Friday, January 28, 2011

Feature Features

There are a lot of interesting features written about Brooklyn, covering food, music, film, you name it. So, to share them with you, we're creating Feature Features, a link-based post on all manners of Brooklyn stories.

Here's what we're reading today:

"From the South to North Brooklyn: Mable's Smokehouse": The Greenpoint Gazette has a nice write-up on the new Mable's Smokehouse, a Berry Street restaurant bringing more BBQ goodness to the borough.

"Insider Eats: Williamsburg": TONY tours Williamsburg with chef Jason Marcus (Traif), from Oslo Coffee Roasters to Nini's Wine Cellar.

"The Mystery of the Red Bees of Red Hook": This is almost like an oldie but goodie, but we revisited this Times piece upon news that you can finally get a taste of the red honey. Grub Street reports that the Brooklyn Kitchen will host a tasting event on Feb. 12, complete with free samples.



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The Weekend: 1.28-1.30

Friday, Jan. 28

Prospect Heights: Photographer Lorna Simpson's new exhibit opens at the Brooklyn Museum.

Ditmas Park: Electronic folk duo The Inner Banks perform at Sycamore.

Saturday, Jan. 29

Williamsburg: Eat lots of sausage at Loreley Williamsburg which is hosting a sausage festival through Sunday. Tonight, Bill Carney's Jug Addicts also perform.

???: The Idiotarod returns to Brooklyn. Details are sketchy, but you'll know it by the costumed hipsters pushing shopping carts down the the street. The snow should make this one interesting.

Sunday, Jan. 30

Flatbush: "Seussical" comes to the Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts. Bring the kids!

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Get to the root of it all with this slaw

By Helen Klein

It’s in the frigid depths of winter that root vegetables can really come into their own.

When the kitchen becomes a refuge against howling winds, and summer produce — freshly picked tomatoes or crunchy cucumbers — is but a distant memory, cabbage, radishes and carrots shine. They are crisp and flavorful, and, when served cold in a salad, provide a balance to the warm, soft, spicy foods which fit the bill when the mercury dips.

I developed this slaw, for instance, as a counterpoint to curried butternut squash that I had mashed and fried up in spring roll skins. The cilantro and poppy seeds were chosen to provide a vaguely Eastern flavor, though the dish would have gone equally well with tacos, as a side dish for a quick lunch sandwich, or stuffed into a piece of pita bread on top of chunks of grilled chicken.

Like pretty much everything I make, the recipe lends itself to variation, as long as you keep in mind the general principle of contrasting flavors. Raw turnip could stand in for the radish. All red or green cabbage could be used (though you would lose the gorgeous color contrast). Instead of carrots, you could throw in a handful of raisins for sweetness.

Confetti Slaw
Serves six as a side dish

Ingredients

1/4 green cabbage
1/4 red cabbage
4-inch length daikon radish, peeled
2 carrots, peeled
1/4 sweet onion
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1 tsp. poppy seeds
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions

Shred cabbage, radish, carrots and onion. Set aside.

In small bowl, combine lemon juice, mayonnaise, garlic, cilantro, poppy seeds and salt and pepper. Add to vegetable mixture and stir thoroughly to combine.

Chill for at least 1 hour.

Adjust flavorings and serve.

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Oh, the things you'll see

In honor of "Seussical" coming to Brooklyn this Sunday, we got in the Seussian spirit and wrote our own rhyme!


Dr. Seuss fans, young and old, lend an ear
A musical is coming, of which you’d want to hear.
It’s “Seussical,” a musical based on the tales
That your kids are constantly demanding with wails.

The busy Broadway production may have bombed
But, rest assure, this version has certainly calmed.
You’ll be laughing and clapping all the way through.
It’s clever, it’s fun, it’s entertaining — who knew?

At Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts
The Cat and the Hat will win your hearts
As he narrates a tale with humor and grace
That will surely bring a smile to your face.

