You know you’re not at a typical post-screening Q&A when someone in the audience asks the filmmakers, “Do you still love each other?”
Zefrey Throwell and Josephine Decker had just premiered Flames, a nakedly honest (and I do mean nakedly honest) portrait of their nearly one-year relationship, and the question could have just as easily been, “Do you still hate each other?”
Even these days when art galleries and boutique hotels line the Bowery, homeless encampments aren’t hard to find there. But this is a decidedly different type of Camper. As of today, the Spanish shoe brand is selling $285 kicks at the first New York City outpost of CamperLab. The narrow store at 221 Bowery, right next to Bowery Mission, promises cutting-edge designs that aren’t available at Camper’s Soho, World Trade Center and Midtown shops. And we do mean cutting-edge– the soles of the $285 kicks in question were designed to resemble T Rex teeth. You can also get women’s heels that look like they were made from upcycled soft pretzels. Or maybe they were made by a balloon-art clown at a kids’ birthday party.
After raising over $98,000 from over 1,600 people via a widely publicized Kickstarter campaign, East Williamsburg DIY venue Shea Stadium is calling it quits at its current location. A letter to Kickstarter backers, sent just a couple of days before the campaign expired, explains that the landlords, who had been supportive of the venture during its eight years on a scrappy industrial block of Meadow Street, have now decided to open a nightclub of their own. It looks like last week’s visit to the Macaulay Culkin Show might’ve been our last look inside the endearingly homegrown venue.
Williamsburg institution SummerScreen just dropped its lineup for the summer, and the list of free outdoor flicks that’ll screen every Wednesday starting July 5 is good and populist. We’re looking at Mean Girls, Office Space, Donnie Darko, and I Know What You Did Last Summer— plus a curveball, Selena. We’ll let you know once we hear details about food vendors and bands. In the meantime, don’t re-watch any of these movies the next time they pop up on cable TV (if anyone even has cable anymore), because you’ll want to save them for lounging in McCarren Park with a beer in hand. If you can’t get a seat, just do your best Lumbergh: “Um, yeeeah, I’m going to need you to move that lawn chair over just a little, mmkay?”
One sign of spring: your local boat bar reopens. (The latest on that: Frying Pan is now up and running and the folks at Brooklyn Barge tell us they’ll be operational early next month, likely in the first week of May.) Another sign: In Washington Square Park, the flowers are in bloom and the fountain is back on. Mating rituals are on display– namely, between the acroyoga people and the piano guy. Everyone is taking Boba Guys selfies with the arch. And this afternoon, as you can see above, a rainbow was in full effect, apparently celebrating Pride Week a month early. The second I saw this, I just had to sit down with my laptop in the park and share it with you– no time to go back to the office when news is this urgent, you see. No time to go back to the office at all.
Okay, so Girls is over. (And fuck you, everyone, for putting major spoiler photos at the top of your reviews of last night’s season finale. No, seriously, fuck all y’all!) But life goes on for one of our other fave shows about narcissists tripping over their egos as they struggle to make it in this cruel city. Difficult People has started filming its third season. Today the show is holed up at East Village restaurant San Marzano’s, which has once again transformed into Billy, Denise, Lola, and Nate’s place of “work,” D’s Cafe.
A few years ago we had a Williamsburg perfumer turn the Newtown Creek water treatment plant into a custom scent, and had her do the same with the smelliest block in New York, in Chinatown. The results were horrific enough to dissuade us from further experimentation, but now Williamsburg’s Soap Cherie has (sort of) picked up where we left off. The Bedford Avenue soap store has introduced a new NYC Smells line, inspired by the odors of Penn Station, Gowanus, and yep, the fish markets of Chinatown.
Last time I was in Philadelphia, I happened upon a restaurant called Pod. It had a 2001: A Space Odyssey vibe that suddenly made me remember a similarly retro-futuristic Pod that existed in Williamsburg in the early aughts. When I googled to see if the two Pods were related, I discovered something rather surprising: there was virtually no online trace of The Pod in Williamsburg.
How could this be? When it opened in 2001 as a sister of Bliss Cafe, The Pod was one of the slickest restaurants in what was then Williamsburg’s fledgling dining scene. Like its neighbors Planet Thailand and Sea, it boasted the sort of transportive design details (video projections above the bar!) that made Brooklyn Paper, in the only review I could find, call it “a glamorous newcomer to the Williamsburg restaurant scene, [with] an Austin Powers-like vibe that inspires the imagination.” But while you can still visit Sea and its Star Trek-esque transporter bathrooms with video monitors inside, Pod came and went. It was as if a spaceship had briefly docked on North 7th Street, beamed me up inside of it, spat me back out and vanished back into the ether.
John Coltrane (Photo by Chuck Stewart, featured in Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary, by director John Scheinfeld.
Back when I worked in book publishing, a newly hired editor moved into the office next to me. Day after day, he’d play John Coltrane’s Giant Steps on a loop, until I had no other choice but to walk into his office and inform him that he had excellent taste in music. And thus, a friendship was built on an inside joke about Coltrane on infinite repeat.
It seems Coltrane has that effect on many people, some of whom appear in Chasing Trane, a new documentary by John Scheinfeld. Among those interviewed are Carlos Santana, who says he cleanses his hotel rooms by lighting incense and playing the A Love Supreme, and Common, who says he has played the album more than any other (no offense to Schienfeld’s previous documentary subjects, John Lennon and Harry Nilsson).
Steve Reich has been on a tear since a series of concerts celebrating his 80th birthday back in October. Earlier this month, during a star-studded celebration of Nonesuch Records, the composer bounded onto the stage at Brooklyn Academy of Music to present former label head Bob Hurwitz with a sheaf of sheet music. And last week, the man in black was back at Carnegie Hall for some the usual rapid-fire convo about his seminal work “Different Trains,” which was performed as part of an ongoing series he curated in honor of three generations of modernist composers. The cavalcade continues, with Symphony Space hosting an epic free program, “Wall to Wall Steve Reich,” later this month.