Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Martini Shot

Indiana Jones ruined my life.
There I was, my little finger claws clutching onto the carpet in front of the hulking television in my mother’s parlour, watching this charming unshaven man win the hearts and minds of the students in his class during the week and then sailing off on adventures to recover lost and stolen ancient artifacts. Indiana was my kind of hero. He didn’t win every fight. He got his ass handed to him several times, yet, he always made it out by his wits, generally with a attractive young lady (who mysteriously disappeared at the start of the following film, expect in The Last Crusade, when she fell to her Nazi sympathizing death after leaping after the Holy Grail).     
Last year I did a series of blogs regarding the numerous characters in the films of my youth that lead me to believe that life might end up slightly different than it is now for me.  That’s right. No whips, no fedoras, no crazed Nazis or Hindu Fanatics.
No Belloc (the best bad guy in 20 years).
Now it’s just bartending and Williamsburg, long nights at Cyn Lounge talking to the Bartender’s Bartender (who knows more, apparently), and the only exotic lands I get to see these days is The Wreck Room in Bushwick.
It begs the questions: what other films must have persuaded me that joining the league of the Service Industry would be some kind of gloating adventure? What possibly could have tricked me into the land of the “Golden Handcuffs” (a term coined because of the ease of the fast ‘that day’ cash bartending provides. Direct Deposit, what the fuck is that? How ‘bout direct to my wallet…)
So knocking back a bottle of wine to the head at the Subway Bar the other night, my mind drifted off in a tannin haze of memory as I tried recall the finest Hollywood jaunts celebrating the elaborate and often horrid profession of bartending for a living. And I asked myself: Who is to blame?
Here are some of the usual suspects that could have convinced my formative mind that wasting away pacing back and forth on greasy bar mats was the way to go:


You knew this would be on the list.
Let’s paint the picture.
It’s 1988. You’re a cocky Tom Cruise (is there ever another kind?) fresh from the United States Army wanting to take on the Big Apple in business, but because of the ‘tough economic times’ has to become a bartender to make ends meet.
The beginning sequence of young Flanagan (Cruise) being trained by the Aussie-accented, tussled haired, sarcasm-filled, all knowing barkeep played by Brian Brown is the most accurate depictions of the ravenous thirsting anger a bar crowd resembles in those early fledgling moments of becoming a bartender and learning what the job really is about: the people.  After that however, the rest is just a painful example of Tom Cruise’s waist swaying, strange monkey-grinning face looking all too cool behind the bar somewhere in Jamaica, trying to put the moves on Elizabeth Shue, a dainty patron who succumbs to the greatest lie most other young women patron’s do: that their bartender is somehow a person of charm and sexual interest, not just a degenerate failure who somehow stumbled into the profession by fluke and circumstance.  


There is no gayer movie than Roadhouse.  I don’t know how anyone could have confused Patrick Swayze’s bouncer-guru tale as anything but pure homoerotic fodder for future bloggers. Yes, it’s about rough and tumble honky-tonks down south. Yes, it’s about hard drinking and blondes with eighties tits (there’s a difference) slinking around with teased hair and tight skirts.  But there are more queer-oriented references in this two-hour romp than Priscilla: Queen Of The Desert.
Here’s a Roadhouse parlour game I want you and your friends to try some cold and dark winter night. First, grab a whole bunch of whiskey; drink 3 shots immediately to loosen up. Good, now get out a pen and paper, roll up a spliff, and press play on your VCR (sorry, stuck back in 1989).
The game is simple. Every time there’s some kind of gay allusion (such as Swayze himself, men telling each other they are going to “take that ass”, or yes, the brazen “I’ve had guys like in prison”) make a little check on your gay Geiger counter. If it’s not the Kelly Lynch love interest who looks like a total post-op tranny to Dalton character (Swayze) repeatedly having men tell him “I thought you’d be bigger”, Roadhouse is filled to the brim with homosexual imagery trying to disguise itself as a hardcore action movie. There’s even a monster truck somewhere in the film. And there’s nothing gayer than a fat lumberjack in overalls driving a monster truck to Ben Gazzara’s party mansion. Bear much?
We did this experiment one day and in the first 10 minutes had already 17 hits on the gay meter. You try it, and let me know how many you catch during the full feature length (not a dirty pun, I promise).

