Saturday, November 01, 2003 at 11:12:06 (EST)

No future

Matt Gorgeous outside CBGB's, October 1977.
He had been forcibly removed after his band, The Lucky Stevedores,
did something shocking yet historically relevant onstage.


Posted By Jimmy Legs
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Friday, October 31, 2003 at 11:11:53 (EST)

You're not like everyone I've ever met
I have been spending too much time at Lit of late. But what's not to like? A subterranean hovel fulla smoke, women, overpriced drinks and ear-numbing music volume. I'm afraid the smoking ban may have already made a nancy boy of me (okay, even more of a nancy boy), I'm not used to sitting in a smoky bar anymore. Of course, Lit's ceilings are only like 6 feet high, so the place rapidly becomes one of those scary smoking chambers you see in airports.

But I endured it all to see The Means who, crammed on the tiny stage, rocked like few bands I've seen. I can't quite figure out why so few bands in this town really rock. I'm not talking about musicianship or quality lyric-writing, I just mean capital-R rock. Anyway, The Means know how to do it, plus they do that thing where they don't stop in between songs, they just piledrive right through the whole set. It's a small thing, but nobody else does that anymore, and it keeps things moving along nicely.

Among the people who showed up to the show were The Giraffes, who were jumping around like they'd just won the lottery. I guess they like The Means, too. In a weird confluence of events I met one of the Mikes from the now-on-hiatus Cobretti, who apparently dated the same woman as Jason from The Means. Also present was Meagan, formerly of The Velveteens (who I assume are broken up now that one of the singers lives in New York). So many rock'n'rollers ...

I hope I have some energy left for what awaits me this weekend. Tonight could be tricky. I wanna see Stupid at Freddy's Back Room, since they just got back from LA, but BAM Café features Golem tonight, a band I've always wanted to see. They're a klezmer band with some kind of rock aspects thrown in. Some reviews describe it as 'klezmer punk' which sounds a little dubious, but I wanna check 'em out anyhow. Their set is at 9:00, Stupid is at 11:30. There are parties I might go to after the show, but again, I dunno if I'll have the spirit. Saturday is a post-Halloween party, but what the rest of the weekend is all about for me is getting some damn bedroom furniture! I've been living with no bed for way too long, and this futon isn't getting any better. One of the wooden slats cracked, so now when the cat jumps off the edge, the force of her jumping causes the loose end to dig into my back. I shan't live like that. So it's off to some kind of bed store, I guess. Very exciting.

So it's gonna be unseasonably warm all weekend. This should be interesting.

Posted By Jimmy Legs

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Thursday, October 30, 2003 at 10:57:27 (EST)

At the diner on the corner
I'm not a morning person, no matter how much I wish I was. I realized today that I don't have the genetic wherewithal to rise early and be productive. But I want to be, for the sole reason that getting up early gives me the feeling that I'm getting something over on the world. There is a certain liberty one feels when riding one's folding bicycle down the street, hours before one would normally even be stirring.

Of course, I wasn't really up that early. I was meeting my friends at Tom's Restaurant at 8. But I haven't been up and about so early since I went to Seattle after staying up all night. It was the only chance I'd have to see P, a pal from grad school, who's always good for a weird story. Between him and my other friend, C, I always get an earful of weirdness. P is a surfer, snowboarder and sometimes-minister. C is a raw-foodist yoga instructor. Neither has any significant vices, which is always baffling to me. "You're stuck in the 'alcohol circle'," C said, when I made light of her date with another raw-foodist because they went to a raw food restaurant (but really, what else do raw-foodists do when they get together?). Maybe I am too drawn into the world of bars, of booze and smoke and loud music. Maybe I'll quit the rock'n'roll lifestyle at some point, but I wanna take a few rides around the park first. Whenever I find myself seriously considering a major life change for health, a little voice in my head queries, "Eh, who wants to live forever?" Then the voice tells me, "Sacrifice the cats in the backyard with a melon-baller." And I dutifully comply.

Tom's Restaurant kicks ass. I got that damn Suzanne Vega song stuck in my head while I was there, even though it's not the place that inspired the song. Suzanne Vega wouldn't last 5 minutes in Prospect Heights. They have an extensive fried dough section of the menu, which finally gave me the opportunity to order Belgian waffles. What is the connection between Brooklyn and Belgian waffles? I know Belgian waffles were introduced here during the 1964 World's Fair (as a feature in the inexplicable 'Belgian Village' display). But somehow the waffles took the G train down to Brooklyn and took root. This is discussed briefly in Blue in the Face, but beyond that I have no further information. Somebody out there, enlighten me!

