Brooklyn


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On Sunday morning, December the 23rd, after copious pre-partying at my friend’s apartment in Brooklyn, our group of 5 split up, with three driving into The Village as a unit, and the other two, myself and who we’ll refer to for these purposes as “Dr. No”, taking car service down to 218 Sullivan St. for the purposes of taking in The Scumfrog, live and in person.  At exactly 3:03 AM, we sprung from the taxi, presented our pre-printed tickets to some very amenable door men, when we found out that we were the last on the “Want Tickets” list to arrive (you know, best for last sorta thing), thanked them, tipped them, and bounded in for our red stamps.  Coat check seemed daunting so we held our coats for a bit, as some of the drinking crowd seemed to be hitting the exits–as always–before things had even gotten good.  We entered to the sound of Billy Idol’s “White Wedding”, a creepy rendition, quite frankly, which we found much to our liking.  It’s very easy to identify a deejay by sound.  We’ve been doing so for years.  We could see it was Scumfrog, as he was visible in the booth, and we probably were never more than 50′ from him on the whole evening, which is a credit to The Sullivan Room, an incredibly intimate venue.  But if he were perhaps obscured, we’d have known it was him.  The Scumfrog is very distinct and has a fondness for Rock & Roll–over thick, chunky beats, which these were.

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Dr. No had taken a wrong turn somewhere upon entrance.  No doubt he would turn up.  So I grabbed a drink and went right for the upper deck, where there was plenty of seating, so I settled in with a prayer that no one would approach me, and just listened to the set.  While there’s a lot we admire about The Scumfrog’s music, if we had to narrow it down to one thing, we’d say it is the beats.  He’s very aggressive and we can appreciate that.  We grew up with Danny and JP, and cut our teeth at after hours clubs, here, in Miami, and in Las Vegas, for the most part.  Frankly, we don’t even like JP, who to us, is very “Jersey”, and whose sets are often, shall we say, askew.  To come out to a regular party, during “regular hours”, when you don’t even need to submit to a body cavity search upon entrance, and to be wowed by hard beats is very notable.  We’re sure that Scumfrog appreciates that the ear of the city is very refined, and we think the set reflected his respect for this House Music community.  Chunky is the word that best described the consistency of beats, which is a very high bit of praise, and was the word we were mumbling when Dr. No caught back up with us a few minutes later.

Dr. No had found a seated perch right off the dance floor and when he saw me, he called me over to that spot.  While we hate moving, it was the right thing to do.  Like any house party, the patrons are going to be predominantly men, but there was definitely some talent on the floor, and it only takes a few hot chicks dancing, because really, how many places can your eyes be in at once?  A couple of stripper quality chicks dancing (Saturday night strippers, not Monday night strippers) can go a long way.  Once I got set up over there, a guy came over and approached Dr. No.  I was happy to ignore it, happier still that he hadn’t approached me.  But I could hear the conversation, and this cat had a very Aussie accent, and so right away the very paranoid patron that I am started doubting it, wondering if this guy wasn’t a fake Australian/real pig.  So I am patiently waiting this thing out, when Dr. No mentions the Australian Open, and directs this kid to me, because I am a very big tennis fan.  Fuck.  It turns out, the guy probably was from Australia because he knew enough to talk about Aussie prodigy Bernard Tomic, which frankly, is not much of a topic among local 5-0.  He said that Tomic had some issues and I had said back that a player that good, that young, often has hiccups because they are raised in the spotlight.  Then the guy asked me for drugs.  LOL.  We knew it was coming and were glad to get it out of the way.  We do not know where to get drugs in The Sullivan Room and wouldn’t have told him, even if we knew.  Surely, if he approached everyone in the bar as he had us, he’d find them.  So that’s what we told him.  Ask around, but we can’t help you.  He was cool, and we really hope he found what he was looking for.  Surprisingly enough, he was the only person who asked us for drugs, which has to be some sort of a record.  One that we appreciated, because we are too para to get solicited in a situation like that.

