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New Year's Eve
Judi Chicago, Noot d'Noot
Drunken Unicorn

Text and photos by Frederick Noble

I spent half the afternoon assembling outfits and trying to decide which to wear. I settled on a plaid tux with ruffled shirt and big velvet bowtie. Thanks to those on Facebook for their feedback.

I figured the various fine dining establishments around town would be packed on New Year's Eve. Every time I've stayed in town and gone to dinner it's been "Do you have a reservation? No?? Well, we'll see what we can do."
So I went to The Bookhouse early, only to find the place almost empty. By the time degenerates CD and DA arrived the waitress said we needed to hurry up and order since the (fantastic) chef had decided to close the kitchen early. The place is usually crowded on any night of the week but for whatever reason folks decided to either stay home or go elsewhere New Year's.
But the food was, as always, amazing, the beer selection is superb, and some of my favorite bartenders work there. By the time we were done eating the staff was turning people away so they could close up for the night.

We trekked up the block to take DA to The Clermont for his first ever visit. Things were relatively slow there too, though it was far too early for the establishment's usual crowd.

A few bands I'd never heard of were schedule to play but we were just stopping in to enjoy the usual "so that's what it would look like if grandma took up stripping" experience. The residents of the hotel above were on their last day, evicted by the health department after an inspection uncovered a litany of violations. There were a handful of windows still lit but for the most part the rest of the building was dark. With the current owner under foreclosure I've taken several opportunities to visit the Lounge lately, just in case.

We crossed the street to The Local for a drink and a round of pinball (their lone machine sucks) before heading to our final destination of the night/year/decade, Drunken Unicorn.

Again, I expected a packed house but found plenty of space early in the evening. There was a good crowd moving to the beat in the dance hall/bar area but the live music room was half empty. A few days later I'd find that even the sold out Earl had plenty of space and somehow 529 didn't seem crowded despite the fact that it's about 20 square feet total and they had half a dozen bands. A lot of folks grumbled about it being "amateur night" but it didn't feel any different than an average Saturday night to me.
Judi Chicago started things off. Since they added James Joyce on drums I've enjoyed the band more and more.
They got the crowd dancing right off the bat and didn't stop until the countdown to midnight, with everyone sweating and smiling as we raised our glasses.

Happy New Year!

Noot d'Noot continued the dance-a-thon with the funk end of the spectrum.

Members traded instruments song to song and everyone on stage seemed to be having as much fun as the folks on the floor.

Eventually they wrapped it up and the crowd packed the dance hall. CD and I fled, however.

I stayed at a friend's place in L5P. In the new morning/day/year/decade, the neighborhood was dead quiet. Back to Ponce, The Majestic was one of the few places open serving hangover helper food.

Back home, I'm happy to have put that year behind me. I don't usually make resolutions or feel like the new year is really anything new, but this time I'm happy to put a nail in the coffin, bury that year, pave over the graveyard and forget it was ever there. So Happier New Year to everyone!

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