Monday, October 02, 2006

A Guide To Recognizing Bullshit When You See It

Had to guffaw out loud when I saw the poster for A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints, a new movie directed by some model/actor/singer based on his memoir about growing up in Astoria. The movie inaccurately depicts mid-1980s Astoria as some gang-infested urban jungle -- like Queens' version of South Central L.A. for crissake -- that Dito, or whatever the poser's name is, was fortunate to escape from. This is such a crock of shit and nobody is calling him on it! He was in a really bad new wave boy band band called Gutterboy that appropriated laughably lame tough-guy posing to secure some street cred, while their music was a watered down approximation of U2 and Springsteen. I knew one of the guys in Gutterboy, Johnny Feedback, who I used to play with in a punk band before he went on to form Kraut, which made a couple of good hardcore punk records.

Look, pre-yuppified, pre-hipsterized Astoria had its share of crazies, its allotment of crime & drugs & violence, some of it even involving yours truly. I was mugged at knifepoint when I was 7 years old, along with Trent and Urb, by the dreaded DiQuarro brothers, almost all of whom later did time at Rikers Island. I was beaten up a few years later when I moved to a new block. And our crew had sporadic run-ins with the Seven Immortals street gang who lived and flourished down by the Astoria projects and the craven ne'er-do-wells known as the Pool Hall Gang.

And I really don't want to ruin the guy's moment, his 15 minutes of fame, but to paint the mean streets of Astoria as some sort of concrete wasteland from which only a few chosen souls were lucky to escape, that's a long way from the truth. Treading the same by-now-tiresome-territory as The Basketball Diaries, Saturday Night Fever and A Bronx Tale, it's the highly derivative work of a selective memory at best, and self-aggrandizing exaggeration at worst. It's likely to appear authentically gritty only to those recently arrived to New York from the Midwest or Eastern Europe, or to hack reviewers like Peter Travers of Rolling Stone.

Got the first two catering gigs this year under the belt. The first was a run of the mill school function for returning teachers and trustees -- buffet table, bar, passing appetizers -- while the second was less commonplace and thus more interesting. This one took place last Wednesday at an upper east side penthouse. The occasion was a schmooze-a-thon for a senior student whereby mates and acquaintances gathered, the purpose somewhat nebulous. I think it involved greasing the skids so that at a later date all those who attended can be hit up for cash and sundries, making the girl's last year of private school more gratuitously gratifying.

The entire family was exceedingly nice to the staff, which included Ed as captain, Daniel behind the bar, Junior as chef, and Aleesha, Ashley and yours truly doing the passing of appetizers and drinks, bussing, etc. The guy whose penthouse apartment it turned out to be had a bunch of rock&roll memorabilia adorning the walls of the den where we set the bar up, including signed records and concert tickets by the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix and other boomer icons. I really only got to see that room, the kitchen and the living room, as well as the outstanding view afforded by the patio that ran around the circumfrence of the apartment, a view which only get better as the night got darker.

The other four days of the week I worked as per usual at LTV. And I sit here again at my workspace on this very slow Monday, during which I have yet to see a single piece of work-related copy or ad work cross the plane of my desk. Which gives me all the more time to catch up, for better or worse.


Matt said...

Fascinating blog. Intelligent insights and helpful reviews. Thanks.

WardensWorld said...

Thanks for tuning in, Matt