Friday, April 17, 2009

The Boys Visit The Barrel House Piano Bar! / Plus, a Shocking Story of Art Theft in the Hipster World!

Obviously, the Barrel House is not going after the hipster crowds. First off, the cover is three bucks, and real hipsters do not pay more than two. Second, it's only fun to mock poorly-performed versions of Bruce Hornsby and Bruce Springsteen songs for an hour or so. So, for the Barrel House to succeed, they need the business of the kind of people who live in the lofts across the street from the venue (if, in fact, anyone actually lives in those lofts). Dueling-piano bars may thrive in the upscale Power and Light District of Kansas City, but can this work in a college town?

Judging from the boys' visit last night...unlikely. Although the venue is made for crowds (three downstairs bars and several upstairs "lounges"), at 9:00 on a Thursday the only real crowd was more than 30 employees, waiting sadly for customers to arrive. To be fair, there were eight actual customers, which consisted of: three businessmen in white shirts and ties who kept requesting Young MC songs and getting made fun of by the pianists because they looked like Jehovah's Witnesses; three cougars sipping cosmos; and two bobcats (Chip and Richard), one of whom (Chip) kept repeating over and over: "I am very uncomfortable right now." The younger of the two pianists, a long-haired gent from Michigan State, insulted Kansas crowds several times and occasionally checked his phone in the middle of songs when his fingers were otherwise unoccupied. While the pianists claimed to know every song ever sang "except for four," they were unable to play any of the (more than four) requests made during the evening. Impressively, however, they were able to play Lonely Island's "On a Boat": "Fuck land, I'm on a boat, motherfucker; fuck trees, I climb buoys, motherfucker." But of course they censored their f-words, so as not to offend the cougars. As the boys left, four other employees stood outside near the roped-off entrance, the sort one sees at Hollywood movie premieres, as if waiting for a sudden wave of people bent on hearing overly-loud piano-based versions of mainstream country hits like "It's 5:00 Somewhere." But they might as well have been waiting for Godot. That's a literary reference, folks, because in Larryville we read literature instead of going to piano bars.

So, all in all, how do the boys rate their experience?

Chip: "I would have preferred getting shot at Last Call."

Richard: "Perversely fascinating. I'll go back."


Sure, we all know that knife-fights are prone to breaking out in the parking lots of "undesirable" local bars, but it turns out that crime can even affect the insular world of hipsters. A "breaking news" story on yesterday reported a truly shocking incident: the theft of three small works of art from the Bourgeois Pig's "6' X 6'" exhibit: "Please help to make it known that this is not only unacceptable, but reprehensible, and that Lawrence is small enough that someone will eventually see these artworks."

The crime, however, was soon solved in the story's talkback section:

sethm_wiese says..."I did it...kinda. I was on my computer at that corner booth and reached to grab something; my elbow bumped the display knocking it off the wall. None of the art was hurt, the 3 top pieces, I rehung. But the bottom 3 pieces, the hangers fell off the backs of the pieces. I then gave the fallen pieces to the bartender working at the time. No harm was intended...."

Chip: "This is disappointing. I was looking forward to sleuthing out the perpetrator, who I imagined to be some twisted hipster beating off to these small naked art pieces, and exacting vigilante justice on him, Forttt Scottt-style!"

[a photo of the art in question]:


I do the metacommentary around here, MOFO! On a boat! said...

I will assume that this was inferior to our KC experience where Sam was serenaded with not only replete drafts of the entire Ben Folds Five catalogue -- but I am reasonably certain I got the guy to do two Tenacious D tracks and Jay Zs 99 Problems!

--I will look forward to visiting this place if it is still around when we visit in May!

"but a bitch ain't one" said...

Yeah, I don't think these guys even know the D.


I miss the Gaslight very much.