Thursday, May 27, 2010

I hate Sex in the City

I hate Sex and the City..... But, I can't escape it. Posters are all over my block. People are posting about it on facebook. I hate these hos. So, I dug up my old Entertainment Law Final. A lot of readers have been curious about how the hell a goon like me actually graduated law school. Well, here is a sample LOL. I submitted this paper called Sex in Her Shitty as my law school final and had to watch pretty much every episode to write it. True story. The Professor is also now my attorney so that's cool. I cut out most of the boring shit. Hopefully it is entertaining... At the least, it's just fun to see what you can get away with in law school. I can't wait to write something like this to chairman bao truck haha.

The Trademark Dilution Revision Act's Implications of Pornody

      Pipedream specializes in the design, manufacture, and sale of adult entertainment products including the “Super Star Series.” Recently, they released the "Sarah Jessica Pork-Her: Sex in Her Sh$@@y" doll ("Pipedream Doll") parodying HBO's Sex in the City and Sarah Jessica Parker's character, Carrie Bradshaw. The Pipedream Doll utilizes the same font as the HBO mark, a look-a-like model, similar photographic style, and the words "Sex" and "in." Other parodies in the series include Jessica Simpson's Daisy character from Dukes of Hazard,Tori Spelling’s Beverly Hills 90210 character, and Paris Hilton as her fabulous self.

      The Super Star Series not only parodies the character, but also the lifestyle and culture the character represents. Sarah Jessica Pork-Her comments on the Manhattan single woman and her cosmo-twirling sexually liberal lifestyle, which is made obvious by the box cover image of the look-a-like holding a cosmopolitan in a brightly sequined dress and high heels. But, the question must be asked, does this product violate HBO’s Sex in the City trademark? Because the issue of consumer confusion seems to strongly favor Pipedream due to the red light district type product and outrageous packaging, I will instead address the more competitive issue concerning trademark dilution.


      Does Pipedream's "Sarah Jessica Pork-Her: Sex in Her Sh$@@y" doll tarnish or blur HBO's Sex in the City trademark? 


      As Hormel Foods points out, "Tarnishment can occur through a variety of uses. Some cases have found that a mark is tarnished when its likeness is placed in the context of sexual activity, obscenity, or illegal activity."20 If a senior mark was associated with a junior mark that lives in a sexual setting, it would usually be a blow to defendant's claim against tarnish. But, this situation is unique because sex is a central theme to both the senior and junior marks. Sex in the City catalogs Carrie Bradshaw's numerous sexual escapades and there are many references to sex toys such as Season 1, Episode 9: "The Turtle and The Hare," Charlotte one of the main characters becomes addicted to a vibrator called "the rabbit."21 It is very difficult for HBO to claim tarnishment from the Pipedream Doll because Carrie, her co-horts, and the story line all indulge in like objects and raunchy sexual discourse. Taking these circumstances into account, Pipedream's parody of Sex in the City does not tarnish HBO's senior mark.

      Sex and the City has been critically acclaimed for exposing the New York Singles Scene and presenting sex from Carrie Bradshaw's raunchy female perspective that holds no punches. As Georgie Binks writes, "At first, I have to admit, the sex aspect intrigued me. It's not every day, after all, that you actually see naked people in compromising positions on a mainstream television show. It's rarer still to hear a woman swear as much as Samantha did during the course of a meal."22 When viewed in this light, Pipedream's product being sexual does not carry the circumstantial weight a sexual association usually would in tarnishment analysis. Carrie Bradshaw was the vehicle for exploring what its creator, Darren Star, saw as "real life," he said, "It's a lot about talking about sex, thinking about sex. Every third thought is a sexual thought, and I think that's what this show is about - what people are really thinking about is sex."23 The show, the characters, the creator, and the viewers embrace the show for its raw take on sex and Carrie Bradshaw has become a cultural symbol representing women having sex like men.24

      Judy Cox states:
            This is sex in a context where women are explicitly trying to turn the
      tables on men, 'to have sex just like men do', but by this they mean to have sex  
      without any emotional involvement, to have sex casually and then walk away.
      Thus it is seen as liberating to have an orgasm and then leave before the man you  
      are having sex with does. Thus it is seen as taboo breaking to discuss anal sex,
      but in the same conventional terms as women used to discuss losing their virginity
      in the 1950s and 1960s. Thus it is seen as a great breakthrough to 'reclaim' words
      which are the most offensive towards women and their bodies.25

Parodying Carrie through the creation of a blow up doll seems to function in the same sphere as the show itself and the reputation of HBO's mark is not harmed. HBO may attempt to make a Deere type claim that the lack of prestige in Pipedream's Doll tranishes the mark's ability to serve as a "wholesome identifier,"26 but it is clear that Sex in the City has never been a wholesome identifier. It's opening credits to each and every show clearly present its heroine making the "walk of shame" home.

