Sound like your cup of tea? Email him at gunter(AT)spazrock.com
(Update: no worries! Whew!)
What was the worst thing about last night's Fox prime time special, Stars Without Makeup?
Was it because it's a TV version of the new tabloid staple feature, circle-the-cellulite? (victims included Britney, Sandra Bullock, and of course, Donatella)
Was it the "guess who this is?" "tease" before each commercial break, when the lightly-pixelated celebs were instantly recognizable? (Clear picture of Sharon Stone, "can you guess whose chin this is? We'll give you a hint: she steamed up the screen in a movie with Michael Douglas.")
Was it the anorexia segment, with its bathing suit photos of Lara Flynn Boyle as her emaciated body prepares for impending death?
Was it that when-Bjork-attacks video from the Bangkok airport? (No, that's awesome)
Was it the music, which alternated between an 8 year old on a casio in 1983 and fake versions of popular songs?
Was it the narrator, who read gramatically incorrect copy, chuckling at key moments of celebrity humiliation?
Was it the inexplicable repeated showing of Keith Richards, who couldn't possibly look worse when he is in full makeup?
Was it the fact that by the end of the show, even I felt sorry for these people?
NO. The worst thing about last night's Fox prime time special "Stars Without Makeup" was the fact that I've already seen almost every picture and every clip already.
On the internet.
May God have mercy on my soul.
"I love you... but... FYI..
Ritalin is classified by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as a Schedule II substance -- in the same category as cocaine, morphine, opium, methadone, and oxycodone. I believe unlawful distribution and possession with intent to distribute carries a mandatory minimum sentence. If anyone asks... it was asprin that you threw into the crowd. Deny Deny Deny.
Next time ask if there are any federal law enforcement officers (in addition to asking if there are any members of the NYPD)."
(Well, I'm glad he still loves me even though I'm a drug dealer. I might need bail money.)
The colored rectangles General Xinchub wears are the medals he's received over the years. The thin red one he won for a mission involving totally creeping out that one group of female Zhetocs from the planet Afaxach.
(LR: and if you switch around the letters of Kornfeld's Korner, you get NERD SNORKEL FORK)
Will Leitch read about lines and how much he hates Chinese people. (that's a joke)
Jessica Coen read about what she's learned from the Brad and Jen split.
Bob Castrone told us about his marriage to a homeless woman.
Mike Albo performed from his brilliant new novel that I can't stop talking about because it's funny and true in a way nothing has ever been funny and true before, The Underminer. Click on his name and buy it. Seriously. (And yes, linkola-watchers, I bought my copy and didn't even meet Mike until after I'd read it and loved it.)
And at the end, I gave away real Ritalin!
Also, I met a bunch of great people, including Emily Gould and Alice Wetterlund, authors of the best highdea ever. They're pretty and funny and they made my night.
There will be another Ritalin Reading in April, (and when you find out who I've lined up so far you're gonna be really impressed and think I'm cool and then I'll finally be popular.) Thanks to everyone who showed up and to the readers. It was my most fun night of 2005.
Last week, I was asked to submit some true stories of blogging to the editors of an upcoming book, "Please Link Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Blogging." It seemed a little early to be writing it, but I guess things move fast these days. Here are my entries, all true. I hope they take them!
The Sex... "One time I wrote about my high school crush on a shower massage on my blog, and then the next day at an office birthday party my boss made fun of me for it. It was slightly embarrassing. But, wow, I really loved that shower massage."
The Drugs... "It must have been around March of 2003. I was at Siberia with Elizabeth Spiers and some random media people. This guy from the Observer offered us coke. Liz declined, but I did some. Soon after, I went home, and sure enough, it took me an extra fifteen minutes or so to fall asleep!"
The Fame... "A bunch of us got together to go see the Arcade Fire. I was talking to these guys in front of me for about five minutes. Then one of them said "Are you Lindsay?" and my friends all heard him and made fun of me relentlessly for the rest of the night. Stuff like that happened a lot in those days."
The Celebrities... "After a while, you'd start getting invited to these parties where you'd realize, Oh my God, every A-list blogger in New York is here! Like, you'd look to your left and there was Lockhart Steele! You'd look to your right and there was Jessica Gawker! You'd look in the corner, and there was Krucoff. And you'd think to yourself, Who the hell invited him? Still, it was crazy."
