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In a Bushwick Basement, an Inclusive Art Gallery That’s Literally Homegrown

(Photos: Amanda Feinman)

Just blocks from the Knickerbocker / Myrtle M stop, El Sótano Art Space occupies the bottom floor of a residential building. Not much goes on on its quiet street; a small market draws groups of neighbors to the corner, but that’s about it. The gallery’s storefront, to the extent that there is one, is a label on a buzzer. To get down the stairs and into its exhibition space, you have to ring number 1. More →

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Debut Designer Willie Norris Believes in ‘Queer Capital,’ Not Rainbow Capitalism

Willie Norris (Photo: @heathersten)

In high school, Norris designed costumes for every theatrical production, and dreamed of being a fashion designer. And he dreamed of getting out of his homophobic community in Gloucester, Mass., where he desperately “tried to be anything but gay.” As the song goes, you can’t always get what you want. But if you try sometimes… More →

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The Gradient Wants You To Eat Vegan and Then Veg Out at Its Parties

(Photos courtesy of Gradient)

Warm weather has come and has taken UpNorth, the Canadian-inspired bar at 17 Wyckoff Ave, with it. Replacing the poutine-packed restaurant is the Gradient, an airy bar with expansive vegetarian options and eccentric entertainment.  The bar initially operated as an event\ venue after its opening this past April, boasting $3 beers, $5 cocktails and $6 beer-and-shot specials at parties. Last month, it expanded, now providing treats by Variety Coffee and a full vegetarian and vegan menu.

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A Street Artist Is Playing Hide-and-Seek With New Yorkers on Instagram

(Photo: @seemetellmenyc)

A Brooklyn street artist is sharing gifts across the city– if you can find them. See Me Tell Me, who prefers to go by this persona, creates miniature collages, sculptures and trinkets and places them in random spots throughout the boroughs. She posts pictures of her work on Instagram with vague locations, inviting her followers to find the art and tell her when they do. More →

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Bicycle Film Fest Off to a Wheel Good Start

Bicycle Film Festival founder Brendt Barbur with the attendees of his opening party, 6/11/19. (Photos: Nick McManus)

The Bicycle Film Festival kicked off its 19th year last night ahead of a week of events that will include a vegan BBQ tonight at Hester Street Fair and a live-scored screening by local experimental mainstays Gang Gang Dance on Thursday and Friday. This year, the festival moves from its longtime home at East Village’s Anthology Film Archives to the First Unitarian Congregational Society in Brooklyn Heights, where all of the films will be shown on Saturday. More →

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‘Forgotten East’ Pop-Up Wants to Transport You From Canal Street to Chinese Luxury

Masa Cong Ma (Photos: Mycah Hazel)

A pop-up at 310 Canal Street is promising an escape from souvenir shops and a journey through the sites, smog and splendor of East Asia. The “Forgotten East” is an interactive exhibit on China’s role in fashion and jewelry design. Four rooms explore the Silk Road, the trade route that brought lavish fabrics, metals and pottery from China to Europe and the Americas. Visitors can walk through the smog-filled mountains of Jiayuguan, try on pearls in the Gobi Desert, or pose in the Roman and Turkish markets. Forgotten East pairs immersive features with a museum-style tour of China’s importance to the fashion-fabric trade. More →

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13 Awesome Finds at the East Village’s New Asian Supermarket

The ramen aisle. (Photos: Daniel Maurer)

The East Village lost a sprawling Asian grocery when M2M closed two years ago, but now, just a block away at 39 Third Avenue, the NYU area has gained H Mart, a Korean-American supermarket overflowing with imported Asian delicacies. The first H Mart opened in Woodside, Queens in 1982, and the chain now has dozens of locations across the country. Like its Koreatown outpost, this one boasts an entire aisle of instant ramen and entire freezers packed with frozen dumplings. There’s a kimchi corner, shelves upon shelves of obscure candies and crackers, and, for the connoisseur, multiple brands of preserved duck egg. Here are some of the delightful finds we encountered as we browsed the aisles to the soothing sounds of K-pop.

1. Cellulite roller

It’s not quite as Insta-trendy as a jade roller, but the package makes a convincing argument: “Let’s care for your body in the everyday bath room!” 

