I’m not fond of New York. I never have been. As an English Major I had to deal with many works of literature that served to glorify this place, and perhaps to do this repetition had grown contempt for the place. But, it started grow on me after being there for a nearly a week.
The first show was a bit of a let down. It was in sports pub on what looked to be the outskirts of Greenpoint. I was greeted by angry Latina bartender and pointed to the back of the bar to a brightly lit room full of mirrors. I was the first one there. It took a while for everyone to make it and the show began a little late. I ended up playing just for the people who put the show on and the two people in Graph Rabbits. But it was still fun to play. I hadn’t been able to play like that since the last time I played at Strange Maine. Also Graph Rabbits turned out to be a phenomenal band. Definitely worth checking out. Also I got to meet this kid Chris Andrews who makes all the fliers for the shows at The Place. He has such an ingenious idea. He just uses public domain comic book images. It was great to peruse his collection.
It was all up hill from there. The next night at Vaudeville Park, Stephanie joined me for the first time and it was a hit. The result was something very beautiful, yet still haunting and little frenetic. I met some really outstanding people here, including Ian, the man who puts on the shows at Vaudevill, who, along with Brian McCorkle, did an awesome job promoting this show. I loved playing at this space. It was an actual venue but had all the charm and comforts of house venue. This space isn’t going to be around for long, its going to be converted to studio space, so if your in Brooklyn be sure to check this place out.
That night we got invited to place another show in New York by Robert Pepper, some one I met at Frantasia this year. We were invited to this place in Manhattan called Spectrum, which thus far is the fanciest place I’ve ever played. It’s a loft space not far from the Williamsburg Bridge. It had everything: sweet sound system, tripy light array, projector (which was used to project a film Robert did of a man walking though New York) and some really cozy couches. All the bands were truly awesome improvisational groups. Though the highlight for me was watching Lawry Zilmrah do crazy things to a bicycle wheel he had mounted with guitar strings.
The final night was at Panoply Performance Laboratory, which is a fun space to play in, and also home to the best shower I have ever experienced. It was probably the best show so far performance-wise cause I got to see my favorite band again (harbour) and also watch Joey Molinaro stop the shit out of the floor while playing insanely fast and accurate grindcore on his violin. For this show I asked the audience to join me. First the was a sing a long. Then I had them inflate balloons and make them squeak out air during a pause between parts and finally they made noise at the end with plastic bags and beer cans. I also invited people to come up at any point and play the wall piano (part of the wall in Panoply in in fact the inside of a piano) and remarkably a few people did. I also acquired a hand made book of poetry that is very awesome and I got permission from the author to use some of the poems in future performances (there is credit to come, its just that its too early in the a.m. to remember names).
Highlights of New York:
Trying to busk while competing with a magician, saxophonist, trombonist, pianist (both upright and grand) and a wino who kept laying in front of my donation box while heckling me for not the right Beatles tunes.
Volunteering with Occupy Sandy: It took a few days to finally get in touch with some one (including an entire day wasted getting lost and ending up in the entirely wrong place), but it was totally worth it. I helped a guy clean out his basement, and volunteered with this really awesome person names Summer, who had been volunteering since day 1. The guy we helped, first thing, gave us these clay coins. He said it was his currency. Summer asked what we could get with it and he asked what we needed. She said a beer and I said subway fair. He just laughed and walked away.
Walking 2 hours to the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens to avoid paying for a bus. Totally worth it. I got to see cacti under glass, and hang out in a rainforest. Weird shit to see in the middle of a city.