One of Lock's more heinous crimes against humanity is his ignorance of a defining part of Lower East Side culture: The rapidly-diminishing theater scene. Though wide-eyed new arrivals thrill to think they're breaking new ground when they move into the neighborhood, this letter from a founder of Surf Reality which is closing its doors after 10 years following a police raid for "operating a speakeasy" and a rent raise makes it clear who the real trailblazers were:
"[The police who raided the theater were in part] inspired by phone calls from some of our new neighbors who were wondering why all the people were hanging out here at 172 Allen St. All I can say is times have changed. When I first moved here 10 years ago, the basement here at 172 Allen St. was a brothel. Hookers trolled the corner, the traffic islands and the side streets. Where Bluestockings Books now resides was a "crack deli". The building was also home to a pawnshop with dubious ethics. Surf Reality was a kind of anchor store in a downtown mall for outlaws. In those days it was theoretically possible to sell some boosted goods at the pawn shop, cop a little blow in the deli, get a date in the basement and then go upstairs to see a show. Our first three years as a theater featured six DEA/NYPD raids on our downstairs "crack deli" neighbors. Usually while there was a show going on upstairs...
The hookers are gone now. The "crack deli" became a feminist bookstore and the brothel has morphed into a Mosque. The building next door that stood abandoned until last spring now features 400sq. ft. apartments at $1500 a month. Evidently the realtors failed to mention us..." Letter from Rob at Surf Reality, 2/29/03
From the tender age of 18 to 22, my comic strip "Tales From The Established Norm" ran in the school paper, and garnered some criticism from my friends, who felt that the storylines ran a bit too close to their own lives for comfort. They claimed, for instance, that the main character, Norm, bore a striking resemblance to me. (This is, of course, ridiculous. I have long hair, Norm had a pompadour.) They alleged that certain events happening in the strip love, breakups, facial hair, student elections, alcoholism, housing problems, bisexuality, failed classes, parole occurred in conjunction with their own similar experiences.
A quick examination of the facts shows how farcical these accusations are:
Honestly, I had no idea whatsoever that my ex-girlfriend was dating someone named "Kim" when the character "Kim" in the strip broke up with Norm to date his ex-girlfriend. Unlike Norm, at no point during college did I travel through time to battle evil clones of myself, nor was I ever kidnapped by an idiot who stripped me naked and strapped me to a table. There was never any scientific proof that the floor covering in my dorm room was a semi-sentient wall-to-wall carpet.
I'm pleased to have the chance to set the record straight. Looking back, though, I know what I may have done wrong, and how to correct it. Why bring this all up now? No particular reason...
Alexis heads out to Coney Island to file a radio report on Topsy, a 100-year-old electrocuted elephant. Listen (real audio). Jesse, back in the saddle after a long period of silence, grumps around the East Village. Dov grants an exclusive interview to About.com. Meanwhile, on the war front, Steele has remained conspicuously quiet after an initial show of defiance. Can Showdown: Lock be averted? Probably not.
I think we can all agree that the most important thing about any political debate is not who's right or wrong, but who has the best signage. With that in mind, I am pleased to present the jvg.com Protest Sign Awards for March 22-23, 2003:
MOST CONSONANT | Winner: Anti "Bush: Don't bag Baghdad for your bad dad." Go ahead, say it three times fast.
MOST GENITAL | Winner: Anti "Don't follow that Bush, find your own." Poses the question: Which is better, war on Iraq, or women masturbating? Where's the polling data on that, CNN?
MOST MUSICAL | Winner: Anti "Brahms not Bombs." I suppose the opposite position would be "Bach not Iraq".
MOST UNDERREPRESENTED | Winner: Anti "Corporate Lawyers Against War" One guy in a suit. The Daily News was interviewing him.
MOST STRAIGHTFORWARD | Winner: Anti "Bush is a fucking idiot." The best the pro-Bush folks could come up with to counter was "Bush is NOT a fucking idiot."
MOST EDUCATIONAL | Winner: Pro "Iraq is French for Hollywood." See, I didn't know that, because I never studied French.
MOST ROMANTIC | Winner: Pro "Saddam and Bin Laden Love War Protesters." Remind me to make this one into a bumper sticker and put it on my SUV.
FIGHT THE REAL ENEMY AWARD | Winner: Pro "$ for Freedom, Not the Board of Ed!" This on the heels of the announcement that the administration will be holding a nationwide bake sale to buy bombers.
(Gathered by jvg.com reporters on the scene in NYC, and other news media)
The atrocities continue: Lockhart Steele, in a desperate bid for power, has seized sole credit for Book of Ages at Amazon.com.
Rest assured, Steele, your evil deeds will not go unpunished. JVG.com enters this conflict reluctantly yet, our purpose is sure. To show you how serious we are, we've created a war header graphic (above) modeled on the inspirational efforts of our nation's executive branch web designers.
The JVG Security Council has unanimously voted to approve Resolution 1454 as regards the situation on the Lower East Side.