BARFLY (1987)

This goes out to anyone who dated me during my own barfly days (particularly between the years 2008 and 2011). Apparently, I would drink until I couldn’t stand up, write extremely dramatic stories and poems at the local dive bars till the wee hours of morning, all the while forcing any woman that went home with me to watch this fantastic tale of drinking and writing starring Mickey Rourke as Charles Bukowski’s literary alter ego Henry Chinanski and a ghostly Faye Dunaway plays a trashed out nihilistic lady drunk.
So as the drunken legend goes, I would demand these poor women to watch this sad and depressing tale (I think it’s awesome) on my shitty little TV/VCR (Barfly is only available on tape). Since I’ve watched the film about 75 times, I would pass out, leaving a very unsatisfied and frustrated women to view this deranged boozer narrative about a local drunk whose only goal through the entire film is drink as much as possible and fight the cocky bartender in the back alleyway (wonderfully played by Frank Stallone, yes, that Stallone family).  
Now I’ve cleaned up most of my act (and stopped forcing this film on unsuspecting dating partners) and those dark barfly days are now memory, I think fondly to those debauched evenings, and let this entry be a small and meaningful apology to the myriad of women who had to not only watch Barfly but sleep next to one, thoroughly unsatisfied.

The Martini Shot is a film industry term for the final shot in a production, and signifying party time for the crew to celebrate. There is usualy a party, where the cast and crew gather together and everyone gets around to what is loosely refered to as their "Wrap Party Fuck", the person that have been waiting for the production to conclude and have passionless sex with. The film world is a shallow and dirty world. And these are the films that have contributed to my bartending fantasies. Even if that's what they were, fantasies.





