Archive for December 2011
Jim Knable’s Sons of Dionysus: a lusty novel of myth, mirth, and music.
A communal groan erupts when they all see me with my buzz cut.
What have you done?! screams Cassius, though he has done much the same, having had his own trademarked hair shaved recently.
Is it him? says Demetrius, a second year with a thick beard, who is known for dressing in women’s clothing.
It’s him, says Arthur, He’s back with us.
About time, says Moses. Pull up a chair.
Specifically: dead bodies. What, you were expecting something else?
If you live in New York City and you have not yet visited Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, make it your New Year’s resolution to do so. A mixture of bucolic beauty, historical interest, and general anachronistic oddity, the grounds were first laid out in 1838 and it remains an active cemetery. Green-Wood has served as the inspiration for countless public green spaces, including Central Park, and was, at one time, one of the most-visited tourist attractions in the nation, along with Niagara Falls.
In the spirit of year-end list making, here are the top ten permanent residents of Green-Wood, each with a cocktail to their name. To render this exercise more timely, each cocktail is taken from The PDT Cocktail Guide. This book is the game changer for 2011. Jim Meehan serves up every recipe for every cocktail served at his famous East Village cocktail den, including both classics from a variety of sources and all of PDT’s homegrown creations (a Benton’s Old-Fashioned anyone?).
Among my favorite things about New Year’s Eve: glitz and glitter, champagne, debaucherous friends. Among my least favorite: waiting for cabs, waiting for cabs in the cold, waiting for cabs in heels in the cold and snow. Now, I’m no Scrooge, but there’s nothing worse than waiting for the coveted New Year’s Eve cab that inevitably will not come. And so, in the book of New Year’s according to Freya, proximity is everything. Plus, bars on New Year’s Eve tend to be crowded, sticky, and magically endowed with the right to charge exorbitant cover fees. As I’ve referenced before, to ring in 2011 I hosted a quiet dinner party for 30 of my closest friends spitting out 14 homemade pizzas and an unfathomable number of wine bottles. I will never do that again, but It was a blast. And the best part was that it all happened in my apartment, sans transportation, sans covers. Why put up with the nonsense when you can host a fabulous dinner party of your own? As the host, it’s your food, your drinks, and your invitation list (read: your choice of midnight kisses).
As we’ve reported over the last few weeks, 2011 saw the release of plenty of great music. Luckily, in a year with so many great releases, we also had the opportunity to see plenty of great shows. From arena blow outs to dive bar ragers, the following are the 13 best live performances I saw over the last 12 months.
1/15: Punch Brothers @ Bowery Ballroom (NYC)
Punch Brothers are arguably the most talented touring band today, and their mid-January Bowery Ballroom performance did not dissapoint. Billed as one of their famed “P-Bingo” Nights, Punch Brothers ripped through the high points of their two albums (three, if you count How to Grow a Woman from the Ground) and tackled over 10 pristine (and at times raucus) covers from “Paperback Writer” to Sufjan Stevens’ “Concerning the UFO Sighting” and The Strokes’ “Heart In a Cage.” This show also held my number one music moment of the year, when Chris Thile solo-performed an unplugged Bach concierto on mandolin for an awestruck Lower East Side.
This month, our editors and staff have shared our favorite songs, albums, fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and kitchen gear of 2011. Today, 10 of our contributors share their favorite albums and other things: from rhizomes in the refrigerator to singing, drinking, and hunting groups.
James Tadd Adcox, The Best of Everything 2011
10. Putting ginger in the refrigerator if you’re not going to use it right away. Otherwise, it starts to mold, like, real quick.
9. The Moby Dick shirt that the writer Robert Kloss is rocking for his interview on HTMLGIANT. At first I thought maybe he made it himself, with a sharpie (which would’ve moved it higher up the list), but at second glance, it appears to be printed. His book How The Days of Love & Diphtheria is really good, too.
8. David Lynch’s recipe for quinoa, included as a short film on the DVD extras for Inland Empire. Did the Inland Empire DVD come out in
2011? I can’t be bothered to check. But I got the DVD in 2011, and that’s what counts, as far as this list is concerned. Speaking of which:
7. All the books that didn’t come out in 2011, but that I just got around to reading this year. Particularly Celine’s Journey to the End of the
Night. That shit killed me.
6. Drive was pretty good, wasn’t it? I mean, I liked it. [Good soundtrack, too. -eds]
5. This somewhat NSFW video that Meghan Lamb made out of a story that I submitted to the online journal Red Lightbulbs. It inspired possibly my favorite youtube comment ever: “what in actual fuck is this shit???????? can this even be on youtube??”
2. Binder Clips
1. The basic optimism implied by this man, who would have us believe that A, there is a future, and B, people in said future dress basically like Dr. Who.
Here are the top films of the New York Film Festival from FP film critic Franklin Laviola. (Read the rest of his work for Frontier Psychiatrist here.)
Forget about the Oscar-baiting The Artist and The Descendants, or the over-hyped and vacuous Shame. The following films were the real gems of this fall’s New York Film Festival:
8. Goodbye First Love, directed by Mia Hansen-Love
Mia Hansen-Love’s semi-autobiographical follow-up to her excellent Father Of My Children is further proof of her already very mature talent (she is only 30) and more evidence that the French continue to be the best, in today’s international cinema, at handling this type of subtle, character-driven drama. Another entry in the tempestuous teenage romance genre, Hansen-Love’s film bears some resemblance to her companion Olivier Assayas’ greatest work, Cold Water, albeit with a decidedly less poetic and more emotionally detached approach to its young lovers’ dilemma. Perhaps most interestingly, Hansen-Love posits passionate young love as a (potentially crippling) condition and state of mind that one must leave behind, move beyond, even forget, if he or she is to grow and become a stable, successful adult, on any level. A tad overlong, but rewarding, nonetheless, thanks, in large part to Stephane Fontaine’s seasonally-attuned cinematography and the performances by both the very promising female lead, Lola Creton (Catherine Breillat’s Bluebeard), and, as her older lover in the film’s second half, Magne-Havard Brekke, currently one of Europe’s most underrated and underused actors.
