I'm on Fire
Secret pictures, eggplant parm, Rob Lowe
Hello Substackers. After 9pm here and Canal Street is uncharacteristically quiet. The usual assortment of sounds include the workings of the firehouse next door, a woman I hear (but never see) scratchily screaming a name that sounds like, “RAR-RHEE!”, and skate-wheels-on-concrete rolling to or from Canal between Orchard and Ludlow, closed off nightly to traffic and replete with skaters and people drinking cocktails outside of Clandestino, a bar I was inside of, pre-Covid, on the regular.
The story behind the pic: I was waiting for someone and did not know my picture was being taken, and would never have known until a friend of my daughter’s saw it on the Instagram of the person who took it and wrote, “That’s Tafv’s mom!” It’s a lovely shot and I have since gotten to the know the girl who took it, who I run into all the time in this little area of Chinatown known as Dimes Square.
But back to the fire. The “Family Dollar” photo was taken during the May 28 riots in Minneapolis, by a lifetime Minneapolitan who last week showed me parts of what had been lost in the riots, what was coming back, what was never coming back. I’m writing about that now. The other fire has to do with such strenuous family obligations that two mornings ago I felt like a French fry fused to the basket of a McDonald’s deep fryer, submerging again and again and my god get me out of here!
Which only staunched my resolve to get a car and amscray! Where are we going? Oh, I don’t know, Savannah (love Savannah), Florida (why not?), back to Minneapolis as the Chauvin case wraps up, Tulsa to see my kid, working art department on this, Austin to see all the people’s, and Pittsburgh, where on my first drive cross-country, I sat at the serpentine tables of a truck stop diner and watched the waitress pour coffee and speak quietly with one trucker for a long time, I watched and fell inside what was happening and only wanted to write about what that was, what this place was, the roles it played in people’s lives, and though I did not know it then, four years later it was how I would start to make my living. (Writing, not pouring coffee, though I did some of that too!)
There’s been less writing this week that I would have liked (see above boiling oil) but! I did get in the kitchen for you today, and ooh boy, was the final result amazing.
I am never going back to the old way of making eggplant parm, this is so much better, and easier, an explosion of delicious and the whole “for two” thing very, very sexy (and in fact made lunch for two, plus a piece leftover for dinner; I used a 6-inch cast iron pan.) Here is the recipe!
Matt Welch and I got in the studio for a quick and predictably bumbling Paloma Media podcast, talking about the Minneapolis skyway (sometimes called “the human Habitrail”) and various.
Speaking of Paloma, two things. Wait, three:
Still I search for tech help and now it’s dire, as our sound seems to have crapped out and I am almost certain it’s a Windows 10 issue. We semi-desperately need someone in to make the set-up plug-and-play. What will it take to coax you or your nice NYC friend into service? Cookies? Cash? Booze with the two bozos above? Because listen…
The studio is really cool and fun and we have a bar inside and people want to podcast with us and launch podcasts through us, this is exactly what we wanted to do, make a place to make more pie, I am telling you, these people just today include a psychotherapist, an MVP soccer player, a rabbi’s wife, I mean.
Before the sound crapped out, the Fifth boys (minus Moynihan) and I recorded a Patreon special dispatch. (Sorry, fans, no sleeping this time!)
The writing this week is in inverse proportion to the consuming of media. Check out:
Tina Nguyen’s profile of Andrew Yang, in Politico
A (to me) very sensible article on transsexual detransitioning, on Persuasion
Rob Lowe’s memoir, Stories I Only Tell My Friends, on audio, which I may have mentioned here before? In any case, you’ll learn more about the movie The Outsiders than you ever thought you’d want to. Also, Lowe is extremely good at accents!
Best for last: Eyes on the Prize, America’s Civil Rights Movement, a 14-part documentary that is moving and brutal and as fresh as it was when it was released on PBS in 1987. There are various ways to watch it; I bought the first six episodes on Amazon, and someone mentioned on the Twitter than you join PBS for $5 a month and watch everything. Seems sensible.
As ever, with love, and the poundcake I will be baking for Lizzy Wolfe in the morning (and presenting to her when we meet at Clandestino in the evening) xx