Purim, Brit pop, Little Pakistan, Mike's Cafe and karaoke...
I know you've all been waiting with bated breath, so here it is: My life recently, the HIGHLIGHTS reel
1. Flew into New York City at midnight, and because I am too stubborn to take a cab, arrived at my friend's place in Bushwick two trains, a bus and three hours later
2. Sat next to an 84-year-old woman at a capoeira show at Joyce Theater. She turned to me during intermission, all sparkly eyes...
"It's keeps getting better and better," she said."Does it for you?"
"The dancing? Yeah, it's pretty great."
"No." Dramatic Pause. "Life."
3. Bar hopped with a 23-year-old who worries that an appearance on "Girls" has destroyed her favorite pub
4. Danced to Brit pop till wee morning hours (Blur, Ride, Pulp, The Cure, Stone Roses, some weird, sped-up version of The Smiths...best served with a tumbler of vodka and a spash of cranberry)
5. Was described as "a hippie journalist who thinks there's nothing in life a dance party can't solve"
6. Rode on a bus, saw a block party, jumped off the bus, turns out it was a private Purim party, went in a stranger's house, ate a stranger's food, used a stranger's toilet, asked some giggly 13-year-olds to explain Purim ("We celebrate Queen Esther, and we dress up because she dressed up, and, um, yeah"), got back on the bus and rode deep into Midwood in search of Little Pakistan
7. Little Pakistan is, turns out, two mosques with plastic turrets and about three restaurants, all of whom are run by people who refused to make me kitchari or even acknowledge that it's a real thing ("Maybe I'm mispronouncing it. You know, Pakistani baby food?")
8. Went to this lovely place called Bat Haus and listened to ten-minute lectures on cryptic crosswords (there are whole books on the topic, plus the nerdy boy was megacute), what happens to your body after death (Towers of Silence, hey Parsis, wuzzup!), racism/recognizing white privilege (turns out, that girl went to school in Jackson, Miss., small world), food sustainability (breathy and bouncy and rah, rah, ree -- is she for real?) and bike generators (sub-climatic, since the generator he demonstrated didn't work, and anyhow, they're not actually energy-efficient)
9. Whiled away a fine afternoon in fine company at the perennial Corner Bistro
10. Came back to Little Rock, to misty, mauve Spring, missed the Speedy Ortiz show but had dinner at this place in Southwest (most diverse 'hood in town) called Mike's Cafe, that serves Vietnamese food and looks like a cross between a Russian wedding hall and a discoteque, with strobes, a mirrored ball, platforms and neon murals that seem Latin-flavored but actually depict Vietnam. There's karaoke every night, words are misspelled ("feel" often becomes "feet") and rather than running across a black screen, they run across twenty-five-year-old video loops and make poetic composites ("Hotel California" against "Land Down Under" scenery, Vietnamese audio against Germanic villages. And everybody in windbreakers, always.)
We met Vincent, from Vietnam, who painted the murals and is an enthusiastic karaoke singer. He kept buying Daniel beer, because apparently Daniel is the kind of guy who makes people want to give him things. In fact, we were the crowd, the three of us -- and Vincent.
But it was fantastic. How is this place not constantly packed?