Friday, May 14, 2004 at 12:49:24 (EDT)

... and twins?!
Best encounter from yesterday's bar outings: While visiting Last Exit, I am surprised to find Silke, of the band Electric Turn to Me, is bartending. We're talking when this group of Bridge & Tunnel-types enter (I don't mean to stereotype, but I dunno how else to describe them). They sit in the back and dispatch one short, stocky guy to order drinks.

"2 Coors Light and 2 Bud Lights," he says.

"Ah, we don't actually have either of those," replies Silke.

The guy looks around the bar, searching for a familiar brand. While the beer selection has a few surprises, it's certainly not the most exotic variety in town. Still, he is at a complete loss as to what to order. He gets on his 2-way radio thing (talking to his friends who are about 30 feet away), lamenting about Last Exit's 'poor' selection.

Silke helpfully adds, "We have Amstel Light, or Corona, Heineken," reaching for the bar's most standard beers. The guy is not impressed.

"But I want an AMERICAN beer," he whines. Silke points to the taps, and his face falls. "Aww, Brooklyn Lager?" He shakes his head, defeated.

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Thursday, May 13, 2004 at 12:32:10 (EDT)

Band on the run
It appears my neighbors have moved next door to Paul McCartney:

McCartney's Rehearsals Draw Complaints
The former Beatle's raucous sessions in the Millennium Dome drew complaints from people living on the other side of the Thames River. Local officials have promised to monitor noise levels emanating from the site where McCartney, 61, is preparing for an upcoming tour.

Favorite quote of the irate neighbors who don't like listening to McCartney's band practicing: "I thought it was quite unacceptable and even my cat was disturbed." [via MRK]

Wow! I have seen pictures of the skateboard-riding bulldog before, but I never saw the videos. I always thought his owner just dropped him on the skateboard and pushed him, but the dog actually gets on himself, and even pushes himself along with one paw on the ground. He even appears to 'steer' while riding. Note this is not only impressive for a dog, it's better than I can accomplish on a skateboard. [via SMK]

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Wednesday, May 12, 2004 at 15:30:32 (EDT)

The things you think are precious I can't understand
Hmph. Rain is threatening my ever-expanding New York Outdoor Bar Tour. I can hear thunder outside, so I hope it comes soon and is over with by the time I head up to Williamsburg this afternoon to scope the many bars in that neighborhood. Of course, even if the rain stops, backyards all over town will likely be soaked. But like many things in my life, all my time spent at the Alibi has taught me much. On post-rainy visits to said bar, I often bring a towel with me to dry off the chairs so I may safely experience the Great Outdoors (although that phrase leaves a little to be desired when discussing the Alibi's graffiti-laden, rat-populated back deck). In the summer I also sometimes carry a colored light bulb, to replace the glaring white bulb used to illuminate the Alibi's yard. We keep discussing stringing up some Christmas lights around the fence, but have yet to actually bother.

Last night's show was a hoot, although I broke two strings during the course of the set. I may just take MRK's advice and replace all my strings with the unused low-E strings I have in large supply. It'd be cheaper than buying set after set of strings to replace the D and G strings I break most frequently. The real solution, of course, is to buy single types of strings in bulk, as I did when Planet of Pants was still around. Once a stringbreaker, always a stringbreaker.

Anyway, it was a star-studded night, with Ecco Teres of The Forms kindly showing up to endure our show. Before we went on the guy who plays Meadow Soprano's boyfriend was hanging around the bar, with that "Are people noticing me?" look on his face. And Ken, better known as Udo Von DüYü of the Voice's pick for "Best Gay Heavy Metal Band," Pink Steel, showed up raring to go. Unfortunately he had given blood earlier in the day and unwisely had drinks, which resulted in light-headedness, which led to him falling over some steps. But the word is he's okay now. Remember kids, if you give blood, you can't drink a lot and party like a rock star. So ... don't ever give blood.

With the Black Betty show behind us, it's time to start hustling for our next show, Monday night at the Lit Lounge in the East Village!

