Friday, December 31, 2010

2010: The Year in Scenic

We can't pretend to have kept up with new movies, music or television shows in 2010 like many other blogs and publications who have been posting listicles like they're going out of style (ha, the listicle is always in style, and double ha - it sounds like testicle!). So here's just a random assortment of shit that was great for us in a CT Scenic kind of way this year. 


This was basically a shit year for movies, which could have really thrown us off course, since going to the movies had been a major "social" activity for us in previous years. There's nothing very social about going to a movie though, is there? Well, we didn't really see shit worth mentioning in the mainstream theaters this year, but we enjoyed (or in some cases didn't enjoy) various indie offerings from our favorite "alt" venue, Real Art Ways. We're a little ashamed to admit it, but our "movie of the year" title will have to go to The Human Centipede, even though by a lot of objective standards this film was rather awful. But we developed a special relationship with this movie and helping host it's Hartford debut at RAW was one of the coolest things we've ever done - in any year.  Though we were a little disappointed at how few people were actually willing to pose as human centipedes themselves. Seriously, fully clothed - what's the big deal? Congrats again to the few who participated. Anyone else wanting to redeem themselves in this department, it's never too late to send us your pics!

We also enjoyed that great documentary about Phil Spector and awkward first date flick Antichrist. And outside the RAW bubble, we had a great time with the cast and crew of A Safe House at the Silk City Flick Fest, and were relieved to find out their movie was great too, so we didn't have any of those weird straining-for-a-fake-compliment moments. "Um, yeah, guys, that was really really... interesting."

Supernatural Threats

Although we'd much rather have sex with vampire hotties (from Sweden if possible), 2010 was undeniably the year of the Zombie. And while definitely don't want sex of any kind with actual zombies no matter their nation of origin, zombies have nevertheless created better opportunities for participatory fun this year than their blood-sucking brethren. We were inspired by special effects pro Matt Corrigan's how to make (and kill!) a zombie clinic. And we'd heard of Zombie Pub Crawls before, but never in CT! We were encouraged by the enthusiastic participation we witnessed at Hartford's First Annual Zombie Pub Crawl.

CT Music

Well, if you've been following us at all, you already know our favorite CT band is Sidewalk Dave, and that we love them so much we want to marry them, even if we can't seem to get their names straight (sorry, Chris - who the fuck is Bruce?). We're so glad they came into our lives, played our excellent party, and have a regular gig at The Half Door (next one is Jan. 26 - we'll totally be there). We're also excited by Sidewalk Dave's similarly Americana oriented CT friends, The Proud Flesh and Elison Jackson

Our other favorite CT band is Baby G, who play sad, sad original blues. We recently caught the duo version of this act and were lucky enough to snag a demo. We hope Baby G will have an official release sometime soon. We need more! Baby G has a gig coming up at The Buttonwood Tree Jan. 8. 

And our other, other favorite CT band The Midnightmares have been helping us to relive our punk rock adolescence (well, those of use who had a punk rock adolescence, ahem). We first reunited with our old friend Matt Mullarkey during the early days of CT Scenic, and including his latest band at our party was kind of a no-brainer. Looks like our next shot at them isn't until Feb. 12 at some place called Rack n' Roll in Stamford. That is not our neck of the woods. Maybe we can just throw another party.

Scenic Envy
The Scenics are all Hartford-ish based, but we're not afraid to visit other towns in CT (and sometimes other states!). This year we found ourselves returning again and again to New Haven and Torrington. In New Haven we just can't get enough of live music and burlesque at Cafe Nine, where there always seems to be something enticing on the schedule. And our favorite New Haven gay bar, 168 York Street Cafe, is just so homey - and home to our "favorite New Haven drag queen" (ha - like we know any others!) Robin Banks. New Haven's downtown is just so much bigger and better than Hartford's, with some many places we actually want to go within walking distance of one another. When we aren't drinking at the bars, we're enjoying New Haven's bounty of "ethnic" cuisine, at such Scenic favorites as the York Street Noodle House and Mamoun's falafel.

Torrington is CT's sexy little secret. Yeah, you're like "Torrington? Sexy? Puh-lease. "Well, shows what you know. We'd be going out in Torrington all the frakking time if it were just a little closer. Our top spots there are the Rocket food truck (they sell deliciously, semi-healthy food from high quality and local ingredients - out of a truck!), Brazen Betties (amazing clothing, jewelry, arts and crafts by exclusively CT peeps), and Snapper Magee's (a punk rock oriented bar). CT Scenic has called Torrington "the next god damn Collinsville." Believe it.

Trendy hobbies and interests

This year two out of three Scenics became Bikram fanatics. It's how we manage to keep our sexy figures in spite of the relentless drinking, eating and general debauchery that maintaining this blog demands of us. We didn't have any yoga background prior to this and understand it's a controversial practice, but we're in it now and we can't imagine doing yoga without the 105 degree heat.

We've also been all over this burlesque trend. We've been to a bunch of shows featuring CT burlesque performers and think they are just about the sexiest, funnest gigs around. All our favorite dancers will be participating at a benefit for the CT Humane Society's Fox Clinic Jan. 8 at Daniel Street in Milford.

And of course there were donuts. We started in with the donut reviews because love donuts, and we can totally afford them. We've enjoyed CT's best indie donuts at shops throughout the state. And even though we thought they kind of sold out with that Advocate cover, we're still gonna eat them.

