Monday, December 29, 2008

Bar Spotlight (Football Season Edition): Calico Jack's Cantina


Calico Jack's Cantina

800 2nd Avenue

(northern Murray Hill, dead area)


This is going to sound harsh, but screw McFadden's for watching the Bills game. I say that because it's packed to the point of fire hazard, you can't fully take advantage of the all you can drink/all you can eat wings deal for 20 bucks, and most of the snobby, aggro-fans go there.


Go to Calico Jacks next door to watch the game. It's the same dudes who run the place, the same beers, the same theme song everytime the Bills score, plenty of TVs, more room, and more room for getting to that beer and oh, those wings. The other thing is that everyone is civil and has room to breathe here. Yeah both are poorly situated in the unforgiving gray areas around Grand Central and it's not real homey, but there is a curious small Jets bar next door.


Let me tell you about these wings. I'm a fan of the tender, smaller wings that reside at places like Croxley's (hmm maybe another Bar Spotlight is afoot). These wings are big and juicy, and they seem to get hotter (or my tongue seems to wear down) as the game goes on. They are really solid wings, and anytime that my roommate the Bills fan wants to watch the game at Calico Jacks, I am more than up for watching the game if they are playing the Pats or if the Pats aren't on that day.


It's all you can drink Bud and Bud Light for 20 bucks and with that comes the all you can eat wings, which are brought out on three party trays and they keep 'em coming throughout whenever the Bills are on. 15 dollars gets you all you can drink soda and wings as well.


There are no other games when the Bills are on folks, so either you're a fan or you're a fan of the opposing team.


Otherwise a somewhat fratty, typical Murray Hill establishment, their full menu, while bland, is really decent and the portions are enormous. The place for Sundays is well lit and the bar is easily accessible although the bartenders sometimes are a bit slow on the draw and fail to notice patrons (or don't care). The floor staff is uniformly a lot of fun most times and if you manage to grab a table (reserve on Tuesdays) it's a lot of fun and there's plenty of TVs to choose from.


The split level design keeps the bar traffic and the tables somewhat separate which is nice.


Did I mention the wings?




For some reviews on Yelp, please go here.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Slack Off: Christmas Eve

For those of you who are enjoying time off from work this holiday season but in the back of their mind still think about work, here's an enjoyable office video that has less than 5,000 hits (you'll want to say you saw this first). Also yesterday was the first time I played Halo 3, and man, that game is pretty frickin' awesome.

Basically this lazy IT guy is playing Halo and a sales guy calls him and they think it's a good idea to shut down the server. It just snowballs so badly. The masking of the voices is weird, but almost gives it a South Park quality which actually makes it even more funny in a way.

I linked to this before on the AMD Fusion widget post, but here it is again, embedded, in all of it's 10 minute glory. You'll be crying so hard by the end, and watch for the email warnings that the "web dude" gets. Such a huge office fail. It's amazing.

Web Dude vs. Sales Guy:

Bar Spotlight (Football Season Edition): Town Tavern

Town Tavern
134 West 3rd Street (by 6th Avenue, next to the McDonald's)

(Update 12..28.08: Eagles just made the playoffs, so definitely stop here for first round action)



Don't worry Philly, you're well represented at one of the biggest college bars in the city.

Town Tavern is one of the biggest and most raucous bars in the NYU part of Noho/West Village, which is commonly linked by either bars that used to be more awesome or bars that just get worse in terms of the crowd the more you pass it (Red Lion, 1849, etc.).

Town Tavern is one part of a two part behemoth by 6th Avenue and 3rd Street, right next to the Fat Black Pussycat which itself is a labyrinth of 4 or 5 different sections thrown together, all different, kinda hazy, and a considerable amount of brosephs and ho...sephs. Town Tavern is more homogenous in design, being smaller (a two floor, two bar, two bathroom layout similar to say Black Finn in midtown, with the top floor having a nice view of the street), and doesn't really boast much on tap but their bar food has interesting little ditties like fried mac 'n cheese triangles and good wings. They do the party platter thing a lot, and with the pitchers at decent prices (you should REALLY go to their Wednesday night 25 cent pitchers after 7pm, yes you heard right, 25 CENTS). Not every seat is guaranteed a view though; some of the tables upstairs are scrunched so there's not much room if it gets crowded but the amount of tables depends on the amount of parties gathered.



Downstairs has a splash of seating in the front when you come in with the bar in the back; TVs are placed along the left wall and behind the bar. As you walk upstairs you hit the bathrooms hooked around to the right and another bar awaits with several more TVs and a large space for chilling.

