This month, Michael Imperioli appears in his sixth Spike Lee flick, Oldboy—a psychological thriller adapted from the Korean film of the same name—though it has been nearly 15 years since the two last worked together. “It didn’t feel like a while when we went to work,” said Mr. Imperioli, who acts in the movie alongside Josh Brolin. Like Mr. Lee, the former Sopranos star is an archetypal New Yorker, though he now lives in Santa Barbara. For years, he ran Studio Dante, a theater company in Chelsea, and he owned and operated a bar, Ciel Rouge, in the same neighborhood. The Transom recently caught up with the 47-year-old actor to discuss the new film, what else he has in the works and why New York City ain’t what it used to be.
When, in September, New York Times literary critic Michiko Kakutani unexpectedly published a heartfelt appraisal of Mariano Rivera, the Yankees closer who retired from the majors this year, you had to furrow your brow in surprise.
What gave Lou Reed volcanic power over four decades of rock and roll wasn’t his musical talent – in traditional realms like melody, singing and guitar-playing, he scarcely had any – so much as his forthrightness and courage.
I want to talk about Lou Reed, not because I knew him or because my peripheral memories of him and his music are any more important than anyone else’s, but because he was my tragically flawed hero and I loved him like a close relation even though I didn’t know him. He always did exactly what he wanted in his music and didn’t care if people liked it or not and so in service to him I’m going to do what I want.
“It’s hard having heroes,” Lester Bangs, Reed’s greatest critic, once wrote. “It’s the hardest thing in the world.” I take this to mean that everyone’s heroes always end up human in the end, subject to all of life’s great failures. A lot of Lou Reed’s music was about these failures, but also the possibility of love among the squalor. I offer the following recollections more or less as evidence of my own failure in reckoning with his life and dealing with his passing.
Lou Reed, gatekeeper
News of Lou Reed’s death arrived on the Bowery via push notification.
Just before 3pm Sunday at DBGB, the trendy Daniel Boulud brasserie winkingly named for the departed CBGB club, smartphones blinked awake across the dining room, and there it was. Breaking news from the New York Times app.
Minutes later, the restaurant played “Perfect Day” on its sound system. My friends and I finished lunch and walked one block up to the old CBGB storefront to see how the East Village would react to the moment.
The Observer recently had lunch with Michael Azerrad, the rock journalist who edits a new music website called The Talkhouse, in Williamsburg. Mr. Azerrad has many connections in the field, and when we met, the site had already featured reviews by well-known musicians like Roseanne Cash and Bob Mould.
But Mr. Azerrad hinted to us that he had an even bigger name in the docket. When pressed for an answer, he kept quiet, saying it was a surprise.
“Look who it is: it’s Edwina, the Edwina,” Isaac Mizrahi exclaimed to The Observer this past Saturday, as he approached Edwina von Gal, the designer who, Ross Bleckner told us, “did the landscaping at my house in Sagaponack.”
We were at Cindy Sherman’s new East Hampton home at a benefit for the Azuero Earth Project, the Panama-based ecological nonprofit of which Ms. von Gal is president. It was a cozy beginning-of-the-end to the Hamptons summer season. Guests sat on benches under a white tent to eat empanadas and watch performances by Suzanne Vega, Rufus Wainwright, Laurie Anderson and Lou Reed. Children climbed into pendulous bamboo cocoons, stuffed with pillows, that swayed from the trees.
Occupy Wall Street
If you worked anywhere along NYC’s longest street, you may have seen a familiar sight yesterday evening: the Occupy Wall Street protesters! They were back!
The Eight-Day Week
Wednesday, June 22
Opera—it’s not just for opera houses anymore! We had enough to keep up with between the Met and the City Opera (O.K., we mainly kept up with the Met), but more and more, we’re hearing of opera performances put on by orchestras (the skill set’s not too different, one Read More
Lou Reed — Godfather of Punk, New York lifer, notorious curmudgeon — would presumably have many reasons to dislike frumpy international reality show-borne singer Susan Boyle. But it turns out Reed and Boyle get along quite well, the Daily Record is reporting.
At first, a bit of a spat between the two arose Read More