There’s Horton, foremost, but many more, too,
From JoJo to Yertle to the lowliest Who.
They’ll sing and dance to your delight
As your little ones’ imaginations take flight.

So mark your calendars — this Sunday draws near
The day when Seuss’s books become real.
You won’t want to miss it, not a single second
Because all manners of silliness most certainly beckon!

“Seussical” at Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts [2900 Campus Rd. and Hillel Place in Flatbush, (718) 951-4500], Jan. 30 at 2 pm. Tickets $7. For info, visit www.brooklyncenter.com.

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Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Idiotarod is coming


By Aaron Short

Don’t be alarmed if you step outside next weekend and see monsters with shopping carts running by your stoop — it’s just the Idiotarod.

The famed third jewel of the hipster Triple Crown (after SantaCon and the No Pants Subway Ride), the eighth annual costume-themed shopping cart race will be unleashed through Brooklyn’s frozen tundra paths this Saturday.

Beginning at 10 am, three dozen teams will push elaborately decorated carts to be rewarded with the adulation of their peers and drink specials.

The ultimate prize, Best In Show, is awarded not to the fastest team, but to the troupe that best embodies the Idiotarod’s free-wheeling spirit.

Last year, the all-female Fakewerk caught the judges’ eyes in sexy snow bunny costumes, pushing a cart that roasted marshmallows over an open flame.

Not to be outdone, two-time winner, the 60-member team, Dangerzone, deployed an ancient Roman-style fleet of “chariots” and “infantrymen” to capture the prize in 2009.

This year, the five-member team, Disasterpiece, 2010’s best costume winners, hope to secure top honors with their Ronald Dahl-esque, “Monsters Under the Bed” motif (pictured).

Teammates Rachel Brill, Emily Ente, Eric Sipra and Stephen and Paul Schaffenberger have spent three weeks fashioning giant paper mache monsters out of chickenwire and hundreds of copies of The Brooklyn Paper.

“Every year our costumes get more cumbersome and difficult to maneuver in, but, damn, we’re going to look fabulous,” said Ente.

Three members of the team ran in the marathon this past year, making them a favorite to finish in the top five, though multiple layers of primer, glue and spray paint that make their costumes highly combustible and vulnerable to open flame.

We may need to change our theme to ‘Monsters under the bed — on fire,’ ” said Stephen Schaffenberger.

“But we’ll be very warm,” added Sipra.

Idiotarod details are sketchy. E-mail corpxracingdivision@gmail.com for info.

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History on repeat

By Alex Rush

In the Brooklyn Museum’s latest show, history repeats itself — literally.

In “Lorna Simpson: Gathered,” the Fort Greene artist juxtaposes her huge collection of vintage photographs with original works that are often close replicas of their predecessors.

“Even though photographs are historical documents, they’re also weighted with all these questions about the unknown,” said Catherine Morris, the exhibit’s curator. “Lorna Simpson’s arrangement gives the historical photos new stories.”

Simpson’s perhaps best known for her large-scale portraits of African-Americans in various poses, which incorporate text to comment on race and sex. The subjects in her new show, which opens Jan. 28, are also African-American, but many pieces are actually archives dating back to the Jim Crow South that she picked up at various flea markets and on eBay.

A standout among that set is the series “May June July 57/09” (pictured) in which Simpson paired a photo of a glamorous pin-up girl taken in 1957 (above) with recent self-portraits that replicate the model’s pose and clothes, as well as its black-and-white, grainy, spontaneous quality, in order to create a narrative about two characters whose lives happen to be decades apart.

“She’s trying to identify with this woman and create a dialogue with history,” said Morris.

“Lorna Simpson: Gathered,” at the Brooklyn Museum [200 Eastern Pkwy. at Washington Avenue in Prospect Heights, (718) 638-5000], Jan. 28-Aug. 21. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays.

