This blog chronicles the shenanigans of two NYC SHOW-STOPPERS as they entertain themselves through fleeting, fun, yet ultimately futile attempts to overcome their boredom with corporate America, and life in general.

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Best Stories Told Over the Holidays Began...

SWF: The last time I de-friended someone on Facebook it was because she tried to re-Jesus me...

SPECIAL K: I used to be a mate on a deep-sea fishing boat—did I tell you that? Yeah, I used to fillet flounder and throw chum overboard...

SWF: When I first moved to New York I didn't realize some Duane Reade and Walgreens stores have both an upstairs and a downstairs. I kept wondering why some stores had mascara and toilet paper and others didn't...

SPECIAL K: I was on my way back from that fabulous fur sample sale where I found that zebra bed spread when...

SWF: Remember when I was dating the German celebrity hairstylist and we went on the Italoboyz DJ party boat that circled the Statue of Liberty eight times?

SPECIAL K: The other day I was watering the flowers on my terrace and minding my own business when suddenly an army of yellow jackets nesting in my planter formed an exclamation point and flew straight at my head...

SWF: One day when I was in my early 20s and cleaning my chinchilla cage...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Facebook Status Updates We'd Like to Post

"Special K hates...well, pretty much everyone."

"SWF would love to see you again. Is never good for you?"

"Special K can't deal with your issues and is canceling her subscription."

"SWF knows you actually have a wife, a-hole, and would bet her 401k that you're banging at least half of the 20-year-olds you're 'wall-flirting' with on MySpace."

"Special K just peed on her leg doing the Johnny Bench in the office bathroom."

"SWF is astonished by her own cyber-sleuthing capabilities but is weary of outsmarting these egomaniacs, narcissists and liars."

"Special K nevers ceases to be amazed that no one has any manners."

"SWF is suffering from explosive diarrhea."

"Special K wishes people she hasn't spoken with since 6th grade would stop friending her."

"SWF is wondering why everyone is such a huge disappointment."

"Special K is aghast at what some people think is appropriate subject matter for 'Wall' postings--like their reproductive trials and travails. Honestly???"

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I'm Gay. No I'm Not. Be My Girlfriend!

After receiving the royal treatment (or, uh, something like that) from my online stallions and having survived the aforementioned bananas encounters, I promptly canceled my cyber-dating account and again resigned myself to hacking my way through the wilderness of the bar scene.

Last weekend, my not-so-triumphant return entailed meeting a self-proclaimed Sean John model (can't seem to get away from these guys!) with a giant case on himself (shocker!). Clad in a rather fey coral sweater and tight black jeans, he first happened upon Special K, managing to tell her he was a model during their 45-second chat, then, after her hasty departure, turned his attention to yours truly.

Him [Flexing triceps casually beneath neoprene-like sleeves, light from bar lamp glinting seductively off shiny shaved head, two minutes into conversation]:

"I normally don't sleep with women...but I think I'd make an exception in your case."

Me: "Errrrrrrrrr...." [To self: I've got 'em switching teams! Holy schnikeys! Atta girl!


After nearly bursting into tears when I told him I was going home alone, he tried desperately to talk me into taking a cab (somewhere, anywhere) with him, luring me outside the bar in an attempt to sweet-talk and presumably mesmerize me with his pulsating pecs.

Not one for confrontation and slightly freaked out, I demurely excused myself to retrieve my coat and purse from the now-closed bar, and promptly told the bouncer and bartender to lock the place down, yo! His reaction? To pound on the door for a full 30 minutes and then, after being denied re-entry to, as he put it, "rescue his girlfriend," to call the cops...who actually showed up.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Liars and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!

"It's not that you attract freaks," my cousin always tells me. "There are just a lot of them in the world—and especially in New York City. The law of averages is working against you."

I hope she's right...although a few of the winners I've met recently have sent my inward analytics into overdrive. And for good reason: tired of being at the mercy of the bar scene and random encounters, I'd made the fateful decision to test the waters of online dating.

