Month: November, 2007

BonChon birthday

Wednesday, November 28th, 2007 | All Things, Drinks, Eats, Friends

In honor of HYB’s birthday (week), we ended up at BonChon Chicken in K-town tonight. The boys’ last run for newly trendy Korean fried chicken on the day before Thanksgiving didn’t work out when they arrived at 314 Fifth Avenue to find the place unexpectedly shuttered. Random closings occur not all that infrequently, apparently; Yelpers recommend that you call ahead for hours, despite what BonChon’s printed materials list as their hours of operation.

Bon Chon chopsticks

At 8pm this Wednesday, though, the bar restaurant was hopping. Although we were well prepared for a wait, the delay ended being rather longer than we expected, in part due to the infuriating flakiness of the hostess, who slipped in one newly arrived group ahead of ours. To be clear, I am aware of the practical necessity of seating by party size, and this was definitely just a case of poor management. We narrowly avoided a scene — those B brothers are feisty! — which got the evening off to a rocky start, but things could only improve from there.

I do like this chicken, but is it worth the hour’s wait for a midweek table? And the $40 cost for large (16-piece?) platters each of both “hot spicy” and “soy garlic” flavors?

Bon Chon chicken

The birthday boy thought not, but judging from the crowds that pack this place most nights, BonChon has no shortage of devotees. And wow, the “hot spicy” sauce is just that, in a way that sneaks up on you after just a couple of flats/drumettes/drumsticks. Alternating in pieces of the non-spicy soy garlic variety helps some to quench the fire, as do the accompanying cubes of sweet pickled daikon radish. (I’m not as much a fan of the Thousand Island dressed shredded cabbage.) Beer, too — in our case, a $25(!) pitcher of Killian’s Irish Red.

On the BonChon website, the chicken is promoted as food for “health conscious consumers“: “tasteful & nutritiously enriched” with “collagen ingredients promoting healthy and delicious texture and taste.” Seems I’ve heard this one before, and much as I’d like to believe it, I’m not entirely convinced.

Dubious health claims aside, I’m still looking to expand my K(orean)FC horizons. In July, The Voice‘s Robert Sietsema took a look at four Flushing franchises along the strip of Northern Boulevard between 150th and 160th Streets: Kyedong (150-54 Northern Blvd.), KyoChon (156-50 Northern Blvd.), BonChon (157-18 Northern Blvd.), and Cheogajip (160-24A Northern Blvd.). He rated BonChon a solid “B” — better than Cheogajip, but not as good as either KyoChon or Kyedong Chicken.

Hmm… Korean Fried Chicken Crawl 2008?

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Iphigénie en Tauride

Tuesday, November 27th, 2007 | All Things, Arts, Events, Music

Sadly, I missed the big Winter’s Eve festivities in my neighborhood last night, which kicked off with the Lincoln Center Holiday Tree Lighting. It was such fun last year, but with the holiday season officially now in full swing, there just isn’t time enough for everything.

Lincoln Center tree

Tonight was to be something of an event: the gala premiere of Christoph Willibald Ritter von Gluck‘s Iphigénie en Tauride. This new, much-celebrated Metropolitan Opera co-production with Seattle Opera is directed by Stephen Wadsworth (recently named the first Director of Opera Studies for the Juilliard Opera Center) and conducted by Mostly Mozart musical director Louis Langrée, in his Met debut. Americans mezzo-soprano Susan Graham and tenor Paul Groves, who opened London’s Royal Opera House season, took up the roles of Iphigénie and Pylade again tonight with the incomparable Plácido Domingo starring as Iphigénie’s brother, Oreste. (This Met production was also broadcast live on December 8.)

I knew nothing about Iphigénie en Tauride going in to the evening, though I had vague recollections of the Euripides’ drama that inspired it. Gluck’s opera premiered in Paris on May 18, 1779, but did not have its United States debut at the Met (in German) until 137 years later, on November 25, 1916. Since then it has only been staged five times, the last in 1917, so tonight was an occasion indeed.

Iphigénie en Tauride intermission

We had planned on a special evening: the tuxes, furs and glittering jewels were out on display tonight, and how many opportunities do I get to don an evening gown, after all? Unfortunately, the lack of sleep these past couple of days finally took its toll tonight, and I ended up in the upper balcony, exhausted before curtain, and passed out in my seat by Act II. Now that’s embarrassing. No fault of the performances, though, which from what I recall were quite beautiful… and apparently very soothing.

As I slipped out during intermission, I passed Tyne Daly on the spiral staircase, whom depending on your reference point, is best remembered as Detective Mary Beth Lacey from 80’s cop show Cagney & Lacey or Maxine Gray from the 90s judicial drama Judging Amy. Did anyone else besides me have trouble distinguishing that latter show from Providence?

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Prefuse 73 @ Bowery Ballroom

Monday, November 26th, 2007 | All Things, Events, Music

I missed the first of this season’s Town Hall film seminars tonight to attend the Prefuse 73 concert with B at the Bowery Ballroom. We were last here in April 2006 to catch fellow Warp artist, Jamie Lidell — an appearance which predated his breakout feature on Season 2 of Grey’s Anatomy.

After drinks in the lounge, we headed upstairs to stake out our strategic spots near the stage. First up: California-based duo Blank Blue. The band is a collaboration between producer Elvin Estela (a.k.a. Nobody) and vocalist Niki Randa, who first met in 2001 while working together at independent Long Beach record store Fingerprints Music. The adorably pigtailed Randa – over whom the guy next to me swooned, “Oh, I’m in lo-o-o-ove!” — celebrated her 28th birthday that night, with a Whole Foods cake presented to her by her bandmates.

Blank Blue

Brooklyn troupe School of Seven Bells was up next. The members met in 2004 when their respective bands opened for Interpol on tour. Benjamin Curtis (then-guitarist of Secret Machines) joined with identical twins Alejandra & Claudia Dehezia (then of On!Air!Library!), who lend a bit exoticism, and considerable sex appeal, to the proceedings with their ethereal vocals. James Elliott (a.k.a. Ateleia) and drummer Joe Stickney round out the rest of the crew.

School of Seven Bells collaborated with Prefuse 73 on “The Class Of 73 Bells single.

School of Seven Bells

School of Seven Bells

Finally, the main event: [Guillermo] Scott Herren (a.k.a. Prefuse 73) – dubbed the “king of glitch-hop” (yet another of those genres I know hardly anything about) — was touring in support of his fifth full-length album, Preparations. The Brooklyn- and Atlanta-based producer (currently residing in Barcelona) has released music on several labels under various aliases, including Delarosa & Asora, Savath & Savalas, and Piano Overlord.

Prefuse 73

Prefuse 73

For this performance, a knit-capped Herren incorporated a live drummer to accompany his laptop renderings. B keyed me into the points in the set when Herren reached back into his old catalog, though I probably could have surmised as much from the crowd’s wild reactions.

The night ran late, which set the stage for what was to be a very, very long week.

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