Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Joe's NYC Bar Shakes up Mathew's Tavern at this year's Fringe.

On The green lawn of fabulousness a friend and I bumped into actress Marty Stonerock ordering soft serve ice cream. She is one of the actors in Joe's NYC Bar at Mathew's Tavern. She let us know that the show was about to hit the 100th performance landmark. The show we were going to was the 99th. She said there was a good chance we all would be singing 99 Luft Balloons. We arrived a bit early and relaxed in the outdoor beer garden trying to avoid the insidious cigarette smoke. There was only one entrance and we didn't know that a line was forming outside. A car alarm blasted the evening calm for a solid five minutes. Frank, from To be Frank was in line in front of us. I showed her the sketch I did of her performance earlier in in day. Someone who looked down on his luck worked the line offering free advice for $1. The bar owner (Christian Kelty) came out upset and they argued the merits of free advice versus panhandling. If he was panhandling then he should have been in a blue box.

The bar stools were all occupied but are found seats along the wall with a good view of the female guitarist who played acoustic for the pre- show. Three women dressed to the nines were near the guitarist. The bar tender offered the prettiest woman a Jack Daniels. It is impossible to separate the cast from the audience, and the audience joined in some serious heated debates about creative license with other peoples stories, and the right to privacy. A rich yuppie prick (John Connon) bragged about his riches and the number of women he had slept with. (he claimed to be approaching 600.) The guy offering free advice entered the bar. Arguments erupted and a bar stool crashed to the floor. The angry patron (Tim Williams) had to be bounced from the bar. Much later, this angry patron re-entered. The bar owner said he wasn't welcome. The guy was right next to me as he apologized for disrespecting everyone. He spoke from the heart saying he doesn't have a family. The patrons in the bar were his only family. He pointed to several regulars saying, "you are me family" to each. He pointed to me looked me in the eye and said the same. I noticed the woman who had been offered the free drink was choked up. Her eyes sparkled from the tears she tried to hold back. She finally had I wipe a tear a way with her pinkie.

The show seems largely improvised with certain story points being hit throughout.. The rehearsal I sketched a year ago had been completely different.  The heartbreak of love lost was discussed at some length. How do you separate from someone you love today? One of the women shouted, "Text message."  The bar patrons argued about what matters in the hear and now, the play hit home with plenty of heart. It was an incredible night of theater. Absolute magic.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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