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I apologize for the tardiness of this e-mail; I stayed home from work today and have been lying about sleeping and drinking tea and feeling sorry for myself. Since I am posting so late in the day I will skip Monday events altogether and move right along to… St. Patrick’s Day!

St. Patrick’s Day in NYC involves beer at noon, girls wearing very little green (and nothing else) and a whole host of other absurdities. Here are a few to consider:

Pot of Gold

Pot of Gold

  • A, who actually is Irish (born and bred), is planning to party at some less traditional spots- The Brass Monkey and Cielo in the Meatpacking District. Now Meatpacking is not always my thing; on weekends the whole velvet rope business can get out of hand, but St. Patrick’s Day is usually a pretty friendly and inclusive occasion so it might be the right time to head west.
  • For a cozier and less high maintenance crowd check out Black Rabbit in Greenpoint; their fireplace will be as cozy as always plus they will have Jameson specials and the sort of Irish music we generally know and love (the Pogues and the Waterboys).
  • Generally speaking there will be drink specials and people wearing green throughout the city so go out and join in the madness (just be safe everyone!)!

There are 2 ongoing things I’d like to mention before I forget. First, the play ‘Fire Throws,’ which A and I saw some time ago and which I reviewed, is in it’s final weeks at 3LD. While I had mixed feelings about it I do think it’s visually stunning and a unique theater experience. Secondly, The Best of Slamdance Festival at the IFC has some great selections to choose from, including two tonight.

On Wednesday, if you haven’t been to the Mixer Music and Reading Series at Cakeshop this is a good week to go; it’s their 2-year anniversary and they’re celebrating with a great selection of artists- Jedediah Berry, Matthew Zapruder and Leni Zumas will read and there will be music from La Marcha as well as special performances from your hosts Melissa Febos and Rebecca Keith; go and get your dose of poetry and cupcakes for the week!

If that’s not quite enough poetry to satisfy your literature related cravings on Thursday the St. Mark’s Bookshop Reading Series is happening at Solas again; JERRY STAHL and FRANCIS LEVY will be reading.

If you’d like to be part of a much more controversial discussion, the first public discussion between the graffiti community and the ‘Vandal Squad’ will be taking place in response to the release of a book by a former ‘Vandal Squad’ officer:

The recent book release Vandal Squad: Inside the New York City Transit Police Department, 1984–2004 has caused consternation throughout the global graffiti community with charges that author Joseph Rivera is profiting off the very criminals he spent his career incarcerating.

In response, the powerHouse Arena will host a conversation between former members of the Vandal Squad and the graffiti writers, the first such event of its kind. With the intent of providing an open forum for public discussion to discuss the issues regarding the methods that the Vandal Squad employs and their impact on the lives of the writers themselves. Panelists include Vandal Squad author Joseph Rivera, former Commanding Officer Lieutenant Steven Mona, original Vandal Squad Lieutenant Ken Chiulli, graffiti legend COPE2, graffiti activist Ket, and street artist Ellis G. The event will be moderated by Stern Rockwell, Streets Are Saying Things.

Founded in 1980, the Vandal Squad’s mission was to protect the subway system from hardcore criminal acts of destruction like kicking out windows and throwing seats out of train cars. It was only with the Clean Car Program of 1984 that graffiti became the primary focus of this specialized Unit. On a mission to catch those who gained fame under tag names, the Vandal Squad had to identify and locate these individuals cloaked in anonymity (and often so transient they were referred as “ghosts”) using every means available, including the NYPD computer database, Search Warrants, subpoenas, and even vandals themselves. These strategies, and their impact on the lives of the vandals, as well as concerns about the publication of the book, will be the focus of the conversation.

Vandal Squad: Inside the New York City Transit Police Department, 1984–2004

Vandal Squad: Inside the New York City Transit Police Department, 1984–2004

Also on Thursday, Black Rabbit will be hosting a speed dating event with a Smiths soundtrack. I know, speed dating sounds a bit sketch, right? I will have you know that I once dated someone for 2 whole months after meeting him speed dating AND we’re still friends (a true rarity for me). Think about it- you spend 5 minutes talking to someone and either you like them and want to talk to them further or you aren’t that interested. It’s much much less painful than going on a date with that guy from Match.com who looked so hot in that one picture… At any rate, be optimistic, feel sexy, go make some first impressions!

I will add more events as I come across them (and as this dreadful virus leaves my system).

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I have indulged in some truly decadent food these last few days. I have been meaning to detail my gastronomic adventures but have found myself too food coma-ed to do so. On Sunday night my friend D, who was in the midst of serious vacation splurging since she was only visiting from San Fran, reserved a table for us at Tailor. I couldn’t even find the place at first; the dark exterior didn’t even begin to suggest the chic restaurant within.

Tailor

Tailor

I had kept her waiting and she was already sipping at one of their exquisite cocktails- the Butternut & Fulernum, which is said to contain “Rum, Butternut Squash and Fulernum.” It is impossible to describe but I highly recommend it nonetheless. I tried the Rooi Moer, which was less exciting. We ordered the Beeted Tongue to start and it was truly fantastic. The presentation was impossibly colorful and intricate. The flavor was multifaceted; the nuts added an interesting texture. Best of all the horseradish sprinkled on top was an incredible little ping! to top it off. I had the Roasted Lamb and D had the Brisket for our respective entrees. The chef was really great about making alterations to cope with D’s intense lactardation (lactose intolerant like WOAH). All of the dishes were splendid though the starter and D’s dessert were the stars. For dessert D ordered the Grapefruit Tart and the chef did something magical to make it non-dairy and even without the blessing of butter it was superb. So, now that I’ve made you all hungry you’re ready to hear about Monday night.

