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Brandon Harris Talks Gentrification, Race, and the Perennial Struggle of Making It in NYC

In his first book, Making Rent in Bed-Stuy (HarperCollins, 2017), New York-based writer and filmmaker Brandon Harris uses his memoir of “trying to make it in New York City” as the starting point for a complex, multi-layered discussion of race, class, and gentrification.

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Computers Writing Poetry, Eugene O’Neill + A Light Meal, and More Performances To Gaze Upon

WEDNESDAY

Eunice Wong in MOURNING BECOMES ELECTRA. (Photo: Gaia Squarci)

Mourning Becomes Electra
April 26-May 20 at Abrons Arts Center, various times: $45-75

If short n’ sweet shows are your preferred method of entertainment, this could be quite the change of pace. The Obie-winning company Target Margin Theater will be commemorating their 25th anniversary of making work by taking on Eugene O’Neill’s 1931 work Mourning Becomes Electra, and they’re doing it in a big, big way. Or rather, a long, long way. The production runs around six hours long, but don’t expect to sit for that entire time. Mourning Becomes Electra is technically a play cycle, consisting of three plays that serve as a modern retelling of Greek tragedy The Oresteia, turned into a Freudian family melodrama set at the end of the Civil War. So, the company is dividing Abrons’s Playhouse into different sections, guiding audiences between different portions of the performance space as the play cycle progresses.

If you’re still hesitant about committing to this behemoth endeavor, know that it also includes two intermissions and “a light meal.” Everyone loves a nice meal.

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Art Show Delights in Rapper’s Legacy, for 20 Years Biggie’s Reach Only Got Bigger

(Photo: Nicole Disser)

Deathdays aren’t usually cause for celebration, but in the case of Christopher Wallace– better known as Biggie Smalls– it only makes sense to organize an art show dedicated to the late rapper around the afterlife. Without it, 20 Big Years would have denied the necromancy that runs throughout the life work of Notorious B.I.G. (his mere two studio albums are a clear sign that his life was cut too short), and that has come to define his persona after death. Even if all these ghosts still give his fans the willies. As one visitor, pointing to an altered version of Barron Claiborne’s famous photo of Biggie wearing a crown, said to her friend: “That one with the skull–it’s so morbid, but so deep.” (The friend agreed.)

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Ghosts, Missed Connections, and More Must-See Art Shows

(flyer via The Living Gallery / Facebook)

Of Ghosts and Girls
Opening Tuesday March 14 at The Living Gallery, 6 pm to 10 pm. One night only.

This one-night-only exhibition (as is the norm for The Living Gallery) showcases the work of Üriel Shlüsh-Reyna, a Bushwick-based artist who creates paintings, drawings, and sculptures. She also appeared as a cast member in immersive show Houseworld in 2015, which took place in the various rooms of a Greenpoint church. Her work zeroes in on matters of mysticism, fantasy, and magic. Also, she draws and paints a lot of women, some busty, some doe-eyed, some even tied-up and split in two. Of Ghosts and Girls will show a mix of old and new works in various mediums. She also indicates on her website that she’s inspired by both sleep paralysis and ice cream, which if anything is an interesting combo. The opening reception will also feature musical performances by Mike Campbell, Ben Pagano, and Charles Mansfield. Keep Reading »

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Battle of the Bag Tax: Bodega Workers Have Mixed Feelings About Five-Cent Fee

Deli on Franklin Avenue in Greenpoint (Photo: Nicole Disser)

Deli on Franklin Avenue in Greenpoint (Photo: Nicole Disser)

Last week, our Seattle-bred writer told New Yorkers to stop being babies about the five-cent fee that the City Council had voted to impose for the use of plastic takeout bags. That plea fell on deaf ears, because on Tuesday, Governor Cuomo blocked implementation of the Bring Your Own Bag Law for at least a year. The Lower East Side’s own Margaret Chin was among those who dropped a W-T-F bomb, insisting that “carryout bag fees are the right policy” and that Cuomo’s move had quashed a measure that she and her colleagues in City Council had “democratically adopted” after slogging through “two years of hearings, reviewing evidence, reusable bag giveaways, and public debate.”

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This Week’s Art: A Fish Market Repurposed and Many Types of ‘Graphic Art’

Mike Taylor (image via Idio Gallery)

Mike Taylor (image via Idio Gallery)

Mike Taylor: Condensed Flesh
Opening Thursday October 13 at Idio Gallery, 6 pm to 11 pm. On view through October 30.

East Williamsburg space Idio Gallery put out a call for crowdsourced financial support several months ago, which very well could have signaled that it was beginning to scale down. However, with a show at Bushwick Open Studios and another show opening shortly after, they don’t appear to be going anywhere. This one is a solo show, presenting works on paper and paintings by renowned graphic artist Mike Taylor, created between 2012 and now. Finished works won’t be the only thing on display in this show, as Idio’s downstairs basement space will be transformed into a showcase of the artist in-process, with drawings not yet done, prints, and “printmaking debris” on view as well. Taylor’s work is bold and bright, often utilizing neon colors and mixing abstract patterns with notes of realism and the human form filtered through the style of the illustrator and comic artist.

