Best of Manhattan 2002: Best of Manhattan 2002

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Real Rock ’n’
Roll



Rockin’
in the Free World.
As rock turns into jazz (respected but commercially unsalvageable),
it becomes important to honor the places that keep it alive. For the longest
time, bands have complained that New York has no midsize rock venues–nothing
between CBGB and Irving Plaza. Now several places have materialized in Brooklyn:
Northsix, Southpaw, Local, as well as Luxx and the venerable L’Amour. A
slew of great shows went down in these places this year; here’s hoping
they stay alive until whatever band you’re in gets big enough to play them.


Best
New York City
Sci-Fi Movie



The Sticky
Fingers of Time



Why Would
She Lie?
Directed by Hilary Brougher and set in and around Tompkins Square
Park between the years 1953 and 1997, Sticky Fingers is what happens
when you do sci-fi on an indie budget. It’s the story of Tucker, a pulp
writer from the 50s who acts as the lens through which the film is shown. The
story, however, is not the point. In fact, the point here has nothing to do
with the director’s almost plausible theories or the artful cinematography.
It’s simply that barely anyone knows this is the best New York City sci-fi,
and that’s the fault of bad marketing. Ambiguous relationships between
women (despite obvious man/woman love) have cast this film into the no man’s
land of the Gay/Lesbian section, allowing it to be lost amid tender coming-of-age
romance and greasy sex romps in video stores across the city. We all know how
hot two naked women are, but what advantage is there to misleading misogynistic
men and unsuspecting grrls? Why not just believe the director when she
says it’s sci-fi?


Best
Proof That Rock
Critics Are Idiots


The Rockettes
Ain’t Rock.
The Strokes and the White Stripes shared a bill at Radio
City Music Hall on Aug. 15, and all the doofus rock critics in the city wrote
basically identical reviews: Two hot young bands on the verge of mega-success
get the career-pivotal chance to audition for the big leagues. The Strokes stepped
up to the plate and hit a home run with their bright, shiny rock-pop, proving
that they’re true professionals, ensuring them (as though they didn’t
have it already) the industry backing to take the next step to global pop-star
status. The White Stripes, meanwhile, struck out, failing to fill the hall and
even mystifying the audience with their eccentricity, pretty much ensuring that
they’ll remain a cult band for the rest of their career.


Not one of
these doofi bothered to add: Hurray for the White Stripes! Thank God they failed
at Radio City Music Hall! What the hell was their management thinking booking
them on this disastrous bill in the first place? The White Stripes had no business
competing in a battle of the bands with the much more pop-star-ready Strokes.
The brilliant duo is way too fucking smart and artistically inclined ever to
become a global pop phenom. They belong in rock clubs, not the stadiums and
arenas where the Strokes are headed. They’ve already won too many awards
and gotten too much mainstream media attention over the past year, luring them
(and their management) into stupid career moves like this one. A much higher
level of "success" would very likely kill the Stripes at this stage.
They should be thanking their lucky stars that the Radio City crowd and the
idiot critics didn’t glom onto them. Let the Strokes become next year’s
Oasis; the Stripes, a vastly superior band, would do well to settle back into
something more like the obscurity in which they labored, ingeniously, only a
year ago. Fuck pop stardom. The White Stripes rock.



Best Bowling
Alley



Leisure Time
Bowling Center

Port
Authority Bus Terminal, 2nd Level
625 8th Ave. (42nd
St.)
268-6909


Changing
Lanes.
Here’s the hard truth: all three public bowling alleys in Manhattan
charge roughly the same price ($7 games evenings and weekends, $4 for shoes).
So the real question is esthetics, and Leisure Time has the edge. Chelsea Piers’
ultramodern alleys are like an aircraft hangar: vast, chilly and impersonal.
Plus they don’t cut you a deal for bowling early. Bowlmor chose fashion
over function in its 90s makeover, and though sometimes a fun night out, it’s
now more like going to a club (and they’ve got the door hassles, uselessly
hip decor, DJs, massive bar prices and ever-so-slightly-inflated weekend admission
to prove it).


If you just
want to bowl, drop the pretensions and go to Leisure Time. This is no-frills
bowling for real people, so you won’t have to stand on line with models
and nobody has to show ID (unless you wanna go to the bar). It’s open ’til
11 most nights, 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday, has a full video arcade and the
bar or snack stand won’t break you. It’s only $7 to bowl, and the
Port Authority Bus Terminal/ Hell’s Kitchen location is still good for
seedy kicks at any hour.



