Remember when a tweeter was just part of your nice hi-fi speaker? Well, things have changed, indeed. Fork in the Road is one the newfangled kind of tweeters, using computers and electricity to send out our posts. If you’d like to follow along, well, all you have to do is sign up. We’ll tip you to the joys of ogling brisket and the virtues that can be found in boxed wine, among many other food-ish pleasures.
Are you familiar with Twitter? If not, it’s like a brief mimeograph with no smell that you can send to people you know using your computer. We Twitter here at Fork in the Road. In fact, we Twitter quite a lot. If you’d like to get these “tweets,” as we sometimes call them, then just sign up to follow us at ForkintheRoadVV. Maybe you’ll learn about a beer with an alluringly high alcohol content. Or, if you like the word “high” in that last sentence, you can follow our recipe for making brownies with marijuana. Not that we’d endorse such a thing, of course, since it could lead to tooth cavities.
Former Czech Republic president and noted playwright Vaclav Havel has died. According to a brief statement by the Czech Consulate in New York, Havel died in his sleep on Sunday at the age of 75, while at his country house in the Czech town of Hrádeček in Bohemia. Prior to the fall of communism in Czechoslovakia, Havel had been a longtime dissident. He was a leader in the Velvet Revolution of 1989, and subsequently became the nation’s democratically elected president. He served 14 years in that office.
Havel was a playwright of international renown. Of his many plays produced in New York, three won Obie Awards: 1968’s The Memorandum, 1970’s The Increased Difficulty of Concentration, and 1984’s A Private View. Tomorrow, Village Voice critic Michael Feingold looks back at Havel in our theater section.
For more Village Voice news, follow us at Running Scared.
This coming Monday, CUNY’s Martin E. Segal Theatre Center takes a look back at the work of avant-garde theater maker Reza Abdoh, who died at the age of 32 in 1995. His visceral, elaborate extravaganzas—staged by his company Dar a Luz—were some of the most ambitious and memorable work produced in 1990s New York. The retro’s Part 1 begins at 10 a.m. with video screenings of Abdoh’s Bogeyman (1991), Law of Remains (1992), Tight Right White (1993), plus selections from early video work. At 4:30 p.m., former Abdoh collaborators Tony Torn, Peter Jacobs, and Tom Pearl read sections of Quotations From a Ruined City (1994). At 6:30 p.m., there’ll be two panels, one about Dar a Luz’s collaborative process, featuring Anita Durst, Juliana Francis-Kelly, Tom Pearl, and Tal Yarden, among others; Elinor Fuchs and James Leverett host. The second panel, chaired by Norman Frisch, will discuss Abdoh’s aesthetics, and feature Richard Foreman, Michael Counts, Caden Manson, Jim Findlay, and Marc Arthur.
Martin E. Segal Theatre Center, The CUNY Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Avenue. The event is free.
Downtown stalwart the Ohio Theatre, forced out of its longtime home at 66 Wooster Street last year, has announced that its new Christopher Street location in the Archive Building will be called The New Ohio Theatre. Aptly enough.
They’ve also announced that the first season in their new space, which seats 72, will officially begin on October 7, with the production of Erica Fae and Jill A. Samuels’s Take What Is Yours. The fall will then continue with Joseph Gallo’s Two-Man Kidnapping Rule, beginning October 29, and with David Jenkins’s Post Office, which debuts on November 30.
For those interested in checking out the new locale a little earlier than that, and consuming some alcoholic beverages while doing so, the theater will be hosting an open house party on Friday, September 23, beginning at 8 p.m. Details on the season and event can be found at sohothinktank.org
In Francis Levy’s rather hilarious new novel Seven Days in Rio, an American C.P.A. named Kenny Cantor goes on vacation in Rio de Janeiro to indulge his life-long love of the sex trade. But in Levy’s phantasmagorical satire, Rio is a place where virtually every woman is a prostitute, or as Kenny likes to call them, a “Tiffany.” Levy follows Kenny’s misadventures in this comically exaggerated world, exploits that also manage to serve up a withering satire of Lacanian psychology (among other schools o’ shrinkage). Maybe the funniest American novel since Sam Lipsyte’s The Ask.
Chief among the critics of David Wojnarowicz’s A Fire in My Belly, late of the National Portrait Gallery, is Catholic League president Bill Donohue, a much-too-familiar name in culture battles such as this one. Which had us wondering: Just what does a professional blowhard get paid these days? Well, since the Catholic League is a non-profit organization and has to make its IRS tax form 990 public, we found out the answer. According to the organization’s 2009 tax forms, which Donohue himself signed off on last May, he earned a $342,500 salary, plus another $56,656 in retirement and other deferred compensation, for a tidy annual total of $399,156. Sign us up!
Morning Joe‘s Willie Geist, our favorite TV co-host, has written a book. (Apparently they do indeed teach typing at Vanderbilt.) American Freak Show: The Completely Fabricated Stories of Our New National Treasures, out this week from Hyperion, offers up 19 comic pieces, satirical imaginings such as Sarah Palin’s inaugural address, TV coverage of the Kim Jong-Il Celebrity Golf Tournament, and some Blago wiretap transcripts that have yet to see the light of day.
We thought we’d take advantage of Willie’s moment in the literary spotlight, so tore him away from a party at Andrew Wylie’s and sent him along a few questions–about food and his Morning Joe cohorts Joe Scarborough, Mika Brzezinski, and Mike Barnicle.
You have to get up extremely early. What’s your daily eating cycle like?