First up: doctorfoot, who claimed to be an orthopedic surgeon. While some of his (albeit unverified) profile details got an initial thumbs-up (MD, house in Quogue, enjoys surfing in Maui), additional snippets revealed in three 8-minute voicemails (and transcribed verbatim below—coupled with a profile photo of him lying presumably naked in the grass, and another of him ripping off his T-shirt) gave me pause…and just about sent the already world-weary Special K running for the hills. For example:
“My number probably came up as private because I’ve had a couple of patients that were pretty hot—in more ways than one, if you know what I mean—in fact, I still have a patient calling me from 3 years that's why my phone number comes up unidentified.”
SWEET MARY, mother of God…even if that’s true, isn’t revealing it to, say, an absolute stranger on her voicemail, in flagrant violation of the Hippocratic Oath? Or some other ethical mandate penned by a comparably solemn, toga-wearing Greek scholar?
“I guess I'm not so shy when it comes to talking into voicemail. God is it warm here. Wow! I'm driving with the window down.”
Uhhhhh...not even sure how to respond to this.

[Cut to image of highway patrolman addressing doctorfoot through driver’s side window, after pulling him over for driving erratically: “Sir, for the love of God, please zip up your pants, put the phone down and step out of the vehicle.”]
“I would still love to meet you, talk to you, show you my house in Quogue...I think you'd love it—well, if we get to that point, that is. I'm back in town and enjoying the warm weather here. Anyway, I don't know what your schedule's like. I'm heading to the Hamptons now, but I could always turn around and come back tonight to see you. Not too troubled about the rain.”
Heavens to Murgatroid! Danger, Will Robinson! Abort, abort!

Next suitor: pjinpajamas. Because...well, his name is PJ, and he works from home in his pajamas, silly! Allegedly as a music producer for a major record label. He also claimed to have a bachelors degree in “nonverbal communication” (apparently that’s something one can major in—who knew!), and moonlights as a mixed martial arts cage fighter. Not quite on the orthopedic-surgeon-with-house-in-Quogue career trajectory, but, as Special K’s wise old Ukrainian grandmother likes to say, “People bring different qualities to the table.” (Then again, she also says, “When the bills come in the door, love goes out the window,” so good luck reconciling these two truisms.)

The following tidbit from his profile probably should have served as fair warning, but hindsight, as they say, is 20/20:
“I like a woman who (in her suttle way) knows she's the baddest bitch in the room and is not intemadated by others. I don't really have alot of major requirements; or al least I don't think I do, other than you being cute; I mean, i'm hot so you gotta be (HA!).”

Additional gems not listed in his online profile:
• Gang member who keeps several loaded guns in his apartment and claims to have gunned down rival pimps in front of their children. (Sign me up for date #2!)

• Uncanny ability to offend the usually unflappable Special K by asking her, sight unseen, if she resembled the "Ugandan Giant," in response to learning that she was a tall drink of water and, God forbid, taller than him. Like she's looking in a mirror!

• Claims to have been a porn star (naturally!).

• His ex-wife, a born-again lesbian (jackpot!), looks just like me.

• Told a story about exorcising a demon out of his mother with a Bible in hand, at the instruction of his grandmother, which is why he can't quite let go of his Christian beliefs.

• Checks his online dating account once every 3-4 hours, on average.
And so it goes in the wacky world of cyber-dating. Our favorite gorgeous gal Cindy, who recently broke up with her boyfriend of 10 months, was somewhat startled to learn, having stumbled upon his newly resurrected dating profile (accompanied by requisite sensitive-guy portrait of him strumming guitar with creepy, beatific expression on his face), some interesting new facets of his persona that she’d somehow never uncovered...despite their distinctively John-and-Yoko dating dynamic of almost a year. Such as:
He speaks Italian. (Mi dispiace, ma non e vero. Special K traveled on vacation with him to bella Roma, and barely heard him utter more than a half-hearted “si” in italiano. Bugiardo!)

He absolutely loves dogs! (His adverb and punctuation. Cool...but who doesn't? Methinks the lady doth protest too much.)

He drinks socially. (I guess, if drinking tequila daily while home alone is considered social. Alas, significantly more difficult to compartmentalize, articulate and incorporate into JDate profile: daily weed smoking and raging coke habit.)

He's 5'7".
(Um...perhaps while standing on the phone book. See Rule #67 of the Idiot's Guide to Online-Dating-Profile Writing: always add at least 2" to your actual height, gentlemen.)

