Lower East Side music shop Ludlow Guitars had its last day earlier this week, ending its 17-year run on the street that gave it its name. As the shop’s owner, Kaan Howell, busily packed the place up in preparation for its decamp to Brooklyn, he took some time to get a couple final polaroids in the old shop—presumably the last before it inevitably turns into a fusion restaurant/hotel/dog therapist.
Fashion + Shopping
I met a man today whose religion was speakers. Whitney Walker, the general manager of retail for the soon-to-be-unveiled Sonos store in Soho, talked to me for an hour about sound diffusion and stereo design and, while I’m not sure, there’s a chance our discussion may have ended with me agreeing to check out their literature. Who knows?
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.
The newfound stability has allowed the couple to finally pursue a new project: HILOVENEWYORK, a cheeky play on those ubiquitous “I Love NY” t-shirts that litter the stalls on Canal Street. Mullins and Jimenez describe the “sub-brand” of La Petite Mort as an art concept that tries to reinvent the humdrum, depersonalized souvenir t-shirt by adding a personalized twist.
“I’m pretty sure you’ve gone on vacation, and you’ll go take a photo of Eiffel tour, go to a few restaurants, buy a souvenir, and then go home,” said Jimenez, a born-and-bred New Yorker. “But just imagine you went to Paris, met a local, you fell in love, and he took you all over the place and showed you around. And then, when you left, you’d take one of his t-shirts with you. Just imagine how much more valuable that shirt would be to you than any tacky souvenir you’d find in an airport gift shop.”
This concept of an “alternative souvenir” fueled Jimenez’ idea for a more personalized approach to mementos. “I would go to thrift stores in different parts of the city and I’d find this collection of shirts no one would pay attention to, but to me they were unique because they were shirts you’d only get if you lived or worked or went to school in the city.” He began collecting t-shirts from union meetings, concerts, local sports clubs, and more, all of which would then go on to form part of HILOVENEWYORK’s vintage collection. “These items of clothing are honest and true to the people here,” he said.The collection is available at the shop and online. Jimenez also plans to feature limited-edition shirts created by different artists every two weeks. “They’re going to make their own interpretation of what a New York tourist t-shirt should be,” he said. In addition to creating a collection of unique vintage souvenir shirts, Jimenez and Mullins are planning a variety of pop-up events at their store around the concept of “personalized New York.”
“We’ll be collaborating with people on films and art, and we’ll have music outside the store on certain nights,” Mullins explained. On June 21, in collaboration with Make Music NY, La Petite Mort will be hosting the bands Tiger Tooth and Sunshine Gun Club for a 3pm concert. “We’re collaborating with ‘Magikal Charm,’ a yearly independent film festival, and working with them on future film screening,” she added. Another current project is a solo show in the shop for the artist Pablo Power. In order to stay informed on upcoming events, Mullins recommended following them on Instagram (@HILOVENEWYORK and @LAPETITEMORTNYC).The couple hopes that their store and their events will help change the perception many outsiders and newcomers may have of the city. “I want to rebrand the concept of what people think New York as a whole is,” Jimenez said. “Everyone talks about how New York is dead, but if we support each other, and if we’re each others life support, then how can it die?”
What’s in a pin? Con Artist Collective, the scrappy community of creative hustlers always busy dreaming up crazy stuff on Ludlow Street, believes it’s just another way for artists to express themselves and the rest of us to have fun sticking funky doodads all over our jackets.
I don’t know about you, but sometimes checking out one of those boutiquey hair salons can feel like a walking into a staid Chelsea art gallery– the kind of place where you could hear a pin drop, and so would the girl with ungodly, shiny/straight hair who’s glaring at you from the back.
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.”
I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who’s had this thought: “The day Other Music closes, I’m writing my Goodbye to All That essay.” Well, that day is upon us. The store just made the announcement on Facebook: “It is with heavy hearts that we share the news that after more than 20 years in New York City, Other Music will be closing our doors on Saturday, June 25th.”
If you had to spend a day stopping in at every shop in Brooklyn that hawks bespoke menswear, by sunset you’d need a very tall glass of whiskey indeed. Custom, handmade shoes, on the other hand, are a tradition that’s relatively hard to find around these yrts, even as a hipster revivalist thing.
That probably explains why Eric Pitzer– a guy who back in 2010 ditched his unfulfilling corporate day job in Ohio and ran away to Santiago, Chile (a place he’d never been before) to work in a tire factory– felt like he had come across something really special when he met Jaime Cardemil. “Here, shoemaking is kind of a lost thing,” Pitzer said.
Lucy Hearn recently did what so many musicians and artists before her have done when she made the big move to New York, hoping to find a bigger audience and a more “intense” environment. But instead of leaving Sydney, Australia behind in a flurry of middle fingers and broken shot glasses, Hearn (who fronts an indie pop band called Fieldings) is taking a piece of her hometown with her.
As an active member of the scrappy arts community in Sydney, she founded Strange Cuts, a rotating event that functioned as a live-music space, homemade goods market, and art show. On Saturday, May 21, at Secret Project Robot, Hearn and her organizing partner Caitlin Pasko of Drunken Piano, will host the very first Brooklyn Strange Cuts. It’ll feature performances by Fieldings as well as a slew of other local bands like Baby Birds Don’t Drink Milk. Plus, there’ll be visual art and cool things to throw your money at brought to you by independent purveyors of handmade objects, garments, and book things.
The last time we saw Nasa Hadizadeh of Alt Space– the IRL art and fashion hub of Alt Citizen– it was January and she and her crew were so, so ready to cram their stuff inside a baby blue short bus and escape winter early by way of an enviable jaunt across the country. That’s exactly what Alt Space did after closing down its Montrose Avenue incarnation. Now, after a few months and some bumps along the way (including a broke-down bus), they’ve returned to Brooklyn with a whole new lease on pop-up life.
Deadly Dragon Sound just joined the long list of shuttered downtown record stores, but that doesn’t mean the news is all bad where quirky vinyl shops are concerned. One of the quirkiest, Tropicalia in Furs, is making a slight return after leaving the East Village a few years ago.