Transgender Karaoke-Type Ambiance

Jeremy tried to buy me off of writing about tonight with a turkey burger deluxe. But I can’t be bought, because tonight was one for the record books.

Ok, record books might be a stretch. But tonight was one for the Definitive New York City Moments File, to be sure.

It started with rehearsal at Kev’s studio. The Smith Family Players is now known as Shinola, though I have persuaded the guys to take the Smith surname whenever we play. The songs sound good, the harmonies sounds good, and it’s coming together nicely, rest assured. Our rehearsals are loose and fun (which is unusual for New York rehearsals where it’s all about getting as much done as possible before the next band comes in). We’re likely to perform our first show next month in Brooklyn.

So then we go to hear bassist Roy (Smith) perform with his band at The Green Room. Ends up The Green Room is a bar in the Flower District that’s half, well, florist. His band does something of a New Orleans Zydeco thing. It was fun, if crowded — the band alone took up half the venue. But by 11:00 or so, Kev, Jeremy and I are starving.

I have no idea where to dine in the area (save for all the delis — I recorded ‘Crash Site’ right across the street). Kev suggests Comfort Diner. But Jeremy wants ambiance. So he suggests Tomato.

“Sure, I’ve been there,” I say. “It’s got ambiance.”

Wow, little did I know. There’s ambiance, and then some.

Transgender karaoke-type ambiance.

We walk in and there’s this Playboy Playmate-type lip synching to Britney Spears’ ‘Toxic’ as we walk through the door. “Are you still serving dinner?” I ask. “Oh, of course,” the host answers.

The room is filled with men, and everyone’s laughiing uproarously. But I’m not quite getting it. I mean, she’s not funny, and she just lip synhcing. What’s the shtick? I ask the most-veteran New Yorker.

“Now, is she a man or a woman?”

Kevin just nods.

Now we know why Jeremy wanted to eat at Tomato.

So our turkey burgers and Brooklyn Ales are accompanied by a guy-turned-girl singing along to Kylie Minogue, Whitney Houston, and The Eurythmics. The whole thing became increasingly entertaining. I appreciated the bus boy manning the spotlight. And forget mustard — there’s no garnish equal to a disco ball.

So, my Saturday night in summary: ountry, Zydeco, and trans-gender Diva karaoke.

I love this city.

Thanks Jeremy!

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