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Relatively Speaking

Jordan | Out & About | Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

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When Woody Allen, Ethan Coen, Elaine May and (director) John Turturro team up for a series of one-act plays, you’re damn right I’m gonna try & get my parents to buy me tickets.

Steve Guttenberg, Julie Kavner, Richard Libertini (look him up, you know him, trust me), Mark Linn-Baker, Marlo Thomas, the guy who played Sy Ableman, Danny Hoch and other That Guys appear in this not-quite-memorable night of theater. Woody’s one is the best, but it is just nonstop zing, not much of a real story. About a decade ago I saw a similar event, swapping out Ethan Coen for David Mamet. That one, I think, had a little more going on.

One Of The More Pretentious Art Exhibits You Are Likely To See

Jordan | Out & About,Tales Of Hoffman | Saturday, December 29th, 2007

There are a bunch of dead goats and bottles of pills cluttering up the Lever House gallery right now. It is called “School: The Archeology of Lost Desires, Comprehending Infinity, and the Search For Knowledge” care of Mr. Damien Hirst and it is just gross enough to not even be funny.

Russian National Orchestra at Avery Fisher Hall

Jordan | Out & About | Tuesday, March 7th, 2006

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Tchaikovsky kicks ass. Avery Fisher Hall is a hot 60s architecture time warp. (Same goes with the posters in the basement – totally frickin hot.) Vodka martinis are terrific, especially when bought for you by friends. And Tchaikovsky kicks ass.

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Adam’s Asia Adventures

Jordan | Out & About | Sunday, March 5th, 2006

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The great Adam Levbarg and his lovely S.O. Eva have started leg one of their 6 month journey — Los Angeles to Taipei. You can follow their travels on their new blog.

My favorite story is from Day Three — and I think this will be fascinating, even if you don’t know Adam:

I experienced my most profound case of culture shock the other day when Eva’s friend and former junior high school teacher asked me to speak in English to her class so that they could have some experience speaking with a foreigner. Although Taiwan is ethnically diverse with Japanese, aboriginal and ethnic Chinese minorities, there are still very few western people here, and this is especially so in the smaller towns like Taya. Eva related to me her first experience as a child seeing a Westerner as something of a strange combination of wonder and intense curiosity. She had prepared me for the fact that people would stare at me, however at Eva’s junior high school, it went beyond staring. I was a superstar.

As I would walk past open classroom windows, dozens of students would turn their heads and stand up, yelling heavily accented “Hello!”s and “How are you!”s and then giggle wildly before I could respond. One classroom burst out into loud applause and uncontrolled laughter when I said back to them in Chinese “Very well, thank you.” Most students however appear to be quite shy, and would never have the courage to speak with a foreigner outside of the safety of their student enclave. Consider this history when I walked into a classroom full of uniform-clad 13 and 14 year olds (see photo). I spoke for 40 minutes, with Eva serving as translator. They asked me about what I thought of Taiwan, what sports I played (I said miniature golf, and the concept fascinated them), and whether or not I liked stinky tofu (see photo). One girl proudly declared that her favorite food was McDonalds, and I found out later from Eva that telling her I did not eat at McDonald’s was a confusing blow as she was most likely trying to impress me with her love of American food.

The bell rang, class ended. The students did not want to leave. About a third of the class pulled out their camera phones and in an instant I was bombarded with a cloud of notebooks, arms shoving pens and pieces of paper at me as they clamored for my autograph. Several people wanted real photographs with me and I posed for the teacher who took three group pictures with the kids pushing in to try and get closer to me.

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Strange Plates V: Strange Journey

Jordan | Out & About | Sunday, February 26th, 2006

You’ll recall the Hatian Strange Plates I, the Thai Strange Plates II, but Ann and I missed excursion III (Ghananese in the Bronx) and IV (Italian in Dyker Heights). Excursion V was a trip to the vaguely French Aesop’s Tables in (please inhale) Staten Island! (Now exhale in shock!) We had to ferry, then cab. (We bussed it back to the ferry, and coulda done so there if we knew where we were going.)

