spermaceti.

B&WspermWord-of-the-Day “spermaceti” (waxy substance produced by the sperm wale, present in a round organ in the head where it focuses acoustic signals and aids in the control of buoyancy) submitted by the always-inspirational, razor-sharp, vegan culinary whiz  Cristina B. 

Clinging to summer with a glass of rose (Grape & Vine)

Clinging to summer with a glass of rose (Grape & Vine)

Shock of water against winter insulated skin, memories of childhood swimming pools rush to surface, distortion of time/space continuum, suspended, weightless, until the slap-push-splat-smack eases into pull-slice-crawl and he is reoriented to where he is, body in water, lane, lap pool, pricey healthclub, the kind he once derided (smoothie bar, childcare) but for which he is now grateful.

Dude splashes into the lane next to him, aggressive Butterfly. Show-off. Douchebag doesn’t know how to pace, all pyrotechnics, will burn out in a few explosive laps. He swam fly in college, flew. Now it’s all about the pacing.

And duration. He swims a mile twice a week, the words he dreads, a mantra in his head, syncopating with each stroke, theclientwantstogoinanotherdirection

In the entirety of his illustrious career, “the client” has never expressed any desire to veer from his directed direction. Only a matter of time. No commercial director has a perfect track record.

skylight, jade hotel, greenwich village

skylight, jade hotel, greenwich village

Lap swimming, the repetition is the killer, aquatic hamster wheel. He shouldn’t think about hamsters, his daughter took the death of the classroom pet very, very hard. Repetition, an exercise in mental stamina. His shoulder tweaks, center of gravity cantilevers, near collision with Show-off, swallow of chlorinated water, he will not choke.  He will best the douchebag.

Song snippet earworm, wormholes into his head. His signature, his unparalleled ability dredge up the exact musical moment to knit the piece together, nail the emotional resonance the client is so desperate to create.

Maestro of high-impact manufactured moments. Fifteen or thirty seconds of exquisitely produced emotion. He has a shelf full of light-refracting awards in homage to this talent. Somehow his agent is incapable of parlaying the glitter into a feature film deal. Somehow there is lingering doubt as to whether he has ability to sustain stories beyond the thirty-second mark, the stamina for 90 – 110 minutes of narrative bullshit.

Is that a whaling ship over the bar at Preserve24?

Is that a whaling ship over the bar at Preserve24?

They don’t realize his capacity for bullshit is endless.

He takes trips to the Other Coast for endless rounds of almost-deals, dinners with B-list celebrities at which he invariably drinks too much, which requires availing himself of as many complimentary First Class Bloody Mary’s as he can swill on the return flight, rending him surly and dehydrated, in no mood for the avalanche of text messages as plane hits tarmac. Snippy exchanges escalating into near nuclear with his too-knowing wife, who greets his return with resentment. As though he should do more, or less. As though he is in possession of some magical key to the universe, refuses to wield it out of spite.

But when he arrives, when the elevator opens and his girl bounds towards him, giggles and shouts daddy’s-home-daddy’s-home, it all falls away. He scoops her into his arms, holds her aloft, for a brief moment they are both buoyant.

 And that is it, what he wants to illuminate, capture for the new spot: the bright eyes of a girl he has yet to disappoint, unadulterated adoration.

A buoy for the drowning man to grasp.

Hoping for caffeinated mojo (mojo cafe)

Hoping for caffeinated mojo (mojo cafe)

“spermaceti” handwritten at Grape & Vine with what appeared to be the last glass of summer rose at the Jade Hotel (greenwich village, nyc) with a second pass in the company of an Aviation cocktail at Preserve24 (lower east side, nyc). Edited with a potent Americano at Mojo Coffee (west village, nyc). 

What’s YOUR WordBowl word? Looking forward to your suggestion! 

popliteal.

WordBowl Word-of-the-Day “popliteal” submitted by Norman B.

aka Flowbee-wan-Kenobi

Happiest of Happy Hours, handwriting at 151 Clinton

Happiest of Happy Hours, handwriting at 151 Rivington

Pop always says, if you aren’t signed by nineteen, you aren’t playing in the majors, son.

The physical ease of his early years performing instinctual feats of athleticism for clusters of scouts, scrambling from squat to throw without thought of his body. Now he catalogues, categorizes various parts — shoulder, wrist, knee, lower back — testing their reactions to minute adjustment. Analyzing in the hours between the time he wakes, clammy, and the morning alarm.

