Wednesday, April 23, 2008

0

NYC Open Mic’s

New York City has a very lively indie music scene. If you want to check out live music of musicians that haven’t quite gained a large following yet, going to an open mic night at a bar or café is the ideal place. If you wish to participate in the open mic it is best advised to arrive early, and of course I would advise everyone to call the venue before going to make sure the event is being held.

Sunday’s

Bar Matchless – 9pm; 557 Manhattan Av, Brooklyn, NY, 10027, 718-383-5333, www.barmatchless.com; Subway: G-Nassau Av; L—Bedford Av.

Common Ground – 7pm; 2006 Av A, NY, NY, 10009 , 212-228-6321. Subway: L—1st Av.

Smith’s Bar & Restaurant 1:30pm; 1 drink min; 5 min limit; host: Obsidian; 701 8th Av, NY, NY, 10036, 212-246-3268. Subway: A,C,E—42nd St/Port Authority Bus Term.

Continental – 7-8:30pm; host: Eric Toast; 25 Third Av, NY, NY, 10003, 212-529-6924. Subway: 6—Astor Pl

Back Fence – 3-5pm; poetry; host: Brigid Murnaghan; 155 Bleaker St, NY, NY, 10012; 212-475-9221. Subway: 6—Lafayette/Bleeker St Note: The Back Fence, which opened in 1945, claims to be the oldest bar poetry reading in Greenwich Village.

Hope Lounge – 8pm, every other Sun; host: Jaime Garamella; 10 Hope St, Brooklyn, NY, 718-218-7191. Subway: L—Bedford Av.

Pete’s Candy Store – 5-8pm; 3 song limit; 709 Lorimer St, Brooklyn, NY, 11211, 718-302-3770. Subway: L—Bedford Av; G—Metropolitan Av.

Vox Pop – 7-11pm; 2 drink min; host: Punxsutawney Jesus; 1022 Cortelyou Rd, Brooklyn, NY, 11218, 718-940-2084. Subway: Q,F—Cortelyou.

Mondays

Baggot Inn – 7pm; 82 W.3rd St, NY, NY, 10012, 212-477-0622. Subway: A,B,C,D,E,F,V—W.4th St.

Café Vivaldi – 6:30-11pm; 2 songs min; no covers; 32 Jones St, NY, NY, 10014, 212-691-7538. Subway: A,B,C,D,E,F,V—W.4th St.

Cattyshack – 8pm-12am; no cover; hosts: Caroline & Ilan; 249 4th Av, Brooklyn, NY, 11215, 718-230-5740. Subway: M,R—Union St.

Don’t Tell Mama – 9pm; 343 W.46th St, NY, NY, 10036, 212-757-0788. Subway: A,C,E—42nd St

Sidewalk Café – 7:30pm; 1-2 song min; 2 drink min; lottery open mic; host: Latch;, 94 Av A, NY, NY, 10009, 212-473-7373. Subway: L—1st Av, F,V—2nd Av. This is the home of the urban indie folk movemet known as anti-folk, and the former stage of some of today’s leading indie musicians like Kimya Dawson and Regina Spekter. It should be noted that the open mic is done by lottery, so it doesn’t matter if you show up first or not, and it goes all the way into the night.

Nightingale Lounge – 7pm; $3 cover; 2 drink min; host: Su Polo; 213 2nd Av, NY, NY, 10003; 212-473-9398. Subway: L—3rd Av

Tuesday

Bar 4 – 7:30pm; host: Tanya; 444 7th Av, Brooklyn, NY, 11215, 718-832-9800. Subway: F—7th Av

Carlito’s – 8:30pm; 1701 Lexington Av, NY, NY, 10029, 212-534-7168; Subway: 6—110th Av. This is a great and friendly open mic in Spanish Harlem. The café also serves as a gallery and host to many social issues. I’d recommend drinking their Che Guevara wine.

Kili – 9pm; host: Tasneem; 81 Hoyt St, Brooklyn, NY, 11201, 718-855-5574. Subway: A,C,G—Hoyt-Schermerhorn Sts.

