Monday, November 13, 2006

Giving Thanks

3 Good Things for Which to Give Thanks: Disco/Pizza/Artic Exploration Divisions
(an ongoing series for the week before Thanksgiving)

1. "Don't Feel like Dancing" by Scissor Sisters. A completely infectious, supremely danceable romp that refutes the very principle of its lyrics. I'm coming a little late to the soiree thrown by these party people, who shimmy like the Cockettes and sing like the Bee Gees, but this number still makes me really, really want to find a big gay dance party and shake it all night long. I defy anyone to listen to this without putting on glitter lipgloss and fan-dancing all around the room. "You'd think I could muster up a little soft-shoe gentle sway, But I don't feel like dancing, No sir no dancing today" And yes, that's Sir Elton on the piano.

2. Large pizza at Loucallie's, Henry and Carroll Sts, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. They play opera in the background at this cozy new pizza spot, but don't expect to hear it over the din of happy diners. The big wood-fired brick oven in the back was built by the owner himself, a guy from the neighborhood who took over a longtime sweetshop/soda fountain and (supposed) numbers joint. No menu yet, just pizza, and sometimes calzones.

This being the case, it wouldn't kill them to write the toppings down on the chalkboard, since our slightly surly waitress seemed a little cranky at having to recite them, and expected us to make up our minds on the spot. But no matter, the pizza's fab, the thin crust miraculously not soupy in the center and the cheese very very good. The slightly watery sauce looked like plain ol' crushed canned tomatoes when I went up the pizza-making counter at the back; a more concentrated, flavorful sauce would make this very good pie sublime. So far, BYOB, which seems to add to the joint's joy factor considerably--lots of bottles on the tables on a recent rainy Sunday night. Large pizza (8 slices), $18.

3. The Last Gentleman Adventurer, by Edward Beauclerk Maurice. In 1930, when Maurice was a 16-year-old English schoolboy, he signed a five-year contract with the Hudson Bay Company as an apprentice fur trader in the Artic reaches of far northern Canada. His story, written some 50 years later, is thoughtful and shot through with a certain British dry humor, describing a snowbound world of desperate ingenuity recalled in tranquillity. Hunting for walrus, deer, polar bear, seal, whale, and ptarmigan features prominently (all are edible and heartily enjoyed). Because Maurice was so young at the time of his arrival, and because he quickly became fluent in the language of the native Inuits, his stories are refreshingly free of Kiplingesque paternalism. A perfect read on a cold, drizzly day.

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