Next Week’s NY Happenings: Northside Festival, Sud De France Festival, Bushwick Restaurant Week

NOW: Magnetic Northside

Brooklyn’s annual explosion of music and film is back, taking over scores of spots across the borough’s north end. You can catch live music at the likes of CameoTrophy, and The Gutter. Son Volt is at the Music Hall of Williamsburg, The Gories are at Brooklyn Bowl, and The Jazz Butcher plays Spike Hill. And that’s just Saturday night! The festival continues through Thursday, June 20th, with plenty more chances to soak up the spirit of Brooklyn. Start tonight with the reunion of Black Flag’s 1979 lineup at Warsaw.

Black Flag plays Warsaw (261 Driggs Ave., Greenpoint) tonight. To learn more about the music venue, check out the listing at BlackBook Guides.

SUNDAY: Donna Party

Former Roberta’s chef Max Sussman joins the Sud de France Festival with a four-course afternoon at Williamsburg’s Donna. Corned lamb cassoulet will be the highlight of the Languedoc-Roussillon inspirations, with wine pairings and live jazz to complement.

Seatings for Sud de France Tasting Tables at Donna (27 Broadway, Williamsburg) are at 11:30am and 1:30pm on Sunday, June 16th. Tickets are $45 and include wine, tax, and tip. To learn more about the bar, check out the listing at BlackBook Guides.

MONDAY: Dine In Bushwick

Snubbed by Brooklyn Restaurant Week, Bushwick is coming back strong. This week you can check out thirty of the neighborhood’s finest without paying full price. Mama Joy’s and 983 are offering discounts and specialty items. At Heavy Woods and Pine Box Rock Shop, the third beer’s free. Cab over with Uber, and Bushwick will spring for your fare, too.

Bushwick Restaurant Week runs Monday, June 17th through Saturday, June 22nd, at spots like Mama Joy’s (1084 Flushing Ave., Bushwick). To learn more about the restaurant, check out the listing at BlackBook Guides.

Know every inch of this city by visiting BlackBook’s NY City Guides.

Photo by Kristoffer Trolle/Flickr.

My $500 Blind Date For Charity

Last night I went on a blind date that Steve Lewis put together. By put together, I mean he came up with the awesome idea of entering me, his editor, into an auction benefitting the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and plotting and writing about the date and highest bidder in his column. The moment he declared this to the world in a post, my stock instantly went up 500 points which, in the high-stakes bidding world means $500.

So last night, the moment finally arrived when I would meet my generous suitor: Craig Clemens, a worldly, smart, modest guy who, quite shockingly, was not a serial killer. I was thrilled. The place: the Helen Hayes Theatre to see Rock of Ages, the ‘80s rock Broadway musical full of sex and yelling and beer and amazingly toned abs. We had a ball, talked during intermission about our life’s pursuits, and hopped in a Uber ride that arrived the moment the grand finale of “Don’t Stop Believing” came to its end.

Our next destination: Hotel Chantelle, where Craig finally met Steve Lewis. Despite my deep love for and closeness to Steve, I will forever refer to him as the full “Steve Lewis,” because he is a man deserving of a grand title and everything good in the world. Craig and Steve hit it off over a bottle of delicious Beau Joie Champagne which only I drank because 1. Craig is on his annual 30-day cleanse, God help him and 2. Steve gets drunk from three sips and this is a fact. So I got tipsy pretty quickly, which happened at the perfect time for a female knife swallower – one of the acts at Hotel Chantelle’s beloved The Love Show, a variety/burlesque show full of over-talented performers – to take to the stage and ask for an assistant. But being the business-savvy, considerate NY woman she is, she’d only hand over the position to the person who would hand over the most amount of money to donate toward the Hurricane Sandy relief. So Steve and Craig pitched in, Craig walked up to the woman, handed her the money, and pointed directly at me, the alleged “benefactor.”

So she lead me up on stage and did the requisite “What’s your name? Say it into the mic” routine, all while Steve Lewis yelled from the black, “THEY’RE ON A BLIND DATE THEY’RE ON A BLIND DATE.” Within three minutes, she had an entire 12-inch knife down her throat and me pulling it out of her. I credit Beau Joie for this hyperventilation-free moment.

After this, Steve Lewis started DJing some tunes that made the crowd go absolutely nuts, and Craig and I looked on with pride, like a mother with her child, or maybe that was just me. Craig suggested we get some food, so we left and headed to our next destination: Blue Ribbon. By 2am, we were devouring their best dishes – the bone marrow and fried chicken – alongside some spicy fish soup. The conversation very easily continued, but I can’t tell you what it was because my brain shut down after my first bite of chicken wing dipped in truffle honey sauce. Now I have lost my place.

Anyway, we walked out, I hailed a cab, and we talked about going to a party Steve Lewis is hosting at an undisclosed location next Thursday night. It involves six ballrooms. Craig and I hugged, and I was in bed by 3am, thanking Beau Joie for having no added sugar so I have a guaranteed no-headache situation today.

Yes, I did text him today and thanked him for bidding and being such a cool guy and not a serial killer. He said that while he had a blast, even Ted Bundy probably came across as cool at first, which is a good point. So the jury is still out on this one. To be decided at a later date.

That Time I Rode Like a ‘Boardwalk Empire’ Gangster

This morning, I rode like a gangster. At precisely 9:15am, a 1934 Bentley showed up at my door – awash in rich white leather and wood – with a dashing man named Marco ushering me like an ant to a picnic with the simple phrase, “Step right in.” And for the next 20 minutes, I felt like a really important person. I was waved at, smiled at. Pictures were taken of me. But most of all, I felt like a real 1920s gangster, just lounging in my Bentley. And to top it off, the ride was all in celebration of one really good bit of news: season three of the hit HBO period drama Boardwalk Empire is premiering this Sunday at 9pm. In collaboration with Uber, an app that orders you a private chauffeured ride, HBO is offering New Yorkers today and tomorrow, from 11am to 6pm, free rides in vintage vehicles that’ll transport you from Soho to Midtown, and all the way back to the roaring ‘20s.

Sitting back in the rich white leather (and craving a Cuban cigar), I got to talking to Marco, my warm and knowledgeable driver. While watching a sneak-peek trailer of season three, I asked him what it’s like driving a 1934 Bentley. “It rides real smoothly,” Marco said. “The horn is my favorite feature. When these taxi cabs are blowing at me, I’m like ‘You think that’s a horn? That’s a whistle! Watch this.’” And then he honked it. And people ran for their lives.

He told me that just this morning alone, nearly 60 people had already stopped and asked him questions. And when I marveled at the number of people that smiled and took photos of us as we drove by, he simply said, “ This car brightens up their day." Mine too.

To book your free ride in a Bentley, check out the official website for all the details.  

Boardwalk Empire