posted by Ms. Wu
Moby is so annoying. Even Eminem thinks so. That was what I used to say before I started going to his newly opened tea cafe in the Lower East Side. Teany, the place is named. But in my mind I have started to think of it as “Moby’s” with an unabashed feeling of warmness and comfort that familiarity breeds. “Meet me at Moby’s,” I would say. Or, “Let’s discuss the work order more thoroughly tomorrow at Moby’s.” I have grown to love the white sangria, the 96 types of tea, and the delicate and novel tea sandwiches, and like the man himself, Teany is little and humble.
I say this begrudgingly. To further complicate matters, Teany is my music soul mate. This happens rarely as my taste in music is quite dated. Cocteau Twins, My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive. Imagine my surprise when Cocteau Twin’s “Frou-frou foxes in midsummer fires” came on followed by a Dinosaur Jr. cover of The Cure’s “Just Like Heaven” and preceded the previous day by an entire Morrissey album. Could I be more enchanted? As I sipped my lychee iced tea and playing footsies with my Kiwi Wild Jungle Man who was having a dainty old time with his cucumber – tea sandwiches, that is – I was awash with a sudden sense of sadness. Perhaps I have been unfair and judgmental and pulled an Inquirer. So what if he wears stupid star-shaped sunglasses and has an annoying video with Gwen Stefani? And so what if he writes essays on topics such as “fundamentalism,” “vegan,” and “intolerance” on his web site? And the little Moby sketches on Teany’s tiled floor I suppose could be seen as charming and cute in their crudity. The point is, this cafe makes a damn good cup of tea and makes some lean, mean vegan sandwiches that taste good, which I never thought possible. Preach the good word, Moby. Show the world that vegetarianism can taste good. I certainly know that my vegetarian tastes better. (wink, wink).
Then the other day I spotted the white Moby himself sauntering down past Cafe Habana as I was sipping a lime margarita. Despite the fact that Moby appears everywhere on magazines, billboard posters on Lafayette Street, and in random sentences from people’s conversations (“Oh my god, so like Moby is going to be at this party.”), this was the first time I sighted the man himself. He was wearing a red polo shirt, jeans, and black-rimmed glasses. If it werent for the crucifix tattoo on the base of his neck, I would have passed him as a dime-a-dozen film major from college. Why does he, of all celebrities, rouse such vehement opinions in everyone?
Moby crosses lines as a musician and as a celebrity. As a musician, he has licensed his songs to movies and commercials, and by doing that he had committed the crime-de-la-crime in the eyes of the alternative music community. I remember ’93-’94 when he played at small venues in Dallas, Texas, and at the end of the set, he climbed to the top of the stereo and raise his arms upward (like a God) to a maddening crowd hopping excitedly to their new techno god. And to many old-timers, this was the Moby we remember. This is the Moby we want because we want our childhood and memories to remain still. We are selfish products of a consumer society obsessed with analysis. Moby maybe the icon of mainstream and “sold-out-ness” to some, but he resists the tide of mainstream by supporting local economy and travels by foot around town. Moby’s music has grown and matured despite the fact that Eminem doesn’t think anyone listens to techno anymore (besides its ‘electronica’). He has remained as alternative as he can for a musician who has achieved a successful career. And as a celebrity, he makes me feel like I can go up to him and tell him how much I appreciate the cafe, and besides, there is someone else more loathsome and annoying: Vincent Gallo.
Til next long time from now,
3 Responses to “Teany Cafe: How It Changed My Opinion of Moby”
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