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Thursday, January 12, 2012

I Love I Love I Love New York
or one whirlwind day of big apple fun

Okay, so last Thursday brought an early birthday present in the form of a quickie trip to New York City with my honorary l'il sis, Steph to watch our favorite rockstar kick it up a notch at the City Winery.

What's that? You're wondering who that musical heartthrob might be?

Yep. This lively fella.

When Rhett's (with the embarrassing amount of times I've written about him, do I even need to use his last name?) tour date was announced back in October, Steph and I hemmed and hawed about whether we could manage the logistics of making the trek to La Apple Grande. Then as luck and serendipity would have it, Southwest sent a discount offer we literally could not refuse. And we didn't. You don't deny serendipity.


So, asshat that I am, I wasn't even thinking about how many hours before the butt crack of dawn I'd have to rise to make a 6:30AM flight. The answer: 3:30am. 3:30?!? On my off day?!?? UGH! But, c'mon. I'm going to New Yawk, not the Special K. Nothing a little breakfast, caffeine drip and inexhaustible NYC energy can't fix.

After stopping in Baltimore to pick up Steph, we landed in Newark and hopped on the tram to the NJ transit train station. Once the doors of the four-car shuttle closed, the stilted voice announced, "please hold on while the train is moving" over and over and over, ad naseum as we traveled between terminals. We chuckled. Any Old 97's fan would recognize that phrase.

Please Hold On While The Train Is Moving (via Grooveshark)

So THIS is where a certain songwriter flies in and out of on his way to entertain his adoring masses.

Meanwhile, back in Manhattan...

Even though we've only known each other for a year and a half, traveling with Stephanie is effortless. No drama. No crazy, high-maintenance requirements. No demanding the hotel staff send up only bath salts made from the tears of baby kittens.

Nope. She's spontaneous, game for any adventure, and funny as hell. We have the same silly, twisted sense of humor. She sends me funny shit like this all the time.
I know how you feel, l'il monkey made of sock

"and another thing..."

She makes me laugh. A lot. Plus she's really good at researching stuff on the fly via her iPhone.

Anyhoo, we started eating and drinking our way through Manhattan downtown in SoHo after a brief stop at CB2. The coolest thing about the city is you never know what you'll stumble upon walking from point A to point B. While heading North to go to the quintessential girls' cafe, Sweet Revenge for cupcakes and wine (is there a more perfect niche market directed specifically for women?), we found the coolest fusion restaurant in TriBeCa named Taka Taka, offering Mexican sushi and Japanese tacos. Wha??? Only in New York. Seriously. We walked in for the Japanese seared tuna tostado, but stayed for the sushi conveyor belt.

mobile sushi
mango sushi, cilantro lime dipping sauce...
recycled bong teapot?
hoped they cleaned that puppy out well

Delicious self-serve sushi rolls, rolling on by. Not enough "Os" in COOL. The bong-shaped teapot didn't hurt either. The servers were super friendly, the mango sushi rolls were amazing and the atmosphere was filled with festive Mexican and Japanese music. Where else but New York.

We decided to head to Sweet Revenge anyway because, hello... we're female. The thought of gourmet cupcakes paired with exquisite red wines is too alluring, and good GOD, it was 2 o'clock and we hadn't had a cocktail yet!!?!

The cafe is an adorable little store front about the size of a large walk-in closet with a small bar across from four quaint little wooden tables and chairs. They bake a different selection of savory as well as sweet offerings each day. Steph had the signature peanut butter and chocolate cake with peanut butter icing which came with a lovely, deep red, full-bodied Merlot with a hint of oak, long finish and the legs of a Scandinavian super model (or whatever wine snobs prattle on about). I had the raspberry almond cake topped with raspberry cream cheese icing and a Raspberry Bellini.


Sitting there sipping my Bellini, I could have sworn it was 4:30 in the afternoon. Much to our delight, it was only 3:30. We had plenty of time to make our 5:45 dinner reservation, but what to do to fill the time... That's when a light bulb went off atop Steph's wee head.


Yeah, baby! A quick search on Yelp and a 10 minute walk past store fronts that morphed from boutiques and coffee shops to window displays of mannequins donning questionable underthings missing material over the naughty bits awkwardly perched next to plasma screens showing a sizable variety of dildos, vibrators and ball gags.

Yeah. We were in that neighborhood.

West 4th Street. Home of the infamous Pink Pussycat adult shop and afternoon karaoke. Who knew? Seriously. Only in New York can you find a karaoke bar open from 1pm to 4am nestled among sex shops.

It was a ghost town in there, natch because of the whole 4:00 in the afternoon thing. There was no way I was going to screech/sing in the middle of the empty bar. Fortunately this place had a series of private rooms to do your Karaoke bidnez. It kind of creeped us out a bit imagining what various untoward activities had occurred in this room, but hey, it was half-priced happy hour, so forget that shit. Time to sing, bitches.

