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Obama Documentary Opens DOC NYC One Year After Trump’s Election

Obama during a meeting with Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn in New York, September 2014. From left: Ben Rhodes, Samantha Power, and John Kerry.
(Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)

Watching The Final Year is a little bit like time traveling. The film, which opened the DOC NYC Film Festival last night, charts the last year of the Obama administration, following the president and his foreign policy team, including then-Secretary of State John Kerry, U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power and Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes, as they navigate their final projects in office. The film was accorded the honor of opening this year’s DOC NYC, which runs through Nov. 16.

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Scorsese Transforms the LES Into ’70s Little Italy, For The Irishman

(Photos: Frank Mastropolo)

This week Lower East Side hipsters may fret that the neighborhood’s invasion of piercing salons and beard-trimming shops has come to an end. Storefronts on Orchard and Broome Streets sport signs reminiscent of 1970s Little Italy. Signs for E. Rossi’s Italy Music & Book Co., Vitale Funeral Home, Hester Discount Hardware and others have popped up, seeming to herald a comeback for the mom-and-pop shops the man-bun crowd has shunned.

But don’t worry, the shops will be gone soon. The signs are props for the filming of The Irishman, the upcoming Netflix film that examines the disappearance of union boss Jimmy Hoffa in 1975. The flick stars mob drama heavyweights Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Harvey Keitel and Joe Pesci. It reunites De Niro and Keitel with Martin Scorsese, who directed the pair in another LES drama, 1973’s Mean Streets.

Based on the 2003 book I Heard You Paint Houses by Charles Brandt, The Irishman marks Scorsese’s long-awaited return to the gangster genre. Shooting began here in August and will continue through December, just in time for SantaCon to arrive.

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Derrick Adams Stays Focused On ‘Triumphant Moments’ in New Art Show

(Photos: Adam Lehrer, unless noted)

Though he’s been a prominent artist for far too long to be saddled with labels like “meteoric rise,” it’s hard to fully convey just how massive a year 2017 was for the New York-based multimedia artist Derrick Adams. Since the beginning of the year, Adams has been the subject of a solo exhibition at Rhona Hoffman Gallery, represented Tilton Gallery at the 2017 Independent Art Fair, held a solo exhibition at the California American Art Museum, and has produced two sprawling institutional projects.

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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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Russ & Daughters Shows Off Its Future Brooklyn Outpost, Opening Early Next Year

The Russ & Daughters space. (Photo: Razi Syed)

Back in February, Russ & Daughters announced that it was opening a multipurpose space in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, in a World War II-era building that’s undergoing a $185 million renovation. Today, we got to tour the construction site with Mayor Bill de Blasio and Niki Russ Federman, a fourth generation co-owner of the beloved Lower East Side appetizing shop.

“Russ & Daughters has been an anchor on the Lower East Side of New York for 100 years,” said Russ Federman, “where my great-grandfather stood on the streets of the Lower East Side with a barrel of herring so he could eventually open up a store. So we’ve been fully meshed in the Lower East Side and the Navy Yard feels like another amazing community that we’re going to be a part of. There’s this incredible synergy of food-makers, designers, furniture craftsman, roboticists.”

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Unwrapping a New York Mystery: The Fluctuating Deli Sandwich Price

(Photo: Bobby Doherty/New York Magazine)

What I meant to say was, “Lettuce?! Who puts lettuce on a bagel?” But what I said instead was, “Sure.” That’s when I learned about a nefarious subterfuge being perpetrated on bagel lovers at deli counters across New York City.

I live on bagels. Compared to cumbersome, jaw-breaking rolls or heroes, bagels are a tidy, trusty, mouth-fitting snack. Add lettuce to the bun, any bun, and the sandwich becomes juicier, fresher. Add it to a bagel, and a decent snack is ruined. It’s a tasteless thing to do.

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Hear Jonathan Lethem Talk, Lee Ranaldo Play at Premiere of Sonic Youther Doc

Doc NYC kicks off today, and there are still tickets left to one of the documentary festival’s highlights: the New York City premiere of a new doc about Sonic Youth singer-strummer Lee Ranaldo. The film, HELLO HELLO HELLO : LEE RANALDO : ELECTRIC TRIM, offers an eye into the recording of Ranaldo’s recently released solo album, Electric Trim, showing how Ranaldo collaborated with author Jonathan Lethem on some of the lyrics.

