Paper Garden Gala

Appreciating the residential streets of deeper Brooklyn as one only can when the trees are green and reggae boom bangs from stoop BBQs.

Story and Photos by Teo J. Babini -

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It was a bit of a trek, but the weather was uncharacteristically warm and so I was overwhelmed by a sense of sunny Spring positivity. Appreciating the residential streets of deeper Brooklyn as one only can when the trees are green and reggae boom bangs from stoop BBQs. I got to Bryan Vaughan’s (Owner of Paper Garden Records) pad where the little concert was being held in the back yard which connected to the neighboring building’s yard yielding an ample amount of space for both staged concert and barbecue. The decorum looked like something out of a Jeunet film, a mix of junk yard and makeshift garden.

I was sweating by the time I settled in, luckily the free beer was cold and environs casual enough for me to strip down to my guinea tee. It would be a day of violins with River Whyless, a baroque folk band out of North Carolina, and Little Tybee, from Georgia. I had a regular romance with the violinists in my own mind, something about the way they move, and string vibration you can feel in your spine; faces almost shy.

Garden Gala photo©Teo J. Babini

It felt a little bit like strange paradise. The kind of experience you have on rooftops right before the sun goes down and the girl with whom you’ve shared glances all day sits beside you with her head on your shoulder really truly happy and at peace, smiling with closed eyes, as though experiencing a wonderful dream mirrored in this sudden idyllic reality. The only real difference being the difficulty of getting to the pisser, which existed on the top floor of a locked house and usually had a little line goin’. From the window of the interior I looked out on to the scene, watching people, window framed, living and interacting without knowledge of my visions, distant spectator.

At some point, I dipped into the other half of the yard for some chicken, pre-seasoned ribs, and grilled pineapple with cheese. It was an opportune moment ’cause my DJ friend had just rolled up a fat blunt plus Gerry and his Brazilian doe had just come back with more beer (the free fountain had run dry). Greasy hands make for a smiling tummy. I had a nice buzz goin’ after I smoked and to my surprise another band would be playing.

IL Abanico photo©Teo J. Babini

Il Abanico, a Columbian post-pop band, took the stage as night descended on the garden. It was a perfect scene, full of dark, moody energy. The lead singer shakes like she’s seizing up and her voice pierces through the black sky, while the guitarist rocks back and fourth, maniacally, as though possessed by some voodoo shaman.

The G train wasn’t running on the way back, so we had to take the long loop home. It was Cara Bella’s birthday… I bought him a drink.

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