Artists consumer reports

Consumer Reports: Al Bedell

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Al Bedell is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York. Her work as been featured in various online publications and a handful of group shows. Last summer, she curated the exhibition “Young Adult” at Interstate Projects in Brooklyn that included work from, among others, Ann Hirsch and Borna Sammak. Her debut novella, I Would Do Anything For Love, is available here. She has a taste for finer things such as canned sardines, YA fiction, flavored coffee from Dunkin Donuts, and Top 40 radio. You can find her on any of her nine active Twitter accounts.

During Bedell’s Consumer Report, “Kiss Me” by Sixpence None the Richer gets played at the Duane Reade, Lana Del Ray gets played at the juice spot, and Lady Gaga is heard at Starbucks. All the while, Donald Trump is still president. This jam-packed episode also includes ruminations on math rock, La La Land, and a lot more. Do not sleep on this one. —John Chiaverina

Monday, February 6

7:15 a.m.

truck
Wake up in Bushwick to a jackhammer outside my window, which drowns out Jeff Spurgeon on WQXR. Consider calling 311 but I don’t think you’re allowed to report construction. I don’t understand why the roads just can’t get fixed once and for all.

Text ARTnews John and tell him I’ll have my Consumer Report completed “by Friday” and I hope he realizes that I actually mean “next week.” I was supposed to have this done about a month ago.

Check Twitter. Mostly bad news. I haven’t been able to tweet anything since the inauguration, as it’s pretty tone-deaf and selfish to spew out my pointless, albeit hilarious, musings while the world is burning.

Borna tweets “Good morning lesbayaños” and I throw it a like. Borna immediately texts “hi al” and we make plans to get a Bushwick breakfast “in 40 minutes.”

40 minutes later

Borna picks me up in the Jeep. He’s listening to college radio. “Is this the Beach Boys?” He points to the Jeep screen. It reads “Shins.” “Shins,” he says. Three days earlier (my birthday) someone with a Brian Wilson tattoo had texted me “u up?” at 3 a.m. I guess the Beach Boys are still on my mind.

10:00 a.m.

After driving around for a very long time we decide to go to Bushwick’s Living Room even though that place sucks but it is the only place open before noon because Bushwick sucks.

We sit at the bar and I grab the Arts & Leisure section of the New York Times. We begin to do the crossword and the bartender yells at us to stop. He explains that he needs to make copies before a particular customer arrives. He comes in every morning to drink tequila and do the puzzle. “He lives for it,” he says.

10:15 a.m.

Tequila Guy arrives.

10:25 a.m.

Tequila Guy finishes the puzzle.

11:30 a.m.

Borna and I complete the puzzle with just one letter remaining. We ask Tequila Guy for help and he says he had trouble with that one too. Apparently ‘AKINS’ is a type of ‘jelly spread.’

12:00 p.m.

Pick up my laptop and notebooks and head to my office/studio, Skytown, a coffee place underneath the Myrtle-Broadway JMZ. Sucks there but I like it because I am often the only patron.

12:15 p.m.

Enter Skytown and to my dismay there is a guy with a beard in my normal spot next to the outlet. I ask if it’s cool if I sit next to him and he says yes. He’s working on music stuff on Logic. The barista is blasting Pavement and I ask him to turn it down. He complies. I attempt to work on my novel which is the hardest, most annoying thing in the world and I hate it.

Reply to some emails, almost all over them begin with “So sorry for the delay!” Check the feed. More bad news. Read some Glossier reviews. I might drink the Kool-Aid.

Start reading Cat Marnell’s book. It’s really good and I am now discouraged from writing my own.

2:30 p.m.

Give up on Skytown and hit up the Salvation Army next door. Find a Giraffes Giraffes shirt and then revisit the genre of math rock when I get home. Text Paris about it and we text names of former math rock bands back and forth for a few minutes until it gets depressing.

shirt
2:45 p.m.

Finish listening to Lightning Bolt and queue up last week’s episode of Dance Moms with Dan. We watch it together remotely every week because we have sad lives.

