A Drama of Survival in the East Village

A Drama of Survival in the East Village

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The series “New York Film and Video: No Wave–Transgressive,” running Dec. 1-April 1 at MOMA, reveals a little-known current of cinematic activity in the nineteen-seventies and eighties and brings to light a hidden masterwork, “What About Me,” released in 1993 (screening Dec. 27 and Jan. 1). It should have been widely acclaimed and launched the career of its director, writer, and star, Rachel Amodeo. Instead, it’s the only feature that she has made to date.

“What About Me” is a stark, quasi-documentary drama about a young woman facing the dangers and the hard, cruel struggles of East Village life. But the movie, even in the depths of its anguish and degradation, never loses the touch of grace and cosmic humor that sets it into motion. It begins as a tragicomic metaphysical fantasy: a country girl in pigtails (Amodeo) dies in a freak accident and is reborn as a baby in a comfortably suburban family in Chappaqua, New York, which leads to an astonishing dissolve from a crying infant on the carpet to a crying woman in her bed—Lisa (Amodeo), who is orphaned and unemployed and lives with her aunt in a grungy East Village apartment.

While the innocently confident Lisa wanders from storefront to storefront looking for work, her aunt dies suddenly. Upon her return, the building’s super, Frank (Rockets Redglare), rapes her and, soon thereafter, throws her out of the apartment, leaving her to fend for herself on the streets. After the stunned and traumatized Lisa is robbed on a stoop by a man who befriends her, she sells the winter coat off her back to pay for a night at a flophouse (the charitable desk clerk is played by the poet Gregory Corso), and then stays in Tompkins Square Park in the company of Nick (Richard Edson), a bighearted but emotionally damaged and abusive Vietnam veteran. Fleeing Nick, Lisa is helped out by Tom (Nick Zedd), a slickly cynical art-punk, and then by Paul (Richard Hell), a compassionate bohemian, all the while enduring a calvary of miseries, including illness and injury, in her descent from bright promise to flailing desperation.

Amodeo films East Village locations with a tenacious, unflinching curiosity, and she features a range of street people (including another Vietnam veteran, played by Dee Dee Ramone) who talk tough, tussle, joke, and tell stories. The black-and-white cinematography, by Mark Brady and M. Henry Jones, fuses a rich tangle of physical details with Lisa’s dramatic hand-to mouth struggle, as in her stiff-legged shuffle under street lights during an early snowfall. Grime on the windows, piles of garbage on the sidewalks, and scarred walls of dilapidated buildings compose the settings for Lisa’s search for food and shelter, and also for her confrontations with the cold power of the police, with the relentless and inescapable violence of the streets, and, above all, with the deranging, identity-rending ravages of physical and emotional trauma. Filling “What About Me” with soul-grinding encounters and galling trials, Amodeo nonetheless exalts Lisa’s agonies with tender, transcendent passion. ♦

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December 1, 2017 at 09:15AM

Nur’s New Middle East

Nur’s New Middle East

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“Happily, New Yorkers are more open-minded than ever,” Meir Adoni recently told a patron at Nur, his inaugural New York restaurant, which seeks to serve Middle Eastern flavors while avoiding the clichés of falafel and baba ghanoush. Adoni, who was born and raised in Israel, is one of that country’s best-known chefs: he owns two restaurants there and is a judge for a popular cooking-contest show called “Game of Chefs.” “Yes, I’m busy,” Adoni, who likes to don a New York Yankees cap, said. “But a restaurant in this city has been a thirteen-year-old dream, so I’m happy.”

Adoni’s partner is Gadi Peleg, an Israeli transplant and an owner of Breads Bakery, where Nur’s bagels and honey-and-garlic challah are made. You may not be used to paying twelve dollars for bread, but the Jewish Yemeni kubaneh, a golden, airy, brioche-esque bundle, the size of an imperial crown, traditionally cooked in the course of a Friday night, for Shabbat breakfast, is well worth it. Dense date doughnuts—inspired by sfenj, a spongy, springy Moroccan fritter—are made of date-and-almond batter, stuffed with smoked trout, and served with a zingy, palate-stimulating curry-citrus vinaigrette.