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Bank on this

By Meredith Deliso

When The Inner Banks take to the Sycamore stage this Friday, don’t feel bad if you expected more than two people.

The husband-and-wife duo creates a lush, layered electronic folk sound that belies the fact that it’s only David Gould and Caroline Schultz making all that noise.

It helps that Gould is a multi-instrumentalist who can play banjo with the best of them, as well as bass and guitar. Their recordings also have been known to incorporate such diverse sounds as field recordings from Coney Island, distressed tape loops, Wurlitzers, an antique Californian harpsichord and lap steel — an unlikely hodgepodge so well-produced, in other hands it wouldn’t sound quite as organic.

The band’s first album was mostly instrumental, but since then it has started to smartly incorporate Schultz’s hypnotic, soothing voice.

After two albums, the Windsor Terrace-based couple is at work on a third, which it hopes to share at Sycamore when they play the Ditmas Park bar’s basement space. Just don’t expect the harpsichord.

The Inner Banks at Sycamore [1118 Cortelyou Rd. near Westminster Road in Ditmas Park, (347) 240-5850], Jan. 28 at 10 pm. $10. For info, visit www.sycamorebrooklyn.com.

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'Married' to it



By Meredith Deliso


To say Emma Straub is busy is an understatement.

A typical day may find the writer making posters through M + E, the printing business she runs with her husband out of their Prospect Lefferts Gardens studio, volunteering at the non-profit Girls Write Now, and, of course, writing.

Over the past five years or so, she’s managed to eke out a collection of witty, sharply observed short stories, whose recurring themes of love, loss and alienation belie the author’s sunny disposition. That compilation, “Other People We Married,” which includes her acclaimed novella, “Fly-Over State,” comes out next month, and she celebrates with a reading at BookCourt this Thursday.

Oh, did we mention she works there, too?      

“Whenever I get to do anything at BookCourt, it’s like extra fun,” said Straub, who usually stands out at the Cobble Hill bookstore thanks to her vintage hair accessories. “It’s like a giant dollop of whipped cream. I love that I get to work there. It’s almost too wonderful.”

And there’s that sunny disposition.

Emma Straub reads from “Other People We Married” at BookCourt [163 Court St. between Pacific and Dean streets in Cobble Hill, (718) 875-3677], Jan. 27 at 7 pm. For info, visit www.bookcourt.org.

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The newest 'Noir'

By Meredith Deliso

There’s a new “Noir” in town.

For nearly 10 years, Akashic Books has been pushing out title after title of its “Noir” crime series, beginning with the first — “Brooklyn Noir” — in 2004, with more than 40 titles in as nearly as many cities since.

Truth be told, we’ve only really cared about the Brooklyn editions, but the latest edition would be criminal to ignore. Published one year after the devastating earthquake, “Haiti Noir” features brand new essays by some of the best Haitian voices, edited by the most celebrated of them all – Edwidge Danticat.

“She was an obvious choice for us. Her work demonstrates a deep understanding of the power of dark fiction,” said Akashic publisher Johnny Temple.

On Thursday, contributors Marie Lily Cerat and Ibi Aanu Zobo join Danticat at the main branch of the Brooklyn Public Library to read from the collection, which Akashic had been working on for over a year before the earthquake struck.

“That tragedy actually had nothing to do with inspiring the book — though certainly it has given the book more relevance to readers,” said Temple. “We hope that this books gives them the understanding that Haiti is a country that has produced some really wonderful writers, even if not all of them are well known (yet!).”

“Haiti Noir” reading at the Brooklyn Public Library’s Central Branch [Flatbush Avenue at Eastern Parkway in Grand Army Plaza in Park Slope, (718) 230-2100], Jan. 27 at 7 pm. Free. For info, visit www.akashicbooks.com.

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Sundance in Brooklyn

By Ethan Alter

You don’t need to schlep all the way out to Park City, Utah, to see the best of Sundance.