He loves your stories—and his!
(After much consideration, still no frigging idea what this means.)
As Kierkegaard (a comparably solemn, non-toga-wearing Dane) argued, maybe the truth really is subjective after all.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Breaking News from the Who-the-Hell-Cares Department

National Briefing | Space and Technology
Tool Bag Is Lost During Spacewalk

Published: November 19, 2008

Astronauts ventured outside the International Space Station to do repair work, but lost a bag of tools they had taken along. Capt. Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper of the Navy, an astronaut on a mission to the station, was on the first spacewalk of the mission, which involves cleaning and greasing a balky rotary joint, when she discovered that a grease gun had erupted inside its tote bag. While she cleaned up that mess, the bag — containing two grease guns, scrapers and other equipment — floated irretrievably into space. NASA trains spacewalkers to tether and trap all objects they use, but it is not uncommon for the occasional bolt or single tool to be lost.

National Briefing | Space and Technology
Regenerating a Mammoth for $10 Million

Published: November 19, 2008

Scientists are talking for the first time about the old idea of resurrecting extinct species as if this long time staple of science fiction were a realistic possibility, saying that a living mammoth could perhaps be regenerated for as little as $10 million.

The same technology could be applied to any other extinct species from which one can obtain hair, horn, hooves, fur or feathers, and which went extinct within the last 60,000 years. Though the stuffed animals in natural history museums are not likely to burst into life again, these old collections are full of items that may contain ancient DNA which can be decoded by the new generation of DNA sequencing machines.

If the genome of an extinct species can be reconstructed, biologists can work out the exact DNA differences with the genome of its nearest living relative. There are now discussions of how to modify the DNA in an elephant’s egg so that generation by generation it would progressively resemble the DNA in a mammoth egg. The final stage egg could then be brought to term in an elephant mother, and mammoths might once again roam the Siberian steppes. The same would be technically possible with Neanderthals, whose full genome is expected to be recovered shortly, but ethically more challenging.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Hawai-i. Just the mention of that magical, mystical archipelago in the middle of the South Pacific conjures up soothing thoughts of balmy ocean breezes, Don Ho's dulcet tones, and the Brady boys' epic quest to return that damn tiki necklace to the ancient burial ground before any more bad luck befell them. Having been invited by one of my best friends, Katers, to tag along to Oahu while she attended a conference, I was excited by the prospect of exploring this paradise on earth for the first time, and the potential stimulating new experiences awaiting me there.

Sadly, upon arrival in Waikiki Beach, my dreams of an idyllic, pristine tropical nirvana were quickly smashed to smithereens, much like coconuts falling to the pavement from a windswept palm. And judging from my observations of the locals, coconuts must rain from the trees often here, pummeling the heads of the entire population repeatedly and rendering them, regrettably, several pineapples short of a bushel.

A typical day in the life of most Hawaiians seems to start with the shredding of a tasty wave or 40, followed by 10 joints, a 3-hour meditation session on the beach, a fast food lunch (in Hawaii, fast food seems bigger than the Big Island) consumed while still in the lotus position, an afternoon of serious bong hits and a friendly visit to a neighbor's basement meth lab, and bed by 8pm. Not a bad deal for an island dweller, but a frustrating scenario for a displaced New Yorker who, judging by my antsiness, is more neurotic and impatient than I realized. Where the hell does a gal get a decent blowout in this town? Blimey!

Knowing full well that only a free-flowing river of (hard) alcohol would sustain me through the duration of the trip, I ventured out with Katers on Saturday night in search of a lively local watering hole, ideally brimming with Argentinean polo players and/or hunky Aussie surfers. We walked into an open-air bar in the heart of the beach district at 11pm and gazed around at the 12 other people in the place. Bewildered, I asked the bartender where the party was on Saturday night in Waikiki. "This is it," he said stoically, smoothing his ponytail while standing beneath a giant black-and-white image of Laird Hamilton. "Hawaii," he continued, "is a daytime state."

Um...apparently, among other more colorful adjectives.

