This Week: Ray-Bans & Rolling Stones Celebrate Milestone Anniversaries

I was so crazy yesterday that I forgot to do the one thing I really wanted to do. This season does that to you. I wanted, expected, ached to attend the Ray-Ban: 75 Years of Legends event at The Darby last night. The Flaming Lips performed. I will attend the Rolling Stones concert as they bring their 50th anniversary tour to the Barclays Center on Saturday. It’s amazing that we are celebrating something that started 50 years ago and another thing that’s 75 years of tradition.

On this oldie-but-goodie tip, we have the wonderful Beatles cover band, the Newspaper Taxis, performing Revolver at the Red Lion, 151 Bleecker St. According to my pal Brian August, The Beatles never performed any part of Revolver live. My ex- wife Jennifer Hamdan did cover “Tomorrow Never Knows” when she was signed to Next Plateau Records. Her track failed to make it to any plateau, but it was fun. Still on the oldies tip, Gary Spencer will celebrate his 50th birthday with a bash tonight at  his Hanky Panky attachment to Webster Hall. Oldies but goodies – the prodigy producer/mixer Neil McLellan and good ol’ Andy Rourke (The Smiths) – will DJ, and The Darling Darling Music Company will perform live.

Older than Methuselah, Marty Abrahams told me about his solo exhibition “Break On Through” at the Salomon Arts Gallery, which will happen on 12/12/12 from 6pm till 9pm. If I’m not at that mega, super duper, ginormous Sandy relief concert at the Garden with Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, The Who, Roger Waters and all those other old guys, then I will attend Marty’s thing.

Somebody who never ages and whose humor is timeless, Murray Hill, will bring his annual “Murray Little Christmas” to us next Saturday the 15th, from 8pm to midnight to Le Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleecker St. Murray is amazing, amazing, amazing. Here’s the scoop:

“Expect an evening of hilarious and wacky skits with the cast, a sleigh full of cheesy holiday songs, plenty of nuts, fruits and tree trimming. This year’s special guests:

BRIDGET EVERETT (carnal chanteuse and fearless cabaret star), ERIN MARKEY (wacky performance artist), CARMINE COVELLI (a.k.a. SEBASTIAN THE ELF), THE NYC BURLESQUE CHOIR (conducted by Shelly Watson) with live swinging holiday music from Murray’s band THE CRAIG’S LIST QUARTET (Jesse Elder–piano, Kenball Zwerin–bass, Matt Parker–saxaphone, Arthur Vint–drums and rimshots). Set design by Steven Hammel."

The Stones Concert at Barclays: My Conversation With Mick Jagger

On Saturday night, while the rest of the world thought what they were doing was important, I found myself in the perfect place…in the perfect situation. The Rolling Stones brought their 50th anniversary tour to the brilliant Barclays Center. As the show ended, I posted this on Facebook.

 "The Mayans can be completely right and it will be alright as I have just seen the Rolling Stones, the greatest rock band ever. I can go quietly into the night ,as this night, I got what I want and what I needed… absolutely religious." 

A friend close to the action Saturday night told me that Martin Scorsese and Naomi Campbell and Mary K. and Ashley Olsen and a ton of others were in the house. He’s a backstage kind of guy who told me how cool they always are. I’ve met them from time to time, save for Ronnie who would have been the easiest when he had his joint down in South Beach. They were always accessible, human. Watching them on the giant stage shaped like their trademark lips and tongue, it was hard to believe they could be anything but out-of-reach rock stars. As a 10-year-old in Connecticut, we heard the Stones on a car radio. My hot cousin’s boyfriends would take us on Slim Jim and Birch Beer runs in speedsters on curvy roads.We promised not to tell. We waited to hear the Stones on the car radio. I told Mick this story one night in a club I had a lifetime ago. Around 1988. He was coming by regularly. As I sat in the back office, I couldn’t grasp that this was the prancing icon. He listened intently as I told this tale.

