Always a bit chancy to start one’s Bell End week with communal Mexican. Once you’ve opened a trail through the arroyo for hand-made masa harina tortillas, for orange chipotle chicken and refried beans throbbing with lard, how is it possible to slam the door in the spackled and lipstick-smeared face of Bell End Marge? For those of you blissfully unacquainted with this prinked out doyenne of the Bell End cocktail credenza; she’s essentially a Bovina import, ingredients tweaked to reflect developments in tequila research at The Greene Grape on Fulton Street. Centinela for Hornitos, Harlequin for Patron Citronge. And none of that opaque, organic lime juice with the whiff of coconut, neither. Simple knife-edge Real Lime from the supermarket, or actual juice from the bonny wee balls themselves. And that’s it. No simple syrup, no gooey Rose’s Cordial, no sour mix, nothing, nothing. Marge’s secrets are in the percentages of her proof and the diabolical alchemy of her disguise. Marge is embalming fluid in Slurpee’s clothing. She enters demurely as Elizabeth Taylor in National Velvet, slithers into the same in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, gives a passing nod to Paul Masson era Orson Wells, en route to her final destination: contemporary Shane MacGowan.
Tuesday evening Marge held court with several friends of Bell End. A first shift of familiar faces, terribly aware of her mephitic powers (yet seemingly powerless to resist): Rob and Lisa Howard, Joe DeSalvo: Justus Kempthorne and luminous Inez Valk, both of whom teetered off glassily before the food hit the table. Then the second shift: Casey Tierney, Jeremy Stenger and Naomi Nista; Marge neophytes who grasped her nettle with giddy abandon. Before the guacamole was bruising, words of two syllables had become complex Rubik’s Cubes of linguistic linguini. By the time the shots of tequila were drizzled by Naomi into cups crafted from whittled cucumber, all shentences had become shynonymoush shasshafrash shaushages of sharshparilla. When it came time for Arecibo to do their end of evening human cleanup – spiriting non-residents back to their pre-Marge lives – trusty Manuel stumbled into a scene reminiscent of Hogarth’s Bedlam, replete with cackling, toothless crones and men with sores rocking in corners.
Wednesday was a post-Marge blank. Small bands of swaddled humans plodding across a seamless grey panorama of pointlessness and waste into the teeth of an icy gale. Basically Cormac McCarthy’s The Road with sandwiches from Choice Market on Lafayette. Things improved with the arrival of Luke Meyer and India D’Arthenay Adams (who is much less like one of The Three Musketeers than she sounds) bearing a white wine antidote. They improved still further when Heather Tehrani appeared at the door in sudden, unexpected silhouette, looking delightfully slinky and feline, and camped out on couch 1 with red wine and epic poetry worthy of The Iliad.
Thursday was a Bell End photo shoot for Men’s Journal, with Complete and Utter Bellender Guido Vitti hopping the Acela from Boston. Lovely to meet Jennifer Santana at last, though disappointing that she didn’t do the guitar break from Black Magic Woman. Also nice to reconnect with Elysha Lenkin, who we hadn’t seen since we sheltered together from rampaging Velociraptors on Mott Street in prehistory. Wish we’d had a steamer for her, whatever the fuck that means. Also welcomed a delightful little gamine model from Long Island, who we confidently anticipate will enjoy several incandescent moments on the internet, if she hasn’t already.
Lovely to spend two days with Total Bellender Lucas Mulder, who used his midwifery skills to assist in homebirthing this, the Bell End site, onto Patrik Ervell’s rug in front of couch 2, and went on to sauté the placenta with a little crushed coriander and black truffle oil. He also accompanied us to Chuko for upwardly mobile ramen and some auroral, squirrelish waitress attention.
Thanks to everyone for a shimmering first official week. Next week’s residents include Clint Simonson, Linda Aldredge, Pia Dehne, Mark O, Rob and Lisa Howard. And let’s not forget The Feast Day of St Sanjay Patel on Thursday, which will be celebrated at Bell End with vast tracts of Indian Food and kind thoughts for dear Taylor Foster who will by then be battling her first dose of dysentery in Rishikesh. Namaste, darlings.