Friday, May 27, 2011

The Long Weekend: 5.27-5.30

Friday, May 27

Coney Island: Learn about the fire that nearly destroyed Coney Island — and see artifacts from 100 years ago — in a new exhibit and tour about Dreamland from the Coney Island History Project.

Saturday, May 28

Coney Island: Trip out, so to speak, to "Pink Floyd: The Wall" at the Coney Island Museum.

Williamsburg: Love the one your with — your bike, that is — at the City Reliquary's annual Bike Fetish Day.

Sunday, May 29

Green-Wood: Mark Memorial Day — and the 150th anniversary of the Civil War — at the Green-Wood Cemetery, which has festive events and music all weekend.

Monday, May 30

Borough-wide: Still need Memorial Day plans? Check out our handy guide, which includes a BBQ at Fatty Cue, more Green-Wood festivities, a block party at BAM, a TV party at the Bell House, and today's parades.

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Memorial Day weekend in Brooklyn

 Memorial Day weekend is upon — and if you're sticking around town, there's plenty to do.

Check out our guides to weekend festivities, including DanceAfrica at BAM (pictured), Green-Wood Cemetery festivities, and a Luna Park birthday party; a roundup of Brooklyn's best beer gardens, since it's finally stopped raining so that you can finally grab a drink outdoors; and a preview of what's in store at Brooklyn Bridge Park's Pier 6 starting Saturday.

Also, for a traditional Memorial Day, here's a look at the parades happening in a neighborhood near you:

Canarsie Memorial Day Parade
May 30 at 10 am
Start: Canarsie Cemetery (Remsen Avenue and Avenue K)

Gerritsen Beach Memorial Day Parade
May 30 at 10 am
Start: Plumb Second Street and Whitney Avenue

Greenpoint
May 29 at 9 am
Start: Manhattan Avenue and Driggs Avenue

Bay Ridge Memorial Day Parade
May 30 at 11 am
Start: 87th Street and Third Avenue

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

One trippy Coney Island night

By Alex Rush

Coney Island is getting trippier than usual.

A film society based in the carnie neighborhood is about to screen “Pink Floyd: The Wall,” the psychedelic flick based off the English rock’s group’s album.

The May 28 showing is part of the four month-long series, “Rock N Roll Summer,” a weekly tribute to campy rock musicals that will also include “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” (June 25), “Rock N’ Roll High School” (July 9), and the seminal, “This is Spinal Tap” (July 16).

“Our mission is to defend the honor of pop culture, so we wanted to put together the theme of rock music and movies,” said Dick Zigun, whose Coney Island Museum hosts the event.

Released in 1982, “Pink Floyd: The Wall” blends live action, animation and rock opera to depict what looks like a troubled rock star’s horrific acid trip. Low on dialogue, the film’s main draws are its colorful imagery and Pink Floyd soundtrack. Both the film and the album of the same name deal with loneliness and abandonment, but you probably won’t get depressed watching it in a setting that’s also home to kitschy sideshow acts and People’s Playground memorabilia.

“We want you to come trip with us,” joked Zigun.

The Coney Island Film Society presents “Pink Floyd: The Wall” at Coney Island USA [1208 Surf Ave. near W. 12th Street in Coney Island, no phone], May 28, 8 pm. Tickets $6. For info, visit www.coneyisland.com/films.shtml.

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One the love you're with — at Bike Festish Day

By Aaron Short 

Peddling paramours will demonstrate their devotion to two-wheeled transportation at Bicycle Fetish Day in Williamsburg this Saturday.

But rest assured, the only leather present will be vintage Brooks bicycle seats and the only chains will be locking up two-wheelers to a bike racks on Havemeyer Street.

Instead, the street will be teeming with fixies, BMXers, vintage roadsters, handmade velodrome-ready racers, and shiny custom machines that are the pride of the Puerto Rican Bicycle Club.

Organizer Lacey Tauber promises that the all-day affair, now in its seventh year, will have something for everyone — unless you drive a car.

“I really enjoy the fact that it’s a space for different cycling communities to come together,” said Tauber. “But it’s all about fun, not about all the tough issues.”

Yes, there will be advocacy literature on hand, but there’ll also be a killer grill manned by City Reliquary, BMX tricks by Grime Cycles, and lots and lots of bike swag.

Now that’s something that will keep your wheels spinning.

Bicycle Fetish Day (Havemeyer Street at Meteropolitan Avenue in Williamsburg), May 28, noon-6pm. Free. For info, www.cityreliquary.org. 

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Poster war


There is a poster war brewing in New York City.

Laughing Squid has this post about competing borough posters.