Well, this post could go on and on forever, but we have parties to get to and shit like that. This year we really hit our stride with the blog, and we truly appreciate the encouragement and support from our friends and readers, as well as the party invites from those readers who became our friends. We know commenting on this Blogspot site can be kind of a pain in the ass - it doesn't even work with certain popular browsers. But we'd love to hear from you and get your hot tips about great CT stuff, even if you don't actually know you. Especially if we don't actually know you! That's the point - CT Scenic is for everyone. Send us an email or join us on Facebook if you haven't already. Or celebrity sight in public.

Happy New Year.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

GWAR: fifteen years of fandom

Tuesday, December 28: GWAR @ Toad's Place, New Haven

Christmas is coming just a little late for Scenics, who are amped as anything to see GWAR play at Toad's place this Tuesday. The Scenics have all enjoyed live GWAR in recent years, but Katie Scenic is "celebrating" fifteen years of GWAR shows - that's half her wasted life. Katie pitched a story about GWAR to the Advocate recently, but they said some other guy in New Haven was already doing it. Screw him! Actually, he did a pretty nice job, asking questions about their artistic roots and intellectual side. Also in this article, frontman Dave Brockie claims that the band doesn't have any groupies, but we know better!

(Halloween 2009: DH & Katie attend GWAR, cleverly costumed
as John & Mackenzie Phillips; DH loses his daughter/date)

If you're really, really interested in GWAR's origins, the best place to turn is Brockie's column about the history of the band that he's been writing for the RVA News (the band is from Richmond, Virginia, not Antarctica, anticlimactically enough). Brockie is terribly clever, and doesn't actually need journalists to reinterpret him or make his sentences more coherent. For the record, we totally know him, but we didn't want to bother him with another stupid interview, so we decided to catch up with Katie about her personal history as a GWAR fan, which is really more in keeping with the tone of this blog (e.g. all about us).

CS: So, uh, tell us about your history as a GWAR fan.

KS: I first heard GWAR on MTV's Headbanger's Ball, and one of my early "boyfriends" was a big fan - and so were all his degenerate friends! Which was really lucky for me, because we only "went out" for like two weeks, but it was like months before GWAR was coming around to Connecticut. Mommy Scenic was a really indulgent parent in a lot of ways, but not so indulgent that she drove me to concerts or anything like that. But my "ex" had a friend that also liked me, and he was old enough to drive, and had his license, so he took me to my first GWAR show, at the Sting in New Britain. At least, I think that's how it happened. Mommy Scenic probably should have just driven me to these concerts herself. Because finding my own ride basically meant hanging out with a worse and worse crowd. Older boys with long hair, leather jackets, and some totally illegal habits. Oh well, it was only a year or so before I was able to drive myself. 

(1997: 17 year-old Katie Scenic after a GWAR show)

As a young person, I was equally impressed with GWAR's potty humor as with their more politically subversive content. Oh wait, I still am. Equally impressed or whatever. Watching current political figures and idiot celebrities of tabloid culture like Michael Jackson, Paris Hilton, and Monica Lewinsky get ripped apart onstage in explosively gory effigy just never loses its edge. Once I had my own driver's license and wheels, I was able to introduce the GWAR experience to some of my "non-metal" friends. Like Sara, who was super smart and intellectual and politically active, even as a teenager. During one show we attended together, GWAR tore up and violated the corpse of then-recently deceased Princess Diana. Rather than get offended, Sara was delighted and said the most insightful thing - "It's like how she was totally raped and violated by the media in her death" -  thereby rationalizing and excusing more or less every questionable act performed during a GWAR show from there into eternity. Thanks for that, Sara!

Sara liked GWAR so much that she went along to subsequent shows and years later, when she was a paralegal in NYC she was thrilled to host me for a weekend to go see frontman Brockie's art show at MF Gallery. This was in 2001 or 2002, but it wasn't too soon for Brockie, dressed as a giant singing rodent, to desecrate a model of the World Trade Center as a finale to his set of bad karaoke. But hey, it was OK! It was just like the media and George W. Bush raped and violated our national identity in the aftermath of 9/11. We met some guy at the art show who took us to see a two-headed turtle after. This is not a sexual euphemism. That's really what he showed us. Yay, New York!

(At age 21, Katie can legally enjoy a beer with her heroes)

In 2003 or 2004, when I was working at the Hartford Advocate, I was able to channel my love for the band into something constructive - a feature article! The record label guy gave me Brockie's phone number, and I've been drunk dialing him ever since. Usually around Valentine's Day or so, when I always get down about being an old spinster. 

 (Stalking on the streets of Brooklyn)

Earlier this year, as a Scenic, I visited the MF Gallery in its new Brooklyn location for another art show by Brockie and other GWAR members, where Brockie revisited his "Chippy" character, and put on a week-long webcasted "Crack-a-thon" of live performances. You may have read about it here!

