Monthly Archives: June 2002

resume your resumé

7/1/02

RESUME

Ian Williams

Brooklyn, NY

EXPERIENCE:

Writer/Director, The Pink House, a college comedy. 1999-present. Oversaw a disastrous production that included insane actors, a broken hand, the hottest two days in North Carolina history, a typhoon that washed away the set, a lightning bolt that nearly killed the art crew, and a lead gaffer who had gone off rage medication and threatened to slug Tessa. Due for wild success July 2005.

Senior Editor, That Internet Job. May 2000 – June 2001. Used one year of life going to meetings. Spent early months proffering hard-wrought ideas for $43 million business; spent later months on Napster downloading songs by The Little River Band. Laid off unceremoniously when it was clear that there would never be a website, and therefore my unique brand of penetrating sarcasm was unnecessary.

Writer, Famous Movie Trailer Company, Hollywood. 1998-2000. Wrote the ads for the worst movies coming down the pike. Deliberately lied about, misrepresented, and gave away the endings to various blockbusters.

Senior Editor, That First Internet Job. 1996-1999. Was part of original editorial team that created now-hugely-successful online city guide. Sold stock at 71 when everyone else was holding for 125; stock now at 19. Editorial integrity of site now replaced by monkeys; legacy ruined.

Contributing Author, 13thGEN Abort, Retry, Ignore, Fail. Concocted half-baked theories about my generation straight out of college and stumbled into a bestseller. Used temporary generational fame to hoodwink tobacco company focus groups into adopting “flannel cigarettes.”

EDUCATION:

Norfolk Academy, Norfolk, Virginia. Attended deeply-repressed military-style prep school and managed to turn 18 without ever kissing a girl.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Double-major in Music and Psychology, but don’t have my diploma because I still owe them money. Spent most of time in Chapel Hill trying to have intercourse with various Pi Beta Phis.

SPECIAL TALENTS:

Good bank shot from 14 feet out; Morse Code at 35 wpm; can name most ’70s AM radio hits in less than a second; deeply biting and unsolicited social commentary; long, self-involved bouts of self-pity coupled with occasional bursts of rage; French.

REFERENCES:

6/30/02 I know I’m a

6/30/02

I know I’m a dork, but at least I have the energy to be diverse. Other dorks geek out about one particular thing – you know, medieval war re-enactments, Heavy Metal Magazine, the band Rush but I am more of a dilettante, slightly dorking out over 20 things or so. I spray a fine sheen of nerd over my interests, which gives me the appearance of being curiously well-rounded, rather than vaguely creepy. I also have a moderately well-sharpened fashion sense, and can put most strangers at ease with a well-placed bon mot.

One dorkout of mine is an affinity for cartography, or the study of maps. Fortunately, Tessa shares this obsession (her mom even called her Miss Map in the ’70s I reminded her that after next year, she’ll be Mrs. Map), so she doesn’t automatically recoil in horror every time I come up with something mappish to throw on the wall. To me, maps are a no-brainer; they’re usually very pretty, lots of blues and greens, practical, and let you know your place in the world. Jackson Pollock said that he painted from within, because he “was nature,” and nothing looks more like nature’s desire for abstract entropy than a map.

See how silly Cape Cod looks, notice the Michelangelo/God finger touch of Gibraltar and Spain, the sexy way Africa and South America belong together. I pity the states Wyoming and Colorado, so square and mandated; give me the squiggles of North Carolina and the squashed-bug appearance of Maryland.

I mention this because we found a map in the barn yesterday (it will take us years to go through all the boxes in there) in the back of a book called “Manhattan ‘How to Get There’ 1941.” Basically, it did the same thing X-Man does for New Yorkers carrying a Palm: give it the address, and it’ll tell you the cross street. The “How to Get There” also gives you the bus or subway stop, suggesting that both were used just as frequently (not true these days). Laurie Williams looked up her address and said, “The 2nd Avenue bus to 6th Street yep, that’s still how you get to my place.” I’d say the book is probably about 75% accurate today.

It’s the inaccuracies that are the fun stuff, and there’s loads of streets that don’t exist anymore, elevated trains going down 1st Avenue, and forgotten neighborhoods that are now the left turn lanes on the lower portion of 6th Avenue. It’s the kind of book fellow dork Kevin would have on his Manhattan street necrology page.

