Archives For Being Uncool

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The first thing I did was Google what heroin stamp it was that killed Philip Seymour Hoffman.

I wanted to know. Not that I would recognize the name. The names are relevant to 2014, not 1994. “Obamacare,” “Call of Duty,” “Hangover Part 2.”

Heroin stamps are used by drug distribution crews to mark products. Each stamp represents a different quality of heroin; a different strain, a different high.

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In case any of you are interested in heroin stamps

 

It was Ace of Hearts and Ace of Spades.

Next, I went online to the heroin community threads to see what the reviews were of these stamps. There are many sites devoted to the detailed analysis of every stamp existing, with rating systems like these:

City or state stamp was copped in:
Stamp name:
Stamp Color:
Stamp Graphic (if any):
Color and Consistency/texture of Product:
Quality/neatness of stamp and packaging:
Quantity of Product (1-10 scale):
Quality of Product (1-10 scale):
ROA: IV, intranasal/sniffed, smoked, etc.
Other comments (duration of high, any weird effects, is this a new batch of the same stamp, anything unusual about the dope, etc):

For the record:

I KNOW THESE THINGS BECAUSE I’M AN INFORMATION JUNKIE,

NOT A HEROIN JUNKIE.

I read about EVERYTHING.

There’s even a chick who has an entire blog devoted to analyzing stamp quality. I was just about to link it, but somehow, I just didn’t think that was a good idea.

I’m angry because the smack that killed Philip Seymour Hoffman, for several weeks now, has been flagged for containing a lethal mixture of heroin laced with fentanyl.

If he’d even been remotely aware of that, he’d be alive today, and three children would still have a father.

 

 

TOASTERS

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I’ve been an avid theater goer for as many years as I can remember. I was especially invested in seeing theater the years I lived in New York, and was a bartender and cocktail waitress in after hour clubs. an aspiring actress. I’ve seen hundreds of plays.

And Philip Seymour Hoffman gave me, perhaps, one of the most thrilling nights of theater I’ve ever witnessed. Top three, I would say.

In 2000, he starred in “True West,” written by iconic American playwright Sam Shepard.
It’s a raw and darkly comic story of two brothers who engage in a ferocious onstage battle of sibling rivalry.

And, because it’s family, no one wins.

What made this play something that had never been done before – was that these two actors had decided that on any given night – they would SWITCH ROLES.

This might not seem like a big deal. It was, in fact, groundbreaking.

As an actor, in order to be really good, you have to live and breathe a character.

You have to get inside his skin and embody his every thought, dream and desire, so by the time you get on that stage, there is not one false note.

There’s no room for a false note. There’s no director yelling, “Cut!” so you can try it again.

It’s LIVE. You’d better have it right. Otherwise, you just sound like you’re speaking empty words.

I know this because I have given mediocre performances that sounded like I was just talking. But every so often, the magic kicked in, and I gave a spectacular performance.

I breathed life into a character – and the audience breathed with me. It’s palpable. You know you’ve got it right, because your energy and theirs hum along together on an electric current that fuels you to greatness.

Just their faces on the Playbill cover made me want to see this

Just their faces on the Playbill cover made me want to see this

 

The characters in True West are as diametrically opposed as two characters can possible be. And the idea that the two actors – Philip Seymour Hoffman and John C. Reilly – could actually do either role on any given night – was nothing short of SPECTACULAR.

It BLEW ME AWAY. It both inspired me as and actress – and, I’ll admit – completely humbled me.

Philip Seymour Hoffman OWNED that stage from the second he walked onto it.

And in my heart of hearts, I knew I would never, ever, ever be that good.

The play is always associated with toasters. Many, many toasters.

Austin, the younger brother (who was played by Hoffman the night I saw it) starts out as the hardworking, straight-laced younger brother.

By the second act, he has traded personalities with his thieving older brother, and has robbed the entire neighborhood of their toasters.

Shepard’s use of Austin’s complete and total satisfaction with his stolen toasters is the literal negation of the American Dream as defined in modern life.

He experiences WINNING – because he’s successful as a toaster thief.

Philip Seymour Hoffman went on to grace the Broadway stage with performances that were second to none. He was special to us – to New Yorkers. He graduated from NYU with a degree in theater. He lived here, right in the Village. Raised his children here.

He belonged to us.

And the night he died, the lights on Broadway were a little less bright.

true west stolen toasters

Do they even make toasters like this anymore?

 

 

 

 

Many of you are probably familiar with the movie “Almost Famous.”

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GREAT sunglasses

 

It came out the same year I saw True West.  it’s a coming of age film that follows a starry-eyed teenage rock writer on the road with one of the nation’s biggest up-and-coming bands.

It’s a beautifully written story of rock and roll, love, and of our own limitations.

The film has beautifully nuanced performances, and some unforgettable moments.

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“One day, you’ll be cool. Look under your bed. It will set you free.”

 

For me- unequivocably? It was Philip Seymour Hoffman’s portrayal of the late, great rock journalist Lester Bangs.

Lester Bangs wasn’t just a rock journalist – he was THE rock journalist.

There has never been a rock writer like him before, or since.

He was demonic, passionate, hilarious, irreverent cough-syrup fueled madman, who lived the rock and roll life while writing about it – and tragically, died a rock and roll death of a drug overdose, at 33.

I grew up in a music-dominated household. My older brothers all read Creem Magazine, Rolling Stone, The Village Voice.

And, because I was a nerd, I read all the magazines that were laying around the house. By the time I was my son’s age, I was reading (although not at all understanding) Lester Bang’s music reviews.

When I was older, long after Bangs was dead, I fully appreciated who he was. He didn’t just write about rock music.

He lived it, celebrating its excesses, drawing energy from the chaos, and matching its passion in prose that erupted from those magazines.

“Music, you know, true music, not just rock and roll, it chooses you, it lives in your car, or alone listening to your headphones with vast scenic bridges or angelic choirs in your brain. It’s a place apart from the vast benign lap of America.”

This is not rock journalism.

This is poetry.

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Yes, he was a Freaking Mess.

 

If you watch Lester Bangs on YouTube, you will see that Philip Seymour Hoffman captured the very essence of this man.

Is it any wonder that the best scenes of Almost Famous are the ones in which Hoffman portrays Lester Bangs?

The best line from Almost Famous is an actual quote of Lester Bangs.

“The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you’re uncool.”

The scene is just beautiful.

 

Philip Seymour Hoffman is gone. His three children have lost a father. The world has lost an amazing actor.

The silver lining in the dark cloud of the death of these two geniuses – is that they left indelible marks, and we get to revisit the genius of their work.

Simultaneously.

 

This is my favorite scene from “Almost Famous.”

 

 

Did you have a reaction to Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death? 
Talk to me. I’m listening.