His nineteenth birthday is in three weeks. Less. Two weeks, six days.

photo credit: unkown

photo credit: unkown

He prays — at night, upon waking, before meals — for a minor league contract, modest signing bonus, something he can put into real estate, invest in his future. His future no longer shaping up to be televised games, championships, endorsement deals, All-Stars, autographing balls for wide-eyed boys shoved forward by their beaming fathers.

His preternatural — their word, bandied about so often he, they, all believed —early and high school promise giving way to an injury-riddled college career. Slow slide. His name, when — if— mentioned, is in voices shaded with regret.

No matter how many times he replays it — on screens, in his head — he has yet to pinpoint what he did, the moment before his knee popped. Which is crazy, when his shoulder tore he knew as he threw his angle was wrong, an off-kilter catch he failed to optimal-adjust in his determination to shut down the attempted steal. Won that battle, may have lost the war.

BARREL-AGED ILLEGAL JOVEN NEGRONI, Happy Hour, Ward III

BARREL-AGED ILLEGAL JOVEN NEGRONI, Happy Hour, Ward III

Pop always says, you gotta watch the injuries, folks don’t like to buy used cars.

Shoulder surgery a bitch to bounce back from, but they did it, he and his team of professional caregivers. Returned performing beyond expectations. Naysayers silenced. Preternatural whispered, no longer “bandied”, but he was willing to traffic in whispers, ride The Comeback Kid narrative.

A used-goods made-good shoulder one thing, a catcher with an unreliable wrist and a blown-out knee on top of an unexpected recovery — facing facts, unlike his parents — he is no longer scout bait.

He may not be a ball player. Not after this season.

Guggenheim Cafe

Guggenheim Cafe

Caught a ball bare-handed before he walked, his parents crowed, family legend. He has never not had a game, practice, tournament. Smelled of anything other than Ben Gay. Been anything other than a special talent.

He flexes his foot, winces at the tinge behind his knee. Touches the spot, the non-functioning hinge upon which all is hinged. Tests the patella-tracking trajectory. Checks the time, still hours before his orthopedist appointment.

What happens when you are no longer good at the thing at which you are (were) best? He has never been interested in much of anything besides baseball. Lincoln Logs, when he was young, he built fantastic forts. Maybe he can go into construction.

No one to confide in, he must project an aura of confidence. If he doubts, they all doubt. They do doubt, but still hold hope for their doubts to be dissuaded.

In the Business of Baseball, a staunch belief in miracles.

He checks the clock, again, recalculates. Two weeks, five days, twenty-two hours, thirty-six minutes.

This genesis of this post written during an impromptu Happy Hour visit to Ward III (tribeca), continued at what was STILL Happy Hour(s) at 151 Rivington (les), edited over an Americano at the Guggenheim Cafe (upper east) 

Do you have a favorite word? Fill in the info below to play WordBowl. I look forward to writing something inspired by your word….

elixir.

On the eve of his departure to London for a limited engagement of his award-winning solo show, A Boy & His Soul (Tricycle Theatre) and to reprise his Tony-nominated role in The Scottsboro Boys (Young Vic), WordBowl Word-of-the-Day “elixir” from

Colman Domingo

Actor. Playwright. Director. Photographer. Collaborator. Creator.

ElixirWord

Fingers dancing, racing, drumming syncopating — almost, close — to the bombastic beats in his brain, crazy code streaming, screaming from his fingertips, he is in the zone, the Matrix, he is the Matrix, master, architect, builder, creator, executor.

He can’t type fast enough, he will go faster, faster, his head and his computer one beating organism. He barely, briefly pauses to throw back his spiked Red Bull, tepid and sickly slicking down his throat, chin. ClickClackClicketyTap. Focused. Clear. KILLING IT.

Way better than the skid-skittery of his last Adderall stint, this new stuff, this mixing of Old/New, this all-nighter in the company bullpen, solo flying, solo dancing with the pressure on — big money meet in the a.m. — he is ON, he is SHIT.

Nooooooooooooooooshittyshitshit.

OLOROSO SANGRE TRABEJADERO Sherry, elixir of the gods, a vacation to Spain without leaving the barstool (The Beagle, nyc)

OLOROSO SANGRE TRABEJADERO Sherry, elixir of the gods, a vacation to Spain without leaving the barstool (The Beagle, nyc)

Stop. He has not Lost It. Back up. Review. Line by line. Scan. See. Eliminate. Edit. Fixityfixfix. Stop. Crack the whole thing wide open. Follow the trail, follow the trail, follow the code, get inside the code, imbue the code with his secretsauce, chase himself down the rabbit hole all the way to Wonderland, find it, FOUND IT, the kernel, the essence, the key to NEXT, the frontier beyond Web 2.0, even 3.0, this is Fourth Dimension shit. Shift the course of human interaction, evolution. Fundafuckingmental.