For superior Brooklynites, there's Fourth Floor Print Shop's poster, at top.



James Campell Taylor couldn't let that stand, so he created the above Manhattan poster - which digs a bit deeper and, unfortunately, is cheaper, too, at $20 versus $24.

Would you buy the blue Brooklyn poster to show your borough pride (or, alternately, hatred)?

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One hot exhibit

By Alex Rush

Calling all Coney history buffs.

Learn all about the amusement area’s biggest disaster -— which, ironically, became its greatest attraction — in a new museum exhibition opening this month.

The Coney Island History Project will present a photo exhibition and offer a walking tour to mark the centennial of a fire that nearly destroyed the whole neighborhood.

The 1911 fire, which sparked after hot tar leaked from a water slide — go figure — burned down three amusement parks, and its aftermath was nearly as thrilling as the rollercoasters it destroyed.

“After the fire, everybody came to Coney Island to see the ruins,” said History Project founder Charles Denson. “Photo booths were even set up to take pictures of people standing in the rubble.”

Denson’s gathered old newspaper photos for the display — the more bizarre the better. One highlight includes the image of a police officer shooting an escaped lion that was climbing a roller coaster.

Visitors can also listen to pre-recorded interviews with the living relatives of the police and fire fighters who battled the blaze. And, for an extra $20, you can follow Denson on a walking tour of the area where one of the amusement parks, Dreamland, once stood. Its Surf Avenue address is now home to the New York Aquarium, but Denson has collected many artifacts, including beer bottles, so you can step back in history.

Dreamland Fire exhibition and walking tour at the Coney Island History Project (3059 W. 12th St. near Bowery Street in Coney Island, no phone), May 27 and 29 at 12:15 pm. Tickets $20. For info, visit www.coneyislandhistory.org.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Video and wine night

By Meredith Deliso

This event is fit for a king.

DUMBO Arts Center hosts King Estate Winery — and guitarist Justin King — this month for a night of pinot, acoustic music and more tomorrow.

The festivities are just the arts organization’s way of being a good neighbor.

“We moved into our new home in January and decided it was time for a glass of wine with our friends and neighbors, celebrating our community and the belated arrival of spring,” said Karl Erickson, executive director of the DUMBO Arts Center.

To that end, the evening will feature a wine tasting courtesy of King Estate Winery, music by the pioneering guitarist Justin King (of the King Estate Winery family), known for his intricate “slapping” style of play, and video art from the Leo Kuelbs Collection, curated by conceptual artist Richard Jochum.

“The videos are emblematic of the inspirational, eclectic spirit DUMBO Arts Center is intent on cultivating,” said Erickson. “So come on by!”

Video and Wine night at DUMBO Arts Center [111 Front St. between Washington and Adams streets in DUMBO, (718) 694-0831], May 26, 6-9 pm. Tickets $10. For info, visit www.dumboartscenter.org.

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Calling all Hed-heads!

By Meredith Deliso

Don your most fabulous outfit, work on that German accent and find the blondest wig you possibly can as the Bell House hosts a singalong to “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” on May 26.

“ ‘Hedwig’ is such a natural choice for a big group sing-along at a bar,” said organizer Jerm Pollet. “It’s gonna be through the roof with beehives and extravagant clothes.”

John Cameron Mitchell’s breakout film offers that most-hackneyed Hollywood plot: East German rocker Hedwig’s sex change operation is botched, leaving him-her with the titual “angry inch,” but plenty of material as he-she hits the dive bar circuit in fruitless persuit of her great love, singer Tommy Gnosis.

At this singalong, you can belt it out to rock songs including “Origin of Love,” “Tear Me Down,” “Wig in a Box,” “Wicked Little Town,” and the title track, as well as participate in best costume, best drag, lip sync and trivia competitions, and sip drinks modeled after the songs.

“The whole event is filled with audience-participation,” said Pollet, who is especially looking forward to the wig-off. “This is going to be a night to remember!”

“Hedwig and the Angry Inch” singalong at the Bell House [149 Seventh St. between Second and Third avenues in Gowanus, (718) 643-6510], May 26 at 8 pm. Tickets $8. For info, visit www.thebellhouseny.com.

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Your favorite new read — picked by your favorite bookstore

Who can you always count on when you’re in a bind and need a good book? Your neighborhood bookstore, of course, whose employees read all the newest books before you do. That’s why we’re running this semi-regular column featuring must-reads, handpicked and written about by the staff at some of our favorite independent bookstores in Brooklyn.

The BookMark Shoppe’s pick: “Cleopatra’s Daughter”

Many know the tragic ending to the real life story of Cleopatra and Marc Antony. But not many people know the story continued on with Cleopatra’s children. Follow Cleopatra Selene, daughter to Cleopatra, as she is forced to leave her home land of Egypt, into the harsh lands of Rome and defend her family name and honor in this new book by Michelle Moran.