      Shelton Hull states,
            Concepts such as restraint, decorum, reputation and (watch out!) feminine
      virtue are scarcely mentioned. The awkward exit that often caps an urban one
      night-stand is only alluded to in the show’s opening sequence, which shows
      Carrie hobbling on her heels, hailing a cab in last night’s finery. Because she’s
      an independent woman, with her own money and (we assume) goals, it does not
      matter what happens to her reputation in the most densely-populated place on  

      The symmetry of Sex in the City's character driven shenanigans and storylines blend seemlessly with Pipedream's Doll, which is what makes the parody so effective. There are several statements being made, one of which is commentary on what is and isn't appropriate while also identifying a social inconsistency. Carrie is a single New York woman with a seemingly insatiable sexual appetite. In HBO's episode guide, the synopsis for Season 3, Episode 36 appropriately titled "Are We Sluts?" says, "Carrie realizes that she's become used to skipping over romance and heading straight for sex, and that's why Aidan's slow and deliberate ways seems so strange. Finally though, when the moment is right, Aidan and Carrie consummate their lust."28 HBO presented Carrie and her lifestyle in a raw manner captivating the national viewing audience and compiled 50 Emmy Award nominations, 7 Emmy Award Wins, 24 Golden Globe nominations and 8 wins. Throughout its run, Carrie and her friends have walked a fine line between sexual liberation and unbridled sexual manipulation. Pipedream takes a side in the discourse and presents Carrie as a sordid blow up doll offering "three fabulous love holes" at $20 a doll. On screen, the girl is an award magnet, as rubber she's a $20 "f@ck buddy.”29

      There is judgment about Carrie's true nature, there is commentary on society's acceptance of Carrie, and there is Pipedream's exercise of First Amendment rights, which is a Tolstoy like comment itself on "what is art" and the boundaries of acceptable merchandising. By creating the raucous doll, Pipedream goes where HBO cannot, even though the product is in line with the content of its award winning show. The characters themselves ask whether they are "sluts" and Pipedream answers by literally "branding" Carrie and portraying her as a ready-to-love doll.


      This is the layer of parody that requires mimicry, but does not reach the level of association which blurs or tarnishes. Because Sex in the City is founded on exploring the sordid side of single life and sex, Pipedream's parody cannot tarnish what creators intended to be the ground floor or, better yet, basement in the pyramid of wholesomeness. If the show was Mother Teresa in the City, there'd be a problem with a Mother Teresa Blow Up Doll, but this is Carrie Bradshaw, this is Samantha Jones, this is Sex in the City: the birth mother of Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian, Brittney Spears and any other post-Sex in the City  Manolo wearing, unbridled, freudian, female Id screaming down Madison Avenue with a hundred thousand wants and needs.

      Viewers have seen these girls in the raw, in the bathroom, in nightvision, in Paris, etc., it's about time people saw them as dolls molded from Prada-like synthetics stamped with the sexual culture they created. There is no tarnish or blurring. If anything, it's a Hormel like polish on their work through parody where the brunt of a joke becomes more famous. HBO doesn’t lose any distinctiveness and its mark was never a wholesome identifier to begin with. They’d have a better claim against a company that tried to take the “bad girl” out of the image. The Pipedream Doll is the equivalent of a wax museum piece, this parody memorializes Carrie and the show, while also commenting on the negative social impact many perceive it to have.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

BK v. the island

Whadda ya know... I was just at Prime Meats last night and we celebrated their review. Then I saw this post on eater . Really interesting and something my friends and I are always talking about. I used to live in BK on south oxford and atlantic right by Harlem Cake Man. Even though I was shit out of luck, broke as hell, it was the best time I had in NY. I lived there when we opened baohaus and all my homies are still out there. I really didn't want to move but I had to since closing Baohaus at around 3am and commuting back on friday/saturday was killing me.

Obviously, you have more choices in Manhattan, but there's more of a scene, it's more industry, and the expectations are weird. For instance, people feel entitled to your food, they have a customer is always right attitude... In Brooklyn, you fuck around at cake man and you will definitely get snuffed. The vibe is just a BK thing and why does manhattan care? You got your high-rises, your hotels, your 5-star chefs, let BK run that independent fuck the establishment culture and put up a few banners for it. Why you gotta win everything Manhattan? I just never understood people like that. So what if you think Prime Meats got an extra half star? Does someone else doing well really upset your universe? Prime Meats is dope. Give em fuckin 3 stars.