Surveying the street urchins of Waikiki—who make the crew in Key West's Mallory Square seem like a high society gathering on the banks of the Seine—I quickly gathered that I wasn't in Kansas anymore.
[Enter pasty, disoriented TOURIST—likely from Kansas, ironically—staggering bewilderedly down the main drag. Nearby is a barefoot, leather-skinned, heavy-lidded LOCAL, in desperate need of shower and shave.]
TOURIST: Excuse me, can you tell me where the Hilton is?
[LOCAL, dazed and presumably baked, stops weaving palm fronds into necklaces and stares intently into the middle distance in the general direction of the hotels.]
LOCAL: You got it, see that guy wavin' the "Free Hugs" sign? Just down from the dude with no pants on lassoing the trashcan? Make a right at that corner.
TOURIST: mean where the band of pigeon-toed men wearing the "Jesus loves me!" t-shirts and the fresh flowers behind their ears is standing?
LOCAL: You got it, brother! Aloha. [Flashes peace sign, returns to studious weaving.]
A few days of this blank-stared, slack-jawed, lackadaisical interaction was about all I could take, despite highlights like a visit to the island's stunningly beautiful North Shore and the tasty, potent margaritas in the bar of our otherwise scary hotel. Waikiki Beach is also a reeeaaallly hard place to get around in, as every street name has at least 7 "k"s and "i"s in it, and sounds exactly the same. (Hotel concierge: "A decent Japanese restaurant? Sure, just take Kapiolani to Kalakaua, make a right on Kaiulani and go straight to Kanekapolei. Right there on your left." Me: "Uhhhhh...whaaaa?")

Daydreaming of the Big Apple as I waited in the Wolfgang Puck Express for 25 minutes for an egg sandwich (I was one of three people there, and there were five cooks behind the counter), I envisioned SWF, fair as an Irish rose, on these strange shores, sweetly disintegrating into a pile of ashes under the sun's nuclear rays, and a tear came to my eye. It was time to get the hell-akalani out of here.

Having raced to the airport only to find my flight delayed by three hours (naturally!), I schlepped to the food court, where I was promptly accosted at the Pizza Hut Express by a Panamanian gentleman wearing a t-shirt bearing the mantra "Growth Through Excellence" (sure, sounds like as solid a tactic as any). He kindly inquired if I might be interested in being a spokesmodel for his fledgling cosmetics company, and requested that I watch his sales video for the line. Despite my deep skepticism (something tells me this isn't quite how Claudia Schiffer got her start in the modeling biz), I agreed, as he was sweet and eager, it seemed like a fitting conclusion to this zany trip to Bizarro World, and I still had six minutes to wait for my personal pan with pepperoni. Whipping out a laptop, he proceeded to show me a video of a woman hurtling through space in a time machine, rubbing various potions on her face as evil foes of youthful complexions everywhere (smoking! tanning! drinking!) flashed ominously on a Jetsons-like dashboard display. When she began to magically and creepily transform into a waxen, peach-colored harpy, presumably thanks to these elixirs, I quickly thanked Panama Jack and told him my people would be in touch, should I decide I was interested in coming aboard the mothership.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Come Unto Marquee as Ye Are—or Pretend to Be

"I like real celebrities. I just don't like pseudo celebrities," said the absurdly attractive guy next to me as we both looked around the club at the zoo of people dressed in goofy get-ups intended to create the impression that they're famous—or at least a somebody.
Smug writer-type in "Smooth Criminal" charcoal pinstriped suit and fedora.
Spray-tanned, 6'5" Zoolander mimbo sporting cheekbones that could slice salami, rugged leather vest, rosary beads (huh?), and disconcertingly dorky blowout-bandana combo.
Scott Weiland wannabe with ashen complexion, black liquid liner, Sex Pistols-inspired career aspirations and serious meth hangover.
Check!!! intriguing, if slightly scary, point of view. If nothing else, he'd obviously spent time contemplating the real vs. pseudo celebrity divide. (Rumor has it this subject is actually on the agenda at the World Economic Forum in January.)

"Fame doesn't impress me," I replied, "only talent."

The funniest thing about "exclusive" NYC nightclubs is that everyone does their best to look and dress like they're VIPs but, in reality, the crowd is 99% comprised of regular working stiffs whose closest proximity to celebrity is, like most people's, a subscription to Us magazine, an RSS feed from, and a penchant for The Soup.

Alas, this microcosm of posers and aspiring socialites creates a self-perpetuating society fueled by superficiality and a raging collective case of internal audience syndrome. In plain English, beautiful people who want to look and act famous—and who think they deserve to be—enjoy being around other beautiful people who look and act famous. Hence, the entire scene becomes a symbiotic ego-feeding frenzy.

That said (as I gracefully dismount my high horse—and stick the landing!), the superficial appeal of a strikingly handsome young buck is rarely lost on yours truly.

