nyny

Oh, hi.

So I pretty much just got back from the most amazing 5-day weekend of my life in one New York, New York. So I don’t need to verbally recount it 8 million times (*I absolutely WILL verbally recount it 8 million times anyway and I full-on realize that), here’s how it went down:

Flew out on Porter Friday morning. I generally hate flying and going to an airport generally makes me more anxious than going to the hospital. I think I probably hide it well, but going through the various checkpoints makes me SO anxious… like, when they’re scanning me, I’m always scanning my subconscious to make sure that I’m not some sort of sleeper agent that’s going to be activated at customs and open fire at New Jersey-ians or some shit… I assume the same thing happens to you…

Then of course, once I’m on the plane I always grind my teeth and savor the final few moments before the plane inevitably Lost-s which is how I’m convinced I’m going to die…

Anyway - all of this was my personal de rigeur for flying… until I flew Porter. It is AMAZING… you are in and out of there, people don’t automatically ASSUME you’re a terrorist, and there’s free shit. It was the first time I sat in the plane and didn’t expect my imminent death (until a few moments in the air when I realized that this was the first time I was expecting to survive this flight, and thought that would be back luck as every time I’ve expected to die on a flight I’ve in fact uneventfully survived it, and thought for certain this must be a reversal of fortune, but then I got over it)… anyway - can’t recommend flying Porter enough!

We eked into Newark, New Jersey (birthplace of one Whitney Elizabeth Houston) right behind an Air India flight, so customs took a hot minute to say the least. After that, we caught a shuttle to Grand Central piloted by someone I’m convinced was Carl Winslow himself and checked into our hotel - a quaint apartment building in Murray Hill that was converted into suites…

The rooms were huge for New York standards, albeit not the most comfortable bedding (re: the bed was concave and the couch fell somewhere in between a Love Seat and a Like Seat… it did not fold out).

I should mention that because Karma and I have become frenemies, I came down with a nasty head cold on Thursday night, so I was a the peak of this shit while traveling on Friday. At this point in the travels, my bestie Mike zips up from Brooklyn, insisting on showing us around the place. We go to a good-old-fashioned Jewish sandwich joint. I decide to really Mazel my Tov and get a brisket sandwich and try matzo ball soup for the first time (it’s gross… it’s a ball of yeast and salt water, basically)… Heidi, on the other hand, sees the option of getting a Meatball Sandwich, and in her ongoing quest to do things that Liz Lemon would do whenever they arise, totally gets it…

… and gets a case of the Meat Sweats that haunts her for days, accordingly.

After this, we go trekking up from Park and the low 30’s to Rockefeller Center in a thoroughly uninviting windy rain. We go to the NBC Store because we’re tourists and it’s a ‘thing’ for us. We see “Queen of Jordan” T-Shirts and don’t buy them because they’re stupid expensive and honestly, why would anyone wear a “Queen of Jordan” T-Shirt unless they were going to a live taping of “The View” and were going to talk to Sherri Sheppard IN THE (mainly chin-located) FLESH about 30 Rock??? I mean, what are the odds THAT would happen? (As it will turn out: Very good. DAMN!)

The only thing that it even remotely occurs to me to buy for a split second is gavel that makes the “Law & Order” sound when you smash it for a guy that I met off Grindr that I’ve gone on a few dates with who’s really into “L&O”… after that split second passes, it then occurs to me that we should probably sleep together first before we start exchanging gifts that need to be declared at customs. Sidebar: I don’t know if that’s going to happen, as I feel that the dynamic is rapidly shifting into “Small-Town Girl and Street-Wise Madam Showing Her the Ropes”-territory (credit: Tina Fey, Bossypants… but you already knew that, didn’t you?)… (also - guy in question, if you read this, we can still totally have sex…)

Here’s a shocker: walking around in the cold and rain all day when you’re at the apex of a head cold isn’t a good thing to do. So yeah, I’m completely shot in the foot and need to stay in my fucking hotel room on the Friday night whilst Anth and Heidi (wearing Robyn, for those of you in the wig-know) go to a bevy of gay bars with Mike and his New York gays. I have a Neo-Citron, watch Jimmy Fallon, and scornfully drift off. I’m awoken at 4 AM by Heidi and Anth pouring in assuring me that I “didn’t miss much”, bless their hearts.