— Bina Valenzano, co-owner, The BookMark Shoppe [8415 Third Ave. between 84th and 85th streets in Bay Ridge, (718) 833-5115].

Greenlight’s pick: “It Happened on the Way to War: A Marine’s Path to Peace ”

This is a book that surprised me, it is a very special, moving, and affecting read. While training to be a Marine, the tireless Rye Barcott juxtaposed his life and was simultaneously working to found a NGO in one of the poorest slums of Nairobi, Kenya. Partnering with local community members who formed a tight bond, Barcott involved people in the surrounding community to initiate change from the ground up, and in “It Happened on the Way to War,” he tells, and honors their story. Really, words can’t justify how moving this book is. Humanity at its best.

— Rebecca Fitting, co-owner, Greenlight Bookstore [686 Fulton St. between S. Elliott Place and S. Portland Avenue in Fort Greene, (718) 246-0200].

WORD’s pick: “Matterhorn”

Hailed as one of the best novels on the Vietnam War when it came out last year, “Matterhorn” by Karl Marlantes is now out in paperback. This book absolutely blew me away, and I don’t mind telling you I’m not much of a war-novel reader. While the novel tackles big issues — the politics of war, racism in the troops, all the blood and guts you can stand and then some — it’s Marlantes’ attention to the small, almost invisible details of daily life during war-time that makes it so affecting. Long, intense and worth every single second you’ll spend reading it.

— Jenn Northington, events manager, WORD [126 Franklin St. at Milton Street in Greenpoint, (718) 383-0096].

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Union Hall is going 'Coconuts' with new comedy show

By Meredith Deliso

Comedy fans, add the third Tuesday of every month to your schedule.
A new monthly show is coming to Union Hall, hosted by Gabe Delahaye, of the pop culture website Videogum.

“All my friends are comedians and they all have shows of their own, and I got jealous,” said Delahaye, who launches the Mr. Coconuts Comedy Show on May 24 at the Park Slope bar.

At his inaugural show, Delahaye will be joined by Jenny Slate, former “Saturday Night Live” cast member and host of “Big Terrific” at Cameo Gallery in Williamsburg; Joe Mande, the man behind the blog, Look at this F–ing Hipster; and Larry Murphy, a regular on the Adult Swim show “Delocated.”

Now, as for that name?

“It was the second stupidest thing I could think of,” said Delahaye.

Mr. Coconuts Comedy Show at Union Hall [702 Union St. near Fifth Avenue in Park Slope, (718) 638-4400], May 24 at 8 pm. Tickets $5. For info, visit www.unionhallny.com.

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Friday, May 20, 2011

Salty and sweet — here’s one heck of a ribs recipe

Ribs are all the rage this month as the Brooklyn Kitchen hosts a class on how to slow-cook a rack on May 21. But you don’t have to wait until then to get cracking. “The New Brooklyn Cookbook” (remember that?) features a recipe courtesy of the General Greene in Fort Greene — a salt-pepper-sugar rub that’s dressed up with a spiced yogurt sauce. We can hear those lips smacking already.

Salt and pepper pork ribs with spiced yogurt sauce
From The General Greene
Serves four

For the rub
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup kosher salt
2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
16 St. Louis–style pork ribs (about 2-1/2 pounds)

For the spiced yogurt sauce
Kosher salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pint Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons ground sumac (available in Middle Eastern markets) plus more for garnish
Finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon

Directions
Combine the brown sugar, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Rub the ribs generously with the sugar mixture to completely coat the meat side. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

To cook the ribs, place the ribs meat side up on a rimmed baking sheet and pour any liquid that has accumulated over the ribs.

Preheat the oven to 250. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven.

Place an empty deep 9- by 13-inch baking pan on the floor of the oven. Carefully pour boiling water into the pan — enough to fill it three-quarters full.

Place the baking sheet on the oven rack, above the pan of water, and cook the ribs, uncovered, for two-and-a-half hours, or until the meat is very tender. Set the ribs aside until they are just cool enough to handle.

Meanwhile, make the yogurt sauce. Sprinkle a cutting board with a pinch of salt. Place the minced garlic on top. (The salt will help to break down the garlic.) Use the flat side of a large knife to form a paste.

Combine the yogurt, sumac, lemon zest, and garlic paste in a medium bowl and mix until combined. Season to taste with salt.

Turn the ribs over so that the meat faces down and cut between the bones to separate the ribs.

