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Friday Night at the Fights

Posted by Katie Johnston Chase April 2, 2008 07:56 PM


You know the environmental movement has gone mainstream when you hear a bunch of 60-somethings at a diner in Worcester talking approvingly about turning off the lights for an hour. We weren't in Worcester for the meatloaf sandwiches, though, or the Earth Hour chatter; we were there for Friday Night at the Fights, hosted by the Massachusetts State Police Boxing Team. Who knew there was such a thing?

My brother and about 10 of his co-workers, all cops, flew from Colorado to participate in this 15-bout event at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Recreation Center last Friday night. There were hundreds of boxing fans there, and strippers from a nearby Centerfolds walked around the ring with a sign between each round.

It was $15 to get in, but beer was just $3 a cup (OK, they're small cups). And not only did my brother knock out his opponent in 10 seconds (jab, jab, pow!) without even breaking a sweat, we got to watch one of the ring girls eat a hot dog wearing nothing but a bikini and super-high heels.

I hear this is an annual event, and although I'm not sure when the next one's going to be, I highly recommend checking it out. And bring a camera.

Pray at the Church of alt-country

Posted by Joan Charlotte Matelli March 27, 2008 04:05 PM

This weekend, get your hoe-down at Church for the Second Annual Alt Country Extravaganza.

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[You can borrow Tom's hat.]

For $15, you get two full nights of twangy joy from local darlin's, including my faves the Patrons on Friday, and Cassavettes on Saturday. Or you can catch just one night for the low low price of $8.

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[Go be a patron of the Patrons.]

That's quite a bargain for all that music, so saddle up and get yourself to Church.

Milky Way Sprinkler Fundraiser

Posted by Emily Sweeney March 13, 2008 03:08 PM


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The Milky Way Lounge & Lanes in JP is hosting a cool event on Friday, March 21 to help raise money for their new sprinkler system. Pressure Cooker will headline the show.

(The Milky Way doesn't own the building, but agreed to spend $70K to install a new sprinkler system so they could stay open in that location.)

[via Universal Hub]

Saved by the fries

Posted by Courtney Hollands March 11, 2008 02:45 PM

So I *finally* popped into Alibi at the Liberty Hotel for a drink this weekend — and yes, I know that I am about four months behind in my chic pub crawl. Let me just say this: Alibi is a cool lounge. Like, New York cool. As soon as I sat down at a high-top table, I knew that I was going to pay dearly for the exposed brick, barred windows, and overall ambiance of the packed room.

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[Help! My wallet is caught in a hostage situation!]

But $13 for a cocktail! Surely, someone is jesting. My sickly sweet cucumber, vanilla rum, and mint concoction — "The Cool Hand Cuke"— was only worth about $8. $9 at the most. You see, Alibi, though I said you were "New York cool," you aren't actually located in NYC — what's up with the Big Apple prices? In fact, there's already an Alibi Lounge in Greenwich Village, and it serves $5 apple martinis during happy hour. So there.

The saving grace of my see-and-be-seen trip to the lounge was a platter of Parmesan truffle fries. We split them four tasty ways. However, the bar food is actually from Harvard Gardens, so I'm not sure I can give Alibi the credit for the crispy, cheesy goodness.

Maybe next time I'll stick to wine and fries. Or maybe I'll just go to Highland Kitchen instead.

Bowl on

Posted by Katie Johnston Chase March 4, 2008 06:04 PM


The rumors of Sacco's Bowl Haven's demise have been greatly exaggerated.

OK, so one person -- I can't remember who -- told me the dusty Davis Square candlepin bowling alley was going belly up. And I must admit I spread the rumor ... a little.

But it did make me finally pay my first visit to Sacco's. I know -- it's obnoxious to only go someplace when you hear it's closing (I did the same thing with Tir na nOg). But the good news is, the Somerville institution, open since 1939, is not going anywhere, according to the man renting us our sweet bowling shoes.

The bad news: It still doesn't serve alcohol. The not-so-surprising news: I'm lousy at candlepin bowling. But a few more Friday nights at Sacco's should help remedy that.


I just met a girl named 'Medea'

Posted by Katie Johnston Chase February 29, 2008 10:21 AM


Sometimes, OK 99 percent of the time, what we think we should do and what we actually want to do don't match up.

"I should watch this intellectually stimulating Godard film at the top of my Netflix queue, but I think I'll move up this goofy Will Ferrell movie instead."

"I should make myself a healthy tofu and veggie stir fry, but I'd rather just order a pizza."

It's the same with theater. There are so many classics to see -- Shakespeare, Chekhov, O'Neill -- but at the end of a long day, a silly comedy often sounds way more appealing.

So it makes me really happy when I can do both at once. Ryan Landry and his Gold Dust Orphans are putting on the Greek tragedy "Medea," Euripides' dark, bloody tale of a woman who murders her children to get back at her husband. Pretty intense, right? But presented Gold Dust style -- in drag, heavy on the camp and the one-liners -- it's much easier to take.

The beauty of it is, you still get the whole fascinating story, smartly told, you just get it with exploding eyeballs and glittery lip gloss and appendages tucked between legs. And when all the twisty, turny language is stripped away, the plot is easier to understand. A friend who saw Fiona Shaw as Medea on Broadway said Landry's version was much clearer, and definitely produced more belly laughs.

You have to hand it to Landry -- it's tough to make filicide funny, and even tougher to turn something you should see into something you want to.


The production is at Machine Thursdays-Saturdays through March 15. Get tickets here.

Update on Randolph Country Club

Posted by Emily Sweeney February 28, 2008 05:05 PM

The Randolph Country Club is still closed. In my last post, I reported that the club's management hoped to have their new sprinkler system installed by Feb. 28. It appears the work is taking longer than expected. Here's the latest note that was sent out to the club's mailing list:

February 28, 2008

Well folks,

As usually happens, progress is behind schedule so at this time we still don’t have a time frame for re-opening.

Currently, the last area of the sprinkler installation is under way, that being the cellar area.

From there we still have the water main and the fire alarm updates to take care of.

On the up side, the dance floor at Poolside has been stripped and waxed. There has also been some extra cleaning, painting and refreshing going on while we have the extra time. We will be cleaning the carpets (long overdue) soon. The grid for the new ceiling in the Member’s Lounge is all in place though we can’t install the tiles until the sprinkler system is tested.

Thanks to all of you who have called or e-mailed to find out how we are doing. We greatly appreciate your continued support. The staff and management look forward to seeing you all in the near future.

Randolph Country Club Closed (For Now)

Posted by Emily Sweeney February 7, 2008 04:12 PM

The Randolph Country Club, the South Shore's most popular destination for gay folks, has been shut down.... at least for a while.

Here's the story that appeared in today’s Globe. And here’s the email that the club sent out to its mailing list last week:


February 1. 2008

Hi Everyone:

Yes it is true; RCC has temporarily had its license suspended by the ABCC as of January 31, 2008. The reason being that they do not want us to operate with out the fire safety equipment in working order, and a properly secured occupancy certificate approved by all departments that are necessary form the Town of Randolph.

The Sprinkler System is currently 55% installed, and will soon be completed. The estimated time from the contractor is February 28, 2008.

RCC is temporarily shut down, however the Management and staff want to thank everyone for their support, and we look forward to doing so once again when we re-open. I think you will all agree that installation for this equipment is in the best interest for our wonderful customers, employees, and all associated with RCC.

We hope to see you all soon, but until then be safe, stay health, and be happy. We will keep you updated via e-mail and on the
web site.

That's too bad....Hopefully everything will get worked out soon. Two years ago I wrote about the Randolph Country Club's drag queen bingo games. My story and audio slideshow are still online, if you want to see some photos of the club during happier times.

-- Emily Sweeney

I see you

Posted by Katie Johnston Chase January 28, 2008 10:23 AM

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I went to see "U2 3D" at the Jordan's Furniture IMAX in Natick last weekend. Bono and the Edge were impressive, especially from the front row, and the music sounded great, but the most memorable part of the night wasn't the concert footage, it was the bathroom.

Each of the stalls has what appears to be a basic full-length mirror on the outside of the door. That's fine -- the more mirrors in bathrooms, the better I say. But when I went inside, I realized I could see out into the bathroom; I could see women washing their hands and fussing with their hair. And suddenly I felt very vulnerable. Maybe it was clear glass, not a mirror. Maybe they could see me too! But I could see in the reflection of the mirror above the sinks that there was indeed a mirror on my door. Why on earth would they put two-way mirrors on the stall doors?


According to Jordan's PR exec Heather Copelas, the mirrors are "just another crazy idea from Eliot" (owner Eliot Tatelman). It's kind of entertaining, I guess, but also a little bit creepy. I prefer maximum privacy in bathroom situations, and that left me feeling more than a little exposed. Thank goodness I wasn't still wearing my 3D glasses -- who knows what I would have seen then.

Listen To This

Posted by Emily Sweeney January 18, 2008 10:28 PM

If you're wondering what kind of music is played at the Middlesex Lounge on Thursday nights, check this out. Resident DJs Volvox and DJ Die Young and joined forces and made this dope mix to promote Make It New:

[download MP3 here]

Tracklisting:
1. Dapayk & Padberg - Black Beauty
2. Elektrochemie - No. 19
3. Dubfire - I Feel Speed (Audion Remix)
4. Namito,Eyerer - Quipa
5. Adam Beyer - China Girl
6. Oxia - 12 Years Later
7. Cirez D - Teaser (Oliver Huntemann Remix)
8. Mr. Noize - Diplomatic
9. Mark Broom - Ping Pong
10. Oliver Huntemann - Zum Goldenen Handschuh
11. Rainer Weichhold - Bamboo
12. Popof - My Toyz
13. Markus Lange - Perihelion (Julian Jeweil Remix)
14. Shackleton - Blood on My Hands (Villalobos Remix)
15. Julian Jewil - Air Conditionne
16. Annie - Heartbeat (The Field Remix)
17. Panda Bear - Bros

Thanks a lot, 'Spamalot'

Posted by Katie Johnston Chase January 18, 2008 10:41 AM


Sometimes I forget, amid all the talk of how enriching and moving and thought-provoking the arts are supposed to be, that the arts are really all about entertainment. I don't know if "Spamalot" counts as "arts," exactly, what with all the fart jokes and general buffoonery, but I do know that last night's performance at the Opera House sure put my husband in a better mood.

He was distracted and grouchy at the beginning of the Monty Python-based show, but after a few chuckles at the singing, bumbling knights onstage, and a joyous showering of confetti at the end, his good nature was restored.

So thanks, "Spamalot," without you it might have been a long night.

Dropping a bomb

Posted by Katie Johnston Chase January 11, 2008 10:08 AM

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An amazing thing happened during the ART's production of "Copenhagen" the other night: An actor had to call for her line.