One thing’s for sure: when you hold this book, you suddenly feel the tight brim of a hat across your forehead, you look down to find yourself wearing a smart tie, and you’re at the corner of 22nd Street and 4th Avenue, looking for a dame who wanted to meet at the five-and-dime counter next to the I.R.T. stop. It’s 1940 and starting to rain, and things are about to get interesting.

the fold-out map of Manhattan, 1941

6/29/02 You forget how much

6/29/02

You forget how much you love the water until you go back into it. Even though it was utterly landlocked, Chapel Hill always found us in a boat, either in the verdant tree-overhangs of University Lake, or the obvious drowned forest of Jordan Lake. One way or another, we’d go fishing or tubing, or at the very least, steal away into a forbidden pool at another nameless apartment complex. We were in the water all the time.

It was this I remembered as our rowboat drifted from the silty edges of Rudd Pond; incongruously, it seemed funny that a place so far up in New England would have a name begging to be slurred by a Southern redneck. Try it yourself: “Rudd Pond.” It’s almost as bad as that street in Hoke County, NC called “Old Wire Road.”

Willis, Laurie and Neal try to navigate through the grasping lakeweed

I would have enjoyed it more; nay, verily I would have enjoyed the entire day more if I hadn’t felt like someone had hit me with the convex end of a shovel. Which segues perfectly into:

The Celextant, June 29, 2002

Upping the dosage of Celexa always brings on a bout of fatigue, but this particular episode turned from temporary guest into regular lodger. The fatigue I get in the late afternoon is unlike most I’ve known; it’s not a tiredness in the regular sense, but an innate lazy weariness that seems unaffected by rest. I mean, I feel like I could sleep for 11 hours and still bump into shit all day.

I’m hoping that this too will pass – most problems attached to the drug have – but meantime, I’m kinda wishing speed hadn’t proven to be such a killer, ‘cuz I could use some right about now.

6/28/02 I have several criteria

6/28/02

I have several criteria for the places I want to live: as I’ve said before, I want a healthy gay population (even though I’m not gay, I feel more comfortable when the queers are around), an indie bookstore and movie theater, and a coffee shop that serves frappuccino-like crap with whipped cream. Bonus points also go to neighborhoods with ne’er-do-well teens on skateboards, really good basketball hoops with nets, a park within walking distance, and either the view of a large body of water or a mountain. Park Slope has all that stuff except the water or mountain.

But after looking at the map, I’ve hit upon another really good way to pick a place to live, especially in New York: check out the blogs per subway station ratio on the nycbloggers website. I’d say that if you didn’t know anything about the town, simply picking a subway stop that has 10 or more bloggers represented is a good place to start.

Looking at the map of Manhattan, a few things are made obvious: first off, the Astor Place stop has a shitload of bloggers (most likely because of NYU) but it’s also in the East Village, a place where most of the things I listed can be found. Tons of lesbians, a park, good coffee shops, and two hole-in-the-wall indie movie theaters showing Kurosawa films. I believe the East Village should be abandoned at the age of 30 for health reasons, but it’s really great for a few years.

Other places with tons of bloggers: The Lower East Side and my old hood 1st Avenue and 14th St; the flamboyantly wonderful world of West 4th St.; the cool area up near Lincoln Center; the hipsters in Brooklyn’s Cobble Hill; and of course, all the folks at my subway stop.

I know it’s not a perfect theory there are a confusing number of blogs to be found on the Upper East Side, and my disdain for that part of town has been relentlessly documented. That, and I have no clue what the hell people are writing about over at the fuckin’ Port Authority, but there seems to be more there than abandoned porn shops and sickening public restrooms.

But as I said, it’s a good start. Bloggers are good people; they are technophiles, extroverts, they pick their neighborhoods wisely, and generally have something to say. Except for those knitting blogs yeesh! Somebody put a cable-knit sock in those motherscratchers, please!

6/27/02 Sometime in the winter

6/27/02

Sometime in the winter of 1987, the much-lauded actor Fred Weller, some other bros and I were walking home from a party in a late-night winter flurry. Some girl was with us and was horrified when we all pulled out our units and began to write our names in the snow. “That’s totally disgusting,” she said, and without missing a beat, Fred turned around, member in hand, and said, “This, my dear, is why cursive was invented.”

It’s a memory that occurs to me almost every day on 8th Avenue, where each neighborhood dog has left a curlyque trail of pee-pee that looks like all of them were having a terrible time spelling their names. “Daisy” one seems to read. “Morton” reads another.

