It’s hard to remember a time in NYC before Pacha, which is celebrating its 6th Anniversary with a series of events. To Pacha honchos Eddie Dean and Rob Fernandez, it must seem like yesterday, and yet an eternity since they first opened. Trust me: 6 years in clubland is like 120 in human years. On the top of my list of must-attend events is super DJ Erick Morillo, this coming Saturday. Tiesto was the first event of 6 parties celebrating the anniversary at a sold out soiree at the end of November. Roger Sanchez will DJ at the 5th event next Saturday, December 17th, and for the final installment, they have something super special planned. Stay tuned.
The Pacha thing will of course run late. Earlier Saturday night, I will pop in on A Murray Little Christmas, being held this year at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn. There’s a 730pm and a 930pm, and as usual, it will be an unusually fun time. Murray just celebrated his 29th birthday, again. 29 in showbiz is like 150 in human years. Murray will be joined by international burlesque legend Dirty Martini, the bawdy songstress Bridget Everett, Moisty the Snowman (Bradford Scobie), Sebastian the Elf (Carmine Covelli), with live swinging holiday music from Murray’s band, The Stiff Gimlets. Santa Claus and Rudolph the fake 99 cent store red-nosed reindeer are scheduled to appear.
The storyline is as follows: ‘Tis the night before Christmas. Murray finds out the Manhattan theater where his annual holiday show is booked, is being torn down to make room for a five-story Duane Reade! Murray is devastated and wonders if he should just throw in the showbiz towel and retire in Florida as a Bingo caller. He’s lost all hope and his special guests were counting on the paycheck for a box of Crest Whitestrips (because none of them have dental insurance). Then, almost if by divine agnostic intervention, a magical hipster elf from Williamsburg takes the downtrodden cast of characters over the bridge to find a venue in Brooklyn. As the loose plot suggests, somehow the show miraculously goes on. Murray and the gang discover what matters most is their love for each other and to never give up hope, especially during the darkest of times.
Everybody is going to see Roma perform live (9:30 pm) at W.I.P. tonight. It’s 4, familiar to nightlifers, hot girls, and 1 sleazy male singer. I’ve heard it referred to as "art rock." The video I saw made me fidget. It’s hard to make me fidget.
Last night I saw the flick Shame, which basically portrayed a businessman trying to live the life of a typical club promoter. Well, in their dreams. In his unrelenting quest to get his dick wet, our hero (Michael Fassbender) sinks into the depths of NY nightlife, eventually hitting rock bottom at the club Quo, which I think is closed, but I don’t care enough to find out. The weird thing about that scene is they seem to have switched the 2 joints around. He is turned away by the doorman/bouncer at the Eagle, a real live gay leather club across the street from Quo. He has a new bruise on his cheek and door peeps always turn those types away. The Eagle is portrayed as a straight club in the movie. So he walks across the street to Quo the straight club which is portrayed as the leather bar. I was as confused as Brandon, our hero, seemed to be. I loved the movie, which was directed by Steve McQueen.
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, Samantha Young shares the teenage dream of Kitty Pryde.
The first time I saw Kitty Pryde was on the first night of a three-day bender commemorating my expulsion from graduate school. The 19-year-old rapper released her haha, i’m sorry EP on the same day that I got the email saying, “We regret to inform you that you are flunking out.” The weekend after that was the Northside Music Festival, featuring Kitty’s New York debut at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn. It was mid-June, and she had already gotten notable press from the New York Times, Complex, and the FADER. Her mere existence seemed like blog bait. Here was a teenage white female rapper/Claire’s employee from Florida with a song called “Okay Cupid,” well aware that people weren’t going to take her that seriously and seemingly fine with it. I had what was probably an average amount of curiosity for a music writer, finding the semi-viral track reasonably catchy but nothing that particularly jumped out at me. I wasn’t totally hooked, but I knew that attending Kitty Pryde’s show would capture something—I wasn’t sure what—about that specific point in time in the music blogging environment.
