Just who is this Evan Kessler? Well he’s no one if not a caring, sharing person. This weekend I showed just how much I care in several instances. The first instance was Friday evening. Yes, on Friday evening I made my way to the West Village to share happy hour drinks with some of my best friends to show just how much I care about them and drinking.
The original plan was to go to Lederhosen and imbibe German brews in their bierhaus setting surrounded by murals of the German alps. When I arrived at the haunt in my old neighborhood, however, I was greeted with a sign notifying me that the bar boasting Spaten and a fine selection of Sausages was closed due to a private party on the premises. Luckily, I had just received a text from Ahmad alerting me that our outing had relocated to the Slaughtered Lamb Pub on West 4th Street.
Once at the Slaughtered Lamb Tourist Trap Pub I spent a minute shooting glances between the skeleton statues and set pieces that adorn the establishment year-round to locate my friends who were entrenched in a nook closed off by one of said display cases of death that made it that much more difficult for me to find a seat amidst my cohorts, which included Dmitry, Ahmad, Erika, Suli, Kishore, Miller, Andy, his brother Chris, and later on, Morwin.
Thankfully, we moved to a less cramped spot away from the bones and resumed our cheerful consumption. There are several things I can take issue with the Slaughtered Lamb Pub for including the decor and their need to make all of their meals sound more British by adding British towns to the monikers of their appetizers (a la Buckingham Onion Rings) but the most egregious violation of decency by said establishment is their need to tack on fifty cents to the cost of an alcoholic beverage. At most bars in the city you can get a Budweiser for between $3 and $5. The Slaughtered Lamb offers Bud for $5.50. What gives? Does the 50 cents really add to your profit that much. As if they didn’t cost $1 per bottle anyway. I think the only thing it actually does is prompt people to give either 50 cents more or less tip to the bartender in question. I ended up only putting down $6 for my beer because I just thought a bud for $5.50 was stupid. Sorry bartender…I didn’t have another single anyway.
As I finished up my Budweiser seated in the corner booth with my friends, the smack of leather on denim echoed through the bar with laughter, cheering, and slight reverberation of pain. The commotion was coming from the other end of the backroom where two of the waitresses were giving lashings to a patron who had apparently lost a Irish Car bomb drinking contest. The waitress would later explain to us, that if we wanted to race her in drinking a car bomb, the loser of the race would be lashed the equivalent of the number of people he lost to.
I was not really into this idea. However, I think there was a general amount of flirting and a need to see at least one of us lashed that a majority of the group decided to give into. I wasn’t among them, but I was then pointed out as being someone who should participate. As someone who is a generally slow drinker, I was more or less resigned to the fact that I would be the one receiving the lashing despite my unwillingness to actually participate.
After a lengthy wait for the waitress joined us and the contest began. WIth that, I dropped my shot of Bailey’s into my bit of Guiness and chugged away. I didn’t drink particularly fast, but I wasn’t last. I think I was second to last as I saw my glass go down and then what I thought was Kishore’s. However, when the dust settled it was somehow decided that Suli was the loser even though the bartender didn’t quite finish her drink. Before we knew it, the waitress had commandeered Suli’s belt and unleashed it on his posterior eight consecutive turns.
I was glad it wasn’t me, but the entire sequence was just unneccesary and in more ways than one. When we received the check it turned out that each drink for the contest was $15. Also, we had been charged for the waitress’s drink. She was running quite the racket with her sass and aspiring dominatrix act. We were all sort of annoyed by the exorbitance of the charges.
After we ducked out of the bar we took a stroll down Seventh Ave to see the Banksy Pet Store exhibit. The exhibit itself was interesting, but I didn’t feel much like standing outside and ooh-ing and aah-ing. I had barely eaten anything all day and I was down the street from my favorite pizza place from when I lived in the neighborhood, so I decided it was time to grab a slice. Flanked by Kishore, we hit up Bleecker Street Pizza for some dinner. We then met back up with a few of the same folks and dropped by Vol De Nuit (a.k.a Belgian Beer Bar) and grabbed a beer or two, before I left and made my way just up the block to Chinatown Brasserie for the birthday party of a newer acquaintance.
The new acquaintance/birthday girl in question was Courtney, who I have met several times through my friends Jenny and Marie at Jenny’s apartment. I had been to the venue two or three times before, once with dinner for the family, and once with my brother for some sort of party. Actually, I had been there many times before that when it looked totally different when it housed the Time Cafe and Fez. Anyway, upon my arrival Jenny and Felecia were outside talking with some other ladies whose acquaintance I made but whose name I have since forgotten. Actually, one was a cute Canadian girl named Emily (I think). I think I made a few lame Canada jokes which probably turned her off quickly. It didn’t really matter though, I spent most of the evening chatting it up with Jenny, Robert, Felecia, John, Marie, and Courtney. Though there was a good portion of the night in which I made friends with an assortment of perfectly nice women whose names I have also since forgotten. It was a good night to be social though and I had an excellent time. The only problem was that I was out until 2:30am. Why is that a problem? I had to wake up at 7:30am.
