Legend has it that a creative and music-loving community opened diverse bar and music venue The Shrine.

As much as I am a fan of contemporary rock (Black Keys, Rihanna, Coldplay), I have to admit I am also a classic rock and roll dinosaur, having come of age in the mid 1970s and 80s. In college, even though it was post-breakup, I was still a bonafide Beatles fanatic, complete with card-carrying fan club membership and appropriate tears and screams when I blasted “Meet the Beatles” or “Revolver.” So, naturally, I went gaga for “Let it Be,” the Beatles “concert experience” currently on Broadway, through Dec. 29. The show was designed to celebrate the band’s 50th anniversary (an import from London’s West End).

I was a young adult in the 80s and 90s, so punk music, new wave music and the surrounding culture from that era was what I cut my teeth on when it came to rocking out. I remember all too well subletting an apartment in the East Village when punk was at an all-time glorious, loud, crazy, rebellious high, hearing the chaotic thump of Richard Hell and the Voidoids blasting in bars and clubs, standing among the ripped tee-shirts, tight jeans and pointy black boots that punk lovers wore (even on a sweltering day in August).

Ever wanted to try your hand at indoor bocce ball, sing karaoke on stage or see semi-famous musicians and comedians in a tiny, little basement venue under a bar? Head to Union Hall where you can do all three, maybe even on the same night.

Last week, I traveled to the Lower East Side with a friend to see a band, Their Planes Will Block Out the Sun, play at Leftfield NYC. I don’t find myself in this area too often, so I was presently surprised when we didn’t find ourselves totally lost while looking for the venue—it’s near Delancey St., the neighborhood’s main thoroughfare.

Want to see a new band, listen to a reading by your favorite author or mingle with book-lovers at a party all while donating to charity? Head to Housing Works Bookstore and Cafe, where you can do all of the above.

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