I was fascinated by her sudden internet fame but not enough to analyze it totally sober, which I told an acquaintance at the festival’s open bar before her Friday night set. Waiting for her to go on, I also found myself standing a few feet away from noted author/drug user Tao Lin who naturally exudes a disconcerting aura that compounded with my whiskey-and-beer haze. This was how I watched Kitty take the stage in a frilly party dress, accompanied by her BFF Annie and brother George. I didn’t have any major breakthroughs about the nature of internet culture, but what I did take away was that she was probably more self-aware and having more fun than I was when I was 19—even though she was obviously awkward and unused to performing.
I am young enough that my teenage years are still somewhat within reach, but old enough that I was surprised that I could relate so much to someone who was born that deep into the ’90s. When I was 19, I was locked into the most powerful infatuation of my life, the kind where I was so invested that knowing this boy was dating someone else was almost physically painful. If only I’d started rapping instead of sitting in my dorm room watching Ghost World and feeling sorry for myself. “Okay Cupid” is the kind of crush song that could only come from a teenage girl, which relegates it to guilty pleasure status by default for some people, but fuck it, I’ve been there and I can’t deny its truths.
Two days after the Knitting Factory show, as the festival and the constant flow of free Jameson came to an end, I reunited with the man that I would soon start associating with “Okay Cupid.” Our connection was tentative and based on misguided ideas about what we could do for each other’s careers, but I ended that night feeling optimistic, like I could bounce back easily. His number was safe in my phone, and it felt like something was going to happen.
Not much actually did happen. We went on what I thought was a cute date until he ended it with a hug instead of a kiss. I knew he probably thought I was too young for him, and we kept hanging out on his terms instead of mine. I let him call the shots because my love life was otherwise a complete dead zone and his cheekbones provided a distraction from the abrupt end to my academic life. I passed the time with songs about longing, and “Okay Cupid” was at the top of the list, full of lines I could easily apply to my embarrassing situation.
“The more you taunt me, the more I think I’m wanting you.” Check. “Lordy, shorty you’re a 10.” Check. “I don’t care how long it takes to get you after me/I wrote our names on my binder and everybody laughed at me.” Check. “My flattery makes me look like a fool again.” Check.
By the second time I saw Kitty Pryde in August at Santos Party House, I was firmly a member of the Kitty Committee. Now that there was some sort of fledgling intrigue in my life, she was someone I related to and felt a stronger connection with. It also helped that this time around, the crowd was there because they wanted to be there, not just out of morbid curiosity. Her stage presence was more confident and relaxed, and when she threw glitter into the crowd, it felt like a blessing from the internet in 2012. I was sober and it was the most fun I’d had in a long time. It was what I needed after freaking out over the school year beginning, even though I had mostly come to terms with my former program not being a good fit for me in the first place. Kitty also had a new song that featured the line “I’m just a little girl and you’re a grown-ass man” and a tougher, more serious flow than any of her previous work. I was immediately sold. She was still going through the same stuff I was going through, at least on the crush front.
A few days later, “You were a tool again, but you’re the one that I’ve chosen” ended up being the line from “Okay Cupid” that was the most relevant to me. I had a misunderstanding with the object of my affection and didn’t see him for a couple of months. During this span, I saw Kitty Pryde two more times and was self-conscious about being one of the more enthusiastic people in the audience. I shouldn’t have been, because she’s the kind of performer who’s just plain likeable, even if she’s not the most technically gifted rapper on the internet. She’s grounded in the real world, and she affirms that it’s okay to have feelings, even the weird ones that I kept dwelling on.
When Kitty remixed Marina and the Diamonds’ “How To Be A Heartbreaker,” she delivered some real talk about playing hard to get that I needed to hear, even if it wasn’t advice that I was taking. “Rule number three is don’t assume it was meant to be,” she said, younger but wiser than me. “Disregard your heart and never ever wear it on your sleeve.”
These weren’t words I was thinking of when I finally saw my crush again, pulling him into a stairwell at a party and vaguely mumbling, “It was because I like you,” hoping enough cheap bourbon was involved on both our parts to cloud over what was or wasn’t happening between us. The answer was still nothing, but “Okay Cupid” was there for me when I was sitting alone in my room at 3am, already rehashing the night.