Best
Brooklyn Underground
Venue For Live Music



Happy Birthday
Hideout

338 Flushing
Ave.
(betw. Classon &
Kent Aves.)
Brooklyn, No Phone.


Here’s
a Present for You.
People always say there’s nothing underground and
there’s nothing alternative anymore. And there probably isn’t. But
there’s at least one spot in Brooklyn to see bands play that the general
public isn’t clued into–and that’s Happy Birthday Hideout. You
won’t find a listing for this place in a phone book or an advertisement
in any of the weekly papers. Their parties, which combine the party/loft atmosphere
with live performances, are completely word-of-mouth and some of the best times
we’ve had while living in New York.


That’s
the thing about Happy Birthday Hideout: you cane go to socialize, drink, take
in spectacular views from the roof, hear local music, all for around $5. They
sell cheap cans of beer, and wine, and sometimes absinthe. We’ve seen everyone
from the stripped-down country-garage group the Roger Sisters to Blood on the
Wall and the arrogant Heroine Sheiks. Since it’s inconveniently located
adjacent to the BQE between (very) south Williamsburg, Bed-Stuy and Clinton
Hill, you won’t often find he outerborough yahoos you’d see at other
nearby soirees. We’d pay $10 for that.



Best
Embarrassing
Musical Trend



Unashamed 70s
Nostalgia



And This
Bird You Cannot Chay-Uh-Ay-Uh-Ay-Uh-Ange.
Corporate rock karaoke night at
Arlene Grocery. Loser’s Lounge tributes. A spate of tribute albums that
can be summed up with one word. Luther Wright and the Wrong’s Rebuild
the Wall
: brilliant. Mary Lee’s Corvette’s Blood on the Tracks:
touching. Camper Van Beethoven’s Tusk: wacky. What they all have
in common: a fine balance of irony and respect. The 70s weren’t a complete
artistic wasteland, especially in light of the 90s. It was the age of rock stars,
which must seem like anthropology to kids now with their myriad subdivisions
of pop culture. Embarrassing? Sure, but great fun, too. The dark-horse winner:
Lonesome Bob’s country cover of Clarence Carter’s 1970 soul classic
"Patches." What a beautiful gesture this song is.


Best
Punk Rock DJ



Michael T.



You Go,
Girl. Boy. Whatever.
Whether he’s spinning Dead Boys at the Motherfucker
parties, Buckcherry in the basement of Lit at the Seen parties, or the Ramones
over at Niagara, we love Michael T. And not just because he’s the best-looking
girl we’ve ever met, either. Michael, the perfect cross between David Bowie,
Tim Curry and Cindy Crawford, really knows how to pack in a powerful set of
tunes to have you pounding your pud or pussy in the air, like you just don’t
care! We also love Michael because he’s so sweet, has the best collection
of tunes we’ve ever heard and, like the truly beautiful woman he is, knows
how to say "NO" to the idiots who request NSYNC, DMX and Pink. Although
we kinda like pink. Anyway, you go, Michael!


Best
Stephin Merritt Protege



L.D. Beghtol



Did We Mention
He’s Also a Designer?
Magnetic Fields songwriter Stephin Merritt has
produced a flood of additional projects. Now that same outpour has helped spawn
L.D. Beghtol. He’s been featured as a vocalist on the Magnetic Fields’
69 Love Songs, but Beghtol’s own bands manage a better average than
Merritt himself.


The main project
is still Flare, the orchestral-pop outfit whose upcoming Hung CD finally
allows their recorded output to catch up with the fine concerts of recent years–as
can be heard at a showcase this Nov. 1 at Fez. Beghtol also records as the Moth
Wranglers in collaboration with Chris Xefos. And then there’s his yearly
appearance with Merritt and Dudley Klute as the Three Terrors. (You probably
missed the Sept. 15 show dedicated to songs about intoxication.) Look for an
upcoming solo album, too.


So what keeps
Beghtol from being an indie star? It doesn’t help that he’s a bear
of a gay guy who discusses his sexuality from the stage. (He doesn’t camp
things up, outside of appearing with the Three Terrors.) Beghtol’s left
falling between the cracks of every scene–which, of course, is why he’s
built a scene of his own. How else can a talented musician survive in this town?



