My pals Susan and Daniel invited me and many of the usual suspects to a live performance by their loosely-knit band at the Cutting Room on 24th Street in Manhattan, and wanting to support the creative endeavors of my friends I showed up with bells on.
I expected the sort of hole-in-the-wall dive that my friends and I usually frequent, but to my horror the Cutting Room is yet another of the many waaaaaay overpriced watering holes that infest the Big Apple; a tip seeking attendant in the pissoir, bottled beers started at $6.00 and their jaw-dropping menu included a green salad for $9.95 and a bacon cheeseburger that went for $16.50 (which people actually paid!!!). My pal Chris and I both ordered beers that we made last for as long as humanly possible and waited for my crew to show up. Presently Susan arrived, followed shortly by her man Daniel (a lucky bastard, who’s smart enough to know it), and the rest of the evening’s attendees whom I give a shit about began to trickle in; Ginna and Lexi Robertson (or as I call them “the cute Romulan Chicks” thanks to their short hair and somewhat exotic eyes), the ever ebullient Carl (whom I later had a great time hanging out with until he just up and disappeared), tiny wee Laurie (exhausted after a week of endless business-related plane-hopping), Christopher Meloni look-alike Mick, Martin (a dead ringer for Stork from “Animal House”) and the delectable Lia the Leather Kitty with a male friend in tow. With a cast like that, fun was guaranteed despite the legal highway robbery being committed via the bar/menu/bathroom.
The band took the stage at 7PM with an assortment of cover tunes, most perpetrated by vocalists who had absolutely no business in front of a live microphone, but those wielding instruments almost made those in the audience forget about the caterwaulings that plagued our ears. Some very good guitar work from our Daniel and others graced the stage and this hulking Italian dude who looked like an accountant let loose with some hearty blues yowls, but the true highlights of the night were:
1. Some rather drunk motherfucker named Bryan who looked like a telepod experiment involving Mike Meyers and Stephen King that went savagely wrong belting out a rendition of Prince’s “Purple Rain” that had my mouth hanging wide open for most of his performance. This virtuoso later returned with the Ramones’ “I Wanna Be Sedated” and closed the show with U2’s “I Will Follow.” This guy I would see again in a heartbeat.
2. Our Susan wielding some very solid bass, which was a lot of fun to witness after years of hearing her plunk and thub away on her couch and finally getting to see her prove once again that are few things in this world hotter than a tall, cute bass-playing chick letting loose some crushing bottom. And as if that wasn’t enough of a revelation, she completely stole the show with a killer rendition of the German language version of Nena’s “99 Luftballoons.” The crowd totally went bullmoose apefuck for her, and as she left the stage a far less talented chanteuse had the nerve to (allegedly) kiddingly chide the audience for making a big deal out of a first time singer like Susan rather than her. Sour grapes much, beeeeyotch?
On an irritating note, I went to use the can and upon returning I was just about to take my seat when a blonde who had been onstage earlier flagged my attention and said, “Can you get me a chardonnay?” I looked at her, confused, and said, “Excuse me?” She looked at me again and repeated, “Can you get me a chardonnay? A CHARDONNAY???” while miming kicking back a wine glass. Before the words came out of my mouth, her companion looked at her and said “Uh, he doesn’t work here,” which should have been readily apparent since I was sporting a black t-shirt with Sonny “The Street Fighter” Chiba’s screaming mug on it surmounted with huge white letters that read “BADAZZ MOFO.” The mortified blonde apologized profusely and began to grill me on how I knew Susan in a vain attempt to deflect my attention from her faux pas, so in keeping with the goodwill of the evening I let her slide.
The evening finally wound down with the drunk motherfucker doing an encore of “Purple Rain” and our little crew casting itself to the four winds, some going home and others heading out for further liquor-fueled adventures in the city that never sleeps. Since I was in no way going to pay the exorbitant prices for food at the Cutting Room, I held out until we left and made my way to the Wendy’s on 23rd Street, where I scarfed down a burger and then made my way to the Brooklyn-bound “R” train.
One stop after I got on, the doors opened at Union Square and an Asian kid of perhaps eighteen stumbled into the car, sat down next to me and blearily eyed the subway map. The kid reeked like a fucking distillery — along with a sickening redolence of bad fried fish — and he immediately passed out, slowly nodding and falling over on top of me, so I moved to a seat six feet away from him. It’s times like this when I realize that the subway survival skills that I earned during the ‘90’s and my then almost nightly barhopping have not gone rusty, and I listened when the kid’s presence set off my internal alarm bells: just after I moved, the kid began to cough and in short order he blew chunder all over himself and two fortunately empty seats, and then he passed out again, nearly landing face-first in the results of his own puke-alanche. Needless to say, that display cleared much of the car when the doors opened at the next stop, and I flew from the train with a speed and gazelle-like grace that belied my size.
Not a bad Friday night, if I do say so myself!