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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, April 22, 2012

Birthday...

Third birthday in New York. By now I've built up enough friends here from various different circles that I managed a gathering of 13 friends Friday night at Heathers bar in the East Village (well 14 if you count one friend's guest).  It was a fun time.  Really.  I only paid for one drink because there was no shortage of people willing to buy them for me (heck, even the bartender bought me a beer!), the bar never got too crowded and a close friend from out of town who stayed with me paid for the cab ride home.  This is the kind of birthday celebration I was after, lots of friends, free drinks and free cab fare home.  I find myself less and less wanting gifts and often would rather have experiences for my birthday.  Stories to tell, friends to laugh with and drinks being drunk. 

When I arrived home, though, there was a bag of gluten free cookies and a Lindt dark chocolate bar with chilies sitting on the kitchen table from my cousin.  So, I did get something tangible for my birthday...tangible and edible.  And I also got something intangible but rather unforgettable...a hangover.  But mostly stories, too.  Today was a whirlwind day, sort of, but was also relaxing and fun.  And there are a few anecdotes to tell...and even pictures!

The friend who stayed over was none other than Karishma, who was visiting from LA where she now lives with her husband.  This morning we went to brunch (which, as per my earlier FB status consisted of bacon and mimosas, among other things...we joked at one point that I should have asked them to bring my side of bacon out with a birthday candle in it).   My cousin came along and we met two friends of Karishma's there at Korzo just down the block from me.  The brunch there is always good.  Hell, everything there is good.  Even the things I can't eat, so I hear.

After brunch, Karishma and I, went off on our own to Staten Island to visit Snug Harbor, a really beautiful and secluded botanical garden that is relatively unfrequented and therefore a nice spot to laze away an afternoon and feel far removed from city life.  I had been once before two years ago but didn't really explore the garden all that much.  We kind of just stayed in one area of it, and while we saw some beautiful parts of it, we didn't get the full scope of the place.  And I'm not saying I did this time either but I did wander down a little and stumble on a castle-like structure that was connected to a fenced in hedge maze leading to a secret garden.   At this point, our time to get back to the city was dwindling because I had tickets to see Mike Doughty at City Winery at 8pm (doors were at 6:30pm) and needed to touch base back at home and grab my phone charger...checking Facebook to see who's posted birthday wishes on my timeline sure runs your battery down.

Mike Doughty is one of my favorite artists these days and, though, I recently saw him at Brooklyn Bowl with some friends who also know all the words and had a great time at the show, I caught wind of the City Winery residency and had to snag up tickets.  It's an intimate venue and how cool is it that it's a winery in the city and they make their own wine and serve it on tap?! I picked table seats right next to the stage and must have bought them four months ago.  At the time I didn't have any clear idea who I'd go with.  My brother had been planning on coming to the city this weekend but that plan fell through before I could even buy the tickets but I figured, it's my birthday, I wanna do something fun for me.  So I bought two and figured I would sort out my date for the night later.  So, I ultimately invited a friend I just met a month ago the weekend that I ran into all those old Greensboro folks.  It was a good night all around, the food and wine there is amazing (I had the 10oz Ribeye because again, it's my birthday and I can) and the music was great.  Even Doughty's opener was a crowd pleaser and sort of stole the show a little.  Bobby Bare Jr. is a Nashville, TN musician with a sinister and comical edge that lit up the room and cracked us all up, singing songs about killing your loved one like "One of us has got to go." Hilarious!  Apparently, he's worked with Shel Silverstein and written songs with him, one of which he performed early on in his set.  Brilliant.

Doughty came on strong and was funny the whole night as usual.  Played just about everything I wanted to hear and heckled and poked fun at the crowd when they'd start shouting out requests.  "No, I'm not gonna play that one tonight," "Yeah, maybe later," or "I'll play this one now 'cause someone called out in the back of the room," were common retorts.  He even stopped and explained the whole Soul Coughing back story when he got tired of saying no to requests for Soul Coughing songs.   I was happy to hear "Thank you Lord for sending me the F train," among others.

I was not, however, happy to hear the douchie bridge and tunnel f@#$bags at the table behind me who were celebrating their friends' anniversary and wouldn't stop chattering through the set.  Doughty stopped before the second song and said "I'd just like reiterate my talking policy..." saying essentially that if the people around you want you out he'd have no problem bouncing you.  I wished he'd have made good on that one.  After the second time he commented on the chatter, jockie douche bag behind me was muttering something about breaking Mike Doughty's glasses, like he knows he's the one being called out.  I mean, I get it, no one likes being called out but Ooooo, it boils my blood when some ass bag starts disrespecting musicians, especially musicians I'm trying to appreciate on stage.  A guy two seats over from me with a bad Kenny G haircut even asked him to be quiet and got a nice healthy "go f@#$ yourself" out of this clown...at which point, I craned my neck around to get a good look at him.  As I suspected premium Grade A bridge and tunnel trash, only there to drink and eat expensively while being an asshole to everyone in the room.  I tried oh so hard to enjoy the rest of the show and shut out the images of the entire bar ganging up on him in the alley.

I'm sure if he'd have gotten much more belligerent, he would have gotten booted for sure.  But thankfully, he calmed down...I think he probably had a pretty disappointed or embarrassed significant other tethered to him that put a lid on the worst of it.

Anyhow, the rest of the set was gold and I really enjoyed it.  Doughty did his little routine where he says "this is the fake last song!" and then stands on stage with his back to the audience after he plays it pretending like he's not going to play another three songs...but of course, he does. 

After it was over for real, we left the bar and my date had to go to Williamsburg.  She was meeting a friend who was staying with her and didn't know his way around the city on his own.  So we parted ways and I opted to walk through Soho to Prince St.  I got maybe a block away from 6th Avenue before the rain started to pour down out of nowhere.  Rain which thankfully held off through the better part of my day outside but which soaked me to the bone at the very end of my night.  All I could do was laugh and try in vain to hail a cab but ultimately, I wound up with a soggy ride on the N train home to Park Slope where I now sit typing this.  Not too shabby a birthday all around, even with the drenching.  I'm content. 

Tomorrow I meet another set of friends for lunch and then, Tania and I are playing a concert in Times Square area to raise money for her album release at 4pm.  Wish me luck with that.  And let's hope I don't get rained on again.  Here are pics from the day today:


2012 Birthday best shots

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