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Chelsea Market Bags a New Zero-Waste Shop: Package Free

If you’re starting to panic about how many plastic straws you’re using on a daily basis to fuel that iced-coffee addiction, you’ll no longer have to trek all the way to Brooklyn for eco-friendly reusables. Starting this week, Williamsburg’s Package Free shop is taking Manhattan from trashy to tasteful with a Chelsea Market outpost.

Package Free Shop Chelsea Market is 300 square feet of goods that are good for the earth. The design of the store is in line with Package Free’s zero-waste model, too—all of the shelving and modular, reusable furniture was handmade by Josh Colon using sustainable wood.

“We designed everything for what happens in the future,” said Package Free CEO Lauren Singer. “So if we wanted to move locations everything is totally reusable or it could go in someone’s house.”

Other touches in the store include a locally-made arrangement of wheat and decorative items from Singer’s own home. “I wanted to make this store really cozy and really homey, and mix old and new to make it warm and have a bit of a more vintage feel,” said Singer.

The new location’s opening comes shortly after Package Free announced that a $4.5 million investment would allow it to scale its operations. The store wasn’t funded by the venture capital, though, speaking to Singer’s sustainability-focused financial model and the rise in demand for sustainable products.

“Even if we hadn’t taken on venture capital, we would have been able to support it with cash flow,” she said. “I’m very much still flexing my muscles of bootstrapping and only spending money I absolutely have to spend.”

Package Free came to be through Lauren Singer’s personal blog, Trash is for Tossers, where she shares tips for the eco-conscious consumer. Singer opened a pop-up shop on Grand Street in Williamsburg in 2017, which is now the site of Package Free’s flagship store. With the help of online marketing, Package Free has grown from a little-known startup to a major player in the zero-waste movement.

The eco brand prides itself on waste diversion across both the store locations and the e-commerce site. Package Free says it has diverted over 75 million units of trash (including plastic bags, water bottles, straws, coffee cups and disposable razors) since its 2017 launch by making its plastic-free products more accessible.

The sustainability movement is flourishing in the city. Brooklyn-based Precycle and The Wally Shop have continued to scale up their offerings of local, package and plastic-free grocery items, while clothing retailers Zero Waste Daniel and Everlane are bringing radical transparency and waste reduction to the fashion industry.

The Chelsea Market location is another way for Package Free to expand its mission of making sustainable products more accessible in New York. Singer said that she hopes more people will visit the store since the new location is off the L, A, C and E trains as well as the highway. She also wants to educate tourists visiting Chelsea Market about the zero-waste movement.

“Around six million people walk through Chelsea Market every year,” said Singer. “So being able to let that many people know that you can reduce your waste and have a more positive environmental impact is a huge opportunity to align with our mission and help make the world less trashy.”

Package Free Shop Chelsea Market is located at 75 9th Avenue and is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sundays 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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Performance Picks: Bill Nye Burlesque and a Boozy Experiment

THURSDAY

(image via Stonestreet Comedy Hour / Facebook)

The Stonestreet Comedy Hour
Thursday, November 20 at Stonestreet Studios, 8 pm: pay what you can

Thursday is like the Friday of the weekdays (yes, Friday is technically a weekday too, but you know what I mean), so it’s only natural that you do some sort of activity before you have to go to bed and wake up early one more time that week. One recommended one is The Stonestreet Comedy Hour, a short-but-sweet donation-based comedy show that takes places within Stonestreet, a film production studio that also trains NYU students. Hosted by Jesse Roth, a comedian with an occasional penchant for song and dance, the show features sets by Allison O’Conor, Patrick Nolan, Ariel Gitlin, Andrew Coalson, and Matt Gehring, plus, everyone’s favorite: free snacks.

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Weird New Yorkers, Deathly Drawings, and More Art This Week

(image via shelter_gallery / Instagram)

Impractical Frontiers
Opening Tuesday, November 19 at Shelter Gallery, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through January 5.

Despite the magazine’s general air of sophistication, cover art for The New Yorker can run the gamut—recall that one time they put DIY space Palisades (RIP) on the cover. However, they probably wouldn’t sell an issue plastered with the image of someone defecating on the street, or a naked George Washington, looking back at you cheekily. Those images (and more) you can find at artist Timothy Wehrle’s solo show at Shelter Gallery (which occupies the same space on East Broadway as the galleries Shrine and Sargent’s Daughters). The artist’s unique drawings, made from colored pencil and graphite, depict serenely strange scenes from the midwest to the city rendered in soft, surreal detail. 

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Performance Picks: Blacklight Burlesque, Queer Cowboys, Space-Age Late Night

FRIDAY

(image via Plan B / Facebook)

Plan B: Glovember
Friday, November 15 at Bodeguita, 9 pm: $5

There’s no denying it anymore: it’s dark and cold out. Unfortunately for many of us, that means seasonal depression, bemoaning daylight savings, and investing in one of those SAD lamps that may or may not actually work. One way to get a little more light in your life is by attending the latest edition of the Plan B variety show, which presents drag and burlesque in the back of Bodeguita, a cozy Cuban bar and restaurant off Myrtle-Broadway in Bushwick. This time, the show is blacklight-themed, which the performers will be embracing heartily, surely in the form of neon body paint, glowing outfits (that won’t be on for long) and other surprises.

