Monday, February 15, 2010

La Crosta: "'Gourmet Pizza' huh?"

Initially I was a little skeptical when I saw the phrase "gourmet pizzeria" on the awning of La Crosta, but it was quickly clear that it was an empty platitude. There was a certain banality about this pizzeria, and a destitute resignation in it's employees, that made me think of Samuel Beckett. My friend Andy, who's new zine Folk is probably available from The Thugs by now, wrote an essay not too long ago likening pizza to pornography.

Now if there's one thing I learned from college, it's that a smart person can write a persuasive sounding academic critique about ANYTHING and make it sound good with the inclusion of a few out of context passages from Baudrillard or Lacan. Andy compares pizza to pornography in a way that I found somewhat offensive, but also totally clever and entertaining.
The definition of pornography can be extended to encompass any object with which its user engages into a type of experience that is qualitatively less fulfilling than the experience it is aimed towards. This leads us to question what is the experience we are deferring in food when we consume something with no lasting gratification, and what kind of meal do we really hunger for? With fast food we lose the ritual of “Setting the table” as a group. Everything packaged and ready to eat, utensils included, there is no room for anything new between those that eat together. The problem is not just that the meal is reduced largely to utility, but the meaning packaged with it is similary cheapened. Pornography and fast food both remain chiefly instrumental, but in attempting to replace the experience of a communal meal or sexual communion with another person, the tacked on meaning has come to define our approach to that which it is used as a desperate replacement. At a point, the desire for a pizza experience supercedes that of the desire for actual food. When we impact this sad fact back to sex it demonstrates how a culture may be simultaneously well-fed and starving.
While I can sort of agree with the thesis here, that reducing food to utility removes agency and community orientation from people's lives, I have a fairly different relationship with both pizza and pornography than Andy does. I won't get too deep into my Personal Habits, as my mother reads this blog and other readers got up in arms a few months ago when I talked about taking a dump, but I will say that though it is not often, when I utilize pornography as a tool for helping me jerk my dick off, it is usually qualitatively pretty rad! Videos of people fucking each other and enjoying it are kind of cool sometimes!

And I really disagree that pizza is a food that removes the communal aspect of sharing a meal with other folks. If anything, the Pizza Party is one of the most festive and community oriented activities! Claiming that a food that's divided into easy to share segments for the express purpose of sharing with others contributes to alienation or detracts from a sense of community is ridiculous! Pizza builds community. Remember the words of the late Howard Zinn, "the road to a better tomorrow is paved with pizza."

All this stuff aside, though, the pizza at La Crosta was so unrelentingly mediocre and boring that I feel like I've gained some insight into where poor Andy may have been coming from. I don't recall having ever eaten pizza with the fellow, and maybe, just maybe, all the pizza he eats is as bad as the pizza at La Crosta. If that's the case I can see where he's coming from and I'll have to take him to Gino's pronto. And then we should probably stop by Babeland and get him some decent porn!

La Crosta - $2.50
436 East 72nd Street
New York, NY 10021


So, the zine is done, the release party happened and was amazing and I'm starting to get it into some stores. Slice Harvester zines are currently available at: Book Thug Nation, Whisk, Desert Island, and Academy Records Annex. I will update this list as the days go by and more places start carrying it. I think this week or some time next week I'm gonna drop by a few places in Manhattan. If anyone has suggestions on stores that sell zines, let me know in the comments.

My friend Jacob Berendes emailed me a while ago to share an old G.I. Joe Yearbook comic he scanned in which Serpentor explains the origin of Tiny Pizzas to Dr. Mindbender.

Finally, in pizza ephemera news, the new-ish Jay Electronica single, "Exhibit C" that has been all over Hot 97 lately begins with this fantastic triplet: "When I was sleeping on the train / Sleeping on Meserole Ave out in the rain / Without even a single slice of pizza to my name." And the Just Blaze beat samples one of my favorite Billy Stewart songs!


  1. thanks for sharing!

    Jay Electronica... so sweet.

  2. the pizza i'm comparing the pornography is the lonely slice, purchased and eaten alone, by the lonely modern man who wanders from midtown to downtown, from 2 bros to 2 bros, the whole time lusting after a communal experience in which a pizza is created with and/or for friends. here's a new pizzapunk blog that exemplifies what i mean:

  3. you are nuts. also, it's unclear what you're claiming that Stations of the Crust exemplifies, but if it's "the lonely modern man," then you seem double-nuts. grammatically it is really unclear but i'll assume it stands in for your Communal Ideal, right?

    some of my most transcendent pizza eating experiences have been ordering a slice from the window while walking around alone and eating the slice alone. or! ordering slices when i'm riding my bike around and stacking them on plates in the basket and eating while i ride around real slow.

    either way, perhaps we can learn a lesson here about the impropriety of each of us universalizing our own experiences. and i'm just taking the piss, anyway.

  4. i think my critique comes from this block i have on just enjoying a slice, something just doesn't feel right after i eat it. i remember once i approached such a transcendental experience you describe... the pizza at 2 Bros that day was so good i was thinking this must be the best in new york, and two slices only cost me $2, i was feeling pretty good.

    then i noticed st marks with its noodle shops, headshops, punk stores, and collusion of high and low culture looked a lot like the urban environment from blade runner! suddenly the pizza changed into the food-substance from a sci-fi dystopia, something with a dual nature with one aspect satisfaction of the bodily necessities of the masses and the other a sinister pacification of their desires to break free.

    haha this isn't going to help your charge that's i'm nuts is it?

    anyway, pizza is awesome. i mean no disrespect. let's get some sometime.

  5. Maybe the pizza places that get good reviews would be into carrying your zine

  6. Hello Slice Harvester,

    I would like to say thank you..
    Because since long time i m searching for this and i got it..
    actually I LOVE PIZZA and fond of new experiment with different cafe of PIZZA and now i can through this blog..

    One of my fave is La Crosta

    Thank you

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