Party Like There’s No Tomorrow Because There Isn’t One

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

Follow Bonnie on Twitter here

The Top NYC Bars To Hook Up With Hipsters

How does it feel to tear off someone’s skin-tight lycra shorts and mismatched striped socks? Are coffee-guzzling, liberal arts majors better at talking dirty? What’s a hipster’s morning-after go-to spot ? If you cannot answer any of the above questions, it’s time you consult our list of the Top NYC Bars To Hook Up With Hipsters. This is a species that travels in packs, and where there’s one, there’s many. We are confident you will find lots of single, attractive, and nimble hipsters here.

Follow Bonnie on Twitter here.

A Little Slice of Florida, Interrupted

Since when is shuffleboard a game that threatens the community and brings the naysayers barking? Apparently, when it involves Gowanus, Brooklyn. The place being disputed is Royal Palms, a Florida-themed bar owned by Ashley Albert and Jonathan Schnapp, which has yet to open.

The original plan by the pair was to launch a space large enough for 500 revelers to play shuffleboard, drink, and be merry, but when they purposed their vision and applied for a liquor license, all hell broke loose. The Brooklyn Paper reported that neighbors began petitioning the opening and cited the owners’, “lack of experience running a large night life establishment,” as the reason. One resident told Brooklyn Paper that the presence of a huge club throws off the balance of the neighborhood and would overwhelm Gowanus.

It’s surprising people are up in arms about this. Already the area boosts a few venues like Littlefield, the Brooklyn Lyceum and the Bell House, and with all the space available in the neighborhood, you would think they would welcome a club that has games on a large scale. Yet, since they can’t get support from their community board and the neighbors, Schnapp and Albert have cut down the capacity to 300 and plan to add soundproofing before opening up in February.

In the mean time, there are still plenty of places in Brooklyn to get your game on. For example, the newly opened Greenwood Park and Union Hall, both have free bocce ball courts. You can play Skee-ball for free Tuesdays and Thursdays at Full Circle ($1 a game otherwise), and Barcade is the place to be for you old-school video game nerds. Finally, if you really want to get your Florida on, Brooklyn Crab in Red Hook has the right vibe and a whole mini-golf court too. 

Valley Lodge: Making Panties Drop From Tokyo to Park Slope

As an American, I’ve seen my share of people rock a fuckin’ basement, but few have rocked one harder than Valley Lodge did last night at Union Hall. For one, their frontman Dave Hill, also known for putting funny things on the internet and on paper (Tasteful Nudes), was wearing a floral brooch. Nobody wears a floral brooch on stage when they’re insecure about their rocking abilities. The other two axmen were sporting colorful jeans (white and yellow). Good enough.

Their self-titled album, released in 2005 and then re-released in 2008 by a Japanese record label, is loaded with classics. Valley Lodge is actually super huge overseas (“This next hit’s a real panty-dropper in Japan,” Hill introduced one song) from having toured there a few years ago. Meanwhile, they’ve picked up some acclaim in the States the way most rock bands do it nowadays—a bunch of their songs have been used in commercials for pick-up trucks and fast food.

My favorite of their jams, “Hey,” has sincere heart-melting power that’s only intensified from seeing Hill flip his hair around and do that Elvis thing with his knees. “Hey, little girl / I’m a little person / Tell me bout your world / tell me you’ve been hurting” is the battle cry of timid mole people like me. It’s pure inspiration, and features a great guitar solo. Actually, all the songs have great guitar solos, which are really impressive given the fact that Hill is, indeed, a little person, and his guitar is massive compared to his body. To reach around that thing and still maintain such dexterity is a feat unto itself.

Comprised of a couple band mates Hill knew from earlier days—John Kimbrough, Phil Costello (yellow pants), and Rob Pfeiffer—they’re still holding on like champs. “We’re at the peak of our powers, and this is the time of our lives where we should be doing this,” he explained between songs. “We’re like The Beatles for 40-year-olds.” Whatever that means, they’ve definitely got reason to be up there. One of the weird games I like to play at rock shows is to count how many of the band members have rings on their left hands. If the number is less than “all of them,” they definitely need to keep rocking.

“We have nothing to sell tonight, but that’s not what it’s about,” began another banter betwixt songs. “We will have intercourse with anyone interested. Actually, no—we have preexisting conditions preventing us from doing that.” Still, the idea was there.

