Friday, July 31, 2009

The Weekend: 7.31-8.2

Lots of music happening this weekend. With some museum parties and art fairs thrown in for good measure.

Friday, July 31

Music: Tonight's the first show in The Blackened Music Series at the Brooklyn Masonic Temple in Fort Greene, featuring Pig Destroyer, Brutal Truth, and Repulsion. To celebrate the event, Decibel Magazine created a special mini-magazine just for this show, featuring interviews and background on all the bands. So prep before you get there. Tickets are $25. Show at 8 p.m. Located at 317 Clermont Ave at Lafayette Ave.

Trad: Jalopy in Carroll Gardens/Red Hook's where it's at for Irish music, as the new music series Irish Nights Live kicks off. On the stage are series founder Mike Considine, a London Irish bouzouki and strings player, as well as Ivan Goff on pipes, flute & whistle, Grainne Murphy on fiddle and Sarah Jessop on vocals. The show's at 9 p.m., with tickets $10. Jalopy is located at 315 Columbia St.

Dance party: Lose control at the Old American Can Factory in Gowanus, as MeanRed hosts "Lost Your S--t" (this is, first and foremost, a family publication), traditionally a loft party that's being taken outside to the courtyard. King Britt, JDH + Dave P (FIXED), Lost and Found, and DJ Smallchange will be bringing you wobbly dub, banger electro, vintage funk, sexy boom bap, and deep techno to make sure you get sweaty. From 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. First 50 people are free with RSVP. Tickets are $7 for the next 100 with RSVP. $10 before midnight, and $15 after. Located at 232 Third Street.

Saturday, August 1

Film: At Celebrate Brooklyn!, alt-rockers Dean & Britta provide the soundtrack to Andy Warhol's Screen Tests. And, to kick it off, Crystal Stilts play a set as well. This one's not to be missed. Starts at 7:30 p.m at the Bandshell (Prospect Park West & 9th Street) at 7:30 p.m. Free with $3 suggested donation.

First Saturday: It's Bacchanal Time Again! at the Brooklyn Museum, with the public plaza outside the museum hosting steel pan music, stilt walkers, Carnival costumes and more, plus spoken word at the open mic, plus plenty of other events inside. Free admission to the museum, located at 200 Eastern Parkway.

Fitness: Get in shape, and have fun, with Punk Rope, which blends creative calisthenics, group drills, relay races, rope jumping, and core training. They'll be hosting a free rope jumping clinic in McCarren Park in Greenpoint at 10 a.m., meeting at the Driggs Avenue side of the track. At 11 a.m., double dutch champs will be providing a tutorial for the instructors. Should be fun to watch.

Sunday, August 2

Fair: Littlefield in Gowanus hosts 7 Sundays, a full day of free events that integrate wellness, music, and food. Featured are indie-folk rocker Kat Devlin, an authentic Vietnamese BBQ and Tempeh Shop Brooklyn. Even better for you, its free. Doors at noon. Littlefield is located at 622 Degraw Street.

Pool Party: At last week's Pool Party, fans stormed the stage during the Black Lips set and headliner ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead got rained out. Here's hoping today's, with Dan Deacon, Deer Hunter, and No Age, gose better. Free, with gates at 2 p.m. At the East River State Park (North 8th and Kent streets).

DJ: After resting Saturday, Stick around in Gowanus this weekend and continue to dance your ass off at BKLYN Yard for Sunday Best, with DJ Maurice Fulton. From 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tickets are $10, $8 before 4 p.m. with RSVP to rsvp@sundaybestnyc.com.

Music: Union Hall hosts Bunker Fest, an inaugural festival of local rock musicians who write, rehearse and record at the Park Slope-based basement studio. There will be a rare appearance by headline act, The Exotic Profiles, along with Hotbird 7, Chris Moore, Tom Gavin, Mike Goodman (Fiery Furnaces), Pete Galub, Greta Gertler and others. The event will kick off at 4 p.m., with music and food (byo meat for the grill) being served up until late in the evening. Tickets are $5. Union Hall is located at 702 Union Street.

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The Reporter's Table: The common bean gets flashy



By Helen Klein

Colorful and savory, beans enhanced with herbs and spices reminiscent of the southwest can serve as a simple side dish or a light main dish.

In my house, whatever bean dishes I put together are used up quickly. This recipe, which combines black and white beans, is eye-catching as well as palate-pleasing, studded with chunks of grilled colored peppers and shreds of fresh cilantro.

Adding snap to the flavor, and a bit of complexity, are fresh onion and garlic, a couple of squeezes of lime, and a sprinkling of ground cumin, which is arguably my favorite spice. A chameleon in the kitchen, dusky, aromatic cumin effortlessly helps to create complex dishes that reflect the intriguing soul of Latin America, or, alternatively, evoke the sultry flavors of the Middle East.

The fun of this dish is that it is infinitely malleable. Want a Provençal touch? Use only white beans, select rosemary or sage in place of the cilantro, leave out the cumin, and trade in lemon for the lime.

If Italian food is more to your taste, fresh basil leaves can replace the cilantro, and chunks of sun-dried tomato can stand in for the peppers. Here, too, lemon is more authentic, and cumin should not be used. If you want, toss in a tablespoon or two of rinsed capers to enhance the dish’s Mezzogiorno flavor.

For all of these versions, I would use olive oil, preferably extra-virgin.

Any of these bean dishes can serve as a side dish with basic grilled or roasted meats or poultry. They also are a welcome addition to a buffet table, and make the perfect filler for pita bread, topped by shredded lettuce and chopped tomato, for a vegetarian lunch.

Southwestern Beans

Ingredients
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can small white beans, drained and rinsed
1 red pepper, roasted, seeded and diced (homemade or store-bought)
½ cup chopped sweet onion (Vidalia, Maui or Walla Walla, for example)
2 cloves garlic, minced
Juice of one lime
Extra-virgin olive oil (the quantity should be twice that of the lime juice)
1 tsp. cumin
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Directions
Combine beans, pepper, onion and garlic in bowl.

In a screw-top jar, combine lime juice, olive oil, cumin, salt and pepper. Shake well.

Pour dressing over bean mixture, and combine thoroughly.

Add cilantro just before serving, and stir to combine.

Serves 4-6 as a generous side dish.

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Kitchen Klutz: Getting burned by teriyaki scallops

**Check back Monday for this recipe


By Michèle De Meglio

Summer is all about the beach. And sitting on a pier indulging in fresh seafood after an afternoon dip in the Atlantic.

In an attempt to recreate my memories of dining on grilled mahi-mahi in the Bahamas last summer (it was amazing!), I sought inspiration from the pre-made meals in Whole Foods’ freezer section.

A frozen seafood dish (Henry & Lisa’s Bay Scallops with Japanese Glaze) caught my eye and I decided to make a similar concoction — from scratch. Actually, somewhat from scratch.

I purchased one pound of small bay scallops and a bottle of teriyaki sauce, which is obviously the not-from-scratch part.

video

To start, I coated a large frying pan with olive oil and kept it on medium heat. Once sizzling, I added the scallops and sauted them for a couple of minutes.

I have to say, I hate, hate, hate sauteing! Why does the oil always have to splash and burn me? I still need to figure out a way to prevent this — or lessen the pain.

