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Art This Week: Immigrant Benefits, Goth Exhibits, and Sex-Positive Birthdays

 “Night of” Performance by Laur Duvall, Model: Leah Shea (Photo: Frankie Weiner)

Stigma Unbound: The Birthday Party
Opening Thursday, November 29 at Wild Embeddings, 6 pm to 11 pm. On view through December 4.

Stigma Unbound, a performance series dedicated to giving a platform to sex workers and allies, is celebrating their first birthday with an art exhibit and a week of special programming. They’re kicking it off with an opening reception that will presumably not look like any typical gallery opening filled with fancy people furrowing their brows at paintings while daintily sipping small plastic cups of free wine. Rather, this will be more of a party, with drag, burlesque, and performance art to accompany the visual art on display from 20+ artists working in multiple mediums. It costs $10 to get in, but remember you’re supporting local marginalized creators here, not a big fancy gallery catering to the rich. If you can’t make the opening, later in the week they’re doing body art presentations, artist talks, and a pole dance night. Keep Reading »

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‘Democracy Dies in Dampness’: Massive Lines, Broken Scanners, Epic Waits to Vote in Soggy NYC

(Photo via @dagesjuvelierkeates on Instagram)

If you thought the line for a last-minute Halloween costume was as bad as it got, you may have learned otherwise when you headed to the polls this morning. As if the soggy weather wasn’t bad enough, New Yorkers reported downed scanners and waits of up to four hours. (Gonna need those free drinks!) Even Mayor de Blasio had to wait in line; he emerged from his Brooklyn polling location calling for voting reform and saying “NYC deserves so much better.” The state Attorney General’s office announced that as of 3:30pm, it had received roughly 100 complaints about New York City poll sites with broken scanners. Here’s a look at this morning’s carnage in the B+B area.

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Pour One Out: Greenpoint Loses Both of Its Slush Puppie Machines

(Photo: Daniel Maurer)

“I don’t wanna be buried, in a pet cemetery,” sang the Ramones. But that’s exactly what will happen to the blue-hatted hound atop the Slush Puppie machine when American Deli Market leaves its home of 20 years.

A couple of weeks ago we lamented that Greenpoint Finest Deli had closed, leaving Greenpoint with just one Slush Puppie machine. Namely, the self-serve one an avenue over, at American Deli Market. The neighborhood was lucky to have even that, because Slush Puppies–which, of course, are the thinking man’s Slurpees– are nearly impossible to come by in this age of boutique kombucha, acai-infused coconut water, and yerba mate soda.

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Neighborhood Longtimers Anella and Nai Reopen in Greenpoint and EV

(Photo courtesy of Nai)

Two neighborhood standbys have reopened their doors–one in Brooklyn, the other in Manhattan. Nai, the Galician tapas bar that closed in July after eight years in the East Village, has reopened an avenue over. And Anella, the Greenpoint longtimer that closed that same month due to a fire, will reopen tonight in a rebuilt space.

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Doggone: Greenpoint Is Down to Just One Slush Puppie Machine

(Photos: Daniel Maurer)

Exactly nine years ago to this day, I set off the alarm bells on Grub Street: “Greenpoint Braces for Slurpee Versus Slush Puppie Showdown.” At the time, a 7-Eleven was poised to hit Manhattan Avenue just blocks away from where Greenpoint Finest Deli had been serving up Slush Puppies for years. I’m sorry to inform you, nine years later, that 7-Eleven has won out. Greenpoint Finest Deli has closed and is being replaced by a bagel shop called Bagelology. The Slush Puppie machine is a goner.

As I noted so very long ago, when I had significantly fewer cavities, Slush Puppies are nearly impossible to come by in New York City. Even back then, Chowhounders (remember Chowhounders?) were asking: “Slush Puppie in New York— does it exist?”

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Riot Gear With Feminist Slogans and More Exhibitions This Week

(image via Rubber Factory)

In the Name of the Hypersurface of the Present
Opening Wednesday, October 17 at Rubber Factory, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through November 11.

