About Daniel Maurer

Daniel Maurer is the editor of Bedford + Bowery and a Visiting Assistant Professor at NYU's Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute. You can reach him at editor(at)bedfordandbowery.com.

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Mermen and Murals at the Opening of Coney Art Walls

(Photo: John Roca)

The Coney Art Walls officially opened over the weekend, and among the celebrants were a merman and, even more weirdly, Sports Illustrated model Hailey Clauson.

As we mentioned a couple of weeks ago, this year’s food vendors at the mural-dotted lot near the Thunderbolt rollercoaster include chicken-and-waffles truck Chick-N-Cone, tacos-and-dogs truck Coney Shack, mobile pizzeria Neapolitan Express, Staten Island gastropub The Hop Shoppe, ane Lower East Side favorite Patacon Pisao. Events will include the annual Unicorn Carnival on July 8 and the Burger Records Beach Bash on July 22.

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Cinema of Transgression Lives: New Work From Richard Kern, Nick Zedd

Two icons of the Cinema of Transgression have new work out. The sultans of sleaze in question are Richard Kern and Nick Zedd, outre photographers and filmmakers whose work is connected to Sonic Youth and the ’80s downtown underground.

Last month we sent word that electro act Collapsing Scenery was premiering a new music video, directed by Richard Kern, at Cafe Henrie. Now the band has released the clip online, and you can watch it above. I can’t really describe it because after about 30 seconds of watching it on the train into work, I started to feel like a subway perv and had to turn it off. Not that I was surprised: again, the video was directed by Richard Kern, who is basically carrying the torch for softcore hipster porn now that American Apparel is out of commission. (Not to mention, Carlos Danger’s days seem to be numbered.)

If you make the mistake of watching the video for “Straight World Problems” at work and you’re forced to explain yourself to HR, you can use this verbiage from Reggie Debris of Collapsing Scenery. Apparently the track is about “the awful frequency with which new regimes and new systems mimic the worst qualities of those they replace.” Ah, so that’s why half-naked ladies are making out.

Meanwhile, Nick Zedd, who coined the term Cinema of Transgression to describe the gritty, experimental work of Kern, Annie Sprinkle, and others, just finished two new shorts. According to an announcement from Brooklyn Fire Proof, which produced them, they were filmed at the company’s Bushwick soundstage.

Here’s a description, from their Tumblr:

“The Death of Muffinhead” was inspired by the elaborate costumes designed and fabricated by New York-based artist Muffinhead. The film stars Muffinhead and artist Anaïs Djin performing all of the roles. The film also includes cinematography by Kyle Parsons and the song “Lost Illusions” by Exploded View. “Attack of the Particle Disruptors” animates three of Mr. Zedd’s original paintings. It features dialogue written and voiced by the band Sisyphus Autopsy, and by Jonathan Mittiga with voice acting by Nick Zedd. Michael Slatky provided the music.

Zedd is calling The Death of Muffinhead his “best film ever,” but it’s uncertain where or when it’ll screen next.

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How Latte Artists and Pizzaiolos Mourn Chris Cornell

(Irving Plaza on Twitter)

Chris Cornell died at the age of 52 on Wednesday, of what the Detroit medical examiner said was a hanging by suicide (his wife now says prescription drugs may have played a role.) His unexpected departure into the superunknown prompted eulogies from fellow musicians and tributes from other admirers around town.

Irving Plaza, where Cornell last performed with Soundgarden in 2012, changed its marquee in memorium, as you can see above.

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The Frying Pan and Brooklyn Bowl Are Summering in Industry City

Gone are the summers of Mister Sunday parties at Industry City– nowadays, you can find them over at Nowadays, in Ridgewood. But don’t start penning your “Queens Is the New Brooklyn” trend piece just yet. The folks at Industry City are doing their best to ensure that this summer is fully turnt. On May 20, the sprawling Sunset Park maker hub is launching a fun-packed events series called Summer Spree.