I don't enjoy GWAR shows in exactly the same wild-eyed way I did as a kid. I used to memorize every lyric to their songs to scream along at concerts, and go fearlessly into the mosh pit in order to get close to the stage and soaked by the maximum amount of their fake bodily fluids, all the while on a natural high. But I'm old and delicate and self-conscious now. I don't want to lose my teeth or glasses! I want to stand in the back of the room, sipping a drink, hoping to catch a buzz, rolling my eyes at ugly young people and their easy fun. Actually, that's just what I'm better at now, and I do try to stick with my natural talents. Those were, in fact, the days! But I still get off on the audacity and originality of GWAR's live production and the immense artistic and physical effort that goes into such a touring show.
What can you expect from GWAR live? A professional blogger from Gawker recently expressed her disapproval of the band's onstage slaughter of one Sarah Palin. She obviously lacks the rich history with the band and multifaceted appreciation of their cultural relevance and secretly sophisticated humor that we Scenics have. Her loss!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

We leave the house so you don't have to

That's right folks. When we aren't generously reading the newspaper for you, we're going out and having fun - so that you don't have to. And since nothing much is happening this week, we just have to keep talking about last week.


This past Friday, Jackie and DH were "indisposed," so I rounded up highly capable Substitute Scenics, Melinda from The Ninas and Hartford's "Playboy Paparazzi" Tony for that Holiday Spectacular burlesque and variety show we were going on about last week. Actually, Lipgloss Crisis had been in a bit of jam that afternoon looking for a photographer (Lipgloss herself being busy onstage collecting flung garments, performing a musical intermission, and of course schmoozing), so Tony was totally "working" - and totally loving it. And of course lots of people left the house, because at the height of the show short peeps like Melinda and me had to climb the bar for a view.

And what a view! (And what a transition - sheesh, go back to blogger school!) But really, I just wanted to take this opportunity to post about how adorable and sexy and charming everybody's holiday-themed numbers were. Each time I've seen a burlesque show I've ended up with a shit-eating grin (Why do they call it that? Gross!) on my face, and the utmost admiration for the ladies and how gosh-darn fun and clever they make the act of undressing seem.

I honestly couldn't pick a favorite, because everyone performing on Friday has such a strong onstage persona and went in such creative and amusing directions. Lily La Vamp had me laughing my ass off though, coming out for her first act basically dressed as a Christmas tree, complete with decorated tree skirt - and a tree on her head! Ridiculous! And somehow managed to top this insanity with her second act, which featured this gross hair metal tribute to "Sexy Sexy Santa."

I lied last week when I said I had seen Dot Mitzvah perform - I'd really only seen her assist, but I wanted to sound more in the know. And we had had an email exchange where she told me how she tries to make her act funny no matter what else and doesn't worry about being the sexiest. She is totes sexy, but her exaggerated facial expressions and aggressive physicality make her naked body seem like an ingenious punchline, and not anybody's sex object. Not to be outdone by Lily, Dot definitely appeared with a big-ass menorah on her head, scarfed latkes onstage and had equally inspired musical backing.


Nikki Le Villain wore wintry and Christmas-y gear, but went a little more straight-up sexy with her bits. And she is pretty much scary hot, so we spent her act more or less drooling. Congrats to Tony for keeping a clear head and a clean lens throughout! (Eeeew, Katie, why did you say that?)


Kitty Katastrophe's first routine really impressed me for telling a little story in a striptease, fleshing out a character who was experiencing the most frustrating party scenario in matter of seconds - and all of it holiday apropos! Poor Miss Kitty was having the most terrible time getting James Dean to notice her under the mistletoe, right there under his nose damn it. She started out in a modest white ensemble and went to increasingly immodest measures to try and get his attention. Alas, he was only a cardboard cutout, but everyone else paid attention.

Stay tuned for more CT burlesque... you'll hear about it as soon as we do. And of course we have much more naked-er pictures, but we like to leave a little something to the imagination and keep you motivated to come out and see for yourself.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Urban Busk - we totally know them!

Friends-of-the-blog Urban Busk are making the kind of positive cultural contribution the Scenics fully intended to make. Before we lost all our ambition and settled for coasting along on our looks, that is. CT peeps may already know Daniel Salazar III for his music. Now get to know him for his video production on these fun segments featuring area musicians along with host Kenell Turner. This could be a really awesome contribution to the scene - and to the Scenic blog! It's a visual world, but many artists still don't have any material with passable audio available on Youtube, a lose-lose scenario. 

Urban Busk is just getting under way, but check out their first two installments. Actually, we just saw Josh Aciares the other night at swanky Firebox Restaurant. Listen to that all that sensitivity - he could be the next James Blunt!

We've enjoyed JP Palace in a previous musical incarnation... what was it called? Trousersnake? Somthing cocky... looking it up now... oh, right - GIRTH. Totally blanked on that for a minute! Good thing Jackie wrote about them back in the early days of the blog. Anyway, check out JP:

If we were Urban Busk (hint, hint), we'd looking into doing upcoming segments on superior area talent like our sweethearts Sidewalk Dave (who have lots of good vids, but we can't get enough of them), or deliciously sad songstress Baby G (who could so benefit from improved Youtube presence, as could our posts about her). The Scenics will also strive (or at least talk with great enthusiasm about striving) to get our shit together into some kind of musical act so that Urban Busk will feature us!

Just keep eating

We're gonna be a little short on hot nightlife to recommend around here this week. You know: holidaze. Stuff is closed. People are expected to be actively Christian and/or spending time with their families. But if you're childless and godless like the Scenics, this week is just another week, only colder and darker. And broker after reluctantly going along with that gift-buying ritual. We'll certainly inform you if we do hear about any action, but in the meantime we'll just recommend one of our favorite Xtian holiday (or any day) activities: Asian cuisine!