Overcome with misery and desperately in need of Band-Aids, I poured in the teriyaki sauce and hoped for the best.

Verdict: Yuck! The sauce was too overpowering for the mild scallops. Even worse, I think the seafood might have been a bit gone off. Again, yuck!

Maybe this is one dish that’s better from the box.

video

Kitchen Klutz follows 20-something Michèle De Meglio as she burns casseroles and her fingers, all in hope of trading frozen dinners for home cooking.

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Pumps & Pleats: Live the life of a pop-up shopper

The FancySexyMe team plays tug of war

Story and photos by Michèle De Meglio

The newest fad in fashion is the pop-up shop. Brooklyn has done Manhattan one better by having a 10-hour shopping party featuring the coolest emerging designers the borough has to offer.

The first-ever Williamsburg Indie Designer Soiree, held at the Arsenal on Roebling Street, offered shoppers a chance to score the newest and sweetest apparel and accessories from local artists. Many pieces were even available at a discount!

Bob Bland, Arsenal’s founder and the soiree’s organizer, displayed wares from her unbelievably awesome Brooklyn Royalty clothing line (www.brooklynroyalty.com). The most mind-blowing pieces had to be the lime green bandana and matching top that changed color with the wearer’s body temperature. The bubble gum pink that appears makes for a Claude Monet inspired watercolor print. Talk about a mood ring for clothing!

I couldn’t resist the bold jewelry from Prospect Heights-based Brookadelphia (www.brookadelphia.com). The flashy necklaces are made of laser cut acrylic that’s reminiscent of mirrors. They range from $30 to $50 and come in a variety of colors, shapes and sizes. My favorites are the pink unicorn (oh, childhood memories!), a mish-mashed line of tiny black circles, and gold splatters that channel images of Nickelodeon’s famous slime.

The Red Hook-based duo behind Ruffeo Hearts Lil’ Snotty (www.rhls.com) has created an 80s-inspired line of men’s and women’s apparel, including underwear in a color-block blend of purple, blue and brown, bright green and pink nylon short-shorts, and a super impressive blue sweatshirt featuring abstract shapes in various neon colors.


I absolutely adored the 60-inch-long necklaces from Williamsburg-based FancySexyMe (www.fancysexyme.com). The gold chains, $45-$60, serve as never-ending rows of glittering Swarovski crystals, which can be worn as one long strand or looped around your neck for three layers of bling.


Don’t count out Social Rebel (www.socialrebelclothing.com). Ever. The Williamsburg-based line brought an array of $25 T-shirts to the soiree that were emblazoned with a massive image of a woman’s head attached to a sharp blade. Designer Yana Galbshtein says the “Stella Von Dagger” persona represents women’s unrelenting strength. Fashion and empowerment — that’s a good pair!

Adding a dash of celebrity to the mix is Desira Pesta (www.desirapesta.com), who recently auditioned for fashion reality show “Project Runway.” Although asked to come back for the show’s next season, Pesta’s creations are a hit in her Red Hook home base. In particular, a $220 cherry red sheath with oversized ruffles is made of a cotton Lycra blend but feels like the richest satin.

An intricate jewelry line from Karen Keith (www.karenkeithdesigns.com) features the coolest creations reminiscent of vintage brass pieces. Keith uses recycled materials to create chokers and long chains adorned with dangling old-fashioned keys. Now that’s making trash work for you!

The second Williamsburg Indie Designer Soiree is scheduled for August 22 from noon to 7 p.m. at the Arsenal, 153 Roebling Street, studio 4B. Designers hoping to sell their goods at the event should e-mail thearsenalnyc@gmail.com, call 877-294-2728 or visit www.thearsenalnyc.com.

Michèle De Meglio is a native Brooklynite addicted to all things chic. Check out Pumps & Pleats each week for more adventures as she scours the borough for fab duds and accessories.

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Press 195: Reinventing the sandwich and so much more


Erica Alvarez and Pablo Wolfe enjoy their drinks by the open window.
Photo by Ted Levin

By Marshall Slater

Comfort food…it’s certainly an overused couple of words and, in many respects, downplays the type of cuisine to which it refers. However, comfort food is quintessentially the expression one would use when describing the cuisine at Press 195.

Firstly, be forewarned that you will leave overstuffed. Even those with the best of intentions and the steeliest of resolve will find it quite impossible not to over-order after perusing the menu. The stuff sounds that good; and best of all, just about everything more than lives up to expectation.

This is a deservedly popular place whose reputation is consistently and appropriately growing. One visit and you will be returning; the diversity of the bill of fare is truly ponderous, the prices quite reasonable (dare we say a bargain?), and the consistency of preparation assures your fifth visit will be as satisfying as your first.

Want a snack that will satisfy? This is the right place. Want a meal to indulge? Ditto. Want to sit alone with a newspaper and enjoy a first rate sandwich that you won’t find anywhere else? Right again — come to Press 195. And for outings with a friend or a large group of compadres, you won’t find a better choice.

During the warm weather, the action is in the backyard, under the umbrellas or the tent, or the Park Slope sky. It’s a very friendly and welcoming place that’s also quite family friendly should you be toting the kids (and have no fear in this respect, either, as the menu is as “comforting” for them as it is for you). There is a separate price fixed $6 kids menu, which has all the right choices for predictable little ones.

Press 195 has been a fixture for several years but they closed some seven months ago for an extensive four month renovation, which brought new vigor to the place. They reopened just over three months ago and for many, that was not a moment too soon.

Although technically a “specialty sandwich place,” indeed, they were named the Sandwich Kings of Brooklyn by the Food Network, the term sandwich takes on considerably more meaning than that drab concoction too many of us have become complacent with.


But even before we get to the main event, Press 195 impresses. “The Knish Corner” of the menu is pure inspiration. Start off with an excellent knish, the square potato kind that used to top the steam tables of the ubiquitous Jewish delicatessens that once dotted the borough. But here the comparison ends. The kitchen then slices it open and fills it with any number of concoctions and combinations.

For instance, there is the veggie variety, which offers wonderfully fresh thin slices of green and yellow zucchini combined with a mélange of other goodies all cradled in molten mozzarella cheese, then the entire thing is pressed like a panini, so the top and bottom of the knish are seared and slightly crisped. The combination of fluffly, spiced potato with the fillings and the contrasting exterior is just addictive.

Other variations on a theme include the Steak Knish, grilled and marinated sliced steak with fresh mozzarella; turkey, Canadian bacon, tomato and Swiss cheese; roast beef, Cheddar cheese, sweet onion jam and spicy brown mustard; pastrami, Swiss, sauerkraut and tangy roasted pepper dressing and the homemade meatloaf, Cheddar cheese and gravy. Well, you get the point…they are great.

Move on to the starters, such as the Buffalo Wings, wonderfully meaty (not like the anemic wings we are so used to), each like a mini chicken leg served with a thick bleu cheese dip. The wings are served either slathered in the spicy Buffalo sauce or in a sweet BBQ sauce; either one is sure to please.

Excellent too is the grilled asparagus appetizer, with snappy fresh stalks of asparagus served atop slices of tomato and thick wedges of milky mozzarella. But what really takes this dish into another realm is the addition of the house’s unique maple syrup basil pesto dressing, something that has become so addictively popular they now sell the sauce if you want to take some home.

