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Overcoats, Yoke Lore Bring ‘Folktronica’ to Rough Trade and Mercury Lounge

It was the second-to-last day of SXSW and this one was much like the rest–long, hot, sweaty and filled with sound mishaps and mic malfunctions. The raucous festival crowd at The Sidewinder shifted in the night as Adrian Galvin, known as Yoke Lore, took the stage for his last show. “Yoke Lore played for like 10 seconds,” says JJ Mitchell, of the band Overcoats, “And Hana and I looked at each other and we were like, oh shit… this is something very special.”

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Beleaguered DIY Venue Shea Stadium Reopened For a Night, Just For Laughs

Comedians and audience at The Macaulay Culkin Show after the comedy show’s last scheduled performance at Shea Stadium. (Photo: Nick McManus)

Last night, Shea Stadium reopened for one night only so The Macaulay Culkin Show could hold what might be the comedy night’s final date at the East Williamsburg DIY venue. As we recently reported, Shea was forced to stop hosting shows last month while it awaits money from its Kickstarter so it can go legit.

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If Only This Fragrance Line of Horrific ‘NYC Smells’ Actually Existed

A few years ago we had a Williamsburg perfumer turn the Newtown Creek water treatment plant into a custom scent, and had her do the same with the smelliest block in New York, in Chinatown. The results were horrific enough to dissuade us from further experimentation, but now Williamsburg’s Soap Cherie has (sort of) picked up where we left off. The Bedford Avenue soap store has introduced a new NYC Smells line, inspired by the odors of Penn Station, Gowanus, and yep, the fish markets of Chinatown.

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Remembering The Pod, Williamsburg’s Forgotten Retro-Futuristic Restaurant

(Courtesy of Leeser Architecture)

Last time I was in Philadelphia, I happened upon a restaurant called Pod. It had a 2001: A Space Odyssey vibe that suddenly made me remember a similarly retro-futuristic Pod that existed in Williamsburg in the early aughts. When I googled to see if the two Pods were related, I discovered something rather surprising: there was virtually no online trace of The Pod in Williamsburg.

How could this be? When it opened in 2001 as a sister of Bliss Cafe, The Pod was one of the slickest restaurants in what was then Williamsburg’s fledgling dining scene. Like its neighbors Planet Thailand and Sea, it boasted the sort of transportive design details (video projections above the bar!) that made Brooklyn Paper, in the only review I could find, call it “a glamorous newcomer to the Williamsburg restaurant scene, [with] an Austin Powers-like vibe that inspires the imagination.” But while you can still visit Sea and its Star Trek-esque transporter bathrooms with video monitors inside, Pod came and went. It was as if a spaceship had briefly docked on North 7th Street, beamed me up inside of it, spat me back out and vanished back into the ether.

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Week in Film: Find Out If Ghost in the Shell Is a Shadow of Its Former Self, and More


Ghost in the Shell (1996)
Thursday April 13, Saturday April 15, and Sunday April 16 at The Metrograph: $15

No better time to see the original Ghost in the Shell, now that the anime classic has been remade and lost a good chunk of its futuristic/cyborg ambiguity in the process via the casting of a decidedly blonde, white bombshell in the lead. In the remake, Scarlett Johansson plays Major, i.e. an Anglicized version of the already Anglized Cyborg Major Kusanagi from the anime version.

The year is 2029, and this “perfect specimen of human-brained computer engineering” has been tasked with tracking down the elusive and amorphous villain known as The Puppet Master, whose precise plan for overthrowing the world– a Blade Runner-like super-city megalopolis where the human race has become so consumed by technology, that they are now inseparable and, at times, difficult to distinguish. The film deftly navigates the ethical and existential quandaries that are dramatically more real than they were in 1996 when the animated film was made.

