Tag Archives: Matt
Let’s get something straight: for the most part, I’ve enjoyed being single in this city. Yes, there have been a few exceptions (don’t become a Jehovah’s Witness to meet women). But – all in all – I like where things are at right now. If I were to meet someone, I would hope it’s one of those things that “just happens”; which is how many of my monogamous and shotgun wedding-participant friends have said their relationships started.
So, this prompts the next question: “If you were to meet her, Matt Fried: what would your ideal girlfriend look like?” That’s an excellent question, imaginary documentary filmmaker who follows me in my head. Such an excellent question, that I’m forced to drop all minor responsibilities (like finding a paycheck) in order to ponder it. After a week, I’ve decided there would be five possibilities, if I could control The Fates; five different archetypes of the modern women with whom I could easily see myself falling in love; if things like time, place, and realistic status tiers were of no factor.
1) The Self-Assured, Guitar-Rocking Indie Girl
Sometimes she carries a tote bag, sometimes she doesn’t. This woman is comfortable in her own skin; knows how to keep it cool; and can – as Rivers Cuomo once bemoaned – actually “shred the cello”, perhaps on some My Bloody Valentine. Her music collection is a fine mix of Sleater-Kinney meets 2Pac meets Katy Perry. She likes flannel, re-reading Anna Karenina, and dated her senior class president in high school. One day, she plans to be a writer, an independent business owner, or may potentially run for the Senate – depending on how my book deal works out. See: Liz Phair, Zooey Deschanel, or Karen Moody in Californication.
2) The Quick-Witted, Comic Book Reading Geek Girl
Behind those glasses is a big sexy geek brain that me, Jamie Hernandez, and Brian Wood are all waiting to comb for pop trivia. This is the girl who works at the record shop and – for some inexplicable reason – has a long-distance relationship with a Shakespearean actor in Berlin. Which is a crime against humanity considering that she a) has actually seen the movie, American Pop, b) loves talking about improv, and c) owns every single Saves The Day album… on vinyl. I think if it hadn’t been for that one night we bumped into one another at a bar, and were both already so “drunk” that we ending up making out in an alleyway, I would’ve already descended back into my old habit of writing emo poetry. See: Rosario Dawson, Lisa Loeb, or ScriptGirl.
3) The Diplomatic, Well-Spoken Professional Girl
While this female shows up in the same genre as “The Geek Girl”, there are a few differences. One: this is the girl who is always reading something off of The New York Times Best-Seller’s Fiction List. Two: she does this because she somehow finds time to actually read the NYT every day, from front to back. Three: this is also the girl who will, one day, save the world. Unless we each happen to be in equally enterprising profession – like law, politics, or Lorne Michaels’ personal assistant – I know I’m pretty much along for the ride. However: she thinks I’m hilarious, her parents like me, and she’s used to date Derek Jeter. And, that means free box seats at Yankee Stadium with the girl who has chosen me over Derek Jeter. See: Michelle Obama.
4) The Reformed, Activist Supermodel
Admittedly, in order to hook-up with this girl, I would first have needed to been Oscar Schindler in a previous life. I’m talking about someone who looks like Megan Fox, and is done dating douchebags. Oh, and she walks formerly abused dogs on Saturday mornings. This is my 100-to-1 long shot because these same women are also looking for an older guy with his shit together. This is the only time in my life where I’d be competing, legitimately, against the Tony Starks of the World. … Wait a minute, I would be fighting against Iron Man? Sweet. See: Megan Fox, Jennifer Love Hewitt, or Mary Jane Watson from Spider-Man.
5) Former UK Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher
This is a true story about me, and my regular bouts of acquaintance with the Jewish faith.
I should have known – by the look on the face of the custodian – that I was in over my head. In front of me stood a young Caribbean man, maybe 29 at the oldest, and he could tell that I was either of lapsed faith, or no faith at all. Maybe – just maybe – I was a spy for the Catholics, the Pentecostals, or even worse: Temple Beth Shlomo of Brooklyn Heights. Those bastards had beaten Congregation Beth Elohim of Park Slope in the playoffs of The Inter-Jew Softball League three years straight. It was no secret that the team’s pitching coach served as cantor at the third Sabbath service of every month. Maybe somewhere in the prayers, written in cryptic Hebrew, would be the coach’s conditioning program.
