Chinatown Secrets

Walk down Bowery from the Lower East Side and watch as the signs turn to Chinese.

and things are marketed a little differently,

walk into what looks like a little alley with hipsters milling about and see if you can find 9 Doyers St.

so you can walk into the (not really) secret bar of Apothéke, an amazing, fancy cocktail bar.

Notice the chandelier made from flasks.

The drinks are $15 but they’re worth it.

categories: NYC, Restaurants, Reviews
link to this post: Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

Ok, Now I Miss Seattle A Little

(excellent photo by Jeremy Hurd used without permission, hopefully there’s forgiveness)

Ok, ok, I’ll admit it. Seattle has its charms. For one thing, I seriously miss The Stranger.  The Village Voice just doesn’t have the same unified snarky voice and dedicated approach to local news.  Sure I can read it online, but I love pulling it’s vibrant cover done by a local artist out of the box and then sitting down to devour it in one sitting with coffee.  Sometimes Savage Love first, sometimes Last Days first.

I miss spaciousness.  Even the major drug store chains in Manhattan are packed in with tiny little inventories and barely enough aisle space for two people to brush past.

I miss beers for five dollars or less.  A seven or eight dollar pint of beer is super normal here.

I miss the hills.  It’s so cool to be on Capitol Hill and look out down Denny and see Queen Anne Hill off in the distance.

I miss everyone looking for a roommate, instead of everyone looking for a place.  When I tell people I’m looking for a place they say, “Are you looking for fee or no fee?”  Like, that’s a thing!  Many apartments here are brokered.  Like, what kind of question is that?  I’m like: I want an apartment.  If someone’s going to ransom it then let’s hear how dear the ransom is!

I even miss the stupid fire dancing and burlesque everywhere.  I’m sure they have that in NYC, but in Seattle all you have to do is play an Aerosmith song and girls suddenly are wearing pasties and spinning fire.

categories: NYC, Seattle
link to this post: Friday, October 14th, 2011

Great New York Signs

Where do I go to get Chinese Qi Gong Tuina?!

Zen like, in the “I have simple tastes, I like only the best” kind of way

DO NOT

Wait, what should I do?

Le French Hot Dog is super sophisticated.  Seriously though, this patisserie is awesome.

Buy three scarves, get a Kung Fu DVD Movie free!

 

categories: NYC
link to this post: Monday, October 10th, 2011

NYC Mishaps

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Almost everything has gone swimmingly here so far, but not everything.

A list of mishaps in no particular order:

  • I finally decided to pony up and put $50 on a subway card.  Those flimsy little pieces of crap.  It got stuck coming out of the machine and wouldn’t dispense.  Nothing to be done about it.  I just had to fill out some stupid paperwork and try and claim my $50.  I called the phone number and they said they’re backlogged and it takes at least 3 weeks to process the thing.  Maybe it’ll be a nice surprise a month from now.
  • The wonderful person who helped me hustle my stuff into storage dropped my computer from about two feet off the ground.  “Hehehe,” she said, “I’m sure it will be ok.”  It wasn’t.  My computer is totally broken and won’t even load the bios.  Ow.  That one hurt.
  • My old iPhone 3Gs has been chugging along just fine… even after many drops on the head.  I’m trying to make it last until I can buy a 4S, but they still don’t come out for several days.  Now it has almost no battery life, and the headphone jack is broken (I think it stopped working the day Steve Jobs died!) and I’m limping along on no music here in NYC.
  • Nobody is calling me back on apartments.  I’ve called and emailed several places and… crickets.
Otherwise, though, things are going swimmingly.  I’ve been seeing great music, good movies, cool people, and generally just living it up.  And… I’m excited to go to work Monday at Bandwidth Productions.

 

categories: NYC
link to this post: Saturday, October 8th, 2011

NYC Experiences: Amazing Synchronicity

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Everyday, more cool stuff happens than I can even write about. Like, for instance yesterday afternoon I met Steve of the Rising Sun All Stars hip hop collective on the train. He was an earnest guy who told me about the studio they’re building and their show that night.

