Monday, February 28, 2011

Saturday Night at the Farm

Welcome to the very first post with the "Shoreline" tag! For better or worse, its the part of Connecticut I grew up in, and find myself down there now and then. This Saturday, I met up with my family at a restaruant called Aspen in Old Saybrook, for the birthday celebration of Super Fitzdaddy.

Aspen was very lovely and expensive, if you're into that sort of thing. It was also pretty vegetarian un-friendly and expensive, and I'm not into that sort of thing. I did notice, however, that I was conveniently positioned for a nostalgic visit to locally legendary dive bar, the Monkey Farm.

It's been many years since my last visit to the Monkey Farm, and I fondly remember it as a mecca for the town drunks and the generally sketchy, where some sort of action was always happening. Like the time I saw a dude take a drunken swing at a big tough guy, and swiftly get flung through a pane of glass. Then there was the time I was playing the bowling game and enjoying a possibly roofie-infused cocktail; next thing I know, I can't stand and am getting escorted out, Weekend At Bernie's style.

Speaking of the bowling game, I found out that its actually called "Puck Bowling", and was disappointed that the Monkey Farm no longer has the machine. Any leads on a Connecticut spot that has one would be greatly appreciated!

Even though there is no bowling game, the Monkey Farm has a jukebox, a pool table, a number of dart boards, and a few arcade games. A pint glass of Stoli and club soda cost me $5.00.

(We totally don't know him)

We had been there for about 15 minutes, and just as I was about to remark that the bar seemed a bit nicer than what I remembered, Black Tooth Guy came over to chat us up. We learned that this intoxicated fellow went to the same high school as us. How about that!

(My sister totally got Mr. Black Teeth's digits on the back of this napkin!)

Then, heartwarming memories flooded in as we witnessed a young woman performing a Weekend at Bernies walk right out the door. The bar patrons must have been impressed, as they enthusiastically applauded.

The Monkey Farm is not a place you go to find class or good hygiene, but it is entertaining, the drinks are cheap, and the roofies are free. And as the saying goes, you get what you pay for. I've also heard that they have pretty decent bar food, but I cannot speak from personal experience. Oh, and the bathrooms have chalkboards where you can write poignant messages like this one:

Time "Marches" on: Better blogging in the next month?

Pardon the lack of posts in recent weeks. I was busy adjusting to a new temporary job and working on a 30 day Bikram yoga challenge (daily sessions!). Tonight will be day 33 if I make it. And why shouldn't I, what else is there to do on a Monday night? Or any night? Drink? Sleep? Ponder the depressing reality, as I do more and more often and in increasingly vivid terms, that my last "real" job and "non-imaginary" romantic involvement were so far in the past that I can't actually remember what either is like? Haha, just kidding - life is so wonderful and there is plenty to do in CT, all the time!

Well, it's a little late for tonight - you're probably tired at the start of the work week anyway, because you have a job, so let's just cruise straight to Tuesday. You could go to Trivia Night with great background music at the Half Door in Hartford, or attend Real Board Games at RAW, where scrabble is probably a drinking game.

CT's awesome music booking, Hartford neglecting Manic Productions has been presenting free indie rock at BAR, one of our favorite New Haven venues, on Wednesday evenings, and this Wednesday our favorite guys, Sidewalk Dave, will be playing along with Motel Motel (who we assume are like Duran Duran, only cheaper and with suspicious stains on the comforter) and Dinosaur Feathers, who are archaeologically sound. I haven't been to BAR in ages, but remember it fondly for fanciful bathrooms, pizza, pool and own-brewed beer.

This being "first week" you can hit up the Wadsworth Atheneum's monthly party on Thursday evening. This month has a French theme, and as always there will be participatory art, live entertainment and a film, in addition to the great museum. Give your sweatpants the night off!

First week also means a Friday open house at Hooker Brewery. Maybe some assholes had a domestic dispute at your house and you need a new pint glass. (You get a pint glass.)

