The End of Tipping???


Earlier today, New York restauranteur Danny Meyer, announced that he is ending tipping at all 13 of his restaurants, beginning in November.  These venues include the Union Square Cafe and Gramercy Tavern, two of NYC’s most revered eateries.

While some restaurants around the country have instituted various measures to remove tipping, this is the largest, and highest-profile restaurant group to announce such a measure.  To provide the extra compensation to the staff, menu prices will be raised.  According to Meyer, this will cover the loss of tip income to floor staff, while also providing a income boost to his kitchen workers, whose pay in the past few decades has not risen in step with tipped employees.

“The gap between what the kitchen and dining-room workers make has grown by leaps and bounds,” Mr. Meyer said. During his 30 years in the business, “kitchen income has gone up no more than 25 percent.”

“Meanwhile,” he added, “dining-room pay has gone up 200 percent.”

One of the motivations behind the plan was the culture barrier between American and European diners.  Too often, service staff would lose their gratuity simply due to the misunderstanding of foreign visitors who were unaccustomed to adding a tip to the check, when back home the service charges were typically already included.

With such a high-profile move, what will the repercussions be throughout New York City?  Will other restaurants follow suit?  And can a trend like this extend beyond the dining market, and into bars and live music venues?

While the piano bar and Dueling Pianos markets do not typically face these concerns, and currently do not see a huge percentage of European customers, only time will tell if this venture is a renegade action, or the start of a new dining attitude.  Stay tuned!

Kurt Cobain Covered This Famous Song…and No One Knew He Did It!

Newly released today on Spotify, this previously unheard cover of The Beatles’ AND I LOVE HER, was recorded by Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, unbeknownst to his family, band, or management.  Unearthed by filmmaker Brett Morgen during his research for the documentary “Montage of Heck”, he said, “”Nobody in Kurt’s life — not his management, wife, bandmates — had ever heard his Beatles thing,” the director told Rolling Stone. “I found it on a random tape.”

Now you can enjoy all the grungy moodiness of Kurt’s adaptation:


Let’s Do The Time Warp…Again! Rocky Horror Picture Show Cast Reunites for 40th Anniversary!

On yesterday morning’s TODAY show, on NBC, some of the original cast members of the 1975 (!) movie reunited to chat about the making of this iconic midnight movie.

Susan Sarandon, Barry Bostwick, rockstar Meatloaf, Patricia Quinn, and Dr. Frank-N-Furter himself – Tim Curry, all gathered to reminisce about the film that would become the longest running theatrical release in history.  Not bad for a project that began as a small cult musical.

The filming was arduous – Sarandon caught pneumonia during production.  They shot in a house that had no roof, during cold, leaky winter months.

And how did Curry arrive at the now-famous ‘sweet transvestite’ characterization of the Doctor?  Originally, the accent was going to be German, but when he overheard a British woman speaking on the bus, he decided to fashion the character after the Queen of England.

And why are so many people still Time-Warping, forty years later?

“The thing that resonated for me more than anything was, ‘Don’t dream it, be it,’ which was a really good idea,” Curry said. “Really good slogan.”

Added Sarandon, “I’ve had so many people come up to me and say that film helped them through a dark time.”

Billy Joel Hates Playing This Song…And It’s NOT Piano Man…


This past Sunday, October 4th, Billy Joel was a special guest at the New Yorker Festival 2015.  In an onstage interview with writer Nick Paumgarten, Joel discussed the repetition of playing the same songs, night after night.  Surprisingly, he still isn’t jaded by his catalog.

“It’s not a job you get bored in: We’ll play similar material at various gigs but it’s always so different.  There’s always a different dynamic, a different ambiance in the room, the audience is different, you’re different that night.”

But what about the song that has become his namesake, his biggest success and his albatross all at the same time, the legendary PIANO MAN…

“If you would have told me at that time that a song that was almost six minutes long in three-quarter time about bummed out losers in this alkie bar in Los Angeles would be a hit, I would say, ‘Yeah sure,’” he said.

So, what song does he loathe in performance?

According to the onstage conversation, he now feels that CAPTAIN JACK is a depressing, dreary song.

I guess not every song is music to its writer’s ears…