It was a bad week for us film nerds in NYC with word emerging that Sunshine Cinema will likely be sold to developers. Such things do not bode well for the future of independent cinemas in the city, seeing as Sunshine is definitely one of the more mainstream of the downtown art house theaters and always seems to have sold out screenings during prime showtimes. Yikes. Well you can help us in our efforts to appease the cool-film deities by devoted prostration and abiding carefully by the following directions: a) pray silently over one Godard film, b) recite the lines along with a character from at least one Jarmusch movie and c) check out a weird film event (or two) this week. It’s very little to ask, really.
Art + Culture
When I first heard about a one-off art show and serial online publication called Young, Colored & Angry, the name really stuck with me. There really couldn’t be a better moment to discuss such a fraught label. The term might not be instantly recognizable, but the implications are all too familiar particularly in the label’s application to protestors in various cities as of late. It can be used as a way to dismiss, delegitimize, and patronize grievances related to race relations in the U.S., particularly those between people of color and the police. But Young, Colored & Angry the publication–which, by the way, is run by two self-proclaimed young, colored, and angry individuals, 22-year-old Ashley Rahimi Syed and 21-year-old Elliott Brown, Jr.– is less explicitly about the now-politics of race and the police and more about the artistic expression that is inevitably steeped in similar experiences and other instances of discrimination.
Thanks to a generous donation from the New Jersey Institute of Technology and a super cool landlord in Gowanus who’s trying to keep the neighborhood arty, the Gowanus Darkroom went from being a distant dream to a reality for Rachel Jun and Jonathan Rodgers. “We just went for it,” Rachel said of the darkroom that opened up in February. And they’re lucky they nabbed this particular place. Darkrooms and photo studios are generally in basements, closets, warehouses, anywhere dark and dank, really. But forget all that when it comes to Gowanus Darkroom. The place is located at the top floor of an industrial building with a massive, wide-open floor plan and impressive natural light flooding in from skylights.
In a matter of a few years, Jon Fine, formerly of the band Bitch Magnet, went from an indie rock lifer cavorting from Williamsburg warehouse party to coke-soaked dive bar and barely making enough to make rock bottom rent on his train-side apartment to contributing on air to CNBC and writing columns for BusinessWeek. Clearly, those were different days– that same Williamsburg apartment would cost a small fortune to rent now and Fine suffers from permanent hearing loss, though he’s happily married and is the author of a new book Your Band Sucks. Fine’s memoir traces his rise to indie fame as the guitar player for Bitch Magnet to ultimately, what he calls, “the failed revolution.”
A press release from Arts in Bushwick paints the broad strokes for this year’s Bushwick Open Studios, coming June 5-7. There aren’t many details just yet, but there’s always a ton to do aside from gawking at artists’ workspaces. Our itinerary last year included a concert by Broke MC and Life Size Maps, a rooftop dance party at House of Screwball and a live painting contest at EXIT Room, all in the same night.
Here’s the scroop, straight from the horse’s mouth.
You probably remember Awkwafina best from “NYC Bitche$” in which the pint-sized Queens-native (no, she’s not from Flushing) raps, “Bitches be in Bushwick, they all live in Bushwick, they all love Bushwick, but I say fuck that shit,” and wreaks havoc on iPad-wielding bros by the Bedford stop. Her video wasn’t exactly a reaction to Catey Shaw’s notoriously tone-deaf North Brooklyn bubble video, “Brooklyn Girls” (“NYC Bitche$” was actually released before Shaw’s much-maligned video bombed) but it certainly stands as the opposition. But Awkwafina is seeking to further solidify her New York City street cred with a new project.
When first you glance at Mouthfeel and prepare to take it all in, you might think: it couldn’t get more niche than this. And in some ways, you might be right. A food magazine dedicated to queer identity and hardcore punk complete with recipes and sexy photos of dudes? Huh. That’s a first. But even if you’re not a pansexual chef who fronts a band called the Putrid Ooze Squad in whatever spare time you’ve got after prepping kohlrabi espuma all day, this magazine will probably be quite attractive to you.
Cinco de Mayo is probably best known as a reminder of American ignorance. Northern-dwelling Americans, including myself, are often raised to think of this Mexican national holiday as the equivalent of Independence Day in the US (it’s actually a holiday celebrating the Mexican Army’s victory over the French in 1862 at the Battle of Puebla) and while correcting factual misunderstanding is somewhat easy, old habits die hard. That’s why we’ve thrown our good judgment out the window and made this list of great happenings on and around Cinco de Mayo.
Alt Citizen has been doing their thing since 2012– the music blog’s bread-and-butter is album reviews (past and present), essays, show recommendations (mostly local Brooklyn stuff), and interviews with bands from all over. Last year, they expanded to a pocket-sized zine, of which three issues have dropped. “When you do a blog for years you start to go crazy not having a tangible thing to show people in terms of what you’re working on, so the zine naturally came out of that,” editor-in-chief and founder Nasa Hadizadeh admitted. The same impetus was behind Alt Space, a brand new storefront and gallery Alt Citizen is opening in Bushwick next week.
Having been around for over 100 years, the subway system in New York is replete with ghost stations, abandoned platforms, and tunnels to nowhere. There’s so much of it that the MTA’s neglected property has become something of a fascination, and while projects like the Lowline seek to transform abandoned platforms into pleasant public spaces, mostly these unused areas become depressing garbage pits. But artist Andrew Diemer, a graphic design student at Pratt, has transformed one of these phantom spots with a simple installation.