Max Gordon’s memoirs of running the Village Vanguard from 1935 to 1980, when the book was written and the joint was still standing, is a fun, breezy, name-drop heavy read. His descriptions of the MacDougal St. scene in the 30s are fantastic — even back then hardcore Villagers were complaining that the neighborhood wasn’t what it used to be. The Vanguard started out as a poetry club, then a folk club (Leadbelly played race music!), then a comedy/review club (introducing the world to Judy Holliday and Comden & Green; later Woody Allen), then, finally, the legendary jazz club it is today. Through it all Max Gordon, try as he might to persuade you that he has a fondness for art (and, somewhere, he does) his true passion was this: the ringing of the cash registers. The hondler of all times this Max Gordon is. And with what glee does he tell you at such a price he can book a Harry Belafonte, a Dinah Washington, a Rahsaan Roland Kirk. Anyway, it’s a great little book you can finish in a couple of subway rides — there are some nice little anecdotes about Lenny Bruce and Charles Mingus and Miles that sound too good to be...Read More
Month: August 2005
I can neither access the Red Cross’ website or get through on the phone. CNN said they’ve raised $21 million in two days, beating the previous record (the Tsunami). But they need more dough. It’s a friggin’ mess down there, as you don’t need me to tell you. Of course, the Federal Gov’t would have a lot more dough — and National Guard — to send down their to help if we weren’t stealing oil in Iraq. . . but that’s another story. (Also — did I hear Bush right? Did he say something about the EPA waiving certain restrictions of oil refineries to keep the cost of gas down? Dude, we already have the cheapest gas in the world — isn’t global warming fucking up the Earth enough? Can’t we have expensive gas for a few months? Would it be so bad to take the fucking...Read More
Perhaps Almodovar’s most gleefully depraved film, “What Have I Done To Deserve This” gives a few weeks in the life of a speed-addict housekeeper with a Nazi-sympathizing husband; a drug-dealing, check-forging son; another son on the receiving end of a NAMBLA relationship; a mother-in-law who collects lizards, eats cupcakes and yearns to leave Madrid; a prostitute neighbor and another neighbor with a telekenetic daughter. And they’re all very lovable! And the wallpaper — Ay Dios...Read More
One of my favorite New York City films — imagine a cross between The Man Who Fell To Earth and Sweet Sweetback’s Baad Asssss Song. John Sayles is incapable of writing an uninteresting character or trite exchange of dialogue. He just can’t do it. One of the all time indie...Read More
Ann & I were invited to the Bohemian Beer Garden by Denise & Chris. Chris mugs (or is it muggs?) as shenanigans surround him. John eats a pickled tomato (from Guss’) as Amy whips out some travel Scrabble. Shappy eats a pickled tomato. Shappy plants one on Cristin. Hoffman plants one on Ann. As the sun went down we stopped by Cristin and Shappy’s, ostensibly to pick up Kerry’s copy of the Airport Tetralogy. But what we found was so much more: The VHS tapes include The Blob, Phantasm, Tootsie & The Brady Bunch. The red plastic device is, indeed, an 8-Track player. And here are the 8-Track tapes. Shappy, in Beneath The Planet of the Apes T-Shirt, shows off Darth Vader Slurpee cup. This is just the tip of the iceberg of the Pez Dispenser collection. Cristin holds a Borg cup holder in her left hand, a Twinkie the Kid “Twinkie” holder in her right. Icee Bear. Note Captain Caveman on the top right. To the left of him, Grimace. Note the New Kids on the Block piece on the bottom right. He-Man always uses a napkin. Note how the Star Trek triumvirate mirrors Homer’s three college roomates. This is, again, just a glimpse into how much care Shappy takes with his collection. The Meteor Man. No one remembers the Meteor Man. Tron, Duke from Doonesbury, NKOTB and...Read More
Jordan Hoffman is a New York-based writer and film critic working for The Guardian, Vanity Fair, Thrillist, Times of Israel, NY Daily News and elsewhere.
He is the host of ENGAGE: The Official Star Trek Podcast, a member of the New York Film Critics Circle and challenges you to a game of backgammon.