Lovehoney is here to make you care about rock and roll again, and they’re doing a pretty damn good job of it. Band members—vocalist Alysia Quinones, guitarist Tommy White, drummer Tom Gehlhaus and bassist Matt Saleh—may not presently live in Brooklyn—though Alysia grew up in Bushwick—but their home base where they rehearse is a local fixture. The Sweatshop, which lies off the Montrose Avenue L stop, offers space to many rising New York artists. As we’re chatting, the whirring of a machine and other banging noises periodically disrupt our conversation. Tommy smiles wryly and says, “The perks of having a rehearsal studio in a warehouse.”
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There are summer film festivals aplenty in New York, but none with quite so much local flavor as the new Bowery Film Festival, which kicks off for its inaugural run this evening at the Bowery Bar (one of the festival’s few free events) and goes through Saturday, August 18th. The festival focuses on “films that dissent radically in form, technique, or content from the mainstream,” according to the website.
As you may have heard, the city’s proposed (and controversial) $250 million, 21-story retail and tech center off of Union Square moved forward last week. Council Member Carlina Rivera was key to the City Council’s unanimous vote, as her district will be most severely impacted by the so-called “Tech Hub.” During last year’s election, Rivera had even campaigned in part on the tech center, proposed for the site of the former PC Richard & Son at 120 East 14th Street. In a previous hearing on it, Rivera had said that without additional zoning protections south of 14th Street for local tenants and assurances that the building would indeed serve low-income earners, immigrants and residents of color—including tuition scholarships for tech training—that her vote was “seriously in question.”
All of the core members of Gamblers are originally from Long Island or Queens, making them one of the “rare Brooklyn bands that are actually from New York,” according to 28-year-old frontman Michael McManus. It’s not surprising, then, that their single “Corinthian Order,” off of their debut album of the same name, was shot in a Brooklyn DIY venue. Suburbia. We’re debuting the video exclusively here today.
This t00 should establish the band’s NYC cred: McManus met the video’s director, Tyler Walker, while he was working at his family’s bar, the Peter McManus Cafe, which claims to be the oldest family-owned and operated bar in the city. We spoke to McManus about the new album (out September 7 and available for pre-order), love in the 21st century, and his hip hop roots.
Zach Neil had a pretty sweet idea: “I wanted to find a way to do something with cake and ice cream and elaborate toppings and I wanted to make it make it vegan as well.”
He did some Googling and came across Black Tap’s immensely popular, decadent (and non-vegan) cake batter milkshake, the Cake Shake. Neil’s new shop, which fully opened in the East Village last week, is called Cakeshake. But it isn’t a mere Black Tap knockoff. “Essentially, we wanted a place where anyone could go and order this over-the-top Instagrammable shake that is also sensitive to lifestyle and [is plant-based],” he tells Bedford + Bowery.
Over the top indeed: Following up on the edible gold trend that seems to have swept New Yorkers into a fervid consumption of metallic substances (gold-plated chicken wings, anyone?), Cakeshake is offering an appropriately named #blingbomb shake, whose golden and silver sparkles practically blind the viewer and mask the mountain of mini cupcakes and vegan ice cream that lies underneath.
Neil embarked on his vegan shake voyage about a year and a half ago, when he started trending toward a more plant-based diet, but realized that eating that way outside of major cities was a real challenge. And not just for him, but his daughters, too. “I have two daughters who have a sweet tooth. I’ve taken them on my journey on veganism. I wanted [options] that were healthier and plant-based,” Neil told us. Then the idea dawned on him: why not vegan milk shakes, with some gluten-free options and maple bacon-topped treats (ask for the “Elvis”) for the carnivores as well. Neil pitched the idea to his friend (and now the store’s executive chef), Felix Castro, who loved the idea. With the help of co-owner Tim O’Grady, Cakeshake was born.
Most of the shakes range from $10-$15. There’s a 100% vegan #popmocha shake that comes packed with tres leches ice cream, espresso reduction, hand-made caramel corn, and whipped cream in a smorgasburg they call “plant-based heaven.” Other notable options include a vegan avocolada shake, which is their take on a piña colada, except with the very millennial addition of avocado to the usual pineapple. They’re constantly experimenting with new flavors, so you’ll just have to visit in person to see their latest menu. Note: kids under the age of 12 get a free drink with purchase of an adult shake, so this is one family-friendly joint. Bring a friend to share.