And speaking of sauces, sample them all when you order the Belgian Fries, a variation on the French version. They are hand cut and double cooked. What makes them Belgian is that they are browned so they remain soft on the inside and slightly crunchy on the exterior. They are served wrapped in a paper cone and set into a serving tray. Order them with the dipping sauces, which include the Honey Jalapeno Mustard, sent in from upstate and a Brooklyn exclusive; or the roasted pepper (a smooth confection that’s mmm, mmm good), roasted garlic, Chipotle Jalapeno Mayo and BBQ.

Staying with the starters, there is also the very singular Hummus Plate — not your mother’s hummus plate either. This one consists of a black bean hummus, grilled marinated Portabella mushrooms, Kalamata olives and imported roasted red peppers with grilled spicy bread rounds.

And there is so much more to come.

Let’s get the long list of salads out of the way for those at your table who just must have one. Now don’t get me wrong, the salads are as creative and as satisfying as anything else on the menu, but when you come to Press 195, I want to feel my teeth tearing through the ciabatta bread on their way to my next-to-be favorite sandwich. But for the salad types, options range from the mixed greens with roasted beets, marinated onions, goat cheese and pure maple syrup walnut vinaigrette to the grilled lemon chicken with mixed greens, goat cheese, fresh orange, caramelized walnuts and a cranberry-citrus dressing, to the greens with grilled marinated sliced steak, fresh Mozzarella, corn, red pepper, tomato, Bermuda onion and a tangy creamy roasted pepper dressing.

Of course, there are also half-pound burgers available, as well as a variety of cold sandwiches, but with 40 — count ’em, 40 — hot pressed sandwich creations, you rarely find your eyes leaving that page.

Now while all the sandwiches boast entirely original and differing inspired combinations of ingredients, they all have certain aspects in common. To whit, they all come between the kitchen’s hand crafted ciabatta bread, and as we all know, what makes a great sandwich is the bread…and this is truly awesome bread. Next, portion size is always generous. And finally, prices are always moderate; you can’t spend more than $10 on a sandwich no matter how hard you try, and unless the two of you are ravenous, or you make the mistake of not ordering two different sandwiches so you can share and have double the pleasure, one sandwich tends to be plenty for two people, especially if you add on an appetizer or two (and you will), a knish or two (and you will), or the fries (ditto…you will).

The kitchen has obviously spent a long time experimenting with the different combination of ingredients that comprise each sandwich, and I have yet to find one that is not an inspired, winning mélange. Contrasting textures, tastes, ingredients, etc., all combine flawlessly. But let’s get to the specifics.

From the Turkey, Monterey Jack, fresh cilantro and Trapha­gen’s not-too-spicy Honey Jalapeno mustard to the variation on the Cuban, made up of homemade roast pork, ham, Swiss cheese, pickle chips and roasted garlic spread, ingredients are of the highest quality and served in abundance.

The sliced ripe tomato, fresh Mozzarella cheese, fresh basil, and Press 195’s famous pure maple syrup basil pesto is pure indulgence and, at $8, a bargain like all the sandwiches. My favorite, the grilled Portabella mushroom, is combined with fresh arugula and goat cheese with roasted garlic and black olive spread. The counter taste between all the ingredients is just fabulous. Choose the marinated spicy grilled chicken with onions, black bean hummus, fresh cilantro, Monterey Jack and Cheddar cheese; the reality is you just can’t make a bad choice and no matter how satisfied you are with your choice, you will be equally impressed when you try something different on your next visit.

There is fresh turkey, crispy bacon, Monterey Jack, tomato, Chipotle mayonnaise and guacamole, or the slice of tender grilled steak with avocado, sweet onion jam, fresh Mozzarella and creamy roasted pepper dressing; grilled lemon chicken, fresh mozzarella, roasted peppers and balsamic vinegar, and the list goes on and on. So come once a day and repeat the menu every month or so…I promise you won’t get bored.

And as one might expect from a place that pays so much attention to even the smallest of details, the desserts are no mere accommodation to the end of the meal. They are reason on their own to visit. Choose the Nutelle Press with fresh banana and ice cream for two (the price is only $7.50 and remember, that’s for two). The ingredients are seared together between country white bread, where is it grilled and charred as it is with the sister confection, the Banana Bread Press, which combines fresh fruit, maple syrup and walnuts wrapped up by wonderfully fresh baked banana bread. Ice cream is added to the hot blend and you are ready for your delectable sugar fix, crunchy and sweet and oh so satisfying. Oh yes, other options include the Ghirardelli double chocolate brownie sundae.

Before we leave you, while this is a review of the food, it cannot be emphasized too strongly that Press 195 is just as popular for those looking for a liquid lunch or dinner or for those wishing to combine these two worlds. As starters, they offer six draft beers (all from boutique breweries like Harpoon UFO, Outrage IRA and Stone Levitation) and another 10 bottled beers. They are also well known for their house made sangria.

There is a full bar, plus a very diverse array of white and red wines, specialty bourbons (10 different) and eight martini concoctions.

As for catering and our final word, I will quote from their own verbiage, which I could not state better myself: “Tired of lousy subs, tasteless chicken marsala and flavorless ziti? Experience Press 195 catering.” The next party I give? The food will be coming from this kitchen.


Press 195
195 Fifth Avenue in Park Slope, between Union and Sackett streets; 718-857-1950

Hours: The kitchen is open 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday-Wednesday, Thursday-Saturday until 1 am. The bar is open until midnight Sunday-Wednesday and until 2 a.m. Thursday-Saturday.

Happy hour is 4-7 p.m., seven days, with $3.50 tap beers and sangria.

Most major credit cards are accepted.Live music on most weekends; call for specifics.

Private parties up to 20 accommodated; outside catering is a specialty.

There is free delivery within a two mile radius, 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., seven days.

When in Queens, visit their second location at 40-11 Bell Boulevard in Bayside; 718-281-1950.

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Brooklyn has 'Hometown' feel for Canucks


By Meredith Deliso

While on their month-long tour a couple weeks ago, Rural Alberta Advantage were heading to their next stop in Denver. They were feeling pretty good, because they had heard good things about the venue. Most times, they see what they’re in store for when they show up at the door with equipment in hand.

“We never know with shows,” said Nils Edenloff, lead singer of the Canadian indie rock band. “We don’t know if a place is going to be a dive or pretty awesome.”

Edenloff is too worried about their upcoming stop in Brooklyn, August 4 at the Music Hall of Williamsburg.“I’ve never been to the Music Hall but I know it by name,” said Edenloff. “Every time we come through, somebody super incredibly awesome is playing there.”

The band has been through quite a few times, playing the New York area more than they’ve played their home base of Toronto in the past year at places like The Bell House and Union Hall.

As the name suggests, RAA was born out of Alberta, Edenloff’s hometown. When the songwriter moved to Toronto in 2005, his homesickness led him to write about his hometown and summers spent in the Rockies and winters on the farm. The end result was the band’s debut LP “Hometowns,” a yearning, oftentimes beautiful collection of songs dominated by Edenloff’s emotive, raw voice.