"It was the fall of 1964 and the Lewis clan was huddled in our country home in Connecticut. We had a party line telephone. Two rings was us, one the neighbor. We had two channels on the T.V., you know, one of those giant pieces of furniture with a small screen. For us, it was the window to the world. The days were spent fishing and exploring the deep woods. At night we were glued to the magic. 

On October 25th, 1964 we had a crisis. The Rolling Stones were going to be on Ed Sullivan, on one channel while the other channel offered the Lawrence Welk Show. My grandparents never missed the Lawrence Welk Show with its polkas and show tunes. My cousin Ron and my brother Paul plotted all week to see the Stones. We were always tasked to give the old-folk warm milk after the show so they would go to sleep easily. We decided to come in early and strong and give them so many glasses of warm milk that they would pass out, we could switch channels, and see our gods. It worked. Right before the show, after multiple milks, they passed out.

We switched and saw the Stones for the first time. There was no internet then and few magazines would have their image. There were no posters up in our neck of the woods. We didn’t know what to expect. There they were, brash and horribly wonderful. We were in awe, stirred to life maybe for the very first time.

In the middle of their first track, the Chuck Berry cover "Around & Around," my Grandparents woke up and started to mildly complain. They pointed out that the Stones hairdos made them look like girls and they couldn’t understand the words… but they let us watch."

While telling Jagger this story, he interjected: "So let me get this straight…you drugged your grandparents to watch me on the television." I said "yes." He then added: "You realize they knew." I didn’t understand. He continued: "You realize they were in on your plot and went along with it because it was important to you." 

We had never realized that but it was obvious he was right, and I felt the love my grandparents who were long gone held for us once again. I got goosebumps, and Mick told me he loved the story. 

The Stones woke me in every way. They were outside the box that I have always avoided, sometimes successfully. That Ed Sullivan Show was 48 years ago. As I stood in the Barclays seeing them at their 50th anniversary show, I realized how my life has coincided with their carreer. I had seen them 10 or more times over the decades. Threw a party for Bill Wyman, met Keith at Life when he played a Christmas show with Ronnie Spector and Mick a few other times, and now it seemed like this would be the last time.

There was a seriousness about the concert, as if this would be the end of the run. Mick ran around a lot less than back in the day. Shoot, me and almost the entire crowd runs around a lot less. It was surreal seeing him doing it well at 69. The anthems had an almost religious feeling… providing a calm reflection of the thread that was fraying.

The show ended and I bought bags of t-Shirts and scooted over to Hotel Chantelle to give them to my girl. I had attended the show with my brother, a birthday gift to my co-conspirator back in ’64. They’ve got two shows coming at the Prudential Center in New Jersey. Tickets are stoooopid expensive. I’m gonna have to go. The second song the Rolling Stones performed on Ed  Sullivan in that dream of a night so long ago was "Time Is On Our Side." That was true then, but not anymore. I’m gonna hock the watch and see them again.

The VMAs Are Coming to Brooklyn in August, I’m Taking a Vacation in August

Brooklyn’s Barclays Center is THE place to see a concert these days, even though I haven’t managed to get tickets to anything despite being a ten minute block away. I know lots of people who complained about the bohemoth arena ruining the neighborhood, although I’ve managed to shrug off all of those complaints because it really hasn’t affected my life very much. (Well, there was once some white party, I think, because one night I saw hundreds of people wearing white wandering aimlessly around the Atlantic Center’s shopping compound trying to find the Long Island Rail Road. Since I’m a New Yorker, I ignored them and let them find their own damn way home.) But that might be changing now that the MTV Video Music Awards will take place at the Barclays Center on August 25.

MTV announced the date and location today, and now that there will be a whole slew of famous people of varying degrees roaming around my ‘hood in addition to their fans, I’m a little more weary of Jay-Z’s gigantic stadium so close to home. Of course, I suppose this is a fun treat for the borough, as the VMAs haven’t taken place in New York City for four years. Four years! Who can even remember what life was like back in ’09?!

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, however, is very excited:

"From hip-hop to hipsters, Jay-Z to MGMT, Brooklyn musicians have a long history of dominating the ‘spotlight’ on MTV. Brooklyn is a cultural Mecca — the hippest, coolest place for young people across the country, and has played a crucial role in the careers of some of 2013’s biggest bands, like Fun. and the Lumineers," said Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz in a statement.

