Ithaca Blog

Monday, August 29, 2011

Evil City String Band Plays Rocky Sullivan's of Brooklyn, Oct. 22

One of Ithaca's best bands plays one of New York City's best bars when the Evil City String Band visits Rocky Sullivan's in Brooklyn on Saturday 22 October.

Evil City String Band is a stalwart of the Ithaca music scene, including the GrassRoots Festival. The band comprises Richie Stearns on banjo, Paddy Burke on guitar, Rosie Newton and Steve Selin on fiddle(s), and Stephanie Jenkins on stand-up bass.

Rocky Sullivan's is well-known on the New York City scene.

A few years ago, Rocky's moved from Manhattan, after a decade or so, to more spacious quarters in Red Hook, Brooklyn. It has a fine bar, and an open kitchen featuring a wood-burning pizza oven.

Beyond the bar and restaurant space is a room for music, with a large stage, and some haphazard seating and tables.

There are also rooms for pool and darts. There is a multi-level rooftop patio with tables, chairs, a view of the harbor, and legal ashtrays.

Rocky's is music-friendly. Own of the owners is Chris Byrne, who plays uillean pipes, and was a member of the band Black 47.

Rocky's is known as one of the friendliest spots in the city and will be a happy meeting ground for Ithacans and city-o's on October 22.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Go Out And Buy New Music Without Getting Wet

It is a slow news day, if you don't count hurricanes. Ms. Irene is keeping anything else much from happening.

So it's a good day for Ithaca Blog to give a plug to its sort-of-sponsor, Angry Mom Records.

Two years ago, Small World Music moved in with Angry Mom Records in the basement of Autumn Leaves Books on the Commons.

Borders is gone, but we're still here, nice as ever, with a vast selection of new and used music on CDs and LPs.

Artists with recent releases on CD include Jeff Bridges, War On Drugs, Blue October, Kris Delmhorst, Steve Cropper, Fistful of Mercy, Joss Stone, and John Hiatt.

You can get here without getting wet (practically) by parking in the Green Street structure (free on weekends), and entering Autumn Leaves by the back door, about 20 paces from the covered stairs of the structure.

We're open Sundays til 6 pm. We open every day at noon. Closing times are 8 pm on M, T, Wed; 9 pm on Fri. & Sat.

Steve Burke
for Angry Mom Records/Small World Music
and Ithaca NY Blog

Friday, August 26, 2011

You Won't Miss Your Water This Weekend

It should be a good weekend for movie theaters, with threats of rain scaring everyone.

In New York City, they are pre-emptively closing the subways, which we don't think ever happened before.

We were planning on going to Binghamton to see a minor league game where the NY Mets major league star, Jose Reyes, is playing this weekend, on a re-hab assignment for a sore hamstring. But now, probably not.

So, Plan B, check your movie schedule. We really liked "Tree of Life," showing at Cinemapolis.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

Monday, August 22, 2011

Hee-Haw Nightmare at Maxie's, Tuesday 23 August

On the old-timey scene in Ithaca, Hee-Haw Nightmare is as close as any band gets to the Holy Modal Rounders, the seminal band in 1960's New York that incorporated into their folk repertoire a good dose of the psychedelia of the time, and the noise and anarchy of the punk movement ahead.

The Rounders were not for everyone. I never heard a band booed as loudly as they, as an opening band one night at the Bowery Ballroom. The Rounders waved cheerfully from the stage as if they didn't understand, or care, or both.

At GrassRoots this year, Hee-Haw Nightmare were set to take the stage at the Dance Tent, and a middle-aged guy said to his wife, "Uh oh, Hee-Haw Nightmare. Let's get out of here." High praise, indeed.

The free show at Maxie's goes from about 6:30 - 9:30.

Steve Burke
Ithaca NY Blog

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Leave Earlier This Weekend

Are you one of those drivers who mouth "Next time, leave earlier" at other drivers exhibiting impatience about  time and circumstance on the road?

Good for you, because then it is not only me.

It's not our fault they decided do one last thing, like washing the cutting board, before leaving the house, is it? Of course not.

