Is Andy Kaufman Still Alive? Probably Not
Yesterday, Defamer published an article titled “Is Andy Kaufman Still Alive?” Gothamist, theComic’s Comic, Dangerous Minds, and others posted similar stories. The posts were based on accounts of a very strange ten minutes during Monday night’s ninth annual Andy Kaufman Awards, during which Andy’s brother Michael claimed to not know if Andy was alive, and then may or may not have been reunited onstage with his long-lost niece (Andy’s daughter). I was a judge at the (untelevised) event, so I figured I’d share what I saw and clear some stuff up.
I met Michael in January when I interviewed him about “On Creating Reality,” an Andy Kaufman exhibition at Maccarone gallery in New York. I hadn’t spoken with him since then, but last week I got an email from Wayne Rada, the producer of the Andy Kaufman Awards, saying that Michael wanted me to be a judge at the finals. I said I’d be happy to, and when I got to the Gotham Comedy Club I was told that Michael would be making a “very special announcement” at the end of the show.
After the contestants finished their sets, I went to the basement with the other three judges, who told me that, with the exception of tonight, Michael was always down there with them. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but in hindsight it seems obvious that I was asked to take Michael’s place in the judging process so he could focus on making his special announcement at the end of the show.
We probably deliberated for all of about four minutes before coming back upstairs, as the host of the show was wrapping up. Before announcing the winners, he said, Michael would like to say a few words. Michael walked up to the stage and squinted a little in the lights. He’s a soft-spoken man with mannerisms eerily similar to his brother, and when he began to speak the entire room fell silent.
New Yorkers Welcome Bill de Blasio’s Leftist Utopia
New Yorkers don’t really vote anymore. In yesterday’s mayoral election, where the Democratic candidate, Bill de Blasio, trounced Republican Joe Lhota, less than 9 percent of the city voted. Regardless, he’s now set to become the first unabashedly left-wing mayor of New York City in 20 years, and he’s put together an impressive base of white liberals, blacks, and Hispanic voters. Now both sides of the political spectrum expect him to turn the city into a leftist utopia, following a decade of billionaire incumbent Michael Bloomberg making life awesome for city elites.
Exactly what kinds of changes are in store under de Blasio’s Sadinista-loving administration? I spoke to some experts on urban policy and de Blasio’s pals across the city’s political scene to get a sense of exactly what’s coming.
De Blasio ran on a promise that he’d address the city’s massive wealth gap. Constantly referring to New York as “a tale of two cities,” where super rich Manhattanites ship their kids to DJ schooland outer-borough minorities don’t even have two pennies to rub together.
De Blasio intends to raise taxes on the rich to fund universal pre-K and expanded after school programs. To do this, he’ll need his pal, and old boss in Bill Clinton’s Department of Housing and Urban Development, Governor Andrew Cuomo to sign off, which is tricky to say the least. But the need to reorder the local economy is obvious, as Bloomberg has been content to lionize the city’s wealthy for their occasional outbursts of charity. “In many ways, New York is like a spoiled child, living off Wall Street money and the investment of the local rich,” explains Joel Kotkin, professor of urban development at Chapman University and former columnist for the New York Times.
The Anna Nicole Smith Opera Is a Piece of Terrible Garbage
The New York City Opera has been around for 70 years, but it’s currently in some dire financial straits. If the opera doesn’t raise $7 million dollars by the end of the month it won’t be able to present three scheduled productions: Endimione, Bluebeards’s Castle, orThe Marriage of Figaro. Considering there’s only got four days to go, and the Kickstarter is clocking in at $126,078, it’s doubtful this will happen. Regardless of your feelings on ladies in Viking helmets, it’s ostensibly important to hold on to cultural institutions like this, and you should probably support them so that rich old people can keep seeing Tristan und Isolde—do that right here.
Point is, the opera is broke, and if the board of directors knows one thing, it’s that the gays of New York are the only demographic that can pull them from the flames. With that in mind, the New York City Opera has taken dead aim on us by running a biographical opera of Anna Nicole Smith, unimaginatively named Anna Nicole.
For a bit of personal context, I’m gay, and Anna was as constant in my young life as the homeless lady in the alley behind my family’s puppy store—she was always fucking there. I grew up in Florida, and the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino where Anna overdosed was just a quick drive from my mom’s house. I found out about her death from my prep school music teacher, while I was stage managing my school’s production of Cats—roll with it, I was a theater kid. She stopped rehearsals, stood up, and screamed, “Anna Nicole is dead!” We all knew our lives were changed forever. Anna’s body was interned at a medical examiner’s office near my grocery store, making it impossible to buy milk without getting stuck in the traffic caused by a thousand news network vans. It was fantastic!
Fashion Week has hit New York City again and big, fancy designers are showing their latest collections for spring/summer 2014. So, we went to a few shows to figure out what all the Tumblr goofballs, twinks, and trust-funders will be wearing when it’s nice outside again. Enjoy!
At this point, everybody on the internet has already slobbed on Humberto Leon and Carol Lim’s knobs for the amazing presentation they put together for Opening Ceremony’s first ever runway show. So, I’m not going to bore you talking about the dope-ass clothes or the killer cars or Rihanna. The reason the OC show was the highlight of my NYFW experience was because it’s the only one that got my rocks off.
You get all kinds of free stuff at fashion shows, and most of it is useless. This year I got some nail polish, a pair of sunglasses that I regrettably lost, and a nifty key chain. But none of that swag even came close to the self-pleasuring device gifted to me by OC. The vacuum cup designed by Tenga with the sweet psychedelic packaging inspired by OC’s latest collection was exactly what the doctor ordered after a long week of fashion-model-induced blue balls. I’m a creature of habit, so I’ve spanking my monkey the same way for the past 20-odd years. But now that I’ve had the pleasure of ejaculating into an oblong plastic tube with squishy cold stuff inside and a fancy designer label on the outside, I must say I am never going back. I’ll be coping handfuls of OC-branded Tengas every time my girl goes on family vacation or I just need some “me time.” Thank you, OC, for being amazing and giving me something that I’ll remember long after all of the other brand’s collections fade in my memory—a toe-curling nut buster.
—By Wilbert L. Cooper
JUNK FOOD VINTAGE NFL CURATED BY KRISTIN CAVALLARI
“Confusing” doesn’t even begin to describe a collection of “NFL vintage” by a brand called Junk Food, curated by the (recently arrested) Kristin Cavallari. But here’s everything I witnessed within five minutes of walking into this carnival show: three break-dancing teenagers, a bitchy cat in a photo booth licking “gourmet cat food” from a silver spoon, an obscenely large disco ball, and a veritable tsunami of leopard-print skirts. And that’s just what was happening on the sidelines. The crowd was a teeming mass of bottle-blond The Hills rejects and potbellied creeps waiting anxiously for the kickoff. And when the clothes actually came streaming down the runway… Well, let’s just say that the only person who could work cropped jersey sweaters with glittery sleeves and golden-chain belts is Peyton Manning in drag.
—By Michelle Lhooq
What a strange crowd. Over half the attendees who showed up didn’t look like they belonged there. Did they even know what Public School was? I sure do, and think it’s how a fashionable man should dress every day. Neutral colors and simple silhouettes are the way to go if you are a guy. The two-toned, black-and-white sneakers were the jam, too. Oh, and the model selection was impeccable. The group of models at this show was the best I’ve seen all fashion week. The women who came were just gawking at all the hot guys the whole time, but so was I, so I can’t hate.
—By Miyako Bellizzi
Come On, Get Lonely
Some of our favorite lady artists are going to be in a group show tonight at Martos gallery in Chelsea. The show, titled Lonely Girl, got its name from the YouTube web seriesLonelyGirl15, which trolled the entire internet in 2006 by presenting a scripted show disguised as a teenage girl’s video diary. All of the girls in tonight’s show incorporate the internet into their work in some way, and many of the artists themselves have the sort of gargantuan digital footprint that the NSA dreams about in their sloppiest of wet dreams. According to the press release, “The artists in this show represent an unprecedented moment in cultural history—where the artist themselves can be equally or sometimes more visible than their artworks themselves.”
The show was organized by Asher Penn, the editor of Sex magazine, and features Al Baio, Petra Cortright, Maggie Lee, Greem Jellyfish, Bunny Rogers, Analisa Teachworth, and Amalia Ulman. You might recognize a couple of those names from this very website. Maggie Lee, for instance, has shot four magazine covers for us, which gives her the honor of Most VICE Covers Shot by a Single Photographer (probably…. we’ve never actually counted). And Petra is a crazy person who makes videos like thisand was once the object of Teen Laqueefa’s lust. We asked Maggie to send us some photos of the show, but it seems they are doing this thing the old fashioned way and keeping all images of it off the internet, which seems a tad hypocrytical for a show that is at least partially inspired by the internet, but whatever. Just show up at 540 West 29 Street IRL tonight anytime between 6:00 and 8:00 PM and have your brain scrambled.
We Spoke to Innocent Men Who Were Stopped-and-Frisked
Recently, Steve Ferdman commented on a Reddit thread about stop-and-frisk. We emailed him, and he agreed to tell us more about what had happened to him.
When were you stopped-and-frisked?
Steve Ferdman: Last summer.
What happened when the police approached you?
A plain-clothes cop tapped me on the shoulder from behind and said, “Hi.” Three other plain-clothes cops surrounded me and pulled their badges over their shirts—they were tucked away as they initially approached. One reached into my pocket grabbing my Leatherman pocket tool. They then asked me where I was from, if I had ID, and why I had or needed a Leatherman pocket tool. Bewildered, I explained that I often use the tools to tune the carburetor on my motorbike and to take the seat off my bicycle when I park outside. Then, I asked for clarification as to why he was reaching into my pockets without my consent for something that is readily available at 100 percent of hardware stores in America. Rather than answering, they quickly finished running my ID, handed it back to me along with my multi-tool, and said, “Have a nice day.” They then all stood there mean-mugging me as I walked away.
Do you think stop-and-frisk is racial profiling?
With regards to stop-and-frisk, it’s obviously a racial profiling issue. I think people would be less offended by stop-and-frisk if it were enforced in all areas equally—I’d actually have a blast watching tourists and wealthy folks get stopped-and-frisked. If you can arrest a black teenager for a dime bag of weed, why not stop an investment banker and lock him up for the bag of cocaine in his pocket? Sadly, you’ll never see random searches on Madison Avenue. It’s an uptown and outer-boroughs thing—which is why it’s deplorable.