After blog buzz, stellar live shows, and spots on several “Best of 2008” lists, the album was picked up by Saddle Creek and released earlier this month on the indie label.Their Brooklyn gig will be heavy on “Hometown,” as the band has slowly been working towards polishing new material, and are starting to feel the pressure of scrutiny that good buzz and a label deal can bring.

“Before, we had the ability to do that slowly and in front of nobody, in a way,” said Edenloff. “[Our music’s] gotten a lot of attention, which is great. But it’s a little stressful. We want people to be happy with everything we put out.”

Brooklyn marks the last stop on RAA’s national tour, and while they’re looking forward to returning to Canada, the makers of “Hometown” are excited to make a stop where they feel right at home.

“We’ve gone to New York and the Brooklyn area and it feels every time we play there super warm and welcoming,” says Edenloff. “It feels like a second home.”

Rural Alberta Advantage play the Music Hall of Williamsburg (66 North 6th St.) August 4 at 9 p.m. (doors at 8 p.m.) with Hollerado. The show is free, and is 18+. For more information, go to or call 718-486-5400.

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At last, an indie band that doesn't hide its 'Foreign' roots

By Meredith Deliso

Foreign Born may be big fans of Brooklyn, but the Los Angeles-based indie band has no plans to move from the West Coast.

“There’s a stigma around LA. Brooklyn’s reputation works for it, LA’s reputation works against it,” says lead singer Matt Popieluch, whose band mostly comprises native Angelenos, despite what the band name might suggest. “I’d say I don’t think it’s deserved. There are cool bands here right now. We’re part of a music community that I’m proud of. I don’t want to be anywhere else right now.”

The occasional tour does pull the rising indie band out of their home base from time to time, and when they come to town next month, you might find them at Prospect Park, relaxing between gigs at the Mercury Lounge at the end of July and The Bell House on August 3 (with shows in Philadelphia and Washington, DC., added in between those for good measure).

“That’s one of my favorite parks in America,” says Popieluch. “Last time I was there I had such a nice walk. It blocks out the city when in the middle of those trees. I just like the utter change of scenery.”

After being on the road for a month in a coast-to-coast tour, the band could use some R&R. Last month, they released their second full length, on Secretly Canadian, “Person to Person,” a celebration of LA in hand claps, expressive group harmonies and tribal guitar licks that provides perfect summertime fare. The album has also found a fan in Brooklyn-based Grizzly Bear’s Ed Droste, who hailed the album’s “crisper sounds [and Popieluch’s] wonderful voice.”

After the album must follow the music video, and Foreign Born just came out with a new one for the lead single “Winter Games,” and are working with Matthew Lusner (behind the Brooklyn-based Dirty Projector’s new video for “Stillness is the Movement) for “Early Morning.”

While the band still finds time to be involved in other projects (Popieluch counts himself a member of his girlfriend Cameron Mesirow’s pop band Glasser, fellow Foreign Born songwriter Lewis Pesacov’s band, Fool’s Gold, as well as his own solo effort, Big Search), Foreign Born is definitely the focus now.

“I think it’s healthy to keep things turning a little bit,” says Popieluch, “and get variety so everything stays fresh.”

Nothing like an utter change of scenery.

Foreign Born play the Bell House (149 7th St.) on August 3 at 7:30 p.m. with The Veils and Faces on Film. Tickets are $14. For more information, call 718-643-6510.

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Nicole Atkins: It's back to BK, thank God


By Meredith Deliso

Nicole Atkins may have made a name for herself in the Asbury Park music community, but the New Jersey native is ready for a change.

“Asbury Park is awesome, and it’s my home. I know everyone, but I like being able to walk down the street and not know someone,” says the musician. “It’s a bit ‘Groundhog Day’ around here when it’s not the summer.”

Atkins itch might soon be scratched, as the singer/songwriter is looking to make a return to New York City, and is most likely to land in Brooklyn.

“It’s back to Brooklyn, thank god,” says Atkins, who’s previously lived in Williamsburg, Bushwick and Bensonhurst. “Wherever’s spacious and affordable. I might be barking up the wrong tree. We’ll see.”

The musician finds herself in Brooklyn soon enough, playing with her band, The Black Sea, August 6 at The Bell House.

“We’ve been trying to play our own show at The Bell House for a while now,” says Atkins, whose played before at the Gowanus venue with A.C. Newman. “I feel in love with the place. They’re killing it lately.”

As of late, Atkins has been pumping out covers, with last fall’s EP “Nicole Atkins Digs Other People’s Songs” finding the songstress covering The Doors, The Mamas & the Papas, The Church and Nada Surf. (Check out her blog for free tracks and covers, including most recently a cover of Michael Jackson's Ben.)

She has plenty of original material up her sleeve, though, and is currently working on a new record with a relatively new lineup (hence the slight name change to her band name, for those familiar with the artist as Nicole Atkins & the Sea). Luckily, the sound isn’t getting blacker.

“A lot of the orchestral elements are toned down. It’s more guitar rock, 70s rock,” says the singer, known for her mixing of traditional vocal styles and introspective lyrics in what she calls “pop-noir.” “Perfect summer make out jams.”

With an expressive voice that’s made her somewhat of a female Roy Orbison, Atkins has had a bit of fun trying to relay this emotion to her bandmates, comprised of Christopher Donofrio on drums, Brad York on guitars, and Anthony Chick on bass.

“It’s hilarious even trying to explain to my band how things should go,” she says. “Like, I don’t just want them to play the key, I want them to feel the key, like some weird, creepy art teacher.”

Between days spent in the recording studio hashing out those keys and mornings at the beach in Asbury Park, Atkins has found herself in a nice groove. And while the town has been good to her – in 2002 the Asbury Music Awards named her Top Female Vocalist and Best Solo Act, and her single “Neptune City” Song of the Year – she’s looking forward to meeting new people.

“I love Asbury Park and will probably die here, which sounds morbid,” she says. “While I can, I’d like to get to the city for a bit. I miss it.”

Nicole Atkins & The Black Sea play The Bell House (149 7th St.) August 6 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15, and the show is 18+. Also on the bill are Bird of Youth. For more information, go
call 718-643-6510.

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

It's Bacchanal Time Again!

At the Brooklyn Museum’s Target First Saturdays, thousands of visitors enjoy free programs of art and entertainment each month from 5-11 p.m. August 1 celebrates the Caribbean and honors the upcoming West Indian Day gala festivities along Eastern Parkway.

During "Celebrating Caribbean: It's Bacchanal Time Again!,” the day starts off 3-7 p.m. in the public plaza outside the museum as the West Indian-American Day Carnival Association kicks things off with steel pan music, stilt walkers, Carnival costumes and more, plus spoken word at the open mic.

From 5-6:30 p.m., in the Steinberg Family Sculpture Garden, the enchanting Aracelis Girmay hosts a poetry open mic with featured artists from Urban Word NYC, Cheryl Boyce Taylor and Alexis Marie. During the same time period, in the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Auditorium, the Brooklyn-based troupe Conjunto Nuevo Milenio showcases the Afro-Latino roots of Panamanian carnival with music and dance. Free tickets (340) are available at the visitor center at 5 p.m.

From 6:30-8:30 p.m., you’re invited to create a Carnival costume headdress inspired by objects in the museum’s permanent collection. Free timed tickets (380) are available at the Visitor Center at 5:30 p.m.

Then, from 7-8:30 p.m., in the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Auditorium, catch a screening of “Calypso Dreams” (2004, 90 min., NR). In this intimate look at calypso music, some of its greats reveal why it is among the prized possessions of Caribbean people. Free tickets (340) are available at the Visitor Center at 6 p.m.

In the Steinberg Family Sculpture Garden, from 7-9 p.m., Meta and the Cornerstones’ reggae takes us from Jamaica to Senegal and right back to Brooklyn.

At 8 p.m., meet at the entrance to Robert E. Blum Gallery to join Professor Veronica Gregg’s talk on Yinka Shonibare MBE highlighting the parallels, related to identity and power, between Shonibare’s work and Caribbean literature. Free tickets (30) are available at the Visitor Center at 6 p.m.

The well-attended monthly Dance Party is 9-11 p.m., this time being held in the museum parking lot, behind the museum. Jephte Guilliame and Sokalypso’s house DJs host a soca versus zouk party.

At 9 p.m., in the Hall of the Americas, Professor Ferentz Lafargue leads a conversation about Edwidge Danticat’s latest novel, “Brother I’m Dying.”

For more, call 718-638-5000.

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Tonight: Good Beer



Join the editors of Edible Manhattan and Edible Brooklyn tonight for a heady soiree with an unprecedented and unforgettable pairing of local beers alongside Gotham eats at Good Beer.

Over a dozen restaurants will be serving beer-inspired fare, paired carefully with beer selections from local breweries, along with beery treats, including ice cream, cocktails, and other sweets, plus a beer garnishes demonstration by Messermeister.

BAMcaféTickets: $45 Advance ticket purchase is required (half price tickets to those who purchase a subscription to Edible). The event starts at 8 p.m. BAM is located at 30 Lafayette Avenue.

Participating Restaurants:
The Good Fork
Beer Table
Back Forty
Palo Santo
Gramercy Tavern
Jasper Hill
No. 7
Widow’s Hole Oysters
iCi
Porchetta, Co.
Rose Water
Brooklyn Greenmarkets
Sullivan Street
BakeryGreat Performances
JoMart Chocolates
Bent Spoon

Participating Breweries:
Brooklyn Brewery
Sixpoint Craft Ales
Southampton Publick House
Kelso of Brooklyn
Blue Point Brewery
Allagash
Troegs
Ommegang
Left Hand
Sierra Nevada
Smuttynose
Magic Hat
Victory
Keeghan Ales
Sly Fox
Peak Organic Brewing Company
Lake Placid
Ithaca Beer Company

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

This week in 24/Seven

Each week we'll preview what you can expect in our 24/Seven print edition, out Thursday for you southern Brooklynites and Friday for the downtown neighborhoods.

Highlights include:

Music: LA rockers Foreign Born come to the borough of immigrants August 3 for a show at the Gowanus venue The Bell House. New Jersey rocker Nicole Atkins also digs the Brooklyn scene and venue. She plays there August 6 with her band, The Black Sea.

Carnival: First Saturdays at the Brooklyn Museum celebrate the Caribbean this August 1, with their event, It's Bacchanal Time Again!, featuring steel pan music, stilt walkers, Carnival costumes, and more.

Columns: Southwestern beans are on the Reporter's Table this week, the Kitchen Klutz has some summer inspiration with her teriyaki scallops, and Pumps & Pleats checks out the Williamsburg Indie Designer Soiree at the Arsenal.

Food: Our dining profile checks out what's on the press at specialty sandwich shop Press 195 in Park Slope.

For these stories and more, pick up a copy in your nabe or check back here later this week!

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Monday, July 27, 2009

Kitchen Klutz: Berry, berry, berry milkshake recipe


Berry, berry, berry milkshake



Ingredients


2 cups fresh strawberries, blueberries, raspberries


1 cup strawberry ice cream


1 cup milk


½ tsp. vanilla extract


2 tbsp. sugar


Whipped cream


1 maraschino cherry



Directions


Combine ingredients in blender. Process until smooth. Top with whipped cream and a maraschino cherry.

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The place for trad

Jalopy in Carroll Gardens is soon to be where it's at to hear some traditional Irish music in Brooklyn.

Starting July 31, a new concert series kicks off at the venue called Irish Nights Live.

According to its founder, Mike Considine, this inaugural concert is "aimed towards an audience who appreciate great traditional, and traditionally inspired music but do not always want to be in a bar/pub environment to experience it. The Jalopy space and stage are suited to acoustic music and performance and we hope to create a fun atmosphere where musicians who are dedicated to their music can perform in a relaxed and enjoyable way."

First up on the stage is Considine, a London Irish bouzouki and strings player, as well as Ivan Goff on pipes, flute & whistle, Grainne Murphy on fiddle and Sarah Jessop on vocals.


To stay up-to-date on Irish Nights Live, as well as news on the musicians, add http://irishmusicnyc.wordpress.com/ to your blogroll. Jalopy is located at 315 Columbia St.



Another place for Irish music in the borough is Ceol in Cobble Hill (191 Smith St.). Head down to the pub on Sundays and Wednesdays and you can find a session in action to enjoy a Guinness to, or join in yourself.



Do you have a favorite spot in Brooklyn to hear some trad?

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Friday, July 24, 2009

Don't abandon this scary 'Orphan'


Orphan
Three Stars

By Gary Buiso

The pitfalls of adopting a psychotic child are thrown into stark relief in “Orphan,” a bad seed thriller with a twist.

The film, directed by Jaume Collet-Serra (“House of Wax”), benefits from a clever script and fine performances, building tension to a bloody, weird crescendo.

The film follows a predictable first act: John (Peter Sarsgaard) and Kate (Vera Farmiga) haven’t fully healed from the death of an unborn child, but decide nonetheless that the time is right to adopt. The two, who live in a remote, Frank Lloyd Wright-esque home, head to the local orphanage and take a shine to Russian-born Esther (Isabelle Fuhrman), an adorable wunderkind, bright and talented beyond her years.

The pair’s two biological children are wary, but the parents are determined to make the family work. Recovering alcoholic Kate begins to sniff something is amiss, but no one believes her. Even her shrink is incredulous: “Maybe it’s your feelings of inadequacy as a mother,” the good doctor offers. For this I pay you $300 an hour?

Hubby, a recovering philanderer, is gleefully unaware — even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Flattened pigeons and dead nuns be damned. But Dad’s cognitive dissonance is part of the movie’s winning charm.

As a woman on the brink, Farmiga delivers another layered performance, even better than a similar role as the angst-ridden mother in 2007’s “Joshua,” another evil child yarn. Fuhrman, who was 11 when “Orphan” was filmed, rises to the challenge, and is equally convincing and chilling.

Like its title character, “Orphan” is smart and sadistic.

Orphan. Rated R for graphic violence, sexuality, strong language and adult subject matter. Running time: 123 minutes. With Vera Farmiga, Peter Sarsgaard, Isabelle Fuhrman, CCH Pounder, Jimmy Bennett, and Aryana Engineer.