"You are ridiculously good looking," I said to the 27-year-old Jesse Metcalfe look-alike a moment later. "In fact, you're so attractive it's painfully funny. Did you know your smile actually makes a 'Ding!' sound, accompanied by a blinding cartoon spark? So tell me...are you a real or fake celebrity?"

"No, I'm not famous—yet," he laughed. "I'm just a democrat."

I'll let you in on a little secret here: Special K and I are both democrats. (Actually, we are both registered as independents, but are democrats for all current intents and purposes).

Thanks to Special K's recent chance encounter with a cute new friend named Steve, which involved, in no particular order, truffled goat cheese, a tripod, a movie script, and pineapple upside-down cake—we found ourselves at an Obama fundraiser at Marquee that united male models, debut film screenings, "I only sleep with democrats" T-shirts, and a whole slew of very strange bedfellows—all in one room. Hey, why not...what Obama and NYC hath joined together, let no man put asunder.

The highlight of the evening was arguably a rousing performance by an Ashlee Simpson look-alike draped in an over-sized man's dress shirt with a giant print of Obama's face on the back, who was also wearing shiny black leggings (just like mine! Sweet Jesus!) and leather booties, and debuting her "original" song about Obama. It was allegedly in English, and presumably pro-The Big O (i.e."Obama—you rock! McCain—you suck!!"), although I was too distracted by her incessant hair-flipping and accompanying dry ice clouds to discern the lyrics.

"Can you imagine the Obamas standing here, watching this performance?" Special K chuckled. "Barack would be so... proud. And disturbed. And deeply bewildered."

Meanwhile, one dude, a self-described "struggling artist," was commenting (embarrassingly) on people's credit cards at the bar. (Him, to girl buying drink: "Wow, I like your platinum card!" Us, eavesdropping: "Oh, good Lord.") He told us he "studied film independently for four years." Not studied indie film...studied film independently. Hhhhmmmm...wonder if that entails renting movies from Netflix for four years straight. Not a bad gig...sign us up!

"Special K and I have nicknames for some of these characters," I said to Faux Jesse, who seemed refreshingly (and disproportionately) smart and witty. I motioned to Zoolander, who was dropping Magnum on the crowd left and right like Halloween candy.

"That's Zoolander. He gets dressed with the help of a customized computer program, complete with a rotating, 3-D model of himself that allows him to preview his prospective outfits. Tonight he selected purposefully pre-ripped, light-wash Dolce & Gabbana Jeans (#4), rugged gray-brown Rick Owens leather vest (#8), and navy blue 2.5-inch-wide folded bandanna (#11) to create 'Douchebag Look #18.' After he hits the "Mission Accomplished, You Handsome Devil!" button, his computerized self winks at him and gives him two big thumbs up."

FAUX JESSE: [Nods and smiles.] Ding!!

"See that model chick behind him with the serenely blank expression, waist-length dark hair, $400 "hippy" skirt, and a cotton braid around her forehead? That's Joan Baez. If we had a cowbell with us, Special K and I would run up to her, banging away, and proclaim, 'You're not trying hard enough! Need more Baez! More Baez!' "

FAUX JESSE: Ding-da-ding-ding!!!

"Ooh—and that tall model guy with the slimy hair who just walked by. Meet Greasy Thursday. Special K and I were imagining him staring into his bathroom cabinet (measuring 10' x 10', conservatively), surveying a truckload of hair product, and then deliberately selecting Greasy Thursday Gel (GTG)...because, well, it's fuckin' Thursday!"

After Faux Jesse and his sweet, adorable older sister (who was similarly unimpressed by the scene) left, Special K and I retreated to the ladies' room to hang with Bev the Bathroom Attendant, which was, not surprisingly, infinitely more entertaining than most of the crowd at the bar. Mints! Perfume!! Hair products galore!!! Tampons!!!! Why hadn't we spent more time in here before?

I began to rave dance with the lollipops from the candy jar while Special K transformed into Tinkerbell with an industrial-size can of Acqua Net as her magic wand, ceremoniously dusting all the fair maidens who came and went.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

All We Need to Know We Learned in Vegas

Our last evening in Vegas taught us a few more valuable lessons about navigating Sin City nightlife. Having arrived at Jet, a relatively new standout on the Strip, we found ourselves adrift in a scary sea of techno-addled club land denizens, comprised primarily of chunky Mexican dudes, Middle Eastern romeos rocking black eyeliner and sequined t-shirts, and the wide-ranging universe of bottle-service customers.

