cuban. Triumvirate of two-fisted tasty. Try it. With the TV off. Or at least on mute. Or if you happen to have a copy of I Am Cuba

Paging Mister Reusen...

Having a Smoke with Vonnegut

Borders Book Store. 57th and Park. Nearly a decade ago. Went to a reading of the newly released TimeQuake. Well before start time, it was already steamy and standing room only. I went back up to street level to smoke a cigarette and think about blowing it off. Standing on the sidewalk, leaning against the brick, I light up. Kurt Vonnegut exits the store alone, and does the same, a few feet away. We smoke in silence for a moment. A gaggle of screechy young fans who’d perhaps seen him exit, spill out of the store and are now determined to spoil his cigarette. He spots them before they spot him, and he ducks into a dark doorway a bit farther down. The screechies whimper, then scatter back in. I smoke in peace. As does the glowing cherry above the arch-framed raincoat to my left.

The bookstore door then spits out another Vonnegut seeker, this time a gentleman I’d seen with him earlier. Validation enough for me. I point to the smoke-spewing doorway and the man trots over to fetch The Man, assuring me I'd done the right thing by telling me he was the lawyer. On their way back past me, I’m thanked. By the lawyer. I decided to skip the reading, but went home with a signed copy of the book, and a smile I couldn’t explain to my boyfriend because he was under the curious impression I'd quit smoking weeks earlier.

I’d like to say I quit soon after because this smoking-precipitated encounter couldn’t be topped. Or that free will kicked in. But it was mostly that lung cancer thing. And the smelly hair. And the boyfriend.

RIP, Vonnegut.
Oofa, Veniero’s. 100+ years of life-affirming Italian pastries. The other night. Guy asked for my order with about ten people ahead of me. Gave me a pang of longing for the now-boarded-up Second Avenue Deli, where two babushka-ed women once clucked at me, “I guess you’ve gotta have the tits to get waited on in here.” (I had the tits, and I was waited on. I don’t see the problem.) I sneered at Veniero’s pignoli cookies behind the glass. They looked poofy and overbaked and short a few pignolis. Not like the perfectly pale, covered-in-‘em pignoli cookies at Rocco’s Bakery on Bleecker. Never had better. Including in Brooklyn.

Well. Veniero’s might be better. I’ll need a controlled comparison test. Perhaps several.

The odd height only added to the serious chewy, and the anisette flavor was every bit as intense as that of Rocco’s. Perhaps more so. I’d still prefer ‘em lighter in color, and covered-er in nuts, but sweet simulated Jesus, them things were good. I wanna hold hands and buy furniture with these cookies.

Sunk to the bottom of my bag were mini cannolis flecked with the trademark bright green granules of what I hope is rock sugar. Pasticceriffico! Fabulously oily tasting, the blistery tubes were perfect, and the filling was nicely spiced, if a bit tighter and sweeter than I like. And why do we need chocolate chips in a cannoli? Still. I’d give my left nut for one right now. Both nuts for a dozen.
Rififi + Veselka - Imusteria = Happy
American schlock media leads us around by the short and curlies. And we blindly follow them to the lemmings edge, rubbing our sore pubes and asking for more. They distract us from what’s important (war, corruption, the fact that not all Popeye’s carry a full menu and they don’t tell you that until you walk all the way over there and stand in that long-ass line) by juggling noisemakers and shiny objects like staged outrage and faux scandals. So Don Imus (whom I had no idea was still alive) called the Rutgers Women’s Basketball Team “nappy-headed hos.” Stupid? Perhaps. Not funny? Oh, yeah. Worthy of all the chest beating? Hardly.

‘Nappy-headed’ is not a condemnation. It’s a salon request. (Ask Stevie Wonder.) It’s no more a judgement than ‘fat.’ And have we forgotten that in this country, we pay young men good money to write and perform songs to and about the ho? And not just regular Springsteen money. Diamond-encrusted toilet paper on MTV Cribs money. So if ‘ho’ is offensive, how ‘bout we start with the biggest offenders and work our way down? Imus is surely near the bottom of that list. Well below where the hair gets really nappy. (Pickin’ up the theme?) Honestly, sometimes I think this is something Imus and Al Sharpton cooked up together to jack up ratings for both their shows. Like Rosie and The Donald did.

