Monthly Archives: January 2010

NORAH JONES at ST. ANN'S Warehouse – PBS Soundstage

Planet Chocko invaded the Norah Jones taping of the PBS show, Soundstage recorded live at St. Ann’s warehouse in Brooklyn on January 27, 2010. Unfortunately, I only have 1 measly photo (a blurry one at that) taken from my crappy cell phone camera to show for it because I was so excited to attend the event that I forgot my bazooka camera at home. It’s a tremendously rare occurance when Mr. C leaves his media induced equipment in the shadows, but I can truly say that I really enjoyed Norah’s performance without any distractions fornicated from behind one eye of the viewfinder! First off, Norah looked amazingly stunning dressed in her silky turquoise ensemble while sporting her classy hairdo reminiscent of the soul divas of the 60’s like Connie Francis, Aretha Franklin, & Bette Lavette. Norah’s voice to me is one of the most divine & pure haunts offered to an ear! NJ’s voice sets a tone in her storytelling soliloquy that wrenches up a punch to the gut with some soul. Now, onto the performance of the night! Norah was backed by her 5 piece band including a noticeable kick ass sidekick named Sasha. Sasha played the Robin role from Batman & Robin by providing Norah with excellent backup vocals, percussions, acoustic guitar, & banjo playing. You can even say, Sasha’s physical presence dominated the stage quite a bit with her shiny red dress & attractive stature, her playing of various instruments, & the noticeable tribal tattoo on her arm. However, when the ‘game puck went onto the green side’ & Norah’s gentle, but powerful voice resonated on the microphone with her lively piano & guitar playing , the attention was quickly turned back to the Jedi! The set started out with Chasing pirates, a tune from her new album, ‘The Fall’. NJ mostly played songs from The Fall including Waiting, Even Though, It’s gonna be, You’ve ruined me, Back to Manhattan, Youngblood, & a very funny performance of “Man of the hour” which generated some audience chuckles with lyrics like:

“It’s him or me
That’s what he said
But I can’t choose
Between a vegan and a pot head
So I chose you, because you’re sweet and you give me lots of lovin’ and you eat meat
And that’s how you became
My only man of the hour “…..

Norah also played cover songs from Wilco “Jesus Etc.”, a Kink’s song “Strangers”, & Tom Wait’s “The Long Way Home”. NJ sang 2 of her most popular songs known to earthlings, “Come Away with Me” & ended the night with an encore performance of the beautiful tune “Don’t know why” in a slower, jazzier-blues tempo with the help of some harmonies with bad to the bone, Sasha. I’ve been a fan of Norah since her 1st & most well known album “Come Away with Me” & her voice on all her records are sultry, dynamic, & full of soul, but now that I’ve seen her live, I truly have a greater appreciation for her! Norah really is the real deal! She is definitely not just another studio created apparition. I wish I could of had the privilege to see Norah Jones perform at the old ‘Living Room’ in downtown Manhattan on Stanton & Allen Streets when she first blew up on the NYC scene! That must have been some kind of combustible performance in such tightly packed quarters! What was really refreshing to me was that Norah Jones seemed kind of shy & nervous onstage at St. Ann’s warehouse. She confessed that she was a bit set aback playing in front of family & friends who dominated the first 4 or 5 rows in the audience who she can see very clearly. It’s very touching to see that NJ is still so grounded & down to earth as opposed to being jaded as some successful musicians are. Off topic, but NJ mentions that she is a big fan of the show “Babycakes”. She engaged the audience quite a bit when the camera men were changing video tapes. She even recited some dialogue from the show.
Thanks, Norah for the excellent performance even with the jetlag from the Japan trip & we hope the rest of the Planet Chocko martians can remember to check out Norah’s performance on Soundstage on PBS when it aires sometime in the near future!
Oh, also of note, I listened to Norah’s new EP on vinyl which has remixes of ‘Chasing Pirates’ & ‘That’s What I said’ & it’s CAPITAL D-O-P-E! The EP remix of “Chasing Pirates” was produced by Santigold & Snotty while “That’s what I said” were remixed by Adrock & Mike D of the Beastie Boys!! This EP is a 12 inch worth cuttin’ up one time for your mind! Check out Norah’s new album “The Fall” in whatever format or Planet you desire! You won’t be sorry!
–Mr. C

