“Fish in the Dark” & The Critics Love to Hate

The critics have spoken on Larry David’s Fish in the Dark.

The New York Times: …set postures, lines and deliveries, while throwaway humor has been exaggerated in ways that perversely shrink its impact.

The New Yorker: …sour-voiced schtick…a cynical manipulation of sentimentality and humor.DarkfishThe Wall Street Journal: (Larry David’s) playwriting debut, a poor and embarrassing excuse for the kind of Jewish humor that went out of fashion with Gertrude Berg, (is) bursting at the moldy seams with embalming fluid.

It’s not as if Larry David made any highfalutin’ claims. “I saw Nora Ephron’s play, Lucky Guy. I just thought, ‘That must be a really interesting thing to do.”54c16d2f10516d590a7b15ac_fish-in-the-dark-larry-david-broadway-vf02

The hate from New York’s papers is perhaps best summed up by the theater critic in Alejandro González Iñárritu’s BirdmanI’m gonna turn in the worst review anyone has ever read and I’m gonna close your play. Birdman-Michael-Keaton-Underwear-Times-Square-NYC-Film-Locations-43rd-Street-Times-Square-St.-James-Theatre-Hotel-Edison-Rum-House-3Would you like to know why? Because I hate you and everyone you represent. Entitled, selfish, spoiled children. Blissfully untrained, unversed and unprepared to even attempt real art. Handing each other awards for cartoons and pornography.

Luckily, the real-life critics aren’t having so much luck. Larry David’s play has broken box office records and been greeted by constant laughs and ovations every night. article-davidweb-0203Fish in the Dark, as Mr. David is not ashamed to say himself, is “pre-tty, pre-tty good.”

Writing Tip #666: Material must be emotionally charged.

“Could I get another?”

“Sorry, the bar is closed.”

“Oh, the bar’s closed?” I repeated it quickly to make it go away.

“Sorry, sir.”

“What about last call?” Material must be emotionally charged“I made the announcement 15 minutes ago.”

“No, you didn’t.” My voice sounded outside of me.

“I’m sorry, sir.”

“I must have been in the bathroom.”Material must be emotionally charged

He started to take my glass.

“Just a pint. I’ll finish it in 5 minutes.” The ringing in my ears was worse; I had to see a doctor.

“I’m sorry.”

“It’s still 6 minutes to, right?” Could he even hear what I said? “I’ll be finished by the time you close.”

He took my glass.

“You’re not serious.”

And walked away.

“What the fuck…?”

The woman beside looked half around and pulled her purse closer in.Material must be emotionally charged

I slid the stool abruptly back. “I’m Jason B., man! What do you think I want with that?”

The bartender returned. “Sir, do we have a problem here?”

“I just asked for another beer, all right?”

“Do we have a problem?”

I blinked back, open and closed, like a mechanical doll. “No, we don’t.”

It was warm outside, still, and the streets were quiet. Material must be emotionally chargedI just needed one more.

The Last Word…Goddamn It!

I hear what you’re saying. I do. I honestly understand. But here’s the thing. You need to listen to me. Just listen. And don’t say anything back. Okay? Are you listening? Good. The Last Word...Goddamn It!The first thing is that I appreciate you trying to reach out, but you need to respect my personal space. And spare me the guise of thanking me for making the effort. It just doesn’t ring true. I am not interested in a phony relationship without attempting to solve our real problems. The Last Word...Goddamn It!It is my belief that you and I can’t solve our issues alone. It isn’t a matter of perception; it’s just straight-forward reasoning. It’s too painful to interact with you in a deep way. You cause me nothing but pain.The Last Word...Goddamn It!You said it yourself. You don’t trust me and therefore cannot open up. And so, by your own admission, your suggestion is doomed to failure, right? The Last Word...Goddamn It!And if you don’t like what I have to say, don’t ever call or email me again! Don’t worry, I won’t contact you first.

New York Street Artist Performs Mock Crucifixion at Jamaica Station

We were coming home from the airport last night, waiting for the E train at Jamaica Station, but the wait wasn’t bad. New York Street Artist Performs Mock Crucifixion at Jamaica StationA street artist, in a helmet horned with fiberglass, performed a crucifixion of sorts with odd moaning music in the background, as the passing people gaped and laughed. (Click to view!!)New York Street Artist Performs Mock Crucifixion at Jamaica StationThe message was unclear, except that street art helps pass the time.New York Street Artist Performs Mock Crucifixion at Jamaica Station

Pussy Riot Spring

Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers is pretty awful, little more than a terrible rap video with loops of meaningless dialogue, sensational imagery and an off-key – even insulting – reference to the imprisoned Russian group Pussy Riot. sb-posterNot that any of this surprises – excepting the purple unicorn balaclavas. What’s remarkable is the critical response. Spring Breakers has been called “the year’s loopiest bit of fun” (Time Out), “positively raging with affect” (New Yorker), and an “outrageously funny party that takes a while to appreciate.” (The New York Times) spring-breakers-1With no characters, dialogue, nor even a narrative, it’s none of the above, but rather a bland statement about the simmering violence in pretty little things, all of it trite and overly done. The only entertaining thing was the drama in the theater – teenagers sneaking in, chased out by ushers – which seemed to approximate the politics of the affair.

Hurricane Sandy IX – The Numbers

We got our power back at 7:30 last night. I was actually writing my previous post (Sandy IX) in a deli while it happened. Oh well, missed the moment. We did have the salmon and shrimp and then played Scrabble by candlelight – and waxed nostalgic over the recent dark days.

Two blocks below Stock Exchange, October 29

I read The New York Times on-line later, and there are a lot of depressing numbers: casualties, those without power, percentage of operational gas stations, etc. It’s overwhelming. Here are my numbers, hopefully a little less daunting: 95 hours without power; 264 floors (ascended & descended) for Biba walks; 7 locations visited for connecting/powering up; 5 meetings cancelled; 3 buildings sighted with full power and no occupants throughout the week; 3 movies viewed (at $27 per visit!); 2 Negronis consumed ($12 per); 1 new bike lock purchased ($119!)…and 10 blogs posted. (By the way, the number of floors for Biba walks does not compare to people we were told about who lived on the 53rd and walked their dog three times a day. They eventually moved to a hotel.)

World Trade One: Power returned

It was still dark to the east and south of us; not everyone around here has their power back just yet. I took Biba out for her late-night walk before going to bed. The elevator is a marvelous thing.