Kitty Pryde is what resonates when you’re into an older guy who you know is kind of shady, but who’s good-looking and personable enough to keep your interest anyway. Kitty Pryde is what resonates when you can’t help it and revert to your teenage self. Kitty Pryde is what resonates when you want to ignore your real problems and daydream about your dumb crush instead.
The best part about the end of the world happening tomorrow are all of the parties happening tonight. We like to laugh and drink in the face of doom, and I find that really admirable. BlackBook’s holiday party is tonight too, which means that whether the world ends or not, it doesn’t matter – I’ll still feel like death on Friday. If you don’t have plans yet for your last night on Earth, let me help you with these really hot parties happening tonight and tomorrow that’ll be swallowed up by fog and a fiery blaze.
Drink bottomless margaritas, sangria, and wine from Tequileria Maya’s "Apocalypse Menu:" This isn’t happening unless we survive most of Friday, so let’s really cross our fingers that we will. The celebratory "Apocalypse Menu" at Tequileria Maya, Richard Sandoval’s appropriately-named tequila bar and lounge, includes unlimited – I repeat – unlimited food and drinks. We’re talking margaritas, sangria, wine, Mexican beers, and small plates. We better survive. Friday the 21st. 5pm, $65. All the details here.
Dance like no one’s watching even though they are at Hudson Terrace: Event company iAdventure encourages you to "grab that famous outfit you’ve been saving for a special occasion that may never come," and head to Midtown rooftop lounge Hudson Terrace, where you can dance wildly to songs from DJ Lulo & Bones. Thursday the 20th. 11pm, $30. Tickets available here.
Laugh your doom off with The Daily Show comedians at Union Hall: On Friday, join comedians Wyatt Cenac, NIkki Glaser, & Lisa Delarios for their "The Afterlife Comedy Show" at Union Hall. They’ll be performing stand-up and attempting to resolve, in our last hours, life’s biggest questions – probably something like"Why does my grandma not love me anymore?" and "Why are poached eggs called ‘poached?’" And there will be an extra-special prize for the best answer to the major question: "What would you do on your last day of the world?" Friday the 21st. 8:30pm, $8. Tickets available here.
Blow your eardrums out at Knitting Factory because you won’t need them anymore: Guaranteeing that their apocalpyse-themed rock show will "rock so hard that its reverberations will shatter planet Earth to the core," Knitting Factory will make your ears ring the next day – though there won’t be a next day so who cares. Rock bands Autodrone, Starbolt 9, and Night Vision form this last rock show on Earth. Friday the 21st. 11:55pm, $12. Buy tickets here.
Get weird with HuffPost Weird News at Hotel Chantelle: The HuffPost section devoted to all things bizarre nationwide is holding an open tequila and wine bar all night, and 1/2 off beer and well cocktails from 8pm-10pm, at eccentric Lower East Side rooftop lounge Hotel Chantelle. Music by Miss Jade, Chi Duly, and LadiesPlease will be going all night, while revelers will cradle tequila shots and dutifully declare the slogan "No tomorrow. No hangover." Good ol’ logic. Thursday the 20th. 8pm, free. All the details here.
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.
It was the last night of an extensive, cross-country tour, but Ava Luna bore minimal signs of fatigue at their New York homecoming show at Mercury Lounge on Saturday night. With an opening set from the DFA-approved Sinkane, the band showcased tracks from their latest release, Ice Level. Despite the title, their sound is all warmth; front man Carlos Hernandez’s soul roots run deep, and it shows.
The crystal clear harmonies of Becca Kauffman (guitar/vocals) and Felicia Douglass (synths/vocals) bring plenty of Dirty Projectors comparisons, but they get ethereal while keeping their feet on the dance floor. (Side note: props to Kauffman for being able to pull off that Pantone orange eye shadow look.) Ice Level highlights like “No F” and “Wrenning Day” hold up solidly live, though the ambition of their sound is meant for bigger stages. With funk influences flipped into unexpected structures, delivered with precision, they should be moving on up in no time at all.
