There’s a Tim Carman article in this week’s City Paper about drinking that beautifully articulates what makes alcohol so great (much like Esquire did with its brilliant homage a few years back, which I still recall each time I pour myself a vodka tonic). Excellent read, though I challenge anyone who thinks America has a drinking problem to spend a Saturday night in Oxford, England (and this is Oxford, by the way--y’know, dignity incarnate) and witness the debauchery that goes on there, as it makes Adams Morgan look like a Temperance Society church picnic. The relationship between artists and alcohol is often a fascinating one. After all, there’s no doubt drinking is “a tool to unlock a deeper appreciation of immediate surroundings” as Carman points out, though I’m wary of anyone who needs to drink to become creative. (Granted, there’s no place I’d rather draw than a darkly-lit bar, but that’s another story.) I’ve found that drinking best compliments artistic discussions more than output, however. Explaining the artistic choices you’re making, or lack of them; ranting about the things that annoy you, (always a fun conversation to have in the bar, particularly after receiving grant rejection letters); or pinning down any other question that never has a satisfying answer--unless you've had a few, these conversations can be awkward and stilting.