|THE BLACK LIST: SUMMER'S DEAD. LONG LIVE SUMMER.|
|By The Black Table|
This is the time of year that is rarely remembered. It's the beginning of fall, when everything starts getting busy again, when you're adjusting to the weather and a new reality it's a season of transition. It seems like all we do in September is lament what we've lost and look forward to what is yet to come.
We will not fall into the trap of feeling sorry for September; September has, frankly, caused us enough trouble in the past, and we're not too worried about the month's Q rating, which is guaranteed to be pretty high for quite sometime, considering, you know, it's a month.
So, for a bit of perspective, here's a handy guide to how long you have to wait until stuff really happens.
Major occurrence ... Days left.
Yom Kippur ... 4.
Look at that. 2004 only has 100 days left. Man, now we're depressed.
Anyway, we'll try to pull it together enough to keep doing Black Lists. We have 12 reviews this week, with an eye-opener to start. We want more more more, so give 'em to us using the form on the right, if you want us to be happy, and we think you do.
PROMISING MY BOYFRIEND ANAL SEX IF KERRY WINS: It was an impulsive decision. There we were, viewing Zell Miller's speech through a post-coital haze, when I said it: "OK, I have a deal for you. If Kerry wins, I'll do it." He sat up quickly and searched the room for a piece of paper on which to draw up a contract. And now he brings it up every day. I conceived the whole thing as a way to be happy about something no matter what happened on November 2, but as that day gets closer, despite poll numbers, I'll admit it: I'm terrified. Though I'm proud of myself for asking what I can do for my country, and confident that the American people will have my back, as it were, this morning I ripped the Kerry sticker off my bag and found myself mumbling under my
breath "Four More Years. Four More Years." I gotta face it: Either way, I'm fucked. D- -- Assvir Gin
CELINE DION AT THE WORLD MUSIC AWARDS: There's no reason to watch the World Music Awards -- unless your roommate is at Rosh Hashanah and you're too lazy to channel surf. There's also no reason to call it "World" music, since the World is primarily North America. For fear of alienating the Depends Undergarment set, the show featured Michael Douglas presenting a remote-controlled Celine Dion with the Diamond Achievement Award. During her performance, Celine rubs her wither thighs against a juicy male dancer and minces an overly enthused air-guitar. Bill and Ted hung their heads in shame today. Flipping her unnatural afghan-hound like hair, Celine gives a "Lewkin' Good" to the rabid audience. Lewkin' Good indeed. D+ -- Ceda Xiong
WHEN YOUR COLLEGE ROOMMATES REPRODUCE: You remember them from their hilarious, dumb moments. The stupid things they did when they were drunk. The stupid things they did when they were sober. The multiple times they cut class to catch "Pinky and the Brain." The time they shoved Jim's face into the industrial-sized jar of peanut butter. When you lived with your college roommates, you got to see and savor every minute of your closest friends' stupidity. Then comes the call. Their wives have given birth. For better or for worse, they're parents now. And, suddenly, you realize that you're grateful that smart, fundamentally graceful people have decided to give our planet another generation. Them: A+. You: B+, you revisionist bastard. -- Dan Dunford
THE PREVALANCE OF PENIS AT THE ALAMO: What better way for a Texan to reinvigorate his sense of state pride than with a visit to The Alamo? As I stood before the old mission in the early dawn a few Saturdays ago, I was awestruck that patriots such as Billy Bob Thornton, Jason Patric, and Johnny Depp's cellmate in Blow all once gallantly fought Santa Anna's forces on this hallowed ground. Turning away from the monument, I noticed a man publicly masturbating in the same general area in which Ozzy Osbourne previously took a drunken whiz and was incarcerated. As San Antonio's finest were escorting this miscreant away, it occurred to me that The Alamo, while steeped in rich history and tradition, also seems to attract a lot of penis-related crime. Parents, make sure you've had "the talk" with your children before visiting The Alamo, and keep your hands out of your pants pockets unless absolutely necessary. B+ -- Scott Evans
