I Don’t Wanna Go Down To The Basement

August 31, 2007

hilly.jpgNY Punk Godfather and CBGBs owner Hilly Krystal died this week, just a few months after that famed dive closed it’s doors. I guess you could say both the club and the man were victims of the ever changing city.

The Bowery, the neighborhood in which Hilly operated CBGB, was a seedy, dirty, drug addict and wino infested place when the club opened in the ’70’s and when I lived there in the early 90’s, but is now an up and coming area filling up with trendy stores and eateries and high-priced housing, just like every other area of Manhattan.

I went to CBGB’s a few times and saw some good (and really bad) bands there. There was something special about the place and in my opinion it was this: In a city that is notorious for disgusting bathrooms, CBGB’s had the absolute worst. Really. There are no descriptives strong enough to do justice to the putresence of the dank holes I can only loosly describe as restrooms. My one and only exchange with Hilly was about the bathrooms. After holding my breath and running in, doing my business and running out as fast as I could, I informed Hilly that the men’s room had no paper towels. He replied,”Yeah? Well, that’s been the case since about ’82.” Then he chuckled and walked away.

By the time I had moved to the city, CBGB’s wasn’t the happening spot it once was. There was still live music, of course, and it’s status as the home of New York punk kept it busy on the weekends, but it was more of a nostolgia than anything else. The town has passed Hilly by. Still, it was a warm and friendly kind of shithole.

Anyway, rest in peace, Hilly. Thanks for the place to see music and drink PBR on the cheap.

Gabba Gabba Hey!


Back From Ohio and Still Shaking……

August 24, 2007

OK. So after a week in the solidly red state of Ohio I have to admit that I had forgotten what the experience is like. Here are some highlights:

  • My cousin informs me that his 2 year old son will not be allowed into my other cousin’s house where my daughter and her new found 3rd cousin friend are playing because “my boy ain’t going to be playing with no fucking dolls.”
  • That same cousin’s wife tells me, in all seriousness and feeling very open-minded, that she thinks Adam Sandler is funny, “even though he’s a Jew.”
  • A stranger that my brother and I played golf with goes on at length about how even though Bush may have made a few “small mistakes with this Iraq thing” it’s excusable since he’s had to spend “so much time cleaning up the mess that Clinton left behind.”
  • Any public place with a television that is not showing ESPN is showing Fox News.
  • My parents don’t have cable, so they only get 6 channels. Two of them are full time religious networks owned by mega-churches.
  • And the countryside is littered with billboards for these mega-churches, crusades, biblical quotes, anti-choice slogans and other nonsense.

On the upside there are a lot of indoor water parks and roller coasters in the part of the state I was in.

My parents are considered very liberal for the area (although I would consider them moderates) and I’m stunned they haven’t been run out of the area by a crowd of pitchfork and torch wielding morons. 

So to recap: I had a great time seeing my parents and family, showing my daughter the places I grew up and going to theme parks.

I had a terrible time being reminded of the reasons I couldn’t wait to leave in the first place. It was an eye-opener. Living safely ensconsed in the liberal stronghold of MA has warped my view of things. If Ohio is any indication, the country is most definatly NOT swinging left. Or maybe Ohio is just a lost cause.

Whatever the case, conservatives in my homestate make the ones we have here look like Kennedys.

Some Random Thoughts While I Have a Minute

August 9, 2007

The comedy show was a big success and a hell of a lot of fun. I didn’t advertise much this time, but I’m planning more in the fall and I’ll get the word out earlier and farther.

I’m still in the midst of one of the busier summers I’ve had in a while, so the posts will  continue to be sporadic for a while longer.

I’m heading out to Beautiful Ohio next week. (OSU grads stand and sing here). I haven’t been there in years. My parents usually travel here to see us (well, to see the Grandkid. I just happen to be here) so it’s time to go the other way.

I’m having one of those stretches of time where everything seems to break. It’s running the gamut from a leaky faucet I can’t seem to fix to the transmission in our mini-van that costs way more to fix than I care to mention.

I recently had a lovely evening in the back yard of a neighbor drinking and talking with many of the bloggers on my blogroll and some other great folks from the area. Thanks for the hospitality, Greg. And Ross, great to finally meet you. I’m taking you up on that Rotary lunch soon.

My latest musical obsession is King Crimson. Especially the 80’s and 90’s lineup of Robert Fripp, Adrian Belew, Bill Bruford and Tony Levin. This is Prog Rock Magic, folks, with a paranoid edge that makes David Byrne look downright well adjusted.

More later, perhaps from the wilds of the Lake Erie shore.