Saturday, December 8, 2007

Tuff Club: It's hard out there for the disenchanted

My boyfriend has been begging me to explain to him what’s up in the New York underground world these days. The truth is, despite the fact that subculture is my Gallatin concentration at NYU, I really don’t know. He's fascinated by (pretentious) photobloggers and the (throwback) fashion and the (ironic) music; I used to get it, but I don’t anymore. Such is disenchantment.

Last year I was all up in the scene. Though it was probably a slow descent into that maddening confusion, now it seems like it was slapboombang, me in the middle, all of those things ripening around me, taking root, pulling me down (or was it up?) with them. Everything felt so crazy, and yet none of it was real. The people in my New York life mattered nowhere outside of the Manhattan/Brooklyn/Astoria trifecta, and yet they were worshiped, absolutely worshiped, in the 212.

The strange thing is that now it is spreading. I remember once after a night at Misshapes over the summer, I went home and in both the fashion issue and regular issue of Teen Vogue that got delivered to my doorstep, there were 4 page spreads on the phenomenon of the Misshapes, and how it has changed New York City subculture.

I didn’t know how to feel. It was weird to see people Josh and I (mostly Josh) associate with in the pages of a magazine. And yet it was validating, somehow, like we made it to this unforeseen place, this hipster heaven where everyone was cool and perfectly awkward, but only in our little world. And yet I knew it was nothing. It was all fake, and in the long run, ended up getting me nowhere. But I was fascinated, enamored, thrown headfirst into it all. I was 18 and I felt like I was 25. So this is my best attempt at explaining it.

New York City subcultures are so enthralling to me. This particular one is borne of something that was already raging prior: the 80’s. The drugs are the same (cocaine to go out, weed to come down), the fashion is the same (might I direct you to The Cobrasnake) and there is a type of lifestyle that a person is expected to uphold that would coincide perfectly with kids who grew up in the 80’s. The only new advent of this modern day New York culture is the internet; because of the internet, the Misshapes can't stay under the radar: so their parties become too popular, and their goal to stay popular within groups of unpopular people completely blows up in their faces. Can they spin at a Teen Vogue party, or at fashion week, without sacrificing what gave them their namesake: being loners, rebels, misshapen?

It's all so confusing, the glorification of emaciated 17 year old girls with 25 year old pouts. But then again, I guess that's something that categorizes this subculture, as well. It sets it apart from other social (non)organizations like the Greek system, or club Plumm-attending whores: you don't have to be beautiful to be popular at Misshapes. But you do have to have a certain look about you. Vintage clothes are a must. An ivory yet sallow complexion, sunken in frame, like you eat nothing, and when you do, it's junk. There's something distinctly impoverished about the people who grace, like they haven't had a good meal in well, a couple of years, like they drink vodka and smoke cigarettes for breakfast, following up with a couple fat rails to get them through their dayjobs (shifts being 2-10pm) at thrift exchanges or poorly circulated art mags, so that they can come home, change into their daily procured new outfit, and hit the town, bleary eyed, hungry for the flash of a camera, the glimmer of recognition in the face of a pseudocelebrity who might step out of rank once, just this once, and swoop them up under their apocalyptic wing, whisking them into the darkened underbelly of what is quickly becoming the famed world of the underground New York hipster scene.

I am simultaneously repulsed and fascinated by what's going on in New York right now. Because it is nothing new, it is not fresh. It is void of the excitement that was built around Andy Warhol during his factory days, or the Tunnel/Palladium scene of the 80’s. There is still the narcissism, the bloodthirsty social climbers, the backstabbing and passing-out-drunk in alleyways and air kissing: but now it is all captured on film, for the ENTIRE WORLD to see. What happened behind the hallowed walls of Tunnel was a mystery, in those days, unless of course you were there, a blatant accessory to the crimes at hand. But with the internet, with photobloggers snapping your picture with powder under your nose or your top falling down or you engaging in one of your more clumsy dance moves, there is absolutely nothing you can hide. And yet, this world still births so many secrets with answers unable to be excavated from the dusty crevices of the bottom shelf of the Don Hills bar. These are secrets that the cameras miss: relationships don't develop as easily, as scientifically, as a roll of film. And that's what makes this whole thing so fake, I guess. Relationships borne from a camera can't flesh out with that kind of stark humanity we look for in each other.