On Thursday, one of the festival’s most anticipated selections comes to you with a screening at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

A spirited and very funny genre pastiche that defies easy categorization, “Kaboom,” from cult auteur director Gregg Araki, follows a bi-curious college freshman (Thomas Dekker) who gets caught up in a bizarre plot involving, among other things, a hot surfer dude, a lesbian witch and a bizarre cult that’s preparing for the end of the world.

“There’s really no other movie out there right now like it,” said Araki, who burst on the Sundance scene 16 years ago with “The Doom Generation.”

“It has a free spirit and goes to these crazy, supernatural places.”

BAM is one of nine locations across the country hosting Sundance films this month as part of the program Sundance Film Festival U.S.A.

“I love it there — the audiences are always great,” said Araki of BAM. “And this movie is so much fun to watch with an audience.”

“Kaboom” at the Brooklyn Academy of Music [30 Lafayette Ave. at Ashland Place in Fort Greene, (718) 636-4100], Jan. 27 at 7 pm, followed by a Q&A with the director. $15. For info, visit www.bam.org.

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Monday, January 24, 2011

Fair Phair

By Meredith Deliso

Liz Phair didn’t always like performing. She suffered from stage fright from the start, and would roll her eyes at bandmates who loved the live experience. But now, she’s one of the junkies.

“I’ve turned a corner about my live show,” said Phair from Los Angeles before she kicked off an East Coast tour that brings her to the Music Hall of Williamsburg this Wednesday. “I used to get so stressed out before going out on tour. Now, I’m really enjoying it.”

The singer can’t really point to what changed, though part of it may that after being on the scene for as long as she has, she’s a chameleon who’s finally comfortable in her own skin.

The indie rock goddess exploded onto the music scene with her 1993 debut, “Exile from Guyville,” a song-by-song refutation of the Rolling Stones’ “Exile on Main Street.”

Since that groundbreaking album — an anthem of audaciousness for all young, independent women — Phair’s played with people’s expectations, even if that’s meant losing the edge of her twentysomething rebellion. There was 1998’s “Whitechocolatespaceegg,” which revolved around themes of motherhood and family, rather than shocking songs about sex and relationships; the commercial, glossy pop of her 2003 self-titled album; and her latest, the off-beat “Funstyle,” which finds the singer on one song rapping (yes, rapping).

That experimentation may have alienated fans of “Guyville”-era Phair, but when she plays live, the musician’s learned to give the people what they want.

“I have enough records under my belt so that I can really play songs that people want to hear,” said Phair. “It’s fun.”     

Make that funstyle.

Liz Phair at Music Hall of Williamsburg [66 N. Sixth St. between Wythe and Kent avenues in Williamsburg, (718) 486-5400], Jan. 26 at 8 pm. Tickets $25. For info, visit www.lizphair.com.

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For the love of bratwurst

By Meredith Deliso

It’s a bona fide sausage fest.

This week, the Loreley Williamsburg biergarten hosts its first sausage festival, launched pretty much just for the love of bratwurst.

Dinner specials between Jan. 26 and 30 feature 12 different types of sausages — nine from the famed purveyor Schaller & Weber and three from Meat Hook at Brooklyn Kitchen — in all manners of bratwurst, weisswurst and wieners.

Sausage platters will be available in a variety of sizes, ranging from three ($16) to the giant platter of 12 ($38), which is great for groups.

Nothing goes better with the beef than beer, and if you order seven or more sausages, you’ll receive a complimentary round of Koelsch, one of the restaurant’s 12 imported beers on tap. In addition to sausage, each platter comes with mashed potatoes and Loreley’s homemade sauerkraut.

For a side of music with your meat, head to the restaurant on Jan. 29, when Bill Carney’s Jug Addicts provides some foot-stomping tunes. The only thing missing will be the dirndls.