Opens in New York Spring 2012
Jim Knable’s Sons of Dionysus: a lusty novel of myth, mirth, and music.
I make daily pilgrimages. One to the coffee house, one to the gate of the residential college. I know I don’t have time, nor should I be so obsessed as to stay for more than a minute or two. But I think if I come at the same time I saw Cassandra in both places each day, I will surely see her again. I casually pause, look at my watch, pretend to read a flyer, something to make me look like I am not waiting. She never appears.
Meanwhile, the parade up the bunkbed is in full swing. Our essay assignments are winding down and the dead week before finals approaches; the stress is eased and Arthur fills its void with sex. I don’t know what he gets from bedding women who are only using him as he uses them for love without love. Spring is swishing its short skirts in the air; Arthur chases them, in heat.
Sons of Dionysus, Chapter 11 (Read by David Jung)
My attendance at the Owl and allegiance to the SODs is flagging. It all seems like so much frivolity without substance these days. Arthur notes my absence casually, but he knows that I never made any official commitment to this group, as he did. He says everyone missed me at the Owl. I tell him to make sure to give them my regards. Formal and cold like that.
And still I make my pilgrimages. And still she does not appear.
I often go and stand before the statue, sometimes bring a book and read. I have decided that doing this does not count against my regular allotted pilgrimages. After all, being in this nook, I would never know if she passed by. Sometimes this thought drives me too crazy and so I dash away and look for her quickly in the big courtyard, then return to the statue. No one else seems to know about the little grove; I am always alone here. Then one day, I arrive and find evidence of lust in the green grass. A condom wrapper, a pair of soiled women’s underwear. I feel violated; someone has violated my sacred ground. I think of picking the offending articles up and throwing them out, then decide to leave them there. It is another sign, like being taken there in the first place. This sign says: I am grasping too hard at what comes to me only when it will. Only when she will. I do not return to the statue after that. I stop my pilgrimages, though I still make a point of spending time at the coffee house and occasionally I go out of my way to pass by her gate.
I tell none of this to Arthur, none but that I saw her again and she remembered me.
That’s good, he says, did you get her number?
I mumble no and change the subject. Stupid Fool (me).
A fear is creeping in. As land on the watery year’s horizon comes in sight, I realize I have no plans for the summer but to return home. The fear turns to depression. The bed above shakes at night, my classes are losing luster, the new friends I made are fading from me as they share much more together now than I can share with them— memories of their tours, for one. I am only an outsider. Other friends I’ve managed to make here are superficial at best. I realize that until now, I have let the SODs consume my social life and College consume my intellectual life; now that both are threatening to disperse, I find myself without a foundation, and dreading that old self of mine that waits for me in my hometown. I have no one to talk to about any of this. At last I give in and call my parents.
Jeremiah? Is that you? It’s hard to recognize your voice after so long. Do you need money? Your mother and I just went to the movies. There was a kid in the movie who was just like you growing up. Always up to mischief.
I wasn’t like that as a kid, Dad. Is Mom around?
Jeremiah? Are you sick? Are you taking care of yourself? We’re so excited to have you back home with us.
For a moment, it actually sounds nice. The moment stretches. We keep talking. I am looking forward to the familiar, the sidewalks of my adolescence, the shops in the mall, the park where my friends would meet, everything that always bored me senseless. I feel a yearning.
You’re homesick, aren’t you, said my mother.
Maybe a little.
Good thing you’re coming home, then, isn’t it, she said.
And I felt that it was.
That night the bed shook above, waking me up. I could kill my roommate.
Naked body by the side of the bed.
I talk with Arthur.
She listens to us and finds us sweet.
She’s older. Husband and kids. She exits, after posing like a god, reminding me of my sacred statue.
We should have our own rooms next year.
Arthur falls asleep, snoring.
Have our own rooms, but it sounds like he still pictures living in the same suite. Still living together. He is still my friend, my closest friend.
Jeremy, he says, having woken up again at about 5 in the morning.
What, what? I shake myself awake for him, my heart pounding with confused panic—Where am I? Who am I? Who’s talking to me?
I’m tired of meaningless sex.
I grunt my sleepy approval.
I think I really love that woman.
You don’t know her at all.
I know. But I have this feeling. I can’t describe it.
She said she’d forget us. She’ll forget you.
No she won’t. She’ll be back.
Maybe. But I think it’s fated.
He was asleep again shortly after. I was awake for good.
What does he mean by fated? How does he know about his own fate? What weird witches and wizards has he met out on the highway with his Satanic tribe?
What is my fate?
That day, I go get coffee at my coffee house. I sit and drink it in silence, not reading, focused on the door. If she comes in, one fate. If she doesn’t, another.
She does not come in.
I go to the barber shop next door and have the barber cut off all my long flowing hair.
Continue To Chapter 12
Jim Knable is a Brooklyn-based writer of plays, songs, prose, and the occasional screenplay. His plays have been produced at MCC Theatre, Woolly Mammoth Theatre, Soho Rep, NYC’s Summer Play Festival and other regional theaters, and have been published by Broadway Play Publishing, Dramatic Publishing, Samuel French, Smith & Kraus and Playscripts, Inc. He released his solo album Miles in 2000 and Redbeard (2006) and Golden Arrow (2009) with his band The Randy Bandits.
Beeb Salzer (illustration) is an artist, set designer, and essayist based in San Diego.