I didn’t take that many photos of the food (the setting was too nice for that behavior) and most of my shots on the Ferry came out blurry. But anyway –

Welcome to New York! Here are your guides. From L-R: Tony DiSante, Mahalia Stines, Jordan Hoffman, Mark Levy, Sean Parrot, Gideon Levy, Andy Sydor.

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Kim is freezing.

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Rob is freezing.

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Before the ferry I made mine a Guinness at the White Horse. No not that White Horse. This White Horse.

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Ann vogues at the White Horse.

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And here are the snails that I ate. Yum factor 12.

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Denise’s Mad Scientist Laboratory

Jordan | Out & About | Saturday, February 25th, 2006

Last time I went to the Met I called up Denise to see if I could see her place of employ. After entering through the basement and going through many secret hallways lined with dusty books and thousands of cryptically labeled artifacts (well, not really, but play along) we went to the paper conservancy lab.

Here is Denise hard at work doing what she does.

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This piece had been eaten away by critters and needed some mending.

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This is a book about the Amistad rebellion from 1840 that needed some touching up.

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The big hose is called an elephant trunk. It provides light and sucks up vapors and smells if you are using chemicals with your paper repair.

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Caution: Art Below! With all of today’s technology, sometimes ya just have to stick your piece under a heavy rock and wait.

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This microscope is looking at a page from a many-centuries-old Islamic manuscript. The detail of this work is staggering, there are artistic touches the naked eye will never see at first glance. When this piece will be put up, magnifying glasses will be available to museum-goers.

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More hardware.

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Denise stands before one of the pieces she restored as part of the Pearls of the Parrot of India: The Emperor Akbar’s Illustrated “Khamsa,” 159798 exhibit. Try and check it out — alas, it closes soon!

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Maxine Steinman and Dancers at the Harkness Dance Festival

Jordan | Out & About | Friday, February 24th, 2006

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I can’t say I know a lot about modern dance. In fact, it is surely the artform I have the least amount of exposure to, that’s why I wanted to go see some. There were three short pieces and one long one as part of “Window Stories,” performed by the Maxine Steinman and Dancers group. The first one was very graceful and interesting. I found myself thinking, “hey, this is really terrific! I’m so glad I’m here!” The evening then degenerated into what basically felt like a bunch of people rolling around on the floor.

Now — I don’t know if it actually became worse as time went on, or just that my tolerance level is very low because I didn’t know what I was looking at. All I know is that if all I saw were the first 20 minutes, I’d be screaming about how great this was. The truth is, last night, I was offering prayers up to every known deity for the show to finally, finally end. And eventually, the people on the stage stopped rolling around on the floor and took a bow. Whew.

One thing I can say for sure is that the Indonesian restaurant Bali Nusa Indah continues to impress. I’ve been there many times, but they kicked it up a notch. The group of us shared 3 apps, 3 main courses and a “side dish” which was the same size as a main course. Everything was terrific. How does Indonesian food differ from, say, Thai? Basically, things are a little wetter. That’s the main factor. And string beans. I like string beans! Anyway, I see myself going back there again. We all ate a tremendous amount, had beers, and got out of there only $22 lighter.

Ed Koch at MCNY

Jordan | Out & About | Friday, February 24th, 2006

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This picture had the caption “On St. Patrick’s Day, call me O’Koch. At the Puerto Rican Day parade, call me Eduardo.”

Finally made it to the Ed Koch exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York. Like Koch himself, it is very entertaining. Will we ever have another mayor like him? In terms of policy, actually, we do. His name is Mike Bloomberg. In terms of ‘tude, I don’t see it happening any time soon.

While at the museum, be sure to check out the wild exhibit called Transformed by Light, which documents illumination in New York as well as a fine collection of NYC photographs from 1925-1940 by Samuel H. Gottscho

Mid February Photo Dump

Jordan | Out & About | Saturday, February 18th, 2006

You can get this nifty banana slicer at Cereality.

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The great Adam Levbarg paid us a visit from Los Angeles, with his lovely female companion Eva. Here they are with Adam’s Brooklynite sister Missy.

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Here are some of the insane fancy chocolates Ann got at Marie Belle in Soho. The passion fruit and earl grey are very tasty. Not so much the saffron. Although I recognize the design elements, I think I prefer Leonidas for specialty chocolate.

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Not grape juice. Not grape soda. Grape drink.

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Ann at Mona’s. Just taken last night!

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That weird building on 9th Ave and, like, 15th. I could probably look it up in one of my books to find out its name and who designed the add-on and maybe even some groovy fact about it. But that dedicated to blogging I am not.

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Brokeback Enterprise.

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No one asked for this, but here I am during the recent snowstorm.

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Missy marvels at how many mushrooms there are!

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Finally — a step by step of what actually goes down at Cereality.

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Dinner and a Show

Jordan | Out & About | Wednesday, February 15th, 2006

I fully endorse the well-reviewed Cafe Asean on West 10th between Greenwich and Patchin Place, under the ominous shadow of the Jefferson Market Courthouse. You kinda forget how spooky that thing looks at night.

Anyway, Asean is a “fusion” restaurant of various South Asian cuisines. All I know is that it was awesome from the plum wine to the wild mushroom dumplings to the coconut chicken to the red peper flank steak. And not that expensive, all things considered.

We then ambled through the West Village, passing the Northern Dispensary and the 55 Bar, to the Lucille Lortel Theater. The show was called the Wooden Breeks by Glen Berger. It was a good play — a surreal scottish town with a lighthouse keeper who has never left the lighthouse, a tavern-owner who refuses to sell alcohol, and a gravedigger who is also a graverobber. Wackyness ensues when a travelling saleswoman comes with bells to attach to coffins in case of accidental burial. The costumes, lighting and minimal props are extremely innovative. But, as is so often the case, the damned thing is about 40 minutes too long. I recommend the play, but, you know, it’s a play, so get ready for a little ass-ache along with the delights of stagecraft.

Red Room. Over There

Jordan | Out & About | Tuesday, January 24th, 2006

This was the only worthy thing in the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia. The current show, Gone Formalism, is a disaster. And the other thing (a 3-D “Don’t Tred on Me”) is idiotic.

However, this constructed space of oddness has an otherness and a negative capability that I found quite confounding and intriguing and . . .well. . .you know. . .

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Wandering Around Philly, Jan ’06

Jordan | Out & About | Tuesday, January 24th, 2006

Across the Skoo-kul River. (I can’t spell it the way it is actually spelled.) This is kind’ve a dopey river anyway. It separates Philadelphia from. . . Philadelphia! Shouldn’t rivers be used as, like, borders??

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The U Penn Class of ’23 presents the most fantastically modern and bland skating rink. Look closely and you’ll see Judy Jetson practicing her twirls.

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We snuck into some U Penn classrooms. You can tell it is an ivy league school because of all the difficult equations on the board. Kerry, can you translate this?

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In the basement to another U Penn building (they’re so smart there, but they never think to lock the doors!) we found some kick-ass old lookin’ reel-to-reel players and TVs!

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The side of the stadium.

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The other side of the tracks. And the TRACK!

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Rah Rah Rah! This is the place where rich guys get to bang into one another so they can gripe about their old football injuries later in life.

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Philly at night.

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You Spin Me Right Round, Baby, Right Round.

Jordan | Out & About | Monday, January 16th, 2006

Ann and I remember the Alamo.

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Bellissima!

Jordan | Out & About | Monday, January 16th, 2006

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Sibby and her $18 shades are ready for the Cote D’Azur! Or the blinding lights of the mall!

Gandhi: A Man of Non-Violence, a Restaurant with Bad Service

Jordan | Out & About | Saturday, January 14th, 2006

When Ann & I first moved to 30th Ave in Oct of ’04 we were excited by the quaint-looking Indian restaurant Gandhi. We are both very fond of Indian food. Within a few weeks she went there with a friend and came home with a significant horror story. A roach, and not a small one, was found walking across the table. When they told the waiter, he apologized, made a half-assed attempt to find the sucker, and didn’t offer them a free drink. So we boycotted the place. But tonight I really wanted Indian food, and we figured since it was over a year ago, we’d give it a shot.

