About Anaka Kaundinya

Posts by Anaka Kaundinya:

No Comments

The Mystery of the Cubeheads Is Solved

(Photo: Anaka Kaundinya)

Remember those mysterious cubeheads at Astor Place? Well, now we know what they were up to. No, they weren’t trying out the hot new headware. Turns out they were shooting a short for a campaign by the Tribeca Film Festival called “See Yourself In Others.”

Keep Reading »

No Comments

Comedian: Thou Shalt Follow Me On Twitter So I Can Get a Religious Tax Break

Brandon Scott Wolf. Memorize that name because roughly a third of any conversation with the above named person is basically those three words followed by a dot com. Hot on the heels of his two successful websites, datebrandonscottwolf.com (“the number one dating website for me, Brandon Scott Wolf”) and fightbrandonscottwolf.com (an open challenge to Floyd “Money” Mayweather to fight BSW, if he so dared), comes a third magnum opus (if three magnum opii are even permitted): followbrandonscottwolf.com.

Keep Reading »

No Comments

Marco’s Aims to Bring ‘More of That New York Feel’ Back to Bushwick

(Photo courtesy Marco’s)

“It’s just a local bar and we have this amazing piece of history inside of it that we’re just psyched to show everybody,” says Bryan Quackenbush, co-owner of new Bushwick drinking hole, Marco’s. The piece of history he’s talking about is a solid oak and brass bar that was built in the ’50s. It not only fits in with the idea behind the place, which is a kind of old-school return to comfort, but also kind of steals the show.

Keep Reading »

No Comments

Coming Soon: An Indian Film Fest and an Indie One, Too

Lipstick Under My Burkha’ by Alankrita Shrivastava

Fly fashion, bloodshot eyes and hordes of young’uns two shades paler from not having seen the sun in a week: must be film fest season! The Brooklyn Film Festival just announced that it would return for its 20th year on June 2. While we wait for it to unveil its lineup, here are two other fests to catch if you slept on those Tribeca tickets.

Keep Reading »

No Comments

Why Do These People Have Cubes on Their Heads?

Mysterious live-installation by the Alamo (Photo: Anaka Kaundinya)

Ugh, the Tribeca Film Festival is up to something cool at Astor Place — but they won’t tell what! Sneaky fellows. What we do is know is that there are folks (volunteers? actors? unsuspecting people on their way to work taken hostage by the crew? sad!) wearing mirrored cubes on their heads and just… standing around near the Cube cube. They’re also being filmed, so our best guess is that it’s an empathy-generating live-installation for some sort of performance art film.

Keep Reading »

No Comments

Abby Feldman Is a Baby-Crazed 29-Year-Old Virgin in Ovulady

To condom or not to condom? That’s the question in the pilot episode of brand new web series, Ovulady. In it, comedian, writer, actor and creator Abby Feldman’s namesake character and her new lover engage in a bizarre sexual battle over whether to use protection. Fingers are sucked and bellies are blown on while Abby tries to impregnate herself. Feldman, best known for her work in Netflix comedy Gringolandia, talks to B+B about the series and her process.

Keep Reading »

No Comments

What’s Up With the Giant Spikes Outside of Cooper Union?

Jan Palach Memorial at Cooper Union (Photo: Anaka Kaundinya)

Cube, meet spikes.

The Alamo returned in November and now another piece of monumental art is being installed outside of Cooper Union’s Foundation Building. The sculpture, a nine-foot-by-nine-foot cube with spikes mounted on top, is by John Hejduk, an artist, architect and former Dean Emeritus of Cooper Union.

