Tag Archives: Peter Richards

Poetry, Delicious Eats, Orchids, Films, Burlesque and Chekhov

The last five days have been so full that I can hardly believe it has only been five days. I will chronicle my adventures and leave it to you to decide which you would like to try for yourselves.

On Wednesday I attended the InDigest Reading Series at Le Poisson Rouge, which I wrote about in an earlier post. I like the space for the most part and while the bartender was a bit clueless there was free absinthe, which was an excellent way to start the evening. Paul Dickinson read first; I found his list-style poem about the various kinds of poets (the poets who write in their cabins, the poets who write about flowers, etc.) amusing but it was the second reader, Jibade-Khalil Huffman, who the four of us found truly compelling. F and G were especially interested in him and on an impulse I bought them both copies of his book, ’19 Names For Our Band.’ The cover of the book is fantastic and probably was at least partially responsible for the impulse.

19 Names For Our Band by Jibade-Khalil Huffman

19 Names For Our Band by Jibade-Khalil Huffman

Our minds full of poetry G and I went over to Rhong Tiam to fill our stomachs with Thai chicken soup, which was fantastic.

On Thursday evening I treated myself to even more poetry at the St. Mark’s Bookshop Reading Series at Solas, which I also mentioned in an earlier post. Tom Raworth read first. His poetry wasn’t really to my taste, though to be fair I think it was probably more about the reading style. Peter Richards had a more dynamic style; he engaged me more and I was less likely to drift into my own thoughts. There was one line of Peter Richards’ I particularly liked:

There is no extra charge for this extra charge.

I apologize that I have no idea which poem it is from; if anyone does know please tell me and I will credit it properly. Post-poetry we had a drink at my favorite secret bar, Angel’s Share, before walking over to Polonia for authentic Polish food. There were pierogi and potato pancakes and Polish beer and finally slow painful walking to the train.

Friday, my sleep-deficit already at a dangerous level, I opted out of most more elaborate plans and limited myself to the aforementioned free whiskey tasting followed by dinner at one of my favorite Italian restaurants. The whiskey tasting was held at Bottlerocket Wine and Spirit .

Bottlerocket Wine and Spirit

Bottlerocket Wine and Spirit

We were tasting bourbon, vodka and whiskey made by the only New York State distiller- Tuthilltown Spirits. All of the products we tasted were single-ingredient products, which means that there’s no recipe per say; it’s all in the quality of the ingredients and the methods by which they’re processed. I enjoyed the whiskey, though generally it’s not my beverage of choice, (I’m a gin girl), and Kate1 liked the bourbon. However, I adored the tiny squat glass bottles.

Tuthilltown Whiskey

Tuthilltown Whiskey

Warmed by liquor we walked deep into the W. Village to one of the best Italian restaurants in the city- Malatesta. I first discovered this restaurant through an ex and while it was at first an emotional feat to go back there following the break-up (he met my parents there among other things), it was well worth it and I have now thoroughly reclaimed it for myself and my friends. Their cheese ravioli and gnocchi are most definitely the best I’ve ever tasted and where it lacks comfort (cramped, shaky wooden tables, etc.) it makes up for it in superb quality. Go. Eat. Be glad I never let men get between me and amazing restaurants.

Saturday was quite the day. It began with brunch at Jane, which I know I’ve told you in the past is one of my favorite brunch spots. It was delicious as always. I then meandered around Union Sq. for a bit and witnessed this classic Union Sq. tableau:

Classic Union Sq. Tableau

Classic Union Sq. Tableau

In the foreground we see a man with an alarming number of tattoos and a vintage-looking bike. In the background on the left is a man who is informing the general public about god, and the devil, and the likelihood that we will all go to hell (apparently quite high) and what hell will be like (apparently not pleasant). In the background on the right are a group of teenagers advertising free hugs. I post this only to lead up to the following statement- I LOVE NEW YORK.

On that note… I went up to Grand Central and G and I took the Metro North train to the New York Botanical Garden for the annual Orchid Show. The Orchid Show will be ongoing until April 12th and I would highly recommend that you head up there sometime before then; the conservatory is simply stunning.



After strolling through the grounds and watching the sunset behind the conservatory, we took the train back into the city and dared to walk through Times Sq. in search of a secret bar I had recently heard tell of… It is called Bar Centrale and I suggest that you seek it out as well. The entrance is satisfyingly hidden and the bartender is snooty (he reminded me faintly of Truman Capote for some reason) and the jazz is soothing and the carafes of extra martini are exciting.

Once I was properly giggly we hurried downtown to a screening of short films being considered for the Downtown Short Film Festival; I wrote about the audience choice screenings in an earlier post. I found out about this series through one of my bosses, SW, and we were supposed to go together but she was called away. In this case I can’t say she missed anything too exciting, however, I look forward to seeing the actual series in April as I suspect only the better films will make it in. This screening consisted of the following films:

  • Tunnelrat: Soldiers from opposite sides trapped in a tunnel. They get out and then one ironically gets killed by his own side. Predictable and unpleasant to watch.
  • Der Pfandlaie: This involves a pawn shop and a dominatrix; there was a lot of wasted potential.
  • Reach: A tiny robot is given life but is confined by the length of his power cord; he dies seeking to reach a mysterious bird. Sad and beautiful. Maybe WallE has conditioned me to find robots adorable.
  • The Last Leaf: Illness, melodrama, survival, hope, sacrifice. Too much to contain in a not particularly well put together piece.
  • An Angel Stops By: The Angel of Death tells a porn director he must make his film into a biblical tale to avoid death. There is death. With a small twist.

