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Gregory Dillon’s Nostalgic Synth Pop Evokes Adolescence, Carnivals, and Love in the ‘80s

(Photo: @patrickdonovanstudios)

Gregory Dillon has the very specific ability to correctly V-step in crowded Bushwick backrooms. That’s because his mother once taught ’80s cardio step in New Hampshire, and he attended her classes in his formative years. At his show at Gold Sounds last Friday, he held the room: he has a rich, controlled baritone, and a radiating joy. The kind that pairs well with revitalized synth-pop, quirky time-capsule video projections (teased hair and silvery nylon two-pieces?), and nerdy, bygone dance moves. More →

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Why Trans Drag King Lee VaLone Would Never Go On ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’

(Photo: Lee VaLone)

Lela Graham shares a spacious two-bedroom prewar apartment with his partner Evan Dahm near Prospect Park. In theory, the couple shouldn’t lack for space and yet, they sleep in a bed placed in the living room that seems to be drowning in piles of dramatic costumes, glowing colorful wigs, and fake mustaches that flawlessly match each wig’s color — all these are for Graham’s drag alter-ego, Lee VaLone. The whole apartment is for his drag character, even the bathroom and the kitchen, or as Graham puts it, “All of these are drag!” More →

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It’s This Neon Artist’s Time to Shine at Hester Street Fair

(Photos courtesy of Studio Sour)

Anahita Bradberry’s neon works have never been out under the sun at the Hester Street Fair before, but they’ve stood, bright and mysterious, under lots of other light sources: fluorescent gallery overheads, soft reading lamps, the natural afternoon rays that peek through windows. She began constructing glass neon sculptures a few years ago, a bit by accident. She had been assisting an artist in DC, watching him work with luminescent bulbs, when she became enamored with his chosen form.

She came up with the idea to barter: she’d do his paperwork in exchange for lessons. He taught her the art of blowing glass, bending it, and filling it with high-voltage electrified gas (it’s a rarefied medium, difficult to break into without direct mentorship like this). The rest is well-lit history. Her work—which tends toward the minimal, sleek lines and curves of illuminated color—has been shown in DC galleries and now in her new home borough of Brooklyn, where, for six months, she’s been running Studio Sour. The Greenpoint space serves as both a workroom for her and as a storefront for customers, those drawn in off the street by the glow.

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Joseph Scapellato On His ‘Existential Noir’ Novel, The Made-Up Man

Joseph Scapellato, author of the deft story collection Big Lonesome, brings his debut novel, The Made-Up Man, to McNally Jackson’s new Williamsburg outpost—which has been a long time coming. Scapellato’s genre mashup, which the marketing language calls an “existential noir,” concerns a young American who jaunts off to Prague to take part in his uncle’s performance art project, which promises to turn dangerous. NPR’s Gabino Iglesias calls it “a bacon-topped doughnut—a mixture of incongruent elements that somehow work well together.”

Originally from the suburbs of Chicago by way of an MFA in New Mexico, Scapellato teaches at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania—read: far enough away, just close enough—though he’s engrossed in the NY scene enough to contribute to both Electric Literature and the Brooklyn Rail. Scapellato presents his work in conversation with another Joe, Joseph Salvatore, who’s well known as the Books Editor at The Brooklyn Rail and the founding editor of the literary journal LIT.

Scapellato admitted to us via email that he’s never been to Williamsburg before, making his lack of nostalgia envious.

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Sasha Velour of Drag Race Reflects On Her First Theatrical Show, ‘Smoke & Mirrors’

(Photo courtesy of IDT Events/Ari New, Eric Broomfield)

When, during the ninth-season premiere of RuPaul’s Drag Race, the contestants were challenged to channel a Lady Gaga look, Sasha Velour—the Brooklyn-based queen who would go on to win the crown—drew from the “Applause” music video. And she killed it: the stark contrast of a black corseted waist above wide-legged white pants, and the facepaint that recalls, in smeared candy-bright primaries, Pierrot from commedia dell’arte.

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After Stuff Hipsters Hate, a Murder Mystery Inspired By the McKibbin Lofts

(Photo by Kate Lord)

Bushwick finally has its own murder-mystery novel—and it’s a good one, too! Journalist Andrea Bartz, who established herself as a scholar of hipsterdom as co-author of mock-guidebook Stuff Hipsters Hate, has deftly placed a group of plaid-shirt-wearing characters in a whodunit set at the intersection of the media and art worlds. Set between 2008-2009 and the present day, her novel The Lost Night follows literary essayist turned head fact-checker Lindsay Bach as she tries to piece together what happened the night her impossibly beautiful and charismatic former best friend Edie was found dead by apparent suicide; the “Calhoun Lofts,” a dump-meets-arts-haven in Bushwick, is its sandbox-like backdrop.

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How The Lulls Went From a 5th Grade Talent Show to an EP Release Party at Berlin

While splitting their days between both NYC and LA, indie pop rock duo The Lulls have come together to release their latest EP, Meridian, out October 9th. The band, comprised of California natives and longtime friends Rutger Rosenborg (singer and guitarist) and Ryan Miller (drummer), take listeners on a journey of shimmering guitar riffs, cruising beats, and introspective, poignant lyrics. Ahead of their EP release show at Berlin on October 13, Bedford + Bowery was able to talk to Miller and Rosenborg about the new project, what it’s like to be a bicoastal band and how isolation and traveling influenced the creation of Meridian.

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Leslie Zemeckis On the Feud That Fueled the Golden Age of the Showgirl

Leslie Zemeckis (Photo: Jack Guy)

Leslie Zemeckis, the author of Feuding Fan Dancers: Faith Bacon, Sally Rand, and the Golden Age of the Showgirl, which drops next week, is well-known in the burlesque world for her previous book on the life of Lili St. Cyr, and the book that started it all for her: Behind the Burly Q, which was also made into a documentary.

She followed that film with this year’s Mabel, Mabel, Tiger Trainer, about Mabel Stark, a Jazz Age badass who—no spoiler—trained tigers. (And yes, since you’re going to ask, Leslie is married to another well-known Zemeckis.)

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