Posts Tagged 'The powerHouse Arena'

Because Alphabet City…

…spells Amoeba Avenue A_ddict, Avenue B_arbiturate, Avenue C_rack = PILLAGE a book by Brantly Martin, by powerHouse Books.

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pH: Cracula, the main character and narrator is in a constant state of “pillaging.” Is this a battle with himself and his addictions, or is it a metaphor for his relationship to the entity that is New York

BM: I don’t think he is. That would imply he’s taking advantage of his spoils. There is a moment in the book when Cracula says: ‘I flashed like a cursor in the middle, alternating vampire blood bank vampire blood bank’ I think that’s his battle, or perhaps his fate? But if he views being a vampire or blood bank as the only options for his disposition, his fate, that would mean he’s resigned to it. Is he? I’m not sure, maybe. I think there are numerous other characters that have no problem pillaging the land—New York. More specifically, a certain slice of Manhattan. They possess different spoils—beauty, money, drugs, humor, wit, sex, or the possibility of sex. Power—perceived or otherwise. The pillaging of the land goes hand in hand with the formulaic structure of these little micro-universes within the city. In my life, and in the book, there have been these folks who are fucking artists (scam artists perhaps) at the manipulation of the moment. Each conversation, an application of a formula they understand and (most importantly) accept. These folks are the most successful ‘pillagers’ and, I feel, the happiest. Does it matter that every detail of the situation was manipulated (name-dropping, references, drinks, drugs, promises, out and out lies) if you get what you want? I think Cracula grew to despise these plastic moments. But what’s better? To accept the formula dictating the land or to detach while still a resident?

pH: Many people foresee the current economic recession as a potential leveller for the city. Do you think that would be a good or bad? Why?

BM: That will never happen. New York thrives on status. Status dictates everything—real estate, clubs, restaurants, parking spaces, the corner office, a better shift, fashion, Hip-Hop—the latest phone, latest iPod, latest sneakers, latest girl, latest guy. People need a pecking order the city dies without it. I laugh when people refer to New York as a European city. It’s the most American of cities.
pH: Describe your relationship to New York and how you came to live there.

BM: I grew up in Houston, went to college in Austin, and moved to New York as soon as I could. I showed up with one bag full of clothes, $500, and not one friend. I slept in Central Park the first night, ended up crashing with a friend of a friend for a few weeks (in a depression-era brothel, some of the whores still alive, paying $50 a month, rent-controlled), somehow ended up working in the nightlife. I have a love-hate relationship with New York, as I do with every other city and person on Earth – and myself.
pH: You now live in Rome, what does New York look like from a distance?

BM: I’ve been in Rome for seven months. The only thing I see from a distance is Obama and The Crisis. I worry about my friends that depend on disposable income that gets spent on eating out and paying for over-priced vodka and champagne. Maybe the rents will drop and young folks who aren’t the sons and daughters of the rich will be able to move to Manhattan again? Maybe the train of Nepotism will lose some speed? Doubtful.

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