Thursday, December 29, 2011

Back in the Saddle

It occurred to us that it had been a full year since we got thrown off a mechanical bull in a public setting. So we did it again. Since Mason Dixon closed down (reportedly because they served alcohol to minors. Maybe. Let's just start that rumor now), we took the party to Viva Toro in Williamsburg. And being thrifty little bullriders, we had a Groupon. Two bull rides and two cocktails. Perf.

Jennie's two rides:





My two rides:





Lara's two rides:



Sunday, December 11, 2011

Monday, December 5, 2011

Whiskey and Wellbutrin: 2011 Motion Picture Soundtrack


Tis the season for the year-end CD mix! I wanted to celebrate the year in which I discovered that you could dislocate your knee whilst pivoting on a barstool, that work is a hell of a lot more fun when you actually know what you're doing, and that mental health professionals in this town keep the kind of hours usually reserved for Waffle Houses elsewhere in this country. Thank you, 2011, for revealing all this and more! It's been...well, it's been weird, 2011. Really goddamn weird.

I hope you like the playlist this year. And if throughout the 18 songs you're by turns delighted, confused and maybe just a little concerned, then I'll have achieved my objective.

Happy ambivalent new year, you guys. And many more.

1. Almost Everything -- Wakey! Wakey!
2. Three Years On -- Bryan Dunn
3. Reckless -- Lara Ewen
4. You Can Make Him Like You -- The Hold Steady
5. Dead Man's Saloon -- Creeper Lagoon
6. Bar on A -- Greg Holden
7. Rip Her to Shreds -- Blondie
8. The Cowboy Song -- Kelli Rae Powell
9. Fading Lately -- Katie Costello
10. Treat the Disease -- Shwa Losben
11. Pretty Boy -- Luke Wesley
12. Break My Heart Around You -- Atomic Tom
13. Star Pupil -- Abby Ahmad
14. If You Don't Mind (Baby Go Ahead) -- Alec Gross
15. World United Already -- Wheat
16. Head Full of Doubt -- The Avett Brothers
17. Whiskey and Cigarettes -- Jessi Robertson
18. You're Aging Well -- Dar Williams

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Dadoo Shep and Flipper the Inflatable Shark

If you come to the Casa de Shep, this will happen.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Misty Boyce and Shwa Losben Live at Rockwood

An oldie but a goodie from Ms. Boyce:



And a new-ish one from Shwa that's becoming one of my favorite weepy-saddo slow jams. Hurts so good.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Lara Ewen and Opera Cowgirls at Bar 4

So here's something that doesn't happen often -- arias at your friendly neighborhood music club.

First, Lara Ewen will crush your heart into tiny, spongy pieces:



And then, THIS. Why is it blurry? Because the sheer operatic power MELTED ALL OF OUR FACES:



Or I was handling electronics with my greasy little chip-grabbing paws. Again. One of the two.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Jeff Litman Live at the American Folk Art Museum

Did you know that the American Folk Art Museum has music every Friday evening? Did you know it's free? Did you know that there's a lot of nuance to quiltmaking? Consider yourself schooled.


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Applesauce, Bitches.

It's fall, and our good friend has had oral surgery! That can only mean one thing!

APPLESAUCE, BITCHES.

Start with a bushel of apples. You'll know how many apples are in a bushel because it will say so on the pre-packed bag at D'Agostino.


Take 12 apples out of your bushel. Giggle at that sentence, because it sounds naughty. Resolve to work "bushel" into the everyday lexicon. Remember you are making applesauce, and return to the task at hand. This is all part of the process.

Peel the 12 apples. There are many methods for doing this effectively, and they are all annoying. Some go for the fluid spiral peel. Some go for the vertical stripe method. I prefer the frantic whittling technique. Bonus points if you include a few shavings of knuckle, because everyone needs more protein.


Chop the apples in half, and then core them. This is also annoying. Some prefer to cut the apples in quarters and then use a paring knife to carve out the core. This is for tiny babies. I prefer to hack away at the apple, leaving only a vertical strip of core and stem, chopping the pieces as I go. That is how you core an apple when you are not screwing around.


When all of your apples have been chopped with extreme prejudice, place them in a large casserole.


Take out three sticks of cinnamon, and give 'em a good whiff. This also is critical to the process.


