Pound Sign

New York City, pop culture, art and nightlife. Because nobody else is blogging about those things.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Like Frankie and Annette, except Annette takes her top off.

Since back in the spring, the business of this blog has really become the plugging of upcoming opportunities to see my significant other onstage; well, that's just the way it is. I'm plugging this one way ahead of time (she's got, like, a dozen shows between now and then), because it's going to be a lot of fun and also, I'm pretty psyched to be included on the poster for it, by friend/producer/illustrator Bill Morton. (Click it for the large view)

One year of What's My Line?

Next Wednesday, the 8th of August, marks the one-year anniversary installment of What's My Line? Live in NYC! It's hard to believe we've been doing it for a year, and we have some special things planned for the anniversary show: our contestants will be downtown art and stage stars; the panel will be attempting to guess their FIRST line! We were looking for a fun twist on the formula for a special show, and I'm really looking forward to it.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

An incredibly successful night, marred only by the evil taste of Zima

Last night SMELLS LIKE TEASE SPIRIT took the sweltering Slipper Room by storm, an enthusiastic packed crowd for a show full of amazing talent. It doesn't get much more 90's then Pop-Up Video, Freddie Mercury, Jewel, Nirvana, Wilson Phillips, Miss Saigon, Bjork and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Clams and I co-emceed, and had a great time; the only downside is not being able to just enjoy the show from the front row, but that's a small price to pay. Oh yeah, we'll have to do this again soon.

Wednesday nights at Slipper can be rough, but I think the lesson to be taken from last night, from a producing standpoint, is: promote it, and they will come. We came up with a fun hook, and promoted the hell out of it-and, I'm happy to note, put together a show that our performers wanted to invite people to as well. That's a pretty great combination for making a good crowd, even in the middle of the week.

Oh yeah, and Zima totally still exists. We found some to use as a gag going into the intermission. I tried that shit in college once (we always had it around for the one girl who didn't drink beer), and remembered it tasting like flat Sprite. I was wrong, it actually tastes like citrusy death. Especially after sitting backstage for 3 hours.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

See you there!

Clams bought Hammer pants on Ebay just for you!

Grr. argh.

The headline above will give a certain, geeky quadrant of my readership another big heads up about what to expect (courtesy of Nasty Canasta) if you make it to the Slipper Room tonight for SMELLS LIKE TEASE SPIRIT! Getting hints about everything that our performers are working on, I feel honored that these creative people are putting so much effort into our show. It will rock. And hey: 90's nostalgia! Never too early for that.


Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Debating the possibility of coming to SMELLS LIKE TEASE SPIRIT! tomorrow night at the Slipper Room? Well, here's a hint about one of the things you can expect to see like you've never seen it before.

10:00. Four performers presenting six brand-new never before seen numbers between them. Seriously.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Wait...what? Is that...what?

Thursday, July 19, 2007

It's nice having brilliant friends.

Last night's What's My Line? was a tremendous success, a very fun show with a big audience, even the weather cooperated. Ari Levine, our guest panelist for the evening, was a big hit; I was just updating the website with some pictures that his significant other Anita Cookie shot of the show for us--meanwhile, I'm listening to Jen in the next room, practicing a new number she's putting together for Pinchbottom Burlesque this weekend. This month Pinchbottom is tackling Broadway-and for her number Clams will be attacking the blight on American Theatre that is the jukebox musical. So, the song I've been hearing play over and over in the next room is a Broadway-style arrangement of "Hold On" by Wilson Phillips, arranged and recorded by Ari and sung as a duet with Anita. It's so fucking spot-on, I can't even tell you. Meanwhile, on Monday night I made my way to Times Square, and the darkened theatre entrance of the Lion King on Broadway. I met Anita and her frequent collaborator Scott Rayow there to help them film...something for their own Pinchbottom number. It was amazing, possibly illegal, and hilarious, and to tell you any more about it would be ruining all the fun. There are still tickets available to the Saturday Pinchbottom show, that's all I'm sayin'. The point is, not only is Anita a multi-talented, inventive, terrific performer in her own right, but she--and the people she chooses to work with--are incredibly generous with their time and effort, and it's those people that make all the crazy shit we all do possible, in the ridiculously little amounts of time we have to do them. Everybody should be so lucky.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Shakes fist at rainy sky with impotent anger

For the third month in a row, we have shitty weather the night of What's My Line? But you know what? We will not be deterred, and neither should you. It's going to be a hell of a fun show. The latest in our ongoing summer rotation of guest panelists is Ari Levine, rock god with the band KiNDERGARTEN, significant other of Miss Anita Cookie, and a longtime friend of the show. Ari is one of the closet fans of the original TV version of What's My Line who came out of the woodwork when we announced our version. And of course at practice, he kicked everybody's ass. So, come on down to the Parkside, it's gonna be a great night, rain be damned.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Worth waiting in line until midnight for an 11:00 show

For the "why we live here" file: last night I went to Crash Test at the Upright Citizens Brigade theater; hosted by Aziz Ansari of The Human Giant, it featured standup by Michael Showalter, Eugene Mirman and Demetri Martin. For free. They're workshopping new material, so yeah, it's free, but needless to say hysterical. And very easy to connect with the performers after the show, if, for example you're in the business of finding celebrity mystery guests for a game show.

Thoughts late at night, waiting in line to buy water at a deli

Is Tasty Kake anyone's first choice of snack cake? Really, in the trifecta of the top three brands of bodega snack cakes you've got your elusive Hostess, your Drake's, and then Tasty Kake. Really, don't you just buy a Tasty Kake when they don't carry one of the other two?

Tasty Kake is the Harold Lloyd of snack cake.

Friday, July 13, 2007

The fact of the matter is, this damn song is in fact undeniably catchy.

Discovered courtesy of one Miss Nasty Canasta: Yippi-ki-yay, Motherfucker!

This also ties nicely into a running theme of my life right now: 90's nostalgia, gearing up for Smells Like Tease Spirit! (Yes, I know the first one of these came out in 1988. I remember like it was yesterday.)

Friday the 13th Part 2

Is it really Friday the 13th, again? Already? And here I am again, at my desk on the 13th floor...so, add a healthy dose of deja vu to the paranoia, I guess. Oh wait, maybe that's just the hangover.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Come on, it's summer!

A very hot week has been even hotter because Clams has a show every night between Monday and Thursday. That's a lot of show! She's wrapping up the week's run at Coney Island for the first ever Thursday night Burlesque at the Beach on the Sideshow stage! It's brought to us by Sweet and Nasty Burlesque, who've put together a lovely lineup that is totally worth the train ride. I know, I know, I have to get up and go to work the next day too. Isn't this what's great about New York? Come hang out with us, it's so much cooler by the water!

Monday, July 09, 2007


Saturday, aka "the luckiest day of the century" (until July 7, 2077, that is), was a a lovely day for us, spent out and about in our fair city accomplishing things combined with socializing: brunch meetings, tattoo appointments, shopping, early drinks with friends, soul food. And in the course of that day, we ran into exactly seven people we knew, randomly around various points in lower Manhattan. Seriously. We should have bought a lottery ticket.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Or a Screaming Trees video.

Here's one of the publicity photos I shot of Clams for Smells Like Tease Spirit; we're going for showgirl meets Spin magazine cover circa 1993.

I'm getting very excited about this show.


Thursday, July 05, 2007

We put everything to a group vote: do we believe it, or not?

Our friend Ilise (aka the Lady Aye) organized an outing to the newly opened Ripley's Believe It Or Not! "Odditorium" on 42nd Street in Times Square. Our group of five met on the evening of July 3rd for the excursion, and there is really no better way to begin your mid-week celebration of the birth of America then with a trip to the Hall of The Western Tendency to Exoticize the Different. To really do it up right, American-style, we went up the street to Applebees and had giant rini-rita-colada drinks. USA! USA!

So, Ripley's came with a rush of nostalgia for me, because when I was a kid a frequent vacation destination for my family was Gatlinburg, Tennessee, a tourist trap town in the middle of stunning Smoky Mountain vistas, and my favorite place in Gatlinburg was the Ripley's Believe It Or Not! museum. It was a little dingy and threadbare, but I loved it. Also, loved the TV show narrated with maximum gravelly melodrama by Jack Palance. And Robert Ripley himself is such a great early-Twentieth Century character, the globe-hopping artifact collector and chronicler of the world's natural and manmade oddities...well, now it's 2007. So, can we really still get away with the displays of tribal ceremonial masks from New Guinea, Sub-saharan Africa and South Asia, with piped in ooga-booga drum music, and fake fire pits and jungle noises? Huh, I guess so. Interesting. Really? Huh. And, isn't it a little disturbing that we can still display a room full of actual shrunken human heads with funny captions of the "don't lose your head!" variety, or my favorite, with a display of the decapitated and shriveled heads of children, and the label titled "no child left behind." Really? That's not inappropriate? Wow.

Last year in Paris, the Musée du quai Branly opened, dedicated to the art history of the world's indigenous and non-European peoples; since its ribbon-cutting it has been immensely controversial, sparking an international cultural debate on what seems to be its ghettoization of the non-European tradition through excessively exotic and faux-tribal displays, with varied cultures and timeframes mixed together for purely aesthetic reasons. And yet, here we are, in Times Square, at the Odditorium, exact same thing and no one bats an eyelash. USA! USA!

Now, in the spirit of full disclosure, we had a blast in the place. Along with all of this stuff, there are plenty of "freaks of nature" (cows with six legs! Johnny Eck the half-man!) that appealed to our groups love of the sideshow, ballyhoo-tent-show tradition; and all of that great stuff like Jesus carved on a pinhead and the Spanish Armada built to scale out of matchsticks, that sort of thing. It's beautifully put together and there are lots of interactive elements that we had a good time with. And there's a room full of truly grotesque European and American torture devices from past centuries right up to the Twentieth, and from an anthropological standpoint that didn't bother me at all, because this is all about how fucked up my own ancestors are! USA! U-ok, you get the idea. Anyway, some fun pix of our excursion can be found here. Honestly, it's worth a visit, and unlike most aspects of the new Times Square, this feels like it belongs there.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Put on your best flannel, grab a Zima and get ready to party like it's 1990-1999!

The press release is going out this week and I'm very excited about the next producing project by Miss Clams Casino and myself. On Wednesday, July 25, prepare yourself for: Smells Like Tease Spirit!

That's right, the first burlesque homage to the 1990's, baby! Clams and I will be hosting at the Slipper Room, with performances by Nasty Canasta, Precious Little and drag sensation Figgy. Very, very excited about this. Much, much more to come. You will be there.

Ok, now go get ready to start drinkin', eatin' bbq and settin' off illegal fireworks off your roof.