Monday night my friend W was having his birthday dinner at Peter Luger’s Steakhouse. For those of you who are not aware Peter Luger’s is pretty much the epitome of an old school steakhouse. It’s been open since 1887 and they’ve pretty much been serving steak their way to any man big enough to tackle it since then. If W sends me some of his pics from that night I’ll post them but honestly even the thought of the sheer quantity of food still makes me a trifle queasy. I’ll be damned if I didn’t hold my own though. I mean I earned my place at the guy’s table when W took me to see amateur female jello wrestling and I thought it was awesome. I ate steak with the best of them but oh my did I feel sick Tuesday morning!

Luckily I was recovered sufficiently this evening to enjoy my dinner at Merchants New York Cafe in the Financial District. I was early and A was a bit late so I ended up chatting with the chef for quite some time. Coincidentally he had been to Tailor and so we were comparing notes on that and he was talking up his specials and the scallops he pushed me into were excellent. I preferred one of his regular dishes though- the heart-shaped ravioli were fantastic and I appreciated that he was flexible about the pancetta (I don’t eat pork). If you end up in that area I would definitely recommend this place, particularly because the chef is so involved. I generally feel that the more a chef is involved in the whole dining experience the more fluid it will be.

After dinner A and walked over a block to the 3LD Art and Technology Center for Fire Throws. The play used most of the original script, translated from the Greek, and then added music and dance together with some narrative monologues by “Antigone Who Is.” The performance was visually stunning, though the music was sometimes distracting. I disliked having some of the lines chanted or sung; it distracted from their meaning and didn’t increase the connectivity with the dance. The dancing, based in part on Balinese dance, was acrobatic and fluid and made excellent use of the space. The use of sashes reminded me of the Metropolitan Opera’s version of Madama Butterfly, in which long red sashes gather to become a dress and are unraveled in the final scene to represent blood. Actually the color palate in this production also emphasized red. I’m not sure that the costume designer had a specific meaning in mind (passion? blood? sin? impurity?) but it was certainly visually compelling.

Fire Throws

Fire Throws

The acting was a bit inconsistent. This scene, between Creon and his son Haemon, was notable mainly for the use of ‘Antigone Who Was”s shadow on a screen behind the players. This interesting image distracted me from the somewhat unimpressive acting onstage:

Antigone's shadow behind Creon and Haemon

Antigone's shadow behind Creon and Haemon

All the actors had their good and bad moments I think. ‘Antigone Who Was’ and Ismene were good in their scene together:

Antigone and Ismene

Antigone and Ismene

The trouble was that the director was more interested in making a statement about how the symbol of Antigone has been used over time than she was in telling the story of Antigone. I would respect her directorial choices more if I felt that her statement came across clearly. Unfortunately it seemed as though she couldn’t quite make up her mind what it should be; ‘Antigone Who Is’ is so preoccupied with wishing she could change the story that we never really see how the symbol of Antigone works within modern society. This is a beautiful production and truly lovely to watch but I can’t say that it expands the meaning of the play. I would suggest seeing it while it’s still in previews; if you do see it be sure to let me know what you think!

I will be posting weekend events shortly!

NOTE: The Big Red Apple is now TheBigRedApple.net

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I hope everyone is as happy to have a 4 day week as I am! Celebrate tonight by taking home arm loads of free clothes from Thrift On!, a crazy clothes swap at the Botanica Bar. There will be a DJ, comedy, contests and mayhem. Bring something you’re tired of and remember one person’s trash is another’s treasure.

On Tuesday Sam Mickens will be playing his “soul music for the present age” at Zebulon. Time Out New York says

Zs (say “zees”) combines cutting-edge contemporary classical with avant-rock, diluting neither style in the least. The trio’s hyperinvolved compositions and feverishly exacting performances make it essential listening for any enthusiast of either genre. Sam Mickens hails from visionary art-pop group the Dead Science.

I know I’ve mentioned this venue before, but I will reiterate that this is really the pinnacle of artsy hipsterness in Wburg.

On Wednesday I will be attending a preview performance of a new show called ‘Fire Throws’ at the 3LD Art and Technology Center. It’s a modern twist on the classic play Antigone, which makes it in my opinion the epitome of ‘Questionable Theatre.’ Naturally A and I are going and I expect it will either be amazing or awful; either way we are certain to enjoy ourselves immensely.

Fire Throws

Fire Throws

If you aren’t as confident in your ability to laugh off potentially dreadful theater I encourage you to check out the Mixer Reading and Music Series at Cakeshop. Dare Dukes was the musical performer last time and I totally fell in love with his crooning city-folk style. It didn’t hurt that Dare is what my friend K would call ‘sexy ugly.’ Actually he’ll be performing this Friday at Banjo Jims, so you can judge for yourself. This week the Mixer includes readings by Janice Erlbaum, Rob Sheffield and Melissa Seley and a musical performance by Allison Clancy. It should also be noted that not only is Cakeshop a great basement bar, it is also the purveyor of yummy pastries both vegan and otherwise.

On Thursday there will be another great literary event- the St. Mark’s Bookshop Reading Series at Solas. It was at one of these events that I heard Junot Diaz read from ‘The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao’ and became an instant die hard fan. As someone who enjoys both Llosa and Kanye West this was probably bound to happen. This week Brian Evenson and Jesse Ball will be reading. It tends to be crazy packed so get there early, find a comfy couch and be prepared to be be wowed.

Also on Thursday ‘Handmade Music’ will be umm… exploding at 3rd Ward. If you can get yourself out there (if it’s not too cold) these events are always worth the trip. They involve a coming together of “geeksters and the geek curious” and are generally a truly un-godly racket and a very good time.

I’ll be posting about next weekend as awesome events come to my attention. Please bring any to my attention that you come across!

Past Shenanigans

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