There is likely to be a lot of vehicular angst and vituperation this weekend in Ithaca, as freshman students and their families arrive at Cornell, lost, addled, and possibly going the wrong way on some of our cunningly deceptive one-way streets.

At the same time, NYSEG still has plenty of streets torn up, in a grid-laying project they were supposed to have finished by now, but haven't.

None of this, again, is your fault, or mine, but let's be kinder this weekend. There are going to be plenty of parents driving around who already feel like crying. We better leave even earlier, ourselves.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Restaurant-Hopping At 8 PM When There's Music

All we wanted was dinner, but it was hard to get at 8 pm, in restaurants also featuring music.

We found this to be the case last night, when we hit Culture Shock for dinner at 8, but the place was too chaotic, with a band coming in, and also a little crowded, with more of a drinking and listening crowd than a dining one, it seemed.

As we wished to be with our own (hungry) kind, we tried Delilah's across the street.

But it was the same there. With an 8 p.m. show,  there were guys combining mike stands, and saying "check," but to the sound guy, not a waiter.

All this is fine and we love music and love work for musicians. But we were zeroed in on the meal-up.

So we strolled to Aurora Street, which was busy with people enjoying Dining Al Fresco. We happily joined them.

Our stringent dietary choices include eating outside on nice nights like last night. So we sat down at Sahara's, a newish Mediterranean place, where Micawber's bar used to be.

We don't intend to do a full restaurant review, just to say that the felafel is very fine at Sahara's, and so is the fatoush salad, and the latter is served in fattish portion. We by no means finished the whole thing, not even half.

In the interest of blunt honesty, not to mention our credibility, we will say that the coffee was weak. But we're not really fussy, and had a great time.

The moral of the story, we think, is to finish, not start, eating by 8 pm at a joint that will have music. And  support your local restaurants, and bands.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

Friday, August 12, 2011

Maine Was Vacationland

There were no posts here this week on Ithaca Blog (nor our other, semi-literary blog, "Brooklyn 3 New York"), because we were vacationing in Maine. Here's what we can tell you about Maine.

1. Maine is the only state with a one-syllable name. (Life is simpler in Maine.)

2. Maine is far away. Travel there with someone who can tell jokes or sing harmonies.

3. We were bringing a ukulele we are just learning to play, and our traveling companion said no, there is newly a ukulele embargo in Maine; but this is not true.

4. There are a lot of lakes in Maine, and these perhaps make better vacation spots than the ocean, because the ocean never warms up near Maine, but a shallow lake in Maine can be warmer than land.

5. There are a lot of lobsters in Maine, which is a puzzle to us, because we wonder who encourages their population growth? There are many more people in the U.S. than 50 years ago (we have noticed), yet there still seem to be enough lobsters for everyone. We are glad they are keeping pace with us, but it is a natural world wonder to us that it's so.

6. Vermont and New Hamster are picturesque states, but they do not provide good west-east roads, such as one needs to get from Ithaca to Maine. You have to take the Massachusetts Turnpike. But then you have to urinate in another state: we found to our shock and chagrin that the rest stops on the Mass Pike are closed, due to budget cuts, which seems very inhospitable. On our trip back, we decided to boycott buying beverages in Massachusetts, as a pro-active reaction.

Ramblin' Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

Friday, August 05, 2011

Summer = Peaches At GreenStar

This is the second year running that GreenStar Co-op has sold peaches from Pennsylvania that are practically perfect.

The price is crazy, too, at $1.69/lb. Industrial peaches in the supermarkets are $1.99.

Yesterday we told our friend K. Okay, she says, and buys one. Last night she was back, to buy eleven.

That might be too many, but these are good peaches. Enjoy yourself in nice summer.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

Monday, August 01, 2011

Last-Minute Tickets For Karan Casey: Do-able, at Angry Mom Records

Tickets will be available for the Karan Casey performance for peace most of the day Tuesday, the day of the show, at Angry Mom Records.

(Your friendly ticket purveyor will be me, partner in Angry Mom Records, staff-person on Tuesdays.)

Angry Mom Records is in the basement of Autumn Leaves Books, on the Commons, and opens at noon.

Tickets will also be available at the venue, the Community School of Music and Arts, when doors open for the 7:30 show.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog