The Adventures of an Underemployed Urban Elf | East Villager & Lower East Sider

The Adventures of an Underemployed Urban Elf

Photos by George Courtney Flask loaded and ready for fun: Jurgen Munster, Cheyenne Picardo, George Courtney and Rev. Jen (clockwise).
Photos by George Courtney
Flask loaded and ready for fun: Jurgen Munster, Cheyenne Picardo, George Courtney and Rev. Jen (clockwise).

Free cable at Bellevue, $5 Mini Golf at Pier 25, movies and more!

BY REV. JEN  (  |  As many of us know, unemployment is only awesome if you are a rich person who has chosen it as a “lifestyle.” Mostly, it sucks. You find yourself at “open calls” for CVS cashier positions that pay $7.60 an hour, wondering where it all went wrong — or more precisely, why you chose to obtain an art school education. Unemployment is even worse when you are unable to collect unemployment or win the “Genius Grant” you’ve expected for over a decade. Going out to eat, going to the movies or even doing laundry all become rare, exotic experiences. This situation oft times creates a form of existential despair that can only be overcome by finding unusual, cheap entertainment, which (believe it or not) is still available Downtown.

An awesome afternoon at Pier 25: Jurgen Munster, Rev. Jen and Cheyenne Picardo.
An awesome afternoon at Pier 25: Jurgen Munster, Rev. Jen and Cheyenne Picardo.

Hence, this edition of “The Adventures of an Underemployed Urban Elf” is loaded with activities one can enjoy using only a few bills you might happen to find under your filthy couch cushions. So turn that frown upside down and get ready to par-tay!

First Stop: Visit the Waiting Room at Bellevue!
If your TV is broken (as mine is), don’t despair, there is great news: Bellevue, which was closed for several months due to Sandy, has reopened — and the TV in the waiting room has cable! After accompanying a sick friend there this week, I managed to watch three episodes of “Dateline” on Oprah’s OWN alongside a loquacious, burly security guard. And if you happen to be a patient there, they sometimes give you tranquilizers to shut you up. When you get the bill, simply write, “Return to Sender” on the envelope and pop it in a handy mailbox. An added fashion bonus: If you are admitted as a patient they give you a charming, personalized bracelet.

Second Stop: Stay in Bed  and Have Sex!
If you are unemployed, why leave your bed? Just spend all day “doing it,” which you can safely do thanks to free condoms! While NYC is lagging behind other cities in the public toilet department, they do have free condoms. To quote my latest book, “BDSM 101” — “In this recession, free condoms are to sex what government cheese is to dairy goodness.” At the Downtown Health Center (150 Essex St., btw. Rivington & Stanton), they even have free brand-name condoms sitting right on the front desk. Apparently this is public knowledge because I recently watched a man walk in with a brown paper bag and quickly fill it to the brim like he was on “Supermarket Sweep.”

Third Stop: Mini Golf  at Pier 25
Mini Golf is completely underrated. It’s actually way more fun than “real” golf because you don’t need a caddy or a lot of money to do it and there’s not a lot of walking involved. Also, you can talk on a Mini Golf course (nothing annoys me more than activities that require silence). So you can imagine my joy upon learning that Tribeca’s Pier 25 (at N. Moore & West Sts.) offers Mini Golf for only five dollars. I put the word out that this needed to happen immediately and my friends — Cheyenne Picardo (director of the film “Remedy”), Jurgen Munster (lead singer of The Slut Junkies) and George Courtney (brilliant photographer whose photos can be seen herein) — all eagerly agreed to join me. Our first attempt was rained out, but the following day was perhaps the most beautiful in the history of the world — 75 degrees and sunny with no humidity. Good thing, because I wanted to wear a ridiculous golfing outfit. Sadly, I could not afford pants with little whales on them, so I had to settle on a psychedelic poly pantsuit given to me by the Lunachicks over a decade ago. We gathered early at my place, drank wine and watched “Caddyshack” clips for inspiration, all of us longing for a madras blazer similar to Rodney Dangerfield’s. After much procrastination, we embarked on our journey west.

At the Pier’s snack bar, we each paid five dollars and procured colorful balls and clubs. An extra dollar procured bananas and chips, which along with our flask of whiskey would provide nourishment.

Before we began, Jurgen donned a Skeletor mask — his interpretation of what a wacky golf outfit should be. Cheyenne’s attire consisted of smart slacks and a summer hat akin to something Frank Sinatra might wear, while George chose to dress like a normal person.