Add the cinnamon, 1/4 cup of water and 1/8 teaspoon of ground cloves. Don't have a 1/8 teaspoon measuring tool? Partially fill a 1/4 teaspoon and sprinkle. Good lord, you're not helpless.



Mix the apples and spices, and place the covered casserole in an oven that's been pre-heated to 350 degrees. In lieu of a proper casserole lid, I tightly cover a Pyrex bowl with tin foil, because I cannot have nice things. Also, place the casserole on a baking sheet to prevent the sticky fruit goodness from leaking, burning to the walls of the oven and making you hate your life.


Bake the apples for about an hour. They will be nice and mushy and your apartment will smell amazeballs. Remove the cinnamon sticks. If you like your applesauce smooth, let the apples cool and run them through a food processor. If you're lazy like me, just mash the apples up a bit with the back of a spoon or a potato masher or some damn thing and call it "artisan-style," because no one really knows what that means, and it's an easy way to give ugly food respectability. Branding is life, and life is branding, kids.

You have now successfully made a tasty treat to make you forget the throbbing pain in your gums, and the fact that the Novocaine is preventing you from feeling your own face. Happy autumn everyone.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Time Shawn Colvin Saved My Life



Evidently, Taylor Swift recently appeared onstage with Shawn Colvin to sing Colvin's 1996 hit, "Sunny Came Home." I know this, because I read Perez Hilton. I think it's charitable to say that Colvin hasn't loomed large in the popular consciousness lately, so this didn't make a ton of sense. But maybe those two bonded while commiserating about being ambushed at award ceremonies by rapper-type people. Sorry, 'Ye, but ODB's "Wu-Tang is for the children" is one of the best bum-rushes of all time. OF ALL TIME.

But anyway, the Swift-Colvin alliance gave this song a bit of a boost, and I started seeing it mentioned on Facebook. I thought, "Oh yeah, THAT song. I haven't listened to that in a while. I like that song...dammit, I REALLY like that song...THIS SONG IS PERFECT AND I CAN'T BELIEVE I WENT THIS LONG WITHOUT IT."

That said, there was one particular day in 2008 when this song exploded back into my brain and fortified me during one of the most harrowing episodes in my life. I was in a relationship that was going bad. Very bad. Dangerously bad. I wanted out, but my live-in boyfriend was nothing if not a master manipulator. He convinced me that no one else would ever want me like he did, so every time I made up my mind to leave, he'd talk me out of it. And I'd hate myself for it, but I stayed. And stayed unhappy.

His behavior started getting more and more controlling and irrational, and money started disappearing out of my bank account. He denied he had anything to do with it, but I was shaken. That Thanksgiving, I told him I was going home alone to think things out, and he should arrange to go to his family for the holiday. The writing was on the wall, and he freaked. He said he would make no such plans, and that he knew I would give in and let him come with me rather than "force" him to spend the holiday alone in our apartment. I called his bluff. I left. He stayed.

It's time for a few small repairs, she said

Over the next four days, he called incessantly. Even after I told him he was scaring the crap out of me and my family, he kept calling. Even after I was sobbing on the floor screaming "I DON'T LOVE YOU," he would just say "It's okay. We'll work it out." I had stomach pains so severe I slept with a heating pad every night. This was beyond unhealthy. This was destructive. I knew I had to go back to our apartment in DC, and tell him it was over, and that he would have to leave.

Count the years, you always knew it

My parents were scared for me. They didn't know how he'd react, and they offered to come with me. He never had been violent before, but he also didn't call me 15 times a day before. I told them not to come. This might have been a little foolish in retrospect, because I didn't know how he'd react either.

Light the sky and hold on tight, the world is burning down

So there I was on Amtrak preparing to do the ballsiest thing I'd ever done in my life and not entirely convinced I'd be able to go through with it. Maybe he would play my sympathies like he always did and cry and tell me how much he needed me and all the other shit that made me change my mind before. I didn't know what to think or how to prepare. So I put on my iPod. And that's when Shawn Colvin came up on shuffle.

Sunny came home with a vengeance

When "Sunny Came Home" came out, I was in high school, and the most taxing tribulations I had been through up to that point were studying really hard for tests, trying out for parts in the school play and that one time asking out that one guy in ninth grade (it didn't end well). So, even though I knew the song, and liked the song, the lyrics were still pretty abstract to me.

