In Kent Russell’s wild yarn, “The Disaster Tourist,” the gonzo journalist enlists the tour operator that was showing Otto Warmbier around North Korea when the doomed American was thrown in jail. With his fellow thrill-seekers, Russell embarks on a “profoundly stupid—nay, monumentally irresponsible” trip to Chechnya and the diplomatically unrecognized Republic of South Ossetia, conflict zones where Americans are definitely not supposed to go. Their goal: to “experience something so transformative that we just might return home an improved version of who we were when we left.”
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Pour out some milky, sweet iced tea for East Village Thai, a tiny, beloved neighborhood fixture.
The East 7th Street hole-in-the-wall has been known to take summer breaks, maybe because the small, open kitchen behind the takeout counter kicked up so much heat. But this time the four-seat restaurant won’t be back. A sign on the shutter thanks customers and says “It has been a true privilege to serve you for these past decades.” Facebook postings from the cheap-eats go-to indicate it is “closed permanently” as of this week.
The late Anthony Bourdain described it as “a special place where an inexplicable confluence of people, magnetic forces, extra terrestrials, and otherwise strange shit came together.”
In the episode of No Reservations, Bourdain’s sound bath at the Integratron, a 38-foot-tall wooden cupola in the middle of the Mojave Desert, is paired with a psychedelic montage. Which makes sense. Many hipsters and new-age types seek a sort of Ayahuasca Lite experience at one of the “sound baths” there. (Some 30 participants lie on a mat as a sort of healer-musician rubs the rims of crystal bowls and fills the vaulted space with calming, surreally resonant tones). But the backstory of the bizarre building is even trippier, and it’s explored by Jonathan Berman in his new documentary, Calling All Earthlings, opening at Maysles Cinema on Aug. 1.
Looks like the whole cult leader thing didn’t work out, because Tim and Eric are now mattress salesmen. The absurdist satire duo– best known for Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!— just launched a new series aimed at helping you catch your forty winks. Just in case you’re too freaked out by their other show, Bedtime Stories, to sleep.
Picasso’s green period ain’t over yet. A 10-foot-tall sculpture of the Spanish artist cutting grass was supposed to be taken down this week, but the massive tribute to the striped one just got a four-week extension.
“P U N K is back in the East Village,” reads the Instagram comment from neighborhood street-art curators East Village Walls.
That might be a stretch, but this imposing portrait of Patti Smith just went up on East Second Street, near First Avenue. It’s by Huetek, the Brooklyn-born artist who has previously dedicated walls to Hunter S. Thompson, Kurt Cobain, and Mike Tyson.
Shake Shack has finally landed in Williamsburg, and that’s just the start of recent Shacktivity. Over at the Astor Place location, which opened in October, a new BBQ Pulled Pork Burger hit the menu today.
As temperatures climb into the 90s today, there’s going to be just a little less shade on St. Marks Place.
Governors Island was infested with Bugs on Sunday, and not just the usual dragonflies. Dozens of Beetles, camper vans, and hippie buses rolled onto the ferries in the morning and circled up in the grass of Picnic Point for the VW Traffic Jam, a Dub-lover’s paradise of vintage Volkswagens.
On the heels of San Loco closing its Bushwick location, we now know what’ll become of its old digs on Second Avenue in the East Village. New signage at 124 Second Avenue, near St. Marks Place, indicates the narrow nook has been taken over by The Dumpling Shop, a takeout spot specializing in “internationally inspired” dumplings.
Williamsburg lost one of its chillest and quirkiest indoor-outdoor spaces when Battery Harris closed at the end of April, but there’s new life for the onetime gas station on a triangular plot in the shadow of the BQE. The Breakers is now serving $5 Sex on the Beaches all day, all night.
Independence Day falls on a Wednesday this week, which means Hump Day is gonna be lit. (If we’re allowed to say “lit” anymore.) Here’s our roundup of parties, from the weekday into the weekend. Wherever you end up, remember that the Department of Transportation, in an effort to curb drunk driving, is partnering with Lyft to offer $10 credits when you enter the code KNOWYOURLIMIT here.