O.K. I love Sailor Jerryparties. The music always slams , the crowd is hot in a tattooed sort of way, and there is always an abundance of Sailor Jerry Rum around to… lubricate the attendees. Yes, I got me another tattoo: a sort of naked cheerleader, and for no good reason. I’m past the point of great philosophical meanings for my ink. I just like it. Maybe in 40 or 50 years I’ll regret these hasty decisions, but I bet my eighth wife will think they’re hot.
The highlight of the evening was The Ramonahs, an all-drag Ramones cover band. It features TV tattoo celebrity Oliver Peckdoing the lead singing. He and his bandmates don silly wigs and wear fake boobs as they slam through a fairly cool Ramones set. For an old codger like me who saw the Ramones a hundred times it was … well, music to my ears. I texted Marky Ramone about it but, alas, he was in Italy. I think he would have laughed and even joined them. This gig was like that.
The shin-dig happened at Arlene’s Grocery. Arlene’s is special; a throwback to an age of enlightement. It has its ups and downs, but who doesn’t. Monday night was a definite up. Special shout-out to Sailor Jerry P.R. Dana Dynamite who helps organize these soirees.
Everybody who moves to New York from somewhere else has a story of sticker shock. The first time they were charged $18 for a cocktail. The first time they saw a $3,000-a-month studio apartment. The first time they shelled out $30 for a taxi ride across town during rush hour. But most choose to stay despite the expense because, well, it’s worth it. If you really want to live in a five-bedroom house with a two-acre lawn, move back to Crabapple Falls. We’ll stick with our pricey shoebox apartments, thank you, because one step out the front door puts us in a fascinating place where anything can happen. And the thing about New York is, the longer you stay, the more you learn about getting by without going broke. There are many secrets to living it up in the city without a hedge fund or trust fund at your disposal, and BlackBook‘s New York City Guide editor Ethan Wolff knows them all. Nice bloke that he is, he’s willing to share them with you for the low price of $11.40, which is what Amazon is charging for his brand new book, Frommer’s NYC Free & Dirt Cheap. Buy it. It will pay for itself by your first cheap hangover.
The book, published by John Wiley & Sons (those boys must be grown by now), features 396 free events, attractions, classes and more, and that’s all of them, save for the four he must be saving for himself. I know they’re solid, because I’ve been a cheap and/or broke New Yorker since arriving on these shores in December 1994, a full six months before Mr. Wolff. It’s true, he missed Manhattan’s golden age of 1Q 1995, but he’s caught up mightily since then, amassing a wealth of knowledge on getting by and partying well without going into hock.
For example, he’ll school you on the excellent free music and entertainment at places like Arlene’s Grocery on the Lower East Side and Pete’s Candy Store in Brooklyn. He’ll tell you how to borrow a kayak for free from the Downtown Boathouse to paddle around a placid Hudson River embayment. And how to get tickets to Broadway shows for a song from … hey, wait a second, I can’t give away all his ideas. Go panhandle $11.40 and buy the book yourself. I’ll see you at Happy Hour.
Erstwhile $20-million-dollar man Jim Carrey continued his quest for viral video supremacy with a surprise performance at Arlene’s Grocery in New York’s Lower East Side this weekend. Since we sadly weren’t there–imagine the status updates!–we’re not quite sure what brought Carrey to the grungy music den, or what drove him on stage. Gawker points out that he had a camera crew in tow, so maybe a documentary about celebrities who enjoy unplanned public performances? Anyway, the audience firmly in the palm of his hand, Carrey proceeded to belt out two disaffected classics from alternative music’s ’90s heyday.
With a very capable band backing him up, Carrey first performed Radiohead’s “Creep,” maybe as a self-reflexive ode to the internet’s reaction to his infamous Emma Stone video. He then segued into a stirring rendition of Smashing Pumpkins’ “Bullet with Butterfly Wings,” which sent the crowd into a frenzy. The overall reaction to his performance has been positive, with some expressing surprise that he can sing at all. Those people obviously forgot Carrey’s hypnotic performance of Jefferson Airplane’s “Sombody to Love” in Cable Guy. (A reminder.) Videos of the performances below.