I've written before of a compulsion I feel to eat noodles with chopsticks. Maybe it's just because I'm so good at it and need to validated about something. In order to satisfy this need, these past few weeks I've indulged at a couple of new-to-me venues: New Haven's York Street Noodle House and West Hartford's Vietnam Restaurant.

A couple weeks ago I was ready to stay in for the night when nobody was available to go see drag queens with me, but I fearlessly dragged myself off the couch at the last minute - not going to let other bums ruin my night, damn it! So I headed out solo and past my usual dinner hour, and arrived in New Haven hungry and looking for a good place to eat quickly, cheaply and not too pathetically by myself. Luckily, York Street Noodle House is just next door to the bar I was headed to and happens to be casual, fast and reasonably priced. Their menu is actually pretty diverse, but is mostly variations on a big bowl of noodle soup, with pan-Asian influences. I had a bowl of coconut curry chicken soup and a Thai style ice tea, which were just great and ready in minutes and totaled under ten bucks. I'm definitely looking forward to a return visit - maybe next week before the GWAR concert? I do wish there was such a noodle house closer to headquarters.

Vietnam Restaurant wasn't entirely new to me, but I've only eaten there once before and I've eaten at my other two favorite Vietnamese joints about a zillion times each, so it may as well have been. Regrettably though, I must relay that Vietnam won't be unseating Pho Boston or Pho 206 in my heart any time soon. I got my usual (for scientific objectivity) - iced coffee, egg rolls and pho. The iced coffee was served impressively - in a glass topped with an individual filtering device and a side cup of ice. This looked cool, but the result of pouring a fresh brewed serving of hot coffee over ice was (as you'd expect) watered down coffee, which, in spite of a generous blob of condensed milk, lacked the flavor and sweetness I'm used to in my Asian iced coffees. Boo. The soup had issues as well. There was just a hint of liquorice, almost more a smell than a taste - but nevertheless, enough to make each bite a little unpleasant. Sadness. On the plus side, my partner-in-overeating and I decided to try an additional appetizer, fried wantons, where were very tasty and served with a delicious sauce (not sure what it was but it tasted like the plum sauce you get with moo shoo dishes at Chinese). I also especially liked the pot of thick hot sauce included with the condiments on the table.

Don yer gay apparel

Thursday, December 23: CT Guerrilla Queer Bar @ TBA, Hartford
Hey look, it's that time again! Fourth Thursday means CT Guerrilla Queer Bar, that fun night out when CT GLBTAs descend upon a location to be announced (get it on the Facebook action for updates) and turn it gay for the night - like Katy Perry! The past couple of months the CT Guerrilla Queers broadened their horizons with forays into Manchester and New Haven. The party is back in Hartford this week, at a location - you guessed it - to be announced. We'll update when we get the word.

Never attended Guerrilla Queer Bar before? Wondering what you might expect to find there? Well, a whole lotta friends-of-the-blog, which we think recommends itself. And probably some gals in sensible footwear.

And for sure an excess of ridiculous hijinx perpetrated by grown-ass grown-ups for humiliating photo opps, like this one:

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

May your holidays be gay, gay, gay

Saturday, December 18: The Connecticut Gay Men's Chorus presents "There's Something About Merry" @ Shubert Theater, New Haven

The Connecticut Gay Men's Chorus celebrates 25 years with a holiday musical show. Hey, what is that - hair gel? We can't think of anything cleverer to add when the flier is this good. But Jackie totes enjoyed a show by the CGMC last year, DH used to play with these guys (music, used to play music), and their visually hilarious mailings were a highlight of Katie's tenure at the Advocate (the Hartford one, not the gay one, alas). And this is pretty much the only holiday concert we'd ever consider attending.

Their upcoming bingo nights sound even more fun, what with the boozing, gaming, fooding and contests.

(Another) Big Burlesque Weekend

Friday, December 17: Burlesque & Variety Holiday Spectacular @ Cafe Nine, New Haven
Sunday, December 19: Burlesque & Variety Holiday Spectacular @ Jokers Wild, New Haven

Lately we just can't get enough of burlesque, New Haven, Cafe Nine and Lipgloss Crisis. And now that we've been to like four burlesque shows we're totally experts. Expert enough at least to heartily endorse this weekend's dual "Holiday Spectacular" shows brought to us by New Haven scene-makers Lipgloss Crisis and Red Light Burlesque. All our favorite ladies will be dancing. We've seen them all before and know they each bring a little something special to the stage. There's multi-talented Dot Mitzvah, who likes to keep true to the roots of burlesque, bringing a sense of humor with her sex appeal. Nikki Le Villain has a bit of a goth vibe and a few show-stopping tricks up her sleeve - belly dancing and, if you're very lucky, her live snake. We'll never forget Lily La Vamp's naughty housewife routine set to Joan Jett. And Miss Kitty Katastrophe is all classic pin-up. 


We admire the female form and don't try to pretend that burlesque is not sexy or titillating, whatever else it might be from certain creative academic perspectives. However, we actually like that it stops short of the gross lasciviousness of plain old stripping and leaves a little something to the imagination - even if that's only a few square inches in the end. If we wanted to see writhing naked bodies, we'd just watch our old sex tapes. We demand that little something extra that burlesque delivers - Plot! Characters! Wardrobe!