"Now, it is only fitting that the first time Brooklyn will ever host a major awards show, we are welcoming the most exciting and talked about spectacle in the music industry … I’m so thrilled that I’ll probably get ‘no sleep till Brooklyn’ hosts the VMAs!"

"No sleep till Brooklyn!" I get it! But I have to say, I’m offended that Markowitz does not identify the Coatesies—my weekly awards show that takes place in my bedroom—as an event worth mentioning in his statement. I mean, Beyoncé has been sweeping!

Follow Tyler Coates on Twitter.

The Postal Service Announce Spring Tour

As a misanthropic thirteen year old, I remember walking in on my best friend’s brother listening to "Brand New Colony" and thinking that I might die from love-related combustion. But it’s been ten years since and although I no longer spend my days rolling around on the floor listening to The Postal Service’s Give Up, duo Ben Gibbard and Jimmy Tamborello have reunited to reawaken the teenager in all of us. The indie pop icons, whose name became synonymous with lonely wandering around vacant suburbs and college campuses, have now—in support of their 10th-anniverasary Give Up reissue—announced a spring tour beginning in April. Taking their act everywhere from the Madonna Inn to Coachella, and back east to the Barclay Center, TPS will play with a band that includes Laura Burhenn and Jenny Lewis (who appeared with them on their only tour back in 2003). Rilo Kiley fans rejoice.

Get your hands on new edition of Give Up April 9th and April 8th in the UK.

04-09 Reno, NV – Grand Sierra Theatre
04-10 Davis, CA – Mondavi Center
04-12 San Luis Obispo, CA – Madonna Expo Center
04-13 Indio, CA – Coachella
04-18 Phoenix, AZ – Comerica Theatre
04-19 Las Vegas, NV – Chelsea Ballroom at the Cosmopolitan
04-20 Indio, CA – Coachella
05-18 Manchester, England – Academy 2
05-20 London, England – Brixton Academy
05-21 Paris, France – Trianon
05-23 Barcelona, Spain – Primavera Sound Festival
06-14 Brooklyn, NY – Barclays Center

Blue Ivy Poops Her Diaper In $1 Million Nursery

Middle-class Americans struggle for affordable childcare.  Blue Ivy Carter, magical fairy child of Jay-Z and Beyoncé, has her very own $1 million nursey suite in the basement of the Barclays Center.

Jay-Z has rented a suite filled with toys in the basement of Barclays so that the year-old Blue Ivy can be near her dad (and, I guess, mom) when they work and perform, US Weekly reports.  

Their source was unclear about this next part but said the space Jay-Z rented includes a "VIP" area with a champagne bar and TV screen.  I assume this is a special area for grownups and not where Blue Ivy takes meetings with Apple and Moses. 

It would be rad of Blue’s million-dollar pad is also shared as a playspace for kids whose parents work at the Barclays Center but are less financially fortunate. I can dream, can’t I?

Contact the author of this post at Jessica.Wakeman@Gmail.com. Follow me on Twitter.

Personal Faves: How I Spent My Rent Check On A Rolling Stones Concert

Instead of ending the year with a slew of Best Of lists, BlackBook asked our contributors to share the most important moments in art, music, film, television, and fashion that took place in 2012. Here, Hillary Hughes writes about dropping a load of money on the greatest living rock ‘n’ rollers, The Rolling Stones.

“You paid HOW MUCH FOR ROLLING STONES TICKETS?!”

I had made the mistake of casually mentioning to my mother that I spent a month’s rent (literally) on a pair of tickets to watch The Rolling Stones perform at the Barclays Center, and she was completely shocked and appalled. “You’re irresponsible! I’m not gonna tell you how to spend your money, but Jesus, Hilary … they’re just so old. I wouldn’t have paid half that to see them twenty years ago let alone now.”

