Tony Cavalero 2

What do a dancing techno robot, an abject mustache salesman and a kidnapped actress all have in common?

Well…not really that much. Except they are all part of the collective of strange personalities found at New Faces of Comedy set.

The Mainline Theatre hosted this show for Zoofest, and let me tell you, it was full of nonstop laughs! Many of comics acted like masters of character sketching…and if this is any indication about the new age of comedy, then the Mayans would have to agree – It’s going to be a very, very funny thirty thousand years!

Sponsored by the website collegehumor, the show is characterized as non-stop weird comedy adventure through the minds and personalities created by these new comics.

 

I sat there, part of the rows of chairs surrounding the stage, amazed at how fluid the show was and how easily the comics moved through different personality traits and ticks at the flip of a coin. And let me tell you, many of these personalities had some serious ticks!

The New Faces of Comedy Charcter show was kind of watching Saturday Night live – which was pretty cool. The audience was in on the fun with rapid non-stop assaults of laughter, during which I almost cracked a rib.

There was never a pause long enough to give the audience a little time to catch their breath. I was at times finding myself on the verge of tears. Even a few times, I was caught by my companions side glance, picking a tear drop off my cheek.

In between acts, the Comics, as some deranged or abject characters, appeared before our eyes.

There were a few performers that had pre-taped audible tracks that introduce tracks, but some, like the dejected mustache salesman (Tim Ballz), whose dyspeptic state slipped through his pitch from time to time, only relied on their monologues.

The show started with an awesome performance by Tim Ballz, whose characters had the crowd hurting with laughter. Especially his mustache salesman and the doctor telling the patient that he/she has tested positive for every disease known and unknown to man.

Tim ballz was definitely one of the highlights, but was followed by the incredible Rebecca Bloom, who played a traumatized kidnapped actress.

Her character tried to put on a performance to show off her talents to the audience, but really she only showed off her repressed trauma, provoking a hint of uncomfortable laughter.

Here’s a list of other comics I saw that night who put on outstanding performances:

 

Sam Richardson
Playing his uncle who likes to eat chips, taking a McDonald’s filet au fish and 2 liter bottle of cola out of large chip bag while giving life advice, Sam’s set was pretty funny experience. Let this be a lesson to you: be careful who you take advice from!  Also his impression of an African family man taking his children for night out at the movies was excellent.

Griffin Newman
Griffin Newman played the bar mitzvah boy. At first it was hard to digest, but as it went on it got heavy on the Jewish puns and pretty funny

Lauren Lampkus
Being the cute girl of the group, she was able to throw the audience off by how erratically comically spontaneous she was during her performance. She was the funniest stripper I have ever seen, giving one audience member a gyrating paroxysm of a lap dance he will never forget.

Natasha Rothwell
Her call in “knickers” sketch was just too much. At times I felt a little uncomfortable by the repetition of this word by a lady trying to sell “knickers” on television to fund-raise for the Republican Party.

Tony Cavalero
Tony played a versatile lot of weird characters. The techno-robot, being one of my favorites. however the gay Confederate general supporting his troops was comical beyond belief.

Greg Worswick
Views on dating were extreme, but as he demonstrated while gyrating, they might actually work.

This was one of  the best showcases I saw by far at Zoofest. It was fun to be there and the Mainline was an excellent setting for comedy. I like how most comics were thrown off guard by facing an audience on three sides which i quite enjoyed as it added intimacy to the whole production.

 

newgod

God is A Scottish Drag Queen is a stand-up performance by Mike Delamont as, well, God as embodying a Scottish Drag Queen. Simple enough. And talk about an inherently awesome character.

Minutes after walking on stage, Delamont had the entire room bent over in laughter and kept them entranced for the rest of the evening. It’s the show of a potent and lovable, bare-footed and burly man dressed in an 80’s power suit delivering on quick-wit, loud banter and unexpected laughs.

Though I admit, I spent the day drying in the sun and consistently quenching with beer, I guarantee I was not thoroughly enjoying myself alone. Honestly, God had to stop on a few occasions and ask surrounding tables if they were still breathing under that tear-jerking laughter. Naturally, they could barely answer.

Needless to say, I am a new, big fan of Mike Delamont and will definitely be seeing this show again before Fringe is up. In the end, Delamont delivered on everything you hope out of a night of stand-up. Simply put: laughter.

 

Thursday, June 21, 2012 – 18:00

Friday, June 22, 2012 – 20:30

Sunday, June 24, 2012 – 16:15

rude-granny1

I used to think it was really funny that old people just let their farts rip while they walk. Gross, but funny. But as I get older I realize that it’s rude. Funny, but rude. And it dawned on me, many of these people were responsible for moulding the manners of other people children and these children were taught to suppress their farts or at least to say “excuse me”. So does old age give you the right to give up all pretense of socially acceptable behaviour? (Yes, I am analysing social behaviour based on a theory about farting. What?)

We’ve all got images and personal experiences of mean old people. I lived next door to a lady who would get out the hose every time we would ride our bikes past her house. We lived in a city, our houses were attached, short of popping E.T. in the basket and flying over there was no other way to get to my house from school. Though she probably had a high-power nozzle attachment that could shoot a booger out of a pilot’s nose you know, just for flying over her house. I don’t imagine she used to sit up at night waiting to shoot the tooth fairy with a hose for trespassing on her pillow property, so when did she decide that it was ok to hose down anyone who passed on the sidewalk in front of her house? Where did she learn this?

I can’t even begin to tell you how many of my friends have stories about their parents chewing with their mouths open or talking with their mouths full on a regular basis.   Sometimes when I’m sitting in the metro or waiting on line in the supermarket or in a restaurant, I am amazed at how many people yawn or worse, cough, without covering their mouths. Old people! You know, the people whose mouths shouldn’t be open in the first place ‘cuz they’re probably going to just be mean anyway. At what point in their lives did they say to themselves, You know what? Etiquette and social propriety be damned, I still have teeth in my mouth and dammit I’m gonna show ‘em! And, if I have a cold or consumption or something, I’m gonna share that too because I’m getting on in my years and someone has to make sure this viral strain lives on!

