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Posts Tagged ‘Siren festival’

Caliente en Coney

Posted by evankessler on July 20, 2010

These are the temperatures that try men’s souls. 90, 93, 87…when accompanied by a soup-like humidity and the promise of no escape or air conditioning they could prove to be the ruin of many a weekend.  The oppressive swelter blankets the body like an ill-advised trip to the sauna in a wool sweater. Fun and heat exhaustion seem to be mutually exclusive ideas at this point, but the reward for magnetizing the seemingly alien concepts with three days action-packed activity ends up being all the more gratifying when successfully carried out.

The center for much of this weekend’s polar attraction was a real freak magnet, Coney Island. Dotted with mysterious, fascinating beings of all shapes and sizes and all walks of life; at times a living, breathing, hypnotic train wreck; At other times a vast expanse shrouded in the promise of  undiscovered thrill and uncharted territory that often accompanies the exploration of a tomb of ancient relics.  Or maybe it simply served the purpose of alcohol central for those looking to relax and have a good time.

The latter was certainly the case on Friday afternoon as I traveled due South via the Q line from the 7th avenue Station in a race against time and my good friend Matt who had himself hopped aboard the F train at a similar time to reach Coney Island to get his 30th birthday proceedings off to an early start.

My determination to win the race to our meeting point hit an early snag when the Subway came to a 10-minute standstill at the Prospect Park stop due to some sort of emergency at the next station. I still had faith that I would arrive before or at the same time as Matt, but I had replaced my competitive edge with a more patient disposition. Besides, upon my arrival I was going to stop at Nathan’s and get a hot dog and cheese fries before high tailing it to the rendezvous point at the ever-so-famous Ruby’s Bar  & Grill on the boardwalk. It had all the makings of a classic day at Coney Island.

Midway through making my Nathan’s order at the corner of Stillwell and Surf, Matt called to notify me that he had won this time. I didn’t gracefully accept defeat. I held that we were at least tied because I had stopped at a convenience store and at Nathan’s since I’d been there. We called it a draw and I met him two minutes later with Cheese Fries in hand having gulped down my dog with onions and ketchup along the way.

I grabbed two Ruby’s Ambers at $7 a piece for myself and the birthday boy and started out our Friday afternoon working our way towards potential mental imbalance that goes with excessive heat and the dehydrating nature of too much alcohol. In a matter of minutes our party grew bigger to include Matt’s sister Brooke and their mutual friend Jackie. Having a taste for something other than beer they decided to break in the day’s festivities with a Vodka Tonic only to discover that the surly female bartender had more or less given them vodka on ice with a splash of tonic.  Their request for an accompanying lime was met with a harsh rejoinder of “no fruit.”  So there they sat, drinking their Vodka and ice as Matt and I enjoyed our tasty brews watching the crowd of summer beachgoers parade up and down the boardwalk.  The only thing missing was Matt’s wife Jenny who had unfortunately come down with the flu.  We remarked that as a nutritionist she’d probably be busy handing her card out to the nutritionally challenged majority who proudly flaunted their spare tires like baby kangaroos popping out of pouches, revealing them as offspring ripe for the tanning.

The crowd grew bigger yet and stayed true to the old adage, “the more the merrier.” Aleks, Marie, Abbi, Drew, Natalie, Jeff, Alix all came out early to celebrate before the evening’s main event, a baseball game featuring the Cyclones of Brooklyn as they took on the Mahoning Valley Scrappers.

The game itself was not the main event, rather it was the fact that our good friend Matt would be tossing out the first pitch on account of it being his birthday. Seeing as Matt, like myself was a lifetime Met fan he was thrilled to be throwing out the first pitch for their minor league affiliate and still even more thrilled to get the chance to meet their manager, Wally Backman, a pivotal member of the ’86 Amazins.

Brooke, Matt, and Jackie enjoy a few sips of Shapely Piña Coladas

As we sat and sipped our drinks Matt ran through his scenarios while drinking a Pina Colada through a red tube shaped like a lady with curves in all the right places, figuring out what he would say to Wally. I maintained that I didn’t think there would be a chance  he’d get to meet him, but he would never know until he went down there.

Matt and Marie split off from us at 6:15pm so he could prepare for his pitch. It was actually pretty endearing. Matt had his glove and was desperately yearning for a few practice pitches even though he had no ball. We sat around for a few more minutes until Marie sent a text message giving us our marching orders to head for MCU Park.

