Free Beer, Carousels, Audio Assaults, and Bad Comedians


Best Halloween costume I saw over the weekend: Mystery, Saturday night at Hi Fi. Jacket, hat, feather, eyeliner, and surrounded by women—truly the Pick-Up Artist reproduced. I could feel the negs from 10 feet away.

Earlier in the evening, at the 7 p.m. offering of Patton Oswalt’s “Comedians of Comedy” tour at Irving Plaza, all the men came dressed as their favorite Judd Apatow characters—they just weren’t in costume. That wasn’t the only disappointment. CoC’s stand-up and sketch artists are indie-venue funny guys (and a girl, Maria Bamford) who created a fantastic documentary and, later, a Comedy Central series. But despite good sets by Oswalt (who said his family crest would consist of “two eyeballs kind of rolling to the side, a bag of Cheetos, and the word fuck“) and Eugene Mirman, the rest of the Irving Plaza show kind of fell flat. Brian Posehn was repetitive. Aziz Ansari seemed nervous. John Glaser was a complete joke. I don’t even need to blame the absence of original member Zach Galifianakis.

I am tempted, however, to blame the underage fuck to my right who was pounding Guinness faster than his 150-pound frame could handle. If you were in the audience that night, you’ll recognize him as the one who repeatedly shouted during Mirman’s time onstage. You know, like when performers mention a city, and someone from there inevitably cheers, and it’s fine, because whatever? Yeah, well, this guy sent up his voice when Mirman mentioned in a set-up that he spent six years in special ed. As in, Woo-hoo, special ed, me too! He also stumbled and shuffled back and forth to the bar at least nine times, dropped pennies in his friend’s hair, and backed up onto my toes. Ugh.

I later buzzed by a new monthly party, Crooked Disco, hosted by DJs Morsy (one-half of Nana Chill) and Chris Lehault (who helms FreeNYC, an online guide to open bars and other free events). They call it a one-room “audio assault of electro, hip-hop, mash-ups, techno, breaks, and whatever else suits our fancy,” and the debut at Galapagos featured remix masters the Rub, Eclectic Method’s Jonny Wilson (who does live a/v sets, where he spins DVDs like records), and Ninjasonik’s Reverend McFly (whose Wednesday-night Hopchank parties at Happy Ending have been a quiet favorite for a while now—hit up this week’s edition, “Somebody Gonna Get Pregnant on Halloween,” if you’re looking for something to do). I suspect the guys consider it a success: lots of bodies, lots of drinking, lots of dancing. Also, in this instance, lots of Halloween: Little Red Riding Hood, a creepy panda bear, girls in wigs, boys in drag. The usual. New parties can always go either way, but next month I may actually get there on time.

The boys and girls who bring us Chief—the online arts-and-culture mag frequently celebrated by raucous Brooklyn parties—are feting their one- year anniversary (and a couple months in change) with a multimedia freebie at the 20,000-square-foot Williamsburg venue 3rd Ward this Friday. With the intention of becoming a print publication, editor-in-chief Andy Smith and his merry band of tastemakers will host “Silent Auction, Not So Silent Rock Show” to raise the last necessary funds to ring in 2008 with hard copies ofChief‘s lengthy q&a interviews, to be distributed for free around the city. Film screenings start at 7:30 p.m. with experimental shorts by Eugene Mirman, Nick Chatfield-Taylor, and Ries Straver; the free beer flows at 9.

“We’re opening with this short film I’m in love with,” says Smith. “It’s called Just Like the Movies. My buddy from Poland [Michal Kosakowski] made it. He took clips from some 70 Hollywood films—Armageddon, Marathon Man, etc.—and reconstructed the events from 9/11, then set it to his friend’s piano score, so it feels like a silent film. It’s awesome.”

Then begins the music, a lineup of rising Brooklyn bands including Ultra Dolphins, Rocket Surgery, the Swet Band, Le Rug, and Ninjasonik. (DJs Dirty Finger, Rev. McFly—he’s everywhere!—and Porkchop spin late-night.) “Ultra Dolphins is one of my new favorites,” Smith continues. “They’re punk rock, but then they’ll cover, like, Yes. And Swet Band are these total metal guys who write metal music but also make fun of themselves about it—they played our party at Lost and Found last month and people loved them.”

The quiet draw, though, is the art. Chief staffers hit up all the artists they’ve featured thus far and scored a sizable group show of 50 pieces, to be auctioned off individually in increments of $25; bids open at $50. Works by photographer Timothy Archibald, Sweet Action (and Built by Wendy) illustrator Hope Gangloff, Matt & Kim drummer Kim Schifino, and Brooklyn fixture the Mangina are on the block, among many others, situated around 3rd Ward’s current large-scale installation, Vertigoes, in which an interactive system of huge teeter-totters in one room powers a carousel in the next. Teeter-totters and carousels! With all those legs in the air, maybe no one will step on my feet.