Rich Kids vs Richer Grown Ups: The Battle Rages On (NYU as "Purple Plague" Edition)

If you take away a single thing from this blog, I hope it is that I live an aspirational and enviable life of leisure involving cats, mass transit, and a lot of romantic delusion.  If you are ambitious and want to take away a second thing from this blog, I hope it is that  I love celebrities and almost everything they do.  And you guys, some celebrities are mad.  And like, hosting expensive dinners and readings to prove it. Tell me where in the Bobst Library elevator that the bearded man hugged you.

An article in New York Magazine this past week details how NYU, my alma mater and a vampire-octopus hybrid monster that bled my father dry for four years, is expanding rapidly into the hallowed streets of the Village.  I'm not sure if you've heard of this hidden real estate gem brimming with artists and intellectuals and bohemians, luxuriating in their own brilliance and body odor and heroin shakes because, well, if you read this, you're probably young AND THAT VILLAGE HAS NOT EXISTED IN DECADES BECAUSE RICH PEOPLE TOOK IT OVER.  But apparently a bunch of the creative rich people didn't get the memo and thought that if you're eating a 28 dollar burger next to cobblestone, it's all still quite Villagey.  And they'll be damned if they let rich CHILDREN that want to get an EDUCATION sully that experience.

For the record, I think the method and scope of the expansion is ridiculous and that John Sexton is an incubus that no one has ever seen in the same room as Hellboy (coincidence, I think not!)  But for a bunch of rich adults to be like "Ugh, the youth!" is more eyeroll-worthy than when dudes from Stern thought it was impressive that they were in the Pike fraternity.  You guys, you're not that fucking cool.  New York can be shared with aspirational teenagers too.  You know why? Because unless you're a native New Yorker and therefore untouchable in terms of coolness in my book (seriously, the natives have proper swagger like you wouldn't believe), you have to transplant here at some point.  Doing so at 18 puts you miles ahead the influx of post-grads and career movers in terms of getting acquainted with the city in a meaningful way and preventing future dick behavior that New Yorkers hate.

A lot of celebrities are in on this shit but these are the stand-outs:

She hates you.

Fran Lebowitz, a super smart lady that I rather like had this to say about it,  which was a huge bummer, "I personally don't feel universities add to the life of the city. Places where universities add to life had no life to begin with, seriously!" Ugh, HIGHER EDUCATION IS SO DULL AND UNIMPORTANT.  Yeah yeah, Fran, we know you worked with Andy Warhol and are a genius with a sweet vintage car. But homegirl, you grew up in Morristown, NJ.  Yeah, Fran.  I have Wikipedia.  You're not a native.  You don't get to shit on the teenagers that want to come here and do something kind of exciting as young people like live in a big fucking city and go to school with child actors and spend Campus Cash like it's the last day on Earth. (PS- I love you, please don't be mad at me.)

I have no idea what this is actually about.

I'm glad you're off junk, but you're still a jerk, PSH.

John Leguizamo (who is possibly just reprising his role from The Pest) is offering a chance to play basketball with him (bids start at $800!) and Philip Seymour Hoffman is offering a private acting class ($1,000) for the auction to fund action against the NYU expansion.  I saw a lot of both of these dudes during my NYU days, they seemed annoyed often so maybe it's just in their nature.  BUT THESE MOTHERFUCKERS WENT TO GODDAM NYU. It arguably got them the kind of education and experience they would need to succeed in an incredibly competitive business.  John's a native (so prob cool, I GUESS) so the move wasn't that big a deal but PSH is from the unholy land of Rochester, a frozen upstate hellscape that many young people still seek escape from in the form of quality university experiences at places like NYU.

I'm sure that all these cats have the line, "Oh, NYU was so different then. These rich kids aren't like we were. The Village was special then,  I gave Basquiat a handy and ate a hot dog made of rat meat," or whatever people say used to happen in New York.  Those stories don't make you sound cool.  Those stories just make you sound kind of old and bitter.

Yes, John Sexton is an overpaid hug monster from the deep. Yes, the expansion is too much.  But the emphasis of these complaints on it messing with your  neighborhood chill vibes and the fact that you have to endure the indignity of WALKING AROUND YOUNG PEOPLE ON THE STREET is ultra-lame and in total denial of the reality that the Village hasn't been anything but a rich artists' playground for decades.  Not to be all, "People are starving, man," but like, people in New York are actually starving.