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Governor Cuomo Really Wants You to Pound Some New York Beers

Cuomo and Batali.
(Philip Kamrass/ Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)

Consider Governor Andrew Cuomo your new drinking buddy. As we recently noted, he signed legislation exempting small-time breweries from brand label registration fees, resulting in more than $2.2 million in savings. In addition, a beer-production credit launched in 2012 has saved craft beverage producers $12 million, according to Cuomo’s office. Since the State created a Farm Brewery license in 2013, some 150 farm breweries and 28 farm cider businesses have been established.

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Comedians Will Talk Shit (Literally) at the Lower East Side Film Festival

Pete Holmes in Poop Talk.

When the Gilbert Gottfried documentary, Gilbert, premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, we learned more than we ever wanted to about the potty-mouthed comedian’s bathroom habits. Namely, that he hoards the travel-sized toiletries that he pinches from hotels. You can expect a lot more of that when the Lower East Side Film Festival comes to the neighborhood next month. The fest just announced the lineup for its seventh annual edition and its closing night feature, Poop Talk, will feature a lot of turd talk from comedians.

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Smorg Vendor Tramezzini Brings Its Venetian Sandos to the Lower East Side

(Photos courtesy of Tramezzini)

First came Trapizzino, and now comes Tramezzini.

Lower East Siders are getting a serious education in Italian street sandos. Back in February, the Roman pizza pocket operation, Trapizzino, opened on Orchard Street. Now Tramezzini, a Smorgasburg vendor specializing in Venetian sandwiches, is opening just a handful of blocks away, on Houston Street.

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Book It To These Three Book Fairs

Reading is the opiate of the masses.

We can only agree with the Strand when it says Make America Read Again. Hence, a heads up about three upcoming book fairs.

BookExpo America
May 31 to June 2, Javits Center, Midtown; badge prices vary.
BEA is the big kahuna of local book fairs, drawing industry types looking to ply their wares to foreign publishers as well as librarians looking to spice up their lives by getting a glimpse of Stephen King (this year he’s doing an “author breakfast,” as are astronaut Scott Kelly, comedian Whitney Cummings, and Black-ish creator Kenya Barris). Autograph hounds can get the John or Jane Hancocks of authors like East Village poet Eileen Myles, whose book Afterglow (a dog memoir), about her 16-year relationship with her pitbull Rosie, comes out in September. Also appearing are feminist writer Jessica Valenti and the one and only Neil Patrick Harris. Among the industry panels are crowd-pleasers about comedy (with John Hodgman and Denis Leary) and, of course, first amendment “resistance” (with PEN America). Sorry, y’all, the Evening with Hillary Rodham Clinton is sold out, so you’ll just have to keep looking for her in the woods. While you’re touring the exhibitor floor, make sure to welcome Soft Skull Press back to New York.

June 3 and 4, Javits Center, Midtown; tickets $30-$35.
Hot on the heels of Book Expo, and also in the Javits Center, BookCon is run by the same people and is BEA’s more populist sibling. Instead of Hillary, you’ll get Chelsea Clinton. Among the panelists are comedian Marc Maron, there to plug a new book based on his WTF podcast; actor Jeffrey Tambor, who has a new book of personal essays, Are You Anybody?; and newly trending literary legend Margaret Atwood, who will be speaking to the showrunner of The Handmaid’s Tale. There’ll also be an appearance from a B+B favorite, Scott Rogowsky, prankster and Running Late host best known for taking some highly questionable books onto the subway. And, in case you miss him at the Human Rights Watch Film Festival, science guy Bill Nye will be in the house.

June 3 and 4, Knockdown Center, Maspeth;
This year, the festival formerly known as the Bushwick Art Book & Zine Fair is being held in Queens, so let’s just call it BABZ Fair. Occurring on the same weekend as BookCon, this fair is its indie counterpart, and will feature eclectic offerings from over 100 publishers. Among those exhibiting and presenting are Williamsburg comics shop Desert Island; Jeremy Nguyen, the Bushwick satirist whose comics have landed in the New Yorker; Greenpoint comic artist Tony Wolf; Brooklyn-based Maga Books (no relationship to Making America Great Again); and Bushwick bookstore and sexy chess host Molasses Books. Wendy’s Subway, the non-profit library and writing space that moved from Williamsburg to Bushwick a year ago, will host feedback sessions for those who want to bring in-progress work. Should you want to self-publish that work, Red Hook art-book publisher Small Editions will be leading a bookbinding workshop.

