|Back In C-Town For The Holidays||
I’ve just returned from a week back home in my native Cleveland. It was pretty magical. As holidays go however, I pretty much drank and ate nonstop and am now considering several cosmetic procedures to quickly rectify the situation. Or I might just go for a long walk or something. Also, being home for a week and all, it still wasn’t enough time to see everyone I wanted to see and do all the things I wanted to do, especially since it had been a year since my last visit. Still, I managed to squeeze in a fair amount of mayhem while I was there.
The excitement started last Wednesday when I boarded a plane for Cleveland from the popular Newark airport. Earlier in the day I had a meeting in the Big City that concluded with the person that I was meeting with giving me a cheesecake from Junior’s, the popular Brooklyn restaurant that is pretty much famous for being awesome at making cheesecakes. Recently, I read an essay written by an old friend from grade school who decided to leave behind life as a lawyer and start a cake business after he baked a cake for his family and met them at JFK airport for a visit (you can go here and find out a whole lot more about that). Apparently people freaked out the whole time he was walking around with that cake of his and that’s when he knew that he was onto something. Now he is like the king of cake or some sh*t, which is pretty cool if you ask me.
I found that walking around with a big cheesecake stirs up similar excitement in people. “Mmmm, cheesecake!,” some would say. “I’m sorry, we can’t let you take that cheesecake on the plane- you’re gonna have to leave that with us,” the airport security guys said before giving me a wink that suggested that not only were they just kidding but that the also really, really like cheescake. I gave them a look back that suggested that I really appreciated their love of cheesecake as well as their fun-loving attitude while on the job, something that we just don’t see often enough since terrorists tried to rob us of our freedom a few years ago. Then they asked me to take off my shoes.
After a while though, the endless cheesecake comments started to get kind of annoying. “I get it- you really like cheesecake. We all do. Now go fuck yourself,” I wanted to say. I almost threw the thing in the trash just so people would leave me alone. In the end, however, I was glad I brought the cheesecake all the way back to my parents’ house as they seemed to enjoy it. And to their credit, they were just like “Oh, how nice. Yeah, cut me a small piece” and had a slice or two. They didn’t get all bent out of shape about it. They’re cool like that.
Other excitement while I was home included going to the Schvitz, the exciting Russian bath house in Cleveland that has been there for like 80 years or something and is so not gay it’s not even f*cking funny so stop thinking I was sneaking off for some man-love while I was home for the holidays (Yeah, I know, not that there’s anything wrong with that). My first visit to the Schvitz was with my friend Phil and the entire male portion of the Morrissey family- Jim, Mike, Neil, Dan, Ricky, Sergio, Dante, and Chuck- and then some friends of theirs on top of all that. It was nice to see my friend Phil’s balls after all this time. Aside from the steam, beers, good conversation, and thick steaks, seeing Phil’s sweaty balls is something I count on with every Schvitz visit.
I had so much fun with my first visit to the Schvitz of this holiday season that I decided to make an impromptu visit with my sister’s boyfriend a few days later. It was the first time I had ever been there without my friend Phil, so I was a little nervous and all, but things turned out okay. I didn’t look at my sister’s boyfriend’s balls though. We’re just not there yet. We did have thick steaks and a few beers though, and we both seemed to enjoy that.
On the Christmas front, I mostly hung out with my family and watched my nephews Eamon and Blake play with the remote control dinosaurs that my sister got them. They were pretty psyched. Unfortunately however, the sweatshirts I got them went largely unnoticed in the wake of remote control dinosaurs. Those little bastards.
On Christmas Eve, we all went to mass at the church up the street from my parents’ house. Since it’s so close and all, we walked. On the way, we saw skunk crossing the street and almost get hit by a Volkswagen (a Passat, I think). Since almost getting hit by a Volkswagen can be a pretty traumatic experience whether you’re a skunk or not, the skunk in question decided to let loose with a bit of skunk juice as those things tend to do when they feel threatened and whatnot. Even though we were about twenty yards away from the skunk at the time, the blast was still potent enough to make us all smell of skunk by the time we got to church. It was kind of nasty yet charming in its own way. Being Christmas and all, the people around us seemd to let it slide. God bless us, everyone. Or something like that.
Other Cleveland excitement included meeting my friends Pat and Jennifer’s one year-old twins (fraternal) Sophia and Natalie, who are pretty awesome and baby-like in general, and my friends Desiree and Tony’s new little fella Joseph, who is instant good times. I also had fun going to my friend Mark’s new bar, Bier Markt, which specializes in Belgian beers, the popular beverage that for some reason make me want to wrestle people (I think it’s the lack of filtering or something).
Finally, I managed to squeeze in a little ice skating with my family. That’s a picture of my nephews Eamon and Blake above (Don’t worry- they are not handicapped. Those little walker things just help them learn to skate. They are just getting started. It’s not like they’re pussies or anything). They are four and are just adapting to life on ice. Even though their Canadian blood has been diluted by the fact that my brother and sister each married full-on Americans- causing Blake and Eamon to be a mere 1/8 Canadian as opposed to the full 1/4 status that my siblings and I have enjoyed all these years- Blake, Eamon, and my niece Anna are doing pretty well out there. Watch your ass, Boitano. Ha, that is a joke suggesting that some day my niece and nephews will become so accomplished at skating so as to threaten the Olympic great.
|Rock Show Cometh||
I just wanted to let you know that if you like really incredible rock shows, you should totally come see my rock band Valley Lodge play on Friday, January 13, at 10:30pm at the Mercury Lounge, which is located right in the heart of the can-do town that is New York City. I made a flyer for the show and everything (you can see a slightly larger version here. Or you could just hold your head closer to the monitor. It’s up to you.) That’s how excited I am. Can you feel it? So anyway, I’m sure I’ll write more stuff about it in the very near future, urging you to come to the show and all. I’ll also tell you to download a free song here and here. I mean, hey, why not? Am I right?
Last night I dreamt that I ran into Hollywood’s James Garner, star of such programs as “The Rockford Files” and “The New Maverick,” in an elevator. I was getting off, he was getting on. In the dream, it was weirdly 5am. As James Garner passed me while stepping into the elevator, I said, “Hi, James Garner!” He smiled and said hello back like he not only meant it but was also glad I called him by his real name and made no mention of “The Rockford Files” or anything. Then I asked him what he was doing up so early and he just gave me a look back that seemed to suggest “Guys like you and me- that’s just how we live our lives.”
His hair looked really great too.
|Obsession Of The Day||
This f#%king sweet dog is called a Leonberger. They are from Germany and named after the southwest German town of the same name. My friend Matt just hipped me to them. He has one of these plus four other dogs. Holy sh*t. Anyway, this one here is a puppy but if you look up more pictures of these crazy bastards you’ll see they grow up to be pretty massive and also tons of fun. I don’t know how I’ve missed out on the Leonberger all these years, but starting right now I am totally rethinking my place in this world.
|Checking Out Some Rock And Whatnot||
Last night, I went to see Joan Wasser play an early show at the Living Room on Ludlow Street. I don’t know Joan personally, but various bands I’ve played in over the years have played on the same bills as various bands she’s played in over the years, so I’ve seen her play quite a bit since the mid-90’s or so. Also, she plays violin with Rufus Wainwright, so she was in the short little movie my friend Deirdre and I made with Rufus and Martha Wainwright a while back. So there’s that.
Anyway, thanks to the magic of the Internet, I was able to check out some of Joan’s solo stuff a while back and really dug it. I’ve been trying to go see her play for about a year and a half now, but somehow just never got around to it because of my crimefighting duties mostly. Last night, I decided to make things right once and for all and go to her show. I’m glad I did as she was awesome- beautiful songs played by a beautiful woman. It’s a pretty good combination in my book. She should sell T-shirts or something. I would wear one and if anyone asked about it I would say “Yeah, I totally just saw her playing and it was pretty f*cking sweet.” Then I would probably just get back to whatever I was doing.
After Joan’s show, I walked a couple blocks to a bar where my friend Justin was celebrating his birthday. I have been experiencing plague-like symptoms for about three weeks now and probably should have gone straight to bed so as to avoid dying, but I like Justin a lot so I figured I would challenge the spectre of death and stop in and say hi anyway. Along the way, I happened upon a Chinese dumpling shop on Eldridge Street that had 10 dumplings (chive and pork) for two bucks. I threw them down and was generally pretty psyched about that.
Since I was feeling death-like and all, I didn’t stay too long at Justin’s birthday-type celebration, but I did stay long enough for my cousin Kieran and I to punch Justin in the leg a few times for no apparent reason so I was pretty happy about that. I’m generally not the punching-someone-in-the-leg-for-no-apparent-reason type of guy, but at the time it seemed like a really good idea. I’m hoping Justin wakes up with big bruises on his legs this morning and knows that Kieran and I love him.
