Archives for category: luxuries

robert-de-niro-nyc-taxi-cab-driver-license

When we first started hanging out, we had this obscene joke. That every time we got into a cab and the name on the license was any variation of Mohammed, we had to perform bits of sex on each other, that were decided before the actual hailing of the taxi, for the duration of the ride, no matter how near or far the destination.

There are so many cabbies named Mohammed…  or Mohamed, or Mohammad, or Mohammed, or Muhamad, or Muhamed, or Muhammad, or Muhammet or Mohamsandie.

We weren’t racist. We were just filthy pigs. And this is the most common name in the world. And since cabs are firstly for getting around in, and secondly for squeezing in everything you need to do before you get home… because you probably left take out containers in your bed, and floaters in your toilet…  you’re very welcome, New York;

The perfect game for perverts, like us.

 

 

 

Deanna Kirk

Fall of ’92, I flew from San Francisco to Newark. After a most dehydrating flight, a silvery beast of a bus shuttled me to Grand Central Station. Then, I busted my taxi cab hymen en route to my first college dorm called Marlton House. I dragged my schlep into the world’s slowest elevator and waited a year for it to arrive at the seventh floor. I found my room and pushed open an orange door heavier than a busload of bowling balls.

A twin bed, a desk, and a chest of drawers, none of them flush with any of its four feculentastic walls. My new home was so compact that in this unfortunately furnished riddle of horror, there was nowhere for the luggage of a lost little girl, except atop a dank mattress.

Marlton House is at 5 West 8th Street. It was built in 1900 and was basically cheap single room lodging for struggling artists, poets and transients. Poached by the New School in ’87, it was the hip haps for Beatnik types. Wikipedia told me that Lenny Bruce stayed there during his infamous sixth month trial for obscenity. To which he argued:

“…that to is a preposition, and come is a verb, that the sexual context of come is so common that it bears no weight,,, and that if someone hearing it becomes upset, he or she probably can’t come.”

Lenny was lucky to have lived during an age when the word come wasn’t alternatively used as cum in reference to ejaculation or orgasm. Even in my horniest hour, I despise the order of those three letters. Don’t ever type or text that mess to me.

(But I do love Lenny Bruce.)

My new home was one block from the entrance to Washington Square Park and a spit’s distance to MacDougal Street. The lobby was petite. A stairwell, an elevator and a tiny front desk with small numbered mail cubbies were all jammed into 500 square feet or so.

I can only assume the school didn’t do much to rid the building of its residual inhabitants. I estimate there were two “original” residents average per floor. Doesn’t seem daunting? Consider this. We shared toilet seats and showers with these creatures.

Don’t forget we are talking about New York City here. As glamorous as you want it to be is about how god damn dirty it is.

Since I signed up for housing late, I was placed on a waiting list and received the only available and least desirable room. This was the smallest (literally), and biggest (figuratively), craphole in the crapheap.

Shrouded in scaffolding, it was moody and menacing. It felt damp and dejected, weepy and wilted. It was kind of brownish and maroon all over. The elevator smacked gothic insane asylum. My room was number 709. It was easy to remember because it took approximately seven hundred and nine seconds for the elevator to get me there and right about the same number of sobs to get me to sleep.

709 smelled like my brother’s sweat socks as if he had wiped his ass with them after pooping in the grass during a long distance run on the hottest day of the year. After several nights in this place I’ve just described, and having made no friends to speak of I decided to slip the fuck out. I descended the cold marble stairs while sparring with my inner crybaby.

I know it must seem like I was very spoiled, because I was. And as it turns out, this would turn out to be one of the better living situations of my life in New York City… considering all possible variables. But… you know… I was young and lame. So please, allow me a few more paragraphs of drivel before you administer any real lasting judgment.

There was a public phone on every floor of the dorm. I would soon learn there would always be some fucker on each of them. Anyone I witnessed talking on any of those phones, I immediately and vehemently despised. I generally hate anyone in my way, but this was an extraordinary variety of contempt, particularly if I returned 30 to 45 minutes later to see the same individual enjoying the same conversation.

I saw a purple Post-it next to the sixth floor phone that read: “Peter, we are in the Village at Cafe Rafaella. – Martin.”

As I walked, I pondered the purple missive. I had heard of this Greenwich Village. I wanted to see it. Manhattan is narrow. How far off could I find myself? I wanted to accidentally stumble upon them.

