Lovehoney is here to make you care about rock and roll again, and they’re doing a pretty damn good job of it. Band members—vocalist Alysia Quinones, guitarist Tommy White, drummer Tom Gehlhaus and bassist Matt Saleh—may not presently live in Brooklyn—though Alysia grew up in Bushwick—but their home base where they rehearse is a local fixture. The Sweatshop, which lies off the Montrose Avenue L stop, offers space to many rising New York artists. As we’re chatting, the whirring of a machine and other banging noises periodically disrupt our conversation. Tommy smiles wryly and says, “The perks of having a rehearsal studio in a warehouse.”
Arts + Culture
Look at the corner of Broome and Orchard on Google Maps and you might think that the Lower East Side is gentrifying far more rapidly than you imagined. The Street View images, taken in November of last year, show an Italian music store, a fish market, a cheese store, a grocery and a hardware store– none of which are there just months later. Should we blame Essex Crossing, with its forthcoming Target?
There are summer film festivals aplenty in New York, but none with quite so much local flavor as the new Bowery Film Festival, which kicks off for its inaugural run this evening at the Bowery Bar (one of the festival’s few free events) and goes through Saturday, August 18th. The festival focuses on “films that dissent radically in form, technique, or content from the mainstream,” according to the website.
All of the core members of Gamblers are originally from Long Island or Queens, making them one of the “rare Brooklyn bands that are actually from New York,” according to 28-year-old frontman Michael McManus. It’s not surprising, then, that their single “Corinthian Order,” off of their debut album of the same name, was shot in a Brooklyn DIY venue. Suburbia. We’re debuting the video exclusively here today.
This t00 should establish the band’s NYC cred: McManus met the video’s director, Tyler Walker, while he was working at his family’s bar, the Peter McManus Cafe, which claims to be the oldest family-owned and operated bar in the city. We spoke to McManus about the new album (out September 7 and available for pre-order), love in the 21st century, and his hip hop roots.
Director Crystal Moselle, who traced a family of Lower East Side shut-ins with her documentary The Wolfpack, is back in the public spotlight. This time, she’s touting a feature film instead of a documentary and hanging out with a feisty group of teen girls tearing up the skate parks and streets of the Lower East Side. Her new film, Skate Kitchen, depicts a fictionalized version of the lives of real skateboarders who captivate their 70,000-plus followers on Instagram with viral videos of skating tricks and gnarly wipe outs.
The posters around Williamsburg mimicked an ad campaign for Old Blue Last, the beer launched by Vice in 2016. But instead of advertising “Beer for Drinking” they touted Old Blue Fart: Beer for Farting. And they directed passersby to Vice’s nearby offices for a free can. Which isn’t as crazy as it sounds; the stuff is on tap there. But let’s clear the air: Vice hadn’t caught wind of the posters, so its employees had no idea over 100 people were going to show up on Monday, looking to get a buzz on.
I’ll admit, I always thought that puppet shows were mostly for kids, but maybe I was just pulling a Statler and Waldorf. This display of international puppet pageantry looks like one lively, adult-appropriate event. Produced by Teatro SEA and the MORÁN Group, the first ever International Puppet Fringe Festival NYC features theater companies from Costa Rica to Canada to France. But it particularly shines a spotlight on stories from Latin America and Latinx communities in the U.S., as seen in “Corazón de papel: A Hurricane Story,” a performance by theater group Agua, Sol y Sereno that focuses on Puerto Rico post-Hurricane Maria.
HBO series The Deuce is heading into its second season, as you can see from the trailer released yesterday; today, the production is taking over Blue and Gold Tavern in the East Village. An air conditioning unit is currently hooked up to the East 6th Street dive and a public notice indicates filming will occur until about 10pm.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is notorious for getting it wrong, sparking yearly lists of snubees. (For starters, Sonic Youth and the Pixies have yet to be honored, though Kim Gordon’s and Kim Deal’s basses are currently displayed in the museum’s Guitar Gallery.) Of course, you can’t always get what you want– unless you’re the Rolling Stones, in which case you get a ton of display space. But you’d think the Rock Hall would at least get their shit straight with bands that have been inducted. Not so with the Ramones.
