Last years Purim kind of sucked because it was on a Friday, I spent it at my cousins in Monsey and as usual it was fun but not as fun as my yeshiva days, in fact Purim just hasn’t been the same since I moved out of Rochester, while the drunkenness gets a little dirty and nasty when people start puking on each other, the overall atmosphere is what I would call Purimdike.
This year would be different, first of all, I had a show on Saturday night in Crown Heights, which would have been great if not for the fact that the next day I drove down to Baltimore to do a show there. Both shows were great by the way, and the Baltimore show proved to me that even though I have thousands of fans out there I really cant rely on them to actually show up and support you at event – maybe 5 people showed up who were fans and the rest were random people who showed up because I hired someone to post fliers around Baltimore and get me an interview with the radio station and local newspaper, much thanks to Chaim Lazerous.
So basically I was pooped, burnt out may be a better word, but judging from the lack of posts this week you may realize that doing consecutive shows is not conducive to sitting down and writing. So I wasn’t really ready for Purim, but I went out anyway – I figured Purim is the best time to meet random people, have philosophical conversations and possibly meet me a girl. So I took the recommendation of my biggest fan Gary and went to this place called Iyyun.
Gary told me about Iyyun last week and has not stopped talking about it since. It is basically this whacked out Park Slope kabbalistic shul slach chabad house for weird intellectual types that don’t fit in anywhere else, basically I had no idea what it was, but the whacked out eccentric-ness of it was much more intriguing than last years megillah reading I went to at Mt Sinai in Washington Heights because lets face it, when it comes to Purim the Modern Orthodox fall very short of interesting and entertaining, in fact I think Purim was made as a marketing ploy to show how much fun Charedim are. Think about it, the only people who don’t know how to have a good time on Purim are modern orthodox. Their banging for Haman sucks because they are all about gun control and think that cap guns are dangerous. The adults rarely dress up because they are too damned serious, and the only people who are anti-drinking on Purim are modern orthodox.
This year was going to be different and let me tell you it definitely was. For anyone that has ever been to Cholent, Iyyun makes cholent look normal to a certain extent. Iyyun is located at the intersection of Union and Bond street in what I would call Park Slope but in reality is probably not and a Brooklyn native will call me out on this because Brooklyn natives are like Texans, they think Brooklyn is the capitol of the world and everyone must know the difference between Ditmas Park and Kensington.
Upon entering Iyyun I immediately thought of several things, I was in The Raven by Poe and I was reminded of the band Savatage and King Crimson at once. The building was a very old factory or warehouse. The wooden sloped ceiling with the brick walls and the candles and very eerie chandeliers made for a chilling and eerie yet fantastic effect. I understood why someone would want to learn kabbalah here, it seemed like the setting for a weird ritual involving mirrors, chicken feet, 72 letter names backward and maybe some Golems thrown in for effect.
The building made me feel as if there should be a mob of people in triangle hats carrying pitchforks and lanterns while yelling inside that they were going to burn our Jew asses to the ground. You must understand that this is not a bad thing, on the contrary, I loved the space and the multitudes of drag queens and little kids dressed as ballerinas and Queen Esthers with a couple of tiger outfits was all quite hilarious considering the idea that the room was a 200 year old warehouse lit mostly by candles that made me shudder to think about sleeping there for a night.
The real reason I came out to Iyyun was because I had heard from Gary that during the megillah reading there would be a silent play acting out the entire story in the back round, this combined with an open bar and a good breakfast seemed well worth the $15 to get in. This was of course, before I was told that drinks were $3.50 and I broke my fast during the day when I completely forgot about it and had a honey barbeque steak sandwich at subsational while wondering why it was filled with pregnant women.
The play was weird and not only did I not get what was going on, I totally spaced out and missed some of the words. I did like that they didn’t bang for Haman at every one of them and just at several, kudos to the random chabad megillah reader which was super fast and slick, though I do wonder if we were yotzei because no one was checking for mistakes.
The play was funny because all the male parts were played by girls and the girl parts by guys, the mixed seating and play were definitely more progressive and interesting then I have ever seen and it was enjoyable. As we chowed down on a fairly decent spread of bagels, humus and pesto pasta my friends and I noted that the population of women, while small, was very promising because proportionately the good looking one’s outnumbered the bad looking ones, in fact this ballerina girl who was totally digging on me was out of bounds because dear old Gary convinced me that she was underage, which I later found out was false. We decided to leave when they decided to charge for drinks, the event said open bar so we were very disappointed, I was mad because I don’t drink unless its free because drinking isn’t really my thing.
So we went to Sutra, the Sutra Purim Party was plastered all over facebook with an unbelievable marketing slogan. Free vodka bar and no cover, as we drove to 1st avenue and Houston street I began to wonder if this were all one big prank, after all it was Purim. Free drinks and no cover in a city where a $5 beer is cheap was just too good to be true, and it was, sort of.