THE NEW RAMONES DOCUMENTARY: This is what "Behind the Music" should have been: honest, heartbreaking, inspiring and cool as hell. End of the Century: The Story of the Ramones contains thrilling early footage of four goofy guys from Queens who became punk pioneers, as well as a zits-and-all study of how infighting, substance abuse and a nation of DJs who didn't know what the hell to make of their over-before-they've-really-begun singles prevented them from achieving mass popularity. The documentary's laid-back narrative shows the directors' attempt at an honest portrayal rather than a soapbox-style rant (Nick Broomfield, anyone?) or a predictable melodrama. The film just as easily could have been called "Scenes from a Rock 'n' Roll Marriage," as 22 years of sharing a fictional last name bred dysfunction after dysfunction. While it's tough to leave the theatre with an impression of Johnny as anything other than a hard-hearted, contrarian, right-wing asshole, he's given his share of credit for organizing and propelling the rest of the band to record and tour. By contrast, cobbled-together footage of Joey reveals a painfully shy and likable leftie dork -- an ex of mine said that Joey was one of the sweetest individuals he'd ever interviewed -- yet his obsessive-compulsive disorder, introversion and inability to forgive Johnny for stealing his girl point to a darker side. The interviews with DeeDee Ramone and Joe Strummer are especially affecting (but never manipulative), and the real-life horror stories -- of recording with a gunslinging Phil Spector, of Dee Dee's ass-stabbing junkie prostitute girlfriend, and of the indignity of playing some dinky Jersey bar right after selling out a 30,000-seat stadium in Brazil -- are vivid and sad. Ultimately, "End of the Century" disproves the tired cliché that the Ramones were more idiot than savant: those fuckers could play. A -- Amy Lewis
IGNORING THE SMOKING BAN: In an Alphabet City bar this weekend, there was the usual grumbling about the smoking ban. An acquaintance of mine is French and finds the smoking ban is dumb but that the New Yorkers who feebly obey it are even dumber. She was tired of going outside, she said. So tucked away in a corner, well past the bar but right near the jukebox/bathroom hot spot, she lit her cigarette. The rest of us were so brainwashed that we watched her do this and continued to go smoke outside. What nerve, we thought. What French sass. It was like simultaneously fearing and envying the kid who talks back to the teacher. Smoking ban be damned; Roseann was going to enjoy her cigarette indoors with her red wine like a civilized person. Her brazen behavior emboldened us all. Cigarette smoke started rising all over the bar -- as someone put money in the jukebox or racked up another game. The bartender came back to use the bathroom, saw us all happily smoking and drinking and talking and laughing and didn't say a thing. It's one thing to ask a person to put out their cigarette, but a little trickier when 30 people are all touring Flavor Country together. For one Saturday night, an irritated French woman led us all to victory. Viva La Resistance! A -- Aileen Gallagher
THE CROWD IN "LAST COMIC STANDING": It's Tuesday, and I put on NBC early to make sure I don't miss Scrubs. What's this I see on the screen? Stand-up comedy! Is it 1997? While some of the comics are decent enough, the audience laughs at every single joke. And while I know that when you go to a comedy club you want to laugh (gotta get your money's worth!), some of the jokes clearly are neither original nor funny. Look at Bobby, a gay comedian making fun of straight people! A black comedian making fun of white people! An Asian comedian making fun of, uh, white people! A male comedian talking about home repairs! A female comedian making fun of men ... and Celine Dion! Brilliant! I can't believe the producers found enough idiots (or drunks) to fill the studio to laugh at each comedian's 120 seconds of retread "humor." Blech. D -- M. Sunshine
TAKING THE REDEYE FLIGHT: Squeeze every last drop of sunshiny goodness out of your weekend on the Left Coast. Then board the plane, sleep and wake up at home! After a quick shower, hi-ho! It's off to work you go. Despite the bad rap imposed upon it by cranky businessmen, the redeye is the best thing in travel since Wilbur and Orville dared to hang glide off a sand dune. So what if the ground is tilting beneath your feet, and your head's a little swimmy? Normally, you'd have to consume many pricey beverages to achieve such a blissfully tipsy state. And you wouldn't have a single square of Ghirardelli chocolate to show for it. For allowing me to get a full 72 in San Francisco, as well as simulating what it's like to come to work drunk, the red eye gets a good solid B. -- kmp
