As a work-resident of Greenpoint, I feel lucky that I can reap the benefits of the neighborhood without having to pay the increasingly steep average rent. My existence up here is dependent on a fair amount of lying to myself– that I can afford to eat at the nice restaurants here (false), that the nice people who work in the hip boutiques actually believe I’m going to buy something this time around (so false). But what really charms me about the neighborhood are its eccentricities– the picture window on Franklin decorated neatly with dozens of bobble heads gyrating in unison, the Polish bars where you can bet there’s a strange scene going down or at the very least some $1 Jell-o shots to pick at, and of course the ancient bag lady who shuffles along Manhattan Avenue screeching in a mix of gibberish and maybe Old Church Slavonic, sometimes disappearing down into the subway or inside an apartment, knowing that she can safely leave her bags and carts anywhere she pleases.
Looking back, do you miss the days before everyone had a camera in their pocket? The days when getting your hands on the family camcorders felt so special that they could suddenly turn you into a mini-Scorsese? If you love the idea of movies made with less polish and more graininess, then DV8 Film Festival might just have a movie or two for you.
Now in its second year, DV8 began when Rebecca Shapass and Gabriela Granada, two NYU film students decided they were sick of being told there was a correct way to make films. “When you go to film school, you’re taught that movies have to be made a certain way,” Shapass said. “We want to do something else.”
Sitting outside on a balmy summer night and watching one of your favorite films with the Manhattan skyline in the background almost makes the stinking mounds of cooking garbage on the street and the hellish temperatures in subways stations worth it. With that in mind, here are some of the best upcoming outdoor film series this city has to offer. Best of all: Most of these are free!
It was a whirlwind weekend at the second-annual NYC Porn Film Festival. Who knew that getting slapped across the eyes with a regular throng of weens; being inundated with sauce shots, endless bumpin n’ grindin, butt pirates, fet fun, furries; and having to contend with a tarted-up unicorn who happened to have a passion for, well, piss could be so exhausting? It was almost as if we were the ones doing all the porking.
I Am An Animal
Wednesday June 8 at Union Docs: $10
We knew that the last event held by the No Filter Screening Series– which spotlighted the polarizing and always irreverent Reverend Al Sharpton at his most bombastic, big-bellied, 1980s self in Big Al– would be a tough act to follow. But one of the few figures who could hold even a birthday candle to Sharpton’s fiery diction and billowing mane would have to be Ingrid Newkirk. As the founder of PETA, she might just be one of the most controversial activists of our time.
‘Tis the season for festivals, apparently, and the Lower East Side is not one to be left in the dust. Along with an art festival in Bushwick, music festivals in Brooklyn, and more coming up in the next weeks, the Lower East Side Film Festival is coming to the nabe from June 9-16. It’ll hit the Sunshine Cinema, natch, as well as Hotel Indigo, the new Ludlow House and The Standard, East Village.
The headliner for opening night is the premier of The Art of the Prank, about a mischievous LES artist who loves nothing more than exposing the media’s hunger for sensational story with outrageous tall tales that sound just (barely) plausible enough to swallow. Lambasting the media has certainly been in fashion this election season, but no one has been doing it longer and in better style than Joey Skaggs (sorry, “Settle for Hillary” guys).
The Minds Behind Superjail! and Wonder Showzen Are Making Their Dream / Nightmare Feature, Adventures of Drunky
When it comes to feature-length films, much of the time fans of adult cartoons are SOL. Thanks to party-pooping producers and geezer film execs, the art form has essentially been ghettoized, forced into late-night TV slots, chopped up into web series, and largely excluded from the big screen. Instead, animated children’s movies have all the fun, with production companies popping out spin-offs and trilogies like there’s no tomorrow, while their aggressive marketing campaigns and box office dominance succeed in driving many of us close to insanity. You didn’t have to be anywhere near a movie theater to be completely, utterly inundated with shrapnel from the $593 million Minions propaganda blitz. (This writer isn’t kidding at all when she recalls, with horror, having run into a guy selling Minion dolls in the Andes. Shudder.)
With the streets of the Lower East Side reshaping themselves faster than any of us can keep track, it’s easy to become a wistful piner for the “good old days,” when a storied building with a 100-year-old storefront was your neighbor instead of all these fresh new high rises. (A teaser site for the Essex Crossing condo building on Broome Street was just released today; the first of its 10 buildings is expected to be finished in the fall.) One longtime resident, Clayton Dean Smith, decided to channel that urge to preserve the neighborhood into an artistic outlet. Maybe he couldn’t save all the buildings he’d come to love over his 16 years in the area, but he could use some of them for the backdrop of a short film that serves as a living time capsule of the neighborhood as it currently exists (or existed, only a year and half ago).
Best in Show
Friday, May 27, 7:30 pm at Fort Greene Park: FREE
To promote the impending opening of the first NYC Alamo Drafthouse in Downtown Brooklyn, the boozy Austin-based cinema (and direct competitor of our beloved Nitehawk, we might add) is hosting three free screenings at Fort Greene Park starting this week. They’re all family-friendly, for sure (which means you’ll have to get your R-rated full-frontal and cigarette-smoking kicks elsewhere), but actually only two of the screenings are worth going to– that is, if you have a dignified hair left on your body. You’re guaranteed to literally never get laid again if you go see the third screening, Finding Nemo– but if you’re willing to take that risk anyway, it’s happening Friday, June 10, 7:30 pm to 10:30 pm, and I wish you the best of luck.
It was kind of ironic when the sold-out, sneak-peek screening of Weiner sputtered out, turning into a glitchy, hallucinatory version of itself at Rooftop Films’ Industry City screening last week. While everyone else seemed to be weathering the drizzle just fine, the projector wasn’t so resilient.
When you’re out picking up groceries for the week, ever wonder what recipes the other shoppers have up their sleeves? If you shop at Trader Joe’s you’re probably too busy elbowing people out of the way and fighting over the last jar of coconut oil to really get a good look at your neighbors’ shopping lists. (Wait, does anyone handwrite those things anymore?) But if you live near the sleepy old-school Essex Street Market, you’ve surely got a little more time to poke around and wonder about the diverse cast of vendors and shoppers rubbing shoulders amid the fruit and vegetable sellers, Japanese specialty items and fancy cheeses. If there’s anywhere you’d shop to whip up something unique, it’s here.
Rooftop Films Premiere
Wednesday May 18 through August 2016
The summer al-fresco screening series turns 20 years old this season, which officially makes Rooftop Films a millennial– meaning they’re addicted to their phones, underemployed, over-entitled, and why don’t they just grow up already and chain themselves to a cubicle desk and support the only real man in this race Donald Trump? Did that sound curmudgeonly enough to come from the desk of David Brooks or something? I figure the only way to drive the olds out of a universally beloved series such as Rooftop Films is to convince them either that it will somehow induce diabetic reactions and/or edema or that, like Snapchat, it’s something that only Millennials would understand.