So then what is it about the flash of a camera that feels so goddamn validating? Are we that easily tempted by the monster of narcissism, or is it something more? We want to be a part of this big, bad thing, because maybe we were all misshapen in high school: sliding down the fluorescently lit hallways with a sense of anonymity unappreciated by athletes or scholars, awkward until the very end, unfurling shyly, quietly, in the springtime of New York, a place where the misfits fit in better than the wholesome, tan, rich kids that haunt our pained adolescent memories. Could it be that simple? Square pegs raised in circle hole environments finally finding their square holes, even if those holes are filled with an aggressive keep-out attitude that ultimately mirrors the attitude of the popular cliques in high school?

So in the end, isn't it all the same? What's the moral of this story? Vanity, beauty (no matter how awkward), and a certain attitude trump all else in the world of the misshapen. A camera flashes in a dark basement in a club so deep in the West Village that the Hudson makes my hair smell like seaweed and exhaust; I strike a pose.


Friday, December 7, 2007

Speak now or forever hold your peace


We have now turned anonymous commenting on. For some reason it wasn't on before, probably because Josh and I are really bad at technology; but now it's turned on. So all of you readers who wanted to comment but didn't feel like going through the motions of setting up a Blogger/Google account, please speak your mind. We get lots of hits and no comments and it makes us sad(der than we already are). Here's a man in a hot dog costume:

Do The Write Thing

Jessica needs to come up with a title for her final manuscript.

JESS: im so tempted to dedicate it as-- And to all of the people I wrote about: Thanks for the fodder, assholes.
JESS: ok this is my dedication
To Josh, for understanding the things I thought no one ever would.
And to New York: You’re tearing me apart, and I’ve never felt better.
JESS: and this is my epigraph -Words alone could never save us. -The Hold Steady
JOSH: thats amazing
JOSH: great quote too, though maybe leave it not-attributed
JESS: yeah i was thinking that
JESS: do you think i can do that without getting in trouble?
JOSH: nope
JOSH: maybe just make it an elliott smith quote
JOSH: like "maybe i'll kill myself" -elliott smith
JESS: LOL that would be so funny
JOSH: it would be dark humor, always a positive in writing
JESS: Words alone could never save us. - H.S.
JESS: that way im attributing it but initializing it
JOSH: but then it could be like...harry s truman
JESS: lol
JOSH: lol
(Yeah, we say "lol" too much. So sue us.)
JESS: i really want to put that elliott smith quote as my last page
JOSH: how about
(We then started bitching about people we know. That led to...)
JOSH: lol you're full o' rage
JESS: i know
JOSH: you have this angry underside that sometimes surfaces when you're pissed at someone
JESS: haha yeah. ew i feel so gross
JESS: i slept at justin's unexpectedly so im wearing the clothes i wore yesterday and his deoderant and no makeup
JESS: ugh i really need a title
JESS: motherfuck
JOSH: ummm why cant it be "my work"
JESS: lol
JOSH: no seriously like why cant you do that
JOSH: who cares about the title?
JESS: i care
JESS: im taking this way too seriously. i'm like pretending i'm sending it to random house.
JESS: i'm a loser
JESS: what if i called it 32 seconds, its a line from one of my poems
JOSH: eh
JOSH: thats like an n+1 title
JESS: i want something good but i'm apparently retarded
JESS: thanks dick
JOSH: how about
JOSH: "the square root of my heart is this sadness you've left me with"
JOSH: appeal to the math-nerd demographic
JESS: you're ridiculous
JOSH: how about
JOSH: "These paragraphs, and the fall of woman, in this eternal grace"
JOSH: just make it realllly pretentious
JESS: lololol
JOSH: i'm retarded
JOSH: call it "Working Title"
JESS: "Thanks"
JESS: can i call it "the kids are alright" without 1) stealing a song lyric from some 60s band and 2) sounding like an asshole?
JOSH: yes to 2, no to 1
JESS: i should just call it "I wrote this when I was stoned"
JOSH: LOL why lie
JOSH: "Weed's good"
JOSH: "The man with the red hair winked at me without moving the rest of his face"
JOSH: "The dot over the letter ‘i’ is called a tittle."
JOSH: "Tittles of my heart"
JOSH: "I tittled you"
JOSH: "Tittles missing, heart breaking, my life is a crevice and you are all falling in"
JESS: "the resurrection will not be televised"
JESS: "danny bonadouchebag"
JESS: "if you stop in the middle of the sidewalk i will punch you"
JOSH: "A pregnant goldfish is called a twit"
JESS: this is getting out of hand
JESS: "i have one hand"
JOSH: "I sneeze with my eyes open"