Last Thursday was a good night for electro-pop at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn, with a more than respectable line-up. Soulful Brooklyn weirdo Rioux kicked off the evening, followed by Teen Daze’s blissed-out atmospherics. White Arrows brought their glitchy, punchy pop songs all the way from California.
The endlessly charming Beat Connection headlined the night. With immersive, dreamy compositions on songs like “Saola,” “Think/Feel,” and “The Palace Garden,” the title track from their forthcoming debut LP, the Seattle quartet hits the sweet spot. The band’s still growing, as they noted this was their first-ever sold-out show, but more people are bound to catch on soon.
The Palace Garden is out August 6 on Tender Age/Classic Ills. Beat Connection are continuing to tour the US, dates here.
It’s 6:40 on a damp evening in New York when Mark Foster, Mark Pontius, and Cubbie Fink arrive at LexBar, a posh lounge in the St. Giles – The Court hotel frequented by a certain gaggle of raven haired sisters whose names all start with K. The three young men are known collectively as Foster the People, an LA-based indie rock band that rose to prominence last summer with “Pumped Up Kicks,” an addictive party anthem about a guy looking to blast away at some fancily-shod kids with his dad’s six-shooter.
Tonight is an evening to relax and sample rum cocktails by the venue’s head bartender, Drew Maloney, who boasts 25 years of experience and a master’s grasp of flavor, balance, and presentation. As we settle into the black banquette and chat about the new record, the cocktails start arriving, one after the other. What follows is an inspired, scientific, and somewhat poetic take on a decidedly tropical evening in Manhattan.
Cocktail #1, Rum-Two Punch: 1 ½ oz. Don Q Cristal rum, 1 ½ oz. Bacardi 8 rum, 1 oz. fresh guava juice, 1 oz. fresh pineapple juice, 1 oz. fresh cranberry juice, ¼ oz. fresh lime juice, ¼ oz. agave nectar. Garnish with orange slice and cherries. Mark Pontius: I like it because it’s kind of bitter, like grapefruit, which reminds me of my grandmother, who ate grapefruit every morning. It’s good in that way, but I could go sweeter. Cubbie Fink: The initial blast on the palate is tropical, like sitting on a beach, but there’s a tart aftertaste. A tropical drink should be smoother. Mark Foster: When I drink this I think about naked female pirates holding me captive and pouring it down my throat.
Cocktail #2, Strawberry Mojito: Muddle in rocks glass: 2 medium strawberries, 3 lime wedges, 1 tsp sugar, 5 mint leaves. Add ice and 2 oz. Bacardi Limon rum, splash of soda water, splash of fresh sour mix. Garnish with strawberry. MP: The strawberry is awesome, except I just tried to sip it and a mint leaf got stuck in the straw. CF: I can’t get any drink, my straw’s clogged. Okay, I’ll sip it. I’m definitely not a sweet-drink drinker, but this is really tasty. MF: It makes me think of Aunt Jemima jumping up and down on a huge stack of pancakes and tossing strawberries into the air.
Cocktail #3, Mandarin Delight: Muddle in rocks glass: 3 sections of mandarin orange, 3 lime wedges, ¼ oz. agave nectar. Add ice and 1 oz. Mount Gay Eclipse rum, 1 oz. Cointreau. Shake vigorously and top with 2 oz. Piper-Heidsieck Champagne. MP: My least favorite because it’s too sour, and I’m not a sour drink person. Good for one sip. CF: It’s kind of a shock to the senses, which I like. It has bite and good flavor. My favorite of the three so far. MF: It’s something I think Mark Twain would have loved. Even though it has mandarin in it, it still feels like a man’s drink.
Cocktail #4, Lexcolada: 2 oz. Bacardi Light rum, 1 oz. pineapple puree, 1 ½ oz. pineapple juice, 1 ½ oz. coconut milk. Garnish with pineapple slice. MP: This hits my heart. Before I was 21, I used to order virgin Piña Coladas, the kind from the machine. This is better than that, and boozier. CF: It’s as if I bored to the center of a coconut and somehow found alcohol and other ingredients in there. It’s like chewing on coconut milk. Definitely the best Piña Colada I’ve ever had. MF: I could wake up and have this with cereal.
