Archikulture Digest

Joe’s NYC Bar

Joe’s NYC Bar


Created and Directed by Christian Kelty

St. Matthews Tavern

Orlando, FL</strong>

As bars go, this one’s not bad. The cover is a bit high but drinks are cheap and strong, the staff and regulars funny and smart, and Todd Kimbro’s band prevents unnecessary small talk. The down side? Closing time tosses you out into the harsh Florida sunshine at 6 pm on a Sunday. Further drinking options are limited, but there IS a hot dog cart.

Christian Kelty came up with Joe’s Bar maybe a decade ago; it first appears in a seedy little space downtown that was eventually bulldozed for the greater glory of Orlando’s professional sporting team. It reappears today in an ex-gay bar in the oh-so-hip ViMi area, and it’s reminiscent of venerable Wally’s just down the street, less the bottle service. Some familiar faces reappear: John Connon returns as Ivan, formerly the bar back but now a well-dressed Russian mobster. Jen Gannon mixes drinks as Jet and doubles as the estrogen enraged performance artist with black lipstick. Michael Wanzie is Dave, the Drunk Guy At The End Of The Bar and Fringe’s Michael Marinaccio is clean cut Frank, the Off Duty Cop.

As we wander through the space debates erupt about police brutality, the place of blacks in America, gays in Russia and the decline of American manufacturing. Brit agitator “Y” (Simon Needham) proposes we all stop buying Apple products for 60 days to show them who’s in charge, and dragged out Glenda (Glenn Price) adds some sparkle to the event. Part of the action revolves around the misdeed of “Captain” A. Ali Flores; he’s a bit brain damaged but loves superheroes (someone in the crowd liked Aquaman, which is a bit like falling in love with the Orlando Magic.) His day is fulfilled when Trenell Mooring comes in dressed as Wonder Woman from Comicon to complain her stuff was stolen on the subway by a woman and a dwarf posing as a toddler. Only in New York.

Beside the booze and camaraderie, there’s a good bit of emotion. Local critic and scenester Seth Kuberski got in a yelling match over statistical analysis of ‘deaths by’ and ‘deaths of’ police officers by race. A drunken woman tried to balance a beer bottle on her head and then argued with Frank the Cop but had to cede her point half way along when she lost her train of thought. A helpful political analyst demanded Ivan withdraw from the Ukraine, and Frank Hilgenberg even took the lead with a rant on the dumbing down of America and the evil influence of the profit-driven media .You have to give this show points for topical issues, and even more points to director Kelty letting things go just as far as they should before tamping them down. Highly recommended, centrally located, and remember: they pour them strong and straight at “Joe’s NYC Bar.”

For tickets and dates for Joe’s NYC bar please visit Other information is at

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