Friday, February 29, 2008

adventures in music

February 29

“Hey man, do you know where I can score some coke?”
I like wearing a suit on the Lower East Side. It’s sort of like wearing a mohawk in Midtown. It sets you apart, lets you make a statement that you’re comfortable enough in your own skin that you don’t have to look like everyone else. The possible drawback in either case is that you could easily be mistaken for someone involved in the drug trade.
My friend Kenyon was performing at The Mercury Lounge on Wednesday, and that’s always bound to be a good time. But the annual C-CAP fundraiser was going on across town, at Pier 60 on the Hudson River, honoring chef Alfred Portale, pictured here with his daughter Victoria. So I went from the latter to the former, wearing my black pin-stripe suit, discussing the state of the world with my Pakistani taxi driver (he’s a Clinton supporter, arguing that the Clintons are very much loved overseas and the United States needs to rebuild its global reputation).
I actually got to The Mercury Lounge in time to see the very last song by The Dirty Pearls, who were playing to a packed house.
Then as I headed to the bar to buy a beer (Brooklyn Lager) a droopy-eyed young man asked me the question with which I started this blog entry.
“Nope. Sorry,” I said, and shrugged an apology.
“Really?” he said. He seemed half disappointed and half incredulous, as if I were holding out, keeping my cocaine to myself for reasons he didn’t understand. What’s the point of being a drug dealer if you’re not going to sell your cocaine to local fiends?
Had I been a drug dealer, he would have had an excellent point.
Beer in hand, I went back to watch the performance of A.I., which was opening for Kenyon’s band, Unisex Salon.
A.I. was a remarkably androgynous-looking trio of Californians, wearing long bangs that covered their faces (including their big masculine noses, hence the androgyny). I later described the haircut to my colleague Sonya Moore, who nodded with mild boredom and said “a scenester haircut.”
The lead singer was an old high school friend of Kenyon’s, and I think I would have enjoyed them, but they had all sorts of technical difficulties and had to reboot their computer to run their synthesizer or something. It was sad, because if you’re performing, you have to perform. Your equipment not working is not an excuse. Jump around on the stage and bang pots with a broom handle if you must, but entertain your audience.
The band made its way in fits and starts to their last song, and as they played it the lead singer and guitarist sort of wandered off to the back of the stage, apparently uninterested in the very polite and patient audience for which he was playing.
So I left the room in the middle of their song — which I think is really rude, but A.I. clearly didn’t care — and got another beer.
Kenyon was very, very excited to be performing on stage for the first time with his older brother Stephen, who's a composer and is working with Kenyon to produce his first album, which will be released someday, probably soon.
I took some pictures, but I gave Kenyon red eye, so he looks like the devil.
Actually, Kenyon would probably like to look like the devil, so, here‘s one of those pictures, on the left.

Kenyon introduced me to a metal-working jeweler named Michael. He called her “Michael the girl,” although she goes by “a girl named Michael.”
She borrowed my camera and took extremely unflattering pictures of me (it happens; good pictures of me are difficult to take), but a pretty good one of herself (on the right), and also not a bad one of Unisex Salon.
Obviously that’s Kenyon in the middle. Brother Stephen is on the left.
I had arrived late at the C-CAP benefit, so I didn’t get a chance to eat much, so after Kenyon's show I was thinking of going to Bereket for a doner kebab, but instead went to Philly’s for a cheesesteak.


Marty E. said...

Thanks for the shout-out....

...and I saw that same dude ask several other people for the same thing...let's just say I think he went to sleep relatively early that night, ahahahahaha....

Marty E.
The Dirty Pearls

Bret Thorn said...

You guys sounded good for the half song I heard. You certainly had a great turnout, and the crowd seemed to love you.

mil.n.mag said...

hey bret, nice to see you again last night...always a good time with the band.

Bret Thorn said...

Yes indeed, Michael. But I thought you were going to give me your contact info.
Or you can just e-mail me at (that goes for all readers — I’m a friendly guy, not too pretentious).

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