And I suppose, you know, since their mouths are already open, they may as well say out loud everything that they are thinking. I have one friend who bought a pastry at a bakery on her way to school and eating it on her way out, an older “gentleman” said, “Why, you’re a big girl. Looks like you enjoy your pastries.” Another friend, who has tattoos all over his body, was buying a case of champagne (real champagne) and was asked by an older “lady” how he could afford it. Aren’t these the same people who told us it is not polite to call fat people fat?   And that it’s rude to point at a disabled person??? So how exactly is this acceptable behaviour?

I wonder whether this behaviour is the product of learning or unlearning. I wonder if I am becoming more sensitive to these behaviours as I get closer to an age where I will be responsible for moulding the manners of a child. Or maybe I am becoming anxious waiting for the time when I can say, Social propriety be damned, I’m going to just stop using silverware all together, go to restaurants and bury my face in my food (and, since my near and dear usually pick off each other’s plates, I’m going to plant my face in their plates too). When I get old, I’m going to get in the metro and instead of standing there waiting for some young person to give me their seat, I’m just going to sit down on them (and fart).

But mostly, I’m going to try to remember all the things I was taught to do and say that made me my mom proud and impressed employers and dazzled schmoozers and charmed douchebags and I’m going to do the opposite. Because I’ll be old (and most likely farting while I walk). And that’s all the reason I need.

Cat-Show-England10

As a dog person, I wondered why I was face to face with a cat which, according to the ribbons pinned on its ten foot long, state-of-the-art, clear plastic living environment, was an “International Winner” and “Supreme Grand Alter”.

The prestige of its titles and glamour of its home came off as rather comical, since the award-winning competitor was attempting to escape right in front of me. It stared at me hopelessly, begging to be freed, while incessantly swiping and clawing at its plastic enclosure. I could feel its pain, and I wanted to help it in its conquest — but I couldn’t (due to the padlocks on the zipper).

Proud letters identified this breed as a Selkirk Rex (fun fact courtesy of The Ultimate Cat Book: “not taken seriously until 1950”), and below read what first appeared to be the title of a documentary concerning the dramatic tales of Mel Gibson’s career: “Dramatails Lethal Weapon”. It was, in fact, the unfortunate name of the little guy.

Thankfully, Dramatails Lethal Weapon had the wherewithal to fashion a sign below his name relieving the observer of any potentially awkward exchanges and confirming his Mel Gibson fan status: “…but you can just call me ‘Mel’!”

Dramatails — or Mel…I guess — was one of close to a hundred cats on display at the Southwest Washington Fairgrounds for the Commencement Cat Club’s 2011 cat show. This year’s theme: the Roaring Twenties, even if the only clear example of this was one cat wearing a red flapper dress, though the intent was questionable.

Even amidst all the razzle-dazzle, my interest waned, causing me to instead peruse the free book exchange which hosted an odd, yet fitting mixture of cat books and erotic fiction (e.g. How to Tame Your Pussy).

Admittedly, the constant competitions, occurring at a rate of dozens per hour, engaged me slightly more than the literature. I sat in a seven person crowd awaiting the judge’s decision on Best of Breed for the Maine Coon, or Coon Man to the purists (Fun Fact courtesy of The Ultimate Cat Book: “Winner of the Madison Square Garden Show of 1895”). Behind the judge, Coon Men were placed in cages to await their turn to be inspected.

The little creatures were a sad sight, trapped and unaware why they were imprisoned. All five “contestants” handled the unfamiliar cages much like shroomers would: either by frantically ripping at the bars or just chilling in the corner, staring into space with wide eyes.

One by one, the judge would remove them and examine them on the table. The cats could not have appeared more unwilling to participate, impatiently waiting for the rub down to end while half-heartedly attempting to launch themselves into salvation off the table’s edge.

This was all too much for me, because in the end, cats aren’t my scene — they just don’t give a fuck. I mean, I probably wouldn’t either if I was relegated to the rather demoralizing role of filling the void in a spinster’s heart by stepping in as a self-cleaning alternative to a husband.

I wanted to love it, but the clear frustration and lack of enthusiasm coming from the subjects made for an awkward show. As one of the few lonely souls not presenting a cat, I was seen as an outsider — a situation not helped by my poorly-timed outbursts of laughter, and being the only person in the 15-45 age group.

But my experience did end with a proper farewell. It was from a woman in a denim jacket featuring a spray-painted tag on the back immortalizing Xanade, the Black Persian in her arms. She stopped her brisk pace for one second to acknowledge me with eye contact (simultaneously with Xanade, naturally), high off a Best of Colour placing, and boasted, “That’s my chunky monkey, winning it all!”

And then off she went, becoming one with a sea of cat-ladies.

 

Not Without My Cat Image from ucartsee.me

“Brownies” image candirandpersians.com

For all the sayings out there about being sorry, none of them say that sorry makes things better, yet, as children, we are taught to believe it does: You go apologize and make BillyBoBob feel better. And I suppose because that’s what we believe, in theory it does. But as adults, “sorry” doesn’t always cut the mustard. We’ve learned to expect more, better, and we’ve grown cynical. A guy once pooped on my floor, true story, and no amount of  “sorry” would ever have made that ok.

