Tag Archives: poetry reading

Poetry, Music and Victorian Gypsies TONIGHT

I’m on the bus back from Boston after a one-night-only surprise visit; I am positively glowing and at least part of it is because of the wonderful city I’m returning to! If you’ve been following me on Twitter you’ve already heard a great deal about CMJ but let me draw your attention for a moment to a very special concert taking place tonight. Gothamist and Brooklyn Based are teaming up to bring you an action-packed night at one of my favorite venues- The Bell House!

CMJbellhouse_640

If you want a less raucous Thursday, join me at Pacific Standard where Pulitzer Prize winning poet Philip Levine will be reading from his new collection, News of the World. I wrote a paper on Levine’s poem “The Two” when I was a romantic ¬†English Lit major. Here’s a passage:

Get back to the two, you say.

Not who ordered poached eggs, who ordered

only toast and coffee, who shared the bacon

with the other, but what became of the two

when this poem ended, whose arms held whom,

who first said “I love you” and truly meant it,

and who misunderstood the words, so longed

for, and yet still so unexpected, and began

suddenly to scream and curse until the waitress

asked them both to leave. The Packard plant closed

years before I left Detroit, the diner was burned

to the ground in ’67, two years before my oldest son

fled to Sweden to escape the American dream.

“And the lovers?” you ask. I wrote nothing about lovers.

Take a look. Clouds, trucks, traffic lights, a diner, work,

a wooden shoe, East Moline, poached eggs, the perfume

of frying bacon, the chaos of language, the spices

of spent breath after eight hours of night work.

Can you hear all I feared and never dared to write?

Why the two are more real than either you or me,

why I never returned to keep them in my life,

how little I now mean to myself or anyone else,

what any of this could mean, where you found

the patience to endure these truths and confessions?

Also tonight, there are “Victorian Gypsies” performing in our fine city; The Citizens Band is debuting their new piece, The Debt Rattle. These very original cabaret performers will give you a new understanding of the current economic and social shakeup.

The Citizens Band

The Citizens Band

The Bolt Bus’ internet connection isn’t so hot this afternoon so that’s all for now but stay tuned for a full spread of this weekend’s events, plus my review of The Jaguar Club‘s show at Cakeshop- just in time for their next show this weekend!

The Big Red Apple is BACK!

It has been a long time since my last post, for which I sincerely apologize; I’m afraid while I was in Boston I had trouble looking at NYC events without feeling homesick and in an effort to enjoy my time there with G I neglected you… Now I am back and ready to announce a spread of fabulous events for those of us staying in the Big Apple for Labor Day weekend!

Tonight Q and I are seeing Emanuel and the Fear at Joe’s Pub. I’ve written about them several times in the past and what with L Magazine’s enthusiastic recommendation I sense that they are about to hit the big time- get out tonight so you can say ‘you saw them when!’

Also tonight Art Four Life is having a snazzy opening for their new photography exhibit, Egotrip, at M2 Ultralounge:

m2gallery

This weekend there are several festival style events worth checking out; if you missed Figment on Governors Island you have another chance to see art with a view- starting this weekend the Governors Island Art Fair will be dressing up the island! There are over 150 artists participating in what is sure to be an art show with something for everyone. Try to make it out this weekend when the weather is perfect for wandering! Also, if you’re on the island be sure to stop into the Poetry Brothel, which will be in operation on the island every Saturday and Sunday afternoon during the fair. The Poetry Brothel, as I’ve told you in the past, involves poets as ‘whores’ and listeners as ‘johns’: “The Madame presents a rotating cast of both male and female poets engaged in a night of literary debauchery and private poetry readings.” If you can’t get enough poetry for free you can always pay for it (heh heh).

Then again, you may not want to pay for it this weekend since the Howl Festival will be taking over Tompkins Sq. Park:

The annual Howl! Festival named in honor of the groundbreaking poem by Allen Ginsberg and produced every summer celebrates the East Village and Lower East Side’s role as a preeminent locus of culture. Centered in Tompkins Square Park, the festival attracts more than 100,000 visitors bringing to the clubs, galleries, parks, streets, and theaters of Manhattan’s Lower East Side an explosion of dance, film, food, music, performance, painting, poetry, sculpture and theater.

The events include readings of the poem, theatrical productions, video installations and all sorts of beat style madness!

For madness of an even more absurd variety head to Coney Island for the Rockabilly Festival; there will be sideshow acts, tons of musical performances and of course Burlesque on the Seashore!

rockabilly

Saturday is the last Warm Up of the season at P.S.1 so if you haven’t made it out there hop on a 7 and finish the summer off in style! (Special Tip: For the best brunch in Long Island City check out Tournesol, which is a short walk from P.S. 1 and boasts snooty French waiters in a relaxed bistro.)

Saturday night there are two great dance parties to consider. First, The Bell House will be on the wild side for Release the Beast:

The NRG DJs present Release the Beast, a new rock, funk and R&B party premiering September 5th. Get primal with DJs Fucci and Brian Blackout as they blend everything from ELO to Heart to Earth Wind & Fire to Can. We’ll be featuring video and masks themed around a different beast- this time come its that stripey feline that loves breakfast cereal and kerchiefs-the tiger. PLEASE NOTE: No furries were harmed in the making of this party.

B tells me he’s “getting [his] funkiest, most outrageous cuts ready” and I’m super excited to hear them!

If that’s not your style perhaps you’d be interested in Back to School, an art and music event at the Old Red School House. Exhibiting artists include: Elisha Zeitler (mixed media clay sculpture), Anjia Jalac (installation), Mariette Papic (photography/ graphic print), Vanessa Porter (photography/ graphic collage), Chris Chludenski (sculptural mobiles), Ebony Yizar (mixed media), Erin Oldynski (photography), and Bari Langbaum (clothing sculpture).

On Sunday be part of the art with Freestyle Art Events; the event will start at the Mets Citi Field North Entrance and then move to the Queens Museum of Art.

Also on Sunday discover Mrytle Avenue, where, amongst other things, Five Spot is having a Philly Cheese Steak eating contest.

On Monday skip the amateur BBQs and get BBQ done right at Marfa in the E. Village:

From 5pm onwards, East Village rib joint Marfa is hosting the West Texas All You Can Eat Labor Day Barbecue on their roof deck. For $15, fill your plate with BBQ ribs, pork, beef, salmon and all the fixins. And for an extra $2, you can add some wild boar or shrimp to that plate. Drinks include $5 Margaritas, $3 PBR and shots of the house-infused tequila.

If you’re a fan of Manolos and Cosmo’s get your tickets now to the “lecture” of the season: Sex and the City and Best Friends Forever: Candace Bushnell and Jennifer Weiner, at Kaufmann Concert Hall this Tuesday!

On Wednesday join me at Comix to pay tribute to John Hughes in the best possible way- by watching the Raspberry Brothers make fun of The Breakfast Club! It’s going to be hilarious and rumors say that a sing-a-long will also be part of the evening… Hope to see you there!

Have an excellent weekend and stay tuned for additions! It’s good to be back!

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.

Orchids

Conservatory

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.

Persimmon

Persimmon

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!