Share the fucking cobblestone and pack up some rat meat sandwiches for the less fortunate, no one in New York needs another goddam acting lesson.

Trent Reznor, Word Play, and Grown Goths: A Night at Barclay's With Nine Inch Nails

On Monday, after a long day watching people make the same Columbus Day jokes all over social media, I was pleasantly surprised by a former roommate of mine who I haven't seen in years inviting me to see Nine Inch Nails and Godspeed! You Black Emperor at Barclay's. My text message confirmed politely that I would indeed like to attend, but on the inside I was saying this:

AJGINWVUOREBNgubw FUCK FUCK FUCK TRENT REZNOR IS IN CLOSE PROXIMITY  UEBOJGNROUTU #*%%% HHEHGAEFEBE ENNGRG= TTEHINRUNGNEGJRNorwn..311inLA.

I'm glad that you are here with me as I make the exciting foray from Common Blog Enthusiast to the much more exciting Concert Reviewer. 

You Can Have It All, My Empire of SHIRTS

Far and away the worst thing about the show was the point at which Trent Reznor changed from muscle tee to common t-shirt, hiding away the ripped lean muscle that he has been sporting over the past few years.  A series of searches like  "Trent Reznor Arms" and "Trent Reznor Workout" rendered only images from around 2007 when he was rocking a bit more dude-bro bulk like this:

trent-buff

So imagine the above but a little leaner and in a muscle tee and not that humiliating collared sleeveless button-down monstrosity.  I'll wait here....You got it?  GOLD, RIGHT?  SO you can imagine my disappointment when halfway through he was overcome with modesty and put on something with sleeves.  That or he was drenched in sweat from performing his ass off despite being 48 years old and having mountains of money and a smokin' hot wife at home.  He does this for THE FANS, you guys.

 Pretty BABE Machine

For some, the best part of the 90s was the democratization of the former Soviet countries and the worldwide prosperity closely associated with the Clinton administration. For me, the best part of the 90s was the rumor that Trent Reznor and Tori Amos were lovers and/or siblings and/or BOTH and that that was the source of their rivalry.  Combining that with their sartorial choices at the time, the whole charade was all very Edwardian.  Anyway, Tori mentions Pretty Hate Machine in the song "Caught a Lite Sneeze" so I went on this tangent.  Here are those two adorable creepsicles in their heydays:

I just can't with these two.

What I wanted to let you know before I got sidetracked with nostalgia was that the babe to non-babe ratio at the show skewed HEAVILY in favor of people who prefer babes.  It turns out that lots of awkward, misunderstood youth grow up and convert all that angst into serious fitness regimens and learn what hairstyles looks go best with their face shape and eyebrows.   Good work, everyone.  Everyone did a bang-up job growing up and getting hot just like they always dreamed.  Now let's all get ragey.

Other Titles Considered for This Section:

March of the Babes, The Babecoming, Every Babe is Exactly the Same

Head Like a...Holy Moly There Are a Lot of White People Here

Breaking News: White people love Nine Inch Nails.   Sorry I didn't warn you that you might want to sit down for this news.   It probably isn't news to you that the audience would be overwhelmingly white but it was still startling, particularly because NIN had a pretty killer lighting designer that liberally used blinding flashes out into the audience that reflected all of our pastiness.

This image doesn't fully capture the experience but you get the idea:

NINConcert

Also, guys, PUT DOWN YOUR CELL PHONES WHILE TRENT IS TALKING. Bow down before the one you serve, as it were.

You and Me, We're in This ToGOTHer Now

Now you didn't think I would write a post about Nine Inch Nails, the 90s, and attractiveness and leave out Goths, did you? In addition to the babes I mentioned before, the Goths came and they DELIVERED.  I'm not a monster so I didn't take pictures of their expert fashions cause RUDE but here are some examples culled from the Internet of the most choice looks I saw.

plaiddocs

The plaid Doc Marten is a staple of the Fun Goth wardrobe and I saw at least three pairs at the show. I am not sure when red plaid became the signature print of the mall/fun Goth aesthetic but I send my best wishes to whoever made it happen.

