Wednesday, April 23, 2008

3 Readers A Girl And Cheap Beer

Ahhh. When I sent out the call for readers in NYC to attend a Katy Perry acoustic thing, they were all promised free booze, food, and great music. Out of all the readers who said they were interested in going, I picked a few, and then picked a few extra in case the original ones didn't show. What I got in return were three reports from three very different readers with three very different perspectives. The great thing was that none of the three seemed to have interacted with each other. At first I thought having these three reports would be kind of awkward, but really it turned out great.

First we have Sarah. Sarah has her own great blog, and turned out to be a life saver because she brought not only a camera, but a video camera as well and so it is her photos and videos that bring the two written pieces together.

Josie779 has been commenting forever and is my kind of woman. She notices the same things I do and so in a way it was kind of like me being there except in the body of a woman, and Josie is hotter, and thinner.

Finally, there is Richard. Richard is a real writer. A guy who deserves much better than a gossip blog currently being overrun by Miley Cyrus fans sneaking a peek at her bra.

Let me see if I can weave everything together. Josie will be the italics.

With the promise of “loads of free booze and drinks” I accepted EL’s offer to attend a VIP acoustic performance by Katy Perry. Who? You know, Katy Perry, the one who is named “music’s latest ‘It’ girl” by an unnamed source in her promotional materials. The one that Teen People named “One to Watch” and Blender Magazine called the “Next Big Thing.” Still nothing? You may not have realized who she is, but surely you have heard her songs on MTV’s series The Hills, or the Oxygen Network’s reality series Fight Girls, or in the 2005 film, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Wrong demographic? You’re lucky.

I was to make you all feel as if you'd been there with me. I felt a little like a Charlie's Angel, handed an awesome assignment from a faceless man, location unknown. My mission? Fun! Snark! Whiskey!! (Ok, I added the whiskey part but I was pretty sure EL would approve).

Sporting skinny jeans, my glasses with the heavy black plastic frames and a pair of Church’s brogues that I bought at a second hand store, I looked ready to head out to Williamsburg on the L train. Instead I took the #1 train down from Columbia to West 23rd Street for Katy’s meet & greet. At 7:15 I stepped off the elevator and into a crowd waiting to get in. Wow! The event started at 7:00 and already there is a fracas at the door because people whose names aren’t on the list want to get in. Thanks EL, this is going to be great. The woman at the door was nice and let them in. Of those I observed while I was waiting to get in, no one’s name was on the list. The same was true for me, but we were all allowed in and told to go get a drink.

I made my way through the crowd in the tiny reception area to a room that was smaller than my parent’s rec room and decorated in a similar manner. I scanned the room for a bar and realized that the large, red plastic ice chest on a side table was it. I went over and fished the last Bud Lite out of the icy water. Next to the ice chest there were several aluminum trays with a few smashed tacos from Burritoville (I assume they didn’t just use left over Burritoville paper napkins). The other guests should be thankful that I was there to take the last Bud Lite because then, and only then, a second ice chest was hauled onto the table and this one contained regular Bud and cans of Vitamin Water. Columbia may not be known as a party school, but even by our standards, this was a bit sad.

I didn't really know what to expect when I arrived in Chelsea and knew even less what to expect when the elevator opened on a plain ole office space for the PR firm. Aside from being about a bazillion degrees and smelling strongly of BO (sorry, but it did), it was tiny! There was a decent-sized crowd and I parked myself on a small couch and started looking for people I recognized. Katy aside, I really don't think there were any other celebrities there. And, I mean, I'm a person who ALWAYS thinks they've seen a celebrity, even when they haven't. I have thought I saw Tim Robbins like 12 times. And I almost lost a friendship over whether or not that guy who told me I had a napkin on my foot at The Spotted Pig was actually Orlando Bloom or just some dude who happened to look, talk, dress, and sound exactly like him (I still maintain I'm right). I started chatting up an NYU student who is going to work for the Warped Tour this summer, doing online interviews and blogging (dream job, anyone??) and another woman who writes for and who managed to pull off the most rockin' pair of bright pink tights I have ever seen. And I'm a child of the 80s, my friends. Chatting was all fine and good, but I wasn't about to forget Part III of my mission (whiskey) so I strolled on over to the food area and my only choice of beverage was Budweiser and Bud Light. I know, I know, those who drink free booze should not complain, but couldn't they at least buy Bud in a bottle rather than a can?

With Bud Lite in hand, I was feeling relaxed and ready to eavesdrop. “Queens isn’t part of Long Island.” …“I went to the Bronx once.”… “’I don’t go above 14th Street .’ ‘But we’re on 23rd Street .”…”This area doesn’t have a name. It isn’t Chelsea ; it isn’t the Flatiron; there really isn’t a name for where we’re located.”… At this point an earnest looking guy in a white Lacoste shirt put his hand on my arm and said, “we’re going to start the performance in a couple of minutes.” Did I look like I was getting ready to bolt? Did he think I came only for the Bud Lite?

