If you have not heard of rapper, former chef and Viceland host Action Bronson’s low culture cult following, you may soon be aware of his larger-than-life presence. Born in Queens and reportedly living in North Brooklyn, he has become an icon somewhat for his brazen rap stylings, but is probably more acclaimed for his self-proclaimed lyrical adoration of the pre-packaged foods most of us grew up with—chicken tenders, Starburst, Steak-umms; and his more complex and grown-up gourmet tastes—steak that’s aged for over 20 days, lamb that’s been roasted over 7 hours, stuffing filled with truffles and pears. As a chubby, foul-mouthed yet lovable character, he appeals to many: the shameless (those who would happily chow down on dirty water hotdogs), the detail-oriented (people who would source the best ingredients to create a very simple meal) and the fun-food-havers (regular people at a backyard BBQ where the smoker’s been going for hours, where homemade food and booze is abundant and anything goes).
Action’s new cookbook is titled, F*CK, That’s Delicious, based on his Vice series of the same name, and really the title says it all. I’m not embarassed to have purchased Coolio’s “ghetto gourmet” cookbook, Cookin With Coolio: 5 Star Meals At a 1 Star Price a few years back, which included the gem of a line:
“[My mom’s] fried chicken would literally put on tennis shoes and run the fuck into your mouth.”–Coolio
So I was excited to see that FTD’s recipes included: A Bowl of Crispix Eaten Over The Sink, Explosive Chicken, A Fucking 270-Pound Tuna, and Fried Potatoish Situations. Last night (9/19) at Nitehawk Cinema (136 Metropolitan Ave), the theater hosted a special book release party and movie screening for Action along with a dinner and wine pairing. On the menu: Jamaican Patties, “The best Jamaican patty spot anywhere is the Jamaican Flavors window on 165th Street in Queens outside the Colosseum Mall,” the menu reads; Chicken Parm, “The perfect chicken parm, made with the perfect chicken cutlet;” and a Beef Burger, “I love a pure hamburger.”
Action introduced the film (Bloodsport, 1988, starring Jean-Claude Van Damme) and the menu with his signature DGAF street-realness attitude. “If you don’t eat bacon, just tell a motherfucker,” adding that he offered $5k to Jean-Claude and a free stay in his studio to make an appearance (sadly, JCVD didn’t make it).
The food and film pairings at Nitehawk are immersive and epic, especially if the movie doesn’t require your full attention. Shocker: Bloodsport brutally fell with a K.O. punch into the low-attention span category. The movie is badly acted, the action and chase scenes are high-energy and overdramatized, and there’s of course an abundance of montage sequences. (If you’ve never seen the movie, just watch the epic final fight scene; that’s all you really need to know.) Bloodsport is fun but cheesy entertainment made in the 80s—just like Action—so the film was an appropriate match. As a former projectionist I appreciated that Nitehawk had the care to show the film on 35mm, and the print was in what I felt was good condition for its age. Action gave a running commentary throughout the film, as if we were chilling with him in his living room. During the opening credits he was shouting “It’s already fire!” from the back of the theater. In one of Jean-Claude’s first scenes: “THAT’s how you fuckin’ act!” And of course he shamelessly called out the brief moment where the audience gets to peek at Jean-Claude’s butt—“Wait for it…”
[Video by BORT: The pre-show included a rapid-fire listing of AB’s favorite foods that he’s name-checked in songs (from Fudge to Pancakes to Fuckin’ Salmon), interspersed with kitschy 80s commercials.]
As for the food, the Jamaican beef patty was basically a giant version of a Totino’s pizza roll, but better (obvi). The crust was flaky and slightly sweet, almost like a gourmet Hot Pocket. It was paired up with a tasty spicy rosé wine (which doubles as a light, chilled red). The chicken parm dish had a perfectly crunchy and crispy breading, with nicely tendered chicken, easy on the sauce and cheese, paired with a full-bodied Barbera which I mistook for a malbec, probably because of its jammy quality and full mouthfeel. Finally, the burger. The burger arrived cold, which I’m not certain was intentional, but it was actually a decently simple and spicy patty, slathered in cheese and sandwiched with a chewy potato roll. Three wines down at that point, I ate the whole thing not only to soak up the booze, but also because it was tasty. The burger was paired with a Grenache Syrah, which was light and a little bit fruity.
Following the screening, guests were invited into the downstairs Lo-Res bar for the “Dessert After-Party” with handmade Chipwich sandwiches, Crystal Light and chewy candies (Starburst and Tootsie Rolls). After all the wine and heavy foods, the massive and delicious Chipwich put me over the edge and almost sent me into a food coma. Action took a couple fan pics outside and then, like the cartoony magician he is, disappeared behind a cloud of weed smoke into the night.
You can keep up-to-date on Nitehawk’s latest by subscribing to their email list and following them on Instagram. Like most Nitehawk special screenings, the Action Bronson screening sold out very quickly, so you gotta act fast to snag tickets. And make sure you arrive early to claim the best seats.
Nitehawk Cinema & Lo-Res Bar | 136 Metropolitan Ave