I've mentioned before that some of my peeps and I used to be Jesse Malin regulars. Well, the story-rocking grown-up punker is back in the area again Friday, this time at Cafe Nine, appearing with locals we've totally heard of, The Black Noise Scam, and Christian Marrone, a guy we are Facebook friends with. Sounds like the Jesse is doing the full band thing this time around, which is promising.

Friday is also the live debut of friends-of-the-blog, The Ninas, who will be at the Bank Street Cafe in New London. CT peeps may remember some of the bandmembers from their previous bands like the McStatics and Legs Akimbo, if we've got our facts straight. More and better detail on these guys later!

Saturday our pals Bobbie Peru will be performing at Snapper Magees in Torrington. We've already told you Snapper's is great and Torrington rules. We recommend you make a day of it, including shopping at Brazen Betties and eating from the Rocket Fine Street Food truck. We're actually dumping Bobbie Peru in favor of their best friend Kimono Draggin' cuz we're total friend fuckers from back in the day, but don't that stop you from seeing them!

Oh, one more first week thingie - "womens party" at Tisane Sunday night. Maybe we'll start with brunch and just stay right on through.

Well, there's most of the week for you, in case I'm too busy sticking my head up my ass (IT'S A BIKRAM POSTURE OK!) to post again soon.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Elmwood Puppets in Paris (in Plantsville)

We here at CT Scenic like to support our local arts community (and arty parties). Its not often that we hear about local filmmakers or puppeteers, so we were very excited about Josh and Todd: A Story Of A Man and His Puppet, which premiered last night at Paris In Plantsville.

On a personal note (aka lets talk about ME for a moment), I worked at a puppet theater during my college years in Boston, and it was easily the most enjoyable job I've ever had. I loved seeing different puppeteers come in every week, and was just as interested in the puppet making process as the performance aspect.

Because of that experience, I have a residual fondness for puppets and was happy to discover that Elmwood Productions are doing some very fun and creative projects with monsters. And, these monsters are the kind that drink, make out, and generally behave badly- characters we can all identify with.

We arrived to the gallery about 10 minutes late, to find that there was standing room only. A seat would have been nice, but it was almost nicer to see local indie filmmakers debuting their work to a packed house. The film was very funny and got many laughs from the audience. Puppet drug use and puppet nudity are pretty much always guaranteed to be hilarious, but the human actors also got their fair share of laughs.

Afterwords, the three filmmakers, and members of the cast, spoke a little bit about the process of making Josh and Todd, which cost just under $1,000 to do. Elmwood Productions made a great little film that obviously a lot of work went into, and we look forward to more of their action. This was also a great reason to get us out to Scenic Plantsville; and by the way, Paris In Plantsville, we're not through with you.

How inspiring! Is anyone interested in funding CT Scenic: The Movie?

Scenic book recommendation: Lloyd Kaufman's Make Your Own Damn Movie: Secrets of a Renegade Director

Friday, February 18, 2011

What's going on TONIGHT!!!!

Hey there scenics, in case the warm weather this Friday has your juices flowing....

The New Britain Museum of American Art (56 Lexington Street, New Britain, CT) is throwing a shindig it's calling MAD Party! - Snowballed!

Aside from the name being a bit close to another event (and what's with that name anyway? Doesn't anyone know what it means?) tonight is notable for the fact that there will be LIVE BANDS!!!! No DJ's like that other art party that happened yesterday. Performances by Mixtape, Ponybird, and If Jesus Had Machine Guns. And it's TONIGHT! 8-11pm

For those who feel the urge to travel, a special show tonight in Northampton Mass at The Elevens: Mitch Easter Band, School for the Dead, Boy Genius, and Ribboncandy.

For thse who may not recognize the name, Mitch Easter is a well known producer who worked with REM, The Hang Ups, Pavement, Suzanne Vega, Game Theory, Marshall Crenshaw, and Velvet Crush. It will be a great night of somewhat guitar-jangly rock.