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The Weekend: 7.24-7.26

It's time to usher in the weekend. There's lots to celebrate - anniversaries, benefits, booke sales, and, of course, Celebrate Brooklyn!

Friday, July 24

Film: The animated film festival Animation Block Party comes to BAM (30 Lafayette Ave.) throughout the weekend, and tonight they're screening the Best of the Ottawa Animation Festival. Animation Block Party also kicks off its sixth season at Rooftop Films with a night of live music and world premieres.

Comedy: The Brooklyn Lyceum's monthly comedy show, Gentrify! Brooklyn, hosts a night of improv by UCB troupes tonight at 10 p.m. And it only costs $5 (so much for gentrification). You can find the Lyceum in Park Slope at 227 Fourth Avenue. Show's at 10 p.m.

Chocolate: Obsessed with chocolate? So is David Arnold. Bklyn Larder in Park Slope consulted with Arnold while choosing their own chocolate selection, and tonight he's on hand to discuss any of the chocolates available at the Larder during atasting, including the chocolates of Claudio Corallo, Amano and Askinosie. From 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the shop (228 Flatbush Avenue), and you can stay as long as you wish and to your tummy's content.

Celebrate Brooklyn!: Tonight, bring a blanket and check out swamp boogie accordion master Buckwheat Zydecoto as he headlines the Prospect Park Bandshell tonight with his band. Also on the bill are Holmes Brothers. Gates at 6:30 p.m. The Bandshell is located at Prospect Park West and 9th Street.

Saturday, July 25

BBQ: If you haven't been to the City Reliquary in Williamsburg yet, now's the the time to go. The museum hosts its annual benefit, aka "The Brooklyn Boogaloo Barbeque," today. Tickets are $25, $50, or $100, or pay what you can, as they try to make their fundraising goal of $8,000. Come generous and hungry. From 6 to 10 in their backyard, located at 370 Metropolitan.

Benefit: Another benefit also takes place at Death By Audio (49 South 2nd Street) in Williamsburg to raise money for 'You Are Here: A Maze," an installation and performance festival featuring Mick Barr, Aa, members of Zs, Dirty Projectors and more at the space this September. On hand today will be Mike Barr and Aa, as well as Ninjasonik, Nine 11 Thesaurus, Knife Hyts, Vaz, and many, many more. From 4 p.m to 4 a.m., with tickets $12.

Skate: We mention them a lot, but today, help celebrate one year of skating in style at Dreamland Roller Rink in Coney Island, as they mark the anniversary with a Xanadu skate party. You know you want to skate around in spandex. From 8 p.m. to midnight. Tickets are $12 ($10 if you dress in Xanadu attire), with skate rentals $5. Birthday cake is on the house. The roller rink is located at W. 21st Street and the Boardwalk.

Music: Nascent songwriting duo Randy Bergida and Alison Lefevre head to Williamsburg's Pete's Candy Store (709 Lorimer Street), harmonizing on songs about, what else, love. At 9 p.m.

Books: Update your book collection courtesy of powerHouse Arena, as they hold their annual Skid Sale, with 50-90 percent off overstock coffee table books! Now through August 30 at the DUMBO store (36 Main Street), weekdays 10 a.m.—7 p.m, weekends 11 a.m.—8 p.m.

Sunday, July 26

Late-night shopping: Stock up on vintage designs this weekend as well, as Bruar Falls (245 Grand Street) in Williamsburg hosts a mini-flea market, featuring different local vintage sellers including Sodafine, Sweet Virginia, Treehouse, Franny & Roey, and Secret Lake. DJs will be playing 60's and 70's jams to go along with the vintage theme. From 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Birthday: There's another anniversary this weekend, as Greenpoint's Enid's marks 10 years in the nabe. They're celebrating their anniversary with friends and family from 7 p.m.-10 p.m., but all are welcome after that. Located at 560 Manhattan Avenue.

Food:-Pig out with 3rd Ward,.as their Pig Roast and Dance Party returns, with Tom Mylan (from Marlow and Sons, Diner and Bonita) and Chef Eric Serman turning 200 pounds of pig into pork tacos. Brooklyn Based will also provide the ice cream. There will be live music from The Stumblebum Brass Band, Shilpa Ray & Her Happy Hookers, In Cadeo, and DJ Tanner. Plus bring your own t-shirts for $1 pig inspired screen-printing. Best of all, it's free. From 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. RSVP here.

Music: Songstress Sasha Dobson entertains every Sunday at Pete's Candy Store in Williamsburg. Check her out tonight at 8:30 p.m.

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Reporter's Table: Chicken cacciatore

By Helen Klein

I came late to the slow cooker.

Actually, the appliance had been around for more than three decades before I acquired one, earlier this year.

It’s not that I don’t take to technological advances, and it’s not that I’m not always looking for devices that make cooking easier. I have relied on a food processor since I got my original Cuisinart as a wedding present in 1979. I’ve had a heavy duty mixer (the beloved Kitchen-Aid) since the 1980s, and I’ve been cutting and dicing with santoku knives for a couple of years, pretty much since they were popularized in this country.

Let’s just say the lack of a slow cooker was a gap in my culinary battery which I have only recently filled.

Now, of course, I’m learning what it can do, and how to adapt my tried-and-true recipes to take advantage of its capabilities.

I recreated my family’s favorite Chicken Cacciatore dinner using my slow cooker just last night. In terms of multi-tasking it was incredibly helpful. Once I’d browned it on the stove, the chicken cooked downstairs while I worked at my computer upstairs, freeing me from hovering near the stove when I needed to be working elsewhere.

The dish is a simple one, which relies on a few basic ingredients cooked for a long time together to maximize flavor. It’s wonderful served on a bed of egg noodles, and the bright red of the long-simmered tomatoes and brilliant green of the fresh basil leaves tossed in at the end make the dish as appealing to the eye as it is to the palate.

A key to maximizing flavor is to sauté the sweet onion over high enough heat to caramelize its sugars, without burning. To save on calories, I use the minimum amount of olive oil that I can get away with, salting the vegetables lightly to help them render their liquids, and adding a splash or two of water if the liquid in the pan is almost evaporated before I’m ready to braise the mixture.

While I’m giving instructions for preparing the Cacciatore in a slow cooker here, it can easily be made from beginning to end on top of the stove. Instead of transferring the meat and vegetables from the large skillet or sauté pan that they have browned in to the slow cooker, continue cooking in the original vessel, covered over low heat, till done, at least 45 minutes to one hour. The dish is done when the chicken is fork tender and the flavor of the tomatoes and aromatics has penetrated it thoroughly.

Chicken Cacciatore

Ingredients

1 pound chicken cutlets, cut into chunks
1 large sweet onion, sliced
1 large red or yellow pepper, cored and sliced
Olive oil, sufficient to brown the chicken and vegetables
2 bay leaves
1 cup white wine
1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
A large handful of fresh basil leaves, rolled and sliced (chiffonade)

Directions

Heat just enough oil to coat the bottom of your skillet or sauté pan, then add onion. Sprinkle in salt, to help the onion render its liquid. Sauté over moderately high heat, stirring frequently, until transparent and slightly golden.