The thing about “I’m sorry” is that it’s a catch-22 you don’t know you have to be sorry until you’ve done the thing you have to be sorry for, and by then it’s too late to be sorry because the thing you have to be sorry for has already been done.  You also need to be aware that the thing that you’ve done is something that you need to be sorry for. I’m the kind of person who likes to be smacked on the nose with a rolled up newspaper (metaphorically people!) when I’ve done something wrong. I want to know I’ve done it so that I can either apologize or explain why I did it. I consider myself a very intuitive and self-aware person, so usually I can tell I’ve done something wrong and immediately try to correct it. But when I can’t, it’s up to someone else to put my face in my pee (again metaphorically!) to show me what I did is not ok. And, if your truth is well presented (e.g. not yelled or physical), and I’m not on birth control, I will most likely agree to my fault, and say, “I’m sorry”.

Yes, my excuse is birth control ladies, you know what I’m talking about. Gentlemen, pay attention: how do I put this in a way that you can understand: the pill is lady steroids.

All of the side effects of anabolic steroids are possible side effects of hormonal birth control. I believe their efficacy is rooted in the fact that when you turn into the Incredible Hulk’s sister, there’s little chance of you getting laid and little chance of you getting pregnant.

So… yeah, I had the ‘roid rage. And it pretty much looked like this:

In the beginning of Jekyll and Hyde, Mr. Hyde tramples a young girl then pays off her family with £10 in gold and a cheque for £100 (approximately $7000 today, but consider that rent for a 4 room apartment was less than £5 a month) from the well-respected Dr. Jekyll. During my brief but amazing stint as a psychotic sociopath, I trampled (metaphorically) those closest to me. It turns out that, like Dr. Jekyll, the potion I was taking caused me to morph into a thing I would never have been without it. Though, like Dr. Jekyll, that dark side of me probably does exist and was simply allowed to walk free for a while. Jesus! If ever, THIS would have been the time for someone to smack me on the nose (still, metaphorically). But no one did. They just let me be a raging psychopath. And then distanced themselves from me. And now I, being neither a well-respected doctor nor any person of such means, have to pay my damages in words, deeds and, as the word suggests, sorrow.

I haven’t juiced for over a week now. I’ve gained a perspective and a clarity on the past three weeks, which  I obviously didn’t have while I was on the ‘roids/trying to avoid getting pregnant (@ Mom: this not even in the realm of possibility since I am still a virgin). I don’t like my dark side (well, apparently no one likes my dark side). I, and my mom especially, have worked really hard so that I would be a respectful, respectable, caring and conscientious person. And for three weeks I wasn’t any of that. It wasn’t intentional, but it is my responsibility. Nobody deserves to be treated the way I treated my friends. I’m sorry, I didn’t know what I was doing. And if you allow me (normal me), I will make it up to you. I’ll start by dedicating this song to you.

<3 Foxy

I am a slob. I have come to terms with the fact that I will always be a slob, in the way that an alcoholic who doesn’t drink any more will always be an alcoholic. My name is Foxy, and I am a slob.

I have been known to go weeks, not days, without washing dishes. I have had cats for most of my adult life who, I believe, think they are supermodels, and throw up their food soon after eating it. I have left that on the floor. I have gone months without vacuuming or washing the floors. I have left more hair in the sink and tub than most people have on their heads. I have subscribed to the “if it’s yellow leave it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down” theory of toiletry and accidentally reversed the terms. And with all of this, I have somehow maintained a dream of motherhood.

 

I had an idea I wasn’t the neatest person I knew. I’m not delusional. The first question I asked my ex upon meeting him (before his name, astrological sign or if he came there often) was “how much of your salary would you be willing to give up to have a cleaning lady?” He said 25%. So we went on to live together in messy, messy bliss until the relationship became more messy than the apartment.

My mother, preferring to stay in a New York City hotel than in my apartment, once told me that my apartment could be grounds for condemnation of the building. My mom tends to exaggerate her hyperbole for the sake of an argument. Really. Where does she think this came from? I didn’t have any chores around the house until I was about 11 or 12, and they were instituted as a form of punishment for having stolen money from her purse. So, I believe even the least analytical of minds can see why I wouldn’t inflict this same punishment upon myself later in life.

The truth is that the state of my home tends to represent my state of mind at the time. Having been an undiagnosed depressive from my early teens through early twenties, it was simply a joke that the floor of my room was so covered with clothes that one would have to exert force to open the door. Because I had to go out and face the world and couldn’t do that without a shower, my dishes became my surrogate and sat there pathetically stewing in whatever was left on them. I think it is also possible that I admired the cats’ gag reflex (They’re so thin!).

On the other hand, when things are going well, e.g. falling in love or a big shiny new contract, I clean so hard that I break out toothbrushes for the corners. I clean out my closets and donate all the clothes that consistently wind up on the floor because they don’t fit or aren’t my style or are just plain ugly. After dusting, it’s like an archeological dig: oh, how interesting, I wonder what colour this used to be. And this will extend to anyone’s home I happen to be in at the time. Invite me over for dinner, I’ll do your laundry! Gnome, my current heartkeeper, was literally shocked to see me wash the dishes, then clean off all the prep and eating surfaces at his house. I had to explain to him that the fact that I don’t do something doesn’t mean that I can’t do it. I don’t beat him at arm wrestling. But I could.

Whatever the reason, cause or excuse for my messiness, one thing remains true: I need to get a better paying job, so kin I git me one of them fancy cleaning ladies before I start a family and have to send out a search party to locate my kids in the living room!

This is Foxfur, the family dust bunny.

For me, dating a younger man is a lot like farting in public; there’s nothing unnatural about it, but I still think people are looking at me with that stank look of judgement.

Since beginning my 20-something holding pattern, I have noticed that the men I am attracted to and who seem to be attracted to me are younger… much younger. And though I have never been completely comfortable with my body, being with a man in his early 20s, with his speedy metabolism and inexhaustible libido, makes me all the more aware that I am not in my early 20s. There is nothing quite like having a man dig your tits out of your armpits to drive that point home!