St. Ann’s Warehouse
http://www.stannswarehouse.org
38 Water Street
Brooklyn, NY 11217

Motorcycle Show in NYC

The annual motorcycle show in NYC’s Jacob Javitz Convention Center on 1/23/10 hosted by Cycle World had a great turnout this year! There was an awesome display of crotch rockets, cruisers, custom choppers, & vintage harleys. The graphics, artwork, & paint jobs on some of these beasts were off the chain! My favorites include the bikes designed by New York’s own, the great Indian Larry(RIP) from Gasoline Alley in BK especially the bike with the twisted chain frame! Indian Larry’s vision of bike fabricating always incorporated the 1960’s style in mind with the smaller gas tanks, high handlebars, no front fenders, no front brakes, & high rake is always a classy look in my opinion. My 2nd favorite were the bikes that were designed by Confederate Motorcycles! The Confederate bikes looked like modern style streetfighters with a badass stance designed from another galaxy far…far away! Hey, that sounds like a description of Planet Chocko!! hehehehe!
–Mr. C

Steamed Pastry!? Golden Steamer in Chinatown-NYC


Steamed pastry…? OK, pastry seems like a term that esteemed cuisines like the french & italian usually specializes in, but the chinese also have an arsenal of goodies that the mere mortal can enjoy! What is the definition of pastry anyway? Does it have to be baked or does it just insinuate that the base of the product has to be eggs,flour,water, & be kneaded or have at least some form of these ingredients? Who cares! What’s in a name anyways?
Golden Steamer is a food destination-slash, hole in the wall in Chinatown-New York City that specializes in steamed buns/”pastry”. They have been opened for 3-4 months now & I’ve been thoroughly enjoying their morsals of goodness. My favorites have been the steamed buns of the pork & vegetable – chicken & vegetable variety, the Dai Bao aka the “special” bun as Filipinos know it or simply translated in chinese as the “Big Bun” (Dai Bao), & the steamed pumpkin bun. Golden Steamer also sells dim sum items that everyone recognizes like turnip cakes, egg custards, fried dumplings, & steamed rice noodles as well as baked items like the bun with the hot dog & the roast pork bun(don’t like)! Golden Steamer is a great option for those martians who crave for the sweet & savory breakfast item on the lower east…Chinese…side of manhattan formerly known as the Italian side of Canal Street. Do your city ups & stuff yer face!
–Mr. C

Golden Steamer
143 Mott Street (between grand & hester)
New York, NY 10013

CHINATOWN!

Ladies of C-Town with an early Sunday morning workout at Columbus Park

Ladies of C-Town with an early Sunday morning workout at Columbus Park


Recent closings of two well established businesses in Chinatown-NYC most notably Jan Lee’s, Sinotique on 19 Mott Street & Mr. Tang’s, a restaurant on the corner of Mott & Bayard Street has once again reminded us about the day in the life of a small business owner in NYC especially in the lower manhattan area. Probably, a more accurate coined phrase would be a “day in the death of a small business owner”. It does not help that the 9-11 trials for the accused masterminds of the World Trade Center plot will be taking place across the street from Columbus Park in Chinatown with the locals fearing street closures, added armed security presence, & protestors will drive out foot traffic in C-Town. We’ve seen what the closing of Park Row has done to the community.
Sinotique is an asian inspired furniture-home accessories-jewelry dealer & importer that has been in the Chinatown family for decades. The Lee family has been a great supporter & advocate of the lower east chinese side of manhattan for years. Fortunately, the Lee’s have re-invented themselves by moving their base to Brooklyn.
Mr. Tang’s is a restaurant on the busy corner of Mott & Bayard which will be heavily missed. Some notables such as Russell Wong & Jackie Chan have been sighted as customers. Mr. Tang’s has also been a host for photo & movie shoots. The most recent movie that I can remember being filmed there was “Year of the Fish”. Then again , “Year of the Fish” was a cinderella tale based in New York’s Chinatown so they were filming everywhere in C-Town!
Go support your local Chinatown! Chinese New year should be extraordinarily festive this season because it’s the Year of the Tiger in 2010! Mark February 14, 2010 & the following weekend of Feb. 20 & 21st on the calendar to visit Chinatown-NYC! It’s going to be a blast with the Chinese New Year Parade march through Mott Street & the impromptu Lion Dancing throughout the streets by the “organizations” & local Kung Fu Schools in the NYC area! Have some dim sum while you are there! See some dim sum suggestions below…
–Mr. C

