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I live in Brooklyn, NY and I love it here.  I came here for my career in 2009 and haven't once looked back. 

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sword Dancing, and nightlife...

I forgot to mention the 26th annual New York Sword Dancing Festival that I saw some of last week. Every year a few of the troupes come to the Brooklyn Unitarian church and perform after the service. Last year I skipped it, it being right after church and lunch somehow being more compelling, but this year I actually attended and was glad I did.

Sword Dancing at BK UU

The groups ranged in age from teenagers to older folks and either danced with long swords or "rappers," the latter's distinguishing feature being that they are more pliable swords. They were not sharp, thankfully, and the dancing itself was pretty spectacular and involved. A few of the members of the troupes would get up and explain the history behind these dances before each number, most of these dances started in pubs in England. Each troupe had their own music accompaniment as well which made it doubly exciting to have live music included. Highlight of the afternoon was when one of the younger kids, who I'm assuming was with this particular troupe, marched out onto the dance floor and stood between all the dancers who, while still dancing, circled around him, placed their swords on his shoulder and proceeded to swipe, after which the kid rather believably falls to the ground. Hilarious part is we all start clapping as the dancers march off and leave the kid, still feigning death on the floor. He was all right, of course.

I'd've blogged about that last Sunday when it happened but I've been crazy swamped with all the things I've taken on. I'm in fact starting to reconsider my continued involvement in all of those things. The jazz choir is too fun and anyway, I think we'll be stopping rehearsals after our concert on the 26th of March. I'm finished, for the most part, arranging "Sermonette" and we had our first preliminary rehearsal today after church. But I was too tired from a combination of having been out last night and the fact that after a year of working this overnight and trying to do church as well, I'm so used to sleeping in the afternoon on Sundays that I get tired no matter what after church. Which is why church choir is probably the one thing that I might take some time away from. Additionally, I realized that I can feasibly put the choral piece on the back burner for a bit until I get Collapsing Elbows really done. I made some strides this afternoon.

Anyway, it'd be nice to have a few weeks where I can just sleep in on Sunday and enjoy some of the day instead of having to get up early and nap later in order to adjust to being up all night. Last night was too fun anyway for me to have had to ditch at 2am and come back to Brooklyn to sleep. I was hanging out with my friend Adrienne in the East Village and with a few more friends that we met up with on Avenue C, later on. We tried going to Death and Co. first but it was way too crowded. The door man takes down people's numbers and calls when space opens up in the bar. I've been in there once, two years ago on an OkCupid date, and it's really cool. It's a rather small, prohibition themed concept bar with a ton of creative cocktails on the menu. I was just reading about some of the beer cocktails they make too. Check out the menu. I was a little disappointed we couldn't get in but Adrienne suggested a wine bar up the block where her friend ended up meeting us. But it was too crowded as well. So, moving even further down the classiness ladder we opted to go to a dive bar on Avenue A called Lucy's. Lucy is an 80 year old Polish woman who still runs the bar. Seriously. She's incredibly spry and it was fun to watch her maneuvering the crowd to fetch bottles and glasses from around the bar. Apparently, her daughter and grand-daughter were tending bar with her. Grade A people watching at this place too.

As we chatted and caught up, we kept getting cryptic text messages from our friend Sava, who was out with her boyfriend Bruce and a friend of theirs from India, with whom we were planning on meeting later. The friend from India also happened to be friends with one of Norah Jones' producers and they were off hanging out with him in the East Village as well. The cryptic text messages were updating us on their potential movements should we want to come and find them. Things like, "we're here now but we might go to this place over here." Eventually, when we finally got a straight answer out of them as to where they'd be next, we wound up on 10th Street and Avenue C, standing dumb on the corner looking for a speakeasy (theme for the evening apparently) which no one is supposed to be able to find without the address and which no one can get into without being a member or a guest. We finally got that address from Sava in a text message and walked down half a block to find a single door with the word Speakeasy painted above it on the awning. Inside the door there was a long staircase with two iron gates, one halfway and one at the top, and a gentleman at the top checked our IDs and let us right inside. I'm assuming he knew we were coming and who we were with as he didn't ask if we were members. Inside it was kind of a dive but in the good, edgy kind of way. Pool table, DJ, and good looking people dancing, but I think someone was smoking a cigar in one corner which contributed to my pseudo hangover like headache the next morning. I danced for a good bit, having been dragged onto the dance floor intially by Sava's friend. She wanted to teach me some Latin dance moves but I was a little on the clumsy side last night. We hung out until about 2am and then went our separate ways. NJ's producer fetched us a cab out on Avenue C and told the driver to wait until we were inside the door before driving off, which I thought was nice of him.

I love those impromtpu NYC nights where it feels like just about anything could happen and you really get to see the underside of the city and it's history. I'm pretty sure this speakeasy had been around for a long time and catered to the neighborhood folks. There wasn't anything special about the drinks there, no draft beer, plastic cups for the liquor drinks but it had a spirit and a history to it, just like Lucy's did around the corner, one that you could feel going into the place.

Anyway, more on the music this week as I complete the score for Collapsing Elbows and start on some new things...there's even a surprise on the horizon.

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