The thing is, I don’t look my age. Most people think I am about 5-10 years younger, and are shocked to find out how old I actually am. One friend of a man-child I dated actually said to me, “I don’t know what you’re doing with him; at your age you should be married with children. Whatever’s wrong with you, he’s not going to fix it.” Oh, honey, yes he is! And he did. And it was fantastic! Any more questions?

My potential child-grooms may seem to hold the promise of weeks of amazing and incessant XBox tournaments, romantic nights of pizza and boxed wine and, yes, staying up until the wee hours of the morning listening to music that contains nothing but bass. But there is a downside to dating younger men that Stella didn’t tell because she was too busy getting her groove back: Even though we may care for each other, it is best not to try to make a relationship out of this affair. A relationship requires the sharing of each other’s personal interests, anecdotes and experiences. How does one do that when he’s never accidentally melted a record? When he’s never had to go to the library to research a term paper? Never had to wait 45 minutes for his Kraft dinner? When he refers to Depeche Mode as “oldies” music? IT’S 80s MUSIC – IT’S RETRO AT ITS BEST!!! You pretty, pretty thing – let’s have sex before I never speak to you again.

So I’ve devised a list of criteria for the future to avoid such pitfalls as outing my age, or wishing they would just shut up and look pretty. I shall not date anyone:

1) whose age and my curfew were EVER the same at the same time.
2) who doesn’t know what the USSR was.
3) who never had to walk around with a bag full of cassettes.
4) who doesn’t know who Ferris Bueller is.
5) who was not frightened by the puppets in Genesis’ “Land of Confusion” video.

That’s not to say that May-December romances do not work. On the contrary, many, many May-December romances have worked beautifully: From the classic Bogie & Bacall, married 34 years with a 26 year age difference, to a modern Demi and Ashton (8 years together and Demi is 15 years older), to the controversial Woody and Soon-Yi (19 years, Woody is 35 years older), to the historical Michaelangelo and Tommaso dei Cavellari who, though Michaelangelo was 34 years older, spent 32 years together. On the other hand, Rudolph Valentino was two years younger than Jean Acker, and that marriage only lasted 6 hours. So, apparently, the secret is a one-decade minimum age difference.

I suppose the true secret is to find someone, regardless of their age, with whom you share common interests, someone you can laugh with, and who thinks you are awesome. And when you find that person, don’t tell them how old you are.

Blogs, online magazines, websites – we all live in the virtual world. Just as business have relationships with other business and companies, we are building partnerships and friendships with people online. So, Forget The Box would like to introduce The Rover! The Rover is a Montreal based arts website that features articles about theatre, film, books and much more. Every second Sunday we will be bring you, our FTB readers, a little something-something from their website. This week we’re kicking it off with a review from Rover writer, Heather Leighton, about Joe Ollmann’s graphic novel, Mid-Life.

Enjoy!

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Crisis, what Crisis?
Mid-Life, Drawn and Quarterly, by Joe Ollmann
by Heather Leighton

In Mid-Life, the hilarious graphic novel by Joe Ollmann, we meet a conflicted, pear-shaped John Olsen who is revisiting fatherhood at age 40. Although his much younger second wife, Chan, is the love of his life, he still feels pangs of guilt about his first failed marriage and the disappointment it caused his two daughters, now 19 and 23. Yes, we can all do the math. John was married at 17 and spawned children “like some hillbilly child bride.”

His guilt, however, competes with his resentment that he was never able to enjoy the freedom of his youth as Chan was. On the fun scale, everyone in Montreal seems to have had a better time than sleep-deprived John, whose new parent role has created both a cranky husband and an absentminded employee, pushing him closer to the edge of an emotional and professional abyss. To make matters worse, just as his once rabid sex drive starts to decline, his disconcerting habit of ogling the body parts of young women emerges. Clearly, John is experiencing a mid-life crisis.

Readers who have had children will readily identify with John’s situation, from his petty anger because his partner got seven minutes more sleep to the insipid children’s TV shows you are forced to watch because moving would wake the baby sleeping in your arms. In John’s case there is an upside to watching kids’ TV, in particular Sherri Smalls, who John thinks is great and, well, hot. As an artistic director at a magazine, he travels to New York where he makes plans to interview Smalls, the second narrative thread in Mid-Life. Sherri turns out to be a lonely former-rocker-turned-children’s-performer who doesn’t know what to do with her angry on-again-off-again boyfriend who is also her onstage monkey sidekick. Will John’s desire to feel young again triumph over his crippling guilt?

I originally read the first chapter online and laughed until I cried. Ollman’s nine-frame black and white panels with their scratchy lines convey a range of intense emotion, from cringe-worthy embarrassment to anxiety-inducing pain, with humour never far off. My only criticism is that the lettering was difficult to read in at times.

The author has crafted a fine narrative, continually upping the emotional stakes every few pages. This book will definitely appeal to anyone who has had a child later in life when waking up several times a night is akin to torture.   No one can deny the first five years of our children’s lives are trying, and what better way to enjoy it than by witnessing our hapless protagonist limp through it. In the end, John finds a solution to his predicament—he stops looking at what he’s missing and starts to appreciate what he has. The glass-half-full outlook can make a world of difference.

While Mid-Life is considered an autobio comic, how much of it actually transpired remains a mystery. Ollmann states in the preface, “This is largely a work of fiction, except where it isn’t. Please see the notes for even less clarification.” I wonder what his wife thinks…

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Interested in getting involved with FTB? Shoot me an email! Cassie[at]forgetthebox[dot]net.

I like my men…um…straight. Not some brutish parody, all  git your ass ovah heah, hand raised in a threatening pose, hair poking out the back of his undershirt. But the role of the girl will be played by  me, and when I am done the show will close. Honestly, don’t ask me what I am thinking, don’t bump me out of the mirror and, for god’s sake, don’t grab my hand and start skipping. I say this and yet the last few guys I’ve gone out with were men who, at one point or another, I thought might have been gay (one of them I still do, playing Chat-Bite with all his male friends all the time was the clincher).

