The Weekend Shortlist Jan 25 – 27
Friday Jan 25
Location: Upper West Side, NYC
Artists: One Step Beyond: A-Trak + Kid Sister + The Cool Kids
Venue: Rose Center for Earth and Space (at the American Museum of Natural History)
Accessory: American Museum of Natural History
Tonight, hip hop goes to the museum with One Step Beyond, a party where turntablist A-Trak (Kanye West’s DJ), Kid Sister, recently signed to his label Fool’s Gold, and retro-rap duo The Cool Kids perform. In the mood for pan-Asian food? Rain is a great bet, with it’s rather large Japanese themed wood paneled space, it has devised dishes like the Jungle Curry Wild Boar with kaffir lime, Thai eggplant, and Shanghai bok choy ($24). Prohibition harkens back to that 20s era full of illegal activity. Fortunately, the bar has an excellent drink menu including 12 different martinis. With pool tables in the back and exposed brick walls covered with paintings of people imbibing drinks, the theme may be prohibition but everyone is having too good a time to notice. While you’re at the museum, check out the exhibit “Water:H20=Life,” celebrating and informing us on that stuff keeping us alive.
So, you wanna be a hip hop star and think you can recite Wu Tang songs to win a championship? Prepare to be humbled as 12 finalist’s battle for a cash prize, and get judged by the legendary Prince Paul and others in this first annual event. Burger joint in the front, upscale lounge in the back, the menu at Pop Burger includes basics like 2 pop burgers for $5 for a quick fix or if your lounging, the likes of tuna tartar with soy truffle jus ($15). The Gaslight, a great hotspot bar in the meatpacking district, is dark and cozy while affordable for the area. If you don’t know Amy’s Bread, when you order a sandwich at a café or restaurant in the city, ask where they got the bread. There’s a good chance it’s from Amy’s because she’s one of the best bread makers in the city.
Saturday Jan 26
Longtime NYC mainstays The Giraffes bring the sex and metal as they break in their new bass player Jens Carstensen, while Baby Dayliner, who sounds like a cross between Sinatra and Morrissey, and one who usually croons alone over hip hop beats, comes full force with a live band, which is a rarity. This show ought to be one for the books. If you’re starving, I mean really starving, head over to Katz’s Deli. This old school deli packs on the pastrami a mile high. The portions are huge and the place is classic NY. For drinks, Nurse Bettie is a chic looking bar with exposed brick walls, paintings of 50s pinups, and offers an excellent cocktail menu. Stop by Ludlow Guitars if there’s time and peruse through some magnificent rare and new music equipment from inexpensive to guitars that you will have to save dearly to afford.
Start off the evening at Matsuri*, with Chef Tadashi Ono’s highly acclaimed Japanese food (*make a reservations). At Matsuri the fish is so fresh it’s flown in from Japan daily. I highly recommend the sushi with one of over 200 kinds of sake they stock. After dinner, head to the Japanese-themed bar Hiro for a dimly lit cocktail to lubricate your mind for the music to come. Cornelius, Japan’s finest musical export, lifted his name from Planet of The Apes. He has three albums to blow your mind, playing musical styles ranging from Electronica to experimental rock. He and his band rarely make it to the U.S., so this will definitely be the treat to this rising sun evening. After trying to gather yourself from your musical mind expansion you might want to head down to Cha An Japanese Tea House to sip some Matcha tea and calm yourself down.
Sunday Jan 27
Location: Union Square, NYC
Artist: DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist + Double Dee & Steinski
Venue: Fillmore New York at Irving Plaza
Drink: 119 Bar
Accessory: Barnes & Noble (Union Square location)
DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist scratching together in the documentary film “Scratch,” shows just a fraction of what these two can do together. I’m sure this performance will be amazing. Plus DJ legends that inspired the duo, Double Dee and Steinski, open the show. One of the best Japanese restaurants in the city, Yama, serves up some of the hugest and freshest portions of sushi, while not being as expensive as you think. Close to Irving Plaza, 119 Bar is one dive where you can get cheap drinks, play pool, and hang with friends while not standing out or being bothered when you’re a sweaty mess from dancing after seeing Shadow and Chemist perform, and I mean that in a good way! If you’re bored and early for the show, head over to the four floor Barnes & Noble to look through magazines and get a cup of coffee.