In other news, apparently the NYC subway transit strike is underway so the city has ground to a halt or is at least giving some serious thought to that sort of thing. I hadn’t planned on any subway excursions until later today, so so far it has not affected me in any way that I am aware of. I do have an appointment in the Big City this afternoon that I would prefer to keep. Maybe I’ll walk or something. I could use the exercise. I have been feeling a bit plus-sized of late, mostly because I pretty much stuff my face like Walter Hudson 24 hours a day it seems of late. Oh well, I can’t worry about that now. It’s time for breakfast. Ha, the joke there is that I can’t be concerned about my weight because I have to concentrate on getting more food to eat. I don’t know where I come up with this stuff. The ideas just keep popping.
|Strapping On The Feedbag||
I have just returned from lunch in the Big City with some friends at Chat n’ Chew on 16th Street. I hate the name of this place as it makes me think of someone talking and chewing at the same time, which generally turns out to be an unpleasant thing to witness. Still, I think the food at Chat n’ Chew is generally really good so I find myself getting over the name of the place just shortly after sitting down every time I go there, which isn’t all that often, but hopefully you see my point.
This time around at Chat n’ Chew (a restaurant whose name I am also finding unpleasant to even type) I had a bowl of lobster bisque (not a usual choice for me, but I was feeling randy), meatloaf (it’s officially called “Not Your Mother’s Meatloaf,” which seems to imply that my mother’s meatloaf is bullshit or something. It’s not! F*cker. In the interest of full disclosure, however, my daddy usual did the meatloaf-making in my house when I was growing up. He just had a way with it.), mashed potatoes, vegetables, and a chocolate milk shake. It was delicious. However, I would strongly urge you not to do as I have done. I need to take a nap now. And then maybe have my stomach pumped. All of those items on their own make for good times, but put them all together and you’ve got a situation on your hands. Trust me on this one.
That is all for now.
|The Dave Hill Explosion w/The Gastineau Girls This Thurs. at UCB Theatre. You Better Come Or I Will Freak Out.||
Dear friends, colleagues, and other people with Internet access:
I just wanted remind you once again that this Thursday night, Dec. 15 at 11pm, my thoughtful and provocative nightclub act The Dave Hill Explosion will be exploding for the very last time in the year I have taken to calling 2005 at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre (located at 307 West 26th Street, right down the street from Dallas BBQ on 8th Avenue, where it is pretty much impossible not to have a really great time). If you are a fan of sitting in a dark room with a bunch of other people while I do my best to draw attention to myself for approximately 35 minutes straight, coming to my show is seriously the best possible way you could spend your Thursday evening. Admittedly, I will be standing on a lighted stage all by myself for most of the show, so the drawing-attention-to-myself thing will not be all that hard, but that does not mean I am going to skimp on the entertainment in any way whatsoever. I am going to talk, sing, dance, read stuff, show a couple short movies, and do a bunch of other stuff that is so entertaining in general that you are probably going to have to go into counseling immediately afterwards just to help you adjust back to your normal life. No sh*t. As if all of that is not enough, my special guests on Thursday are going to be Lisa and Brittny Gastineau, the mother/daughter team who are perhaps best known to Americans everywhere as the Gastineau Girls, stars of the popular show of the same name. It is at this point that you are probably thinking to yourself “Great, I am going to have to shell out like seven million dollars to see a show this incredible.” And to that I am all like “No, it is FREE.” And to that you are probably all like “Dave, how do you do it?” And then to that I am all like “You know what, if I knew I would be cleaning up at the Learning Annex right now or something.” Let us just enjoy ourselves. You seem really nice. Anyway, I hope you can make it this Thursday. You can reserve the FREE tickets for yourself and your loved ones if you are so inclined at ucbt.net, which is a website. Also, I am going to give a free large pizza to the first 150 audience members.* Take that, Oprah.
Yours in showbiz,
*This part is not true and was just added at the last second for dramatic effect. I might have snacks though. Still thinking about it.
|In My Travels||
Here is something I happened upon while making a coffee and orange juice run this morning. I spotted these two fellows on the side of a truck owned Metropolitan Lumber and Hardware of Brooklyn. Am I alone in thinking that the cartoon 2×4 and hammer look not unlike, you know, um, a penis and testicles (There. I said it.)? And do you think the guys at Metropolitan Lumber and Hardward get all giggly every time they send their truck out on the road each day? I know I would. In fact, I wonder if these guys are hiring. I don’t think driving the penis truck around town would ever get old. I’d probably have to pull over all the time because of all the giggling though. In fact, I’m finding it really difficult to even type right now. Gosh, I love those little guys. Metropolitan Lumber and Hardware, I salute you!
|Now That’s What I Call Metal||
Here is a pretty sweet video of the Norwegian black metal band Immortal rocking at the Wacken festival (not sure what year). It’s pretty incredible in, like, 500 different ways. And, more than anything else, I really like how these guys just kind of go for it. We could all learn a thing or two from Immortal. I do, however, think the drummer needs to reconsider the hair. That look works for the Catherine Zeta-Jones’ of the world, but when you’re keeping time for a black metal band, you can’t be sporting a ponytail like that. People might start thinking you don’t really live it 24/7 or something. Anyway, I hope you enjoy the video.