R. was a banker, a college sports star and a Betty Buckley fan. I believe that’s one of the gay commandments thou shalt listen the to show tunes. Upon further inspection I found Mandy Patinkin (are you kidding me?) and Hootie & the Blowfish (more a character flaw than a chink in his hetero-armour). Once in a while I would fake a bathroom emergency so I could run in without knocking and possibly catch him singing “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair”. But I never did. I asked him to explain the appeal of Broadway as interpreted by the  Eight is Enough stepmom and  The Princess Bride‘s Indigo Montoya for a man who couldn’t carry a tune with the help of a man-servant; he just shrugged his shoulders and giggled like the Pillsbury Doughboy.

J. was from France. The French possess many cultural habits that would keep the average American from picking up the proverbial dropped soap but it was the rhinestone logo’d t-shirt tighter than mine that evidenced (I thought) an accurate snap judgement. Also, he ran around grabbing his male friends’ packages. Chat-Bite is a game generally played in school yards, at 27 to touch the penis of any guy friend present, whether you are with your girlfriend or not, calls your motivation into question. He was young, sweet and (I thought) gay and I felt this need to coddle him. I couldn’t have been more surprised when he made a move so I chalked the Bedazzled shirt up to couture culture differences and dated him for several months during which I barely escaped drowning in a deluge of stereotypical behaviour. I couldn’t fix my own hair in the morning because once he was done primping he had to  vogue to make sure he looked good at all angles. When I commented on his ass (which was  niiiiice) he called it his “poo-poo” switching it from side to side like a seven year-old girl. And when trying to dance/seduce me while he was dj-ing he’d stick his [niiiiice] ass out and wiggle it like he was waiting for me to stick a dollar in his g-string.

I’ve dated other men with frou-frou tendencies- the guy who ate his buffalo wings with a fork and knife, who started to cry because they were  too spicy. The one who wore women’s perfume because it smelled “prettier” than men’s. The one who used Vaseline on his lips because he liked them shiny and the one who wore women’s jeans because they made his “butt look better”.

 

I have to wonder what it is about me that attracts this type of man, or maybe, since I’m often the asker and not the asked, why I am attracted to this kind of man. Perhaps it’s that this is often the man who treats me with sensitivity. It could be that this is also the type of guy who lets me take care of him. Neither of which am I willing to sacrifice to have a so-called “macho man”.

* Ed.’s note: For an editorial response to criticism of this post, please see the comments section below under Jason C. McLean

 

Little people are scary. Not  the “Little People,” but miniature versions of adults – babies in tuxedos, spelling bee champions who use the words in context, kids in miniature Lambourghinis pissed about imaginary traffic jams. There is certainly something to be said about precocious and intelligent children, and everyone wants to relate to their kids, but making them into adults is not just creepy, it’s  wrong. Like “Claudia” in  Interview With The Vampire.

A little girl of about 5 or 6 and her mom came into a restaurant where I once worked, and when asked where she wanted to eat, the girl chose the bar. This would have been a pretty bad sign were it not for the wall-sized aquarium behind the bar. She asked what kind of juice we “offer” (yes, she said  offer). I gave her a tumbler and she asked for a wine glass. She ordered a rare hamburger that came out medium-rare and sent it back because it was “overcooked,” informing me that she knew the owner. I said “me too,” and she said “no, you’re just the bartender, you work for him. I  know him.” Had she been an adult I’d have broken a bottle and stabbed her in the heart with it.

But when I was five or six, my mom would take me to McDonalds as a good grade reward (in finger painting or recess, I don’t know). I would dump ketchup all over the fries and, remembering my manners, offer one to my mom: “I’ll have an unadulterated one.” “What does that mean, Mommy?” “One without ketchup,” she said. As the person charged with molding my mind, it is my mother’s fault that I, until about age 14, thought that unadulterated meant “without ketchup.” On one hand I can appreciate her expanding my vocabulary, but we’re talking about fast food fries here, not effin’ Kobe beef; she could have just said “without ketchup” and saved that 50 ¢ word to buy her own damn fries! When, at that age, was I going to use that word?  I’d like my chicken fingers unadulterated please?

…yeah i knew that

I’ve had dozens of experiences with “Little People”: kids who know the difference between paté and chopped liver, or who know their e.e. cummings from their J.K. Rowlings; Little girls in Dolce & Gabana dresses at birthday parties, and boys in three-piece suits in church. They are  children. God (or Joan Rivers) is not gonna put them on the worst dressed list! I don’t want my kid on Leno reciting the Declaration of Independence either. This is a  child, their brains are sponges, they’ll memorize it as easily as they will Frère Jacques, and understand it about just as well (summa-lumma-teeeena*). Let Dr. Sheldon Cooper of the Big Bang Theory stand as a shining example of what happens to kids like these: While he may have been smart enough to become a great doctor of physics by the age of 14, at the end of the day he didn’t understand why people enjoy the warmth of human relations – and by this I mean sex. Do you want your kids to be 30 year-old virgins? Well,  DO YOU?!   Let kids be kids. Teach them that dirt isn’t for eating, but let them order pasta  fully adulterated (with ketchup, of course). There’s nothing wrong or embarrassing about it.

And, yes, children are a reflection of their parents, but as long as they are polite and don’t hit and grow up to be adults who are bright, thoughtful and not virgins, isn’t  that a beautiful reflection of you?

*It’s “sonnez les matines,” btw. I learned that as well when I was 14.

When I was about 5, my mom knitted me a beautiful white fisherman’s sweater that I wore with pride right into a mud puddle.I was devastated.

My mom tried to console me by taking me to the park to ride the “big kids” slide. I was too small to ride alone so she found a kid who would take me and I said, “But mommy, he’s dirty”. The irony of my statement was completely lost on me because I knew I didn’t start the day dirty, and he looked as if he’d started life that way. But I was young.

