I had the pleasure, somewhat recently, of eating pizza with this guy Jeffrey Lewis, who sometimes comes over to my house when I'm not home to sit with my roommate and watch Geto Boys videos on youtube and talk about being geniuses. Despite having a couple mutual friends, Jeff and I had never met when he wrote me about Slice Harvester, and I was quick to invite him along to share some slices with me. He writes a comic book called Guff or Fuff or something (both, apparently), which I have admittedly never read, but he also makes records and they are some of the best records I've ever heard.
A few years ago I saw him play a show with my friend Kimya Dawson and was totally blown away by how well his songs captured the subtlety and nuance of being Completely Unsure of Yourself. It's like alchemy the way Jeff turns the crippling horror of living into rad music. One song that has especially resonated with me, and which I revisit quite frequently, is Williamsburg Will Oldham Horror, a mumbling diatribe that I think anyone who makes art of any kind should be able to relate to. Jeff articulates anxiety in a manner which I think is really impressive and especially powerful in that way where when you name something ambiguous and terrifying and describe it's parameters in certain terms, it's easier to grapple with. Monsters are less scary in the dark, or whatever, you know? Or like, maybe they're not even monsters at all. Maybe you're the monster, maaaaaan.
Despite looking like something out of La Strada from out front, Pizza Rustica was actually really boring inside. The clientele was a selection of greasy weirdos, so that was cool. No one seemed quite normal in there, but maybe that's just one of those things where no one actually is normal, or whatever. Like, maybe anyone can seem like a weirdo in a certain context, and maybe Pizza Rustica is the sort of place that makes everyone seem like a weirdo. So in that regard, maybe it's pretty cool.
But the pizza... oy gevalt! This pizza tastes like it has been frozen before. I'm just starting to put it together that this is a unified phenomenon that has happened on a number of slices, where a few factors work in conjunction to make a slice taste remarkably like Krazdale Brand Frozen Pizzas. It has something to do with a certain kind of mealiness in the dough, and cheese that is lumpy, rather than even. Like, cheese that falls apart in chunks as opposed to spreads and thins until it breaks like bubble gum. Jeff said that the cheese "hadn't really integrated with the rest of the slice." I would take that critique one step further and say that the cheese on this slice hadn't even really integrated with itself. To top it all off, the sauce was too sweet.
Pizza Rustica - $2.25
817 2nd Ave (btw. 43rd and 44th)
New York, NY 10017