Bingo, The Box, Jon Lennon, & the Peanut Gallery
My internet is finally working and none too soon. Not only am I stranger in a strange land in Williamsburg, but I was cut off from my 5,000 Facebook friends and all the other hoopla on the worldwide web during my move. My Droid helped, but it’s still just a souped-up phone. Recently, I received a call from my pal, the actress Dani Baum, who tried to keep talking through a mouth full of laughter after asking me if I was in Manhattan. (I guess I’ll have to get used to that.) I was having tea and crumpets at a coffee joint, and was hard pressed to understand her inane babbling. She begged me to go to The Bowery Poetry Club for Bingo, and my Amanda said, “Why not?” Dani got us two seats up front, and I was warmly greeted by my old friends Murray Hill and Linda Simpson. It was a full-circle, gender-bending spectacle, which had the downtown-cool audience thoroughly engaged. The bingo leaders relentlessly amused, abused, and used every old one-liner ever to keep the crowd in stitches. Murray told me it’s this way every week, and that they are also doing Le Poisson Rouge on Saturdays at 7:30pm. They had gag prizes like nun candles and mud shark inflatable sledge hammers, but they also had a very swanky $204 cash prize and an I Heart Brooklyn pin-up calendar for the final round.
The crowd roared “0-69” with glee, as if it were the very first time they had heard the world’s oldest Bingo joke. Linda and Murray spent half the time making us guffaw, and the rest hawking Magic Hat Beer, which sponsored the party. The absolute highlight of the evening was the four-corner Bingo garbage bag challenge. Three lucky winners who got all four corners of their cards completed were whisked to the backroom, where they were given used garbage bags and black tape to contrive an outfit.
They were whisked back onstage with a mic in their faces, and were totally adored and humiliated. Dani was a participant, and wouldn’t give up the mic. Her swanky friend Rick wore his white garbage bag as a jockstrap, with only his tattoos obscuring his birthday suit. Despite his protestations, he didn’t look fat at all. The third contestant, who was from Paris—or the East Village, it was hard to hear—made good, if not a little unfortunate, use of the provided black tape. Linda proclaimed “those Parisians make anything look chic.” And so it went. It was fab, it was chic, it was a packed, downtown good time. I was kind of perturbed that the last time I played the old B.I.N.G.O. my age was squarely in the “N” row, but now I’m an absolute “G.” I will be there next week—it’s a blast.
The Bowery Poetry Club attracts my attention every couple of weeks. Whether its my pal Zoe Hanson doing her Sex Worker Literati thing or a friend’s band or a reading, there’s always something cool happening. The location just keeps getting better, as the neighborhood is growing and attracting hordes of nightlifers. Nightlife is not just a bottle service joint or dance club or swanky lounge. Nightlife is a thousand joints making a living by providing us an escape from our different realities. It is a joint thinking and doing things outside the traditional box of nightlife, and it needs our support and recognition.
Speaking of outside the box, a usually very reliable source claims to have heard that The Box, that Christie Street marketplace of performance-art mayhem, is taking its schtick to London. I’m heading over there tonight and will dig deep.
Tomorrow, I will join my friend Jon Lennon for a DJ set at White Noise. Many people I know really don’t like the place. They say it’s seedy and inconsistent and filled with sketchy people. Sometimes. That’s how great it is. It isn’t for everyone, and the complainers have joints built just for them and their ilk. Give me sketchy folk. Give me unpredictable. Give me seedy. White Noise is fun, and I can’t wait to spin there with my pal Jon. Every time I write about Jon, I get two cents from the peanut gallery about his character. Well, there is no doubt about it, Mr. Jon Lennon is a character. He definitely broke a few eggs to make a few omelets, and has been known to be a rolling stone gathering little, if any, moss. I’ll say this about that: his word is good. He isn’t a fool and he will stand-up for a friend. The way peeps like Jon and myself figure it: Within 10 miles of where I am writing this, there are 10 million people. We can afford to lose a few losers, piss off some people who lack honor or understanding of the codes and rules, and those who promise to never talk to us again. Hopefully, they will keep their word, as we can always find as many new friends as we can possibly engage. I’ll stand by Jon anytime, and tomorrow I will DJ with him.