And in case you missed it, tonight is the Burlesque-A-Pades, February Frolic

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Black Mariah Film + Video festival

The Black Mariah Film and video festival is back in town (West Hartford, at the University of Hartford this Wednesday and Thursday 2/16&17, 7:30pm, to be exact). Actually, we could say back in CT, as this will be the only showing of these works in the state, and only one of three scheduled showings in New England.

What the heck is a Black Mariah?
Rather than reinvent the wheel, the opening paragraph on the festivals website says:

Since 1981, the annual Black Maria Film + Video Festival which takes it’s name from that of the world’s first motion picture studio built by Thomas Edison in 1893, has been an international juried competition and award tour, has been fulfilling its mission to advocate, exhibit and reward cutting edge works from independent film and videomakers. The festival is known for its national public exhibition program, which features a variety of bold contemporary works drawn from the annual collection of 50 or more award winning films and videos.

One can find the tour schedule here

Each of these showings is individually curated, so a selection of winning works will be shown. Superstar professor and video artist Gene Gort will present the evenings screenings.

I have sporadically attended these showings since, ummm, well never mind that. Let's just say history shows this to be an interesting and rewarding experience.

Admission is $6, free for those who can whip up a student ID. The movies start both nights at 7:30pm. Screening is in The Wilde Auditorium, located inside the Harry Jack Gray Center. Since the University of Hartford is rather poorly marked, a campus map is here

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Hey Girl, it's your Birthday

Sunday, February 13: Lipgloss Crisis presents "Valentines Day Spectacular Burlesque Show/Birthday Bash" @ Cafe Nine, New Haven

Soulmate-of-the-blog, photog and scene-star Lipgloss Crisis is throwing a major event in honor of her own birthday Sunday, and for Valentine's day by default (or anti-Valentines if you swing that way). We don't believe in love, so we'll be going for the Happy Birthday aspect. Oh, and the sexy (extensively previously blogged about) burlesque gals, hula hoopist, drag queens, music and accessory scenester freakshow we know will turn up. 

Congrats to LC on her recent Advocate publicity (on the cover!), and infinite props to her for arranging some of our favorite nights out in recent months. We've been hotly anticipating this party and can't wait to spend the night sucking up and presenting her with tokens of our boundless affection. We're also excited to see the newly formed Hartford burlesque troupe, the Beat City Beauties (it's true - Hartford is pretty beat). The Facebook event page has a little more wit and clarity than us this morning, so we'll end by borrowing the birthday girl's own wonderful line "bring a date or your bitterness!"

Sheesh, we might need an ass-kissing tag!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys

We like boys who like us, and we like boys who like other boys. We also like theme parties! This Sunday, Koji Alternative (gay) Night is having a party for homodudes and the ladies who love them (or conversely, fag hags and their special fellas).

Like the last gay Koji party we told you about, $20 will get you open bar from 9-11pm (and more than likely, drunk on sake drinks). Otherwise, there is no cover.

We leave you with this:

Punk Rawk Weekend

Friday, February 11: Damn Broads (and much, much more) @ El n Gee, New London
Saturday, February 12: Valentine's Day Punk Rock Show @ Anna Liffey's, New Haven

We've mentioned our little crushipoo we have on the Damn Broads here before... Well those chicks are bringing the noise in New London and New Haven this weekend. And what do you know? A club called the El n Gee still exists. We spent important parts of our formative years there. Wonder what it's like now! We haven't heard of any of those other bands, but they're punk so, you know.

Saturday's show is a veritable friends-of-the-blog-fest, featuring the aforementioned Broads, the oft-mentioned Bobbie Peru, and the maybe once mentioned, stylish and handsome Main Street Suits (we totally know them - er, one of them!). And The McGunks, who we totally don't know, but they seem like a good time, if you enjoy being yelled at.

Ooh, all this New London posting. Maybe we'll give them their own tag!

A New Haven Hipster in (New) London

Saturday, February 12: M.T. Bearington @ The Oasis Pub, New London

Hey, remember just the other week we met Matt, the guy who puts the M.T. in M.T. Bearington? We found out that not only was he that guy, but he also used to play in a band with the genuises from Kimono Draggin'. So he is probably a genius too. Well, MTB is playing a gig in New London this weekend, a town we promise to personally visit some day. Maybe when it feels like spring.