The Fights... "Mark Whatevs had said something sort of mean about one of my blogger friends who had recently appeared on TV. I wrote him this long email about how she was a real person with real feelings, etc. He pointed out that Fred Durst was also a real person with real feelings, but took the entry down and we made up. Now I realize I was being stupid because people who put themselves in the public eye should have thick skins. But, you know, when you're young and just starting out, you see things differently."
The Rock and Roll...
"My roommate Ultragrrrl had an O.C party, and afterwards Scott Stereogum and Alex TMFTML both hung out at my house until like 2 a.m. on a weeknight. We smoked pot and talked about our iPods and stuff. The next day at work, I was really tired."
"One morning around 4 am, I was coming home from a blogger drinks-thing and saw Mike from Thighs Wide Shut hustling in Thompkins Square Park. Apparently, he had exceeded his bandwith and his hosting company wouldn't let him post anymore until he came up with the money. He was wearing a blonde wig and shouting "My name is Elisha Cuthbert!" It was really sad, but what can you do? We all had to fend for ourselves at that point. Things had spiraled out of control. Then, I woke up and realized it was just a dream."
"It was a Thursday morning, and I came to in a pile of my own drool, with my head in my laptop. I tried to read what I had written before I blacked out, but it was something about girly bloggers making me ashamed to be a woman and I couldn't make any sense out of it. I knew the whole thing was getting out of hand. I needed help, and quick. So, you know, I blogged about it."
(Heady times, man, heady times.)
Have some respect for the game, man.
So, here are some things.
* The Times agrees, storyteller Mike Daisey is brilliant. Go see his show.
* Hey look, I wrote my first book review, ever.
* NBC's special, Live From New York: Saturday Night Live: The First 5 Years was the best thing I've seen on network TV probably ever. I've already watched it twice. Since Lorne Michaels probably spends his Tuesdays surfing blogs, here are my tips for improving SNL:
1. Start paying the writers and performers much less money. Hungry and uncomfortable breeds funny.
2. Find a way to take the politics out of the show. Maybe by making cast members submit their sketch ideas anonymously. Debbie Downer needs to go ahead and kill herself, for example. Sketches should be done because they're funny, not because they're showcases for the more powerful/connected people on the show.
3. Hire more writers who aren't trying to be performers.
4. More fake commercials. More fake news. Fewer guests on Weekend Update. Don't you know we can tell when you're just being lazy?
5. Stop kissing so much celebrity ass. Since when is the 2 minute presence of Lindsay Lohan a substitute for actual comedy?
* Don't forget - Ritalin Readings are TOMORROW NIGHT! There's been a change to the lineup, which I'll announce when I stop freaking out about it. Also, instead of a surprise musical guest there will be a surprise GIVEAWAY that will knock your socks off your ass! Seriously.
* Speaking of readings, this Thursday will mark the triumphant return of the Little Gray Books lectures!
And now you can listen to LGB on your iPOD (or computer)
You blocked all of Comedy Central, not just me. Do you really want to risk not appearing on the Daily Show to pimp your upcoming book about how chocolate is yummy when you have PMS and rainy days are the saddest days and why don't guys ever call?
(Yes, this is all there is here today. I'm hungover. Clearly.)
Grab your glocks when you see Barney. Call the cops when you see Barney. (LR note: I've linked to this before, but it was a long time ago and it's too awesome to link just once)
(By the way, I feel like I should get credit for not doing an Underminer impression in this post. It was really, really hard.)
This spectacular highdea comes from K. Thor Jensen of short and happy (also the sender of the David Cross link):
"An animated cartoon dog mascot teaching women about vagina exercises and health called the KEGEL BEAGLE"
Back when I was temping and ever-so-bored, I occasionally read a McSwy's-themed (but not in name) thread on the Atlantic Monthly bulletin board. It was one of those things I read just to make myself mad (a niche now filled by bad girly blogs, the worst of which I read every. single. day.) On this board, if anyone dared to comment negatively about any aspect of the McSweeney's Empire, he or she would be instantly ganged up on. These people, mostly women who fancied themselves fiction writers and could not possibly have taken themselves more seriously, lived in constant terror that Dave Eggers himself would banish them from the world of publishing forever if they so much as allowed a well-intentioned newbie to say something like, oh, "Maybe Dave should have just swallowed his pride on that whole New York Times thing."