My two friends and I were debating whether we should show up so early, but when Iyyun got too lame we just left and decided to be nerdy and come to a party on time. I myself like coming on time because my theory with Jewish parties that offer something free is that, the free item always runs out unless you get there on time, this is why I come to weddings on time. We showed up at this dark club and were carded and let in with a little red stamp that looked like a hicky this morning making me wonder why I don’t remember a girl sucking my wrist last night.
The Purim party had just started at Sutra and it wasn’t too crowded yet. A couple of drag queens floated about making me think that there must be some Freudian theory about why men dress up as women for Purim. I assumed all drinks were free but really it was drinks with vodka. Good enough and I proceeded to scarf down a few vodka and cranberries. The few times a year I get dragged to a club or bar that has no live music or really weird people I rarely drink, unless someone buys me a drink, which they almost always do. My friends generally love to see me drunk, I am a wild guy in general and they think getting me drink will allow them a glimpse of utter insanity, this is simply not the case, when I drink I get tired, but for some reason last night I got tipsy but I woke up, I refuse to believe that they even put any alcohol in the drinks because my tolerance is so low that I rarely get past a couple of shots before I am good to go, to bed that is.
I also find that many people buy a drink even when they don’t want one because they feel out of place when they are empty handed. I myself think this is plain old ridiculous, but I also felt perfectly comfortable around all of my druggie friends not taking drugs for the last 15 years or so. Peer pressure can kill you, and your wallet in the case of spending $11 on a drink as was the price last night when at 10:49, exactly 45 minutes after we arrived and about 45 minutes before anyone cool arrived the open vodka bar ended.
Brilliant marketing my friend replied when he heard that he would have to shell out his life savings to get sloshed in order so that he could talk to girls. I started wondering in my head if people thought about how much money they were spending to get laid, or the chance to get laid. Buying your own drinks and then paying for someone else’s when you got into one of those screaming over the music “I think I may get some – knee touching” conversations that always ended with “I’m thirsty” hint – I’m using you to buy me a drink.
The masses came anyway, in search of free drinks and hot women, the only got the latter. I was pretty impressed with the amount of booty on the dance floor. It didn’t feel like Purim at all, that may be due to the fact that 1/3 of the club didn’t appear to be Jewish, the girls were way too slutty and the Asians and Blacks looked way to cool to have drank the punch at Aish or Chabad.
Speaking of slutty women, there were multitudes of them, I thought there would be more tuna beigels, but there were only 2 or 3 chassidim that roamed around, in fact besides for the bouncers looking like idiots in yarmulkes, I was one of maybe 10 people wearing yarmulkes. However I could see from 10 feet away if someone had a yarmulke on earlier in the night when they went to hear megillah, one guy I was talking to about my site had a permanent indentation in his head from his serial yarmulke wearing practices. I found it kind of interesting that I was at a Jewish party on Purim, yet all these Jewish kids had felt weird wearing their yarmulkes into the place. God can see you everywhere is all I could think as I stared at some girls grinding on each other and pondered these thoughts. I guess I myself believe in always sporting my religion no matter where I go, some may argue against this but I feel it perfectly fine to go to a Jewish party on Purim in a club with my yarmulke in all of its black suede glory holding my bad hair down.
The music wasn’t bad, as far as clubs go. A good mix of techno and one hit wonder rap songs of the 90s in unedited form. I met some random people who knew me, from blogging and from the old country. I then hung out with what appeared to be three aidel maidels sitting on a bench and wondering how on earth they and their dressed in black Brooklyn selves wound up watching a bunch of girls dressed up as hookers dance to music they secretly listened to during their bais yaakov days.
In fact I wound up sitting with them for quite some time, chatting and definitely flirting although this is one of the first instances I was aware that I was flirting with a girl. I found the whole situation hilarious, because every time a guy would walk past them, they would either sit down and try to talk only to get shot down, shake their booties in their faces to disappointed moans and groans or just wave the guys ahead. It was the first ever instance that I could say I witnessed a meat market, 2 girls on a bench being hit on by every guy as if they were on a conveyor belt passing these people. Lets just say that they were hot and tznius, I doubt that anyone else could have been called tznius and for me tznius is super hot, I like being left to imagine and I guess I just like the whole concept, that while I enjoyed the body parts hanging out of everyone, I definitely found these tznius girls to be more my speed.
I ended up staying till 3 in the morning and this whole day was a wreck. Going to sleep at 4 in the morning, waking up for megillah at 11am and doing two shows today pretty much killed me. I was tired all day and crashing, but I had to be in Crown Heights for two different seduas that wanted me to perform – it was also tiring screaming over crying children and talking women – fun but tiring, and I never got to sit down at a nice purim seuda because I was running around the whole time.
Thank God that my next show is not until March 19th at Brooklyn college which gives me over a week to prepare, and write some posts for you people. I also need to get out of Dodge, so I am going to be off to upstate where I can veg. Of course vegging for me means riding my bikes, skiing and hiking some good mountains – but I need to clear my mind and get away from people for a while.
Oh and I only sent tow shallach manos and have not had a good homemade hamnteaschen all purim.