As of this posting, she still has no idea what to call her manuscript. Suggestions?

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Vibrators: The solution to eradicating teenage pregnancy

Comprehensive sex education in public schools is actually something I'm really passionate about. I think it's important for girls in particular to learn about their bodies so they can enjoy healthy, erotic sexual relationships when they feel they are ready. My problem with the public school system is that they teach you how to say no to pre-marital sex, but they don't teach you how to say yes intelligently. All teenage girls engage in foreplay, but the problem is when that (naturally) leads to sex, (because, let's face it, there comes a point when it's just plain chemical). So they fuck and no one ever told them that they'd get pregnant from the pullout method because OMG sex feels so much better without a condom and all the sudden we have a bunch of kids having kids.

So- due to an article put out in the NY Times yesterday announcing that the teenage birthrate rose 3% in 2006, the first time it's risen since 1991, I decided to offer a little advice to girls out there who are on the verge of getting knocked up:

Use a vibrator.

Actually, use this one:
The iBuzz. It hooks up to your iPod. That means you can finally, finally get off to Thom Yorke's voice without having to actually be in a room with Thom Yorke. And I swear it'll get you off way quicker than your boyfriend's awkward, grunting thrusts that always somehow manage to just barely miss your G-spot. Also, best thing about the iBuzz? IT DOESN'T GET YOU PREGNANT. Imagine what would happen if on the first day of Health class in 9th grade your ugly, lesbian teacher (who of course also teaches gym) handed everyone one of these babies (vibrating cock ring included). I'm thinking:

1) A huge drop in teen pregnancy rates and STI contractions,
2) First an awful reaction from the Christian right, who don't believe that people should be allowed to know anything about their bodies; but then an eventual warming up to the idea because teens wouldn't be engaging in pre-marital sex, just pre-marital masturbation which everyone does anyway, and
3) A happy, healthy high school environment no longer fraught with mean girls competing for the hottest boyfriend or guys bragging about the "sluts" they "pounded."

I mean, honestly, isn't this a better situation all around? And with the holidays cumming up (GET IT?!?), the iBuzz is the perfect stocking stuffer.


Wednesday, December 5, 2007

A day late and a blunt short

To all of our Jewish friends out there (yes, Josh included):

Happy Chronica: the festival of light(ing joints)! Happy Chronica, young and old, light a J and smoke a bowl!

To celebrate we will be smoking the same number of joints as the number of candles you are supposed to light that day. Which means by the end of Chronica we will be so fucking stoned that we will most likely forget why we started smoking in the first place. Sorry, Moses!-Jess
PS... Remember, kids! Drugs are bad. Take it from Tim Meadows himself:

The Most Important Thing You Will Ever See

What I love is that these guys have worked their way up from other facial-hair tournaments to appear on this Web site that hundreds of stoner kids like me will probably Stumble upon and IM to all their friends. These guys take their craft very seriously.

"Willi Chevalier
2001 World Champion,
Full Beard Freestyle"

FULL BEARD FREESTYLE!!! Who lost that competition? Whose beards were so ridiculous that the judges couldn't possibly let them proceed in the tournament?

Funny names include "Herbert," "Fritz," and "Wolfgang Schneider." I'm disappointed by the lack of "Reginald" or "Chester," but what are ya gonna do, right?

