Friday, October 24, 2008

The Salon at Galapagos Art Space on Oct 30th.

Featuring the
JC Hopkins Biggish Band
including vignettes from the Jazz, Swing, Burlesque Musical "Underneath A Brooklyn Moon"

SUGAR SHACK BURLESQUE with Legs Mallone and RunAround Sue.

DJ Swank - spinning classic & modern lounge, swing, and trippy go-go electronica for your aural pleasure.

VERGE – a group show of visual artists currated by Tiffany Hunold. Artists include: Dylan DeWitt, Loie Hollowell, Yui Kugimiya, Theresa Marchetta, Hayley McCulloch, Dio Mendoza, Leslie Smith & Katayoun Vaziri.

Additional performances by an eclectic array of some of the best musicians & performers from around town.

Specialty cocktail menu by Fredo from Loungerati and Giuseppe Gonzalez.
Guest Mixologist & Bartender: Giuseppe Gonzalez (8-11pm)

7pm art opening. Live Music starts at 8pm

Galapagos Art Space
16 Main St, DUMBO Brooklyn

$15 at door -- $12 in advance.

For more info and advance tickets visit:

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Monday, October 20, 2008

Barfly's Beat: Berlin - The Pleasure of Serious Drinking

I was coaxed pell-mell to Tiergarten by mein host, Helmut, a cocktail courtesan of bilingual ability and veritable repute. Over a grappa in Mitte by the side of the river, we’d chopped through the places to be, because I sought a pervasive drink in the underworld, and didn’t mean a dip in the Spree.

Two minutes later, and up-pulled a midnight blue Mercedes Benz: what followed next was an ephemeral footnote so beguiling, that tracers start and focus ends. Indeed, I recall no more than the opening of a rear window – through which I tossed my bearings away – with the rest of the ride a fever-dream of displacement/fantasy.

Hence, upon braking at 102 Potsdamer Straße and entering the VICTORIA BAR, our host, Beate, had readied her signature elixir: ‘The Hildegard’. Named after Frau Knef, the first-ever German actress to film a nude scene, it is a wham-bam of straight-up Vodka and Champagne that left me whistle-wet and immediately keen.

Part-Mama Fratelli – with forearms of spinach and an inkling of Pro-Dom charm – Beate’s soft-lens eyes shone “available”, though her sonorous yadda raised alarm. Queens of the Court, of course, have the knack and know-how to keep one honest awhile; and a dress-shirt, tie, and apron lent this Ma’am a matronly mercantile.

VICTORIA BAR specializes in pairing strong drinks with interesting eats, but, as enthusiastic as I was, I couldn’t accept the offer of an Old Fashioned served up with Oxtail Soup: Wie sagt man auf Deutsch, "Do I look like a fruit loop?”

Armed with the menu, then, and an express purpose, I pawed through 50-odd pages of what seemed to me a foretold curse. Pile-up sketches (below the Bourbon) and pin up etchings (beneath the Gin) imbedded the bill-of-fare with a memento mori; who knew Raphael Danke’s series of ‘Sex & Car Crashes’ didn’t amount to the sum of a state-sponsored scare story?

Pursed-of-lip, I pointed out the ‘Green Victoria’ as my poison of choice, slipped off my barstool, and made for a meditative moment in the boys'.

Apocalypse in the shape of Stu Mead’s Chinoise wallpaper interrupted me at the rest room recess, though, where motifs of playful narratives decanted water-of-life vignettes. ‘Philosophy’, I came to realize, was not about degrees of artifice, layers of conceit, or grades of misgiving, rather, it was a proposed evincement pursuant upon design: in this case, The Art of Living.

Thus, in a 90-minute sitting, I took that Green Victoria, a ‘Lord Jim’, ‘Sun Ra’, two of my customary Sazeracs, and I’m quite sure I met David Niven.

At some stage, I noticed one of the walls was exposed to look like the swirling cross-section of a tree, laying bare an imprint of transience that moved beyond the quoted starting-point of san soucie (meaning ‘without a care’, it is a nod to the opulent Rococo grace of the 18th Century Potsdam retreat of Frederick the Great).

Loosely, Berlin’s very existence – hung here handsomely and most even-handedly – seems founded on the embrace of discontinuance. Take the late-19th Century REALISMUS mirror reflecting the Ingo ‘Kallo’ Strobel lamps, à la Cabaret, and the mousse-green booth beneath a solitary leather drape, circa 1948.