She opened a book and a box of tools -- Sunny came home with a mission

But now every line struck home. I caught myself sitting bolt-upright, jaw set, eyes wide while my chest tightened up and I thought my heart was going to burst through the rib cage.

She said days go by, I'm hypnotized...

And I listened to that song...

I'm walking on a wire...

On repeat...

I close my eyes and fly out of my mind...

All the way home.

...into the fire.

That night, I calmly told my boyfriend it was over. He was clearly unhappy, but I was clearly firm. There was no changing my mind this time. Even so, I still didn't totally have the heart to kick him to the curb outright. We would be mature about it. He'd have a month to find a place, get his affairs in order, and get out, and maybe...MAYBE...we could stay friends. He agreed, and it looked like this would end amicably after all.

And then a few days later I found out he stole my identity and opened several credit cards in my name and wrote bad checks and ruined my credit and stole from my account all to the tune of $32,000...so I threw him out and notified my parents, his parents and the police (in that order) because he's a lying, sociopath con artist and any woman who gets near him should run like her hair's on fire. And that's the first time I ever said that in the blog. Feels kinda awesome.

Strike a match, go on and do it

So that's how Shawn Colvin helped give me the strength to walk away from the most toxic situation I ever found myself in, and why I'm glad this song is getting a little love. Sure, it sounds sweet and innocuous, but listen to the words. They're pretty badass. A pretty little thing with moxie. I dig that.

I did manage to absolve myself of about half of the debt, restore my credit and get the hell out of DC and start a more fabulous, if less solvent, life in New York. And the guy? Loooooong story short, he was never arrested, though we really, really tried. Last I heard he's somewhere in Baltimore. But honestly, I have better stuff to do now than chase him down. Dude got to dictate three years of my life. He doesn't deserve anymore. But, if by any chance he's reading this:

She's out there on her own

And she's all right.


More or less.

Sunny came home.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Kelli Rae Powell: Live at Jalopy

Every now and again, we stray from the stomping grounds of the Lower East Side and head to Jalopy in the wilds of Red Hook, where you can drink beer out of Mason jars and pretend you're in O Brother Where Are Thou and get empanadas at Phil's Crummy Corner, the Dominican joint at the end of the block. Red Hook is special.

Y'know who else is special? Kelli Rae Powell. For serious. By day, the woman does music therapy for kids with cancer. And by night, she does this. The rest of us should just pack up and go home, because KRP might be the best person on the planet. And I love her dresses.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Happy 10th Blogiversary!

10 years ago, young Robyn decided to take an elective course in her junior year at New York University called "Digital Journalism" in which we learned about things like "weblogs," or if you were really savvy, "blogs." And our instructor decided that we should all have our own "blogs." And we made them on Dreamweaver 4. And they looked like shit. But they were our little corners of cyberspace, because that was what we still called it. It was a simpler time, back when you could say things like "surfing the net" and not sound like a huge douchenozzle.

I originally started the blog to keep my loved ones informed while I was studying abroad in London. And it was tedious. I didn't drink, didn't get in trouble, hung out with respectable people, nursed a bout of 9/11-induced post traumatic stress disorder and listened to a lot of U2. There. I just saved you three years. It's moderately less tedious now. But with more embedded video.

Though in fairness, it's been an eventful decade. I've came to terms with the loss of my best friend. I went to a historic inauguration. I lost on Jeopardy. I was attacked by a bidet. I learned more than I ever wanted to know about feline and lapine vet care. I looked up the word lapine. I made a bunch of mixtapes and drew a lot of pictures. I met not just one, but two of my all-time heroes. I was held hostage in my apartment by a moth. I scared the crap out of a sexually abusive fuckwad. I left and returned to the city I adore. I saw a shitload of live music. And I lost everything I ever worked for but found myself in the process, learning there are way worse things than being single. It's no accident that's when the blog REALLY started to get interesting.

Happy 10th birthday, little blog. I feel old.

This is easily the most narcissistic post of the whole damn decade. And that's saying something.

Thanks for listening.

Robyn

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

How to Make a Music Video

On the eve of Hurricane Irene, we were summoned to a Williamsburg rooftop by the boys in Atomic Tom to make a video for their new single. We've had fun with the AT kids before, be it rocking out on the East River under fireworks or watching them become international YouTube superstars or exploring the effects of jalapeno margaritas and roasted grasshoppers on the gastrointestinal system...but some things are better left unblogged.


