The term “gamer” usually conjures up a torrent of awful connotations– an exclusively white-male circle jerk where the only manifestation of “diversity” is between the Cheetos-stained 4chan nerds with a sunlight problem and fedora-wearing MRM creeps who fancy themselves activists. You can catch all of them gushing over first-person shooters and probably trading furry porn at a LAN party, a place where anybody else wouldn’t be caught dead.
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.
In a booth at a coffee shop on Bowery, artist Tim Platt hunches over a small piece of cardstock and tries to figure out how to turn a collection of near-random shapes and lines he’s made into a finished drawing.
“Oh, I’m going to destroy this one,” he finally decides. Platt, 28, dashes a thick red line over the drawing and, in the corner, writes You’ve failed me by agreeing to look at this. “Yup, I’d give this one a C minus at best.”
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.)
“I need to get into a women’s prison. I need to get into another men’s prison. Maybe I can get into two women’s prisons, or three more men’s prisons,” Fury Young said, punching his open hand with his fist emphatically. “I don’t know, but I want to try and at least get into one more of each.”
I realized the Bushwick-based prison reform activist wasn’t really directing this statement toward me– instead he was drilling himself about what remains left of his enormously ambitious passion project. For years, Young has been at work on Die Jim Crow– an effort that, so far, has taken him to a State Prison in Ohio and to neighborhoods in New York City and Philadelphia with particularly high incarceration rates. Along the way, he has recorded and collaborated with musicians who, at one time or another, have spent time behind bars or are currently locked up. “It’s the first anti-prison album recorded in prison,” he explained.
The House of Yes has something of a problem with their shimmering, funky, newish venue in Bushwick– they have a surplus of space, which is sort of a unique issue when it comes to digs in post-industrial-squatting Brooklyn. But as the performance collective settles into what’s by far their most functional and fanciest home yet, they’re filling up their calendar with even more events. Soon enough they’ll have every inch of the space and their time occupied by cool happenings. Take for example, the first-ever Question the Market (Saturday May 28 and Sunday May 29), billed as a new pop-up “queer design and arts market.”
“It will be shopping as nightlife, nightlife as shopping,” organizer Eric Schmalenberger told us. “I feel like shopping can be more than shopping. When given the right space, it can be more interesting and engaging, and the great thing about flea markets is that you, often, can engage with the maker.”
The sardonic #Hoffsome-approved Tumblr posts of “All Male Panel” keep us painfully aware of how underrepresented women are, well, everywhere, but especially in the world of art conferences, culture Q+As, academic panels, and business summits. (Oh wait, that’s just the entire public realm.) At least the female form will be better represented on paper starting tomorrow, with the opening of Italian Airs, the first-ever pop-up show hosted by Schema Projects, an all-art-on-paper, all-the-time gallery in Bushwick. (The exhibition will also be included in the inaugural Bushwick Hot Summer Nights.)
A new show at Bushwick gallery Victori + Mo approaches the supernatural from a firmly grounded perspective. By exploring the ephemerality of memory and the power of belief, artist Langdon Graves walks a tricky line on the edges of the occult while still keeping a healthy dose of skepticism.
As the cliché goes, a talented artist can make their work look easy. Most successful works of art, then– anything from albums to paintings and photographs– belie the huge amount of effort and skill that went into their creation. This might stem from the idea that showing too much of the maker’s hand demystifies the process, and therefore risks ruining the magic of art. That distance is especially important when it comes to music– for most genres anyway, maintaining a separation between the audience and the performer, both physical and psychologically, is an essential part of the experience.
Stephanie Theodore of Theodore:Art was massively disappointed when Arts in Bushwick announced that Bushwick Open Studios was moving from summer to fall in an attempt to close the door on an eight-year tradition. But AiB had their reasons– BOS had ballooned into something of circus, an event that they believe had been co-opted and used by corporate interests and party promoters looking to cash-in on the thousands of people who swarmed the neighborhood each June. But galleries and individual artists also benefitted from the huge influx of people and the visibility that BOS brought to the area, so Theodore was hardly alone. “A lot of other galleries wanted something to replace BOS,” she told B+B over the phone today.
Over the weekend fancy people in an “acquisitive mood” milled around Frieze Art Fair, discreetly making it rain while rubbing shoulders with art dealers, the dapperly dressed, and a donkey named Sir Gabriel– an animal brought there by an artist who recently broke a personal record when his statue of Hitler sold for $17.2 million at auction.
Back in Bushwick, however, less absurd things were going down at a very different kind of art happening. As far as we can tell, there wasn’t a VIP section at the opening night of Body Language, the second art show to happen at Angelina Dreem’s art and technology educational hub, Powrplnt, and the first one dedicated to paintings and other 2D works by emerging and established artists.
It’s pretty screwy that here, now, in the year 2016 many people still have a hard time grasping that Africa is an incredibly diverse continent home to vastly different cultures, languages, landscapes, and art traditions. Thankfully, we have things like the 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair (held May 6 through 8 at Pioneer Works in Red Hook) at our fingertips to keep us in the know about the incredible (and, ahem, marketable) art work coming out of the 54 countries on the African continent.