Letter No.34

  • 1.4.14 Saturday
    Read: To Have and Have Another
  • 1.5.14 Sunday
    Watch: Her
  • 1.8.14 Wednesday
    Do: Prepare for Winter’s Despair
  • 1.9.14 Thursday
    Read: Design Brooklyn
  • 1.10.14 Friday
    Party: Opening of #Sellout

1.4.14 Saturday

Read: To Have and Have Another

Hi, my name is Ryan and I’m an alcoholic writer. Seriously though, my name’s Tristan, and the phrase “alcoholic writer” is redundant. All writers drink, some writers drink more than others, and Hemingway drank more than any of them. Or so it would seem from Philip Greene’s newish book To Have and Have Another, which aggregates all of the cocktails that show up in Hemingway literature and others he was known to enjoy. A few are a bit unfashionable—for instance, there’s a lot of talk about vermouth, (see: Vermouth & Seltz, one part sweet or dry vermouth, two parts seltzer). Some seem pretty modern, like papa’s recipe for a Tom Collins, about half of which calls for coconut water. Amid the concoctions you might expect—like my favorite, the Death in the Afternoon (absinthe and champagne)—you’ll find some surprises, like El Definitivo (equal parts vodka, gin, tequila, rum, scotch and lime juice, two parts tomato juice). Next time you write, reach for this instead of that gun.
$24, where the books at.

1.5.14 Sunday

Watch: Her

Show of hands: Who here has tried to have sex with Siri? She’s one cold bitch, right? In the future, Siri sounds a lot less like a religious, uppity librarian and a lot more like Scarlett Johansson—and she puts out. At least that’s what happens in Spike Jonze’s new movie Her. It takes place in a not-too-distant vision of LA, where people live in sterile high-rise apartments, high-waisted pants are fashionable (again), and everyone does their computing with Bluetooth-like earpieces. Where many sci-fi films get a little masturbatory about setup, flashy worldbuilding and “holy shit, look at all this technology” scenes, this film goes for a cerebral question: Can a man love a computer? Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix) and Samantha (Johansson’s voice) seem to manage all right, and their relationship has similar highs and lows and various bullshit that human relationships can have. And when the supporting characters (including Amy Adams, who is less annoying here than she is in most movies) don’t flinch at Theodore’s creepy relationship, it’s easier to suspend disbelief.
$14.50, 7:35PM, Regal Union Square Stadium, 850 Broadway, NY, NY

1.8.14 Wednesday

Do: Prepare for Winter’s Despair

The holiday season is over. Essentials for making it through winter: Make sure your heat and hot water work. Buy warm gloves and a heavy, fashionable hat. Wear practical boots. Acquire a gym membership. For Netflix binges, ensure your Internet connection is reliable; also have on hand a DVD box set of a reputable multiseason TV show. Stock up on stew-making ingredients and cookware. Take comfort in the emotional and physical warmth provided by your significant other. I just bought some new boots, but I currently have none of these other things.
Right here, motherfuckers.

1.9.14 Thursday

Read: Design Brooklyn

This here’s a book about a little place called Brooklyn. Maybe you’ve heard of it. It’s the largest, most populous borough in New York City, a town founded by rabbit farmer F. Scott Fitzgerald in 1922. When thinking of Brooklyn, most Internet commenters agree: gentrification is real. Whether that’s good or bad and who, if anyone, is at fault is usually an ugly conversation, but what can get lost in that race/class/money melee is how much the borough has changed on the outside and, from an interior design perspective, on the inside. In her new book, Anne Hellman tries to depict some of that change—“Renovation, Restoration, Innovation, Industry,” she calls it. With lush photographs by Michel Arnaud, she takes a look at brownstones, gardens, rooftops, lofts—the usual Brooklyn fare—and how they’ve been designed and redesigned as the borough transforms, for better or worse. Your unlawful 8br/1ba loft in Bushwick probably didn’t make the cut, but if you’re Mike D from the Beastie Boys, an interview with you makes up the book’s foreword.
$26.31 on Amazon, but support your local bookstore if weather permits.
erica sellers Cast_Lightbulbs_A

© Erica Seller

1.10.14 Friday

Party: Opening of #Sellout

Hosting your own art show is kind of like throwing your own birthday party: egotistical and shameless. But if your invitation says something like “I’m being egotistical and shameless and providing free drinks,” then you’re absolved. That’s the route Worstofall Design is taking for the opening party of their #Sellout exhibit: “Don’t fight it. In big art, a show hosted by the artist is called a vanity show. Artists are expected to create without the desire to sell, yet selling legitimizes an art career.” Maybe that’s bullshit, but maybe there’s truth in it, too. Sixteen Worstofall artists show their work, and some of it, like Jeremy Silberberg’s charcoal drawings or Erica Seller’s cut glass lightbulbs (pictured) don’t look so bad. RSVP at hashtagsellout.com and enjoy the free Tito’s vodka when you get there. See, self-promotion isn’t all bad.
Free, 8–11PM, Reverse Gallery, 28 Frost St., BK, NY.