The Weekend Shortlist January 1 to 3
Friday January 1
Former lead singer and co-founder of the 60s psyche band 13th Floor Elevators, Roky Erickson has had a tough life as he descended into mental illness and legal battles. But he’s back in a better frame of mind and performing music that has inspired a number of bands. Keeping the night going with some Latin flavor, try El Viejo Yayo for dinner. This gorgeous and warm restaurant has an elegant dining room and an affordable menu offering Dominican/Latin cuisine. The outside of Buttermilk Bar may look non-descript, but looks are deceiving . . . just not in this case, as this low-key watering hole is where you can grab a cheap drink in a friendly atmosphere, while playing a board game or two. With a near insane menu of chocolates from coffee and tea to delectable dessert, and even beer, The Chocolate Room is a great way to end the night on a high note.
Friday January 1
Location: East Village, NYC
Event: The Poetry Project’s 36th Annual New Year’s Day Marathon Benefit Reading
Show time: 2 PM
Venue: The Poetry Project
Drink: Common Ground
Miscellaneous: Beard Papa Sweets Cafe
One alternative tradition in NYC is to have a marathon featuring some of the best writers from underground legends to up and comers read their work on the first of the new year. The Poetry Project’s 36th Annual New Year’s Day Marathon Benefit Reading features readings from too many to list but includes Penny Arcade, Legs McNeil, John Giorno, Philip Glass, Lenny Kaye and Emily XYZ. 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 January 2
Featuring members of Crystal Stilts and German Measles, Beachniks are all about the beach with happy-go-lucky songs about all the fun-in-the-sun Brooklyn area has to offer. Tonight they celebrate the release of their 7″ for now with a full album on the way. Joining them are The Missionaries, The Honeydo’s, Moonmen on the Moon, Man, Knight School, Tough Knuckles, Air Waves, The Nymphets, My Teenage Stride, The Surprisers, and Juan Wauters (of the Beets). Though Relish looks like a 50s diner or an even larger version of an L train car, this restaurant offers up some gourmet treats for dinner. With influences from all over the globe, Relish features diner classics like burgers and onion rings, and step it up with the likes of Blackened Yellow Fin Tuna ($21). Williamsburg’s first beer garden, Radegast Hall & Biergarten has a beautiful all-wood interior, an enclosed outdoor backyard, and 12 German/Austrian beers on tap and more than 30 bottles. Another great bar in the area, Zebulon offers free live jazz and afrobeat. The drinks here are inexpensive, and I’ve never seen a bad show here before.
Saturday January 2
Location: Midtown West, NYC
Film: Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster
Show time: 1:30 PM
Venue: Museum of Modern Art
Food: Sullivan Street Bakery
Drink: Rudy’s Bar & Grill
Miscellaneous: The Shops at Columbus Circle
Why not spend a Saturday lazy and just go to the movies? Part of the film exhibition Nuts and Bolts: Machine Made Man in Films from the Collection, MoMA presents Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster, a film from 1965 directed by Robert Gaffney that has plenty of mid 60s hijinx as aliens try to steal bikini-clad girls to repopulate their planet, Frankenstein, and really bad special effects that make this film sci-fi fun! Arguably one of the top bread makers on the east coast, and good to get gourmet pizza’s and sandwiches, Sullivan Street Bakery makes exquisite food using ingredients you’d see on the Food Network! More bar than grill, Rudy’s Bar & Grill is like going back to college, minus the books. The beer is cheap and by “grill,” they mean free popcorn and hot dogs. If you have trouble finding the bar, just look for the 6 foot tall fiberglass pig standing outside! To get out of the cold and see what an upper-class mall is like, stop by The Shops at Columbus Circle. Expensive restaurants like MASA and shops like Williams Sonoma are fun to browse through to see how the other half lives.
Sunday January 3
Hip hop icon Talib Kweli and friends perform at Brooklyn Bowl and also feature Graph Nobel and John Forte. Just as much fun as any show, SEA is one BIG Thai restaurant. Big enough to have a pool surrounded by tables as a giant Buddha stands above it. Luckily, the food is really great. Offering traditional Pad Thai ($7) to more involved dishes like the Mummy Fish ($14). On N6th, a street full of bars and restaurants, Zablozki’s is the local bar of the bunch, with a pool table and a friendly atmosphere and 12 beers on tap. What looks like some dark basement with tables and some couches, Hugs will end up being a dance party with an awkward blend of music genres that you will grow to love quickly.