Skip navigation

Monthly Archives: January 2012

My Date with The Bed-Stuy Dapper

Meet Vito

Location: Bedstuy, Brooklyn

Origin: Gainesville, FL

Occupation: Bartender at VON

Hobbies: Shakin’ cocktails, strumming guitars, and soon to be farming.

How We Met: Vito gets me drunk at VON for a living.

Interesting Facts: Vito used to bartend at The Dressler and is in this awesome music video “Oh Baby I Like It Raw- Thanksgiving.”

Do or Dine

Vito planned a swanky yet simple evening for us in Bed-Stuy including dinner, drinks, and then back to his place for a jam session. I suggested we try “jamming-out” on a second date, but you can’t blame a guy for trying. Do or Dine, Bed-Stuy’s hippest diner, was just perfect with it’s charming retro-discotheque ambiance, for Vito was dressed sharp and fully accessorized with a handsome Fedora (“Attention to Detail” bonus points). Upon meeting at the bar, in one swift gesture, Vito slid my bar stool close to his while ordering me a drink (“My Man” bonus points). Vito is so charming that the bar sent us both a glass of Cognac, coated in pine cordial and garnished with an orange twist (bonus points). When dining out, I just love to share a meal and try as much on the menu as possible. However, Vito earned himself some major “Food Incompatibility” deduction points for not eating pork or fois gras, thus eliminating the two most exciting menu choices (E666’s deviled eggs and the Foie Gras Doughnut). I often photograph drunk people, and Vito’s job is keeping his customers wet, so, while sipping our Cognacs, (ironically enough), we bonded over our mutual fascination with  the damaging effects of alcohol culture. We swapped drunken tales garnered during our “research,” and laughed at the hypocrisy of our very own participation in them. We were having great conversations, and by the time my Chicken and Woffals arrived, I had already forgiven Vito for not ordering the Fois Gras Doughnut.

Do Play with your Utensils

The Hat Makes The (Wo)Man.

Loving that Cognac

Bon Appetit!

One Last Shag…

Vito and I really let our hair down at One Last Shag… and ordered a couple of hot toddys. Unfortunately, I was coming down with a cold, but was determined not to disappoint Vito and spoil our evening with my dumb ailments. We warmed-up over our hot, steaming glasses while Vito told me about his family farm in Florida. He’s been researching a lot about agriculture and he is on his way to becoming a bonafide farmer. I am not sure what it is about Vito, but apparently people love to give him gifts. While at the bar, a couple next to us decided to adorn us with Pre-Valentine’s presents. I got a snoopy lip balm (for making-out later) and Vito was given a Star Wars yo-yo. Damn if he hasn’t charmed all of Bed-Stuy AND the East Village. Inspired by our new gifts, Vito and I hijacked One Last Shag and photographed each other in every kitschy nook and corner of the bar, while the puzzled bar staff watched skeptically. What I really like about Vito is that not only is he cool, but he’s really kool, and doesn’t mind getting silly (a.k.a. sitting on the linoleum floor for a photograph), and having fun. As our glasses began to cool, it was a sure sign that our evening was winding down. Being the courteous gentlemen he is, Vito offered to walk me home so as to protect me from the night (“Chivalry” bonus points).

Bed-Stuy Dapper

Linoleum Floor Photo-Opp

“You Must Accept Our Gifts!”

Gifts Accepted.

Vito Loves Plants.

Demonstrating Domestic Street Skills

The Conclusion

Pros: Has great attention to detail, is a smooth operator and is super laid back.

Cons: Doesn’t eat bacon (or fois gras), is moving to Florida next month, and has bar hours.

Vito is a classy guy who knows how to treat a lady AND how to make her a proper drink. Raised-up as a good old southern boy, Vito has excellent manners and exercises just the right touch of chivalry, without being overbearing or too polite. Unfortunately, just as I am getting to know Vito, he will soon be relocating to sunny Florida to start his new life. However, we do have one last hurrah planned in Bed-stuy at Sud, a small Italian wine bar where we plan to share a cheese plate, listen to Pavarotti and perhaps… even a jam session.