Nuance, I learned, is the underplayed child of chiaroscuro, and it was borne here by the conceptual artist Thomas Hauser, whose meisterwerk is so big-balled, he must’ve had a sundial down his trousers. Eighteen colors from white-to-black form a continuous piece over five huge frames; a futurist study of an abiding Martin Kippenberger, but I daren’t even attempt to explain.

Jawohl, the owner, arbiter, and aesthetic loner, Stefan Weber (alas, absent during my visit) seems to have cultivated a well-read, and well-heeled class of customer. Ordained by none-other than The Big Willie of Bavarian Bartending, Herr Charles Schumann, the face of Baldessarini – who “Separate the Men from the Boys” – VICTORIA BAR is moments away from cruising traffic, but it's worth the risk just to hear Beate's voice.

Green Victoria: Pisco, Lemon, Mint, Sugar, Champagne

- Graeme

Friday, October 17, 2008

A cigar is so much more than just a cigar ...

A letter from our pal Effervescent written at the University Club:

"Caro Fredo,

Written while skipping out on a Lindy hop, seated in a chair Norman Rockwell himself painted in 1960, while watching rain fall down on Gotham's Fifth Avenue, in one of the damn fanciest rooms my Sicilian ass has ever been in, an ass covered by an English bespoke suit I purchased during a spend economy, that proudly props up the white silk presidential I sported the evening I married the woman, who back when we were first dating, gifted me an elegant tubed cigar, who's seal I would break and who's 30 year wrapper I would smoke down to a nub, outside the Scottish Castle I would marry her in, during a light snowfall at 2AM, though for all purposes it could have been a gifted Cuban, smoked in a historic seaside Victorian town, with salty Atlantic breezes firing up its embers, since either way the smokers would learn that these vanishing cigars with fancy names like Cohiba Robusto and Partagas 160, as they burned down, were simply transforming into life memories, and the timely lesson that, sometimes, a cigar is so much more than just a cigar...


Cigars on the veranda at Congress Hall, Cape May, April 30, 2005

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Y10A: Yehoodi's Ten Year Anniversary

Please join us in congratulating the gang at Yehoodi on their ten year Anniversary. Loungerati will be teaming up with Miss Behave for pre-party "Glamor Cocktails" at Pegu Club on Saturday October 18th. Then heading over to a party ten years in the making!

Here are more details on the festivities:

Jelly Roll Productions is honored to be celebrating Yehoodi's 10th Anniversary, Saturday, October 18th, 2008:

For 10 years now, Yehoodi has been the online home for the lindy hopper in New York City, the country, and the world. Yehoodi has become an integral part of the dance community, including: discussion boards, the radio show, the news items, and local and national event calendars.

Yehoodi's 10th Anniversary Celebration:

Kim Nalley, recently awarded as one of the "Ten Most Influential African Americans in the Bay Area," is one of the most lauded, internationally acclaimed jazz singers to emerge from San Francisco, California. Nalley is also a noted actress, producer, jazz lecturer and jazz programmer.

Kim Nalley in looks and presence is often eerily reminiscent of Billie Holiday but vocally she packs a 3 1/2 octave range that can go from operatic to gritty blues on a dime, projection that can whisper a ballad yet is capable of filling a room with no microphone and the ability to scat blistering solos without ever losing the crowd's interest or the intense swing. Her singing is most reminiscent of the former Basie Singers Helen Humes & Joe Williams with a dash of Dinah Washington and occasional nods to Ella, Sarah and Nina Simone.

Danny Mixon and his trio and Duke Ellington alum Art Baron on trombone.

Musicians: Kim Nalley, with the Danny Mixon Trio, with special guests Art Baron and David Glasser. Other surprise special guests will be announced.
Date: Sat, October 18th
Time: 8pm – 12:30am
Location: Sal Anthony's SPQR, 133 Mulberry St (in Little Italy)
Cover: $25 in advance, $20 for students in advance, $30 at the door for everyone.

To Buy Tickets and For More Info:

After hours:

Lucky Skillen, Pippa Tooher, Mr. Swank, Jelly Roll Productions and Yehoodi Present:

Moulin Blues: Yehoodi’s 10th Anniversary Party After Hours Extravaganza

To keep the magic of the Yehoodi 10th Anniversary Party going, we are going all out and celebrating at the world famous Spiegeltent! Spiegeltent is one of the most unique spaces you’ll ever see, including a beautiful tent for dancing and lounging and a bar area that overlooks the Brooklyn Bridge.

Keeping the classy vibe, we’ve got two of the best Swing DJs in the country, Manu Smith and Greg Avakian, who will be playing lindy hop, blues, soul, and whatever else they feel playing to keep the party going. Check your labels at the door!

And we know it’s a late night, so we know you’re hungry. No need to head out to a diner. Free food will be served to keep your energy going. Just come over immediately after Y10A!

Here’s the Skinny:

Date: Saturday Night, October 18th (technically Sunday morning, 10/19)
Time: 1am – 4am
Location: Pier 17, South Street Seaport (South Street & Beekman Street).
Cover: $10 (no advance sales)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Mad Men Illustrated

"Casting Call"

Artist Dyna Moe aka Nobody's Sweetheart brings us free illustrations depicting snapshots of AMC's Emmy winning MAD MEN episodes on Flickr. She creates a new cartoon illustration after each episode.

She also adds:"Feel free to download and use any of them as wallpapers or write in your blog or website about them. I give everyone blanket permission to do so... you don't even need to ask."

Grazie mille Dyna! Keep these gems coming!!

"Joan and the Xerox"

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Care for a (Classic) Shave?

by Frank "Franky Boy" Dellario

If you're a guy, and love the past like we do, at some point you've thought about the shaving thing. Every day you look in the mirror, lather up with shaving cream fizzing out of a can, scrape it off your face using a plastic cartridge blade with two, three or now five blades, and wonder if the old ways were better.

For me, the answer is yes. Inspired, I looked into it further, and here's what I found.

Multi-Blade Cartridges
It's a classic business model: They offer the razor for free, and make money on the cartridge-blades that custom fit their handle. The problem is they have to continuously outdo their competition, so they add more blades for a supposedly closer and faster shave. But all that seems to do is leave us with more blades per cartridge and a higher price tag. I don't get it. Is five blades really that much better than one?

Besides not appreciating being sold a bill of goods, I've found the cartridges don't give me that much better a shave and don't last that long. You've got to press a bit harder after the first day of use to get a decent shave, and they routinely clog with hair and shaving cream. I think it's time to go back to the past.

Straight Razor
I bought one in a vintage store along with a strop (a leather strip used to fine tune the edge, much like the steels used by chefs), and asked my barber if he would teach me to properly sharpen a straight razor. His reply shocked me. "Don't waste your time," he said. "Even the barbers who are the best at sharpening can never match the micro-thin edge of a machine-made safety razor. And besides, there's a reason why the straight razor's replacement was called a safety razor."

That made sense to me, I have to say. The time it would take to hone a decent blade edge as well as safely use it did not appeal to me. But I didn't want to give up the nostalgic idea of using a classic form of shaving. What was I to do? The answer came to with an heirloom handed down to me by my Dad.

My grandfather’s shaving kit, carried with him during WWI.

Double-Sided Safety Razor
Introduced in the late 1880's and perfected by Gillette, this vintage piece revolutionized shaving. You now had a paper-thin double-sided blade that fit into a weighted razor. No sharpening, no danger of slitting your throat (though it did make the shaving cut a common denominator of modern grooming. But hey, that's part of being a man, right?).

As I looked at this beautiful kit used by my grandfather, I decided to do some research. It seemed to me that, for a man, maybe the safety razor was the ultimate shaving device that was eventually dwarfed by its own business model of newer-faster-better, which morphed into the cartridge razor of today.

I had to try it but could not use my grandpa's kit, that's an heirloom. I ordered a 1.7 oz butterfly style razor (a turn of the handle opens the butterfly-like top to change the blade). It was a wonderful shave. You didn't need to add any pressure; the weight of the handle did the work. (What's the adage? Let the tool do the work.) The handles are even available in different weights to fit your shaving style (1.7 oz, 2.8 oz, 3.0 oz and in-between).

The only trick I had to learn, which was a simple one, is that I just can't plant the razor on my face like a cartridge. I needed to place the safety edge of the razor on my face, tilt it up ever so slightly and then allow the weight to draw it down. It was like shaving butter and very intuitive. Plus, one double-sided blade lasted me a month. At $5 for a ten pack, I think the math adds up.

Now some people may argue that, with a properly heated and lathered whisker, a straight razor will do an amazing shaving job. That may be true in the hands of a master barber, but for me at home, the safety razor is the right compromise between classic style and a tool that works, day in and day out. Thanks for the tip from the past, Grandpa.

How to use a Safety Razor

Brief History of Safety Razors