We were paranoid indeed.  We were paranoid that our friends, “Dr. Mo”, his wife, “Dr. Jo”, and our friend “Dr. Bo”, had retired early and weren’t really on their way to the club.  Yes, we roll with doctors.  Three M.D.’s and one D.C.  And to tell the truth, they sorta look at me like a Godfather of sorts in these situations.  I had vouched heavily for The Scumfrog, so I was of course anxious to see them and to see them having fun.  Dr. Mo, an avid House fan (How serious, you ask?  His email tag is “twilofire”!), had also gone way back with The Scumfrog, and had lived in the same apartment building as him about ten years ago, on 34th and 3rd, where he saw him all the time.  It had turned out that they had been there, on the other side of the club, so they had heard a bit of the set.  A track came on–“No Can Do” by Hall & Oates.  Dr. Mo settled in on my left and asked me the following questions:

“Do you think he played ‘Trippin” yet?”

“What do you think of all the popular music?”

I knew he had not played “Trippin'” yet, and stated as such.  He asked me why I felt that way.  Because to play “Trippin” early in a set was amateurish, and probably even an amateur would not disrespect that track that way.  Also, I felt it would be bad form to play a request early in a set.  “Trippin'”, besides, is more of a set’s linchpin, and you wouldn’t waste it by blowing it prematurely.

The second question was more interesting.  My answer was honest.  I said that some hardcore fans would probably frown on popular music in that spot, think it’s campy.  Then again, we’ve all heard it done.  I’ve heard Steve Lawler drop the Red Hot Chili Peppers, heard Danny drop from Michael Jackson to 50 Cent (boo!), even heard Victor Calderone drop “Without Love” by the Doobie Brothers at the Old Crobar in Miami, and that selection probably made the most impact on me of any record I’ve ever heard spun.  We all love to hear identifiable music, especially when it’s good, and Scumfrog has an excellent sense of what the fans want to hear.  But this was a two part answer.  “As long as he drops them over hard beats, he’s got nothing to worry about.”, I said.  And Scumfrog really delivers at that, and we feel he has even improved at that, that his craft right now is extremely tight and polished.

In short, we picked the right spot to come out from under a rock.  Scumfrog was amazing, and we will be sure to repeat the affair the next time he plays The Sullivan Room, which was also even better than we remembered.  It’s an easy place to hang out.  Drinks are cheap, and all the workers are very appreciative, when you tip, whether they be barmen or bathroom attendants.  That’s the nice thing about going out these days.  We can actually afford to spend money, and always prefer to tip well for the enjoyment and the unofficial benefits that go with tipping, which we’ll not discuss in this space.

Somewhere around 4:25 AM, close enough to the end for us, and to 4:20 for that matter, The Scumfrog dropped “Trippin'”, B Side, as he so graciously sent us the link to.  What a gentleman.  We knew what it was immediately, and we went right to the booth to thank him.  We hope he heard us.  If not, here it is as well.  From there he played “If I ever Lose My Faith”, as we expected, and then to chants of “One More Track!”, he played “Asteroidz” by DBN Featuring Matilda, and it was quite a bomb.  In fact, it was the only time we took out our phone all night, as we did not want to seem rude, but at that point–last track–it hardly mattered.  We also actually felt bad about guilting The Scumfrog into playing “Trippin'” because we didn’t feel like the crowd was that warm to it, like these kids don’t know “Trippin'”, and therefore it felt a bit selfish on our part.  At any rate, we’ll take it.

The Scumfrog played a great set in a great room, and the only recognizable music we heard was either classic, or Scumfrog classic, in which case, we knew to expect some things because any deejay will fall back on a few tracks here and there.  And now, we have just a couple of questions.  Well, more, but we’ve narrowed it to 2.  One was, after a triumphant show like that, what does an ex-NYer from New Mexico do with himself?  Our bet would have to be real pizza.  The other, was he sporting a bit of a mustache now?

And for the unsanitized version of events, you may inquire within.  But if we tell you, we may have to kill you.