THE RESOLUTION IS PUT FORWARD:
WHEREAS Lockhart Steele, author of the eponymous weblog lockhartsteele.com, has for months on end been incessantly and with utter disregard for the welfare of his readers posting disinformation about the hotel under construction across the street from his house,
and WHEREAS he shows no signs of letting up until the goddamn things are built,
IT IS CLEAR TO THIS COUNCIL that said author of said website is in the process of developing a blog of mass annoyance. THEREFORE, we make the following demands:
1. Steele must immediately remove any and all references to The Lower East Side from his Blog.
2. All links to other sites require prior approval from jvg.com.
3. Steele must father sons and move to Iraq. Then, Steele and his sons have 48 hours to leave Iraq.
If Steele fails to immediately prove compliance with all of the relevant council resolutions in order to secure international peace and security, he will face serious consequences, commenced at a time of my choosing. All the decades of deceit and cruelty have now reached an end.
UPDATE (1:43pm): Now that the Resolution 1454 has been seconded by one other blogger, I can confidently announce that jvg.com has widespread global support for the war against Steele. Holed up in his Rivington Street bunker, a defiant Steele shows no signs of backing down.
Gosh, it looks like my old VCIX bosses are in trouble again. I feel for them, I really do. After all, we parted on amicable terms: They said they weren't happy with my "commitment to the team" and that I had a week to "prove myself," and I responded by demanding unilateral control of my department and a $20,000 raise. We compromised at two weeks severance, leaving me with fonder feelings towards them than the folks who stuck it out to the end and got completely shafted.
If you haven't yet been up to Kingston, NY to pick up your copy of today's Daily Freeman, then you missed this article, in which Public Defender William Myers fights for your right to euthanize bunnies with a baseball bat.
Is $689.01 (tax included) too much to pay for a full tune-up with neutral safety switch? Will such repairs allow a car to use gears other than reverse? These are the weighty conundrums with which your hapless author is currently obsessed.
Being the second in an ongoing series of rare and unpublished works by the author which, for one reason or another, were never presented to the public at large.
Title: "Penny for your thoughts" Date: Late 1998 Rejected from: Wisconsin Club Beer launch campaign Intended use: "Gentlemen's Club" in "It's not like other clubs" series of ads Reason rejected: Too risquι for Wisconsin
Time to put the kibosh on a few half-baked mumblings:
I did not accept $100,000 to debate Bob Dole on 60 Minutes. I am nothaving an affair withDrew Barrymore. I have not yetturned down the title role in the new Superman movie. My tearful rebuttal will not air on the Fox Network.
Honestly, I don't know how these things get started.
An exciting discovery: this report, filed twenty-one years ago today, may just be the first journalistic effort ever by the author.
My talents as a reporter a meticulous eye for detail ("a mildly cold good morning to you"), an unwavering devotion to accuracy ("On st Patricks day you can find four leaf clovers"), and a clever avoidance of unsubstantiated statements ("We might get our report cards") are are already well demonstrated.
Notable: My editor at the time called the effort "Super Excellent." Those who have called into doubt the authenticity of this comment based on the laughable theory that the words "super" and "excellent" are in vastly different handwriting, and the editor "Lynn" is unlikely to have referred to herself in the third person are simply jealous of my early success. The elegant full color illustration. The image a fat, unfashionable child finding a lopsided pot of gold outside his angry house must surely stand as one of the great ironic parables of our time. Metajournalism, ("News Flash: Today we wrote a news flash...") a decade before "meta" entered the popular lexicon. Can this mean that, at the tender age of seven I invented meta? The is no evidence to the contrary.
Looks like FlavorPill likes the Ninjas, whatever that happens to mean. In the very same issue, they plug Gawker. Co-incidence? Or does everyone in the world read jvg.com? The answer, if stats are to be believed, is no.
No Ass O'Barkeep (who holds forth on the subject of "gender bending cocktails" in this month's Elle Magazine) debunks another smoking ban workaround: Bar owners planning to collect money from smokers to cover the fines may find that the cost is higher than they think.
ACCORDING TO NAO'B: First Offense: "Around $100" Second Offense: "Something like $2,500" Third Offense: Lose Your Liquor License
We are showing Laura Bush the book in a convertible parked on a suburban street. The homes surrounding us are colorful, victorian we may be somewhat earlier than now. Dubya, emerging from the house across the street, points out numerous spelling errors does he have the pre-copy edit version? The back cover looks different. Dubya brings his new kitten; puffy, small, black and white. He puts it on the the girl in the back seat's lap and wanders off. I see him standing by my car, half a block back. I follow to make sure he isn't angry, his bio in the book is less than complimentary. He leaves when I get there. The car door is slightly ajar. I check inside; one of the crows has been strangled. Its corpse lies on the floor, dents in its neck feathers the shape of tightened fingers. The other crow is quiet. Dubya is walking away. | psychoanalyze this dream
Off this evening to duck behind the secret bookcase at Partners & Crime and into the 1950's W-WOW Radio Studio, where they'll perform episodes of the classic mystery series "Broadway is my Beat" and "The Saint." Fun. Mysterious. Highly recommended.
The girl turns her mother into an ice cube. I put it in the freezer to keep her from melting. The girl floats up the basement steps: her face is green, angry, rotting. Her father sits in the kitchen. Earlier or later, all of my parents play swimming pool volleyball with an ex-girlfriend. Game over: she is too busy to stay and chat. | psychoanalyze this dream