As we rounded the side of the stadium we heard an announcement about a first pitch being thrown out by someone else. Determined not to miss Matt’s pitch as it was pretty much the sole reason this idea was chosen for his birthday party, I broke into a bit of a jog to get into the stadium on time and what do you know…as I descended the steps behind home plate shortly after my entrance, this is what I saw:

Matt Slings It Right Down the Pipe...But A Little High

The rest of the game was kind of an enjoyable breeze. Our party grew bigger to include 25 plus people including but not limited to Arby, Sam, Chris, Pete, Zak and Emma. The ‘Clones jumped out to an early lead off a home run in the third by their shortstop Nieves and held on to win 2-1.  For a good portion of the game Marie and Abbi had picked a favorite player they thought was cute. Unfortunately, we soon found out it had been the wrong guy and they quickly switched their allegiances from 2nd Baseman Rylan Sandoval to 1st Baseman Jeff Flagg.

A 'Clones Victory

There was no need for rally caps, but we did have nice new hats courtesy of our birthday deal with the Cyclones that also included a free beer and a free hot dog. With game in hand and a few beers in our bellies we left the ballpark satisfied as the skies opened up to highlight that Coney Island summer tradition of Friday Night Fireworks.

Oooh...Aaah

Once the light show died down I was trying to push everyone to an evening at the vaunted Beer Island but there was a slight push to go towards another more storied landmark in the Wonder Wheel. Abbi was pushing it and I was sort of dead set against it on account that there would probably be a line and I kind of had to go to the bathroom, but as we drew closer I found myself entranced by the old-fashioned amusement.  I gave in, forked over $6 and just like that was in line for the shaky section.

This Way to the Wonder Wheel!

We Prefer to be Swingers

Which is Not Immune to Certain Dangers

I rode in a car with Matt’s sister Brooke, Marie, and Aleks. The swinging section was not what I had expected at all. I thought it would just be kind of dangly.  Instead it was on a track that purposely dipped you on an incline and back like the tamest of roller coasters. It was a surprise not only to me, as Matt’s sister was certainly not thrilled by this wrinkle and let out her fair share of reactive noises. Still, it was a fun experience that not everyone in the party had partaken in.

...But the View!

The rest of the crowd had sidled up to the sauna-like bar at Ruby’s that was undoubtedly 15 degrees warmer than the outside seating area.

After watching an obese women in a bikini act a fool in front of a young crowd who made her the chief entertainment in Ruby’s unadvertised freakshow, I retreated outside to the more calm confines of the boardwalk making relaxed chatter and generally enjoying myself amongst the company. Matt enjoyed his first corn dog and then we pretty much packed up for the Slope.

Matt Sizes Up His Nitrate Popsicle

The last survivors of the evening ended up being Matt, Myself, Arby, and Samantha. The latter two didn’t last long as Matt and I had one more beer at Bar 4 before calling it a more-than-successful evening.

As I headed home towards my apartment I had the urge to tackle a protective stomach coating from Smiling Pizza on 7th avenue. I ordered up a slice and was immediately greeted by an excited declaration of my own name, “Evan!”  I looked to my right at the person who had ordered a slice just before me. There stood my good friend Ryan from my days at Ramapo High School.  It was a holy crap kind of moment, but good to see him after what had probably been 10 years.

We talked for a bit outside before I reached into my pocket to exchange numbers only to realize that there was nothing in my pocket with which to exchange numbers. I was phone-less. Fortunately, I knew I had my phone on the train and must have left it at Bar 4. We both walked to Bar 4 where my phone lay conveniently between 2 couch cushions. Crisis averted, old friend’s phone number received, evening over.

The next day I woke up at my own leisure and casually went about my business for the first few hours of my day. There had been some talk the previous few days via email about possibly making a trip to Coney Island to check out the Village Voice’s annual Siren Festival. Jason and Kayvalyn were really the only ones who expressed interest, but I didn’t have anything else to do that day and thought Coney Island might be fun to do again.

We met up around 2:30pm on the 7th avenue Q Platform only to have to wait 40 more minutes for the train to come. Our first move upon arriving back on the Isle of Coney was for beer. The concert organizers were doing it a bit different this year. Those in need of alcoholic refreshment were confined to an alcohol pen under the guise of being a beer garden. It was not the way to drink, but we each had 2 drink tickets each so we were sort of forced to use them, though we did so at separate times and separate stages so as to not spend too much time in one place. First we sat in the pen listening to what I think was Ponytail.

