The Wait Is On....
...for Wilco, Flaming Lips, and Sleater MuthaF'in Kinney on Friday. I've always believed the one week stretch between Christmas and NYE to be a very strange sort of limbo....lots of folks on vacation, those who aren't on vacation wish they were...and the whole week has no feel. Sort of like 5 Tuesdays in a row. On the other hand, it also serves as a fine opportunity to toy around with whatever Santa happened to leave under the tree.
Kyle from South Park isn't kidding when he says it's tough being Jewish on Christmas. But it may be easier in NYC than anywhere else due to the large number of Jewish musical/comedy/cabaret shows that crop up to compliment the usual rock shows.
Heeb is a fantastic magazine that's currently released four times a year. A lazy description of its contents would be 'VICE magazine for/by Jews,' although the writing is generally much better, and the tone is far funnier with less condescesion. In addition to publishing the magazine, they also sponsor citywide events and parties, and this past Tuesday found the latest installment of their "Storytelling" series at the always fahbulous Joe's Pub. The format usually entails a 10 minute opening monologue from the evening's given host (this time SNL writers Slovin and Allen, in the past, deadpan genius Todd Barry ), and then a series of 7-minute stories from Jews and honorary Jews; most of whom are NYC based comedians/writers.
While last Tuesday's edition was not quite as laugh out loud hysterical as the other two I've attended since 2003, it's still an excellent concept that hits far more often than it misses. Highlights included Girlcomic.net founder Becky Donohue discussing her 1/16th Jewishness, frequent VH1 talking head Bex Schwartz explaining how she ruined Christmas for most of her elementary school class, and singer songwriter Jill Sobule (whose latest disc Underdog Victorious is most excellent) regaling the audience with a handful of tunes. Slovin and Allen's opening monologue regarding the unconditional love/hatred celebrated by Jewish grandmothers was also a gas. Always an enjoyable time, and Heeb is a publication worth rooting for.
In addition to the aforementioned, I also managed to catch one night of what I believe is the 4th consecutive season of What I Like About Jew, a 90 minute collection of musical vignettes and comedy sketches which is the brainchild of former Rockapella member/Nomar Garciaparra look -alike Sean Altman and Rob Tannenbaum. It was funny enough to allow me to look past the fact that the latter is one of the head editors at Blender Magazine. The show was essentially Borscht-belt comedy taken to humorous extremes, featuring memorable odes to J-Date (where 'everybody's funny and everybody's smart'), circumcision ("a little off the top, that's all, that's all!"), "Reuben the Hook-Nosed Reindeer", and most notably-a hysterical anti-'Jews for Jesus' rant that nobody seemed to disagree with. There were also guest comics in the guise of Cindy Kaplan, Eric Schwartz, and the ubiquitous Todd Barry, who remains as funny as ever, despite the fact that he hasn't seemed to have changed his material much in the past two years. What I Like About Jew might not come around again until the holidays in 2005, but check it out when it does. Highly recommended.