Golden Bridge Restaurant
50 Bowery, New York, NY

Jing Fong
18 Elizabeth Street
New York, NY

Golden Unicorn
18 East Broadway
Manhattan, New York, NY

Dim Sum Go Go
5 East Broadway
(between Chatham Sq & St James Pl)
New York, NY

KING OF BEGGARS

Stephen Chow displaying some Sleeping Kung Fu

Stephen Chow on display with Sleeping Kung Fu

Stephen Chow in ‘King of Beggars’ earns a 5 out of 10 “steamed roast pork buns” in this 1992 film directed by Gordon Chan. Chow displays his signature slapstick, comedic, kung fu play in this period piece movie. Chow plays a legendary character in China called “Beggar So”. Beggar So in the movie doesn’t start off with much Beggar qualities, more like a rich & spoiled wanna be scholar, who is illiterate! ‘So’ is very talented in Kung Fu, but lacks substance in other areas of life including honesty & integrity. Due to So’s mischief & deception to the public, he & his father gets sentenced from the higher court to be beggars for life with no traces
of material renderings to fall back on. Beggar So then meets up with an evil court general that dislocates his four limbs for just being at the wrong place at the wrong time. Beggar So & father find themselves struggling to survive. They join the Beggar Clan society & try to gain strength with Beggars of similiar fates. The leading lady of the film conspires with the Beggar Clan to try & rid of this evil court general. This general fatally injures the leader of the Beggars Clan which forces Stephen Chow to take the reign of the leader of the Beggar Clan. With the help of a Master in his dreams, he regains his confidence by learning “Sleeping Kung Fu” to rid of the evil empire. Overall, this film is a good template for a classic Stephen Chow movie. Chow incorporates comedy,good acting, & above average kung fu skills to the screen. Chow always displays a message or two for paying homage to these Chinese heros of the past that he portrays in the film with a Stephen Chow signature. In all his movies, Chow always does a pose or two, a facial expression or three, and a grunt or 4, to pay respects to the great Bruce Lee! His other movies of note include ‘Shaolin Soccer, Fists of Fury, Legend of the Dragon, Kung Fu Hustle, & Kung Fu Hustle 2 is currently in production mode. If you chopsocky fans can get a hold of “King of Beggars” for a monetary equivalent of half a dozen pork buns, then I definitely would recommend you spend an afternoon to watch it!

–Mr. C (5 out of 10 steamed pork & vegetable buns)

Golden Steamer
143A Mott St. (at Grand St.)
New York, NY 10013

DVD Funhouse
655 6th avenue(Between 20th & 21st)
New York, NY

DVD Blowout
813 Broadway(Bet. 11th & 12th St)
New York, NY 10003

NEW JERSEY NETS!

Woe is me…the NJ Nets got slaughtered like a lamb last night against the Boston Celtics. I keep telling myself they have good players with lots of upside in them with horses like Devon Harris, Brook Lopez, Yi, Chris Douglas Roberts, & Courtney Lee, but I’m beginning to lose firepower defending them. The Nets record to date is 3-35. Though, the NJ Net Dancers haven’t lost a beat! As “Debarge” said…”Feel the beat of the rhythm of the night, dance until the morning light, Forget about the worries on your mind you can leave them all behind…”
–Mr. C

Yankees & Rocco Baldelli?!

The Yankees are still in the hunt for a left fielder! We pretty much know a thumper type, high salary tenured left fielder is out of the question now, but what about taking the chance on Rocco Baldelli? He has power, great speed on the bases, & plays a savvy outfield, but his caveat is being injury prone in the past. Baldelli signed a $500K contract last season with the Red Sox so the Yanks can sign him with similiar numbers & still probably have enough to sign Jerry Hairston,Jr . With the platooning of Hairston, Baldelli, & Gardner, this trio would seem to make a decent 8th or 9th option in the lineup with speed all around. Maybe, the off season training & the reflection of times has made Rocco Baldelli into a more hardy player. I’m just trying to be optimistic here, kids! Personally, I hope Brett Gardner gets a chance to start in left field indefinitely until he shows signs of struggling at the plate. I think Brett Gardner’s hard nose, get your uniform dirty, formula 1 – style of play would add another dimension to the Bronx that other teams would have to contend with.
Spring Training in little more than a month, folks!
–Mr. C

Gang Green!

