The pungent stink of the Fulton Fish Market is indeed gone, as noted by Dan Barry this weekend, making it all the more enjoyable to rediscover the South Street Seaport area as a source of entertainment. Currently set up on the pier down there is Spiegeltent, a traveling performance venue (yes, it's a tent) that's set down stakes for August and September here in the city. On stage tonight was the band One Ring Zero. Also featured was a quartet of authors reading or performing their work as an interlude between the music, including Ned Vizzini, who has officially become the first person I've ever known to read an entire selection of short fiction from his plugged-in cell phone, and Amy Sohn, who had a drummer back her up while she read a funny list of lame pillow-talk comments.
I'd heard of One Ring Zero before, but never actually heard their music, and I think tonight's performance minted them a new fan. They use some fun instrumentation, including accordions, trumpet, and theremin. Several songs they played had a carnival waltz flavor to them, which fit the venue perfectly, with its cabaret-style tables in the center, worn old booths around the edge, plus mirrors, smoke, multicolored panels, and swirling star lights. One of the band's recent CDs, subtitled the Author Project, features the lyrics of famous writers like Jonathan Ames, Margaret Atwood, Paul Auster, Dave Eggers, Denis Johnson, and Daniel Handler. There's even a honku by NYC blogger Aaron Naparstek and a rejection letter as lyric by Michael Chabon. I'm definitely going to look up this band again, and if you get a chance to visit the Spiegeltent, it should be worth it. Two nitpicks, though: The bars in the tent and outside in the beer garden only have Heartland Brewery beer on tap, which I think is extremely underwhelming. And the promotional material advertises the place as being "under the Brooklyn Bridge;" it sure has a nice view of the bridge, but it's not under it.