Adoni’s love of innovation, undergirded by an appreciation for Israel’s immigrant history, animates some of his best creations. The tuna-ceviche panipuri, an homage to the sizable community of Jewish Indians in Israel, is presented as a spectacular, thoughtful mosaic of yuzu-buttermilk foam, dried apricots, almonds, and habanero peppers. The smoked-eggplant carpaccio, a fire-roasted update of a salad found in almost every Israeli deli, introduces a more complex personality to the dish by layering it with pistachios and rose water.

Sometimes Adoni’s admirable passion for experimentation can carry him to excess. The seared scallops, glazed with porcini-macadamia butter, would have been terrific without the salty, overpowering blue-crab bisque they are served with. Similarly, the chickpea-fried octopus, which won a ten out of ten for its smooth, velvety texture, was overwhelmed by the deluge of yogurt and pastes that seemed more concerned with festive aesthetics than with taste.

The most refreshing item on the dessert menu is the majestic Pavlova, filled with citrus compote, yogurt crumble, sumac meringue, and blood-orange sorbet. It is called the New Middle East, and, when Adoni was asked how he came by the name, he answered, without skipping a beat, “Because I dream of a new Middle East, of course.” He smiled and added, “The recipe would be peace, happiness, and fat bellies.” (Entrées $19-$39.) ♦

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December 1, 2017 at 09:15AM

Focus: RVshare Expands Service To Canada Through P2P Partnership With RVezy

Focus: RVshare Expands Service To Canada Through P2P Partnership With RVezy

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RVshare Expands Service To Canada Through P2P Partnership With RVezy

Today RVshare announces its peer-to-peer RV rental marketplace is expanding to Canada with insurance, a dedicated Canadian partner, and bilingual support.

While RVshare, the largest and most visited RV rental platform in the U.S., has taken its time entering the Canadian market, CEO Joel Clark explains it is with good reason: “We knew there was no way we could responsibly launch in Canada without a dedicated team and bilingual customer support.”

“After doing our due diligence on the Canadian RV rental market and taking the time to really understand what the Canadian customer wants, it felt like it would be disrespectful to launch there without a dedicated Canadian team.”

To do right by Canadian customers, RVshare has teamed up with Canada’s leading peer-to-peer platform, RVezy, capitalizing on their recent gains in securing fully insured status for their rentals across the country.

Since launching in 2016, RVezy has pioneered a first in Canadian insurance with a policy covering private motorhome rentals that originate in the provinces of Ontario, Alberta and Quebec and trailers across Canada.

Headquartered in Ottawa and fresh off a strong showing on CBC’s Dragon’s Den, RVezy is excited about the partnership and thinks the companies are a great match.

“They are not your typical, flashy U.S. tech guys,” RVezy CEO Michael McNaught says. “They are a blue-collar team that understands the RV customer and have built what is obviously the best platform in the States.”

“This will help drive even more rentals to our RV owners here in Canada,” McNaught adds.

RVshare reciprocates the admiration: “They are such a talented team of great people,” Clark says, “and they have accomplished so much so fast. Watching their growth has been inspiring. We couldn’t ask for a better partner to serve the Canadian customer.”

RVshare will also power U.S. rentals for the RVezy platform, making it easier than ever for Canadians to rent RVs in the States.

RVezy (www.rvezy.com), based in Ottawa, focuses exclusively on the Canadian marketplace with a dedicated bilingual team.

RVshare (www.rvshare.com), based in Akron, Ohio, has a team of more than 50 full-time employees.

RVshare
Facebook: @RVshare

RVezy
Facebook: @RVezy
Twitter: @myRVezy
Instagram: @myRVezy
Google +: @RVezy

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December 1, 2017 at 09:05AM

Shopping in Osaka

Shopping in Osaka

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Reminder on Wired Artice

If you missed my interview in Wired, here is another chance to see it! Remember to try out the web version. It’s got a very slick interface!

Daily Photo – Shopping in Osaka

Wow, look at all those Chickens!This was my second time to Osaka, but my first time to see this. This scene is in the Dotombori area just after crossing one of the main bridges. It’s a bit elevated here, so you can see down into this covered mall shopping area. There were so many people bustling this way and that. I zoomed all the way in to 240mm to get a bit of compression and give it this cool effect.

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-11-11 14:20:02
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/20
  • Aperture6.3
  • ISO400
  • Focal Length240.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias


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December 1, 2017 at 08:03AM