Last Tuesday was the last Open Mic at Connolly’s for the summer of 2018. The results have been catalogued by Professor Squid and made available on SoundCloud. The kindly Professor runs, in my opinion, the best Open Mic in Rockaway, attracting both first-timers and truly talented individuals. There are a group of regulars that come every week, sometimes playing the same songs, sometimes venturing into parts unknown, and then there are the drop-ins, who come for a night or two and light up the place. I, for one, will be listening to the results all winter long, because there were some absolute gems by people who started out timid in the beginning of the summer and by the end were dominating the stage. SoundCloud, give it a whirl!
Open Mic closing, however, is a metaphor for the whole summer, which started off cold and damp, got really hot and humid, and finished with a flourish of more cold and damp. One local priest estimated that at least 13 weekends had rain, and I take the word of a priest over a weatherman these days. I know that my own troop of merry musicians, the Grayriders, were rained out twice. But in between, there were some awesome performances by our local bands, who seem to be getting better and better. We are truly blessed with great creative musicians and bar owners, who act as patrons promoting music at the beach.
And as the summer drifts into fall, a reminder that this year’s Poseidon Parade, the bookend to the Coney Island Mermaid Parade, will take place on the Rockaway Boardwalk on September 22. Among this year’s judges will be Marie Rudolph and none other than the Lazer himself. I, for one, am letting everyone know upfront that bribes are not only permissible, they are actually encouraged. I mean seriously, shouldn’t Trump, Cuomo and de Blasio be honest and say the same? I do believe that Mrs. Rudolph is above petty bribery, so any bribes meant for her can be siphoned off to me directly. It should be a great time and a lot of fun, and unlike the Coney Island counterpart, is actually family-friendly, so bring the kiddos. And as a side-note, I do believe that the Rockaway contingent won best float in the Mermaid Parade, so expect great things for Poseidon.
And speaking of great surprises, how awesome was it that the four corners of Rockaway Beach Blvd. at Beach 97th and 98th Streets became its own little music and food center this summer? With Whit's back and expanded to the space around the corner known as Rustwoods, and La Barracuda on the corner of 97th, and RBQ on the 98th Street corner, this area became the go-to place this summer. I am hoping for a gentle fall so we can enjoy all these places for the next few months, and RBQ and Whit's all winter.
It’s really hard to start a business. It takes vision, capital and elbow grease to make it work. I truly salute all the Rockaway entrepreneurs who have made our little slice of life a great place to live. As fall and winter start to creep into our lives, I encourage everyone to continue to patronize our local establishments, so they can survive through the lean months.
And lastly, I salute all the musicians who toil at their craft, trying to get better, trying to make art, opening us up to the beauty in our lives even as darkness sometimes descends. As my friend Dylan Thomas says, “Do not go gently into that good night.” Drop mic, walk off the stage, turn off the light.