I am beginning to think it may be time to end one of my longest relationships. It’s been eleven years of joy and sorrow and laughter and tears and amazing produce, but I’m finally ready to bail on the Park Slope Food Coop.
When my wife and I first arrived in Brooklyn in 2002, we moved into a spare room in our friend’s huge 1-family brownstone on the east side of Prospect Park — the side opposite from the fully gentrified, Disneyland Main Street U.S.A. known as Park Slope. Following the lead of our friends/landlords (friendlords?), who’d joined the Coop (not Co-op, even though spelling it the other way makes you think coop rhymes with poop) when they lived in Park Slope and remained devoted members even from the wrong side of the park. When we moved in, they didn’t tell us we HAD to join the Coop, but it was strongly suggested that living in a Coop household and eating Coop food without contributing to the Coop as working members would drag all of us into a moral gray area that not all of us would be comfortable with. Our friendlords had never led us astray before, the produce we’d been eating from their kitchen was indeed delightful, and we were eager to be good roommates because they were giving us a great deal to live there, so we agreed to join up.
We took the tour and sat for the orientation lecture, where we got the hard sell: The Coop offers amazing, mindblowingly fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as an assortment of free-range, grass-fed, hormone-free, yoga-practicing meats and a variety of off-brand, all-organic dry goods, at prices an average of 30% cheaper than the supermarket. How are they able to accomplish this? That right there is the greatest trick the devil ever pulled — if the devil was committed to social justice and canvas pants.
Last night as I was staring blankly at enjoying the season finale of PARKS AND RECREATION, I somehow spaced out enough to forget to fast-forward past the commercials. Just as I realized my error, I heard a familiar riff on the upright bass, immediately placed it, and watched the rest of the commercial in growing disbelief:
That the Pixies would license their first single, 1988’s “Gigantic,” for a commercial is not all that shocking. Having continued their post-2004 reunion career even after losing, if not their most important, certainly their most popular and charismatic member last year, and soon after that firing her replacement, it would seem that they are not being particularly coy about soldiering on for the money.
After reuniting and playing their back catalog on tour for twice as long as their entire pre-breakup career, next week they are releasing their first new album since 1991’s Trompe le Monde, so “Gigantic” popping up in an Apple commercial is very likely the result of some canny corporate brand synergy, with each brand leveraging the other into key demographics, to use only a couple of the marketing terms that make me glaze over in meetings I shouldn’t have been invited to.
So it’s not the commercial element of this that I find odd — other than the fact that they’re selling out with a song written by and prominently featuring an ex-band member that the other three original Pixies are probably sick of taking questions about. Like it or not, commercial licensing is one of the only avenues of Big PR left to musicians anymore, so you can’t blame the Pixies for taking advantage of it (though the use of “Gigantic” rather than something from the new record is telling, to say the least).
No, what’s strange is that, while “Gigantic” is one of the Pixies’ most popular songs and certainly their most radio-friendly, it is unambiguously a song about a huge penis.
They say we are living in a Golden Age of Television, and they may be right. Certainly THE SOPRANOS, THE WIRE, BREAKING BAD, MAD MEN, GAME OF THRONES, and many other shows have risen past anything at the multiplexes in terms of capturing the popular imagination.
But none of them is my favorite TV show of all time. That would be LATE NIGHT WITH DAVID LETTERMAN, which aired at 12:30 weeknights on NBC, after THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JOHNNY CARSON, from 1982 to 1993.
I am not talking about LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN, which ran on CBS at 11:30 from 1993 to the present day. You may have heard that Letterman recently announced he’ll be leaving the show next year, which has kicked off a lot of eulogies for the man’s career, including this one. Dave certainly had more than a few great moments on CBS, but in making the transition to an earlier hour and a wider audience, he sanded off most of the rough edges that made LATE NIGHT so special.
I don’t want to suggest that TWELVE YEARS A SLAVE didn’t deserve the trophies it collected a few weeks ago at the Academy Awards — I didn’t see it because I’m squeamish about sustained wanton brutality onscreen, but I’m sure it’s very well done — but I do feel that the best piece of filmmaking of 2013 was unfairly overlooked for Oscar recognition, and that is the trailer for AMERICAN HUSTLE.
When you watch this trailer, you get the idea that this is going to be a great, twisty, plotty, tense heist picture, full of great performances, quotable lines, memorable scenes, and amazing period costumes and soundtrack.
Well, it had the costumes and the soundtrack, and the actors did very well with what they were given, but this is one of the most overhyped movies I can remember, and the idea that it was up for Best Picture is kind of unbelievable.