If you're pondering what to do tonight, you should consider making your way to the end of Minnie St in Eden Terrace. This part of the old suburb has been chopped up by various flyovers and road extensions, which means it's a puzzle to get to LOT23 but once there, you'll have all you need to sustain you for an evening.

Earlier this week, Kate Hursthouse was busy decorating an entire wall of the gallery space with her expansive calligraphy.

The young designer is exhibiting a number of works alongside her mural that features her expressive way with handpainted words.

LOT23 is essentially a gallery and studio.


"We refer to it as a creative hub, but you can call it anything you like," says easygoing Steve Tozer, who manages the institution with his wife Natalie.

"It's going a bit far to say it's a community arts centre because we have to pay our own way but we're committed to local art and music. We've even had plays here."

While the gallery is sparse and unfurnished during exhibition opening nights, it transforms into a fully functioning cafe five days a week.

For live shows, the cafe becomes a bar and they have a commercial kitchen to cater for special events.

Tonight, Hursthouse's floor-to-ceiling, red-and-black calligraphy will complement an ambitious live performance from Jonathan Besser and the Zestnicks, an ensemble that in this incarnation has only played once before, a few weeks ago, at the uber-hip Ponsonby bar Golden Dawn.

"I come from a more classical approach," says pianist Besser. "However, we do improvise. I'm Jewish but my music is not overtly klezmer, though with the viola and trumpet it can sound like it."

You can still detect Besser's chewy New York accent even though he's called New Zealand home since the mid 70s.

"I'm an Aucklander now, but I don't drive my car on motorways", he says cheekily, before describing his Gimel 1 Suite, an ambitious series of compositions that revolve around the number three.

It's a subversive idea, as almost all of the music we hear today is in 4/4 time and even if we do chance upon a waltz, the phrases are often divided into an even number of bars.

Besser and his dexterous band revel in three-bar phrases and bars three beats long, while stretching tempos and harmony with involved and playful improvisations.

If you're lucky enough to make it to LOT23, you'll also experience the unequalled racket of Finn Scholes' trumpet.

It's a unique chance to hear one of the hottest improvisers in the city, scattering notes across Besser's asymmetrical tunes at a venue superbly equipped for live performance.

"It's a buzzy place", says Besser in his Manhattan drawl.

He goes on to reassure me that the Zestnicks will play some music in 4/4 time so the audience can "start dancing and clapping". It's the place to be this Saturday night.