At 7:45, Katy perched herself on a stool and readied her guitar. Quirky Lolita sunglasses perched atop her head, a red & white polka dot halter that one might see Vargas pin-up wearing framed her cleavage, feet shod in pink pumps that added a bit of 80s retro-glam, and a watermelon pin and banana bracelet that lent an air of gravitas to her indie artist status (or was I supposed to read the jewelry as funky and edgy?).

So, after some time Katy and a fellow guitar player pulled up stools and treated the crowd to an acoustic performance of a few songs off her upcoming album One of the Boys, to be released June 17, 2008. It was a real treat to hear Katy play her songs in a simple, acoustic way that really highlighted her lyrics and voice, which is surprisingly blues-y when she wants it to be. Katy herself is as adorable as you'd expect and looks so much like Zoey Deschanel it's sort of unbelievable. She was wearing high-waisted bright green pants, a very busty red and white polka dotted top and bright pink high heels. Somehow it worked for her even though if I wore that ensemble I would just look like a giant watermelon.

Finally, she sings and we are treated to one uninteresting song after another. Her lyrics might sound insightful in the Jager Meister fueled haze of a dorm room party (she cites Alanis Morissette as a musical influence). Okay, if we just look at lyrics, there are many songs that fall short. Why do those songs stick with us? Usually they have something else going for them, like a great tune or a strong voice singing. I didn’t hear any great tunes so let’s move on to Katy’s voice. Just as Nicole Kidman uses head twitches to convey the emotions her frozen countenance cannot express, Katy tries to convey emotion and hide a weak voice by sliding and swooping between notes.
After three songs (though honestly, I lost count since they all blended together), Katy announces she going to perform her recently released single, “UR So Gay.” What would Marge Garber and Camille Paglia say about this song? Upset that she fell in love with a guy and can’t get him out of her head, Katy is not about to stoop to the level of Carrie Underwood and dig a key into the side of his 4 wheel drive or take a Louisville slugger to both headlights (how the hell do I even know that song?). No, Katy is more old school – more second grade actually -- and call him gay and let everyone know that he is a Ken doll because there is “nothing there” when he pulls down his pants.

Katy wants a real man. She is tired of these guys who listen to Mozart (while they jerk off), read Hemingway, drive electrical (sic) cars, and wear more makeup than she does. She doesn’t want some enlightened guy who is comfortable with his sexuality (got that Sean Avery?). No, she wants the kind of guy who will be sucked in by the Betty Grable top she is wearing. I could write my honors thesis on the sartorial subliminal messages that top is sending (not to mention the fruit salad she is wearing as jewelry). Who needs psychotherapy when your top reveals so much. That top is a signpost to that bygone era when men went off to work with a lunch pail and women squirreled away a little of the household money to buy a new Lilly Dasché hat.

After the brief show Katy hung around and chatted with the guests. I introduced myself to her with the blogger from Warped Tour (for those who don't know, Katy’s on Warped Tour this summer). The following items were covered during our chat:

--Katy playing NYC for the first time.
--How nervous/excited she is to be on Warped Tour this summer, especially since her boyfriend is on the same tour with his band (Travis McCoy from Gym Class, I think) and they'll actually get to spend some time together.
--How much I wish I was going on Warped Tour this summer with Katy and the blogger, rather than working my lame 9-5:00. Seriously, I need to be a music blogger and/or musician. It's way cooler than my life.

You can’t be an ironic hipster when you take yourself so seriously. Maybe what Katy really needs is an actual gay man since they are the ones who want to get married, have a kid and buy the nice two bedroom colonial in Maplewood , NJ . I can guarantee they won’t be playing Katy Perry on their Bose sound system.

After that people started packing up and heading home. Overall it was a really unique experience and as Katy's star continues to rise I'll be even more glad I got to see her in such a personal setting. It wasn't a "shenanigans in the bathroom" type of event (sorry Brendalove, I know that was your special request), but it was a rare opportunity to see someone whose career is about to take off in directions most of us can only imagine.


Julie said...

loves it!
i adore the snarkiness lol

and i like the shoes. but Katy doesn't seem like someone I'd be into now. MAYBE!! 15 years ago, in jr high.

jax said...

El you're pure evil. it.

JJ said...

awesome read. thanks!

Anonymous said...

Can Richard be my new best friend? Awesomely snarky.

Good job team!

Nice to hear different perspectives.

Stephanie said...

Excellent work! I felt like I was there.
10 points to Richard for the Maplewood, NJ mention!

Kristen S. said...

Great job guys!! said...

No bathroom action! DAMMIT!

Thanks you guys for reporting.

J Ruth said...

Thanks for the nice comments! I think with all the different perspectives you guys got a good sense of what it was to be there. Plus you got to hear part of the performance for yourself so you could decide whose side you were on in regard to the music. And thank God the watermelon outfit was fully captured for the record books.

Thanks again - EL. Nice to hear I'm your kinda woman. I'll toast my next whiskey to you.

what is eight past six? said...

The extremely different reviews were really interesting. I wish I could have gone. But hey, next time you hear of something going on in Thattreeoverthere, AL, I'm your girl!

There is tissue stuck to her right shoe in that last pic. Aw, I hate when that happens.

fuddhist_ said...

enjoyable and thorough reporting

better you 3 than me though-- I'm finicky about music


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