Crack (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com)

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Last Thursday night in Miami the Knicks played a complete game from start to finish, without star and 27.5 PPG contributor Carmelo Anthony, and blew out defending Champion Miami Heat at United Airlines Arena 112-92, in what may have been their best regular season performance in the new millennium.  Since then, the Knickerbockers went toe to toe with the Bulls in Chicago and lost, and posted wins over Denver and NJ…um, “Brooklyn” that is, 2 games that have been labeled by some as a Carmelo revival tour of sorts.  Tuesday’s victory over New Jersey, as must a win as there can be in mid December, was made possible by Anthony’s 45 pts, and was delivered by a 3 pointer by new team leader Jason Kidd (shown above) in the final minute which was also the game’s final tally.

Prior to the South Beach business trip, the Knicks played a mostly lackluster game in Charlotte, looking ahead to the Heat, in all likelihood.  While Anthony put up 20 in the 1st half, he had zero field goals in the 2nd.  But his low output did not hinder his effort.  With only a few minutes to play, Anthony followed a loose ball into the Knicks’ bench, lacerating his finger, and causing him to miss the next two games.

Without Anthony on the floor for the final minutes in Charlotte, the Knicks capped the impressive comeback (8 down with 6 minutes to play) win with a 5 man unit consisting of Chandler, Novak, Smith, Felton, and Kidd.  Felton and Smith teamed for a huge steal in the final minute and swarming team D led to a 5 second violation for another key turnover, in part aided by a mental error by city product and NCAA champ Kemba Walker.  The pride of UConn failed to present himself on the inbounds pass, as he was the likely option on the throw in.  Felton scored with approximately a minute to go on a sweet drive, which gave the Knicks a 98-98 tie, and then JR Smith, after failing to go hard to the rim for a layup that would’ve won the ball game, instead called a TO and then promptly won it with a fall away from behind the elbow as time expired.

The Knicks performance last week, marked by strong defense and execution, have been hallmarks of the team this year–especially 2nd half defense–traits notably absent during Mike D’Antoni’s failed tenure, but traits once again associated with the Knicks under Mike Woodson, now 35-12 as HC of the NYK.  Another refreshing quality the Knicks now have in spades, which was noticeably absent during the D’Antoni era is effort, which, to a man, has improved under coach Woodson.

It couldn’t have hurt to have added so many serious veterans with winning predigees, like Rasheed Wallace and “rookie” Pablo Prigioni, who, in 13 minutes against the Heat, recorded 7 pts and 6 boards.  Prigioni has a serious nose for the ball via the steal and the long rebound, a perfect reserve on a club that shoots so many 3s (last night the Knicks made 14-28 3PFGAS).  Kidd has also shown a knack for loose balls and long rebounds, but to be honest, what hasn’t he shown a knack for since coming to NY’s real team?

Walt “Clyde” Frazier, who truly puts the color in color commentary, recently discussed Kidd’s impact on the Knicks this year.  In doing so, Clyde recalled Kidd led NJ teams that went to the finals, along with players like Richard Jefferson and Kenyon Martin, who ‘have been practically nothing without him.’  It’s easy to understand why Kidd’s departure so enraged Dallas owner Mark Cuban.  In fact, we were even apoplectic that Kidd was out for the 1st game the Knicks played against the Nets in Brooklyn.  Something tells us the Knicks finish that business off with Kidd on the floor to steady and martial the troops.  We’re pretty certain that Knicks point guard Ray Felton would be the first guy to cite Kidd’s impact, as Felton is enjoying a career season with Kidd as his 2.

In that game against Miami, Felton made 6 3s, led the team with 27 points, and turned it over only 3 times, and only once through 3 quarters.  Felton’s play against Miami prompted one local beat man (props to Steve Popper) to Tweet, “Feltonsanity.”  Too bad Jeremy Lin didn’t stick around, as he would have greatly benefitted from Kidd’s tutelage, as opposed to Houston, where he shares the ball handling duties with, wait for it…Toney Douglass.  Oh, the hand of fate!