I told him about Seattle hip hop group Shabazz Palaces and their awesome new album Black Up (I’m going to spread the gospel) and said I’d maybe come to his show after my “friend date”.  Well, a couple hours into the friend date and I randomly run into Steve on the street!  We go see his show (after astoundingly insane opener The Black Fires, pictured above) the All Stars came on and rocked the stage.  It was a perfect end to a perfect day.

categories: NYC
link to this post: Friday, October 7th, 2011

These guys…

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After noticing that I was taking photos they called out, “Five dollars!”

 

categories: NYC
link to this post: Friday, October 7th, 2011

Ok, I’ll admit, the subway is weird and confusing

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I struggle to understand its labyrinthine passageways.

categories: NYC
link to this post: Thursday, October 6th, 2011

Cool Places in NYC I

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I haven’t eaten at this Manhattan burger joint yet, but I love the sign.

 

categories: NYC
link to this post: Thursday, October 6th, 2011

Straight Outta Woodinville: Age Your Own Whiskey

Props to a local Woodinville distillery for this fantastic idea: they don’t have any aged whiskey yet, because they’re a new distillery, but they’re getting ready to sell their already cool white whiskey(!) along with a mini-barrel aging kit.  Great idea, and one that the snob thinks he might participate in.

categories: Seattle
link to this post: Friday, March 18th, 2011

TWO June Nights, TWO Lovely Shows

Well, I actually went out and listened to some actual real live local music.  People like Seattle Show Gal do this all the time, but for me, I don’t take a chance on new local stuff as often as I could.  Maybe I should be a little sweeter and a little less snobby.

Tonight I went to see experimental guitarist Bill Horist.  I’ve seen experimental music that was much more experimental wanking than experimental music IMHSO.  I mean, believe me, I believe in whatever kind of performance people can get other people to show up for!  But a few random atonal noises every few seconds on the trumpet doesn’t make me personally show up twice.

What Bill did was both experimental and music, so kudos to him.  He played two long pieces: one with an acoustic guitar and some weird electronic box, and after saying he was going to come back from an intermission “as another person” he played an electric guitar number.

The acoustic number filled the space for sure… he combined strange whirring feedback from the box with cyclical, looping guitar phrases.  At times I just let my head slack in my hands and just moved my body in similar looping motions with my eyes closed.

When he came back, he set the guitar on his lap, and shoved a porcupine-style letter holder in the strings and proceeded to play it with a bow (see photo above).  In time he abused his strings with cymbals, long bent metal sticks, and a few hemostats clipped to them.  Sounds like just messing around, but he did manage to consistently make interesting and different sounds with each new instrument.   After the show, I couldn’t resist taking a picture of his tray of tools.  Holy crap, I wonder what it would have been like if he’d used the electric toothbrushes!

Last night I saw another cool show by local band Pillow Army, as a part of a benefit for Noise for the Needy.

I went because the drummer has been a true pal to me and has been cutting my hair better than anyone for the last two years.  So, I finally got to see his band and meet his lovely wife.  In the barber’s chair, he told me (a little ruefully) that his band was “kind of like a nerdy Arcade Fire”.

I didn’t really see that myself, other than that they had a small string section (violin and cello).  They didn’t have any of the crescendo addiction of Arcade Fire, and instead played an 11-song set of rollicking energetic, bluegrass-inspired numbers with intelligent lyrics.

The lead singer is a straightforward singer who sang energetically and with humility… although in the end I wished he’d ditched a little of the humility and turned on some of the star power and gave it his all.

Some songs really worked, like the cello-driven The Price, and the radio-ready drug/relationship number, Codeine.  (You can hear both.)  Some songs (I didn’t catch the titles) put a snooze on the crowd, without enough to distinguish themselves.  All in all though, I was glad to be there and loved the energy of a band playing a late Thursday night set and really showing some spirit.  The kazoo number kicked ass.

And last but not least, another shout out to Noise for the Needy, which throws summer shows every year to benefit a charity.  This year, Teen Feed, which feeds and provides outreach for the most vulnerable almost-adults out there on the streets having to act a little more grown-up than they really should have to.

Thanks to Pillow Army, Bill Horist, Holly, and my girlfriend for showing me a good time!

categories: Concerts, Reviews, Seattle
link to this post: Saturday, June 12th, 2010
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