Sorry, the Oasis is too cool (because it's an oasis) to have a real website. Mystery = Sexy? We can't even deal with linking to MySpace pages anymore.

Cruel Winter

Its been grim out there, folks. But don't worry- we have it on good authority from both Punxsutawney Phil and the psychic from Tisane that spring will come early this year.

Last night, as I was admiring the decorative water stains that have been growing on my bathroom ceiling over the last week, it started to remind me of how people look up at the clouds and see different images. Then, it kind of reminded me of the Rorschach test.

What do you see?

Submit your interpretations to be analyzed by the Scenic Amateur Psychology Institute, and a chance to win a prize*.

*A souvenir jar of leak water

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Exploring our options at Ichiban

One evening after a recent Bikram session, DH and I were on the prowl, looking for some hot soup. We never thought we'd see the day, but we were feeling all Pho'd out! DH confessed that he had been experimenting with other soups, but he was willing to share. We headed to Ichiban in Hartford. Ichiban has been one of my favorite spots for a lunch special lately (though my lunch specialing days are mercifully over, thanks to employment) - their BBQ short ribs bento box is off the hook. But I hadn't really explored the Korean side of the menu before.

Kimchee Geegae caught my eye, 'cause Jackie and I had enjoyed some kimchee stuff at York Street Noodle House on our last date. It's a spicy stew with kimchee (cabbage) and pork. But that's just the beginning! There's all this other great stuff in there, like straw mushrooms and some sort of fishball and a grand array of garnish dishes on the side (like pickled octopus - with pickles!), and it's served in a metal catering type dish over real live fire. This is all really impressive, but we don't recommend impressing a date with this meal, at least not a first date. Go for something less gassy. Sorry to get you all aroused and then bring you down with that gross little piece of reality, but we like to think of this blog as a public service and would be remiss if we didn't warn you. Fortunately the Scenics have all been unseemly around each other for years...

DH was so hungry after having don two Bikram sessions that particular day, he was in the clean plate club. I really enjoyed my first time, but it was so big I had to bring half home, which was subsequently yoinked by Mommy Scenic, who also dug it. Reliving that dinner via that post got me all droolie. I will require a revisit. SOON.

Reasons to shop New Park

These days, West Hartford's little "industrial" stretch is good for more than just getting us from Point A (Fitzscenic's place) to Point B (Pho Boston, duh). In fact, we're pretty much obsessed with Hartford Baking Company now that we've tasted their delicious Stumptown Coffee and fresh baked breads and scones (ginger and raisin and cranberry orange - oh my!). And pecan sticky rolls and caramel hazlenut chocolate squares...

Awash in a sea of crappy coffee, we easily forget that it should be more than just a caffeine kick and social prop - that coffee can actually taste good and go down smooth, unlike the bitter water that frequently passes as such. And that it's color should be rich and brown, even when cream is added! The regular old coffee at HBC is great; the espresso drinks are works of art:

Whenever we visit NYC, among the many things stirring up scenic envy are the wealth of decent coffee and fresh baked goods available on every corner - at least in the cool neighborhoods! Well, here in Hartfordshire we are still far from realizing that dream, but we hope that our smaller coffee connoisseur community will turn out on the regs for HBC and keep them in business.

Ho! What have we here? Right next door to HBC is a lovely consignment shop, Panache. How have missed this place? Oh, right, there didn't used to be a coffee and treats destination in this neighborhood so we just weren't looking. But our eyes are open now! Sorry fellas, this shop is pretty much for the ladies in the clothing department. But maybe you need some glass trinkets for your home? The clothes are by and large fashionable and in great condition, and have been conveniently organized for our browsing ease. Unfortunately, they are also kind of pricey, so we couldn't go home with everything we wanted (story of our lives!). It's very clean and tidy inside and easy to find what you are looking for (unlike some other shops we've experienced). The proprietor is particularly proud of the shop's shoes and accessories, which were impressive.

