If the nightmare-ish appearance of Soylent in the real world (as opposed to in dystopian cannibal-populated literature) terrified you into thinking Silicon Valley had declared a war on food, please rest assured—our tech overlords have not yet given up on the fuel of the humble peasant (that’s us). In fact, several West Coast dudes are actually trying to make it easier for you to get access to fresh food. One such specimen is Benzi Ronen, who just expanded his company Farmigo into an attractive new office space in Gowanus.
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While researching the book that was published last year as A Guide to Urban Moonshining: How to Make and Drink Whiskey, Kings County Distillery founder Colin Spoelman found himself delving into the colorful history of NYC distilling. Digging deeper, he found the bones of truth beneath embellished tales of dastardly Kentucky bootleggers, as well as the real bones of actual distillers: Greenwood cemetery, it turns out, was founded by the son of Hezekiah Pierrepont—a big man in 19th century Brooklyn’s thriving distillery scene who is buried in the cemetery—and many expired distillers lie beneath the manicured lawns.
Time again for Word Up, our weekly roundup of readings and talks worth getting up and out of the house for.
Thursday, July 10
Emily Gould and Elif Batuman
Gawker blogger turned memoirist Emily Gould’s new novel, Friendship, is about (you guessed it) a young Brooklyn blogger whose boyfriend happens to keep a studio in Greenpoint’s Pencil Factory. “Amy loved visiting Sam there, seeing all the other artists in the hallways and on the roof,” Gould writes. “It was so cheering to know that there were still people who made their living by creating physical things—even if some of them were commercial illustrators and graphic designers. Well, Sam wasn’t, anyway! He was just a guy who made giant oil paintings of Cuisinarts.” She’ll be discussing fiction and friendship with Elif Batuman, who has written for the likes of The New Yorker and n+1, and is the author of The Possessed.
7pm, McNally Jackson Books (52 Prince St). FREE.
Now that the Neapolitan pizza craze has come and gone, it might just be time for pasta to take its place at the center of the table. First there was Bar Primi, which jettisoned secondi in favour of showcasing what was traditionally only the semolina-heavy first course. Now, there’s Pasta Shop, which materialized as if from thin air at a former garage space by the Jefferson Ave L stop last week.
“When you look at Williamsburg, you hear about The Edge, right?” says Ryan Black. “You hear about Northside Piers—these projects on the waterfront that were built with an average unit size of like 850 square feet.” These residences were catering to first-time home-buyers, he says, and now the neighborhood is ready to move past that.
It’s almost time for pig roasts and kiddie pools, but that’s no reason to lose your intellectual edge entirely. Here’s our weekly rundown of readings and talks.
Sunday, July 6
Sweet Work: Shorts of Labor at the Domino Brooklyn Refinery
If you’ve stopped by the Domino sugar refinery in the past couple weeks, Kara Walker’s magnificent installation may have given you food for thought regarding the building’s sordid past. And if that hasn’t totally killed your sweet tooth, Union Docs is here to help—with “a program of mostly unseen work that examines the effect the refinery had on the surrounding neighborhood as well as addressing broader themes of sweetness and power.” There will be a post-screening discussion with the filmmakers, moderated by Filip Noterdaeme, contributor to the Huffington Post and founder of The Homeless Museum of Art.
7:30pm, Union Docs (322 Union Ave, Brooklyn). $9.
When Dallas Athent, fashion and shopping editor of Bushwick Daily, approached editor-in-chief Katarina Hybenova with the idea of putting together a collection of Bushwick short stories, Hybenova didn’t hesitate. “I was totally psyched,” she recalls. “I said yes in like three seconds.” Now that dream of a couple months back has come to fruition, in the form of a slim, attractive volume entitled Bushwick Nightz. Released by Bushwick Daily and Catopolis (Athent’s publishing venture), the book promises to introduce the reader to “the famed neighborhood that everyone’s been talking about.”
After the cocksure mystery-man approach of “Alex A.” (AKA “Mr Right”), we wondered whether the heart-on-sleeve approach might be more effective. In this second flyer we recently spotted in the East Village, “Luis” (who’s just “looking for someone to talk to”) details how his girlfriend of seven years “decided that she couldn’t deal with me and my financial struggle”; “[I]f you have a heart, you can give me a call or text,” reads the flyer. “Don’t be cruel I am really vulnerable right now.” We spoke to Luis to check in on whether the community at large was playing nice.
After a trip to Montreal last year, one thing stood out to Dave Urbanos. “There was poutine everywhere,” recalls the bar-scene veteran. “It was awesome.” Now, that Quebecoise drunk-food staple is one of several items on the menu of Dave’s new Williamsburg watering hole, Sugarburg.
No, not everybody is swiping away on Tinder. We recently spotted a couple of handmade lonely-hearts flyers in the East Village. The one at left offered just an email address and a head shot of Oscar the Grouch. We decided to get in touch with ladies man “Alex A,” and he answered a few of our questions about love and luck in the city. (Though only after he had made a play for a date. Cheeky devil.) Read our exchange below, and stay tuned tomorrow as we talk to the author of the other flyer, a loner from Detroit who wrote, “If you have a heart you can give me a call or text.”