Presented in conjunction with Lower East Side Art Week, which spotlights women artists in the neighborhood, this solo show by Pakistani artist Umber Majeed may have a sci-fi-sounding name, but the work on view more closely resembles Word Art, trippy memes, or old Geocities web pages than any high-tech, augmented reality creation. That’s not to diminish its appeal; the distorted text, flattened graphics, and occasional use of Comic Sans creates a world of online intrigue that feels half in the past, half far in some weird corner of the future. Through this, Majeed seeks to explore a “feminist re-historicization of Pakistan as the first ‘Muslim nuclear state,’” bringing it out of the patriarchy and into a more radical framing. Keep Reading »

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Hot Yoga Studio Expands, Sticking With Bikram Name Despite Heated Controversy

(Photo: Erica Commisso)

“Alright everyone, happy Tuesday. Thank you for joining me in class today,” Frank King says, standing on a wooden box that doubles as a podium. He stands before a group of scantily clad, sweaty men and women, crammed together in a room about the size of a New York City studio apartment. He’s heated the space to over 100 degrees, and King himself is shirtless, wearing skin-tight cycling shorts and guiding his class through the two breathing exercises and 26 yoga poses that make up the “sacred geometry” of Bikram Yoga.

He’s one of the eight instructors at YO BK, a studio on Williamsburg’s Broadway that offers three types of hot exercise classes, including power yoga and hot pilates. Bikram yoga, though, is the most controversial.

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Photos: Punk and Drag Converged at the Second Annual Bodega Ball

(Photos: Ariel Shapiro and Sarah Hansen)

(Photos: Ariel Shapiro and Sarah Hansen)

(Photos: Ariel Shapiro and Sarah Hansen)

(Photos: Ariel Shapiro and Sarah Hansen)

(Photos: Ariel Shapiro and Sarah Hansen)

(Photos: Ariel Shapiro and Sarah Hansen)

(Photos: Ariel Shapiro and Sarah Hansen)

(Photos: Ariel Shapiro and Sarah Hansen)

(Photos: Ariel Shapiro and Sarah Hansen)

(Photos: Ariel Shapiro and Sarah Hansen)

(Photos: Ariel Shapiro and Sarah Hansen)

(Photos: Ariel Shapiro and Sarah Hansen)

(Photos: Ariel Shapiro and Sarah Hansen)

(Photos: Ariel Shapiro and Sarah Hansen)

(Photos: Ariel Shapiro and Sarah Hansen)

(Photos: Ariel Shapiro and Sarah Hansen)

(Photos: Ariel Shapiro and Sarah Hansen)

(Photos: Ariel Shapiro and Sarah Hansen)

(Photos: Ariel Shapiro and Sarah Hansen)

(Photos: Ariel Shapiro and Sarah Hansen)

What’s the connection between punk and drag?

Chi Dracula Orengo, vocalist for local punk band Anasazi, says they both empower society’s misfits and outcasts. He got involved in the scene visiting leather bars and drag shows as a teenager with a “lust for adventure” and he now organizes the annual Bodega Ball, which had its second installment, themed “Drag Me to Hell,”  this past weekend.

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New Greenpoint Cinema Wants Artists To Make Movies And Money

(photo: Cassidy Dawn Graves)

Emelyn Stuart has run The Ocktober Film Festival, a showcase of emerging filmmakers, since 2013. Each year, she’s rented venues for it. One year, she recalls the lights shutting off; they had run over their allotted rental time, and there were no exceptions. “I said to myself, I will never, never, never have to go through this again,” she says. “I will find a home for this festival, and [the filmmakers] will be able to stay as long as they want, and they will be able to talk about their films for as long as they need, and I’m not going to be rushing them.” She found that home in Stuart Cinema and Cafe, her own space in Greenpoint she opened at the start of September alongside Chief Operations Officer Carl Gilbert Jr. Keep Reading »

