Amidst all the pigeon poop, garbage juice, and sundry other mystery substances littering the streets of New York, there are actually some hard-working people out there trying to make this city just a teensiest bit nicer. Sure, you could go the ad-hoc route like this artist who leaves gold spray-painted trash bags lying around. Or, go the way of the city’s Department of Transportation and commission artists to unleash the pretty. Williamsburg is the new recipient of one such beautification project, with a massive painting adorning the ground of Ascenzi Square, in the triangle formed by Roebling Street, Metropolitan Avenue, and N 4th Street.
Yesterday, on the same day that the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s office revealed that Judge Aaron Persky was removed from a new sex assault case at the request of prosecutors, over 700 letters petitioning for him to be permanently unseated were signed at a “Fuck Rape Culture” party in Bushwick. GRLCVLT’s event at Holyrad Studio drew women and men dissatisfied with the lenient, 89-day county jail sentence Persky handed down for the sexual abuse committed by Stanford student Brock Turner. The response was overwhelming not only because hundreds signed their letters while lined up outside of the packed, 150-capacity studio, but also because of the sheer emotion as women shared their personal stories of sexual assault, and called for an end to the abuse and injustice.
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.
While everyone seems to be making the leap across the East River to shack up in Brooklyn, a small raw-fish-focused spot decided to jump in the opposite direction. Bergen Hill, a restaurant specializing in South American-inspired small plates and crudo dishes, closed the doors of its Carroll Gardens location in April, only to resurface a couple of months later in the East Village’s Cooper Square, with a tentative opening date scheduled for early July.
Sitting outside on a balmy summer night and watching one of your favorite films with the Manhattan skyline in the background almost makes the stinking mounds of cooking garbage on the street and the hellish temperatures in subways stations worth it. With that in mind, here are some of the best upcoming outdoor film series this city has to offer. Best of all: Most of these are free!
After more than 16 years in Williamsburg, bookseller Spoonbill & Sugartown is opening a second store in not-so-distant East Williamsburg. The new location, in the front half of the Montrose Avenue storefront currently used as the bookstore’s warehouse and office space, will be open Friday through Sunday, starting today.
So what’s a socially conscious individual to do? If you’re self-described “female secret society” GRLCVLT, you invite everyone to an open-bar blowout at Holyrad Studio in East Williamsburg, featuring live performances by local act Edith Pop and comedian Lane Moore’s band It Was Romance. Throw in a letter-writing campaign to unseat Judge Aaron Persky, and it sounds like your typical Wednesday night, right?
Later on tonight, you might be brushing your teeth and instead of that familiar googly-eyed likeness staring back at you (everyone has that problem, right?) you’ll see nothing less than an animal abuser, or perhaps even a slave owner if you choose to be really honest with yourself. Your French bulldog Greg will suddenly seem like a sullen prisoner in that skin-tight raincoat you force him to wear on the reg, even when it’s a cloudless, sweltering 90-degree July day and he’s emitting piercing, parrot-like screams as he struggles to escape. And those Bob Evans sausage griddles you chased with a tall glass of heavy whipping cream for dinner? Well, your Wienerwurst Wednesday tradition might seem, suddenly, very disgusting.
The lack of women-led, produced, and directed theater productions and companies is a well-known phenomena both in the theater world and beyond. Michole Biancosino, the co-founder and artistic director of the Project Y Theatre Company, decided to address this disparity by hosting an entirely female-produced festival, starting on June 9 and continuing in July. The first annual Women in Theater Festival will be held in various locations throughout the city, including Under St. Mark’s in the East Village and ART/NY Studios in Brooklyn, and has become a passion project for Biancosino.
What’s being billed as a “16 hour fully immersive, internationally inspired” music and visual art event is coming to a yet-to-be disclosed location near the Jefferson stop, joining Northside and Out in the Streets on the growing list of festivals happening in and around Bushwick this summer. Variance, however, is situated somewhere between Brooklyn’s answer to SXSW and the super-local chill fest known for bringing DIY regulars out of their usual dank, cavernous confines and onto the grassy grounds of Onderdonk House.
Next week, Northside Festival promises to bring the already music-saturated borough of Brooklyn to the brink of complete and total music-ocalypse. Now in its eighth year, the festival brings together some of hippest bands that oh-so-hip North Brooklyn has to offer with shows across several venues in Williamsburg, Greenpoint and Bushwick. Choosing which of the 400 musical acts to see and which of the 38 venues to go to is a daunting task. So to help you decide where to focus your time, energy and discerning ears over the course of six days (June 6-12), we’ve put together a list of the top ten shows.
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.)