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‘Hasidic Melody Is Like Wine’: A Pre-Purim Chat With ‘Hasidic Hipster’ Band Zusha

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From Left: Zachariah “Juke” Goldshmiedt, Shlomo Ari Gaisin, and Elisha Mendl Mlotek (Photo: Marko Dashev)

They’ve been called a “Hasidic hipster” band, but Zusha is all about dispelling labels and bridging the dichotomy between the spiritual and secular.  “Independent on all levels,” their wordless melodies are a self-described blend of “jazz, reggae, folk, ska, gypsy swing, and traditional Jewish soul.”
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Ryan Raftery Plays Anna Wintour ‘From the Waist Up’ in a One-Man Musical

Ryan Raftery is the Most Powerful Woman in Fashion (Photo: Eva Sakellarides)

He’s She. He’s Anna.

Ryan Raftery’s pop-inspired one-man musical is a sassy, highly exaggerated take on the revered ice queen of fashion, Anna Wintour. Framing the show around Vogue‘s controversial “Kimye” cover, he takes the audience through a comical yet humanizing and emotional journey anticipating what seems like Anna’s looming dismissal from Condé Nast.
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Crazier and More Chaotic: A Q + A With Sally Burtnick

Sally Burtnick and Brett Davis, co-creators of "The Macaulay Culkin* Show." (Photo: The Macaulay Culkin* Show)

Sally Burtnick and Brett Davis, co-creators of “The Macaulay Culkin* Show.” (Photo: The Macaulay Culkin* Show)

The fact that The Macaulay Culkin* Show has never had its namesake on stage doesn’t bother Sally Burtnick, the show’s co-creator. Since December 2013 when it debuted, it’s gained a reputation of being insane, and people have started caring about the show for its own sake. Despite the lack of Mac, the show’s had a huge year, with success neither she nor her co-creator Brett Davis could foresee. We rang her up to hear about it, and get a peek inside their upcoming performance, a staged reading of the screenplay Whenever Possible Forever, starring Jon Glaser.

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21 Questions With… Satan!

(Courtesy of)

(Courtesy of)

From zombies to Bigfoot to the mayor of Williamsburg, an array of colorful characters will alight in the East Village when Frigid Festival opens Feb. 18 — but none quite as colorful (i.e. red) as Beelzebub. During “An Evening of Not-So-Quiet Despair with Satan,” the Prince of Darkness promises to spew secrets in a manner that’s “so offensive that God himself intervenes.” We asked director Brian “BZ” Douglas whether Satan might have time to play “21 Questions,” Daily Intel-style. He invited us to his lair for a fireside chat; we said e-mail would do just fine. 
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Ken Schles Photographed ‘The Last Pre-Internet Bohemian Place’: East Village in the ’80s

Drowned in Sorrow, 1984. (Photograph by Ken Schles)

Drowned in Sorrow, 1984. (Photograph by Ken Schles)

Ken Schles, the artist behind the underground cult classic Invisible City will be speaking tonight between 6 and 8 pm at an opening reception of his work at the Howard Greenberg Gallery. Schles lived in the East Village during the gritty, burned out decade of the 1980s and documented the harrowing yet glamorous world he saw through the lens of his camera.
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A Chat With Catalina Sandino Moreno, Whose Film Medeas Premieres Tonight

TKTK in Madeas. (Courtesy of The Vladar Company)

Catalina Sandino Moreno in Medeas. (Courtesy of The Vladar Company)

Colombian-born actress Catalina Sandino Moreno will be on hand tonight for the New York premiere of her feature film, Medeas, in which she stars alongside Brian F. O’Byrne (Million Dollar Baby), Mary Mouser (Bride Wars) and Ian Nelson (The Hunger Games). In the film, which explores issues of alienation, intimacy and disconnect within families, she plays a deaf mother of five living in the California desert. Moreno, nominated for an Oscar for her role in Maria Full of Grace in 2004, and director Andrea Pallaoro will be answering questions from the audience at the 7 p.m. premiere on Jan. 16 at Village East Cinema. Moreno chatted with us about her new film, her fondness for the “awesome” East Village, and her next projects.
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Death By Audio’s Edan Wilber On What Happened With Vice, and What’s Next

(Photo: Alex Hess & Jon Brown)

A place to Bury Strangers play the final show at DBA. (Photo: Alex Hess & Jon Brown)

Life for Edan Wilber has changed dramatically in the two weeks since his Williamsburg DIY venue Death By Audio hosted its last show. “My sleep schedule has, like, 180′d one hundred percent,” he laughed. “I go to bed at like 9 p.m. now.”