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Tuesday, May 11, 2004 at 13:58:50 (EDT)

God bless Mother Nature, she's a single woman too
Don't forget! MOTICO is the featured band tonight for Black Betty's HOT ROCKS weekly series. Black Betty is on Metropolitan just a few scant blocks from the G/L trains, with a lovely view of the BQE and its many dead pigeons. The show is free. When we're big'n'famous later, you'll regret having missed this show. Lemme ask frankly, would people be more likely to attend if Mr Bones was in attendance? Is he the real draw behind this band?

I did a lot of fieldwork last night in the Park Slope area. I visited Patio, Ginger's, Bar Reis, and the Park Slope Ale House. Then I went to the Alibi. Oh my, what contrast! I guess I've been going to the Alibi for so long, I've stopped thinking of it as a dive. Boy am I wrong. The Alibi is a captial-D Dive. Park Slope is notably short on true dives. The only one I can think of is Jackie's 5th Amendment. I guess that place is so divey it covers the whole area.

Of the bars I saw last night (not counting L'Alibi, bien sur), I think I like Ginger's the best. Perhaps that's odd, since it is primarily a lesbian bar. Or maybe that explains it. But it's essentially an Irish bar, and I'd never been out on the patio before. It's pretty big and nicely appointed with tables of varying height and Japanese Knotweed creeping under the fence. And while I was there they played "It's Raining Men," possibly for my benefit.

So later this week, I'm gonna hit other bars by neighborhood: Williamsburg, Boerum Hill/Carroll Gardens, Red Hook, Financial District. If anybody wants to volunteer to help me bar-hop, lemme know.

UPDATE: Soon all the cool kids will be sporting this fine-ass article:







UPDATE II: So this is what the people want?

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Monday, May 10, 2004 at 12:30:11 (EDT)

It's a dead man's party
I think I'm starting to lose it. I woke up yesterday with a nice-sized hangover but proceeded to prepare myself for a brunch in Boerum Hill. Though running late, I trudged over there only to find the brunch was not actually happening until the following week. Sorry for waking you up, Kathy!

But my psychosis might have something to do with being subjected to an apartment entirely covered in pictures of José with a sombrero superimposed on his noggin. Or the crowds of people present wearing their own sombreros, and everyone sporting grease-pencil mustaches, male and female alike. In such an environment I'm bound to make mistakes. In this case, it was the usual mistake of doing shots of tequila. As everybody knows, tequila is only good in margaritas and not potable in any other form. But I had already had several drinks, and like magic, tequila seemed like the best idea ever! I'm pretty sure that tiny cup of clear liquid was responsible for my headache the next day. I didn't do anything crazy, but I think I kept trailing off when I was talking to people. And I managed to ride my bike home without taking out any parking meters.

Before José's shindig, I was at Juli & Will's wedding reception, from whence I got most of the alcohol that would see me through the evening. I now wish that parties always came in pairs like this. During the first party I was not so drunk, and this was appropriate for the situation. By the time I got to the second, I was pretty lit, also appropriate for the personality of that party. If only the parties were closer together...

But back to business. I still have no idea when I have to have all these bar reviews done. I got out to Queens on Friday to check out two outdoor bars with possibly the greatest disparity of any two bars I will review: The Bohemian Beer Hall and Fleming's Pub. One is a venerable beer garden packed to the gills with hearty folk drinking Staropramen. The other is a small neighborhood dive, nearly empty and prone to volatility, with a small patio and a photograph of JFK, Jr, captioned "Good Night, Sweet Prince," apparently with no irony whatsoever. I loved both places, except for he fact that they are in Queens, making them difficult to get to on a regular basis. I suppose one day when the G line is all fixed up and perfect (we must be close right? they've been working on it for years!) then traveling to Queens (or more correctly, getting home from Queens) won't seem so daunting. Why don't they build an aerial tramway between the dome of the Williamsburgh Bank building to the top of the MetLife building? I'd buy a ticket!

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Week of May 9-15, 2004

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