The NY Jets entered a dance of playoffs that they weren’t supposed to be in! Now, these unwanted mofos are crashing the party in an ugly dress! The Jet’s don’t have anything to lose & are playing like a loose goose ready to lift off like a swift Hawk to elude the lightning from the Chargers! Can the Gang Green clan fit those slippers on to play the role of a hideous looking cinderella? I might be eating my words in less than a week, but I’m feeling sky high right about now! J E T S…Jets Jets Jets!
–Mr. C

Eerie Von signed and performed at Generation Records

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On January 8, 2010 Eerie Von was at Generation Records (210 Thompson St., NYC) to celebrate the release of his book titled “Misery Obscura.” The book is an epic look at the history of the legendary punk bands, the Misfits, Samhain and Danzig through the camera lens of Eerie Von. I first heard of the Misfits after Metallica covered “Green Hell” and “Last Caress” for their EP “Garage Days Re-Revisited” which I bought on cassette back in the late 80’s. At the time, Metallica would always be seen in videos and photographs wearing Misfits shirts and that got me really curious too. I went to the local mall and bought a cassette of “Walk Among Us” rushed home and played it on my boombox. After playing 20 Eyes, I Turned Into A Martian and All Hell Breaks loose, it was a wrap..I was instantly hooked. Walk Among Us had lyrics and music inspired by horror movies and catchy punk songs with amazing vocals. I had never heard anything like it. 1987 was a long time ago, and to this day that album is still one of my favorites and the horror punk band from Lodi, New Jersey during the Glenn Danzig-era will always have a special place in my little punk rock heart…along with the Ramones, Black Flag, Minor Threat, Bad Brains and The Dead Kennedys of course!
Back to the book…Misery Obscura is a photographic journal by a highschool friend of members of the Misfits who was casually asked to shoot the band one day. Eerie Von did a great job documenting the band, but would later become the bass player for Samhain after the Misfits broke up in 1983 and would also play bass in Danzig. The book has lots of excellent photos of the Misfits on stage (my favorite shots), flyers, memorabilia and candid moments as well. The photos are also accompanied with stories and and recollections by Eerie who provides an interesting perspective in being in the band Samhain and witnessing the rise of the heavy metal juggernaut known as Danzig. The 160 page coffee table sized Misery Obscura book released by Dark Horse is definitely a must in your horror punk collection. Lyle Preslar (Minor Threat) and Mike D’Antonio (Killswitch Engage) both wrote forewords in the book and joined Eerie at Generation Records for a couple of songs. Eerie sang 2 country songs he wrote titled “lay the blame” and “please don’t wake me” accompanied by Lyle on the guitar and Mike on bass. The boys were joking around and shared some stories with the crowd before playing Samhain’s “To Walk The Night” and “Killer Wolf” off the second Danzig album. It was fitting that Eerie, being a huge Elvis fan, closed the set with a drunken cover of “the wonder of you,” a song by Elvis Presley played on the King’s birthday who would have been 75 years old. Eerie continues to play music. His most recent album “kinda country” was released in 2009 on Ghastly Records and he continues to make paintings and Fiend Art which he sells on the internet. Check out the video below of Eerie and the crew performing “Killer Wolf” at Generation Records.
-chocko

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left to right: Mike D’Antonio (Killswitch Engage), Lyle Preslar (Minor Threat), Tom Bejgrowicz (book designer) and Eerie Von (of Danzig and Samhain

