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At the NY Asian Film Festival, There’ll Be Retro Japanese Softcore Porn and So Much More

Credit: NYAFF17.

Cinephiles, take note: the New York Asian Film Festival (NYAFF) opens June 30, and this year’s roster has just been announced. With “just shy of 60 films,” including feature films and documentaries from seven countries, there’s a diverse lineup of films in every genre, from gangster flicks to romantic dramas to experimental stream-of-consciousness softcore porn. Truly, something for everyone.

China and Hong Kong are particularly well-represented, with a slate of popcorn-friendly thrillers, dramas, and crime flicks. Battle of Memories (2017, dir. Leste Chen) follows a novelist who wakes from an experimental medical procedure to discover he has acquired the memories of a serial killer. In Blood of Youth (2016), directed by “self-trained fireman-turned-filmmaker Yang Shupeng,” police and criminals alike race to hunt down a computer hacker.

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Inside the Historic Building That’s Quietly Home to Disgraced Televangelist Trinity Broadcasting

TBN’s building at 111 E. 15th St., near Union Square.

Spreading the word of God has been extremely lucrative for Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), the world’s largest Christian broadcasting company. The organization’s late founders, evangelical power couple Paul and Jan Crouch, were renowned for extravagant lifestyles notably lacking in Christian asceticism or self-denial – his-and-hers mega-mansions in Newport Beach, chauffeured Bentleys, and $57 million in private jets. Jan maintained an air-conditioned trailer just for her snow-white Maltese dogs.

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Frank Lloyd Wright’s Unbuilt East Village Towers Rise High in New MoMA Exhibit

(Photos: Daniel Maurer)

In October of 1929, a New York Times headline announced: “Odd-Type Buildings to Overlook Church.” Those odd-type buildings would’ve been New York’s first glass skyscrapers, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright to surround St. Mark’s Church-in-the-Bouwerie. Starting Monday, a meticulously restored model of his East Village towers will be exhibited for the first time in over 50 years, as part of a new retrospective at MoMA.

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$13 Million Synagogue Sale Threatened by Power Struggle of Biblical Proportions

The Home of the Sages property on Bialystoker Place. Photograph: J. Oliver Conroy.

A new lawsuit is only the latest sign of an epic power struggle within the Home of the Sages of Israel, a tiny Lower East Side synagogue. The house of worship’s nondescript and rundown building on Bialystoker Place has become the subject of a ferocious real estate battle between different factions, each claiming to be the synagogue’s lawful representative.

In a suit filed two weeks ago – only the latest in a mounting pile of litigation – members of the Orthodox Jewish synagogue’s small congregation allege that Rabbi Samuel Aschkenazi, “who despite his title, is not the rabbi for Home of the Sages,” is attempting to sell the property out from under them to real estate developer Peter Fine – and then split the $13 million profit with Friends of Mosdot Goor, a Gerer Hasidic group unconnected to the synagogue.

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Visit a Bodega Where Every Item is Made of Felt. Yes.

Credit: www.sewyoursoul.com

Have you ever fantasized about visiting a bodega where every sale item is an exact replica made of felt? No? Either way, as on June 5, you’ll now have the opportunity.

For your consideration: Next week British artist Lucy Sparrow will unveil her newest art installation– a 1,200-square-foot space she has conjured into an “immersive, fully stocked felt convenience store.” The store will contain 8,000 purchasable items, all made of felt. Snickers bar? Felt. Pack of Marlboros? Felt. Liter of milk? Felt. Bodega cat? Felt, probably.

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Legendary Gogo Dive Pussycat Lounge Returns After a Six-Year Catnap

Nine lives, indeed! The legendary Pussycat Lounge has quietly reopened after six years of uncertainty.

I haven’t yet read Meet Me in the Bathroom, the oral history of the aughts rock scene that got James Murphy and Nick Zinner reminiscing, but I’d be surprised if the Pussycat Lounge wasn’t mentioned. After all, it’s where Taavo Somer and Carlos Quirarte threw parties before they went on to open downtown hotspots Freemans and The Smile, respectively. At one point, the place was so cool that it appeared in a Times trend piece about the death of the trucker hat. And then, in 2011, the 41-year-old dive was suddenly closed by the city, after its building was deemed unsafe.

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Coney Island’s New Vintage Pinball Arcade Is Ready to Roll

The Mystic Machine

Photo credit: Norman Blake

Last week we shared the news that the Coney Island Museum is expanding with a new (playable) pinball exhibition. We’ve obtained more details about the pinball gallery, which had its soft opening yesterday.

“We had machines in the bar being played nonstop,” said Dick Zigun, founder of Coney Island USA and “unofficial mayor” of Coney Island.

Not all the machines are installed yet; by this coming weekend everything should officially be in place.

There are going to be 10 pinball machines – six in the Coney Island Museum storefront and another three or four in the Freak Bar in the lobby of the nearby Arts Center.

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The Mermaid Parade Has Been Saved, and Coney Island Museum Is Adding a Pinball Wing

Mermaids at last year's parade.

At last year’s Coney Island Mermaid Parade.

The Mermaid Parade, Coney Island’s annual crowd-pleaser and glitter-industry Black Friday, is back on solid financial footing — and not a moment too soon — thanks to an unexpected deus ex machina: the intervention of two generous private donations supplementing an ongoing crowdfunding campaign.

Despite the recent news that Debbie Harry and Chris Stein of Blondie fame will raise their scepters as this year’s Queen Mermaid and King Neptune, the Parade had been struggling. A “Feed the Mermaids” crowdfunding campaign to save the parade has so far raised $9,000, far short of its $50,000 goal.

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Jim Jarmusch, Wes Anderson, and Wanda Sykes Want You to See These French Films Outdoors

Contempt (Le Mepris, 1963).

It’s always amusing to hear new transplants to New York speak excitedly of summer in the city. Those of us who have lived here longer know with grim certainty that the city will soon transform into a giant sauna filled with rotting garbage. Not quite a dystopian hell. But close.

However, there are some things to look forward to in the summer. One of them is Films on the Green. Cinema buffs – and francophiles – will want to mark their calendars for the popular outdoor film series, which returns June 2nd and runs through the 7th.

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A Look at Red Hook Lobster Pound’s New Rockaway Clam Bar

(Photo: Rockaway Clam Bar’s Instagram)

Earlier this month, when we shared the lineup of food vendors at Riis Park Beach Bazaar, we noted that one of the newcomers this season would be Rockaway Clam Bar. Now we have some more information to share about the seafood purveyor that’ll take over for Wildfeast as that vendor focuses on its new Long Beach restaurant. Turns out that the folks behind Rockaway Clam Bar, which soft-opened yesterday and will fully open this weekend, are Susan Povich and Ralph Gorham of Red Hook Lobster Pound. The couple, who split their time between Red Hook and Rockaway, are focusing on the sort of New England-style grub you might find at Bigelow’s Fried Clams, the throwback clam shack over in Rockville Center, Long Island. Think clam rolls, clam-strip sliders, clam chowder, and peel-and-eat shrimp.

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Behold, The Churro Taco Waffle!

(Courtesy of Max Brenner)

What, you thought we were going to leave it at the fried-chicken donut sandwich? Oh, hell no. We have still more blechtacular food to hip you to, starting with the Churro Taco Waffle that’s now available at Max Brenner. The Union Square chocolatier just launched a new dessert menu, and the star of the show is this self-described “Mexi-Waffle creation.”

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