Thomm Quackenbush, author

"Which of these Woodland Creatures uses Suave? NEITHER. Vickie Fernandez and Angela Lovell are the glamorous, privileged few who use quality hair product and Beauty Bar's VIP bathroom."

Due to last month's antics and poor planning, I am on the move again. New York City, though good to glam girls with adoring Starbucks fags who deem me worthy of free coffee and use of VIP entrances and bathrooms, has left me with after-glow's opposite and desperately seeking spiritual sandpaper. So I'm off to Sin City where sand's a plenty! Now this dancing queen is putting her fifty pairs of heels in storage and heading out to Vegas to re-group in flip-flops.

To start a night right Miss. VicVicious needs to properly caffeinate! Dressed to the nines and ready to party in the name of research, I mosey down to the best coffee house this side of the Billyburg Bridge, Gimme Coffee (495 Lorimer St.) Gimme started in Ithaca, New York and thankfully made its way to my block. The only thing stronger than their mood altering roasts, short drip espresso and delicately foam-leaf adorned lattes, is the high-school-girl-giggle evoking stare of my Cuban barista friend, Javier. Go to Gimme, get your caffeine on and if Javier, aka "Bright Eyes," has his camera maybe you'll even get your picture taken.

I've had a pretty rough month with all those VicVicious banning laws, so I was limited to neighborhood digs such as The Bushwick Country Club (618 Grand Ave.). It's a sweet little bar complete with photo booth (useful for my best friend's scandalous armpit photography) and makeshift mini golf in the courtyard. This unique watering hole is low-lit and chocked full of assorted Salvation Army style furniture. The jukebox is loaded with get-drunk-tunes and the drinks are so cheap you will mistake the childishly constructed "golfcourse" out back for genuine put-put.

Onto the biggest news of the non-MTV season... There is no other band in this world of easy access-fame and superfluous cross-marketing ploys which jolts me in the same manner as playing with a radio in the bathtub like Chicago's finest sinister threesome. Alkaline Trio's latest masterpiece, Crimson, is a testament to growth. Disgruntled fans may protest of over production and perhaps the loss of small venue access, but to a girl who has been devouring their little words and simple riffs from the beginning, it's a giant step in the right direction, which is up! Way up!

My connections were poorly rigged. I found myself posing outside of Irving Plaza in my best pin-up girl polka-dot dress, red hair snood and gripping my useless-to-assist cell phone. I was about to sulk home when an angel appeared. This angel is Noah Levine, author of Dharma Punx: A Memoir. He sucked down his Venti Starbucks with a grin and granted me access, not only to the venue, but also to the tightly knit family that is Alkaline Trio.

We climbed familiar steps and approached the merchandise table where a smiling Heather Hannoura greeted me warmly with hug and free tanktop. Her work is genius. If you have not seen Alkaline Trio or their merchandise you need to rectify that immediately. Noah scored a sweet hoodie to wear on his Buddhist-cycle home and we were off to see The Wizard... Matt Skiba.

In the VIP area I warned that I was going to geek out the second Trio hit the stage. I did just that. I sang out loud and danced shamelessly just as I had seeing them play for the first time years ago. The set consisted mostly of new songs and a few old embarrassing favorites about drunken shenanigans. Matt Skiba's voice was crystal clear and more powerful than it has ever been. He glowed with happiness for the first time that I've ever seen him play (chalk it up to moody Pisces finding true love - Read your Whorescopes by Angela Lovell.) Derek Grant was a madman on the drums that pulsed in tune to my thrashing heart. Dan Andriano never ceases to amaze me. He sang his little heart out and banged bass lines that shook this girl all the way down to her red heels.

During a glorious encore, the secret guitar player (whose existence prevents true trio-dom), popped from behind the ginourmous amp and rocked with ferocious intensity like it was like his coming out party. We rooted for him like drunken soccer moms - Soccer moms who shop at Hot Topic.

After the set we celebrated birthdays and partook in scrumptious ice cream cake. You have not lived until hearing your favorite singer-believed-Satanist croon over your shoulder "Happy birthday to you..." After the boys left to check into their fancy hotel I hung out in the cramped, smoky backstage area with the incredibly beautiful Mrs. Skiba-to-be, Matt's little sis and a slew of charming cohorts.

We tumbled onto 15th Street and walked to what everyone kept referring to as the "Black and White Bar" which is actually titled Hiro (86 10th St.) Flashing my ID and a smile at the bouncer, I ducked into this trendy soon-to-be hotspot which looks and feels like a piano bar. Lit predominately by tea lights and decorated with red and black hues, it was the perfect after-party spot for anyone who's read Helter Skelter. We scored a booth and piled in. My inner child leapt through conversations in overzealous bounds. We sang along to vintage Misfits and The Damned like punkrock kids with real IDs. Time unfortunately dwindled down to the wee hours and everyone but a few hovering Trio fans remained. I snapped a few photos, handed out business cards and pinched myself at least a dozen times.

I may be leaving my bed on the curb (near Gimme Coffee) but I have the good fortune of sipping beer and sharing words with my heroes and their enchanting friends and family. As I prepare for yet another life change, I will sing out loud "Oh mercy me, God bless catastrophe," happily picking sand from between my toes. Thank you, Noah, wherever you are!

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Works by Thomm Quackenbush

The Night's Dream Series

We Shadows by Thomm Quackenbush

Danse Macabre by Thomm Quackenbush

Artificial Gods by Thomm Quackenbush