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Performance Picks: A Queer Eye Parody, Bushwig’s Return, and More

THURSDAY

(photo: Rachel Nicholson, via Facebook)

Athena
Now through September 16 at JACK, 8 pm (some shows at 3 pm and 7 pm): $18-25

You can probably divide people into three categories regarding competitive athletics they engaged with growing up: more mainstream sports-doers who partook in football, basketball, and the like; people who vehemently did no sports at all; and those drawn to more niche offerings, like martial arts or fencing. The latter grouping is the star of Gracie Gardner’s play Athena, which is being revived for a brief run following a sharply successful debut at Clinton Hill space JACK in February. Presented by The Hearth, which “tells the stories of women,” the play surrounds two teenage girl fencers training for the Junior Olympics. Though such a task undoubtedly requires the duo to spend quite a lot of time around each other, “friends” they do not seem to be. While this situation seems stressful to go through personally, it surely will be interesting to spectate upon. 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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Performance Picks: Anarchist Emmas and Violent Ellens

WEDNESDAY

(image via The Tank / Facebook)

Red Emma and the Mad Monk
Now through September 1 at The Tank, 8 pm: $20-30

Nowadays, when one thinks about theater (particularly any form of commercial theater, Broadway or otherwise), radical politics aren’t necessarily the first thing that comes to mind. Or the second or third for that matter. That’s why it’s so refreshing to see this serve as the cornerstone of Red Emma and the Mad Monk, a new play with music by Alexis Roblan presented as part of The Tank’s Ladyfest. It centers around a 12 year-old girl who has a mystic Russian imaginary friend and enjoys fighting online with “deplorables,” an unsettling pastime for someone so young, but it probably happens more than we’d like to think. In the midst of this, she learns about the influential anarchist activist Emma Goldman, and starts to consider the world a bit differently. Keep Reading »

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They’re Giving Away Bikes in Williamsburg, But You’ll Have to Wait a Wheelie Long Time

(Photos courtesy of Spiked Seltzer)

Spiked Seltzer is just one of the brands that have been using the L train shutdown as a marketing hook (you may have also noticed Stuy Town’s attempt to lure Williamsburgers over the bridge via its model-apartment truck). But the Connecticut-based alcopop brand gets extra points for just straight-up giving stuff away. And not just keychains or t-shirts– we’re talking [Price is Right voice] A NEW BICYCLE!

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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 »

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Surrealist Artist Dom Dirtee Thinks Both Sides Are Drinking the Kool-Aid

(Photo: Tara Yarlagadda)

It was a boiling-hot day in Brooklyn when I strolled by a dull gray electrical box and glimpsed vivid shades of red, purple and blue. The square black sticker pasted onto the box contained a blue angelic figure with red wings kneeling in prayer beneath a bizarre hodgepodge of images depicting the decrepit state of America today: pills—possibly a nod to the opioid epidemic—logos for Fox News and Vice, Facebook and Twitter social media icons, an iPhone, an AK-47, an Amazon box, and an array of dollar bills upon dollar bills. Scrawled in tiny white font beneath the image were the words Dom Dirtee.
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Williamsburg’s Newest Bar, Kill Devil House of Dark Spirits, Banks On Rum

(Photo: Daniel Maurer)

First there was Fresh Kills, and now—right across the street—there’s Kill Devil. When it comes to ambitious cocktail bars, Williamsburg is killing it.

Kill Devil House of Dark Spirits takes its name from an old euphemism for rum, and it’s dead serious about the liquor. It offers a list of some 125 sipping rums from all over the world, and many of its cocktails employ it. You might assume this place is just riding the tiki trend, but you won’t find any thatch or bamboo in the onetime bank building at the corner of Grand and Bedford. Instead, the former Witlof space has gotten a dark, slightly devilish makeover.

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People Are Psyched About a Sephora Store On Bedford? It Doesn’t Make Scents!

Yesterday we reported that national retailer Toms is opening a store and cafe off of Bedford Avenue. Turns out that an even chainier chain is opening up right around the corner. Sephora has made it official and unveiled signage indicating it’ll open a store at 241 Bedford, right next to the Apple Store, this fall.

Needless to say, they won’t be opening a tacky megastore like you’d find in Times Square. Much like Starbucks snuck onto N 7th and Bedford with its “Reserve” concept, Sephora will open a Sephora Studio, a smaller store offering “a more curated experience.”

In 2013, when Dunkin’ Donuts opened on Bedford, it registered a 6.3 on our Outrage-o-Meter. But here we are in 2018– when a Happy Socks outlet is also poised to open next to the Dr Martins on Bedford— and nobody has lamented that CB I Hate Perfume, the experimental Williamsburg perfumer that made a scent inspired by Alan Cumming, has moved to New Jersey while Sephora is making itself right at home in prime W’burg. All the opposite:

https://twitter.com/caseymcquillen/status/1026845627966205952?s=21

Actually, as you can see below, residents have been downright lobbying for a Sephora since as far back as 2011. Does nobody miss the time when beer burps from the Charleston was the only scent wafting onto Bedford Avenue?

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Those ‘Beer For Farting’ Ads Are Hot Air, But Vice Is Giving Away Free Beer Anyway

What a gas!

The posters around Williamsburg mimicked an ad campaign for Old Blue Last, the beer launched by Vice in 2016. But instead of advertising “Beer for Drinking” they touted Old Blue Fart: Beer for Farting. And they directed passersby to Vice’s nearby offices for a free can. Which isn’t as crazy as it sounds; the stuff is on tap there. But let’s clear the air: Vice hadn’t caught wind of the posters, so its employees had no idea over 100 people were going to show up on Monday, looking to get a buzz on.

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The Return of The Macaulay Culkin Show and More Performance Picks

THURSDAY

(image via Subtle Pride / Facebook)

Subtle Pride: Live in Concert
Thursday, August 9 at Rubulad, 8 pm: $10 advance, $15 doors

While yes this is a concert, and this listing typically does not include those, I happen to know that seeing the group Subtle Pride in concert is not your average musical experience. In addition to many songs (often a cappella, harmony-laden, and/or improvised), there are often sketches, monologues, and other strange theatrical experiences peppered in within all the music sung by Mina Walker (of the band Daisy The Great), Brigette Lundy-Paine (of Netflix series Atypical), Zach Donovan, and Misha Brooks. It’s sort of hard to explain, but when I saw them at Dixon Place a year or two ago I was very impressed and also a little confused at times. But if you like celebrity culture, vocal harmonies, weird theatrics, and other such things, it is likely you will have a nice time. Keep Reading »

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Get Your Summer Reading (or Flirting) On With These 9 Book Talks

No Ashes in the Fire: Coming of Age Black and Free in America

(Image credit: Amazon)

Thursday, August 2 at the Brooklyn Historical Society, 6:30-8:00 p.m.

Darnell Moore, writer and leader in the Movement for Black Lives, brings what’s sure to be a riveting discussion of his new memoir No Ashes in the Fire: Coming of Age Black and Free in America to the Brooklyn Historical Society. The description for his book on his website recounts how three neighborhood boys in Camden, New Jersey tried to set him on fire when he was only 14. In the three decades since that encounter, Moore has gone on to seek solace in the gay community of Philadelphia, justice on the front lines in Ferguson, Missouri, and life in his current home in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. In this book, he seeks to understand how that 14-year-old boy not only survived, but became the individual that he is today. Tickets to this event cost $5.

Books Beneath the Bridge: Greenlight Poetry Salon

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