As was this coat, which some adoring suitor really ought to man up and buy for Katie Scenic.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

More Arty Action this Saturday

We have yet to make a visit to Paris In Plantsville, a new-ish gallery that we've been hearing a lot about lately. We've become aware of a few resident artists through their attendance and participation in recent events at Artspace Hartford, The MAC 650 Gallery, and the Charter Oak Cultural Center, and are interested to see what they have going on in ol' scenic Plantsville.

Andy Morrow

Joe Bun Keo

Andre Rochester

(UPDATE: Because the weather continues to ruin everything, REBIRTHDAY has been rescheduled to Sunday, February 20th. See you there!) Paris In Plantsville will celebrate it's first year in operation with an event titled REBIRTHDAY, a juried group show and breast cancer fundraiser. They are asking for a $10 donation from non-members; there will be live jazz and a modern dance performance by Rachel Ryan (we tried googling her to find a link for you, but only came up with a porn actress of that name- we cannot make any promises either way). The opening goes from 6:00 to 10:00pm.

Another event that has caught our attention is the screening of Josh and Todd: A Story of a Man and His Puppet, which will premiere at Paris In Plantsville on February 19th. We love indie films, we love puppets, we love puppet nudity, and we think this will be a lot of fun.

The filmmakers and actors will be doing a Q&A right after the movie, for those of us who want to learn more about micro-budget filmmaking, working with puppets, or anything else you want to know. The movie starts at 8pm.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

DSW: Lesbian Edition

You may or may not have noticed that I fell off the face of the Earth a few months ago. It was a combination of a chronic stomach illness and a new fulltime job that did it. What better way to return to the planet then by shoe-shopping for the new job! I obvs went to DSW, a lesbian's (and Grandma's) dream. I went to the Plainville store, but I think there is also one in Manchester. The mission was a pair of professional-ish black shoes that could also withstand travelling all over CT in this awful weather, as I do for the new job. DSW carries all the best pro-lesbian brands; Born, Clarks, Aerosoles, Merrell, etc. (You know what I'm talking about.)

It was a little overwhelming, but in the end, I triumphed with 4 pairs of shoes for $120. A steal! And those furry ones are totally ridiculous, I know, but they are my new favs, and you will probably see them at Tisane if you're lucky.

Tune in, Tokyo

Tokyo Sushi, the new sushi joint on Farmington Ave in West Hartford, has quickly become one of our favorite area dining establishments. That's the place that opened in the former home of Kingswood Market back in September, practically across the street from Butterfly.

While driving by, you can see a large sign that reads "Sushi Bar" and "Cocktail Lounge", but once you actually approach the door, a neon posterboard sign reads "Temporarily BYOB". Well, that is just fine with us, especially with the friendly and helpful guys in Harvest Wine & Spirits next door. Have you been there? They have a great selection of wines and a "beer cave", and we just heard that they also host beer and wine tastings. Sign us up!

The next thing you will probably notice at Tokyo is this amazing chandellier in the foyer. At first, we thought we might have been feeling the effects of working closely with an industrial strength adhesive during hours of making SuperScenic eyewear in a poorly ventilated area- but no, those crystals contain lightbulbs that actually change colors! Lovely.

Recently, Scenic telepathy must have been in effect as Katie and DH showed up mere minutes after I did, without any planning. Crazy, right?!? To accommodate our now larger party, our seating got moved to the private room located just beyond the monster fish tank.

Katie has a fondness for the King Salmon Roll; I always go for the Spicy Twin. These are both on the special menu posted by the sushi bar, with other fancy rolls we have tasted and liked. DH went with some spicy tuna rolls and octupus sushi; we all had a round of miso soup and shared an edamame appetizer. The portions are generous, and the fish is ridiculously smooth and fresh tasting. Also appreciated: brown rice upon request.

