Comedy is not a pursuit for the faint of heart, and that goes for audiences and comics alike. Lately, there’s been a widespread and mercilessly drawn-out public debate over what exactly counts as “offensive,” and how that may or may not be something quite separate from old-fashioned hate– you know, the classics, like racism, misogyny, homophobia. Meanwhile the term “safe space” has become so common, so misused and abused, that invoking it comes with some seriously heavy baggage that makes it almost impossible to use without infuriating some people and inspiring others to swoon.
Lower East Side
Ramon Escobar was sentenced Monday to 20 years in prison for stabbing and killing a 46-year-old bike messenger, David Fernandez, in Williamsburg nearly six years ago. [DNA Info]
This week Starbucks announced that it will table its “Evenings” program that served beer, wine and small plates, meaning the Bedford Avenue outpost will go back to being a full-time java shop. [Seattle Times]
The Lower East Side art scene is facing its first loss of the new year, as Object_ify 139 is packing up its bodega bags and going online-only. Bogota-born artist Maria L. Candanoza opened the “art object” shop on Essex Street in October of 2014, and during its first year it stocked quirky items from a roster of 20 artists. During its two-year run, it hosted guest curators like Benjamin Barron (books) and Mister Saturday Night (vinyl), threw book release parties, and popped up in Miami and Tokyo.
In a message inviting friends to a goodbye party at the store Friday evening, Candanoza says the enterprise will live on: “We have had an online store for a while but our commitment is to make it even better and to keep bringing new objects, prints, books and exciting artist collaborations to you every month.” In the meantime, buy a faux fur koozie and pour one out for the store’s IRL incarnation.
Police say the 27-year-old woman who was found dead Wednesday in an Alphabet City housing project, Brooke Garcia, likely died of strangulation. [DNA Info]
A developer paid $27.5 million for a Williamsburg warehouse at 58 Gerry Street, the future home of an Orthodox Jewish community center. [The Real Deal]
Another venue spent New Year’s Eve saying their last goodbyes to regulars and anyone else with a drink in their hand. For the last few years, Cake Shop was running on borrowed time. Back in 2012, when the gritty bitty Lower East Side venue’s Ludlow Street neighbor, The Living Room, closed up shop after more than 15 years in business, it seemed like it was only a matter of time.
Under the Radar
Wednesday January 4 through Sunday January 15, various showtimes at The Public Theater and other spaces: $20 and up
Ah yes, it’s that time again, when the slew of January performance festivals sail in every winter to overwhelm you with a seemingly endless supply of shows. One of these is The Public Theater’s Under the Radar festival, which presents a wide variety of music, performance, and more from artists based across the U.S. and all over the world.
A handgun-toting robber stole four iPhones recently from Kevin Wireless, a Myrtle Avenue storefront. [DNA Info]
Applications for 63 units of affordable housing are now being accepted on Bushwick’s DeSales Place at the site of a former convent, where studios will rent for as low as $519/month. [DNA Info]
The last time I saw a bunch of RAE BK‘s work all in one place was in 2015, just after the street artist and Brooklyn-native had opened his guerrilla-style solo exhibition in Chinatown. But the show wasn’t held at a gallery, instead RAE’s site-specific installation was housed inside a dingy old basement, accessible only by way of an unmarked, totally unassuming rust-red metal door adjacent to a bustling produce market. Even then, I was so jaded that I couldn’t allow myself to believe that this was a real basement with real dirt and dust everywhere. But actually it wasn’t just a fancy pop-up rental space with a stage-grit makeover, nor was it an attempt by some developer to “activate” a particular corner before the building was torn down. As RAE told me, the basement was simply on loan from a recently-retired butcher with whom he had a “tentative relationship,” and the show, called Trunk Work, was one of those rare art happenings that was both real and strange.
Jayson Avila was arrested on two counts each of assault and attempted murder after allegedly stabbing a couple in Alphabet City apartment building one week ago. [DNA Info]
Council Member Margaret Chin and others rallied Thursday to save Mulberry Street’s 25-year-old Met Food grocery store, which was scheduled to close the following day. [Gothamist]
The Gowanus Canal may be synonymous with grime, but could it one day be full of gondolas? New York Councilman Stephen Levin waxed about Gowanus’s similarities to Venice. [Crain’s NY]
Now through Thursday January 5 at IFC Center: $14
For all you literary nerds out there, here’s your once-in-a-great-while chance to see a film about a poet– which, strangely, is something the movie bizz must be really feeling right now because whatddya know, Jarmusch’s new one, Paterson, also puts a poet front and center. What makes Neruda an even rarer opportunity is that Pablo Neruda, the Nobel Prize-winning Chilean poet in question, is hardly some rugged, hard-boiled Anglo-centric beardo. Rather, Neruda is best know for his simple, yet heart-crushing love poems (especially the ones contained in Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair.)