A Thanksgiving Tale


Please note that Sitwell’s is having a Hobbit trivia night this Wednesday (December 11) at 8pm, with lots of great Hobbit-related giveways – should be a great time!

This story took place back when Sitwell’s was in a different location. Back then the coffee house was in the basement of Tudor Court Apartments. At that time I lived about a block from Sitwell’s.

People see Thanksgiving in different ways. Many people see it as an opportunity to be surrounded by other people, and who can blame them? Many writers, however, see four-day holidays differently—especially novelists, who, in order to write books that are hundreds of pages along, engage in the verbal equivalent of an endless series of marathons.

Marathons take time. Like many novelists, I had mastered the art of forging ahead with a book in spite of the fact that I worked a nine to five—but nothing beats four days in a row with nothing to do but write. I was stoked when I woke up on Thanksgiving morning. All I had to do was get some coffee, since I had run out. I figured I could get some from Sitwell’s, which wasn’t open for business, but had a tradition at that time of hosting a free Thanksgiving dinner.

When I got there, I asked if I could buy a pound of coffee, and even though I was a regular I was turned down. Nor could I buy a cup of coffee. They weren’t open for business, and I couldn’t give them an IOU or any of that business.

Can I function without coffee? Sure, but let’s face it: coffee, to many fiction writers, is like whiskey is to a blues artist. In many respects writing a novel is an endurance battle, and caffeine helps. So, while I was contemplating the possibility of writing dull, flat prose for the rest of the day an employee started talking about the free dinner that day. I had assumed that it was only for the needy. The employee emphasized, however, that it was open to anyone who wanted to come. “Why don’t you come back?” she said.

At that moment a humongous 5,000-watt light bulb went off in my head.

A couple hours later I returned to Sitwell’s. The room I walked into was full of people, many of whom I knew because they too were regulars at Sitwell’s. I hung and out and chatted with folks and ate lots of good food, including turkey, which has lots of Triptophan, which has long regarded as an enemy of potentially productive writers.

I more than counteracted that, however, by drinking massive amount of caffeine—and after leaving Sitwells, I spent the rest of my long weekend writing.

What happened that day taught me something. For one day a year, no matter how much you plead, there are situations where people absolutely refuse to sell you something – and believe me, there was absolutely no way the employees at Sitwell’s were going to allow me to make a cash transaction.

They were more than happy, however, to give me something. For me that reinforced what Thanksgiving is all about. Here’s hoping you receive a little reinforcement yourself this year.

The Kissing Club to Play Sitwell’s Coffee House Monday

Monday at 9 pm a New York band called The Kissing Club will be performing at Sitwell’s Coffee House. Their music has been described as “two people making music with guitar, cello, electronics, and voice. Quiet, intimate, and explosive. Like Philip Glass, Nick Cave, and CocoRosie sharing a French cruller while reviewing divorce papers.” Word has it that the Kissing Club just released Tapdancer, which probably has something to do with the fact that they’re hitting the road to play some shows in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Even though their competition included bigger names, Little Acorn by The Kissing Club managed to show up on this best-of list for 2011. In the reviewer’s words, “This little four-track EP is like a handcrafted invitation to a divorce, or perhaps a peace offering of love gone awry. While the very slow songs scratch at the bones, a classic-rock-style guitar solo on “Someone Else” breaks the supposed tranquility and reminds us just how purposefully restrained these “sweet” songs really are.” Continue reading “The Kissing Club to Play Sitwell’s Coffee House Monday”

Five Reasons to Check Out Holidays on Ludlow This Friday

A celebration of Christmas in the heart of the Gaslight District, Holidays on Ludlow returns to Ludlow Ave this Friday, December 7 from 6-9 p.m.  There will be free parking in the Merchant Lot on Howell Ave. after 5 pm. Here are (drum roll, please) the top five reasons to check out Holidays on Ludlow:

  • It’s a great way to get in the Christmas spirit. There will be free carriage rides with luminaria along the route, caroling courtesy of the Clifton-Fairview German Language Choir, and free pictures with Santa Claus.
  • This is an event for both children and adults. “We’ll have bobbing for apples, tea parties, and Kiddie Cocoas for the little ones,” Sitwells wrote on their Facebook page. “No worries, parents, we’ve got our delicious Spiked Mulled Cider for you!”
  • It’s a chance to do some shopping. On the off-chance that you haven’t finished all your Christmas shopping, this is an opportunity to support lots of local business within walking distance of each other.
  • Arts and crafts. Holidays on Ludlow will include holiday hat making at Aquarius Star plus a snowflake making contest.
  • It’s a chance to help the needy. Gaslight Property will once again be hosting a canned food drive on the Plaza during the event. Please bring your cans and other non-perishables and be generous with our less fortunate neighbors during the holidays.

Cello Prog Pop at Sitwell’s Tonight

At 9 pm tonight (Monday, August 6) cellist, vocalist and songwriter Ian Cooke will be performing what has been billed as cello prog pop at Sitwell’s Coffeehouse on Ludlow Avenue. Based in Denver, Ian is gigging around the country, and here we have yet another itinerant musician who somehow discovered that because it’s centrally located and supports interesting music Sitwell’s is a great venue to approach for a gig while you’re roaming the country. Ian has a few full-length releases under his belt, and here’s hoping he brings the vinyl for his most recent effort, Fortitude, which is both a nice-looking and nice-sounding  new release. Continue reading “Cello Prog Pop at Sitwell’s Tonight”