Cakeshake is located at 514 East 6th street, and is open from 2 pm-10 p.m. every weekday.
Director Crystal Moselle, who traced a family of Lower East Side shut-ins with her documentary The Wolfpack, is back in the public spotlight. This time, she’s touting a feature film instead of a documentary and hanging out with a feisty group of teen girls tearing up the skate parks and streets of the Lower East Side. Her new film, Skate Kitchen, depicts a fictionalized version of the lives of real skateboarders who captivate their 70,000-plus followers on Instagram with viral videos of skating tricks and gnarly wipe outs.
Ribbons spanning all the colors of the rainbow hung from the gray walkway and black fences enclosing the trees perched in front of the salmon-pink Rivington House, a former public school that re-opened in the 1990s to assist individuals with HIV and AIDS. Scrawled on the ribbons in black marker were phrases and stories in support of the Rivington House in English, Chinese and Spanish. Each ribbon was dedicated to a specific bed number at Rivington House in honor of the individuals that the center served over the past two decades.
I’ll admit, I always thought that puppet shows were mostly for kids, but maybe I was just pulling a Statler and Waldorf. This display of international puppet pageantry looks like one lively, adult-appropriate event. Produced by Teatro SEA and the MORÁN Group, the first ever International Puppet Fringe Festival NYC features theater companies from Costa Rica to Canada to France. But it particularly shines a spotlight on stories from Latin America and Latinx communities in the U.S., as seen in “Corazón de papel: A Hurricane Story,” a performance by theater group Agua, Sol y Sereno that focuses on Puerto Rico post-Hurricane Maria.
The Denizen Bushwick, an eight-story luxury rental building on the site of the former Rheingold Brewery, has finally opened one of its buildings, consisting of 444 units ranging from $2,000 studios to two-bedrooms exceeding $4,000. The inspiration for the controversial project reportedly stemmed from the idea of a European village, but in reality, the Denizen Bushwick resembles more of a glitzy, almost overwhelming megalopolis that is unlike anything else in the neighborhood.
Alas, although the openings of Vish on East 8th Street and Levantine chain Panorama this summer increased the amount of hummus among us, something had to offset this influx of chickpeas. It seems the trade-off is popular Lebanese fast-casual dining option Semsom Eatery. The previously lively storefront on Astor Place is now barren and empty, save for a ladder along with a sad McDonald’s cup and some rags resting on a counter by the door. Yelpers have reported the venue as closed down. It’s unclear when the closure occurred, but the eatery was active on social media as recently as August 2. While it’s possible that the Astor Place location of this chain may revive someday, for now, students will have to get their turmeric rice and cauliflower veggie bowls with unlimited toppings elsewhere.
The ever-popular Momo Sushi Shack in Bushwick has spawned a sister restaurant not too far from its origins. At the corner of Starr Street and Wyckoff Avenue lies Momo Chicken Shack, which opened in late July. Smartly taking note of how much customers loved munching on karaage or Japanese fried chicken thighs at Momo Sushi Shack, business partners Tito Cabrera and Chance Johnston decided to expand the concept into a full restaurant with modestly-priced fare (the karaage is only $9). But perhaps the real star behind Momo Chicken Shack is general manager Valerie Boyle, who helped craft the menu along with Momo Sushi Shack’s chef Izzy Alvarez.
No Ashes in the Fire: Coming of Age Black and Free in America
Thursday, August 2 at the Brooklyn Historical Society, 6:30-8:00 p.m.
Darnell Moore, writer and leader in the Movement for Black Lives, brings what’s sure to be a riveting discussion of his new memoir No Ashes in the Fire: Coming of Age Black and Free in America to the Brooklyn Historical Society. The description for his book on his website recounts how three neighborhood boys in Camden, New Jersey tried to set him on fire when he was only 14. In the three decades since that encounter, Moore has gone on to seek solace in the gay community of Philadelphia, justice on the front lines in Ferguson, Missouri, and life in his current home in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. In this book, he seeks to understand how that 14-year-old boy not only survived, but became the individual that he is today. Tickets to this event cost $5.
Books Beneath the Bridge: Greenlight Poetry Salon