Underground Show

Music is the lifeblood for my right-sided brain. David Bowie, Blondie, Velvet Underground, Elvis Costello, the Ramones and Madonna supply stimulation while I work on creative endeavors.

New York rock bands from the early 60’s and the 70’s capture my interest. I was always sad that I never had the chance to visit CBGB’s, while it was still a piece of Downtown Manhattan’s quirky collage. However, the bands that emerged from the legendary venue live in my music collection.

While CBGB’s has been replaced with a pricey, John Varvatos shop, life south of 14th street still has a great music scene. For the longest time, I spent all my time downtown and didn’t walk into any music venues. One faithful Saturday night that changed.

Gino phoned me and asked, “Do you wanna see a show in the Lower East Side tonight?” I replied “I’m already in my pajamas.” With a little laughter, he said ” there are going to be half well off drinks.” I walked to my closet to pick out an outfit. “I’ll see you in 30 minutes.”

I took the subway to the Lower East Side and waited for Gino outside the Cake Shop (a coffee shop with an underground concert space). Waiting outside the venue was a parade of hip people. Black rim glasses, quirky style and a bit of irony were the fabric tied to the scene that night. I looked down at the horse at the left hand side of my shirt. “Oh, I’m definitely bringing preppy back.”

Gino met me and we walked downstairs to the show. It was packed, thanks to the drink specials, but I actually was excited to see the band. I hadn’t gone too many concerts.

After, Gino picked us up drinks, the band played. They had a distinctive New York rock band sound. It was Julian Casablanca meets Vampire Weekend. Thanks to my half off drink, I found myself jamming, even with my little horsey, distinguishing me as the lone prep.

I might have missed CBGB, but wow, this was truly fun entertainment. After the show, I felt excited. Not only did I have a fun time, but also did something out of the ordinary. I haven’t gone to many concerts since, but would be open for more fun.

Today, I have a concert playing in my head almost hourly. My favorite music listening experience revolves around ordering a chai latte, blasting Bjork on my iPOD and freely strolling the Lower East Side. It’s my form of creative therapy. Cheers to more loud music and booze.

Art + Rock n’ Roll

Art museums are the grand dames of exciting cultural outings. They certainly ignite wanderlust in my soul. Of course, there are those who speak a bit too loud at museums. “Oh this artist is an impressionist” &” Frida Kahlo painted this & it reflects her tortured soul.” Ninety-nine percent of the time, they sound incredibly pretentious.

Often times, I just switch on my iPOD & jam out to the hipper than thou “Bjork/Talking Heads/Violent Femmes” playlist to drown out the annoyance. Although, I have to say I’ve seen some absolutely amazing exhibits.

My most memorable exhibits were not the typical Andy Warhol & Pablo Picasso fare. However, those were incredibly interesting & remarkable. There were the not so pleasant smelling exhibits such the ketchup splattered on canvas, which made me crave French fries. A village in India made from soup cans was the most interesting exhibit. Soup cans & ketchup are household goods. For someone with loose screws & lots of imagination, it is art. For these fine folks an art brush & fancy colors just won’t do.

Going to advertising school equates drawing. I’d always been more of a wordsmith, but secretly wanted to sketch. Writers & painters live in two different worlds & rarely jet set to each other’s galaxy. My artist friend Jackie took time to teach me the art of sketching. It all commenced with a water bottle. I had to follow every contour carefully. I studied the object closely & after careful sketching, it looked like a water bottle on paper.

Soon, stick figures went the way of vinyl records. I sketched my own portrait as well as a few friends. Not everyone loved it, but it was entertaining. Art in general is subjective. One of my favorite artists is Jean-Michel Basquiat. I love his funky use of reds & yellows. Although, it’s world renowned pop art, not everyone would classify his intense paintings beautiful. There are the traditionalists who prefer Monet’s soothing greens & interpretations of London’s iconic Big Ben.

Many artists felt unsure of their work. As the cliché saying goes, ” beauty is in the eye of the beholder,'” so is art. Personally, I love how culture shocked I’m staring into a Frida Kahlo painting. Although, my sketching won’t hang in a museum, I enjoy the process. It feels like a miniature holiday for the many minutes it takes to sketch a bottle (or other objects).

Regardless of what people think, I’m gonna keep on drawing. It’s always more fun to sketch & analyze art with some rock n’ roll in the background.