Tuesday, February 7, 2012


Williamsburg is a funny place. This little hood is a dartboard for critics who live outside the 11211. Even the people who actually live here talk shit about the changes in the neighbourhood, the condo lifestyles, the sudden and rampant appearance of strollers fucking up our drug-addled stumble to The Levee Bar.
Williamsburg, Brooklyn is a self-hater. And like the pretty girl in high school, she secretly thinks she’s fat. Like the neurotic man gesturing with his hands like a puppet on an anxiety string, complaining about art, his lack of money, and the series of slightly abusive women that habitually desire his attention, this place is as deluded as believing we won’t be at war with Iran in 6 months.  
Goddamn First World problems. And this neighbourhood is full of it. Literally and figuratively.  
After finishing a Doppio espresso from Atlas cafĂ©, I’m juggling several phone calls, pacing up and down Havemeyer Street. On one hand, I’m calling my Musician Friend to find out when his rock show is this evening, and on the other line, negotiating the time and place I’m supposed to meet this Best Selling Novelist Friend for dinner, and worrying how I can fit the two in for the evening while orchestrating another small gathering for everybody afterwards at the Subway Bar around the corner.
First World problems.
Back at home, I’m worried about my new cat Lysander’s bowel functions. Never in my life have I worried about another creatures pissing and shitting habits more than Lysander’s. I bought her ‘organic’ kitty litter and ‘organic’ cat nip at the advice of a ‘pet conscious’ friend, both of which Lysander rejected with a sort of hating scowl only cats reserve for annoying humans.  Lysander stares down at the ‘organic’ treats, smelling them slightly, then stares back at me, completely uninterested, her little gold cat eyes begging the question: “What are you, some kind of Bougie Fuck?” (I know discreetly that Lysander is thoroughly working class. A street chick. Might as well get her a black motorcycle jacket with some pink lipstick writing on the back, snapping her fingers and chewing bubble gum with her hair in a bun.)
It had to be asked. And, after doing a little research this week, I discovered a couple of signs that might signal a case of the Bougie Fuck. It can be caught quite easily like the common cold, and if you’re not careful, you too might wake up in Yoga class realizing that the Bougie Fuck syndrome has invaded your otherwise authentic street credibility. So if you qualify in any of these categories, please, take a moment to unplug your iPad, shut down the Mac, turn off Spotify, resist the urge to Tweet ANYTHING, and calmly listen close.
We can help. Bougie Fuck-ness is not terminal. Here are some symptoms of the illness. And like how they roll in Narcotics Anonymous, you must first admit to being an addict before the healing begins.          
Seriously, I don’t even know what a fucking ‘Milk Bar’ is.
I don’t.
I even made my Roommate look it up on the Internet just to tell me what the fuck is going on and we couldn’t even find anything that said anything. No joke. But I’m pretty sure you might suffer from Bougie Fuck-ness if you even step foot in this place. I mean, I get the ‘The Clockwork Orange” reference, but that place had naked porcelain women you could drink drug-filled milk from one of their pointed nipples. That makes sense to me. That place on Metropolitan does not. I’m just confused, people, seriously. You know something is wrong when they sell alternative versions of milk WITHOUT drugs and NOT serve it from naked porcelain nipples. So, just stop, please. Bars, as we all know, are for one thing and one thing only: Booze. Getting fucked up. This ‘Milk Bar’ trend is an eerie cousin to those “Oxygen Bars” that tried to creep up in the late 90’s. Yeah. Right?
This is terrible. Remember “Derelique” from Zoolander. It’s sort of like that. A funny thing I noticed when I was in Paris. The people all dress pretty well, being one of the fashion centres of the world. But there are no ‘beat’ looking individuals. If your clothes are tattered and dirty, it simply means you can’t afford new clothes or you might just be homeless. There is something generally illogical and frighteningly bourgeois about buying already tattered clothing. Would you buy a car with its front window broken? This seems like an insult to everyone who has to wear tattered clothes on the regular. They’re not cool. They po’. And that’s never cool.  
That’s right. What sort hyper-egotistical, literary addicted, attention-obsessed person would devote a large chunk of their lives to write a blog, actually believing there is a great, unseen mass of readers out there who gives a shit about what the blogger is thinking about on any particular day or topic?
Famed literary giant George Orwell had this positive thing to say about writers: “All writers are vain, selfish, and lazy, and at the very bottom of their motives there lies the mystery. Writing…is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist or understand. For all one knows that demon is simply the same instinct that makes a baby squall for attention”.
Thanks, George.  What an asshole.
This is a big one. I can’t tell you how many people treat their animals like a Baby Buddha, fresh from Heaven’s Gate and right to pissing on your hard wood floors. I know people who actually sacrifice human time for their animal’s time. I also know people who feed their animal overpriced food and they, the human themselves, eat horrible food. The cat gets Filet Mignon bites and you’re eating off the dollar menu at McDonald’s. I’m not advocating pet mistreatment here, but we got to get our priorities in check.
Pets need love, some decent medical attention, and a happy owner. While we stress about treating these creatures as if they were mini-Gods we’re causing unnecessary sacrifices to our lives. The dog needs a walk? Take yourself out for one. First thnigs first, you need love too, and I know that pets are wonderful conversationalists and all, but we need human affection as well. Whose going to pet us? You know me, I’m always an advocate for human touching. And second, your pet has a functioning brain the size of a walnut. Now I know there’s some folks sitting next to you on a barstool that probably share that same brain capacity, but there are actually smart, uplifting, inspirational people out their that can make you’re big brain happy. And a happy person is a happy pet owner. Animals pick up on that shit. Then they dutifully shit on your mattress.
Well, folks, if you have any of these symptoms, please consult the reality doctor for a quick cure. Nothing irritates Al –Queda more than these first world problems. Trust me, they don’t drink at milk bars, they wear shitty clothes because they actually have no money, they only write blogs about killing Americans, and certainly don’t give a shit about their pets. 
Somewhere between us and them is the happy place. And we shall find it together. 
Now, go and drink like a normal person and I'll see y'all at the bars.