But ANYWAY, the beautiful weather showed no sign of the impending storm, and we spent a glorious late afternoon and sunset slathering ourselves with zinc oxide, doing arts and crafts...


...and molding 10 pounds of ground beef into approximately 65 hamburger patties with our bare hands...


because that is what rock and roll is all about.


And then we drank vodka out of the bottle and put paper bags on our heads...

...while Ben yelled at us to "Jump! JUMP! MORE!" and we had to listen to him because he had a megaphone.
And then I did the running man, and it was documented for all time at around the 3:30 mark.

And then we drank all the wine and moved the furniture around.

And I think there was cake.

And that is how a music video is made.

Here it is:

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Daily Awkward

[ROBYN suddenly enters Ackloo kitchen, where caterers are staging hors d'oeuvres for fancy executive shindig. WAITER 1 and WAITER 2 are engaged in conversation.]

ROBYN (with unmitigated enthusiasm): Oh WOW! These snacks are no joke! I love food on tiny bread!

[WAITER 1 and WAITER 2 look at her, then resume conversation.]

WAITER 1: Yeah, so anyway, my mom died two years ago. Esophageal cancer.

WAITER 2: Oh man, I'm so sorry. How's your dad doing?

WAITER 1: Well, they were pretty much best friends, so...

[ROBYN grabs canapé and slinks away.]

[SCENE]

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Robyn Happens During Hurricane Irene

From a glorious Friday evening to a soggy Sunday. With inexplicably sped-up audio, giving the impression that I spent the whole weekend doing coke. Which I think adds to the charm.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Let's Make Almond Ice Cream!

It's 100 degrees. I have an ice cream maker. And a book with 300 recipes.

Let's do this.

First, after an arduous decision-making process, I chose almond ice cream. Because almonds are delicious. And it was the first recipe. It begins with "a." That's how that works.

So first you get 7 oz. marzipan, or as I like to call it, "angel poop."


Beat the marzipan and 2/3 cups of sugar together in a bowl, and add three eggs, one at a time. Like this!

Then measure out 1/2 teaspoon almond extract, but first, take a good whiff, because it smells duh-vine.

But don't taste it. Seriously. Smell does not match taste.

Anyway, add the extract and 1/4 teaspoon of salt to the marzipan mix.

In the meantime, bring two cups of half-and-half to a simmer.

Slowly beat the hot half-and-half into the marzipan. Then, pour everything BACK into the saucepan, and whisk constantly over low heat. Whisk until the custard (because that's what it is now -- magic!) is slightly thickened. But keep whisking or the eggs will scramble and you'll ruin everything! DON'T BE YOURSELF.

Strain the hot mix into a large bowl.

Then wait for it to cool.

After it's cooled down a little, stir in one cup heavy cream. Then cover it, put it in the fridge, and say goodnight to it.

Prepare according to your ice cream maker's instructions, transfer to a freezer-safe container for two hours, and scoop!





Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Of Bands, Boats, Skylines and Explosions

When last the blog left our friends Atomic Tom, they were tearing up the Internet with their subway video. 5 million views, some national TV appearances and a whole, whole lot of tour van miles later, they're still doing very well, thankyouverymuch, and we're glad to have them back home in NYC for a while after several months on the road.

Recently, the boys played a rock cruise on the East River. After several stiflingly hot days, the evening of the boat cruise was blessedly glorious. And we may be a bunch of jaded, cynical New York hipster-types, but I challenge anyone who finds themselves on a lovely sunset boat ride on the East River and around New York harbor to not find themselves going wicked stupid giddy like a bunch of tourists. And there was a rock show! And a buffet! What could be better?

Maybe if there were some inexplicable mid-set fireworks just as the whole shebang floated under the Brooklyn Bridge...that would be cinematically awesome, right? Could that possibly be arranged? DONE AND DONE:



And there was some music and stuff, too:

Monday, July 25, 2011

Celebrating Marriage in NYC

The Ackloo LGBT team got up early on a sweltering Sunday morning, made us some signs, and headed down to the clerk's office in Manhattan to celebrate the first same-sex marriages in the borough! Yay! We were prepared to encounter nasty protesters, but the worst of the worst had already fled by the time the first marriages got underway, so it was a big ol' party. Sadly, I didn't get the most exhaustive footage, seeing as I was busy holding signs and getting my picture taken with the Ackloosians and running away from spontaneous media mobs who wanted to talk to the couples, but here's a little taste of what happened:



And if you want a more professional take on it, here's the official Ackloo video:

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Midsummer Night's Street Repair

You'd think they wouldn't do non-emergency street repair between 1 and 4 am on a weeknight. You'd think wrong.


