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Drag Brunch, Radical Latinxs, And More Performance Picks

THURSDAY

Awilda Rodríguez Lora. Performance of La Mujer Maravilla: INDIA$ m.e. at the Brooklyn Museum, 2016. (Photo: Daryl E. Tillman) (image via Brooklyn Museum / Facebook)

Cuerpxs Radicales: Radical Bodies In Performance
Thursday, July 5 (plus July 12 and 19) at Brooklyn Museum, 7 pm: FREE with museum admission ($10-16)

While the bulk of the buzz surrounding the Brooklyn Museum lately has surrounded the acclaimed and ever-popular exhibit David Bowie Is, that’s not the only thing that’s happening at the art space. Another exhibition currently on view is Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960-1985. In addition to the exhibition, there’s been a consistent array of programming to accompany it. This Thursday marks the beginning of a weekly showcase spotlighting contemporary female and gender non-conforming Latinx artists and performers working in any discipline from performance and music to literature and visual art and more. This week features Ela and Alina Troyano, Awilda Rodríguez Lora, Sonia Guiñansaca, and STEFA*. Keep Reading »

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Art About America and More Exhibitions Opening This Week

(image via Con Artist Collective / Facebook)

Amurikana
Opening Wednesday, July 4 at Con Artist Collective, 7 pm to 11 pm.

The 4th of July falls on a Wednesday this year, which for the people with Real Jobs means you probably have to drink less than you would if it was on a weekend. It’s also admittedly a weird and unsettling time to have a holiday that’s supposed to celebrate patriotism and America when in just the past week families were torn apart, children were kept in cages, journalists were shot dead at a local newspaper, and a Supreme Court Justice who occasionally voted in non-conservative ways announced his retirement. Even so, it can be comforting to come together for a little merry-making. If you’re looking for something to do before or after a rooftop party, backyard BBQ, or other outdoor activity, the artists of Con Artist Collective are putting up a show appropriately all about America, whatever that might mean to them. Keep Reading »

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Bushwick’s San Loco Is Now a No-Go

(photo: Cassidy Dawn Graves)

Though “Gringo-Mex” spot San Loco left their East Village home of 31 years in 2017 due to a rent increase, folks hungry for Guaco Locos and margaritas could still get their fill at San Locos in the Lower East Side, Williamsburg, and a location at 582 Bushwick Avenue that opened right before the Second Avenue location shut their doors. Now, that latest addition has also ceased operations. Its windows have been papered over and an employee at the Lower East Side store confirms it has closed.  Keep Reading »

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A Look Back at the ‘Families Belong Together’ March Across Brooklyn Bridge

Thousands gathered in downtown Manhattan on Saturday morning to protest what they said was the Trump administration’s inhumane policy on illegal border crossings. The Families Belong Together march, one of hundreds around the country, started at Foley Square and took demonstrators to Cadman Plaza. Watch our video to see the walk across the Brooklyn Bridge and hear what motivated New Yorkers to come out in the sweltering heat and call for the abolition of ICE, the reunification of families separated at the border, and more.

Video by Jennifer Perry.

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Come for the Beach, Stay for the Brisket at Rockaway Beach BBQ

(Photo: RBQ on Instagram)

After a bit of a delay, Rockaway Beach BBQ (RBQ) is finally up and running in the site of the former Playland Motel, which was sold to investors in 2017. Officially opened earlier this week in time for the 4th of July, this offshoot brought to you by the team behind Swingbellys in Long Island is sure to whet any famished beach-goer’s appetite.

Two of RBQ’s business partners, Ryan Moroney and Jacob Marlin, are from the area. Marlin, who’s also the head chef of RBQ, spoke fondly about returning to his native roots. “Oh, it’s a great feeling. Between friends and family and the community board, everyone knows us.”

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Celebrate July 4th at One of These Outdoor Parties

Photo: @TheLotRadio on Instagram.

