Hitting The Mark

Written by Tina Benitez on . Posted in Posts.

There’s nothing wrong with wearing sequins to brunch. Nothing at all as far as Kelly Irene Corson, front woman for The Art of Shooting, is concerned. Still the Brooklyn-based Detroit native admits to some fashion flops, including a gig with her former band (Mystery RKO), The Von Bondies and The White Stripes, where she showed up in a vintage gown and feather slippers. “I don’t know how good it was, but I was like, ‘Really? This is my first show?’” laughs Corson. “I dressed like such an idiot. I don’t even know what the hell was going on.”

Over-the-top stage attire is not de rigueur nowadays for Corson, but some glitz is still required. A centerpiece of tangled Christmas lights shaped as a birdcage—perhaps an homage to single “The Birdcage,” off of TAOS’ debut Traveling Show (out April 27)—adorned the stage at a recent gig at Southpaw.

The feisty, blond singer, who once attempted singing opera and studying musical theater, says that things fell into place for her as soon as she discovered burlesque and indie rock and picked up a guitar six years ago. “I fell out of love with theater,” says Corson. “I like the sincerity, the honesty, the telling of your story, and that appealed to me far more than pretending you were someone else. Burlesque let my dancing out, and I never really liked acting anyway!”

Corson met her TAOS bandmates while all were in different bands. She immediately knew she had to work with drummer Jim Archer after seeing him play with band Renminbi one evening in D.C. He later relocated to Brooklyn along with bassist Julie Rozansky; guitarist Gavin was the final piece of the quartet’s puzzle. The band name originated while Corson was doing research on a fishing village in Quebec for legendary songwriter (“Stardust”) Hoagy Carmichael’s son and was shocked by some of the language used towards women and African Americans in the some of the late 19-century sporting journals. The most offensive one, “The Art of Shooting,” stuck with her.

Subtle bits of Kate Bush, Sugarcubes, PJ Harvey, the Cocteau Twins and Forget Cassettes are obvious influences on the band, but Corson names Belly’s 1993 debut Star a defining album for her. On Traveling Show, produced by Paul Mahajan (Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The National) and Keith Souza (Clap Your Hands Say Yeah), Corson channels her Tanya Donelly as a wickedly operatic Siouxsie or Amanda Palmer. More sullen tracks “One Minute Love Song” and “Traveling Show” educe the album’s darker theme of domestic violence.

“I was in an abusive relationship and that’s what Traveling Show is about,” shares Corson, who also stopped drinking before recording the album. “It’s about someone who just kept coming back and after a long time I realized, Wow, I’ve been with this person for years. It’s just about coming to terms with what it’s like being in that kind of relationship. That [track “Traveling Show”] and “No One Two” are about starting fresh and looking at it square in the eye for what it was. Yeah, it’s kind of a sad record.”

Not all somber, the pace picks up with the hypnotic throb of “The Birdcage” and “120 Man,” but even the more spine-tingling tracks evoke a glimmer of hope. “It’s really a personal record,” says Corson. “It used to be the more a song meant to me, the more I would take words out, but with this album I was like, ‘Fuck it, I’m putting names and social security numbers.’ Seriously, do you want a link? I’ll send you a link.”

The Art of Shooting
Mar. 4, The Bell House, 149 7th St. (betw. 2nd & 3rd Aves.), Brooklyn, 718-643-6510; 9, $10.

Hitting The Mark

Written by James Greene Jr. on . Posted in Eat & Drink, Posts.

YOU KNOW WHAT New Yorkers love more than multi-billion dollar baseball dynasties, scoffing at out-of-towners and the smell of hot garbage in the summertime? Sliders. No, not the Jerry O’Connell sci-fi show from the mid-nineties, the miniature variety of hamburger commonly found at such grease institutions as White Castle and Krystal.

Gothamites don’t exactly advertise their admiration for these tiny burgers—they’d usually rather talk about real estate or book stores—but trust me, the passion is there. Every time this fast food junkie has proposed anything regarding junior meat patties, the natives have responded with rabid fervor. I speculate slider popularity in this region has something to do with their portability and relative neatness.You can’t drop a quarterpounder in your purse or man-bag without all the cheese and mayo gumming up your heroin needle, and the smell of that much cooked meat can be overwhelming on a cramped subway train.

Manhattan saw the arrival of a brand new slider-slinging restaurant in early November. Tucked away on St. Marks Place, where mighty dives once stood but now Subway reigns supreme, the spot is simply called

Mark. No utilitarian lunch box is this— Mark’s interior decor, dark and wood-based, calls to mind a hip small town drink spot (indeed, it could become something like that, what with its lengthy bar and jukebox of wellselected tunes).The menu is bare bones: a regular slider with cheese and onions ($2), a bacon slider with cheese and onions ($2.75), fries ($3) and pecan pie ($4). Beverage-wise, there’s beer ($4), wine ($5), vanilla shakes ($5) and even a Guinness shake ($6). It’s all very to the point, which is good for those of us who lack serious decision-making skills.

Served up hot and juicy, the sliders at Mark give you a serious upgrade on White Castle flavors with none of the expected stomach-destroying consequences.The bacon sliders are particularly savory, what with those tiny chunks of pork strewn atop the molten cheese and steamy meat.The fries are of the sweet potato variety and are served in rather generous portions with several sauces available for slathering. On the topic of said sauces: the barbecue leaves something to be desired, but the chipotle ketchup is not to be missed (nor is the jalapeño, if you’re into clearing your sinuses).Violently allergic to alcohol? Well, then you’ll enjoy that the sodas at Mark are served in classic slender beer glasses. Finally, I felt like I was in a 1980s beer commercial with Bob Uecker. Great taste? Less filling! Hey, gimme a light! Where’s Dick Butkus?

I detected some sort of accent on the bartender during our brief and very friendly chat, but I couldn’t pinpoint the country of origin. He told me the owners had been working on opening Mark for two years. Is that how long it takes to nail down the perfect slider? No wonder my home experiments always come out looking and tasting like the creature that popped out of John Hurt’s chest in Alien. Mark has also succeeded in creating a delightfully cozy atmosphere right smack dab in the middle of one of the city’s most congested areas.You may as well be in a friend’s ultrachic basement, not the screaming black soul of college kid and boho street hippie junction. They even have a funky multi-colored cow statue out front to beckon in kitsch fans that would otherwise walk right by, fruitlessly searching for the nearest Bob’s Big Boy.

> Mark

33 St. Mark’s Place (betw. 2nd & 3rd Aves.), 212- 677-3132.