The Best Kept Secret in The West Village: Calliope

With the likes of Marc Jacobs, Joe Malone, and Alexis Bittar lining Bleecker St., it pays to venture off the over populated retail path and make your way towards the river to West 12th St where you’ll discover the shopping oasis that is Calliope.  The store founded by Manhattan couple Caroline and Michael Ventura, is not just a store, it’s an entire thought in lifestyle.  A lifestyle that granted veers more California than New York, but with the current migration of New Yorkers going west, you can be the smart one knowing that you don’t have to move to Los Angeles to get that Cali vibe.

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What makes this place great is that it’s arranged like a shoppable living room. Inside you’ll find a curated collection of vintage, contemporary, and bespoke goods crafted by artisans from Morocco to Brooklyn, including Aaron Poritz, Fort Makers, and Michael Felix. They have everything from large designer furnishings, travel goods, luggage, antique rugs, artisan homewares, jewelry, crystals, sage and vintage records. The ever-rotating supply make the boutique a fresh source of inspiration for a creative and inspired crowd.

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It’s known amongst neighborhood locals that Calliope likes when you hang out. In fact, if you want to grab your laptop for an hour or two you can set up shop with the other locals doing just that or bring a bottle of wine and conversation while you wait for your friends finishing at The Whitney (which is just a few blocks away).

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The one thing Calliope offers over anywhere else in New York is their one-of-a-kind “field trips” with local talent which will send you on a journey in butchery lessons, astrological chart readings, vinyl hunting, drawing classes, and cocktail mixology. Sign us up.

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Calliope is located at 349 West 12th Street, New York, NY 10014.

Record Club: Celebrating the Glorious Sounds of Vinyl

it was a stormy night on the banks of Brooklyn April 21—known to vinyl nerds as Record Store Day—when I curled up in a bean bag chair, closed my eyes, and waited for the crackle of a needle hitting vinyl. Television’s Marquee Moon was about to revolve around my brain. I was immediately a kid again.

“What digital music is missing is the ritual or the relationship with the physical record,” says Mike Newman, host of the East Village Radio show Beyond Beyond is Beyond, which hosts a quarterly record club gathering. “Records are sexy and always will be.” Laissez-tomber le iPod.

The first rule about Record Club is that there is no talking during Record Club—at least not while the record is spinning. There is only the odd nudge and pass of the glowing cherry of a joint bouncing around the room. Being enveloped by the music and its analog magic creates a lasting impact, and it’s no wonder vinyl has reinvigorated a consumer base with the experiential aspect of it alone. I’ve become reacquainted with numerous favorites this way, including Can’s Ege Bamyasi, and discovered others, like Flower Travellin’ Band’s Satori.

The same day, thanks to local record shop Origami Vinyl, The Echo nightclub on Sunset Boulevard in sunny Los Angeles was outfitted with fancy turntables, receivers, and hip Eskuche headphones. Californian collectors of limited–edition slugs could watch their vinyl revolve à la a ’90s Sam Goody CD listening station. Want to go see a show after? Never fear—the vinyl valet would safely check in your records so you could go enjoy the band. Monday night residencies there feature a new Origami staff favorite spun in the Echo backyard.

While it’s easier to slip your iPod in your pocket, it’s just not the same kind of experience. “It’d be cool if Spotify created a service where they get someone to come to people’s houses and lead a record club gathering for the customer and their friends,” Newman told me recently, adding, “Call me, Spotify.”