The Springtime Adventures of an Underemployed Urban Elf | East Villager & Lower East Sider

The Springtime Adventures of an Underemployed Urban Elf

One less place to get cool stuff: Daniel's Leather.  PHOTO BY REV. JEN
One less place to get cool stuff: Daniel’s Leather. PHOTO BY REV. JEN

BY REV. JEN  (rev-jen.com)  |  As prophesied in my last column, my boyfriend of almost four years dumped me two days before Valentine’s Day. I realize I’m not the easiest person to date — but it’s not like I advertised sanity. (Note: hoping this is a Richard Burton/Liz Taylor temporary thing.)

Adding to the fun of this nightmarish February was the second wave of the Polar “BOREtex” — wherein moving within a foot of one’s radiator or space heater was out of the question. Laundry became unnecessary, as I didn’t change out of my paint-covered pajamas for a full month. And then I got the flu, which left me feeling like Mimi in “La Bohème” (only old, single and possessing the sinuses of David Bowie circa 1976). But as I lay in my sickbed pondering the futility of bohemian extremism, I thought of the 1939 British Ministry of Information phrase (also now a phrase on every annoying magnet on earth): “Keep Calm and Carry On” — or, as my Scottish mother would say, “Haud yer weesht and get oan wae it.”

It was time to stop listening to “Love Hurts” on repeat, put on actual pants and get on with it. After all, spring is about renewal. As Bette said, “It’s the heart afraid of breaking that never learns to dance.” With the sun’s inevitable love, I would soon become a rose. Also, there was college basketball to look forward to and yet another excuse to hang out at Lucky Jack’s (129 Orchard St.). March is actually pretty cool. Ugly snow melts and crap blooms. So get out there, enjoy the madness of March and find reasons to dance in April showers.

To help with this mission, I’ve prepared a handy guide to fun, springtime activities (though the simple fact that you can now leave your home in less than five jackets should be considered a fun activity at this point). Also featured in this column: a bit of important neighborhood news, which is where we’ll start.

Louis Ressy and Nadeem Waheed — of the late Orchard St. institution, Daniel’s Leather.  PHOTO BY REV. JEN
Louis Ressy and Nadeem Waheed — of the late Orchard St. institution, Daniel’s Leather. PHOTO BY REV. JEN

THE CLOSING OF DANIEL’S LEATHER
130 Orchard St.
While spring is all about change, this one kind of kills me. I have lived on Orchard Street for 18 years now (not an invitation to stalk me), and one of the things I love about my block (aside from Jack’s) is the hilarious staff who sells coats at Daniel’s. Every morning I would emerge from my den of iniquity and chat with “Lou” who stood outside, vending merch — whether there be snow, rain, heat or gloom of night (the local Post Office could take a cue from him). Daniel’s Leather was incorporated in 1995 and has sold jackets to Dog the Bounty Hunter, Ice T, CeeLo Green, countless tourists and residents. It’s leaving the neighborhood simply because “the rent’s too damn high.” Presumably, this paves the way for yet another douchey restaurant I can’t afford to eat in. Meanwhile, if you need a dose of the Lower East Side when it actually had personality, visit their Paterson, New Jersey location at 175 Main St.

Get on down to Old Man Hustle, Sundays at 8, to see Monster (left), Brer Brian and maybe even Paige Danoff.  PHOTO BY JIM MELLOAN
Get on down to Old Man Hustle, Sundays at 8, to see Monster (left), Brer Brian and maybe even Paige Danoff. PHOTO BY JIM MELLOAN

REV. JEN’S ANTI-SLAM
Old Man Hustle, 39 Essex St.
Every Wed. at 8pm
If it’s not obvious from the first paragraph, I am broken and lonely. So come to my open mic and perform. It’s free, and every performer gets six minutes and a perfect score of 10. Added bonus: Johnny Bizarre (Mr. Lower East Side 2013) now bartends on Wednesday nights.

BREROAKE
Old Man Hustle, 39 Essex St.
Every Sun. at 8pm
March madness continues at this fun-filled weekly event. Performers Brer Brian, Monster and Jim Melloan host this musical/comedy/poetry free-for-all. Not to sound too much like I’m writing for Teen Beat (though that’s a goal), but Brer Brian is like my fave rave musician ever. Brer says, “I started Breraoke because I love open mics, singing and drinking, and I wanted to have something where, if I felt like it, I could play as long as I wanted to without being consigned to waiting forever for that  ‘make-or-break’ two-song slot. Also, I love people playing together and I wanted to encourage like-minded people to do the same, without worrying about stepping on people’s toes or feeling like a stage ho.” Performers are invited to hang out and do their thing, usually for as long as they wish, in an informal round robin setting. Old Man Hustle is equipped with a keyboard, guitar, lots of weirdoes and beer. Always great fun.

High Priestess, writer and performer Courtney Weber teaches at Catland, Brooklyn’s premier metaphysical boutique and event space.  PHOTO BY REV. JEN
High Priestess, writer and performer Courtney Weber teaches at Catland, Brooklyn’s premier metaphysical boutique and event space. PHOTO BY REV. JEN

TAKING A CLASS ON WICCA
I would never denigrate anyone else’s religion (unless you are a member of Westboro Baptist Church) — but it’s time for me to come out of the broom closet: I’m a Witch. Since this is not a treatise on Witchcraft, I will only say it’s a spiritual path that’s helped me a great deal, and I like Wicca because we sing, dance and sometimes make love potions that ruin my life — thus making my art better (though us Wiccans are so cool we don’t proselytize). One of the coolest Witches I know is Courtney Weber, a High Priestess, writer and performer. She is teaching a set of seminars at Catland (987 Flushing Ave.), Brooklyn’s premier metaphysical boutique and event space. They “aim to serve the local community of Occultists, Yogis, Pagans, Mystics, Thelemites, Witches, Chaotes and anyone interested in the enhancement of his or her spiritual self.”

While I tried to avoid leaving “Sosta” (my new term for South of Stanton, North of Canal) for this column, checking out her first seminar proved too tempting. Turns out “The Wiccan Path: Introduction to Wicca” series was educational and fun, like school but better and cheaper (20 bucks a class), and we did two meditations where I totally tranced out (not that I didn’t trance out in school, but this was strangely under the influence of nothing but meditation). Check it out and learn that us Witches aren’t so scary (we’re a lot more like Glinda than you think). Every Wednesday at 7.

Rev. Jen and Faceboy, armed with only a library card, are ready for Game Night.  PHOTO BY ANN ENZMINGER
Rev. Jen and Faceboy, armed with only a library card, are ready for Game Night. PHOTO BY ANN ENZMINGER

HANGING WITH FRIENDS AND PLAYING A BIZARRE NEW GAME THAT FACEBOY MADE UP
Guess what’s cool? Having a library card! Turns out, you don’t need a Kindle or money to buy books if ya’ got one. My BFF, Faceboy, utilized his card to check out a copy of Freud’s “The Interpretation of Dreams.” He then came up with an activity that can be done anywhere and will save you money when you are bored and have no money to be saved: First, have your friends over (or one friend). Second, ask a question and throw out a page number. Third, have your companion turn to that page of Freud’s book. Your question will be answered.

 

LIVE MUSIC
Specifically, that of the “Slut Junkies.” Is it me, or was there a moment when bands began to denigrate the fabric of rock ‘n’ roll with names that did not speak of

Badass behavior and great music: The Slut Junkies rock. See for yourself on their YouTube channel.  PHOTO BY ALAN RAND
Badass behavior and great music: The Slut Junkies rock. See for yourself on their YouTube channel. PHOTO BY ALAN RAND

badass behavior? When I hear “Maroon 5” my soul just sort of cries and all I can think of is Adam Levine Proactiv ads and yearn for a time when rock stars didn’t care what their skin or hair looked like. Not so with the Slut Junkies, who appear to actually be making rock ‘n’ roll (you might remember “Jurgen” of the Slut Junkies from this summer’s “mini golf experiment”). I recently went to see them at Grand Victory, which necessitated another trip to Brooklyn (245 Grand St.) — but it was worth the trek, as there were three great bands playing and apparently, excellent bands play there often. Nothing will pull you out of a depression quite like live rock ‘n’ roll music.

THE “SATAN, HOLD MY HAND” LAUNCH PARTY
Sunday, April 6th at Cake Shop (152 Ludlow St.), 8pm.
Admission: 69 cents, exact change only
Finally, ASS Studios, the most underfunded Motion Picture Studio in history, will unleash its first feature film upon the Universe (available everywhere March 25th from MVD). Directed by Courtney Fathom Sell and written by me, it stars Faceboy, Janeane Garofalo, Robert Prichard and many other fine folk. Appropriately, the event is a Halloween-themed costume party. Bands TBA. There will be a screening, expired Halloween candy and other delightful surprises.

GO OUTSIDE
Lay off the social media for a second, the addictive Buzzfeed quizzes, the Zimbio quizzes, the crackbook, the iPhone, the Grindr (actually, don’t lay off that one) and everything else that distracts you from the fact that it is now Spring.