When the onion is nearly done, add the slices of pepper, and saute till crisp-tender, stirring frequently to prevent burning, still over a moderately high flame.When the vegetables are cooked, remove from pan and put in the slow cooker. Add oil if necessary to the sauté pan, then, when oil is hot, add the chicken, sprinkle lightly with salt and freshly ground pepper, and cook till golden brown on one side. Turn the chicken chunks and continue cooking till golden on the second side.

Once the chicken is browned, add to the slow cooker. Add bay leaves, wine and tomatoes to the slow cooker, making sure the interior vessel is at least half, but no more than two-thirds full.

I set my slow cooker on high, because I planned on serving the dish five hours after I put it up to cook. You should consult the instructions for your slow cooker to determine what setting to use, and follow instructions particular to your machine.

Add basil leaves just before serving.

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Kitchen Klutz: Homemade shakes are yummy!

**Check back Monday for this recipe

By Michèle De Meglio



It would’ve been great to be a 1950s prepster sipping strawberry milkshakes in an authentic malt shop.



The hunky football star would catch my eye as I delicately lifted a maraschino cherry to my lips. And before you knew it, we’d be going steady!



There’d be talk of white picket fences, walk-in closets, a tiny Labrador, even tinier babies –



On second thought, that whole barefoot and pregnant housewife thing is so not for me.



Picking and choosing my fave ‘50s traditions, I created a persona of “single gal making it on her own while waiting for Danny Zuko to walk through the door.” Bad boys are so much cooler than jocks, anyway!



In a red and white polka dot top (with a bow!), ravishing red lipstick and super high pigtails, my 50s malt shop gal getup was complete!



Now it was time to make some milkshakes.



I normally prefer classic vanilla milkshakes, but I wanted to be creative here so I concocted three geez-I-hope-they’re-yummy recipes.



First up, chocolate peanut butter malt. Yeah, it sounds weird but I thought, folks like Reese’s Pieces so peanut butter, chocolate and ice cream should work.



I blended equal parts fat-free milk and chocolate ice cream along with a tablespoon of peanut butter and a healthy squirt of chocolate syrup.



I poured the creamy drink into a porcelain malt glass, topped with whipped cream, a maraschino cherry and a kooky Krazy Straw, and moved on to making two more shakes.



Next up, chocolate sprinkles mixed into a light vanilla shake. For this baby, I combined one cup of vanilla ice cream, one cup of milk, a dash of vanilla extract and two teaspoons of sugar in my blender.



For the final malt, I tossed handfuls of strawberries, raspberries and blueberries in the blender with milk, strawberry ice cream, sugar and vanilla extract.



After a few seconds of processing, it was time to sample my creations!



video



Verdict: The chocolate peanut butter shake was a dud. The peanut butter totally overpowered the chocolate flavors and made this drink less yummy and more yucky.



As for the vanilla with chocolate sprinkles, this malt was much lighter than typical shakes and had a lovely crunch thanks to the sprinkles.



My favorite had to be the berry, berry, berry milkshake. It actually seemed more like a sweet smoothie than a heavy ice cream treat.



With two out of three milkshakes a hit, I have just one thing to say – bring back malt shops!



Kitchen Klutz follows 20-something Michèle De Meglio as she burns casseroles and her fingers, all in hope of trading frozen dinners for home cooking.

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Pumps & Pleats: Dyed in the wool Brooklyn threads


Story and photos by Michèle De Meglio



Graphic T-shirts are a sure bet for hot summer months. But who really wants “Old Navy” plastered across their chest?



Instead, how about a tee with a cool print designed by Brooklynites? Sounds good!



Take a trip to Brooklyn Industries in Carroll Gardens for a colorful array of shirts — many with borough-themed prints.



A top seller is a heather gray tee with “Brooklyn” written in block letters. The o’s are replaced with an image of the Brooklyn Bridge.



There’s also a black shirt featuring cherry red letters in the classic “I heart NY” style. But in this case, Brooklyn stands in for New York City and the heart is replaced with a water tower.



You can always go for a message tee advertising “Made in Brooklyn.” Talk about borough pride!



Politically minded shoppers may get a kick out of a white tee depicting Sarah Palin placing a crown on the head of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is wearing a “Mrs. America” sash. They’re getting along! On cotton, anyway.



Brooklyn Industries isn’t all about T-shirts. The brand also offers casual apparel for men and women and industrial-style bags and accessories.


During this reporter’s Sunday visit, the Carroll Gardens shop was in the midst of a fab sale.



A table loaded with beanies, tights and cosmetic cases promised wallets for $10 or less in shades of eggplant, pitch black, chocolate and even a multicolored retro print. Good deal if you’re in the mood for a cute and trendy piece and can’t swing for pricey “investment” leather goods.



There’s also a metal bin overflowing with red, white and blue Havaianas flip-flops decked out with crazy peacock motifs and images of elephants over paisley prints.



At the store’s entrance is a wall lined from floor to ceiling with handbags in funky prints, baby blue messengers and orange backpacks.



My favorite was the royal blue tote with bright white trim for $58. Dubbed the Lancer Bag, it has a nautical vibe perfect for a speedboat adventure or just an easy weekend strolling on the Coney Island boardwalk. Come fall, wear this baby to the office or school for a colorful pick-me-up on drab rainy days.



Now that’s versatile!



Brooklyn Industries is located at 100 Smith Street. For hours, call 718.596.3986 or visit www.brooklynindustries.com.



Michèle De Meglio is a native Brooklynite addicted to all things chic. Check out Pumps & Pleats each week for more adventures as she scours the borough for fab duds and accessories.

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Adding to the Flavorpill 50

Today, Flavorpill shares Flavorpill 50, a new program that lets 50 of their favorite venues and event producers across the NYC cultural scene to share their events directly with you.

Manhattan dominates the list, which shouldn't come as much of a surprise, but Brooklyn venues that make it include the Brooklyn Museum, Galapagos Art Space, Music Hall of Williamsburg, Southpaw, and newbie Brooklyn Bowl. Also MeanRed, promoters behind the BKLYN Yard, also make the cut.

Missing from that list? BAM, The Bell House, Public Assembly, Union Hall, Issue Project Room, and JellyNYC, promoters behind the popular Pool Parties, are just some of the local venues/promoters we'd like to see among the cream of the crop.

Any you'd like to add?

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Don't worry kids, Daddy Rocker 'Ain't Gonna Give Up!'



By Junico Simino

Bruce Springsteen. John Mellencamp. Sting.

These are just a few of the names that Brooklyn-bred musician Tom Moran has been compared to.

Moran, who recently adapted the moniker Daddy Rocker, is one of the few country-rock-blues acts based in Brooklyn.

With his second full length album, ”Ain’t Gonna Give Up,” just released earlier this year, Moran still finds the time to work as a teacher at P.S. 12 in Bushwick.

“[The] kids keep you young, keep you honest,” said Moran about his biggest critics, who also came up with the stage name Daddy Rocker.

Moran explained that his songs are a reflection of his life, which has seen its fair share of ups and downs.

Born and raised in Canarsie, Moran always loved music growing up. He cites Bobby Darin as one of his early influences, but never received any formal training until his older sister and uncle showed him a few chord patterns on the guitar.

It was during his time at Canarsie High School that Moran started to find another escape from reality when he began to drink heavily.