Dan texts “I’m pressing play now.”

“Me too,” I reply.

We text throughout the episode just as we always do.

“I can’t believe Nia didn’t nail that front aerial.”

“OMG I know!!”

We are losers.

3:30 p.m.

Eat an Adderall and Juno to Mike’s in Carroll Gardens. Trying to get out of the habit of calling it an Uber.

Attempt to write at the kitchen table.

laptop
(Procrastinate.)

Listen to my Discover Weekly playlist on Spotify. Most of it is lame but there’s a cute song by the Sundays called “Hideous Towns” and I listen to that like 12 times in a row. There’s also a song by Girlpool on it but I had already ‘discovered’ that band two years ago via my ex in LA.

Add a Voxtrot song to my Brunch Punk playlist.

5:00 p.m.

The Adderall kicks in and Mike tells me he’s making salmon for dinner. I fail to mention that I have no appetite.

7:00 p.m.

Mike gets home and I turn off that Sundays song. “ALEXA, play NPR.”

Fresh Air plays while he cooks the fish and I write a bunch of incoherent nonsense in my notebook.

8:30 p.m.

We begin to watch a torrent of La La Land. As someone who loves corny stuff I am expecting to enjoy it. Boy, am I mistaken. Mike asks if we should turn it off but I choose to endure. There must be a reason why everyone is obsessed with this movie.

I text Dan to talk shit on LLL. We laugh. Mike asks, “Are you and Dan talking shit on La La Land?”

I can feel my inherent bitchiness is surfacing. “Is something bad going to happen?” I ask about an hour and half into it. I still haven’t smiled once.

“Yes, Al.”

The bad thing in the movie happens and I cry. Like, a lot. I guess I understand why everyone is obsessed with this movie…but, like, not REALLY. Ryan Gosling is hot though.

~11:30 p.m.

Fall asleep listening to an old woman tell a heartwarming story about Coney Island on The Moth.

Tuesday, February 7

8:00 a.m.

Text The Thread (my group text) “I woke up in the same bad mood I was in yesterday.” Consider the notion that this perpetual bad mood is actually just my personality. The Moth is still playing. It’s raining. I snooze.

9:00 a.m.

“ALEXA, play NPR.”

Eat some yogurt and listen to the NPR people talk about Trump calling America a country of murderers. Someone says “a broken clock is right twice a day.”

11:00 a.m.

Take the F train to the West Village. Still raining. Sean says he’s also in a bad mood so I send him a song called “Land of My Dreams” by Anna Domino and he says it’s very fitting for the day.

11:30 a.m.

Buy a bottle of water from Duane Reade. “Kiss Me” by Sixpence None The Richer is playing. Classic Duane Reade.

12:00 p.m.

Text Mike and apologize for being a bitch about La La Land. Also tell him that I’m going to write about that in my Consumer Report. “Hope that’s cool! <3”

Realize I am deeply affected by La La Land. The last time a movie stuck with me like this was the time I watched Birdman on an airplane.

1:30 p.m.

Check Twitter. More bad news. DeVos. Close Twitter. Open Instagram. Like a picture of a bowl of oranges.

2:30 p.m.

East Village – Listen to a Spotify playlist my gay friend Nick made titled “Yellow Heart.” It’s about the time he sent way too many texts to his crush and simply received the yellow heart emoji as a response. I don’t think they ever spoke again. The first song on the playlist is “Heart of Gold” obviously.

2:47 p.m.

Midtown East – Get a half salad from Così. Martin tags me in a Chipotle post on Facebook. They’re holding a one-day contest where you comment a haiku on the post. The person whose haiku receives the most likes is rewarded with free burritos for a year.

chipotle
I post a haiku.

haiku
3:00 p.m.

Oliver sends a bizarre video of a woman eating corn on the cob.

corn
Look at more Trump stuff on the feed. Still raining.

5:00 p.m.

Upper West Side – buy new socks because mine are wet.

socks
Walk into a juice place where Lana Del Ray is playing. A child is misbehaving so I walk out juiceless.

