Monthly Archives: April 2012

Conversations At A Brooklyn Party

My first stop on Saturday evening was to an art gallery show on the Lower East Side featuring work by the mother of a friend. While there, I was talking to sisters from Canada and I told them about my trip last summer to Montreal. I don’t speak French, but while in Montreal I threw out a few French phrases when talking. Well, my few words of French was like a cock tease to the Quebecois as they mistook me for being fluent in their language. I quickly learned that it was best to speak English.

Later, I went with two friends to a house party in Williamsburg. It was kinda like a salon with a BYOB situation. The smell of marijuana wafted through the room. There was a French girl with a bob singing songs with an electric guitar. The singer was good. She wore electric blue leggings, a Doc Martens and big wool coat. In another room, there was a pair of red velvet sofas where a group of people were gathered. My friend Mike said hi to this girl. She wore a big hat and wide legged pants. At first, she did not respond. He thought she might be French or something. He greeted her again in French, but she didn’t respond. She just looked at us with her hand near her mouth. Finally, she starts talking to us. I asked what she did for a living. She told me that she doesn’t have a job. She wants to writes movies and her parents don’t give her money but she has friends who have that do. I joked that this party felt like a scene from ‘Girls’ and I would be photoshopped out of it. [Cause I’m Black]. The Girl asked us if we had a coke connection. If I had on pearls, I would have clutched them. It wasn’t because she ask about cocaine, but surprised because she came across a little rude. She’s twenty four. In my day, people butter you up before asking favors from strangers. BTW, I don’t have a connection to illegal substances. So the conversation trailed off, and my friends and I decided to leave. As we left, I overhear her hitting up a guy about whiskey.

Today I am watching “Tiny Furniture”, the film Lena Dunham wrote and directed. So much of it seems familiar to me. It is set in New York, cupcakes are “googled”, there’s a chef and Bushwick is mentioned. But many parts of it feels foreign like French. It is not the New York life that I live. Since this city has about 8 million stories, mine is just one of many.

Backlash To ‘Girls’ Backlash

I have had it up to here (Imagine me at the 5ft marker of a pool) of the articles and blog posts about new HBO show, ‘Girls‘. Across the internet, the creative class is up in arms. I suspect that someone has a Lena Dunham voodoo doll and is poking her via the other hole. Their complaints are many but mostly trite. It doesn’t represent the diversity of New York. The characters are trust funders. It is a not a realistic portrait of young women.

Whatever! How can anyone hitch their hopes and dreams to one show? The cast of the ‘Girls’ reminds me of the band members of The Strokes. They are the scion of rich creatives.

Why the haterade? Is it because Lena is only 25? Is the outrage derivative of the Occupy Wall Street movement? Do people hate rich people so much? I am not implying that Dunham is a one percenter, but there is more class tension today then there was during The Gilded Age, but back then there was no blogs, twitter and other ephemera. Does nepotism still bother people? No one gets success by doing it alone and if you have family that can help, then so be it. Americans are not pioneers and this is not the wild west. Bootstrapping is some antiquated idea that I doubt even Clarence Thomas believes anymore.

I am not defending the show, mainly because it so ridiculously mediocre and none of the girls are likeable except for the Asian girl who drinks Vitamin Water and knows Photoshop. She would totally be my friend.

 

Ten Funny Guys

Listed without commentary and in no particular order, here are eight ten funny Black men that I have seen do stand-up comedy.

1. Baron Vaughn
2. Eric Andre
3. Hannibal Burress
4. Baratunde Thurston
5. Victor Varnado
6. Elon James White
7. Dave Lester
8. Donald Glover
9. Jordan Carlos
10. Wyatt Cenac

Sent from my Android,
Nichelle Stephens

Darkest Before The Dawn

Last night’s episode of "Mad Men" showcased two new employees. Dawn is the new secretary for Don who is basically an affirmative action hire that happened because of a want ad that "blackfired". It is funny that her name is Dawn since it would make watercooler chatter interesting for people besides Harry Crane. While I don’t expect "Three’s Company" hijinks to ensue; I have a feeling Don and Dawn’s names might get mistaken for each other in a subtle way. Roger Sterling’s joke, "darkest before the Dawn" went over like a lead balloon and Peggy ignored it as they were talking about the new copy writer.

The other new hire is Michael Ginsburg who came off as so stereotypically Jewish that even my friend David rolled his eyes. He was anxious and weird during his interview with Peggy. Hopefully his character will be more developed as the season goes and he gets a better wardrobe.

I feel for Roger Sterling when he asks, "When will things get back to normal?".

Michele Norris of NPR was prescient when she said in an interview that the country today is most racial, not "post racial".

I don’t know about this "new normal". Talking about race requires nuance that can’t be easily storyboarded and slapped on an ad.

Judge lest you not be judged.

Sent from my Android,
Nichelle Stephens