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Even if Kidd is not showing up on the score sheet, his contributions are great. In Miami, Kidd was a staggering +31 in his minutes.  Kidd has taken charge of most huddles and is perfectly suited to, for what player on the Knicks or in the league anywhere, for that matter, would not defer to Kidd’s wisdom in a crunch situation?  When JR Smith failed to go in for that layup to beat the Bobcats, Kidd was visibly irate with Smith, but then appeared to instruct Smith to shake off the play.  So Smith went out and made the buzzer beater, all net, no rim, splash.

Having 2 point guards on the floor, one being Kidd, has manifested itself in another winning attribute: TO ratio.  This year the Knicks have a +5.5 TO margin, which, at the moment is not only tops in the league but is also on pace for an NBA team record.

Back to the +/- stat for a moment, a stat which is also distinguishing the Knicks as an elite regular season team.  The Knicks 5 man unit of Chandler, Novak, Smith, Felton, and Kidd is the top +/- group in the NBA. The 4 man unit of Chandler, Felton, Novak, Kidd is the top foursome in the league, and the 3 man unit of Novak, Felton, and Kidd is the top 3 man unit, at a staggering +19 avg.

Novak has been worth every penny of his 20+M/4 yr deal so far.  Even last night, when he recorded zero points, he was a +12 in his minutes, which indicates that he plays sound ball regardless of his stroke and scoring numbers.

As presently constituted, the Knicks sit atop the Atlantic at 16-5.  They should be wired on Thursday when they play the Lakers, a struggling team, now coached by Knicks’ castoff Mike D’Antoni, a questionable hire, especially considering that Phil Jackson was set to return to LA when D’Antoni agreed to take his woe is me act to SoCal.  Only time will tell as to D’Antoni’s success in LA, though not only aren’t we counting on it, but we’re actively rooting against it.  The Knicks would be wise to jump all over LA at MSG, where Kobe usually puts up immense numbers.

The Knicks should be further buoyed by the imminent return of Amar’e Stoudemire, who looks to be in great shape right now, and who is expected back around Christmas.  And when Iman Shumpert returns, hopefully in January, the Knicks will have the defensive presence to throw at quick guards like Rondo and Deron Williams, which should further boost the play of Raymond Felton, an absolute bargain at 3M per, and taken with Kidd’s approximate 3M salary, the winning pair come in at the same approximate salary as former Knicks’ savior Jeremy Lin.

KNICKERBOCKERS!!!!

Crack (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com)

The new girls of HBO, Jermima Kirke (L.), Lena Horvath, Zosia Mamet, and Allison Williams (R.).

Don’t mind us lately.  Obviously we had the tennis dead wrong last weekend, with Kvitova losing to Sharapova, and then with Sharapova beating Azarenka.  Oops.  You know what?  We’d pick it like that again.  We love Kvitova, and we love her on clay.  We love Azarenka just a little bit less than that on clay, and we don’t like Sharapova at all.  But we’ll say this: Sharapova’s serve was popping last week, and probably hasn’t looked as good in a few years.  The girls and their weak moments coupled with our weak prognosticating moments have made calling the outset of the European clay season tough.

But we are here to talk about some different girls right now.  HBO’s new series, “Girls”, written, produced, directed, and starring Lena Dunham, as extremely stupid Brooklyn woman Hannah Horvath, is perhaps the funniest, raunchiest, and real show on television right now.  The show, which captures the misadventures of Hannah and her circle of girlfriends, as they navigate their young careers and sex lives, is hysterical, giving HBO what seems like a much needed hit for their Sunday lineup.

Then again, we could be wrong.  We were wrong, or “obvi wrong” about “Luck”, as Shoshanna would say, which stopped production and was cancelled recently.  While there was apparently some issues with PETA over the treatment of the horses, we don’t believe that the show was abruptly cancelled because of dead or injured animals.  The fact was that Luck was the most expensive show ever made, and that it was losing money hand over fist.  Creator David Milch, who also discontinued Deadwood, has a reputation for leaving expensive shows for cheap ones.  With his next few HBO kiche cop shows assured, Milch abandoned Luck in the face of a little adversity, thereby scuttling a very good show with a slow building plotline, which never even got close to a boil.