On Saturday morning I awoke at 7:22am. My internal clock was telling me not to oversleep. My internal clock was also telling me that it was in my best interest to get an early start so that I might help save the children, because we here at Evankessler.com believe that children are our future and that it’s important to teach them well and led them lead the way. We always go out of our way to show them all the beauty they possess inside and give them sense of pride to make it easier. Yes, we let the children’s laughter remind us how we used to be. Because we decided long ago to make a difference by never stepping in anyone’s shadow. If we fail or if we succeed at least we live as we believe. No matter what they take from us…they certainly can’t take away the dignity of this here site. So to enhance that stance on the children and dignity in general I went along with my friends Summer, Andrea, and Enisha, to the Bronx for New York Cares Day.
We were feeling the thrill of charity and goodwill as we drove from Brooklyn through Manhattan and into the Bronx towards PS 161 (aka Ponce De Leon School) on Tinton Ave., merrily anticipating our task at hand. We were hoping not for lots of heavy lifting, but for enjoyable outdoor activity. Due to traffic we arrived a half hour late and were promptly assigned outdoors to work on one of two murals. This was going to be fun.
Andrea Saves The Children With A Little Red Paint
The mural we worked on was already being worked on by three or four other people. We happily joined in as the paint mixer guy gave us our colors and we began to put the ROY G BIV rainbow into action. Summer, Enisha, Andrea, and I all did seperate section of the rainbow that ran pretty much the entire length of the wall. Intertwined with our amicable chain were what I think were two local law students. One of them, named Allison, was more or less responsible for the design of our mural. Whereas the other mural had been commissioned or solicited from a professional artist, Allison had laid claim to the design on our section simply because she had arrived a full hour and fifteen minutes before anyone else was supposed to be on hand. She left her apartment at 7am and arrived on site at 8:15am. As first to arrive she had apparently been given the go ahead to craft her artistic masterpiece.
Enisha Saves The Children With Love
While the design was certainly pleasant and serviceable for an elementary school mural, Allison and her 2nd in command, whose name escapes me (I’m not sure I ever knew it), continually tooted their own horn over the brillance of the work they were doing. Whether it be their shading abilities or Allison’s overall vision of the piece, they were so proud of themselves…sort of blind to the fact that this whole thing wasn’t about their accomplishments…it was about making the school look better. If you heard them speak in the superlative terms they were using you’d think they were talking about something other than a painting of a bunny in an airplane towing a rainbow. It was actually quite humorous.
It wasn’t all toil, elbow grease and paint drippings. I had a lot of ammunition in terms of karate kid references. Not only was I using the side to side paint the house method, but when I heard there was a fence being painted on the other end my cultural reference-ometer nearly burst open. I was surprised there was no car to be waxed or no floor to be sanded or no All Valley Karate Tournament being held in the Gymnasium.
At the lunching hour Andrea, Enisha, Summer and I sat in the cafeteria with one of our new friends, a married law student by the name of Andréa. We had pleasant conversation and then our lunch was interrupted when the Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion, Jr. who was there to proclaim it New York Cares Day in the Bronx. He presented the organizers of the event some sort written decree prefaced by what seemed like a stock speech being made by politicians all over the country tying in the current economic struggles with anything being done at the present moment of the presentation. Either way, it was nice for him to stop by and acknowledge our efforts.
After it seemed like lunch should have been over, the lot of us just sat around snacking on carrots, cheese, crackers, and hummus. It was like a spring picnic in a school cafeteria, without wine. I think charity work might be the new picnic for fall. I guess I should just remember to bring the wine next time. I had an awkward moment when Enisha, Summer, and Andrea all went to the bathroom and I was stuck with Andréa, who I didn’t know well at all. Feeling a need to make conversation or just fill the time with talking, I related our sitting in a elementary school cafeteria with remembering my elementary school cafeteria and one instance during lunchtime in 4th or 5th grade when the teacher on lunch duty announced that we were “all disgraces to our family” because we were talking too loudly during lunch period.
Soon enough we were back outside engaging in muralfest ’08 yet again. The rest of the work went pretty swimmingly despite the boastful nature of some of our cohorts. Towards the end people began putting their handprints on the mural as their own signature of hard work. I sort of thought that was a selfish gesture. Needing visual credit for doing charity work just seems silly. It’s more about doing something good than showing people what you did…though I’m aware this post could be viewed as the antithesis of that statement.