Saturday, July 9, 2011

Laundry Day

Pets are great. Just...great.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Nate Campany: "Call Your Girlfriend"

I don't have a bad thing to say about Nate Campany. Really. I've tried. I got nothin' on him, other than his latent hostility to visiting the Upper East Side (even when I make steak). If you're not familiar, his original ish is amazing, but in the meantime, check out this ridonk interpretation of Robyn's (not me, the other one) "Call Your Girlfriend."

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Three Ladies Singing: The Star-Spangled Banner

It was a lovely Fourth of July here in NYC. I spent the afternoon hanging out with my pals Jennie, Sabrina, and Cass while they busked in Battery Park singing patriotic songs. They were adoraballs. And then we got burgers and beer and talked about things like double-fisting freedom. And then we tried to see the fireworks, and decided that being crushed to death on 12th Avenue is NOT adoraballs, so we got pie at a diner and then I got to watch the fireworks in my air conditioned apartment sans pants. God bless America.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Juror Instructions

Serving democracy with unmitigated enthusiasm.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Sheps in Aruba: We Brake for Birds

This year's vacation in Aruba was a tour de force of doing nothing. Aside from adhering to the various Happy Hours throughout the day (because there are multiple Happy Hours, because it is Aruba, and Aruba is magical) and one off-site snorkeling venture, it was dedicated to sitting, reading bad literature, and eating too many snacks. It was awesome.

So no 9-minute long videos this year. Sob. I know. But I will leave you with 60 seconds of the Family Shep losing it over local wildlife. To know us is to love us. And love birds.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Learn Terrifying Things About Yourself Through Twitter!

This website took my Twitter feed, sped it through a food processor, and vomited it back up. And this is what happened. My subconscious is a dark, dark, twisted place:

Tirade against people who don't live like a smart-ass pays off. It was making Freedom Tears.

I'm at BAM with you guys. Really hard. And then I don't know I just pretty sure I thought we wound up.

So started whipping up on this week will not sayin. Anyone have to screw stuffed animals. Sent video.

Mmmmmm...smells like an apartment. And ate it. You'll like an apartment.

Yes. Well. NEWSWIRE: Vomiting Woman Sorry about Bun's GI issues. But still, Rockwood bathroom is fucking!

How about bacon, and cheddar jack, it could be sure it won't tell. Just my batshit insane news cycle.

Well. I hate it was 2009. Also, tonight's chores done FAST. I cover gay rights, abortion and still a spy.

I love you know. Bro: Dude! Go throw up! Me: I love you guys. I HATE ANIMALS.

I love you, too. My brain scares me by Rockwood to be a living... DAMMIT!

No pants. Goddamn, spring. Ain't you please embrace unlimited Metro cards? Not just over it. Amiright?

I love your Thin Mints. No." GIMME YOUR THIN MINTS. No." I like a tool. Ben Folds reprise.

This is so important. This is go. Sad. Screw YouTube. Now -- NOW YOU shut up.

Totally stoked to know. It's sweet of dumbfucks. Somebody has a little more massive doses of daily meds!

Fact: Just because you can come, should I CAN'T. I love you, too. Deep-fried peanut butter cup.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Robyn Has a Sore Throat

Fun with home remedies.

Friday, May 6, 2011

And Then We Made A Music Video!: Greg Holden's "Bar On A"

My friend Greg Holden has a kick-ass drinking song called "Bar on A." He wanted to make a video for this drinking song. So he came up with the really high-concept idea of getting all of his friends to come to Derek's house, kill off a keg or two, smoke a hookah, and endear ourselves to the neighborhood.

And now we all have something to show our grandkids how awesome we were once. This is my new favorite thing.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Ass Smack Heard Round The World

A funny thing happened when I submitted last year's re-tooled blog on sexual assault to the ACLU Blog of Rights.

Sucker went viral. Or as viral as a profane anecdote on a wonky site can go.