DRUNK DRIVING AT CONEY ISLAND: It all started so innocently. We'd never been to Coney Island; we wanted to ride the famous coaster, eat a hot dog, maybe see a freak show. But it was late. The Cyclone was closed. The bar was full of oily men, and the music sucked, but the drinks were cheap. Four Cuervo shots and many beers later, we went looking for Nathan's and found the disco bumper cars hall. It was loud, it was sparkly, we could slam into people while laughing maniacally -- it was perfect. But we wanted more, more drunk driving! So we headed for the Go-Carts. Drunk-driving Go-Carts makes you feel like Mario Andretti. They're loud. They smell like a diesel truck. You can cut people off and make dangerously sharp corners without flipping over. Fuck the roller coaster; rocking Coney Island townie style is the only way to go. B+ -- Angie
THE GUY WHO GAVE ME A RIDE ON THE BACK OF HIS BIKE SATURDAY NIGHT: There I was, running in flip-flops along Bedford, past the never-ending stretch of McCarren Park, when a knight on a shining 10-speed stopped to offer me a ride. His name was Gabe, and he looked harmless enough: skinny in white T-shirt and jeans, glasses, friendly smile. It was the bike that scared me - don't laugh, but I don't know how to ride -- but in a burst of bravery and bravado I jumped behind him up on that high high seat and clutched his shoulders as we whizzed along. On a WB show it would have been exhilarating and romantic -- but good God I can't remember the last time I've been so fucking scared. It lasted maybe for a minute and a half, but it only took that long for Gabe to make my day and remind me (on September 11th no less) that this city is filled with people who will go out of their way to offer you a hand, sometimes with a little helping of adventure. Learning to ride a bike may still scare me, but learning to flip off your fear and trust a random stranger not to spill your brains on the pavement scares me that much less. For Good Samaritanism, safe delivery and pumping me full of adrenaline, Gabe the Chivalrous biker gets an A. -- Rachel Sklar
THE NEW, "IMPROVED" TV GUIDE: I used to collect TV Guide. Really. Like Frank Costanza on "Seinfeld," I was one of those guys who actually bought old copies of a magazine that gives TV listings. In my defense, I didn't collect every issue, just issues that were published on important dates (the cover the week I was born -- June 9, 1965 -- was "Flipper"!), and the Fall Previews. So can someone tell me what the hell is going on with it nowadays? The TV listings are remarkably confusing, the grids are crowded and incomplete and they're not even bothering to tell you when a show is a repeat or even what the episode's plot is! Their late night listings can best be described as "oh, and after midnight there's a bunch of stuff on." You'd think that in this age of the web and customizable TV listings, TV Guide would want to actually make something complete and useful and fun and entertaining and informative. Instead, I mostly use it as a coaster. D -- Bob Sassone
HAVING A CRUSH ON YOUR BOYFRIEND'S ROOMMATE: It happened about a month ago. While visiting my new boyfriend's apartment for the first time, he introduced me to his roommate. Bam. I recognized the kid immediately as someone I had categorized as a secret crush for two years. I stupidly admitted this: "hey, didn't you used to live in _____?" Fast forward to this weekend, when I post-coitally fell asleep in my still-boyfriend's bed, wondering what it would be like to kiss his roommate's full and beautiful lips. Surely he's a more gentle lover than my somewhat-more-dominant-in-bed-than-I'd-like (don't push me!) boyfriend ... oi. I'm jealous of the girl who gets to sleep in the roommate's room, and excited when my boyfriend tells me roommate has asked him for help resisting her in the future. The guy flosses, will go out to his car for Chap Stick and knows how to dress himself. I know, sounds like a real pansy -- but that's the way I like 'em. And he's seen me most of the way naked. If only he'd grant me the same. B -- Julia
(Editor's Note: This note made every male editor at The Black Table extremely paranoid. Thanks, Julia!)
Each and every week, Black Table readers like you write the Black List and get absolutely nothing in return. Ain't that some shit.