That, of course, wasn’t the case either. What this very savvy custodian was dealing with was a 26 year-old writer who, despite coming from a Jewish family, had never attended a single Sabbath service in his life. My question to this astute gentleman was simple: “Isn’t the main temple supposed to be open for Sabbath service?”
“Yeah. But which faith are you? There’s the service at the main temple. Or, there’s the Reform service here in the annex synagogue.” he replied.
At that moment, a smile crept over the custodian’s face. Sure, in my khakis and buttoned-up oxford shirt (I left the top and collar button open, so as to show off a little chest fro), I looked like someone right out of Cardozo Law School at Yeshiva University. But this guy saw right through my disguise. In a single moment of cultural ignorance, this mild-mannered custodian exposed the disconnect I have always felt from my Jewish heritage.
“Yeah. I think here is where you want to be.” as he indicated the annex synagogue in front of us.
A few moments later, I sat in a pew, waiting for the service to start. I was only there, because of a writing class. The assignment, “Do something out of my daily routine”. My recent Fridays had been spent working on a new draft of something or other, or trying to find a cheap place to get drunk. Was an hour and a half of religion going to kill me? Especially, a religion that technically doesn’t recognize me as one of their own, despite a recent, minor yearning of mine for them to reconsider? My father was Jewish, my mother Episcopalian-Quaker. I am the seed of their crossbred, heathen affection. In my upbringing, religion was the last thing that ever seemed to matter – be it Christian or Jewish. Sure, it irritated my grandparents that their oldest grandson was “different” from his (at least) 10 other mitzvah’d cousins. Especially since he is the one to carry the Fried name into the 21st Century. But they made their peace with it. Actually, on his deathbed, my grandfather revealed three things to me: 1) Our family was really from Minsk, 2) As the oldest, he shouldered the burden of being the shining example to his six siblings, and 3) Towards the end, he tried very hard to start a non-profit in my name: “The Matthew Fried Foundation For Lost Jewish Boys And Repressed Homosexuals”. The third one was a surprise to my then-girlfriend, who also happened to be in the room. Never the less, the man did love me; and in the four years since his death, I began to want to know more about the faith. Not to eventually convert. It would be about family, about feeling a connection to a past that, more or less, explains why I was here on this planet.
Parents – these are the things your kids will wonder about in their twenties if you let them read Kerouac in grade school.
The service began at 7:00 p.m. By 7:10, I was already lost. You see, I don’t speak a word of Hebrew. And even though every prayer has an English translation, it’s really more of a decorative thing – like an imitation Gucci bag on a tourist. Anyway, I mumbled along through all of the service, throwing in a “ch” and a “feh” to sound authentic. I couldn’t let anyone know that I didn’t know what I was doing, especially not Josh – the well-studied Asian-American lawyer who sat behind me. He was my own age, and in the process of converting to Conservative Judaism. He was a law student at Yale, working for the summer at a corporate law firm. His big summer plans in New York City? Hit up as many different shuls in the five boroughs as possible. In case anyone is keeping score, the custodian and the convert were officially more Jewish than me.
Of course, things got a bit more awkward when I found myself nodding off by the midpoint in the service. Like clockwork, “The Guilt” set in. It’s like I could hear my grandfather screaming at me, “This is why we needed that non-profit!” But then, I had to remind myself that it wasn’t my fault. Outside of being sent to chapel services for three years in private school, I never went to a regular religious service. In a weird way, I sort of felt like Obama after being handed the economy on Day 1 – “Have fun, Mr. Messiah!” And also, wherever that “connection” I am looking for is, I now certainly know it wasn’t in a sub-basement in Brooklyn. I don’t know what my feelings are about God, The Afterlife, or The Phillies repeating as World Champions. As I sat there, listening to the rabbi go on about thanking The Invisible Dad getting for us through another week, I simply thought: “This really isn’t working for me.” As I said, at my core, religion was never a big deal. Perhaps that does mean, upon expiration, my 10 Jewish cousins will join the rest of The Frieds in Heaven while I’m re-incarnated as a squirrel in Bombay. That thought actually doesn’t bother me. What I did realize was: a religion doesn’t change who I am, or who my family is. The famous “How Jewish Are You?” debate will rage on until the end of Time. I can at least know I got a little piece of pie: an inexplicable amount of body hair, a shiksa fetish, and a fondness for early ‘80s hip-hop.
