In 2003 the guys who created the “Spinal Tap” movie produced the epic movie “A Mighty Wind” that was a "mocumentary" on the folk music scene in the sixties. The movie is pretty funny in the same tradition as some of the other movies that Christopher Guest and Eugene Levy have concocted such as “Waiting for Guffman” and “Best in Show.” But the movie could also be the title of the current Rockaway weather pattern, that is, rain or shine, there is a mighty wind that blows through these parts!
I have written about this Sirocco before, that blows across the peninsula defying all logic, as it seems to come at you from every direction, especially if you are biking. Like the Libyan Desert that spawns these Zephyrs, these winds kick up sand (what’s left of it) and backyard umbrellas like they were Toto in the Wizard of OZ!
Hard to figure out if this is the new normal for Rockaway? Not that I am complaining, because when it’s 90 degrees in Manhattan and the A train is out again; it sure is nice to have that breeze blowing here cooling things down. But it does make bike riding and kayaking less fun. But maybe there will be a silver lining and maybe half of those coming to Rockaway on the ferry will take a break and give the residents a rest.
But enough about winds, mighty and weak, let’s talk about the music part of the movie. Sometimes it’s easy to mock a guy with an acoustic guitar as being old-fashioned, but there is nothing old-fashioned about what goes on at Connolly’s every Tuesday night. The Open Mic, run by the ever-present Squidmeister Guy Nevirs, presents an excellent line-up of local musicians who just want to sing their songs. Some are part of bands and this Open Mic presents an opportunity to get away from the madness that is their band. But others are just guys who play and sing really well and don’t have an outlet to express their talent and explore the chance to perform live. There are sometimes more musicians than fans on Tuesday, but it is a supportive group that typically stays after they finish playing to listen to those that follow. At the risk of spoiling a fun scene, it really is a good time, and Connolly’s does a great job of hosting with the friendliest bartenders in Rockaway.
Every so often, a ringer gets thrown into the mix and you know you are witnessing something special. Occasionally, a harmonica player, a bass player, or even a penny whistle player will drift up and play with someone they hardly know and transform a song. In addition, the ringmaster of the evening is an expert singer and guitarist and kicks off each night, breaking the proverbial ice for all the others.
So when those mighty winds blow you from the shores, and it’s a Tuesday night, float over to Connolly’s for an experience that is as close to the Greenwich Village coffee house scene from the 60’s that you will ever get. Of course you could rent the movie too, but that would not be as much fun, trust me!!