I awake the next day feeling 80% better and ready to see what all the fuss is about… apparently our neighborhood - Murray Hill - is a pretty douchey neighborhood in New York, filled with young, douchey, up-&-comers. This is evidence by our brunch location, The Barking Dog. There was some 20-something bitch wearing a black body-suit, cloak-wrap and white fedora at the table next to us that we all wanted to punch in the cunt. However, the food was delicious.

After this, we hopped on the very 6 train that Jennifer Lopez helped popularize and went to SoHo, as there was apparently a drag paraphernalia store that Heidi wanted to visit called “Screaming Mimi’s”. It wasn’t a drag store at all as much as it was an obscenely overpriced vintage store that could conclusively suck all of our taints… we then ambled around and counted Duane Reade’s for what seemed like hours before zipping back uptown whereupon we all used the ‘fitness centre’ before getting ready for our night out at a Brooklynese gay night at Sugarland. I’m not even a fan of theirs, but apparently I’m the only one who thinks of the Country Music duo when “Sugarland” is spoken… hmmm…

We go to Brooklyn. It’s nice! I don’t know what Miranda’s problem is. We have a riotous pre-drink with Mike, his boyfriend Steve and their NY-born-&-bred friend Jessica who works in commercial production and disappoints me by letting me know that Beyonce Giselle Knowles is every inch the professional and very easy to work with. SCRATCH! We talk about regional Canadian and American accents… I don’t have one as much as I have an inflection, Heidi defffinitely has one (or should I say “hezz” one)…

Mike’s boyfriend Steve then shares an anecdote about the time that he got his hair cut right next to Kathleen Turner, as these kind of things happen all the time in this city of dreams. Me improvising “scenes of Kathleen Turner getting a haircut” dominate lulls of conversation the rest of the weekend… (“Just a little off the top. Well, now, that’s too much. Even it out, why don’t you! You know who had great hair? That Hillary Banks from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. What was that actresses’ name? Caryn Parsons?”) You had to be there. HAD to.

I gnarlily pre-drink to make up for my previous night spent bidridden and we go to Sugarland, not a lot of which I can remember, but, I was there, and apparently, unshaven

We cap the night off with pizza and I engage in a Lady & The Tramp-esque pizza-eating with Mike’s boyfriend that goes horribly awry. We then catch a cab from Brooklyn over the Williamsburg Bridge and upon feasting my eyes on a panorama of New York in its entirety, sparkling like a Scandinavian Princesses’ tiara IT HITS ME… I’m in New York and it’s fucking awesome.

Sunday morning: I am hungover as fuck. Fuck! That doesn’t matter, because we are venturing down to Chelsea to catch an off-Broadway show starring Laurie Metcalf aka AUNT JACKIE HARRIS from “ROSEANNE”!!! $20 tickets for a 75 minute play starring Aunt Jackie? Yes ploise… and here’s something: she looks amazing in person - better than she did on Roseanne (I know… I find it as hard to believe as you do…) Here’s something else: BITCH CAN ACT. She ran that thing like a Dancehall Queen! It was a very poignant story about a woman coming to grips with a neurological disease intertwining with the abduction of her daughter some years prior… she acted the hell out of it, took her curtain call with tears STILL in her eyes and got a well-deserved standing O from a Sunday-afternoon matinee crowd. Best of all: there were TOTALLY flashes of Aunt Jackie… #MONEYWELLSPENT!

After this, we ambled around Chelsea, continuing our tally of Duane Reade’s (I should clarify what these are: They’re essentially upscale Shopper’s Drug Mart’s named after a former NY mayor and they are as common on NY street corners as I imagine phone booths were, once upon a time…) then it was time for our walking tour of popular locations from classic sitcom “The Nanny”. Oh, we saw it all… the Bridal Shop she was working at when her boyfriend kicked her out in one of those crushing scenes… the bridge she crossed on her way to the Sheffield’s door… the Sheffield’s door… and when the tour ended, the guide directed us to a belltower where a lady with binoculars waved to us that turned out to be none other than Lauren “C.C. Babcock” Lane who was ‘watchin’ out’ for us the whole time!