Fishnetsleeve

The fishnet sleeve, to my knowledge, is only available at stripper clothing outlets if I can judge exclusively by window displays so these are not for the sheepish Goth that wants to avoid sullying their reputations by being seen at such establishments.  These are for a daring Goth that is committed to their look and will suffer under-arm discomfort, terrible tan lines, and chills in fall weather.

gothmakeuphe

And of course no goth look is complete without one of history's great unholy alliances coming out in full force: cleavage and dark make-up.  I cursed the day I started going with orangy red lipsticks and mostly full-coverage tops. I didn't catch any super-fun contact lenses that complete the look above but I'm CERTAIN they were lurking.

LOL, I tricked you into reading 900 words that were just observing attractiveness and whiteness and had nothing to do with the concert itself.  It was incredible, blah blah blah.  Trent Reznor is one of the most talented musicians of his generation and gave a spectacular performance, blah blah blah.  You knew that was all true already.

Miracles and Magic: My Week Under the Spiritual Protection of Keanu Reeves

It is a well-known fact that the greatest line in cinema history comes from a little flick called River's Edge starring a young Keanu Reeves where he yells at his mother's suitor, "You're just here to fuck my mom and eat her food!" and storms out of the house, hair tousled, leather jacket all aflutter.  I try to integrate it into my every day life as often as possible, which is difficult because I haven't lived in the same city as my mother in ten years and my parents have a solid marriage so saying it to my dad would be inaccurate and inappropriate.  In any case, Keanu Reeves has always played an important role in my life, even from a distance. Until last week, when at the corner of Rector and Trinity I feasted my eyes upon something very similar to this:

He was on a public bench and everything!

Naturally, I smiled at the teen heartthrob turned gazillionaire turned meme and HE SMILED AND NODDED ACKNOWLEDGEMENT back. It was clear to me that Keanu recognized that I am special sort of person worthy of his time and attention.  I immediately reacted like this:

KeanuUpdate

40 people were as excited about this development as I was.  I was unable to talk or speak without CAPS LOCK for several days. Little did I know that the week that would follow would result in all sorts of magical experiences.  A brief but incomplete run-down below.

1. KEANU'S SPIRIT COMPELS TEEN CRUSH TO ENGAGE WITH ME ON INTERNET, MARRIAGE IMMINENT

I wrote this article for xoJane and tweeted it at my teen crush Gideon Yago.  He then followed me and sent this tweet TO ME, which is going to be framed in my home and somehow tastefully integrated into the centerpieces at our wedding.    I mean, I have no idea if this dude is eating cereal in his pajamas at his mom's house these days but who CARES, he was a handsome dork on television during my teen years.  There is no greater thing to have been.

photo

2.  PORN STAR JAMES DEEN MAKES EXTENSIVE CREEPY EYE CONTACT, CLEARLY LOVES ME

I am not a consumer of mainstream porn (I much prefer DIY sites like YouPorn, the Etsy of the digital adult entertainment destinations) so I only found out who James Deen was by watching The Canyons.  These are the keywords for The Canyons on IMDB:

keywords

So obviously this was my kind of movie and James Deen DELIVERED in it.  His extended eye contact to me was a sign of attraction and/or intention to kill as he does in The Canyons. SPOILER ALERTS ARE FOR SUCKERS.

3. EVERYONE WANTS TO HIRE ME CAUSE KEANU INFUSED ME WITH CONFIDENCE AND SKILLS (NOT REALLY, BUT MORE THAN THEY USED TO)

After weeks of radio silence from employers, in the last week I have secured three interviews with prospective employers. This doesn't mean I have a new job but it means that I am doing something right in my aggressive self-promotion and regular portfolio updates.  This is how I look when I go to interview, Keanu-approved, of course:

You can tell I mean business cause I have a briefcase.

4. VINTAGE HATS ARRIVE IN MAIL FROM "Mom" (BUT SECRETLY KEANU), CAN NOW HAVE BEST HALLOWEEN COSTUME EVER

So my mother recently cleaned out my grandmother's house and found some rad vintage clothes and accessories.  Among them were several adorable hats...and then there was the fuzzy one that looked just like the one worn by Jay Kay of Jamiroquai in "Virtual Insanity."  Naturally, my Halloween costume is already complete and we're a  month out!  Thanks Keanu, for sending inspiration just when I needed it.

I can just really see myself making this work.

 

5.  WE CELEBRATED THE ANNIVERSARY OF MY CONCEPTION

So technically, this day is my mom's birthday which she inappropriately told both myself and my sister (we have the same birthday three years apart) was also our conception date.  I celebrated by dressing up as an egg and forcing a friend to dress as a sperm and chase me around the neighborhood till I was caught. WHAT FUN WE HAD!  Just kidding, I sent my mom a nice set of pictures of the family pets and my sister made these bomb-ass cookies for our chemistry-lovin' mama:

Nova makes the best presents.