Beer Pen Blues

Not content to stand amongst the crowd, we sought out the variety at hand opting to cross the boardwalk and plunge feet first into the bay.  The only problem with this was that the beach was so densely populated that actually reaching the water was a bit of a labor, but one that was certainly well worth it. Once we came to the waterfront we were amazed by tightly packed masses in the water that extended far beyond our area of the beach. It was a sight that not even a well-positioned photograph could say a thousand words about. The visceral experience was far more valuable.

The Beach-going Masses

Happy Feet

Happy People

There were so many characters around us on the beach and all seemed to be having a blast as they cooled off from the intense heat. It was also an interesting perspective from which to take in the sites beyond the boardwalk in the other direction. They Cyclone and Wonder Wheel formed a playful, aging skyline that stood as a proud testament to Coney Island’s lasting recreational appeal.

The Wonder Wheel was Really Just an Excuse to Get a Photo of This Weird Skinny Guy

The Cyclone in the Distance

Having just cooled off a bit, we weren’t ready to throw ourselves into the roasting pit known as the main stage beer pen. Instead, we made a b-line to check out the view of the stage from Luna Park.  Rather than hang around with a clear view of the stage Jason, Kayvalyn and I took advantage of being in the middle of all of that updated amusement. There were a few ride options that interested us, but none more than the Air Race that gave willing participants the opportunity to spend a few minutes hanging upside down in an airplane.

It's a Bird, It's a Plane...OK Yeah, It's a Plane

There was something perfect about gliding and dipping upside down through the air listening to the poppy sounds of the Pains of Being Pure of Heart. It seemed an atmospheric ideal and I for one felt a bit of a thrill upon my exit from the ride. It beat standing around watching a band. On our way out of Luna Park we happened upon a carnival game where two weeks ago my roommate Laura and I had won little animals with Mets logos emblazoned on them.  Those bears/weasels were still there but on top of those there stood the creepiest game prize I had ever seen.

"Show Me on the Doll Where Mr. Jackson Touched You"

Leaving Luna Park we decided to catch some more Siren Bands. I think we caught the end of the Pains of Being Pure of Heart while enjoying another brew in the barricaded drinking region. While talking to Jason and Kayvalyn I noticed my friend Summer off in the distance and said a quick hello, but once beer was done, we had more exploring to do.

Our Surf Avenue travels took us into another familiar site which I had never before taken the opportunity to explore, the home of the El Dorado bumper cars. Well, that sounded like fun. Jason, Kayvalyn and I bought our tickets and lined up for a bit of bumper bashing, though we figured the blinking lights and constant beats threatened to give an employee or two one helluva headache or recurring seizures. Lights and music overload mixed with a childlike propensity to create mayhem behind the wheel made for a smashing good time if a brief one. I didn’t have time to pick out a fellow bumper car rider to punish mercilessly with my reckless driving habits.

All of that excitement was enough to make you hungry, so we settled on some tasty tacos on the boardwalk.

Real Mexican Tacos Indeed

Mmmm...Tacos.

As I marveled over the Chorizo taco from some place that advertised “Real Mexican Tacos” Jason or Kayvalyn noticed a group of hipsters just sprawled across the middle of the boardwalk as hordes of people were forced to avoid their selfish lounging. We repeatedly exclaimed in an increasingly incredulous tone how much we were not fans of these clowns causing a bottleneck on the boardwalk. Jason took matters somewhat into his own hands, walking up to them to snap photos of their general obnoxiousness. At one point a strange old lady poked herself in and eventually myself and Kayvalyn posed with them as well. I think they started to understand towards the end the more than obvious intent of our actions.

Our culinary adventure didn’t end with tacos and boardwalk hipsters. Prior to making our way back to the Stillwell stage we stopped for some dippin’ dots. Now I had previously heard of dippin’ dots and have heard many people exclaim about them as a vital ice cream experience of many a person’s childhood; I however had never experienced the magic of dippin’ dots. I have to say, I do prefer regular ice cream. Dippin’ dots were ok, but nothing special.

Meh

Finally, our evening at Coney Island came to a close as we took in a few minutes of the Holy Fuck performance from the side of the stage. We all agreed that they sounded really good, but we also wanted to beat the throng of thousands to the subway station.  We chose not to stay too much longer.

HOLY FUCK!

Upon my arrival at home that evening my roommate Laura was having dinner with our former roommate Laura and her family. I was treated to a lovely desert and a few beers thanks to the welcoming crowd. Someone had also bought a wine called Red Cat that featured a cat in a hot tub, with a smitten kitten in the background pining over said sexy red cat. The smitten kitten was especially hilarious because the cleavage on display in her  dress somewhat hinted that said cartoon kitten might be sporting some feline implants.