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Performance Picks: Clowns, Immersive Aliens, and Comedy Comebacks

THURSDAY

(image via Becca Bernard / Facebook)

Clown Cabaret
Thursday, September 20 at The Brick, 7 pm: $20

Ah, clowns. Perhaps one of the most misunderstood performance mediums, they’re most commonly thought of as just a strange part of circuses (or horror films), wearing red noses, white face paint, and large shoes. I just had a strange recollection of a time my mom volunteered to be a clown at my preschool or something, and she did in fact have to wear large floppy shoes. But it’s not always this way! Come see the many ways clowns can exist at an all-clown cabaret at The Brick in Williamsburg on Thursday night, presented as part of The Clown Theater Festival. There will be music, comedy, and other varieties of clownlike performance. Will everyone be wearing a red nose or will someone be subversive and spring for a different color? Only one way to find out. Keep Reading »

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BK Wildlife Summer Festival Is the Labor Day Bash You Won’t Want To Miss

(Image posted by Brooklyn Wildlife on Facebook)

The Brooklyn Wildlife Summer Festival returns this Friday for a triumphant sixth year. The festival, which according to Brooklyn Wildlife founder Christopher Carr, is the “largest independent art and music festival in Brooklyn” with no corporate sponsors, features a lineup of more than 150 performers over the course of 10 days. It touts not only summer music jam sessions, but also “fine art shows, multi media presentations and tech meet ups” per their Eventbrite page.

In lieu of receiving corporate, non-profit or government funding, Carr, a full-time photographer who runs the Gamba Forest art studio with his partner (which is also hosting the festival’s Saturday lineup), funds the entire festival out of pocket–with the exception of a $10 application fee that he charges first-time performers seeking to play in the festival. The out-of-the-box music fest seeks to be the “new CMJ, the new WMC, the new SXSW” according to their Facebook event page. But doesn’t that sort of big tent, mainstream vibe run counter to the festival’s purpose as a gathering of indie artists? According to Carr, whom Bedford + Bowery spoke with by phone, not necessarily. In the early days of SXSW, Carr recalls smaller or mid-sized venues that brought people together in appreciation of solid indie music. He approaches his music festival in a similar way.

Photo from last year’s festival at Gamba Forest Gallery in Greenpoint (Photo: Nick McManus)

“I’m going for that middle ground where it’s large enough that it’s worth the time of the venues and individuals that put in the effort, but not so large that it cannibalizes itself,” says Carr. “I also enjoy Afropunk…but there’s an irony about a festival [that] punk kids can’t afford. We want to find that nice little area where we get some coverage, but we don’t need to cater to the media.” Carr also notes that this year’s festival stands out from previous years in two ways: “magnitude” and “decentralized performances” AKA events hosted in private residences with the help of the website artery.is. With so many events and performers, it can be hard to know where to start, but Carr suggests paying particular attention to metal band No Clouds, esoteric rapper Akai Solo (performing on the festival’s opening night at Trans-Pecos), and reggae/hip-hop artist D-Andra.

You can scope out the links to the performers’ music on the festival’s website and find more information about the various events on Facebook.  Tickets ($50) are available here. The 10-day summer fest runs from Friday, August, 31 through Sunday, September 9.

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Black Art Matters and More Exhibitions This Week

(image via Con Artist Collective)

August Summer Residency Showcase
Opening Wednesday, August 29 at Con Artist Collective, 7 pm to 11 pm. On view through August 31.

It’s the end of the summer, which means people are scrambling to get the last of their leisure time in before it feels less justifiable to do so. This often means less events and other artistic goings-on. After all, it’s hard to have an art show when you don’t want to leave the beach. But the restless vigor of Con Artist Collective continues—on any given day (including in the midst of the end-of-summer lull) you can probably find them up to something, whether that be the party-filled unveiling of a new art exhibition or something else entirely. Starting Wednesday night, the Lower East Side art space’s summer studio residents will be showing their latest creations. Keep Reading »