Happy New Year everyone! I trust you all had as good a time as I did ringing in 2008. I’ll tell you all about it in a minute, but before I do that, I’d like to announce that with the dawn of a new year comes the dawn of a new era in EvanKessler.com lore. What era is that you ask? Well, look above this paragraph, it’s the dawn of the video era! Now, I’m not saying that I’m going to regularly post video blogs, but if I should happen to capture something exciting with my sweet new Canon Powershot 750 (more details to come on that purchase) I certainly may feel inclined to display it on this here site.
The exciting clip above is the ball dropping on the roof of Dan F’s apartment in Bushwick followed by celebratory and probably a somewhat dangerous fireworks display. It was an absurdly entertaining way to get the party started in 2008! I can only hope the rest of the year is as explosive as this clip.
Before I get ahead myself, it’s probably necessary to take a few steps back to get the full scope of the past few days leading into the events of Monday Night/Tuesday Morning. Normally, I wouldn’t recommend going all out the few days prior to the monster gala that is New Year’s Eve but in the days leading up, there just seemed to be a non-stop party going on.
The weekend began inconspicuously enough. I spent Friday night in the confines of my apartment taking up space and watching TV, content to make that the norm for my pre-Auld Lang Syne singing days. I woke up at a reasonable hour the next morning and was greeted by a phone call from Andrew Morton asking if I wanted to meet him at the Tea Lounge just so we could both work on our respective writing projects. Andrew has been a champion of the coffeehouse writing circuit while I usually prefer the peace and quiet of isolated surroundings. My previous excursions to the Tea Lounge on Union Street to tend to my literary pursuits had been met by blaring avante-jazz and what I will refer to as active children. Thses are not what I deem to be conducive surroundings to creativity.
Despite my prior experiences I decided to give a shot. Otherwise I most certainly would’ve spent all day in bed , contributing a real lived in stench to my bedroom. I packed up my laptop and walked about a block to the lounge where Andrew was seated in the back counter working on one of his specific projects. I sat at the Galaga-Ms. Pac Man game table next to him and set up my station but not before getting a refreshing cup of green tea to clear my mind or speed up my metabolism.
Fortunately the music was not too invasive. It was actually an enjoyable soundtrack of Blondie’s Greatest Hits. I got right to work and was able to knock a few pages before leaving after two large cups of tea. Andrew had left before me due to his uneasiness regarding the behavior of the strange woman sitting on his opposite side. I was immune to her weirdness as I was in somewhat of a zone with regards to the work that was occupying my attentions.
So inspired was I by my abilitiy to get things done, that I decided to consciously set off a chain reaction of productivity. Over the last few weeks I had just decided to write whenever I had time and had avoided creating a schedule for myself. This was not working, I needed to set time aside. My first step in achieving this was the purchase of a calendar. I went to Barnes & Noble and sat before the calendar rack with a semi-important choice to make. Which calendar was the right one. I narrowed it down to Tractors, Antique Maps, The Baseball Hall of Fame, or the traditionally testosterone directed realm of the Whores calendar. Ultimately, the first choice was the best and so my wall is now adorned with Tractors. I also stopped at a hardware store and picked up corkboard for my wall. Unfortunately, the corkboard didn’t so much as stick to my wall.
Upon my return I proudly hung my calendar on my wall and headed out to the Lighthouse Tavern to catch the New York Giants regular season finale in what was essentially a meaningless game to them against the undefeated New England Patriots. I got there a bit early but was was met by Thea B and together we witnessed one helluva football game. There was a horribly annoying Pats fan next to me the entire time who enjoyed pointing out obvious rules as if I was a completely ignorant fan. At one point while trying to sound smart he mentioned that New England Patriots and the New York Giants had a lot in common due to the fact that neither of them play in the city they are named for. I waited him to finish his faux intellectual rambling to point out that at least the Giants play in the New York Metropolitan area and really are only about 15 minutes from the city they are named after and that the Patriots have the entire region of New England in their name, so they’re not at all alike. Further illustrating my point by saying that the Patriots could play in New Hampshire or Maine and still be playing within New England and so they were not alike at all. When I finished speaking the embarrassed patron declared that he would not speak for the rest of the game. I put up no resistance to his kindly offer and was glad to have gained his silence, though he did blurt out the occasional moronic comment throughout the remainder of the game.