“I sing with my lips against the microphone, and it’s like I’ve made out with the lead singer of every band,” explained Hill. “Some people work their whole lives for that.”

Of course, there came a time for Valley Lodge to cease rocking for the night. Then some horn players from a new band called Bright Moments, a Beirut spinoff project, went up on stage and started playing, which totally shifted the mood, but it was cool. So cool, they’ll probably get featured in a car commercial someday.

Our Picks for December 9-11: Avoid the Onslaught of Santas This Weekend

What, hundreds of drunken Santas and slutty Mrs. Clauses aren’t your thing? Then steer clear of SantaCon, the annual time New Yorkers avoid the Village like a horrendous plague. Here’s what we’re doing this weekend instead.

Friday, December 9

The XMAS Pop Sing-Along: Union Hall brethren sip holiday-themed drinks and shout along to familiar pop carols like Bowie and Bing, Mariah Carey and Xtina. Free milk and cookies are provided, dignity left at the door. Union Hall, 702 Union Street (at Fifth Avenue). $8.

Saturday, December 10

Hard x Mouth Taped Shut: This dancefest features both ex-LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy and a DJ set by the Bloody Beetroots. RSVP is closed , but the event was free, so you’ll have to know a guy who knows a guy. Terminal 5, 610 West 66th Street. Free.

Boffo Does Marco Ovando: Come party with the fashioneers of Boffo to celebrate artist Marco Ovando’s first exhibition (and birthday!). The $20 door donation supports the non-profit, and is offset by the open bar. Hosted by Ladyfag and Amanda Lepore, and music provided by Cazwell. Boffo Pop-Up, 57 Walker Street. $20.

Death By Audio Holiday Party: Confusingly, the DBA party will be at the new Bushwick location of Secret Project Robot. Unconfusingly, A Place To Bury Strangers and The Immaculates will be playing original, if not totally festive, Christmas tunes. Secret Project Robot, 389 Melrose Street, $7.

Band on the Rise: Brooklyn’s Steel Phantoms

Every band begins somewhere, and for Steel Phantoms, like so many bands before them, those beginnings took shape in the network of venues that form the bedrock of Brooklyn’s music scene. Founded in 2009 by childhood friends from Pittsburgh Aaron Harris (former drummer for Islands) and Yosef Munro, the band cycled through guitarists before discovering the virtuoso talents of Jesse Newkirk IV. Today marks the release of the Forer EP, a tight collection of heady, delicately composed toe-tappers.

(Download it for free here.) We recently caught up with Aaron and Yos to ask them about being a band in Brooklyn (a good thing!), when we can expect a full-length (next year!), and just what exactly is a Forer (read on for that one).

How did the three of you start playing together, and where did you all meet? YM: Aaron and I have been playing music together for 12 years. We grew up together in Pittsburgh, went to the same college, and moved to New York at the same time to start Steel Phantoms. Our first show as a band was in August 2009. AH: Our first guitarist was our friend Chris, who used to be in AIDS Wolf and killed it on the guitar. He recorded some demos with us, but it didn’t end up working out. He moved to Amsterdam, and then we found Jesse through one of my coworkers. Jesse is a guitar god.

What are the best and worst things about being a Brooklyn-based band? AH: The environment here fosters creativity. The sheer volume of bands forces you to stay on your toes and that’s a good thing. YM: There are occasional frustrations, like venues dicking you over and people in the industry flaking on you, but really as long as we’re keeping at it, it’s all sunshine.

What can we expect from the Forer EP? AH: It’s our first project as a trio, and the music is a lot more confident than our first EP, the ideas are a lot clearer and more cohesive. We went through a lot of bass players over the past twelve months, and none of them really worked out, even though they were all super talented. I think that’s because we just always gelled better as a trio. YM: Yeah, and our tendencies as writers have always been more conducive to a sparser texture. I think of the first EP—where we sort of added Rhodes onto everything, and doubled the guitar parts just because—more as a collection of the first songs we wrote together as a new band, than as an actual EP. I still like it and we still play a couple of those songs, but the new EP is very different, and much more sonically cohesive.

