East Village

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Cole Escola, Sloppy Shakespeare, and More Performance Picks


(image via Sanina Leilani / Facebook)

Glow Up!: An All POC Variety Show
Thursday, August 16 at Starr Bar, 8:45 pm: $10 advance, $15 doors

Queer drag performers Noctua and C’ètait BonTemps host this variety show featuring exclusively artists of color. If you’ve been posting on social media about how bad white supremacy in America is lately, attending would be a good way to put your money where your mouth is and support a show where the lineup, hosts, and producers are all people of color. And what can you expect out of the night? The lineup isn’t too packed with people, but the ones they do have really pack a punch: burlesque performer Miss Sugar Mamasota, soulful singer Cherry, drag and music artist Laé D. Boi, and Texas-based pole and burlesque performer Black Orchid. More →

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Bowery Film Festival Opens Today With A Pretty (Rad)ical Lineup

(Image courtesy of Bowery Film Festival via Facebook)

There are summer film festivals aplenty in New York, but none with quite so much local flavor as the new Bowery Film Festival, which kicks off for its inaugural run this evening at the Bowery Bar (one of the festival’s few free events) and goes through Saturday, August 18th. The festival focuses on “films that dissent radically in form, technique, or content from the mainstream,” according to the website.

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Council Member Defends ‘Tech Hub’ Vote in Wake of Heated Criticism

Rendering of the Union Square Tech Hub at 120 East 14th Street. (Courtesy of the Mayor’s Office).

As you may have heard, the city’s proposed (and controversial) $250 million, 21-story retail and tech center off of Union Square moved forward last week. Council Member Carlina Rivera was key to the City Council’s unanimous vote, as her district will be most severely impacted by the so-called “Tech Hub.” During last year’s election, Rivera had even campaigned in part on the tech center, proposed for the site of the former PC Richard & Son at 120 East 14th Street. In a previous hearing on it, Rivera had said that without additional zoning protections south of 14th Street for local tenants and assurances that the building would indeed serve low-income earners, immigrants and residents of color—including tuition scholarships for tech training—that her vote was “seriously in question.”

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Cakeshake Blends Veganism Into the Instagrammable Shake Trend

(Photo: Tara Yarlagadda)

Zach Neil had a pretty sweet idea: “I wanted to find a way to do something with cake and ice cream and elaborate toppings and I wanted to make it make it vegan as well.”

He did some Googling and came across Black Tap’s immensely popular, decadent (and non-vegan) cake batter milkshake, the Cake Shake. Neil’s new shop, which fully opened in the East Village last week, is called Cakeshake. But it isn’t a mere Black Tap knockoff. “Essentially, we wanted a place where anyone could go and order this over-the-top Instagrammable shake that is also sensitive to lifestyle and [is plant-based],” he tells Bedford + Bowery.

Over the top indeed: Following up on the edible gold trend that seems to have swept New Yorkers into a fervid consumption of metallic substances (gold-plated chicken wings, anyone?), Cakeshake is offering an appropriately named #blingbomb shake, whose golden and silver sparkles practically blind the viewer and mask the mountain of mini cupcakes and vegan ice cream that lies underneath.

Neil embarked on his vegan shake voyage about a year and a half ago, when he started trending toward a more plant-based diet, but realized that eating that way outside of major cities was a real challenge. And not just for him, but his daughters, too. “I have two daughters who have a sweet tooth. I’ve taken them on my journey on veganism. I wanted [options] that were healthier and plant-based,” Neil told us. Then the idea dawned on him: why not vegan milk shakes, with some gluten-free options and maple bacon-topped treats (ask for the “Elvis”) for the carnivores as well. Neil pitched the idea to his friend (and now the store’s executive chef), Felix Castro, who loved the idea. With the help of co-owner Tim O’Grady,  Cakeshake was born.

Most of the shakes range from $10-$15. There’s a 100% vegan #popmocha shake that comes packed with tres leches ice cream, espresso reduction, hand-made caramel corn, and whipped cream in a smorgasburg they call “plant-based heaven.” Other notable options include a vegan avocolada shake, which is their take on a piña colada, except with the very millennial addition of avocado to the usual pineapple. They’re constantly experimenting with new flavors, so you’ll just have to visit in person to see their latest menu. Note: kids under the age of 12 get a free drink with purchase of an adult shake, so this is one family-friendly joint. Bring a friend to share.