Sausage festival at Loreley Williamsburg [64 Frost St. at Meeker Avenue in Williamsburg, (718) 599-0025], Jan. 26-30. Plates $16-$38. With Bill Carney’s Jug Addicts on Jan. 29 starting at 9 pm. For info, visit www.loreleynyc.com.

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Get buzzed

By Alex Rush

Admit it — ever since beekeeping became legal in March, you’ve been wondering how you could get in the buzz biz.

Wonder no more, thanks to Brooklyn Brainery, which is offering its second “Bee Night” on Jan. 25.

The adult education organization will present a documentary about honeybees, a honey-tasting and a Q&A with a genuine Brooklyn beekeeper. 

It’s the second session for the course.

“People have wanted to learn about do-it-yourself bee-keeping ever since it became legal,” said Brainery co-director Jen Messier. “It attracts a lot of people.”

Course attendees will learn the basics of keeping bees and getting their honey from Tim O’Neal, a Prospect Heights beekeeping pioneer and bee blogger on www.boroughbees.com.
He’ll also prepare you for the one sting of beekeeping — the sting.

“Don’t be afraid of the bees,” O’Neal said. “As you develop your bee-keeping skills, you’ll brush off a sting like a prick.”

“Bee Night” at the Brooklyn Brainery (515 Court St. between W. Ninth and Huntington streets in Carroll Gardens, no phone), Jan. 25 at 7 pm. $7. For info and to sign up, visit brooklynbrainery.com.

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It's that time of year again - Restaurant Week, the winter edition.

Brooklyn's offerings don't have much of a presence in this Manhattan-centric event - then again, we do have Dine in Brooklyn. But if you're looking to take advantage of the prix fixe ($24.07 for lunch, $35 for dinner), here are participating Brooklyn restaurants and their menus:

Benchmark
339A Second St. at Fifth Avenue in Park Slope, (718) 965-7040
American New
Available for lunch, dinner, Sunday lunch, and Sunday dinner
Menu

Greenhouse Cafe
7717 Third Ave. between 77th and 78th streets in Bay Ridge, (718) 833-8200
American New
Available for lunch, dinner, Sunday lunch, and Sunday dinner
Menu

The River Cafe
One Water Street at Old Fulton Street in DUMBO, (718) 522-5200
American Traditional
Available for lunch
Menu not available

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Friday, January 21, 2011

The Weekend: 1.21-1.23

Friday, Jan. 21 

Flatbush: The "Bremen Town Musicians," a quirky Russian musical, comes to the Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts. Also Sunday.

Saturday, Jan. 22

DUMBO: Raise a glass to Bill Roundy, as the Brooklyn Paper comic book artists participates in the DUMBO Arts Center exhibit, "Information Economy."

Bay Ridge: Neil Simon's "The Gingerbread Lady" is brought to life by the Ridge Repertory Company. Also Sunday.

Sunday, Jan. 23

Williamsburg: Learn how to make pizza like the pros at Brooklyn Kitchen.

Gowanus: It's the world's biggest jerk-off as a beef jerky contest comes to the Bell House.

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Calling all Bay Ridge photographers

The Bay Ridge Community Council is holding a photo contest. Amateurs only, please. And entrants must live, work or attend school in Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights or Fort Hamilton, or be a member of a Council organization.
 
Contest levels are student (grades five through 12, and adult.

Here are the particulars:

Only one print per entrant
Size: Students – any size; Adults – 4 x 6, or larger

On back of photo print:
Name, address, phone number, email, date and location of photo and contest level  (if student - school name and grade)

Mail entry to: 
Bay Ridge Community Council 
Photo contest c/o McLaughlin and Sons
9620 Third Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11209

Entries must be received by March 1
Award ceremony March 22

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Feature Features

This is something new we're going to try. There are a lot of interesting features written about Brooklyn, covering food, music, film, you name it. So, to share them with you, we're creating Feature Features, a link-based post on all manners of Brooklyn stories.

