Part of the cost of living in New York is trooping out to see your friends perform. It seems like everyone here does something they need people to watch, whether it’s playing a show, giving a reading, having a film series, throwing an art opening or doing some kind of dumbass drum circle crap. These events tend to range in quality from tolerable to awful, but if you want to keep your friends (and more importantly, want people around who feel morally obligated to show up for your puppet revival of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang or whatever) you’ve got to turn up for at least 25 percent of the shit you’re asked to attend. It’s like tithing, times two and a half. The trick is to choose the most painless possible shows to go to. A lot of that will depend on the venue. Here’s my take on some of the spots that seem most eager to host amateur performers:
Galapagos (Berry and N. 6th)
They hold readings, circusy-type performances, rock shows, basically anything.
Pros: nice space, seating, clean bathrooms, good drinks. Rarely a cover.
Cons: stuff in the back room can get crowded.
Trash (Grand and Havermeyer)
Bands mostly play here.
Pros: free beer and tater tots from 9-10, decent stage and sound system, roomy.
Cons: cover, plastic cups.
Lit (Second Avenue and 6th St.)
Again, bands. Pros: none that I could see.
Cons: overpriced drinks, tiny stage, cover, grumpy staff.
Mo Pitkin’s (3rd St. and Avenue A)
Readings, mostly, and multimedia stuff.
Pros: good food, lots of sitting space, table service, real stage with real sound and lighting.
Cons: a bit pricey.
The Delancey (Delancey and Clinton)
Cons: meh. The Delancey rates a solid meh from me. It’s fine. Not great. But ok.
CBGBs Downstairs (Bleecker and Bowery)
I think they have art stuff, music, maybe readings, too?
Pros: there are couches, the bartender is very nice.
Cons: the couches smell bad. It frankly looks like a rumpus room, or maybe the common space in a dorm. There were lots of goths there when I was there — think cube rats 15 years on.
The Hook (Luquer and Commerce)
Mostly bands, I believe.
Pros: nice space, an outdoors, big stage, tables.
Cons: Hard to get to, if you don’t live in Red Hook.
Happy Endings (Broome and Forsythe)
Readings, multimedia stuff.
Pros: often events here are sponsored.
Cons: small, bad stage, over-worked bartender, not much seating.