Elizabeth Nolan Brown // Blog

media. music. feminism. food. city-dwelling. story-telling. and other things.

Curio: 3/5/11

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Later at the Chelsea Piers, alternating between kissing and shouting at each other, the afternoon sun doing the same with the water before us, no one seemed to mind at all that we were occupying a bench spilling tequila all over, and why would they? The city does what it’s supposed to sometimes.


I have to believe in love, or something akin to it, for the same reasons Schliemann had to believe in Troy. The stories are there. The architecture is conceivable. And the doubters are less interesting thatn the partisans.

Those are two selections from a weird, lovely little book—the kind of lightweight, whispy little thing you can take with you in your purse or pocket and not feel like an ass reading at the bar while you wait for your friend, or while you wait for no one—called Please Take Me Off The Guest List. It’s a collection of essays by writer/Fresh Kills’ singer/Beauty Bar bartender Zachary Lipez and photographs by Yeah Yeah Yeahs guitarist Nick Zinner, designed by Stacy Wakefield and published by Akashic books.

For a different view of Brooklyn, check out City Limits’ “Brooklyn Issue,” which features a 5-part piece looking at “the borough behind the brand.” Or check out Phoebe Maltz’s post, “Of Brooklyn’s old, new and international,” which is the kind of Phoebe post that makes me think yes, yes, yes, this is why I always keep Phoebe in my important g-reader folder. Phoebe laments “the ever-growing canon of travel advice not exactly aimed at hipsters, but that conflates ‘where the hipsters are’ with ‘where one finds local color.'”

The old-as-time popularity of telling people how to find ‘off the beaten path’ restaurants, of how to (as is written, preposterously, on the side of tourist vans near Battery Park City) “Come a tourist, leave a local,” has morphed into a kind of parallel tourist industry, in which there’s an assumption that everyone’s looking for pretty much the same thing around the world, namely the equivalent of Williamsburg or Wicker Park of whichever locale they may find themselves in. This is the real-life travel equivalent to the street-style blogs depicting identically-quirkily dressed 20-and-30-somethings, whose locales one can only discern from their ethnicity. (Naturally platinum blond and in the ’70s-inspired uniform-of-the-moment? Helsinki. Dark hair and a rockin’ post-army bod in the same outfit? Tel Aviv.)

It’s precisely this approach that sends tourists in Paris – Paris! – to the Canal St. Martin area, which is good and well but… the 6th and 7th Arrondissements! The Seine! One doesn’t go to Paris for hipsters who happen to speak French and own a bit more striped stuff. One goes for the beautiful everything, for the 60-ish women who look like a young Catherine Deneuve, for the bichons frises with their own chairs in a café.

Freddie is also being unabashedly Freddie right now on his blog, railing against the “distorting influences” of DC cocktail parties on media and politics. It’s all a bit hysterical, and intense (“every new breed is a purer expression of corruption than the one that came before.,” but sends you wandering strange thought-holes nonetheless, and makes you question your own assumptions about things a bit, or look at your own culpability, or something. It will make you think about something, and that is why one reads Freddie. I think I will have more to say about it in a bit, but—California! How does anyone stay inside here?


Written by Elizabeth

March 4, 2011 at 6:01 pm

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