Independence Day falls on a Wednesday this week, which means Hump Day is gonna be lit. (If we’re allowed to say “lit” anymore.) Here’s our roundup of parties, from the weekday into the weekend. Wherever you end up, remember that the Department of Transportation, in an effort to curb drunk driving, is partnering with Lyft to offer $10 credits when you enter the code KNOWYOURLIMIT here.

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Inside the Installation of the Summer, Yayoi Kusama’s ‘Narcissus Garden’

(Photos: Scott Lynch)

(Photos: Scott Lynch)

(Photos: Scott Lynch)

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(Photos: Scott Lynch)

(Photos: Scott Lynch)

MoMA PS1 has once again brought their crack aesthetic instincts and curatorial muscle out to Fort Tilden for the summer, this year hosting a fantastic installation by one of the most popular artists of our time, Yayoi Kusama’s “Narcissus Garden.”

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Even MORE Hummus Among Us: VISH Opens On East 8th Street

(Photo Credit: VISH)

It’s been a hummus-filled week, folks. Alongside the arrival of Panorama near Union Square, vegetarian and vegan-friendly restaurant VISH Vegetarian Hummus opened up earlier this week on E. 8th Street in the heart of NYU’s campus community. Falafel-lovers’ favorite, Maoz Vegetarian, closed in the spring and left a pita-shaped void on the block. But since VISH is opening in the exact same spot, fans can rest easy.

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The ‘Tinder Poet’ Might Be the Only Good Thing On the App

Most people, upon hearing “Tinder Poet,” will cringe, imagining some corny, deluded Lothario shilling stanzas for swipes. But there is a real life dude who goes by that moniker, and wouldn’t you know, his profile might be the one bright spot on the app.

Scene: Before bed one night, I was reluctantly swiping — you know, out of habit, boredom, and that “oh, just in case!” mindset — when I matched with a certain Alexander, no age, “Tinder Poet” listed as profession. His bio read “hey, you’ve reached the tinder poet. Archive: https://tinderpoetcom.wordpress.com,” followed by a poem of the day.

I was pleasantly surprised that the day’s poem didn’t suck, so I looked up his website and found myself scrolling through verses for maybe half an hour. Some are odes to ostensible Tinder matches, like “For Federico,” which contains the lines, “I don’t want to date you/and I won’t/though your fourth pic is pretty hot/you should make it your first.”

Others put forth New York-specific sensibilities, like the unnamed piece beginning “I am an imposter/in these nice clothes/shuttling through the air/on the old el train.” There are reflections on past loves, “Hey I miss the way you say I’m sorry” and random musings about mortality, “when have you remembered that your birth was mysterious? That you came bloody, out of the womb, and managed, for decades, not to fall down the stairs?”

“For Brian” ends like the world’s most whimsical fortune cookie, “you’re going to be lit by a green light, notice someone’s crooked elbow, ask them to dance,” and elicited in me that corkscrew-to-the-gut sensation I associate with being moved by something.

This is good shit, I thought. And felt grateful to this unlikely troubadour for doing what a standard swiping session has never done for me: piqued my curiosity, stimulated my intellect, and made me feel actual emotions. Sure, the standards are low, but this was a welcome departure from that signature Tinder blend of malaise and revulsion.

I messaged Alexander asking if I could interview him about his project, and we set up a non-date at Project Parlor in Bed-Stuy, our shared neighborhood. I vaguely recalled spending evenings there drinking PBR with dirtbag “poets” during my MFA days, so it seemed an appropriate choice.

Click to enlarge.

When I arrive, he’s seated in a shabby sofa chair, talking on the phone, very official-like. We move out to the backyard, and he explains that Alexander is actually his pen name, and prefers I use that in the piece.

TP/Alexander is tall, brown-haired and bespectacled, a gentle giant who answers my questions in careful, measured responses. He’s easy to talk to, and I immediately like him as a person, which is more than I can say for most Tinder dates.