And so Ace Bernstein, who we had anointed the next great HBO character, is no longer.  So let’s anoint another, the hilarious Hannah Horvath from the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn, who in a few short weeks has been cut off from her parents, has been sexually degraded repeatedly by the guy she is hooking up with, has learned she has a sexually transmitted disease, has learned her college boyfriend was gay, and who lost out on a precious opportunity for employment when she joked with her prospective new boss that he was an accomplished date rapist.

When the second episode begins, Hannah is in bed with Adam, who begins telling her how scared she was when he found her on the street.  When she was 11.  Walking alone with her Cabbage Patch lunch box.  Hannah goes with the flow, which eventually um, ends up on her arm, since Adam asks her where she wants him to come, then states “I’m gonna make the continent of Africa on your fucking arm.”  The next morning, Hannah tells Adam, when asked where she’s going, that she is meeting her friends at her friend’s abortion, after a job interview.

When she gets to the job interview, she establishes immediate rapport with her interviewer, and has the job in the bag.  But then, out of the blue, she declares, that Syracuse University, this man’s alma mater, ironically had the highest incidence of date rape of any college, which coincidentally dropped the year he graduated.  With the dude stammering over the inappropriateness, Hannah further explains that date rape had gone down when he left, “because they figured out who was doing it and it was you.”

Hannah is also obsessed with STD’s, as one can conclude by her Google searches.  Like “diseases you can get from not wearing a condom for one second” and “stuff that gets up around the side of condoms”.  It’s true that Adam (Adam Driver) has given her a scare by telling her he doesn’t regularly use condoms and that he doesn’t remember if they use condoms, but then she schedules an HIV test to coincide with Jessa’s (Jermima Kirke) abortion, at which she discusses her fear of AIDS with the doctor.  When the doctor asks her if she ever knew someone with AIDS, Hannah tells her it’s more of a “Forest Gump based fear” because that was what Robin Wright Penn’s character died of.

In the waiting room, Shoshanna and Marnie get to discussing things, and Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet, Mad Men) reveals to her sex obsessed friend that she is a virgin, though a minute earlier, when Hannah tells them her theory on the spread of STD’s, saying that she has been diagramming in her head all day the “mayhem” when men lose their erections after sex and leave their penises inside women, as “they are want to do”, Shoshanna quickly echoes that sentiment, that men are “want” to do that with her, she has found.

In episode 3, Shoshanna reveals that her littlest baggage, playing the Jerry Springer game, is that she has “IBS” and that her biggest baggage is that she is still a virgin.  In episode 3, Hannah meets her ex because Shoshanna convinces her that it’s the courteous thing to do in the “STD world.”  When he gets to the bar, Hannah sees that he is flaming.  She asks him if he thought about men when they were together, and if he also thought about men while they were together.

“Yes and yes.” he says.

When she asks him how he was able to sleep with her if he was attracted to men, the guy goes, “well, you have a certain handsomeness…”

Damn.  And it’s true.  Hannah is fuck bucking ugly.  And to add insult, he also suggests that Hannah has dated a lot of gay dudes, that she is ignorant to reality, and that her father is gay.  He mentions her dad’s earring which he got, as Hannah describes, while “on vacation with his male friends.”

The guy then goes, “are we hearing ourselves?  I don’t think we’re hearing ourselves.”

So we love this show, and unfortunately for us, we missed the pilot, but we are very excited to be able to watch it on HBO GO, which we will do in a bit.  HBO, which had done nothing for us lately with the cancellation of Luck and our favorite Brooklyn based pot head show, “Bored to Death”, has redeemed itself somewhat in our eyes, giving us another Brooklyn based show, though with less pot heads (Jessa holler!).  They have given us a modern, funnier and more perverse SATC, for a younger generation, with no menopausal bitches or perfect endings.  They just stick to what’s funny, and not what’s sappy or stylish, and so we applaud them.

So that’s us clapping for Girls and for you.  Once again we thank you all for your patronage in hitting our page well over 100,000 times in two days.

Crack (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com)