The Weekend Shortlist May 2 to 4

The Dynamic Duo, Jay Z and Mary J. Blige Co-headline at MSG
Photo Credit: AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez

Friday May 2

Location: East Village, NYC
Bands: Breaking the Band with The Hold Steady + The Virgins + The Republic Tigers + Bad Veins
Show time: 6:30 PM
Venue: Webster Hall
Food: Hip Hop Chow
Drink: Decibel
Miscellaneous: Sundaes & Cones

The Tribeca Film Festival plays host to this event showing off the talent of Brooklyn’s The Hold Steady, The Virgins, plus up and comers The Republic Tigers, and Bad Veins. One place that takes two awesome things and makes them work is Hip Hop Chow. Serving Chinese and soul food, the fried chicken and waffles are fantastic, while the mac & cheese, with it’s hint of cinnamon, will karate kick your taste buds. For drinks that are not beer nor mixed, Decibel has a large menu of Junmai, Ginjo, and Honjozo types of sake’s along with shochu vodka’s. For those with a sweet tooth, Sundaes & Cones has a remarkable list of ice cream. Looking for something different? Try flavors like wasabi, chrysanthemum, honey ginseng, or durian. But don’t worry, they have your faves!

Friday May 2

Location: Midtown West, NYC
Bands: Breaking the Band with Mary J. Blige + Jay-Z
Show time: 7:30 PM
Venue: Madison Square Garden
Food: Supermac
Drink: Stout
Miscellaneous: Jack’s 99 Cent Store

Fresh off his marriage to Beyonce, Jay-Z didn’t even wait till the honeymoon was over to start touring again as he co-headlines with the amazing Mary J. Blige at MSG. Though small, Supermac packs a hearty punch with it’s gourmet mac & cheese’s like the Mac Cheesesteak with shaved steak, caramelized onions, roasted peppers, cremini/shitake, provolone, and white American ($8.25 mini; $10.95 mega). A great place in NYC to get a full-bodied dark beer is at Stout. With a very detailed beer list with descriptions, I’ve never had a bad pint at this bar and restaurant, plus the food menu is American and quite good. Probably the biggest 99-cent store in NYC, Jack’s is three floors of some of the finest values you can find, especially in an overpriced area like Herald Square.

Saturday May 3

Location: Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Event: Dead Prez + Umi Massive B + K-Salaam + J. Period + Blitz the Ambassador + Jahdan + A-Alikes
Show time: 9:00 PM
Venue: Galapagos Art Space
Food: SEA
Drink: Zablozki’s
Accessory: Academy Records

While politically inspired rappers in hip-hop are nothing new, very few have remained as relevant over the years as Dead Prez. With a great line-up of up-and-coming artists supporting them, don’t miss the A-Alikes spit state of the union knowledge. A great restaurant on the same block is SEA. Asian inspired from the décor to the food, this huge and gorgeous space serves up a mostly Thai menu from massaman curries to house specialties like Red SEA Duck (Half duck in red vinaigrette-tomato gravy sauce served with stir-fried mixed veggies). SEA is inexpensive and visually impressive for Brooklyn. With an increasing amount of new bars on the block, Zablozki’s is a standout that’s cozy, mostly mahogany, and has great drinks specials. A great stop off if you’re early is Academy Records. One of the biggest vinyl shops in NYC, if you are a vinyl fan, you will be blown away.

Saturday May 3

Location: Lower East Side, NYC
Event: Cake Shop’s Three Year Celebration
Show time: 3:00 PM
Venue: Cake Shop
Food: San Loco
Drink: 151
Miscellaneous: Bereket

Cake Shop celebrates its third year of existence with a full day of bands starting at 3PM for $3. Among the many, many bands to play include Holy Hail, Oakley Hall, Cause Co-Motion, and Soiled Mattress and the Springs. One of my favorite cheap eats places on the L.E.S. is San Loco. Serving Mexican, this chain restaurant has several locations, but the one on Stanton Street is right around the corner from many great bars and you can get a heaping plate of bean and cheese nachos for $3.75. I’m sure on your walk through the L.E.S. you’ve passed 151 Rivington. While it has no sigh out front, this bar has a seven day a week 2-for-1 happy hour special from 6-10PM. A longstanding place to get a great falafel, Bereket has been the go-to place for Turkish food after hours for as long as I can remember.

Sunday May 4

Location: Midtown West, NYC
Event: Divas with Heart featuring Diana Ross + Patti LaBelle + Chaka Khan + Gladys Knight
Show time: 7:30 PM
Venue: Radio City Music Hall
Food: Zip Burger
Drink: Subway Inn
Miscellaneous: Kinokuniya Bookstore

Performing together for a benefit for the Masonic Medical Research Laboratory, Diana Ross, Patti LaBelle, Chaka Khan, and Gladys Knight will all be under the same roof belting out the songs that made them legends. Declaring yourself a chef-driven burger joint is one way to separate yourself from the competition. At Zip Burger they prove their point, offering farm-raised, organic, grass-fed meat and poultry, letting you build your own burger with plenty of gourmet toppings. The first time I went to Subway Inn I thought it was completely strange that there was a dive bar off Lexington Ave., in this neck of the woods, but somehow it works. Born in the 30s, this bar has somehow remained, and thank god, as it’s easily the cheapest place in the area for a drink. For fans of Japanese pop-culture, Kinokuniya Bookstore has a large selection of Japanese themed books, videos, CDs, magazines, comics, and stationary.

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