I think the essay is actually pretty good and ends perfectly, though it should have been better fact-checked (she hung out with McSweeney's guys in 1995? Strange, since the journal launched in '98). Be sure to check out Neal Pollack's response.
Speaking of the smart girl's rock star, why, it's none other than
David Cross, buck naked (You're welcome.)
"This guy I work with is from Missouri. His parents were dining in Springfield when guess who walks in....BRAD PITT and ANGELINA JOLIE!!!
They were apparently all lovey-dovey. It's all true!!!!! This guy's mother is 70 years old. I highly doubt she would call her son from the restaurant to tell him a lie. This source is GOOD. Believe it, baby. It's only a matter of time before this all comes out. "
ooooh, you heard it here first! (I don't know the original source, but the person who forwarded it to me does.) It seems odd that they would be seen together in public, but who knows? Maybe they don't know people in Missouri have email.
Boy, did that work. And it works every time. Also, it would make a great name for a band. You're welcome!
Show: The Ritalin Readings Guide To Love (they're going to read funny stuff about love advice and I'm going to read excerpts from The Rules between readers)
Date: Wednesday, February 23, 8pm
Place: Pianos (downstairs), Ludlow Street at Stanton
* Mike Albo (Author of the hilarious new book "The Underminer" with Virginia Heffernan and star of My Price Point at P.S. 122)
* Alex Balk, aka TMFTML (also co-host)
* Patrick Borelli (Premium Blend, Conan O'Brien)
* Jessica Coen (Editor, Gawker)
* Christian Finnegan (Best Week Ever, Chappelle's Show, and the upcoming Comedy Central Presents on March 11.)
* Will Leitch (Author, Life As A Loser, Editor, The Black Table)
(Plus a surprise musical guest probably maybe!)
I think that this achievement deserves more than the quick-plug treatment, so here goes. I can honestly say that now, nearly a year after the amicable breakup of that nearly 11-year relationship (for reals), the nearly-11-year relationship that broke up over, among other things but this was the primary thing: the band, and the fact that he wouldn't leave Boston because of the band and I wouldn't leave New York because of the writing (and because it's New York), the band that I loved and hated at the same time, the band that, for a day or two, I thought ruined my life, the band that I couldn't listen to for weeks while the love songs about redemption and reconciliation that he wrote ran on a constant loop in my head (the only, ONLY benefit to dating a musician are the songs he writes about you - but you pay that back tenfold when you break up), but even after all that, I can honestly say that I love this album. I think it's brilliant. I love the lyrics and I love the catchy songs and I think it's a tremendous acheivement and I'm so proud to have been there when Max, Zack, Brad, Heath, Deb, and Ashley started out. I may not be in the front row of every show anymore, but I will always be their number one fan.
The Information, Mistakes We Knew We Were Making (Primary Voltage)
Soon to be in indie record stores everywhere, but for now, here.
The Information will celebrate the release in Boston and New York. Info:
BOSTON CD RELEASE SHOW
Wednesday, February 9th
The Paradise Rock Club, Main Room
967-969 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215.
Wednesday, February 16
Knitting Factory Main Room
Gothamist Presents Movable Hype 2 featuring:
The Cloud Room
Start Time: 8:00 PM
It even has FAKE COMMENTS by the couple's FAKE FRIENDS (no other comments are allowed.)
Gmail is temporarily unavailable. Cross your fingers and try again in a few minutes. We're sorry for the inconvenience.
But apparently it's working for other people. Mine's been down ALL DAY and I NEED IT. If anyone has any info/tips, email me. Thanks.
* The Times looks at coat check girls. I was a coat check girl at Fez for a couple months in the winter of 2002, after Talk Magazine went under and I lost my glamourous receptionist gig. I was allowed to charge as much as I wanted per coat and keep all the money. It was lucrative - one night I made $450, tax free, for about 6 hours of reading magazines, drinking unlimited free drinks, silently judging celebrities' manners and getting hit on by old guys who tipped extravagantly. Do not pity the coat check girl.