That being said, The Giants and Pats battled it out for nearly 60 minutes with the Patriots erasing a 12 point deficit to complete their perfect regular season. Despite the fact that the Giants lost, they came out of the game looking like a team hitting its stride and a force to be reckoned with in the playoffs, even while losing three players to injury.
Fresh from polishing off a few beers and watching the game with Thea and the annoying Mr. Idiot Superfan, I headed down to Southpaw to catch my friends in the Cold Hands Collective, who luckily had a late start time of 12:15am. There was a pretty great crowd with most of the familiar faces. Lina, Rich, Ahmad, Erika, Siska, Abdullah, Miller, Suli, Ajay, Asha, Kishore, Morwin, Maya, Rob, Galeit, Nina and Dmitry (?).
Andy and Galeit, Kickin’ It Hip Hop Style
There was a lot of talk about New Year’s because Kishore was having a party. I wanted to go but I knew of another party at my Dan F’s house and I didn’t want to miss that since I had missed his previous bash. I was thinking about flipping a coin to decide but the decision didn’t have to be made right away as it was still 2 days away. The task at hand was the Cold Hands Show so I just focused on that as I’m not really a plan ahead kind of guy.
Cold Hands Collective In Action
Normally when I go to my friend’s shows I like to take a ton of pictures but my camera had been malfunctioning since my last outing a week or so ago. When I would push the zoom button the camera would shut off and sometimes it would do that when I was taking a picture. It was completely annoying but I did manage to get a few snaps off. The rest of the time I just sat back and enjoyed another solid Cold Hands Show at Southpaw, though I felt sort of panicked with my camera crapping out just days before New Years. After the show I had a drink or two and then walked our friend Galeit, who was in town from LA, back to her sister’s as it was on the way to my place and then called it a night.
When I arrived home I knocked on Bassett’s door to say hello since her light was on. I opened the door to find not one but 4 lasses. Bassett’s friends from North Carolina were in town visiting for New Year’s and I guess I had forgotten. However, that didn’t stop me from drunkenly recounting my evening and making fast friends by sharing my chocolate covered peanuts. I was introduced to Tracey, Rachel, Jess, and Gina though I don’t think I got their names straight until the next evening.
The next morning when I awoke my first order of business was clear. I was going to go to J&R Music world. I would buy a new camera for the New Year’s festivities and whatever came before and after. I hopped the 2 train to downtown manhattan and in no time I was at my destination buying a camera and asking no questions. I didn’t want to deal with salespeople, I knew what my price range was and thanks to reading a little blurb on CNET, I knew the Canon Powershot 75o was the camera for me.
Upon arriving home I uploaded the camera software which actually enabled me to get some video files off my other camera that had been stuck there for about 9 months. I even uploaded some stuff from the A Camp show I went to at Union Hall to a previous post. I’m telling you, EvanKessler.com is more than video capable now.
The first shot with My New Camera and the end of the line for this trooper.
I didn’t spend much more time at home that day as there was a big karaoke gathering at Japas 38 in Manhattan. I had almost gone there earlier in the week for a party with Kishore’s work people but the weather had been horrendous and I was greatly deterred. The weather was slightly better tonight and I would know more people there. My roommate Mike and I were the first ones there so we sat in a room by ourselves until his coworker Abby showed up. There were 4 or5 of us to begin but the crowd soon ballooned and we all got our sing on. Dan F, Renga, Pete, Maureen, and a essentially all of the people who had been at Pete’s surprise party several weeks before were there, plus Bassett and her North Carolina friends. I did my part singing Lisa Loeb’s “Stay”, Duran Duran’s “Hungry Like The Wolf”, Lionel Richie’s “Hello” and Maureen and I brought the house down with a duet on Phil Collins’ “Against All Odds”. I took a lot of photos of the event but I accidentally erased them, so that’s certainly unfortunate.
After our 3 hours of karaoke the party moved down to Iggy’s on the Lower East Side. It felt like we were going at it pretty hard for the night before New Years. Perhaps, we were just building up some stamina for the long night ahead, but either way it was a fantastic evening. Most of my time at Iggy’s was spent getting to know Bassett’s buddies from below the Mason-Dixon. The conversation and the beer flowed and when we got home so did the Z’s.
New Year’s eve morning began with a nice big pancake breakfast conjured up by the ladies in the house…or most of them. I sat around the table waiting for things to happen and for food to be in front of me. I had a few pancakes and some bacon and that pretty much did it for me. The rest of my day was spent languishing in my own lazyness. Preparing for the great big storm of New Year’s Eve ahead. I thought about my options and rather than flip a coin I just chose to go to Dan’s because of how jealous I was after not going to his last party. I hoped none of my other friends would be mad at me for not going to Kishore’s, but that would just be stupid if they were. In a perfect world all of my friends would exist and perfect harmony and always hang out.
As I sat around wasting space and using the interweb meaningless pursuits like playing Scrabble on Facebox, I was talking to Thea who said she didn’t have anything to do for New Year’s so I invited her to tag along. I didn’t really do anything else until 7pm when I finally jumped in the shower to get ready for the evening. Bassett and her friends got back from their day seeing Spamalot and various other tourist type things and by about 8:45 we were ready to go. We needed 3 cars to take our large group to Dan’s in Bushwick. None of us really knew where we were going but we got there anyway.
Dan: The Classiest Host I Know
When we arrived at Dan’s abode on Troutman Street, there was no answer as we knocked on his door. He finally answered wearing a tuxedo and a top hat. The house was decorated with balloons on the low ceiling with the strings hanging down like a vine maze. There was a nice spread of cheese and crackers and various party snacks not to mention ample bubbly and a fridge full of beer. This party certainly had promise.
The excitement gradually built as time went by. Everyone was getting anxious for the new year by the time 11pm rolled around. People were also sufficiently buzzed by that point. Soon after people were being ushered to the roof one at a time via ladder for the big moment. Dan and Renga and made a ball to drop at midnight and Dan had a flagpole on his roof. This was going to be something. Prior to midnight, people were testing fireworks. This seemed like a very bad idea and I was slightly worried about mishaps. However, once the midnight hour approached my focus shifted to being supplied with champagne in time to drink in the New Year.
Who’s Having More Fun Than Kelly?
Then it happened, the countdown, 10…9…8…7…6…5…4…3…2…1….HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!
Fireworks shot off into the air, people sang garbled versions of “Auld Lang Syne”, Champagne flowed like the waters of the mighty Allegheny River, sparklers were lit, people generally rejoiced. It was a glorious moment and we wanted to relive it. So we did.
7 minutes after we had first experienced it, the countdown began again…10…9….8…7…6…5…4…3…2…1 Happy New Year! The partygoers had collectively willed it to be the year 2009, 365 days, 23 hours and 53 minutes too early, but we were all the more excited for it.
Sparklers are Sweet
But So Are Me and My Roommate Laura Bassett
Laura Renga: Raises Her Arms in Victory at the Defeat of 2007
Pete and Maureen: Dance Fever ’08
Thea in Front of The Best of 2007 Wall
After a few more minutes celebrating on the roof we made our way back down again since that’s where all of the alcohol and musical entertainment was. People made out, wrote on the best of 2007 wall, Dance Fever 2008 took effect, there were even a few early passout casualties but it was a raucous, rockin’ even. Dan our more than suitable host went through several costume changes. First came the gorilla outfit….eventually he was shirtless.
Gorilla Dan with Jessica and Rachael
The evening raged on til the week hours. It was just before 5am when we headed back to our section of Brooklyn. It was truly a great evening. I a great time hanging with Dan, Renga, Maureen, Pete, Bassett, Mike H, Thea, Patrick, Jessica, Rachael, Tracey, Kelly, Gina, Brian, Andrew, Ed and Krissy and all of the damn fun people at the party whose names I don’t feel like listing.
And That’s Pretty Much When We Knew It Was Over