Archive for Bar/club

Slate greets us from Canada

Posted in Mr Slate Honey, Party, People of Color, queer with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 2, 2009 by thebrooklynsocialite

By Mr Slate Honey:

Brooklyn, I miss you.  I have spent the past ten days making the rounds in Canada’s cultural capitols, Toronto and Montréal.  Oversleeping, eating meals I could never afford and immersing myself in familial catch-up and madness have been my main activities of late.  What work!  Inevitably with any short-term stay outside New York, after more than a week, I start to feel homesick for city chaos and the comforts of my wide bed.  But before quitting this country, I decided to go on a little adventure downtown.  It turned out to be more like a voyeuristic mini-voyage.  After a decadent New Year’s Eve meal of steak and lobster paired with three too many Whiskey sours, I put on my best tie and shiny new jeans and headed out to size up Toronto’s queer scene.  A friend’s recommendation led me to Cherry Bomb’s New Year’s Eve bash at the Raq, billiards hall turned lounge, on Queen Street West.
Let’s begin with a mention of the free public transport in Toronto from midnight to 4 am.  Ah, the well-organized pro-public culture here is always worth a little sigh of envy.  The 501 street car took me down Queen to my destination, a rather big club that had a sign on the door that read in big letters: This is a Gay event! Gay-friendly folks are welcome.  Inside, the dance-floor was crowded and some games were going on a couple of the dozen pool tables.  On a wide screen above the dance floor, projections of lesbian black and white porn from the 1950s intermingled with experimental video montages of Mariah dancing on a pole and Beyoncé biting down on a cigar in a three-piece suit.  The party was a good mix of folks in terms of ages, genders and ethnicities.  In general, I’ve noticed a lot of mixed-race families in Toronto and it’s little surprise since the city is ranked by the UNDP as one of the world’s most multicultural cities and annually becomes home to half of all immigrants coming to Canada.  I always get a little soft-hearted every time I spot Hapa kids and their parents—fueled by my cheeseball Hapa pride—and Toronto’s p.o.c. population being 70% Asian, there are a lot of mixed race Asian families around.
Anyway, back to the queers.  I bought a drink and headed to the DJ area to check out Torontonian cruising.  There were plenty of cuties but I felt a little pang of disappointment about peoples’ game.  I should admit that I am for the most part a shy dork save for some golden moments of flirtation with strangers.  Maybe I got my hopes up too high expecting to stumble into a super-friendly Eden of flirty queers (which my aunt and mom later insisted I would definitely have found if I had went out in Montréal).  I felt like the cruising was a little too lukewarm for my taste and the music a little too 90s club beat for my dancing feet.  So as not to be too visible a voyeur, I found a comfy spot and watched the dancing.  At one point, I could not take my eyes off a gorgeously tall, leggy person in a glittering mini-dress working it out proper with each of her dance partners.  It made me want to devote an essay to the skills of high-femme glamour.
Honestly, it was just a nice relief to be in a queer space crowded with folks grinding, friends being silly and lovers magnetically glued to one another.  As the club emptied out a little, I got up for a little booty-shaking before heading home.  Reality hit me a little too hard in the face on the free tram back to my aunt’s.  I squeezed into a car and got wedged between some obnoxious, loud, righteous drunk white boys and put a sour face on for the ride.  Well you can’t have it all, I suppose.
So, I think come summertime, I am going to have to do another round here and better scope out the Toronto gay life.  Maybe I’ll do a city-comparison and see if my aunt and mom are indeed correct about the abundant fruit in Montréal.  Until then, it’s back to Brooklyn.  I am so ready for it.
Happy New Year!

The Garden, Esperanza Friends

Posted in film with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 17, 2008 by thebrooklynsocialite

Tonight was one of those nights were I didn’t really feel like like going out, it meant ditching the pjs, leaving Brooklyn and facing the snow. Still, I had the feeling that Stranger than Fiction was the right place for me to be, so I bucked up and faced the elements. It turned out to be another beautiful STF night, and I’m so glad that I made it. I was greeted by the wonderful Raphaela Neihausen, Executve Director of STF, then I purchased IFC’s yum organic popcorn, with butter, and found my way to my seat.