I have since learned to judge people not by the cleaniliess of their skin, but by the content of their character. Therefore my snobbery now covers geography, the arts, politics and anything else that other people hold dear.

My friend once wrote an article about being a New Yorker despite having only lived there for a few years. I promptly fired off a polite refusal of her application. Being born there it is my birthright to claim that I am a New Yorker and to refuse to acknowledge the honorary citizenship of foreigners, no matter how nobly they will wear their new title.

Interestingly, New York is one of the few places in the world where this is even moderately debatable. The Chinese who come to New York are still Chinese 30 years later, the Italians are Italians generations later. Yet, some yokel falls off the turnip truck in Queens and suddenly they are New Yorkers. The French who come to New York will spit at you if you call them New Yorkers or Americans- they are French, of course they are snobs, and they are right.

One would be horribly mistaken were one to believe that if left alone with one’s music collection, I would not form an opinion about them. I may not even be there when one returned, having deemed one’s music unfit for my company. I refused to return the phone calls of one man who tried to defend Hootie‘s right to exist. I have banned the playing of certain music in other people’s cars and have asked to have my food wrapped to go in restaurants that should have been shut down for their music violations.

While I may know Conservatives and Republicans, I regard them as I would those little trained dogs from the old hospital clown shows. Their ability to perform the tricks is quite impressive but it doesn’t take long to realize that they are only doing it for the treats, and that they could care less whether or not they are helping the little girls and boys watching. Plus they piss on everything and are perfectly happy to lick their own balls. This is why I have no Conservative or Republican friends.

People who call whatever they put on their walls “art” are boors! The Budweiser girls in bathing suits that recreate the Budweiser label is not art! Neither is a poster of a Lamborghini or Michael Jordan; they are decoration, and not really much of that either. I think its fair to say that Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup cans aren’t much more than free advertising for Campbell’s paid for by people who would never lower themselves to actually consuming the soup. And Jackson Pollock paintings are also a waste; lucky the person who tries to defend his “discipline”, upon whom I will fling my poo, thus they will be wearing my art.

“SNOB” is not a badge I wear with honour. Generally, I keep it pretty well hidden until someone raises an issue that I feel strongly about or speaks in my general vicinity. But it is my belief that if you’re going to be a snob, at least have the wherewithal to back it up. Can’t be a snob about politics if you don’t know who your delegates are. Can’t be a snob about music if the answer to “what do you like” is largely Top 40.

Can’t call someone else dirty when you’re covered in mud; for this reason I never leave home without a change of shirt!



People tend to look at me funny – a look somewhere between pity and caught back laughter – when I tell them that I don’t have a driver’s license. It’s as if I’d just admitted to them that I wet the bed. But I was born and raised in New York City where a car is about as useful as a donkey and just as difficult to find parking for. I did have a license once, I got it when I was 16, doin’ that American rite of passage thing, but it expired years ago and there hasn’t been any real impetus to have it renewed. There are plenty of things about growing up in New York City that differ from the rest of the country, the rest of the state, hell, from most of the other boroughs!

The CountryTime ® Lemonade memories of childhood are completely lost on me. The lemonade stands, the rope swing over the crick, catching fireflies; I thought dandelions were flowers until I was a teenager! How lucky was I to be able to bring weeds home to my mom every day! (How lucky was the city whose landscaping I was inadvertently tending.) The “beaches” were where we were warned to “wash off well” or we’d get yeast infections, and we were told not to go barefoot, even while swimming, to avoid hypodermic needles, condoms and other remnants of the Summer of Love 80’s Edition. No-one I knew would lay in the grass and stare up at the stars because a) what stars? and b) laying in doggie-doo is not an urban pastime. Were it not for sleepaway camp, I might have grown up thinking a hike was a long distance – like between our block and the pizzeria we didn’t go to “cuz it’s a hike, yo!”

Speaking of definition differences: in my childhood, the balcony was the fire escape and the roof a terrace. I have no concept of time since here, 20 minutes is 5 minutes unless you’re waiting, and then 5 is 20. The school bus was the subway unless you were rich – then it was car service. A picnic was eating on a stoop, a stoop was the front stairs of a house, a house could be an apartment, but a housing was a beating, and the mall was the West Village.

New York enjoys a geocentricity akin to Israel. Everyone makes their pilgrimage here and everyone wants to claim it as their own, the border being the Hudson and East Rivers. Were you so unfortunate as to be born on the other side of these, in any direction outward, you may as well fess up to sleeping with your cousin (This goes double for New Jersey, and throw in stinky, skanky or tacky for good measure due to the Hatfield/McCoy tradition of the NJ hate which has never been explained to me but which I proudly uphold.) And up to this border is the extent of the geography we can recall off the top of our heads.

The New Yorker once illustrated the mentality of New Yorkers by placing New York City at the forefront of the image and everywhere else in the world off in the horizon somewhere. This is, in fact, the maps we use in our public schools. Therefore, while the average American cannot find Korea on a map, I cannot tell you where Nebraska is…I also don’t care…because I am from New York (which I might be able to find) and it’s not like I’m going to drive there.

I think this is why I have never really felt the need to have a driver’s license. Somehow, growing up in that biodome, I adopted the belief that I wasn’t going to need it anywhere else. That there would always be public transportation, and where there wasn’t, I probably wasn’t going to go anyway. Out of the country, I wouldn’t be allowed to drive, so again, why bother. But now, as I split my time between New York and Montreal, it occurs to me, maybe it would be worth it to get a driver’s license if just to arrive at my destination in “real time”. The trip is about 6 hours by car and 10 by train (that’s 15 hours by train when using the New York Time Code). And perhaps I could use the extra time to figure out the other states that border Canada.