SATURDAY

(photo: Danny Bristoll)

Virgo Star
Now through December 1 at La MaMa, various times: $25 ($20 for students and seniors)

Astrology has exploded in popularity lately, from apps that send you negs from the stars to people’s signs being referenced in movies and TV. Though Virgo Star, the latest performance offering from the Pioneers Go East Collective, seems like the latest edition to that starry trend, but it’s actually an exploration of cowboy culture—another buzzy topic nowadays. Using dance, theater, projections, and more, the show deconstructs the Wild West and classic western movies to find what those stories might look like when told from a queer perspective.

SUNDAY

(image courtesy of The Violet Hour)

The Violet Hour
Sunday, November 17 at Caveat, 7 pm: $10 advance, $12 doors

Late night talk shows are one of our culture’s oldest forms of entertainment. Typically, there’s a white guy in a suit, he does a monologue, he interviews a guest who is there to promote something, a musician plays, etc. Sure, this formula has some slight deviations now, but it mostly remains the same. One attempt to do something new instead is The Violet Hour, a live late night talk show at Lower East Side space Caveat that’s literally out of this world. Hosted by a Victorian spiritualist time traveler who live in a spacecraft, the show focuses on our planet and the climate-related issues plaguing it, as well as how to enjoy our time here while we still can. This Thanksgiving-themed show’s special guests include Broadway performer Alex Brightman, conservationist Brett Jenks, and musician Eileen.

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You Can Now Buy Artisan Axes in Williamsburg, But What Can You Do With One in NYC?

On any given day in gentrified Williamsburg you can grab a trendy breakfast, stop by Supreme for your streetwear needs and even get your waste-free shopping done. And now, for the outdoorsy types who’ve been champing at the bit, Williamsburg finally has an axe shop. 

Best Made Co, a luxury adventure brand currently celebrating its tenth year in business, recently opened its latest outpost in Williamsburg. The Grand Street shop is stocked with artisanal outdoor products like a $1,795 shearling coat approved by legendary Argentine chef Francis Mallmann (who will be having a cookout in McCarren Park on Sunday, Nov. 17, in honor of their collaboration).  And then there’s the Best Made Axe, an object of such simplicity, beauty and utility that it has struck a nerve with celebrities and the art world alike. David Lynch owns one and they’ve even been displayed in the Saatchi Gallery in London. The design-focused tool goes for around $350 and testing them in person is a big draw to Best Made’s shops. But if you decide to buy one, what exactly can you do with it in New York City? 

In case you’re on the fence about purchasing one of the famed fellers, we’ve compiled some of the big no-nos when it comes to being an urban lumberjack. 

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In an Immersive Play, Scrolling Through Grief at the Coffee Shop

(Photo via Dante or Die Theatre on Facebook)

To actor Terry O’Donovan, a coffee shop isn’t just a less-expensive WeWork or a Tinder date option. A coffee shop is one of the many places we humans “go to be alone together.” And in his site-specific play User Not Found, a coffee shop becomes a place where you might suddenly learn that your ex-partner has died, that before he died he made you his digital executor, and now you have to decide whether to delete or preserve all his social media accounts. More →

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Food Truck Sweet Chili Finds a Home in Bushwick

Vietnamese caramel pork belly (image courtesy of Sweet Chili)

Longtime cooking competition enthusiasts may recognize chef Lisa Fernandes from her time appearing on the Bravo show Top Chef, where she finished as a finalist in 2008. Those more drawn to mobile cuisine may also know her from her food truck Sweet Chili, which served up southeast Asian food all over the city for five years. Now, Fernandes has retired from truck life and brought Sweet Chili to Bushwick, where it will be opening as a brick-and-mortar restaurant this Friday.

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Expats in the City: Why a Web Series About Migrant Comedians Really Hits Home

(Left to right) Franca Paschen, Giuditta Lattanzi, co-creators of “Critically Ashamed.

“How are you going to stay here?”

“Maybe I’ll marry you…” 

That line from Critically Ashamed’s season 2 premiere episode got a laugh from the audience, but it hit me a little closer to home. It’s the exact half-serious joke I’ve been making for two years. 

Critically Ashamed follows an immigrant comedian, Delia, as she tries to navigate the New York City comedy scene, making jokes and taking side jobs to try to make ends meet. The German expat’s stand-up routine relies, to some extent, on the differences between her culture and the American life into which she tries to assimilate. More →

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The New Get Up Kids Video Starring Lou Barlow Is Sebadoh Bad It’s Good

In what might just be the most delightful intra-indie homage since Sleater-Kinney sang “I wanna be your Thurston Moore,” the new single from The Get Up Kids, titled “Lou Barlow,” starts out: “I saw Lou Barlow on the street / I don’t think he noticed me.” Now, in a real stroke of genius, the Dinosaur Jr. and Sebadoh singer-guitarist stars in the song’s music video, out today. More →