That did not happen. However, we think that the next time we’re in NYC, we’re totally going to sell tickets to a “The Nanny” Walking Tour and totally grift some rubes. Hot damn!

Because I can’t justify going somewhere without getting on stage, I booked a show at a Hell’s Kitchen hotspot called Therapy on the Sunday night, a show that I sort of gather to be like the ‘Bitch Salad’ of New York (well, it wishes). It was hosted by a terrifically ballsy gay comic named Brad Loekle who was an absolute darling. It was a blast! Mainly because it reminded me of my early days starting stand-up - when I’d commute from Kingston to Toronto in one night to do open mics - feeling a completely renewed energy about doing stand-up in front of people who didn’t know me, with something to prove. I met a bunch of people afterwards who kept telling me that “it’s a rough room for guys” and that I had a good set (I didn’t think it was rough at all, if a little sizey-uppy… i.e. what Toronto audiences are like ALL THE TIME), so I put that in my pocket and smoked it. It was JUST what I needed… on that note: I’ve got to go to Oakville tonight for shows all weekend, so I’m sure that will knock the blush right off my rose, so to speak.

We stayed there way late and got in probably about 2 AM. About 5 hours later we were up and en route to fulfill one of my teenage dreams (cue Nicole Kidman lip-syncing along with me when I said that) - GOING TO “THE VIEW”!!!

Zipped up to West End and 66th to the studio, where there was a bulging line full of women in sweater-sets ready to eat through each other in order to get in. I just zipped right in as I was in the guest list. After waiting in a holding pen with the REAL real housewives of New Jersey for about an hour, we were let into the studio, handed a promotional bottle of Cranberry Cocktail and a Kiebler cookie. We were seated in the second row (well, that is to say that Mike, Heidi and I were; Anthony was seated with some new, Jersey-ian friends of his in the blacony - which explains this shot of him that made it to air:)

Yeah… so back to us…

We are in the second row. I am mere feet away from the very coffee klatch that has played host to the ladies’ chatter since that fateful day in 1997 that I was home sick with bronchitis and “The View” premiered. Had it not been for that Cranberry Cocktail, I think I might have passed out…

I screamed and jumped up and down like a fucking Belieber when the ladies came out - all of whom are waaay smaller and thinner than they appear on TV (particularly Whoopi, who was jarringly not-huge… bitch needs to stop wearing caftans). Something that I wasn’t prepared for is that they’ve got about four cameras and a huge monitor right in front of them, that largely obscures/sections them off from the live audience. I don’t really remember what they spoke about during hot topics, but the topics weren’t exactly hot - they just talked about what they did on spring break, mainly involving pictures of kids/grandkids, and the prefunctory “oooh“‘s and “ahhh“‘s that followed…) During the commercial break, “The Viewmaster” Bill Geddie came up and domineered the next round, being like “you say this, then you’ll say this” and so on, while Elizabeth Hasselbeck interacted with some women in the audience that had run some sort of big-shit-deal half-marathon over the weekend.

More hot topics, another commercial break… WHOOPI COMES OUT TO THE AUDIENCE. She is LITERALLY standing beside me and taking questions, of which I have none. I was literally shaking in m’boots that she would turn to me and be like “What about you, blue sweatah?” and I’d be like “Uhhh.. are there any plans in the near future to give Corina, Corina the Broadway treatment?”… she then caps it off by telling the audience to go see Sister Act: The Musical which we had planned to do that very night, and I say this. THEN… on her way back to her seat, she pivots, SIDE-EYES ME OVER HER GLASSES, and says directly to me, “So am I”. AHHHH!!! I GOT SIDE-EYE FROM WHOOPI!!!

