Not so shocking, but certainly Asian-themed was my recent visit to New York City (over Labor Day weekend). Friday night I had dinner with this maniac, Ric Menello (left). He directed rap videos for Rick Rubin back in the 80s (Fight for Your Right to Party, Goin' Back to Cali, and others); more recently he's writing screenplays (co-wrote Two Lovers, a James Gray film starring Joachin Phoenix). And of course he's a Japanese film fanatic. He contacted me after my first book came out in 2005, and we became fast e-pals. In more recent years, I've had a couple of opportunities to get together with him in NYC.
We had a great time at Kenka, a funky, atmospheric Japanese joint in the East Village. Insanely huge menu that occasionally went to extremes (anyone for bull penis? No? How about turkey testicles?). We were joined by my lovely wife Shirley and Ric's best friend Mel Neuhaus (both of those guys are walking film encyclopedias, so you can imagine it was a food and film orgy extraordinaire!).
What I particularly appreciated about Kenka was its Japanese film theme. There are old samurai film posters everywhere, big head shots on the wall by the bathroom (while you wait, see how many stars you can identify!). And the piece de resistance is the striking Ken Takakura mural on the back wall. Talk about my kind of place!
Then on Saturday I had lunch with world famous Asian film expert Dr. Stan Glick. We ate at New Wonjo, an excellent Korean joint on the bit of W. 32nd Street known as Koreatown (between 5th and 6th Avenue). Stan and I had bibimbap and assorted appetizers (fish pancakes, veggie egg rolls, etc.) and I drank a lot of sake (go figure). Forgot to take pictures, but remembered at the last minute in front of a Nathan's where we utilized the advertising for our own corny purposes.