Atlantis Has Been Found by Canadians and Commies, If Anyone Cares; Demolition String Band at Rodeo Bar; "Russian Comedians" Rock Brooklyn Variety Show; Comic Books Honor 9/11; Future Is Now at Remote Lounge
Last month, a team of explorers backed by a Canadian venture (Canadians found Atlantis, ugh) confirmed the existence of large, underwater stone structures off the coast of Cuba's Guanahacabibes Peninsula. The team first spotted these structures back in 2000, so they called in a robot. It went down in July and photographed huge, smooth blocks?looking for all the world like cut granite?in circular and pyramid formations. The researchers have now identified "a large urban center" and they believe that the submerged Cuban pyramids predate the Egyptian pyramids by about 1500 years.
The discovery of what has to be Atlantis hasn't made waves in the U.S. press, perhaps because we're worried about a bunch of land-locked tribesmen, perhaps because the Canadian venture that found the city operates under the auspices of one Fidel Castro (originally, its objective was to uncover Spanish galleons). Stay tuned. More research is being conducted and when this is all over, we might have a whole new Carnival Cruise line and Club Med.
As for Demolition String Band and that album about Atlantis: it's country. If you are one of those people who says, "I like everything but country, huh huh, 'cause it sucks," then you are a shmuck and you should ignore Demolition String Band along with many other country bands that might brighten your feeble life. But if you take a listen, it's quite good.
Lead signer Elena Skye belts out lines like Maryann Price of Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks; guitarist Boo Reiner, who's already got a name for the record books, acquits himself by playing Stevie Ray Vaughan-type solos with a thinner tone. He alone is reason enough to show up at Rodeo Bar (375 3rd Ave. at 27th St., 683-6500) this Wednesday, where Demolition String Band celebrates their new CD with a 9 p.m. performance. The group plays a country cover of "Like a Prayer" that you may have heard; it's their most popular number, but the originals are better, and since Rodeo Bar isn't charging a cover, you have no excuse to miss this show.
...That is, unless you're in Brooklyn, in which case the John Cougarstein and Friends Happy Happy Smile Hour and a Half Variety Show threatens to entertain you at the Brooklyn Lyceum. John Cougarstein is a bespectacled humorist/guitar player looking to unseat Al Yankovic from his, um, parody throne; the Brooklyn Lyceum is a bathhouse that used to house rats and streptococci but now caters to the friends and parents of Park Slope performance artists.
Every other week at the Lyceum, Cougarstein hosts his Happy Happy Smile Hour and a Half Variety Show. The chief reason to attend this Wednesday?although drag queen Reg Flowers and performance artist Michael Schwartz will take the stage?is the bizarre act of "Russian comedians" Alexander Pierre Luboknovitch and Peter "The Great" Stravinsky. These two put on a show that seems like something two seventh-graders with passable Russian accents would concoct in a living room and send to MTV. The best way to explain, really, is through my recent interview with them. Keep in mind that Stravinsky is a small, wiry man with a light (read: not very good) Russian accent; Luboknovitch is a huge nutcase with a felt beard who slurs.
Stravinsky: I love all comedians. I especially love Gallagher; he has very funny observations about America, much like my humor. In fact, Gallagher, you may not know this, actually stole my bit?
New York Press: Oh no, what bit did he steal from you?
Stravinsky: Sledge-o-matic! It was originally called vodka sledger, or in Russia, "voludka."
Luboknovitch: I love comedy, but am mostly importer.
Stravinsky: Please excuse Luboknovitch, he learned English from black market broadcasts of Benny Hill?
And so on. These two are inspired onstage, like a decent Kids in the Hall skit stretched to 15 minutes. Hopefully they will take more time off from whatever they do in real life to develop their act. The Russian comedians perform at 8 p.m. this Wednesday at the Brooklyn Lyceum (227 4th Ave. at President St., 718-857-4816); it is $5 to enter.
...Taking the lead of Maus, some of the most beautiful and imaginative reactions to Sept. 11 have come from the world of comic books. Marvel, DC, Dark Horse and Alternative Comics have printed tributes to NYPD and FDNY that seem neither rushed nor trivial. This Tuesday, "Heroes Among Us," an exhibit of the best of this work, opens at the NYC Fire Museum.
"Heroes Among Us" is sponsored by the New York City Comic Book Museum, the city's premier nonprofit comic-collecting nerd haven. It features art from Marvel's Heroes book, a collection of posters and pinups by Tim Bradstreet, Frank Quitely (who recasts Christina's World at Ground Zero) and Igor Kordey (whose depiction of the passenger revolt on Flight 93 brings that story home better than any newscast, analysis or speech). Heroes is definitely the best of the 9/11 comics, already on its third printing; the b&w trade paperback 9-11: Emergency Relief is also exhibited. "Heroes Among Us" runs until Feb. 7 at the NYC Fire Museum (278 Spring St., betw. Hudson & Varick Sts., 691-1303). Suggested admission is $4.
...Admission is also around $4, and very mandatory, on weekends at Remote Lounge (327 Bowery, betw. 2nd & 3rd Sts., 228-0228). This kitsch venue opened up in fall of last year; it's a bar full of cameras. Every table has a video screen, joystick and controls that enable you to view other patrons in the bar and to focus your own personal camera (which sits atop your screen in a glass bubble) on whatever body parts you feel are fit for broadcast. Hitting a "+" button cycles through all of the views in the place, letting you zero in on wavy-haired Long Island girls, dumb white guys making faces or older men at the bar.
Remote Lounge's video system promises much more than it delivers. You are supposed to be able to buy a drink for someone you spy onscreen and instant message them, like on AOL, but you'll be lucky just to get a camera you can control. What makes the place worthwhile is the grotesque and inexorable vision it presents for our future.
See, a generation of children raised on the Internet finds it sexier to catch someone onscreen and type to them than to get up and to talk to them. (It helps that the crisp gray displays make people look terrific.) The crowd at Remote Lounge is quite young and they stay there for hours, with girls giggling over butts at the bar while guys calmly flip channels on their personal cute-female television screens. Odd, disturbing and expensive, but also a guaranteed hit for at least one night, Remote Lounge is new so they don't card that heavily and if you say you "have a friend waiting inside," you can avoid the silly cover. Keep your eye on the clock inside; it might be the best bar clock in New York.
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