Best
Underrated Movie That,
Had It Been Marketed
a Little Differently, Would Have Gotten
Raves from The Matthew Barney/Set



Freddy Got
Fingered



Matthew
Blarney.
Every couple of years there comes a movie so jarring, so powerful
or strange, that no one gets it. Joe Versus the Volcano was one such
movie, sadly sunk by mismarketing. We find it difficult to stand by and watch
Freddy Got Fingered get pilloried in a similar manner and have been on
a one-person crusade to get everyone we know to see this near-masterpiece of
grotesquerie–there’s no movie in recent history we watched with such
concentrated fascination.


We’d never
particularly been a fan of Tom Green; we went to the movie on opening night
only in the hopes of seeing an American Pie knockoff. But we were in
for greater things. Shocking images; familial hatred; identity politics: even
A.O. Scott (the Times’ most talented thinker) called the father-son
dynamic Ingmaresque. Scenes we can’t believe got past censors. But as a
result of the movie, Tom Green’s career goes into the toilet, while someone
like Matthew Barney makes Cremaster and gets the respect of Cinema Village
and the love of Bjork?


Compare for
example a scene in which a pregnant woman realizes too late that her baby’s
being delivered by a stranger, Indian women begin to ululate and play the tambourine
while blood is splattered on their faces and a man rends the umbilical cord
with his teeth, to a scene in which a translucent corset is filled with bees
and Norman Mailer plays Houdini. Tell us, which one of those two auteurs would
you want to spend the evening with? Now also tell us: Why hasn’t Freddy
Got Fingered
become the sleeper hit of the year?



Best
Night on Which To See
Trannies Dressed As Tank Girl

Atomic Dolls, Fridays
at Webster Hall

125 E. 11th St. (betw. 3rd
& 4th Aves.)
353-1600


Tank Boy?
Trank Girl?
This is our favorite form of Friday night entertainment. We
mean, come on, who doesn’t love to see flaming trannies with platforms
almost (we said almost) as big as their egos, prancing around to monotonous
club music? It’s Webster Hall’s main stage freak show Atomic Dolls,
and we love it. Watching the fiercest freaks boogie down in scare-wear is enough
to make us get off our asses and duck the $30 general admission just by dressing
ourselves up. It’s really worth it, because behind those ropes not only
is there free entrance and full access, but also drink tickets and pretensions
that would scare any casting-couch Hamptonite.


So we just
dress up, sit back and laugh at all the idiots who were too cool to dress up,
yet not cool enough to reap the benefits of being fabulous–and a bit ridiculous,
but isn’t that the fun of clubbing?



Best
Indie-Rock Swan Song



Brownies



With All
Due Respect, the Don Was Slipping.
We shed a soggy tear just like you when
Brownies announced they were done hosting live music. It’s always sad when
a stage goes dark, and this was no exception. We suspect that for the few DIY
faithful still out there, it’s come as a real cushion blow: What to do,
now that our Monday midnight to 12:45 a.m. slot’s gone? Call a spade a
spade and play Arlene’s for nothing?


It’s no
fun being the scold at the wake, but it’s worse fun to watch breathless
nostalgia transmute the passing of a very adequate rock club into something
on the level of the closing of Max’s Kansas city or the Filmore East. The
sticking point here, as far as we’re concerned, is that for all its bands-below-the-radar
pretense, Brownies (and the scene it catered to) was never quite as humble as
all that. To know this, all one had to do was play in a band or attend shows
semiregularly around the time the indie-rock wave was cresting. Think back to
all the coked-up A&R weasels posturing as homespun band advocates, all those
would-be Lunchpail Petes with their music zines putting the thumbscrews to musicians
to buy advertising in their pages in exchange for some crappily composed, semicoherent
capsule review. Recall how the acquisition of a good slot on a medium-high profile
bill was just that: a purchase, in the form of the ticket pre-buy courtesy of
your label who, in the end, charged it all back to penniless you. And as for
all those bands who actually were talented but also labelless, there was…well…always
Monday night, midnight to 12:45.


Sour grapes?
Hardly. The business runs on money. Always has, always will. And we certainly
don’t begrudge Mike Stuto–easily one of the most dedicated, hardest-working
guys in the business–his success. No, in the end, all we take issue with
is the gap between the spin and the reality. Measure our sorrow by a venue lost
and it’s huge. Measure it by the sincerity in the promise and we say, Alas!
Here was an era that begged for an end.