Lucy Kaplansky at the Outpost in the Burbs in Montclair-NJ

Lucy Kaplansky at the Outpost in the Burbs in Montclair, pic by Mr. C
Lucy Kaplansky in Montclair. Pic by Mr C
Lucy Kaplansky performed at the ‘Outpost in the Burbs’ in Montclair, NJ on January 8th, 2010. She folked out to her 17 song set much to the audience’s delight! Lucy never plays with a pre-determined set in mind. Instead, she chooses her songs based on spontaneity, & with a little power of suggestion from her fans by request. Her performance was truly an angelic experience with the venue being housed at the holiest of holiest of places, the Church, how fitting! Lucy began her sermon with a cover from John Gorka,”Blue Chalk” & ended the night with a song by Bruce Springsteen, “Thunder Road”. The songs sandwiched in between where like fruits freshly picked from the vine, glistening from the morning dew, & hand fed to us! Lucy’s style is fundamentally american folk with a slight shade of country at times. Her voice is very clear, precise, and very soothing. However, she struggled with hitting the high notes at times. Although, the last 2 times I’ve seen her she seemed to be sick from a cold. Lucy is a great performer & storyteller to boot. She plays the acoustic guitar with much rhythm, grace, & continuity. Lucy plays the piano with much eloquence as well, witnessed by her great rendition of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’, the Beatles ‘Let it be’, & her own song “Brooklyn Train” that night. Her lyrics often tell the tale of her childhood days all the way up to her adulthood years with her 2 loving parents in mind. Another tremendous inspirational piece to Lucy’s songwriting seems to be New York City. She often describes ‘the village’, Macdougal street, Bleeker street bars, the subways, life in the city, & the New York folk scene in the most descriptive of ways that truly tranforms into real life when you hear the lyrics. The most recent albums “Ten Year Night”, “Red Thread”, & the latest “Over the Hills” contains the 2 most treasured of her inspirations to date, her husband of 25 years & Molly, her adopted child from China. You hear less of rodeos, cowboys, lost loves, bleeker street bars, & macdougal-west 3rd street enclaves and more about her loving family in her lyrics of late. Some songs she played that night include Scorpion from ‘Flesh and Bone’, Manhattan Moon, Ten year night, Ring of Fire(Johnny Cash), This is Home, By way of sorrow from ‘CRY CRY CRY’, Guinevere from her 1st album “The Tide”(one of my faves), & Someday soon (another fave) which was ironically sung by request from a young girl about 7 years old sitting right next to me, known to her as the song about the rodeo. Great request & great ears, young lady! Kaplansky also sang some new songs including ‘Mothers day’, ‘when you love someone’, & ‘Life Threads’ which was inspired & requested by the beauty care company, La Prairie who hired Lucy to write a song about their new upscale & seductive fragrance line called Life Threads. By request from a fan in the audience, Lucy played the most requested song at her shows to her surprise, a tune written by her father about the mathematical number “Pi”. “Pi” was inspired by her mathematical genious father, Irving Kaplansky who also was a very good piano player & composer who liked to write songs to the tune and scale of mathematical influences. Lucy sang ‘Pi’ in acapella in loving memory of her father with the scale and notes of the mathematical number of 3.1415926535897 in mind!
Lucy Kaplansky is one of my favorite musicians to listen to when I want to pick myself up when I’m down, or when I just want to mellow out. For me, Lucy Kaplansky is quintessential New York City and totally synonymous to what we Planet Chocko inhabitants call the ‘Motherland’. The motherland was a half mile radius with the center being 4th & Broadway where we rooted ourselves in for our days exploration of the City. This area included Tower Records, Tower Clearance, Tower Books, Kim’s Underground, Other Music, Dojo, Washington Square Park, the great Bottom Line venue, Time Cafe, Alt Dot Cafe, The Continental, Coney Island High, CBGB’s, ABC No Rio, Brownies, The Collective, & the Nuyorican Poet’s Cafe. My greatest memories of the motherland to date include watching Richie Havens & Lucy Kaplansky perform at the Bottom Line & Time-FEZ Cafe among the Ramones & other favorite shows at The Continental & Coney Island High. Check out Lucy Kaplansky live when you get a chance if you like folk music & if you love NYC. Lucy encompasses those two attributes pretty darn well! Who knows, you might run into her in the “Motherland”! She’s definitely in the ‘hood! Oh!, almost forgot, Lucy mentions that she is working on a future project that is similiar to “Cry Cry Cry” , but with different artists! She couldn’t mention who because it’s top secret for now, but lookout for the lowdown soon! Lucy is also hoping for a new solo album out this Fall! Go Go NYC & thank you Lucy!
–MR. C

For a throwback moment:

The Bottom Line
15 W 4th Street
New York, NY 10012

Time Cafe(FEZ)
380 Lafayette Street @ Great Jones
New York, NY 10003