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Bushwick Man Sentenced For Killing Girlfriend; Biang! Leaves East Village

Here’s where its better to buy than to rent, including the East Village. [Curbed]

Local pols are still pushing for more community engagement from the developers of three Lower East Side towers. [DNAinfo]

Bushwick-based stripper, comedian and writer Jacqueline Frances has a new book of illustrations and observations about the stripper life. [Bushwick Daily]

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BREAKING Like Hot Dog Skin: Gray’s Papaya Aims to Open New Location Thursday

(Photo: Daniel Maurer)

It’s been a little over three years since Gray’s Papaya left the Village, and we still spit on the ground every time we pass the Liquiteria that replaced it (and not just because we hate the taste of spirulina). But here’s some Gray-t news: the papaya purveyor is ready to open its new store at 612 Eighth Avenue, meaning you’ll no longer have to trek up to 72nd Street to throwback to freshman year. You’ll still have to get up to midtown, though.

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Tribeca Talks Lineup: Bruce Springsteen, Lena Dunham, Noah Baumbach, and More

The Tribeca Film Festival unveiled its lineup a few weeks ago, and now comes the second big reveal: the lineup of Tribeca Talks, which last year featured J.J. Abrams and Francis Ford Coppola, among others. If you couldn’t bring yourself to shell out $1,000 to see Bruce Springsteen on his book tour, well, good news: You’ll have a chance to see him for a smidge less ($40) when tickets for his talk with America’s other sweetheart, Tom Hanks, go on sale tomorrow, March 21, at Tribeca’s site. The convo will happen April 28 at the Beacon Theatre.

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You Might Want to Sit Down (When You Pee): Tim and Eric Are Coming to Town

L to R: Eric Wareheim and Tim Heidecker. (Photo: Daniel Maurer)

Last time absurdist duo Tim and Eric came to town, they were trying to indoctrinate New Yorkers into a self-help cult inspired by a turkey man. If you were hesitant to drink the Kool-Aid– or in their case, the Tabitha Lane-brand Lemon Urine Drink– then worry not: They’ve shed the white suits and are hitting the road to celebrate 10 years of Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!

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Speed Demons Were Out in Full Force For the Monstertrack Fixie Race

MonsterTrack pre-registration party at Legion Bar in Williamsburg hosted by Le Noize karaoke, 3/16/17. (Photo: Nick McManus)

While everyone else was working off their St. Patty’s hangovers, the city’s fixie fanatics were gearing up for the eighteenth annual Monstertrack bike race. The unsanctioned, fixed-gear-only messenger-style race is a favorite of both local and out-of-town riders from all over the world. (This former messenger took 22nd place in 2009.) This year’s snow-swept streets didn’t deter the 65 racers, of which 49 finished.

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Artists Defend Journalists Against Trump’s ‘Terrifying’ Treatment

James Rose (Photo: Bryse Ciallella)

While it was hard to find activism at NADA New York this year, others in the art world have gotten much more explicitly political. With Trump threatening to eliminate the NEA and artist visas in flux, why wouldn’t they? That new streak of political action was obvious late last month inside of Ground Floor Gallery, at the opening of “Marked Urgent”: An Exhibition in Defense of Free Press.

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Pie in the Face: Artichoke Bushwick’s New Basement Lounge Has a Comedy Night

If you’ve been to Artichoke’s relatively new location in the old Northeast Kingdom space, chances are you were too blotto to notice the steps leading to the basement. Turns out, the calorie-slinging pizzeria just opened a classy, banquette-lined venue in the cellar. Tonight at 10pm, a new comedy night debuts there.

Auggie Lutz, who hosts two monthly shows at nearby Pine Box Rock Shop, is MCing this one with Bob Palos, his co-host at Lantern Hall. Lutz says he’s hoping to get something “cool, fun, intimate” going—similar to the free shows he used to catch in the back room of bygone Kabin bar in the East Village. “That was around for years where comedians would hang out, people would go every week and it was a reliably good show,” he said, recalling that Louis CK once dropped in.

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Watch a Little Girl Absolutely Lose It to This Psychedelic Didgeridoo Player

A toddler dances to Mueller’s music (Photo: Anaka Kaundinya)

“It’s scratch and sniff,” says Marc Mueller as a young man reaches for his business card. “It smells like me right now.” He gives a somewhat contemptuous half grunt before returning to his instruments. On this particular evening, the seasoned musician is stationed under the dull subway tungsten of Penn Station, coaxing psychedelic jungle sounds from a didgeridoo-inspired pipe while all four limbs accompany him on percussion. He looks disheveled, wearing his grey stubble with a touch of “wild.” He sprawls himself on a box that doubles as both seat and instrument, occasionally pointing at bewildered passers-by with his didgeridoo. As I’d come to understand, the scratch-and-sniff comment is one of his stock responses to the skittish commuters who make up his audience.

Not that I fully comprehend the meaning of the phrase, but it is emblematic of what makes him different from the typical polite and distanced busker. Every now and then Mueller, who is tall and lanky with sharp eyes, lightly scolds his underground listeners. That’s right: scolds. The reason? Around 2007 he started noticing that people became fixated on taking videos of the performance instead of enjoying the live presence of the performer. “People are much more interested in collecting data and capturing something for 5 to 10 seconds rather than stopping and being part of a collective public group,” complains Mueller.

He views the taking of videos for Instagram and Facebook as an obsession, one that jars directly with his sensibility as an artist. For this old-school musician and his ilk, the act of performing music is about forming a meaningful connection, however fleeting, with another human being. “We’ve had to respond to that phenomenon of disconnect by trying to engage people with either conversation or stopping a song,” he says, defending the need to scold.

Mueller performs with impressive frequency, averaging about 170 shows a year. Both his solo act as StreetMule and his band Mecca Bodega have been widely successful. He co-founded the latter with his brother 25 years ago, and together they’ve played at venues ranging from Lincoln Center and the Celebrate Brooklyn Summer Festival, to the Sydney Fringe Festival in Australia. But through bouts of public notoriety, Mueller remains grounded to his roots with the Music Under New York (MUNY) performing arts program, one that he’s been associated with since 1995.

Over the course of the evening, I began to empathize with Mueller’s frustration– it is kind of irritating when streams of people stop for only as long as it takes to get a photograph or video. That being said, the scattered audiences that do gather are respectful, attentive and seem to appreciate Mueller’s uncommon talent. A handful of people walked up to him, reverentially asking about his instruments. He plays on an assemblage of world music and hand-made instruments; his didgeridoo, originally meant to be wood, is really just a painted PVC pipe. He also has a string of bells wrapped around an ankle, two shakers, a plastic drum and more, relying heavily on his wooden seat/box to provide a percussive base.

One young tourist was so moved that he bought a CD, got Mueller to sign it and asked me to take a photo of them together. The true delight on Mueller’s face at these interactions– particularly with little children– undeniably outweigh the irritation of constantly being filmed: “It’s wonderful,” he says, “that’s why I’m out here. I get a chance to share my energy which is the most important thing and hopefully I’ll get some energy back from those conversations.”

Watch this video of toddlers enjoying Mueller’s music: