Annual Running of the Movie Lovers: Bryant Park Free Movie Night for Ghostbusters

Bryant Park Lawn

One of the great things about living in NYC during the summer months is getting a chance to watch free movies at Bryant Park. Out of all of the free movie screenings in the city, Bryant Park is the best because of the awesome sight lines, quality movie screen, good sound system, and access to great food stands and restaurants lining the park. It’s also pretty magical when the sun goes down and you are nestled amongst these large buildings — it is definitely one of those “only in New York” types of feelings.

Well this year’s Free Movie Night kicked off with a screening of the 1984 classic Ghostbusters. Yes, how cool is that – being able to watch the scene where they run through the reading room at the New York Public Library main branch… which is right behind you! Super awesome.

What you might not realize is there is a long-standing “running of the movie lovers” that goes on at the start of every screening. They open the lawn up at 5pm on the dot and everyone runs from all sides of the park and stakes their claim to the land as quickly as they can. It can be pretty intense. I did the securing once, and when someone stepped on the back of my shoe, flicking it off my foot, I had to keep running out of fear I would be trampled on. (I later recovered it by shouting “Anyone see a shoe?” to the crowd.)

Someone was smart enough to video tape the first run of 2015 – possibly from the BOA building. I have been told by folks that work there, every Monday they line up against the windows to catch all the crazies as they run for a spot. As this video and commentary will demonstrate, it’s a sight to be seen: “It’s like ants surrounding a dead cricket.” “It’s like we just watched something bloom.”:

Roseland Ballroom Is No More. Here’s Me, Not Shedding a Single Tear.

Today I read something shocking: Roseland Ballroom closed down for good last nightand people are sad about it!

I get it guys, we are all getting soft in our old age and love the nostalgic feelings we get thinking of our concert-going days of yore. But there is no way you will sucker me into a warm and fuzzy revisionist history of Roseland. (Next thing you know you will be trying to convince me that the horrible blue neon sign at Sin-e did NOT burn holes in your corneas when you accidentally looked at it.)

Look, I can’t vouch for what it was like there pre-2000, but based on my own personal memories and experiences at that place, I am pretty sure that ROSELAND BALLROOM WAS THE WORST VENUNE IN NEW YORK CITY. PERIOD. That place had horrible sight lines, terrible sound, and for some reason it always was full of mean frat boys who would spill beer on you. (Except for that one time I went to see David Gray with my friend Joe… then it was pleasantly filled with mellowed out DMB fans and lesbians.)

Do you want to know how I know this? Here are some examples from the archives re: dear ol’ Roseland:

May 2, 2006: Review of a Yeah Yeah Yeahs show:

Tonight’s Roseland show defo had more enthusiasm since many more people knew all the new songs, but the crowd was lame in that “Roselandy” way we are all too familiar. You know what I mean. Something about going to Roseland always brings out crazy dudes who just want to push little girls down to the ground. I saw two guys get into a fight as one guy was leaving. Seriously, who gets into fights just as they are about to go? Some drunk guy turned around, screamed at me and gave me a face full of his Jack and Coke scented breath as I walked out of the concert for no real reason. The wonderful Maxwell’s show it was not.

November 25, 2003: Post from the Little Room message board about a White Stripes show at Roseland:

Only towards the end did security stomp through the crowd and remove just 1 of the idiots. One poor girl had to be taken out of the crowd she was so banged up. Then during the encore, Jack announces they got 1 song left for us – It’s Boll Weevil.

They begin – and the crowd surfing has started to pick up. Jack tells Meg to stop. He says “We’ll just wait until this guy finishes (referring to a crowd surfer)”. Then he goes “So Everyone get their teenage angst out tonight?????!!!!!!” Of course he was being sarcastic but the idiots didn’t realize it. Bollweevil resumes. Then during a solo, that’s it. Jack has had enough. He throws down his guitar and leans over the stage and starts screaming at a crowd surfer. He gets back to Mic:

“I am sick of these Frat F*ckers crashing our gig! People are just trying to have a good time, not have some A**hole crash down on their neck!!!” He takes a breath. “And now the last verse, which is about myself”. And the show ends smoothly.

April 3, 2006: Describing the worst venue I’ve ever been to in the USA, the Electric Factory in Philly, in the only way I knew how:

I think it was a combo of the fact that the EF is the pit of hell (think of Roseland, but worse–luckily I was in the balcony.

So there you have it folks, I’m definitely not sorry to see that place go.

On a related note, congratulations to Terminal 5 – with Roseland no longer in the game, you now officially the worst venue in NYC!

