I am an enormous Kurt Vonnegut fan. In fact, one summer’s evening, a few years ago, a couple of my friends and I deduced his NYC block of residence from his book Fates Worse Than Death and hand delivered him some fresh cantaloupe and a card expressing our warm sentiments regarding his jovial and poignant prose. It was beautiful. So, imagine my unbridled joy when I learned that a night of music would unfold in Bushwick (Brooklyn) at a venue called “Goodbye Blue Monday”?
First of all, the show was great. Pass Kontrol played a great set, along with some beatnik stylings for the backdrop of a Ginsberg-ian poetry session with word cat Pat Nugent (trumpet included).
But those sweet declarations against the state of an overly posh New York where artists and immigrants cling to the outer cusps of the outer boroughs couldn’t have been more properly set than amongst the cozy junk-laden, mismatched ambiance of Goodbye Blue Monday. My bar seat brandished two old bike seats for arm rests. Across the way I admired a tower of dusty records. Everywhere was a little treasure worth musing over. This would be a great spot, if you ever were hoping to unleash a lifetime of knickknacks, to deposit bits and pieces upon the cluttered shelves. Seriously, no one would ever notice. In fact, I was so dazzled by the clutter that I decided to leave a little piece of myself-shh, it’s secret-in the modge podge. Another bonus is the cheap price of wetting your whistle. That glorious, cliché Brooklyn potion-yup, you guessed it, PBR-was a mere $3.
After the first five songs or so, it started to get a little steamy in the main room, so I weaved through the crowd towards the backyard, which I’d already heard people buzzing about. It was dark and empty, but as my eyes adjusted I realized I was in a Tim Burton-like wonderland of mutant furniture. Combine Nightmare Before Christmas with the Land of Misfits Rudolf and the dentist-wannabe elf end up at and you may be able to conjure an image of the strange furniture and half-finished sculpture shrouded in the shadows.
I’ve been to so many artist-like enclaves in Brooklyn that are supposed to, in some way, foster the need for genuine expression. But as the art scene over here becomes more and more “trademarked”, it’s difficult to stumble upon something sincere. At points I’ve thought, maybe I love Bar 4, or maybe that Pete’s Candy Store is the one. But no. All those maybe’s went out the window when I stood in that divey backyard with the hushed screech of rock music vibrating the walls, staring at the crushed cigarette butts strewn in an ashtray made from an old lamp post. This was Brooklyn. This was love.