The Weekend Shortlist May 16 to 18
Friday May 16
A Jazz titan who made the avant-garde cool, having developed his sound with the legendary John Coltrane, Pharoah Sanders has played with most of the relevant free jazz players like Cecil Taylor, Sun Ra and more. In other words, if you love music, catch this show if you can. Fat Annie’s Truck Stop offers truck stop style food oddly positioned in Herald Square. Burgers, chilli, po boys and pie are some options in this fun restaurant. Right next store, Stout may look like a sports bar but it has one of the largest selections of dark stout beers in the city. Yeah, it’s a 99 cent store but Jack’s is more like watching a train wreck happen slowly. The place is packed with people trying to get by, yelling, and elbowing each other. True the deals are great, but you’ll either find it hysterical or swear you’ll never go back.
Friday May 16
A godfather of free jazz, Sunny Murray is one of the best drummers ever. Don’t believe me? Check out his classic recordings with Cecil Taylor and Albert Ayler to see how good he was and still is. Tonight his trio consist of Michael Bisio on bass and Louie Belogenis on sax. If you’ve never been to Minca for dinner, go right now! This small noodle bar makes some amazing ramen noodles from scratch. Try the Minca Ramen, a mild broth with pork, chicken & dried seafood ($8.50). One of the newer bars in the East Village, Common Ground has a dark wood interior, a relaxed atmosphere, and excellent cocktails like the Blueberry Pie. If you like pastries filled with cream, check out Beard Papa Sweets Café. They offer cream fillings like earl grey, green tea, coffee, and the standard vanilla, chocolate, strawberry among others.
Saturday May 17
Who doesn’t love singer and showman Baby Dayliner? He’s either crooning alone over hip-hop beats or with a live band and sounding like a cross between Sinatra and Morrissey! Joining him is beatmaker Blockhead who frequently collaborates with Aesop Rock. 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.
Saturday May 17
The Kitchen celebrates the life, music, and compositions of Arthur Russell, who was one of the NY downtown scene’s best artists from the 1970s till the time he died in 1992. Tonight his composition The Singing Tractors will be performed by a septet of downtown’s current finest musicians. Not just a great name for a restaurant, Il Bastardo offers excellent Italian food, seafood, and steak in a large and beautifully designed space. With an interesting menu of cosmos and cocktails like the Fother Mucker, made with Zygo, a locally distilled energy vodka, Brite Bar looks like a lounge but is way more fun. One of my favorite coffee houses, due to the fact that they are doing a great job of reinventing the wheel when it comes to making coffee, is Café Grumpy. Here, every cup is freshly pressed and the latte’s are thick and rich.
Sunday May 18
Indie-pop band Los Campesinos! stop by The Living Room to play songs off their debut album Hold on Now, Youngster… and more. Joining them are Pela and Kidrockers/Madrockers for this kid-friendly show. San Loco may not serve the greatest Mexican food ever, but it certainly isn’t bad. The prices are inexpensive, you can get a heaping amount of nachos for as little as $3.75, and telling by the heavy traffic, the place is doing just fine. What I like about Max Fish is that it’s a local bar for local artists, who’s walls host monthly art exhibitions, there’s a pool table in the back, and drinks aren’t pricey, like many new bars springing up in this neighborhood. For one of the best cupcakes in the city, Sugar Sweet Sunshine has 10 varieties, on top of cakes. Try the Sexy Red Velvet or the Bob, a yellow cupcake with chocolate almond buttercream.