Saturday, October 1, 2011

Saturday Evening in Williamsburg: Todd P presents Monster Island Farewell Party Acoustic BBQ

Three weeks ago, after teaching all afternoon, we came to the tail end of Monster Island's Farewell Annual Block Party and we didn't think we'd be back.

But thanks to Todd P, the hardest-working music show promoter in Brooklyn (okay, not so hard lately now that he's a new dad) and a great humanitarian, we returned late today for the tail end of the Monster Island Farewell Party Acoustic BBQ.

Thanks to the Q59 bus with our favorite lady driver, we avoided walking all the way there from Lorimer Street, and we arrived around 5:30 p.m.

The bands had started at noon, according to the schedule, with everyone taking their acoustic set for ten minutes.

There was a nice-sized, mellow crowd (no open containers but more than a couple of people smoking weed),

and the unamplified bands were a little later than their scheduled times and playing somewhat out of order, so we're not always certain who was who performing despite the sign near the stage.

Eventually it started raining, but not the humongous torrential downpour we experienced at Todd P's Acoustic BBQ last year at Raptor Beach at Floyd Bennett Field, and when it got a little too wet, most of us managed to move from outside on River Street into the old Mollusk Surf Shop to hear the remaining acts.

We first went to Todd P's Acoustic BBQ in June 2009 at Fort Tilden Beach in Rockaway, and the shows are always good -- and free.

This one was nice in that it was close to home -- our current Williamsburg home, anyway (the other ones were close to where we spent the first thirty years of our life) -- and if there was no beach nearby and no ocean and no sun and no nudity, this party had a poignancy with the close of the Monster Island complex with all of its wonderful component institutions. The neighborhood will miss them.

There was a barbecue -- a little grill and a big grill -- and we saw a couple of hamburgers cooking but didn't notice anyone eating.

These are the bands we saw, in order, starting with Pterodactyl:

Sorry, we're not certain who this performer was.

We enjoyed Fergus and Geronimo.

Beach Fossils did a nice set.

At this point most of us moved indoors to hear some more good unamplified acoustic sounds.

The party ended with the performance of Nick and Mike of Dead Leaves. Mike actually lived in this building for longer than any of the few others who did.

Anyway, we're grateful to Todd P and everyone who put together today's show. It was nice to hear such good acoustic sounds one last time at Monster Island.

Here are some of our pathetic cellphone pics of the crowd.

It's not for nothing that we do teach photography majors at the wonderful School of Visual Arts, but only Literature and Writing I and II. And we don't trouble them to teach us anything about photography.

We don't know much about music, either. But our excuse for everything these days is being a sexagenarian, the only one in attendance, we think, at Monster Island.

If you would like to see photographs of the event by a talented artist, check out Chris Becker's breathtaking work. Chris captures with awesome grace what the artist terms, quite rightly, the "autumnal" mood of a "requiem."

Cassie Ramone also captured the feeling when she wrote how the Acoustic BBQ at Monster Island made her "super emotional. It truly feels like the end of an era."

We're far too old to be super-emotional about anything, but the end-of-an-era feel reminded us a little of the last concert at the McCarren Pool in August 2008. As our BFF said the next day when we pulled the phrase on her, "No, the end of the era for us was when the swimming pool closed." It will open again, next year. We don't expect to be around for it.

We've seen Williamsburg change a lot from when we used to come here to visit or work at the Brooklyn College newspaper printer's office (hot type!) back in the early 1970s. We've been living in the top floor apartment where our friend's grandparents, Agnes and Vergil Grappone, lived when we first came here. Our building was built in the nineteenth century, and the original owner, of German descent, sold out to Agnes' father, Mr. Orlando, when the owner didn't like the way Williamsburg was changing -- with all the Italians coming in.

So Monster Island will be in our memories, a palimpsest like so much that's on every block of Brooklyn for us.

We do shop at Whole Foods, after all. They don't have good music, interesting art, or much surfing merchandise, though. Well, we'll always have Rockaway.

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