To kick it off, here's what we're reading today:

"Williamsburg, toddlertown": Forget Park Slope or Carroll Gardens, Williamsburg is coming of age, the New York Times reports. (Also related, Caribous Baby, a new store and event space, is opening in the neighborhood this March).

"Franklin Street Draws Crowds": A little strip in Greenpoint is bustling, thanks to the recent additions of clothing boutiques, as well as restaurants, the Wall Street Journal discovers (though it's nothing photographer Emily Raw didn't already know about).

"A Familiar Story of Boy Meets Girl, But in Yiddish": The Times explores the real-life ties between the Williamsburg-based actors in "Romeo and Juliet in Yiddish," which premiered at the New York Jewish Film Festival this week, and their film counterparts.

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This meal is simply stew-pendous


By Helen Klein

I have a few basic rules for weekday night food.

The first is that it should taste good (well, this goes for any night of the week). I also favor food that’s easy to prepare, would yield leftovers for at least another night, or can be easily reinvented for another meal, is nutritious and has a sensible number of calories.

That may sound like a hefty list of requirements, but it is fairly easy to achieve. Just take this chicken and chickpea stew. All you have to do is slice some vegetables, chop a couple of cloves of garlic, chunk the chicken, do a quick sauté, then open a couple of cans, tip some vermouth into the pot, and braise everything over low heat.

Thanks to the addition of saffron, garlic, oregano and basil, the finished dish is both fragrant and savory, and, because of the white vermouth, the meat is tender and infused with the flavors of the Mediterranean. The calorie count is kept under control by the judicious use of olive oil — trust me, only a couple of tablespoons is sufficient to sauté the vegetables and the chicken.

Mediterranean Chicken Stew
Serves four

Ingredients

2 tbl. olive oil
1 lb. chicken breast cutlets, skin removed, and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 medium onion, preferably sweet (Vidalia, Maui or Walla Walla), thinly sliced
1 red or orange pepper, cored and sliced into thin strips
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 large can diced tomatoes, with juices
1 tsp. Spanish saffron
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 cup white (dry) vermouth
1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions

Heat oil in large sauté pan. When oil is hot, add chicken, and sauté, turning as pieces are cooked on one side, till chicken is lightly browned on all sides.

Add onion and pepper slices to pan and continue to sauté, salting  and adding a splash of water, if necessary, to prevent vegetables and chicken from burning.

When onion has begun to turn golden and translucent, add garlic and continue sautéing another minute or two.

Add tomatoes and juices, saffron, oregano, vermouth and chickpeas. Bring to a boil, then turn heat to low and cover. Braise for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding a little water if the pan seems too dry.

Taste, and continue cooking another five or 10 minutes if necessary. Add basil, salt and pepper, and cook another five minutes.

Serve on a bed of egg noodles.

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Burgers, burgers, burgers!

It's all about the burgers in this week's issue. We've got a rundown on the expensive burger trend that's running rampant in our fair borough, the latest edition being the $15 offer at Fatty 'Cue (pictured); a list of the best under-$10 burgers in the borough, as well as a recipe from Morton's chef Joe Raiola on how to make a killer burger at home. All that's missing is the bun!

What do you think? Are burgers becoming too expensive? Or are they priced fairly? And where do you go to grab a good burger for under $10?

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Calling all comic book artists

The Brick Theater is putting out a call for applications for its Comic Book Theater Festival.

Superheroes, space opera, true romance, hijinks, history, literature, autobiography, lines, dots, shapes, pencil, sound, ink, movement wanted.

From the release:


The Brick Theater, Inc. is now accepting applications for the Comic Book Theater Festival. For more information and to apply to be part of the June 2011 festival visit www.bricktheater.com/comics. The deadline for all submissions is February 15, 2011.