● Billy Joe Armstrong at the Broadway opening of Green Day’s American Idiot: I don’t have any favorites. I like anywhere and everywhere. I went to go see “Everyday Rapture” last night, and then I went to punk-rock karaoke down on the Lower East Side, it was at Arlene’s Grocery. ● Mike Dirnt: Honestly, I like to meet friends for a nice pint at McSorley’s, the oldest pub in New York. ● Tre Cool: I like to go to Gray’s Papaya at 72nd Street and get cheap hot dogs.
Serena Williams: Oh, I don’t go out too much. I love Mr. Chow in Miami. ● Donald Trump: Only at Trump properties! Jean Georges. ● Carla Gugino: I’m a big fan of Morandi. I just went there for brunch for the first time. And I love a little Mediterrean place called Taim. ● Camryn Manheim: The truth is I like to go to a casino and play some poker in Los Angeles and Vegas. And I love to go to all the places here after the show. Joe Allen, Angus, Bar Centrale. ● Whoopi Goldberg: I don’t go out, but when I am out in the city, I go and get my hot dogs from Gray’s Papaya. Which one? I like all of them. ● Dr. Oz at HealthCorps “Garden of Good and Evil” gala to fight obesity: I like Candle 79 a lot. It’s my favorite vegetarian restaurant. It’s easy to get to, and I love the way they pull together tastes that are unique. And by the way, they supply my food in the green room, for my show. I order out, and Candle 79 caters it. They have a seitan dish and they look like chimichurri. ● Roger Ross Williams: I hang out a lot at Norwood, which is a private club, on 14th Street. It’s a whole brownstone. There’s a restaurant and a number of bars. I live on the Lower East Side, so I hang out there at a lot of different bars. I love restaurants, so sometimes Spotted Pig, Pastis a lot for lunch. Right now, I’m like editing in the Meat Packing District at an edit house, so I’ve been to the Standard a lot. ● Rocco DiSpirito: I still go to Balthazar and Spotted Pig and places like that. I love going to Balthazar and getting a big plateau of fruits de mer, you know the three-level plateau, with a couple of friends and some good white wine. ● Ben Vereen:Koi restaurant. I like the food, the ambiance, and the people.
The Beatles, The Office, Kiera Knightley. Imperialism. The British have long produced brilliant material we can’t wait to get our grubby American mitts on. So it’s refreshing in these dollar-weak times when we’re able to send some US flavor to our tea-sippin’ cousins across the Atlantic, like shit-stirring youngsters Reckless Sons. The Lower East Side outfit is presently tearing through their six-week UK tour, leaving the Brits in quite the tizzy with their distinctly American brand of the rock.
“Sweaty, sexy, American rock and roll,” to be precise (according to the Brit music blog brightoncalling.com). The Sons are already being compared to US rockers of yore like Bon Jovi, Guns & Roses, and Def Leppard. Currently on tour with Franz Ferdinand-esque UK band the Splendours, Reckless Sons’ “Animal” was ranked #2 under MGMT’s “Weekend Warrior” on the same UK chart. Up next, the boys play the main stage at the Brighton Festival. They haven’t even released an album yet.
With his grainy voice and dirty hair, frontman Matt Butler is more Pete Doherty than Pete Wentz, and the band’s stripped-down sound makes for a good time (even if they’ve yet to knock up a Simpson). Despite their tender age (Butler is only 21, though his haunting voice and stage swagger suggest slightly more grizzling), the Sons have been rocking downtown joints like Arlene’s Grocery, Lit, and even CBGB for a while, as well as festivals like Quadruple Bypass (SXSW’s hard tough little sister).
Reckless Sons is slated to return stateside for the mid-October launch of their album, Don’t You Dare. Their single “Hate to Love You Again” hits the UK in two weeks. After that, a US single drops, along with the band’s saucy, sapphic “Blood” video, featuring bloodsucking Penthouse Pets and a brief yet touching cameo by our own BlackBook editor Fernando Gil (a shrewd bit of PR if ever there was one).