Jack White Plays for 50 Minutes at 1st Radio City Show: Angry Hipsters Throw Hissy Fits

Uh oh. Sounds like the sh*t went down. On the first night of his two night stand at Radio City Music Hall, Jack White and his band played a 50 minute set, at the end of which they left the stage…and did not return. After about 30 minutes of trying to get an encore, the announcer came on stage and told the show-goers that the gig was over and that they should leave. That is when people started freaking out, chanting “F*ck you, Jack!” and “We like Meg better anyway!”

Needless to say, the angry masses took to Twitter with their protests, typing out all types of snarky swipes (some more eloquent than others) and venting their boiling, uncontainable rage for the GALL of Jack White to only play a 50 minute set. Has everyone completely lost their minds and forgotten that a normal White Stripes set could be just over one hour?

I too would be disappointed that the show had not been longer, but people, since when was it a rule that a performer come back to the stage if he doesn’t want to? Last time I checked it was a free country.

This quote gives you a little hint as to why he did not come back:

Which I would interpret in Jack-speak to mean “This crowd is horrible and sitting there with their arms folded, seemingly not enjoying anything and/or using their cell phones even though we’ve asked them not to.”

Later someone else tweeted that he heard that Jack was not happy with the sound at the venue and didn’t want to continue. I would guess that’s it could have been a combination of both.

As White Stripes fans know — Jack has a long history of calling fans out on bad behavior/vibes. (Remember when he called a bunch of guys at a White Stripes Roseland show “frat f*ckers”? Classic. Or how about when he berated the crowd at Bowery Ballroom in 2002 for being “too cool for school”?)

But honestly folks, if you were in his shoes, and you were unhappy with either the crowd or the sound, would you really feel obligated to go out there and but on a brave face in the midst of crappy conditions? I know people are disappointed, but what they have to understand is that Jack does not do this at EVERY show — when I saw him play at the Wiltern in LA a few months back, he was in a great mood and the show was really really awesome.

And seriously, we all know that the second night of a Jack White show is always better than the first. NEVER GO TO THE FIRST SHOW (if you can only go to one). Have we ALL forgotten the lessons that we’ve learned over the years? It was only a few months ago that Jack did something very special the second night of his two-night series at Roseland. How soon we forget…

I know I’m sounding like I’m blaming the “victims” but really, you are not victims if you have enough discretionary income to blow some mildly mad stacks on a fancy concert. News flash: you are angry privileged people. Get over it.

Well, tomorrow night will be interesting. Hopefully everyone will be in better spirits. Including the crowd.
Continue reading “Jack White Plays for 50 Minutes at 1st Radio City Show: Angry Hipsters Throw Hissy Fits”

It’s Such a Perfect Day: Austra and tUnE-yArDs @ Pier 54, July 14, 2011

I probably looked like an idiot today. Not only was I wearing a t-shirt with French words on it (in honor of Bastille Day), but I was also walking around with a sh-t eating grin on my face ALL DAY LONG. “Why?” you may ask? Well it was simply a beautiful, glorious day in NYC. The weather was absolutely perfect — low humidity, sunny, high was in the low 80s, AND there was a delightful breeze. And to top it all off, today was the White Stripes’ birthday!

I couldn’t think of a better way to spend such a wonderful day than heading over to Pier 54 to attend the kick-off show of this year’s River Rocks festival at Hudson River Park. Over the years I’ve attended my fair share of River Rocks summer concerts, and they are always a delight to attend. Free music by the water — you really cannot go wrong, can you?

Yes, it’s true that the show started about 30 minutes after it was supposed to, with synthy Canadian dream pop band Austra taking the stage after 7:30pm. Dressed like a bunch of art school hipsters (high-waisted skirts, lace tops, glitter on their faces, huge glasses, neon hot pants, among other fashion statements that would make an American Apparel clerk blush), it’s a bit hard to take this up-and-coming band seriously at first, but make no mistake, Austra is going places.

Their atmospheric pop is a lovely thing to hear indeed — singer-songwriter Katie Stelmanis‘ voice has the ability to sound strong yet quivering, and dripping with emotion. Music that can equally serve as indie dance music AND the soundtrack to an elegant modern ballet, Austra’s sound is complex and compelling, and I urge you to check them out if you don’t know them already.

Headliners tUnE-yArDs were equally amazing. Merrill Garbus is absolutely captivating to watch as she layers and loops her vocal samples, drum beats, and various other organic sounds to create complex soundscapes that definitely get your body moving.

The perfect set of acts for the carefree, fun-loving spirit that should radiate from a free summer concert event. By the end of the night the crowd’s hands were up in the air, people were happy and dancing their little heart outs. There was a beautiful bright summer moon casting a glow over everyone, and the lights of Manhattan and New Jersey twinkled like jewels in the night. Then to top it all off, celebratory fireworks lit up the sky during tUnE-yArDs’ encore song.
Continue reading “It’s Such a Perfect Day: Austra and tUnE-yArDs @ Pier 54, July 14, 2011”

Ariel Pink Brought the Crazy to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Circus — But Was No Match for PONIES!

