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THE RAMONE

Mickey Leigh has Frankensteined together a 14th annual Joey Ramone Birthday Bash for his late punk-icon brother, who would have turned 63 today. The house band for this tribute benefiting the Joey Ramone Foundation for Lymphoma Research consists of Cheetah Chrome (Dead Boys), Glen Matlock (Sex Pistols), George Tabb (Iron Prostate), members of the Sic F*cks, and Leigh (Birdland, the Rattlers). Three decades after its heyday, the Ramones’ loud, fast, droll style furnishes a timeless corrective to rock ostentation. Tonight, the Bullys, the A-Bones, the Independents, Heap, the Gobshites, and Andy Shernoff (Dictators) are among the teachers offering a refresher course in the art of brutal concision.

Mon., May 19, 7 p.m., 2014

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Kristeen Young

Predating Amanda Palmer, Kristeen Young’s now logged over a decade of theatrical dervish shows along with a robust, ripe-for-rediscovery catalog of albums full of weaponized piano riffs and lyrics that aren’t TMI so much as too much candor, in the best way. She’s perhaps best known for railing at the canonical rock gods both on record (see: “Strangle Bowie with his neckerchief / Punch holes in the Beatles’ yellow boat”) and on stage. She’s probably best known for touring with Morrissey, getting kicked off the tour after accomplishing the not-entirely-difficult feat of saying something on stage Morrissey didn’t like, then joining the tour again a few years later. That said, her latest, The Knife Shift, is rather studio star-studded, produced by Tony Visconti and featuring players like Dave Grohl and Boz Boorey. She’ll be playing a four-show residency at Bowery Electric this month.

Wednesdays, 8 p.m. Starts: April 9. Continues through April 30, 2014

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Har Mar Superstar

Sure, Beck swooped over the carcass of the genre for an ephemeral late-night snack with Midnite Vultures, but Har Mar made a meal ticket out of his white-boy hipster soul, played as parody but really an homage hiding under a porny veneer. In the early and mid-2000s, Har Mar toured energetically, prodding his too-cool-for-dance audiences into busting real moves. And they’ve kept dancing ever since—even as Har Mar slid from view during the decade’s second half—at your local bar’s ubiquitous Soul Night. But Har Mar’s back with a new album, Bye Bye 17, and it’s time for that crowd to reacquaint itself with its maker.

Thu., Aug. 15, 8 p.m., 2013

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B.A.L.L.

As surreal and potentially volatile a reunion as you’ll stumble upon this year, B.A.L.L. was the troubled and troubling late ’80s slop-rock assemblage of the Velvet Monkey’s Don Fleming and Jay Spiegal, Shimmy Disc proprietor-bassist Kramer, and Bongwater drummer David Licht. Original Sonic Youth drummer Bob Bert fills in for the quartet’s first show in 25 years.

Sat., May 25, 7:30 p.m., 2013

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REBELS NEVER DIE

December 22 marked the 10th anniversary of Joe Strummer’s untimely death from a heart attack at the age of 50. Tonight at Strummerville, a fundraiser benefiting the Joe Strummer Foundation for New Music, you can remember the rock legend with a night of songs from his seminal band and amazing solo career, performed by members of the Hold Steady, Bad Brains, Gaslight Anthem, the Vandelles, and many more. The walking music encyclopedia Matt Pinfield will serve as host, along with a surprise appearance by a Saturday Night Live cast member. We have a good guess who that will be!

Tue., Jan. 29, 7 p.m., 2013

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The Virgins

Last heard from on their sweetly scuzzy 2008 debut, these New York City disco-rock brats are back with a new single, “Venus in Chains,” that suggests frontman Donald Cumming hasn’t learned much about cleaning up his act. Thank badness for that.