Look, I got restaurants in Manhattan. But if someone wants to set up shop in BK with taiwanese food, I'll support that shit. There is more than enough stinky tofu to go around. Just don't jack my names and copy my concept like Chairman Bao Truck. Be original. I think there is a tendency to pull for your neighborhood, brooklyn, the underdog so to speak, the more mom and pop places and I think that's fair. Its a lot harder for independent owners like myself and I do like it when someone comes out of the blue and sets up shop with something dope. Food is emotional so why wouldn't the reviews be? The story is part of the experience. To try and separate the food from the experience destroys the art of restaurants. Its the service industry. Its THEATRE. Why else would we have an open kitchen? Photos on the wall, music, etc. Anyone who thinks its JUST about the food is wrong. Even eating at night markets or trucks, you may think that there's no theatre to it or ambience, but there's EVEN MORE! Its just different. I hate the term high-end or low-end or even the star system. There are plenty of restaurants with no stars I'd rather eat at.

Now, on the other side, I do see how going to Brooklyn has become chic-chic and a corny gimmick. Just like last week where I didn't like the commodification of food trucks in SF, I don't like people in Manhattan going to Willy-B as a gimmick. That's the one part I do agree with the comment in the eater article:

"And yes, I believe MOST Manhattan restaurants are put together by a bunch of idiot consultants trying to capture the market. Pulino's, Breslin are but a few examples. They're for the Sex in the City crowd, not serious foodies."

YES! There are too many restaurants being put together by idiot consultants. Its become gimmicky to go BK. Brooklyn is a breeding ground that I think is best left for innovation and the new cats comin up. If you're established, you can do manhattan, leave brooklyn to brooklyn. Other people do brooklyn cause they HAVE TO. There's less barrier to entry and a lot more freedom to innovate in BK. I won't even say "standard" of service because service in BK is just different. Its not better, its not worse, its fuckin brooklyn. But yes, it does seem gimmicky when someone who's killed it in manhattan wants to go all Willy-B and set up a super restaurant. Yet, on the other hand, I even want to go set up shop back in ft. greene cause I loved the neighborhood. Its a tough call. I think I've made the mistake MANY times before assuming I know people's intentions. I don't want to do it again here because I see both sides. I can see where it seems gimmicky, but if you live in BK, you know. Mother fuckers just fallin love with that bitch.... Ask Andy Roddick.

P.S. To the hater above.... not that these people even need me to speak up for them, but.... Leave the Breslin alone! I can see why you would hate the scene at the Ace Hotel, but there's nothing wrong with the restaurant. The Breslin/Spotted Pig crew was at Prime Meats last night too. Great people and geniuses to boot. When I travel, the #1 restaurant that I see being ripped off is the Spotted Pig. Hands down. Everyone thinks they are original now opening gastropubs out in Cali or any other urban sprawl hell hole and April's the one that blew it up. Don't front on that group. Even her story about how she wanted to be a cop and became a cook is cool.

New Shit

BOOM..... saturday/sunday at hester st fair.

Thanks for dinner Debragga!

man, in the blog preview, the menu looks real small but i think it will zoom in if you click on it.  Saw my boy, Jason Milanese, for the first time in a while. he still looks like he's been going GTL with pauly d so that's nice LOL. Dinner was at Prime Meats in BK. People on the roof next door were puttin it in da air all night so that added a nice aroma to the meal.

wooly pigs, dry aged sirloin, wagyu tartare was in the house. good times.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Kim Jong's ILL Noodles!!!!

So, I had made this cold noodle with kim chi dressing dish a few weeks back. It is henceforth known as Kim Jong's ILL Noodles (i intent to trademark). Please do not start your own Kim Jong's ILL Noodle Truck. I am gonna be sellin this with my boy Hyun. I picked this dish cause he's KO-rean and because its hot out hurr and there's nothing better on a hot day than cold noodles and baby bottoms cause those are cold too. If there is not a cold baby bottom in the vacinity to put on your neck or face to cool down, buy our noodles at Hester Street Fair. They will hold you over until you find said cold baby bottom.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Everything But the Dog Meat Platter

This is the signature dish at Xiao Ye: Everything But the Dog Meat Platter LOL. So, in the next week or so, once we finish the menu names/design, I'll put it online. There's a normal menu and a "secret Chinese menu" with jokes and shit like Everything But the Dog Meat Platter.

At the restaurant it will be served with spareribs, ox tail, pork belly, and either short rib or beef ribs. I'm a big fan of beef ribs, but sometimes you can't get enough. The dish is red cooked with a twist. I did research on "umami" aka natural MSG and found that stewing tomatoes for a long time creates natural glutemates so I started red cooking with heirloom tomatoes in my red cooking recipe. I stew it all together in the same pot and the flavors come together real well. This is my new favorite recipe, hope yall like.

Thanks Stuartvision!

 This is the coolest thing! Stuart Freeman, one of our neighbors and baohaus supporters came by and dropped this off for me out of the blue. Thanks Stuart! Means a lot. He even put the retro hey-song photo on the texture of the inside of the wallet and dumpling skins on the back. I think he makes custom wallets so if you want em, hit him up!