2. Itty, bitty soft-serve cones

Unlike Mister Softee cones, which fill you with calories and regret, these lil guys are about the size of your thumb.

3. Silkworm pupae

The last time I encountered these critters was at Jumong Pocha in Fort Lee, New Jersey. I had to eat a family-size portion because my dinner companion was unwilling to help. Her loss! They snap and crackle in your mouth, kind of like giant, dirt-flavored Rice Krispies.

4. Corn ice cream on the cob

This has been called a “Korean corn ice cream novelty fail,” but I couldn’t disagree more. Where sweet-corn ice cream covered in chocolate smut is concerned, a faux-cob wafer beats a cone every time.

5. Durian pops

A wise man (Anthony Bourdain) once said that durian tastes “as if you’d been French-kissing your dead grandmother,” and the popsicle version is no exception. Refreshing though it may be, it’ll still stink up an office (apologies to my coworkers, if they’re reading this) and it still tastes like an onion that’s been sitting in a dumpster—albeit a dumpster on a snowy day.

6. DIY tapioca balls

Add these tapioca pearls—made from tapioca starch, water, corn starch, guar gum, and a chemistry lab’s worth of additives— to boiling water and, after they’ve floated to the surface, cook them for two or three minutes. After 20 seconds in cold water, they’re ready to be plopped into your drink of choice. Conveniently, H Mart has an entire tea section stocked with boba powder and Thai iced tea bags.

7. Dubiously named wafers

Yes, the name of these matcha and chocolate cookies translates (in Flengrish) to “ass cookies.” But they’re actually quite delicious, making them the perfect conversation piece at your next dinner party. 

8. Canned tuna endorsed by a hot guy

Too much tuna? Not for this stud who is totally feeling his tuna in canola oil. Clearly, the spokesman for this Dong Won product is a Dong Won don juan.

9. Bean-curd jerky on a stick

This rubbery faux beef jerky is made from soybean curd that’s slathered in a spicy Sichuan sauce. Curd this be love?

10. $3.60 caviar

H Mart’s sushi fridge includes several varieties of fish eggs. Squirt a little bit of Kewpie mayo on this combination of flying fish and herring roe and you’ve got some seriously low-rent caviar service.

11. Single-serving pour-over pouches

Sorry, coffee dweebs, I’m not about to waste precious minutes grinding beans and waiting for the “bloom” atop a Chemex. Pop one of these pouches full of ground coffee onto your mug, pour hot water in, and boom, you’ve got your morning cuppa.

12. Milk shake nipple

(Photo via Villa Market)

Squeezing a pouch and sucking ice cream out of a plastic nipple is seriously addictive, and that’s why I had to use a stock photo of Snow Ice instead of buying it and photographing it myself. I cannot be trusted around this stuff. The manufacturer, Lotte, promises “countless moments of heart fluttering,” and that is not overstating it, particularly when it comes to the Milk Shake and Cookies & Cream varieties. The pouches come in bags of five that you tear open like a desperate animal.

13. The world’s spiciest instant ramen

Described by the world’s best-worst competitive eater, LA Beast, as the “spiciest ramen noodles in existence” (be warned: the above video does not end well), these noodz are no joke. Slurp them down and the snot will be flowing within seconds; your lips will feel like they’ve been rubbed down with sandpaper slathered in Mala sauce. Seriously, the last time I ate something this punishingly hot was when I made the mistake of ordering a “Thai spicy”-level papaya salad at Thai Rock, in Rockaway Beach, and was told there would be no refund if I couldn’t finish. If you attempt this, keep a few of those miniature soft-serve cones handy. 

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Drag-Scene Photographer Mike Sullivan Makes Wild, Wearable Sculptures

The word “ethereal” comes up, more than once, in my conversations about Mike Sullivan’s design work and photography. I’m not surprised—it’s an appropriate descriptor. There’s a delicate fleetingness to everything he does, most literally because many of his masks and headpieces are made of natural materials. He gathers armfuls of flowers, feathers, and shrubs, and makes them into halos. Which means parts of his works, or sometimes even whole pieces, have limited lifespans. They literally die. More →