B+B Newsroom

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These North Brooklyn Writers Agree: Stop Talking Shit About Williamsburg

After spieling with a pair of downtown memoirists about changes in the East Village and Lower East Side over the years, we brought together to talk North Brooklyn. Yesterday, before their reading at Pete’s Candy Store, we spoke to Mike DeCapite and Bradley Spinelli, who both live in Williamsburg, as well as Jacob Tomsky, a Bushwick novelist whose hotel memoir, Heads in Beds, hit the New York Times bestseller list (again! this time as a paperback) earlier this month.
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Watch These Two Musician Memoirists Remember Stanton Street Very Differently

Friday at the B+B Newsroom Rayya Elias, author of Harley Loco: A Memoir of Hard Living, Hair, and Post-Punk from the Middle East to the Lower East Side, and Brendan Jay Sullivan, author of Rivington Was Ours: Lady Gaga, The Lower East Side and the Prime of our Lives read from their recently published memoirs and talked about the changes they’d seen in the East Village and Lower East Side over the years. Play the video to watch the readings and conversation. And here’s what happened when an audience member asked the authors to compare the eras during which they moved to the city (the late ’80s and mid-aughts, respectively).
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It Happened: A Pop-Up Popped Up in a Pop-Up

Shortly after we opened our pop-up Newsroom last month, we discovered that Made in the Lower East Side — no stranger to setting up pop-ups in underused spaces — had a new project: a Storefront Transformer that instantly turns any vacant corner into a shop, classroom, or office. A lightbulb popped up over our head: could we create a pop-up within a pop-up?
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Monday at the Newsroom: Three Generations of Williamsburg Writers

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On Monday, join us at the B+B Newsroom as we talk to authors whose work spans three decades in Williamsburg. After the 5:30 p.m. discussion we’ll head over to Pete’s Candy Store, where, at 7 p.m., they’ll read from their books. It’s all free; just let us know you’re coming.

Jacob Tomsky, is in his early 30s and just hit his ten-year Williamsburg anniversary. His memoir about the hotel industry, Heads in Beds, is a New York Times bestseller. The New York Times Book Review said “the prose is brisk and smart,” and Janet Maslin (also in The Times) calls Tomsky “an effervescent writer.” Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, calls him “a star.” Jake is also the founder of Short Story Thursdays, a weekly, email-based short story club, which has been sanctioned by the Paris Review. Heads in Beds was released in paperback in August.

Bradley Spinelli, a former stagehand in his early 40s, has lived in Williamsburg since 1999. His debut novel, Killing Williamsburg, imagines a suicide epidemic in New York City, as told by a proto-hipster lighting technician in 1999 Williamsburg. Publishers Weekly says “Spinelli offers sharp and stylish prose.” The book’s launch party featured a three-hour “Suicide Set” by DJ Questlove.

Mike DeCapite, a former taxi driver and the elder of the group in his early ’50s, lived in Williamsburg in the late ‘80s (and then moved back there in the mid-aughts), when his work first appeared in three issues of Richard Hell’s CUZ magazine. In 1999, his cult-classic novel about his taxi-driving days, Through the Windshield, drew a rave from the San Francisco Chronicle. Harvey Pekar, writing in the Austin Chronicle, called it “one of the better American novels of the past several years,” and Jocko Weyland, in Rain Taxi, called it “a down-at-the-heels masterpiece.” DeCapite has recently published the chapbook Creamsicle Blue and the prose collection Radiant Fog.

5:30 p.m. discussion at the B+B Newsroom, 155 Grand St., nr. Bedford Ave., Williamsburg
7 p.m. readings at Pete’s Candy Store, 709 Lorimer St., nr. Richardson St., Williamsburg

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Watch Glenn Branca Hold Forth On Bowie, Byrne, CBGB, Sonic Youth + His Own Bad Self

As excited as we were to celebrate Glenn Branca’s 65th birthday at the B+B Newsroom last week, we didn’t expect our discussion with the trailblazing composer to be as epic as, say, the time in 2001 that we were blown away by his 100-guitar symphony beneath the Twin Towers, and (more recently, in 2010) the debut of his 15th symphony at Le Poisson Rouge. How wrong we were: the master rolled into 155 Grand with a bottle of whiskey and, just like when New York spoke to him in 2004, immediately lit up a cig. We weren’t about to tell him to put it out.
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Watch the House Videographers at CBGB Call Richard Hell a Crybaby

As you may have read over at Rolling Stone, Pat Ivers and Emily Armstrong — in what’s sure to be one of the highlights of the CBGB Festival — are screening some of their rare late-70s and early-80s concert footage at Bowery Electric tonight, between performances by Cheetah Chrome of the Dead Boys, Syl Sylvain of the New York Dolls, and Glen Matlock of the Sex Pistols. We were lucky enough to have the authors of our weekly Nightclubbing column into the B+B Newsroom last Friday, along with Richard Boch, who’s working on a memoir of his time manning the door of the Mudd Club, and Pat Irwin, the guitarist for the Raybeats, 8 Eyed Spy and the B-52s, who spoke about his recently unearthed collaboration with Philip Glass.

If you missed Friday’s discussion, watch the replay above. Here’s what the gang had to say about Suicide (we spoke to Martin Rev of that band back in June) and the evolution of the Ramones.
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Greg Barris and Dennis McKenna Will Drop Some, Er, Knowledge About Psychedelics Tomorrow

311152011_640The Horizons: Perspectives on Psychedelics conference kicks off Friday at Judson Memorial Church in the Village, but what about Brooklynites who don’t want to take the, er, trip into Manhattan to hear about the role of psychedelics in science, healing, culture and just plain feeling groovy? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered, man: tomorrow evening at the B+B Newsroom, East Village comedian Greg Barris interviews scientist and psychedelic journeyman Dennis McKenna.
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And Now, a B+B Q+A With CDZA

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Yesterday the viral music-video maestros from cdza (pronounced Cadenza) stopped into the Bedford + Bowery Newsroom to shoot footage for the backdrop of a their TED@NYC performance at Joe’s Pub today. The collective — founded by Joe Sabia, Michael Thurber and Matt McCorkle — is always up to something: next month, they’ll perform at the first ever YouTube Music Awards at Pier 36. We spoke to Sabia and McCorkle after they wrapped up at the Newsroom. Among other things, Sabia, who created 9 Minute Breaking Bad, revealed plans to expand his  project into something resembling a fantasy tv league.
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Friday at the Newsroom: Musicians Remember the LES in the ’80s and Aughts

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With the CBGB movie premiering tonight and the CBGB Festival kicking off this week, nostalgia for the East Village and Lower East Side of yore is ripe as ever. You’ll forgive us for indulging along with everyone else: This Friday, join two consummate chroniclers of downtown music and nightlife at the B+B Newsroom as they read from their recent memoirs and tell it like it really was (no Savannah stage sets here).
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We’re Celebrating Glenn Branca’s 65th Birthday, and You’re Invited

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There was a lot of fuss about Philip Glass’s and John Zorn’s recent birthdays, and we’re not going to let the birthday of another legendary downtown composer, Glenn Branca, go without a similar amount of hoopla. This is, after all, the iconoclast who, with his band Theoretical Girls, helped spearhead the No Wave movement in the late ’70s and who mentored Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo back when they were members of his guitar orchestra, belting out what John Rockwell of The Times described as “music of massive sonic grandeur.” That’s why we’re inviting you down to the Bedford + Bowery Newsroom on Monday, October 7 — the day after Branca turns 65 — to ask him anything.
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