Thursday, December 29, 2005

Bohemianism, Artsiness, Poseurism, etc.

I said that I would devote my next post to it. And here I am, a day later, wondering if this is all too incriminating. I just tried writing it out and it was pathetic. Basically, my point is this: I became a RENThead a decade too late. That's it. I could have been 11 and singing more songs than just "Seasons of Love" because we had to in Vocal Vikings (laugh it up). I could have at least been on-point when they were taping in the city while I was here during Spring Break, when they were performing about 3 avenue blocks from my internship over the summer, when they were making appearances throughout the city. I got the tail end - the Symphony Space benefit when half the cast came out. I'll live. (but for how long? - Chbosky)

I should note, however, that the current Roger in RENT is absolutely amazing. If you liked Adam Pascal in the movie, you'll love Will Chase in the show even more. If you thought Adam was flat, or just didn't like him for whatever reason, I can assure you that you will love Will Chase. He just screams emotion, angst, rage, love, determination... and he can sing. I was blown away when I saw it on Monday with my little brother. I love the show but I never felt - upon walking out of the Nederlander - that, damn, I needed to see it again within the next few weeks. So if you can go before he leaves on January 29th you definitely should.

In terms of my delayed RENTheadness, I have realized that I have just missed the boat on nearly everything I like. I am an avid Dave Matthews Band fan but started going to concerts only after he was completely mainstream (I'll blame overprotective parents on that). I can only wish that I was at the DKE house at UVA in 1992; then again, I was in second grade. I was able to see the Shins at Webster Hall and get to the second row, but I started liking them after Garden State and Scrubs. The only few things that I haven't missed the boat on were that I liked Spelling Bee before it went to Broadway (though now I can't afford to see it again, and the lottery is impossible), I liked Boozy before it made the Daily News' Top 10, and I watched Food Network before it was hip.

Yesterday I went to Butler and took out three books: the RENT "bible," Belmondo Style by Adam Berlin, and Comfort Me With Apples by Ruth Reichl. I got the bible because I had heard all about it but didn't want to shell out $40. I read Belmondo last year (it's written by one of my writing teachers) and I want to read it again to see how it translates into a screenplay because said teacher had some news of getting a film deal on it. And then during Finals week I was volunteering for the AIDS Service Center by gift wrapping for donations at Barnes & Noble and some lady was having me wrap Tender at the Bone, also by Reichl. Only then did I find out that in addition to writing (fantastic) restaurant reviews and being the head honcho at Gourmet the lady wrote books - memoirs to the best of my knowledge.

I want to be Ruth Reichl.

First off, the book made me realize that my idea for my senior writing project is that much less original. Second, Reichl's life is basically my dream. I'm about 50 pages into the book, it's 1978 and she lives in a "commune" of sorts in Berkeley, CA. At $45/month. Now we think of Bohemianism as a big loft in Williamsburg and clothing meant to be from thrift stores but actually from Urban Outfitters or Andy's. It's all about hip-ness now. And I'm totally unhip. I'll admit it. I will never be as hip as an NYU student - nor 95% of Columbia. Reichl was living on the top floor of a Victorian, lives with a number of roomies that are uber-liberal, go through different stages of vegetarianism, support sustainable agriculture, and she is a chef/food writer while her husband is a site sculptor. It seems like a sophisticate post-college life... going out once in a while to a nice restaurant and savoring every dish, while still barely making ends meet, doing what they want to do, etc. etc. And since my dream job would be that of a food writer, and since she got to savor Paris and LA (in the first 50 pages alone) I'm jealous. I even look past her affair with the stuffy food editor and her clashing clothing and frizzy hair and want to be her.

On the topic of Bohemianism, I always think of the word next to Poseurism. It's past clothing. Every "artsy-fartsy" neighborhood in New York is super gentrified - and don't tell me that it's not. Thrift stores have stuffy clothing - not vintage-y things - and most are on the Upper East Side not the Village or Chelsea. Bedhead takes 30 minutes to pull off. I was in Alt-Cafe by Tompkins Sq. Park a few weeks ago and it was just so... trying to be starving artist. The chairs were well worn and ripped and a hodge podge of designs and colors. The clientele was mostly artsy-looking, but a glance at their sketch books made it apparent that it was an act. And drinks were just as expensive as Starbucks. No starving artist could actually go there (although they may have braved the expensive coffee if only for the free WiFi that comes with it). Although my being there made me just another poseur; I stuck out from the artistes since I was donning Old Navy, have no piercings or tattoos, and was revising essays for class. And although I'll use the excuse that "I was waiting for friends to meet me at Astor Place two hours later," at the end of the day I could have passed the time at Starbucks or Veneiro's. I didn't need to go to a Boho-chic place.

So I'm a poseur. They're poseurs. We're all poseurs. And I usually follow suit at such a point that it's quite apparent how unoriginal I am. And now I want to be Ruth Reichl. Which makes me original, I guess. To everyone except Reichl herself.


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