The service concluded at 8:30, and I was more than happy to leave. My first goal: find a slice of pizza, topped with the most un-kosher pepperoni in all of Brooklyn. As I made my way down the pew, Josh extended out his hand to me. His face was beaming with excitement. This was a man who clearly wanted to be of The Chosen People, and couldn’t wait for it to be official. We shook hands and wished each other, “Shabbat Shalom.”
As I quickly paced away from the Congregation, I thought about my 10 Jewish cousins. I thought about how – mitzvah or not – they were all given a choice of how to observe their faith as adults. It hit me that I always had the same choice. By now, all 11 of us had made our decisions, and we were happy. So, not to end this story on any kind of an inappropriate note, but I would like to announce the founding of my new non-profit: The Matthew Fried Foundation For Lost Jewish Boys and Unemployed Post-Grads. A recommended donation starts at $10. All proceeds go towards paying my rent next month.
I need to give big ups to The Matt Fried Hour‘s new publicist, Emily Owens. Thanks to her hard work, we got a great profile piece on BroadwayWorld.com this week. Emily Owens PR. Hardest working publicist in New York City. Thanks Emily – it looks great!
Just in case you didn’t know. Have an awesome Memorial Day everybody!
The word officially broke yesterday that the DERRICKComedy feature film Mystery Team found a distributor. This comes after Mystery Team was accepted into Sundance earlier this year.
I wanted to send a special congrats to DC and his crew – the movie looks hilarious and the guys have been busting hump to get it a wide release. A few weeks after the Sundance, we had DC on The Matt Fried Hour to talk about the movie.
Congrats again, DC.
Ask me about my Friday night. Go ahead, ask me. Because this is what my answer would be: IT WAS FUCKING AWESOME.
Friday night, May 1, 2009, one of my favorite bands of all time – The Get Up Kids – rolled into town on the last leg of their reunion tour. I’ve loved their music for almost a decade, but had never seen them live. I’m happy to report that nine years was well worth the wait.
There were some added peaks to the show that made it just right, such as the unannounced opening act, Brand New. Or how Matt Pryor’s vocals hit just the right notes on “I’m A Loner, Dottie, A Rebel”. But what really made the show for me were the fans: it was a sold-out house and the youngest people at The Gramercy Theatre couldn’t have been any older than 24. It was much more than a concert for all of us; it was a homecoming experience. Maybe it sounds facetious to say at 26, but it got me thinking about how much time had passed since the first time I listened to Something To Write Home About and now. Even though the concert was in New York, for a hour and a half I was back home in South Jersey.
So, how does such an awesome night end? Easy: I bump into Matt Pryor (lead singer and guitarist of GUK) after the show. I was standing outside the theater, waiting for some friends to negotiate my admission backstage. It was 1:00 a.m. and most of the crowd had dissipated. As I was rather intensely trying to break my old record on iPhone Tetris, Pryor quietly slinked out of the theater and hailed a cab. I approached and tapped him on shoulder –
Me: “Excuse me? You’re Matt, right?”
Matt Pryor: “Yeah.”
Me: “Great show tonight, man. You guys were great.”
Matt Pryor: “Oh. Thanks man.”
Me: “I’ve been a fan for 9 years, and this was the first time I’d ever seen you guys.”
Matt Pryor: “Really? I hope we lived up to expectations.”
Me: “No, totally. You did.”
Matt Pryor: “Glad to hear it. Listen, I gotta go.”
Me: “Of course. Great to meet you, man. Good luck with the rest of the tour.”
Matt Pryor: “Thanks dude. Later!”
Okay, so not the most amazing rock star encounter one can have, but still awesome. The Get Up Kids. One of the best. Thanks for the memories, guys.