The influence of comics on our culture continues to grow. From the pop fantasias of Hollywood blockbusters to the rawness and refinement of intimate memoirs – and everything in between – it’s impossible to deny the wide appeal of comics’ words and images. The theater, of course, is no less immune to its spell. This summer, The Brick will invite one of history’s newest art forms to meet one of its oldest – and, through collaborations between visual and dramatic artists, the form and content of comics will collide with the content and form of theater to create strange new hybrids across both mediums. Also, superheroes and stuff. 

Every show that applies to be part of the festival is encouraged to create some sort of alliance between comic artists and theater artists. Ideally, each show will have a “staged” component, presented in front of a live audience, and a “printed” component, to be absorbed separately, either on paper or online. In order to foster collaboration and give artists a forum to meet and share ideas, a Facebook page has been set up at facebook.com/comicbooktheaterfestival

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Come to this jerk-off!


By Erica Sackin

Beef jerky: it’s a favorite snack food in truck stops, cattle ranges, and … Brooklyn?

Yes, according to Matt Timms (pictured), will throw the “World’s Biggest Jerk-Off” — our borough’s first-ever all-jerky food competition — on Jan. 23 at the Bell House to see who makes the most delicious dehydrated delicacies.

Timms has thrown about 40 competitive cookoffs in the past eight years, covering creations such as chili, grits, bacon and lamb, but jerky is where the rubber hits the road.

“You don’t think about jerky being huge in the city,” said Timms, “but we didn’t think chili would be huge either, but people are rabid about their chili opinions.”

You’re still more likely to find homemade jerky on a ranch than in a Brooklyn rental, but that’s changing quickly, thanks to the ease with which jerky is made — all you need is a food dehydrator or an oven that can be set below 200 degrees. And before you break out the beef, remember, almost anything can be made into jerky. “I’ve eaten salmon jerky in Alaska, smoked and dried by Eskimos in this little village I worked in about 10 years ago,” Timms said. “You can find turkey, pig, venison, even saitan jerky!

“I definitely hope some veggies enter,” Timms added. “This is a no rules event, and I’m not going to get pompous about the definition of what jerky is.”

Aspiring cooks who think they have what it takes to out-jerk the rest of Brooklyn still have time enter, and of course the general public will be welcome to taste the results. But does Timms really think Brooklynites will tear into this trend?

“They already are making their own jerky!” Timms said, referencing the number of Brooklyn-based home-jerky makers that have popped up in the past year. “People get addicted to that tough texture, and all the flavors and interpretations. It’s cheap to make, super yummy, and an awesome form of protein for active people. My brother, who is in the Marine Corps, LOVES jerky for camping or when he’s out on patrol somewhere dangerous!”

World’s Biggest Jerk Off at the Bell House [149 Seventh St. between Second and Third avenues in Gowanus, (718) 643-6510], Jan. 23, 4 pm. Admission is $10 (includes jerky).

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Raise a glass to Bill!

By Meredith Deliso

From our pages to a DUMBO gallery.

Bill Roundy, who created the innovative bar review comic, Bar Scrawl, is the star of “Information Economy,” a new exhibit opening this Saturday at the DUMBO Arts Center.

The show is about the variety of ways that artists manage information. Roundy construes the term broadly.

“My comic strips convey journalistic information in visual form,” said Roundy, who’s one of 20 featured artists in the exhibit. “The information that I’m conveying isn’t as personal as some of the other artists, but I often think in panels and word balloons, so it’s an accurate picture of how I think about the world.”

To Brooklyn Paper Editor Gersh Kuntzman, who discovered Roundy, the artist’s ascension to the heights of the art world is a cherry on top.

“Other newspapers have cartoons or editorial cartoons, but we have the first and only ‘editorial nightlife cartoon,’ ” said Kuntzman. “Bill Roundy is Herblock, Bukowski and Twain all mixed into one genius.”

“Information Economy” at DUMBO Arts Center [111 Front St. between Washington and Adams streets in DUMBO, (718) 694-0831], Jan. 22-March 6. For info, visit www.dumboartscenter.org.