A Small Part of The Best Mural Of All Time
Towards the end of our run as charitable beings we helped bring garbage bags full of text books down from the 4th floor to the garbage outside. While doing this I was reminded how the worst part of moving apartments is the act of moving your boxes of books. I thought to myself that it would probably be lighter if we burned the books first, but I suppose that was not an option. Unfortunately, the garbage bags weren’t as strong as some people had hoped and several of the bags ended up ripping on the way down. Needless to say, I was glad I hadn’t been doing that all day. Painting was a much better assignment.
Our group left at about 2:30pm, proud of ourselves for saving the children and helping to beautify their daily surroundings. I was extremely tired from operating on five hours sleep and was ready to get a nap in before moving on to the evening activities and thus returned home for about three hours of solitary laziness.
Around 6pm I sprung to attention and not in the “pitching a tent” way. I got ready to hit the town and then promptly headed out on the bus for Felecia’s bowling birthday party at Melody Lanes in Brooklyn. Bowling is always a fun time and there was certainly a good crew on hand for it. I was in a lane with Jenny, Felecia, John, and Felecia’s friend Rory. The lane next to us had Marie, Aleks, and I forget who else. There was also a lane of handicapped people next to us. One of them in a wheelchair uses a ramp device to bowl the ball which I found sort of fascinating.
Superbowlers! Robert, Courtney, Jenny, Marie
Birthday Girl Felecia Struts Her Stuff After A Quality Bowl
As far as the bowling went, I bowled two of my worst games ever, but bowling has never been that much of a matter of pride for me, seeing as a high score for me would never really be anywhere in the realm of acceptable high scores to be proud of. That being said, like the evening before I had an excellent time, but also like the evening before, I had more than one stop on my list of activities. So, just like that, at 9:15pm I made my way back into Manhattan for round two.
I had shown all of my friends whose birthday it had been that weekend the proper amount of caring and sharing, so it was time to have one more go at it. This time the culprit of the good times was my friend since Junior High, Joe D. He was celebrating his 29th birthday at Crocodile Lounge in the East Village. I purposely didn’t eat much during the day, because I knew that with that bar’s gimmick of free pizza, I’d be ingesting my fair share of bread, cheese, and tomato sauce.
A Poorly Framed Shot of Free Pizza
Joe Is A Good Listener
The first people at the gathering were Suli, and Mike S and I stood around with them for a bit chatting it up. Soon though the party got bigger, which didn’t really make being at the already packed bar more comfortable. Joe, his fiancée Jsarah, Eve D, Jessica D, Anthony, Kishore, Andy, and a few others were on hand. I ended up spending a good deal of the end part of the night in great conversation with Suli and his friend Christina, whom I had met after Suli’s improv show a few months back. After several beers and many slices of free pizza and with the rest of the party gone, we left relatively close to 2am (I think).
I woke up the next morning semi-ready to hang out with Filler and watch the Giants game, but we were a little too slow getting it together and I ended up watching the Giants score a relatively unexciting victory over the San Francisco 49ers.
After the game ended I accepted an invitation to go to the Union Square multiplex to catch a showing of W. with Andy and Andrea. Ajay and Morwin were going to come, but they had failed to order tickets online and the show was sold out once they made it to the theater. You’d think they’d never been to a movie in New York on a weekend, figuring that they could just buy one before they went.
Anyway, the movie itself was okay. I had originally not planned on seeing it, but my intellectual curiosity got the best of me…and also there weren’t any interesting afternoon football games on to watch. It was a little bit unsettling how much Josh Brolin actually looked like the President in the film. He did a phenomenal job. The movie itself was okay. I don’t think it was outstanding or anything. Like any Oliver Stone movie, you’re never sure of what the actual truth is and what the controversial director makes up for story purposes. So you have to take his productions with a grain, if not several grains, of salt. In general, the film blames W.’s failings in life and as President on daddy issues, but also treats W. with compassion, painting him mostly as a simple man who turned to religion when all else failed and then as someone manipulated by the opinions of Cheney, Karl Rove and others smarter than him. The film seemed to hit a lot of talking points and use pretty much every Bushism in the book…literally, even though they were used at points in the movie well before he actually said them. It was almost if they used the book to write half of the script. That being said, the film did have some other excellent performances. Richard Dreyfuss was pretty good as Cheney and Thandie Newton was surprisingly funny as Condi Rice.
It was nearly 10pm by the time I made it back to my apartment in Park Slope…and after three days where I spent surprisingly little time at home, I was ready to call it a weekend. Too much sharing and caring is certainly tiresome.