Our dog Chopin, who has terrible cursive, eschews such displays as ostentatious and crude. He only pees on solid objects, and always manages to stop before moving on. He also prefers to poop on those big subway air vent grates, but will accept cobblestones, basement shafts, or anything with a lattice-like appearance if nothing else looks promising. Among other things, he hates bicyclists, skateboarders, rollerbladers, or any person that appears to be moving much too fast for how much work they seem to be exerting.

They say you take on the characteristics of your roommates, and I must admit, every time I see someone hopping on a scooter, I don’t quite trust them; when a delivery guy blows by on his bike, I growl a little and when I walk over a subway grate, I really just want to poop.

Chopin poses, disdainfully, in front of a sidewalk lined with the embarrassingly bad cursive of his neighborhood peers

6/26/02 Michelle celebrated her 30th

6/26/02

Michelle celebrated her 30th birthday tonight, making yesterday the last day the Williams kids (at least this generation) will be in their 20s. That’s only a big deal to those of us keeping count of such things, and I’d bet neither Kent or Steve care, having said goodbye to their thirties 3 or 4 years ago. Being in one’s twenties, however, was a pretty big deal to me, as I ended up writing about it in two books, countless magazines, and even wrote a movie whose protagonist is writing his thesis on the “Ten Archetypes of Americans in their 20s.”

All of which is deliciously ironic, since I don’t feel like it was a very good decade in my life. Sure, the beginning was great, being at Carolina and dating as many Pi Phis as I could carry and we had some life-affirming times at both the Purple and Pink Houses

6/25/02 This was supposed to

6/25/02

This was supposed to be my “Brooklyn day,” you know, where I stay at home and get all the little things done that I’ve been desperate to do for months. I wasn’t due to leave for the editing room until 3:30pm, so ostensibly I had the whole first part of the day to myself. I sure as hell did; I slept until 1:35.

Now, this was par for the course in Chapel Hill and Los Angeles, where nothing in my world had much import until well after noon, but these days it seems like a Roman vomitorium-like luxury that I don’t really have. So I made the best of things, paid all the bills on the way to Asset and called Earthlink to ask why the hell our DSL modem hasn’t shown up yet. Apparently there’s two kinds of modems, and well, the details are so dull as to bend one’s mind. Suffice to say I’ve been waiting for the forkin’ thing for 5 weeks.

I’m kind of pissed at Earthlink, even as I’ve been their strongest customer. I signed up for service back in 1995, which is how I got “ecstasy at earthlink dot net” instead of “ghkjsdhf3984e723 at earthlink dot net.” Of course, my email address (and probably this website) has been the source of some grief, since people sometimes think my email might be spam from either porn or rave drug distributors. For the record, my email is “ecstasy” because that’s the address I had at UNC. And I had “ecstasy” at UNC because my favorite living band is XTC. Plus, I always loved the word “ecstasy,” long before the drug fell into favor.

My best ecstasy experience, speaking of which, was a night in mid-August ’95 in the French Quarter of New Orleans, tooling around with Sarah Adkins in the back of someone’s Chevy. We went to a show where a Japanese rock band/performance troupe was using a snowblower as an instrument. I drank a fifth of Skyy Vodka, danced with 35 strangers on top of a table on Magazine Street, then watched the sun rise over the rooftops of the Garden District. Ah, the crazy mid-90s!

Sarah and I pose behind the French Market in 1995, mere hours before our rhapsodic, MDMA-induced torpor

6/24/02 The Taconic State Parkway

6/24/02

The Taconic State Parkway is a bone-rattling journey that sometimes feels just as bumpy and disorienting as the mud-hole carriageways it replaced sometime in the early part of the 20th century. The 55mph speed limit and the undeniably scarce attention to gas and food make it a bit of a drag to most Americans accustomed to seeing the friendly beckoning of a Taco Bell every twenty miles or so, but what it lacks in amenities, it makes up in charm. That, and I’ll just have to get used to it, because Columbia County isn’t going anywhere.

I happened upon a website tonight while looking for a link to the Taconic Parkway in the preceding paragraph (I didn’t find one relevant enough besides, do any of you click on these links anyway? some of them are quite good) and I surfed it for damn near two hours until my eyes gave out. It’s called Forgotten New York, and it’s the fucking coolest thing I’ve seen on the web in months. It relentlessly archives dead Manhattan streets, weird subway mysteries, the elevated trains that would have sped through my living room in the East Village, even a collection of ghost ads on the sides of ancient buildings that may surpass James Lilek’s page devoted to the same.