Fri., July 6, 7 p.m., 2012

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‘Max’s Kansas City Alumni Reunion’

Between 1965 and 1981, the Park Avenue South venue Max’s Kansas City was a downtown institution, hosting artists ranging from the Velvet Underground and the New York Dolls to Ramones and Blondie. Tonight, a bevy of its regulars launch a four-concert reunion, headlined by transgender punk icon Jayne County. The ringleader for the event is Psychotic Frogs frontman Jimi LaLumia, and he’s brought in the Nihilistics, the Shirts, two bands with members of Johnny Thunders’ Heartbreakers, and more.

June 7-11, 6 p.m., 2012

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New Year’s Eve: Dance

Sway

Vito Fun is a very busy man these days. When he isn’t shooting stunning pictures of every single party you missed this past year, he’s coming up with brilliant ideas and forgetting them just as quickly. And he’s a DJ, too. On any given night, you can find him out there, using his audio imagination to the fullest and making the masses move. Like a slightly fey Batman without a driver’s license, this nightlife antihero has saved many a gay man from a night of shitty music. And the straights dig him, too. He’s a confident man in uncertain times—and he’s DJing for you this New Year’s Eve. 305 Spring Street, 212-620-5220, swaylounge.com, $25 entry with champagne toast at midnight, call for table packages

Highbar

There’s something about standing 16 floors in the air, surveying the twilight Gotham skyline while partying with the beautiful people, that makes you feel like you’ve really got your shit together. From the moment the elevator doors open, it’s easy to have all of that glamour and glitz go straight to your head. Let it—you’ve had a tough year. It’s no wonder that this place holds Joonbug’s No. 1 New York City Penthouse Loft Party for New Year’s Eve, and if that sounds like a mouthful, it’s because it is. Open bar from 9 p.m. through 2 a.m. with bottle service for Platinum VIP guests, 251 West 48th Street, 212-956-1300, highbarnyc.com, $85–$185

Santos’ Party House

Still one of the best DJ spots around, Santos’ is reprising its series of OPEN parties by kicking off 2011 with ReOPENed. With two floors of classic hip-hop, house, soul classics, electro-disco, and reggaetronic to be explored, you’ll get your 10 bucks’ worth. Multi-platinum producer Just Blaze will be honoring his Friday residency, along with DJ Soul, Max Glazer, Micro Don, and DJ Gravy. Doors open at 10 p.m., 96 Lafayette Street, 212-584-5492, santospartyhouse.com, $10 before 11 p.m., $20 after

Webster Hall

With this year’s 125th anniversary of Webster Hall, the mother of all New Year’s Eve parties is still on top of her game. Come December 31, the bold and the beautiful will flock from all corners of the globe to attend the world’s largest balloon drop at our oldest and most storied nightlife institution. The stage shows are epic, and the crowd is always down for whatever. With four floors of nocturnal playland to discover, aerial performances, fire displays, and eight different DJs throughout the night, there is no better bang for your New Year’s Eve buck. The best part: This party serves liquor till 8 a.m. Bloody Beatroots take over at 3:30 in the morning. And if you can’t make the main event, at least you know where the after-party is. 125 East 11th Street, 212-353-1600, websterhall.com, $99 and up

Roseland Ballroom

When I was in high school, there was nothing better than sneaking out of the house with friends to catch a killer DJ lineup at the Roseland before dragging our wasted carcasses to class the next day. The Giuliani dragnet years were a joyous time for those of us who didn’t get arrested, and for all of his bullshit, he did manage to prove our point: The harder you push against New Yorkers’ God-given right to party, they’ll just push back twice as much and with far more creativity. Steve Angello will be spinning the best house on the main stage till dawn. Show him some love. Show starts at 9 p.m., 239 West 52nd Street, 212-247-0200, roselandballroom.com, livenation.com, $76.50–$140

Mason Dixon

Bourbon tastes good, and it’s good for you. That last part is debated in some circles, but not at this bar, which offers the largest selection of the gushing brown nectar in New York City. And everyone knows that nothing goes better with bourbon than mechanical-bull riding—they really know what the hell they’re doing here, like doctors with soft hands. For $85, you can get your dance on to the music of the Ohio Party with ample help from the five-hour open bar and the champagne toast. If you’re going out hard this year, they offer top-shelf booze, unlimited bull rides, and a special tasting menu prepared by Michelin-rated chef Wayne Nish for $200. 133 Essex Street, 212-260-4100, masondixonnyc.com, $85–$200

