Spilt (Harvey) Milk

      While waiting for embargoed reviews of Milk, you may wish to see my just-posted Obit Mag essay about Harvey Milk and the potential rebirth of present-day gay activism. It's great to have any kind of Obama-esque inspiration, but I am still convinced that solid changes come from real and metaphorical streets. … [Read more...]

Kim’s Video Pizza War

Almost any restaurant is better than, say, Alan Greenspan at analyzing the economy. After the 1987 crash, eateries in New York and elsewhere began a process that I, as Village Voice restaurant critic, named "bistroization," by which I meant a dumbing down of the astonishing menu invention of the previous decade to a more affordable steak frites yawn that would keep customers coming into the same expensive space. Prices did begin to crawl upward as business improved, but the kitchen creativity that made the '80s the most thrilling culinary … [Read more...]

Must Arts, Rights Stay on Election’s Back Shelf ?

I ask this leading question because, though we know the answer, we persist in champing at the usual bit. Almost no one running for office will discuss the arts or something as specific as gay rights when business and war put national, even international, livelihood at risk. Yet the health and some of the wealth of civil society depends upon the health of the arts, upon the survival of its small as well as large institutions, and upon the strength of its journalist criticism, now under mindless attack. Our souls too depend upon the arts, but … [Read more...]

Trout, or Fish Fashion

My wonderful neighbor Anthony, whose fisherman expertise is matched by his passionate, sensible defense of the aquatic ecosystem, came to my door at 5 p.m. carrying a paper plate. Upon it sat a beautiful spotted gray and rose fish, beheaded, slit, gutted, and garnished with large commas of roe the color of ripe pumpkin. "This was swimming a half-hour ago," he said, smiling shyly. "Are you sure?" I asked, referring to the gift, not his veracity.  What a sweet guy.   This writer is genetically obtuse at identifying a fish by its … [Read more...]

Yard Sale Tale

I'll never know why didn't he snap up the vintage photo of Public School 238's eighth-grade graduating class. He had a really good reason to do so -- but maybe an even better one to leave it be.   Who can doubt that flea markets are museums?   Yard and garage sales are those museums' feeder galleries, and all of them provide a surprise immersion into the lives that neighbors past and present have led. Those of us who are hypnotized by these object lessons in popular culture also understand that the rich discards displayed for sale … [Read more...]

Unabomber Aesthetics

Robert Kusmirowski, Unacabine, 2008 Art forms that appeal to modern leftist intellectuals tend to focus on sordidness, defeat and despair, or else they take an orgiastic tone, throwing off rational control as if there were no hope of accomplishing anything through rational calculation and all that was left was to immerse oneself in the sensations of the moment. -- Theodore Kaczynski, Industrial Society and Its Future ("The Unabomber Manifesto") A perfectly fine artist few in the U.S. have heard of named Robert Kusmirowski has a perfectly fine … [Read more...]

‘Project Runway’ Summer Buffet

    Oat Couture Every writer has readers who reside only in his or her brain, and right now my tenants are clamoring for an opinion about the fifth season's first episode of Project Runway. What's the cerebral word-of-mouth? They're all a bit worried. Any go-round of a formula show risks repetition, yet until last Wednesday, Runway avoided the inevitable. That time, though, the contestant virgins seemed to be familiar versions or types, and in an unnecessary obeisance to the first year's premiere, the new cast was sent again to a … [Read more...]

Jerk

Jerk chicken Now here's an ethical problem, one that applies to the culinary as well as the musical arts. The New York Times recently featured in its Wednesday food section a smooth, workaday article about jerk cooking in the city, along with a couple of someone-else-will-try recipes. Jerk, of course, is no longer exotic, and even if you non-Jamaicans have never eaten anything jerk, you've probably read that it's hot in a spiced-ham rather than tandoori style and, to be real, requires a particular pepper (with the delightful name "Scotch … [Read more...]

I Have Never Depended on the Kindness of Judges, but …

...Yesterday's court-tossed wedding bouquet was caught by me and thousands of others who will visit City Halls all over California in a state of "finally" and make it legal. Of course, the decision to allow queer marriage can be reversed by referendumb as soon as November. In the meantime, here's a quasi-update to my very last, coincidental post, "Gay Rice": So, ladies and gents and everyone in between, why has it taken so long to have a pissy little gay wedding on network television? Yes, we're in California, not Massachusetts, so no … [Read more...]

Gay Rice

Down the Aisle, Slowly It took the supposedly liberal New York City mayor David Dinkins ages to come to his political and humanistic senses and order City Hall to issue domestic partnership certificates. That was January, 1993, more than 15 years ago, and it seemed late in coming even then. No money for city employee health benefits, previously promised, came with the mingy declaration; Dinkins was and will forever be an accountant. (Sample certificate is above. I don't know who the fine gents on this particular document are, although … [Read more...]