Sighing resignedly as I observed poor SWF being eagerly pursued by a painfully nerdy Pakistani lothario, I gazed around the club, trying desperately to discern where this evening would take us. Suddenly I spied what was, in that moment, the equivalent of a verdant oasis amidst the soaring dunes of the Namib: a gang of well dressed, clean-shaven gentlemen gathered 'round a few corner tables laden with bottles and mixers galore. I caught the eye of one of them, who promptly smiled and waved me over.

Sensing imminent salvation, I sprinted across the dance floor and was quickly ushered into their safe haven by a hulking, fedora-wearing, vaguely mystical bouncer by the name of Big Al. Which leads us to...
Lesson #1: In Vegas, you can rarely go wrong hanging out with the dudes who have the biggest, most badass man in the joint watching their backs. (Picture him as the jumbo Jay-Z to their collective Beyonce.)
Turns out they were all old high school friends from NY, reunited in Vegas for—what else—a bachelor party. Sweet, clear-eyed, funny, and articulate, they insisted that I rescue SWF from the Pak-man's lascivious clutches immediately and whisk her back to join the festivities. When they offered us a drink and we asked what they had, they paused, looked around at the veritable booze smorgasbord and replied, "!" We knew then that the night had taken a welcome turn for the better.
Lesson #2: When visiting Vegas from the Big Apple, you can also rarely go wrong hanging out with other New Yorkers. Sorry, haters—it's the simple truth.
SWF hit it off right away with Matt, an adorable, blue-eyed investment advisor with a glorious head of hair you could easily lose a phone in, who now lived in much so that when I turned around later she was parked the banquette as he treated her to a comical lap dance, shirt tails a-flyin' and hips gyrating (heavens!) as SWF laughed hysterically. Not to be outdone, she later returned the favor by throwing one of her magenta-legging-clad stems—complete with a four-inch-heel—straight up onto his shoulder, à la Cyd Charisse (well, if ol' Cyd had been a bit more randy), rendering him momentarily mute with awe. After regaining the power of speech, Matt unleashed possibly the most memorable quote of the trip, in reference to his amazement at the sheer chutzpah of the ladies of the night who swarm endlessly around the VIP sections of Vegas clubs: "I may be a man of few virtues, but I've never paid for sex." Well put.
Lesson #3: For all the random and ultimately meaningless encounters had in Vegas, it's worth staying in touch with those capable of these kinds of witticisms, as they are few and far between.
The evening ended with a few more cocktails back at Mandalay Bay, with Matt and his friend Steve, where another casanova with no game told SWF she looked like "Jane Fonda...but younger and hotter."

There, in a fitting finale to our zany few days in this singular city, we observed a very intoxicated gentleman whirling around the dance floor in what looked like a native ritual dance born deep within the Amazonian rain forest: hunching close to the ground, arms raised over his head with hands splayed and fingers pointed forward, "Shazam!"-style, he swayed violently from side to side like...well, a drunken Amazonian shaman, occasionally kicking one leg out to the front like a Russian Cossack ( was a rather global dance, come to think of it) as he spun around in a wildly imperfect circle, repeatedly losing his balance and crashing to the ground or into a nearby booth. Look out—he's one wild and crraaaaaazy guy! SWF added to the hilarity when Matt suggested she start a David v. Goliath-esque dance-off (if David had been a Frankendrunk) with the silly sloshed soul.

The literal kicker: A week later, I saw the very same man at a party at the Four Seasons restaurant back in New York, swilling champagne like it was going out of style and presumably getting ready to roll out the routine once more.
Lesson #4: Careful, kids—what happens in Vegas doesn't stay in Vegas after all.

Friday, October 3, 2008

War and Pizza

I thought I always appreciated people who contemplate and struggle to grasp the meaning of life…until last weekend.

A dancer friend invited me to a show at New Dance Group, which featured one of her students. I had no idea what to expect until I showed up and read the front of the program: “Shifters: a physical theater performance that shifts us from the love of power to the power of love.”

Oh boy.

I read on while I waited for my friends to arrive.

Program: Shifters is an insalata mista of dance, drama, video and music that offers a compelling visceral, verbal and kinesthetic account of the constantly changing world we live in.

Me: Um…Wha?

