Thomm Quackenbush, author

Is Everybody In? The ceremony is about to begin.

"Brother's and sisters of the pale forest. O' Children of the night. Who among you will run with the hunt?"

I may not be the Lizard King but I am hell bent on the idea that I can do anything. Well, besides fly and make guacamole. That being said this year got off to a bumpy start but I've ditched superfluous baggage and it's smooth sailing from here on out. I've spent a better part of January nursing a very resilient head cold and cultivating some warm and fuzzy new relationships. Even though my heart has been as congested as my sinuses I've managed to whip up some tasty treats for you to feast on.

Armed with nothing but a tip from a clown and a smile I snuck into Joe's Pub (425 Lafayette St.) through the kitchen via the lobby of the public theatre to avoid a nasty $20 cover. Feeling a bit peaked after having scarfed down half a dozen garlic knots and a slice en route I ordered a flat ginger ale that set me back $8! There was no place to sit and a giraffe like woman insisted on wooing and spitting at the back of my neck. I prayed my acid reflux and the weird bubble wrap dance number would pass. Just as I was about to lose hope and my dinner the spectacular Happy Hour Clowns regaled us with their twisted version of the Nutcracker. If you have not seen this hilarious threesome in action please do yourself a favor and get on it and fast.

The Delancey (168 Delancey St.) is probably the best bar/venue on the lower east side. Don't let the dive-less vibe and swank décor fool you this place is 100% rock and roll. This three level playground has it all. The main floor is host to kick ass LES bands from punk to funk. When there isn't a scrumptious band playing there's always an in house DJ servicing your every sonic need as you sip moderately priced spirits. The basement is a sanitary homage to our lost but not forgotten Coney Island high. And alas the coup de gras of this jewel in the rock scene's crown is the palm-fronded al fresco rooftop. This patio provides benches to sip and smoke on, a fountain to gaze at and even summer time BBQs!

Previously owned by bar diva and mother of my favorite Scorpio baby Deb Parker, Beauty Bar (231 E. 14th St) is still one of NYC's most charming watering holes. The glittering candy covered walls make your digi-cam candid shots pop and for ten bones you can buy yourself a sloppy manicure and a beer. The drinks are cheap, the staff is hot and even if you're not into beauty parlors a couple of pints will have you striking a pose under the old time hair dryers. You know to post on your MySpace profile.

Otto's Shrunken Head (538 E. 14th St.) is one of my favorite New York City hangouts. This kitschy tiki bar is wall to wall cool. Complete with leopard print bar stools, Hawaiian inspired wall paper and shiny red vinyl banquettes where you and your tattooed, pin-up girl lovin' dish can curl up and sip PBR's. The DJ's spin everything from Elvis to Tiger Army. Bands play in back. Cat's and Kitten's dance in front. If that isn't enough to grill your biscuit sneak into the photo booth for some drunken funny face makin' madness. I suggest you bring your saddle shoes and get your buzz on with their yumtastic signature cocktail the Otto's Octane, a mix of Kahlua, banana liqueur and pineapple rum. Don't forget to bring a $5 deposit for your tiki cup you jive turkeys!

What do I love more than independent film, monkeys and beer? Well not a whole lot. In ode to the Brooklyn Underground Film Festival that'll be taking place at the Brooklyn Lyceum April 19-23, I took the L train right on down to the Brooklyn Brewery (79 N. 11th St.) for a post-festival soirée. I got to sip all kinds of tasty brews, preview this year's submissions and observe a beguiling monkey art exhibit entitled Me and my Monkeys by Samuel di Lorenzo. If you are curious as to where all that tasty Brooklyn Lager comes from go here for tours, events and a complete list of brews. My personal favorite is the Saison de Brooklyn. Try it it's delicious!

Who ever said rock and roll was dead has obviously not been to Philly lately. To prove this theory I took a field trip to Abilene (429 South St. Philadelphia, PA) to see what all the fuss was about. The Union Dead are to put it mildly, combustible! From start to finish you get that feeling in your stomach like you're watching the commencement of something that will soon be huge. Yes, they're cocky, loud and slightly out of tune but then again so were Guns and Roses. You see where I'm going with this? Do yourself a favor and check them out at I predict a serious resurgence in real deal Rock And Roll so keep your eyes and ears open and your hands off the bass player!

My interest peeked and my pockets still full due to the fact that ALL beer not just PBR is a measly $3 in the city of brotherly love. I headed on down to The El Bar (1356 N. Front St. Philadelphia, PA) to see up and comers Whiskey Livin' get their rock on. These guys have accomplished more before their high school prom than most people have in their silly, little lives. The boys tore up the stage at this seedy yet charming little bar located far from the safe bustle of South Street. The members of WL may not be old enough to drink but they've got all the makings of a potentially heavy weight band. Look out whiny, tie-wearin', cuddle core freaks this is war! Get a shots worth here.

That concludes this month's peek into my little world. As you can see I have been very busy despite that inexorable flu bug that has been circulating. As I gear up for another month of straight up livin' I leave you with these heart felt words of wisdom: remember to take your Vitamin C, always bite off more than you can chew and love the life you live!

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Works by Thomm Quackenbush


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