So what makes this place worthwhile, especially if you're an Eagles fan (did I mention that this is an Eagles bar, tried and true)? The staff is a lot of fun usually and there's enough jokes to go around beyond the NYU nights during the week. The 3 dollar Bud Light pints and 4 dollar Yuengling (Pennsylvania!) bottles go a long way, and with 25 cent wings on top of that, your calorie intake should be good for the day.

The West Village doesn't really offer a lot of goodness when it comes to football, so head a little east to 6th if you're looking for a fairly loud time and love the Eagles but don't like Feagles (fans know how to be disgruntled here).



For more info on their events on Sundays and throughout the week, check out their official site: Town Tavern - Attempting College At Any Age

And on Yelp: Town Tavern On Yelp

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Wrecords By Monkey - High Style Meets Low Carbon Footprint

Looking for something unique yet subtle and everyday fashionable? Brooklyn again, is where it's at with Wrecords By Monkey who have been featured on countless fashion and hip culture magazines. It was really cool to see their display at the Winter Craft Fair this year and I was about to nab the "Working Class Brooklyn" bracelet but didn't have enough cash on me. They have different collections and an insane amount of different designs that are really perfect for quick fashion upgrades for men and women.


From the site:

"WrecordsByMonkey is a Brooklyn-based design company that bridges the worlds of fashion, art and music. Using reclaimed vinyl records, they create handmade accessories with a low carbon footprint that can be incorporated into anyone’s individual style. Their niche product, the Wrecord bracelet, comes in designs from silly to sophisticated. WBM’s full line includes bracelets, necklaces, earrings, rings and t-shirts, all inspired by the idea of relating to music lovers of every generation.

Founding partners Patrick Chirico and Brian Farrell started WrecordsByMonkey in 2004. Both have degrees from the Fashion Institute of Technology—Chirico in fashion design and Farrell in fine arts.

They started making the record bracelets one by one in the hallway of their dorm, hand drawing all of their unique graphics directly on the records. Since then, they’ve come up with a innovative manufacturing process and operate out of their studio in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where they have hand made over 60,000 record bracelets, and created thousands of designs.

They introduced their record bracelets at NYC markets, which is how they learned their niche product appeals to a wide range of demographics; all ages, cultures and styles. Currently, WrecordsByMonkey sells in over 20 states, in places ranging from art museums and design stores to independent boutiques and larger chains. They also sell in the gift shops of museums such as; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota Houston Museum of Contemporary Art, Houston, Texas Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, Kansas, The Chelsea Art Museum NYC, New York.
WBM has also done private label work for companies such as MTV and the GRAMMY Brand, creating custom record bracelets, graphic design and unique packaging and displays. They have received press in print, online and TV. Chirico and Farrell have also spoken at colleges about entrepreneurship and innovative materials, and they continue to be involved with charitable organizations and philanthropic ventures. WBM has donated to organizations including the Make A Wish Foundation, LIFEbeat, the S.T.O.K.E.D. Foundation, and Girls equality of Brooklyn."

Here's a photo from their Off The Train collection (photo from missomnimedia.com):

And also their Classic Patterns Bracelet Collection below:

To shop, browse, read about their collections, and see what kind of circles they run in, and of course, overall shenanigans, go to their official site: www.wrecordsbymonkey.com

Monday, December 15, 2008

AMD's Fusion Widget: Get an Instant Upgrade Now!



Check out this new widget from AMD (also on the sidebar here at KCB) and get some free software in the Download section, it's a gaming utility that optimizes your AMD-laced computer so that all those clunky background processes are shut off during your gaming or multimedia-ing experience either at home or at work (shh....don't let the bosses know, like in this hilarious video). Basically it's a free upgrade for your computer. Gotta love AMD and their mindset/culture, not only are they the cool underdogs but they have powerful words like this - " Fusion. It’s the energy of innovation. It’s what’s fueled our past, and what will drive our people and partners in the future."


For more on the Fusion movement, go to fusion.amd.com

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Debaucheri's 'Stand Up For Sex' benefit on 12/16: Comedy, Burlesque, and possibly a lot of "that's what she said"


I got a Facebook invite recently to a sex comedy show/benefit thrown by Debaucheri, part of an initiative that "aims to bring about a sex positive culture through education, exposure and awareness." There will be merriment, live comedy, and lots of sex talk in earnest. Here's the lowdown:

"Featuring Comedy From:
Ben Siegel*
John Mahone*
Jena Friedman*
Joanne Filan*
Evon Campbell*
Alec Sobel*
+ Burlesque and Erotica+
RSVP to info@dbcmag.com

Basement of Think Coffee
248 Mercer Street Btwn W3rd and W4th Street


View Larger Map

Doors Open 7:30
Show Starts at 8pm
Party ‘til 10:30pm

$7 Cover, $5 advance if you RSVP

20% of the door profits go to the Sex Worker's Project (sexworkersproject.org)"

You can also win a contest to receive a Love Seat from Adam & Eve (adamandeve.com).