Three important things to know about Michael Frayn's World War II-era play about the atomic bomb: The dialog about nuclear fission and human relationships is extremely complex, and nonstop; the characters (a German physicist, a Danish physicist, and his wife) are onstage the entire time; and the show is two and a half hours long.

So it's really not that amazing that Karen MacDonald forgot where she was during the second act. What is amazing is how rarely this happens in professional theater. It was painful to watch MacDonald try to cover the gap, and even more painful to see her stop mid-speech and say, "I'm sorry -- line." The stage director had to call it out from the back of the house, so it wasn't as if nobody noticed.

MacDonald recovered beautifully, but it definitely jolted us out of German-occupied Denmark. At the same time, it was a reminder of just how hard actors are working up there, having to recall thousands of words in just the right order and say them in just the right way. Instead of being annoyed, I came away more appreciative of their craft.

So thanks, Karen. I'm sure you were mortified, but it gave the play an even deeper meaning for me.

New Club Night Alert

Posted by Emily Sweeney November 30, 2007 07:46 PM

There's a new night for the Man Ray crowd.....it's called Shelter and it's happening on the first Saturday of every month.
DJ Punketta and guests spin Industrial, EBM, electro, goth, synthpop, 80’s, new wave, darkwave.....and there is a dress code, of course: "minimum all black." I hear the Shelter kids are looking for artists and vendors to display stuff, too...if you're interested, you can track them down on Myspace.

No Sweat

Posted by Emily Sweeney November 30, 2007 03:19 PM
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I have a new personal slogan:

“Who Makes Your Clothes?”

Do you ever wonder? Look at the tag of your coat or shirt. Chances are, your clothes were sewn by an underpaid factory worker who lives thousands of miles away. Even designer labels rely on overseas factories where people work for cheap.

Lately I’ve been trying to buy only clothes made in the USA, and I must say, it’s had a positive impact on my pocketbook. The only new clothes I’ve purchased are boy scout shirts and Army surplus gear.

But I've recently learned that my wardrobe doesn't have to be limited to military garb -- this weekend's No Sweat shopping event gives me hope.

NoSweatShop.com is the online home for No Sweat Apparel, a company that sells clothing, sneakers, and stuff that are made by trade unions in the US, Canada, and other countries. This weekend they're having a big sale at the Hyde Park Open Studios.

The sale is from 12 noon to 5 pm on Saturday and Sunday, at 1415 Hyde Park Ave., up on the third floor.

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-- Emily Sweeney

Lovewhip - Provocateur show

Posted by Emily Sweeney November 22, 2007 12:17 AM

I went to see Lovewhip and Provocateur at Church on Friday night. Brought my camera, too....

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-- Emily Sweeney

Tree Revival

Posted by Danielle Capalbo November 19, 2007 12:59 PM

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Fans know campfire crooner Jason Anderson best for his intimate live shows, where he sparks as many life-affirming moments as heartfelt sing-a-longs.

That said, I'd still swear his show Saturday night was inimitable.

The K Records rocker played a bright room on the fourth floor of the BU Hillel House. For over an hour, he led the crowd like a folk-rock preacher through humble, heartbreaking, and hopeful originals; then, he carried his acoustic guitar outside and across the street. The venue was closing and our energy was still high, so Anderson played under the yellowing leaves of a nearby tree until the cops showed up.

In the crisp cold, the elementary-school teacher threw some classroom gems into the set, like "Pizza Is Awesome" and the "Thanksgiving Song." Passers-by (the park was on campus) craned their necks to see us flap our faux-turkey wings and shout "OK!" when Anderson suggested in song that we order a pizza. (Pizza really is awesome!) He even catered to one passer-by, playing "Brown Eyed Girl" by Van Morrison, before losing the guitar to rap ”This Is How We Do It” by Montell Jordan.

When cops arrived, we were howling like wolves at the chorus of a song about Anderson’s uncle. Our group had hardly dwindled – a feat on a freezing November night – and we looked over at the officer who’d joined us. "Can we do one more?" Anderson asked. The officer nodded, and we finished the night huddled close together, singing about snow.

Savant-Garde

Posted by Danielle Capalbo November 12, 2007 01:47 PM

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The sparkling hardwood floors at 1625 Tremont St. took me by surprise Sunday afternoon. Last time I checked, the eclectic Mission Hill eatery was still the Solstice Cafe, a rustic Brigham Circle fixture where patrons could enjoy hearty entrees and jazz performances inside, or out back when weather permitted. But late this summer, new owners transformed the space into the Savant Project bistro. I had my apprehensions as a once-regular at the Solstice, but one never knows until one tries.

On Sunday afternoon, around 3, the new bistro was dark enough inside for a friend and I to wonder if it was open; it was, and we took a tiny table off to the side. Turns out, the shift from neighborhood refuge to culinary savant didn't cost the bistro its warm, cozy charm. (It's much swankier than before, though, with lighting fixtures and a menu to prove it.)

The dim lights were a comfortable plus, and the Project gets bonus points for serving breakfast well into the afternoon. My friend ordered an egg-white omelet with feta, while I opted for scrambled eggs, both accompanied by potatoes (cooked and spiced to perfection), an English muffin, and a cold, fresh fruit puree. We added some piping hot coffee and relaxed, watching through the Project’s big, sidewalk windows as bundled-up locals trudged by. It's not the Solstice, but a welcome Sunday solace.

Scenes from The Neighborhood

Posted by Emily Sweeney November 11, 2007 08:08 PM

Last night I went out to The Neighborhood, an incredibly popular monthly dance night at the Midway Cafe in JP.

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As usual, the dancefloor was packed....

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...and kids were hanging out outside the club...

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...I saw my pal, glass artist Emily Lombardo and got to meet media maven Will Kilburn...

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The Neighborhood always attracts a really diverse crowd, and the music rocks. I highly recommend checking it out....just be sure to get there early.

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-- Emily Sweeney


Save your soles at Chez Vous

Posted by Emily Sweeney November 10, 2007 04:28 PM

Lindsay Crudele and a bunch of DJs, artists and all-around cool kids are kicking off a "Sponsor-a-Skate" drive to replace the aging rental pairs at Chez Vous.

If ya haven't heard, Boston's only surviving roller rink is struggling to stay open, and Lindsay and the rest of The Student Council have been throwing some fab events there to help keep the place going.

Their goal is to get 300 new pairs of skates for Chez Vous, and they need your help. Each pair costs about $75, and anyone who donates that amount will get their initials on a pair of skates.
Pretty cool.

Here's how you can help -

You can make your donation online via Paypal to: newskates@chezvousskate.com

Or send a check to: Chez Vous Fund, 11 Rhoades St., Boston, MA 02124

If you donate $75 or more, be sure to tell them how your initials should appear on the skates. You can write that in the memo section of the check, or in Paypal's notes section. Oh yeah, and contributions are tax deductible, too.


Pop culture hustlers

Posted by Emily Sweeney November 9, 2007 03:23 PM

The Sheraton hotel in Framingham is hosting an insane event called Super Mega Fest on November 17th and 18th.

Look who will be there:

The guy from the Greatest American Hero!
Believe or not I'm walkin' on air...

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Adam West and Burt Ward!

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Butch Patrick (a.k.a. Eddie Munster)!

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WWF star George "The Animal" Steele!

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You can even get your photo taken with Jabba the Hutt (proceeds benefit the Jimmy Fund), and meet Julie Newmar, the actress who played Catwoman in 1960s. Totally random.

-- Emily Sweeney

Breaking News from our Burlesque Bureau

Posted by Emily Sweeney November 8, 2007 01:28 PM

Hey, I just opened this press release from Ol' Scratch, the guy who pimps the Boston Babydolls:

PRESS RELEASE Nov. 8, 2007

Say Goodbye to Hollywood
Boston Babydoll Eliminated from America's Next Top Model

BOSTON, MA - Nov.7, 2007 - Tyra Banks better watch her back. She's earned the wrath of The Boston Babydolls. In the episode of America's Next Top Model which aired on The CW on Wednesday, November 7, Boston Babydoll 'Vita Lightly' was knocked out of the running.

"Vita is one of the happiest, most positive people I know," said longtime Boston Babydoll member Betty Blaize. "Tyra Banks made her cry. Tyra better not come to Boston any time soon." At well over six feet tall - including her fashionable updo and her high heels - Betty is an imposing figure... even when she's not angry.

The Boston Babydolls aren't the only viewers of ANTM who are uphappy with the decision to eliminate Sarah (Vita's real name). As a native of Heath, MA and a former Boston University student, Sarah was a local favorite. Her popularity far exceeded just residents of the Bay State. She was a frequently praised on the various on-line forums and chat rooms dedicated to the reality show for being a "real-sized" woman and positive role model.

"Vita's sense of humor and positive attitude made her unique on the show" said friend and manager, Scratch. "In a house full of beautiful bodies, Vita stood out as a beautiful person". Vita did well on the show, winning a CoverGirl make-up challenge and finishing most competitions solidly in the middle.

"We're looking forward to performing with her again," said Boston Babydoll co-founder Miss Mina. "She adds a lot to the troupe. That's one of the upsides to her being eliminated."

"The other upside," added Scratch with a smile, "Is that I never have to watch America's Next Top Model again".


=======================

That's too bad, I wish Vita had made the cut.

If you want to catch the Boston Babydolls in action, they're hosting an evening of "Burlesque and Billiards" at Flat Top Johnny's on Nov. 11th. And Vita will be back on stage with them for the "Brrrrlesque" show at Coolidge Corner on Dec. 15.

-- Emily Sweeney

Beef stew nirvana

Posted by Katie Johnston Chase November 2, 2007 02:19 PM

It's not often that the memory of one delicious bite of food at a bar stays in your head all week long. But that's what happened when I tried the beef stew at the Druid in Inman Square last Friday night. It was so tender and flavorful, everybody at the table was drooling over it. And that's not to say the herby hamburgers and well-cooked steak and garlicky spinach weren't tasty, because they were -- exceptional for bar food, in fact. It's just that it's not often that beef stew causes so much excitement. Go get yourself a bowl and see if you're not dreaming about it too.

Acting their way out of a paper bag

Posted by Katie Johnston Chase November 1, 2007 11:57 AM

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So what'd you do Halloween night? Hand out candy to little goblins and princesses? Stand in line trying to get into the Milky Way dance party? Smash pumpkins?

I did one of those things (I'm not saying which) and then joined about a dozen of my neighbors out on the sidewalk to watch the Paper Bag Mummers put on a show in the middle of our street. The Mummers are a group of actors who put on old English folk plays in the spirit of Renaissance-era theatrical traditions. The "paper bag" part of their title refers to their costumes, which are made of, you guessed it, paper bags. The Arlington-based group tours our little corner of Somerville every year on Halloween (the couple who lives across the street are members), beginning with a tradition of "dancing the sun down."

