Anna Leuchtenberger performs at the Bushwick Book Club last Tuesday. — Photo by Dan Gill
Fresh from being billed by the New York Times as the "newest Bohemia" and "arguably the coolest place on the planet," newcomers to Bushwick on Tuesdays are likely expectant of something completely different, and organizers are happy to abide them.
Long before crooner Justin Remer invites me into an imaginative five-some for a "real sexy time," it is evident that the Bushwick Book Club is not to be taken literally. It is books, it is music, it is togetherness, otherness, artfulness, it is trash; it is at once an explosion of merengue, anti-folk, kraut-rock, ghoulish audience hooting and some drunk jeopardy.
The premise drawing the scholarly to Goodbye Blue Monday‘s clutter-chic is so simple it could be optioned for a Hollywood screenplay: our heroes have one week to write a song based on the supplied book, tonight it is the Encyclopedia article on the letter "Q." Scrabble-enthusiasts’ love-hate dichotomies aside, the Q-sponsored frivolity lends itself to many good-natured puns and er…quips.
Woody Guthrie’s slogans adorn the house guitar as performers take the stage and share insights into returning Mexican snake-feather gods, subatomic particles, embarrassing mid-coitus emissions, being Quetzalcoatl, quarks and queefs respectively. Alongside the permanent GBM collection of abandoned carousel horses and a haunting dollhouse, a cocktail special of Juniper berries and Quinine is added, lest malarial mosquitoes join our night of merry-making.
In all, eight acts take stage, Anna Leuchtenberger enthuses on quietation over a respectful whispered motorik beat, Buffie Roseanne brings the crowd into an impromptu call and answer Q&A with a quintessential twist, but it is not until Justin Remer of Elastic No-No Band shares a sexy tale of the five-sided organizing principles of the Quincunx that pulses start racing as we are invited to imagine a world where we are God, dice-makers, and finally prudish horn-bags.
"Let’s say you’re at a party, you’re drunk, it’s just you and two couples, and you want to have a real sexy time, but everyone’s a little shy. I have an organizing principle for you: Quincunx."
It’s an intriguing offer, to be sure, but there is not enough Quinine nor free BBQ tonight for anyone to engage anything more exhausting than a dictionary:
"Quincunx [def] (n) : an arrangement of five items with one at each corner and one in the middle of a rectangle or square. Eg. the distribution of dots symbolizing five on common six-sided dice."
Hostess Susan Hwang summarizes the night eloquently at one point, "if only high school had been taught in song, I might have learned something."
Those queerageous enough to set foot into the new Bohemia can check out the Bushwick Book Club on the first Tuesday of every month.
Come on, roll the dice baby.