Back To The Bowery

1. It’s been a long time since I’ve performed at the Bowery Poetry Club. I’ll be doing a quick happy-hour show at 6:30 pm next Thursday, September 20, arranged by Long Island poet George Wallace and also featuring Donald Lev, Barbara Southard and Elliot Pepper on bongo drums. There’s a $6 cover charge, but it’ll be worth it. I’ll be doing a fast fifteen minutes, and I may even have a special guest (if you read the litblogs, it’s someone I bet you know and love) jump onstage with me for a bombastic duet.

2. Okay, so. My entire life I’ve been going to Mets games, and all these years I’ve watched foul balls go to the right of me, to the left of me, below me, above me. When I was a kid I brought my mitt to Shea Stadium; now I don’t carry a mitt but I’m always ready. Even though I never thought it would happen.

Well, I took Daniel to Monday night’s game against the Atlanta Braves, and Yunel Escobar hit a tall foul ball off Oliver Perez’s pitch that went way above our heads and bounced off the mezzanine wall. The ball then baubled down the loge level, hopping from one set of clutching fingers to another, till it fell again to our level, the field boxes, and rolled under a row of seats where Daniel dove for it, elbowed a few people out of the way, and grabbed the ball, as he tells it, from between the shoes of a guy who was trying to grip it with his feet. So, yeah. We got the ball. And the Mets won, 3-2.

3. It’s the Brooklyn Book Festival! I had a nice time last year and I expect I will again this Sunday, September 18.

4. Sarah Weinman, longtime half of my favorite dynamic duo over at Galley Cat, has written a poignant farewell. But somehow I think we’ll be reading more of her, not less, in years to come.

5. Matthew Bruccoli’s analysis of the errors in Fitzgerald’s Great Gatsby is fascinating (via Newton). But I am disturbed by the idea that editors might doubt even for a moment that, when Fitzgerald creates a character named Biloxi who is from “Biloxi, Tennessee”, that geographic absurdity is a joke and not a mistake. How could anyone possibly imagine otherwise? Fitzgerald’s sweet tones should not hide his natural acerbic irony. This is the writer who told us with a straight face about a diamond the size of the Ritz, after all.

6. Chad Post and Mark Binelli are in the middle of a lively chat about George Simenon’s The Engagement at Words Without Borders.

7. I like Ed Champion’s writing best when he gets philosophical.

8. This is really cute.

9. Scott Esposito asks: Kanye or 50? Mr. Esposito, the answer is Kanye. And I say this as a person who admired the hell out of 50 Cent’s first album, Get Rich or Die Tryin’. That CD was a novel. Listen to it cover to cover and see what I mean. But his new and third CD Curtis Jackson is even worse than his second. The beats on “Straight to the Bank” and “I Get Money” are terrible, and the lyrics are even worse. Yeah, 50, you got a Ferrari, it’s not that exciting anymore.

Kanye West, on the other hand, has never served up a stale dish of anything. He’s a satirist, a wordsmith, and his new CD Graduation is as fresh as tomorrow’s newspaper. Here’s your sample Kanye West lyric of the day:

don’t ever fix your lips like collagen
then say something where you gonna end up apolog’ing

I remember when 50 Cent’s rhymes made me laugh like that.

5 Responses

  1. Good catch!Or grab or
    Good catch!

    Or grab or whatever, on Daniel’s part.

    I almost got a ball at Mets game when I was his age, but a passing pterodactyl grabbed the ball in its beak before I could get to it.

  2. seeing doubleLevi, he looks
    seeing double

    Levi, he looks just like you! Great photo.

    I enjoyed Matthew Bruccoli’s piece about the Great Gatsby errors. I know there are two mistakes in my stolen scroll story: (1) the scroll would be much harder to heist in real life, all rolled out in its sturdy metal case (which I’m glad for!), and (2) I still thought it was teletype paper when I wrote the story. Damn Jack, he said it was teletype paper on the Steve Allen show! Too bad F. Scott and I can’t console one another over drinks at the Chelsea.

    Finally, I have to say, Levi, I never tire of your literary take on hip-hop. I am so glad that you recognize the form as an important development in writing.

  3. Definitely KanyeI was shocked
    Definitely Kanye

    I was shocked at how bad “Curtis Jackson” was, relative to his previous albums. More disappointing than “Kingdom Come”, although that has grown on me a bit.

    Kanye’s isn’t his best effort but it’s…good. There always seems to be some little gem or surprise and, yes, he’s fresh.

    Did the hip-hop-analysis thing die after “Strictly Business”? That was one of those albums that I remember where and when I first heard it. I think you should do something on Eric B. and Rakim, and together we can get paid in full. But maybe no one else around here is interested in rap.

  4. Here’s the closest I’ve ever
    Here’s the closest I’ve ever come to a foul ball:

    A few years back I took my son to a Met’s game (even though I’m a Yankee fan! Tix were given to me so what the hell) and we had field seats a few rows behind the on deck circle. I was actually a little on the anxious side because of our proximity. At one point we got up for the bathroom and after walking 3 rows up I heard a loud crack and turned to see a foul ball line right into my empty seat! We shrugged at our misfortune, but at least the guy who ended up with the ball let us touch it!

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