Cocktail #5, Mai Tai: 1 ½ oz. Mount Gay Eclipse rum, ¼ oz. orgeat syrup, ½ oz. pineapple juice, ½ oz. lime juice, ¼ oz. grenadine. Garnish with lime. MP: This is actually the first Mai Tai I’ve ever had, and it’s great. My first thought was of a chocolate bar. CF: It’s a Mai Tai that’s been brought to the city. It has some edge that a Mai Tai on the beach lacks. There’s a creamy aftertaste that’s really interesting. MF: The first thing I thought of when I sipped it was Freddy Mercury, because he was so tough on the outside and tender on the inside. Actually, my first thought was leather, and that brought me to Freddy Mercury. It’s an S&M drink. It’s a muscular man that likes other muscular men.
I’ve been busy as a B-list promoter these days. It’s Good Friday and I see no reason not to make it great. Tonight I should be cloned, as two “must attend” events are happening at the exact time. I will attend the Limelight film premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival. I was interviewed about a year and change ago for the flick, and I hope I am portrayed correctly. I was assured that I am, but I have been divorced a couple of times, and my reliance on assurances have diminished.
It is absolutely a matter of truth or consequences, but again I am assured, and I’m feeling happy that I got involved in the Limelight story. Fools have been telling the story for far too long, and innuendo and rumor have passed as reality. I hope the record is set straight. I will attend with Amanda by my side to hold my hand through it all. I salute my dear friend Jen Gatien for her dedication to the cause. Peter Gatien, I am told, will not be allowed into the country to attend. He isn’t allowed here, and I’m not allowed in Canada. I win.
What I am missing, but you absolutely should not, is catching Los Vigilantes at the Cake Shop on Ludlow street tonight at 9. I caught them last night at the Bell House in Gowanus. They opened for the Flaming Groovies. The Groovies were cool, old-school rockster-y, and attracted a crowd that I mingled with 20 years ago at CBGB’s. Los Vigilantes are a powerful Puerto Rican punk act. The acts didn’t go well together. It was like having the Ramones open for Fleetwood Mac. The Cake Shop show will be a better fit. The Cake Shop has so few redeeming qualities that it’s almost perfect. The place is dirty, the stage is way too small and too low, and the sound is, at best, mixed—or maybe it wasn’t. The staff is particularly unfriendly and I want to wash off the bottom of my shoes when I get home. It is soooo much fun! I saw another Puerto Rican Punk act, Davila 666, there on Thursday and was blown away. Their en Espanol version of Blondie’s “Hanging On The Telephone” was irreverent and brilliant. It was déjà vu all over again as I felt like I was at a punk club in the East Village in 1981. People were pogo-ing themselves into a frenzy. Davila 666 is playing Knitting Factory out here in Brooklyn, and they are a sure thing. I will déjà vu all over again after I attend, again. Puerto Rican punk is my new favorite thing. The whole gang will be at Bruar Falls this Saturday night for the after party with DJ FFrenchy and DJ Spick Jagger of Davila 666. Yes, it’s like that.
I noticed that the Hubble telescope is turning 2, and therefore is legal to get into bars and clubs in NYC. That is when it’s done fooling around. I also noticed that Captain David Miller, the cop who basically closed down the West Chelsea club scene, is assigned to the Orchard/Ludlow/Rivington street area. I also noticed that every place I go to these days down there is ID’ing my ridiculously tired, obviously over 40/50 year-old ass. I fear the worst. Expect vacancies and loss of business as the city sanitizes nightlife like we’re bedbugs at Bloomberg’s mansion. If I’m right, the city will lose more jobs, and our culture will be less rich. Ironically, the Gallery Bar was closed down because a bouncer allegedly took a bribe to let an underage patron in. I read an article the same day that said cops, as unbelievable as this may sound, fixed parking tickets for VIP’s, including Yankee baseball executives. Shocking! Cops taking bribes? Why isn’t the stadium shuttered? Or the precincts, themselves? This isn’t a double standard: this is persecution.