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Simon says

By Meredith Deliso

Don’t let the name fool you.

Neil Simon’s 1970 play “The Gingerbread Lady” is not the sweet romp that may be suggested by such a benign title, as it delves into such tough themes as alcoholism while exploring the strained relationship between a woman (played by Sydney Davis, left) and her former show-biz star mother (played by Alicia Adams, right).

Still, there are room for laughs in the dark drama, says Ruth Masyr, producer of the Ridge Repertory Company. The grass-roots theater opens its season on Jan. 22 with a two-weekend run of the play at the Bay Ridge Jewish Center, directed by omnipresent Ridge theater talent James Martinelli and starring, in large part, Simon’s sharp, observational wit.

“It has great lines,” said Masyr. “You’re laughing your way through the serious things. That’s what life is all about.”

Simon couldn’t have said it better himself.

“The Gingerbread Lady” at the Bay Ridge Jewish Center [405 81st St. at Fourth Avenue in Bay Ridge, (718) 836-3103], Jan. 22-Feb. 6, Saturdays at 8 pm and Sundays at 3 pm. Tickets $18. For info, call (718) 836-3103.

Photo by Janice Yi

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Hit the 'Town'

By Vera Zukelman

A runaway princess, a talking donkey, a singing rooster, and music-loving cat and dog are coming to the Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts — and, no, it’s not some knock-off production of “Shrek.”

It’s “The Bremen Town Musicians,” a candy-colored, Broadway-style musical based on the Brothers Grimm fairy tale which is coming to America after an acclaimed overseas run.

The story follows a band of animals that shares a dream of becoming musicians in the city of Bremen. Along the way, the fauna meet a wandering musician and a runaway princess, face bad guys and ultimately learn about the importance of love, friendship, team-work and following ones dreams.

The production is in Russian with no English subtitles — but that’s the point.

“We wanted to bring something bright to the Russian community in New York,” said promoter Anton Krylov. “The musical is for families that don’t want to lose their cultural ties. People remember the original movie and it’s great for the new generation of children to become familiar with one of the most famous Russian cartoons of all time.”

“The Bremen Town Musicians” at Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts [2900 Campus Rd. at Hillel Place in Flatbush, (718) 951-4500], Jan. 21 at 7 pm and Jan. 22 at noon and 6 pm. $25-75. For info, visit www.brooklyncenter.com.

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New face of Brooklyn Philharmonic

The Brooklyn Philharmonic has announced a new music director, reports the Times ArtsBeat blog.

Alan Pierson will take on the role of the cash-strapped orchestra's new artistic director, effective immediately. For more on Pierson, click here.

His debut 2011-2012 season will be announced later this spring. For now, you can catch the orchestra's string quartet this Sunday at the Brooklyn Museum for its "Music off the Walls" series.

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Brew ha-ha


By Michelle Manetti

Urban tour guides David Naczycz and Cindy VandenBosch want to share a beer, and some history, with you.

Their Jan. 20 lecture, “Brewed in Brooklyn: A History of Fermenting Barley in New York’s Favorite Borough,” will fill the Brooklyn Historical Society with sudsy tales of our borough’s primary role in American brewing — though from 48 breweries in the early 19th century, we’re now down to three (sorry, homebrewers, you don’t count).

The good news is that those three — Brooklyn Brewery, Sixpoint Craft Ales and Greenpoint Beerworks, which makes Kelso of Brooklyn — will have their product on hand to make history go down easier than a Rheingold (brewed in Bushwick in the 1950s, by the way).

“Brewed in Brooklyn: A History of Fermenting Barley in New York’s Favorite Borough” at the Brooklyn Historical Society [128 Pierrepont St. at Clinton Street in Brooklyn Heights, (718) 222-4111], Jan. 20 at 6:30 pm. $20 for non-members, $15 for members. For info, visit  www.urbanoyster.com/events.html.

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