Oct 25, 2010

Weekend Recap & Chow Bar - What? It's Closed!?!

Ugh who wants to go to work on Mondays? NOBODY! I'm going back on site for the week in the area I call the taint of Manhattan (midtown) where all the big ad agencies are. No, it's not like Mad Men. Thank god cause I think Don Draper is a lame cliché construction of male fantasies like the Marlboro Men mythology placed in an urban contemporary context. Yeah so I'm annoyed that I have to go back to work but I have to cause burlesque does not my lifestyle make.

I am bemoaning my sad having to work tomorrow-ness by reliving my weekend now. Saturday night I saw Maddy Mann's Bible StorieZ at Ars Nova and it was just IMPRESSIVE. I'ts unbelievable the amount of talent and innovation Maddy exhibited at the show along with Lexi and Noah. Ars Nova, first off, has an amazing performance space with high-tech lighting and the show was a REAL professional show with a real sound tech, lighting technician, and a director who worked with them on all aspect of the show. It was only one-night so I'm really sorry if you missed it because I've never seen anything like what they do. Sure, many people who've been in NYC for ten years will say, "Hey I saw this underground theater troupe do Bible stories retold" blah blah but this is not your typical underground, self-indulgent artist diatribe about Christianity refashioned as parody/farce. Maddy Mann's retellings of Bible stories are accessible (not obtuse and filled with reference that's not accessible to the general audience), entertaining (pop songs, broadway songs), and more than anything else that impressed me, clever and brilliant at times. There were times when their translation of lyrics through choreography and dialogue made me catch myself clapping so enthusiastically and fervently that I felt like a total idiot. Thankfully the people next to me were laughing and clapping with equal (and more) ardor so I didn't felt like "clapper in the dark". (how's that for a sneak attack Bjork reference!)

I was SO SO happy to see Maddy and gang do their thing on a proper big stage with all the right setup. The first time I saw them was when they did "Lot's Wife" at Harlow's Hideaway and that was the night that I realized their ingenuity and that anyone who books them knows their shit and I wanted to be in Honi Harlow's show!! I've seen Maddy and Lexi work it out even at the tiny stage at Nurse Bettie when I've booked them there a few times and they were great. But to see them on the real stage was simply amazing. I was smitten with glee to see new Bible stories that I haven't seen them do before last night. Among some of the new ones were Samson & Delilah, Eve & the Serpent, Cain & Abel, and a viral music video to "Jonah and the Whale".  People were going nuts at the end of the show when Maddy did his sign language interpretation of Avril Lavigne's "I Wanna Be Your  Girlfriend" - Brilliant! It's a travesty that it's only one-night!

I couldn't stay til the very end and congratulate the boys (I knew they would be swamped anyway) and also cause Michael's friend was shooting My Morning Jacket just a block away at Terminal 5 and got us backstage passes to go and see the concert. We hightailed it over right after Maddy's show and went in through the loading dock. It was packed inside but the VIP area was not so bad except everyone was standing on the chair and sitting on the ledge and I could not see anything. I have heard of My Morning Jacket but know nothing of their music. I thought they were alt rock or something but noooooo - they were like stoner, psychedelia with country influence. There seemed to be a lot of "fratty" type of guys with ill-fitting white tshirts and flannel shirts tied around the waist and of course the baseball cap. Except these guys were WAY TOO OLD to be in college!! I'm also claustrophobic and I really hate being shoulder-to-shoulder with a lot of people. I don't like being squished and I don't like being near a lot of strangers. This is why I will never go to big concerts like Lollapolooza or whatever it is that people do now. At best, I get stressed and scared in big crowded venues (unless I'm on stage and far, far away from the rest of the people then I'm happy as a kite). At worst, I get really antagonistic and just start pushing people. There was a guy who was obliviously taking photos in the dark with his camera held up to his face. He didn't see Michael coming up the stairs and totally bumped him into the mirror on the wall. I was pretty irritated already by the crowd and stupid frat people, this was just the opportunity I wanted to vent my UGH-ness. So I shoved him and said what's your fucking problem when I walked by him. Alas, the music was so loud I don't think he heard me. And I have a really painful hangnail on my right index finger so the shove wasn't that forceful. He probably thought I was hitting on him. So much for being Ms. Tough Girl.

