Wednesday, May 9, 2012

all of the leches

Last week, amid all the Crossing Brooklyn Ferry madness, my friend also turned 26. So, my Saturday was spent making a Cinco de Mayo fiesta appropriate cake (not just tres leches, but muchas leches.) It was fairly involved, but I think it turned out well:
Muchas Leches birthday cake

This cake involved more whipping of various egg parts and cream than I have ever gone through before. But, I learned a lot about the massive volume increase you get from 7 egg whites... Also that making sugared almonds is insanely sticky, and cake doesn't absorb milk at the rate I thought it would (read: dripage).

All those relative non-issues aside, the cake was a big hit, and the party was a ton of fun. There were tacos and margaritas, and multiple kinds of guac. And a pinata!!

Pinata time on the roof

In addition to cake-making duties, I also made this little mix for the birthday girl. Happy birthday again, MC Manzana! ;)

Monday, May 7, 2012

you're like a party I heard through the wall

Crossing Brooklyn Ferry, the Dessner-curated festival at BAM, took over the Peter Jay Sharp Building at the end of last week. I went with two friends on Thursday primarily to see Sharon Van Etten and headliners The Walkmen, who I hadn't seen since 2005. Friday night I went with another friend to check out The Antlers and St. Vincent. We tried to get a feel for the rest of the festival, and caught a smaller band or two up in BAMCafe, and a few of the short films. I enjoyed the other aspects, but the focus was clearly on the headlining bands playing in the Howard Gilman Opera House.

St. Vincent
St. Vincent (throwing down the mic at the end of Krokodil)

Out of the four main sets I saw, I'd have to give a gold star to St. Vincent. I had heard raves about her live shows before, but didn't understand the sheer magnitude of her stage presence until I saw it for myself. Annie Clark is a true force of nature on the guitar, not to mention her charmingly off-beat lyrical delivery and overall energy. She did one cover of a Pop Group song, and told a story of playing the song in London with the Pop Group's lead singer - he gave her a dish scrubber that looked like Sid Vicious, which was called "Sid Dishes", and which she described as "adorable much?" and his commentary was that "this is what has become of punk rock." The urge to call Annie Clark "adorable" is both accurate and also insultingly insufficient, because she brought it. The main set was closed out with a raging rendition of her new song Krokodil, in which she jumped out into the crowd, climbed up into the first few rows of seats, and then crowd-surfed her way back to the stage.

 Sharon Van Etten
 Sharon Van Etten (with Aaron Dessner)

The Walkmen
 The Walkmen
 The Walkmen

 The Antlers
 The Antlers
The Antlers

As for everyone else, I was impressed by Sharon Van Etten (both musically, and that she wore those 4" heels the whole time!). She had a charming stage presence with a fairly quiet crowd (which included her parents). The crowd perked up more when Aaron Dessner came out and joined her for a few songs, and the energy seemed to pick up after that. The Walkmen followed, and my only complaint was that there wasn't more Bows+Arrows action going on. I also really loved their lighting scheme. On Friday, The Antlers were fantastic. They were as emotionally-charged as ever, and sounded great live. The only other time I've seen them was also at BAM, but I was much closer this time around. Their sincerity seems to make the reverence that takes over the Opera House as a venue.

Overall it was a really successful two days at BAM for me (I couldn't make it to Saturday's final lineup). The only actual complaint I have is that there was a guy standing one person over from me during St. Vincent who really should have been kicked out. He had weaseled his way into the front row, basically by leaning on top of me (ugh), and then squeezed his friend in between us. He gave a *lovely* pre-show rant about how he didn't give a shit if he pisses people off at concerts (clearly). His enthusiasm for St Vincent was overwhelmingly displayed physically during the show, as he pounded on the stage, jumped and flailed his arms, fist pumped, stomped repeatedly, and felt the need to yell "I mean, Come ON!" in between every song. A security guard came over to talk to him 3 times, but somehow he avoided getting kicked out. He is hands down the worst person I have ever been near during a show, which is really saying something. Congrats, dude.