On stage at the PNC Bank Arts Center last night, Billy Corgan recalled how someone, after the previous evening’s show at Madison Square Garden, asked him why the Smashing Pumpkins were playing their special 30th anniversary show in New Jersey, of all places. He explained that it was because New Jersey knew how to rock, knew how to party, and had supported the Pumpkins early on. (They played Maxwell’s in early 1991, before their debut album, Gish, came out.) Whatever the reason, those who skipped the NYC show to see them at the amphitheater in Holmdel were treated to a lively (semi-)reunion packed with cameos.
No Ashes in the Fire: Coming of Age Black and Free in America
Thursday, August 2 at the Brooklyn Historical Society, 6:30-8:00 p.m.
Darnell Moore, writer and leader in the Movement for Black Lives, brings what’s sure to be a riveting discussion of his new memoir No Ashes in the Fire: Coming of Age Black and Free in America to the Brooklyn Historical Society. The description for his book on his website recounts how three neighborhood boys in Camden, New Jersey tried to set him on fire when he was only 14. In the three decades since that encounter, Moore has gone on to seek solace in the gay community of Philadelphia, justice on the front lines in Ferguson, Missouri, and life in his current home in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. In this book, he seeks to understand how that 14-year-old boy not only survived, but became the individual that he is today. Tickets to this event cost $5.
Books Beneath the Bridge: Greenlight Poetry Salon
Who doesn’t love the Film Forum? The autonomous, non-profit institution first started showing films (foreign, art house, independent, repertory) back in 1970, in a space with 50 folding chairs on the Upper West Side. It moved downtown two years later, and, after a couple of temporary homes in western Soho, settled into its current residence on Houston Street some 28 years ago. So even if you don’t make it over there as much as you’d like to anymore–those cramped seats am I right, ugh!–just the fact that it exists is enough to give you faith that NYC isn’t dead yet, right?
Well, sorry, that’s not going to cut it. Institutions, especially autonomous, non-profit ones like Film Forum, need your physical presence (and money) as well as your affection from afar. And now, thanks to a respectfully-conceived, extremely well-executed renovation of this cultural treasure–it’s been closed for construction since the spring–you can get excited again about actually going here and sitting through a two-plus-hour feature. Here are all the details on this near-miraculous, $5 million transformation:
- There’s a whole new theater, upping the Film Forum’s total screen count from three to four. And they didn’t cut into any existing theaters, or the lobby, to build it; what’s now Theater Four used to be a loading dock. The new screen will be used for movies with longer-running commitments as well as holdovers of popular titles. This fourth screen will allow the Film Forum to increase its overall number of selections each year by a third.
- The new seats–more than 500 of them, in all four theaters–are amazing! Made by Spanish design firm Figueras, they’re firm (but comfy), and much wider than their at-times-tortuous predecessors. The spacious, cushioned arm rests, too, are now places upon which you’d actually want to rest your arm. And there’s none of that fuzzy, vaguely disconcerting cloth material going on here anymore; soft, easily-cleaned vinyl is now where it’s at. Also, and crucially, the leg room in each row has been lengthened to a noticeable degree.
- Just as crucial for your viewing pleasure, each of the old theaters have been re-raked, steepening the grade of the floor to a more stadium-style seating situation. This increases the number of “good” seats in each theater by a large margin.
- There are two new additions to the lobby, most notably a 10′ x 5′ digital screen hung over the ticket-taker. This will show, among other things, silent, short, specially commissioned “lobby movies” by the likes of David Byrne and Cindy Sherman which you can watch while you wait in line for your theater to open. There’s also new carpeting, which is always nice.
- Good things that have NOT changed at the new Film Forum: the layout of the lobby, and that funky, zig-zagging standing table; the generous slate of member benefits (their subscription-based model means they never have, nor ever will, accept MoviePass); the commitment to both new and classic movies; and, perhaps most important, the popcorn.