Nightingale Lounge – 8pm; every Tues except first Tues of the month; host: Cliff Schwarz; 213 2nd Av, NY, NY, 10003, 212-473-9398. Subway: L—3rd Av

Pyramid Club – 8pm; admission: $10, $5 for ladies; host: Mental Supreme; 101 Av A, NY, NY, 10009, 212-228-4888. Subway: L—1st Av

The Lucky Cat – (7pm; host: Edward Gorch; 245 Grand St, Brooklyn, NY, 11211, 718-782-0437; L—Bedford Av, G—Metropolitan Av)

Stain Bar – (8pm; first Tue of every month; spoken word; 766 Grand St, Brooklyn, NY, 11211; 718-387-7840; L—Grand Av)

Wednesday

Nuyorican Poets Café – (9:30pm; host: Flaco Navaja; 236 E.3rd St, NY, NY, 10009, 212-505-8183; F,J,M,Z – Essex St-Delancey)

Laila Lounge – (7pm; host: Gabriel Levitt; 113 N.7th St, Brooklyn, NY, 11211, 718-874-6484; G—Metropolitan Av, L—Bedford Av)

Spike Hill – (8:45pm; host: Zack Dinerstein; 184 Bedford Av, Brooklyn, NY, 718-218-9737; G—Metropolitan Av, L—Bedford Av)

Thursday

Artland Bar – (8pm; host: Hank Starr; 609 Grand St, Brooklyn, NY, 11211, 718-599-9706; G—Metropolitan Av, L—Bedford Av)

Micheline’s – (9pm; host: Brer; 1124 Broadway, Brooklyn, 11221, 718-453-3223; J—Myrtle Av)

Café Shane – (7:30pm; host: Toyia T & Mani; 794 Washington Av, Brooklyn, NY, 11238; 718-399-9001; C,S – Franklin Av)

Mooneys Pub – (8:30pm; first Wed of month; host: Edward Coyne; 7710 3rd Av, Brooklyn, NY, 11209; 718-491-3155; R—77th St)

Friday

Postcrypt Coffeehouse – (8:20pm; no microphone; Earl Hall Center, 2980 Broadway, NY, NY, 10027, 212-854-1953; 1—116th Columbia University)

Wicked Monk – (9:30pm; select Fridays, call; 8415 5th Av, Brooklyn, NY, 11209, 917-842-6585; R—86th St)

Saturday

Paddy Reilly’s Music Bar – (5:30pm; host: Rick J; 519 2nd Av, NY, NY, 10016 , 212-686-1210; 6—33rd Av)

SoulFire Suites – (7:45pm; host: Rob & Shay; 373 Broadway #B4, NY, NY, 10013, 212-219-2133; N,Q,R,W – Canal St, 6—Canal St, J,M,Z—Canal St)

Also see: www.openmikes.org

Sunday, March 9, 2008

5

Poem: This is How It Used To Be

This is how it used to be,
torn jeans, slouching,
sixteen beers in me,
vomiting greasy slang
that we developed along
our path to alchohol-laden nihilism.
We worked for the Man
and knew it, “slaves” we said
to ourselves at the end of the day,
thinking how come we
didn’t get a piece of
the fucking pie.
Or maybe we did, but
it was rotten, and tasted like Cleveland.
And when the bars closed
we paraded like sleepwalkers
with blood on our ankles
amid factories, empty ones,
like graveyards.
And when I return
to see my city, it seems
everything’s changed.
My friends are far from one another,
stuck between the ground
and the gutter; paler, thinner,
older. We’re all growing
millions of miles apart.
But it wasn’t always like this,
life was supposed to go forever,
not faster into nowhere.
And those who still have
the sense of something divine
living in the gutter can
understand that something
somewhere went wrong.
The train derailed and
left us all stranded, with a
minimum wage job
and a floozy girlfriend.
Is this how it was supposed to be all along?
Maybe this is how it has always been
and always will be.

November 28, 2007

0

Short Story: The Worst Things in Life Are Free

This was around five o’clock in the evening, just when the sky is getting dim and the world starts to get cold and desolate again – and the streets of Bed-Stuy become an outpost for thieves and whores. At around this time I usually came up to the roof to drink a strong Beam and Coke, followed by a smooth cigarette. I especially enjoyed to lean against the wall and watch the sky gleam in a blue and red – almost melting behind the steel herd of Manhattan.

This daily ritual eventually followed by a few more drinks of Beam, until the bottle went empty and I’d have to dig into a bottle of wine, or head down to the bodega and dive into a six pack of Bud tallboy’s. Either way – the nights usually ended up with me drinking myself to insanity, while listening to old recordings of myself, and lamenting – like an old man in prison – over the life that could have been.