Neil Young said “it’s better to burn out than fade away”, clearly what was true for him in his thirties isn’t so much so in his 60s. He has quietly continued to consistently produce great music for some 40 years (and no one wants to see him shake his lice-ridden money maker anyway). Tom Waits hasn’t attempted collaborations with 50 Cent to keep his image youthful. Conversely, the Rolling Stones, who don’t realize that just because one of them is already embalmed doesn’t mean the rest are the living dead as well, strut around just as cocksure (perhaps an inappropriate word choice for the Viagra set) as they did in 1911 when they started. They haven’t changed their formula for decades. May they continue burning themselves out in predictable ways for another century!

In an age where anyone can get a reality show, people like Ozzy Osborne stayed in the public eye by doing just that. And it worked! However, watching Steven Tyler pepper his critiques with his signature raspy high notes while judging American Idol and seated next to Jennifer Lopez, a woman whose singing talent is as dubious as her blonde hair, borders on the painful (yes, I realize I could not watch but then what would I write my snarky column about? Hmmm?). It’s a pathetic turning of the tables that the icon on the panel reeks more of desperation than the contestants.

Johnny Cash, a once dynamic and prolific artist, successfully remained relevant by warbling Trent Reznor and Soundgarden lyrics towards the end of his career, it was a masterful assuming of the lyricism of others at a time when he still had a lot to say but could no longer go ev-er-y-where, man. Even William S. Burroughs successfully took up the mike when he covered R.E.M.’s Star Me Kitten (Burroughs saying “f*** me kitten” over and over is at once disgusting and fun, like chasing friends with poop on a stick, which I haven’t done in days).

But you’d have thought Frank Sinatra fancied himself the very beatnik he despised when, missing only the bongo player, he [barely] rhythmically spoke the words to his greatest hits for over 20 years. A side-by-side comparison indicates that he may have been influenced by William Shatner.

I wonder (but don’t really care) what will happen to the careers of disposable music stars like Miley Cyrus, 90% of the cast of Glee and the Jonas Brothers (Rebecca Black will be fine- her daddy will just pay people to come to her concerts), it doesn’t seem possible that they will be able to emulate or even borrow from those who have stood or will stand the test of time. Will they hit a talent spurt and start making music that lasts? Or will they simply wind up in the heap with all the other unrecyclable plastics?

People who have had highly respected and respectable careers, in my opinion, belittle their legacy by trying to avoid the inevitable end necessary to cement a legacy. I suppose time will tell if the methods our icons employ to ensure longevity will help them avoid career death or bury them alive. Icons tend not to know when to let go, or maybe it’s the fans who can’t pull the plug. But, like a beloved family pet, we should help our icons’ careers end with dignity.

There’s nothing wrong with being retro or classic or timely, and sometimes, yes, just plain retired. Now listen carefully Tom Jones, there comes a time when you have to ask yourself: when the size of the panties being thrown at you is greater than the enjoyment you get from them, is it still worth the effort?

*Foxy has nothing against big panties, in fact she is wearing some right now, and and is considering a second career selling them on the Japanese fetish market.

“Just be honest“. While everybody says it, nobody really means it all the time.

While honesty is always the best policy, it’s not always the most sensitive policy. So we lie – to get out of trouble, to avoid hurting someone’s feelings, to make ourselves feel better. And we all support these lies. When a girl asks, “does my butt look big in these jeans” she doesn’t want a yes or no. She wants a complement, she wants to be told she is attractive; that wasn’t the question. Honestly? Your butt looks big in everything you wear – you have a big butt! That’s not to say it’s unattractive, the question was answered  honestly. Asking “does this outfit look good?” or “do I look pretty?” may have elicited a different response.

When the waiter asks if everything is alright, because I’ve spent years in the service industry, I say yes. After spending the last 5 minutes complaining about my food to my companion, when asked I don’t want to trouble them. Like I called their home to complain about it? – this is their  job! When invited to eat food that I don’t eat, I claim to have already eaten and pray, hope and beg my stomach not to expose me as there is  no way in hell I am going to eat the pickled pig’s feet parmesan on the table. When a client’s tastes have appalled me, instead of saying “did you come to work on the short bus?” I say, “That’s a great idea, I’ve also noticed xyz positively affects sales”. Honest? Of course not, I think their idea is counterproductive (read:stupid).

I got to thinking about honesty when a soul naïve as Bambi asked me what I was thinking.  Just how crazy are you? Never, ever, for the love of all that is holy ask me what I am thinking! If I am not talking –  LUCKY YOU! But I sounded the warning bell anyway:
“Honestly?”  RUUUUUN! IT’S COMING!!!
“Of course.”

Nooo! Poor guy, he will be sorely missed.
Seriously though, I was honest; not brutally, but deeply. It freaked him out. Should I have held some back? Maybe (Mom says, “Don’t let all the crazy out at once”). Is holding back honest? No (… and he already knows I’m nuts). Did he really want honest? No, again. He wanted me to tell him only as much as he wanted to hear. He wanted me to tell him if his butt looked big (figuratively, to round out the analogy- not literally!)  but not exactly  how big.

The difference between telling the truth and not being  dishonest is semantic at best. So do everyone a favour, when asking someone to “be honest”, make sure you really want the honest answer before putting them in a position to lie to you. Lying doesn’t make the liar feel good. It’s stressful memorising flashcards of lies you’ve told and to whom. It doesn’t feel any better to find out you’ve been lied to.

Or you can try my trick: Let all the crazy out at once. That way, whether you are honest or not is moot. You’re just crazy and cannot be held accountable!

Foxy thinks your butt looks great! But to be honest, she would really appreciate you removing your backpack on the metro and other close quarters.

I have, thus far, very much enjoyed the privacy of my own home. I am single, without roommates and the cat and I co-exist with – in a “you don’t pay/you don’t say” kinda way. This affords me the freedom to walk around in various states of un-shaven, un-coiffed, un-bathed, un-done un-glory with no-one to see it. Or rather, it did.

