Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Music, Comedy, Bocce Ball and More at Brooklyn's Bell House, Floyd and Union Hall.

Valentine's Day is a treasured holiday for lovers and greeting card companies alike. So what's a single gal to do on February 14? How about gathering friends together to go see a comedy show where the object of the night is to laugh at other people's romantic (and other) pain? Yes, please!

Last night, The Bell House welcomed The Rejection Show's "Valentine's Day Heartbreak Haven," hosted by writer/comedian/producer Jon Friedman. The night began with an opening musical act by Cudzoo and The Faggettes, whose festive pink-sequin dresses, sophisticated hairdos and doo-wop style tunes reminded me of some famous 60s girl groups, except that the lyrics would never have been approved by American Bandstand. Can you imagine baby boomers singing "New York Girls are the $h!t," while rhyming with certain private parts I loathe to mention on a public blog, or belting about showering with a friend? Neither can I... Clearly, the show was off to a good start.

Following The Faggettes were no less than fourteen short comedy acts which incorporated a variety of media, from stand-up comedians like Elna Baker (whom my friend described as "the funniest Mormon in New York City...") telling stories about rejection, to musical comics like "Erin and Her Cello," performing the catchy bluegrass tune, "I love you sober and I love you hungover,"to the premiere of a new episode of a web-based TV series, Broad City (which apparently is in its second season, newest charming episode very adorably titled, "Valentine's Day"). My favorite acts were Elna Baker, who described a magazine article she wrote about losing her virginity in her late 20s and then receiving a voicemail from the boyfriend she lost it to, who was less-than-happy to see their story in print and had some hilarious choice words for her; Sara Schaefer, who gave a great anecdote  about "guilty pleasures" upon abruptly becoming single after co-habitating; and comedy couple Sean Crespo and Carol Hartsell, who told the story of their break-up (fictional, I imagine), as if they were telling the story of an elaborate proposal. More than half of the comedians/musicians/writers/however they want to refer to themselves really had me laughing and having fun and, mostly, forgetting all about the fact that I was there because I didn't have a date on Valentine's Day. In fact, looking around the room it was clear that some couples made this their date of choice for the evening. To those great couples with a true sense of humor about themselves, love and rejection, I ask, do you have any single friends for me?..

Bell House is the sister bar to the only two Brooklyn bars that can boast indoor bocce ball courts, Union Hall and Floyd.  (FYI, a quick google search led me to find only one Manhattan bar with bocce ball -- restaurant Il Vagabondo, on the Upper East Side). Bell House and Union Hall frequently host indie and other concerts, comedy shows, karaoke, bingo, and tons of other cool, inexpensive events. See their calendars here: Bell House calendar Union Hall calendar. Besides being known for bocce, Floyd, which is probably too small of a venue to host larger events, whereas both Bell House and Union Hall are converted from warehouses, is also known for its cheap drinks, especially hard liquor, and its chill, neighborhood sports bar atmosphere. It's also a favorite haunt of Brooklyn Law School students. Bell House has the most upscale, "clubby" feel to it, while Union Hall is somewhere in the middle, and Floyd is a total comfort zone bar.

I should mention that bluegrass band The Defibulators closed out The Rejection Show, I think... By the time they took the stage it was nearly 11pm, and since I had no date to fake a headache for, I chose to head home when my eyes began to close involuntarily. This wasn't because The Defibulators weren't good... they were a lively, bawdy, interesting band (I counted at least ten instruments, 2 guitars, a harmonica, bass, fiddle, banjo, washboard, drum, token female vocalist -- no this wasn't Arcade Fire, but they kind of looked like them, sans Grammy and adding tons of 'twang) whose jams would have really gotten me moving if I was at a Sunday afternoon picnic, or at least a night when I didn't have to travel 45 minutes home from the depths of Gowanus and then wake up for work the next morning. I would definitely like to check them out on a night when I have the energy to enjoy them, as their songs on myspace are really fun.

The Bell House is located at 149 7th Street, between 2nd and 3rd Ave, in Park Slope/Gowanus.
Union Hall is located at 702 Union Street, off of 5th Ave, in Park Slope.
Floyd is located at 131 Atlantic Ave, between Henry and Clinton, in Brooklyn Heights.

UPDATE: I originally got the names of Sean Crespo and Carol Hartsell wrong, but have edited this post to fix the error. 


  1. This sounds like it was an amazing time. I've been meaning to check out Elna Baker's book forever now...this just makes me more curious. I also REALLY need to get out again...the winter has made me too much of a hermit for my own good.

  2. It was really fun, Allison! I was impressed by Elna Baker and may need to check out her book myself! Also, one of the comedians, Sean Crespo, sent me this info on his free Thursday night comedy show, Lasers in the Jungle. Could be a way to get out and enjoy the spring-like weather this winter week.


  3. So this explains the note taking!?!?!