This, however, is not a date. Alexander tells me he’s in a relationship, insisting that his presence on the app is strictly in service of his poetry project, and, “although tempting,” he never uses it for dates or hookups.

“I want to keep the integrity of it,” he says. “I only respond to people who acknowledge me as the Tinder Poet. Otherwise, I just don’t have the time.”

The 30-year-old began the project in January of this year, after a work trip to LA where he found himself overbooked with Tinder dates every night of the week and finally burned out from dating app exhaustion. He wanted to do something more meaningful with the platform, providing matches with “something to look forward to.”

“I want to be the only good thing on Tinder,” he says, and then clarifies, “my real goal is to become the poet laureate of the United States, through Tinder poetry only.”

Click to enlarge.

Although he says he’s been writing a poem a day since his junior year of high school, so far, it remains a labor of love. As his actual profession, he’s a new music/concert composer (he rejects the term “classical,” finding it limiting). He plays cello and guitar, and was formerly in a band called Polysonic Joy until they had a “dramatic falling out.”

I ask if he would ever want to publish a book of his Tinder poems, and he shrugs. “It’s inevitable. We live in a capitalist society.”

He does have a more immediate vision for his alias off the app, though: a poetry reading where he’ll invite everybody on Tinder and auction off a date with him, using the money to fund a guerrilla cover-up of all the subway poems.

“I’m really upset about the subway series,” he explains, which amps me up because, second to the MTA’s crumbling infrastructure and hellish scheduling problems, the outdated, mediocre poetry lining the subway cars draws my ire. We joke about how absurd it is that the mock poems in the PolicyGenius ads are inadvertently better than any of the actual subway poems.

But the egregiousness of the MTA can have a silver lining: it facilitated a meet-cute for Alexander and his girlfriend. They were both waiting for the bus in the Navy Yard; he, after a class in film scoring, at the Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema; she, after a shift at the Mast Brothers Chocolate Factory. The bus was taking forever to show up, so they started talking and immediately hit it off.

Transit delays aside, how does one actually make these real-life romantic encounters happen?

“Be bold,” he says. “It’s awkward to talk to strangers, but I feel like if you want to meet somebody in real life, the definition of meeting somebody is talking to a stranger.” I tell him my vibe is probably not the best: always wearing headphones, resting bitch face, dodging catcalls.

“A big part of meeting people in real life is being open to it,” he says, adding that if you’re giving off a good vibe, “people will be attracted to you rather than you having to chase them.”

Or, be the aggressor. One way? Swoop in on a bad Tinder date while one of them goes to the bathroom, he suggests. “Hey, is that a terrible date? Here’s my number.

“Maybe that’s your calling card. It’s super obnoxious, but if that’s you, that’s you.”

I think, I just might try it. I tell him he should write a dating column, “Ask the Tinder Poet.”

He says he’d love to.

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The Very Latest on the City’s Plan to Deal With the L-Pocalypse

(Photo courtesy of Buck Ennis)

Speaker Corey Johnson opened this week’s City Council hearing on the 15-month L-train shutdown with a dramatic flourish. He promised “dogged oversight” and suggested with a firm note in his voice that there better be a “hard stop” at the project’s anticipated completion date. As you’re probably aware, service is expected to be suspended for 15 months between Bedford Avenue and 8th Avenue starting in April 2019. Meanwhile, the Department of Transportation (DoT) and the MTA are working around the clock with new plans to ease the fretful minds of legislators and affected residents and commuters. Here’s the important stuff you need to know from this week’s hearing.

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More Hummus Among Us: Levantine Chain Panorama Launches Near Union Square

(Photo courtesy of Panorama)

The latest health-minded fast-casual chain to hit Manhattan just launched off of Union Square. Panorama Middle Eastern Grill is clearly aiming to become the Levantine Chipotle, and is hoping to succeed right across the street from where The Hummus & Pita Co. failed. Backed by a Canadian real-estate developer, the restaurant aims to open 15 locations around Greater New York in the next few years, starting with its first at 820 Broadway.

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