Sweety’s, a curatorial initiative “dedicated to the labor of black and brown artists,” will be taking over the Lower East Side’s Cuchifritos Gallery + Project Space until the end of July, using their time to stage live talk show interviews with artists and “Spanish-speaking cultural producers.” They’ve partnered with four unique artists, who will be interviewed by Sweety’s and given space for a week to show their work. Once those weeks have concluded, the four members of Sweety’s will be creating a collaborative installation.
The residency begins with Cecilia Gentili, a performer, storyteller, and advocate for trans women of color, and continues with illustrator Raul Gonzalez III, poet and AIDS activist Emanuel Xavier, and visual artist Elia Alba. As the Manhattan art world continues to largely fulfill its reputation of being upper-class, cis, and white, ventures like Sweety’s are a breath of fresh air.
Last time we spoke with Jeremy Nguyen, he had created a custom crayon for his newly released book of cartoons, Stranger Than Bushwick. The crayon’s color– Gentrify White— spoke to the wry satire found in his comics for Bushwick Daily. Volume three of Stranger Than Bushwick will debut this weekend at the MoCCA Arts Festival. It’s longer than the others, but will be “the last issue I publish for a long time while I move on to other projects,” according to the 27-year-old. That’s sure to disappoint his many local fans, but it’s hard to blame Jeremy for moving on. In January he started submitting cartoons to the New Yorker, a process that is notoriously selective. Incredibly, he sold his first one three weeks later, after pitching just 30 pieces. Since then, he has sold two more.
When Quimby’s opened up a few weeks back just off the Metropolitan stop, Williamsburg gained another hip little bookstore in an area where it sometimes feels like culture is on the way out. Thankfully, Quimby’s is the real deal, even if it’s a revival of a Chicago institution first opened by Steven Svymbersky in the ’90s.
But wait a minute, isn’t there already a specialty book store on the block? Yeah, there most definitely is: Desert Island, probably the best comic bookstore in the city, and maybe one of the most glorious shops dedicated solely to graphic novels and arty comics.
The Experiment Comedy gallery has moved to 272 Grand Street (Photo: Nicole Disser)
When The Experiment Comedy Gallery opened last fall, just steps from a fast-changing corner on the Williamsburg waterfront where Broadway meets Kent Avenue, it was a little surprising to hear that a DIY comedy club catering to up-and-coming standups and underrepresented comics was setting up shop in an area that, strangely, seems to be shriveling up as it hurdles toward major development. “Vice isn’t here yet,” joked The Ex’s founder, Mo Fathelbab, when we first met last October. That might have been true, but the luxury developments were definitely there already– and funny thing was, the venue was actually located on the ground floor of one such condo building, Broadway Riverview, which had been around since the start of the Williamsburg condo boom. More →
In a booth at a coffee shop on Bowery, artist Tim Platt hunches over a small piece of cardstock and tries to figure out how to turn a collection of near-random shapes and lines he’s made into a finished drawing.
“Oh, I’m going to destroy this one,” he finally decides. Platt, 28, dashes a thick red line over the drawing and, in the corner, writes You’ve failed me by agreeing to look at this. “Yup, I’d give this one a C minus at best.”
At 81 years old, D’yan Forest describes herself as a “young Betty White.” The octogenarian and veteran performer doesn’t mask her sexual conquests in grandma-speak. Indeed she speaks Millennial more fluently than some natives I know– she’s sex positive, has done her fair share of swiping left on Tinder, and is open-minded toward all kinds of people. Before I set off to the West Village apartment to meet D’yan where she’s lived since the ’60s, I phoned her and she assured me: “I’m very interesting, too, darling.” Click. It’s hard to argue with that: the multi-instrumentalist’s career spans at least three continents, and she can sing in nine languages. On top of all that, she’s now trying to hack it as a stand-up comic.
Way before Patton Oswalt was hosting awards ceremonies at Cipriani, he was a budding comic making prank calls with his San Francisco roommate Brian Posehn. I know this because, back when I was collecting bootlegs in the mid-’90s, I came on a cassette trader who had something called The Speed Round: “Friends of mine challenge each other on who can make someone hang up the phone faster. Very offensive.” More →
While DIY music venues are pretty much done for on the waterfront, a new independent comedy club– run by comics, for comics– has popped up amongst luxury housing and sprawling new developments in Williamsburg. The Experiment Comedy Gallery isn’t located inside a gritty warehouse, but this former furniture store is an equally barebones kind of deal (for now anyway), save for a monochromatic psychedelic window mural.
The space is much closer to the Silent Barn than it is to, say, Caroline’s– and that’s very much intentional– the founder Mo Fathelbab and his artistic director, Eliana Horeczko, are trying to keep ticket prices at a minimum. “If there’s one word to describe what we’re really all about, it’s accessibility,” Eliana explained. “We’re really focused on giving people the opportunity to perform– like, all people, not just a small group.”
You’d expect someone like Brooklyn-born comedian Simeon Goodson to be straight up freaking out right about now. Depending on who you are, an impending move to Abu Dhabi could strike you as utterly terrifying or worthy of giddy anticipation. The dazzling, conservative Vegas of the Middle East is a polarizing place to say the least. But somehow Simeon’s experiencing these two extremes and managing still to take things as they come. While the United Arab Emirates is hardly the dream home for a guy who enjoys swigging glasses of Hennessy (“OD ice”) and belting out karaoke renditions of “Trap Queen,” Sim sees his impending move there less like a stint in purgatory and more an enjoyable challenge and the chance to be a transplant for once in his life.