Why did you name your EP after the psychologist Bertram Forer? YM: We’ve been wanting to use that name for a while. Aaron is all about horoscopes, and I was trying to convince him that they’re nothing but pseudoscience. In my search to prove myself right, I learned that Bertram Forer came up with the principle that people are willing to believe positive things about themselves but not negative ones. AH: And we thought it would be perfect for this EP, because my songs at least, tend to be about a lack of confidence or addressing my fears, and so it was interesting to read about this professor who addressed the psychosomatic aspect of what makes one confident or afraid. I still read my monthly horoscope, though.

Who or what were some of the biggest influences that went into constructing your sound? YM: We love XTC and Elvis Costello and the DBs, The Bangles and Richard Hell, and I think there’s influence from all that. We really like Pat Jordache, a great band out of Montreal, and have taken some pointers from their sound. I like the 80s and taking from new wave and no wave, while bringing a more current pop sound, as well as our own flair to it.

When can we expect a Steel Phantoms full-length? AH: That’s what we’re working towards. I think for right now we’re going to push this EP as much as possible, hopefully gain some new fans, and by this time next year have a full-length. Yos and I are constantly writing, so it’s not for lack of material that we don’t have an LP yet. What would be the ideal level of success for you guys as a band? AH: Ultimately, I think we want what every band wants: to be able to make a living playing our music to thousands of adoring fans. In the short-term though, I think I would feel successful if the result of releasing this EP was that we became a lot more well known locally.

Do you look at this band, or music in general, as a career? Or is it something you do when you’re young while you don’t have any real responsibilities? AH: This is totally a career for us. I’ve been studying and playing music my entire life. I’ve never thought of it as a hobby or something that I’d do temporarily before “growing up.” One of the best things about Steel Phantoms is that we’re three guys who couldn’t be happy doing anything else besides performing and playing music.

Aaron, you used to be a member of Islands. Has that helped you get your foot in the door, at all? AH: Definitely. When we first started playing shows, we had to throw out the Islands name in order for any venue or promoter to give us the time of day, especially since at the time we weren’t really friends with any other Brooklyn bands, because we were new to the city, so it wasn’t like we could just hop on our friends’ shows. I also think a lot of music bloggers who normally wouldn’t even open an email from a random band, took a chance on us because of the Islands name. It’s not something that we have to do much anymore because we’re a bit more established now, and I want SP to stand on its own two feet, but I’m thankful that I could use the Islands connection in the beginning.

What is a Steel Phantoms live show like? AH: We set up in the front of the stage, all in a row and just fucking go for it. Our songs can be pretty different stylistically from one to the next, so I like to think that we try to play every song with the same level of energy and intensity which brings a sort of continuity to our see. Of course the fact that we dress up as Neo Goth Rabbis makes us an interesting band to see live, but we’re still working on our stage banter. YM: How’s this one: “My mom wanted to come to this show, until she found out my band was playing!” Zing! AH: Nice.

What are some of your favorite venues to play? YM: We really like a good house party if they have a half-decent sound system. It’s more about the people and the energy than anything else, but we’ve had fun playing Brooklyn Bowl, Secret Project Robot, St. Vitus, Union Pool, Glasslands, MHoW, and Union Hall. All places that care about putting on a good show and are respectful towards the performers.

Have you embraced technology it all when making music, or do you prefer to make music the old school way? YM: I don’t like a laptop in a rock band, personally, unless it really, really works. I think there’s something to be said for being able to play an instrument well and writing collaboratively. But I love drum machines and synths, I love what MNDR does, and I know it’s on the other side of the coin, but I love what Girl Talk does. I love rehearsing with real instruments, and being able to communicate an idea clearly to the guys and just try it out, and then be like, Oh, actually what if that was a D-minor instead of major, and then it kind of happens, and we design synth patches and come up with drum patterns together. I think with digital music, there’s always a risk of getting lazy by copying and pasting, and that’s definitely not always bad, but it becomes easy to not think creatively. You aren’t forced to consider every moment of the song as it’s being written. Very meticulous writers still do, but with digital music, the focus is inherently on a broader scale in terms of structure. Sorry if that makes no sense at all.

Do you guys aim to make your music catchy? Do you think that’s important? YM: We like catchy music, when it’s good. It’s definitely important. People’s brains latch on to patterns for a reason. We definitely aim for a bit of repetition when it’s called for. And when one of us comes up with a great hook, it’s cause for celebration.