Alright… first guests come out - Dennis Quaid and AnnaSophia Robb. Dennis Quaid is the hot DILF from everything, and AnnaSophia Robb is an alarmingly thin starlet who got her start as Violet Beaurigard in the remake of “Charlie & The Chocolate Factory”. Together, they’re in a new film called “Soul Surfer” about that girl surfer who got her arm bitten off by a shark (something that I’m sure happens to lots of people, but they’re not pretty, white and American, so no fucking movie based on their life starring an anorexic teenage actress, sorry). It’s pretty uneventful. I’m surprised that Barbara doesn’t badger Dennis Quaid about his brother Randy Quaid. And like that, we’re off to commercial. BARBARA COMES INTO THE AUDIENCE!!! She’s tiny, ALL leg, and caked in makeup. Also - she full fucking on wears a wig, as evidence by this picture that Heidi took:

She takes questions from the audience, and, is in general, a shady old bitch. IT’S AMAZING. A lady asks her if “the gentleman [she] was with at Catch Me If You Can the other night was anyone special?” and Barbara is NOT having it. She replies, in a menacingly low tone I gather she uses to terrify her minions: “The gentleman’s name is Frank Langella. He is a dear friend. Nothing special.” (Which is bullshit: they’re fully dry-humping)… then, the bitch in the audience has the audacity to ask Barbara if she enjoyed the show, to which Barbara replies: “… … it was alright.” NOT. HAVING. IT!

AND WE’RE BACK. The next guests are producer Jerry/Larry/whatever Weintraub and his sister wives, basically. Well, no. He’s got this long standing wife who’s older than time named Jane Morgan - a lady that used to be a big torch-song signer back in the 1870’s, who actually started at Barbara’s father’s nightclub “The Latin Quarter” - and a ginger mistress named Susie Ekins that co-habitate together or something. The whole thing wrought of suburban polygamy to me, but that’s not what they were calling it. It was their arrangement.

Anyballs - the whole thing was utterly bizarre, and the segment was being lead by the queen’s of ‘not having it’, Barbara and Joy.

In something that has become a running joke betwixt Mike, myself, Heidi and Anth for the rest of time - at the top of the segment, Barbara paused to say hello to Jane Morgan, who, as I mentioned was an old friend of hers (in that they’ve known each other for a long time, and again, because the bitch is hieroglyphic-old)… and the two stood up and proceeded to totter over to each other like DANCING SKELETONS for an embrace. So, if you’re around 2 of us or more at any time and you hear us call out “SKELETON DANCE” and spend upwards-to-and-including 5 minutes tottering towards each other like corpses ripped from the grave for an embrace, that’s why.

So that segment happens and it’s gross because it makes constant mention of old people having multiple-partner sex. Now… we get to the highlight of the trip.

It’s the final commercial break and the final Q&A. The audience coordinator guy is running around the balcony stuffing a mic in dumb bitches’ mouths asking shit like “can Joy sing happy birthday to my cat” and shit… I’m certain that my window to ask a question has closed… or has it?!

Anthony Suppa - located at mezzanine right - catches the eye of the audience coordinator, because of course he does. He runs up to Anth and says “You have a question” to which Anthony replies, “No, but HE does” and gives such a forceful redirecting point to me that the audience coordinator can’t help but follow.

And in a split second the mic is in my face and I am saying to Sherri Sheppard, “Sherri, you are brilliant as Angie Jordan on ‘30 Rock’. I was just wondering what your favorite pork-based produc-“

And before the question could EVEN exit my lips, she replies:

I came my pants. Holy fuck.

Elizabeth Hasselbeck then points at me saying “You saw that too?! That WAS funny!” and Sherri proceeds to tell the story about the video above, of her saying “HAY-UM” for 15 odd minutes. We’re all having the best time, while precisely 0.0 General-Hospital-watching women in the audience have a hot clue as to what we’re talking about. It will go down as one of the greatest moments in my life.

"HAM" becomes the new universal greeting between us after this.