Red Cat: The Perfect Wine for Hot Tubbing with Kittens in Heat

So how did the wine taste, you ask? Let’s just say it was a red wine for those who like their red wine as sweet as life. And life so far this weekend had been particularly sweet.  Fortunately, I had one more day to go.

Sunday was not so much  a day rich in uncharted adventure as it was anchored firmly in the promise of a relaxing outing with friends.  My friend Enisha’s former roommate Julie was having a Bastille Day party a few days after the holiday celebrating French Independence.  I was slightly vexed over which accoutrements would be appropriate for the festivities.

My original thought was to swing by the supermarket and pick up some frozen French fries from Ore-Ida, the most french of our frozen food corporations. Then I remembered that the party was to be within spitting range of a McDonald’s and resigned myself to the task of buying a few helpings of large fries and delivering them in a greasy paper bag.

Before I could make that move official, I made a mini beer run to the supermarket where I happened on La Premiére Biére Française also known as Kronenbourg 1664. After stocking up on a classy French brew, my curious nature led me to the frozen foods section in search for Ore-Ida products.  Before I could stock up on frozen fries I happened upon another gem perfect for the celebration, Stouffer’s French Bread Pizza. Perfect.

The Perfect Bastille Day Accoutrements

I was on the early side to the party, per usual, but I joined the fray out back on the deck making appropriate conversation about Whit Stillman movies as one of the girls at the party had just auditioned for one.

While enjoying my Kronenbourg 1664, I also partook in the delicious array of fine foods prepared by our wonderful french host who had apparently been slaving over a hot stove for the better part of the last day and a half. The Pulled Pork and Vietnamese Meatball Sandwiches were no doubt the culinary highlights of the afternoon along with some sort of Dijon Mustard and sliced tomato pizza.

There were few familiar faces in the early going but soon the back deck was populated by Jason, Kayvalyn, Pete W, and Morwin. I made new friends with Serena, Jessica, Patricia, Pete’s friend Jeff and Jimena, the latter of which I had seen on several occasions but never really had the pleasure of making her acquaintance. There was plenty of warmth emanating from new friendships to go along with the somewhat unbearable heat. Luckily there was refuge to be sought in the central air conditioning of Julie’s apartment.

The original plan had been to move the festivities down to Smith Street for their Bastille Day Street Fair, but as the day grew on til it bordered the evening we saw that this would be a futile effort. Instead a few of us went to Woodwork down the street for a few beers.

For the last few hours Pete had been talking up the burger at Cornelius and although I had been stuffed full of food both french and not-so-French, all of that meat-centric conversation had my taste buds watering. So, the weekend came to a close with burger in hand as Morwin, Jimena, Pete, and myself savored the last taste of the perfect couple of summer days.

THE END

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The Sound of Sirens

Posted by evankessler on July 21, 2009

Hello EvanKessler.com readers, my old friends.  I’ve come to blog for you again.  Because a weekend slowly fading from the sands of time is still fresh in the back of my memory, I thought it was high time I brought it back to life in all of it’s fruitless glory.  I’ll beging where I usually begin, that elusive friday evening that we work all week to get to only to see it fade away so often in a drunken haze, the blink of an eye or the twitch of an involuntary muscle fiber.

This past weekend began like so many others, with  the celebration of the anniversary of a friend’s emergence from the womb.  There were more than two lives to commemorate on this evening and so it was undoubtedly going to be unsatisfying on some level.  I find those evenings with more than one event that seems of an obligatory nature to always leave something to be desired.  I always feel as though I missed something by leaving the other and that the 2nd event is joined at a point in progress where you’ve ultimately missed the momentum. Such is the story of my Friday evening.

I arrived at Musical Box on Avenue B between 13th and 14th street shortly after 7pm.  I had called Suli 15 minutes prior to my arrival to see if he was at the bar in which he would be celebrating his birthday.  Despite his email that had notified us to show up at 7pm he would not be on time.  Perhaps, this was wise as the bar would not open for another half hour, much to the chagrin of myself and the other two revellers who, like me, were not really in the mindset to appear fashionably late.  Jason S, Jes P and I stood outside future party central making pleasant conversation and peppering the same lewd joke whenever a passerby was close enough to possibly be eavesdropping.  I don’t quite remember what we were saying, but I think the general content involved “inserting penises” somewhere.