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Vist Trump’s Tombstone and Some Other Art Shows This Week

(flyer via Manhattan BP Gale Brewer)

(flyer via Manhattan BP Gale Brewer)

Arlene Schulman: The First 100 Years
Reception Tuesday September 20 at The David N. Dinkins Municipal Building, 5 pm to 7 pm. On view through September 29. 

Bronx-born Arlene Schulman has had a robust career as a photographer, with an array of published books, including the award-winning The Prizefighters: An Intimate Look at Champions and Contenders. Her photos reflect a lifetime living in the city, and I mean lifetime: she started taking photos when she was a mere eight years old. They focus on the everyday and the working class, portraying subjects like police officers and boxers in large-format prints. And photography isn’t all she does– she also writes, edits, and teaches. This exhibit, presented by Manhattan BP Gale A. Brewer, seeks to showcase her large body of work and the unique way she sees the city. But careful, don’t go offering her the chance to shoot artful pictures of any lima beans or olives—she writes on her website that she hates those.

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‘Gender-Free’ Fashion Infiltrates a Bed-Stuy Basement

(photo: Luis Nieto Dickens | NoSleep.co)

(photo: Luis Nieto Dickens | NoSleep.co)

On Thursday evening, a group of 10 or 15 people descended into a mysterious basement on Bed-Stuy’s Myrtle Avenue. If not for the beats of FKA Twigs that floated up the dark staircase, you might have missed it completely. The space, which lies below an apartment and has been renovated into an art space called TT Gallery, carries a musty scent and feels otherworldly. Some of the floor is still dirt, the intricate roof panels and stone walls look like something out of a Final Fantasy realm. Only, the characters of this world weren’t there to adventure amongst monsters, but to strut their stuff. This was the setting for Iranian-born, Montreal-based designer and artist Pedram Karimi‘s SS17 show.

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Artist Blowin’ Up IUDs with a Show About ‘Sacrificing’ Body and Mind for Baby

Closeup of "Baby Mobile," 2016, wire hangers, fishing line, copper, 3d-printed plastic. (photo: Cassidy Dawn Graves)

Closeup of “Baby Mobile,” 2016, wire hangers, fishing line, copper, 3d-printed plastic. (photo: Cassidy Dawn Graves)

You’ve heard the saying: “Don’t let people walk all over you.” If you’re a woman, this has probably been said to you especially often. But how often is it meant literally? At Kristin Smallwood’s debut solo exhibition IUD, now on view at American Medium in Bed-Stuy, the only way to access the art is by walking over scores of women (including photos of the artist herself), adhered endlessly and stickily to the gallery floor. The female figures are grinning lipstick-painted grins while your boot presses into their torso and your sweat drips onto their breasts.

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Four Readings: Alt-Comedy Collective to Tear Up the Strand + Actor Winos, Winot?

TUESDAY

(Photo: Courtesy of Hyperallergic)

(Photo: Courtesy of Hyperallergic)

Hyperallergic IRL 2
August 16, 7 pm at Housing Works Bookstore Cafe

The super stylish Hyperallergic, the online magazine for all your arts-and-culture-related thinkpiece needs, will come to life tonight at Housing Works for the second time as three Hyperallergic writers (Seph Rodney, Claire Voon, and Carey Dunne), as well as three editors (Elisa Wouk Almino, Jillian Steinhauer, and Hrag Vartanian) read from some of their pieces and bring your favorite self-proclaimed “Art Blogazine” to the masses.

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Art Hearts: Beach Party in the City, Sunshine Ruins, and Bye Bye in Bed-Stuy

Peyton Freiman, "JFK was a Realist," 2015. Mixed Media on Paper mounted on Canvas, 6 x 3.5 inch. (image via Shin Gallery)

Peyton Freiman’s “JFK was a Realist,” 2015 (Image courtesy of Shin Gallery)

Long Gone and Missing
Opening Wednesday August 1, 7 pm to 9 pm at Shin Gallery. On view through September 10. 

Imagine a beach on the Lower East Side. Now imagine that beach stuffed inside an art gallery. Some might call it crazy, but this wacky dream will become reality at the opening of Peyton Freiman’s solo show, Long Gone and Missing. The Brooklyn-based artist (who also recently showed a piece in loft-gallery Club 157’s first group show) will transform Shin Gallery into a “veritable beach playground” filled with his colorful mixed media works on paper.

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KPISS Radio Wants to Dribble their ‘Golden Stream’ Right into Your Ears

Sheri Barclay, founder of KPISS radio inside the studio (Photo: Nicole Disser)

Sheri Barclay, founder of KPISS radio inside the studio (Photo: Nicole Disser)

You’d be a fool to think that KPISS radio is some ramshackle operation. Sure, they might be tucked away in the far-back confines of Punk Alley– an assortment of shipping containers right along the Bushwick/ Bed-Stuy border where you’ll find a record store, used book purveyors, and even a mini-shop dedicated to paraphernalia from local punk bands. One by one, they’ve opened up over the last couple of years, joining maybe a dozen more smalltime vendors that were already there every day doin’ their thing, and about a year ago KPISS joined them. There’s no doubt that the KPISS.FM digs– a rectangular box with a couch and some turntables, mics, and other broadcast equipment behind a sheet of plexiglass– are pretty humble. “The last tenant was this guy who basically pissed all over the studio,” explained the station’s founder, Sheri Barclay. “No one would rent it, but I would. I called it KPISS in his honor.”

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