No Sleep Til…

That Man is Found.

Eat The Rich.

Talking Politics.


Signs of Depression.

No Bunny.

Talking Heads.

Debate me!

Jesus is Lord.

Armed Skies.

She Engraves Her Victory.

Song by Huggy Bear


words by Kristina Ensminger

Who: Midnight Masses

What: The first of two reunion shows after a year-long hiatus

Where: Zebulon– Brooklyn, NY

When: January 5, 2012

Midnight Masses was born from death. After unexpectedly losing his father—who was both a music lover and a Catholic preacher—Autry Rene Fulbright II traveled to Austin and collaborated with friend (and current …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead bandmate) Jason Reece to construct the foundation of what would become Midnight Masses. After the release of their four-song EP, Rapture Ready, I Gazed at the Body, there was an avalanche of press praise, noteworthy live performances, and a growing collection of contributors; the Masses momentum was increasing exponentially. But at the peak of the buzz buildup, producer and close friend, Gerard Smith of TV on the Radio, passed away and the project came to a halt.

The first word from Masses after their hiatus was the announcement of two last-minute reunion shows in Brooklyn—the first of which was at Zebulon, followed by a set at Union Pool two days later. The “stage” at Zebulon wasn’t designed for a 10-piece collective, but the close quarters made for a very intimate, band-in-your-living-room setting. The lineup included three of the four core members—Fulbright, Eric Rodgers and Destiny Montague—as well as a handful other guest musicians who added strings, a trombone, and extra percussion to the mix, creating a Spector-like Wall of Sound.

The set opened with the lyrical graves and rattlesnake tambourine shakes of “Burial Song”—which references Mogwai’s “My Father, My King” and the Jewish prayer “Avinu Malkeinu”—and went straight into the bleak Southern Gothic road trip, “Debtor’s Song.” But before things became too dismal, the ethereal five-part harmonies of “Heaven” broke through with a hopeful burst. Throughout the night harpist Ellena Phillips was an angelic force—both visually and sonically—and her delicate strums and enchanting energy tempered the darkness with a radiant light.

Toward the end of the set during the cover of Sonic Youth’s “Do You Believe in Rapture?” people sat on the venue floor, arms locked and legs crossed, rocking together and singing along. Fulbright dedicated “Polly Come Home” to the memory of Gerard Smith—a cover song he recorded the day that Smith passed—and violinist Adriana Molello played a heartrending solo to accompany the drowsy duet. The closing song “Desperate Man,” an out-of-body reflection from the balcony of the afterlife, ended with an a cappella group harmony that seemed to fuel the spirit’s final ascension.

Although there are no set deadlines, Fulbright has plans to release the long overdue LP at some point soon. In the meantime, he wrote a short film based on the music of Midnight Masses, “Now Here is Nowhere,” starring “Walk on Water” vocalist and friend Jaleel Bunton (TV on the Radio), which will be released in collaboration with Illium Pictures. The film focuses on the war between angels and demons—that happen to be trapped on Earth in the form of Beat Generation poets. “It’s kind of like Jesus Christ Superstar meets Gummo,” Fulbright explained.

While discussing his schedule crunch and project overload in the coming year (he’s currently in Austin recording the next …Trail of Dead record, and working on a debut album for his Masses side project, Haunted Hauses) Fulbright notes that, despite all of his grand plans, he could easily drop dead tomorrow…and according to him that would be fine. “One thing that I’ve learned is that life is full of wonderful, beautiful, tragic, fucked up, amazing uncertainty. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Xray Eyeballs & Thee Oh Sees @ DBA

Xray Eyeballs

Thee Oh Sees

Pony Bones

Hanging Tough with Prince Punk

A Lonesome Hunter


Suicide Bride.