I fantasized that Martin was a tall dark number with big hands and that his friend Peter was a European version of the gorgeous garbage-hauling boyfriend that I left back in Walnut Creek. And as I walked, I imagined the three of us chewing on espressos. I would behave as my very astute mother had advised me, “When in Rome, do as the Romans.” (That meant I would smoke unfiltered cigarettes and put out almost immediately.)

I would be Catherine in a modern day Jules et Jim. And my terrible dorm room wouldn’t matter because we’d be in chic cafes all year. Then one night, right before summer break we would have a fantastic threesome in which I was the star. We’d share a hookah pipe afterward, giggle ourselves to sleep in a naked triangle flanked with a hodgepodge of pillows and not even one of us would be ashamed of our perilous pubic hair.

I walked way beyond my comfort zone. I kept thinking along St. Mark’s Place that I should turn back, but there was no phone or TV in 709. It was dark, late, hot and humid. I kept on until I reached Avenue A which I didn’t recognize until I realized the shadowy park that frightened me, would be one Tompkins Square.

All around me people in drab clothing droned and smoked… each and every one of them with a mess of things hanging from them. Beads, chains, scarves, dreads, drool. It was like the Halloween apocalypse. My need to squirt caught up with my hunger so I ended up at some dump where I read a Village Voice over a pile of salty Vegetable Don and warm beer.

(I have a very gastronomically complicated relationship with beer.)

For a change of scenery, I decided to walk back on E. 7th St. I was having a behemoth carbohydrate hangover. Sluggish and gassy, I passed a black unmarked door with the coolest music happening behind it. I walked on a bit, but couldn’t let go of that music, so I turned back. As I opened the door, a grenade of cigarette smoke slapped me across the face.

The music was marvelous and the room was small. A jazz quartet struggled to conform to a corner. There was a Steinway, a stand up bass, a saxophonist and a bearded bad ass on a snare drum. The music was so loud that no one could speak and so divine that no one would. Everyone sucked on cigarettes. There was a bar to my left and some tables to my right and not a single empty seat. I stood against the bar until I saw one. The ceiling was low and stained brown and yellow, the walls lined with dark purple curtains. This was the most important place in the world.

I only had ten dollars so I sat down and drank a glass of offensive red wine. I presume an hour, maybe two, had passed. I began crushing on the bassist. He had longish hair that was real, real dirty. His eyes were closed mostly. When he finally opened them they landed on my brand new pink Vans.

I had to go, because my Vans were so stupid.

I farted my way back across town… to my extraordinary new home in Greenwich Village.

_______________________________________________________________________________

This was a stupid fucking story about a special moment in New York’s jazz history.

(I can’t believe you actually read it.)

For five gorgeous years, seven nights a week, there was Deanna’s. It was just exactly, specifically what every proprietor of every stupid speakeasy or “indie” venue is currently trying to pull. But Deanna didn’t try… It was just good.

So good.

Deanna Kirk is a legendary vocalist and pianist from Long Island. She was discovered at the Bolshoi Ballet in the late 1980’s by some British entrepreneur types who helped her realize her very own club in New York’s East Village.

Her first recorded album was live and entitled Live at Deanna’s. (I can’t believe I don’t own it. After I publish this post I will be sniffing around the internet for it.) She is not just a performer, but also a writer. Her studio albums, entitled Marianna Trench and Where Are You Now, received messes of positive press and acclaim.

Tragically, the venue of my dreams burned to bits and Deanna was left to salvage her memoirs.

margaburger

East Bay is Pig Latin for BEAST. I really wanted to find The Beast’s best burger, without having to follow any hipster foodie-type counseling.

I thought about taking on this very important task… but, I’m large. I can’t go around researching the quality of hamburgers while I still intend to fit my fat ass into an affordable compact vehicle.

That said, I believe I found the best hamburger in The Beast by accident.

My son and I met a group of persons that I enjoy on the patio at El Charro in Lafayette. I ordered a kids’ burger for my Prince who is all of three years old. The dish I ordered for myself was a complete abortion. I couldn’t even look down. While he was busy emptying the salt and pepper shakers, I counted 10 Mississippi.

Baby Boy just wasn’t hungry.

I dove in.

I had my very first Hamburgasm. It was the best burger I’ve ever had… (and I don’t care who you are. I’ve eaten more hamburgers than you.)

But, I mean, People… I was really very hungry… and we all know that Hunger is the bestest Chef of all the chefs.

