Firefly Pointer Fiberglass Jacket: Sitting here thinking of you: Joey Ramone Birthday Bash 2014

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Sitting here thinking of you: Joey Ramone Birthday Bash 2014

A couple of months ago I was sitting at the table with my friend talking and catching up. I was blue because I was going to miss another Joey Ramone birthday bash. I was so down about it I couldn't even listen to the Ramones. My friend seemed confused "Why can't you go?"

 Hmmm, I guess there's a ton of excuses I could make...but I know I could make it happen if I really wanted to. That was that, it was time to return to New York. I had been quite a few times, so this visit I wanted to do things I haven't done yet. This trip I didn't get any souvenirs from a shop, but I got pictures and stories which is even better.

 As soon as I started planning for the trip I was able to listen to the Ramones again. A huge weight was lifted.  I was no longer upset and was now excited...I had a lot to look forward to. I was going back to the culture rich, dirty, sticky fabulous New York. Woke up freakishly early to begin the tedious journey of getting to the airport and finding my gate, not to mention through the TSA. Every time I go to NY I get a better and better plan together and pack what I really need. This time I brought some pants, Star Wars pjs and Ramones shirts. I brought other stuff too but it isn't as important.

 The security check point was interesting, they seemed to be running the full body scan on everyone going through. I could have opted out of it, but I was just too tired to care. However my mary jane and I made it through TSA unquestioned. Go America! I brought my Open Vape pens which are GREAT for traveling. Naturally my flight was a bit delayed due to newly arriving storm clouds. Once I landed it was pouring rain and taking public transit was not appealing at all. I waited in the long but fast moving line of people waiting for Taxis at JFK. A popular topic at the airport waiting to board and flying there and back was how historical buildings and venues are being demolished and turned into Starbucks. The sad thing is this isn't just a East Coast New York problem, but is happening all over the US, but I digress.

 Taxis now have little Tvs playing Jeopardy and reporting New York news. There was even a credit card machine which was handy. Finally I reached my friend Allison's house in Brooklyn. I was soaking wet when she opened the door. She immediately gave me a big hug not caring at all that she would now get wet. I thought that was sweet. Inside her house looked a lot like mine, similar music books on her shelves, Monkees memorabilia and posters of John Sebastian between Christmas lights. It was a lot like chilling in my own living room. We easily sat down and got to catching up, it was exciting and surreal to be in New York. It was crazy to be talking to a friend I hadn't seen in years.

Allison, Becca, Angie, friends for over 10 years.

 I slept like a teenage boy and the next morning Allison and I went to meet Angie (another long time friend) at Penn Station. Just like with Allison, it was easy to pick up where I left off with Angie. We got lunch at a diner in the area and went to the Houdini Museum. My inspiration for this trip was based on the show Mystery Museum that I yammer about all the time. I have a huge boner for museums and especially ones on my particular interests. Of course I've done the Met and the Museum of Natural History, I love that shit. I was particularly interested by the tools Houdini used to de-bunk Physics and phony spiritualists. The museum was really neat, it was free, there was a guy performing magic tricks and mostly importantly THERE WAS A BUNNY.

 After that we headed to Washington Square Park and Bleecker Street Records. I saw a lot of records I liked but knew I couldn't get them home in one piece easily. Allison showed us where Zilch used to be.
In late 1967, Davy Jones, arguably the cleanest and least freaky of the Monkees, opened up a psychedelic head shop in New York City.
His store, called Zilch, was located at 217 Thompson Street, in the heart of Greenwich Village.
 It is now a post office.

We headed to a local bar and had some Angry Orchards and caught up more. Angie and Allison felt like sisters after that as cheesy as it sounds. WE BONDED. It was an awesome day. The next day Allison her room mate and I went to the Port Authority and I entered New Jersey for the only reason I've had so see Joey Ramone's grave. No, he is not buried in New York, he is buried in Jersey next to his dad Noel. The bus ride was pretty quick and before we went grave sight seeing we hit up a diner just across the street from the cemetery. They had amazing food, sassy and friendly waitresses and items like Sea Salt Caramel Ice Cream OH MY GOD.

 I was glad to have friends who shared the common interest of going to grave yards. I tried to use my Joey Ramone radar to find his tombstone, but the internet worked faster. Joey was at the top of the hill with a picture-esque view of the New York skyline. He was right in the front of that one source I would describe as "The VIP Jewish Section." Joey's stone was covered in small rocks which all indicated the visitors that had came. Upon walking around the cemetery further we noticed a short cut entrance to Joey on the right side of the property. That itself was an adventure.

I had thought ahead a bit and brought one of my BTD guitar picks and put it on his stone.

I sat there for a moment taking it every thing. I had finally made it to his grave. There really isn't any other one in my whole life I had ever felt motivated to see...and there it was. I was happy...and sad. 

Then I really had a moment...