Do you ever get overwhelmed, being a band in such a band-saturated place like Brooklyn? How do you rise above? YM: You find a network of support after being here a certain amount of time, I think. Good musicians who are on the right track, who have their “fingers on the pulse,” or whatever, of the scene here. Bands who like each other who play shows together, tour, and shoot the shit. We’ve been able to play great shows with incredible bands like ARMS, Violent Bullshit, Wild Yaks, Shark?, EULA and Spacecamp, and a bunch more, and it’s all from hanging out and meeting good people and camaraderie between bands.

Gig Guide 2/1 – 2/7: The Week’s Top Rock

Lia Ices makes an entrance, Rhett Miller and Prince return (again?), while the Hundred in the Hands, Woods, and The Suzan round out the week’s cant-miss shows.

Tuesday, February 1st

Who: Panic! at the Disco @: Bowery Ballroom, 7:30PM Tickets: $20 Who: Lia Ices @: Joe’s Pub, 9:30PM Tickets: $12 Details: The Brooklyn based beauty, Lia Ices, is prime for Cat Power stardom. She’s talented and beautiful, and has an inquisitive voice that envelops like a light spring rain. If you think my description is too flowery, see her live and tell me you don’t agree.

Wednesday, February 2nd

Who: Holy Ghost! @: Mercury Lounge, 6:30PM Tickets: $12

Who: The Radio Dept., Young Prisms @: Music Hall of Williamsburg, 8:00PM Tickets: $20 Details: I cannot think of a more perfect venue to enjoy The Radio Dept in the middle of a blizzard.

Who: Best Coast, Wavves, No Joy @: Webster Hall, 7:00PM Tickets: $20 Details: This might as well be an Urban Outfitters mix tape—so expect a similar crowd. You really cannot go wrong with this lineup, all have experienced recent success with a devoted following. They’ll also get together at the Music Hall of Williamsburg on Thursday (2/3) for the same price.

Thursday, February 3rd

Who: Joseph Arthur, Greg Laswell @: City Winery, 8:00PM Tickets: $15 Details: Joseph Arthur also plays with Jesse Malin at City Winery at 8:30 PM On Saturday (2/5). Who: White Ring, Blissed Out, Von Haze, Pictureplane (DJ Set) @: Santos Party House, 8:00PM Tickets: $10 Details: White Ring is a dark, trance-inspired duo, that’s just as blissful as it is creepy.

Who: Does It Offend You, Yeah?, Deluka, Infernal Devices @: The Bell House, 7:30PM Tickets: $15

Friday, February 4th

Who: Rhett Miller @: City Winery, 8:30PM Tickets: $18 Details: Rhett Miller, still a heartthrob; even better while gazing at him through the bottom of your wine glass. He’s got a new self-titled album, but will also be touring with the Old 97’s later this spring.

Who: Tapes ‘n Tapes, Oberhofer, Xylos @: Music Hall of Williamsburg, 8:30PM Tickets: $17 Details: Indie rockers Tapes ‘n Tapes just released their third album, Outside. Listen for the gem, “The Saddest of All Keys.”

Who: Woods, Ducktails, Metal Mountains @: Monster Island Basement, 8:00PM Tickets: Free? Details: Folk/Psych rockers Woods play the awesome gallery/music space on the Brooklyn waterfront.

Who: Chromeo, MNDR, The Suzan @: Terminal 5, 8:00PM Tickets: $25 Details: I cannot believe this show is only $25! MNDR and The Suzan are the most talked about artists of 2011, along with veterans, Chromeo.

Saturday February 5th

Who: Beach Fossils, Widowspeak, The Royal Chains @: Cameo Gallery, 8:00PM Details: The Cameo Gallery, a “live art space,” is a great place to host the lo-fi/surf rock/dreamy Beach Fossils. Check out their gorgeous sound once described in a Youtube comment “bleeding bbq sauce & rum.”

Who: The Vandelles, Mean Creek, The Party Faithful, Boom Chick @: Pianos, 8:00PM Tickets: $10 Details: The LAST FM bio reads: The Vandelles are rock n’ roll noir at its finest. Their songs are the perfect soundtrack to rain-slicked city streets at night, and the lust, betrayal and violence that filters through them. The band thrives on layers of fuzz and a wall of reverb-laden guitar noise, and they also harbor a penchant for 60s garage pop melody and surf rock riffs.