But if talented, sexy women taking off flamboyant costumes to quirky music somehow isn't your bag, don't forget the variety component of these shows - live music, snarky hosts "and more." Oh, and booze. And (probably) Scenics. That ought to do it.


Monday, December 13, 2010

Cracking nuts and taking names

Saturday, December 18: CONNetic Dance's "The Nutcracker Suite and Spicy" @ The Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford

We've been fans of CONNetic Dance ever since we ran into their fashionable asses one night at Tisane (we totally live there). We quickly dubbed the dance company "ballet hipsters," which they loved, and we're glad to see it stuck, even if our name didn't - unattributed quote much? We recently enjoyed the group's 80s dance party - they had killer moves and an enviable wardrobe. So we're sure they'll be bringing their characteristic sexy charm and creativity to this Nutcracker production. 

We were gonna say something about "putting a contemporary twist on the Nutcracker," but it sounded kinda filthy, so we left that out. We've heard that ballet is like so hot right now, thanks to "psychosexual thriller" Black Swan and that whole "fat ballerina" controversy that's been blowing up the lady blogs. Stay relevant by attending the show Saturday at 2 or 8 p.m.

Real Art Ways feat. Shag Frenzy

Thursday, December 16: Creative Cocktail Hour @ Real Art Ways, Hartford

This month's Creative Cocktail Hour will feature the DJ-ing talents of beloved former CT scene-makers Shag Frenzy, whose monthly indie club night was a pretty awesome thing in Hartford for several years - magically transforming a series of skanky local clubs, like the Webster Underground, Sweet Jane's and the Warehouse into dens of hipsterdom, at least for the night. And lets face it, Hartford just doesn't have enough hipsters to keep things very interesting for more than one or two nights a month anyway. Before you knew it you'd have slept with all of them. And then where would you be? So let's just stick to monthly hipster parties, OK?

Sidewalk Dave: Two Very Important Engagements

Wednesday, December 15: Sidewalk Dave @ BAR, New Haven
Thursday, December 16: Sidewalk Dave @ Black-eyed Sally's, Hartford

We may seem to repeat ourselves around here, but we'll never stop reminding you about Sidewalk Dave gigs, because we're still that excited about them, after all these months! In fact, the more we've seen them live and listened to their tunes at home (and in the car, and on the trail, and at work), the more we like them and selfishly appreciate that they are still something of a hidden CT treasure, sure to be stolen away from us by teenage girls or twenty-something boys one of these days (ugh, screw them).

We've also gotten to know the fellows from Sidewalk Dave a bit through a series of professionally toned emails, brief and barely heard conversations between sets and, of course, sexting. The more we find out, the more there is to love. So we're so happy to announce that we're upgrading Sidewalk Dave from "pretend boyfriends" to "pretend fiancés," and we're totally kvelling over Bruce and Dave's gracious imaginary efforts to make honest women out of Katie and Jackie (if they don't make honest women of each other first).

If you're a new reader (thanks for dropping by!), we'll play it straight for a minute here and suffice it to say that Sidewalk Dave are our favorite CT band. They play rootsy indie rock. They're twangy and sound prematurely old (a characteristic of many of our favorite musicians who are not actually old, as well as those who are). Their lyrics mostly revolve around alcoholism and religious faith, subject matter that is probably far more appealing in a song than IRL. They sort of remind us Murder By Death, minus the sexy cello playing broad, which reminds us that Adam Turla from MBD is hot, hot stuff and we kinda totally have his phone number, which... ok, sorry, we tried. Hope you got the picture, and hope to see you at one of these gigs!

Check out the latest music video from Sidewalk Dave. This one is about booze AND religion:

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Under where?

Saturday, December 11: All-male wet underwear fundraiser @ 168 York Street Cafe, New Haven

Q: Boxers or briefs?
A: Who cares?

As we were just saying, we only want to go to charitable events that are also sexyfun. And we would totally pay up to see our new friend and favorite New Haven drag queen Robin Banks hosting an all-male wet underwear contest, even if it wasn't to benefit some folks who have taken a creative approach to falling on hard times. [But seriously, we need a frakking national health care system. We've certainly had fun at these sorts of benefits before, but ultimately we dream of a day when American health care is socialized and universal and our debauched good times can be strictly capitalist transactions-ed.]

We caught Robin's "farewell" show last weekend at the Cafe, which we'd like to say more about, if there was any time, but this week is HELL, sorry. It only took us like a month of talking about it to actually make it there - just like it only took Katie Scenic a month to figure out that Robin Banks is a hilarious pun and not a real name. We're just thrilled to announce that Robin isn't really going away-away - just taking a pause for a little reinvention (you know, like Madonna?), and not even a long enough pause to miss hosting this weekend's fun. The Scenics were pleased to explore 168 York Street, a charming dive-y basement joint - it's like your father's gay bar. Saturday night's event is $20, which you can probably write off if you're that organized.

Brazen Beauties

Saturday, December 11: The First Annual Brazen Betties Vintage Expo @ The Torrington Armory, Torrington

Scene goddess Julia "Brazen Betties" Sloan is pulling out all the stops this weekend with her first annual Vintage Expo and second annual Bettie Page look alike contest. Hot retro pin-up style girls and hot retro pin-up fashions - sounds kind of win-win to us. 