So we hightailed it after about 40 minutes and a beer. Then we went back down to our hood to InBorn NYC's 3rd year anniversary party. Rey Jerez is our tattoo artist. Yes, Michael and I BY COINCIDENCE have the same artist. When we first met, it was pretty cool to find that out like OMG we are meant to be together! Rey did the feathers on my forearms and the big plume feather on my back.  I am getting more as soon as I figure out what I want. It was all rock metal bands and we actually didn't see any bands play, because something with the drum kit being moved. There was a low level irritation/depression going on all day with me and some things that I saw there really set me off on a crazy spin. Thankfully my friend Rebecca and her friends came to meet us and then we decided to just go next door to Chloe. The music was fun downstairs but definitely more geared towards girls cause all the girls were dancing and none of the dudes were. The place is small and reminded me of the old Double Happiness on Mott Street but better lit. Anyway it was like 3 to 1 girls to guys. One of our friends met us there and the door guy kinda gave him some attitude cause he wasn't dressed right and he said there were too many guys. If I was single, this would be SOCIAL SUICIDE going there to a taco festival. Then there was some other drama involving one of the owners and my friend which I am not allowed to discuss openly. So on principle I said, I'm outta here. But I made everyone leave with me. HA! That is the power of the Changstang when she is on her path of self righteousness and conviction.

We piled down further south into real Chinatown on Canal and Ludlow where my friend Adam (who is also the photographer who took this awesome portrait of Chewie and I years ago) said we should go to
Photo by Adam Cantor
this off-the-beaten-path real Chinatown karaoke bar. He's been talking about this place and calling it the "crazy place" cause it's all Chinese and no gringos. So we go there and I realize its the same karaoke bar that has been there for years and used to be owned by the owners of Good World. Obviously Good World is gone, they sold it to another person. True enough, the place is bare-bones and there were no gringos other than the ones I was rolling with last night, and another table of quiet gringos who kept to themselves and generally acted like they were very happy to be in a secret karaoke spot in Chinatown that's not Winnie's (Winnie's is not "secret" or "soooo Chinatown"). We ordered 2 plates of sausages which were the only things they had to offer and popcorn and we sang some songs. I should say everyone else sang and I was backup danced. I don't remember going home but I got home somehow. The next morning my bra was in the kitchen. No idea what might have transpired there...

I had a proper dinner at Macao Trading Company tonight with my old, dear friend Manny. I have only had the late night bar menu after Drunken Dragon Night, but tonight I ordered from the full menu and it was DELICIOUS! I love "Ants Climbing on Trees" that was my favorite dish and the swiss chard was so good too. Tomorrow night is another Drunken Dragon Night this time with Crystal Skull Vodka. Can I just say that even though I am doing a show for their open bar, it is incredibly difficult to get one of those coveted empty bottles even to use as a prop! They are getting me one, the small one to use for my act tomorrow night, but I believe I have to return it! The open bar is from 9-11pm and the show is at 11pm. There is no more intermission so come early or else you will miss the show or not be able to get in. It has been sauna-room-packed every single month.

I also found out tonight that Chow Bar has closed. Chow Bar was where it really started for me. I used to produce the "Dim Sum Burlesque" show there every Sunday. I started the show November 2009 and pulled the plug mid-May 2010 due to financial reasons. And I have always felt a little guilty ending the show because they had invested the money and time in building a stage for me, that expensive flocked vintage wallpaper, the spotlight, the giant poster of me, the postcards, and numerous other things. I just couldn't afford dishing out a couple hundred every Sunday. I was only getting cover, not the bar or food, and there were quiet nights when I had to pay everyone out of my own pocket. I started to feel like an island where I was not getting the support I needed from the venue and performers alik. There were a few who were kind and gracious enough to work for a tip split instead of the guaranteed pay during slow months like January and February, but there were also performers who snubbed the show when I was having the hardest and brokest time there. You can suss out pretty quickly those who want to stick with you through packed and thin nights and those who don't. I ain't judging. Just making an observation.

So anyway yes, Chow Bar has closed. Apparently they sold the business because of - financial reasons. Which explained a lot to me during the last months of unhappy negotiation with them. I feel a strange sense of relief hearing about this tonight because now I realize they had a lot more financial pressure on them than I probably realized, and it sounded like it was a financial black hole for them to keep the business. I doubt having "Dim Sum Burlesque" there on Sunday nights would have made a big difference in the long run so in a way I feel like my gut instincts were right, to make an exit when people still love you and not overstay one's welcome.

1 comment:

  1. so i had googled your name because i'm a big Fassy fan and had read your post about working with him on Shame from a M.F. fansite, and this picture came up ^ and I had to comment because you look stunning!! <3