And his code, clean, a sparkling stream.

He shouts into the void, Oh HELL YEAH. He needs to wii or drum, both of which are available at his apartment, but he has been cited — multiple citations — neighbor complaints, those J.O.B. nine-to-fivers objecting to his unregimented bursts of stimulation, inspiration.

As if the gods, the muses, punch a timeclock.

When this hits, he’ll buy the building, kick them all to the curb. Fill it with people like him. He high-fives an invisible friend, champion. Himself.

This is REVOLUTION, they will usher in a whole new way to engage, absorb information. Jack-streamed into the bloodstream, the infostream.

LEMON VERBENA SAZERAC (oh-so-subtle iteration of the classic) at Saxon & Parole

LEMON VERBENA SAZERAC (oh-so-subtle iteration of the classic) at Saxon & Parole

The ultimate algorithm, every moment of interaction exclusive to you, encasing you in a sentient bubble, sensing and synthesizing data, bespoke knowledge, interactivity not just tailored to but designed for your specific needs, tastes, desires, both articulated and innate.

Texts his co-founder, sleeping in preparation for the big meet tomorrow — today? —with the potential new VCs, because this is the forshizzleshit.

Times like this he wishes he smoked.

Dashes to the kitchen for a beer, keg tapped out, nothing in the fridge as they await the bridge financing to take them to the other side and he has done it, DONE IT, you-centric Nirvana and whoever — his co-founder, the Board, the VCs — will figure out the monetization shit cuz this is MIDAS.

Forget the Fountain of Youth, immortality. This life, this mortal life, with you at the center, served by data as acolytes once served the gods.

God of You. Served by the stream.

He sits down. Thrums thumbs against thighs. Pours himself back into the flow, coding towards You-topia.

The (hand)writing of “elixir” required inspirational cocktails at Saxon & Parole (on the Bowery, nyc) & some stimulating sherry at The Beagle (Yes, again! There’s cocktail alchemy going on behind the bar) as well as superlative caffeine at Bowery Coffee

Bowery Coffee

Bowery Coffee

Would you like to play WordBowl? Fill in the info below!

drown.

WordBowl Word-of-the-Day from my longtime coast-to-coast co-conspirator, the social activist and culinary entrepreneur (and mom!), Erika K

Day forty-seven, barreling toward his two-month medal, the most he has done is four, four months working straight-through. No need for a repeat performance  — hospital stint, strapped to heart monitor — but, shit, they’ve just reopened after a remodel, owner and money men tight with cash, he’s got a staff of newbies, undocumenteds, relying on him to steer the ship.

GUATEMALANSQUARE at the east village bitters emporium, Amor y Amargo

GUATEMALANSQUARE at the east village bitters emporium, Amor y Amargo

Just a neighborhood place, good drinks, honest food — unlike the complicated shit he cooked in the hushed temples of gastronomy — all would be fine if the hostess hadn’t quit today. He’s been pressed to put his sole suit into service, double duty, front of house not his domain, he prefers the sweat and swear of the kitchen.

His idea — or maybe his owner’s — to add “General Manager” to “Executive Chef”. An after-hours brainstorm, his owner swilling rye, shouting for penne a la carbonnara, which he dutifully whipped up before pouring himself into bed upstairs, the studio apartment “loaned” to him by his owner.

Only to be called the just after the crack of dawn for the day’s deliveries. Good morning, GM.

Killing it tonight, triple table rotation, bar four and five deep, regulars buying rounds for each other, him, proximal strangers.

He accepts a shot of Jack. Owner joins —sketchy money men not in sight —possibilities swell and crest. The gang rush in anticipation of last call, stacked drinks, traded digits.

Dwindles, the night, the crowd. His cooks shuffle off to wives, outer boroughs. Another round for he and his owner. Bartender counts out. Swing by a friend’s bar, decamp for a throbbing dance club managed by a former colleague, nightcap back at their place.

bespoke cocktail deliciousness at DBGB

bespoke cocktail deliciousness at DBGB

Owner’s vitriol over his soon-to-be-ex-wife’s latest salvo weakening to momentary melancholy. Another slug of top shelf bourbon — the serious stuff — owner on the phone, sniffing, arranging to meet his girl du nuit. Another shot, another decline of powder  — he needs to unwind, not rewind — his owner off again, a trail of useless menu ideas in his wake.

Home. At last. He sits on his sole chair — a restaurant renovation castoff — sips a desultory Jack in the first hesitant morning light, before the day’s confidence dawns.