When we spoke with Edan this morning he was kicked back on a porch where he’s living in St. Petersburg, Florida. “It’s almost been two weeks since we closed, and I pretty much moved the very next day,” he said. “I had 40 shows in a row, and now I’ve had two weeks of not seeing anything. It’s pretty weird.”
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These Photos From Vivienne Gucwa’s New Book Will Make You Look Forward to Winter

New York Winter, Tompkins Square Park.

New York Winter, Tompkins Square Park.

Back in 2008, Vivienne Gucwa quit the three jobs she’d been working after having been disowned by her parents at the age of 17 and decided to finish getting her degree. To cope with the stress, the native New Yorker took long walks around her home neighborhood, the Lower East Side, and eventually decided to start photographing what she saw. “I bought a really cheap camera off of Amazon because I couldn’t afford a smartphone,” she laughs. Six years later, she not only has a proper phone, but her lush, evocative cityscapes have garnered over 54,000 followers on Instagram, over 1.7 million followers on Google+ (she was an early “suggested user”), and a coveted sponsorship from Sony (her days of point-and-shoot are long gone).
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Paul Krassner On Harvey Milk, the Yippies, and Talking to Dolphins After Dropping Acid

(Photo courtesy of Paul Krassner)

(Photo courtesy of Paul Krassner)

Paul Krassner sometimes gets touted as a forerunner to comics like Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, who blend fact and fiction into combustible political cocktails. But the Daily Show can seem lame and tame compared to The Realist, launched in 1958 when Krassner was a Mad magazine contributor living in the East Village.
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Look Back and Laugh: Filmmaker Recalls the ‘Salad Days’ of DC Hardcore

Salad Days premieres tomorrow at DOC NYC , and as we mentioned in this week’s Reel Psyched, it’s definitely on our short list of must see-films. Given our devotion to all things East Village and Lower East Side, we thought it might be cool to talk to filmmaker Scott Crawford about the D.C. hardcore scene of the ’80s and see how it compared to the punk scene in New York City.
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Chris Stein of Blondie: ‘Miley Cyrus at Her Craziest is Not Really Dangerous’

All images by Chris Stein from the book "Negative: Me, Blondie and The Advent of Punk," and the exhibition of the same name at Somerset House in London, November 5 to January 25.

All images by Chris Stein from the book “Negative: Me, Blondie and The Advent of Punk,” and the exhibition of the same name at Somerset House in London, November 5 to January 25.

Few people personify the downtown New York aesthetic like Chris Stein. As the guitarist of Blondie, he’s helped to define—and defy—what people talk about when they talk about New York. Fortunately for us, he was documenting his adventures in the dangerous old New York, as proven in his book of photographs. These were shown at the Chelsea Hotel in September, and a new show opened yesterday on the other side of the pond at the Somerset House in London.
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Mediocrity Is the New Black: Penny Arcade On Making It in ‘The Big Cupcake’

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The performance artist Penny Arcade called us back after getting out of a show that ran late. So, even in the midst of her own show Longing Lasts Longer (Nov. 2, 3, 9, 10 at Joe’s Pub), she’s making time to support the work of other artists. The legendary downtown icon is, wonderfully, still underground and still outraged. The new show and her preoccupations are deeply intertwined, as her work is primarily autobiographical, and our conversation ranged from why New York is now “the Big Cupcake,” to what makes Lena Dunham so special, to the young “creative soul” in the Times paying $3,700 rent.
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