Art + Culture

No Comments

Week in Film: Spectacle Back to Pack it in With ‘Best of’ + See This Doc or Else

Doomed Love
Friday January 6, 7:30 pm at Spectacle: $5

It’s been an awful long time since I’ve seen a movie at Spectacle… who am I kidding? I was pretty much lost for the two or so weeks when I was forced to go without this $5 standby, cini-mini home for everyone from underground-art house weirdos and to -sploitation freaks. I forgive you Spectacle workers, I guess you too needed to watch Law & Order with your family and drunkenly cry yourself to sleep in your childhood bedroom where Frank the teddy bear has been replaced by a mostly-empty bottle of desperately cheap whiskey.

Keep Reading »

No Comments

It’s All Over Now for Williamsburg Bar Over the Eight

Over the Eight says goodbye (Photo: Nick McManus)

Over the Eight says goodbye at their New Year’s Eve comics celebration (Photo: Nick McManus)

Last year was a rough one for cultural spaces of all kinds in New York City, so it was somewhat fitting (if not totally sad) that a slew of local spots said their peace-outs during New Year’s Eve festivities. Among the departing establishments that went out with a bang on one of the drunkest night of the year was Over the Eight, a Williamsburg bar which closed up shop after “three and a half years” of “slinging cheap drinks and treasured times” (as we heard back in November when the owners first announced their departure).

Keep Reading »

No Comments

Week in Shows: Get Runny, Feel Good + Take a Trip to Synthicide’s Triple Threat

(Flyer via Bossa Nova Civic Club)

(Flyer via Bossa Nova Civic Club)

Synthicide: Three-Year Anniversary 
Thursday January 4, 10 pm to 4 am at Bossa Nova Civic Club: FREE

Even if right now the weather’s making you feel like your bones will never dry, your shoes will always be soggy, and that possibly your muscles will continue spazzing forever and ever, hold on for two more days. And in the mean time, repeat over and over “Free, free at last!” Slowly, your hands will start to defrost, color will return to your face, and a your eyes will even start to twinkle. By the time Thursday rolls around you can let it all out, by placing your booty on the Bossa Nova dance floor as soon as you’re able for the venue’s third annual Synthicide party.

Keep Reading »

No Comments

The Theater That Was a ‘Weapon in the Class Struggle’

This week, we continue with our series of longer pieces unraveling the histories of storied buildings.

The Workers Laboratory Theatre, headquartered at 42 East 12th in the 1930s. (University of Wyoming American Heritage Center Archives)

The Workers Laboratory Theatre, headquartered at 42 East 12th street in the 1930s. (University of Wyoming American Heritage Center Archives)

In June 1931, with America’s working class still deep in the grip of the Great Depression, a handful of actors in New York City performed Art is a Weapon, a skit first adapted by the New York’s Workers’ Laboratory Theatre. It begins with a Capitalist, with a “silk topper and over-refined accent,” making his declaration about the limited uses of art. The workers respond by making the distinction between proletarian and bourgeois art; between art intended to amuse and enlighten the elite and art meant to liberate workers.

Keep Reading »

No Comments

RAE BK Had an Old-School Art Party With DJ Kool Herc and It Went Like This

(Courtesy of RAE BK)

(Courtesy of RAE BK)

The last time I saw a bunch of RAE BKs work all in one place was in 2015, just after the street artist and Brooklyn-native had opened his guerrilla-style solo exhibition in Chinatown. But the show wasn’t held at a gallery, instead RAE’s site-specific installation was housed inside a dingy old basement, accessible only by way of an unmarked, totally unassuming rust-red metal door adjacent to a bustling produce market. Even then, I was so jaded that I couldn’t allow myself to believe that this was a real basement with real dirt and dust everywhere. But actually it wasn’t just a fancy pop-up rental space with a stage-grit makeover, nor was it an attempt by some developer to “activate” a particular corner before the building was torn down. As RAE told me, the basement was simply on loan from a recently-retired butcher with whom he had a “tentative relationship,” and the show, called Trunk Work, was one of those rare art happenings that was both real and strange.

Keep Reading »

No Comments

Will the Pain Ever End? 2016 Died and Took the Creator of Bambi With it

Tyrus Wong in 2015 (Photo: Frank Mastropolo)

Tyrus Wong in 2015 (Photo: Frank Mastropolo)

Even if the actual ball drop is kinda hazy, as long as you’re reading this, you’ve made it to 2017. Congratulations. Seriously though, 2016 was the worst. Case in point: by the time Friday rolled around, it might have seemed like we were in the clear, but 2016 dropped a final insult on top of relentless injury on its way out the door: the death of Tyrus Wong, the artist responsible for Disney’s “Bambi.” You heard right, 2016 killed the dude who created mother-freaking Bambi. 

