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Go Watch Seth Meyers Have a Frank Discussion With Franken

(Photo: B&N Union Square on Instagram)

If you missed Al Franken shaking his damn head at Trump’s “stupid” budget a few weeks ago at Barnes & Noble Union Square, don’t worry: The Strand is having the gentleman from Minnesota back for an appearance at Cooper Union’s Great Hall. It’s just been announced that the moderator for the August 1 discussion will be Seth Meyers, who is no stranger to the East Village bookstore– we saw him at the recent Meet Me in the Bathroom event (no, we did not meet him in the bathroom.)

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Williamsburg Shopping Weekend Launches With Free Drinks and Sweet Discounts

(Photo: Williamsburg Shopping Weekend)

With rents going up, an L Train shutdown imminent, and chains like Lululemon moving into the ‘burg, retailers are tasked with drumming up more business and loyal shoppers. Enter the first ever Williamsburg Shopping Weekend.

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LES Protests New Towers; Bushwick Schooling Sticker Shock

On the Lower East Side in less than an hour, elected and community leaders will rally against the construction of three planned skyscrapers. [Bowery Boogie]

Much-loved Schiller’s Liquor Bar will reportedly serve its final customers on Sunday, August 13. [Bowery Boogie]

Bushwick Montessori, which opens in September, is generating criticism for it’s $25K/year tuition. [Bushwick Daily] Keep Reading »

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Legendary Art Duo McDermott & McGough Are Building an ‘Oscar Wilde Temple’

McDermott & McGough, “Oscar Wilde in Prison, 1895 (MMXVII)” (detail), 2017. Oil and gold leaf on linen. Courtesy of the artists.

Legendary New York art team McDermott & McGough — known, among other things, for spending 15 years living in the East Village while dressed as top hat-wearing Victorian gentlemen — are back with an ambitious new project to be unveiled at The Church of the Village this September.

The new art installation combines several of the artists’ motifs and preoccupations — the Victorian era, Ireland, gay culture, LGBT rights, time — in a giant homage to Oscar Wilde, the turn-of-the-century Anglo-Irish writer and bon-vivant famously condemned to prison for refusing to hide his sexuality.

The Oscar Wilde Temple “combines painting, sculpture, and site specific elements in a functioning environment that recalls the beautiful and provocative sensuousness of the Aesthetic Movement [that] Wilde championed,” according to a press release. It will transform The Church of the Village‘s chapel into a shrine to Wilde. In the center will be a four-foot statue of Wilde in the manner of a religious icon. On the walls will be paintings in the style of the Stations of the Cross, but instead of depicting Christ’s persecution they will illustrate Wilde’s journey from arrest to incarceration.

Peter McGough and David McDermott — who, after their East Village days, threw elaborate parties in the Williamsburg bank building where they resided — evidently first began discussing the idea of the Oscar Wilde Temple more than 20 years ago. In keeping with the duo’s fondness for “time experiments,” the Temple will painstakingly replicate the aesthetics and atmosphere of Victorian England through the use of “specially made fabric wall coverings, architectural and decorative details, furnishings and lighting.”

The Temple will also include a secondary altar conceived as a shrine to those struggling with or killed by AIDS, as well as a series of portraits by McDermott & McGough of homophobia “martyrs,” such as Harvey Milk and Alan Turing, and lesser-known victims of AIDS or homophobia including Sakia Gunn, a teenage African-American lesbian stabbed in Newark in 2003, and two figures from The Church of the Village’s own history — Rev. Paul M. Abels and Rev. C. Edward Egan, ministers forced out for being gay.

Sponsored by The Church of the Village and the New York LGBT Center, the Temple will also be available to rent for weddings, memorial services, and other private functions, with the proceeds benefiting the LGBT Center.

The installation will run concurrently with “I’ve Seen the Future and I’m Not Going,” a McDermott & McGough retrospective opening at the Dallas Contemporary in Texas on October 1st.

The installation will be open Sept. 11th through Dec. 2nd at The Church of the Village at 201 W. 13th St. at 7th Ave., viewable Tuesdays through Saturdays from noon – 7:00 pm.

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The VW Traffic Jam Is Gonna Be Absolutely Vantastic

(Photo: Daniel Maurer)

Today Volkswagen agreed to pay California another $154 million in its dieselgate scandal, but the German carmaker wasn’t always the face of pure evil. Fifty years ago it was the Summer of Love, and the VW bug and bus were symbols of everything groovy. Whether you’re an old hippie pining for the good ol’ days or you’re a social-media influencer living the #Vanlife, you’ll want to get out to the VW Traffic Jam on Governor’s Island next month.

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Bowery Tenants Hit the Streets Again to Protest Dr. Jay’s Owner Joseph Betesh

(Wah Lee before she threw the poster on the ground and stomped on it. Photo: Shannon Barbour)

Tenants of 83 and 85 Bowery poured into the streets of Chinatown yesterday afternoon to protest their landlord Joseph Betesh, again, who they say is a “slumlord” who has been harassing and trying to evict his tenants.

Betesh, owner of Dr. Jay’s, bought 83 and 85 Bowery along with other buildings in 2013 for $62 million; according to a press release, tenants believe he has maintained that the building isn’t rent stabilized. Both parties have gone back and forth in court. In May of last year, Betesh’s lawyers agreed to work toward a settlement wherein Betesh would make repairs, relocate residents, and return them to their refurbished apartments with 99-year leases. However, tenants ultimately rejected the deal because Betesh would not agree that the units were rent-stabilized, according to one of the residents.

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Bushwick Directors On What It’s Like to Bring Civil War to Brooklyn

Cary Murnion and Jon Milott have teamed up to direct Bushwick, an action movie about a Texas army that invades the Brooklyn neighborhood. Starring Brittany Snow and Dave Bautista, it was one of two Bushwick-set films that clocked some buzz at Sundance back in February (the other one, The Incredible Jessica James, will have a Rooftop Films screening on July 25, and will be streaming on Netflix July 28. With the trailer for Buswhick out earlier this week (it hits theaters Aug. 25), we caught up with the busy directors to talk about the film, politics and why Bushwick? Keep Reading »

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Videology Takes Landlord to Court; Failed LES Bank Robber in Custody

To avoid eviction, Videology‘s co-owners sued their landlord of six years Tuesday in Brooklyn Supreme Court. [The Real Deal]

A New Jersey man, 22, was arrested yesterday after attempting to rob three Lower East Side banks in 24 hours. [Bowery Boogie]

The landlord of the E. 6th Street building that will house Mayahuel until August wants to then open a comparable bar in its place. [Eater NY] Keep Reading »

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Astor Place Now Home to Mexican Ice Cream Stand From Creators of Dough

Photo credit: J. Oliver Conroy.

Do you have a sweet tooth? Do you, like me, require a daily allotment of chocolate or ice cream in order to forestall the possibility of slipping into a homicidal rage?

In that case, good news. As of today Astor Place is now home to a La Newyorkina ice cream stand. The stand, which sells “paletas” (popsicles), “Mexican ice cream,” and other treats, comes from the same people behind Dough, the New York pastry purveyor which inspires almost cult-like devotion. It joins the newly opened Astor Plate Cafe on the reconstructed plaza.

The stand is open today till 9 pm. (The person I spoke with seemed unsure about the stand’s hours going forward but it appears it will be open till that time every day.) Not all menu items are available at this location yet.

La Newyorkina is already a fixture of the Highline and Smorgasburg, and it has a storefront in the West Village, among other locations.