Best
Original Music Venue
West of the Hudson



The Underpass
158
Market St., Elmwood Park, NJ
201-796-5060


Now We’re
B&T.
As much as we city folk joke about them, we feel bad for the New
Jersey crowd. They’re forced to trek across the Hudson at $6 a pop just
to hear some decent live music. Jersey, plagued by an ever-growing cover band
scene, with more and more bars catering to a college crowd hungry for rehashed
Blink 182 and Nickelback songs, has a dwindling supply of venues that cater
to those hungry for original live acts. However, we have found one place in
the land of factories and shopping malls that has bucked the current trend of
unoriginality: The Underpass goes against the grain by showcasing mostly original
live acts, seven days a week, and has become one of the best places to see original
music in Northern New Jersey.


With the interior
design of a biker bar and the ambience of a Loisaida lounge, the Underpass has
a unique setting for being surrounded by the suburban sprawl of Bergen County.
Make sure you check out their open mic night, every Wednesday, which showcases
some of the finest improvised sets, from funk to jazz to drum ’n’
bass. After one trip over to the Underpass, you’ll find yourself becoming
the bridge and tunnel crowd on a regular basis.



Best
Public Sculpture



Mohandas "Mahatma"
Gandhi

Union Square
Park
(Union Square W. &
14th St.)



The Gandhi
Man Can.
Who doesn’t like Mahatma Gandhi? Everyone seems to love this
bronze statue too, newly reinstalled on a reconstructed patch of Union Square
Park. It’s a lifesize take of the frail little dude, striding purposely
forward toward the farmer’s market, maybe ready to break his most recent
fast. A lot of the time he’s wearing fresh bouquets of flowers.


Mahatma disappeared
for a bit while his immediate neighborhood was spruced up. His new digs now
allow better and more dignified access to the old boy. We’re glad to see
him back, looking ready as ever for some very civil civil disobedience.



Best
Monday-Night Institution



Sidewalk Cafe
Anti-Folk Hootenanny



94 Ave. A (6th
St.), 473-7373

One Step
Above Karaoke.
Like all good Americans, we enjoy entertainment that’s
either good or really, really bad–and we especially like to see the two
in conjunction. Also, like good Americans, we believe that we’re the culmination
of Western Civilization and we like to show off to others. The Monday Night
Anti-Folk Hootenanny at Sidewalk Cafe fills all these needs. Participants show
up with whatever musical chops they have–hippie w/guitar, rapper w/wifebeater,
performance artist w/bubble machine–and sign on to perform late into the
night. Everybody gets one song; drinks are expensive but we’re guaranteed
to see some shit that’ll crack us up every hour.


Best
Self-Esteem
Therapy For NYC Guys



HBO



Umavision.
Between the endless libidinous whining and scheming of the Sex and the City
coven, and the I-Need-a-Guy-Any-Guy HBO film Hysterical Blindness (that
Uma Thurman!), any human male who feels underappreciated has only to hit the
boobs tube to realize he’s Needed, and that some of his bits and entrails
are wanted. Such a relief from the usual Men-Are-Monsters Cobras-Are-Natural
shitcoms.


Best
Interactive
Souvenir Experience



The Penny Machines
at Deno’s

Boardwalk (W. 12th St.),
Coney Island
718-372-2592


A Portrait
of Abe Every Time.
We know there are certain people who feel that Coney
Island is merely the future site of some terrible tragedy, a Tilt-A-Whirl ride
gone horribly, horribly awry. But we maintain that there are still many hidden
treasures there, many little charms.


One small one
is the souvenir you can get at one of the two penny machines at Deno’s
in Wheel Park. One is right near the Wonder Wheel and the other is by the concession
stand, near the rides by the boardwalk in the upper part of the park. They are
the kind of machine where you put in two quarters and a penny, and it stamps
out a miniature scene on your (now elongated) coin. On the first one, you only
have one choice, an imprint of the Wonder Wheel, but on the other machine, you
can choose from four different scenes of amusement park attractions. The fun
part of the second machine is that you get to spin the dial to choose which
scene you want, and you have to crank the handle four times (the magic number)
before it spits out your penny. Just for something different, bring some wheat
pennies along with your newer coins and you’ll get a different look each
time.


