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Rachel Brosnahan On Playing a ‘Type A’ Downtown Comic in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Rachel Brosnahan (Photo: Natalia Winkelman)

The opening scene of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, the new Amazon show starring Rachel Brosnahan as a ’50s Upper West Side housewife turned downtown stand-up comedienne, finds Midge Maisel delivering a giddy, champagne-tipsy toast at her own wedding. We soon learn that lack of inhibition is one of Midge’s defining traits, along with a talent for cooking brisket and a motormouth with a witty bite.

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Thank You, Come Again? Hari Kondabolu Explores ‘The Problem With Apu’

(Photo: truTV)

In the upcoming documentary The Problem with Apu, Brooklyn-based comic Hari Kondabolu explores what happens when a beloved cartoon character is also an offensive caricature for millions of people. The effect of the The Simpsons’ Apu Nahasapeemapetilon – voiced by Hank Azaria – was an ever-present reminder for many South Asians growing up in the United States of the lack of representation and power they held in the entertainment industry and popular media, Kondabolu says in the documentary he hosts and produced for truTV. Without other Indian characters with depth and substance in the media to challenge the stereotype, Apu’s distinct accent and best known line – “Thank you, come again” – became the basis of South Asian characters in American media for years afterwards.

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Photographer Jessica Yatrofsky On How Writing Poetry Is Like Keeping a Dirty Diary

(Photo: Gregory Harris)

Brooklyn-based photographer and filmmaker Jessica Yatrofsky has employed a sparse, muted, and– dare I say- poetic aesthetic that explores both male and female bodies and the gender politics that ensnare those bodies. Yatrofsky has previously released two photography books, I Heart Boy and I Heart Girl, that both utilized natural light, yearning gazes, and diverse body types to undermine traditional representations of masculinity and femininity.

Language has always been a part of Yatrofsky’s oeuvre, particularly in her video work. Her film Photography is a History of Masturbation was recently featured in the Museum of Sex exhibition NSFW: Female Gaze. In the video, an androgynous nude boy poses while a narrator, speaking in French, asks the viewer questions like, “Is all art beautiful?”

For a new poetry book, entitled Pink Privacy, Yatrofsky divorces herself from images entirely and gets lost in the written word. As with her visual work, the poems are sparse and direct. But in this medium, Yatrofsky relieves herself of the burden of her work being judged based on the bodies of her subjects. “With photography, I feel more guarded because it [depicts] other peoples’ bodies,” she says. “Poetry is just me. The snarky way that I look at the world.”

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Graham Collins Stitches Found Paintings To Create Something Bigger Than the Sum of Its Arts

“Unmeltable Antebellum” by Graham Collins.

A few years ago, Graham Collins landed on a GQ list of 10 artists to watch when he bronzed pedestrian items like toothbrushes and potato chips and showed them at Art Basel. Some of those works are now on display at The Journal Gallery, along with others that are substantially more monumental.

“Unmeltable Antebellum” is a striking giant. To create it, Collins took strips and segments of nearly a hundred found paintings and meticulously arranged them and stitched them together. It’s one of many similar pieces, created over several years, that will be on display through Nov. 4 as part of the artist’s latest solo show, “Western Shade.”

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Carlina Rivera Is a ‘Shero,’ and Now She Wants to Be East Village and LES Council Rep

(Photo: Carlina Rivera on Instagram)

Lifelong Lower East Side resident Carlina Rivera is a frontrunner to be a City Council member representing District 2, where her current boss Rosie Mendez is on the way out. She’s racked up at least $176,000 in fundraising and she received praise and promises of votes when she attended an anti-Starbucks rally in the East Village last month. If Rivera wins the primary election on September 12, she’ll continue her campaign to represent the East Village, Gramercy Park, Kips Bay, Lower East Side, Murray Hill and Rose Hill. We met with her at Alphabet City’s Ninth Street Espresso to talk about her campaign, local issues, and her sheroes.

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Bushwick Directors On What It’s Like to Bring Civil War to Brooklyn

Cary Murnion and Jon Milott have teamed up to direct Bushwick, an action movie about a Texas army that invades the Brooklyn neighborhood. Starring Brittany Snow and Dave Bautista, it was one of two Bushwick-set films that clocked some buzz at Sundance back in February (the other one, The Incredible Jessica James, will have a Rooftop Films screening on July 25, and will be streaming on Netflix July 28. With the trailer for Buswhick out earlier this week (it hits theaters Aug. 25), we caught up with the busy directors to talk about the film, politics and why Bushwick? Keep Reading »

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Great Comet‘s Dave Malloy On Epic Choral Songs, Hamilton, and Showing Tunes to a New Generation

(photo: Chad Batka)

Nowdays, the commercial and insular shell that is Broadway is feeling a little less untouchable. Of course, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton is a major catalyst behind this shake-up, but the latest to breathe new life into the Great White Way has been Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812, an “electro-pop opera” based on a drama-laden portion of Tolstoy’s War and Peace.