 Later that day after returning from Jersey I made my way to Rockefeller Plaza to meet a friend who I had met in the Bay Area. I'm proud of all my friends, I've seen them work hard and do some amazing things over the years. Jillian was no exception, it was cool to hang out with her. We had dinner at Cock and Bull, a British Pub in the area. I had a Purple Bulldog Martini and some chicken wings, it was delicious. I met Jillian at one of my first jobs in the Bay Area. This one particular day there was a concert right out side and she let me leave early. That was HUGE to me, I got to meet the band and so my rock n roll heart is forever grateful.

 The next day was the day of the Bash! Allison and I had breakfast and coffee and a local diner and talked about upcoming music projects. Afterwards I went into a local TJ Maxx to buy a tank top of some sort black dress. I found a great cheap one that I would re-wear pretty quickly and took it to check out. I really hate clothes shopping, but I'm also really good at getting it over with. I put on my new black dress and wore it with my favorite black pants. I did my hair and make up which is on the unique side and headed to the location of the bash early. It's funny how much the Subway confuses me and every time I start to understand it's time to go back home. Joey's bash was in the Bowery, at The Bowery Electric. Other than my own birthday and David Bowie's Joey Ramone's is a huge holiday for me. I was so happy, and other than when I landed New York provided perfect weather for me to roam around.

 I walked around the Bowery, stopped in John Varvatos, formerly CBGB. I've been there before but still wanted to see it inside and day dream a bit. The pieces of stickers and posters left on the walls are appreciated, but high priced clothing is anything put preserving a former punk club. I just inwardly grumble my way through JV's and keep walking down the Bowery. I was just hitting Happy Hour and had a drink at a bar just outside Joey Ramone Place. I took pictures and took some pictures of this cute punk family that asked me to take some of them in front of the sign. D'awwe. When doing this I noticed something peculiar, I swore the sign was higher and more "secured" on there.

And I was correct.

Such a cool drink menu! The Bowery Electric
Outside the Bowery Electric

 I was antsy and headed over to the venue to start meeting up with people and just enjoy myself. Before long I found my people at The Bowery Electric and many many hugs were had. It felt like a family reunion...just a Ramones family! I saw a lot of people I hadn't seen in years and to have music unite us was a really beautiful thing. The show started at 7:00 PM which I found early but was ready to dance and sing. It feels so amazing to be singing all the words to every song a band performs, and all the people around you do too. It's very uniting and I guess in a way it's my version of church. The Bullys played, The Independents played, everyone was dancing, many hugging and holding hands. The love was definitely there, and I have no doubt that's how Joey would want it to be. I danced and sang the whole time which as many may know I rarely do.

  I saw all the usual suspects at the bash, including Linda Cummings who always seems to make an appearance. I can usually see her blaring blond hair reflecting off the lights. Mickey Leigh has said on his page and on stage that he and she have buried the hatchet. Being what I consider a true Ramones fan and a sane person...I have to back Mickey on that. I wont lie that there will always bit a musically dedicated bitter part of me that will never understand her for leaving Joey. The truth be told...he was better off. You reap what you sow.

Tara Janae and I!

Malin Dansk of The Ramones Fan Page and I!
  The show was awesome as usual and moving, especially when they brought out the bag pipe players and acknowledge Arturo Vega and his recent passing. This particular bash of all of them that I've been too seemed to most jovial and moving. Almost like for a few hours we achieved paradise on Earth. No one was fighting, and everybody was happy to see you. At one point they did their usual raffle to benefit Lymphoma research. Most bashers (what I call people who perform at Joey's birthday bash) did songs from "...Ya Know?" and a few from "Don't worry about me." There were of course lots of Ramones songs which are the best fist pumping songs I know of.

  During the raffle one of the friends in our group won the signed guitar. They invited her on stage and back stage to get pictures with her prize. I cheered for her and left it at that. A guy next to Malin and I turned to us and said "Go with her!" We looked at each other confused and it came to a "I'll go if you go with me" situation. We easily followed Marlena the raffle winner we were with backstage and just chilled with Tish an Snooki for a bit. And by chilling I mean sitting quietly watching and listening to everything around us happening. We were sitting there with everyone from the bash. And we probably looked like a deer in the headlights.

 We returned to our front spots to catch the rest of the show particularly Mickey Leigh. It's always great to see him perform with his nearly Iggy Pop levels of energy. The night ended with Mickey inviting us up on stage to sing New York City. It was the perfect end to a perfect evening. But I really needed to get back to Brooklyn to get up for my early flight.

Mickey Leigh, Ramones fans including me on stage singing "New York City."

 I spent most of my trip with the song "Waiting for that Railroad" from Joey's latest album stuck in my head or playing on my Zune. As it played on my way home I got emotional and started to tear up. I've always felt that New York wreaks of Ramones (in a good way) with every song and street corner. I love New York but it felt so good to be home. The breeze felt great, and it felt even better to get home and settle. I saw a lot of friends, and have a new found appreciation for the people in my life that are good people. Thankfully a lot of the people who I have music in common with are also good people. They are my people. Thank you Allison Boron, Angie D, Jillian, Malin, Tara, Shawn (DarkGiftRadio), and all the awesome Ramones family I have made in the process.

Malin Dansk's Bash Pics

Debra Raffles Trizzini's Bash Pics

Edward X Young's Bash Pics

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