So I went again last night. I watched in sick satisfaction as my little Prince completely ignored his meal. After the check was paid, I put that culinary work of art into my purse and hurriedly hauled my ass home. I waited an eternity for Baby Boy to fall asleep, so that El Charro Kid Burger and I could be alone. By the time that happened the bun was but a sponge, but it didn’t matter… because of that beloved beef patty.

That beef patty was everything.

…I believe the Holy Grail of Hamburgers is right here, in the belly of The Beast.

bitten funfetti twinkie funfetti twinkie

:: FUNFETTI TWINKIES ::
makes 18-22 oblong cakes
base cake recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour

Note: This recipe uses a cream canoe pan but can easily be turned into cupcakes. You just need to increase the baking time. For regular Twinkies, eliminate the sprinkles from the cake and the filling.

240g (2 cups) cake flour
300g (1 1/2 cups) granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup cold water
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. butter flavoring
7 eggs, separated
1/2 cup rainbow jimmies
Marshmallow Cream Filling (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a cream canoe pan and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt on low (2 on a KitchenAid) speed until combined. In a medium bowl, lightly mix oil, water, vanilla, butter flavoring, and egg yolks (the mixture will not completely come together, that’s ok). With the mixer on low, add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until smooth.

In a separate bowl, whip egg whites until stiff. Fold the whites into the batter in thirds until no streaks remain. Add the jimmies to the batter along with the last third of whites, folding in the same manner.  Do not over-mix.

Using a pyrex glass measuring cup or bowl with a lip, slowly pour the batter into each well of the prepared pan until 2/3 full. (Unless you have multiple cream canoe pans, you will be baking these in batches. Be sure to give the batter a light mix in between batches to redistribute sprinkles that have sunk to the bottom.) Bake for 10-12 minutes, until tester comes out clean and cakes spring back when touched.

Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes then quickly invert the pan over a cooling rack. The cakes should easily come out of the pan. If they don’t, tap the edge of the pan lightly on the cooling rack. Let cakes cool completely before filling.

Once cakes have cooled, use a skewer to make three evenly spaced holes in the bottom of the cakes, gently swirling the skewer around inside the cake to make a little room for the filling. (I have made these without making the holes, and it works fine. You just won’t get quite as much filling in the cake.) Place filling in a pastry bag fitted with a small round tip. Squeeze filling into each hole in the cake until you feel the cake expand just slightly.

Cakes will keep in an airtight container for a few days. I individually wrapped mine in plastic wrap.

_______________________________________________________

:: MARSHMALLOW FLUFF ::
makes about 3 cups

150 g (3/4 cup) granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
pinch salt
2 egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla bean paste or 1/2 vanilla bean, scraped

Place sugar, corn syrup, water, and salt in a small saucepan and whisk to combine. Place pan over medium-high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches 240 degrees F.

While the sugar syrup is heating, place egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. When the syrup is getting close to 240, turn the mixer to medium-high speed (6 on a KitchenAid) and whip the egg whites to soft peaks. Turn mixer off until syrup is ready.

As soon as the sugar syrup reaches 240, remove from the heat. With the mixer on low (2 on a KitchenAid), slowly pour the syrup down the inside of the mixing bowl. Once all of the syrup has been added, increase the mixer speed to medium-high and whip until the mixture forms stiff, shiny peaks and the outside of the mixing bowl feels neutral in temperature, 5-8 minutes. Mix in the vanilla bean paste or seeds until incorporated. Marshmallow fluff will keep stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a little over a week.

Yellow Period Food

Yellow Cake Fudge Squares

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup yellow cake mix
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) butter or margarine, cut into small squares
  • 1/4 cup milk or 1/8 cup soy milk
  • sprinkles (optional)

Instructions:

Mix cake mix and icing sugar in microwave-safe bowl. Add butter and milk. Don’t stir.

Microwave for 2 minutes. Stir immediately until completely combined. Add sprinkles. Do not overmix as sprinkle colour may bleed.

Spread into greased pan. Refrigerate for at least one hour.

* Makes one 6 x 6” container, or double for an 8 x 8” pan.
** Notes: If the batter comes out too runny, stir in about 1 tsp or sugar or cake mix at a time until stiff. If too thick to stir in all components, slowly add 1/2 tsp of milk at a time, but batter should be thick!

These are stills I found online of Multiple Maniacs, Mondo Trasho and Cry Baby mostly. Part Two will be photographs taken by me of my monitor as I am revisiting Polyesther and Female Trouble.

My to do lists are generally pretty bipolar.

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