NYE, Resolutions, & Whatever

I stopped writing at the end of the last decade not because there wasn’t stuff to write about, but because I had nothing more to say. My old assistant Nasdaq (or Nadeska Alexis) pointed out that that’s never stopped me before, but there was something about the snow that brought it all to a standstill after the rush of Christmas past. It was like a deep breath worth taking. I guess I could have told you where to go for New Years Eve, or at least warned you not to go there, but if you hadn’t figured out that you shoulda been in Miami hanging at Chloe and Paul Sevigny’s soiree, then you haven’t been paying attention to me anyway. For me, with a thousand and none options, I chose to stay home and watch The Battle of Stalingrad, a WWII marathon on the Military Channel. I’m not sure what fascinates me about it – watching the great city destroyed by the Germans, and then their demise. Maybe it’s the warm feeling that things here aren’t so bad, and could actually get much worse. Perhaps it’s the fear factor that things here are getting bad, and could really get much worse. Then the gal pal mustered me away from the tube and into the streets.

Times Square was all warm and cozy – and so Disneyfied and sanitized that it kind of was anti-climatic. People bounced babies on their arms, and there were more goo-goos and gaga’s than DJ Serato’s. There was a rumor that they were gonna drop Snooki in some sort of death-defying ball drop—a fitting end to a decade that saw our culture erode to a Roman Coliseum-level of spectator thrills. Reality TV showed us just how lame our reality was, but if there was chance they were going to whack Snooki, I wasn’t gonna miss it. I turned my thumb down a long time ago, but alas, cooler heads prevailed, and I heard she was somewhere in New Jersey.

We hit Lit, as I always do on New Years Eve. Owner/curator/bon vivant Erik Foss was having a backroom affair with Paper’s Carlo McCormick and a smart set. Carlo wondered over my Issey Miyake tux, which reeked of mothballs if you got too close. Of course, that could have just been me. I told him I hadn’t really been anywhere and gave him a bit about Stalingrad, the horse and dog eating and such. “Then, Why?” he queried. I told him my old departed friend, Arthur Weinstein, had once or thrice told me that, once in a while, you break out the tux so people think you went somewhere. Carlo said my imitation was spot on.

We blasted into the streets of the East Village, giving directions to Webster Hall and Greenhouse to bumblers and lost souls. We hit White Noise as the last revelers reveled into the street. It was a grand mess, and the bartenders laughed when they saw me. It was great fun, they declared, and I believed them. It was a collage of glitter, party hats, lost clothes, and spilled cheer. We headed to a basement party in Brooklyn, and caught a crescent moon rising as we dodged snow drifts. It was a great New Years Eve. There was an energy on the streets less desperate than previous years. Except for a few exceptional exceptions, people were having fun. Maybe there is a sense of optimism that our world won’t see Stalingrad this decade. Maybe we can live our lives without fear. Someone at the basement bash said they didn’t know what had happened in the decade past, that they had a handle on the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s, but that the 2000’s confused them. They said nothing had happened. I thought of the World Trade Center, Obama, Gay Rights, a couple of wars, but kept quiet for once. My New Years Resolution had held for at least a couple of hours. My decade resolution was to come out of 2020 alive and well enough.

The snow melted at just about the same pace as the leftovers disappeared. The week saw me see a bunch of movies on the telly and in the theater. It was a great way to meet up with old friends. Movies allow a certain amount of quiet – preserving the resolution – and still show love. I caught the old John Wayne classic The Searchers and the new True Grit. For the record, Jeff Bridges is no John Wayne, but the movie is great. I caught the classics: My Darling Clementine and Cloverfield Imitation of Life and that new imitation of life, The Fighter (or Rocky 8, or whatever they call it). I resolved not to say “Whatever” this year, but that’s going down with the no “brickbreaker” promise. Whatever. The Fighter is bunk, pure Boston Beans bunk, the fight and prison scenes ridiculous, and Christian Bale’s stand-up level imitation of a crack head laughable. I wanted to walk out before the clichés came at me faster than a Mark Wahlberg speed bag routine, but I wouldn’t have finished my small (another resolution) popcorn. Dinner after with friends revealed that Greenhouse is being sold, or put under new management. It might be true and I might care.

‘The Fighter’: Contender or More of the Same?

Among his innumerable other projects, Mark Wahlberg has a steady sideline starring in films about underdogs who make good. Boogie Nights, Rock Star, Invincible, and now The Fighter all follow similar trajectories wherein a poor, hard-luck case rockets to fame by dint of chance and/or guts. What distinguishes The Fighter is that it’s directed by David O. Russell, he of Three Kings, I ♥ Huckabees, and Flirting With Disaster fame. A boxing picture doesn’t seem his style at all, and yet it’s the incongruity of director and material that interests me most here. With the exception of Scorsese, Wahlberg’s done his best work with Russell, and if nothing else,The Fighter‘s trailer (after the jump) makes it look like a far cry from Rock Star.

The star of the piece is actually Bale, whose role clearly involves much chewing of scenery. I’d be curious to know if he and Russell ever got on each others nerves on set, as both share a well-documented penchant for histrionic screaming fits.