Finds an innocuous flick, settles in with a leftover spleef, mentally runs through tomorrow’s specials, food cost-to-customer price ratios, back invoicing, private party scheduling. Waits for sleep. Roots around for the half-bottle of wine abandoned by a couple of amorous diners earlier in the week. Starts another movie. Smokes his next-to-last cigarette. Counts the hours until he anticipates the first delivery call, more subtraction than sum.

Longs for the riptide of sheer exhaustion. Calculates the week’s grosses. Smokes the last cigarette down to filter. Scrabbles for another bottle, emergency smoke stash. Looks at his missed messages, a couple of friends, his mother. Missives from an alternate universe.

He’ll take Monday off. Shit. Inventory. The next Monday, then.

The day arrives in full force. He stumbles to the futon mattress, stubs his toe, plunges into the scratchy sheets bought cheap. Just short snooze. A nap.

Pause. Repeat.

 “drown” handwritten at

Amor y Amargo (Yes, second week in a row. Forgive me. They have Cocktail Kingdom Wormwood Bitters, which makes for  one heck of a flavorific Negroni) east village, nyc  & DBGB on the bowery, nyc

airbook, wee notebook from the australian outback (gifted by Madam Editrix), americano at elsewhere cafe

airbook, wee notebook from the australian outback (gifted by Madam Editrix), americano at elsewhere cafe

post fueled by and uploaded at Elsewhere Cafe, east village, nyc

Do you have a WordBowl word? Use the form below. I look forward to your wordspiration! 

vernissage.

WordBowl Word of the Day: vernissage, courtesy of  Eileen @itmarksthespot (AKA, the go-to for all things Art & Music)

V-photoPsssshhhhhh clickclickclickclack psssssshhhhhhhh, dizzying fumes, or she is dizzy from lack of food despite gobbling a handful of paprika-dusted fried chickpeas at the pre-pre cocktail party last night with the Uber-est VIP collectors — people who brandish earliest access as social currency — and a smattering of aspiring tech tycoons, a couple of serious celebrities, a burlesque trio gleefully photo bombing Upper East Siders and Connecticuteers.

She needs air — tonite’s Grand Preview dress will not allow for food — fresh air, away from these spray paint wielding Brazilians, as indecipherable as they are interchangeable, Boy Wonders catapulting from San Palo favela to Soho gallery in one Technicolor Day Glow burst.

Her husband balked at a shared show, initially, but cooler heads (hers) prevailed. Buzz for the WonderTwins-wrought Street-Meets-Carnival art will expose her beloved to new audiences, potential to secure a San Palo show for the World Cup or the Olympics, if the universe is willing (or if she manages to be particularly persuasive in Portuguese). Hubby no stranger to buzz himself, most recently, a well-awarded if not spectacularly well-watched documentary burnishing his reputation among the culturally influential.

A pity the culturally influential rarely posses the funds to posses that which they covet.

Fortunate, his European collector base.

imgres-2Oh, to pop down to their hotel for a disco nap, but her husband is regaling a gaggle of art-amplifiers, their exact media provenance murky, television or scholarly journal or newspaper or magazine or micro-blog. She’s no longer certain as to who or what is important, these days she courts everyone.

Her husband’s eyes blink, Morse Code, she sidles over, pets his arm, leans in for a polished, practiced kiss. They are their own DynamicDuo.

Banter, banter, banter.

They will decamp for the hotel at some point for a costume change, make a grand entrance for the VIP Preview, and subsequent Grand Preview. This whole thing a veritable nesting doll of “pre” and “VIP”. She has to hand it to this curator, a maestro, orchestrating desire.

This business of selling, these negotiations between private space and insatiable demand for “behind the scenes”, “ the clamor to draw back the curtain to reveal The Great and Powerful as mere mortal.

As if her husband were a mere mortal. As if mortals could bear such visions, make manifest.

Blame Facebook, Twitter. Both of which he (she) is on, as part of the daily routine as cleaning paint brushes.

tphotoA photographer captures the Wonder Twins mid-selfie, a Meta-Moment she (dammit) did not think to do. Their photo-documenting innate, their early graffiti routinely painted over the moment the spray dried, they are born of momentary, obsolescence, next.

Will their work grace hallowed museum walls? Do they care?

She snaps a few candids of Dapper Hubby flanked by the Wonder Twins. Fodder for the social media mill.

Have the barometers of success shifted? Of course. But. Bottom line, money. Who buys, who sells. At what price.

Desire, she understands.  And money, she knows.

Francofile this week for a French word (and Bastille Day celebrations)

Turks & Frogs, west village, nyc

images-6

11th Street Cafe, west willage, nyc 

11photo