Friday, June 24, 2011

Anna Maria's Pizza: "BUT IT IS IN A MALL!"

Anna Maria's Pizza is in the food court of the mall at Pier 17 in the South Street Seaport. It is the weirdest food court I have ever been to, and for some reason made me think of Union Station in DC with it's fake internationalism. The other food stalls all had these oddly generic names like "Little Tokyo," "China Max," "Simply Seafood," and a place just called "Philly Cheesesteak" which allegedly featured "Live Cooking." I guess it is good to know that my food is not being prepared by androids? I don't know, the whole place made me feel uneasy, and the slice was $4.

This picture may not make it clear, but it was pretty big at least, considering the price. And it tasted more like real pizza than Pizza & Pasta Delight, and was decent if unremarkable, at least at first. But as we progressed along, the slice became less and less palatable. The ratio of cheese to everything else grew incrementally as we ate, until the very end of the slice became a sloppy, overly cheesy mess. And it had that grease taste that reminds you of bad butter. (Remind me to start a pop punk band called Bad Butter.) Chuck and me were really harshing on this slice, but Matt, who believed that the slice simply hadn't been cooked long enough, took up its defense willingly and fervently. "It's not necessarily the piece of pizza's fault that whoever is working didn't cook it well," he practically shouted at us. "They cooked a good piece of pizza badly!" I think there's definitely more wrong with this slice than the fact that it wasn't cooked enough, but Matt might be on to something.


Anna Maria's Pizza - $4.05
Pier 17 (Peck Slip & Dover, kinda)
New York, NY 10002

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Why I have chosen to discontinue distributing Slice Harvester Quarterly through Microcosm Publishing.

This post may not seem especially relevant to folks who are not involved in punk or activist communities, but it does address larger-scale issues of dealing with abuse and holding abusers accountable in any community, and what role individuals play in making that accountability happen.

Some years ago, Joe Biel, a co-founder of Microcosm, was publicly called out for being emotionally abusive in his relationship with his then-partner and Microcosm's other co-founder Alex Wrekk. He has also been called out as being manipulative in collective organizing with Microcosm. This whole time, the company maintained a degree of silence about this issue that I personally found totally odious and appalling.

Some time in 2009 or '10, (you can read an accurate timeline at Alex's website), Joe began engaging in a mediation/accountability process initiated by Cindy Crabb, publisher of Doris Zine and general rad ally and friend. I had already read Alex's zine about the abuse via Support New York, and was heartened to hear that Microcosm was perhaps finally taking accountability. In January of this year, Microcosm released a very problematic and disappointing statement, which has been critiqued by Cindy far more succinctly than I feel capable of right now. In February, someone from Microcosm contacted me to order new zines and I wrote them the following email:
Hey J----,

I don't think we know each other. I have had lengthy discussions with S---- in the past about some misgivings I've had about distributing through Microcosm, which she more or less helped me to quell, but those misgivings have been given new breath as of late.

Aside from doing Slice Harvester, my main project for many years has been doing perpetrator accountability work [with] Support New York ( here in NYC. Much as I appreciate the income generated by, and reliability of, turning a bulk of my mail-order over to Microcosm, my allegiance lies first and foremost with my beliefs around those who perpetuate abuse and how they should be held accountable.

Before agreeing to distribute through Microcosm a year or so ago, I had a number of long and very involved conversations over the phone with S---- in which she assured me that Joe's process was making progress and that the collective was totally into keeping him accountable. In light of some recent updates from Cindy Crabb, I don't feel like I can continue to distribute Slice Harvester with you all in good conscience. Even though SH is totally separate and anonymous project and is absolutely distinct from my accountability work, my commitment is still to that work, and when I think about continuing any kind of relationship with Microcosm, I get a feeling in the pit of my stomach that I've learned to heed.

I wish Microcosm had been a little more transparent about acknowledging Joe's abusive behavior from the get go, and I really wish it seemed like you all were acknowledging it at all right now. I can't even find the public statement you guys made about Joe's behavior anywhere on the website. Is it available outside of, where I finally found it in google? It doesn't seem very transparent or accountable to leave something so crucial off the website.

