Monday, July 7, 2008

Tom Waits


I have just experienced the best five days that the DayDrinkers have ever had. This is exactly why we exist. Jason, Amanda, Renee, John, Beau, Chris, Evan… with guest appearances from most of New Orleans along the way. We went to great bars, restaurants, pools, hotels, music halls, casino’s, and strip clubs. We drove over 1400 miles to see Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, (Florida accidentally for some of us), and Georgia. We met new DayDrinkers and even forced one hotel to make drinks for us before it was their policy to do so.

So, you will see pictures and read blogs from the others. All I can give you is my personal experience. Here it is.

Me and Amanda left New Orleans last Tuesday in a loner car from VW because mine was in the shop. This was a great stroke of luck, but we will get to that later. We drove to Orange beach to see some family and got to go to The Flora-Bama.

Flora-Bama a college beach bar that splits the Florida-Alabama boarder. The roof was ripped off by Hurricane Ivan but they are syill open. There is a makeshift tarp over it made up of PVC piping and plastic. Live music on the beach and college pricks. Lovely. After that we went to the Keg.

The Keg a bar shaped like a Keg. It’s a double wide trailer with great burgers and Bon Jovi on the juke box. We played pool and ate.

The next day we got up and went to Orange beach. This is a gulf beach with sugar white sand. We swam and had a great time until every one started telling us their jellyfish stories. We retreated to a hotel pool until it was time to go to Mobile.

In Mobile we stayed at the renaissance hotel. This was an incredible place with all the trimmings. We met up with John White, Renee, and Evan. After a search for a cool bar that took a few minutes we found Haily’s.

Haily’s is a great dive in the NOLA style. We ran into Burt from the Erin Rose. Since the show was about to start we ordered rounds of High Life and Makers on the rocks until we had to leave.

The Saenger Theater in Mobile is perfect. An old school theater with an ornate style. Tom Waits came on stage. We were in the tenth row. It was all complete. DayDrinkers together, drunk, watching Waits. He….was…..awesome. During Inncocent When You Dream, I cried my fucking eyes out. I had dreamed of that moment for a long time. It all came together just they way I wanted. We are a force of nature, living life the way we want…at all times. The encore was Going Out West and Anywhere I Lay My Head. Perfect.

After the show we realized that all of New Orleans was there. Every cool Bartender, every good band, all the lounge lizards and bar flies. I’m sure no one in NOLA got a good drink that night. We went back to Haily’s and drank with the same 30 people we drank with every night, 200 miles away. Funny. At this point Renee told us she had heard of a place called the Garage. It was about ten blocks away but we decided to walk it. After ten blocks we got there.

The Garage is another good dive that looks like, you guessed it, a garage. The juke box was live with every Waits song that we neglected to play that night. It seemed that most of the folks that were following him for multiple cities found this bar. We drank way too much and met some European fans who were not quite sure how they ended up in the states, but so be it. After a few hours we stumbled back to our hotels.

The next morning we woke and ordered breakfast. Eggs and Screwdrivers. The phone monkey stuttered, “ The bar isn’t open sir……(after an uncomfortable silence)….Yes sir, that will be fine.

At the show the night before we ran into Rico and his brother. Rico is a friend from the bars of New Orleans. We share a love of Waits and two years ago he gave me some great live shows. Rico and bro needed a ride to Birmingham. We picked them up and got on the road. At some point we stopped and a gas station. We were in the middle of nowhere. Rico tried to buy a pack of American Spirits. Rico with his dreadlock Mohawk and tattoos was greeted like a Duckbilled Platypus. “Where you from?” asked the clerk. “New Orleans.” “Those must be New Orleans cigarettes, I aint never heard of ‘em.” A sign on the side of the road read “Go to church, or the devil will get ya!” There was a little red man with horns and a pichfork.

We got to Birmingham and met up with Beau. A shower and a drink and we were on our way out. Me and Amanda felt a little sick but damn it to hell. We called a cab and were picked up by a woman with a full beard and a TV in the front seat. She barely got us to Surin West, an Asian place with great Coconut Shrimp soup. In order to take advantage of the great food we then went to Jim and Nick’s for ribs. Now I we felt a little more then a little sick. It was time for show number two.

The Alabama Theatre is just as beautiful as the Seanger. We had great seats but the only seat I wanted was in the bathroom. My last day of work was three weeks ago. Since then I have been going out every night, eating whatever I want, and made a trip o NY where I went out every night and ate whatever I wanted. Time to pay up. I was sick for a while. I managed to get to my seat as the show started and even though I though I was going to die, I loved it. Tom was a little more subdued, the mix was not as great as the night before, and the crous had no chance of living up to the NOLA crowd from Mobile but I was again in heaven. A few different songs, a great show. The show ends and Me and Manda run for the bathroom again. Since this was Amanda’s town and I’ll be damned if I’ll let death stop me, we went out. First stop, Steel. This was a bar that Amanda helped design as well as worked in for some time. Apparently things have changed because it was now a hip hop club. Not my style. What was my style was the bathroom which I spent much time in. Next stop, Lake View. We went to Innisfree.