From the first hole on, I remembered something: I am terrible at mini golf. But given I once played hockey, I simply “dribble” the ball into the hole (which I am told is “cheating”). The rest of the crew wasn’t quite as bad as I was, though we were much slower than the children behind us who whined about our slow candyass nature. However, George did get a hole in one and I was the only one who saw it. Trying to explain this rare phenomenon made me feel like Big Bird attempting to explain a Snuffleupagus sighting, as no one believed me. Meanwhile, Jurgen and Cheyenne managed to put it in a few times and Jurgen celebrated each “score” by thrusting his club in the air and making strange animal noises — which, combined with his skeleton mask, disturbed the entire “golf course.”

Sadly, at one point, Cheyenne’s purple ball got lost in the “mini-lake” and we had to thrust our hands deep into the water to retrieve it (thus further infuriating the children behind us). Soon after, we missed our opportunity to mischievously sip from our flask whilst in the “cave” section because we were so caught up in the game. Finally, at the 15th hole, Jurgen’s blue ball got lost in the bushes and we couldn’t find it. Eventually we let the golfers behind us skip ahead and aborted our blue ball search and rescue mission. For the next three holes, Jurgen borrowed my pink ball. Because we weren’t keeping score, by the 18th hole, we were all winners (though I really do suck at mini golf.) When we returned to the snack bar and explained that we’d lost a blue ball in the bushes, the proprietor simply said, “That’s fine. We’ll find it.” Apparently, he’s used to mini golf madness.

For what it’s worth, Mini Golf at Pier 25 is awesome. Sure it’s not a “theme” Mini Golf course with animatronic pirates. Yet at five bucks, it’s less than half the price of a movie. You might lose a ball or two, maybe even a blue ball in the bushes — but it’s a great way to play on a sunny afternoon.

Fourth Stop: Make a Movie!
This isn’t so much a “stop” as it is an activity, but making movies sure does stave off ennui. A lot of people will tell you that you need a budget to make a movie. Not true! All you need is vision. A year ago, ASS (Art Star Scene) Studios, the most underfunded motion picture studio in history (which I founded with my partner Courtney Fathom Sell), decided to make a feature length film even though we had a combined savings of approximately 80 cents. I then sat down to write a horror film, with the end result being the weirdest movie ever made. Filmed entirely in Drunk-O-Vision, “Satan, Hold My Hand” is a combination of a Bollywood Musical, a Dadaist performance, “Trilogy of Terror” and a kindergarten play (without a kindergarten’s budget.) The plot centers around two Catholic schoolgirls (played by Scooter Pie and Reina Terror) who are kidnapped by a Satanic Cult that is going to sacrifice them to Satan in exchange for musical careers. Featuring Robert Prichard (of “Toxic Avenger” fame), Faceboy, Janeane Garofalo and others, you don’t wanna miss this theatrical delight — which premieres Friday, August 30, midnight, at Anthology Film Archives (32 Second Ave., at Second St.) Admission is only six dollars. We’re going to roll out the carpet (really, any carpet we can find).

Elf meets fairy: Rev. Jen admires bulletproof backpacks, at “Museum” (Cortlandt Alley, btw. Franklin & White Sts.).
Elf meets fairy: Rev. Jen admires bulletproof backpacks, at “Museum” (Cortlandt Alley, btw. Franklin & White Sts.).

Fifth Stop: Museum!
What museum, you ask? It’s simply called “Museum” and it’s located in a Tribeca freight elevator (Cortlandt Alley, btw. Franklin & White). Given it’s in an elevator, it is likely the world’s smallest museum (even smaller than the Troll Museum, where I live.) The capacity is generally three people and on weekends, when it’s open, lines form down the block. Alex, my guide, explained that Museum specializes in personal collections — “everyday objects that visitors can connect to.” But the items on display were far from everyday. For starters, Museum boasts the world’s largest collection of fake vomit, items from Al Goldstein’s storage unit (including his sizeable collection of gold lamé Air Jordan’s, a portable DVD player and a DVD entitled “For Crack Addicts”), an assortment of mutilated bills and counterfeit money, objects made for and by prisoners, Disney-themed bulletproof backpacks for children, a collection of toothpaste from around the world, silicone body parts parlors use to display piercings and much more. Finally Museum, like other museums, has a gift shop. It’s two shelves and it features pins, pencils, totes, catalogs and the aforementioned fake vomit. For more information on Museum, check out

Sixth Stop: Thorazine Unicorn’s CD Release Party
Aside from having the best band name ever, Thorazine Unicorn knows how to rock while simultaneously interpreting the temperament of a medicated magical, horned being. On Saturday, August 24 at Dixon Place (161 Chrystie St., btw. Rivington & Delancey), the trio will release their first album “Metamortify,” which combines poppy electronics, haunting harmonies and lyric poetry. The only side effect will be fun — and the price is right, at a suggested donation of three to five dollars.