Sea Creature Stompin’

A bundle of Balkan steampunk, their energy level was through the roof, and with just one fan pointing at the stage they brought some serious heat…

Story and Photos by Teo J. Babini -

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My boy Doc Rich gave me a ride to his place in Prospect when we split from the beer soaked sands of Brighton Beach. It was hot as hell and I was hungry. I ate this chicken cutlet hero and sipped a couple suds and the next thing I knew I was dead asleep in a couch coffin. The delirium of the previous evening’s late night hallucinogenic journey had finally taken its toll.

He woke me up on some: “We gotta go, man. I got to get to work soon.” So I poured the rest of a Corona in a Poland Spring bottle, took down some directions, and headed for Gowanus. About a block into the bottle, I realized that my little nap had sped up my digestion and that, suddenly, I had to shit. The problem was I was completely lost, sweatin’ through a couple camera bags, and needed to finish this warm piss that I didn’t even want in the first place. I forced her down and found a nice empty bar on Vanderbilt. This was actually perfect because the few people in there (staff included) were all glued to the TV, so the entrance of a sweat drenched maniac traveler went unnoticed. The real kicker was that it was too early for any real drunken mess to have occurred, so the bathroom was actually clean and fresh. So I relieved myself, splashed some water on my face, gave the back of my neck a nice once over with a napkin, and escaped unscathed, leaving only my scent behind.

Dancing mermaid photo©Teo J. Babini

The walk was under a half hour and when I arrived there was still enough light for the neighborhood guys to continue their pick-up games in the court across the street. The actual building I was about to enter had the appearance of a small abandoned warehouse. I finished my cigarette and braved the dark dusty stairwell. Although I was there exactly on time, the place was mostly empty. There was an aggressive woman setting up the bar, a tiny tattooed gypsy girl sleeping on the couch, and a blend of vagabonds and mermaids fresh from the parade on the roof. I took the opportunity to smoke another cigarette and get my bearings, as I was still recovering from the delirium induced by my couch coma. A pair of mermaids began chatting me up, it was an older crowd.

Eearie Shiri (Sour Mash Hug Band) photo©Teo J. Babini

The first band to come on was the Sour Mash Hug Band, a rag tag ragtime four piece of multi-instrumentalists from out West. The female trombone player was the little doll I’d seen sleeping in the beginning of the night, joined by accordion, stand-up bass, and a variety of other instruments. They played a vaudevillian variety show of a set, even inviting other band members to jam with them on stage. One of my earlier mermaids was swing dancing with a sailor and the Sea Creature Stomp had begun.

Wen Chang (Noah and the MegaFauna) photo©Teo J. Babini

The next group, Noah and the MegaFauna, is a full ten-piece gypsy jazz big band alla Hot Club with some indie rock vibes. I fell in love, as I always do, with the violinist. She seemed quiet and shy, but her solos were full of a confident bravado, ending with physical embellishments that you’d expect from a freestyle MC who just killed a ciph. By the end of the set the loft was full and I was ready for drink and a cigarette, so I dipped outside for some moonlit summer air.

As I sipped, puffed, and chatted with some Columbia student, good ol’ Jack Laszlo hit the scene (thank god), and the night was young.

Emperor Norton's Stationary Marching Band photo©Teo J. Babini

The third group was Emperor Norton’s Stationary Marching Band out of Boston, and they were anything but stationary. They started by marching through the crowd eventually finding a home on the stage. A bundle of Balkan steam punk, their energy level was through the roof, and with just one fan pointing at the stage, they brought some serious heat into the joint. Skinny guys lifting huge horns above their heads, pierced flute players stripping down to bras mid performance; they melted in and out of the crowd like the whole thing was one big circus.

Emperor Norton's Stationary Marching Band photo©Teo J. Babini

I was down to a tank top at this point, sweating suds and needing a refill. Some Little Mermaid found us and covered us in glitter, followed by a chance encounter with this girl Lezlie we met outside as she came pouring out of the madness tripping on molly, breathing deeply and loving everyone. The last brass band was interrupted by the big bacon boys when they responded to some fireworks someone had let off from the roof. So we scooped up Lez and the Little Mermaid who brought along a friend who had already discovered a male counter part.

Jack knew the area so we headed for a bar he had stolen the eight ball from a while back when he and Ian had been kicked out for talkin’ jive on the table. I walked with Lez and he with the Mermaid, but we somehow switched upon arrival at the watering hole. Little Mermaid and I had a conversation that was a bit too intense for the moment, but I was still sad to see her leave, as she left loving us like family with her wonderful spirit. A homeless man performed a couple coin tricks before we went back inside.

Emperor Norton's Stationary Marching Band photo©Teo J. Babini

I fell asleep on the bar from exhaustion and when I lifted my head the bitchy bartender had stolen my beer and we decided it was time to go. Lez lived in Astoria, so she would ride the G with us to shorten her cab ride. After Mr. Laszlo bid us adieu, she figured she’d ride the L with me to shorten it even more. As we rose from the tunnels, I offered the Irish lass some Irish whiskey and she accepted. I poured the brown and put on a Billie Holiday record. She sang along with her raspy voice and I’m sure you can figure out where it went from there.

One Response to “Sea Creature Stompin’”

  1. […] same gals that put on the Sea Creature Stomp (Mermaid Parade after-party) do a recurring event called Swing House. This particular Swing House […]