Program: It is about the vision of an unstable world in a state of constant flux, cyclically moving back and forth from the poles of disintegration and recreation.

Me: Oh dear.

Program: The dance places the individual as creator of a new myth—a myth of cooperation, rather than competition, of networks rather than markets, of sustainability rather than exploitation, of unity rather than fragmentation.

Me: Oh Christ. If only Special K were here with me to see this, and not canvassing the city looking for another goddamn place to get a blowout.

Program: Suppose money plays chess against love…We are entering the “jump time” when every given is literally up for grabs: Negotiation or vengeance. Synthesis or opposition. Peace or war.

Me: Jump time! (Giggling to self uncontrollably.)

The performance did not disappoint. Dancers covered in black and white sheets in a chessboard formation flailed and flopped about on the floor like fish on land, twisting the black and white sheets into a tangle of—you guessed it!—symbolic gray. Two girls holding giant opposing chess boards overhead—one covered in rose petals, the other in crumpled fake dollar bills—had an uber-modern version of a dance-off while footage of sands through the hourglass rolled on the backdrop, culminating with the choreographer/director/star dancer crying dramatically, while writhing on the floor, “I choose…LOVE!” Each segment ended with a similarly profound statement (e.g. “I choose…peace!”).

After 60 minutes of…this, I started to get hungry. I looked at my watch for the 300th time. Only 15 minutes to go!

Right then the entire cast entered stage left with a super-sized chessboard topped with an arrangement of red, white, yellow and pink rose petals. But from the back of the dark room to a hungry and deliriously bored me, it looked like…pizza. Mhmmm.

I choose…PIZZA!” I declared in a stage whisper to my equally amused friends—a little too loudly, apparently, as a handful of people in the two rows in front of us turned around. Oops.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Single Weird Female (Day #2 in Vegas)

Following a sufficiently wild first night in Sin City, we dragged ourselves out of bed Saturday morning and reluctantly schlepped our gear over to Mandalay Bay, where we were spending that evening, as hotel rooms at the Hard Rock were going for $600. (Ahhhhh, capitalism.) After a hearty meal and a spin around the gaming floor, we decided it time to embark upon one of Vegas's most fascinating rights of passage: a weekend afternoon at the hotel pool. Donning our swimsuits and lathering up with some 150 ounces of sunblock each, we headed to the sun-and-sand (and sun, and some more sun) playland known as the Mandalay Bay beach complex.

Owing to SWF's notably fair complexion , we thought it best to eschew the conventional poolside perch, as the typical Vegas tan wasn't the look we were really going for. We did take a quick stroll around the grounds, though, perusing the hotel's much-talked-about wave pool. Walking along its edge, we were suddenly almost knocked off our feet by a giant swell. Regaining her footing, SWF stared down at her silver Jack Rogers leather sandals, now thoroughly soaked through. "Uhhhhhh...I don't think these are waterproof," she said, resignedly. Oh dear--the intense heat was melting her brain! Fearing SWF might burst into flames at any moment, I whisked her into the pool bar and, peering around anxiously, spied what appeared to be the one (1) seating area in this sun-scorched wasteland that lay in a sliver of shade. Bingo. We dove onto it with cocktails in hand, ignoring the sweaty tank tops and other male detritus littered about. Soon, the stuff's owners, a pair of dudes from L.A., materialized and joined us. After exchanging a few pleasantries, we learned that one, whose name was Luke, was a porn producer/actor/man-about-town (shocker!) in the city of angels. Despite his rather unseemly line of work, he was surprisingly sweet, though he talked rather slowly and about nothing of interest. He seemed slightly fascinated by us...likely because we didn't really look anything like most of the other girls. Surveying SWF up and down, his brow knitted in concentration, he decided to speak freely.

" kind of...a...weird...person," he said to SWF.

"Really?" she replied sweetly. "Whatever gave you that idea?" Clad in a teeny, DEEP V-neck black bathing suit from Diesel, pale as an English rose, with short, spiky red hair and giant pink wraparound Prada sunglasses, SWF did indeed appear to be from...well, out of town.

After some perfunctory contact-detail-exchanging and meaningless discussion of plans for that night, we returned to the A/C'd respite of our room. While SWF swan-dived into bed for a disco nap, I made an emergency appointment to get a blowout in preparation for the evening's festivities. In retrospect, I can't believe I did that...but my hair did look nice.