Posted By Jimmy Legs

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Wednesday, October 29, 2003 at 10:46:02 (EST)

Movin' on up to the east side
So for once, I might be on top of a trend instead of helplessly chasing after it as usual. It seems like nearly everybody is moving to my neighborhood these days. In recent weeks several people I know have moved either right into Clinton Hill, or the greater Fort Greene area. This is cool by me, since the more people I know in the neighborhood means fewer people who might beat me up or rob my roommate. I might feel a twinge of gentrification guilt, but in the 3 years I've lived here, the neighborhood actually seems to have gone downhill. Rather than becoming glossy and pricey (as one might expect to happen to a neighborhood containing my effervescent personality), the rate of urban renewal around here seems to have stagnated.

There have been improvements, especially of late: A block away, on a street that has contained nothing but empty storefronts, a new wave of wide-eyed entrepreneurs has taken root. There's a bar/café, a health food store, and soon, a "world cuisine" restaurant (perhaps featuring such hybrids as cocktail wieners in fondue). I've only been to the bar once so far. It needs a little work but might turn into a decent hangout at some point. They are charging way too much for drinks, but I suspect they may not have a legit liquor license, given the ramshackle nature of the place. But Carmen, the owner, did turn me on to Talisker single malt scotch, which I highly recommend (I got some more while in St. Louis over the weekend). So things are sort of looking up. Of course, the same night we went to the new bar, the kids hanging outside our apartment asked us if we "sniffed dope." I can't tell if they were kidding.

And then there's José. He was looking at yet another apartment last night. It sounded promising, but he's had no luck in all the months he's been looking for a roost in this hood. So I put it to you people, help a boy get out of Queens and into our often-safe, Corcoran-approved neighborhood! If anybody knows of a cheap apartment or share, drop that guy a line.

Posted By Jimmy Legs

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Monday, October 27, 2003 at 11:43:44 (EST)

This business we call show
The Dog Costume Contest was a hoot. I was rather nervous before the proceedings, pacing around the house in my loud blazer and ugly-ass sunglasses. When I got up to the park and introduced myself to the organizers, everybody's first question to me was, "So ... are you drunk?" Apparently there was some feeling among the group that I am some kind of comical, Otis-from-Mayberry source of amusement. Either that or they couldn't figure out why anybody sober would agree to be involved with this event.

But once things got underway, I was fine. The dogs really do speak for themselves, um, so to speak. We had a really good turnout this time around, possibly because the weather wasn't cold and rainy, as it has been in the past. I got off a few good jokes at the dogs' expense, and so by that benchmark I was successful in my job as MC. I wonder if I'll be asked back next year, or if they'll go for one of those professional dog mockers from Boston I've been hearing so much about.

As usual, a dog with a fairly simple costume won top honors. It was an enormous dog dressed like Richard Simmons, with a fuzzy wig and shorts that left little to the imagination. I think Mr. Simmons himself would have to agree there was a striking resemblance. Once I find a really good picture of him, I'll post it here. In the meantime, here are our photos of the event.

After the contest, I jumped on a plane to the city of my birth, St. Louis, to hang with my grandma to celebrate her 80th birthday party. I felt a little bad at being late to the party because I was making fun of dogs in Brooklyn, but when I arrived I was informed that I had missed a lot of stress. Grandma had worked herself up into a tizzy and had made herself sick with anticipation, my sister's plane was delayed because it was almost struck by lightning, the hotel had a fire drill that helped push my dad to the brink of sanity. Plus, the hotel was full of members of something called the Eagle Forum, a "conservative, pro-family political group." Basically it was a bunch of snotty white folk from the heartland who were begging me to beat them with their own copies of Bill O'Reilly's lame book. But my tardiness allowed me to circumvent most of the troublesome parts of the weekend, so it was all sweetness and light for my part of the visit.

I always forget how much I like my dad's side of the family. Growing up I never got to spend much time with them, but they are quite an amusing crew. I feel like I fit in much better with them than I ever did with the WASP side of my family, since their major interests seem to be ugly sweaters and Coors Light. The Jewish side of the family is far more boisterous and fun, and for what it's worth, of all the men on the paternal side of my family, I have the most hair. This sort of thing always makes me feel better.

Also present was my second cousin S, a lovely woman on whom I've had a cousin-crush for most of my life. She's grown up to be a weirdo on about the same level as me, working as a professional bellydancer, playing the doumbek, dating a tatoo-artist/rock star. Plus she's been to Nepal several times. Still, I don't think she's ever emceed a dog costume contest. Score!

Posted By Jimmy Legs

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