About five minutes prior to the doors opening, the belated birthday boy arrived on the scene.  After ordering up a round of drinks, rather than enjoy the spaciousness of the empty bar, we made ourselves cozy in the back left corner at a couch that had been reserved for the specific purpose of accommodating our company.    It felt a little odd having all of that free roaming space behind us, but we liked it just fine.

JSarah Shows Her Appreciation for Birthday Boy #1

JSarah Shows Her Appreciation for Birthday Boy #1

The crowd grew rather quickly, Ajay, Morwin, Kishore, Nicole P, Kayvalyn, Andrea, Joe D, JSarah, Erika G, Rich, Enisha, and really too many people to name.  It was a good mix of New York City, Rockland County, and parts unknown.  The conversation was flowing just as smoothly as a tap dispensing Guinness.  I made my way between several groups of people and was genuinely enjoying myself.  However, I could not stop looking at my watch.  I had told my friend Jenny back in Brooklyn that I would be at the party she was throwing  by 10 so that they could present Matt with the birthday cake.

So, despite having an enjoyable time at Musical Box, I said my goodbyes, and regrettably left early, ultimately missing out on the appearance on my friend Matt C who was up from DC for his own birthday.  The rain was pouring and I thought it might be tough to find a cab in the East Village because of it, but I had no trouble as the first yellow minivan I waved down promptly stopped in front of me.

I entered to find the 2Pac song “California Love” turned up to 11.  Thankfully, the driver saw fit to turn it down so that I could tell him where I was going.  The second he got the information though, it was back to busting eardrums.  It didn’t bother me that much originally as it is an enjoyably nostalgic tune.  The nostalgia did not stop there though as right after the song ended he played the same song again and at a similar level. Apparently he was fond for the events of 3 minutes before.   My first thought on the second “California Love” go around was that of identification.  I’ve played the same song twice in a row before because I liked.  What I wasn’t prepared for was the next three times he played the song.  All the way to Matt and Jenny’s house it was “California Love.”  Five straight times of the same song.  I thought I was being punked or in some weird twilight zone vignette. It was as if I wasn’t even in the car. This guy could not get enough of this song, but I could. I thought it was the more incredible cab rides I’d ever been privy to; just wholly unusual.

I was more than happy to escape into the receding dampness of the night.  I had the driver drop me off a full two blocks before the apartment, mostly because it was the only point I might get in a word edgewise before the next (or same) song started again.  I also thought I might find an open beer store, but to no avail.  I entered Matt and Jenny’s empty-handed, which felt somewhat shameful.  I hate showing up to a party without bringing anything.  That’s just wrong.  There was nothing I could do at that point though and I really had to pee anyway.  So, this one time, they’d have to let me off easy.

The crowd at Matt’s was fewer than I had expected.  Matt and Jenny always had pretty decent throngs of friends at their get togethers, but I guess the rain had cause many to balk at the proposal of a good time.  Pesky water.  In any case, the faces surronding me were familiar ones.  Zak, Emma, Marie, Abbi, Felecia, John, Robert, Matt’s bandmate Rich, and maybe someone I’m leaving out.

The party itself was very mellow, which was kind of a downer from the very lively scene I had been apart of prior.  I wasn’t unhappy to be there by any means, but it was a complete 180 from where I had been.  It sort of made me wished I had stayed where I was, but I was still glad to be celebrating Matt’s birthday with friends as well.  Sometimes fun and friendship can be a double-edged sword.

Soon after my arrival the cake was brought out.  It was similar to the one Jenny created for Marie’s birthday, except for the fact that it had not been fashioned into a volcano.  It was however, rich and delicious.

Matt Attempts To Put Out The Candles Blowdart Style

Matt Attempts To Put Out The Candles Blowdart Style

Post-cake the rest of the evening was spent blabbing in the backyard, feeling the stickyness of humidity and sprinkle of mist dance around our exposed skin.  Zak, Emma, Marie, and Abbi seemed to exit on the early side and the evening ended with some more light chatter from the host couple, Felecia, John, and Robert.  Everyone else eventually made their exit via car service and I walked home at what seemed like a reasonable hour seeing as the sky had cleared up considerably and it was strolling weather.

Saturday’s plan was a little bit iffy.  I had been planning on attending the Siren Festival on Coney Island not out of fondness for any of the acts, but more so out of my desire to relive the majesty of July 4th weekend.  Sure it was a markedly different event, but you can never go wrong with Nathan’s Famous, the boardwalk, and some quality music.