Mehanata

There was a time when I would tell people that I only listened to world music and soft jazz so they would stop asking me what I was into. It worked for years. Then one day, it didn’t anymore—people would get really excited and pelt me with names of bands I’d never heard of. Since I am a serious journalist, I dug. And I found Mehanata. A longtime favorite of Gogol Bordello frontman Eugene Hutz, this place has been a haven for trans-global punks, belly dancers, and anyone with a passion for vodka-flavored hotties and anti-Balkanization. This year, the urban-gypsy-phonic Japanese rockers of Kangero will invade 2011 fast and dirty. Show starts at 9:30 p.m., 113 Ludlow Street, 212-625-0981, mehanata.com, nominal cover

Beauty Bar

Forget to get your nails did up ’cause you were in a rush to get out the door and meet your girlfriends for a drink? It happens to the best of us, so don’t worry—this spot has you covered. Renowned the world over for combining the manicurial arts with alcoholism, Beauty Bar is serving both this New Year’s Eve. They’re staying true to form with their weekly Soul Shaker Dancestravaganza, spinning a little something for anyone with any sense of rhythm. Unlike most of the parties in town, they’re one of the few joints offering a decent cover charge: It’s $40 for the open bar from 9 p.m. through 12 a.m., and then they knock off 10 bucks an hour as the party keeps poppin’. Bring your friends. 231 East 14th Street, 212-539-1389, beautybar.com, call for more information

Bowery Electric

If I had a dollar for every time I’ve been yelled at by the person at the front door, I’d be retired and living it up in Puerto Vallarta. That aside, if you want to get sweaty and dance all night to great rock-and-roll, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more intimate venue in the East Village. Their New Year’s Eve black-and-white party will be hosted by DJ Gina Bon Jersey, and there’s an open bar from 10 p.m. through 1 a.m. 327 Bowery, 212-228-0228, theboweryelectric.com, $100

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The East Village Goes South, Again

East Village activist John Penley announced plans last week to show opposition to his beloved neighborhood’s new developments. His weapon of choice: skewered swine, which represents “right-wing Republican” Bruce Willis, the celebrity backer for a new wine bar on First Street. Penley, one of the area’s more vocal inhabitants, is scheming to roast a whole hog—like the ones that make your stomach lurch when you catch an accidental glance of them in Chinatown—that’s been awarded the pet name Bruce. “People love the idea,” says Penley, who plans to stage the protest during the 20th-anniversary celebration of the Tompkins Square Park riots, slated for August. “I know a few who’ve been calling from pay phones to ask Bowery Wine Company if they serve roasted pig.”

Co-owner Chris Sileo, on other hand, says all the calls have been in support of his new joint. “Ninety percent of the people have embraced us,” he says. “And it’s not like I’m not part of the Village. I grew up here—it’s where I’m from. My grandfather owned a bar in this neighborhood for 38 years.” He admits that the space is slick, but adds that you can still get a glass of wine and a panini with tax and tip for 20 bucks. (“We’re also giving weekly donations to the Bowery Food Mission,” he says. “We’re doing our part.”)

But what some call slick, others call sterile, and Penley would argue that nearly all of the neighborhood’s new establishments are the latter. Three other buzzworthy bars have opened in the past few weeks within blocks of BWC, and the East Village Yacht Club is gearing up to do the same. The former Navy sailor and photographer, who has lived here for almost 30 years, is a wealth of information regarding the nabe—and he knows just whom to blame.

“You can start with NYU,” Penley explains. “Whenever they open a new dorm in the city, corporate-type restaurants and bars immediately open around it. And the worst thing is that the students are one of the most obnoxious and visible groups in the neighborhood now. They tend to travel in packs—10 to 15 of ’em at a time—and they look alike and sound alike, without actually saying anything. It’s like a bunch of birds chattering.”

