Anyone else tired of the notion that New York City claims a monopoly over late-night partying? Just about any bustling world-class urban center can be credibly identified as a city that never sleeps, this one included. That said, if you can ignore the obligatory New York homerism, theres a lot to enjoy in Taylor Plimptons Notes from the Night: A Life After Dark, his travelogue of the seedy nightlife roiling behind the velvet ropes. Unlike other documentarians of late-night excess, he isnt interested in presenting a gaudy display of elegantly debauched overconsumption. Instead, hes self-effacing the entire time, unraveling the seams of after-hours N.Y.C. with equal amounts of anthropological rigor and tart self-examination. Plimpton has done well for himself: Notes from the Night has found fans in the likes of Jay McInerney and Jonathan Ames, no strangers to the pulsing underbelly of the big citys late-night culture. Credit his ability to make his specific experience in a decadent subculture feel broadly relatable his detailed catalog of the various types and intensities of hangover will ring true with those familiar with spending Sunday morning coming down, whether or not theyve ever spent a night in Manhattan. What Plimpton has achieved is a rare feat: offering up a propulsive narrative full of debauched thrills that has a sober awareness of its own absurdity.
Tue., Aug. 10, 6 p.m., 2010