Who: Robyn @: Radio City Music Hall, 7:00PM Tickets: $39.50 Details: The woman that needs no introduction except for maybe “Show Me Love.”

Sunday, February 6th

Who: Neko Case, Lost in the Trees @: The Bell House, 8:00PM Tickets: $35 Details: Everyone’s crush plays at everyone’s favorite venue=a match made in heaven.

Monday February 7th

Who: Friendly Fires, Hundred In The Hands @: Bowery Ballroom, 8:00PM Tickets: $20 Details: Everyone has been digging Friendly Fires, but please give your attention to the talented electro-pop duo, The Hundred in the Hands, who released their first studio album on the label WARP (other artists include Vincent Gallo, Autecture, and Brian Eno). They are named after the phrase the Lakota Nation gave to the Fetterman Battle of 1866 in Wyoming (in which Crazy Horse led his warriors to a victory that resulted in the death of 100 enemies).

Who: Prince @: Madison Square Garden, 8:00PM Tickets: Check Here Details: The legend must be enjoying his time here, as he just played a couple of weeks ago.

Gig Guide: This Week’s Top Indie Rock Shows

The Decemberists play a couple of gigs to show off their shiny new album, White Lies performs at Highline Ballroom, Peter Bjorn and John throw a late-night throw-down at The Rock Shop, and Real Estate sidles up to Andy Rourke of The Smiths at Union Hall — my list this week’s not-to-be missed indie shows.

Tuesday, January 25

Who: The Decemberists, Wye Oak @: Beacon Theater, 8:00 PM Tickets: $39.50 Details: Touring with a spanking new album, The Decemberists will also play Beacon on Wednesday night.

Who: Suuns, Takka Takka, Milagres @:The Rock Shop, 8:00 PM Tickets: $10 Details: Secretly Canadian’s Suuns play electronica/shoegaze alongside Takka Takka’s gorgeous, melodic indie rock. Highly recommend the show—either band could be headlining, so don’t be late.

Wednesday, January 26th

Who: Yuck, Total Slacker, Fergus & Geronimo @: Glasslands, 8:00 PM Tickets: $10

Who: Liz Phair @: Music Hall of Williamsburg, 8:00 PM Tickets: $25

Thursday, January 27 Who: Cloud Runner (Comprised of Matisyahu and friends) @: Bowery Ballroom, 8:00 PM Tickets: $17 advance, $20 door

Who: White Lies, Asobi Seksu @: Highline Ballroom, 7:00 PM Tickets: $20 advance, $22 door Details: White Lies, an indie trio that sounds like Tears for Fears and Echo & the Bunnymen, has been making all sort of toplists in London since 2009. They’ll pair nicely with opener Asobi Seksu’s dream pop sound.

Friday, January 28

Who: Peter Bjorn and John @: The Rock Shop, 11:00 PM Tickets: $10

Saturday, January 29th

Who: Mission of Burma, Grandfather @: The Bell House, 8:00 PM Tickets: $20 Details: Can’t miss 80’s post punk rockers, Mission of Burma, take the stage at one of Brooklyn’s best venues.

Who: Beach Fossils, A Place to Bury Strangers, Caveman, Guards, ARMS, Dreamers of the Ghetto (I Guess I’m Floating 5-Year Party) @: Glasslands, 8:00 PM Tickets: $12 advance, $14 door

Who: Baby Dayliner, Five O’Clock Heroes @: Mercury Lounge, 10:00 PM Tickets: $10

Who: Iron and Wine, Edie Brickell @: Radio City Music Hall, 8:00 PM Tickets: $51.55

Who: Real Estate, Andy Rourke (The Smiths) @: Union Hall, 8:00 PM Tickets: $15

Sunday, January 30

Who: The Hold Steady, The Gay Blades @: Music Hall of Williamsburg” title=”Music Hall of Williamsburg”>Music Hall of Williamsburg, 8:00 PM Tickets: $25

Industry Insiders: Andrew Templar and Margaret Mittelbach, Lab Partners

Andrew Templar, co-owner of The Bell House, regularly draws huge crowds to industrial Gowanus with an impressive rotation of indie bands. Just as popular are the bar’s monthly meetings of The Secret Science Club, which Templar founded along with natural science writers Margaret Mittelbach, Michael Crewdson (co-authors of the taxidermy tome Carnivorous Nights) and radio producer Dorian Devins. SSC events, which feature Nobel laureates and other scientific luminaries, range from science-based film screenings to lectures on the genetics of longevity. But the group’s signature happening, which this year attracted 500 fans, is the annual Carnivorous Nights Taxidermy Contest, in which artists, amateur taxidermists and groupies come out to sip on cocktails called “Wet Specimens” and to compete for the Order of Carnivorous Knights Grand Prize, for the best artfully stuffed dead animal.