Innisfree is an Irish bar that Amanda worked at. As we walked up to it we ran into two cops. Amanda knew both and one of them was the bartender when Amanda worked there. As good of a time that we may have had, I was dying. Dying. Amanda took pity on me and we went back to the hotel. The other kids will be able to fill you in on the rest of the night which I hear was great. I spent the night rolled up in a ball.

The next day we had family obligations which was good because I needed some time to live before I brought down the hammer again. When we got back we found Beau and John in our bed. The only reason that we were given is that Beau’s clothes were wet. It was good to have the boys for another day. We went to Metro Bistro.

Metro Bistro this was a cool place with live music and a deli style sandwich bar. Thank god. I needed turkey and bread and church and love and all things good. Instead I ordered a high life. Gotta Get Behind Your Mule, gotta get back on that horse. Booze was going down fine so I was excited to make up for lost time. Since it was the 4th of July Amanda got on the phone and found us a rooftop to watch the fireworks from.

Kavon’s rooftop. Kavon is a friend of Amanda that bought a few buildings downtown. We was having a rooftop party where we got to drink and eat and see the show. At this point Beau and John looked like they were going to die. I was not going to have this. I missed the night before and I wanted my guys around me for at least one night in Birmingham. I made Beau drink some Jager and we continued on. Fireworks over we went to what was the best bar of the whole trip. A bar that will go on as a place you need to go to if ever within 400 miles of it. The Garage. (Birmingham)

The Garage. Please do not confuse this with the Garage in Mobile. Thought the Mobile Garage was a good bar, the one in Birmingham is one of the best I have ever seen, and I have seen more then any of you. The Garage is in a bad neighborhood. From the outside it looks liked a closed down greenhouse. The kind of place your mom used to make you go while she bought useless shit for the garden. As you walk in it’s a comfy red dive bar. Continue to the back. There is a sliding glass door like you would have in the back of your home. Once outside you are in a maze of a garden. All around there are rooms behind other sliding glass doors that house headless stone statues, books, laboratory beekers and boxes of who knows what. I hear that in the past you were able to purchase things from these rooms but no more. Now they just stand behind glass like a museum of storage boxes that have not been thrown out. As you walk through a maze of trees, there are marble tables, like what you would find in a cemetery. We found one so far back that we could have been selling guns and no one would have known. We met up with Amanda’s friend Matt and talked the night away. There must have been something in the air. We drank and drank until the wee hours with no sluggish behavior. I chatted up the bartender and told him of our quest. He approved. He said that GQ magazine voted them one of the best bars to fly to. I agree.

After leaving The Garage we needed either food or strippers. So we went to The Furnace. Now I like a good shitty strip club with substandard money hungry girls, but I have a sense for these things and I wasn’t feeling it. Time to eat.

Al’s is a all night foodery with ok greasy food. We ate and went back to hotel. John and Beau in tow.

Saturday we got up and said good-bye to Beau and John. Sad too see them go. It was time to go to Atlanta. The hotel in Atlanta was great. The Georgian Terrace. They gave us a huge condo style room that was three rooms. We showered, drank and had everyone come up to our room. Chris from NY and Jaclyn had arrived. We wanted to go to a nice dinner. It was now Jason, Amanda, Renee, Evan, Chris, and Jacklyn. We chose a steakhouse called “Bones” that the bartender from Garage recommended.

Bones was one of the best steakhouses I have ever been to, and THAT is a bold statement. Our waiter Jonathan was great. He was funny and knowledgeable. After I told him my bad experiences in the past at so called five star steakhouses, he simply said, “Sir, I don’t know where you have dined in the past, but this is Bones.” Every time I asked what my choices were, we told me what whatever I wanted, I could have. Wow. We have pictures with Jonathan. I will post them and I hope to send him a DDS link. At the end of the night we all signed a napkin with our love.

It was time for the show. The Fox Theatre in Atlanta is twice the size of the others and I guess that is fitting this being the last show of the Tom Waits tour. Though we had front row seats, the tickets would not scan… just like 200 other angry people outside. After an hour we got in. Another great show. More songs. One last chance to sing Innocent When You Dream with Tom. One last chance to hear Anywhere I lay My Head, Rain on Me, Hoist That Rag, Singapore, Lucinda. I am truly grateful to all my DDS friends. Who gets to live better then we do. Nobody, that’s who. Show over it’s time to go out in Atlanta.

Atlanta nightlife sucks for a daydrinker.

We tried to find a nice bar. No chance. Shady people watching us and calling out slurs to us on the street. Early last call. Shitty bars. Atlanta bars, get it together. Lame. More then Boston even.