Cakeshake is located at 514 East 6th street, and is open from 2 pm-10 p.m. every weekday.



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NYC’s Most Ridiculous (and Refreshing) Watermelon Drinks

Sure, you can beat the heat by buying cubed watermelon at the bodega, but that’s so basic. Here’s how to get your watermelon fix and be extra. 

(Photos: Daniel Maurer)

Ladle soju punch from a watermelon
At Pocha 32, 15 W 32nd St # 2, Koreatown.
Pocha 32, a second-floor pub hidden away in Koreatown, would be worth the trip even if it didn’t use hollowed-out watermelons as punch bowls. Notes written on chopstick wrappers hang from the fishnet that covers the walls and ceiling, and oil drums serve as tables. It’s a festive place for dipping a ladle into a watermelon and helping yourself to a frothy mixture of ice, soju, Sprite, and fruit puree. This is a lot of drank even for two people to share, but you can always sneak the leftovers into the Vivi lightbulb jar below.

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There’s A Little Less Hummus Among Us

Alas, although the openings of Vish on East 8th Street and Levantine chain Panorama this summer increased the amount of hummus among us, something had to offset this influx of chickpeas. It seems the trade-off is popular Lebanese fast-casual dining option Semsom Eatery. The previously lively storefront on Astor Place is now barren and empty, save for a ladder along with a sad McDonald’s cup and some rags resting on a counter by the door. Yelpers have reported the venue as closed down. It’s unclear when the closure occurred, but the eatery was active on social media as recently as August 2. While it’s possible that the Astor Place location of this chain may revive someday, for now, students will have to get their turmeric rice and cauliflower veggie bowls with unlimited toppings elsewhere.

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Performance Picks: Kaufman-Inspired Comedy, Mental Health, and More


(image via Vow Performance Party / Facebook)

Vow II: Mental Health
Thursday, August 2 at Rose Gold, 7:30 pm: $10 advance, $15 doors

While it still carries some stigma, mental health has steadily become more and more of a presence in today’s everyday dialogues. This is undoubtedly due to the unfortunate prevalence of mental health issues, many of which have proven to be exacerbated by the current political climate. Even as (and especially) as things get worse, continually talking about it can help. One of the more unique ways you can engage is through Vow, a sex-positive party and performance series “for artists with stigmatized identities or experiences to express themselves freely in a supportive community.” The night is centered around mental health, and features relevant performances by a lineup that includes burlesque performers Regal Mortis, Lucy Risqué, and Miss Sugar Mamasota, dominatrix Venus Cuffs, performance artist Monika Rostvold, and more. More →

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The East Village’s Oldest Tapas Bar Has Left the Building (But Not the Hood)

(Photo: Nai Tapas Bar on Instagram)

The narrow, slightly subterranean space at 174 First Avenue has been home to a tapas bar and flamenco shows since the ’90s, when tapas were described by the New York Times as a “novelty.” The original occupant, Xunta, moved to Williamsburg in 2009 and Nai Tapas Bar quickly took over the dark, date-friendly nook. Now, after eight years, Nai has moved on as well. It plans to reopen on Second Avenue next month.

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Get Your Summer Reading (or Flirting) On With These 9 Book Talks

No Ashes in the Fire: Coming of Age Black and Free in America

(Image credit: Amazon)

Thursday, August 2 at the Brooklyn Historical Society, 6:30-8:00 p.m.

Darnell Moore, writer and leader in the Movement for Black Lives, brings what’s sure to be a riveting discussion of his new memoir No Ashes in the Fire: Coming of Age Black and Free in America to the Brooklyn Historical Society. The description for his book on his website recounts how three neighborhood boys in Camden, New Jersey tried to set him on fire when he was only 14. In the three decades since that encounter, Moore has gone on to seek solace in the gay community of Philadelphia, justice on the front lines in Ferguson, Missouri, and life in his current home in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. In this book, he seeks to understand how that 14-year-old boy not only survived, but became the individual that he is today. Tickets to this event cost $5.

Books Beneath the Bridge: Greenlight Poetry Salon

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