Out of all of the people I knew, I was probably the first to arrive.  My original plan was to get there by 1pm to see the Tiny Masters of Today, a band consisting of a 13 and 15 year old pair of siblings.  I had my interest piqued when I checked out their website.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get out of my apartment til close to 1pm forcing that plan immediately out the window.

By the time I arrived, The Blue Van was playing on the Stillwell Stage, but more important than that, there was no line at Nathan’s!  In past years at the Siren Festival I had usually experience up to half-hour waits at the Hot Dog haven.  Rather than wait around, it was go time.  I got myself a cheesedog and some fries in  a snap and wandered around the booths for a bit while the poor sound quality emanating from the 2nd stage aided in the background noise department.

After sampling some Coke Zero and Fuzion to help wash down my meal, I headed over to the Main stage where Mikachu & The Shapes were starting up.  There I ran into Jes P, her friends who were visiting, and Jason S. After standing around and watching Micachu for a few minutes, Jason and I more or less decided that they were not our thing.  We wandered back to the other stage and caught a little bit of Bear Hands’ set.

It was like a game of music festival badminton with Jason and I as shuttlecocks.  We’d sit for a few songs at the  Stillwell Stage and then get knocked back to the main stage.  After tiring of Bear Hands’ we moved back to main stage to catch Japandroid for a good bit before deciding to get a feel for The Oh Sees.  Unfortunately, by the time we got to the Stillwell stage for that, the band had finished.  Apparently they had only played a twenty minute set.

Frightened Rabbit at Siren Festival

Frightened Rabbit at Siren Festival

We had set a dizzying pace for ourselves in the early going, but that was calmed down after our disappointing last foray to Stillwell.  We caught up with Suli, Jes, Andrea, Andrea’s neighbor Jennifer, Rich, and Ajay (dressed ridiculously in a suit in 85 degree weather) to catch the Frightened Rabbit set, which was pretty decent.  When that part of the afternoon came to a close it was back to Nathan’s for the other’s to get their grub on.

Jes and Ajay: Two Faces in the Coney Island Crowd

Jes and Ajay: Two Faces in the Coney Island Crowd

During our time at Nathan’s, Andrea tried to relay the story of a great local Rochester commercial that apparently brought about the maximum level of unintentional comedy with it’s sung “tighten up” slogan.  We all looked at her like she was crazy, but eventually took it to be our own slogan for the afternoon.

We didn’t move from our perch at Nathan’s more or less until a little after 6pm when the Raveonettes were playing at the mainstage.  By the time we made it up there though the crowd was pretty backed up and the sound was not really concert quality where we were standing.  Several of our crew went to go on The Cyclone and a few of us waited it out. The Cyclone was kind of making me nervous all day.  While the bands were playing I kept noticing the rickety wooden nature of the structure every time the cars went over each track and seemed to shake the foundation a bit.  I was not getting on that thing. I’m not paying $8 for historic whiplash.

Beware The Cyclone

Beware The Cyclone

Once the Cyclone riders returned, we all made our way to our section of Brooklyn.  I rode the subway alone back to Park Slope having not ridden a bike.  We had made plans to meet up and hang out at Kishore’s after we regained our composure after a day roasting in the sun.  We were even going to barbecue.  I made my way over to Kishore’s having bought some sausage, chips, and beer; ready to grill.  When I got there I found out that everyone had bailed.  Oh well, Kishore, Patty, and I enjoyed the sausage, chips and beer, though we didn’t stay out too late.

Sunday was low key.    My ankle was bothering me a little bit from all of the pressure I had exerted on it by standing around and/or walking all day.  I’m so fragile.  I basically spent my final day of the weekend sweating and reading on the stoop.  Not the worst low note to bring things to a close.

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Manhattan Redux

Posted by evankessler on July 17, 2006

You can take the Man out of Manhattan but you can’t Manhattan out of the Man, or more accurately, you can’t forcefully prevent him from enjoying the occasional beer and band performance in the borough he used to call his home. One of the Jess S’s I know was sure that I would no longer venture to Manhattan upon my relocation to one of the quieter boroughs.

In the two weeks since leaving the West Village, I’ve enjoyed quite a few alcoholic beverages within the borders of the borough with the bigger buildings. This weekend I spent ample time on both Friday and Saturday evenings in Manhattan. Friday night after the conclusion of my first full work week in nearly 9 months, I grabbed a drink with my producer at an insanely loud bar called Stitch on 37th street. After said drink was over I met up with Marty, Jerry, Adam, Erica, and Erica’s co-worker Sally for some food and drink at the Cedar Tavern on University. There weren’t any terrifically exciting occurrences but our food was good and our waitress was cute. Cedar has always been a solid go to place for drinks and food. It’s not a bad date place either, though I’ve only gone there on a date once and I wasn’t sure if it was a date but I think it was. After leaving Cedar we hopped the train back to Brooklyn.