The next day we awake. Breakfast at the hotel? $80. A drink? Not before 12:30P. Some sort of left over God law. Off we go to the Atlanta Aquarium. If you have a chance, go. It was great. A good wholesome end to our trip. We got to hang out with Chris one last time. It’s tough to stop vacationing as we found. We ate at the Smokehouse, a small BBQ place on the way home. We drove until midnight and then decided to stop at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Biloxi. Like I said, sometimes it’s hard to stop. We played craps, then Blackjack until 2A. Thanks “Quick”. He was our dealer who would not let me leave until I won. On the way home a rock smashed the windshield of the loner car. Ha Ha fuck you VW. Home at 3:30A this morning. Slept all night and day.

DayDrinkers, I encourage you to follow suit. Join us in our quest for adventure. This was a perfect time. See you soon.


PS For more pictures, stories, and video about his topic, go to the FORUM and check out the Tom Waits blog under general rants/raves.

New Orleans to New York

Day drinking leads to night drinking, night drinking sometimes leads to morning drinking, and you can’t drink all day if you don’t start in the morning. Such is the circle of booze as recently discussed by Lillian and I. A delicate balance when done correctly that leads to unparalleled fun and excitement for all parties involved.

A couple of weeks ago El Presidente and I journeyed to New York City to gather with the New York DayDrinkers in the name of friends and booze. It wasn’t long before we were downtown going from bar to bar toasting to drunkenness and meeting up with fellow DayDrinkers along the way.

After Lou picked us up from the airport we had a nice lunch with Dad Altieri. Then we took a subway ride downtown to meet Chris Stone. Having been reared in a small Alabama town I was not prepared for the fast New York pace nor the volume of inhabitants this city possesses. What began in the Bronx with a nice, leisurely subway ride quickly turned into a massive amount of people entering and exiting the subway as if they were furious ants scurrying because their bed had been stepped on. I just knew I was going to get lost and end up in the lost and found with a bunch of old sweaters and broken umbrellas. I had no choice but to cling on to the nearest DayDrinker for dear life. Chris took us to an amazing rooftop bar where we laid our drinking foundation. From here we went to an Irish pub where we drank and ate. Then we went to another bar where we drank and ate. Then we ate pizza. Then we went to another bar where we drank and ate. The next bar was a place called the Double Down Saloon. This bar has bacon infused vodka and anime porn on the tv’s. I got Jay a t-shirt from the bar that says Ass Juice (which is one of their signature cocktails) and it has a skeleton taking a dump in a shot glass. After a few drinks here we realized that the bars initials were DDS. This warranted a couple of shots and toasts. We went across the street to a bar called the Library were we stayed and got wasted. Chris D (Boy Band) met up with us here and we proceeded to a tiki lounge which housed a transvestite. Here we met up with Adrian, Debbie, and Debbie’s boyfriend Javier. We drank and drank, took pictures with the HeShe, went to a rooftop party and ended up at Katz’s Deli eating corned beef and pastrami sandwiches which were so good you wanted to mess your pants, just for the fun of it. After this we called it a night. What a great first day.

The following morning I woke up in the floor only to look up and see the Brothers Altieri spooning in the bed. We got ready and went to see Chris Stone’s place and had lunch the Old Mill. We spent the afternoon at a bar near there called the Tap House. That night we had a barbeque at the house where Jay and Lou grew up. We were joined by all the New York DayDrinkers and their guests. At this gathering Lou’s Amanda and I were aptly dubbed by Joses’s mom as Jamanda and Lamanda, standing for Jay’s Amanda and Lou’s Amanda. At this wonderful gathering we came up with a new DayDrinker game. Line the girls up on one side of the room (preferably topless). The boys stand on the other side of the room and throw cheese at them. The couple with the cheesiest girl wins. We found Velveeta slices to work wonderfully.

Jay and I began the next day with a trip to the Museum of Natural History, followed by the Museum of Modern Art. Chris D and Jacyln met us for a few drinks at 14th and B. We later met up with Evan and journeyed out into the town in celebration of Jay’s birthday. We proved to be too much for NYC to handle. The bartender at Down the Hatch in the lower east side had never seen anything like us. I brought Jay a birthday Glenmorangie scotch with a candle sticking out of the straw and sang Happy Birthday. Almost got kicked out for talking about inappropriate things, ate fried brownies, bought smoking devices, and tore up the entire town. Happy Birthday Jay.

The last day we were there we went to a bar in the Bronx with Lou and Lamanda. We drank for hours, ate pizza, and then Lamanda drove us to the airport. We got straight off the plane and headed to the Erin Rose and the casino to keep celebrating. What a wonderful trip it was. Thank you Lou for housing us and thank you New York DayDrinkers for the great times.

Now we’re headed to Tom Waits! Blog to follow.