We were the only ones there when we came in (7 pm on a Saturday) and were seated at a central table. It was Ann who noticed it first — the tablecloth was wet. Not quite soaking, but more than damp. As in it just came out of the washing machine. “Well, at least this way we know it is clean.” Thing is, it was making my legs cold. I tried tucking it back under itself, I tried covering my knees with my napkin. I figured it wasn’t the worst thing in the world, so we wouldn’t complain. Even though the tablecloth next to us was dry.

Three other couples dropped in during the next ten minutes or so, so this made me feel better. The menu had a whole section devoted to Baltis, which are a reigonal (north-west) specialty. I’d never heard of a Balti before, but I figured why not? I ordered the Chicken Balti.

And it was good! A little bland, but a little of the red onion chutney spiced it up. I liked it so much I was halfway through it before I realized that it wasn’t what I ordered. There was no chicken in my Chicken Balti. (Who knows, it may not have even been a Balti?) It was basically a collection of vegetables, chick peas and spices.

So this is the hand God has dealt us. We have one reasonable-looking Indian restaurant (there’s another nearby called Meghna, but that place looks scary) and there are either a) cockroaches running across your table or b) ice cold tablecloths and incorrect dishes. Karmically, we musta screwed up somewhere.

Frequency at the Studio Museum in Harlem

Jordan | Out & About | Wednesday, January 4th, 2006

The Studio Museum in Harlem has a lot going on in this wild and original group show. My favorite were the drawings by someone named Zoe Charlton. There are about six or eight drawings that unsettlingly mixed sexy women with Klan iconograpy. Observe:

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A poster and trailer of would-be action film “Dirrrty Harriet Tubman” from Michael Paul Britto was pretty entertaining, too.

One of the best things about the Studio Museum is that it is just a block from Manna’s Soul Food. Art always looks better after some collards.

New Year’s Eve, 2005

Jordan | Out & About | Tuesday, January 3rd, 2006

As is often the case when I am having a good time, I forget to take pictures. So these images represent a five minute window of the New Year’s Eve party when I was actually snapping shots. I only got shots of about half the people who actually attended, so don’t feel bad if you aren’t represented.

A round-up of shout-outs, though:

Hats off to Rozger for making the punch.
Hats off to Jan and Beth for being the last to leave. Beth’s quote was, “5:03? I thought it was, like, 2 am!”
Hats off to Repsher for the empanadas idea.
Hats off to Deborah, Leslie and Denise for dancing the Charleston.
Hats off to the Squirrel Nut Zippers for recording Charelston-friendly music.
Hats off to Alejandro Jodorowsky for making a great wallpaper movie that isn’t “Tron” or “Koyanisqaatsi.”
Hats off to Cristin and Shappy for bringing doughnuts.
Hats off to Tien for bringing the Single Malt Scotch that I quickly hid in the back for no one to open.
Hats off to Jurgen for giving us a trans-Atlantic call from Berlin, even if it was at 8 pm when no one was here yet.
Hats off to Andrew, Kathy and Haydee for coming to a party when they basically didn’t know anybody.
Hats off to Kim for coming even though she had a cold.
I’m forgetting some stuff, I’m sure, but I can’t forget the most important shout-out of all. . . .
. . . Hats off to Ann for making the killer Red Beans & Rice and making EVERY night here at the pad feel like New Year’s Eve!!!!

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And here’s what I had to wake up to in 2006. Next time I make people take their trash with them!

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Papa Bear Comes Home — George Hoffman at the Village Vanguard

Jordan | Out & About | Wednesday, December 21st, 2005

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George Hoffman hadn’t been to the Village Vanguard since Lyndon Johnson was president. He was there to see Thelonious Monk and wound up sitting at a table right next to then local celebrity Lew Alcindor.

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As has been the case every Monday night since the mid-60s, it was the house band tonight. This was at one time known as the Mel Lewis and Thad Jones Big Band, but since their demises it is now just known as the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra. Either way, they are outstanding.

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It truly is amazing how many bald white men were listening to this music Monday night.

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This ain’t make-it-up-as-you-go free jazz. Dig these charts.

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Hoffmans senior and junior were shocked and amazed at the great music they heard.

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