All that rating made us hungry and we were lucky enough to find space at Persimmon, a marvelous Korean restaurant in the E. Village.



To finish up the day (yes- this is still Saturday, astounding as that may seem) I attended the aforementioned Jackson-themed burlesque show at Joe’s Pub- ‘Beat It Burlesque.’ I had a burlesque-virgin with me and I am pleased to say this was a perfect first show; Tigger did slightly disturbing things on stage, Anita Cookie was as bubbly as can be and GiGi La Femme was the hottest pussycat out there.

Today my grandmother and I saw the final performance of Uncle Vanya at the Classic Stage Company. If you missed it I highly recommend that you look into their upcoming productions. The theater is tiny and intimate and if this show is any indication this is a company worth watching. Maggie Gyllenhaal was just as superb as I expected her to be and I got an extra special thrill because Meryl Streep happened to be seeing the show as well (she bumped into my grandmother in the lobby but was very nice about it).

I am exhausted but I promise to post this week’s events as soon as possible!

March 3-5 What to do?

We have quite the week ahead of us and I hope that you won’t let the nasty weather stop you from attending some of the great events taking place.

On Monday night head out to Galapagos to witness a new kind of open mike night- Open Variety Night!

Artists are invited to perform in New York City’s first certified green cultural venue. The monthly showcase is open to all variety entertainers: jugglers, hoofers, magicians, aerialists, physical comedians, opera singers, violin playing pogo stickers, steppers, acrobats. The stage is here for artists to work out material in front of a live audience.

The Open Variety Stage is a response to variety artists — circus, sideshow, vaudeville, etc. — not having a stage to work on new material with a live audience.  Although there are a number of open mics in the city, few provide spaces high and wide enough for the work that many of us do. We aim to create a supportive laboratory for emerging artists and professionals alike to work on material, try new bits, and reawaken old acts.

This event is particularly exciting because it is being presented in partnership with the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus– a fantastic organization my friend D used to volunteer for (you might say she actually ran away to the circus…).

Bindlestiff Family Cirkus

Bindlestiff Family Cirkus

On Tuesday I for one am going to see South Pacific at the Lincoln Center Theater. Some of the original cast will be leaving the show soon so you should definitely get tickets if you want to see it! I will be sure to post my review though I very much doubt that it will be anything but glowing.

If I was not going to the theater I would definitely be checking out the Bushwick Book Club.

The Bushwick Book Club meets the first Tuesday of every month at Goodbye Blue Monday and employs the delirious talents of local songwriters who plumb the depths and scrape the ends of a chosen literary gem to create that rare and beautiful thing – a new song. All songs are then displayed, spread wide, in one hour. It’s an hour-long orgy of book-related songs and book-inspired food and drink. If that doesn’t sound indulgent enough, I don’t want to know you, you sick, sick bastard.

Head out to Goodbye Blue Monday and enjoy the indulgence.

On Wednesday the InDigest Reading Series at Le Poisson Rouge will include a free absinthe tasting from 6-7. After you’re all properly liquored up Jibade-Khalil Huffman and Paul Dickinson will read.



On Wednesday check out Sustainable NYC and join in converting your trash into treasure. Bring your “exciting cardboard” and team up with the recycling junkies, creative geniuses and pack-rats of our fine city to create wallets, postcards, pencil boxes, and more!

Starting on Wednesday you can be part of the selection process for the NYC Downtown Short Film Festival. Audience screenings will be taking place Wednesday through Saturday so for once you could have a say in which films make it big.

NYC Short Film Festival

NYC Downtown Short Film Festival

This Thursday  Tom Raworth and Peter Richards will be reading at Solas as part of the St. Mark’s Bookshop Reading Series. These two accomplished poets are sure to bring an interesting crowd- go for the people watching if nothing else!

The Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Rendez-Vous with French Cinema series begins on Thursday with a screening of ‘Paris 36.’ The New York Times says:

The happy news about the 2009 series, whose remaining screenings take place at the Walter Reade Theater and the IFC Center, is that overall it is the best in years: a heartening development after a precipitous falloff last year. In addition to “Mesrine” and “Séraphine,” it includes major new films by Claire Denis (“35 Shots of Rum”), Agnès Varda (“The Beaches of Agnès”) and Benoît Jacquot (“Villa Amalia”) and a diabolically witty homage to the mystery writer Georges Simenon by Claude Chabrol (“Bellamy”) in which Gérard Depardieu plays a Maigret-like police investigator. Mr. Chabrol’s first movie with Mr. Depardieu, “Bellamy” also marks his 50th year as a director.

The series continues until the 15th; be sure to get your tickets for the screenings at the Walter Reade Theater or the IFC sooner rather than later!

 Le Plaisir de chanter

Le Plaisir de chanter

Stay tuned for additions as the week progresses!