Keep Reading »

No Comments

3 Ways to Lend a Small but Helping Hand to those Impacted by Oakland Fire

Fire that killed dozens of people trapped inside the Ghost Ship, a DIY art space in Oakland December 3 2016 (Photo: Julianna Brown, via Wikipedia Commons, Flickr)

Fire that killed dozens of people trapped inside the Ghost Ship, a DIY art space in Oakland December 3 2016 (Photo: Julianna Brown, via Wikipedia Commons, Flickr)

Whenever someone compares Brooklyn to Oakland, an angel loses its wings, and is sent plunging straight down to hell where the sexless being is reborn as an enormous phallus– imagine, like, a hedge fund manager or,  in some cases, a real-estate developer.

That’s because the observation usually has to do with the proximity of a relatively much more prosperous place like Manhattan or San Fransisco (actually those are mostly just super fancy places no matter how you slice it) and based on dumb facts like that you can take a train between the two (the BART, the MTA respectively). Oh, and there’s also that whole gentrification thing– like parts of Brooklyn, Oakland has been declared fabulously “up-and-coming” (barf).

The truth is that, aside from stupid comparisons like these–usually found in real-estate ads, or grunted between high-five’ing bros–Oakland and our beloved borough actually do have some real stuff in common.

Keep Reading »

No Comments

Week in Film: Love Poems You Never Knew Were Communist and Pour One Out for Your Katz’s Homies


Neruda
Now through Thursday January 5 at IFC Center: $14

For all you literary nerds out there, here’s your once-in-a-great-while chance to see a film about a poet– which, strangely, is something the movie bizz must be really feeling right now because whatddya know, Jarmusch’s new one, Paterson, also puts a poet front and center. What makes Neruda an even rarer opportunity is that Pablo Neruda, the Nobel Prize-winning Chilean poet in question, is hardly some rugged, hard-boiled Anglo-centric beardo. Rather, Neruda is best know for his simple, yet heart-crushing love poems (especially the ones contained in Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair.)

Keep Reading »

No Comments

Secret Project Robot Will Return, Rewind Time to When ‘All Parties Used to Be Art Parties’

(Via Secret Project Robot Art Experiment/ Facebook)

(Via Secret Project Robot Art Experiment/ Facebook)

No matter how much you love your favorite DIY venue, there’s no sense in getting too attached– as anyone who’s been in the game for a while will tell you. But having lost seemingly countless art caverns and show spaces in the last year, we’ve reached a certain moment where posi vibes and healthy acceptance of the city’s natural ebb and flow, suddenly feel less like rational bits of wisdom and more like things we say to make ourselves feel better because everything is terrible right now.

Whether by force of landlord, party police, or unnatural disaster, we’ve lost some of the greats– Palisades is gone (for good), Market Hotel (indefinitely, save for some vegan markets here and there) maybe too, and Secret Project Robot went away as well. Since the beginning, the duo behind the latter, Rachel Nelson and Erik Zajaceskowski, have vowed to return in one form or another, and now good things are finally happening. “Secret Project Robot just signed a new lease!!” they announced on social media last week. “the art zombie rises!!!”

Keep Reading »

No Comments

Before the Puerto Rican Poets, There Was the Polish Violinist

This week, we present a series of longer pieces unraveling the histories of storied buildings.

(Photo: Shanna Ravindra for NY Mag)

(Photo: Shanna Ravindra for NY Mag)

The entrance to the Nuyorican Poets Café dissolves into a mural of faceless men standing in line, all dressed in white-hat-and-suit ensembles, hands stuffed into their pockets. The painting is based on a black and white photograph from the 1980s of spectators waiting outside the Café. To the right of the entrance is a detailed portrait of the Rev. Pedro Pietri, one of the Nuyorican’s founding poets. The murals replicate the artistry of what goes on inside the walls.

Keep Reading »

4 Comments

The Story of the Gaslight Café, Where Dylan Premiered ‘A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall’

This week, we present a series of longer pieces unraveling the histories of storied buildings.

MacDougal Street where once was the Gaslight Café (© Kasper van Laarhoven)

MacDougal Street where once was the Gaslight Café (© Kasper van Laarhoven)

Bartenders with beards and tattoos serve $15 cocktails to a sharply dressed, late-20s public at what is now the Up & Up. The menu instructs: “Gentlemen will please refrain from approaching ladies. Ladies are welcome to start a conversation or ask a bartender to introduce you.” What would Kerouac have thought of that? “Refrain” is not much of a Beat chorus.

It isn’t hard to imagine the place as it was. Strip away the 2016 fanciness, insert a small stage and there you are: the legendary subterranean Gaslight Café of half a century ago.

Keep Reading »

No Comments

Week in Shows: Fresh Newgaze, Disco Misnomers, and Phish Swims Up Livestream

(Flyer via Sunnyvale)

(Flyer via Sunnyvale)

Guilty Giraffe, Disco Cream, Sooner, Yairms
Wednesday December 28, 8 pm at Sunnyvale: $10

Welcome back friends, orphans, Santa assassins, and gainfully employed. This is our time to shine. Join us in grabbing life by the tender parts while everyone else is still blubber-stuffed and belly-up on their parents’ couch, where life has little meaning, and existence sits somewhere between sleep apnea and dreams invaded by Wilford Brimley, who himself is napping, bloated and spread-eagle on a powder blue La-Z-Boy while diabetic sugar-plum fairies shimmy across his spittle-soaked mustache.

Keep Reading »