I'm not exactly sure what happened during the 5-minute play, other than someone died and was brought back to life, but it was fun to stand out there with my costumed neighbors while we cheered the hero and booed the villain (and the cars that interrupted the performance). And it was nice to see that there are creative types out there who enjoy cavorting through the streets wearing paper bags.

If you want to catch the Mummers, a list of performances is here.

Bloc party

Posted by Courtney Hollands October 22, 2007 09:28 AM

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[Artsy shot of the new sign through the trees. Gallery-worthy.]

In case we need any further proof that Union Square is obviously the coolest square in Somerville, I give you -- drum roll please -- the Bloc 11 Cafe. This hip little java joint opened last Monday and I finally had the pleasure of ordering an iced coffee there on Saturday. Not only is the coffee great, the real draw to this place (opened by the same people who own Diesel in Davis Square) is the ambiance. The complete package, if you will.

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[Get a table near the street, in our old familiar place...]

The whole front is windows, which open into the street. So if you want sun and fresh air, that's the spot for you. The cafe is absolutely cavernous -- with tables and chairs sprinkled throughout. There are not one, but two defunct bank vaults. So if you want isolation and quiet, snag a seat there.

Another hot spot (literally) is the fireplace in the back room, surrounded with benches made from old safety deposit boxes (and don't miss the games in the cabinet!). Come thirsty and hungry -- as there is a full sandwich menu and soup du jour.

In short, if you're looking for me from roughly December 1 through March 20, I'll most likely be holed up in my favorite new place to hibernate.

Last Call for Circuit Parties?

Posted by Emily Sweeney October 6, 2007 03:49 PM

OUT magazine reports that circuit parties are an endangered species in the wild world of gay nightlife:

“The younger kids don’t want or need to follow in the footsteps of their older brothers,” says Tom Beaulieu, owner of Rise, a Boston nightclub. “They meet online and fit into the mainstream culturally.”

Okay, okay....I confess. I need help deciphering this olde skool retro-speak. Maybe I'm really out of the gay loop here....but can someone just tell me what a circuit party is?

( ha, just kidding )

But seriously, I was under the impression those crazy-long dance parties died a long time ago....the last time I heard much about 'em was back in the 90s, during the first wave of the glowstick-swinging rave scene. Then again, who knows, I could be totally wrong here. If am indeed out of Boston's gay loop, please let me know.

Anyway.... the OUT article is interesting reading, especially the part about future trends in the circuit par-tay scene. I'm glad they interviewed the owner of Rise, too....it's always cool to see local folks quoted in a national mag.

-- Emily Sweeney


Ice cream, moo! scream

Posted by Jeff Miranda October 5, 2007 10:09 AM

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This just in from brand-new Flip Side blogger Carmen Nobel:

Last night marked the 17th annual Ig Nobel prize
ceremony, in which a magazine called "The Annals of
Improbable Research" honors scientific achievements
"that first make people laugh, and then make them
think."

This year the Ig Nobel Chemistry Prize went to Mayu
Yamamoto, a scientist from the International Medical
Center of Japan, who developed a way to extract
vanillin -- a vanilla fragrance and flavoring -- from
cow dung.

The Cambridge gourmet ice cream store Toscanini's has
created a flavor in her honor. Today at 11 a.m., with
Yamamoto in attendance, Toscanini's will be offering
free samples of "Yum-a-Moto Vanilla Twist." The
flavor, which utilizes real vanilla beans, will be
available after that at regular prices -- $3.75 for
one scoop and five bucks for two scoops.

(Toscanini's proprietor Gus Rancatore remains coy
about the rest of the ingredients. All I can say is
that I haven't seen any cows hanging out near the
store lately....)

Soaking in the city

Posted by Katie Johnston Chase October 1, 2007 03:09 PM

There's nothing like having out-of-town guests to make you see your city in a new light. First of all, we went to Friday night's Red Sox game, and yes, we stayed until the Yankees lost. We got sprayed with champagne by Josh Beckett

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and watched Jonathan Papelbon dance a mad Irish jig on the mound -- and wander around with a Bud Light box on his head. Not bad for a first trip to Fenway, eh?

On Saturday, we wandered through the city, stopping at the historic Union Oyster House for oysters and Boston Lager, then at Mother Anna's in the North End, where we sat on the patio drinking Peronis and sopping up marinara sauce with anything we could get our hands on, including our hands. Next up was cigars and martinis at Stanza dei Sigari. The air was thick and stinky, and the Madonna and INXS on the stereo was a bit out of place, but our guests loved every minute of it. But then, they live in teetotal-ing Utah, where finding a drink can be a major ordeal.

That's never a problem here. Heck, in Boston even the professional ballplayers smash beer cans on the field.

What to expect when you're not expecting it

Posted by Katie Johnston Chase September 17, 2007 04:58 PM

The good thing about leaving the house is, you never know what's going to happen when you're out there. My husband and I went to see Campbell Scott in "The Atheist" last Wednesday night at the Boston Center for the Arts, and who happened to be sitting in the row in front of us but Andy Garcia.

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Campbell Scott was great, but I was expecting to see him. The bigger thrill was seeing a real-live celebrity (who looked much older and more disheveled than this, by the way) casually sitting in the audience of a Boston theater.

The next night we went to see "Wicked," which blew us away. No celebrity sightings, but who knew I could ever have sympathy for those terrifying flying monkeys?

Day of the Dahl

Posted by Danielle Capalbo September 13, 2007 04:23 PM

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By all accounts, he disowned the first film adaptation of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," yet Roald Dahl indirectly gave us the greatest gift of the 20th century: Gene Wilder in a purple velvet suit steering a psychedelic ship down a river made of chocolate. And snozberries, too. Who'd ever heard of them before?

Today, for these gifts, we celebrate Dahl. If he were alive, Britain's favorite young-adult author would be 91 and, probably, pleased. Sept. 13 belongs to him, really. It's both his birthday and international Roald Dahl Day. Here's your chance to brush up on your telekinesis in honor of the man who invented golden tickets and giant peaches. Or explore his more sophisticated work - an array of dark and twisted stories for adults, such as "The Landlady."

What the Fluff?!

Posted by Joan Charlotte Matelli September 13, 2007 03:12 PM

Do you like it fluffy?

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Fluff was invented right here in my beloved Somerville, and the annual celebration of the sticky sweet treat is always a hoot. This year's What the Fluff Festival, on September 29 in Union Sqaure, marks the 90th anniversary of the invention, so the party should be over the top. Check out the "Eighth Wonder of the World Rice Krispie Tower," tell your favorite Fluff memories in the "Tales from the Fluff Jar" oral history booth, or get your photo taken with the Flufferettes!

Rain date September 30; no one wants soggy fluff.

Oui....Gaslight Brasserie du Coin

Posted by Emily Sweeney September 10, 2007 02:44 PM
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Chris Haynes helped throw a fab bash to celebrate the opening of Gaslight Brasserie du Coin, a swanky new eatery in the South End. I loved the decor of the place. Drinks were good, too. A few party pics:
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-- Emily Sweeney


Keeping It Cool in J.P.

Posted by Danielle Capalbo August 31, 2007 04:24 PM

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In the immortal words of Alanis Morissette, "Life has a funny way of helping you out when you think everything's gone wrong." Like, when you're wearing too many bags and too many layers in sweltering city heat, and you're a 10-minute walk from the nearest train station, pining for elusive, fresh iced tea.

Then, the Canto 6 bakery appears. Its counter is lined with brioche, croissants, scones and bostok, an obscure French pastry with frangipane and orange blossom syrup. There are teas! They are iced!

On the corner of Glen Road and Washington Street in Jamaica Plain, the rustic European-style bakery is a sort of magical, nice-smelling sanctuary from the summer streets. And it's relatively new. Its dedicated young owners - Alex Emmott, 24, and Evangeline McKilligan, 31 - opened shop about a year ago.

According to Emmott, Canto 6 was McKilligan's lifelong dream. "She used to do cookie platters when she was a kid," she said. A luscious dream come true, for sure. Especially when it goes with a refreshing cup of tangerine and ginger iced tea.

Visit the Canto 6 website here.

Scenes from Lansdowne Street

Posted by Emily Sweeney August 13, 2007 04:26 PM
guitar.JPG 12:30 a.m. - Bill's Bar

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1:45 a.m.- outside of Jillian's

-- Emily Sweeney


I hope that's a jellyfish I just touched

Posted by Katie Johnston Chase August 7, 2007 11:56 AM

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I spent a glorious day on the Harbor Islands with a few girlfriends last weekend (not pictured above). It was humid and in the high 90s -- a perfect day to get out of the city and go for a swim. First we braved the murky, jellyfish-infested waters off Spectacle Island (which we promptly dubbed Trash Island after learning of its garbage-dump past), then hopped a water taxi to Lovells Island, where the water was far less gross; we even found a patch of sand to lie on amid the rocks.

The whole day's entertainment cost the price of a ferry ride from Long Wharf, a whopping $12 apiece, not counting our picnic of grapes and chocolate-chip cookies. We were already planning a return trip.

Then I picked up the paper this morning and saw the front-page report about boats dumping sewage in the harbor. Ewww. Ewww. Ewww. This is my favorite part: "thousands of gallons of sewage." We were swimming in thousands of gallons of sewage.

The EPA is putting a halt to it in the spring, apparently. Which is great news. But until then, you won't catch me near that poo-infested water.

Scenes from Dot Ave.

Posted by Emily Sweeney August 6, 2007 12:44 PM

I brought my camera out on Saturday night and snapped some photos:


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12:20 a.m. - Blarney Stone patio area, 1505 Dorchester Ave.

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1:45 a.m. - Emerald Isle dancefloor, 1501 Dorchester Ave.

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2 a.m.- the friendly doorman at the Isle

-- Emily Sweeney

The new '80s

Posted by Bobby Hankinson July 29, 2007 10:21 PM

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After my latest Hanging With Hanson, I had been craving some old-school '90s jams. I headed over to My So-Called '90s Night at the Common Ground in Allston Friday and boy was I in luck. The DJ spun the brothers Hanson, of course, and lots of other classic tunes like the New Radicals' "You Get What You Give," Los del Rios' "Macarena," and "Barbie Girl" by Aqua. I utilized the request notebook by his set-up and boogied-down to two of my faves, "Rhythm is a Dancer" by Snap! and "Another Night" by the Real McCoy.

As I glanced around the packed dance floor at the crowd of hipsters shouting out the lyrics to "Wannabe" by the Spice Girls, something dawned on me. Now that we've reached 2007 is it time we got nostalgic for the '90s?

If it means I can find somewhere to dance the night away to La Bouche, then so be it.

