The Weekend Shortlist August 22 to 24
Stars Like Fleas Photo Credit: Heart on a Stick
Friday August 22
You could call Stars Like Fleas avant-indie rock or a chamber group but the band makes ambitious music that sounds somewhat like noise influenced ambient music with a singer who holds their album, The Ken Burns Effect together with a tight grasp. For din-din, check out Clinton Street Baking Company & Restaurant. Serving up sandwiches, omelletes, and baked goods for breakfast and lunch, for dinner expect the likes of Pan Seared Halibut with sweet corn succotash, herb roasted tomatoes, and summer squash ($19). Named after the poet Paul Verlaine, the bar offers an asian food and drink menu. While you can’t order the absinthe that probably helped kill the poet, you can order drinks like the El Chupacabra, which is better tasting with a kick of its own. If you like pickles, Guss’ Pickles has been around since 1910, it’s a landmark spot, and still makes a great pickle.
Friday August 22
Celebrating the music of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers is genius! Tonight, a ridiculous amount of great musicians pay tribute including members of The Albert Hammond Jr. Band, Hymns, Jody Porter (Fountains Of Wayne), Sammy James Jr. (The Mooney Suzuki), The Pierces, Luke Rathborne, Steve Shiltz (Longwave), Ryan “Wiz Kid” Gentles, and many more. San Loco serves inexpensive Mexican food. 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. It’s walls play host monthly for 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.
Saturday August 23
On her new album Here With Me, Jennifer O’Connor has really stepped up as a songwriter, if that’s even possible since her last album was so good. Catch her at Greenpoint’s newest vinyl shop for FREE. As for dinner in Greenpoint, oddly enough, Top Chef Contestant Camille Becerra’s Restaurant Paloma is nearby, serving what she’s dubbed “urban American cuisine,” or seasonal American, which is surprisingly affordable. Probably one of the nicest editions of bars to Greenpoint, Black Rabbit is my fave. Who can resist dark wood interior, cozy booths, and an excellent selection of beers? With a fireplace in the back and a small menu of snack foods, it’s the place to unwind. Another good bar nearby is The Pencil Factory. With an all wood décor, big windows, and an excellent selection of beers on tap, you’ll find neighborhood artists and musicians making conversation here.
Saturday August 23
Local songsmith Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson has been steadily picking up steam as a musician, having worked with Kyp Malone of TV on the Radio and having released his recent self-titled album, which is an amazing blend of singer/songwriter and band unafraid of experimentation. Best of all, the show is FREE. With one of the best burgers in Williamsburg, Dumont Burger offers theirs with gourmet toppings, sandwiches, salads, and their amazing mac & cheese. So you consider yourself a beer connoisseur and like to party. You can do all that and eat at Radegast. The Austrian/German menu perfectly compliments the 12 beers on tap and more than 30 German and Austrian bottles at this large beer hall. One of the oldest and best hipster hangout coffee shops, The Verb offers up excellent coffee and baked goods, a boho vibe, and big windows to watch the days pass while collecting unemployment!
Sunday August 24
Location: Greenpoint, Brooklyn
Bands: JellyNYC Pool Parties with Yo La Tengo + Titus Andronicus + Ebony Bones
Show time: 2:00 PM FREE
Venue: McCarren Park Pool
Drink: Bar Matchless
Miscellaneous: The original Soupman
Yo La Tengo headline this last FREE show at McCarren Pool and probably ever, as the city has given the OK to turn the pool into an actual pool next summer. So come celebrate the end of an amazing few years of FREE shows in Brooklyn. There’s a lot of restaurants popping up in Greenpoint nowadays. The Japanese restaurant Wasabi has been there before many of them and serves up some of the best sushi in that hood. A good local bar, Bar Matchless is that low-key place where you can chill, get a drink and not have to scream at the top of your lungs to make conversation. He’s been called “The Soup Nazi” on Seinfeld, but Al Yeganeh knows how to make soup. Try the Lobster bisque, it’s the best I’ve ever had, and don’t forget to follow his rules or “No Soup for You!”