Meg White and Not Great Gadsby
The week in Diamond
The first week of June is always when I start getting summer brain. Basketball is on its way out and I start realizing the baseball season has been going on for a few months and try to get caught up, I wear shorts more and socks less. I grill at least twice a week. I generally lean into dirtbaggy a little more. It’s nice.
I went out a few times this week. The other night it was Libertine in the West Village. They’ve been open a week and are in the running for the coveted Jason Diamond Best New Bistro Award. I did what I usually do when I’m considering a new spot for my mental Rolodex of places I’ll go to multiple times and I ordered the chicken. I find that chicken is a good, safe barometer of how serious a place is because…it’s chicken. It’s relatively easy to make, simple to screw up but harder to make stand out. Libertine brings you the whole damn chicken foot. The skin has just enough crisp but not so much that it impacts the juiciness of the meat. The ouefs mayo might be the best new deviled eggs in New York City. Pure decadence as my friend and dinnermate for the evening, the inimitable Dodai Stewart pointed out, is eggs on eggs…on eggs. The sneaky little bits of roe really throw it over the top. And the vibe at the place is lovely. A corner spot in the West Village with nice light, spaced-out tables and a Serge Gainsbourg poster as the centerpiece of the room where another restaurant owner would usually throw a mirror? Perfect.
Last night we decided to check out Winner on Franklin for their first night of dining room service. Emily and I got the tasting menu. The beef tartare was by far the highlight. Besides that, since it was the first night, I’m going to go ahead and hold any opinions until I get another night in there.
One of the best things I read this week was Jason Farago’s review of the Brooklyn Museum’s “Its’ Pablo-matic: Picasso According to Hannah Gadsby” exhibit. I’ll be up front and say that I don’t care for Hannah Gadsby’s whole…thing. They’re obviously very smart and love to let people know that, but I think often people can suffer from being too smart. I didn’t really learn much and didn’t feel especially challenged by their material and, to echo Soraya Roberts, I felt like I was watching something between standup and a TED Talk. Weirdly enough, given the material he’s been doing the last few years that’s on the opposite end of what Gadsby does, something I read when a Dave Chappelle special dropped came to mind. It was a Norm MacDonald quote about how “A laugh is involuntary, but the crowd is in complete control when they’re clapping, they’re saying, “we agree with what you’re saying — proceed!” I just don’t care for anything labeled as comedy that ends up feeling like a lecture or rally.
Fast-forward to earlier this year and I get an e-mail from Brooklyn Museum about an upcoming exhibit curated by Gadsby that uses one of the more annoying parts of their set as the focal point, that Pablo Picasso wasn’t a great guy. I rolled my eyes so hard that I was unable to see any other e-mails from Brooklyn Museum for the next few months and let my membership lapse. I should get around to renewing it, but I’ll probably wait a little longer because, to be honest, I feel a little silly going there after reading Farago’s review.
Read: “With Hannah Gadsby’s ‘It’s Pablo-matic,’ the Joke’s on the Brooklyn Museum” by Jason Farago at the New York Times
What happened to Meg White? Who cares? I mean that in the nicest way. I hope she’s happy and rich and living her best life. I was there, man, when the White Stripes started playing out and I saw their rise to the top of the rock world. I remember how she was treated. It sucked! She’s really talented. People would be like “She’s not really a great drummer” and my first question would be “How are you on the drums, dummy” before saying I thought she was actually incredible for what they were doing and it’s not like a duo like that needed a John Bonham anchoring the sound.
Melissa Giannini recently went looking for the reclusive White Stripe and wrote a really terrific piece about the experience and Meg in general.
Read: “Searching for Meg White” by Melissa Giannini at Elle
A lot could be said about how incredibly bad the government in a state like Texas is absolutely gutting public education and how they’re trying to breed new generations of dummies who don’t know history or ask any questions about the present. And part of me started reading this article about competitive high school BBQ and wondered if this is really a good answer. Then I got to this one part: “A lot of lessons they're learning, they don't realize…Time management, teamwork, live-fire cooking,” and I remembered how every kid just needs to be engaged. I wasn’t engaged as a teen until certain teachers were like “I think Jason might like this…” and gave me certain books or started talking to me about art. I already loved Texas BBQ when I started reading, but now I appreciate it a little more.
Read: “Inside the growing world of the Texas High School BBQ State Championship” by Dave Wilson at ESPN
Finally, Frost, one of the first Brooklyn red sauce spots I ever fell in love with, is closing. I used to live nearby and it was my “special treat spot” when I was 25 or so. I’ll miss it.
Read: “One of Brooklyn’s Red-Sauce Staples Is Closing After Over 60 Years” by Robert Sietsema and Melissa McCart at Eater