Old skool hiphop flyers

Posted by Emily Sweeney July 27, 2007 01:16 PM
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Check out these old posters and flyers from back in the day. They were made for shows at ol' NYC clubs like the Ecstasy Garage Disco.

Word.

via BoingBoing

-- Emily Sweeney

"Potter" pics

Posted by Bobby Hankinson July 23, 2007 02:10 AM

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Harry and the Potters in Harvard Yard

Since I only went to one "Harry Potter" party on Friday, I can't accurately claim the Best Harry Potter Party EVER! lived up to it's name. I can say, even though I'm not a huge fan of the series, that it was an awesome time with tons of people. My friend (and "Harry Potter" super-fan), however, said the night could only have been topped if she was flown to the United Kingdom to sit on J.K. Rowling's lap as she read the final book.

We snapped a ton of photos of our favorite costumes, the performers, and a few shots of the mob at the Harvard Book Store at midnight. You can check them out here.

Scenes from Saturday night

Posted by Emily Sweeney July 15, 2007 09:11 PM

I busted out my camera at The Neighborhood in JP, and snapped a few pics:

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...guest DJ Matthew Connor and Lauralee

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...the packed dancefloor

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...Karla

-- Emily Sweeney


Rest In Peace, Mr. Butch

Posted by Emily Sweeney July 13, 2007 10:17 PM


Street icon 'Mr. Butch' dies at 56
Scooter crash claims popular homeless man

By Bryan Marquard, Globe Staff | July 12, 2007

Dreadlocked, homeless, and usually cheerful, Mr. Butch was an iconic presence in Kenmore Square for years before moving his base of operations to Harvard Avenue in Allston a decade ago. Ranting in rhyme with a beer in hand — a tall boy, preferably — he would panhandle one minute and offer to share his take with a friend the next. (Read more)

Mr. Butch hurt in accident

Posted by Emily Sweeney July 12, 2007 04:33 PM
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I've been reading posts on UniversalHub and Bostonist reporting that Mr. Butch got into a scooter accident this morning.

UPDATE: My editors have informed me that Mr. Butch died from his injuries. My colleague Andrew Ryan will be writing his obituary.

This is a sad day :-(

- Emily Sweeney

Playing through

Posted by Katie Johnston Chase July 10, 2007 06:59 PM

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Jay Gee's in Methuen doesn't have the biggest go-kart track or most thrilling mini-golf course you'll ever see -- no windmills or scary clowns or wild-animal mouths to putt through, and the "sand traps" seem to be made out of bath mats. But it does have batting cages, and air hockey. And ice cream -- lots and lots of ice cream: soft-serve, hard-serve, gummy bear serve ... whatever your stomach desires. And the complex is open until 10 p.m. And sometimes on a sticky summer evening, all you want to do is eat a twist cone and race your friends around a tire-lined track.

On the waterfront

Posted by Katie Johnston Chase July 9, 2007 01:47 PM


Last week I revisited one of my favorite spots on Northern Avenue, the No Name Restaurant. The no-frills joint serves simple, tasty seafood, is out on a pier overlooking the water, and has its own spacious parking lot. More than anything, though, I love this Boston institution because my parents loved it when they lived here in the '70s. I like to think of them, all idealistic and long-haired, getting away from their two small children for a date (or possibly bringing us along) and treating themselves to a big plate of fried clams.

The next night I went back to Northern Avenue to check out the sleek new Salvatore's. This place is clearly aimed more at the upscale LTK/ICA crowd, not the bus-of-Japanese-tourists crowd we encountered across the street at the No Name. But the pizza is delicious, the bar area is cozy, and the staff is very friendly.

Spending time in these two places got me thinking about all the new businesses and residences popping up on the waterfront, many of which have a homogenous, conference-center feel, and all the old-school Boston icons like No Name and Anthony's Pier 4 and James Hook that have been giving the place its wonderfully salty character for years. Let's hope these longtime waterfront residents don't get pushed out as the development boom continues, because the waterfront's soul just may go with them.

Lesbian club turf battle?

Posted by Emily Sweeney July 6, 2007 12:17 PM

Tribe Nightclub Productions and Shuttavac Productions are two of the most well-known lesbian club promoters in town. Check out the two e-mails I received yesterday....it appears that Shuttavac is taking over Tribe's night at Pure:

=============================

From:"Shuttavac Mailing List"
Date: Thu, 05 Jul 2007 10:29:36 -0700
Subject: Pure is NOT Closed

Shuttavac Productions...
Pure Re-Opens Friday July 13th

Pure will be closed for one week only (July 6th) but
will be back starting Friday July 13th.
Reply to this email with your first and last name (as it appears on your ID)
for a FREE pass to Pure on July 13th

Visit http://www.shuttavac.com for more details and photos from previous nights.

========================================

From:wkelly@tribenightclub.com
Date: Thu, 5 Jul 2007 14:27:22 -0400
Subject: Tribe at PURE FRIDAYS is CLOSED...

Hi Everyone,
Due to circumstances out of our control, Tribe will no longer be
hosting Friday nights at Pure.
We are currently looking for a new location and will be sure to
contact you once we find another venue.
In the meantime, Come join us Thursday nights at Club Felt.

Thank you for your continued support and patronage.
Your friends at Tribe

Tribe @ Felt
533 Washington Street
4th floor-Private Side Entrance
Every Thursday night
9pm-2am
WWW.TRIBENIGHTCLUB.COM

========================================

hmmm....anyone else sense a bit of rivalry here?


-- Emily Sweeney

Calling all zombies....

Posted by Emily Sweeney June 28, 2007 06:54 PM

Some fast + fresh zombies are needed for a movie scene that's gonna be filmed in Allston on Saturday, June 30th.

(...Not sure what they mean by fast. I guess they're looking for zombies with a bit o' pep in their step )

Anywaaay....the casting call on MySpace says that zombie make-up will start at 5 p.m....if you want to apply your own makeup, then be sure to use a lot of RED. They're looking for fresh bloody zombies...NOT days-old decomposed zombies. So don't even think about painting your face ghastly white or pale green. And be sure to wear clothes that can be soaked in blood. No logos.

w00t

-- Emily Sweeney

Chain letter

Posted by Katie Johnston Chase June 27, 2007 10:04 AM

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I know the Beehive is the hip, new place to see and be seen. It's crawling with well-groomed people who are willing to stand in line in the rain to get inside; there's live jazz, tasty drinks, and fantastic french fries. But honestly, I think I'd rather be at the Cheesecake Factory.

I've been to both places in the past week, and my experience at the chain restaurant inside the Cambridge mall was much more enjoyable. First of all, it was easy to park, and it only cost $2 (it's $15 for valet parking at the Beehive, which is in the parking-spot-deprived South End). At the Cheesecake Factory, there was no pretentious man wearing an earpiece barring our entry at the door, despite having a reservation, and once we got inside, we could actually hear each other talk. The din at the Beehive, on the other hand, was almost unbearable.

The food is good at both places -- more creative at the Beehive, no doubt -- but it's truly tough to beat chocolate/peanut butter/cookie dough cheesecake.

I'm all for supporting local businesses over chains, and I'm all for checking out new places, especially when they have live music, but these hot spots can be a major pain. I'm not sure when I'll have the energy to go back to the buzzing Beehive, but I'm already thinking about making another trip to the Factory.

Not quite Paradise

Posted by Katie Johnston Chase June 19, 2007 10:35 AM

We were recently forwarded this e-mail from Kristen, an artist who lives in the Fort Point area, about her experience at the Paradise Lounge. According to Kristen, she and her friends were each charged a $7 cover at 10:40 p.m., even though, unbeknownst to them, the place was closing at 11. Needless to say, she wasn't happy.

Here is her note, lightly edited:

"I am not one to bad-mouth an establishment – especially out loud. But I cannot let this one lay quietly. On Monday night, June 4, I went out with three friends (one visiting from Sweden) to check out some local music. We first hit Toad in Porter Square and had a wonderful time. The music and the ambience were stellar. But we decided to leave as the place filled up and check out some other music for our Swedish cohort.

We drove around a bit and decided that the Paradise Lounge, on Commonwealth Ave., seemed like a great way to absorb the late-night Boston scene. We entered the vestibule of the lounge at 10:40 p.m. to listen for a moment (as we did not know anything really about the bands playing that night) and decided to pay the $7 cover to go in. Now, my first reaction to a $7 cover on a Monday night is to completely turn around and go somewhere else. But this night it
seemed like a fun idea. We each paid the overpriced cover and entered the lounge. We waited at the bar (which was relatively dead) for a bit and then ordered beers. We sat and listened to the music, which was a band of young, baseball-hat-wearing frat boys rocking out to cover songs.

OK, bad move on our part. We should have listened more carefully at the door, but still, it was 10:45 and we hoped that the next band, the headliner, would have to be at least a little better. At 10:50, the band finished and the lights came on. Hmmmm. Weird. We waited a minute or two and asked the bartender if/when the other band was coming on. She said simply, “No. That’s it.” She then informed us that the Paradise Lounge is now an 18+ establishment and that they close at 11. I asked her why this was not posted anywhere and why we were charged a full cover 10 minutes before the (awful) band finished for the evening. She directed me to the door people.

Of course I can’t let this one go, plus the beer on tap stinks. So I calmly walk out to the door guy to ask the same question. He claims that he cannot return our money and that we should have known better. I start to push up my sleeves ready for a fight (this guy is at least 2 feet taller than me – but I was mad) and he walked me over to the bar, pulled out his wallet and offered to buy us a round of drinks. Sweet, right? No. I don’t want him to pay out of his pocket and I also don’t want another beer. I want my cover money back and I want to hear decent music.

So I asked to speak with the manager. I should have known then, when the door guy warned me that the manager would not do anything, that the manager actually would not do anything. He took his time coming over to us and then asked what the problem was. I simply stated that I was upset that we paid a $7 cover to come in to hear three cover songs and then be asked to finish up our drinks and leave. He said he was sorry but that’s the way it is. I (now irate) tell him that I’ve worked in the nightclub establishment for many years and would never treat people like this. He retorts with the fact that he’s been in the business longer than me and that’s the way it is.

I say, “This is ridiculous!!” The manager motions to the door and coldly says, “Then leave.” I wanted to say, “Duh, you’re closing anyway.” But instead we leave, and I warn the place loudly as we are walking out that I’m going to write a letter! So here it is. OK, it doesn’t sound that outrageous now and writing a letter is completely silly, but we were treated poorly and he was a jerk.

We should have stayed at Toad."

Sing it

Posted by Bobby Hankinson June 17, 2007 10:16 PM

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Someone please just tell it to her heart.

