by J.D. Oxblood
We were so drunk off the feeling of great art—oh, and bourbon. Bourbon makes me feel drunk, too—that we decided to carry on and get our asses downtown to drop in on our old friend Brian Newman for his weekly residency at Duane Park.
I don’t feel bad giving Mr. Newman unbridled, overly-enthusiastic, heavy-handed praise for two really good reasons: 1. He’s a badass musician. 2. He’s a truly nice guy. And no shit—he’s really a nice guy. I’m a prick, and I know a nice guy when I see one. Brian was so excited to see us, he bought me a drink—and then he spent the rest of the night calling me “Mr. Oxblood.” So damn RESPECTFUL. And just when I had almost decided to kill everyone under 30.
I think you should go to Duane Park next week, and I think you should get there EARLY. We showed at around 11 and the place was already jumpin’—that is to say, PACKED. And it ain’t nothin’ to fill a space so far downtown on a Friday night. Obviously Mr. Newman’s experiment is catching on, and it’s not for nothing. (Ahem… ready for this one, B? You can quote me on this.) Brian Newman plays the trumpet like a bat out of hell trapped in a mason jar. His freneticism is balanced by a consummate control. It began with his first notes: as the bass and piano steadied the firmament under him, he let go with his “intimidation lick,” appearing almost lazy in his approach, as if to say, “I’m really not working that hard.” That quickly went out the window as his intimidation went from a lick to a full-on scoop of smack-your-mama, and everyone in the goddamn room knew whose show this was.
But it gets better. My babe Broadway Brassy was in the house, and if you wonder how she got her name it’s because her pipes are made of brass, so much so that it almost makes me wonder what else she got made of brass. Let’s not forget that Mr. Newman sings, too, and it was a treat to hear the two of them do a slight duet on “All of Me.” I personally got a little choked up to hear Mr. Newman do “Darn That Dream,” the classic from Miles Davis’ “Birth of the Cool.” Way to bring up the faves, and way to (subtly or no) align yourself with whom you would like to be compared. Ahem.
Don’t forget the boobies, babies—as an extra special treat, Ms. Peekaboo Pointe in a dazzling black dress with rhinestones, stripping down to a black teddy and thigh-highs to a slow number… Brian, am I crazy, or was that “Harlem Nocturne?” Peekaboo should do more at a slow tempo—it seems to make her grind harder and burn hotter, as if by instinct. An accomplice of mine, new to the scene, commented on Peekaboo’s ink—“Tats on a body like that are like a mustache on the Mona Lisa.” I will resist the temptation to wax absurdist on the Marcel Duchamp implications of such a statement (see my “Godot” piece below) and leave it on the floor where it belongs: Peekaboo is hot. Amen.
Broadway and Brian traded licks, Pandora gave us some sultry moves in a pink dress obscured by fans, and Peekaboo came out again to show us what’s what in a fan dance of her own, OWNING the simple yet poignant move of the slowwwww unzip. I downed Manhattans and worked the room and—OMG. Is that…? In the corner? By the stage? Do my eyes deceive me?
No. It’s true. The one and only, Ms. Helen Pontani, of the World Famous Pontani Sisters. Here. Just another member of that ill-conceived group of miscreants we like to call “the audience.” O. M. G.
Now, much has been made of my long-standing crush on this particularly radiant example of divine womanhood, and some have begged me to tone it down—and some have had their asses handed to them for trying to get me to relinquish my harmless, schoolboy, deathgrip of a crush on said love of my freaking life… but truths be truth, and the truth is, I’ve never actually spoken to her. There must come a day…. I mustered up my courage and walked up and introduced myself.
Man, I wish I hadn’t done that. Turns out that Helen Pontani is… fantastic. So nice, so sweet, so witty and charming, and her FRIENDS are nice and sweet and witty and charming. I mean, what the fuck? How am I supposed to keep myself from falling so desperately in love with someone when that someone keeps blowing my mind with wonderfulness? When, oh when will she stop tap-dancing on my heart?
I decided to call it a night, and stumbled out so starstruck by the evening that I forgot my umbrella. Didn’t matter—it wasn’t raining anymore.