Last I heard, the blog itself got about 15,000 views in 24 hours. The Ackloo site overall usually gets 3000 hits a day. So...this would be a lot. This is what the web traffic on the site looked like. For the record, the blog is "blue."


Plus, marker drawings on the home page. What:

It got re-posted on Hollaback, Daily Kos, Feministing, AlterNet, Streetharassment (which compared it with an awesome video of another redhead calling out a subway pervert), and did a considerable amount of damage on Twitter and Tumblr.

So there's that.

Okay, so it's not Letter from a Birmingham Jail. It's not It Gets Better. It's not gonna get me on Jimmy freakin' Kimmel or whatever (you guys).

But judging from the comments, I think it struck a nerve. Am I perhaps a little full of myself this week? Yes, I am. Am I sorry? Fuck no. That was fun, Internet. Can we do it again?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

How To Hit Bottom With Style And Panache (Robyn Happened: Vintage 2008)

OMIGOD YOU GUYS. I was poking around MySpace for old times' sake and re-reading the ol' blog. It used to live there once upon a time. And I came upon this gem of an entry from December 2008. For those playing along, at the time, I was living in DC and had broken up with a guy who did an Epically Bad Thing, and was perpetually drunk and miserable. It was fantastic. I've hit a bit of an emo patch here in 2011 lately, but finding this was like getting a face-punch across time and space from 2008 Robyn, who's all "Awwwwwww, is widdle hipstew Wobyn sad with her uptown wiverfwont apartment and wock star fwiends and widicuwous job. PISS OFF. DON'T. EVEN. START. WITH. ME." And she has something that resembles a point, poor drunk thing.

And to think I didn't transfer this over because I thought it was oversharing. Hilarious.

HOW TO HIT BOTTOM WITH STYLE AND PANACHE (December 2008)

So you think things can't possibly get any worse? Surprise! They just did! But fear not. Here's some tips on how to properly hit bottom.

1a. If the bad news is delivered in a professional/public setting, and does not entail any life or death type situations, it is critical that you accept it elegantly. Look your assailant in the eye and smile like you love nothing more than being metaphorically shot in the gut at close range. Exit the situation with perfect posture until you are out of sight, dragging your metaphorical entrails behind you.

1b. If, however, the bad news manifests itself in a no kidding, life and death type situation, by all means, skip immediately to step 6 and lose your shit like there's no tomorrow. A good primal scream or prolonged gutteral moan works beautifully. As does a nice fainting spell. In this situation, all bets are off.

2. An escape plan is critical. You must, in the near future, flee the scene, if only for a day or so. Clean up whatever logistical mess must be attended to, and then get the hell out of town. If you've just received the bad news, it might be a good idea to fire off a semi-hysterical missive to out-of-town friends requesting, nay, demanding, their hospitality in the not-too-distant-future. You may lose elegance points here, but they will oblige. They'd be scared not to.

3. If it's seasonally appropriate, and if your city is enlightened enough to have one, visit the neighborhood Festivus pole, and publicly air your grievance anonymously. True, it will not solve your issue, but it will be immensely satisfying. Especially if you have a particularly good grievance, or a series of them presented in bullet form on the back of an envelope that once contained an affidavit from Dell Financial Services.

4. If you have a friend in the vicinity of said Festivus pole, call them immediately upon posting your grievance, and drink copious amounts of adult beverages with them. Bonus points if said friend happens to have a healing mixtape on hand, and is willing to share her steak dinner with you. Make sure you have cab fare before embarking on this step. You'll need it later.

5. On your way home, kick the crap out of a few streetlamps. This town is, after all, trying to kill you, and you must fight back. Just mind your toes.

6. Once, and only once, you are in a safe space, it is now time to lose it. Crumple to the floor and weep generously. I mean really get into it. Get all snotty and ugly and maybe drool a little. Ad-lib. Suggestions: "I don't understaaaaand..." or "Whhhhhyyyyyy?" or just say the F-word. A lot.

7. Pass out, either from exhaustion or alcohol, or both. You can take off your makeup in the morning.

8. Wake up, take an aspirin, dress up pretty, and resolve then and there to move to New York City.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Rollin' With Cannolis...

I have a friend named Jennie who's a pastry chef. Have you got a pastry chef for a friend? You should. Because you get to spend afternoons like this.