I'm not going to lie. I've been waiting weeks for an excuse to write about Taylor Dayne in some capacity. You may remember the singer from hits like "Tell It To My Heart" (watch the hilarious video here), "Love Will Lead You Back," and "I'll Be Your Shelter." Ever since I pilfered the disc from my parents' greatest hits collection, she's been an important part of my summer playlist.

So imagine my utter joy when they started pumping Ms. Dayne at the "Ladies of the '80s" sing-along Friday at the Coolide Corner Theatre. The midnight show was packed with classics like "I Wanna Dance With Somebody," "I Think We're Alone Now," and "Straight Up." Plenty of folks dressed up in their best off the shoulder, ripped up sweatshirts and belted their hearts out.

This wasn't my first sing-along at the Coolidge (that would be the R. Kelly "Trapped in the Closet" themed night) and they are always a guaranteed good time. There's just something about the dark of the theater that makes people lose their inhibitions and shimmy like an extra in the video for "Love Is a Battlefield."

If you missed it this weekend, don't worry. Next month there'll be a Prince sing-along followed by Jiggy Crunk (pop-rap of the '90s) in August. All the info's here.

Ladies in uniform

Posted by Emily Sweeney May 30, 2007 11:51 PM

Last year, my pal DJ Punketta Doilie made me a dope mix-disc that included a song by these British ladies, who go by the name of Client:

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Metropolis Records - Photo by Napoleon Habeica

...and I've been a fan ever since.

In less than 24 hours, Client will be playing a show at T.T. the Bear's with Karacter and another one of my fave bands, Provocateur. Punketta will be spinning between their sets. Doors open at 8:30 p.m., 18 +, $10.

-- Emily Sweeney

Coming full Circle

Posted by Bobby Hankinson May 29, 2007 05:15 PM

Cleveland Circle is one of those places I've just never had a reason to visit. Sure, I've zoomed through it every now and again while riding the B-line or driving en route to Chestnut Hill, but I haven't had the chance to explore the area. Well, that all changed this weekend.

While the rest of the world, or at least a good chunk of it, went to see the latest "Pirates of the Caribbean," I decided it was high time I checked out "Georgia Rule." (And yes, it was just as deliciously terrible as I had heard.) The closest theater still showing it was the Circle Cinemas, so I and some friends headed over. The super-brightly lit lobby (and teeny, tiny auditorium -- no doubt the larger ones were occupied with big-budget three-quels) felt like an old discount theater and was just tacky enough to take in such a cheesy film.

I can't vouch for the concession stand because we filled up at Bangkok Bistro beforehand. The crispy pad thai I ordered came in a heaping mound and the prices were more than fair.

Between dinner, the movie, and a brief respite at the park, I realized I should spend more summer nights at Cleveland Circle.

But possibly a few less with Lindsay Lohan.

Word on the street....

Posted by Emily Sweeney May 29, 2007 04:05 PM

* The rockin’ ladies of HRT will be on TV tomorrow (May 30). Catch them performing live on the Fox 25 Morning News sometime between 8:30 and 9:30 a.m...

* The 33 Restaurant & Lounge is hosting a free wine tasting event next Wednesday, June 6. Sweet

* There are a lot of guys who perform at Kennedy’s Midtown, and the pub is looking to book more female musicians during the summer and fall. If you know any female musicians looking for gigs, contact Christie Leigh at CNC Music Productions.

-- Emily Sweeney

Madonnas Everywhere

Posted by Emily Sweeney May 24, 2007 02:05 PM

Hey look, another cool photo exhibit is opening tonight.

Josh Michtom has photographed zillions of religious statues in Somerville. His Somerville Madonnas photo exhibit will be on display at the Paradise Lounge until July 20. The opening reception starts tonight at 6 p.m.

BTW, if you want to see a Dorchester Madonna, come to my house. You'll see her guarding my front yard:

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Emily Sweeney's fabulous front yard. (Photo by Alena Williams)


-- Emily Sweeney

Word on the street...

Posted by Emily Sweeney May 15, 2007 05:53 PM


* The boys from Bang Camaro are going to be featured in an upcoming issue of Playgirl.(!) They're also doing a video for Rolling Stone.(!) Guitarist Bryn Bennett writes about the band's hectic schedule in his blog....and former Globie Jim Sullivan reports on the party that Playgirl plans to host for them in New York...

* One of the Boston Babydolls is supposed to appear on a reality show. The burlesque troupe is keeping mum about the details...guess we'll have to wait until the show airs in September.

-- Emily Sweeney

Harvard Square MayFair 2007

Posted by Emily Sweeney May 9, 2007 03:52 PM

I love this picture.

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Mick Murray snapped this rad photo of Bang Camaro performing at MayFair on Sunday.

FYI, Bang Camaro is taking its guitarchestra + choir show on the road next week: they'll be in Brooklyn on the 18th and then they'll rock the Beachcomber in Wellfleet on May 25th.

-- Emily Sweeney

Toscanini's takes the cake

Posted by Katie Johnston Chase May 8, 2007 10:13 AM

Everybody knows that Sweet -N- Nasty in Back Bay is a great place to go for erotic cakes (OK, maybe not everybody). But did you know that Toscanini's could make great bachelorette-party-worthy confections, too? I didn't. I attended such an event last weekend, and the ice cream cake from Toscanini's was the hit of the night. The cake didn't have a suggestive shape, there were no props sticking out of it, but it did have the filthiest phrase I've ever seen written in frosting. The woman who placed the order asked the people behind the counter to put the dirtiest thing they could think of on the cake, and they put the manager on the case. I can't replicate any part of his message here, but I can tell you that the bride-to-be gasped and slammed down the lid the second she opened the box. And then we all fought over which word we wanted on our piece. It made the belly dancer who came to give lessons seem positively tame in comparison.

Crack is wack

Posted by Emily Sweeney May 2, 2007 01:28 PM
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...so last night I’m waiting in line at the Store 24 in my neighborhood, and the woman ahead of me tells the cashier in a gruff voice, "Gimme a packa Newports and one of dem flowahs."

I looked past the cashier, to see what the lady was pointing at behind the counter. And lo and behold, tucked away with the smokeless tobacco, cigarettes, blunts and other typical behind-the-counter kinds of merchandise are these little, itsy-bitsy miniature fake flowers encased in a glass cylinders, with holes at both ends... uh, yeah – totally olde skool CRACK PIPES.

They’re selling them for 99 cents. I bought one to illustrate how ridiculous this is. Why is there such demand for these little roses encased in glass? Hmm. I wonder.

Of course crack pipes can be fashioned out of many items...but these little roses drive me crazy. Whenever I see them sold in convenience stores, it’s like... c’mon, people. Do you really have to be so obvious? Make drug users bust out their mad MacGyver skills on their bad habits, don’t just hand ‘em these things.

-- Emily Sweeney

Holy guacamole

Posted by Katie Johnston Chase April 30, 2007 01:06 PM

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If you like avocados as much as we do, we urge you to point your tastebuds in the direction of these two green, creamy concoctions.

The first is the avocado shake, which we have recently become addicted to at the Sunrise Restaurant on Dorchester Avenue (one of the few places we Globies can reach on our short lunchtime leash). It sounds strange, but it's sinfully good, and goes down especially easy with a shrimp-cake noodle bowl.

The second is the spicy guacamole at Ole in Inman Square. It's made fresh upon request, allegedly at your table, although when we were there last week we didn't get to witness its creation. Regardless, it's quite possibly the best guac we've had this side of the Mississippi. Saturday is a good time to try it if you haven't yet: It's Cinco de Mayo, and the restaurant is hosting a mariachi band.

First times a charm

Posted by Katie Johnston Chase April 23, 2007 11:34 AM

I experienced a number of firsts last weekend: First haircut at Judy Jetson (not nearly as snobby and shoddy as a number of postings made it out to be); first time at Scullers Jazz Club (a divine evening hearing the smokin' hot Bettye LaVette, below).

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On Sunday, I tried the Elvis pancakes at the B-Side for the first time (granted, it was just a bite of my friend's chocolate- and banana-coated cakes, but that's all it took to know that breakfast will never be the same) and took my inaugural boating trip on the Charles River. It was a gorgeous sunny afternoon, and we rented a canoe and two kayaks from Charles River Canoe & Kayak. We found an old three-story fort built on an island not from the Newton Boathouse and spent a while exploring the surprisingly sturdy structure, which was cobbled together with scrap wood and a lot of insulated wire. There was a hammock, a grill, a bricked-in but flooded patio, even a number of electrical outlets. We didn't dare put any of the dangling plugs into the sockets, but imagine: a fort with electricity!

We definitely plan to go out on the river soon (the Boston location to rent boats opens May 4), and next time we're bringing hot dogs and heading straight for the fort.

Rock N' Roll Photography

Posted by Emily Sweeney April 16, 2007 07:25 PM


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I definitely wanna swing by Christopher's sometime soon. Kelly Davidson is one of my favorite photographers....the girl is constantly shooting amazing pics of Boston's music scene. This photo exhibit should be dope.


Mission: dessert

Posted by Katie Johnston Chase April 10, 2007 10:14 AM

After seeing Mike Daisey's "Invincible Summer" at Zero Arrow Theatre in Cambridge on Saturday night (it was fairly entertaining, though I did doze off a bit in the middle), I was hungry for dessert. We tried Finale -- which I've heard is overrated, but I really needed something sweet -- but there was a 40-minute wait for a table. So we headed toward home and stopped at Dali on Beacon Street, where a snotty hostess refused to give us a table because we weren't going to have an entire meal, even though it was 10:30 p.m. We waited in vain for a seat at the bar but soon gave up and drove to the 1369 Coffee House in Inman Square. And there, finally, we ate a piece of warm apple pie with a glass of mint tea. Bliss. But it took us almost an hour to find it. Which makes me wonder: Is there really a dearth of late-night dessert spots in Cambridge and Somerville, or do I just not know where to find them? If you have any suggestions, let me know.


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A hairy situation

Posted by Katie Johnston Chase April 5, 2007 07:42 PM

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So my husband and I were watching the Red Sox game on NESN Wednesday night while he tried to teach me to play chess. At one point when we were focused on the cardboard chess board, the announcers started giggling like schoolgirls, so we looked up to see what was so funny. The object of ridicule was a shirtless man in the crowd (on a cold night in Kansas City) with an extremely hairy chest.

Rem Dawg and Don Orsillo were so fascinated by his "carpet fresh" torso that they started drawing sports-announcer-like lines on his shoulders to point out the hair on his shoulders, laughing hysterically all the while. (Apparently nothing interesting was going on during the game at the time.) They even got the camera guy to get another angle of the shirtless man, and sure enough, his back was just as furry. "I told you it connects!" one of them said triumphantly. More guffawing. And then they started going on about how it used to be "chic" to have a hairy chest, but when it connects from front to back, it isn't chic anymore.

