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Rev. Jen, Faceboy reveal Downtown secrets for cool, cheap, seasonal thrills!
BY REVEREND JEN MILLER, FACEBOY & SCOTT STIFFLER | Ah, summer in the Lower East Side — where the concrete traps the heat, the temps hover in the low 90s through the night and the pretty people are drenched in sweat before opening the 16 locks on their five-story tenement walkups.
In more robust economic times, we’d withdraw our plump vacation fund from the bank, purchase a smart new wardrobe and be off to some distant, exotic locale (like, say, one of the outer boroughs).
But these days, who has the money to lavish on indulgences like subway fare and ballpark franks? Best to stay close to home and amass a seasonal stash with that $15 you raised from the deposit money on those Budweisers that double as cooling devices and coping mechanisms.
MEET YOUR NIFTY, THRIFTY HOSTS
SAINT REVEREND JEN MILLER | Originally from Middle Earth, Maryland, Rev. Jen is an “elf that lives in a Troll Museum above a shoe store, with a Chihuahua named Reverend Jen Junior.” She is “an Art Star, author, Troll Museum curator, columnist, guru, open mike host, ambassador to the otherworld, underground movie star, Voice of the Downtrodden & Tired and Patron Saint of the Uncool.” Rev. Jen is founder and host of The Anti-Slam (formerly at the soon-to-be-shuttered-for-upgrades Bowery Poetry Club; soon to have a new home). Unlike poetry slams where a panel evaluates performers based on a numerical scale, all who take to the Anti-Slam stage receive a perfect 10. “I don’t believe in talent or genius,” says Rev. Jen, “but in authenticity and desire.” Rev. Jen’s latest book, “Elf Girl,” makes a wonderful beach or rooftop read. Support the LES by purchasing it at Bluestockings Bookstore (bluestockings.org; at 172 Allen St.). For info, visit revjen.com.
FACEBOY | Born and raised in Greenwich Village, Faceboy began a long friendship and collaboration with Rev. Jen when the two met in the mid-1990s — as Faceboy began what would become a 13-year run of “Faceboyz Open Mike” (which happened mostly at Surf Reality). Based on Rev. Jen’s dubbing her Anti-Slam performers as “Art Stars,” Faceboy declared Downtown’s emerging comedy performance circuit as the “Art Star Scene” (A.S.S.). Faceboy recently returned as a producer and host of “Faceboyz Folliez.” Like Rev. Jen’s Anti-Slam, “Folliez” was performed monthly at Bowery Poetry Club and might take a short hiatus. For info, visit faceboyzfolliez.com.
YOUR $15 LOWER EAST SIDE SUMMER
Thursday, June 21, 11am: As we met on the already sweltering sidewalk of an undisclosed Lower East Side location, the sinister power of Mother Nature’s wrath was on the front burner of our minds.
“We all knew it was going to be a very hot day,” Faceboy recalled in our extensive exit interview. “Being a weather junkie, I had stats at the ready. I noted that summer officially began at 7:09 pm on June 20 — making this not just the first full summer day, but also the first heat wave. In NYC, a heat wave is defined as three days in a row of temperatures 90 degrees and above (and we were in day two). Discussing my fave subject, Rev. and I had this little exchange.”
FACEBOY: Did you know that heat is the leading cause of weather-related deaths? More than hurricanes, tornadoes and mist combined!
REV. JEN: Mist kills people?
FACEBOY: Sometimes people put on their windshield wipers when it’s misty and then it just spreads the dirt around and then they can’t see so they have an accident…sometimes. Heat, however, claims more lives each year than floods, lightning, tornadoes and hurricanes combined.
But Faceboy (who, if he were to continue raining on our parade, would have at least provided some relief from the oppressive heat) isn’t all about sober heat-related statistics. “Did you know,” he queried, “that snow blowers are the leading cause of severed fingers? The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that each year more than 5,700 emergency room-related visits stem from snow blower accidents, with around 590 of them requiring finger amputations. And since 1992, the CPSC has recorded 19 deaths involving snow blowers.
And with that, we decided to let the good times roll!
(80 Clinton St.)
With global warming an increasingly accepted reality (even Republicans and Creationists are starting to come around), our first concern was avoiding the sun’s crippling rays. Shade, of course, is your best defense. But who can wait for the encroachment of high-rise buildings to spread out from Bowery to the depths of the LES? Sadly, it will be years until gentrification and construction turn the ’hood into Downtown Midtown. For now, some amount of walking in the sun can’t be avoided. So, as Rev. Jen observes:
“The number one item on our shopping list was a $4.99 parasol (otherwise known as an umbrella) — because the aim of every Downtown artist during summer should be to protect their pasty white bodies from the sun. No one wants the Irish Acne! Especially when you don’t have health insurance, which most artists don’t. Secondly, premature aging is caused by many things: drinking, smoking and sunshine. Sunshine doesn’t rank very high on my list, so I utilize the largest sunglasses available to prevent crow’s feet. Both Jackie O and the Olsen Twins made oversized sunglasses fashionable — but if you ask me, they didn’t go far enough.”
NOTE: The sunglasses were provided from the Rev. Jen collection. Although not part of the $15 budget, they are available at Party City for a mere $4…cheaper than Botox!
#2: BANK OF AMERICA
(92 Delancey St.)
#3: B & B VARIETY STORE
(110 Ludlow St.)
#4: ESSEX STREET MARKET
(120 Essex St.)
REV. JEN ASKS:Is anything better than watermelon? One thing: booze! But the good news is that you can have both at once by purchasing watermelon at Essex Street Market and a good ole nip of rum at Jade Liquors. Poke holes in the watermelon and douse it with rum. Take it on a picnic and stick it to “The Man,” who will never suspect you are drinking in public. Unfortunately, during our shopping spree we overestimated our funds and could afford neither the watermelon nor the rum, ensuring that we retain our girlish figures. Which brings me to my next point:
Why join a gym when you can do the “Elf Workout” — one of four short films on ASS Studios’ first-ever DVD? It stars Reverend Jen and Faceboy doing moves that will get you rock hard in no time. At $14, it’s outside of the budget, but the good news is that it’s on sale at Kim’s Video (124 First Ave.) for a mere $12.97!
FREE BONUS ACTIVITY
Go to the Tenement Museum Visitor’s Center (103 Orchard St.) and watch the free movie about immigration in order to obtain air conditioning while learning about people whose circumstances were much shittier than our own.