Jennie decided we should all come over to her apartment to make cannolis. I don't know if you know this about cannolis, but they don't just come in a box. They take a lot of time and a lot of effort and a lot of sitting around eating deviled eggs and drinking whiskey while the cannolis take a nap or something in the fridge. Let me illustrate...

Here, Jennie brandishes her Wüsthof, not because we need to chop anything, but because we need to show the cannolis that we are not messing around.


Next, you have to sift the ingredients to make the dough. And then you make dough patties and put them in the fridge.



Then you vogue a bit in your awesome apron.


After a good hour of that, you take out the dough and knead the living hell out of it. This not only makes it nice and pliable, but also works the upper arms a bit, so as to look fetching in aforementioned apron. This is part of the process, and it is very important.


Then -- and this is where we blow your mind -- you run it through A PASTA MAKER. WHAT? I KNOW. You do this roughly 654 times.



Then, you put the ribbons of dough in the fridge again and you drink.


You also have to work on the filling. Here, we see three pounds of a very special ricotta impastata, obtained deep in Brooklyn. I'm not entirely clear on why it was so special, but Jennie assures me it is "the Cadillac of ricotta," and I am in no position to debate her.


So you take the magic ricotta and you beat it with sugar and spices and whatever the hell else you want. We put some chocolate chips in one batch. And blueberry flan in another. I mean, it was getting WACKY. Completely off the chain.


Then you take a huge vat of oil and stick a thermometer in it and convince yourself that you are, in fact, sober enough to take this on without causing horrific injury.



Then you remember that you put strips of dough in the fridge, so you take it out and cut rounds out of them. Then you take your cannoli rollers, which OF COURSE you have...right next to your pasta maker, and you wrap the rounds around the rollers.


Then you drop the rollers in the oil, drain 'em on a plate...

Squish the cheese into the cannoli shells...

Dust 'em with sugar...


AND HOLY CRAP YOU MADE CANNOLIS. IN ONLY FIVE HOURS AND FOUR COCKTAILS.


Then you take the cannolis you worked all day on over to Cobble Hill where a bunch of inebriated people with floppy hair eat them in about three minutes.

And that's how cannolis are made.

Monday, April 4, 2011

How To Do A Badass Photo Shoot (with Jessi Robertson)

Our story starts out with a musician's nightmare. After working for an insanely long time on her album and spending an ungodly amount of money, my pal Jessi finally received a shipment of 1000 CDs. The CDs represented the realization of so many hopes and dreams and...they all had a manufacturer's error on them that rendered them unusable. DISASTER. OR IS IT? Before taking her hopes and dreams curbside, my other genius pal Lara had an idea. Let's do a photo shoot! she said. Because what could be more satisfying, more decadent, than destroying your own artistic efforts on film? That is baller, friends. Ball. Er.

So we broke into Bar 4 on a Saturday afternoon (okay...nicely asked Larry if we could use the place off-hours. BALLER.) and trashed the place with hundreds of Jessi's jacked-up CDs. The idea was this: Jessi was gonna come in and look hot and lie the hell all over the albums. Were we gonna crease up the booklets? Yah. Were we gonna dent the crap out of the discs? Yeppers. Were we gonna make CD angels on the floor? Well, we would if we felt like lying on the floor at Bar 4. And there are some things you just don't do. Even for ART. Below, we see the awesome photographer Nathaniel Johnston at work. He was the business. And stylist/art director/mastermind tends to the talent's tresses. ALLITERATION. Meanwhile, DJ Shep creates the proper sultry, decadent mood with some really empowering jams. I mean, really sultry. Also, nothing is more rock and roll than chocolate chip cookies that aren't baked all the way through. Because that's the way the MAN wants us to make cookies. And this photo shoot is all about turning convention on its motherfucking head. And also, I, uh, used the wrong pan. We also took the party outside, and threw a bunch of CDs on the ground. That was kinda fun. We're still waiting on the finished photos, but YOU don't have to wait to hear Jessi's un-messed-up album. You can get it on iTunes, and if you wait a few more weeks, she'll have a brand spankin' new shipment of actual CDs that you can hold in your hands. Which we won't throw all over the bar. Unless the CD re-release party is REALLY raging. But we'll buy them first. That's just polite.


UPDATE: Sneak peek of the photo shoot! Hawt!