Highline Ballroom

“Green, black, orange or chai” said the server, to which I replied, “No peppermint?”

Having read that peppermint tea could relieve me of my newfound allergy symptoms, I settled for orange with some disappointment, as I watched singer Theo Bleckmann at Highline Ballroom.  I happened to sit myself down at a table with the bassist’s wife, and she welcomed this Cali girl to New York, the city of extravagant pollen count.

New York, the great equalizer.  A city where both young and old, rich and poor, can be found on public transit, sniffling and suffering from itchy eyes.  As the train doors closed on the Cathedral Parkway station, I turned to catch a glimpse of two-time Grammy nominee, Gerald Clayton, walk by blowing his nose.

The men’s and women’s room sinks are connected, below on either side of the dividing wall.  There are four stalls, a small table with an assortment of lotion and fragrance, a dingy clear plastic chalice full of hard candies and a lady waiting to turn on the faucet, pump soap and offer you a paper towel, hoping to be reciprocated with a bill in the tip jar.  There was a man on the other side of the sink to fulfill the same role, as if in a mirrored, alternate universe, though whether the men’s side also had a mini fragrance bar or not is a mystery.

A woman walked into the crowded restroom and asked, “Are you in queue?”
Just one word can give you away.

Saturday marked the US release of Theo’s Kate Bush CD, with Henry Hey (keyboards), Caleb Burhans (violin/guitar/vox), Chris Tarry (bass) and Ben Wittman (drums/percussion).  I have seen him perform in various configurations from solo to as a member of John Hollenbeck’s large ensemble, and this band now rivals his duo with Ben Monder as my favorite.  The music, already engaging from beginning to end, benefited from the colorful changing lights, fog machine and giant disco ball on stage.  I would avoid the place if you are prone to epileptic seizures.

Even though their calendar includes Chick Corea and Robert Glasper, Highline Ballroom is not a strictly jazz venue.  Then again, Theo Bleckmann is not a strictly jazz singer.  Nor is this a blog about jazz.

Theo was responsible for creating the space alien language in the movie, Men in Black, and he tells us how to say, “Where’s the restroom?” below —

untranscribable space alien language