I remember watching The Jetsons thinking, “How cool is that? George calls Jane and she can see him. That’s gonna really happen in the future.” As a kid, I was very stupid – I also street-luged without a helmet. If I knew then what I know now I’d have been more careful about courting the danger of both head injury and technology. I can avoid street-luging, but I fear, in a 1984/Brave New World kind of way, video calling as with Skype and GoogleChat will completely replace telephones that have thus far allowed us to be on the toilet or naked or not at all where we say we are or all of these. I am so completely tech-tarded that I had to have an intern show me how to download a movie (and then I had to call him again to tell me where it had gone). I only recently got a computer with a built-in camera. And while I am sure I should be most afraid of the Big Brother is Watching aspect, I am more afraid of Big Brother watching me digging for emeralds!

As seen on Star Trek, Star Wars, Buck Rogers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Batman and, of course, The Jetsons – all very reliable sources of future technology – the video simply turns itself on, not giving me the chance to cover up the ProActiv Solution “before” picture that is my morning face. George had to hide behind the sofa, and he was used to the video phone, for Pete’s sake!

I work from home, my business attire is Superman Underoos or a onesie (think newborn baby outfit fit for an adult) – really, not what one would wear while negotiating an international contract face-to-face. Jane, STOP THIS CRAZY THING! I cannot be seen like this! I am the girl who wakes up before her “overnight guests” to make sure they wake up to the same face they went to sleep with. I break out the curling iron to go to the grocery store. I put on my contacts to sign for FedEx packages. Home is the one place in this city where noone will look at me with that doesn’t-she-have-a-mirror? face that apparently comes standard with a woman’s metro pass.

Technological avances prove, time and again, Foxy’s Self-Serving Paraphrasing of Newton’s Third Law: for every great positive use there is an equally great negative use. Visual technology can be awesome- breast and colon cancer scans, Xbox360 Kinect, Kermit riding a bike in The Muppet Movie:

Unfortunately, it has also been used to propagate horrific sights, like military torture or the Liza Minelli-David Gest wedding kiss (click and grab yer barf bag @ 30 secs).

And while I love that I can see my mom more often, she can’t even figure out how to end a video call (in her defense, the red phone icon does require the skill of a person who is trained in both the colour red and what a phone looks like*). My luck she’ll forget to turn it off and wind up uploading some sort of weird video to my Facebook page where she’s knitting while dressed like Ke$ha.

* As well as being a genius, Foxy’s mom is trained to identify all three primary colours, as well as phone icons from the 1950s to today. It should also be mentioned that the Ke$ha scenario is very possible as she is a world-class knitter and they share a strange affinity for Jack Daniels.

The radio only speaks directly to two kinds of people- the insane and the insanely heartbroken. When one is the latter, it seems that every song has been hand picked by the DJ to ensure that your heart remains irreparably broken. With the level of insanity it takes to believe the DJ is conspiring against you, it is not hard to believe that if you drove to the radio station he or she would be sitting there laughing and licking whipped cream off your ex. Then the DJ goes into a diabetic coma and your heart-breaker has to take care of them in perpetuity. Or, maybe that’s just me. (Obviously I don’t wish this on anyone, but sadly it’s the best I can hope for as I don’t like whipped cream, which makes it difficult to compete in a lick-off.)

As an audiophile, when I’m heartbroken, I usually have a listening party with songwriters who have clearly been through this before. As the host of this party, I reserve the right to shove a pickle* in the eye of the happily married or coupled artists who have made a career of admirably articulating my broken heart (I’m talkin’ ’bout you, Aimee Mann!). Ray Lamontagne, thanks for the help setting the mood, but the rule at this party is no one can do to others what I can’t do to myself. Go find another place to make out with your sweetie! It’s a pity party, people! If you even consider bringing a date, I will shove a pickle in your eye too!

* A special pickle-rocket launcher is being designed for Dave Grohl who is so giddy with familial bliss he performs “Monkey Wrench” with a smile and dimples showing!

In our darkest hours, we need our comrades in pain and anguish to be able to empathize. Nobody (without a mullet) has ever washed down the entire pizza with a bottle of vodka, and then drunk dialed their friends because someone broke their “achy-breaky heart”. Stephin Merritt, Aidan Moffat and Bettye Lavette have, however, proven invincible allies. (Perhaps their empathetic strength is reinforced by the double letters in their names; in which case Bettye gets double double-letter points and if you’ve heard her sing you’d know she’s earned it. Not convinced of my double-letter theory? I submit Fleetwood Mac’s entire 35-year career.).

However, anyone who has ever commiserated with Hootie & his Blowfish, admittedly or not, has committed both thoughtcrime and musical sacrilege, and should be shunned accordingly. Likewise, show me a person who found kindred spirit in James Blunt’s “Goodbye My Lover” and I’ll show you a person who just broke up with a castrated Muppet.

We all have our musical blankets we like to wrap ourselves in, light or heavy, because there’s no comfort like the comfort of someone who gets you. So hang out with your best music buddies; that’s what they are there for (Except for Hootie, who is there to make sure you never get laid again).

Better yet, do what I do: make a playlist that shuffles randomly between Sufjan Stevens, Arab Strap, Stars and GWAR. It’s not like suddenly the deeper meaning behind the lyrics (as I understand them), “shububba-kuhttah-fraaawwwaaat kvaaaaaaaaaah-ha-ha-ha” will be revealed as “I’d really like it if we could still be friends” when played backwards.

Although, with my luck, it probably does mean something like “I am licking whipped cream off your ex!”

Tania Fox is neither cynical about love, nor currently heartbroken. Although she has every right to be cynical since she did once have her heart totally decimated by a castrated Muppet. Elmo is a douche!