While on the train, my phone mysteriously began to ring. I have to say, I’m worried about the prospect of all people’s phones beginning to work on the train. The train will become a lot less pleasant upon every commuter’s realization that his or her phone is working despite the underground location of their preferred mode of transportation. Usage of my headphones during my ride into work is destined to become an indispensable necessity. Anyway, back to the story, or unstory as it were…my phone rang, it was Kayvalyn but for fear that she would soon cut out I told her I would call her when I got out of the train. When we exited the train I found out that she and her boyfriend Jason were enjoying a beer at Farm on St. Mark’s and Flatbush. Marty, Adam, and Erica whined about not wanting to go. I told them they didn’t have to but they came with me anyway and we discovered an impressive, sprawling bar layout with an even more appealing outdoor garden with plentiful seating. Farm was quite the find, the only downside was the price of the microbrew selection on hand. Their only cheap beer was Rheingold but unfortunately since they had just opened, the bar’s shipment of Rheingold had yet to come in. I enjoyed a beer or two with Kayvalyn and Jason and company which now included two of Kayvalyn’s friends with whom she conversed in Thai the majority of the time. The night ended rather early, as I think it was before midnight or maybe just after. No big deal, every night out does not have to be a marathon.

Saturday I had a nice sleep and ventured out unkempt on an errand quest. The one errand I had to run consisted of finding a digital camera battery for my Canon Powershot so that I could again take more pictures and put them on this here website. I went to Circuit City, Office Max, and Target but my search was fruitless. I returned dejected and feeling a tad bit lazy. I had previously planned to go to the Siren Festival in Coney Island but was having a hard time mustering up any enthusiasm for the acts. Finally, I hit the subway around 4pm and made it to Coney Island around 4:30. I may have the timetable wrong but you don’t really care, you’ll take what I’m giving you and like it. When I got off of the subway, I was about to call Jeni L but then I saw her and some friends standing by Stillwell Avenue. That was convenient. I walked with them to the Surf Avenue stage where we caught The Stills set. Unfortunately, the Surf Avenue stage, which is the main stage, has awful sound and awful sightlines. We would’ve been better off watching whoever was at the Stillwell stage where the sound was astronomically better and the crowd was much smaller. Anyway, I didn’t stay much longer, we went over to Nathan’s after The Stills set. On the way I ran into Mike H, and Mike K, from the VH1 days as well as Craig D my fellow Syracuse TRF alumnus. Siren Festival is always a good place to run into the various groups of friends and acquaintances you’ve met over your time in New York City. I also ran into my friend Ronit I hadn’t seen in awhile. The line at Nathan’s was ridiculous. It just seemed like it wasn’t moving but I finally got access to a Chili Cheese Dog and some fries. Mmm, Chili Cheese Dog and Fries. After enjoying that most Coney Island of meals I decided to head back to Park Slope. I want to make it back to Coney Island soon for a Cyclones game. Maybe next week.

After a short spell in the Slope I headed to Manhattan alone for an Earl Pickens show at Lakeside Lounge starting at 11pm. I expected to see other people I knew there but the only people there I knew were the band, which was fine because I don’t much like talking during shows. Though I did feel slightly pathetic being there by myself. However I made friends with Dave the bass player’s girlfriend and we watched the show in the corner. It was a pretty sweet show and the old band (The Black Mountain Marauders) was back together but this time as “Family”. They played some of my favorites in the hour set including “Annie” and “If I Could Sing Like That”. Afterwards, I hung out talking to Frank, Mike, and Earl’s wife Jackie for a bit before heading out to meet with Gina at the Dark Room. We soon decided that the Dark Room sucked and met up with Ahmad, Abdullah, Miller, Kishore, John, Zerna, and whoever else was at Welcome To The Johnson’s. My memory of the evening was very fuzzy but I think I was out til about 3 something when I hopped on the train with Miller and headed back to Brooklyn.

