03 August 2012

Tom Wait's Tribute

MC, Jonny Porkpie, A man so annoying - he has to take his hat off to pee

Mamie Minch and her tattoo, author of, The Razorburn Blues

Don't remember who this was - too many tattoos

Who at my table stays up late enough for Letterman?

I can't remember who this was either...

I have no idea who this is or what it was about

The nicely dressed boys that are NICKCASEY

Lee Chappell sings "Shiver Me Timbers" for the military brats

The Burlesque Act shivered her timbers

On the rare occasion I'm out late in NYC, I can't help but wonder two things.

1) Where in the hell did all these people come from?

2) What in the hell are they doing out so late?

Last night City Winery hosted, "The Piano Has Been Drinking - A Bespoke Tribute to Tom Waits." It was the one year anniversary of a Bespoke series held at the Rum House at the Edison Hotel on 47th Street. As an aside, the hotel bar at the Edison looks like it was designed by Tom Waits.

Best pal and Tom Wait's cognoscenti, Wallace Stroby threw tickets my way since he was gonna be out of town. The tickets still don't cover the Riedel Burgundy stem he broke and a 2000 La Spinetta Barolo he hoovered -- But, fortunately, I'm above being a petty... Did I mention it was a a 2000 LA SPINETTA BAROLO?

Anyway, the whole 1940's swing thing comes across, to me as crude and not surprisingly, very California. Greased hair, pencil thin mustaches and closed vent suits with ties ending four inches above the waist are all hallmarks of the look. In short, it's a kitschy costume. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

I'm a live and let live kind'a guy. I don't prowl '40s apparel forums and post comments like, "Dude, you look like a gas station attendant in that rig." I'm above petty prejudices. Mostly. I was impressed last night with the JC Hopkins Biggish Band, a regular at the Rum House, and many of his guest performers.

The night was pure Waits in all its gritty, drunk, burlesque, booze soaked-ashtray glory. Although, Tom quit drinking years ago and you can't smoke anywhere anymore but you get the gist. People came out with un-lit tobacco products and pretended to be drunk...sort'a like Civil War re-enactors or swing dancers.

Still, beneath the surface there was amazing talent with glorious stage presence. Like I said, I don't get out much and, to be honest, haven't seen Letterman in 10 years, so please temper my gushing for Mamie Minch, a sexy, no bullshit, sharp witted broad who absentmindedly (or not) pulls her dress up to her thighs while she sings. She plays guitar in the style of Rev. Davis and has written, Razorburn Blues, a woman's version of my blues song, "I Got The White-Boy-My-Closet-is-as-Small-as-a-Matchbox-Blues."

NICKCASEY is a Brooklyn duo who cranked it out loud and hard. I like their performance at City Winery but am not so sure of the performance on their web site. They're young and they probably watch Letterman all the time. They were also nicely dressed and my grandmother would tell you that counts.

JC Hopkins (sounds like a car parts catalog) was also nicely dressed while channeling a little Mark McNairy, just-out-of-bed-forgot-to-comb-my-hair steez. I loved his Biggish Band and while I'm sure he gets a lot Swing requests, I was happy the entire evening was devoted to Tom Waits.

My biggest problem of the night and, what will keep me away from the Rum House despite my curiosity, was the MC who goes by, Jonny Porkpie. 'Porkpie' doesn't dress so nicely and if his objective was to emulate the annoying assholes who worked as MCs in the strip joints and burlesque shows of days gone by... Well, he knocked the cover off the ball. Named for the hat he always wears, I'm sure he has to take it off in order to pee.


Makaga said...

The fellow in the boater hat is Lee Chappell - a long time supporter/promoter/entertainer/MC in the nightlife scene.
He's a real swell guy.

"This gentleman sang "Shiver Me Timbers" for all the military brats"

tintin said...

Thanks, Makaga- I thought he looked familiar. I saw a one man show Lee did a while back about growing up as a brat. I didn't recognize him last night. I'll add his name to the caption.

stephen said...

Good summary TinTin. You should get out more, just roll with it.