Here’s
another secret: If you know someone whose birthday is coming up, find a coin
from the year they were born. If you put it in the machine with Lincoln facing
out, most of the time you can read the date on the back, which makes for not
only a perfect souvenir, but a perfect birthday gift, too.



Best
Club at Which
to See Free T&A



Albion Saturdays
at Downtime

251 W.
30th St. (betw. 7th & 8th Aves.)
695-2747


Great for
the Price.
Sure the girls are flabby and they can’t really dance, but
if their fellow clubgoers look uninterested they will rip their tops off. Even
though we pity the poor things and their desperate attempt at a good stage show,
we understand the commanding presence of breasts (and even have to admit that
we like it).


The lower level
of Albion Saturdays at Downtime is like a strip show in a graveyard, decaying
bodies with electrical-taped nipples (oh my God, that’s like so five years
ago) trying to find the beat. But you don’t need talent or rhythm to shake
those jugs, as the Man Show taught us. For $15 we can stand in an audience
full of thugs that other clubs rejected and old guys in poet shirts with goth
porn fetishes and witness all the T&A we want with no need to provide tips
for the dancers. In fact, we’ve become accustomed to bringing pennies to
throw at the stage, because those girls go through a lot of electrical tape.
We’ll even spare you the trouble of feeling bitter like we did when we
discovered that we wasted half of our evening looking at the boobies. We got
a secret: the good party is on the second floor.



Best
Warehouse Fire Waiting to Happen



Lunatarium
10
Jay St. (John St.)
Brooklyn, 718-813-8404


It Never
Happened.
We’d like to disclaim everything we’re about to say
in advance, in case any fire marshals have deigned to leaf through this issue.
We mean, really, what kind of venue would bring out a propane-driven version
of Simon? (You remember, that toy where you had to repeat an increasingly complex
pattern by smacking buttons in the right order?) We ask you, what kind of venue
would allow a man in half-unbuttoned overalls to light this "Simon"
device, while a volunteer stood in a square cage of metal tubing, the corners
of which were spouting 7-foot flames in random succession? What kind of venue,
indeed, would conscientiously let its warehouse-raw brick-oven space cool down
for 20 minutes before a kickball-pregnant woman with a makeup black eye dragged
The Device out again, in the middle of a faux-redneck party, her thin, sweat-drenched
wifebeater nearly slipping off?


When we first
went there to hear DJ Spooky spin, it wasn’t like they had flame dancers
on a midlevel platform, while below a portly gentleman with a very large fire
extinguisher was hardly obscured by sozzled loungers twirling in dangling cloth
chairs. It wasn’t the sort of venue that would install large plastic tubeways
to explore, its art exhibits providing the interactivity and danger of a playground,
back when playgrounds weren’t miniature, multicolored, Martha Stewart lawn
decorations. And would said venue, also, leave you dancing home, the rising
sun meeting you halfway to the F train?


We mean, come
on. Would anyone do that? Nooo. Who would do any of that? It would be silly.
Or maybe, just some good hot fun.



Best
Local Rock Promoter



Jon Weiss



Country
Rock.
We recently told an out-of-towner in a touring band that Jon Weiss
is the nicest rock promoter we’ve ever worked with.


"Isn’t
that an oxymoron?" he replied.


Indeed. But
he’d never dealt with Weiss. We have, and we repeat: Weiss is the very
rare rock promoter who’s a genuinely nice guy. We’re sure we’ll
get letters from a band or two who’ve had unhappy encounters with him and
think he’s a dick, but that comes with the job. We’ve booked several
gigs and had other related dealings with him over a few years now, and we love
the guy. Weiss books shows at Warsaw and the Village Underground, as well as
honchoing the dinosaur/garage rock Cavestomp! series and record label. He was
into garage rock well before it became a fad, long before that raghead from
Springsteen’s band glommed onto it, years before Time Out tumbled
onto the White Stripes and the Go.


Lately he’s
been indulging his 60s rock jones at Automatic Slims on Sunday and Monday nights,
where the soundtrack is all vintage songs chosen with exquisite taste, and the
muted tv over the bar runs classic, and often little-seen, Shindig-era
footage. You kids want to see what a real rock band is supposed to look like?
Check it out. More recently, Weiss has revealed himself as a well-versed aficionado
of country music as well; Billboard just ran a piece about his rock-to-country
crossover. If he does for classic country what he’s done for vintage and
revivalist rock, NYC could become the Nashville of the North. We can think of
far worse fates.



