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The Burbs Before Bushwick: Meryl Meisler Straddles ’70s Long Island and Downtown

Elda (Gentile) Stilletto and Guitarist at CBGB, NY, NY April 1978 (Photo: © Meryl Meisler)

Elda (Gentile) Stilletto and Guitarist at CBGB, NY, NY April 1978 (Photo: © Meryl Meisler)

Meryl Meisler turned heads last year with her photographs of Bushwick in the late ’70s and early ’80s, when the neighborhood was racked by arson, economic crisis, and crime, epitomized in the chaos of the 1977 blackout. Nevertheless, her photos were filled with as much liveliness as the dance floor at Studio 54 (which the photographer also documented). As a local school teacher, Meisler saw beyond the blight, connecting with the community in spite of the neighborhood’s troubles. But her photos are just as much a conduit for nostalgia as they are a memo for the present and seem as relevant as ever for the neighborhood as it continues to go through immense change. Now our initial obsession the photographer’s work has been rewarded with a new book, Purgatory & Paradise: Sassy ’70s Suburbia & the City.

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Two Events to Celebrate Local Zines and Indie Publishers Approacheth

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(Flyer by Nikholis Planck)

This is officially the season where all these people who describe themselves as your friends keep calling (on the actual phone, wtf), beckoning you to join them for some really screwed up stuff like BBQs and Beach Bus Excursions. Whatever happened to text messages? Hiding in your apartment for days on end? Unfortunately during summer, such creature comforts are regarded as anti-social, perhaps even dangerous. But if you can make it to these two events, we promise you’ll have a whole heap of excuses to avoid person-on-person contact for the next few months or perhaps even longer, plenty of time for your friends to wrap up their molly bender and quit being so creepy. Reading materials will save you yet.

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A DIY Space Where ‘People of Color Have Empowerment’ Gets Ready For Next Act

Winston Scarlett: curator of Slackgaze and founder of Nola Darling (Photo: Nicole Disser)

Winston Scarlett: curator of Slackgaze and founder of Nola Darling (Photo: Nicole Disser)

For the city’s DIY scene, the year 2014 was anything but static– openings, closings, you know the drill. And while one little venue might seem like it’s simply joining the list of short-lived venues and tragic casualties, in all probability, Nola Darling is just getting started.

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Want to Get ‘Permanently Tweaked’? Make a Miniature Painting Every Day

Lorraine Loots (photo: Rob Scher)

Lorraine Loots (photo: Rob Scher)

Can you think of an activity you’ve completed every single day for two years? While I’d struggle to even claim taking a brush to my molars that consistently, South African miniaturist Lorraine Loots extended hers (brush, not molars) to 730 photorealistic watercolor paintings, the prints of which will be on display this Wednesday at Three Kings Studio in Williamsburg.

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From the Factory to Clublandia, Two Exhibitions Will Bring You Back to the Good Ol’ Days

The Last Party exhibition at WhiteBox (Photo: Nicole Disser)

The Last Party exhibition at WhiteBox (Photo: Nicole Disser)

While wandering from gallery to gallery yesterday in the Lower East Side, soaking up a pair of museum-like nostalgia exhibitions focusing on at least one part if not all of a few-decades long span from Warhol’s Factory days through the ’90s club kid scene, I started thinking about a conversation I’d had with one JJ Brine, Satanic gallerist extraordinaire. Before JJ took off for Vanuatu (btw according to his Facebook page, he made it just fine), he explained he was departing indefinitely because he was frustrated with what he understood as New York City’s unusual fixation on the past at the expense of devoting energy to the future. I couldn’t have agreed more, but somehow The Last Party and Michael Alig’s appropriately-titled solo exhibition, Inside / Out succeed in drawing a line, however crooked, between the past and the present and making this nostalgia part of current existence. How? Well, I felt as though I could almost see myself in some of the blurry old party photos and even the creepy clown-like painted odes to various poisons of choice.

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House of Yes Inches Toward Completion, Will Be All Kinds of Awesome By Fall

A makeshift entrance (Photo: Nicole Disser)

A makeshift entrance (Photo: Nicole Disser)

House of Yes is nearing rebirth, and co-founder Anya Sapozhnikova (who along with her partner Kae Burke was dubbed a member of the Brooklyn Establishment) promised that a “next level” venture is on the horizon. “Everything here has to be really fucking awesome,” she explained. When we dropped by the new House of Yes today, just steps away from the Jefferson stop in Bushwick, it was hard to believe the place was part of the craziness of Bushwick Open Studios last weekend. “It was so packed, like wall-to-wall, people couldn’t even get in,” Anya recalled. For now, the place has once again kicked up the sawdust and instead of performers, aerialists, and burlesque babes, we were met with sweaty construction workers. But Anya– who’s been through a fire, police raids, and evictions– seemed intent on forging through the final weeks of wood saws, drills, and hammers.
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This Photo Show Marks a High Point for the Transgender Movement

(Photo by Robyn Hasty)

(Photo by Robyn Hasty)

Robyn Renee Hasty is no stranger to outsiders, countercultures, and misfits. So it might feel a little strange for the artist to be in the midst of what’s becoming a mainstream social movement and media obsession to match, as embodied in the debut of Caitlyn Jenner. A new exhibition featuring Hasty’s most recent work, opening Thursday at Brooklyn’s Pioneer Works, couldn’t be more timely. But even with a newfound frank (but still sometimes fraught) discussion of the transgender experience going mainstream, Hasty’s nude portraits of transgender, gender non-conforming, and cisgender people are still subversive.
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Kim Gordon’s New Show: Fear of Lost Art and Ideas in a Changing City

"The City is a Garden" : an exhibition of work by Kim Gordon now at 303 Gallery (Photo: Nicole Disser)

“The City is a Garden” : an exhibition of work by Kim Gordon now at 303 Gallery (Photo: Nicole Disser)

As of today, a new body of work by Kim Gordon is living at 303 Gallery in Chelsea, a white box like most others on this slick block of 24th Street that’s all glass, steel, and tourists. Naturally, we’re excited. Kim Gordon Week may be long over, but we’re still obsessed with the musician-designer-artist-author who for some of us (me) is our girlhood hero. But on my visit, I was trying to keep things pure — hoping to avoid any unwanted osmosis from an artist statement or a pre-determined explanation to fulfill, I darted straight back to the art, resisting the temptation to pick at the stack of press releases for Design Office: The City is a Garden.
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There’s NEWD and Nude Weekend, But Only One Involves a Human Display Case

(Photo: Brooklyn Wildlife)

(Photo: Brooklyn Wildlife)

Bushwick Open Studios is upon us once again and leave it to an event of this magnitude — really though, a decade in, BOS is like post-post-post blown up at this point — to spawn a bunch of auxiliary commercialized, money-making ventures as well as some wacky, well, outside-the-mainstream artistic endeavors. This year, to help you avoid any confusion that might arise, we’re going to draw some abundantly clear lines in the sand between the Newd Art Show (what director and co-founder Kate Bryan calls “a small, digestible art fair” that “aims to invigorate the fair model”) and something called Nude Weekend. To peak your interest, let’s just say only one of these events features a “human display case.”
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Mellow Pages Is Closing the Book on its Bushwick Library

(Photo: Mellow Pages Library Facebook)

(Photo: Mellow Pages Library Facebook)

On Tuesday, Matt Nelson and Jacob Perkins, founders of Bushwick independent library and reading room Mellow Pages, announced on Facebook that their literary hangout, in its current form at least, will cease to exist at the end of the month. They’re making like many writers before them and saying later gator to New York City.

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