Overall, I am really disheartened by all of this and as I said, I don't think I feel comfortable working with you guys any longer.

love, Colin
No one at Microcosm bothered to respond. Earlier this week I was shown their most recent public statement, which was actually published on their website this time, at least. At the time I first saw this statement, there was a conversation going on in the comments section that seems to have disappeared now, but was luckily archived here. If the comments had still been open on that blog post, I probably would've written to Microcosm there instead of writing this public letter, but since they seem determined to close down any actual dialogue, I feel like I have no choice but to write something here.

While I think that the new statement is far more heartening than the last, I still feel majorly let down by it's timing, it's vagueness, and the silencing of criticism Microcosm has engaged in by hiding the comments that were previously posted. At this point, Microcosm has a few copies of Slice Harvester Quarterly #2 left and when they sell out I don't think I'll be selling them any more any time soon. I would urge any other zine makers who consider themselves an ally to stop working with Microcosm until they get their shit together, and I would urge everyone else to hold off on ordering from them until they prove themselves to be willing to engage in actual accountability and dialogue.

There are standards we must set in our community. Abuse and abusive behavior happen in this sick fucking society, there is no avoiding that. We are socialized to harm one another, and men in particular are socialized to be so disconnected from our emotions that the harm we cause is oftentimes inadvertent. However, it is each person's responsibility to be open and honest with themselves and the people in their lives and foster an environment where abuse accusations can be taken seriously, and both survivor and perpetrator can be given access to the healing they need. Microcosm's actions have done the exact opposite of that. They've given an abuser a shield to hide behind and perpetuate his shitty behavior while publicly seeming accountable, and that is untenable. Microcosm needs to get their shit together ASAP. This stuff is hard to navigate but they are majorly fucking up.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Pizza and Pasta Delight: "Double your pleasure, double your chin."

Last week I went and ate pizza with my close personal friend Chuck Van Dyke and my close personal acquaintance Matt Winn. Chuck is from Paris, TN, but mysteriously, Matt has a thicker Southern accent than him even though he grew up on Lawnguyland. He seems smart and reads a lot of thick books. I don't know him that well, so I'll just leave it at that.

Chuck, though, I know that guy real good. I met Chuck many years ago playing a show at the Jerk House and he was so shy and mysterious that I decided I had to be his friend. He was living in Chattanooga at the time, but I hung out with him a couple of times when he was coming through on tour and then one day he came to stay at The Fort for like, two weeks or something. Some time in there I got called in last minute to record The John Candies tape, and I was over there in the bedroom that Good Kid Paulie was sharing with like, 40 people. I was trying to set up the four track and was having tons of trouble getting the drums sounding right. I went out in the living room where I saw Chuck sitting on the couch and was like, "hey man, will you listen to something for a second? I can't get these drums sounding right." And he was all, "nah, I gotta go, I'm late for work." "Work?! How long are you in town for?" "I dunno... I guess I moved here."

At the time, Chuck had this goofy green hair and I think he maybe even had an earring and he definitely wore a sport strap on his glasses and he seemed so weird and I liked all the bands he had been in and so I was just like "I must best-friend this man." And then it was a total courtship. I took him for a bike ride to the museum and pretended that it was something I do all the time, and then we went to the record store and then ate tacos and drank beer at the water. I made him a Mixed Tape. Eventually I won him over and he became My Dawg and he still accepts me even though I'm not nearly as awesome as I seemed during those first few weeks of our burgeoning friendship. Also, he doesn't have the sport strap any more and his hair is not green, but now it looks like Johnny Ramone or like, Little Lord Fauntleroy or something and he always wears denim shirts, which is equally cool and weird. Anyway, this dude is a total winner.


Pizza & Pasta Delight is a weird dead zone. It's hidden away in this weird alcove where no one seems to go and the vibes inside are straight up mundane. Mad mundanity, son! The address of this place should be on Banal Street! Nyuck nyuck nyuck. For real though, one time I was in the car with my mother and I said "I used to always pronounce banal 'baynel' because it smells like anal." I was trying to say "it's spelled like anal" but I Freudian slipped on a big old pile of intellectual doodoo and landed flat on my ass. Not as bad as the time I called my mom after I read about the Sean Bell verdict in the Times and as soon as she answered I was like, "MA I AM SO FUCKING MAD RIGHT NOW I SWEAR TO GOD SOME DAYS YOU JUST WANT TO GO OUT AND MURDER ALL THE FUCKING PIGS IN THIS CITY..." and she was all, "Oh, you know, yeah, that's really great. You're actually on speaker phone because I am driving and your 200 year old conservative grandmother is sitting in the car next to me so now is probably not a good time. But I am sorry to hear you're feeling bad and we should talk about it later." Why am I even mentioning this? Because Pizza & Pasta Delight was such a boring empty dead zone that I have nothing to say about it!