Considering New York is such a sexually charged atmosphere especially after the sun goes down (along with quite a few people) I think due to the sheer amount of different backgrounds that its denizens purport to having, underground organizations that deal frankly with the more probing subjects can find a happy medium just existing without really gaining much exposure. In entertainment, there will always be a niche through publications like the Village Voice that really know the heartbeat of the city and has the network to cover much of the events and have the pro-active readers to shimmy along to check these things out. However, having a serious "sex awareness" message is cool, but really when it comes down to it, people, whether they admit it or not, enjoy the heightened sensuality, almost danger (getting out of the usual under-stimulated zone we occupy quite a bit) of going to functions like this and getting tickled. I guess the learning is more like "sex awakening" rather than "sex awareness".

I always find subjects like violence and sex to be really fascinating not just because of the morals but because of the visceral nature of how it affects the psyche and the body. There is so much judgment passed around regarding the nature of these things, the intellectual manifestations of something that can be considered primal and taboo. So in that sense, and due to it's central location, you should check this out after work on Tuesday, it should be a fun time had. Oh and that love seat raffle, I'm sure taking that home on the subway could be pretty interesting depending on how it's wrapped.

For more information or to RSVP, go to their official site: Debaucheri Mag

To RSVP on Facebook, go here.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Actors in New York: Mike Cannon (actually he's a comedian)

Mike Cannon, who runs his own blog right hee-yarh, called Dirty Jokes From A Shitty Kid, can best be described as a harmless, lovable, cartoony, maybe slightly naive, white devil. His jokes are some of the most pointedly offensive diatribes in the world, but he's just a pretty down to earth guy at heart, and I give him props for being born in the city and currently hailing from Queens but not hailing cabs. He's been consistent on the New York circuit and is in contention for the web contest So You Think You Can Roast? which you can check out here: www.friarsroast.com.

Here is his latest small set from Comic Strip Live on 12/6:



As you can see he takes it way too far but for some reason, never seems to go into the category of just plain shock. There's a giddiness but at the same time a self-awareness that his bits are incredibly profane, which makes it more perverse than anything else. As the audience you are allowed to be shocked, he won't take it personally, and you end up not taking it personally. In that way, his bits go through without a hitch because with that kind of unspoken guideline settled, it almost gives him license to say whatever and still sound really unabashedly energetic about it. It's surprisingly infectious I must admit. I guess for all the people not included in the things he describes, the homoerotic, incestuous, violent, disease-riddled, and down to earth situations, we can all get a gasp/snort from it.

Here is an older clip from a few months back, a small competition at the Triad Theater where he nabbed first place:



Again, check out his apologetically raunchy blog: Dirty Jokes From A Shitty Kid.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Punk Slope XMess Party on December 20th at Bar 4 - You Know You Have Nothing Better To Do

So my colleague at work and I were talking about Bar 4, as I had just witnessed the latest Gashouse Gorillas show and he mentioned that he knew the owner who had a long and service-able (what a pun) history dating way back, and sent me a Facebook invite to the annual and possibly greatest (but who knows) incarnation of Punk Slope with the holiday bent. I haven't heard "Party, My House, Be There" in a while but I guess that would be an appropriate song, because the DJs should be fun, and Mr. Walter Schreifels will be on hand to perform all sorts of goodies from all those bands that he's been in that people like. Will he take requests? I personally haven't heard "Cherry, Cherry" by Neil Diamond in a while and I know they got that piano sitting all nice.

Oh if I could make one more request considering the pedigree that will be in attendance: Can someone please, please play an Empire State Games song? So amazing.

Nothing like bringing some punk establishment (wuh wuh wait a second Mr. oxymoron) to Park Slope every once in a while that's a bit cleaner than Lucky 13. How will they fit everyone? Well hell if any hipsters show up they are thin enough to use as a rug...

From the invite:
"HEY HO HO HO, LET'S GO!!!

It's time once again for the annual
PUNK SLOPE XMESS PARTY
Saturday December 20th, 2008!

'tis the season to be jolly, merry, and all that good shit.
we've lined up one hell of a night... check it out...

live!
WALTER SCHREIFELS
(Gorilla Biscuits, Quicksand, Rival Schools, Walking Concert)
our favorite guest returns!! playing your favorite tunes from the past, present and future!
we could not be more excited to have him for this special occasion!

along with special guest DJs!
CHRIS DALY (Texas Is The Reason, Jets To Brazil, 108)
JOSH GRABELLE (Trustkill)
JAY GROTRIAN (Eye For An Eye)

and your fave residents!
NICK CAIN, JOEL TEE, JORDAN MAKOW, MIKE FALIS"

It's a thinking/drinking man's punk party, as everyone shall be of age, some will be wearing glasses, some will be drinking glasses, and I just might wear some pinned up braces (red of course, with some green trimmings for that holiday sheen). Also if you mix Jay Grotrian and Josh Grabelle's names, you can have something that will always vaguely remind you of Josh Groban. Who will unfortunately be in attendance...not.

