In the late ’90s, after I had graduated from college but before I was prepared to leave it behind, I lived in Boston and was up to no good. I worked for a short stretch as an office temp, and for a long stretch as a late-night cookie delivery person. At some point—perhaps inspired by the great old zine Dishwasher, perhaps by the street posters of Camden Joy—I concocted a scheme to earn money as a dishwasher-for-hire at private residences. While I never actually enacted the plan, I did design a flyer, which I recently unearthed while looking for something else. Reading the flyer now, I think I made a fairly convincing argument. Though I am embarrassed to admit that three of the four bullet points included toward the end are outright lies.
The Lowbrow Reader is proud to present our new online column, in which Gabe Lieberman, National Director of the Anti-Anti-Semitism Committee, gives sex advice to teens.
My boyfriend and I have been together for three months. He says it’s time to take our relationship “to the next level.” Gabe, I am 17, and consider myself pretty mature. But how does a girl know when it’s time to “take that step”?
Confused in St. Louis
Did you know that a recent public opinion survey indicates that 30 percent of the American people believe that American Jews are more loyal to Israel than to the United States? This is an anti-Semitic canard—the same percentage of people in the United States believe that the Jews killed Christ. So while it may or may not be time for you to “take that step,” do keep in mind that your behavior reinforces the pernicious notion of Jewish control over this government.
Let us reflect upon the summer of 2002: The Iraq War was but a glimmer in the eyes of a young Dick Cheney, Canadian art-rock heartthrobs Nickelback were climbing the Billboard, and the Lowbrow Reader was publishing its second issue. And a fine issue it was! Articles included Neil Michael Hagerty’s “A Survey of Recently Declassified Literature” and Michaelangelo Matos’s profile of Slim Gaillard (both later included in our book, The Lowbrow Reader Reader), as well as shorter pieces about Jack Benny, Owen Wilson, and the Judd Apatow sitcom Undeclared. As if the readers of ’02 needed more convincing, the issue concluded with the lyrics to Jonathan Richman’s “When Harpo Played His Harp.”
Lowbrow Reader #2 has been sold out for years, and most of its articles and illustrations do not appear in The Lowbrow Reader Reader. But now, for the first time in a long time, the issue is available once again: We recently unearthed some extra copies that journeyed from Boston to rural Washington to Western Massachusetts before arriving in New York City. It was a heroic trip, indeed. Get your Lowbrow Reader issue #2 today via our handy ordering page—but act fast, as supplies are limited!
Crack open our eminently orderable book anthology, The Lowbrow Reader Reader, and one of the first things to catch your eye is the gallery of Lowbrow Reader covers, all featuring a bathroom gag by one John Mathias. The artist was also responsible for the colorfully disgusting illustration gracing the book’s cover. (The book cover was designed by the great Mike Reddy; the rest was designed by the great Matthew Berube.) Let’s check in with Mathias, the Picasso of the lavatory, to ask him about his decade-plus drawing people in bathroom situations for The Lowbrow Reader….
I remember that it made sense to me immediately. Guy on toilet using Burberry toilet paper? Sure! For some reason, he was supposed to be Japanese, so I based him on my upstairs neighbor who was a club DJ named Gak. He would do his thing into the wee hours of the morning inside the apartment without headphones. So in a passive aggressive way I was getting back at him. (more…)
Morning routine I rise at dawn, so enraptured with life that the mere thought of unconsciousness is repulsive, and swim for two hours. I like to get to the office early so I can help our janitor, Raúl, with his English.
Religion Zen Buddhist Capitalist
Biggest lie you once believed Youth ends at 50
Car Mercedes X740-T Zebra Ultra L74, Silver Class
Cigar of choice I don’t smoke cigars
No, really Corona Gorda (Aurora 1495 BME, Nicaragua) (more…)
We are kvelling over the unveiling of the new issue of Fashion Projects, the fancy sister publication of The Lowbrow Reader. The issue, the journal’s fourth, is devoted entirely to the subject of fashion criticism. It features interviews with some swank individuals, including International Herald Tribune critic Suzy Menkes, W editor Stefano Tonchi, The New Yorker’s Judith Thurman, and New York Times culture writer Guy Trebay. Fashion Projects is edited by Lowbrow Reader contributor Francesca Granata; issue #4 includes work by Lowbrow editor Jay Ruttenberg as well as Lowbrow artists Nathan Gelgud and Doreen Kirchner, who drew the lovely cover image. How’s that for crossover? The two publications even share a home: PO Box 65 at the East Village’s Cooper Station post office. (It’s roomier than you might think in there.)
Hurricane Sandy gave #SoPo (South of Power) its day as a trending topic. But what are the other up-and-coming areas? Here are some of the new New York City Neighborhoods:
SALIVA (Streets Around Little Italy and Vicinity)
If you have a taste for the pungent, SALIVa is for you. This neighborhood begins somewhere beneath the Williamsburg Bridge and seeps West until you don’t like the shops anymore. Goose your pallet with the wines of Italy and the culinary fare of Chinatown as you breathe in the designer perfumes, aromatherapy candles, and scented room sprays of Soho. Ponder the lengths to which your ancestors went to move out of the five-story tenement of your desires. SALIVa truly is a formerly rent-controlled cafeteria for the senses! (more…)
A Hanukkah Gift for You!
The Lowbrow Reader Reader, our Nobel-worthy tome published by Drag City earlier this year, is what one might term a “best-of” compendium, surveying the eight Lowbrow Reader issues that preceded it. By our rough count, the book features seven articles from Lowbrow Reader #5, six articles from Lowbrow Reader #7, and so forth. But what of our modest beginnings, 2001’s Lowbrow Reader #1? Why, the book features a mere two lousy selections!
To amend this slight and raise a glass to the holiday season, we would like to offer a free copy of Lowbrow Reader #1 to anybody who was kind enough to read our book. That’s right: An awe-inspiring $3 value…free! (more…)
…believe what Janet tried to pull. No. I know! It’s not going to sit well with management, either.…
Really, 5C? Are you serious? You have lived here for a long time—longer than we have, at least. Thus, you have lived in this building long enough to understand how sound travels in the bathroom. The moment you go near that tub, it’s as if all walls and floors were to melt away, leaving you sitting in our bathroom, yelling into that phone.
You know what time it is, I presume? It’s 5:25. That’s not the fun evening 5:25, when people are trickling out of work into the romantic twilight. It’s the weird morning one that generally exists without me.
Do you know who is awake at 5:25 in the morning? The jetlagged, the elderly, travelers kicking themselves for having booked unwise flights, easily bullied types with poorly socialized children or pets, the freshly Oscar-nominated, exurbanites staring down long commutes, physical education teachers, club kids hitting a second wind, child practitioners of esoteric sports, Al Roker, my Uncle Sol, our nation’s more competent newspaper deliverymen, and bakers abiding by cliché (more…)
One word: committment. Or perhaps commitment. Spell it how you must, in this age of mass media and easily downloadable Internet pornography, it is the key inherent to completing your novel. Get to know it—not just the way it rolls off your tongue, but the way that it is such a difficult thing to commit to.
Few things are as important to completing your novel as choosing a comfortable reading position. Without this trump card, you may as well turn the television on right now. (more…)