Best Sorely
Missed PBS News Anchor


Daljit Dhaliwal,
ITN



We’d
Dhali Her Wal Any Day.
The London-based International Television News was
yanked from the air last year, and that saddened us. We used to tune in (weekdays
from 6-6:30) whenever possible, not out of some abiding concern for the irrigation
dilemmas of Malawi’s farmers or some fetish for the stunted, apocalyptic
inflections of British field reporters. It was because of Daljit Dhaliwal, ITN’s
news anchor. Because she was hot, exotic and, yeah, not a bimbo. But mostly
because she was hot and exotic. This, we suspect, has also to do with why we
can’t tune into her anymore.


The British-born
daughter of Indian parents, her popularity in the U.S. irked the hell out of
the media poobahs back home. It only took a pic in People’s "50
Most Beautiful People" issue and a profile in The New York Times to
prompt her white British masters to begin serving up big steaming helpings of
schadenfreude. In one embarrassing piece full of damning faint praise, outright
calumny and dodo logic, the London Guardian’s Matt Wells chafed
at the "Cult of Daljit," claiming that her appearance on David Letterman
denigrated her journalistic pride.


At first, we
were willing to grant that British newsies do not work the celebrity circuit
to the degree that their U.S. counterparts do and so okay, a point scored for
the high-minded. But it was in the article’s crescendo that Wells let his
true mind slip: "Dhaliwal does not remotely live up to the hype. She is
striking, but not unfeasibly pretty; yes, she has great bone structure, but
she also has bags under her eyes. And some of the pictures on the website have
clearly undergone the Photoshop treatment."


Ahem. Yes,
well, we once made similar remarks about a woman, though not in an appraisal
of her journalistic integrity. With enemies like that it’s no wonder Daljit
Dhaliwal’s been banished to the murky outposts of airport-feed cable news.


Lest she think
we’ve forgotten her we’d like to take this opportunity to say: Daljit,
Na maskar. Aap se mil ke khu-shi hui. Kya haal hayen? Chunari chunari. Krip
ya dhan ya vad. Mujhe minu dikha. Haram zadah, David Wells, haram zadah! Ach
ha.


P.S. If some
or other ill fortune should befall that lucky SOB husband of yours, our door’s
always open.



Best
Odd Public Sculpture


Your
Dog
, by Yoshitomo Nara

Paying for
Marmaduke’s Sins.
It seemed to appear out of nowhere one day by the
dog run at Tompkins Square Park–a sculpture of a giant white dog straddling
a shallow pool. It looks cute and goofy at first. As you get closer, you notice
that it’s actually a fountain of sorts, the "fountain" created
by a continuous stream of what looks like drool from the dog’s mouth.


On an explanatory
sign next to the sculpture, a quote from the artist reads: "The dog is
you, the dog is me." Make of it what you will.


As you get
closer still, however, you notice that the dog’s eyes are downcast, and
that what at first appeared to be drool is, in reality, a continuous stream
of spilling tears.


Nara is a world-renowned
Japanese artist famous for regularly mixing the cute and the melancholy. In
fact, he’s done crying dogs before. We’re not exactly sure how one
of his dogs ended up here in Tompkins, or if it’s supposed to be permanent.
We do wonder, however sadly, how long it will take before some of the more easily
entertained park regulars destroy it. While it’s there, though, we think
it’s pretty keen.



Best
Use of Nudity To
Serve the Narrative



The Dazzle
Dancers



Shed Your
Towel of Indifference.
The avant-gay dance troupe known as the Dazzle Dancers
come from some odd pixie-glitter realm between modern dance and performance
art. They’re a little bit Mummenschanz, a little bit La Cage Aux Folles
and a lot Oh Calcutta! As far as movement is concerned, they are not
about highly complex choreography or flawless execution. Nor, thank heavens,
do they bid for irony. No, if they could effect all that they essay, they would;
it’s just that the Dazzles are comprised of both dancerly and un-dancerly
bodies. Which is the point.