To attend through Facebook (they have yet to do reminders for events which sucks) go here: Punk Slope XMess on Facebook

And check out what Bar 4 has going on all the time, support their musical gatherings and you just might be hearing the next big thing out of 7th Avenue. Here's their address on Google Maps:


View Larger Map

Monday, December 8, 2008

AVAAZ with Zero Bridge @ Public Assembly 12.05.08


AVAAZ can be described, as taken from their moniker: Electro Global Discotek. An organization dedicated to cultural partying with some South Asian flair, as the tuxedo'd MC got the crowd in on the up and up while the DJs were spinning mid-tempo mixes with a bit of drum 'n bass and jungle thrown in for a global measure. Scenes like this always make me want to don glow in the dark contacts and make like Nas in the beginning of Belly with the pulsating beats as theme music.

The parties happen monthly and Public Assembly is a good place for it (the former Galapagos, which is now in DUMBO) with it's lax bar but nice pool in front and plenty of space to gyrate (although the crowd was a bit sparse at times depending on the set). This time around they threw in a curveball and some of New York's finest, Zero Bridge, put on a terse and forceful 40 minute set of an impassioned mix of U2 and indie pop sound with a hint of The Clash. Pushing through with tunes like their newest single "How Long" and "Late Bloomer", mixing 'manifesto' cuts with the lead singer Din's commanding prescence (being tall is advantageous), and you have a really nice rock concert in the middle of all the electro pulses. Mo, the drummer/kid brother of Din, headbanged like a wily teenager which was great, and backed by former Orange 9mm bassist Greg, they quickly got on track after the first song's timing was off initially.

The crowd was taken aback by it a little but Zero Bridge is very danceable and judging by how many people congradulated them afterward, AVAAZ gave their shimmiers a little taste of rock and Zero Bridge in turn won new converts.

Here's their video for "Late Bloomer":

zerobridge Late Bloomer


And then afterward the accomplished British actor/rapper (Path to 9/11, Deadset) Riz MC transitioned things back to the gyrating hips with a short set, rollicking along with chaotically fast beats and polemics. His style didn't translate well to the denizens of this party but, at the same time, gotta appreciate and give props to pushing the pace like an unruly spin class. He's big across the pond and I'm glad I got to see him rap.

Check out Riz MC on IMDB

For more info on AVAAZ events, go to their official site.

For more info on Public Assembly visit their official site as well.

Check out Zero Bridge on www.myspace.com/zerobridge and pick up their EP Havre de Grace digitally here.

Gashouse Gorillas - A Half Hour of Comedy at Bar 4 on the night of 12.4.08





Video should be posted fairly soon and I'll get that up as soon as it comes around from the Gorillas themselves.

Bar 4 is kind of a perfect place to have small bits here and there, and I guess comedy is a rare instance (I know, Park Slope is sooooo serious.....ok that was a lame joke) so it was nice to see Gashouse Gorillas hamming it up in front of a new audience of people who had no idea the kind of profanity and twisted sensibility they were in for.



Unfortunately their first joke was exposed before they had a chance to capitalize on it, starting off looking like a band but they were introduced as a comedy group from the songwriter going on after them. As their band banter escalated into a taunting handjob meth-addled shoutfest, they set up a couple of zingers that got the crowd more into it, and surprisingly, nobody was talking and everyone was watching, which is always a good sign (it's usually why I never try to go into bars on live music/performance nights, no offense to them, it's just I'm probably with friends who I would like to talk to and I don't want to put down the efforts of someone who should receive my full attention if I'm going to see them play).

I can't help but feel like the initial joke, if it had gone through, would have really worked and would have given the whole first set a real hairyness, and by that I mean awkward "is this a band melting down before my eyes" kind of shock.



The second set, with no masks as to what they were about to say, had a couple of nice sketches, especially the Subway sandwich guy sketch ("I'm sorry if this sandwich cannot satisfy your wife") and the starter, in where a concerned citizen tries to persuade a really sarcastic beat cop to check out a mysterious package.

It's been a while since they performed live but things look like they are rolling and are looking pretty fluid.

For more Gashouse, go to www.youtube.com/gashousecomedy

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Mascot Bloopers from College Humor

That rhymes sort of....this is amazingly funny, I'm still wiping the tears from my small, small eyes.