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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!

NOTE: The Big Red Apple is now TheBigRedApple.net

To view this post at its new location click HERE!

As usual at this point of the week I am doing very little but think about all of the exciting upcoming events. I will probably add to this list but I am simply too excited to keep them to myself any longer.

First off you should check out my earlier post for tonight’s events and those that are ongoing. The St. Mark’s Bookshop Reading Seriestakes place tonight at Solas and I also wrote about the Rendez-Vous with French Cinema and the Short Film Festival.

Tonight at Joe’s Pub Eleni Mandell will be playing her characteristic blend of jazz, blues and folk; The New Yorker says

Mandell was weaned on artists like Tom Waits and X, and her dark and sexy songs have been compared to those of everyone from Chan Marshall to Patsy Cline. She has a sometimes smoky, sometimes wistful delivery, and, more often than not, her songs take on love from some new perspective.

Armory Arts Week begins today:

With one admission ticket, visitors to The Armory Show on March 4 – 8 will now have access not only to the newest trends in the art world in our celebrated International Fair of New Art on Pier 94, but also to the masterpieces that heralded these developments in The Armory Show – Modern on Pier 92.

www.TheArmoryShow.com

The Armory Show is only part of the fun, check out Volta and Art Fair Now for even more snobbishness and deep hidden meaning. If you’d rather take your art in small, concentrated doses head downtown tonight for Soho Night- an evening of extended exhibition viewing and special programs by the not-for-profit visual arts institutions in SoHo. Don’t miss “Kick My Heart’s Ass: Short Films About Love” curated by Davy Rothbart. Check the website for more artsy fun this weekend.

Far and away one of the absurd events happening this weekend- Gypsy-Bhangra-Balkan bacchanalia at the Banya Russian Steambaths.

Banya Russian Steam Baths

Banya Russian Steambaths

The event is being hosted by party mavens Gemini & Scorpio:

Break out your bikini or swim trunks, and join 100 artsy, funky (and nearly naked) New Yorkers for a steamy dance night at a real Russian Banya. Things will get sweaty on the dance floor with DJ Joro Boro curating an array of EthnoMesh DJs throwing down brass freakout, slum funk carioca, bangin bhangra, percussion insurgency, and cumbia from south of the wall: an uninhibited globalized party fed back into music without borders.

Flier for Russian Baths Dance Party

Flier for Russian Baths Dance Party

Get your tickets now before they sell out!

For those of you who are Anti-Armory check out the equal and opposite show- the Eyebeam Mixer. There will be crazy installations and too-cool-for-the-Armory DJs.

Also on Friday educate your tastebuds at a FREE whiskey tasting! You can sample local whiskey from New York distiller Tuthilltown Spirits at Bottlerocket Wine & Spirit.

Saturday night B is going to Le Poisson Rouge to see Glass Candy perform their weird 60’s performance art / disco.

Glass Candy

Glass Candy

Also on Saturday, Draw-a-Thon will be happening at ‘One Taste’ on Grand St. between Mott and Mulberry.

A striped down version of our production, the focus will be drawing long and short poses of love, hugs, emotion, joy, and embraces, followed at 11pm the interview of the nude, questions and answers on what makes us tick.

Also on Saturday, go back to Joe’s Pub for ‘Beat it Burlesque,’

an all-star cast for a night of striptease, live music and comedy dedicated to the Jackson family’s titanic range of pop hits, from the Jackson 5 to Michael to Janet, maybe even Jermaine—and their 40 years of pop culture craziness.

Beat it Burlesque

Beat it Burlesque

This Sunday if you happen to know how to knit or crochet (I am not nearly that skilled but I admire those who are) and you’re interested in increasing your good karma, check this out:

Knitters or Crocheters needed for a Mother’s Day donation drive.  Sue Rock Originals Everyone, Inc., will be bringing your beautiful hand crafted items to  a domestic violence residence in the New York area. We have yarn and knitting needles available for your use from 11a-4p on March 8. Sue Rock Originals Everyone, Inc. is the first textile nonprofit committed to supporting the lives of survivors of domestic violence. We partner volunteers with the raw materials to create clothing and accessories for survivors of domestic violence living in transitional housing. For five years we have donated over 2,000 items to women living in residences held by Safe Horizon, Center Against Domestic Violence, and Sanctuary for Families. Contact Sue Rock at 347 365 8747.

Also on Sunday I am tremendously pleased to announce that my favorite comedy act, The Raspberry Brothers, will be performing at Pianos. They will be applying their tremendous wit to ‘Snakes on a Plane.’ I cannot imagine a movie so uniquely suited to their brand of mockery. Go and enjoy!

Raspberry Brothers

Stay tuned for additions!

NOTE: The Big Red Apple is now TheBigRedApple.net

To view this post at its new location click HERE!

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.

Absinthe

Absinthe

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!

Past Shenanigans

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