To serve, spread a generous spoonful of yogurt sauce in the middle of each of four plates and place four ribs on each plate. Sprinkle with sumac and serve.

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The Weekend: 5.20-5.22

Friday, May 20

Brooklyn Heights: Say hello to this winning production of "Bye Bye Birdie" at the Heights Players. Also Saturday and Sunday.

Fort Hamilton: Twilight Tattoo returns to the Fort Hamilton Army Base for an evening of military pageantry.

Saturday, May 21

Marine Park: Aviator is filled with family entertainment this weekend as it hosts the Kings County Fair.

Dyker Heights: Boulevard Books turns one! Help celebrate with cocktails, cigars and readings.

Manhattan Beach: Bring the kids to Kingsborough for a live-action performance of the kids' favorite "Room on the Broom."

Sunday, May 22

DUMBO: Galapagos Art Space hosts a pole dancing competition and burlesque night called "Polesque." 'Nuff said.

Park Slope: Get your fill of food trucks at the NYC Food Truck Rally in Grand Army Plaza.

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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Bring the kids to Kingsborough this Saturday

By Alex Rush

This is one show that’ll sweep you off your feet!

The London-based theater troupe Tall Stories brings a children’s book favorite to life this month with its production of “Room on the Broom,” coming to the Kingsborough Performing Arts Center on May 21.

The musical, based on the popular children’s book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, features multiple puppets and original songs as it chronicles the travels of a friendly witch and her band of animal friends.

Tall Stories most recently thrilled audiences this year with its adaptation of “The Gruffalo,” by the same author and illustrator who created “Room on the Broom,” and this new production promises to equally delight.

“Tall Stories is one of the most artful and imaginative family theater companies in the world,” said Kingsborough Performing Arts Center Executive Director Anna Becker. “Their last show was so great that even I listened to the CD afterward!”

“Room on the Broom” performed by the Tall Stories of London at the Kingsborough Performing Arts Center at Kingsborough Community College [2001 Oriental Blvd. at Decatur Avenue in Manhattan Beach, (718) 368-5596], May 21 at 2 pm. Tickets $12. For info, visit www.kcckpac.org.

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Pole dancing competition coming to Galapagos

By Meredith Deliso

A pole is a terrible thing to waste.

That’s what the organizers behind Polesque, a new pole-dancing competition, realized after they had one custom-built for Galapagos Art Space last year for a one-off variety show.

The resulting semi-regular show is not just about woman writhing on a shiny metal pole (though there’s plenty of that, too).

“We really created Polesque so pole dancers can have an opportunity to showcase this as a performance art,” said Kyra Johanssen, a professional pole dancer who formed the event with enthusiasts Kyle Mcbeth and Jen James. “Right now, big pole competitions are all about tricks, tricks, tricks. Polesque is about creative movement and entertaining the audience.”

Indeed, past winning performances include a piece to Leonard Cohen’s “I’m Your Man,” where the dancer sported a Groucho Marx mask and used a cane “pretty suggestively,” said Mcbeth.

The next competition is on May 22, and will pit 16 performers, with burlesque acts mixed in. The top three finalists then do a free-style performance, with the audience picking a winner.

“It’s all based on who gets the most people jumping up and down,” said Mcbeth. “We’re not looking for the most athletic or best trick person out there. It’s more if they can put on a crazy show.”

“Polesque” at Galapagos Art Space [16 Main St. at Water Street in DUMBO, (718) 222-8500], May 22 at 8 pm. Tickets $30 ($20 in advance). For info, visit www.galapagosartspace.com.

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Birthday for Boulevard Books

By Meredith Deliso

Don your party hats — Boulevard Books is having a birthday bash.

The Dyker Heights bookstore is marking its one-year anniversary on May 21 with cocktails, cigars, music and readings. And at a time when bookstores seem to be closing left and right, it’s a cause for celebration.

Tatiana Nicoli opened her shop in June in the bookstore-deprived neighborhood as a way to connect with people — even naming it Boulevard Books because “the boulevard tends to be where everyone gathers.” It seems to have worked.

“Your acceptance as a community have been the core of Boulevard’s survival,” Nicoli wrote to her patrons this week. “Here’s to many more years of serving you and the Dyker Heights community.”

For now, you can enjoy readings from three diverse authors at the party: Suzanne Corso, author of “Brooklyn Story,” “Adults” phenom Alison Espach, and Jane Bordon, a comic behind the memoir, “I Totally Meant To Do That.” Because it wouldn’t be a proper bookstore birthday without a book signing, or three.

Boulevard Books [7518 13th Ave. between Bay Ridge Parkway and 76th Street in Dyker Heights, (718) 680-5881], May 21, 7 pm. Free.