The immersive show began at Ars Nova in 2012 and has gone through many iterations, including a funky stint in a pop-up tent in the Meatpacking District. Now, it’s landed at Broadway’s Imperial Theater, which has been totally restructured to accommodate the show’s 360-degree, immersive staging. Directed by Rachel Chavkin, it remains one of the most authentic transfers of a smaller, more experimental production to a Broadway stage I have observed.

I have seen every NYC production of this show now, and always maintained it was too odd and unique to ascend to the oh-so commercial realm of Broadway. Turns out I was absolutely wrong, and audiences and critics alike are gobbling it up with a voracious enthusiasm. (Singer Josh Groban is now in a starring role.) There is even fanart of the characters, so you know it’s real. The 12 Tony nominations don’t hurt, either.

Great Comet‘s original Broadway cast recording will be released tomorrow and is now available for first listen over at Vulture. We caught up with the show’s writer and composer Dave Malloy, fresh off his Broadway debut temporarily stepping back into the role of Pierre, to talk how the Broadway transfer has affected the show’s music and even got him a little closer to Bowie. Keep Reading »

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Bowery Presents Promises an ‘A+ Experience’ at Their New Venue, Brooklyn Steel

(Photo: Nicole DeMarco)

Yesterday dozens of construction workers milled about 319 Frost Street in Williamsburg, where The Bowery Presents has been turning a former steel fabrication plant into Brooklyn’s largest general admission venue. This Thursday, April 6, the first of five sold-out LCD Soundsystem shows will kick off a month of performances by bands like The Decemberists, PJ Harvey, The Pixies, Two Door Cinema Club and Tycho.

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Directors of Sour Grapes On Uncorking the Wine World’s Biggest Fraud

Rudy Kurniawan. (Photo: Richard Jennings)

Rudy Kurniawan. (Photo: Richard Jennings)

How did one man dupe some of the wine world’s wealthiest buyers and respected connoisseurs into buying over $20 million in fake “rare” wines? That’s the question tackled by Reuben Atlas and Jerry Rothwell, the directors of the intriguing new documentary Sour Grapes, which follows the rise and fall of Rudy Kurniawan, an Indonesian conman who took the wine world by storm with his “rare” vintages, and was later convicted of fraud in 2013. Prosecutors said his scam involved more than $20 million in counterfeit wine. He’s currently serving a 10-year sentence in a California prison. Williamsburg-based filmmaker Atlas and British filmmaker Rothwell spoke to us about the film, showing tonight at Nitehawk Cinema (sorry, folks, the screening is sold out, but the film is available on Netflix).

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Queer Punk Duo PWR BTTM Is Here to Put Your Halloween Costume Together

PWR BTTM

Done up in the kind of dresses you envy and makeup looks that take years of practice to achieve, Liv Bruce and Ben Hopkins are everything punk has been craving, but they’ll be the first to tell you their success was an accident. The duo met while attending Bard College and went on to form Brooklyn phenomenon PWR BTTM, your new favorite queer punk band if they aren’t already.

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How Bridget Everett Went From Face-Sitting at Joe’s Pub to Face Time With Seinfeld

(photo courtesy of New York Comedy Festival)

(photo courtesy of New York Comedy Festival)

Singer, cabaret artist, and comedian Bridget Everett has had quite a couple of years. The powerhouse performer is certainly memorable: her Chardonnay-soaked live act includes joyous, belted requests to raise one’s “titties” in the air and a catchy, matter-of-fact song that asks the universal inquiry: “What I gotta do to get that dick in my mouth?” There’s also plenty of audience engagement. Typical stuff, like sitting on crowd member’s faces. Brash though she may be, Everett has captivated America and become fast friends with comedian Amy Schumer, which has led to spots on Schumer’s television show, her film Trainwreck, and other screen appearances like a recurring role in Maria Bamford’s Netflix show Lady Dynamite, with more projects in the works for the future.

Though she’s appearing on bigger and bigger screens lately, she made a name for herself through shows at downtown staple Joe’s Pub on Lafayette Street. For the recurring “alt-cabaret” fixture Our Hit Parade, she put unique spins on pop songs alongside fellow out-there performers like Neal Medlyn, Erin Markey, Kenny Mellman, and even Billy Eichner. There were also solo nights with her band The Tender Moments. We sat down with Everett at Caroline’s On Broadway ahead of her show at New York Comedy Festival to talk touring, creating, and of course, fanny packs. Keep Reading »