The KING of FLORIDA consulting his MAGICIAN

previous to his going to battle was the delectably mysterious caption of an old print hanging above the table at Elephant and Castle.

The latte in a bowl also was delectable on this windy Manhattan day.

I had just been reading a novel called Jacket Weather by current New York literary darling Michael DeCapite, in which Elephant and Castle figures prominently.  It’s pretty cool when you not only know the location of a place in a book but can go there on a whim, especially having been there before during another different era. I first ate at the British-pubb-ie brunchie spot decades ago, when you only had to lay out 10 bucks or so to eat Eggs Benedict with a bloody mary. DeCapite writes about Mike resuming a relationship with June, now both middle aged, having first met in the 1980s when they were in their 20s. 

He finds himself madly in love as a geezer. The book contains torrents of emotion and sex, leavened by jibing banter with the old guys at the local gym, and Italian home recipes. Worth a read, even if you can’t go for a bowl of latte. His author photo has him in a probably staged pose at what would appear to be the Chelsea Hotel. Or maybe not.

Christmas is over! Hooray! Now we can be funny again. And somber again. Just not squeezed-from-a-tube, tinny, pro forma holiday. Oh, there’s one more hurdle on the way to normalcy. New Years. For a non drinker somewhat on the “grey stone” side, though there are other substances of course. (You’ll have to look that up.)

New York City is returning to its pre-Christmas energy. A model changed her clothes on the street in a popup tent.

Emerged from the chrysalis ready for her 15 seconds of fame. Traipsed off with her handlers to wherever the real party was.

Around the corner, people could fight all they wanted.

In SoHo shops, tourists from foreign lands were exchanging expensive apparel for other expensive apparel.

Joel Coen’s The Tragedy of Macbeth presented itself at the Angelika Theater with all its studious black and white shadows, overhyped and overacted, but hey, it featured words by our biggest 400-year-old genius, so what could be wrong?

What a witch! Didn’t they have Christmas back then? The clothes looked expensive. And the orange blossom macaron at Angelika’s cafe proved worth the trip to Hollywood.

Up Sixth Avenue, satire ruled with the ongoing Banksy exhibit. A lot of people know the enigmatic artist’s probably most famous work, the image of a young girl letting go of a heart-shaped balloon, which was first painted under the stairs at South Bank.

You can get it silkscreened on a T shirt. There is of course much more to his oeuvre.

The stencils on outdoor walls are still the best, I think.

                                                                                

I liked this 2020 doormat with its message made out of refugee life vests.

Playfully snarky and unapologetically political, Banksy is, as I said, an enigma. Going out,I asked the coatcheck girl if his identity had been somehow revealed in the show. “He’s very mysterious,” she said mysteriously. “I highly doubt it.”

Funny, the show opens with  a view of “his studio”.

I was waiting for the bathroom and listening to a conversation in the office next to me behind some black curtains. Inside, surely another Banksy.

The inside of the bathroom door was of course an homage to graffiti, which Banksy loves.

More political whimsy and snark, now that spiritual jubilation and reindeers are no longer the order of the day: Don’t Look Up, the newest take on the end of the world,  played kind of like The Day After Tomorrow if the ocean liner floated down Fifth Avenue alongside a bunch of oversized rubber duckies. In this movie, DiCaprio is hilarious, Streep is hilarious, Jonah Hill is hilarious, Mark Rylance is the most hilarious, Timothee Chalamet is too cute and Jennifer Lawrence is Jennifer Lawrence.

Hits the spot just about now, I’d say.

So Christmas is over. Tree in the corner begging me to leave her up another month. Well, since you implore, okay. Tree sprites always get their way.

Soon it’s gonna be a new year. Maybe I’ll do some things differently. No, definitely.

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