Mom wasn’t alone in thinking that. When The Rolling Stones announced the handful of select cities they’d visit on 50 and Counting…, the band’sfiftieth anniversary tour, their age (“But Keith Richards is probably gonna die soon!”) and the $100-$900 price range for seats were topics more avidly discussed than the fact that this rock band had made it through to the better half of a century together. My friends thought I was borderline institutional for entertaining the idea of wasting two hours and hundreds of dollars on The Rolling Stones, and so a volley of YouTube clips hit my inbox, a damning reel of highlights recorded from recent awards shows and other anniversary tours that displayed an exhausted-looking Richards and a flailing, shouting Mick Jagger in a most unfavorable light. Even my dad—the man responsible for my Rolling Stones fandom and the one whose glove compartment I lifted a tape of Tattoo You from at the age of ten—was taken aback by the fact that I was so determined to find tickets to the Brooklyn show of 50 and Counting… just to watch a band of senior rock musicians “who’ve seen better days” play through a predictable set list.

No one seemed to get why I was so hell-bent on seeing The Rolling Stones, so when the time to hit the “Confirm Reservation” button came, I had forgotten why I had decided to hand over my rent check to TicketMaster in exchange for the chance to see the greatest rock band in history play songs that mean more to me than even I understand—and I subsequently freaked the fuck out. I forgot about how, while driving back and forth between Brooklyn and Boston this fall, Beggars Banquet and Let It Bleed anchored my sanity on I-84, especially because “Call Me Maybe” and “Some Nights,” two of the most lyrically inept songs ever written, were also Clear Channel’s favorite singles to play and therefore unavoidable unless I dodged Connecticut’s airwaves throughout the course of the four-hour drive. I forgot that the first real conversation I had with my dad about music was about The Rolling Stones, one about his favorite song of theirs, “Bitch,” and how it was overshadowed by “Brown Sugar” on 1971’s Sticky Fingers. I forgot about how I’d told an ex-boyfriend that I wanted to walk down the aisle to “Happy” should we ever get married, and I forgot about how many times I opted to belt the chorus to “Gimme Shelter” into a hairbrush in front of a mirror as a teenager.

I more or less forgot about the fact that The Rolling Stones have provided the off-peak soundtrack to my life, despite the fact that I was born fourteen years after the release of Exile on Main St. I sought solace in the straightforward tenacity of their choruses instead of settling for the shitty, manufactured pop songs that my friends sang along with when they came on at the dive bar, and the musical inclinations of Jagger, Richards & Co. have set the standard for my taste as a listener, fan, and critic from the get-go.

I had forgotten all of this, and yet with one play of “Doom and Gloom,” the first single from their newly released greatest hits collection, I came to. I clicked “Confirm” and that was that. I was going to see The Rolling Stones, and I was going because I needed to see them—to hear the steady build of “Gimme Shelter,” to groan when “Miss You” made an appearance, to jump up and down like a maniac during “Get Off Of My Cloud”—and this was the first time I’ve ever felt so compelled to declare my love for a band so openly before, despite the fact that I knew that I was potentially setting myself up for the kind of epic disappointment that can only occur when your expectations of meeting your idol fall short.

Thankfully, Mick, Keith, Ronnie and Charlie eviscerated every skeptic thought in the house when they took the stage at the Barclays Center for the big event on December 8. Though 50 and Counting… could’ve been the safe and tired victory lap of a final tour, the scene that unfolded was that of a jovial reunion, one where Ronnie Wood galloped across the stage without hitting a wrong note while Richards took to his solos with the effortless dexterity of a person who has cradled the neck of a guitar in his hands more frequently than he hasn’t over the course of the past fifty years. Jagger’s bellow reached the highest and lowest recesses of his range, and though his gait and the topography of his face tell the truth about his age, the flamboyant frontman ran at the crowd with an identical fervor to that of himself thirty years prior. (Or so I’m told, anyway). Richards and Wood sauntered back to the drum kit and turned and faced the arena before them in unison, and as Jagger shimmied, clapped and convulsed while the room erupted as the hits flew into the ether, I stood there slack-jawed thinking about how impossible it was for them to be so good when time, logic and the basic truths of the human form seemed to be working against them.