Ghost in the Shell (2017)
Thursday April 13 through Thursday April 20 at Nitehawk: $12

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Sweet Spirit Marches Its ‘Freak Parade’ Through Rough Trade Tonight

I caught the Austin band Sweet Spirit by accident at last year’s SXSW—I had dropped into an early-morning show by Sharkmuffin, and got caught up in the crawfish boil happening out back. On stage was a very large group of people wielding both electric and wind instruments, wearing eclectic outfits, looking like a white Sly and the Family Stone. The weird thing was that they kind of sounded like that, too. My notes are full of question marks: “some wild giant band, a 9- or 10-piece,” “horns, serious instrumentation,” a track that went from nothing, with quiet vocals “to slamming, with giant vocals/horns chord,” and a “drama queen” for a front-woman. “Arcade Fire? Pop? WTF?” What the foxtrot, indeed—what I didn’t know is that Brit Daniel of Spoon had already discovered Sweet Spirit, and they had landed the SXSW gig without even a record to promote. They then toured with Spoon and were quickly going from unknown to notorious.

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Comedian: Thou Shalt Follow Me On Twitter So I Can Get a Religious Tax Break

Brandon Scott Wolf. Memorize that name because roughly a third of any conversation with the above named person is basically those three words followed by a dot com. Hot on the heels of his two successful websites, datebrandonscottwolf.com (“the number one dating website for me, Brandon Scott Wolf”) and fightbrandonscottwolf.com (an open challenge to Floyd “Money” Mayweather to fight BSW, if he so dared), comes a third magnum opus (if three magnum opii are even permitted): followbrandonscottwolf.com.

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In Coltrane Doc, Chasing Trane, Bill Clinton and Other Fans Show Love Supreme

John Coltrane (Photo by Chuck Stewart, featured in Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary, by director John Scheinfeld.

Back when I worked in book publishing, a newly hired editor moved into the office next to me. Day after day, he’d play John Coltrane’s Giant Steps on a loop, until I had no other choice but to walk into his office and inform him that he had excellent taste in music. And thus, a friendship was built on an inside joke about Coltrane on infinite repeat.

It seems Coltrane has that effect on many people, some of whom appear in Chasing Trane, a new documentary by John Scheinfeld. Among those interviewed are Carlos Santana, who says he cleanses his hotel rooms by lighting incense and playing the A Love Supreme, and Common, who says he has played the album more than any other (no offense to Schienfeld’s previous documentary subjects, John Lennon and Harry Nilsson).

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Passover ‘Feels Different’: Immigration Activists Held a Seder Outside of ICE

Rabbi Joshua Stanton. (Photo: Carol Schaeffer)

Dozens of activists gathered for a morning Passover seder today in front of 26 Federal Plaza, New York’s Immigration Center, to stand in solidarity with immigrants facing deportation.

The interfaith seder was organized by New Sanctuary NYC, and director Ravi Ragbir. Ragbir has struggled with his own problems with documentation and threats of deportation for more than a decade. A fixture of immigration rights activism in New York, the Trinidadian was convicted of wire fraud in 2001 and was placed on a high-priority deportation list in 2006. After a five-year jail sentence, he spent an additional two years in immigration detention. He has attended frequent check-ins at 26 Federal Plaza since his struggles with deportation began. Each time he goes in he does not know if he will be detained and deported back to Trinidad, making each visit a tense and precarious experience. His next check-in was scheduled for today, but he was granted a stay until January 2018.

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Missed Him at Carnegie? You Can Still Get a Free Dose of ‘Wall to Wall Steve Reich’

Steve Reich has been on a tear since a series of concerts celebrating his 80th birthday back in October. Earlier this month, during a star-studded celebration of Nonesuch Records, the composer bounded onto the stage at Brooklyn Academy of Music to present former label head Bob Hurwitz with a sheaf of sheet music. And last week, the man in black was back at Carnegie Hall for some the usual rapid-fire convo about his seminal work “Different Trains,” which was performed as part of an ongoing series he curated in honor of three generations of modernist composers. The cavalcade continues, with Symphony Space hosting an epic free program, “Wall to Wall Steve Reich,” later this month.

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Marco’s Aims to Bring ‘More of That New York Feel’ Back to Bushwick

(Photo courtesy Marco’s)

“It’s just a local bar and we have this amazing piece of history inside of it that we’re just psyched to show everybody,” says Bryan Quackenbush, co-owner of new Bushwick drinking hole, Marco’s. The piece of history he’s talking about is a solid oak and brass bar that was built in the ’50s. It not only fits in with the idea behind the place, which is a kind of old-school return to comfort, but also kind of steals the show.

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