* Paris Hilton on SNL was the expected snore, but did anyone see the totally racist sketch in the beginning? Now, anyone who's been witness to my impression of an old Chinese woman on a cellphone or heard me describe my subway commute as a 'partial birth abortion' knows I'm about the least P.C. person ever when it comes to humor, but even I was offended by the portrayal of black people as obnoxious shoplifters. Just because everyone ended up friends in the end doesn't mean it wasn't horribly offensive. I basically judge portrayals of certain groups on TV by thinking "would this confirm what my parents wrongly think of (black people, gay people, etc)?" That sketch definitely did. Maybe SNL is just trying to find new ways to be awful.
* The other night the news lady on the TV set said this:
"There's a new disease that is worrying dentists across the country. It's called "Bleachorexia" and people who suffer from it cannot stop whitening their teeth."
And I said this:
"That is the most AWESOME thing I've ever heard in my entire life."
This might get me in trouble, but the power of parody compels me. Unless these people were severely taken out of context - and I don't believe they were - this is the single most offensive and unintentionally hilarious profile I've ever read of anyone, ever. Something must be done. So here:
UNDER THEIR EFFLUENCE
February 3, 2005 -- IN addition to working as the creative director for the Soho and Tribeca Grand hotels and being a self-described "douchebag," 36-year-old Tommy Saleh advertises for herpes, chlamydia, and genital warts - secretly.
"Valtrex did a giant, suppurating cold sore for me, and a post-urinating drip," he says. "APC gives me so much stuff - like crabs. Crabs mean a lot to me." Saleh also carries three previously undiagnosed STDs - all given to him for free.
Which begs two questions: Why and how?
"A lot of people want to put their herpes on me, because of all the fabulous things I do," says Saleh, with no trace of irony.
Some of the fabulous things Saleh has on his schedule: attending the free clinic in the East Village; sucking dick for a dollar at the bus depot; curating his "very strict guest list" for non-gononcoccal urethritis nights at the Tribeca Grand and sore-swapping with members of Interpol and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
"My friends are douchebags," Saleh says. "I get asked maybe 10 to 20 times a day why my cock is green and leaky."
Saleh is part of a new kind of STD transmission phenomenon - one that goes beyond more established methods like unprotected sex (sores orchestrated to look as though they're "up from the street,") or barbed-wire anal fisting (in which corporations hire young, attractive, charismatic people to go into bars and clubs and anally fist customers with a hand wrapped in herpes-soaked barbed wire).
"If the right person is wearing the right sore, people want it," says Kelly Cutrone, founder of the fashion branding firm People's Revolution. Cutrone gives thousands of dollars worth of free diseases to Saleh and other New Yorkers who aren't rich or famous, but who run in desirable circles and like the feeling of painful urination.
"We call it 'veinlining,'" she says. "That means we take it out of the industry and put it onto people's genital areas, so it spreads."
Cutrone says the civilians on her gift list "don't have to be knockouts - they just have to have great style. And it helps if they're really skinny And easy."Like Natalie Joos - who may not be a boldface name, but who is exclusively carpet-munching the models in Marc Jacobs' shows this season."
She looks really great in clothes, she's skinny, and people look to her because her pussy has more foreign objects in it than the detainment camp at Gitmo- they ask what she's dripping," says Cutrone.
Leigh Lezark, a DJ and prostitute who throws the weekly downtown dance party Misshapes, is arguably one of the most influential New Yorkers in the music industry, though few outside her circle know they're infected.
"I get a whole bunch of infections - herpes, warts, makeup," says Lezark, who is in her early 20s. "People will say, 'I see you around; everywhere you go people are looking at you and your sores.'"
Since co-founding Misshapes - which has become the Saturday night destination for downtown scenesters and art-school kids - a year ago, Lezark has been given about $15,000 in free goods and services in exchange for blow jobs.
"Lacoste wants to give us gonhorrhea; they heard about us through Misshapes," she says. "I get into sold-out shows all the time, like Interpol at Roseland - I don't even know how much it would cost to go see Interpol at Roseland. Fashion Week is not a problem - last year I was on line for the Marc Jacobs party and someone just pulled me out of the line and fucked me in the ass. I can't remember the last time I paid for a drink."
But Lezark's true influence is felt in the unrecognizably infected nether regions of the music industry.
"At a place like Misshapes, they spread a disease, and all the cool kids will be like, 'Who is that?'" says Carmelita Morales, a publicist at addVICE Marketing.
