Janeane on the monitor. Cellphone party pics by Alaina Stamatis.
BIG SNOW BUFFALO LODGE
I think Beef is my favorite band. It stars Greem Jellyfish – depicted on the show’s flier in a blurry, slanted, black and white, tongue-out photo that hung around several areas of Bushwick – with classic skateboarder James C. on bass and Lance on guitar. While the comparison of Greem to Animal (of Jim Henson’s Muppets) is an easy one, what with baby boomers across the nation attending screenings of Muppets Take Susan Sarandon or whoever’s in that movie, and Greem’s loose, wild, cross-armed style, I truly think she is more akin to a cat playing the drums: floppy but with wonderful precision. Before long Greem was screaming at well-timed intervals, which oscillated between rollercoaster exclamation and bobcat death rattle. Meanwhile the boys worked together to make the reach the momentum of a car chase. Between every song the audience mooed, “Beeeeeeeeeeef.”
Beef was marinating in soft blue and purple light, onto which Amanda Wong projected fleshy pixelated images of pubis mons, and hysterical wolves with teeth instead of eyes. During the second Beef song Amanda garnished Beef with silly string, and it waved from James’ bass and jumped from Greem’s hair until the end of the third and final song.
The first time I met Greem, I was walking down the stairs of the residential quarters in Market Hotel and she was on the purple couch looking up at me. She asked me if people ever fell down the stairs, which were built 50% steeper than suggested ergonomics, and I replied that no, nobody has ever fallen down these stairs, a clear lie, but who was this person questioning my home? And why does she have her own set of keys? And why are her stockings so nice?
Rating: 3 weed leaves
BIG SKY WORKS
When somebody tells me that the concert will have a brief interruption to allow hipsters to entwine themselves in long cotton shrouds hung from the ceiling and then contort their joints the way yoga intended, as a rule I ask if I can get on the list. And that’s what they’re offering at Big Sky, a warehouse space whose past life was a motorcycle repair shop on the fringe of Williamsburg. It has high black ceilings with acrobatic support beams, and a '90s DJ balcony with potted plants. The staff consists of smiley, seasoned yogis and the lighting is warm and pretty. Big Sky’s bathroom smelled undeniably like my grandma’s house in rural Illinois, despite its lack of rollers and cold cream.
I came in while A Magic Whistle was playing, a single man, sprinkled in vanilla cupcake projections, playing his quintessential moon exploration tunes. I bought a red wine, I listened to Kristen B. talk about origami, and then Many Mansions started. I like Many Mansions because it has all of the accoutrements of a big fucking hippie band (the horns, the intricate silky drug rugs, the hairiness) but instead of transporting me to a battle of the bands at my Long Island high school, I really feel that I’m on top of a mountain in the beginning of September; the distortion and echo seem natural, as if the wind is carrying the sound away. After two songs they stopped, and then a woman appeared in the center of the room.
She tugged on a hula hoop that hung about four feet in the air, attached to the ceiling beams by two red drapes, and then lifted her foot to it. Many Mansions began to play what appeared to be a new age song of her choosing. She spun the hula hoop in a circle with three of her appendages attached as a tease, and then she mounted. For five minutes she kept the majority of her body within the hula hoop, kicking and thrusting her head back as it gently rotated, adorned in what was surely her laciest yoga outfit. I was entranced. I felt like I must be in love with her.
I recall going to a party a few months ago at which Greg Fox of Guardian Alien took me aside and, because of my fascination with pregnancy (which I will explain in about 100 words) confided in me that he had visions of his own gestation – not with a human baby, of course. Guardian Alien has recently returned from an eastern tour with my roommates, and I’ve caught heard word that Greg may have given birth to the Guardian. And frankly, when you see them play, it shows. Alexandra Drewchin, the vocalist, was once a performer of backbends and other spinal sport, but now the warrior in her voice is mirrored in her eyes – she holds up her flattened hand and cantillates, and I can’t help by sense the reverence and awe that the Virgin Mary had for her otherworldly child. Greem stood across from Alexandra, jumping up and down.
Rating: 4 weed leaves
RAN TEA HOUSE
Sometimes I work at the café of the Noguchi Museum in northern Long Island City, and part of my job description is stopping patrons from sitting on an intricately-woven bamboo wicker chair. Feet away, a 23-inch TV plays the video of its limited hand-production in rural Japan.
After work I met Jordan Michael at the Ran Tea House for our appointment with the owner. The tea house is fairly phenomenal (on Kent Ave at the border of North and South Williamsburg); the next-door neighbor and identical-size twin of 285 Kent, trading the black walls and beer smell for immaculacies like potted ferns and bonsai and kousa dogwood. They have 50 teas, including a handful that sprout in hot water, and 12 intimate tea time sets of intricately-woven bamboo wicker chairs. I ordered two white dragon jasmine teas and sat with Jordan in a cabin within the space on giant wicker tuffets.
Lotus, the owner, joined us. Jordan arranged to have concerts at Ran Tea House for the long term, and I finalized plans to produce a prenatal yoga class there on Sunday December 11th (before the Showpaper benefit at 285); Jessica J.V.R. will lead the class physically, while Justin Frye plays a musical accompaniment piece that may or may not be called, “Aborted Scraps,” and Matthew Caron mixes projected video live. The event is a platform for me to do my weird, spiritual stand-up, combing themes and hardships with food descriptions and passive-malicious comments about my society. I’m a very big fan of the practice of yoga and love the regiment designed for pregnancy, but I’m literally incapable of organizing something that isn’t vicious and insane. Provided that the space doesn’t fill with thick white smoke (the way it did at the end of Poverty Yoga) the Ran Tea House will probably not chase me out of South Williamsburg with a Totsuka-no-Tsurugi or whatever.
Rating: 2 teas
I went to Cake Shop for comedy night to see Janeane Garofalo. She wasn’t blond anymore but she was wearing pink Uggs, and mentioned that she was 49 and didn’t have a sex drive. I generally shy away from stand-up comedy for fear of hearing story set ups so simplistic that there’s no way they could be true, but she seemingly didn’t prepare any jokes and rambled into the microphone as though she was just grabbing a coffee. I sat in the sound booth and watched her on a 23-inch TV, envisioning that we were friends; to me she looked exactly as she had in the Truth About Cats & Dogs. I went upstairs to talk to Pop Jew about her personal life and to the bartender about his drinking problem, took a shot, and went home.
Rating: 1 shot