All throughout college Moran, who’s a graduate of Kingsborough Community College and Brooklyn College, found himself growing more and more dependent on alcohol, which eventually consumed his life. At 25, Moran decided to seek help through a recovery program and has been sober ever since.

“I have been clean and sober for over 19 years now!” said Moran, 44, proudly.

It was during this time that he began to take music much more seriously as well, dropping “Starting Over,” his first full length release, in 2004, which dealt with becoming sober and receiving a second chance on life.

His new release, Moran describes, is about not giving up on life, with the central theme about heartbreak, and not being able to find true love.

“Love isn’t going to find me, no matter what I do,” said Moran, describing his new single, “Just for Today.”

Other tracks on the album include “Dyin’ For You,” “I Love Jesus,” which is a big hit with his students, “No Big Deal,” and the title track “Ain’t Gonna Give Up.”

Moran explains that his “connection to Brooklyn is everything. It inspires me.

“The people in Brooklyn are beautiful. Wherever I go I bring Brooklyn with me,” he added.

Future projects for Moran include a PBS special, “Tom Moran Live,” which will be taping in late fall, performances around the country, a new album scheduled for a summer 2010 release, and, of course, his other passion in life: teaching.

“I just want to do something good if I can,” said Moran.
Tom Moran plays Vox Pop (1022 Cortelyou Rd.) on July 31 at 9 p.m. For more information, call 718-940-2084.

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Xylos invite you into their 'Bedrooms'

By Meredith Deliso

Less than a year old, Brooklyn’s Xylos have made an impressive impact on the New York City music scene. They’ve been recognized by L Magazine as one of the best bands you need to hear now, featured at their Northside Music Festival, and generating considerable buzz for their EP “Bedrooms.”

Soon, they might also be one step closer to being bona fide Brooklyn, as there are still a couple stragglers in joining the rest of the five-person band in Williamsburg.

“I might be over there real soon,” says Xylos founder and vocalist Eric Zeiler, who lives in the East Village and is currently looking for a new apartment. “I might find myself on that side of the river.”

Despite their Brooklyn majority, the band still can’t escape Manhattan, as they headline one of their favorite venues, Mercury Lounge, on July 28.

This is the band’s last show for a bit, as they’re in the studio working on their forthcoming full length with producer Britt Myers (Chairlift, Essex Green).

“Come the fall, we’ll be playing a lot again,” promises Zeiler. “Right now we’re so excited to do [the album] and just get it done. There are so many things to put our heads around. Dealing with labels and all that stuff – that’s enough for me right now.”


Good things can be expected of that album, after Xylos’s EP turned heads with their catchy four-part vocal harmonies, complex orchestrations and easy blend of instruments and electronics, all done by Zeiler, vocalist Aaron Mendelsohn, bassist and vocalist Monika Heidemann, drummer Mike Greenfield, and pianist Nikki Lancy.

“Most of my personal experience is me and a piano,” says Lancy, who’s a classically-trained pianist. “This is like my chance to rock out.”

Greenfield is known to rock out on the drums as well.“It sounds like he has eight limbs,” says Zeiler, whose been experimenting with a live sequencer to fully bring out all the layers of their infectious, familiar-sounding pop. “We’re giving him parts I don’t think anyone else can play.”

Their newer music finds the band expanding even more with their rhythm section, says Lancy.

“It’s a little bit more rhythm heavy, more interesting drum parts and melodies,” she says. “On the other hand, some of the songs are more poppy. We’re moving in both of those directions.”

When “Bedrooms” was first conceived, it was primarily Zeiler recording in his, well, bedroom, so working with a full band now will naturally inform their sound.

“It sounds bigger, more human,” says Zeiler. “Definitely the scope of emotion will be boarder.”

And though Xylos boasts four songwriters able to get into the mix, there hasn’t been too much headbutting in the studio among the band, which Zeiler formed by pulling from musician friends and hopeful ads placed on Craigslist, which they used when looking for a female singer/bassist (they were very specific) to complete the band last fall.

“The first person to contact us wasn’t female. We tried him out, but he wasn’t pretty enough” says Zeiler, laughing. “The second person was Monica. We got really lucky.”

Now if he could be just as lucky in his apartment search.

Xylos play Mercury Lounge (217 East Houston St.) July 28 at 10 p.m. Tickets are $10. For more information, call 212-260-4700.

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You sank my battleship!


The Board Game Olympics return to Union Hall July 27. Try your luck at Battleship, Connect Four, and Jenga, and, if you make it to the final round, Operation (one would think after a night of board games and booze, a steady hand will be hard to come by).

Last month's filled up, so make sure to sign up in advance here.

And stay tuned for more events to come, including a Kubb tournament next month in Prospect Park.

Because, as they say, playing is better than working.

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Big Top bonanza in Brooklyn: Cole Bros. Circus hits town

This summer heralds the 125th Anniversary of Cole Bros. Circus, the oldest, American Circus performing under the Big Top.

W. W. Cole, who inaugurated the Cole Bros. Circus title in 1884, began his circus career in 1871, amassing fortune and fame by bringing to cities and villages the most astounding marvels of the day.

Among the amazing attractions promoted by W. W. Cole, incandescent light — a single, glowing glass globe, powered by a steam engine — drew record crowds, with young and old alike filling Cole’s tent to witness the seemingly impossible invention.

The brightly lit tent of Cole Bros. Circus of the Stars bears slight resemblance to W. W. Cole’s 19th century Big Top, but the tradition of watching what appears unbelievable happen right before your eyes remains at Cole Bros. Circus.

The 2009 Edition of Cole Bros. Circus celebrates 125 years of circus history with a special performance reprising legendary circus acts of the past along with showcasing the talents of cirque nouveau artists.

The Toprasta Troupe, from Columbia, recreates the treacherous, three-tier, Seven-Man Pyramid on the High Wire. Russia’s Svetlana Golobolova exhibits grace, which belies her strength in an exquisitely executed gymnastic routine on aerial silks. Circus daredevils cast caution aside as they challenge The Globe of Death and Giant Gyro Wheel, with the zany Cole Bros. Clown Crew arriving in the nick of time to provide comic relief.

Elephants and acrobats, camels and jugglers, dogs and ponies, and arguably the world’s funniest mule take turns in the spotlight, and The Human Cannonball gets fired at every show.

Ticket prices start at free for children 12 and under with coupons distributed throughout the area including all Carvel Ice Cream Stores and available at www.freekidstickets.com. Go to www.gotothecircus.com for more information.

The show comes to Midland Beach Park in Staten Island, on Father Capodanno Boulevard, now to July 26, with show times Monday-Friday at 5 and 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday at 2, 5 and 7 p.m. The show then moves to Brooklyn’s Floyd Bennett Field at Aviator Sports & Recreation’s Hanger 5, July 27-August 2, with showtimes Monday-Friday at 5 and 8 p.m. (except Wednesday, when shows are at 10:30 a.m. and 8 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday at 2, 5 and 7 p.m.

On July 27, the FDNY opens the show with their Honor Guard. The NYPD Emerald Society performs God Bless America at the circus, July 29 at the 10:30 a.m. show.Tickets start at $17; $12 for children and seniors. Get $5 off adult tickets by purchasing in advance. For more, call 800-796-5672.

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