Final notes on “The View”: Barbara is all-business and crotchety. Sherri seems preoccupied. Whoopi is there. Joy Behar is O - VER - IT… for real, she is phonin’ it in at this point. I’ve got to say, the most eager and accessible lady of ‘The View’ is Elizabeth Hasselbeck - whom I got to share an awkward eye-contact encounter when our eyes accidentally rested on each other. But seriously, she was all smiles and as excited to be there as if it was her first week. Dare I say that I like her after that!

Anyballs - we went in search of food after this because we were SPENT darlings. We landed in Chelsea because of course we did. We ate at Cafe Cluny and invariably ordered things containing “HAM”. Then Anth & Heidi and Mike & I went our separate ways. Mike walked me down Broadway to pass the courthouses, where I lived out yet another dream of Patty-Hewes-ing down the front steps…

Who wore it better?

Then down to Wall Street, past Ground Zero and settled at Battery Park to gawk at the Statue of Liberty and the Staten Island Ferry while “Let The River Run" by that heretic witch Carly Simon played in our heads/on Mike’s iPhone…

That night we went to take in a preview of “Sister Act: The Musical”, which was pretty much everything one would think a musical based on Sister Act would be: FUN! NUNS! SOUL-BLAZING DISCO MUSIC! SEQUINED HABITS! CHASE SEQUENCES! The one thing that I didn’t know is that it was an original score, and not a jukebox musical like the movie basically was… so, don’t go to it expecting a closing number of “I Will Follow Him" or even a live version of "Just A Touch of Love" while the nuns clean up the neighborhood… still - a fabulous time!

Because there are only 50 people who live in this entire world, would you believe that, on a Monday night, sitting in the exact same row at the exact same performance of “Sister Act: The Musical” was a friend of ours from Toronto named Matt, more commonly and affectionately referred to as Bulge. CRAZY! After the musical, we accompanied him and his two friends to some martini bar in Hell’s Kitchen that was very happening. Also - RuPaul’s Drag Race was being communally watched like the Super Bowl that I certainly feel it is, so right away we got spoilers… (Carmen? REALLY? That was worth it).

Something I didn’t know about New York: things happen every night. Monday nights might as well be Friday nights. We went to this bar called “Nowhere” that was having a special night where male strippers/scantily clad trade EASILY outnumbered the patrons. Heidi was basically declined at the door for being a girl (somebody call Eve Ensler to do something about this!)… Anth was forced to put his hand on some stripper’s dick, a hand that went unwashed for an uncomfortable while… And I found myself making out with this hot friend of Bulge’s who looked like Jay Z-meets-Akashia-from-Drag-Race-as-a-boy that wanted me to come with him back to Queen’s. As tempting as that would have been, I really didn’t want to have to take a cab ride of shame(lesness) the next morning back from Queen’s wearing the same clothes I had been wearing at The View only to have to jam my shit into a suitcase to make check-out. Next time.

We checked out Tuesday and wandered around some more until we had to catch our flight out. Anth went down to Little Italy to greet his subjects. Heidi and I went up to FAO Schwartz whereupon she purchased and constructed a muppet version of herself*. That’s right - Heidi is now the proud parent of a muppet child named “Howdy”. It’s the spitting image of her, really.

We then jaunted over to Columbus Circle and purchased Tina Fey’s “Bossypants” at 40% off (a book that has basically been the only thing keeping my spirits up since getting back to this overpriced, stale succubus of a city) and easily caught our flights back… it’s also worth mentioning that on our flight was a friend of mine from University that I hadn’t seen in years (case in point, he’s got a fucking 2-year-old kid), because, again, there are 50 people in this world…

That was that. I’m in a positively wretched mood since getting back. We got in a cab at the airport and within travelling for 1 minute up the block to Bathurst and Front, it was already at $6. Yestermorning a woman tried to inch ahead of me towards a bus entrance and I told her to “fuck off”. And I’m just glowering at everything in general - like, I am literally catching myself looking at random things with resentment. New York was the carrot and this is the stick. Point taken.

Anyballs - that’s it! (I think)…

—- Aj

*No jokes. You can “make your own muppet” at FAO Schwartz. It’s $5**.

**It is considerably more than $5.

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