Go to a “tap room” and order a seltzer. I Shazam an acoustic cover of Robyn’s “Dancing on My Own.” A major pet peeve is male singer/songwriters changing the pronouns when covering a woman’s song to make it heteronormative. Another pet peeve is male singer/songwriters.

Read more bad news on the feed.

6:00 p.m.

panel
Panel on Selfie Feminism at the New School. I take some notes:

Does feminism need rules?

Is selfie feminism a brand of white feminism?

Ownership of body removed when body is put online

Lacan’s right to opacity

Womanist vs. Feminist

Internet Fatigue

Gentrification of the Internet

In response to a question about subverting the male gaze Ann remarks that “men will find a way to gaze at anything on the Internet.” Love her.

I recognize that I am the dumbest person in the entire room.

9:30 p.m.

We all meet at Spain. I order a ton of vodka sodas with lemon. We discuss productive ways to resist fascism and then agree that we should all start journaling.

Nick DeMarco asks if I’m going to lie on my Consumer Report and I say “Maybe a little bit. Did you lie on yours?”

“Maybe a little bit.”

11:30 p.m.

Juno back to Carroll Gardens where Mike briefs me on the Trump stuff I had missed that day and I continue to drink vodka. He references Ulysses but I had never read Ulysses so he pulled up some text from the book and even though the text is very pretty and I appreciate all the flower words it’s hard for me to follow so then we watch a portrayal of Molly Bloom’s soliloquy on YouTube and it’s really hot so we make out and it’s cool and I don’t think I’ll ever read Ulysses but I respect James Joyce for doing what he did, very cool style, it must have taken him years, I’ll probably never finish my stupid novel, I suck at writing and thinking.

Wednesday, February 8

8:22 a.m.

“ALEXA, play NPR.” Trump stuff. Weather stuff. It’s going to be 60 degrees today. Climate change stuff. Someone says “winter storm warning” every three minutes.

9:07 a.m.

Hangover begins to set in. Read more Trump stuff on the feed. Learn about Sessions. Hangover strengthens. Go back to sleep.

12:00 p.m.

Wake back up and feel like a major wastoid. Eat a grapefruit. Resist urge to tell Alexa to order some of those special grapefruit spoons with the teeth.

NPR people discuss backpage.com and mention “Internet freedom.” I think about the gentrification of the Internet again. I didn’t know what Backpage was until it got shut down.

Head is killing me. I’m never drinking again.

12:30 p.m.

Fire up last week’s episode of This American Life on the F train. It’s about coincidences. Apparently you’re more likely to experience the coincidence phenomenon when you’re in or around the Netherlands. There’s also a really crazy story about a girl writing her name on a bunch of dollar bills because she believes that the man who will have returned the dollar bill to her is the man she will marry. She ended up marrying the guy who returned the dollar bill to her like twenty years later or something.

There’s another story about two girls getting off the same train at 2nd Ave and throwing up in the garbage together.

1:30 p.m.

Lunch with a Dutch Architect in Chelsea. We eat sandwiches in the park because the weather is so nice. I tell him about the coincidence podcast and ask if it’s true about synchronicity being common in the Netherlands. “I never really noticed,” he says.

He asks if I’ll write a monologue for an art film he shot and I say yes even though I know it will be months before I get around to even thinking about it.

I met the Dutch Architect a few months ago at Remedy Diner. We were both eating chili and decided to get drinks. He doesn’t know that I stalked him on the Internet and found out he has a secret girlfriend. He still hasn’t told me about secret girlfriend but we have remained friends who lunch once a fortnight while he’s at work.

2:30 p.m.

Tattoo removal appointment in Flatiron. I can’t wait to rid my body of the tribal tattoo I chose from the parlor wall when I was 15 years old. Peaceful spa music is playing but it doesn’t distract me from the pain of the laser.

When the session ends I step into the elevator and there is only one person in there with me. We descend two floors before we look at each other.

“Hey.”

“Hey.”

The random person in the elevator happens to be my friend visiting from LA for just one week. I tell him about the coincidence podcast and we both kind of freak out. He then tells me that he is actually in the wrong building, “not even joking!” So wild, right?