We opened strong with REO's Take It On The Run, then loaded up a stack of power hits, Bon Jovi-Livin' on a Prayer, Counting Crows-American Girls, Madonna-Get Into the Groove, and Bruce classic-Thunder Road. We even threw in a quiet Lisa Loeb tune.

Steph has a beautiful voice. Me? I think I killed a few alley cats with my caterwaul. Before we knew it, it was time to catch a cab for dinner across town. Screw the reservation, this is karaoke, dammit! We tossed in our big finish, John Mellencamp's Hurt So Good, then busted ass for a cab... which coincidentally smelled like ass.

A ridiculous amount of fun for two sober girls in the afternoon. My face hurt from laughing so much. We only ended up being around 10 minutes late for our delicious vegetarian dinner at Candle 79. I've never been to a proper vegan restaurant before. The food was outstanding.

On the way to the main event to see this lovely, blue-eyed one...

it's a toss up as to which one of them is more adorbs

our cab pulled up alongside a middle-aged businessman in a high-end SUV. Nothing unusual about that, except this lone gunman was blaring ABBA's Super Trooper so loud we could hear it clearly in our car.

What GUY rocks out to ABBA alone in his car?  (just try getting that out of your head now)

Being a couple of 12 year-old asshats, we started dancing, singing and pointing at him. Then the funniest thing happened. Steph tweeted it best.

"Just busted guy blaring ABBA Super Trooper. When he noticed us singing along, he pulled forward, turned it down, & put that shit on repeat."

Even the cabbie bust up laughing.

By the time we got to the Winery, the opener, Adam Levy was already playing. Outside of the Spring Standards, generally the opener is lackluster, but Adam was actually pretty good.

We've gotten to know a number of other fans from our travels to see Rhett and the Old 97's play. It's a nice little community. That evening George and Maria, Denise, India and Joslyn stopped by to say hi.  We finally caught up with our favorite Manhattan Maven, Marcy Anne between acts, poured some really good Malbec and waited for Rhett to take the stage.

Spending an evening in an intimate, darkened club listening to Mr. Miller and his guitar is always magical, but that night he was ON. Playfully telling jokes from the onset, his wit and charm filling the gaps between songs. He's comfortable here and it shows. The love flows both ways.

He sang Broadway and Terrible Vision with such depth and passion, it gave me chills. I know it sounds gay and uber fangirlie, but it did. Thanks to Julie for capturing the moment on her iPhone. Have I told you how much I'm in love with iPhones?

You can hear us goofballs giving it up for his long notes. Obnoxious asshats or appreciative fans. You decide. On second, thought, don't go there. Just let it be, dude.

He played three songs from his recently released outstanding covers CD, The Interpreter: Live at Largo including this spirited version of David Bowie's Queen Bitch.

No one belts out a note like Rhett. I had a thing for the King of Glam Rock back in the day, but Mr. M's vocal crushes Bowie's original. You should hear him sing The Bewlay Brothers... effing incredible! There is no superlative strong enough. It's my favorite on the CD.

I have to throw in the beautiful California Stars not only because Rhett played it specifically for Stephanie, but because it's worth it for the humorous rift on the puppy notebook alone.

As an added bonus, we were all treated to not one, but TWO new songs from his upcoming solo effort due out some time in the Spring. No official title has been leaked, but Rhett's unofficial title for the CD is The Womanizer, in honor of all the ladies he sings with on the album--Rosanne Cash, Rachael Yamagata and Heather Robb who sang Picture This at the Deleware show back in September. Or maybe it's a nod to his alter ego. I kid.

This fine evening he shared the quieter Sleepwalking (with a whistling solo jamz) and the freshly penned, Marina. They're both gorgeously layered, lyrically rich stories of lost love written in Rhett's compelling signature musical voice.


If these three tracks are any indication, his new collection of works is going to be groundbreaking. I can barely wait. There's still time to jump on the PledgeMusic bandwagon and help fund his new album here. I will never be able to thank him enough for the joy he brings to my life through his boundless talent. Pledging is a way for us to give back in a more substantial way.

Before we knew it, he was strumming the final chords to Time Bomb and another remarkable evening was over. We left light-hearted, rejuvenated and humming. The perfect capper to a positively perfect day.

This is What I Do
I'm a Trainwreck
California Stars (for Steph)
Singular Girl
Wish the Worst (for me :) )
I Need To Know Where I Stand
Sleepwalking (new)
Queen Bitch
The One
Our Love
Marina (brand new)
Help Me, Suzanne
Let the Whiskey Take the Reins
Like Love
The El
Every Night Is Friday Night

Terrible Vision
Wave of Mutilation/I Wanna Be Sedated
Time Bomb

Buy Live at Largo here
Be one of the cool kids! Join Team Rhett and help fund his new CD here.
Rhett/Old 97's tour dates. Come drink the Kool Aid and join us.

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