Kramerizing Don Imus is ridiculous, and waters down what we should really be pissed about.

So when I was invited out for some comedy Friday night, I was in more than dire need. And that’s exactly how it was proposed to me. “Some comedy.” Generic, no-name, store-brand, discount comedy. Five bucks. Almost guaranteed to be dripping with offensive stereotypes and off color thank-Jah-no-one’s-youtubing-this-stuff stuff. That, and the promise that Demetri Martin had once graced this Friday night stage were enough for me. Met my friends at Rififi in the East Village for The Greg Johnson Show.

The line-up was uneven and seemingly a smidge out of order, but I still recommend it. Highly. Laughed myself tired. And my decades-long record of the comedian always messing with me goes unbroken.

Can’t remember anyone’s name, nor could I recite a joke for you if my rent depended on it. (I truly suck at this blogging thing.) All I can tell you is the funniest comics were Somebody Mintz near the beginning of the show, and Lou Something at the end. And everyone in between gave me something to howl about. I can also tell you to grab a fresh drink from the bar before entering the theater, ‘cause there’s no service in there. One cannot reach the Flying Snot level of comedy show enjoyment without cocktails.

*intermission-y pause*

Just tracked down some names. See how much Mommy loves you? Mike Dobbins and Anthony Jeselnik were a bit challenging. Intentionally. Funny, though. Dan Mintz and Leo Allen, however. Let’s just say both of ‘em likely went home with some snot on their pant leg, ‘cause of me.

Wait. That’s not snot.

After the show, we got our dumpling on at Veselka (home of the most ass-kickety dill salad dressing in 50 states, several of them Baltic). Loaded up on stuffed cabbage and peirogies. Button-popping good. Literally.

Let’s hope the smiley memory of delightfully blue comedy and superlative Polish feedbag fare lingers at least as long as the metal pipe beating to Imus’ shins does.
American Idol for fat girls! (‘Cept it’s British.) Into the Beth Ditto -dominated world of plumpette national recording artists (the girls may be fat, but the pickins are slim), comes Plus, an all-girl English band being built, Monkees-style. From RealGirlBand.com:

To be eligible for a place in the band, you will need to meet the following criteria: you will need to be female, at least a size 16, have some musical talent and be ready for stardom.

Minimum size requirement! A smooshy-ish singer I once worked with told me the waiting room at the auditions for the role of Hairspray’s Tracy Turnblad on Broadway was filled with not-plump-enoughs comparing notes on how to quickly gain the mandated mounds. I have visions of across-the-pond girlies hittin’ the clotted cream and crisps to pack on the stones. Not an entirely unpleasant vision, mind you.

Note to Real Girl Band applicants (and the boys who stalk them): Closing date for applications is May 1, and auditions will be held in June, in Jolly Old. The epicenter will be the Marquee Club in Hertford, Hertfordshire. The town so nice they named it two and a half times.

Still Mad, Miriam

Once again, my friend Richard hips me to something wonderfully sick and cool. It’s a delicious sandwich of misogynistic missteps from too few decades ago, in the form of a Secret Romance issue from Charlton Comics. Social engineering disguised as a love story. Boy meets girl, boy manipulates girl, boy dies mysteriously in his sleep while his young widow gets fat again and finds a nice jiggle-lovin' man who knows some manners. (Not really. But if I were penning the sequel...)

If the office etiquette films from the Preminger Archive were comic books, this is what they’d look like. Thanks, Richard. Thanks, MisterKitty. And thanks… Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Padding the Keister for Easter

You can keep your Peeps, and those chocolate eggs that ooze faux fowl embryonic fluid? Pass. My Easter basket (were I not a heathen) contains the following:

Jelly Bellies – I’m a mix-my-own girl, so I like to get ‘em at one of many dispenser walls in candy shops throughout the city, but prefer Economy Candy on the Lower East Side, or Dylan’s Candy Shop on the Upper East, where they have clear plastic lidded Jelly Belly boxes you can load up for what feels like less money than the regular per-pound price. But surely I’m wrong. The boxes are compartmentalized, for those of us who’re anal about our jellybeans. While you’re there, hit the lower floor and color coordinate some M&Ms for a friend whose apartment is all purple and red. Or something. (I’ve done this twice, and both times, the candy never made it to the friends.)

Godiva Coconut Eggs – Dark chocolate eggs filled with creamy coconut. NOT coconut cream. Important distinction. Wrapped in baby pink foil. Insanely good. Monday they’ll be half price, and therefore insanelier good.

TastyKake Hippity Hops – Sounds like what somebody’s grandma would call Rap, dunnit? Used to be TastyKake Coconut Kandy Kakes, and why you’d change a name with so many appetizing instances of the ‘k’ sound is beyond me. These coins of coconutty cake covered in dark chocolate are now only available at Easter and Halloween (as Ghostly Goodies), and only on the shelves of TastyKake towns in the Northeast, no matter what time of year it is. In fact, these were previously unavailable from their website, though industrious Ebayers would hook you up. But now (hurry! quick!) you can snag a dozen two-packs from
TastyKake.com for twenty bucks. They come in a holiday tin so hideous, I had to affix a strip of masking tape across the faces of the smiling bunnies adorning the lid, to keep them from sucking the soul from my very being. But I gotta say, in all my years of chasing these damn things down, I’ve never had them as fresh as what the Postman delivered yesterday.

And yes, my TastyKakes again arrived with an embarrassing personal message on the outside of the package. But this time, it was meant to embarrass.

Favorite Image of the Year

Every year. The two things that introduce Spring in my world are the annual lowering of the footbridge to Randall’s Island, and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s CherryWatch Blossom Status Map showing its first bud. The subhirtella or ‘Pendula Rosea’ trees are my faves, and not just because they have a dirty sounding name. (Also known as ‘Weeping Cherry’, which ain’t much better.) These explosions of bloom herald the smells of flower gardens and freshcut grass and lighter fluid and Coppertone. And by August, garbage juice sizzling on hot asphalt.

Like life, cherry blossoms are unpredictable and fleeting. And breathtakingly beautiful, even as they wither and fall. Enjoy while you can.

Pigs is Pigs

Over the weekend I went to a shindig crawling with young socialite scenesters. Personally, I was more excited the time I spotted the silver-haired Roy Blount, Jr. at a Paolo Conte concert. And even more excited to find this soiree was catered by Daisy May’s BBQ. Forget Stella Keitel, Adam Levine, and Olivia Palermo (not pictured above). Let’s talk pulled pork.

The sandwich was tender and tasty, but a bit too dry for this juicy girl. I’d like to give it another go when I’ve got more throwdown room and easier access to cole slaw and squirt bottles. Pleasantly surprised by the sesame roll they used, though. Had a buttery, pastry-like mouthfeel. I’m not sure I’ve ever known a barbecue place to pay much attention to their buns. On my way to ask Ivanka Trump if she’s got Andy Dick in her five, I caught myself cooing over the heavy hunk of cornbread on someone else’s plate, and though I faux-protested, the plateholder insisted I take it. After I devoured with relish the dense, peppery bar, I asked the cornbread lady why she hadn’t wanted it. “It’s not that I didn’t want it,” said the young woman whose name I didn’t catch. “It just looked like you wanted it more.”

Mmmkay, so I’m a food brat, even at fancy parties. I’m woefully unimpressed by celebrity spawn, and I go all Billy Jack when I can’t get at the buffet table. Or the bar. But odds are she, though generous of cornbread, is stingy with the calories, and has since thanked me for eating several hundred of hers.

Sunday was cold and rainy, and I woke up with a bed attitude. So I laid around in my socks and undiepants, eating pepitas and watching (the ganj-enhanced) Planet Earth on Discovery Channel. Did you know the dwells-in-the-dark vampire squid produces flashes of disorienting light to confuse its predators and prey into thinking it’s something it’s not? Just like celebrities!

I didn’t give a second thought to them calories. Would sure love to have another hunk of that cornbread, though.