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.
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.
(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.
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 whodunitset 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.
Jon Solo at his home studio. (Photo: Media Scheme)
We all have those musician friends we never hear from until their band is pulling a gig that starts at 2 a.m. in Bed Stuy. That person who is in their sixth band since moving to New York and “this is the one.” The bartender who is “really a musician.” Jon Solo is not one of those guys.
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.
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.)
“I’m the only person selling these dumplings on the street,” says Mo Rahmati as he dishes up some of the last of his steaming mantu, labor-intensive Afghan dumplings. He often sells out, and business is only going to get busier. Saturday, at a celebration of street food on Governor’s Island, his Nansense cart won the Vendy Award for the Best Rookie of 2018.
Combine the soundtrack of a John Hughes movie with millennial anxiety and you’ve got the sound of Brooklyn-based Plastic Picnic. The band, comprised of four West Coast transplants, makes sad yet energetic indie rock tunes that– with their catchy, danceable beats, melancholy lyrics, and shimmery melodies– could be mistaken for ’80s synth pop. According to Nylon, they’re on the Brooklyn bands you should be listening to right now.
Ahead of their show at Baby’s All Right on Monday, Bedford + Bowery spoke to lead singer Emile Panerio about the grind of being an indie band in the New York City music scene, and about their new single “Doubt.” It’s about “beginning a life with someone you love and never seeing them,” Panerio has told me. “When you’re going to sleep, they’re leaving for work. When a partnership works in theory, but current life doesn’t allow it the time it needs to healthily grow–something New York City seems to have a good reputation for.”