What’s the Secret Science Club’s mission? Margaret Mittelbach: We’re trying to advance the public understanding of science, but we’re trying to do it in a way that’s fun and exciting to people. We try to fill it in with music. Cocktails. And we also try to make the scientists feel like they’re rock stars. Because normally at The Bell House, they have music, comedy, and we’re just trying to say, hey, science is part of the culture.

How do you make a scientist feel like a rock star? Andrew Templar: For people who are in the know, they are rock stars. The scientists are surprised by how many people are here and how eager people are to meet them.

MM: For example, we had Donald Johanson, who discovered Lucy, the primate bones from Africa, and a lot of people studied this in college. And also there is the big battle about evolution in schools, so people come in, and they’re like, “Evolution, yeah!” He was a total rock star. People were cheering, and he was really good about riding that. They are stars in their own ways and because the way the venue is set up, they get to be rock stars for the night.

How did the Secret Science Club get started? AT: Our first bar Floyd, NY on Atlantic Avenue has a bocce court. We had an eccentric bocce league team, named Dr. Strangeballs that gave us a piece of taxidermy for a gift. We heard that there was a taxidermy contest at a bar called Pete’s Candy Store that was being hosted by Margaret and Michael as a book launch event, and we entered on a whim and placed highly and met Margaret and Dorian and Michael.

MM: Dorian actually goes out unlike me and Michael, and she was at Floyd and heard you were opening Union Hall, and you said, “Hey, do you want to maybe have that taxidermy thing there?”

AT: We knew Union Hall was going to have a kind of like a gentlemen’s club motif, and we wanted to have this secret Masonic basement venue. We were going to have bands, but we thought it would be cool to supplement it with scientists, and Dorian said, “I think we can make that happen.”

Why did you move the Secret Science Club to The Bell House? AT: We were turning people away from the Union Hall events. The room downstairs only holds about 110 comfortably, or uncomfortably. For one event we had people lined up to 6th Avenue. It was a big deal to turn that many people away. People were disappointed. It felt like we kind of outgrew this place.

MM: [At Union Hall] the idea was it was kind of like a secret society, and we’re meeting in the basement. Down at the Bell House, I have the idea in my mind that science is on the margins. We’re forced to meet on the fringe in this old industrial lot. Sometimes in my mind, I call you the Bell House Labs.

Who comes to the events? AT: We have some regulars who are just classic Brooklyn city people who are just interested in everything. If they’re not at science night, they’re probably off at modern dance. It’s just a smart neighborhood.

MM: It’s mostly 20s and 30s. A lot of people in the audience are involved in film and art, but then you also get some people who are actual scientists. I think one of the reasons that this is popular is that there’s a kind of zeitgeist of curiosity. Because most of the events are free, you can be curious and come and check it out without losing anything and then most people find that they’re inspired by it.

Who comes up with the signature cocktails that you serve at the events? MM: I usually come up with the names, and then they come up with the actual concoction. My favorite drink name ever was the Double (Make that a Triple) Helix.

AT: I don’t know if you want to go public with this, but we think that the global warming enthusiasts drink the most.

MM: They drink the most beer. I don’t know if they drink the most liquor, but they definitely drink the most beer. They’re thirsty. It’s hot.

Where else do you go to see some good taxidermy? AT: Freemans is a very cool spot. Red Hook Bait & Tackle has a black bear and lots of birds and fish. I think taxidermy has had a real resurgence. You see it in places where you didn’t used to.

MM: Ryan Matthew [who won an award at Carniverous Nights] owns a clothing store that also sells taxidermy called Against Nature and Mike Zohn [another contestant] owns Obscura Antiques in the East Village, which is a really cool store.