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The William Vale Opens Its Pool, Launching Williamsburg Wading Season

(Photo: The William Vale)

Ever since its opening last summer, The William Vale has added more and more amenities to its little corner of Williamsburg– the most recent being Wylie Dufresne’s donut shop, just a few weeks ago. Now comes the crown gem: a fourth-floor pool that, at 60-feet long, bills itself as “the longest outdoor hotel pool in Brooklyn and greater New York City.”

There were some one-off events at the pool last summer (Burning Man decompression party, anyone?), but on May 26 it’ll fully open to the public. That’s right: You’ll never have to dodge turds at the McCarren Park Pool again. Naturally, chilling poolside will cost you: Options range from a three-person pergola ($150 on weekdays, $200 on weekends) to a six-person cabana ($400 to $550). On weekends, you can also book a lounge chair ($45) or daybed ($100) on the adjacent terrace.

These rates are more or less in line with the McCarren Hotel’s pool, where day passes range from $55 (weekday) to $65 (weekend). This season, daybeds for one will be $150 to $175, and daybeds for two will be $325 to $375. That pool also reopens on Memorial Day weekend.

Also in the mix this summer is the Williamsburg Hotel, which, according to a receptionist, is aiming to open its rooftop pool in late June. Rates haven’t yet been announced.

The William Vale has one advantage over its splash-happy neighbors: a menu of light bites from Andrew Carmellini, the celeb chef who also operates the hotel’s rooftop bar, Westlight. Think guacamole with chili-lime chips, grilled hot dogs, and crispy shrimp tacos with chipotle-cilantro slaw. Plus a daily frozen cocktail.

If you’ve got dollars to drown, you can make reservations here, starting May 17.

On the other hand, if these prices are giving you the bends, there’s always the city pool at McCarren Park, which reopens June 29.

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Butcher Bar Is the Latest Outer-Borough BBQ Spot to Land in Manhattan

(Photo: Bettie Cutie)

I haven’t yet watched the new season of Master of None (maybe I’m still smarting from getting bounced by Aziz Ansari from the William Vale), so I have no idea how Butcher Bar factors in. But I’m told the Astoria restaurant is indeed featured. I’m guessing it has something to do with Aziz’s love of barbecue (he grew up in South Carolina, after all), because that’s exactly what the smokehouse and butchery is known for.

(Photo: Bettie Cutie)

Should that Master of None scene get your mouth to watering, you won’t have to hop on the ol’ N, W to get there, because this past weekend Butcher Bar opened a location right on Orchard Street.

As its name implies, Butcher Bar started as a butcher, hence its commitment to local, grass-fed beef, organic chicken, and heritage pigs. The chef, Orlando Sanchez, is Austin-born, but that doesn’t mean the place is religious about Texas-style ‘cue– they also offer up Kansas City-style burnt ends, aka “meat candy,” and Cajun-style shrimp and grits– and there are some nods to the Missouri and Carolinas schools of barbecue as well.

(Photo: Bettie Cutie)

On the menu at the Lower East Side location are some standards from the Astoria original as well as new dishes like a “chili cheese nacho tower,” spicy tacos, a rotating venison offering, and whole animal roasts. Also new here are moonshine cocktails like the Georgia Creamsicle, made with apricot nectar and peach liqueur.

(Photo: Bettie Cutie)

Between this and the Greenwich Village expansion of Gowanus barbecue joint Pig Beach, it’s never been easier for downtowners to do the ‘cue.

Butcher Bar, 146 Orchard St., Lower East Side; 212-842-8000.

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Go to Church to Hear Philip Glass on a Newly Restored, 105-Year-Old Pipe Organ

Back in December, when online radio station The Lot added a vintage school bus to its chill hangspot in Greenpoint, we noted that they had been doing concerts across the street at the San Damiano Mission. If you haven’t had a chance to check them out, this is the time. Next Thursday, May 18, the church is dusting off its century-old pipe organ for a performance of Philip Glass.

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