I’d stay up on the roof, if it wasn’t too windy, until it got dark – and then I’d head back down to refill my glass, usually bring up my laptop to start a short story. After a few drinks I’d start texting my friends, “what’s goin down tonight?” Hoping that there would be a crazy-ass party that I could go to, where the booze was free and the women were easy – usually there were few answers back. Most of my friends worked, whereas I did promo’s on the weekends, and didn’t have to work a nine to five gig to support myself – and so, usually they’d be tired as fuck, watching television, eating a salad.

The lameness would get to me, and I’d think about just going out on my own – but there’s nothing worse then going out to bars on your own. You sit there like a madman, downing drink after drink, sometimes smiling at a few girls, who in turn leave their seats. Girls in New York don’t talk to boys they don’t’ know – horror stories abound the streets. And anyway, the bars that I went to rarely had fine looking women, and if they did, chances were they were taken – most probably by a pompous douche who lived only for a wet pussy and a Franz Ferdinand album. Shit, I’d probably have better luck at a gay bar if I was into the good old cock – however, who knows – with my luck I might have even worse chances there. And to be honest, I don’t want to take that chance – cause if I don’t even have luck at a gay bar, then shit – I might as well take my ass into the mountains and never return.

At around seven my next door neighbor usually came home from work. Frank was in his early twenties, and we got along all right. We drank heavily, smoked, and played guitar – many nights in the summer were given to bouts of drinking, getting high, and staring at the lit up city across the East River. We became good friends after a few months, and I didn’t his sociability in order to maintain sanity – cause I rarely left the apartment during the day.

That day he came up to the roof at around eight, and we drank the remainder of the bottle. I was telling him how I watched a documentary on the Antichrist, and if anything – I should be the Antichrist, because if you looked at it from a Biblical point of view, the Antichrist is actually a good man, because he brings judgment day, that without him there is no way for Jesus to come and save the unbelievers. He’d smirk and continue drinking, thinking about whatever the days events transpired, while I muzzled through the dirty tank of my mind looking for things to speak of.

“Shit, man,” I said, “let’s get out tonight – let’s go to the Union Pool, or shit – let’s go to the Subway bar.”

He squinted, “I don’t know man, I gotta go to work tomorrow.”

“Word.”

“What’s Josh doing tonight?”

“Shit, I don’t know what that kid’s getting himself into – I texted him earlier, we’ll see.”

Josh was a friend of mine since high school in Parma, he had just recently moved his ass up to New York to start a new life and get away from the draining coma of the Midwest. He lived in Red Hook and worked in a bakery, and every time I’d give him a call he was working, making cookies or cakes or whatever else they make. He was a wild man too, and had the spirit of a true pirate – perhaps that’s why we got along so well, because between me and Josh we could go through a good thirty-pack of beers and at least six bottles of wine. Shit, we could drink from sundown to sunrise and still be looking for more, and pissing ourselves from laughter. He had a true comedic streak in him – and there was no way that he would go through life without achieving some sort of fame for his behavior – he simply couldn’t, because if he didn’t – I’d have to kick his ass. I told him once, “Listen Josh, at least one of us from Parma’s gonna make it, and its gonna be either you or me.” He laughed and said, “why does it have to be either of us? Why can’t it be both?” He was right.

“He’s a funny guy.” Frank said.

I nodded, lighting up a cigarette.

“Well, I donknow,” I said exhaling smoke, “I feel like going out, I gotta start talking to some girls man, or else I’m just gonna go impotent.”

“Word, well I’m gonna head in, gotta get up early.” And he got up and shook my hand.

“Arright.”

I continued smoking my cigarette, and thinking about what to do. There was no way about it – I was going to get out today, I had to. I wasn’t going to spend another night on the roof, like a lonesome fucker, waiting for the stars to reveal something sacred. I had to actually get out there – grab the stars with my own damn hands and eat them, while they were still fresh and alive, so that they could ignite whatever fire still flamed within.

I never really made myself look too good, but taking the advice of my sister and a few other girls – I shaved, put some gel in my hair, and put on a clean shirt. A shitty thing about going out to bars when its cold outside is that you have to take two chances about what wear – either a huge nice warm coat, and that when you get to the bar hold on to it like a wild animal, or a sweet leather jack – but freeze your fucking ass off while getting there. I never understood the hot chicks who in the middle of winter are wearing nothing but a miniskirt and a bra, and they don’t seem to feel a damn thing. But hey, I’m not one to complain about it – if they don’t feel a thing, god bless them. I went with a small leather jacket.