The show may not have been perfect—my prediction of a Beyoncé cameo during “Gimme Shelter” disintegrated when Mary J. Blige showed up, and “Midnight Rambler,” well, rambled—but to say that I got what I paid for would be an immense understatement. 2012, for me, was the year when Autotune became a superficial stylistic choice as opposed to a performance crutch, where The Black Keys farmed out the track list of El Camino to any studio that wanted to opt it for a movie trailer and a song like “Call Me Maybe” earned more accolades for its saccharine hooks than any other single on the charts. It was also the year of The Rolling Stones, in that the rock icons showed the world, and me, that a good song is an immortal thing that can only grow stronger with age—and that a fiftieth anniversary tour isn’t to be met with the same expectations of a retirement party. 

Follow Hillary Hughes on Twitter

The Top NYE Parties In NYC

Look, don’t stress. Who cares that your trip to Miami fell through, your sister announced she’s visiting, or your best friend you were going to eat Chinese food with bailed on you for a guy she met on the F train. It’s okay. You can still reclaim an unstoppable NYE night and New Year at one of these top New Year’s Eve parties in NYC. From rock anthems, to tarot cards, to monkeys, to lavish five-hour open bars – we’ve got you covered, and you will be okay. Tipsy and making as many poor decisions before your resolutions as possible, but okay.

Follow Bonnie on Twitter here

Jay-Z Learns Who Ellen Grossman Is On the Subway

That’s the thing about New York, isn’t it? You never know who you’ll meet on the subway. When Jay-Z took the subway to his concert at Brooklyn’s new Barclays Center, he ended up having a chance encounter with an accomplished artist, fellow Brooklyn native Ellen Grossman. The encounter is very sweet, with none of the “Don’t you know who I am?” airs one might expect when a massive headliner greets a, well, less mainstream headliner. At first, Grossman doesn’t recognize Hov, but when he introduces himself as Jay-Z, at the end of their chat, she has a moment of recognition.

Much of the reaction to this exchange has been about this very nice lady who doesn’t know who Jay-Z is (even when in the end, she does), but what about who Ellen Grossman is? Turns out she’s a very accomplished artist specializing in drawing and sculpture, who has exhibited her work all around the city and beyond. She was part of CurateNYC’s web gallery in 2011 and, in that same year, won the New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship Award for Drawings. Her multi-textural, multi-dimensional works are created with election microscope images, topographic maps and more as foundations and are the kind of pieces you want to reach out and touch. And here she was, and here Jay-Z was, and here they were together, and it was a really nice moment, a perfect example of “8 million stories / out there in the naked.” Watch the Barclays Center documentary, as well as a video of Grossman explaining one for her works, below.

New York Islanders Will Move To Brooklyn

The New York Islanders, which I understand to be some sort of hockey team, are announcing today their plan to abandon the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Long Island to the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn, because they hate our troops and love British banks. No, just kidding, I’m sure they have a good reason. Everyone wants to make it out of the suburbs, right?

The Islanders would be joining the Barclays Center’s only current franchise—the Brooklyn (formerly New Jersey) Nets—to create some manner of all-powerful hipster sports conglomerate. But I don’t think the stadium’s owner, Bruce Ratner, should stop there. He needs to keep poaching teams! For example, you never hear about the Pittsburgh Pirates anymore; bring them to Barclays and rename them the Brooklyn Buccaneers. And are the New York Giants still playing in the Meadowlands? They should play in Barclays as the Brooklyn Big Guys!

May as well move all of New York’s big concerts and speeches to Barclays as well. The easiest solution would be to airlift Madison Square Garden over the East River and drop it on top of Barclays as a second floor. Then put Gracie Mansion on top of that and make Mayor Bloomberg live there. Then, for skyline purposes, cap the whole structure off with the Statue of Liberty (to be renamed the Statue of Flatbush Avenue). Oh, and put a Shake Shack or Five Guys in her crown. I don’t want to have to go back to Manhattan for a quality burger.  
 

Follow Miles Klee on Twitter.