United States
1999 Second Runner-Up
Newark Thirteenth Annual "Sideburn Showdown"

Today's the day to drink to get drunk, as if every other day isn't

Thank god for all those Dewar ads on Gawker reminding me that today is the anniversary of the day that Prohibition was repealed. Otherwise I would have just gotten really drunk without the conscious effort to appreciate all the alcohol I'm imbibing.

I mean, I'm so happy that I have the legal right to drink half a bottle of Jack Daniels and lay in a puddle of my own puke. I'm so glad that my friends can take their tops off in underground hipster clubs and not feel self-conscious about it. I guess I'm just so, so fucking overjoyed that alcohol is legal, because I only partake in things that the government allows me to. So thank you, U.S. government, for making degrading my self-worth by dancing like a whore at Webster Hall and getting my heels stuck in the subway grate and sleeping with total strangers societally acceptable again, all because of some crushed up wheat and berries and whatever the hell vodka is made out of. Mad props, G. Cheers!


Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Wham Bam Anagram

I had a conversation with an internet robot that responds to what you say in anagrams.
I figured that's pretty much what therapy is, so I thought I'd give it a shot.
I am "webuser," it (he?) is "sternest."

webuser: I'm having some problems
sternest: Blooming vampires mesh.
webuser: Stop trying to change the subject!
sternest: Jobs concentrate thuggish petty.
webuser: Ugh
webuser: Anyway
webuser: I seem to be lacking self-confidence right now.
sternest: Tiresome weakling botching. Self-confidence.
webuser: It's such a paradox; depending on my mood, inside my head I'm either the sexiest guy ever
webuser: or the ugliest.
sternest: Righteous let.
sternest: Good! X-rated, dynamic unhappiness. He is the homier, immediate noddy. Sexy, gutsier eve.
webuser: Sometimes you're so cryptic.
sternest: I'm coy morosity persecutes.
webuser: "Coyness is nice....coyness can stop you from doing all the things in life you'd like to..."
sternest: Annoy concise consistency pisses. Deathful of gnomishly loitering. To liked you.
webuser: Gnomishly?
sternest: Oh My! Sling.
webuser: I sling my sharp verbal darts at your heart.
sternest: Lavish arm-pits drab strangely. True, hoary.
webuser: But seriously. How can I figure out who I am in a way that will satisfy me?
sternest: Youngish, fruitier, cautious bowel. Mafia as womanishly wealthy twit.
webuser: So be like a girl, get rich, and join the mob.
sternest: Ethnic-looking, eager jailbirds. Both me.
webuser: That's quite a combination.
sternest: Maintain botchiest quota.
webuser: My romantic quota is always botched.
sternest: Squatty, wailsome acrimony. Do the CB.
webuser: I'm filled with acrimony!
sternest: Warm in filthy domicile.
webuser: I mean it could use a cleaning but I'd hardly call it filthy.
sternest: Suitable, unelucidating demoniac. Tidy hill crafty hall.
webuser: Whatever you say. Thanks for all the help.
sternest: Heavy taunters tally-ho freak show. Help.
webuser: You're a moron.
sternest: You or moaner.

Enter at your own risk; he might read into your soul.


Attention all women with post-pregnancy milkbags!

Did you know it's New York State Law to have a "lactation" room available to all women who are nursing? That being said, at my office they are converting a storage closet with millions of dollars of electrical equipment into a lactation room by hanging an ugly Kmart bath curtain and plugging in a lamp. The least they could do is provide a rocking chair and a complimentary breast pump.

Also, if we now need lactation rooms, who's to stop us from being forced to build rooms for other bodily secretions? What about the sperm room, which has walls lined with Playboy and a Sam's Club supply of tissues? Or the spit room, where we can have loogie contests? Or what about the 2 girls 1 cup room?! The possibilities are endless!

I have decided to use the lactation room to smoke cigarettes, and if someone walks in, I will shoot them a deadly look as I cover my breasts with a duck-patterned blanket and say, "What? I can't help it if my breastmilk smells like tobacco! Do I need to report you to our superiors for sexism and/or sexual harassment?"