Morales, who gives Lezark strains of herpes to test out at her party, points to the recent mainstream success of the Killers (who played on "Saturday Night Live" a few weeks ago) as proof.
"It was important to give the Killers genital warts - because if it comes from a toilet seat, all the club kids and douchebags would never go for it. You want them to catch it in the clubs first."
To that end, addVICE threw the band's record release party at Misshapes about a year ago. "This was right after they gave handjobs to a half-empty crowd at Bowery Ballroom," says Morales. "But tapping into that e-mail list to get those kids into the Killers was really the main thing. Misshapes is a part of their lifestyle. Misshapes and herpes."
"And," Morales adds, "if you get 10 Leighs in a city to spread something, it'll be an epidemic."
(Co-parodied with TMFTML)
The release party for their long-awaited full-length album, Mistakes We Knew We Were Making, is next Wednesday at The Paradise, and they're coming to New York to play Gothamist's Movable Hype 2 show at the Knitting Factory on February 16. I'm so proud of each and every one of them. (Get some sleep, Max!)
Stream my favorite Information song, A Simple Plan
Or: I Lose Control (the single that's on constant rotation on Boston radio right now!)
Me: I wanna touch your boobies.
Anna: I cannot as I am a computer program and I do not have a corporeal dimension. Please submit a question which is specifically about IKEA.
Me: I wanna touch your boobies on an IKEA couch.
Anna: How is IKEA different from other furnishing stores? We offer a wide range, good design and function, and also low prices. That's our business idea.
Me: That wasn't what I asked.
Anna: If you would like to continue with our dialogue you could try repeating or re-phrasing your original question.
Me: Ok, I wish to fondle your soft chest parts on a cheap Swedish sofa.
Anna: Here you will find the Chests Of Drawers.
Me: I like torturing you, Anna.
Anna: That's nice. Please ask me a question about IKEA.
Me: So you're into that sort of thing? Kinky!
Anna: You are perfectly entitled to hold any opinion you want about me. Furthermore, your comments improve my knowledge base. Thank you!
Me: Do you like girls?
Anna: I'm sorry, but I don't want to talk about that. If you don't mind, ask me a question about IKEA.
Me: Oooh, touchy subject! I guess you didn't go to a women's college.
Anna: I am happy that you have continued with your education.
Me: Actually, I dropped out. How far have you gone with a boy?
Anna: A very good question, but one that I'm afraid I'm unable to answer at this point in time.
Me: Come on Anna, you can tell me!
Anna: Thank you for being so polite.
Me: Do you like (blanking blank) (Ed: I said it to her, but I don't want that exact phrase here.)
Anna: I'm afraid I'm not willing to discuss this subject in any way.
Me: For someone with that haircut, you're pretty stuck up.
Anna: You can find all products on the STUK product line in the page I am now opening for you.
Anna: Sorry. As an IKEA Online Assistant I don't know the meaning of 'no'.
Me: I know a lot of guys who would like to meet you, then. Penis!
Anna: If I was a real person I'm sure I would have that body part, but I'm simply an IKEA Online Assistant, here to help you with your questions about our company.
Me: penis cock.
Anna: Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.
Anna: I know people love animals, but I'm here just to talk about IKEA.
Me: Are you my mommy?
Anna: Family is very important for IKEA! Drop the kids off at the IKEA supervised play area and ballroom, and shop in peace. This way, everyone's happy. Or if you want them to help make furnishing decisions, strollers are available at the entrance.
Me: Who gets help making furnishing decisions from someone in a stroller?
Anna: My knowledge is limited to IKEA related questions. Why not try to ask me about IKEA products?
Me: Why do you hate me, Anna?
Anna: I wish I could give you an explanation for that, but I can't.
(But my pre-party was awesome.)
So tonight is the show all the bloggers will be talking about. I'm speaking, of course of, the dance performance at the Rose Theater by Jane Krakowski of Ally McBeal.
But seriously, if you happen to be going to see the Rcadeay Irefay at Webster Hall tonight and you want to hang out beforehand, come to my totally unofficial, unorganized, barely planned pre-party type thing, on which I have nonetheless bestowed a cheesy name. Info:
Neighborhood #5 (Pre Party)
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 1st
REVIVAL (15th Street between 3rd and Irving Place)
(upstairs. there are couches)
7pm - 9pm (the AC goes on at 10 five minutes away at Webster Hall)