The film, The Garden, was about the intense struggle by nearly 400 families to save the huge community garden/farm, located in South Central LA that had been given to them by the city in the wake of the LA riots. In order to quell tensions that flared up after Rodney King’s police assailants were acquitted, the city gave the land to the community for use as a community garden. Ten years later, the city decided to take it back, or rather claim that they did not indeed own it, and that it instead belonged to the previous owner, a greedy developer, that had had his property seized by the city under imminent domain. Back in the early 90’s he was paid 5 million for the land, then for some unexplainable reason, in the early 2000’s the city sold it back to him for the same price. Now you don’t have to be an economics major or even a graduate of the 7th grade for that matter to understand that after ten years of inflation, there is no way that the value of the property had not risen at all in over ten years. Quite to the contrary property in South Central has become increasingly desirable to developers and new residents.

The film tracks the development of the Latino community gardener’s struggle to advocate for themselves and win the right to keep their garden, in fact the largest community garden in the United States. I won’t tell you whether or not they succeeded, you will have to see the film to find out (or google it, but do the former first)!  I highly recommend it as a valuable record of people’s history and as compelling cinema. Interview with the director to come!

But wait, the night gets better. After STF the whole audience was invited to 99 Below on MacDougal street for a free drink with ticket stub and a chance to mingle with the director, Scott Hamilton Kennedy. Scott was very friendly and approachable. He was joined by representatives from Silver Docs, a great documentary film festival, which takes place in DC each year, the  director of Trembling Before G-d, Sandi DuBowski, and unrelatedly, the chocolatiers behind Living Love organic raw chocolate. The chocolate chefs were kind enough to offer me several samples of their awesome chocolates, which perhaps explains why I am still so chipper, typing away at 4am.

I should really sleep, but before I do, I have to conclude that what really put the icing on the cake of this being a great night was that I ran into some really good old friends from my days of garden activism in NYC some 7-8 years ago. Aresh of More Gardens continues his stand-up work, while Ben has extended his commitment to South Bronx gardens, to also include a Victory Gardens style farm upstate, where he grows vegetables and herbs which he can then distribute to communities in poor NYC neighborhoods and also sell at farmers markets to benefit political prisoners. This model has been successful for VG and is showing a lot of promise for Ben’s farm as well.

Yay! and goodnight.

Soda Bar

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on December 14, 2008 by thebrooklynsocialite

Soda bar is straight out of A Different Strokes, your every local, Brooklyn, Ace for Diversity- bar. It attracts a mixed, mostly straight crowd, and they have DJs and events on certain nights. The snug couch set-up is perfect for de-briefs with friends and impromptu dancing.

The Weekend in Pictures

Posted in Party, People of Color, queer, reading with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 9, 2008 by thebrooklynsocialite

There have been several things that I wanted to post about but didn’t immediately find time for…so here they are in photographs. Match the  numbered  blurry iPhone pictures with the following letters: A- IL Passatore, an authentic Greenpoint Italian restaurant, which some claim is among the best in the city. They have prominent exit signs, excellent lasagna and a few other decent pasta options. B- The Beatrice Inn, Bjork is rumored to do coke here, looks shabby from the outside but the muffled bouncers will practically frisk you, before they decide you are “Someone” and casually let you in. C-The Belcourt, LES brunch spot, pretty disappointing other than the fancy decor. The food is mediocre at best and they are adamantly against substitutions. D- Roebling Tea Room- good drink options, chill staff, filling- comfort food style menu. E- Misnomer Dance Company opening at the Joyce.  This is Chris Elam’s company, he choreographed Bjork’s (speaking of) last video,” Wanderlust.” Queen of Dance Critics Gia Kourlas sat in front of me wearing an imposing fur hat, and scribbling enthusiastically in her notebook. The dancers told me afterwards that they nearly tripped over themselves in fear. The photo is of a particularly friendly yet camera-shy stylist, who’s self tailored coat won the recessionista award of the day. F- Tongues of Fire reading at Common Grounds. Excellent community event, good poets, bad run-ins with exes(!) And now for the pictures!

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I guess the answers are kind of obvious, but thank you for playing. x

Agent Angie gets Techy at El Guincho

Posted in Music, Party with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 7, 2008 by thebrooklynsocialite

I headed to (Le) Poisson Rouge the other night to see El Guincho, aka Pablo Díaz-Reixa an electro-pop artist based in Barcelona. I arrived very early. I must admit a few things that threaten to undermine my status as a “socialite” dear readers. The first thing is that I don’t know if I am capable of attending these late night shows anymore. I really enjoy going to (Le) Poisson Rouge, but most of their shows start barely before midnight. When you work full time during the day, is going to a show that starts at 11:30 feasible? Not really.

Finally, Lemonade, the opener started, whose weird electronic mix of pops, blips, pings, and buzzes accompanied by occasional vocals provided the best electro-dance music I’ve heard in a long while. Everyone was gyrating to the music and thoroughly enjoying themselves. Later, when I listened to it again on myspace I felt more ambivalent. This type of music is better in person.

El Guincho drew an impressive crowd, (Le) Poisson Rouge was packed, but I wasn’t so impressed by him. A part of me wondered what all the fuss was about. His enthusiasm and personality were wonderful to watch, but the music didn’t win me over.

Therefore, I will go back to discussing my experience as a bad socialite that night at (Le) Poisson Rouge. I arrived early because I didn’t want to bother going back uptown after work. I thought it started at ten (I have a terrible habit of confusing the “doors” time and the actual time the show is set to begin). Arriving early did afford me the opportunity of observing the people around me. There was a dj, a pretty decent dj at that, but everyone was standing around looking bored (including myself). I kept thinking, ‘aren’t we supposed to be dancing? Someone dance with me.’ I was alone for most of the show and kept trying to push myself to strike up conversations with strangers who were also alone, but never did. I looked around at everyone clicking away on their BlackBerrys and iPhones and regretted that technology has driven a wedge between us. Who knows if I would have worked up the courage to do it even if the BlackBerrys weren’t present, but it’s a little harder to do when someone is preoccupied texting or twittering or what have you.

I feel I have a love/hate relationship with technology. In this instance, before I made a point to put away my iPhone in order to stop discouraging others from being friendly, I caught up on some reading. I read a wonderful article by Roger Ebert about the struggles in the journalism world of late. I was grateful that my iPhone allowed me to be productive and escape the boredom of being alone. However, it also made me feel very cowardly for using it (partly) to avoid being social. It made me wonder if depending on technology since my first year of college, when I first started to develop my social skills in an adult world and develop relationships independent of family, crippled me socially in the long run. And, what does this tell us about individuals growing up in front of screens? Imagine having a facebook profile in middle school. Any thoughts dear readers?

-by Angie Venezia

Just Seeds, Spin Sugar…

Posted in art, Party, queer with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 5, 2008 by thebrooklynsocialite

Yesterday was one of those anachronistic days when everything and nothing happens. I worked for a friend at a conference at the Tompkins Hotel. Then I spent most of the day there working in a coffee charged stupor. After which I went to see the Just Seeds collective’s wonderful poster show. I bought a beautiful black panther quote lino print, which much to my chagrin I lost later in the night. It went missing during my 3 hour fly on the wall experience as press at the Farm Sanctuary’s benefit. I interviewed Ally Sheedy, Corey Feldman, Jenefer Coolidge and Daniella Sea, in between bouts of nerve steadying alcohol consumption. Celebrities usually don’t intimidate me this much, but hot people do I guess. I tried not to impulsively grab Sea’s hand in mid convo. Somehow, I managed to exercise control and stick to normal interview protocol. Transcript to follow+ a full description of the sanctuary’s great work.

After I left the art directors club, I took the subway, in true b s style down to spin sugar at sin sin, where I intercepted my friends on the way in and ran into the entire staff of go. Dancing ensued, plus more drink, under the beat propriety of Sophia H, Noa D and Amber Valentine. We closed the warm little dive around 3 and all went home.

Bad Art Auction, Tablediving

Posted in art, Party with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 20, 2008 by thebrooklynsocialite

I never did have my latte this morning and I began to feel the burn- of coffee not through my blood-halfway through the Bad Art Auction at Le Poisson Rouge. The premise of the evening was this: Judah Friedlander aka Champion of the World (one of the 30 Rock (which I’ve never seen) writers ) auctioned off bad art, as a benefit for New York Cares. The night was sponsored by New York Magazine and attendees received a free year-long subscription to the rag. The spectacle was amazing, (that’s sarcasm). People were paying one or 2 hundred dollars for xerox copies of 80s faux-art ephemera, macrame owls and racially offensive Christian paintings. It was hipster heaven, I feared that Williamsburg had been momentarily misplaced and supplanted within the walls of Le Poisson Rouge. I was so inspired by my new and trendy crew that I decided to table dive.

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Decidedly sober, I resisted the open Vodka bar after last nights excess. Instead I focused my sights on food, other people’s food that is! There was some kind of staff meeting and several appetizer plates had been ordered, many of which were untouched. At one point everyone at the table just up and left, what was a hungry lady to do? That’s right, I dove. Tablediving rules! It is the word for the day.

Tablediving: The art/science of spotting un-eaten food on stranger’s restaurant tables, then grabbing and eating it in the space of time after the strangers leave the table and before the waitstaff clears the food.