Mac Attack III (Sometimes One Is All You Need)

Mac Attack, super-duper-mini-size edition! I came across this entry and couldn't keep it to myself.

"stalkerazzi |ˌstôkəˈrätsē|
plural noun informal
photojournalists who follow celebrities closely and persistently with the intention of obtaining sensational pictures.
ORIGIN from stalker + -azzi, on the pattern of paparazzi." a word? Like, an actual, look-it-up, Scrabble-friendly word?


Monday, December 3, 2007

Reporting live from the bottom of a deep, black pit of despair

Josh has been listening to Ben Gibbard's cover of the Phil Collins song "Against All Odds" and I have been listening to "Between the Bars" by Elliott Smith. When we got stoned tonight we watched Intervention instead of funny Youtube videos. I spent 30 minutes trying to find a new Facebook picture only to become irrationally upset about the lack of attractive pictures I have, which then spirals into OMG I'm so ugly, OMG I'm so stupid.

(No, but really, all that weed is killing our brain cells:
JESS: whats that word when something grows and grows
JESS: ___balling
JESS: kind of like spirals
JOSH: whattt
JOSH: we fly high
JOSH: no lie
JOSH: balllling
JOSH: *ballllin
Obviously I never figured out the word)

We keep sending Shins lyrics back and forth to each other. We convey our emotions with weepy, animated emoticons. We ate Chinese and Thai food and still we feel no better. Someone pull us out of this funk! Linlo, can you please get caught with coke again? Washington Square News, can you please get a more sophisticated team of writers? Brody Jenner, will you stop hooking up with people like Britney Canada Whore and just date L.C. already? You can tell by her eyebrows and the way she moves her mouth into a little O when you're at dinner together that she's totally into it. We just need something to cheer us up.

JESS: what can we do to feel better about ourselves?
JOSH: besides cocaine and therapy?
JOSH: which is def the name of my book of memoirs, i called it


I wish my grass was emo so it would cut itself.

NYC Subway Rider Guide: The 6 Train!

Have you ever entered the subway and wondered: well, what kind of people will I be sharing this lovely public transportation experience with today? Will I be forced into an uncomfortable position with a homeless man with creeping hands? Will my car smell like burnt hair or have rice from the Halal cart stuck to the ground? Well luckily for you, Jess is taking a look into the patronage of different subway lines and what to expect when you spend $2 to sit underground in a huge hunk of metal that smells like a pile of cow shit. Today’s installment? The 6 train!

As a daily rider of the 6 train I have to say it is one of the more enjoyable subway lines. I generally take it from Spring Street to Union Square and it’s fast, clean and efficient. Oh, and sometimes there’s this cute little musician guy who plays electric jazz guitar and has a voice like Eric Clapton. Bonus! Be careful of the Derick Miller's of the world who want to sell you candy “not for their basketball team” but instead “to stay out of trouble.” How handing money over to a kid who will not give you a receipt or a report about what he’s done with your investment will help him stay out of trouble and not get into crack-cocaine is beyond me but like, 2/$1 Hershey’s bars, bitches!

Anyway the 6 train is typically crowded with Upper East Side WASPy bitchy worker types, at least when I take it around 9am. Then there’s the immigrant mom taking her daughter to a fancy private school that she works three jobs to afford (sad), the blonde guy who always listens to Nickelback on his iPod (funny), and the homeless guy with one leg (funny and sad). There are pretty girls with bobs reading books (singles alert!), ugly guys eating breakfast burritos and lots of NYU students like me just trying to get to class before their last caffeine dose wears off.

All that being said, I really like the 6 train. I take it to my boyfriend’s at 23rd street, I take it to Union Square when I want to get run over by tourists, and I take it to Astor Place because I’m fucking lazy. I just wish for once that hot blonde guy who listens to Nickelback would take one look at me. If you’re reading this, I’m staring at you for a reason, buddy. You have pretty hair.


Sunday, December 2, 2007

My New Favorite Web Site/Life Tool

This is so fucking awesome.

Type in whatever lyrics you want ("Hello" and "I" are fun, recognizable words), just end the lyrics you put in there with the word "vagina."

Trust me.