Thursday, February 25, 2010

Once more, with jolly fat guys

Today it's snowing. Again. Great big fat snowflakes the size of silver dollars, and it's slushy and wet and gross and nobody's having fun anymore. I've been pretty good about winter so far. Compared to my first winter in New York, I've probably cut my bitching and moaning down by at least 60%. I've tried to enjoy the snow and the hot chocolate with whiskey (it's such a struggle!). But today I'm bringing home an air conditioning unit, which people give away for free in this weather. It's way to early to even think about cranking up the AC, which means that I am so ready for winter to be over that I'm actually fantasizing about the wet, rancid heat of August on the waterfront.

But I press on optimistic-wise because my whiskey isn't gone yet and I do so love my new neighborhood. I haven't written that much about Cobble Hill since I moved there from Bedstuy, and I should probably mention that it's just great, really super, a grand place to live. There are five bookstores within walking distance of my apartment. Five! One of them, Freebird Books, is literally next door to me (though they're only open on weekends) and tonight I'm going to the book club meeting there. Another, Book Court, was voted Best Bookstore in the Village Voice's Best of New York 2009. Book Court is the go-to bookstore for famous authors promoting their wares to Brooklynites, and I get that feeling I mentioned earlier about this maybe being a famous place I should know more about, but don't.

Anyhoo, last night I went to Book Court for a reading by Jeff Garlin, who did the voice of the Captain in 'Wall-E.' He's also an executive producer and regular actor on HBO's 'Curb Your Enthusiasm.' Jeff Garlin's new book, My Footprint: Carrying the Weight of the World, is about him losing weight, so there were lots of fat jokes and Jewish humor. "To the three Gentiles in the audience, hello, welcome."

My favorite part was when a cell phone rang in the middle of the reading. Normally this is the worst part of any public gathering. Jeff Garlin fell silent. I could feel the audience stiffen as one, ready to stink-eye the hell out of the inconsiderate jerk who left their phone on.

"That's my phone," the author said sheepishly. Oh, haha, then it's okay, everyone laughs. "Let me see who it is." Even better! More laughing!

"Hey, it's Richard Kind from 'A Serious Man.' Did you guys see 'A Serious Man'?"

This is Brooklyn! Of course we saw 'A Serious Man'! Richard Kind was the loser brother who slept on the couch and had a machine to drain his neck boil and was arrested for sodomy and gambling. Awesome!

So he takes the call. "Richard, why do you always call me when I'm performing. Seriously, I'm at Book Court doing a reading! Here, listen." He puts on his speaker phone and suddenly we, the audience, are talking, or more accurately laughing, to Richard Kind.

It doesn't get much sweeter than that.

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