And much like the ambiance of P & P Delight, the flavor of this pizza was nearly nonexistent. Matt called it "Ghost Pizza." Something about this whole place reminded me of that haunted train in Final Fantasy III, but sadly, that reference is probably lost on a bulk of my readership. Anyway, this pizza tasted like a piece of winterfresh that you've chewed all the flavor out of. You know how there's still like, a taste to old gum, but it tasted like NOTHING? This pizza is like that. And the texture was a nightmare. Matt said, "you don't even need your teeth to bite this pizza!" and Chuck was like, "yeah, it's like eating a piece of cake." I thought the crust sucked, but Matt seemed to find it inoffensive, at least, so there's that.


Pizza & Pasta Delight - $2.55
77 Fulton St (Gold & Cliff)
New York, NY 10038

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A map of all the pizza.

My mother complained to me yesterday that since she doesn't have a twitter or a facebook, she never sees any of the newspaper articles about me or the things that aren't pizza reviews, because I don't put that stuff on the blog anymore. So here you go, ma.

Jeff Manheimer made this map for me. We are still working out some small details, but I was never one to keep things secret until they're finished, so here it is now. I'm almost finished with eating all the pizza in Manhattan; by the time I'm done I'll have been at it for two years. The truth is, lately I've been feeling a little sour about the whole thing, like it's not that important or not that meaningful.

And it's neither of those things, but looking at all the information on this blog aggregated into points on a map makes me realize how monolithic it is. Whether or not it matters, I set out to do something HUGE and in a few weeks I'll have done it. And here is the proof. Thanks, Jeff.

This map is easily accessible at any time of day via the "The Map!" button up there at the top of the page. At Slice Harvester we are working day and night to keep you knowledgeable about local pizza parlors. Don't forget that. I'm not doing this for me, I'm doing this for YOU.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Lisa's Pizzeria: "Where's Lisa at?"

There is an incongruity between the brand new awning of Lisa's Pizzeria and the establishment's worn in and much loved interior that strikes a dissonant chord deep within my soul. That's maybe a little histrionic, but the point is, there is something terribly awry here. At first I thought there had just been like, a remodel of the facade, or whatever. As soon as I was handed my pizza, I became ill at ease. Lew seemed to be taking it easy and keeping his expectation low, but Justin bought into the decor's supposed authenticity hook line and sinker.

This slice wasn't terribly bad, but it wasn't too good. Lew said the sauce had "a vomit quality" to it, and while I wouldn't take it that far, I agree with his assertion that this slice was NO GOOD. At first Justin kept sticking with his guns, saying that the slice was okay, but he finally admitted, "this vaguely approaches what I am expecting to get when I think about ordering a slice of pizza." The crust was good, though, and the cheese was just sort of whatevs. But ultimately, despite the slight vomitude, this shit wasn't too bad. It just wasn't any good at all.


Lisa's Pizzeria - $2.75
76 Fulton St (Gold & Cliff)
New York, NY 10038

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Rosella's Pizzeria: "..."

This place is pretty mundane. Caruso's may have had a mediocre slice, but at least they had a charming man! This place had nothing really going for it and was totally unmemorable. At least I had good company, if I had been by myself I might've just Rip Van Winkled the rest of my life away and some children would've unearthed me in the corner 200 years from now with a beard stretching out the East River.

This slice looked straight up NYASTY behind the counter, but it looked a little more promising when it came out of the oven. But looks can be decieving, and a good slice is hard to find. And bad slices come in so many forms, so let me tell you about this one. Firstly, this slice is incredibly insubstantial. Everyone appreciates a thin crust, but this slice takes that concept too far. It is waifish, a will o' the wisp. This slice should extra in Oliver Twist or time travel and star in a CK One ad. This slice also had wet, sloppy sauce and totally bad cheese. My notes end with a resigned "this is just crummy." I don't know what else to say! It just ain't good.


Rosella's Pizzeria - $2.70
164 William St (Ann & Beekman)
New York, NY 10038

Friday, June 10, 2011

Caruso's Pizza & Pasta: "This might throw a wrench into my hypothesis that pizza was better in the 60s."

After me and Lew ate at Portabello's, we went over to City Hall Park to look at those wretched new Sol DeWitt sculptures, not smoke, and wait for our friend Justin Sullivan. Justin is someone whom I like a lot and respect immensely, and I have been wracked by a strong sense of trepidation in preparing to finally write about him. Sometimes when I hang out with Justin, I feel like I am a freshman and he is like, the cool senior who sees something in me that I don't even see and invites me out with the older kids. There's never anything condescending about it, he just exudes a certain amount of comfort with himself and comfort with his place in the world that I aspire to but will never achieve because of the constant Woody Allen narrative in my head. I have had a few Justin Sullivans in my life, he is not the first, but he is definitely the most relevant right now.

I was telling Lew as we sat on a bench and I kept rolling cigarettes and then realizing I wasn't allowed to smoke them and then sticking them in my hat, that sometimes, if I find myself in a sticky situation or trying to navigate awkward terrain, I'll think to myself, "what would Justin Sullivan do?" And the answer I always come up with is "Justin Sullivan wouldn't even be in this situation in the first place!" It's like that song Geoffrey Ingram by the Television Personalities, (which is kinda like that song David Watts by the Kinks minus the class critique and sardonic tone), which is basically Dan Treacy ruminating about his cool friend, for whom everything seems to work out. The refrain ends with the line, "Geoffrey always gets in as it starts to rain." Are you guys following me here?

The thing about Justin Sullivans is that they don't know they're Justin Sullivans, or else they wouldn't be a Justin Sullivan, they'd be a Justin Timberlake, and that guy is a dick! And like, I don't think that my friend is some total superman or anything, I know he has his own insecuritites, I've seen him make missteps. But he still seems like he's got his shit so together, and it's nice to see and it inspires me to be better myself.

And the thing about life is that everyone is someone's Justin Sullivan. I'm sure even I could be somebody's Justin Sullivan. I mean, if one didn't have access to my constant inner monologue, a position which I make difficult by publishing it in fanzines and all over the internet, one might take me for a cool and confident character. For fuck's sake, somebody out there is Justin Sullivan's Justin Sullivan. But the thing to really remember, if you want to keep a healthy perspective, is that Justin Sullivan may well be somebody's Phil Chapman! It's the circle of life, dog.

Our first stop was Caruso's Pizza & Pasta, on shitty old Fulton St. Caruso's is huge and was pretty empty when we went in. I walked up to the counter to order our slice while Lew and Justin just lurked behind me like the creeps that they are. The pizzaman, who was a potential John Turtorro, gestured to them and said, in his ambiguous Mediterraneanish accent, "what about them? What are they having?"
I looked over my shoulder and furrowed my brow, "them, nothin'."
"Nothin'?! Why nothin'?! Tell 'sgood pizza!"
"Nah, those guys, they're a couple a jerks. A couple of losers. Look at the long hair. They're deadbeats."
"Aaaaye! They seem like nice enough guys. And whatchoo sayin' about long hair?" he lifted his hat to reveal the makings of a ponytail tucked within. "I love long hair, I'm from the 60s!" He looked at my greasy punk vest and stupid tattoos. "You, when're you from?"
I told him I was from the future and then he handed me my slice and we both laughed.

I wanted to love this slice, because I love the guy who sold it to me, but I just didn't. It wasn't bad (!!), but it wasn't really too great, either. It had good grease, and excellent ratios. And the sauce was okay. But it was too floppy and undercooked and there was something wrong with the cheese. "I don't know what the quality is," Lew muttered, looking thoughtfully skyward, "but it's hard to chew. It's like bubblegum." And the dough tasted like a soft pretzel, which I kind of like. I've always thought pizza dough, bagels and soft pretzels belonged to the same family of bread. Same genus, different species. Like Wonderbread and Twinkies.

Justin said, "if I was just eating this slice and not analyzing it, I'd be happy." And he has a point, because it's not bad, but it definitely falls short. I don't know how they could remedy the cheese situation, but the dough would be helped immensely if they'd just cook the fucking thing a little more.


Caruso's Pizza & Pasta - $2.50
140 Fulton St (Nassau & Broadway)
New York, NY 10038