Just before heading out I had two cold shots of vodka, to keep myself warm and give myself a buzz. I dreaded the ride on the subway – on the dirty G train from the Myrtle-Willoughby station. It always smelt of beer and piss, and here and there rats and mice escaped from under the tracks. It wasn’t so much that I minded the smell and the sight of rodents – it was the wait. The G train was probably the worst fucking train in the city, if you missed a train you probably had to wait a good thirty minutes for the next one. Often, the train was under construction, and you had to transfer here and there, and then take a nice long walk through the ghetto.

Stepping aboard, you saw the usual people. There were the Mexican workers going home from work, exhausted faces, half-falling asleep with four children falling over them. There were the Black residents that lived off the local stops – and of course the white hipsters, heading over towards the Metropolitan stop, so that they could get off and transfer to the L and get to Bedford Ave. But who am I to judge, I too get off at this station.

As I got out of the station, I got a text message from Josh, “Heading over to the Knock, meet you there.”

When you walk out of the underground into the dark and shining Lorime street – it’s a different sight from Bed-Stuy. This is Williamsburg area now, where the land is populated by skinny white kids, girls who sport American Apparel and all the guys have beards and eating disorders. Here each bar serves a two dollar Pabst and plays the latest indie music.

The first bar that I always head into was Knock bar. There you were always promised a cold Pabst, you could smoke cigarettes inside, and nobody fucking hassled you. If they did, then you’d act as my friend Joseph from Cleveland would, just tell them to “fuck off.”

I sat down, watching the game on the television, and ordered a shot of Jack and a Pabst. Next to sat Billy, he was an old alcoholic who’d been coming there since the early nineties. I got to know him one day in the winter last year, he was complaining about how his wife’s friends would always come over and drink his booze. His face was always red and he reeked of whisky. Billy grew up in Queens, but settled down in Williamsburg in the late eighties, where he worked as an MTA employee.

Billy often mumbled, especially when trying to hit on the young girls, which always made him seem lonely and pathetic, and which always made me smile. I bought Billy a beer and we talked about the game – it was Cleveland versus the Yankees. It was a big game, especially for Cleveland, back in the city people were getting all wild and crazy over it, I used to tell my friend Adam on the phone, “the Indians are the last great hope for our dying village.”

At about ten I felt Josh hit me in the back.

“Sup faggot.”

“Hey, man,” he said.

“What’s up.”

“Shit, working” He said sitting down.

“Baking.”

“Yep, the good old bakery.”

“Fucking A.”

Josh ordered a Pabst and looked up at the television.

“Oh god, I fucking hate this shit.”

“Tell me about it.”

“After this beer, let’s go to the Union Pool.”

“Aright.”

“Hey, remember that chick from two days ago at the Sin Bar?”

“Yeah, what about her?”

“She texted me today, says she wanted to hang out.”

“Sweet. Are you gonna hang out with her tonight?”

“Maybe, she gets off work at midnight.”

“Oh right, she’s a bartender.”

“Yeah, something like that.”

“What about Emma?”

“What about her?”

“Didn’t you go on a date with her yesterday?”

“Yeah, she’s a bitch.”

“Yeah?” He smiled, finishing his beer, “why?”

“Shit, she’s just been coming over everyday for the past three days and getting drunk with me.”

“So?”

“It’s cool and all, she makes out with me, she even gave me a blowjob on the first date.”

“So what’s the problem, you asshole, why the hell are you complaining?”

“I don’t know man . . . I just hate messing around like this. I’m not one of those guys, that just fucks girls, or has girls who fuck other guys and then come over and lean on me for emotional support.”

“You’re a damn son of a bitch.”

“I know.” I said finishing my beer.

“All right, let’s get the hell out of here, I have my one-hitter with me. Let’s go smoke it on the way to the Union Pool.”

By the time we left the Knock it was raining, and it was difficult to smoke the one-hitter. At the Union Pool we bought drinks for three girls, they were visiting from Texas – they were the definition of what an “all-American” girl was. They were blonde, with short skirts in the middle of November, but obviously not interested in us. They took our vodka tonics and by two thirty in the morning vanished.

As we were leaving the Union Pool later that night, at around three, I saw Emma. She was across the street at Macri Square, sitting on the lap of a strange guy. I kept walking to the subway.

November 13, 2007