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Battered Big Bird Shows PETA Isn’t Down With Canada Goose

A giant bloodied goose was spotted outside of the Canada Goose store on Wooster Street shortly after noon on Wednesday. This was, of course, just a costume. The disgusting eight-foot-tall creature, with bulging eyes and exposed flesh, stood with a group of protesters from PETA, who gathered in the wake of undercover footage released by the animal rights organization last week. The footage was allegedly taken from a slaughterhouse that supplies Canada Goose’s down, the fine layer of feathers the clothing company uses in their luxury garments.

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Performance Picks: Comedic Compliments, Native Satire, All the Feels


(image via The Center for the Humanities)

This Isn’t Funny!: I, An Moron
Wednesday, November 8 at CUNY Graduate Center’s James Gallery, 7 pm: FREE

Comedy is a strange thing. Many write it off as merely jokes with little meaning, but comedy is one of our biggest and most pervasive cultural forces. So, be careful what you joke about, because hey, jokes do matter and it’s extremely easy to be very funny without tearing down marginalized groups. I see it happen literally all the time. Anyway, tonight you can see performance artist Dynasty Handbag perform their new work that riffs on “white activism” (#resist by buying this shirt about feminism!) and solo shows made by privileged heterosexual women with little self-awareness, which I also see happen all the time. After the performance concludes, the artist will be joined by Morgan Bassichis, Dominique Nisperos, Keisha Zollar, and moderator Bess Rowen for a discussion about the role of comedy in times of political unrest, and how one can utilize the genre to productively take on the establishment.


(flyer via Union Hall)

Boast Rattle
Thursday, November 9 at Union Hall, 10 pm: $10 advance, $12 day of

Ah, roasts. No, I don’t mean cookouts or that ceremony where you put the whole pig in the ground and take it out after a while. I am talking about the weird comedic ritual of hurling insults in a way some take as complimentary, ultimately. In my opinion, it is too easy to resort to cheap shots in a roast. Unless maybe you are roasting a white man who does not have many redeeming qualities. In any case, at this show you needn’t worry about expecting to laugh at any cruel or dumb retorts. In fact, Boast Rattle is a night of fierce compliments. So, you can sit back and watch Jo Firestone, Josh Gondelman, Mike Drucker, Adam Conover, Shalewa Sharpe, and even Bizzy The Dog cook up their best words of praise to each other. Plus, this edition of the show is part of the New York Comedy Festival, so maybe you will feel fancier in the audience.


(flyer via Ars Nova / Facebook)

Every Feeling I’ve Ever Felt
Friday, November 10 at Ars Nova, 8 pm: $15

When it comes to feelings, composer and musician Ellen Winter has many of them. So many, in fact, that she’s written an entire show to expose them all to you. Her one-night-only show at Ars Nova (where she also interned several years back) not only has a hefty dose of emotions all along the spectrum (and probably more than one or two tears), it also serves as a showcase of songs she’s written over the years, from renditions of punk songs past to new material from her upcoming solo album. With some rare actual good news coming from the most recent local elections and the inevitable advent of chillier weather and seasonal depression, I have also been feeling many types of feelings. It can always be a treat to experience them with a roomful of others, set to a handful of songs.


(photo: Theo Cote)

Don’t Feed The Indians: A Divine Comedy Pageant
Now through November 19 at La MaMa, 7 pm (Sundays at 2 pm): $25, $20 students/seniors

One (and certainly not the only) group who has faced hundreds of years of oppression that still continues today is Native Americans. Though their land and livelihood is still largely disregarded today, illuminated by movements like that of Standing Rock and more, the struggles they face are not always splashed on the (virtual) front pages of the news. And when Native or Indigenous people are portrayed in fictional media, it’s equally uncommon that they themselves are the ones telling the stories or even playing the roles. That all gets turned on its head at Safe Harbors Indigenous Collective’s “greatest sideshow of Indigenous people you’ll ever see.”

Created by Murielle Borst-Tarrant of Spiderwoman Theater with music direction by Kevin Tarrant, Don’t Feed The Indians takes common Native stereotypes and subverts them in a satirical, musical night performed by actual Native artists. May the future only bring more and more work like this.