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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Sunday Evening Outside the McCarren Park Pool: MGMT

(Photo courtesy Jen Carlson, who gives us good publicity at Gothamist)

We didn't get inside the McCarren Park pool this week, but then, we didn't get there till 6 p.m. to try to see MGMT. At Dumbo Books HQ much of the day, we watched the rain, reread Mrs. Dalloway and drank lots iced English afternoon and Prince of Wales tea. But after an early-bird-special dinner, we sauntered up Lorimer Street to see if there was room for us. No dice. Apparently the Parks Department had closed it somewhat earlier.

But MGMT, the Brooklyn based mystic future-pop duo, had just started playing and we wanted to hear them even if we couldn't see what they were wearing -- or in Andrew VanWyngarden's case, sigh, not wearing. Well, we're fated to pretend.

So we went around to the south side of pool on Bayard Street to hang out among a shifting crowd of about forty or so people. The sound was really good from out there -- we know that from the shows with $37.50 tickets -- and we figured we'd still have a good time, right?

And we did. VanWyngarden and Ben Goldwasser's dreamy, magical sounds, sometimes psychedelic, often playful, were loud and clear and we so we just used our imagination - and, um, our memory of this video and others.

Four or five people stood up, their noses plastered to the fence, straining to see, but we had a decent view of some of the inside and a very good view of the backs of the green portable toilets ("A ROYAL FLUSH - 877-234-6545"). Some of us stood or sat on the grass, and two young ladies with excellent management skills had brought beach chairs.

During the 45 minutes or so we spent listening to hypnotic songs like "Pieces of What" and "the Youth," applause and cheers and "Thank you, thank you very much" from the band, we recalled Yogi Berra's advice that you can observe a lot by just watching. And here's some of the pieces of what we saw as MGMT sang:

T-shirts with names on them included Mets, Orioles, Chicago (the city? band? Broadway musical?), Been Skating Since - Since - Since...(on a 14 yo boy), Citibank (ironic?), Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, Carlsberg, Keith Haring (with crawling baby and barking dog), Squid Board (?), Pet Shop Something (not "Boys"), Columbia Cross-Country, Dangerous, On the Keyboard, Patta (huh?), Clark #17, Northern Soul, Martinique, Green Day, Queens of the Stone Age, Brooklyn (two - one in script like the old Dodgers logo, the other with bicycle wheels for the O's), Midwest Lounge, Earl Jean, Gryffindor, Holcolmb Stone (Stern?), Friends, Australia-I'd Rather Be Down Under, and Death Mold.

Hats: ten or eleven baseball-type caps, two with team logos, only one backwards; two fedoras (one on a kid cross-gartered like Malvolio); one homburg.

Three pairs of sunglasses that looked like the "play" plastic kind you give to three-year-olds.

Bow ties: one (on a guy carrying a little black Chanel shopping bag)

One couple spinning themselves around to make themselves dizzy and then gaily dancing barefoot, holding hands and pretending to conduct an orchestra (their only excuse for such behavior better contain the word "lysergic")

Three skateboards

One stroller, containing a toddler both
pacified and Animal-Crackered

A surprising number of girls in their summer dresses rather than shorts, jeans or pants

Two guys with over-21 wristbands, a sign they'd unthinkingly left the promised land and now were unable to return

More smiling than you'd expect ("Electric Feel" is that good)

Lots of cell-phone texting (to people inside?) and picture-taking (gay male couple taking one of them up against the fence)

A continuing promenade
of hipsters (some of whom passed back and forth several times), along with old people from the neighborhood who just were walking on the path around the pool, the old ladies smiling, the old men frowning

One cop standing at the curb, ignoring the three people next to him leaning on somebody's car (later there were two cops, and the three people got into the car and drove off - oh)

One kiss (boy/girl)

One mindless nail-biter (boy)

Three constant yawners (all girls)

A three-year-old girl in leopard-skin tights on her daddy's shoulders (she still wasn't seeing Andrew VanWyngarden, we bet)

People on their terraces in the Aqua ("condo living by the pool") sitting and drinking wine and apparently having a great view of both VanWyngarden and Goldwasser

People streaming out and walking down Lorimer Street even as the songs got better

Two pony-tailed girls shaking their bodies to the music (see, they know good stuff when they hear it - or maybe smoke it)

And finally:

"This is a great, um, venue, and it's a great time - this guy's staring at me - it's the last season, the end, right? Boo, it's sad. In honor of the last season, here's a 14-minute song."

It's bouncy fun, but people are streaming out. And after the long song ends, here's Andrew...? Ben...? saying, "Thank you, Brooklyn, thank you very much..."

Cheers, applause -- including us outside.

Then someone else thanks all the day's bands (including Black Moth Super Rainbow and The Ting Tings), tells people about coming weeks (not that many left!), and we take the road less traveled by, down Leonard Street, instead of Lorimer, back to Dumbo Books HQ.

They say never to look back, but after crossing under the BQE at Meeker Avenue, as we stand at Badame-Sessa Memorial Square, we look back across the street and see the big cartoon on the building of the sick bus with its tongue hanging out and thinking "I need the one stop bus shop."

But after it's experienced the activated fleet maintenance, it's transformed into the smiling, happy school bus.

We feel like that smiling bus with the good management. What does the brain matter, compared with the heart? Life is wonderful!

1 comment:

Justin said...

I think I was standing in the exact same spot as you guys since I recognized many of the people descriptions. Did you not see all the "bush in the bush?" Right before MGMT started playing a flock of females - obviously disgusted by the state of the porta-potties - relieved themselves just behind the green structures without (it seems) a care in the world as to several of us who we were looking in their direction. The couple who grabbed a kid's park bench out a dumpster nearby for seating was also particularly amusing.