When I woke up this morning I couldn’t remember what I did after the Earl show but it all came flooding back to me minutes later. I hadn’t blacked out or anything I just had a bit of a hangover and couldn’t think clearly. Upon rising and shining I headed out on another errand quest to find a cable splitter. Luckily this one was more successful as I found one at my first stop, the Radio Shack on 7th ave and 3rd street though it stupidly did not occur to me to find my camera battery there. Oh well, I’ll go there later in the week when I have time. I spent a good portion of the rest of the afternoon walking around the slope. I checked out two gyms because I really need to get back into shape. I think it’s been a month since I’ve had any healthy activity. Let’s face it, drinking beer frequently and sitting at a desk all day are not healthy and just borderline able to be referred to as activities. I’m looking forward to feeling healthy. Despite my quest for health, the rest of my day focused on unhealthiness though I admittedly had a reasonably healthy dinner. Due to my lack of cable access at home I continued my trend of going to the Lighthouse Tavern on 5th and Carroll to watch the Mets. I was originally going to leave after the 2nd inning because I kind of felt pathetic but I befriended fellow patrons Dan and Annette who themselves are youthful regulars at the Lighthouse. I drank 2 beers and was given two free shots by Tom the bartender who made us all drink some Jagrmesiter in celebration of Sunday evening. That being said, my healthy dinner of grilled chicken strips with some salsa-y mayonnaise-y dipping sauce went a long way towards quelling any potential drunkenness. I left during the 7th inning as the Mets had taken the lead with 11 runs the prior inning and everyone sort of took their cue to head out. So ended my evening and my weekend. Now it’s back to the grind and a second full week in a row. After that, a third…oh the agony, but a good kind of agony. It’s the kind of agony that makes others refer to you as a valuable member of society.

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SIREN & SOUTH PARK

Posted by evankessler on July 18, 2004

So before I get to this past day, I guess I’ll do a little recap of Friday, even though I don’t really remember much of it. Erica Bryndza and Rob Degrezia held a joint birthday party at Abaya on E. Houston St. It was an excellent work gathering and I think all I can say about it is I think most of us spent a lot of money and got really drunk on $6 beer and drinks that were definitely more expensive. It was cool to see former VH1er David Heyward out. I haven’t seen him in awhile. I think we started the whole rubber band fight craze when we were both seated in the pit. Good times. We partied until 3 something in the AM and then a couple of us got some Ray’s pizza.

This morning (afternoon) I woke up at around 12:05pm and after talking with Bess Sobota decided to head down to the Siren Festival on Coney Island at around 2:30. Beforehand I got in some quality roof time though.

The train ride with Bess and her sister took about an hour and as soon as we got there at 3:30 we headed straight to Nathan’s for some hot dogs. For those who don’t know, the original Nathan’s was in Coney Island so if you’re in Coney Island you have to go to Nathan’s. I partook not once, but twice.

The Siren Festival is a yearly concert put on by the Village Voice featuring a bunch of bands on 2 stages from 12-9. Since, I didn’t know most of the bands who were playing I didn’t have any bands I planned on seeing, I just planned on watching a couple of them. So I caught some of TV On The Radio, Electric Six, and Mission of Burma. Most of the day was just spent hanging out with friends in the beautiful weather. I feel like a large portion of the people I know in NY were on Coney Island for the show. I ran into, Rob Goodman, Marty Dundics, Reva Goldberg, Samantha Hahn, Sean Maddison, Liz Allen, Rachel Myers, Liz Schroeter, Nicole Johnson, Rich Mai, Joe Dworkin, Greg Altman, Marissa Brotspies, Jaime Greenberg, Laura Renga and my friend Marisa’s who’s last name escapes me at the moment.

I spent most of the day split between hanging with Bess, and with Joe and Rich. The concert was an good as last year because I didn’t really care about who was playing. I left around 8:15 and got back around 9:30pm.

When I got home I turned on comedy central and behold, they were showing the 25 most outrageous episodes of South Park ever. I was set for the night. The first one I saw was of my favorite episodes ever, the classic Jennifer Lopez episode where Cartman makes a Jennifer Lopez hand puppet. That was my costume for Halloween last year. The #3 most outrageous should have been #1 though, it was the Lemmiwinks episode where Mr. Garrison tries to get fired for being gay and the kids get sent to Tolerance camp. I think that has to be the best episode ever and it may be the most wrong thing ever shown on television. Instead #’s 1 and 2 were the Who is Cartman’s dad two parter which I don’t find to be nearly as outrageous but I don’t get to make the call on that.

I’m so glad for the South Park marathon though. It’s the perfect non-productive weekend evening. Yes folks, just because it’s a weekend evening doesn’t mean you have to drink. There’s plenty of other days during the week to do that.

OK, Now they’re showing the South Park Movie uncensored. I may be up to 3:30am just watching South Park and I’m perfectly okay with that.

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