Times Square is a tourist trap, filled with chain restaurants uncommon in the rest of NYC and slowpoke tourists so I usually avoid being in the vicinity at all costs. It's a tribute to the awesomeness of Secret Science Club goddess Dorian Devins (one of a pantheon of two) that I schlepped down to Times Square last night for her open mic night at Tagine Dining Gallery. Tagine is behind the Port Authority Bus Terminal near the entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel, in a somewhat grungy area behind the touristy section (there are even a few holdout porn shops in the area, which gives it a nostalgic vibe for longtime New Yorkers). As usual, Dorian was holding court, and playing M.C., lining up the night's singers. House band Lou Rainone, Alex Gressel, and Kevin Leon kept the beat and kept it strong. I took my place on stage, and did my schtick (future blog post), then had a pot of strong coffee and some baklava. Fortified, I went back to brave Times Square.
Times Square is kinda weird... it's a glitzy neon candyland with a lot of generic entertainment options that I find singularly unappealing. Because it's a magnet for tourists, there is a heavy security presence. In front of the theater hosting the Mary Poppins revival, there was a police officer in body armor, toting an automatic rifle. Even though I know the guy's just an ordinary working Joe who probably has a modest house in Rockland County, and would be a good guy to have a beer with, the automatic rifle gives off a pretty aggressive vibe. All the while, a sound system is playing music from Mary Poppins... I found the phrase, "A spoon full of sugar makes the fascism go down" running in my head. I've got nothing against cops, but I sussed out that "security kabuki" was a sham soon after 9/11- back in October of 2001, I got on the train at the security-free station at 238th St in the Bronx, and got off at 42nd St, where I found that the majority of the subway entrances (and, this is key, exits) were blocked by steel gates. Way to go about not preventing anyone from carrying anything into the station, while preventing an evacuation if the shit hit the fan.
Returning to the Times Square subway station, I saw a crowd exiting the theater that will show the accident prone, critically lambasted Spiderman: Take Back the Dark musical (a preview? couldn't be arsed inquiring). I'd be more interested in seeing the musical Spaderman: Bring out the Dork, a musical based on my favorite bootleg toy... if such a musical existed. Hmmm... gotta get Saasha Foo on the horn, and make it happen.
Just outside the subway entrance, a young lady was asking passersby, "Are you American?" She didn't seem to be xenophobic, but I had a train to the Bronx to catch and didn't have time to find out what her deal was.
"Are you American?"
"No, baby, I'm a New Yorker."
As a New Yorker, nothing short of a show of support for a good Friend of the Bastard can get me into Times Square.*
*Checking upcoming calendar of events at Nokia Theater for bullshit detection