Briefly — I went to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Circus tonight at Lincoln Center. All around the event was a bit uneven in it’s organization and planning, but there were some highlights. For about 25 some odd minutes, last minute headliner Ariel Pink totally confused/captivated the audience with his bizarre performance which was swiftly ended 30 minutes early when he simply walked to one of the tent exits and just kept going

With a pre-recorded music track, Ariel treated the crowd with what came across as part performance art part Ariel Pink doing Ariel Pink karaoke covers. Dressed like a one man drunken Where’s Waldo? pajama party, Ariel was a sight to be seen, slowly circling the ring with a lackadaisical walk, seemingly with no intended direction or purpose, other than to keep him from falling asleep during his own show. The act was basically exactly how I imagine it would be like if you caught Ryan Adams, during his drug-fueled days of the early 2000s, while sleepwalking and talking after a nights worth of Halloween shenanigans.

During one point of the performance Ariel decided the only way to go was up, so he started to climb one of the lighting rigs, much to the horror of the Big Apple staff:

Seemingly lost and possibly bored, Ariel also took some of the set to sit down and chat with audience members, give one concert-goer a hug, and eventually he made his grand exit by calmly walking out of the venue.

“I’ll tell you a secret — I’m not going to finish this set.”

Confounding, discombobulating, but utterly fascinating, Ariel Pink was the only act to bring a little good ol’ fashion intrigue and drama to the night.

Part of me wonders if he basically gave up on trying to compete with the herd of magical white ponies had mesmerized the crowd minutes before his own set. I’m not sure how someone is supposed to follow PONIES.

I’d like to take this moment to apologize to the girl sitting in front of me since I think I screamed “PONIES!” for 5 minutes straight into her ear while the galloping troupe of heaven sent ponies pranced around and around the ring.

Happy 2011!

Wishing you the best for this brand new year! Raise a glass to 2011!

Last night I was told by several people that I needed to fuel my growing obsession with Jesse Eisenberg by watching Adventureland again, despite my hatred for Kristen Stewart. But much to my horror, it’s not on Netflix instant. A slight setback for 2011, but I’m still optimistic.

Inside Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow’s TriBeCa Home

If you’ve recently been perusing, you may have seen an item about some a blog post about a 2008 job done by hotter than hot interior design team Roman & Williams for “an actress, her musician husband, and their children.” Doesn’t take a genius to figure out that it’s none other than Coldplay’s Chris Martin and actress Gwyneth Paltrow. Although the original post has since been removed, thanks to the internetz the pictures remain!

And if there was any doubt that this home was in fact the residence of Mr. and Mrs. Martin, egle-eyed readers will recognize the kitchen as the “set” of Gwynie’s most recent photo shoot with Mario Testino for the August 2010 issue of Vogue to promote her new…cookbook. Oh yeah

Master bedroom:
Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow's Tribeca Bedroom

Living room:
Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow's Tribeca Living Room

Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow's Tribeca Kitchen

The decor is aggressively pastel-y and soft. Not sure if I would choose to live in this kind of space — but for the Martins it might be a nice change from the decor of some of their other, full-time homes in England.

Gwyneth Paltrow - August 2010 Vogue - In Her Kitchen

Could you live in such a space?
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Getting Ready for Siren Festival 2010

Today’s the day of The Village Voice’s 10 Year Anniversary of the Siren Festival. It’s hard to believe that for TEN YEARS I’ve been making the yearly trek down to Coney Island for this concert — and to stuff my face with a Nathan’s hot dog, and basically melt in the heat.

The fun starts today at 1pm. I’m getting my nails ready… see y’all there!

Sally Hansen Going Green nail polish

(I bought that “Going Green” Sally Hansen nail polish the other day after seeing Alexa Chung and/or China Chow sporting a vibrant green color a few months back, only to discover last night that green is really in right now!)

Some past Siren Festivals:
2007 | 2006 | 2005
Continue reading “Getting Ready for Siren Festival 2010”

Cab TV: I Hate Talk Stoop

Out of all the annoying programs and commercials that play in the back of NYC cabs, probably the worst offender is that show, “Talk Stoop.”

The woman who does the interviews is pretty much the worst interviewer ever. She always asks the most assinine questions and really, I’m not sure why she gets to host the program. (She must have something big on an NBC honcho or something.)

This past weekend I caught Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz on the show. And by caught I mean “watched on mute.” I don’t know why Mr. Ashlee Simpson-Wentz is doing cab tv, but I found it endlessly funny.