Their ranks
are quotidian, omni-corporeal–from the classically sculpted to the outright
flabby. And so what one member will try and not quite achieve–an arabesque,
say, or a high kick–an adjacent member will pull off sans souci. In the
disconnect lay the funny. But there’s revelation here too. (They reminded
us just how much time we once wasted at the behest of an ex modern-dancer friend.
Us failing, though in earnest, to decipher plot and meaning from all her insufferable
Sprocketry.) It took one Dazzle Dancers performance to finally come away with
a real appreciation for what professional dancers can do and the rest of us
can’t. It took a second performance to realize that dance captain Cherry
Dazzle (nee Cary Curran) is possessed of a killer singing voice and formal stage
presence and will likely be snatched up by the first film director with his
head screwed on crooked.


The Dazzles
are a coed group. They tend to perform mostly at the gayer venues, which is
a shame since hetero audiences could probably dig their act, too. As to their
habit of concluding their routines smack-ass naked? Well, that does not bother
us even a little.



Best
Punk Rock Band



The Kick
www.the-kick.com


Not Another
Green Day.
When it comes to the punk rock, we in New York have had just
about enough of those little pussy skater kids on the Left Coast taking our
music and turning it into pop crap. Every one of those shorts-wearing, spiky-haired
little sissies only wants to sound like Bad Religion, anyway. Or a band that
sounds like Bad Religion. Even if they don’t know it.


That’s
why we love the Kick. Based on the Lower East Side, these kids play the punk
like our pappies used to. Loud, fast and snotty. Fronted by a singer named Sammy
and a bass player named Scott, these guys look sweet enough to bring home to
your mothers, but punk rock enough to have your dad search them when they leave.
Their music is played very Dead Boysish, with a little Damned/ Clash/Jam thrown
in there to make it spicy. They write really fun tunes, and truthfully, the
chicks love ’em. Jealous? You bet we are. Little punks…



Best Free
Pool Table
Least Likely to Incite a Riot



Yabby
265
Bedford Ave. (N. 1st St.)

Brooklyn, 718-384-1664


Hey, That’s
Clean Pool.
Situated on arguably the last geographical line of distinction
between the infamous Williamsburg brat pack and Sr. and Sra. Jose Boricua living
in the south streets, Yabby should have no choice but to be clearing out a fistfight
most nights–the free pool table offers a rare treat in this penny-pinching
area of Williamsburg. Its residents, though, fueled by an across-the-board desire
to look good, or, at the very least, better than the man, woman or child next
to them, are too distracted to concern themselves with trouble. So, unfortunately,
for those of us who get a kick out of a touch of tension and a hint of bad language
to go along with our Marlboros and Guinness, it ain’t happening here. Stick
your name on the board with confidence in this place, for no matter how far
you venture into the oft-200-or-so-strong crowd, you can be sure that some fresh-faced
art student is prepared to hunt you down when you’re up, rather than fuck
with the order of things.


Best New
York Rock Venue
In New Jersey



Uncle Joe’s
Bar

154 1st St.
(betw. Marin Blvd.
& Provost St., Grove St. PATH stop)

Jersey City, 201-659-6999


Always On
My Mi-Mi-Mi-Mi-Mi-Mi-Mind.
At first glance, Uncle Joe’s Bar ("est.
1893"), a ramshackle three-story nestled in the still-gritty warehouse
district off Jersey City’s gentrified waterfront, looks like a good place
to get stabbed by a meth-addled trucker. Go inside and you’ll be surprised
to find a cool neighborhood hangout under new ownership and remodeled (dig the
backyard gazebo) this past year to serve both locals and an emerging crowd of
Jersey hipsters and NYC art-punk rent refugees.


Friday and
Saturday nights feature live rock ’n’ roll. Maxwell’s may book
"brand name" acts, but Uncle Joe’s is something more important:
a launch pad for local talent and small bands who are still developing the pull
to make the harsh City circuit. Don’t let the low profile fool you, savvy
bookers help ensure the bands are good enough to justify the 15-minute PATH
ride out, plus cover’s never over $5 and nobody’s suggested any indoor
smoking bans in Jersey. According to management, the bar’s not just the
only game in town for live rock, but also one of the most successful local joints
as well, solely on the DIY basis of word-of-mouth and strategically dropped
fliers. The only drawback is the 2:30 a.m. last call (1:30 on weekights).



Best
Orgy to Avoid



The Imperial
Orgy Erotic Masquerade Ball

Webster

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