Victor Vazquez never showed up

Alaina Stamatis

Crowd during Ted Leo

Photo by Luke Chiarutinni

OTHER MUSIC

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I received three emails with a link and a personalized foreward plus a supplementary text from Pitchfork Reviews Reviews inviting me to the release of his publication titled, The World's First Perfect Zine, ensuring that I might attend. At 7:15 the twenty-two person line outside of Other Music consisted of NYU students in high heels, NYU students in striped button-downs, and NYU graduates in hoodies and stain-camouflaging sweaters. The release advertised free alcohol courtesy of Tumblr.com (!) and DJ appearances from Victor Vazquez of Das Racist, Tao Lin, and someone named Jenna Wortham.

My friend Gabby and I arrived at the line soberly, fresh from work, and decided instead to go to an abandoned neon orange Japanese underage bar for sake jello shots. After the bartender tried to sell us on something called a “Fuck Me”, advertising that it would get us “tipsy, but if you wanna get plastered,” we ordered basic lime-garnished drinks. Sammi met us there, and then we walked back to Other Music.

The man behind Pitchfork Reviews Reviews was outside in a hoodie, greeting people on the twenty-two person line, minutes before the party was supposed to end. He entered an excessively self-consciously-apologetic discussion with the Other Music employee managing the entrance, insisting that the store let the party run longer.

The store was divided by its traditional three aisles of CD racks, which were crammed with people holding camel-colored coffee cups of red wine. It was impossible to do a casual lap without upsetting someone's drink; Cody Brown and many others had small burgundy streams down their abdomens, which served as temporary conversation-invigorators. There were two 60-year-old men at the party. Victor Vazquez never showed up to DJ, so my friends left. A petite Other Music employee with spiky black hair was standing on a table, surveying the wine splashes' proximity to the merchandise. His watchful eyes began to seem more flirtatious, like when an angel has a crush on you. (An article appeared on Salon.com a few days later on the disfavor befalling purchases of physical music in boutique settings, referencing how crowded Other Music had been and how few items were actually bought.)

A blonde woman deejayed my favorite Paul Simon song. The employees of Other Music started flicking the lights, so everybody headed to a “blogger bar” called the Scratcher. All the bloggers I know live in Brooklyn, so it perplexed me that their bar that I'd never heard of was in the East Village. I theorized that it also a strange paradox for the sole bartender wearing teal spandex jeans, and for the two teamsters seated together at the end of the bar. When I ordered a vodka tonic, the teamsters struck up a conversation with me on the irregularity of a woman drinking a tonic drink. I told them it was a diet drink, and they brought up the sugar content of tonic, and then one of them said that his wife was keeping him on an anti-tonic diet. The bartender gave me a discounted drink for being friendly with the teamsters.

The ceilings were low and the bathroom door didn't lock. There was mostly unrecognizable alt country playing and sometimes its faux-hillbilly crooning distracted me. The people from my high school who were drinking from a flask of Ten High stuck to one corner and never waved me over. Pitchfork Reviews Reviews told me that I looked like I had lost weight. Jenna Wortham mentions The World's First Perfect Zine in her article for the NY Times.

Rating: 2 wines

OCCUPY HANOVER

I flew into Burlington on the morning that Occupy Wall Street swore to close Wall Street, so I spent my airport time and my Jet Blue TV time watching aerial views of people getting pushed onto the pavement and zip-tied on CNN. In one instance a woman in a wheelchair was wheeled away by a police officer, and onlookers clapped the way they do when a wheelchair handcyclist passes a crowd during the Marathon.

My boyfriend Matthew took me to Hanover to see J. Edgar because Leo's in it, perchance to see him wear a bra. At Dartmouth College there were a handful of colorful, neoprene-coated nylon tents next to a gorgeous dorm building. They had a table with a sign hanging from it reading, “Is This YOUR Government?” When we visited them, they were standing in a circle holding hands. The tallest person in the group said in a gentle voice, “On this our anniversary, let us table planning for the night, and just focus on the emotions and on a power that is greater than us in the movement.” Then it was time to go to the movie.

Matthew noticed that there was a poster in a trashcan nearby that read, “Stop Asking Us Why We're Here.”

Rating: 1 weed leaf

SHEA STADIUM

I flew back to New York after five excellent days of hiking and elk chili. When I returned to the Wallet I sat in on a Silent Barn planning meeting and drank a few Asahis. Then I pushed myself to the Occupy Wall Street benefit at Shea.

It was very full and I hadn't reserved a ticket so I bought one that was reserved for my editor (it was a benefit, but she didn’t show). It was the middle of Titus Andronicus' set. The letters OWS were in block letters on the wall behind the stage with gaffer's tape. I had a friend years ago who would crowd surf at every concert, definitely during Titus Andronicus, but he was tiny, so for the crowd it was the equivalent of passing a persian cat. At that moment a burly redheaded man was so high in the air that his back was slapping the icicle lights that Neil Fridd had installed two years ago for NYE. I crept to the balcony to see who was out smoking and looking at the ESB, but nobody was there, everyone was rocking. The So So Glos joined them for their last song.

A man from the Lawyer's Guild came up and apologized for not being Ted Leo, and then announced that following the show there would be a (“peaceful!”) march through North Brooklyn following the concert, which sounded like fun to me even though it was raining and nighttime.

Right before Ted Leo and the Pharmacists came on I bumped into a friend from high school who told me that he's been promoting and organizing high-brow technos. I dropped that I knew the guys from Mister Saturday Night, just to appear in-the-know, and he told me that I could write party reviews – and get bottle service! This writer apologizes in advance for any future nine-weed-leaf reviews for club nights in Manhattan.

Ted Leo played a really cute song that I had on my computer in high school and everyone started moshing. Then he did a an amplified mic check (“Mic check!”) to ask (“To ask!”) if someone could bring him a whiskey that he could repay with a drink ticket after the set, and someone handed him a plastic bottle of Seagram's 7. He thanked the So So Glos for organizing the benefit. Solidarity!

Rating: 3 Seagram's 7s

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