I was hanging out on Second Avenue, talking over old times and people with Adrian, who, it turns out, used to live in the same house in San Francisco that I did, back when it was inhabited by members of the Cockettes and Angels of Light, and, it further turns out, hightailed it out of San Francisco around the same time I did in 1973 and wound up on 11th Street - as I did.
The difference was that I went skulking back to San Francisco the following year, whereas Adrian has been in New York ever since. From time to time I kind of regret not sticking it out here in the city, but I guess I just wasn't ready back then, and sometimes wonder if I am even today. New York's a very different place - almost unrecognizably so - from what it was in the 70s, but while the sheer physical brutality and ugliness of the bad old days has all but vanished - or at least been driven to the nether reaches of the outer boroughs, there's still a metaphysical intensity that can pummel the soul with the same grim certainty and persistence that the Atlantic unleashes upon the perennially eroding shoreline.
But oh, never mind; I only meant to say that Adrian highly recommended the new movie Ghost Town, which, judging from the previews I'd seen, didn't seem particularly funny or entertaining. Well, I took Adrian's advice and headed up to Times Square to see it, and all I can say is that whoever threw together the trailer should be fired forthwith, because the movie is both hilariously funny and deeply touching. I wouldn't have thought Ricky Gervais had it in him to stretch beyond his usual drolly misanthropic schtick, but I couldn't have been more wrong: while there's plenty of the usual Gervaisian moaning and muttering, the man actually can act. Well, I assume that's what he was doing, to get all of us in the cinema to practically want to hug him by the time the credits rolled. A nice little meditation on how to live, and why. Perfect for seeing one of these melancholy nights as autumn closes in. New York (do they actually make films in any other city anymore?) has seldom looked lovelier as well.