Maybe they were just giddy because it was the second Red Sox game of the season, and Josh Beckett (above) was doing well, and we were winning. Maybe there wasn't enough oxygen in the booth. Or maybe the sight of a hairy chest is all it takes to make two grown men get a serious case of the giggles.

Let's go to the movies. Hello? Anyone?

Posted by Katie Johnston Chase April 3, 2007 12:09 PM

A friend and I went to see "Blades of Glory" at the Fresh Pond movie theater Sunday afternoon, and we were surprised to find the parking lot practically empty. It was a nice day -- for April in New England, that is -- but not that nice. I know that people are staying home to watch their Netflix selections from the comfort of their couches these days (myself included), but now that the Assembly Square theater has closed, Fresh Pond is the closest multiplex a lot of Somerville residents have. I thought the place would at least be a little bustling. But it seems the demand just isn't there. As much as I hated the Assembly Square cinema (toilet theater, as my husband and I affectionately called it), I'm sad it's gone. And I wonder how much life the forlorn, outdated Fresh Pond has left in it. (Apparently, the theater is newly renovated, but it's hard to see where.) It seems that not even Will Ferrell and Jon Heder in tight, sparkly skating suits can lift movie theaters out of their death spiral.

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First one wreck, then another

Posted by Katie Johnston Chase March 23, 2007 03:04 PM

After watching the Bruins fall apart during a 6-3 come-from-behind spanking by the Canadiens Thursday night, we tried to console ourselves with a postgame set by the country-pop duo the Wreckers. It was fun to watch the crew wheel the stage piece by piece onto the ice (although we were hoping at least one of them would slip and fall). It was all put together in less than 30 minutes, and a cozy crowd congregated to watch the show. The big shocker of the night came when Michelle Branch and Jessica Harp walked out on the ice. They were both wearing tight jeans, pointy boots and big Bruins jerseys, and were both ... brunette. Harp, who is so very blond in the band's suggestive, heavily lip-glossed press photos, suddenly looked a lot like her more famous bandmate. In fact, it was hard to tell the two apart from a distance. And their music didn't do much to distinguish them further. We left during the third song, and the elevator got fuller and fuller the farther down we went.

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Boston 'Zine Fair

Posted by Emily Sweeney March 22, 2007 11:00 PM


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The Boston Zine Fair is happening this weekend

at MassArt

and it's free

woot




-- Emily Sweeney


GrrlRush

Posted by Emily Sweeney March 12, 2007 11:47 AM


GrrlRush returns to the Revolution Rock Bar tonight, and so shall I...

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...had a blast at the launch party last week...witnessed Sara Leketa and the Luna Matto band perform...downed a shot of what I think(?) was Jagermeister...and listened to Punketta Doilie spin between sets...

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Punketta's on the decks again tonight. As I’ve said before, she plays all kindsa dope music. Here’s a sampling from last week:
VHS or Beta – You Got Me
Provocateur – Angels and Whiskey
MSTRKRFT – The Looks
Infadels – Jagger 67 (remix)
Shiny Toy Guns – Photograph
Le Tigre – On the Verge
The Editors – Blood
Westward Trail – Photography
Bloc Party – Helicopter (remix featuring Peaches)
Cassie – Me & U
Eagles of Death Metal – Cherry Cola
Brazilian Girls – Jique

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photos courtesy of Punketta Doilie
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See y'all tonight.... This time, I'm bringing my video camera.

- Emily Sweeney

More Channel memories

Posted by Emily Sweeney March 12, 2007 11:16 AM

This slideshow includes photos of Black Flag at the Channel, circa 1984

(hat tip to Charles Swift for pointing these out)


The Channel

Posted by Emily Sweeney March 8, 2007 07:26 AM
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Remember this place?

Photo by Jed Hresko, 1983. www.smashfanzine.com

The Channel hosted so many great shows back in the day. (I wish I had been at this one.) How 'bout you...Did you ever see any great bands at the Channel? I started a discussion thread over on the Boston.com message boards....I'd love to hear from ya.

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More links: Channel fansite , Channel photos, Neighborhoods video


Spring Fashion Preview

Posted by Emily Sweeney March 7, 2007 10:47 PM
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April 1984 -- Braintree High School students Craig Gardner, Mike Guifoyle and Danny Lambert rock the pegged pants in the school media center.

Everything comes back, sooner or later.


Silkscreen Party at the House of Ill

Posted by Emily Sweeney March 1, 2007 07:34 PM

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Dave Tree is up to something wicked good. In addition to being an amazing musician (formerly of Tree, now with Superpower), Dave's also a silkscreening ninja, throwin’ prints on anything he can lay his hands on: vintage dresses, 3-piece suits, lingerie, hats, coats, handbags, and even toilet seats.

...and lately Dave’s been throwing a lot of silkscreening parties at his studio in Allston, a.k.a. the House of Ill Illuminated. Find something you want printed on, bring it to the party and he’ll do it up for ya, right then and there. Only costs $5 per print.

Dave’s holding another open house/silkscreening party this weekend -- Saturday, March 3, from 2 to 9 p.m. -- at the House of Ill, 159 North Beacon Street in Allston. Ring the buzzer for Suite A22, it’s on the second floor to the right.

-- Emily Sweeney



From Iwo Jima to the head banger's ball

Posted by Katie Johnston Chase February 26, 2007 06:27 PM

After being thoroughly depressed by the intense best picture nominee "Letters From Iwo Jima" last weekend, I was swept up in the pop-metal mania of Bang Camaro at the Paradise. The swing from Japanese soldiers facing certain death to 14 men leading a sold-out crowd in a chorus of "swallow the razor" was a little disorienting -- but it made me appreciate the entertainment extremes one can go to on an ordinary Saturday.

Floorlords footwear

Posted by Emily Sweeney February 25, 2007 01:07 PM
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Check out these kicks. That’s right, Boston’s own legendary breakin’ crew has their own line of Saucony sneakers. I hear that the insoles say Floorlords in graffiti. I’m definitely buyin’ a pair.

The Floorlords have been touring all over the place. Keep your eyes on their website for upcoming Boston shows. And if you’ve never seen the Floorlords in action, watch this.

-- Emily Sweeney

Queerz In Da Hood

Posted by Emily Sweeney February 12, 2007 02:55 PM

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On Saturday night I scoped out "The Neighborhood" with some pals. It’s a new monthly dance night at the Midway Café in JP that Gunner Scott and DJ D'hana started in December.

The February edition of "The Neighborhood" drew a mixed crowd of queer girls, gay boys, straight kids, couples, singles...

Hip-hop was playing when we first got there, and my music snobbery started to kick in after the third or fourth hip-hop track. "Oh no," I thought to myself. "We’re gonna be stuck listening to one genre of music."

...but I was wrong =)

DJ D'hana proceeded to bust out Joy Division, New Order, and even some old skool Lionel Ritchie without skippin’ a beat.

The dancefloor was packed. I was very impressed. Definitely wanna go again.

Spotted in da crowd: Kathleen McGhee of Boston’s Weekly Dig, rock n’ roll photog Kelly Davidson, DJ Punketta, Matthew Connor and Adam Hodges of Provocateur, and Micah Bellieu of the Boston Phoenix.

-- Emily Sweeney

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Whistling Dixie

Posted by Katie Johnston Chase February 12, 2007 12:22 PM

The minute the Dixie Chicks won their fifth and final Grammy last night, I got up from the couch and bought the album of the year/song of the year/record of the year on iTunes. I'd heard a few of the songs from the feisty blugrassy pop album "Taking the Long Way," the Chicks' first release since being trashed by country-music DJs and fans after mouthing off about President Bush. But I admit, I was fully caught up in the awards-winning frenzy when I clicked the "buy" button.

And you know what, after singing along to the album on my way to work this morning -- and arriving in a startlingly good mood -- I realized that sometimes following the crowd is a good thing.

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Rollerskating news

Posted by Emily Sweeney February 9, 2007 09:34 PM

Lindsay Crudele brings us the latest report:

"Last night's All Skate event at Chez Vous was a success, entertaining skaters from elementary school age through retirees all on the same floor and raising more than a thousand dollars to directly support operations at Boston's last roller rink.

Special thanks to our incredible DJ team (David Day, Baltimoroder, Michael Potvin and Joseph Colbourne) for keeping the beats until midnight, Jef Czekaj for designing our posters, as well as Tim Scholl for being an invaluable jack of all trades. And most importantly, thanks to Greer Toney, whose wisdom, strength and humor made last night, and every other night at Chez Vous, one of a kind.

Come back soon for Spring Roll, the next edition of All Skate at Chez Vous. Meanwhile, visit the rink for regular skate sessions through the week - a schedule is up on their web site at chezvousskate.com."

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Throwing dollar bills at Bo Diddley

Posted by Katie Johnston Chase February 9, 2007 01:11 PM

In his many decades in the music business, Bo Diddley has learned the fine art of telling people off in an eloquent way. A few songs into his show kicking off the Regattabar Jazz Fest Thursday night, the veteran bluesman waved a photographer away after he got tired of the flash going off in his face. Don't come in my kitchen and eat my chicken without asking me if you can have a piece, he told him. Where's my money for all these pictures you're taking without my permission? he asked.

This prompted some dope in the audience to throw a wad of dollar bills on the floor in front of Bo, who was sitting down to play his trademark rectangular Gretsch guitar. Bo looked at the money and counted: one, two, three dollars. Then he counted his band members -- one, two, three, four, five -- and gave the guy a look. What an insult. And it didn't help that more than half the people there were completely ignoring the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer to chat it up as they swilled their free Grey Goose martinis. It was almost hard to hear Bo talk over the dull roar of the crowd, and he wasn't happy about it.

These jerks, many of whom were there for free, missed a great show. What a treat to see the music legend from 15 feet away, to be able see his huge thumbs on the guitar strings and his big eyes magnified behind his really big glasses. I could even read the set list, because it was printed in 2-inch-high letters. I swear he was singing right to me, and I didn't even care that he was wearing a terrible out man outfit -- white gym shoes, V-neck sweater, and brown slacks -- with his black porkpie hat.

I was all his.

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Manray update + Vampy Valentines

Posted by Emily Sweeney February 7, 2007 03:39 PM

MANRAY R.I.P. -- Douglas, Shelby, Em, and me hanging out at Manray's infamous phone booth. It served as the club's song request hotline....the phone dialed directly to DJ Chris Ewen's perch above the dancefloor.
Phonebooth

+++++++++

As I wrote in my previous post, Manray is expected to reopen. But when? And where will it be?

Being the curious reporter that I am, I did some more digging, trying to find answers to those nagging questions. I called Cambridge City Hall and asked if anyone there knew what was happening.

The City Hall spokeswoman told me that as far they know, Manray's owners are still "actively searching for a location."

Hmm...

But there is good news: The city supports Manray's efforts, and wants to see the club reopen. The Cambridge City Council even passed a resolution after the club closed -- here's an excerpt, via Andrew Sinclair's blog:

WHEREAS: Man Ray is a hip Cambridge destination that the City does not want to lose; now therefore be it

ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to confer with the Assistant City Manager for Community Development and the Director of Economic Development to contact the owners of the Man Ray night club to determine if the City can in any way assist in finding a suitable place to relocate this club.

So it appears the city is in Manray's corner. That's good.

And here's more good news, Goth fans. Xmortis is still thriving at TT the Bear's, the night is still 18+ (thank you, Cambridge!)....and they're throwing a "Vampiric Valentines Party" on Friday:


xmortis

Arrive early to get your Vampy Valentine pin (there's a limited supply) and save money on the $10 cover (it's only $5 before 10:30).

-- Emily Sweeney

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Hope for ManRay

Posted by Emily Sweeney January 31, 2007 07:06 AM

I received this email from a Flipside reader: "Hi Emily, I was wondering if you plan on doing a follow-up on the story you wrote last year about Manray closing in Cambridge. Many people are awaiting its return and may doubt it will re-open. Any information you could provide the community would be much appreciated! Thanks! Marco."

Like Marco, a lot of people are wondering: what the hell’s up with ManRay?

I’ve been asking around, and from what I’m (still) hearing, ManRay IS poised to make a comeback. The club's longtime resident DJ, Chris Ewen confirmed this for me again a couple days ago, and said "yes, it's supposed to be re-opening...soon."

Exactly when, and where....well, I have no idea. I’m not privy to that info...at least not yet. As soon as I hear anything at all, I’ll post it here. You can also sign up to receive e-mail updates on the ol’ ManRay website, which has been revamped completely and prominently displays this reassuring image:


The website continues to promote two classic ManRay nights – retro-electro/new wave "Heroes" Saturdays and the gothy/industrial "Crypt" Wednesdays – which have been alive and kickin’ in exile at Toast Lounge in Somerville for a while now...

However, it appears that the goth night is getting the boot. Chris says that tonight will be the last Crypt @ Toast:

"It is with a heavy heart that I must inform you that the management at Toast has decided to discontinue our weekly Goth/Industrial/Fetish extravaganza, "CRYPT". This Wednesday, January 31 will be the last one. Terri & I would like to express our undying gratitude to everyone who has attended our little soiree every Wednesday. Thank you for helping us keep the spirit of ManRay alive, until it's resurrection.

Terri and I are going to continue our Saturday night at Toast, "HEROES",so we both hope that you decide to continue visiting us. In the meantime we both hope you join us as MANRAY'S Goth/Industrial Wednesday Night lives on...for one more night...one last time.”

So that's the latest news from ManRay land, folks. I shall keep you posted. And for now, you can pay your respects to CRYPT tonight @ Toast Lounge starting at 9 p.m. Cover is $7 for 18+/ $5 for 21+.

-- Emily Sweeney


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The dancers behind the glass

Posted by Katie Johnston Chase January 30, 2007 01:45 PM


My drive home often takes me past Ryles jazz club in Inman Square, and I love looking inside when I'm stuck at a red light, which I am 98 percent of the time. The windows are fogged up, the saxophonist is wailing away on his horn, and the dance floor is crowded with couples swinging each other around -- and all I can hear is ... nothing. It's a little surreal being able to see into another world, a world where people are having way more fun, and being so completely cut off from it. Some night I might just jump out of my car and join them.
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Hot Lunch anniversary party

Posted by Emily Sweeney January 25, 2007 08:26 AM

Hot Lunch will be turning 1 this Saturday.

This monthly party "for queers and their buddies/ettes who want a strikingly sexy, radical and DIY alternative to gay nightlife" has drawn big crowds of all kindsa stylin’ people – straight, gay, bi, punks, preps, and everything in between - since it began back in January ’06 at the itsy-bitsy Reel Bar in Allston. It eventually moved to a bigger space at the Paradise Lounge, and expanded southward to da Big Apple last fall. It was voted one of the best gay-friendly nights in town in the 2006 Boston Phoenix readers poll.

hell, Hot Lunch even lured Lady Miss Kier (of Deee-lite fame) away from NYC to spin at one of their nights up here in Boston. And did I mention how much I love their punk-inspired/Party Monster-esque fliers?

I hit up Hot Lunch last summer, when it was still at its original location...

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.....................me and Kelly Davidson
@ Hot Lunch June 2006

There was a loooong line of people on the sidewalk that night, waiting to smoosh into the Reel Bar to join the par-tay. It was a fab crowd. Fantastic music. Lots of fun.

well, Hot Lunch is returning to its Allston rock city roots for the big anniversary bash this Saturday, Jan. 27th....and this time it's happening at Great Scott, and the night's lineup includes ProCon, guest DJ Dirty Jean, resident DJs Sir Loins & David Dancer, video by Robotkid, gracious hosts Miss Nicholle Pride & Katya and the usual entourage of fab go-go dancers and party kids.

The cover is $10, but you can buy tix in advance for $8 – an easy way to save a couple bucks, and you can avoid having to wait in line.

-- Emily Sweeney

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Cocktails and Couture

Posted by Bobby Hankinson January 22, 2007 11:40 PM

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So I just got back from the MFA's "Cocktails and Couture" party and it was nothing short of fabulous. In addition to celebrating the Fashion Show: Paris Collections 2006, plenty of local hotspots were there to showcase the best they have in beautification.

First we grabbed "fashionista cocktails" (orange juice, cranberry juice, Creme de Cassis, and Grey Goose) from a very cute bartender (obviously the MFA knew their demographic for this event). Then we hit the Shu Uemura eyelash table where my cohort was adorned with what the technician called "dramatic" lashes (none for me, thanks). As we marveled at the long, fanned lashes, my friend took a moment for a reality check: "Eyelashes are one of those things I never get excited about unless someone tells me to get excited about them."

We perused the tables of skincare, make-up, and hair before realizing there were hors d'oeuvres circulating. Like true fat-kids-at-heart, we parked ourselves outside the kitchen and picked off miniature crab cakes and gourmet cheeseballs from the trays that passed us.


But, of course, the best part of any fabulous party is the gift bag.


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Here's what was inside:

- $100 gift certificate off a purchase of $500 or more at Stil.
- $25 gift card off a purchase of $75 or more at She Uemura.
- 2 for 1 manicure or pedicure at Melt.
- One week pass to Equinox Fitness Club (plus a really tiny Equinox T-shirt -- motivational, perhaps?)
- $100 gift certificate on purchases of $500 or more at Alpha Omega.
- 25 percent off any purchase at Fresh and a sample fragrance quartet.

It all seems a little too rich for my blood, but hey, at least my friend scored some free lashes.

In the neighborhood

Posted by Katie Johnston Chase January 18, 2007 03:36 PM

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In case you haven't noticed, neighborhood pubs are where it's at. Tuesday night I met a friend for a drink at the Plough & Stars in Central Square and was treated to a lovely, and free, solo performance by Michael Tarbox of the alt-blues band the Tarbox Ramblers. Then on Wednesday night my husband and I went to Union Square to bid farewell to Tir na nOg, and who happened to be setting up to play but folk-country rocker Dennis Brennan (he of the Kramer-esque hair, above) and the Iodine Brothers? For free, of course. The place was jam-packed, and the bar's impending closing date, now pushed back to the end of February, made the push-lawnmower hanging from the ceiling seem somehow poignant -- and the plates of onion rings passing by smell all the sweeter.

Fire at Pan9

Posted by Emily Sweeney January 11, 2007 06:59 PM

In case you haven't heard, there was a fire at Pan9 a couple weeks ago.

For folks unfamiliar with this Allston landmark, Pan9 is an underground performance space inhabited by some of the coolest musicians and artists in our fine city. The Dresden Dolls have performed there, musicians from Fluttr Effect live(d) there...hell, the place has even been compared to Andy Warhol's Factory in NYC...

But now the future of Pan9 is totally up in the air...

You see, a fire tore through the place on Dec. 29, and the building was evacuated. A few folks had to be treated for smoke inhalation and minor burns. But thankfully, everyone got out alive.

The Pan9 website has all the details:

"We still don't know what caused the fire except for the fact that it was electrical and NOT something stupid like falling asleep with a cigarette or patchouli left burning (The Boston Herald said we were a "hippie commune"..."

The place got wrecked -- there was fire, smoke and water damage. The denizens of Pan9 lost much of their belongings, and they essentially became homeless.

Now the local art scene is pitching in to help them out. And you can help, too: check out this website – that’s where you can make a donation online and find out about the upcoming benefits for Pan9. The next one is Jan. 18 at Somerville’s Sky Bar.

-- Emily Sweeney

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Country in Cambridge.

Posted by Meredith Goldstein January 8, 2007 11:29 AM

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We hate to brag (actually, we love it), but this past weekend, thanks to Sidekick, some Nashville rockers and some Cambridge rockers decided to be buddies. We got this note from the Billies, a country cover band that played the Kirkland Café this past weekend:

“We were between sets and the bouncer came over to me and said "Some guy from Texas or something just showed up and asked if he'd missed The Billies...". So, I introduced myself, bought him and his girlfriend a beer, and thanked them for coming. Turns out they're from Nashville and were in town for the weekend to see BodyWorlds and wanted to check out the local music seen. They saw your listing in Sidekick and said "Country music at Harvard? We got to see that." He's actually in a band down in Nashville and knew all our tunes and was surprised that people play this kind of music up here. He came up on stage and sang a song with us, which was great. So, we're going to stay in touch and head down to Nashville to see him play sometime. He kept saying: "Country music at Harvard! Wait 'til they hear about that! I can't believe it..."

The Billies are making country in Cambridge a regular thing. For more info., click here.

"Body" of evidence

Posted by Katie Johnston Chase January 5, 2007 09:59 AM

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What were you doing shortly before midnight last Friday? I was squinting at diseased lungs and trying to comprehend the complexities of the nervous system while jostling up against hundreds of other visitors at the Museum of Science. It was a bit much to process so late at night, but it was the only time I could get into the "Body Worlds 2" exhibit, which is open from 6 a.m. to midnight until it closes on Sunday.

I figured my mom and I would have the place practically to ourselves, but it was packed -- and so hot that I had to strip down to a tank top to bear being squeezed in by all those warm bodies. (I assume the dead ones weren't giving off much heat.)

The main problem with going at that time -- besides my brain's middle-of-the-night mushiness as it tried to digest all that scientific information -- was the fact that, when the clock struck midnight, the security guards started hustling us out. We'd been there for two hours, but I still could have used a few more minutes to peer into the jars of teeny-tiny embryos and linger over the slices of an obese person's belly.

