31 January, 2009

The Ultimate Jew meets Amanda Lepore: Surreal Scenes on South Beach

So I just returned from Miami, where I had the pleasure of working with the wonderful musicians at the New World Symphony, along with my old friend Jeff, and my new friends Timo and Daniel. (We were there to hear the premieres of new works inspired by Charles Ives. It was a really great show, organized by the wonderful Yuki Numata.) The orchestra's headquarters is in South Beach on Lincoln Road, which is a strange mix of Aspen, Venice, Atlantic City, and some of the older-feeling parts of LA. It's a pretty out place. Not too much of what you see is real, and by the second morning I had officially proclaimed Amanda Lepore as the patron saint of South Beach.

Getting caffeinated before a rehearsal, I noticed a woman sitting at a nearby Starbucks who was the closest thing to Lepore that I may have ever seen. It was pretty ridiculous. So collagen-injected she could barely speak, she was a wonderfully grotesque example of "beauty" in that particular shallow, late-capitalist, crumbling society sort of way.

Suddenly an older gentleman walks in and sits down next to her. I swear he looks like Jackie Mason, but I can't remember if Mason is dead or not. (Is that terrible?) This gentleman tries to flirt with the plastic lady, and she treats him kindly, like a cute grandfather--(I am at this point tending to my cream and sugar needs)--but what matters is that I got to hear his voice, which further suggests that it might well be him.

Earlier today, now back north, I remembered this bizarre scene, and decided to Google "Jackie Mason" and "Miami." Lo and behold, it turns out that Jackie Mason was on Lincoln Road in South Beach on that very day shooting The Ultimate Jew, his video-blog, where he pretty much rambles nonsensically, sounds off on Republican talking-points, and gets schooled by young whipper-snappers on politics. It's enlightening.

Watch Part 1 here, in which Jackie discusses the closing of Guantanamo with a fellow Jewish stand-up comic who is also, coincidentally, a relative of Senator Chuck Schumer:

Three Cheers for Miami Beach!

26 January, 2009

Hennacy on Hersey

"Heresy is a word that has no meaning to me now, for I renounce the whole system of Catholic or other theology, which is based upon the fear of hell and the hope of getting into heaven by all sorts of dubious bargains."

- Ammon Hennacy, On Leaving the Catholic Church (1965-1968)