Friday, April 15, 2005

Hipster Heaven

When I was in college, there were a large number of hippies who would sit out on the lawn in nice weather. When I say hippies, I don't mean that they were throw backs to the 60s who wanted to change the world and wore jackets that said "Fuck the Draft" and stuck daisies in National Guards' rifles. What I mean is that these kids smoked too much weed, did not closely observe the habits of hygiene, and sat around in giant circles playing bongos and guitars. Typically, they would do this late at night when I was sleeping, when I was trudging off to class, or when I was studying for a final. They pissed me off and their patchouli stench really made me nauseous.

As I have gotten older, I don't run into too many "hippies." I do occasionally run into hipsters. And they annoy me. A hipster is, according to Robert Lanham, author of the Hipster Handbook, "One who possesses tastes, social attitudes, and opinions deemed cool by the cool." Of course, living in the Garden State, I only run into hipsters when I'm in New York (hipsters don't like the Jers and avoid crossing out of NYC at all costs) and even then, it's usually just in passing or if I'm eating below 20th Street.

So, it is with this in mind that I went to the ultra hip Tribeca Grand Hotel last night with Philly, Philly's lady friend, and his college buddy, Rajeev. The description of the Grand's Church Lounge says that their nightly DJ lineup performs "for a hip downtown crowd." And man, they were not kidding.

Our particular purpose in bailing early on poker and heading to the Grand was Annie. Annie (and her band The Anniemals) is Norwegian and is popular in Europe, I suppose. I don't know. I'm kind of a music moron. But Philly pitched her as the next Kylie Minogue and thought it would be fun to see her show before she gets big in the States. Plus, it was free. Philly let me listen to the album (unreleased in the States for the time being) and it was fun and poppy, so I was in. The downside? She wasn't going on till midnight and I'ma gettin' a little old for 2am bed time on a school night.

The Grand itself is a beautiful building. It opened in 2000 and it has an enormous, triangular atrium with great lighting that makes everyone look pretty. The Church Lounge, which is in the atrium, has a long bar and a back room with a stage where Annie was going to play. If it had been slightly less crowded, I might have more to say about the seating arrangements in the bar itself, but it looks like they've got some nice chairs and what not.

The problem is that I apparently stumbled into hipster heaven. Every negative stereotype I have of these kids was right before me. Lanham jokes that hipsters should not have more than 2% body fat and I must say, I think I weighed more than almost every guy and girl in the joint. Just like Betakate once felt threatened in the gay coffee shop we were in because she swore the other patrons were looking askance at her cheap shoes, I felt certain that these kids knew I had "Bridge and Tunnel" written all over me. And it made me want to punch them.

It was actually fascinating to see so many caricatures in one place. Perhaps I have such animosity towards the hipster crowd because they remind me of the punk kids in college. I was perpetually getting crushes on punk rock boys in college, who never returned the ardor. Or maybe hipsters just suck.

As for the show, the room was very crowded and hot. And there were an awful lot of Pushy McGees there. Here's what Philly's lady, Emily, had to say about the actual performance - she knows a lot more about music than yours truly.

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