 

I don't know what Keanu has in store for me next.  Romance? Travel? Book deals (for books I have not conceived of or written, naturally)?  The answers will reveal themselves in time. But looking back on this week where he acted as my spirit guide, I am reminded of one of his other great lines in cinema history, courtesy of Bill & Ted:

 

"WHOA."

Move Over Street Style Photographers, Street STYLISTS Are Now All the Rage (AKA- The Latest Tactics in Catcalling)

There was a time when I really wanted to be a street style photographer. There were only two problems, 1) I had no skills with photography nor did I own a high-quality camera and 2) I had no style.  Beyond those two things, there was really nothing between me and that dream.  For those unfamiliar, street style photography is where photographers go out onto the street and take pictures of stylish people. So. Much. Style.

It was almost as if clothing were made not for agoraphobic heiresses munching decades old wedding cake but  for people that might do things like buy groceries, make  a pharmacy run, go to a friend's house , or other activities that require one to go out on the street.   Well my friends,  the time for street style is BLEAK according to Fashionista and I believe it. Here's why.

A new and exciting trend has emerged on the streets of New York where men give free (ie- unsolicited) fashion and beauty tips to lucky ladies that pass their way!   For example, the other day I was walking home from a trip to the beach in a pair of shorts and a tank top.  The shorts look approximate like this from American Apparel.   Linked if you want em and you're a copycat.

redshorts

A kindly street stylist yelled, "Girl, you look good but those shorts are too short."

Bless the dear man's heart for alerting me to my fashion faux pas!  After all, when walking down Ocean Parkway toward my home covered in sand and carrying a food co-op tote bag, I am trying my best to impress and to please, and if God wills it so, to find a suitable bridegroom with whom I can have many strong sons with Old Testament names.

Meghan has chanced upon two street stylists recently, one giving beauty tips and the other affirming fashion choices.  Their expertise is eclectic, you see. I am paraphrasing but the one regarding beauty tips went something like this:

Beauty Boy: "Damn girl, you're beautiful."  (Or some variation of the same idea.)

Meghan  *Stoic silence*

Beauty Boy: Oh except one thing, you should really fix that eyebrow scar.

Now everyone knows that nothing makes a lady feel great quite like having a flaw pointed out to her.  It's just a little penny from Heaven on an otherwise lackluster day to be reminded, not only are you not perfectly symmetrical, but there's even more wrong with you!  Now, get thee to a laser specialist before your street stylist throws more sass your way!

Another street stylist who was super stealthy inched up behind her (the way good friends do) and whispered, "Hey I like you in them peach pants" straight into her ear.  Because besties do that for each other, they share compliments and secrets in EXTREMELY CLOSE PROXIMITIES.  The peach pants look like this:

He wasn't wrong.

Now it's true that Meghan looks good in those peach pants and it's important that the critical be mixed with the positive if you're going to be an exceptional street stylist.  Which is why I was deeply thankful for an encounter with a man who mixed a little of both in his reaction to a particular shade of lipstick I had chosen.

He said, "Those red lips looks nice."

I replied, "Thank you."

He paused a moment and said, "But you know, they're a little smudged."

Seeing as it was 2am and we had been out dancing in a sweaty place playing bad 90s pop (just kidding, no such thing), I HAD NO IDEA that my make-up might not be up to his standards.  I looked about like this with slightly more smudging cause it was an hour or so later:

Obviously trying really hard to impress.

I replied that I knew, that it was late, and that happens to make-up to which he replied "Will you kiss my shirt?" You see, the best street stylists will sometimes play role reversal where you get to give them a signature item or look that makes them street-style worthy.  Because I am a killjoy, I did not oblige because I hate to steal thunder AND because this is actually a piece of satire on how gross it is that men on the street are insulting women to bring them down a notch as a means of flirtation and gross objectification.  Feminist killjoy, at your service!

And apropos of nothing but the fact that I think we look fucking awesome in it, here are me and Meghan looking like mafia widows at a wedding a few weeks ago with absolutely nothing fucking wrong with us that needs to be pointed out.  Except maybe my favorite street stylist suggestion, "SMILE!"  Just kidding, that makes me want to chew broken glass.

If you tell us to fucking smile, there's no telling what will happen.