Sunday, January 1, 2012

First Night

I was glad to see 2011 go, and watching it slip away at a subdued cartoonist party in Brooklyn where only one person was paying attention to the time and called out, "Uh, hey everybody, it's midnight" was exactly perfect. No anger, no disdain, no celebration -- it's gone and it's time to move on to the next thing.

Bill Kartalopoulos hosted a small group of us at Cartoon House, where he and Austin English and some other Brooklyn creative folks live. There's a neon sign reading "Cartoon" that faces out onto the train platform on Broadway in one of the last ungentrified stretches of Williamsburg. Comics are piled up everywhere. It's one of the only old-school bohemian feeling places left in this city.

Bill made my night by giving me one of the Yeast Hoist beer bottles by Ron Rege, Jr. Ron's a huge inspiration and this was one piece that had eluded me. Thanks for being generous with that Bill - it enjoys a place of honor on my writing desk.

Around 1:00 I took Jeff Newelt and Brian Heater across the street to Duff's, the great metal institution. It was a similarly subdued scene, albeit filled not with cartoonists, but with overweight dudes in faded Iron Maiden t-shirts with sad looks on their faces. Thank god I didn't wear my Final Frontier tour shirt - while I am part of the demographic represented at Duff's last night, I sure didn't want to be identified with them. Because I wasn't sad at all. While Brian and Jeff plotzed about the bar's astonishing horror & metal decor, I went to the bar and took in the majesty of the sound.

Speaking of Maiden, around 3 "Wildest Dreams" came up on the juke. Dickenson bellowed:

I'm Gonna Organize Some Changes In My Life
I'm Gonna Exorcise The Demons Of My Past
I'm Gonna Take The Car And Hit The Open Road
I'm Feeling Ready To Just Open Up And Go!

And I Just Feel I Can Be Anything...
That I Might ever wish To Be
And Find Myself Just Where I Wanna Be
Make My Wildest Dreams Come True!

That's about as good an anthem for a new year as one's likely to get.