For the latecomers, friend-of-the-blog Julia features all CT designers and crafters at her excellent downtown Torrington store (we totally shop there) which is special every day - so this prime alt-shopping opportunity is going be extra special like Brazen Betties squared, or cubed, with vendors from CT and beyond with clothing, furniture, jewelry, decor and more, plus all those hot women with sassy bangs - and probably minimal clothing if they're looking to be authentic. Just try and find a picture of Bettie Page wearing more than underwear! (You may get distracted and forget what you were looking for, whatever.) Hartford based burlesque babes the Beat City Beauties will be performing and there will be a fashion show by CT designer Vintage Chic, who needs to get a website, 'cause her stuff is quite fabulous, we've totally seen it.

Admission to this event is $5, but it's free if you dress vintage, which you'll want to do anyway in order to fit in at the afterparty at Snapper Magee's, Torrington's Scenic-endorsed punk rock bar.

And, a big F U to the doubters we sometimes talk to who are all "Why would I ever go to Torrington?" Um, maybe to avoid downtown Hartford? Anyway, it's totally up and coming. It's the next god damn Collinsville. Get on it.

Torso Parade featuring friends-of-the-blog

Saturday, December 11: Scarlet: Art for the Heart @ Artspace, Hartford

And to continue with our grand tradition of only posting about events involving friends-of-the-blog... But seriously, how are we supposed to know if the art is any good if we don't personally like the artists? Isn't this stuff, like, totally subjective? Besides, we're trying to create the impression of an elite social culture here - is it working? (We digress.)

So this weekend about a zillion artists we totally know or at the very least sort of know, spearheaded by our Libertine friends, will be bringing their bodies (get it - they decorated torsos!) together to benefit the National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease and to celebrate a friend of the scene who is herself a survivor and just a lovely person who once brought Jackie Scenic some delicious gluten-free treats when she was experimenting with dietary restrictions and everyone else was binging on gluten-ful donuts. (We used to have a thing for donuts around here, before they jumped the shark.)

From the "we totally know them department," look out for torsos by H.L. Groen, Christian Ayala, Joes Dinunzio & Galluccio. We totally know the bands too: The Kelvins & OPM. Whew! There certainly are a lot of bands out there on the interwebs named OPM, but not the one we're linking for... They're probably fine!

Saturday: Jarvis Jam

Saturday, December 11: The Brian Jarvis Holiday Show @ Hartford Classical Magnet School

It's that time of year, where you get invited to all kinds of events with a charitable twist. Which is totally nice and all, but we're only interested in these events if they are objectively good, and not just feel-good. Featuring friends-of-the-blog helps: Brian Jarvis - we totally know him, sorta; ditto Seth Adam. Most excitingly for us, this holiday show will include the Alternate Routes, in our opinion one of CT's better bands, who have some kind of cool story about getting plucked from obscurity at one of those showcase gigs that no one ever really gets plucked from obscurity at. We heard this song of theirs one time and never forgot it. So catchy!

Word on the street (by which of course we mean the gmail) is that this event may sell out, so purchase a ticket (a whopping $5 + toy donation).

We're always telling people to please send sexy visuals, so we'd better use them when they actual listen, even if the post is already sufficiently visual. Behold: The Sexy Brian Jarvis Band!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Saturday Night: What's Hot In Hartford?

Darling Hartford, we have not forgotten you. Sure we've been romanced away by New Haven's glut of sexy indie rock and burlesque offerings of late, and New Haven's scenesters have been really awesome about keeping us posted, so we can keep our blog posted, but this is still where we (and many of you) live.

We understand there's a new club in Hartford. At the "old G Fox" building. It doesn't bode particularly well for businesses open at the 960 Main Street site that we're still calling it that (seriously, what the fuck is G Fox?), but METRO 80s Saturday Nights at annoyingly websiteless Savin Rock sound pretty cool. A club night featuring music from the 80s that people of taste like ourselves might actually want to hear? We'll take some Sisters of Mercy, please!

We've recently noticed a trend towards younger (than 50), sexier performers at Black-eyed Sally's, which turns out to be due to our new young sexy concert booking friend. Tonight they've got Luke Mulholland, who started out as one of those teenage blues whiz kids, which is of course totally annoying in principle, but he appears to be full-grown now and has a pleasant, classic sound, and will surely be delivering some guitar heroics.

Our "home venue" Sully's Pub (psht, some home - the management deemed Katie Scenic not hot enough to bartend) is celebrating their 10th anniversary tonight, and we're  just so proud to be able to say that due to a combination of precocious alcoholism and empty lives, even the younger Scenics (i.e. not DH) have been drinking there for pretty much all ten years. The Scenics have enjoyed some memorable nights out at Sully's just since we've been blogging, like that time we went there after a disappointing night out at Zen Bar. And that time we picked up that hipster. And way back at the beginning, we fell for Scenic Pretend Boyfriend Jann Klose, who had actually read our blog, even though it was brand new and we totally had no readers! Tonight's celebratory show will feature one of our favorite CT bands, The Soul Merchants, our attractive friends The Kelvins, and Sully's "staff band" featuring Sully himself, Tongue & Cheek (whatevs).

