“Who needs forever!” drawls the barefoot guitarist/singer as he leaps around the stage as if trying to break a thick floor of ice. I’m in a basement in the East Village of New York City and my chosen spot for this performance is 7 inches from a 2-12 speaker cabinet (I had a ruler handy). For most people this volume and proximity to its source would be torture, but anyone that knows me knows this is right in my comfort zone. I’ve spent the majority of my life standing in arms length from some source of loud rock music whether it be a stereo, PA speaker, or my own amp. This night starts off a lot like countless other nights in my life have started…at a music venue checking out an unsigned band…but something is unique about this night. I have strong opinions on music and I grew up with a particular affinity for grunge and alternative music (Particularly from Seattle). I like my rock loud, sincere and gimmick-free. Thats how I measure a band, and I realize that everyones sincerity-meter is different but I’m not looking for a gimmick when I go to a rock show, I’m looking for a musical sacrifice… I’m looking for those musicians that give it everything they’ve got.
Pop Pistol came blowing into NYC for a weekday show and I went to check them out. I’d heard some of their music online and I wanted to see it first hand. I’m here to tell you that the credit they get is deserved. They have a wide open feel that is reigned in with solid song structure and wailing vocals. Pop Pistol is an accurate name for a band that has an accessible sound with a bang to it…pop with power. These guys are the real deal, they have loud rock songs and a singer who has a voice with a wail all his own. They recently released a new album called Animal Prisms. The band manages to capture their powerful sound in an album full of quality songs that inspire multiple listens.
Check them out for yourself at poppistol.com.
Brooklyn Night Bazaar is a free community event held in Williamsburg that is a collection of local food, music and art. There are tons of artists and restaurants that are operating successfully on a local level because the community supports them. Maybe a better word would be indulges in them, if the art is good and the food is good and the heart is there then any local art community can thrive. This event proves that there are a lot of people creating things…good, bad or otherwise. To me the only art not worth at least giving a slight chance is contrived art, just being weird only to gain recognition. That’s not art, it’s business.
At the bazaar we ate some good food, heard some music and saw a lot of cool stuff (shirts, pictures, jewelry, hats, electronics, ping pong games, soccer games).
Now you can see it too!
While you were slaving over that stuffing and pecan pie, making sure you would have enough food to feed a small army, the Macy’s Day Parade was airing up massive balloons that look like fictional characters. A couple of weeks ago those huge likenesses of Buzz Lightyear and Pappa Smurf were rolled up in large rectangular containers in a storage unit somewhere. But a day before the turkeys were cooked those balloons were unrolled and then filled with air while masses of curious (if not foolish) people waited in never ending lines to just have the opportunity to watch this process. I was in this massive group of people and here is what I saw.
In New York City Christmas decor goes up earlier than you might think… Like weeks ago. All over the city it is starting to look more and more like Christmas. I know you have those neighbors who’ve had their decorations up since last year but that doesn’t count. Here are a few early Christmas pictures from different spots in manhattan.
Every now and then you walk past a scene that looks so picturesque you just have to draw a picture of it. Actually that never happens to me…partly because I can’t draw and partly because I don’t carry art supplies everywhere I go (at least not other than the most primitive supplies like arms, vocal chords etc). I will however tell you what does happen to me. I often walk around and find myself staring at someone who is painting/drawing a scene. I generally find that when someone is drawing a picture of a scene it makes the scene seem more meaningful than it might be otherwise. The same way an accent adds unfounded importance to the phrase it utters. If I told you that life is about being happy you would probably smirk, but if an old man who speaks like Yoda said it you would probably call it a turning point in your life. Or you would just love Star Wars.
When I see someone drawing/painting a picture of something that already exists I have a few thoughts. The first thought is that drawing doesn’t seem possible, it doesn’t make sense based on all the elements that have to line up. It seems hard, and like you would need to be born with the ability. It reminds me of what it might be like to run extremely fast, like a 4 second 40. It seems possible, but it also seems completely and utterly impossible. The second thought is this… Why do we create art? Is it some invisible force pushing us toward creating an account of our lives? Do we draw pictures of things because we feel that we see it differently than it is? I feel the same way about taking pictures, I don’t understand it, but I completely understand it.
Anyway. Check these out.
Don’t you wish there was a really good place to watch NFL games on Sundays? I find myself on a constant quest to find the best place to catch all the games. Every Sunday (the way some people go to church) I go out and pay homage to my own seasonal semi-religion of NFL. This search requires certain things of the temple Im looking for, and a certain type of congregation. Chances are if you don’t have Direct TV you have this same conundrum…In which case I’m preaching to the choir. If I had Direct TV and owned 6 TV’s I would probably watch the games at home, but since I don’t I look for a good place that does. 10+ TV’s, a good audio system, seating options and good food are a few criteria to list. Also the Dolphins beating somebody (anybody) by 20 points would hit the spot as well.
The most recent audition was a place in the East Village called Standings. Standings is different than some sports bars because its small but has a certain energy to it. 90% of the patrons stand up while watching the games, but this is almost a positive thing because there are televisions all around and people watch their respective games from different vantage points around the room. Inevitably, a big cheer erupts near a tv and the room packed full of people shifts like a body of water and for a minute everyone watches the same game. Once the play is over or the replay ends everyone goes back to their own game until the next big play. Standings feels like an English pub where die-hard soccer fans would congregate with its banners hanging from the ceiling and sports memorabilia in every corner. Standings is most definitely worth checking out, but be warned that you will be standing for hours so wear comfortable cleats…and leave your shoulder pads at home.
Luke’s Lobster is a seafood (lobster,crab) walk-in style food stop in NYC. If you like lobster rolls yet you don’t like tipping someone who brings it to your table (i.e. a waiter) then Luke’s is worth a try. Most of the best rolls in NYC are coming from Ed’s or Pearls, but the problem with these places is that they are all sit-down style nicer restaurants. Luke’s is quick and seems authentic, if you can get past the slightly cheesy decor (and you can). We tried the crab roll which is basically a toasted bun with lots of crab meat and a slick of mayonnaise and some seasoning. The flavor was slightly underwhelming yet fresh. I intend to go back and try the lobster roll because lobster is (in my opinion) better for a roll than crab, and the crab was good enough to hint that the lobster could be much better.