I wake up at 3:30 a.m. every morning, so I don’t have a lot of time to think about breakfast. I usually roll out of bed, take a quick shower, and just whip up something easy–maybe a pan-roasted Monkfish in a turnip-ginger emulsion using the recipe from Le Bernardin. I wash that down with a pouch of Capri Sun and head out the door. The upside of my ungodly schedule is that hip New York restaurants tend to have plenty of good tables available for 10:30 a.m. lunch and 5 p.m. dinner. Dear Lord, I’m a loser.
Who has the oddest eating habit on Morning Joe?
Mika eats like a delicate fawn, nibbling at plants and nourishing herself primarily with salt licks. The rest of us are not bashful about enjoying the fruits of our daily delivery of complimentary Starbucks products. And by “fruits” I mean “giant pastries.” If you can find a flakier, more buttery croissant anywhere, I’ll give you a free Cat Stevens CD from the Starbucks “Random Music We Leave Out by the Register” collection.
As a father, what have you learned about kids and food?
That their table manners are utterly egregious. My 15-month-old son employs the time-tested “Rake ‘n’ Smash” method, where he rakes in every last piece of food on the highchair tray, smashes it into a pulp with a series of quick blows, then stuffs the resulting purée into his toothless pie hole all in a single handful. It’s primitive, and actually quite scary to watch.
They also display a complete lack of respect for the feelings of the chef. Their critiques are swift, certain, and often quite cruel. Just imagine Bobby Flay making the rounds at one of his restaurants and having guests spit the Corn and Crab chowder back in his face, hurl his spice-rubbed steaks across the room, or perhaps most offensively, rub creamed spinach in their own hair. What an odd way to protest a free meal.
Do the bartenders at P.J. Clarke’s have a nickname for Barnicle?
They call him “Ole Stiffy.” Not because he likes a stiff drink, but because he stiffs the bartenders on the tip every time he spends a long afternoon pounding Shirley Temples and griping loudly about the lack of respect he gets around the office.
What restaurant is Joe mostly likely to take Arianna Huffington to?
It would have to be somewhere Greek in honor of Arianna, and Joe is a man who likes the finer things in life. So probably the souvlaki street-meat cart on Sixth Avenue.
What has frequent Morning Joe guest Andrew Ross Sorkin taught you about tipping?
As much as I love Andrew personally, I generally don’t understand what he’s talking about. So if he mentioned something about tipping it happened well after I’d zoned out during his explanation of credit default swaps. While he’s talking financial gobbledygook and dropping names of all the Wall Street CEOs he spent the weekend with in Davos, I’m usually daydreaming about what C.C. Sabathia might have had for lunch, or wondering why they ever canceled Twin Peaks.
If it was your job to take Rick Sanchez out to dinner to make him feel better, where would you go?
I don’t know Rick, but actually I’d bet he’s a fun guy to have a meal with. I’d take him back inside the belly of the beast and go to Masa in the Time Warner Center. We’d each have the $500 prix-fixe lunch and charge it to CNN’s house tab. Then we’d catch a carriage ride at Columbus Circle and see where the day took us.
OK, folks, here it is: our critically autocratic and methodologically suspect rankings of the New Yorker‘s 2009 cartoonists.* We’ve trekked through the magazine’s world of cocktail swillers, bickering spouses, and talking bowling pins in an effort to determine who was best this past year at the vaunted art of the captioned doodle.
|1. Paul Noth||12||8||.600|
|2. John O’Brien||6||4||.600|
|3. Alex Gregory||5||5||.500|
|4. Drew Dernavich||7||8||.467|
|5. Danny Shanahan||10||12||.455|
|6. Kim Warp||5||6||.455|
|7. Robert Mankoff||7||9||.438|
|8. Bruce Eric Kaplan||15||20||.429|
|9. Zachary Kanin||15||22||.405|
|10. Barbara Smaller||7||11||.389|
|11. Robert Leighton||4||7||.364|
|12. Farley Katz||6||11||.353|
|13. Roz Chast||12||24||.333|
|14. Mick Stevens||6||14||.300|
|15. Christopher Weyant||3||7||.300|
|16. Matthew Diffee||5||12||.294|
|17. Tom Cheney||4||11||.267|
|18. Michael Crawford||5||14||.263|
|19. David Sipress||7||20||.259|
|20. Gahan Wilson||4||12||.250|
|21. P.C. Vey||6||20||.231|
|22. Jack Ziegler||7||29||.194|
|23. Charles Barsotti||5||21||.192|
|24. Leo Cullum||4||17||.190|
|25. William Haefeli||5||25||.167|
|26. Pat Byrnes||2||10||.167|
|27. Victoria Roberts||1||9||.100|
|28. Michael Maslin||1||11||.083|
|29. Frank Cotham||2||25||.074|
While Paul Noth deservedly takes top honors, following Danny Shanahan’s win in 2008, we’d like to have seen the talented Zachary Kanin finish even higher—the guy can be pretty great, but finished a bit down in the standings because of so many entries that didn’t quite measure up. More editing next year, sir!
In addition to our favorite cartoons, pictured at left, we were also quite fond of Noth’s February 9 & 16 “credit-default swaps” cartoon, as well as two by Bruce Eric Kaplan: his January 19 “fable” cartoon and his July 20 “Everyone’s a bottomless pit of something” cartoon.
Some lessons learned this year: Recession does not bring out the best in most satirists; Roz Chast continues to have problems delivering on her setups; and cats and dogs are apparently still different.
*Based on a minimum of 10 appearances. “Amusing percentage” ties went to the cartoonist with most good cartoons.
Our Fave 4 (click to enlarge):