It’s relevant today because we went straight from Columbia County to Grand Central Station (in 1880, we could have taken NY22 straight from the Cobble Pond Farms gas station to Grand Central directly who says you don’t learn some cool shit on the net?) to scout locations for the 1929 pick-up shots we want for The Pink House. In the film, Oxford (my brother Sean) wins Chloe (Natane Boudreau) back from the bad guy, and a simple scene needs to convey that she has escaped him. Originally, it was to be shot at some docks somewhere, with her exiting a boat into his waiting, loving arms, but Tessa intervened. I said, “How about an old rundown train station?” and she said, “How about Grand Central?”

Of course, little above 20 feet high in Grand Central has changed since 1871 (as far as you know, anyway) so we had a good time putting our thumb and forefingers into joining “L’s” like directors do, making sure we can turn Grand Central into another night in 1929. Barring a terrorist attack (there are few better places, in my opinion), it should be a fun shoot.

After getting lunch, we took the subway shuttle to Times Square, but not before passing a curious door, fathoms deep under the busiest train station in the world, marked with an ancient sign: “KNICKERBOCKER.” The door was locked, and seemed to lead nowhere. And then, tonight, looking for the Taconic State Parkway, instead I found the mystery of the “door that goes nowhere” on the Forgotten New York page. I love it when things are so deliciously cyclical.

director of photography John Kelleran chats with Tessa about shot placement at Grand Central

6/23/02 Today was a very

6/23/02

Today was a very rich day, the kind of day that is best explained through pictures. If you’re on a dialup account, I’m sorry, but you’ll just have to wait the 45 seconds or so for these things to waft onto your computer. And by the way, get a real internet connection! You’re slowing the rest of us down!

Anyway, we went from Columbia County to Boston and home again, and here’s some of the things we saw:

Michelle and Tessa share a laugh after Michelle’s 350-mile trek on the Northeast AIDS ride. The closing ceremony featured the mayor of Boston, a sweeping soundtrack, and of course, a rousing chorus of Erasure

above, the three girls before the ride

below, the three girls after the ride

a woman wearing a Carolina jersey sobs in the arms of her son who had just finished the ride. Their family held a sign that said “Shawnelle, we miss you”

back home, Tessa and I finish our garden at 1:30AM, by the light of the full strawberry moon. Crops planted under the full moon are thought to have mystical properties; we shall see

6/22/02 Hoops isn’t the same

6/22/02

Hoops isn’t the same as it was in Chapel Hill; back then, there was a game every weekday except Friday, it would last for hours in the waning sun, and we were all playing really well. In August, the heat was inescapable, so we did the opposite we immersed ourselves in it, playing ball until we were drenched in the sweat of the person we were guarding. I made plays in those days that were truly impressive for someone who had started playing seriously at 19, a good ten years later than everyone else.

But that was before moving to Los Angeles, and now New York. Since 1997, I’ve been stuck in the once-a-week regular gig, with the occasional game scattered throughout the month. The “occasional games” might be at Chelsea Piers, sometimes with the guys in Astoria on the weekend, or some sort of pick-up game, but I know this: it’s not enough, god dammit.

The Monday night game in LA was actually the “Young Adult Night” at the Mormon church in Arcadia, a good 45 minutes away from where I was living in Hollywood. Mormons are generally good people, and missionaries are on a strict ascetic regimen, but god help you if you play them on their “P” or preparation day. It’s the day they can get all their ya-yas out, and in hoops, that manifests as fouls, hacks and muggings. It got to the point where I couldn’t play with the missionaries anymore; they had way too much pent-up rage.

The Thursday night game in New York is better, because most of us are old friends, but I have to say, I suck in there. Maybe it’s the lighting, maybe it’s the often-judgmental order-barking, maybe it’s because the other players never pass, maybe it’s because my fucking back has taken the sting out of my game but I can’t seem to find my game in that place. It’s a pity, too, because it’s the most Hoosiers-like basketball fantasy for the old-time purist you can get. Right in Soho on Mulberry Street, it’s the ancient St. Patrick’s Church, its cornerstone laid in 1809, the old gym a relic of bygone cagers. Weirdly, I have a lot more fun with Sean’s friends in Astoria, or just with the Chipper down in Chapel Hill.

Basketball has always been a metaphor for me, and these days I’m mostly feeling the impermanence of youth. Physically, I feel similar to the days when I was 22, but there are two things that are much harder to overcome the next day: liquor and hoops. Which is probably a good thing I’m not in Chapel Hill anymore, because the town is powered almost solely by those two elements.

Lindsay misses his free throw to get in the next game at the Mulberry Street Garden