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Our life is an endless succession of people saying goodbye

Saturday, Dec. 4: Farewell Robin Banks Show @168 York Street Cafe, New Haven

But we only just met Robin Banks! Apparently it's time for saying goodbye already. But this time at least the drag/variety show will be on a Saturday, so we think we can actually be there! The Scenics experienced a collective epic SceneFail when we all missed Guerrilla Queer Bar at Anna Liffey's last week, so we owe it to ourselves - and all of you, in our own minds - to hit up a piece of gay New Haven ASAP.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Photo Show & MORE Baby G

Friday, December 3: "A to B-" photography & Baby G live @ Bru Cafe, New Haven

That Lipgloss Crisis makes us feel like such slackers. Back in August when we were throwing wild parties and opening horrible movies, it looked like the Scenics might be scene makers and not just commentators. But we've reverted back to our armchair role, and look on with utmost admiration at New Haven based artist and scene maker Lipgloss Crisis. Just a few weeks ago we enjoyed her Day of the Dead extravaganza; we've already mentioned her upcoming burlesque gig, and this weekend she's giving us another chance to see our other favorite CT musical act, Baby G (who we expect you'll lust love too after tomorrow night's gig) at the opening for a group photography show featuring work by Nick Thigpen, Dana Astmann and Tim Mannle at Bru Cafe. Thigpen? Astmann? Mannle? Could those last names be any awesomer? No! Their photos are probably awesome as well, and will be on view through January 5.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Alt-Shopping Cont'd: Indie Crafts at The Space

Sunday, December 5: Indie Craft Extravaganza @ The Space, Hamden

We've already gone over why you shouldn't just boycott shopping altogether this holiday season (if you want your friends to still like you), but you can shop superior by shopping local and independent. A friend-of-the-blog is behind another great alt-shopping event coming up this weekend, which will feature dozens of vendors of art and craft, along with refreshments and another sexy friend-of-the-blog doing chair massage (she totally massages chairs, it's hot). Best of all, this event is free. Because you shouldn't have to pay to shop. Give all your money to the nice starving artists.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

More Midweek Music: Bronze Radio Return

Wednesday, December 1: Bronze Radio Return @ The Wolf Den, Mohegan Sun Casino

We're always happy to have great CT talent brought to our attention. Our newest music promoting friend-of-the-blog recently turned us on to Bronze Radio Return. These guys have a radio-ready sound and have been up to exciting, high-profile gigs like opening for Obama at his recent Bridgeport appearance, so we're sure they're destined for greatness. They have that right mix of contemporary pop sensibility and classic rock influence - and youth and beauty - that made big names in sensitive masculinity like John Mayer, Rob Thomas and Maroon 5 so universally appealing. Truth be told, the Scenics are personally drawn to somewhat edgier (i.e. more depressing, obviously disturbed) fare, so Bronze Radio Return might get old fast if they get the chance to get overplayed - but we see that as a distinct possibility for a band with such hit-making ability and hope to be changing the station on them soon! Check them out Wednesday night at Mohegan Sun's Wolf Den before you have to start paying for these guys.

This song is tasty:

Midweek Music: Wrist-slittingly good!

Wednesday, December 1: Vandaveer, Baby G @ Cafe Nine, New Haven

This show is a must-see for me. I caught New Haven's Baby G, or Leila Crockett, in her solo incarnation a few years back at an open mic and have been wanting more of her antique blues and devastating originals ever since. I hadn't heard of acclaimed national act Vandaveer until my research a couple of minutes ago, but I'm just as excited about him/them now and looking forward to an evening of low-key music and brutal lyrics to send me home deliciously sad. I'll shut up now and let the songs speak for themselves:

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Too sexy for our state: CT Burlesque in MA

Friday, November 26: Bon Appétit Burlesque's "Dirty Jobs Show" @ The Deuce, Northampton, MA

(Kitty by Lipgloss)

Last weekend we so enjoyed the burlesque show at Cafe Nine, and after Thanksgiving we're looking forward to enjoying burlesque-overs this Friday. But we'll have to travel for it. Like, a whole hour. Some of the featured performers are CT gals we've seen before - Kitty Katastrophe and Lily La Vamp - along with some new-to-us names, Serendipity Galore, Captain Elastico and Miss Bettysioux Tailor. We're sure they're charming and sexy as heck too.

Check out Ms Kitty doing her thing:

Next on our burlesque calendar (yeah, we've got a burlesque calendar now): Friday, December 17, our new friend Lipgloss Crisis presents all our favorite CT burlesque chicas that we totally know (Kitty, Dot, Lily, Nikki, All Systems Go-Go) at our favorite New Haven venue, Cafe Nine for a Holiday Spectacular.

Black Friday: Alt-Shopping in Torrington

Friday, November 26: Artisan Bazaar @ Coe Park Civic Center, Torrington

This Friday avoid getting trampled to death at gross corporate monstrosity big box stores, by shopping great events like the Blackout at Redscroll, or the Artisan Bazaar in Torrington. Julia of Brazen Betties tipped me off to this event, and she'll be there with her awesome wares along with other local artists and crafters. Shopping for gifts in as inevitable part of this "holiday season." Even if you're the environmentally responsible, non-materialistic type, I assure you, your friends and loved ones will feel much more special and appreciative when you present them with a unique handcrafted gift and support a talented local in the process than if you try and pull that "I made a charitable donation in your name, here's a piece of paper for you" crap. Fact: every time I wear one of my great purchases from Brazen Betties I get attention and compliments. So go shop the bazaar, and wear something hideous for the "Ugly X-mas Sweater After-Party" at Bogey's.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Feel Bad Film: Enter the Void

Enter the Void @ Real Art Ways
November 26 & 27
December 3 & 4

By now you know what kinds of films the Scenics prefer - the "feel-bad" kind. And we're lucky to have a home venue in Real Art Ways to supply us with a steady stream of such. We particularly prefer bad feelings of the first-world variety - the self-inflicted, existential miseries we can totally identify with. Enter the Void, Gaspar Noé's psychedelic meditation on sleaze (or is it a sleazy meditation on psychedelics?), has bad feelings to spare.

