Nighty Night

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, there’s a lot to enjoy in Taylor Plimpton’s 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 isn’t interested in presenting a gaudy display of elegantly debauched overconsumption. Instead, he’s 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 city’s 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 they’ve 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

 
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