Wednesday was chock-full of missed opportunities and botched plans. I turned down tickets to go see Paul Weller at Irving Plaza, in favor of attending a test screening of Judd Apatow‘s upcoming comedy, Knocked Up, and then going to NorthSix for the club’s final show. Looking at the setlist from last night, I mostly made the right decision. Style Council night? Sign me up, but I’m not very familiar with his solo stuff, and am a passing Jam fan at best.
I’m definitely a bigger Judd Apatow fan, be it The Cable Guy, Freaks & Geeks, Undeclared and The 40-Year-Old Virgin, and have interviewed him twice (most recently here), so I was really looking forward to getting to see Knocked Up so early — it’s not out till this summer. It’s about a guy (F&G/ Undeclared/40-Year-Old Virgin scene-stealer Seth Rogen, who also co-wrote the script with Apatow) who has a one-night-stand with a girl (Grey’s Anatomy‘s Katherine Heigl)… and gets her pregnant. Unfortunately, it was a 6pm screening on the Upper West Side and by the time I got there, the line of college kids and comedy nerds was stretched well beyond the point where it looked possible for me to get in. I’ve been to enough of these things to know when I didn’t’ have a chance.
Here’s the Knocked Up trailer, in either the red-band R-rated version, or the also-explicit International "teaser" which is basically just one scene from the movie. Looks like most of the Undeclared cast is in the movie, plus Harold Ramis.
Luckily I had backup plans. Alex Kapranos was doing an in-store at the Barnes & Noble in Union Square, reading from his new book, Sound Bites. I’m not much of a "reader," and this was my first one of these, other than accidentally stumbling across one of CSPAN or something. It was a packed house, full of indie kids, college students, weirdos, aging hipsters, Mark Ibold, and at least a few people who seemed to have wandered in by accident. There were also a bunch of silly fangirls there (who looked a little too old to be doing such things) who immediately started screaming "ALEX YOU’RE SO HOT OHMIGOD SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!" when Kapranos appeared in jeans, a PiL t-shirt and leather jacket.
When the squeeing started Kapranos got a slightly frightened look on his face and I almost instantly regretted my decision to attend, but the girls mostly behaved themselves. What I like about him is how genuinely down-to-earth he is which I think is mostly based on not finding fame until he was in his 30s. Until "Take Me Out," Alex Kapranos was just this nice guy who had been in a bunch of somewhat known indie bands, but who had payed his rent by working various restaurant jobs (and, according to Wikipedia, as a welder) and other things.
He was pretty humble and nervous, admitting his coffee cup was full of red wine, but he did a great job reading maybe five of the articles from the book. (All had been originally published in The Guardian while Franz Ferdinand were on their 2005-2006 world tour.) While I already liked the book, it was actually much better hearing him read it aloud, you could tell it was really written as he speaks. He’s a witty writer too. One of the pieces, where he was faced with a dish of bull’s testicles in Buenos Aires, was especially funny.
After the reading, he took a lot of questions from the audience, which ranged from "You’re so awesome… how long did it take you to write the book?" (Answer: "A year, 400 words at a time.") to "What onomatopoeia would begin your autobiography?" (Answer: "a squelch.") He thoughtfully answered everything, even when declining requests to sing a song. Someone asked what his favorite NYC pizza place was, he admitted he didn’t know and asked for suggestions, resulting in a flurry of shouted replies — I heard DiFara’s mentioned, as well as bunch of Bleeker St places I’d never heard of. The best anecdote was about his favorite food as a child: white bread with loads of butter and sugar that he and his brother would then squash into a dense ball. If he didn’t already have a girlfriend, that would be the kind of story that gets you in good with the ladies.
Speaking of, I met my girlfriend at Men Kui Tei on 3rd Ave for a quick bowl of tonkatsu ramen. It’s been said here before, if you’re just going for the soup, Menkui Tei is preferable Momofuku any day. For these tastebuds, Momofuku’s broth is too salty ( everything else on their menu is awesome though). And you never have to worry about a wait.
Then it was back to the WB for the last-ever show at NorthSix: a killer triple-bill of Radio 4, The Big Sleep and !!!-offshoot Free Blood. Well it would’ve been killer if Con-Ed hadn’t turned off their power a day early. The show was canceled and it felt like the biggest letdown. But after three late nights in a row, there was also a feeling of relief. Was in bed before midnight.