Regardless, it was a fascinating experience -- and a few dollars cheaper than going during the day. And it was fun to see so many people interested in an educational exhibit. As I overheard one guy say: "What are all these people doing at the Museum of Science on a Friday night?"

Christmas Day mecca: the movies

Posted by Meredith Goldstein December 29, 2006 11:28 AM

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Sidekicker Liza Weisstuch had this to say about a recent trip to the movies on Christmas Day:

Here are some of the things you don't see at the Loews Boston Common movie theater on Christmas Day: those heavily embroidered (read: tacky) Christmas sweaters, wrapped presents, figgy pudding. Here are some of the things you do see: mobs of people, Korean men in cowboy boots, black men in mink coats, white women in mink coats, kids trying to suppress temper tantrums because they're not interested in seeing "Happy Feet," (can you blame them?), dejected couples scrambling to make ad hoc backup plans because they couldn't get tickets to the sold-out matinee of "Children of Men."

Drama, action, comedy, it's all on display in the lobby. You don't hear Christmas carols - not even at the concession stand. You do hear lots and lots of different accents in the many conversations flying about.

The movie theater on Christmas Day is a mecca, of sorts, (or, for some, a Jerusalem and for others still, a Shangri-La). People who go there on Christmas Day -- and I am one of them -- have made a pilgrimage because we can. Offices are shut, editors (in my case) are with their families, and I have a rare weekday reprieve. Aside from the packed throngs at Peach Farm, the traditional Chinese restaurant in Chinatown where a friend and I later indulged in a post-cinema helping of seaweed soup and moo shi, the movie theater has got to be the most bustling spot in the city.

But there's something oddly calming about the hubbub of the crowd and the eye-popping length of the ticket line. Muslims and Jews converging over something shared: a day off, a free pass for a day of entertainment and play while our Christian neighbors honor a sacred birthday. As I stand in line for my ticket, it feels as if deeply entrenched ideological animosities never existed. Then again, movies are the stuff of escapism.

The best is yet to come

Posted by Katie Johnston Chase December 14, 2006 07:53 PM

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I made my first trip to Red Sky after doing a little Christmas shopping Wednesday night and was pleasantly surprised. Michael Dutra was there doing his impressive Strictly Sinatra act, the place had a cozy yet sophisticated red glow, and my lobster piccata was truly delicious. I even won a CD. (With a little help from Dutra, who asked the first name of Frank Sinatra's fourth wife, and when no one answered, gave us the letter "B" as a hint. What else could it have been but Barbara?)

Kickin' it with Deval

Posted by Katie Johnston Chase December 8, 2006 12:01 PM

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I took my 9-year-old friend Devein (pronounced "divine," and she is) to see the Rockettes at the Wang, I mean, um, the Citi Performing Arts Center, last night. Devein has taken tap and hip-hop classes, so I thought she'd dig the dancing. She did (although she got sick of the signature kick line), but her favorite part was the "surprise" appearance at the beginning of the night by Governor-elect Deval Patrick, who read "The Night Before Christmas" onstage surrounded by children from the audience.

The sight of him made both of us a little giddy. Even though he didn't show any leg, he was truly the star of the show.

Not everyone misses The Rat

Posted by Emily Sweeney December 7, 2006 11:10 PM

OUCH!...fellow Rat fans, you'll get a kick out of this. Check out what Mike Barnicle had to say about Kenmore Square, back in 1979:

"...Down in Kenmore Square, the punk rockers made their way down the steps of the Rathskeller where a band, The A's, was about to play.

The crowd, in their leather jackets, looked like they had been outfitted at the Boston Navy Yard around l949 and all of it, the discos, the kids at The Rat who think affection means whipping each other with chains, the 13-year-olds sniffing amyl nitrate for a cheap high, the 20-year-olds with enough pills in them to pass a pharmacist's exam, the paper debris in the gutters and the human debris passed out on the benches by the Kenmore MBTA station, jarred the mind and pushed your thoughts across the years to an earlier, easier time; an age when Kenmore Square was a small showcase of architecture and elegance.

The hotels - The Kenmore, The Braemoor, the Myles Standish - were full up. Zallen's was selling cream cheese and bagels and Channel 7 was next to Howard Johnson's and the whole place had a bit of life to it.

Now it is a pit of pills and drunk kids who become part of the night; a strip of clubs and fast-food joints where everything collides at two in the morning and makes the square resemble an open sewer where the worst that could ever happen to us walks by in one, long parade.

Stand there long enough, look long enough and one thought races across the brain: This country truly is in trouble."

-- published in The Boston Globe
Sept. 17, 1979


Remembering The Rat

Posted by Emily Sweeney December 7, 2006 09:26 PM

The Rat (circa 1996)
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E-mail has been pouring in about my post about The Rat. I'm glad to see everyone misses the place as much as I do. Here are a few notes I received from readers, sharing their memories of our dearly departed dive bah:

Paul F.Cole writes:
"I loved the Rat… There was no place like it in Boston...I saw the Jim Carroll band there one night. He spit on my buddy! That was a mistake. My buddy did not like that and picked Jim Carroll up and face planted him in to the stage! What a night that was. We barely got of there alive...Another buddy of mine was at the Police Show....He said there could not have been more than 8-10 people in the house that night. Can you imagine? I remember when Kenmore square was the place to go to see live shows. You had the Rat of course, but there was Lucifer's, which is where I saw The Tramps and Tavares in the same night. All the polyester you would ever want..."


Colin used to perform with Diecast, a metal/hardcore band that was the opening act for Slayer’s 2002 tour. He writes:
"We had our first show at the Rat and I used to hang out there all the time. I used to book occasional shows there as well....Saw your piece on the Rat on boston.com, I actually played the second to last show ever put on there and have one of the old paper mache rats from the walls of the club in my room to this day. Boston is definitely not the same without it. I used to go to a lot of ska shows back in '97 as well and miss it a lot. Just thought I'd comment and let you know it's nice that some people remember that piece of Boston's musical history."

And Paul Van Dorpe writes:
"You really can bring a tear to a grown man's eye...1980 (or ’81) The Dead Boys @ the Rat w/ The Proleteriat opening. My first big time punk rock show. Nice article and way to keep the ska/rocksteady thing in the minds of the kids!"

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Rollerskating at Chez Vous

Posted by Emily Sweeney December 6, 2006 04:44 PM



....help save Boston's only roller rink!

chezvous


www.myspace.com/bostonrollerboogie

Watch this guy groovin' at Chez Vous:



-- Emily Sweeney



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Night lights

Posted by Katie Johnston Chase December 5, 2006 05:01 PM

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Five things ... I have noticed about holiday yard decorations:
1 -- The house that had a giant inflatable snowman in the yard last year and nothing this year makes me think something bad happened: a divorce? a layoff? an unfortunate incident with the cat?
2 -- The one decorated house on an otherwise dark block -- blazing lights, Santa on the roof, moving reindeer, tinkling Christmas songs -- must really annoy the neighbors.
3 -- Lit-up plastic sheep look surprisingly menacing.
4 -- Same goes for automated snowmen whose heads roll from side to side.
5 -- And those metallic presents that open and close on their own? Downright creepy.

Back to the Future

Posted by Bobby Hankinson December 3, 2006 06:06 PM

Being new to the nightlife scene, I often find myself depending on friends' suggestions for a night out. Unfortunately, sometimes their taste is ... questionable. So, as I continue to be dragged from one dive to another, I'm getting a little tired of the same old haunts. As we made our way to the Purple Shamrock in Faneuil Hall Friday, I was already prepared for disappointment.

The crowd was a mix of young and old (sometimes in unexpected ways). We snagged a table and grooved to R. Kelly's "Ignition (Remix)" as more patrons began to pile in. The people-watching was pretty stellar, but still, I began to wish I was home watching Animal Planet with a glass of wine instead. The night seemed to pick up -- as I yawned into my gin and tonic -- when a band began setting up. My equally unimpressed compadre mused, "I really hope this is some sort of sweet cover band."

Boy, were we in luck.

The banner hanging behind the drumkit read "Spike the Punch!" and when they broke into Filter's "Take A Picture" we could hardly contain ourselves. I frantically tore through my wallet for receipts on which I could scribble down some notes. By the light of my cell phone I tracked their set-list, which took listeners on a journey through the 90s and into the 80s. They tackled the Goo Goo Dolls, Bon Jovi, and Cheap Trick; but once they reached Toto's "Africa" the excitement moved my previously unaffected cohort to scream "Oh my God, it's Toto!" like it was Beatlemania.

What began as funny in that sort of ironic way, soon had us singing along. As they began Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" we shouted, "It's as if they're in our heads!"

We weren't the only ones digging the tunes. A surprisingly large group of folks decked out in flannel danced awkwardly in front of the band. Had we actually traveled back in time? What exactly were in these drinks?

When the band packed up, so did we -- and we returned to 2006, whether we liked it or not.

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Hear some of this madness for yourself courtesy the lead singer's website. It's a pretty "rad" medley of tunes.

Rock on.

Robin Young and the thong

Posted by Katie Johnston Chase November 30, 2006 12:59 PM

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If you've been wondering what WBUR's Robin Young looks like, go see the ART's new stage adaptation of Wim Wenders's "Wings of Desire." The host of "Here and Now" reads the news (and sometimes silently mouths it) onstage during the bizarre and at times hard-to-follow production. She wears heels and has a swept-up hairdo -- and looks much different than the long-haired hippie I imagined would be attached to that soothing voice.
And if you've been wondering what it's like to watch a trapeze artist soar high above a stage in a thong, the show's got that covered too.
Check out the review in tomorrow's Weekend section for a more intellectual analysis.

Cambridge meets Chitown

Posted by Bobby Hankinson November 21, 2006 01:13 PM

I was surprised at last Wednesday's Lupe Fiasco show when I was frisked by bouncers entering the Middle East Downstairs. They didn't even want to let me bring in my pen, until I flashed my press pass.

I've seen plenty of shows in the dank basement without ever getting the pat-down on my way in. So why this performance from the rap-star-on-the-rise?

About Go To It Hot events around the Hub.
contributors
Katie Johnston Chase likes dive bars, old country music, and pop art that has something to say.
Meredith Goldstein is keen on DJs who spin pop music and restaurants that serve real food after 11 p.m.
Emily Sweeney is a lifelong Bostonian who goes out all over, from Irish pubs in Southie to the roller rink in Dorchester.
Jeff Miranda has never heard a '90s alternative-rock jam that's not already a mainstay on his iPod.
Joan Charlotte Matelli digs movie singalongs, well-made cocktails, and alt-country rockers.
Courtney Hollands is a shopaholic and a music junkie with a penchant for tapas, chai, and Hall & Oates dance parties.
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