Keep Reading »

No Comments

Watch a Little Girl Absolutely Lose It to This Psychedelic Didgeridoo Player

A toddler dances to Mueller’s music (Photo: Anaka Kaundinya)

“It’s scratch and sniff,” says Marc Mueller as a young man reaches for his business card. “It smells like me right now.” He gives a somewhat contemptuous half grunt before returning to his instruments. On this particular evening, the seasoned musician is stationed under the dull subway tungsten of Penn Station, coaxing psychedelic jungle sounds from a didgeridoo-inspired pipe while all four limbs accompany him on percussion. He looks disheveled, wearing his grey stubble with a touch of “wild.” He sprawls himself on a box that doubles as both seat and instrument, occasionally pointing at bewildered passers-by with his didgeridoo. As I’d come to understand, the scratch-and-sniff comment is one of his stock responses to the skittish commuters who make up his audience.

Not that I fully comprehend the meaning of the phrase, but it is emblematic of what makes him different from the typical polite and distanced busker. Every now and then Mueller, who is tall and lanky with sharp eyes, lightly scolds his underground listeners. That’s right: scolds. The reason? Around 2007 he started noticing that people became fixated on taking videos of the performance instead of enjoying the live presence of the performer. “People are much more interested in collecting data and capturing something for 5 to 10 seconds rather than stopping and being part of a collective public group,” complains Mueller.

He views the taking of videos for Instagram and Facebook as an obsession, one that jars directly with his sensibility as an artist. For this old-school musician and his ilk, the act of performing music is about forming a meaningful connection, however fleeting, with another human being. “We’ve had to respond to that phenomenon of disconnect by trying to engage people with either conversation or stopping a song,” he says, defending the need to scold.

Mueller performs with impressive frequency, averaging about 170 shows a year. Both his solo act as StreetMule and his band Mecca Bodega have been widely successful. He co-founded the latter with his brother 25 years ago, and together they’ve played at venues ranging from Lincoln Center and the Celebrate Brooklyn Summer Festival, to the Sydney Fringe Festival in Australia. But through bouts of public notoriety, Mueller remains grounded to his roots with the Music Under New York (MUNY) performing arts program, one that he’s been associated with since 1995.

Over the course of the evening, I began to empathize with Mueller’s frustration– it is kind of irritating when streams of people stop for only as long as it takes to get a photograph or video. That being said, the scattered audiences that do gather are respectful, attentive and seem to appreciate Mueller’s uncommon talent. A handful of people walked up to him, reverentially asking about his instruments. He plays on an assemblage of world music and hand-made instruments; his didgeridoo, originally meant to be wood, is really just a painted PVC pipe. He also has a string of bells wrapped around an ankle, two shakers, a plastic drum and more, relying heavily on his wooden seat/box to provide a percussive base.

One young tourist was so moved that he bought a CD, got Mueller to sign it and asked me to take a photo of them together. The true delight on Mueller’s face at these interactions– particularly with little children– undeniably outweigh the irritation of constantly being filmed: “It’s wonderful,” he says, “that’s why I’m out here. I get a chance to share my energy which is the most important thing and hopefully I’ll get some energy back from those conversations.”

Watch this video of toddlers enjoying Mueller’s music:

No Comments

NADA to See Here: Best of the New Art Dealers Alliance Fair

The annual NADA New York art fair kicked off yesterday in Soho. With a new space (Skylight Clarkson North) and a new time of year (Armory Week), NADA remains a cacophony of serious art enthusiasts and neophytes. Among the 100 exhibitors are a host of downtown galleries like Jack Hanley Gallery, Regina Rex, Rawson Projects, Alden Projects, and Brennan & Griffin. In classic style, nearly everyone was dressed in an all-consuming black. Here’s a look at what was on display this year.

Keep Reading »

No Comments

Designers Search For a Way to Confront the Immigration Crisis

L-R: Ezio Manzini, Rachel Lehrer and Ker Thao (Photo: Mashal Khan)

Design is something that most of us have a vague interest in, if only while furniture shopping. But what does a plebeian like me, to whom design still relates to physical products, make of the changing definition of the word? What do all the thousands of students entering design school every year really do? Surely they can’t all be trained to design pretty wall hangings? Sometimes the words “social impact” creeps into my mind and I think of things like this utilitarian tent-cum-jacket meant to shelter refugees fleeing war, but that’s as far as my imagination stretches.

Keep Reading »