★★★ The morning clouds could neither control nor yield the sky but held on, diffusing the light to white-gray. A fire drill sent the children spilling out of the music school: the third graders bundled in their heavy coats, the middle schoolers hunched up without. Down by the Flatiron the sky was clear; the clouds that had been uptown were still there, over the shoulder, but the sky was bigger than the island after all. Sunlit stonework and the blue behind it lay reflected in the face of the phone on the desk by the window.
Rebels are singing lullabies at the palace gate
when children surround the king’s bed and tickle him
to death. In the square, cheering crowds
rally around an eternal flame.
Air force jets scramble to disperse clouds
and navy submarines troll the deep ocean
searching for bioluminescent life forms.
Past fascinations with vampires are decried.
Censors speed-read library books,
whiting out metaphors for evil.
The prison workshop tings as inmates
painstakingly repair burnt-out light bulbs.
Firefighters battling a five-alarm blaze
cry in their helmets. Pink-cheeked and sweating,
scholars debate interpretations of the sunset
while students commandeer telescopes
to spy on quasars and pulsars and galaxies.
Insomniacs occupy the asylum grounds
with hundreds of milk jug votives.
Patients stare from windows,
certain the sky has finally fallen
and those are stars writhing in the grass.
Peer-reviewed journal articles with fancy titles have been devoted to her work: “Trans/positioning the (Drag?) King of Comedy: Bisexuality and Queer Jewish Space in the Works of Sandra Bernhard”; “The Mouth that Launched a Thousand Rifts: Sandra Bernhard’s Politics of Irony”; “‘Without You I’m Nothing’: Sandra Bernhard’s Self-referential Postmodernism.” At twenty-seven, she beat out a slew of established actresses—including Debra Winger and Ellen Barkin—for a role co-starring with Robert De Niro in Martin Scorcese’s King of Comedy. Her one-woman shows have received accolades from highly regarded theater critics. Her Grammy-nominated stage show-turned-film, Without You I’m Nothing “directly inspired” Hedwig and the Angry Inch. She’s published three books, essays for the New Yorker, Vanity Fair, and Rolling Stone, and three music albums. And then there are her thirty-plus infamous appearances on David Letterman’s late night shows and a five-season stint on Roseanne. This is what I might’ve said to the educated, worldly, in-the-know thirty-year-old (straight) man who recently told me he had never heard of Sandra Bernhard. And still, he might have responded, “Wait, who’s Debra Winger?”
The other week, Bernhard ambled into the glass box studio devoted to her new SiriusXM show, Sandyland, fifteen minutes before start time. She was low-key and pleasant when greeting her producer, Lisa, who mentioned possibilities for upcoming guests: New York City cable-access queen, Robin Byrd, and Prince protégé, Apollonia—to whom Bernhard partially dedicates a cover of Little Red Corvette in the closing of the stage version of Without You I’m Nothing. There was more talk of former Interview editor Ingrid Sischy’s upcoming memorial service (“a smart, fucking direct lady”), a Marc Jacobs “thing” Bernhard did two nights prior (“He was very happy with it”), and recent interactions at the launch party for face-of-Bravo Andy Cohen’s new SiriusXM channel, Radio Andy, the “home” of Sandyland (“I was reading Gayle King to filth! She didn’t even know I had a show!”). Finally, Bernhard thumbed through some possible talking points for today’s show, handed to her by Lisa—those images of particularly unsettling Halloween costumes from a century ago that you probably saw in your Facebook feed a few weeks ago. “If you’re over twenty-five and you’re still dressing up for Halloween, you need to get some sort of help immediately,” she said, unmoved that her show was starting in 3-2-1. An excited woman’s voice came over the loudspeakers: “Buckle up and take a seat on the Sandyland Express!” Then Bernhard’s breathy, almost mocking pre-record: “Are you ready to take a trip with me? I’m going to take you all over the globe, and intergalactically, too, occasionally.”
