if any of you are local to boston, you may have heard that toscanini's has been shut down because of tax reasons and they are trying desperately to raise money to make a down payment so they can re-open.
this place is a huge piece of dresden dolls, and my personal, history. let me tell you about it.
toscanini's is a store (there used to be three branches, harvard, MIT and central sq. - now only the flagship central location remains) that makes very special ice-cream. flavors like burnt caramel, chocolate elvis, banana's foster and champagne sorbet have bowled people over for years. it's been called "the best ice-cream in the world" by the new york times. the owner, gus, is a huge music lover and has been a non-stop suppporter of the boston & cambridge arts community.
he gave me my first (and only, thank god) day job, being a barista and scooping ice cream, when i was almost out of college and 20 years old.
when i wanted to get into street performing, i asked gus if he would let me use the basement staff bathroom at toscanini's in harvard square as a dressing room, since i had no other place i could leave my gear and make-up. thus began a beautiful succession of summers where i would perform as a living statue and use toscanini's, two blocks away from my spot, as my home base. the customers would see this freaky chick emerge from the basement in full bridal gown covered with white paint carrying a huge vase of flowers weave through through the lines of ice-cream-manic children without a second glance from the staff.....it was a constant david lynch moment. i loved it.
right after i met brian, i recommended him and he started working at toscanini's too. he worked mostly at the MIT store and sold our first 5-song demos from behind the counter. some of our first fans EVER came from MIT via the ice-cream connection. i could go on and on about how much of an institution this place is for gigging musicians (gus would always hire musicians and let their touring schedules dictate their work schedules). some of my fondest memories of our early band days were going into visit brian on his work shift there and hearing him play SWANS and Miles Davis on the huge bose speaker system while i would slurp free coffee and sit and read the paper.
we just stopped by the store a few weeks ago after practice and said hi to gus, who was so kind to us and gave brian a free pint of ice cream and me a free cup of tea. we had no idea any of this was going on. we call gus the "santa claus of ice cream".
if you can, please donate a little bit of money, and fast - all the info is here