Last week, we put out the Voice‘s Best of NYC issue, our annual opportunity to bestow arbitrary awards like Best Buskers Dressed as Animals and Best Film Festival. In turn, we asked a few of our favorite New Yorkers to name their favorite local things.
As director of Joe’s Pub, Shanta Thake has seen her fair share of live theatre and music. So it’s no wonder she picked our winners for Best Buskers Dressed as Animals, Xylopholks, as her favorite New York street performer.
Best dive bar?
Whiskey Ward. Great crowd, great jukebox. Although avoid it at all costs on the weekend.
Best night in the history of Joe’s?
As part of our 10th anniversary last year, we had 10 free performances in two days. The last day featured performances by Allen Toussaint, Roy Nathanson with guest Debbie Harry, Reggie Watts with Kristen Schaal, The Stew Songbook with Adam Duritz, and the Cast of Hair doing a Be-In. It was an incredible way to celebrate and it took me about a week to recover.
Worst public place to pass out?
I once fainted on the Q Train on my way to work in the morning, and that was decidedly unpleasant, although I suppose the tracks would have been worse.
Best street performer?
Hypnotic Brass Band. Incredible brass band made up of seven brothers who play an amazing mix of funk/hiphop/jazz and The Xylopholks, a band where the xylophone gets a prime spot in the line-up and all band members are all wearing full furry animal costumes. Every time I see them, the words “Only in New York” inevitably come out of my mouth.
Best theatre venue, other than your own?
Rose Live Music in Brooklyn. The space is beautiful, and the owners Carlos and Gina are so lovely and supportive of all the artists that play there. It’s a great atmosphere to enjoy a show and the food is incredible in the restaurant downstairs.
Best seat in the house at Joe’s?
The lounge/couch area right across from the stage. When you sit there, you feel as though it’s your own private concert.
Best place to see the “real” New York?
The Middle Church Jerriese Johnson Gospel Choir rehearsals on Thursdays from 7-9pm. Truly the most diverse group of individuals you will see in one place. Rehearsals are open to anyone.
Best way to get a drink on the house?
Become an intern! For just 20 unpaid hours a week, you too can get a free drink!
Best bar therapy session you’ve witnessed or participated in?
Unfortunately physician-client privileges prohibit me from answering that question.