He gets more specific.

“I almost got in a physical fight with a gang of them not too long ago, congregating in front of the bodega on their way into Mama’s. They were taking up the entire sidewalk, making people walk around them, so I asked—very nicely—if they could please move closer to the building, at least. One of them pipes up: ‘Oh, so you own the sidewalk.’ I couldn’t believe it. I was like: ‘Yes, I fucking do own the sidewalk, you little fuckers.’ I just started wailing on ’em, ran ’em off down the street. They’re temporary, you know? They have no interest or connection to the history of the East Village. If you asked them who Charlie Parker is, they’d probably tell you he sells cupcakes.” He pauses. “NYU unleashed a plague of dumb-kid locusts on the whole neighborhood.”

Of course, that hasn’t just happened in the past month. Penley’s friends—old-school artists, musicians, poets, and writers—got kicked out of their Bowery lofts long ago, taking with them some of the romantic ideals (and unpredictable parties) that twenty- and thirtysomethings still flock to New York to find. Taking up the Bowery’s spaces these days are a slew of new nightlife options. In the old Marion’s Marquee spot, Retreat’s owners opened Antik, a swanky lounge that doesn’t even have a bar, just cocktail waitresses slipping in and out from behind a curtain to quietly take orders. In the basement of that building, formerly home to M&R, now sits King’s Cross, an upscale pub that opened in March. And a few blocks south, the New Museum takes advantage of its convenient location to get in on the late-night museum action that’s become so popular. This Thursday, as part of the Get Weird experimental-music series, a power trio of downtown cool will take the stage as Fakey: Joe Williams of White Williams, Moses Archuleta of Deerhunter, and Matthew Papich of Ecstatic Sunshine.

And so things change, etc. But when photographer Clayton Patterson gets kicked out of the upscale John Varvatos retail shop for trying to snap a shot a week after it opened in the former CBGB space, it resonates. “This is a guy who’s one of the most famous documentarians in the history of the Lower East Side,” Penley says. “It just goes to show how connected they are to the neighborhood.”

Still, the stalwart continues to hold out, hoping that a worsening economy will force out some of the less hospitable tenants. And there are plenty of places that Penley will still go, like the Double Down Saloon. (“I like it because it looks so unwelcoming, you know? Even though it’s really not.”) Sophie’s, but not on the weekends. Bowery Poetry Club, occasionally. Atlas Café. Niagara. “Anywhere, really, where they know me well enough to give me free drinks,” he says.

If he sounds grumpy and out-of-touch, rest assured he’s not—Penley’s just concerned with quality control. We agreed on the Bowery’s only new bar worth going to: Bowery Electric, opened by Mike Stuto, Jesse Malin, and Johnny T (their combined lineage includes Hi-Fi, Black and White, and Coney Island High). Look for Hi-Fi’s weekend bouncer, Vincent, working the door on Tuesdays and Wednesdays—and befriend him. When I started to leave one night last week, he let me know that Spoon was on its way, following the band’s show at Terminal 5.

“That place is the one exception I’ll make to all this new shit moving in,” Penley says, singing Malin’s praises. “He’s part of the old-school neighborhood, you know. He’s one of our types—the outcasts and outlaws—but also just one of the nicest guys you could ever meet. And anything he does is just . . . it’s just cool, you know? He might be opening something in a gentrifying wasteland, but it’s still going to have some character.” (For the record, Malin is supportive of his new neighbor, Varvatos—his band, D Generation, is supposed to play the official opening of the retail shop on Thursday night along with Ian Hunter, Cheetah Chrome, and Alan Vega.)

For the places that won’t be receiving quite such a warm welcome from Penley, however, look out. “I’m going to buy some cases of cheap wine and have a free wine party—invite a bunch of the bums and the homeless and the squatters. Right out front of Bruce’s place,” Penley promises. “We’ll be there until the police run us off. Because, you know, there just isn’t any way of stopping it, unless the stock market crashes. That’s the only way we’ll even be able to continue living here.”