As usual, I went into watching this movie purposefully with as little background as possible - having heard only that director was famous for creating one of the most graphic and disturbing cinematic rape scenes ever in his previous film, Irreversible, which I've totally heard of, but hadn't seen. The Scenics caught the trailer for Enter the Void on a previous RAW outing, so I knew it was a drug movie with some overtones of brother-sister incest in the mix.

And you'll get all this too in the opening scene, which also introduces Noé's conceit of filming from our drugged out protagonist's point of view. This is off-putting at first, but pretty soon it's apparent that Noé has brilliantly and accurately accomplished what many have tried before - this drug-vision, which has so often been executed to ridiculous or distracting effect. The Tokyo inhabited by Noé's cast of lowlife Caucasians is all the more beautiful, menacing, luminous and alien as envisioned through a haze of DMT, LSD and ecstasy. Enough cannot be said about Enter the Void as an achievement in visual effects.

However, such praise cannot be heaped on the story that is told. Because of the film's meandering, hallucinatory quality, there isn't a lot of plot to "spoil," but I'll try and be as vague as possible anyway. An effective device of Noé's is his folding of time on itself, with images of the past - both the idyllic and the horrific - infringing on the present day action - the persistent anxieties of a bad trip. Unfortunately the present day action consists of our brother and sister pair on their separate downward spirals of depravity, but because they've been so sketchily drawn and dumbly portrayed, it isn't clear that either had far to fall or innocence for us to mourn the loss of.

Grotesque and gratuitous portrayals of sex, violence and drug abuse and an utter lack of likable or sympathetic characters will be a turn-off to the average viewer (who doesn't read our blog or go to our theater anyway) and a turn-on for the pervy indie minority who will embrace Enter the Void. Those who hang with it will be rewarded by the film's painfully drawn out, climactic multi-orgy scene with it's bizarre glowing genitals and ultimately, the intra-vaginal/penis-thrust cam. But that is all you will be rewarded with.

After my viewing, I checked out what film critics had to say about Enter the Void, and found that we are all pretty much in agreement - simultaneously bowled over by the cool visuals and put off or disappointed by the everything else. But the cool visuals are non-stop for more than two hours, so for filmmakers and drug film aficionados, it's nevertheless a must-see.

PS: How awesome are these opening credits?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Redscroll Blackout Weekend

The Scenics are an old-fashioned bunch (old actually), so we're all turned on by the prospect of an actual record store with tangible, physical product. In the past we've been motivated to travel far afield to get our hands on such matter as cds and vinyl. This Friday - and all weekend long - if you must participate in the gross American tradition of frenzied shopping following your day of gluttonous eating, we suggest including Redscroll Records' 4th Annual Blackout at Sunrise Sale in your itinerary. Everything will be marked down for the occasion and they are offering further enticements on Friday like live DJs  (DJ Lokash and Anthony from The Needle Drop) and hangout room, homemade muffins in tempting sounding seasonal flavors (Sweet potato! Pumpkin! Etc.!) and coffee. We might be in it for the muffins alone, honestly. The action begins Friday at 6 a.m., which is mental, but whatever lifts up your skirt.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

In The Thai Room

We've developed certain Scenic weekend rituals. Like after a admirable morning of self-denial and physical discipline (breakfast-skipping and Bikram yoga) - not to mention the week-long virtue and industriousness we've exhibited by attending our jobs and generally not killing anyone or breaking stuff - we like to reward ourselves with the indulgence of an exotic meal out. Saturday afternoon, DH and I were both jonesing for pho (a favorite dish around here) and attempted to eat at our current favorite pho joint, West Hartford's Pho Boston. Well, Pho Boston was packed and there were people actually waiting to be seated (this place is often moderately jumping, but we've never seen a wait before). So we decided to try something new (to us) in the same plaza - The Thai Room - previously recommended to me by my frequent blog-tivity partner, SuperLula.

At The Thai Room, I was able to satisfy some of the physical cravings I had hoped to work out over at PhoBo - rich, sweet Asian-style iced coffee and the pleasurable act of eating noodles with chopsticks. The iced coffee was artistic perfection. Observe gorgeous Guiness-esque head and drizzly patterns! We each had a bowl of tom ka gai soup to start. The chicken in this soup left something to be desired in terms of texture and flavor (it was a little dry and bland) but the spicy coconut broth and vegetables were great. I had pad thai (just needed noodles, damn it), which was generously peanutted and came in a portion large enough for two leftover revisits over the course of the weekend. DH had ginger chicken, which was impressively gingered - with substantial, crispy spears of ginger and a zingy broth.

We were pleased with our meal and are excited to add The Thai Room to our restaurant repertoire. And on the even brighter side, we're still looking forward to making up for lost eating with another pho outing - soon!