Tonight was a flurry of many new things, courtesy of my friend Linnea, a food writer and knower of all things New York. We’d planned to go to a festive variety show in the East Village, but at the last minute, an invite to a night organized by Hendrick’s Gin popped up, so we decided to do both. (Today’s the day I did two things.)
So to start off the night, I headed to One Hanson Place – the one-time tallest building in Brooklyn and the former Williamsburgh Savings Bank – for the ‘Hendrick’s Journey’. This building is so grand, both inside and out. And I was glad to see that recent renovations (it’s now largely used for apartments) kept the ground floor as it had been – bank teller stations, ancient bells, golden ceiling tiles and all.
Tonight, this huge open space was filled with bizarre delights and gorgeous cocktails courtesy of Hendricks, which throws these events sporadically throughout the year. In every nook and cranny, there was another weird creature or a bodiless hand offering you yet more gin.
With the start of the variety show nearing, we tore ourselves away and jumped on the subway to the East Village, to the Kraine Theater. This is an intimate little space beneath the KGB bar. We grabbed yet more gin and nipped into the theater.
To be honest, the show, which was created by Less Than Rent Theater and which offered a mixture of singer-songwriters and comedy skits about Christmas, wasn’t brilliant. The best play, which charted an eight-year-old’s bid to become Mary in the school’s nativity play through an X-Factor-style competition, made me laugh the most. But another about three guys rewriting the nativity play (to include a bucket of, erm, bear semen) was pretty horrendous. I cringed for them. A lot.
Some of the singers were great, and I particularly loved Raphael Shapiro. He had a gorgeous voice. But while all of the musical acts were good, I thought their music all sounded so similar.