For $20…

No Comment.

Evidence of His Affection.

One Bad Reputation.

What’s Hiding In Your Closet?

“Not I.”

Found Happiness in a Bar.





Arrived At Heaven’s Gate.

While Floating in Space.

Wished Upon a Fallen Star.

Vanished into A Silver Lining.

I’m Drowning.

“Drink More!”

Sheep in Wolves’ Clothing.

Hunting Little Lambs.

My Fair Lady.

Break This Spell.

With A Twinkle in His Eyes.

Private Buckaroo.


You’ll Disappear.

Statistically Speaking.

Break Out Of Your Shell.

Lonesome Wolf.

Old New York.

song by Timber Timbre

Black White & Striped: The Raincoats

Gina Birch, Kathi Wilcox & Ana da Silva

Fans Fanning Ana

Band of Sailors

Dinner with David

The Owner of Boca Chica

Meet David

Location: Chinatown, NY

Origin: Manhattan, NY

Occupation: Owner of two cool downtown restaurants.

Hobbies: Yoga, sculpture and the fine art of brewing coffee.

How We Met: I am a regular at one of David’s restaurants.

Interesting Facts: In addition to Boca Chica, David also owns Lupe’s East L.A. Kitchen (my favorite spot in all of NYC). And although David is old enough to be my father, he can hang like a bro.


After two years of holler’n about Lupe’s, I finally grabbed David’s attention and cleverly used this opportunity to invite myself on a dinner date with the man behind Lupe’s, the kitschy pink diner I call my home away from home. David suggested that we share a meal at Boca Chica, his festive Latin American restaurant located in the heart of the East Village. The first thing that immediately sets Boca Chica apart from Lupe’s (besides live Latin music and dancing) is a full cocktail menu. We got to drinking straight away. Payman, bartender extraordinaire, whipped us up  several tropical concoctions (off the menu) that were all made from fresh ingredients and served with TLC. Just to jazz things up a bit, I brought along my favorite drinking accessory— fun straws! For about the first half of our cocktail hour, I gushed like a school girl about my adoration for Lupe’s (“Groupie” deduction points). But seriously, if there was an apocalypse, Lupe’s is where you would find me, rationing out the fish tacos and coco water among my beloved. David seemed touched by my sentiment.

Payman, Bartender Extraordinaire

Thumbs Up!

Savoring Every Sip


After throwing back a few drinks, David and I were ready for our grand feast. I insisted David order for me, so he recommended we share a fresh avocado salad and the coco shrimp appetizer (which were both D-licious). Despite the fact that David is a pescatarian, he insisted that I order the Piniones—sweet plantain rings filled with seasoned ground beef—although I did feel a bit guilty not choosing something that we could share (“Greedy Little Pig” deduction points). During dinner, David and I bonded over our passion for art and art history. We gossiped about the mischief of Caravaggio, and unriddled the puns of Modern Art. Being an artist himself, David has a great appreciation for the human form which he channels through sculpture (“Bohemian” bonus points). David also painted the large panels in Boca Chica and is solely responsible for the décor at both Lupe’s and Boca Chica. I just love a man who possesses both an eye and a talent for the      visual arts.


 Old World Humor

The Conclusion

Pros: Is a handsome Bohemian entrepreneur and is the genius behind Lupe’s.

Cons: Likes the Grateful Dead and is old enough to be my father.

David is a real bohemian whose artistic touch is equal to his keen business sensibility. His hospitality is warming, especially on a cold wintry night. Unfortunately, we stuffed ourselves silly during dinner and left no room to try any of the sweets at Boca Chica. Perhaps David and I will save room for dessert another time. Until then, I look forward to that cup of coffee David promised to make me at Lupe’s with their new espresso machine. Now that’s what I’m talking about.

Goodnight  Sleepyhead

Song by The Dandy Warhols

%d bloggers like this: