The Weekend Shortlist September 19 to 21
Friday September 19
Canadian songstress Basia Bulat has a sweet folky voice and an eclectic arsenal of songs that will sweep you off your feet. For eats, check out Thai Me Up Sandwich Bar, a sandwich shop offering Thai sandwiches with 7 Steamed Fried Vegetables and a choice of chicken, veggie, tofu or beef on a baguette with 3 types of sauces for $7. One of the city’s oldest bars, you can feel the history when you enter as memorabilia, since its beginnings in 1854, are all over the walls. Aside from it being a frat hangout nowadays, it’s worth the trip. You’ve seen that orange Mudd coffee truck parked on Astor Place and on various other streets, but check out their café on East 9th for coffee and a healthy, vegan, and vegetarian menu.
Friday September 19
Blending electro, jazz, and avant-garde awesomness, Santogold is one of the standout singers of the years who makes makes music you can chill out with or spazz dance to in your room. Part restaurant and part club, China 1 serves up more upscale Chinese food than you’re used to. With décor that’s more dungeon lounge than China, this is a fun place to hang. With an MP3 jukebox that has 3000 albums to choose from, nicknamed “El DJ,” Hi Fi is a rock lover’s wet dream. With daily drink specials, this place is cheap, and that’s a rare thing in NYC these days. If you’re still in the mood to party after this early reading, hit up Second on Second for some karaoke, where you can sing till your throat is sore!
Saturday September 20
Nothing says rock more than a show featuring legendary rock bands like Motorhead and The Misfits sharing a bill together. Seriously, bring your shoulder pads or stuff your pants with Charmin and get ready for a large mosh pit. For a kickass burger or chicken sandwich, Island Burgers and Shakes specializes in making great burgers like the Bourbon Street Burger that’s blackened, with bacon, Jack, bayou mayo, and onion on sourdough. One cheap bar in midtown, Smith’s is a dive bar with cheap booze, friendly locals, and live music daily in the next room. Though the place is way expensive, Colony Music is a fun music store that sells albums and sheet music. You can walk around and check out the entertainment memorabilia. Whether you’re looking for an autographed guitar signed by the Rolling Stones or an autographed 8×10 of Linda Carter, they’ve got it.
Saturday September 20
Musician and artist Christian Marclay’s exhibit Cyanotypes, the art of taking photographic prints created by placing objects on a photosensitive surface, features abstract tangles made by unspooled cassette tapes, which look like a brilliant mess. With sushi that’s 50 percent off all the time, you might think, “Something’s wrong with that?” but the fish is good and the rolls are inventive, making this one of the best low-priced sushi joints in the city. Though St. Marks all of a sudden lost its charm, Grassroots Tavern hasn’t. This large dive bar has cheap drinks, darts in the back, and old men behind the bar, things a good dive bar should have. Excellent coffee served in a big mug and a healthy menu of food coupled with a year round enclosed outdoor backyard patio make Mud Cafe a great little coffee shop in the area.
Sunday September 21
See the only play that has ventured to tell the story of Africa’s most controversial and arguably the best musician, Fela Kuti. Choreographed by Bill T. Jones with music by Antibalas, Fela! blends Afrobeat music with Fela’s life story, which are no doubt explosive. One of my favorite places for food, Ear Inn is a 200-year-old bar with a small menu featuring burgers, sandwiches, and a chalkboard with specials including Jerk Chicken that’s under $10. With $3 pints Monday thru Friday 12pm to 7pm along with comedy and music performances, the Village Lantern is a great bar to chill at after work, especially now that it’s finally getting warm outside. Watch some of the best chocolate in the world made right in front of your eyes or browse through the store and sample for yourself the fruits of this master chocolatier’s labor.