Tokyo will also make you a special roll to your liking if you tell them what your favorite types of fish are. We totally don't know Ty Hong, but apparently he is a guy from West Hartford that goes there all the time and had a roll named after him (we ate it, its good). We'd like to someday see a Scenic Roll up on that menu!

Its refreshing to find good sushi in West Hartford with free parking, reasonable prices, and BYOB. Color us impressed.

Art by Amy

Saturday, February 5, 5-8 p.m.: Reception for "Conscious Evolution: Reflections of a Master's Program" by Amy Mielke @ Artspace, Hartford

In recent months we've attended a couple of art show events at Artspace Hartford, and the spot is getting to be nearly as hot for arty parties as RAW or the Wadsworth - packed house, competitive parking, bands, booze, etc. We've been looking forward to this solo exhibition by Amy Mielke. Of course she's become a "friend-of-the-blog," and we also know she was a driving force behind last month's massive open show, which featured a ton of work by a zillion artists, so we applaud her awesome scene-making and are eager to see her in the spotlight this weekend. 

The show wil feature works created over her two year course of study at The Graduate Institute, along with a retrospective of earlier works. She's also lined up some hot area musical talent for the event, including Stephen Haynes, Matt Sargent and Todd Merrell from the Hartford Sound Alliance. Massachusetts based kombucha company Katalyst will be sampling and selling their product, which is a totally enticing bonus for us - certain Scenics have recently become hooked on kombucha (fermented tea and juice drink - it's fizzy and vaguely alcoholic!). In keeping with the community spirit, there will also be herbavore/localvore friendly snacks from area businesses. Classy!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

So You Wanna Be A Rock N' Roll Star

This past Friday was reopening night at Cafe Nine, and grand unveiling of the renovations and improvements they've been working on for the last two weeks. Scenics Katie and Laura Fitz came out to admire the new bar, floors, and bathrooms (!), and more importantly, to see what this Live Band Karaoke thing is all about.

As we expected, Live Band Karaoke was a lot of fun and pretty much a brilliant idea. Dean Falcone and Slowpoke played the part of the live band, providing their wide repertoire of rock n' roll songs that anyone could jump on stage and sing. The participants ranged from actual musicians to disasters (we like disasters). Our favorite performers were this youthfully enthusiastic duo, who we've already mentioned in a previous post.

Speaking of CT celebrities, the singer of Dead by Wednesday was in our midst (and on the stage).

While he certainly had a stage presence and good singing voice, we could have done without his crude dance moves and frequent touching of his own crotch. Fortunately, conscientious Katie Scenic brought some "gently used" ear plugs, which were quite useful in this situation.

Musically, the band was fantastic, and although they have a list of songs to choose from, they also demonstrated the ability to figure out a song on the fly. When a singer seemed a little stuck, the guys in the band would provide helpful cues and backup vocals. The song choices seemed to mostly fall into the classic rock category, so we need to do a bit of brushing up before feeling confident enough to perform. But even from a spectator's standpoint, Live Band Karaoke was a lot of fun and we look forward to more of it!

Locker Room Humor

These days I can't resist making my jokes out loud - keeping them to myself would be selfish and wasteful. Now I'm gonna recount them on my blog too, for (I presume) your enjoyment.

Like the other night at the bar, these two really young guys were doing funny hand games with each other, and I saw them setting up for the ol' "hand vagina" - so I was all "OMG are you doing the hand vagina thing?" And they were all "Totally!" And then they totally did it! And I said "Have you ever seen a real vagina?"

And then yesterday at yoga, these college chicks are talking about college stuff in the locker room after class. And one of them is like "OMG have you ever been to Wesleyan? It's unlike any college campus I've ever been to. Everyone there is like a total hipster. And they have this house, it's like a frat but not, or something, the Eclectic House. And every year they have this Sex Party, and they play porn on the wall, and it's basically a big orgy! That would never happen at my college." And I was all "But once you get out of college, that's like every party."


(Boo! Looks like the Sex Party is no more. That's OK, they have a lifetime of sex parties to look forward too. Good thing they are getting fit and limber at Bikram!).