At some point tomorrow you will sit staring at everyone around you and wonder how much longer you have to keep that forced grin fixed to your face before you can wander off to some quiet corner and disappear under the cloak of social invisibility that is your phone. (I guess smartphones are good for something after all!) Tomorrow will be terrible. It always is. But right now you are still in the middle of the moment where the sweet anticipation of time off surpasses any actual joy time off brings. Savor it! Wrap your arms around it tight and try to keep that feeling alive in your heart for as long as you can. Because Lord knows you’re gonna need it in the next 48 hours. Good luck, and enjoy.
“[Damon Albarn] freely admits to being baffled by the internet, and tells an anecdote about reading an interview with himself on the Guardian website and not initially understanding that the below-the-line comments weren’t part of the article (‘People were not kind; it was… enlightening’).” [Via]#
★★★ The stiffness of the playbills in the breast pocket of the heavy wool coat meant that it hadn’t been needed since the day they went in there. According to the ticket stub in with the playbills, that day had been March 22. There had been clean daylight from the very beginning, to help rouse the children. A skinny little dog, wearing a dog coat, sniffed at the sidewalk outside where the pet-gear store used to be. The Q train was stifling, but the cold made up for that within two blocks. A few clouds appeared on the blue, overhead and reflected in the windows across the street from the office. The afternoon sun up the avenue was blinding but not appreciably warm, and in the time it took for the food truck to cook up pad Thai, the shadow of the buildings crept into the edge of sidewalk where people were waiting. Sun got so far into the narrow parking lot it could only be seen as an incandescence from the depths. The climate control in the office was totally haywire and helpless; people wore knit hats indoors. The back muscles, already tensed, felt the sharper cold of rush hour and started to hurt.
1. Visit nutritionist. Submit to sermon on restorative powers of gelatin, glucosamine, and collagen. Admit to gut neglect and gluten poisoning. Embrace wellness. Accept the broth into your heart. Resolve to save and boil bones and drink the marrow out of life.
2. Research Crock-Pots online. Neglect no comment or review—no matter how grammatically deranged. (Can be done weeks in advance.)
3. Purchase VitaClay slow-cooking appliance ($139) so as to avoid trace quantities of lead leaching into (health) food.
4. Unpack and “season” VitaClay slow-cooking appliance by boiling brown rice for two to three hours, or until heating element first-use smell abates.
5. Dump hot rice mush into bin.
6. Attempt first bone broth. Assemble in clay vessel: carcass of one lovingly pre-roasted chicken, plus variety of soup vegetables, plus parsley springs and splash of apple cider vinegar.
7. Further peruse instruction manual. Discover real bone broth requires twenty-four hours of simmer time; VitaClay maximum is six.
Earlier this month, in a blog post titled “Hard decisions for a sustainable platform,” Twitter announced a small product change that has altered, in a subtle but widespread way, the way you read/scan/judge/subconsciously process Things On The Internet:
Recently, we announced a new design for our Tweet and follow buttons, as well as a deprecation of the Tweet count feature. We expect to ship these changes by Nov. 20, 2015. We wanted to take a moment to explain how and why we made this decision, as it reflects the kinds of engineering tradeoffs we make every day.
This change concerns those little buttons on top of, under and beside a great number of pages online—the ones that tell you, at a glance, how many people have already shared a story on Twitter. They usually sit next to a similar button linked to Facebook.
Together, these buttons—with occasional share counts from Pinterest and others—have become something like a public ratings system for the web. Years ago, some sites put view counts next to posts, which, among other things, seemed to have an amplifying effect for already-popular stories. Some still do. But later, share buttons encouraged, and then standardized, a similar sort of behavior across the web, albeit on outside parties’ terms. Their ubiquity helped share counts overtake view counts or, more commonly, comment counts as the most visible signal of a post’s popularity.
Would you like to start your day listening to some music “constructed entirely out of the sounds generated by a Whirlpool Ultimate Care II model washing machine”? I am guessing you don’t think that you would, but I am also guessing that you could be wrong, because it’s a lot more exciting than you would imagine. If you insist that washing machine music is not for you, fine, here’s something that is almost its opposite from Matt Dunkley. If you like Philip Glass you’ll like this.