4:00 p.m.

Murray Hill – Grab a coffee and listen to teenage girls chat in a Starbucks. “Telephone” starts playing.

“I used to love Lady Gaga. I wonder what happened to her.”

“She got so weird.”

“Beyoncé is like a mom now.”

Chainsmokers song starts playing.

“Oh my god, I love this song.”

“Saaaaaaaame.”

I silently agree.

5:00 p.m.

froyo
Upper East Side – Watch Spongebob with a bunch of nannies and babies in 16 Handles. I want to go home.

6:00 p.m.

hole
Back in Murray Hill at a restaurant called Jackson Hole. Fox News is on the TV screen while John Lennon’s “Imagine” plays.

alpha
11:00 p.m.

Finally home in Bushwick – Exhausted. Get into bed and take a melatonin and a weed caramel in hopes that it would put me to sleep. Boy, am I wrong.

Writhe in bed for the rest of the night as every anxiety I never even thought I had violently emerges. Evaluate every facet of my life and realize everything I’ve ever done has been a mistake and I’m never going to be a good person. My family hates me. I’ll never find love. I’m a fraud. What am I doing with my life? Everyone I know is going to die one day. Donald Trump is president. I’m never going to finish writing my book. It’s too late to fix my life. Stop eating so much junk food. Spiral in agony until the morning construction begins again.

Thursday, February 9

8:30 a.m.

Get into one of the biggest fights I have ever had with my roommate of five years. She reaffirms all of the horrible thoughts I had last night. She’s watching the Trevor Noah show and I leave the house crying. There’s an effing blizzard outside.

9:00 a.m.

Roommate texts me to apologize, that Fashion Week is making her crazy. We make up but I still feel miserable and Donald Trump is still president.

10:00 a.m.

Solo breakfast at Waverly Diner. Watch the snow fall and listen to a grandmother tell her granddaughter that she used to walk to school in the snow every day. Classic Grandma. She says she used to get an egg drop soup and a packet of Sugar Babies for lunch. Very cute.

I order a cantaloupe with cottage cheese because it reminds me of my late grandmother. The song that’s like “you’re the meaning in my life, you’re the inspiraaaation” is playing. The snow looks pretty.

11:30 a.m.

Find out I no longer have a job.

Heartbroken, I listen to Elliott Smith on my slushy walk to the L train. Angel in the snow.

1:00 a.m.

Decide I’m going to turn my novel into a memoir. Buy Adderall in Ridgewood.

2:00 p.m.

Meet up with Kerry and Forrest at Hi Hello in Bushwick and I order red wine. I still haven’t looked at the feed yet today but I’m sure terrible things are happening.

Continue to get drunk and sob.

3:00 p.m.

Meet up with Dan at Pearl’s and drink more. I used to have a crush on one of the bartenders here but I think maybe he died or moved to LA.

Realize I lost my debit card.

4:00 p.m.

Juno to the bank before it closes so I can get a new debit card. The bank is closed due to snow. No debit card for me today.

4:30 p.m.

Return to Skytown. It’s happy hour and some embarrassing emo revival bullsh*t is blasting. Bushwick really sucks.

More drinking, more sobbing.

Bail on plans with Sam because I look ugly and insane.

8:30? p.m.

Drink a flask of vodka in my bedroom and turn on Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Emotion.” I’m wasted and have already sent a million desperate texts to everyone I know.

“I’m so scared” “I don’t know what I’m going to do” “I’m poor now” “I want to kill myself” “Do you know of anyone hiring???” “WHAT AM I GOING TO DO???????” “I’m a loser and I want to die” “I can’t get a copywriting job in midtown again. I just CAN’T”

Carly Rae makes me feel a little better though, in a feeling-sorry-for-myself way. Sometimes feeling sorry for yourself is just as comforting as bragging about yourself.

Cry myself to sleep.

Friday, February 10

7:15 a.m.

Construction outside. Gray snow on the ground. Trump is still president.

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