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What to find at the NYC Food Truck Rally

Come to the NYC Food Truck Rally hungry, but not clueless of what kind of grub you can get. Here’s a sampling of some of the food trucks setting up shop in Grand Army Plaza this Sunday.

Eddie’s Pizza Truck

The deal: Craving pizza and in a hurry? Eddie’s produces the perfect on-the-go “bar pizza” for guests to salivate over, including the Eddie’s Special, topped with sausage, meatballs, pepperoni, peppers, mushrooms and onions. Minus toppings, they’re only 270 calories each.

They say: “It seems that food trucks have gotten more popular with the advent of social media,” said owner Derek Kaye. “We specialize in personal, thin-crust pizzas, and customize them with 25 different toppings.”

The Treats Truck

The deal: After a trip to Carroll Gardens-based Treats Truck and its mounds of baked goods, grandma’s brownies and cookies may not taste quite as good on the next visit.

They say: “I just know that so many people are having a love affair with food trucks,” said owner Kim Ima. “We make all kinds of not fancy, but old-fashioned fun stuff like cookies, brownies, rice krispies, and just a lot of things with sprinkles.”

Joyride Truck

The deal: This “joyride,” found Sundays in Park Slope usually, features Stumptown coffee and frozen yogurt, which you can top with a variety of fresh fruit or dessert-inspired treats, like Cap’n Crunch and Oreos. 

They say: “Truck rallies have been going on in other cities, but we haven’t really done that or organized it ourselves,” said co-owner David Blanich. “I’m glad we are catching up with the other cities.”

Kelvin “Slush” Truck 

The deal: These slush beverages are not your normal 7-11 slushee. They’re offered in a variety of flavors including Tangy Citrus and Spicy Ginger combined with your choice of various all-natural mix-ins such as pomegranate seeds and fresh chopped mint and basil.

They say: “It’s really going to be a big event,” said owner Alex Rein. “It just shows unity among us vendors that we’re excited about.”


Red Hook Lobster Pound 

The deal: This Brooklyn Flea regular uses fresh-off-the-boat lobster that is then fixed up in lobster rolls, bisque, and salads. 

They say: “Food trucks don’t give Brooklyn enough love,” said owner Susan Povich. “We’re coming big time. We’re going to rumble.”

— Daniel Ng




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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Theater review: Say hello to 'Bye Bye Birdie' at the Heights Players

By Louise Crawford

“Bye Bye Birdie,” that musical war-horse by Charles Strouse, Lee Adams and Michael Stewart, performed in high school auditoriums nationwide since its award-winning Broadway run in 1960, stands strong at the Heights Players in Brooklyn Heights.

You’d have to be a curmudgeonly lout not to put on a happy face during a show with a chorus of real teenage bobby-soxers, an Elvis and Ed Sullivan impersonator, a Jewish mother to end all Jewish mothers, once-topical jokes about Henry Luce, Fidel Castro, Peter Lawford, Lamont Cranston and Mussolini, and a score that includes such songwriting gems as “Kids,” “A Lot A Livin’ to Do” and “Telephone Hour.”

Casting is always a strong card at the Heights Players and there were many standouts in the well-oiled, multi-age ensemble, well directed by Thomas Tyler. Marlene Berner as Rosie, the part played by Chita Rivera on Broadway, is a performer to watch. Berner can sing, dance and act with subtly, humor and gusto (calling all casting agents, this woman is good). Long-time Heights player Thomas Urciuoli, in the role of Harry MacAfee, gives Paul Lynde a run for his money as the very funny, hyperventilating dad who goes apoplectic at the word puberty. Adam Kemmerer’s punky, gyrating and understated Conrad Birdie (pictured) is winning, as is the uber-comedic Gail Lemelbaum as Albert’s kvetchy mother. Ashley Fedor as Kim is a charmer with an effortless and expressive soprano and real acting and comedy chops. I couldn’t keep my eyes off of Sabrina Fernandez as Kim’s little sister, Randi. This cutie is well beyond her 11 years when it comes to credible singing, acting and comedy.

The “How to Kill A Man” dream sequence choreographed by Aurora Dredger was unexpectedly original and highly amusing. Other highpoints in a show of musical high points include the brilliant, “Hymn for a Sunday Evening,” the rollicking, “Lot A’ Livin’ To Do,” the always endearing (and oft-quoted) “Telephone Hour,” and “Baby Talk to Me,” with the very tall and talented Andrew Schoomaker as Albert and the adult ensemble.

The Heights Players always add unexpected touches (and forgivable liberties) and the “no cellphone” speech added to the beginning of the show was a slam-dunk positing Harvey Johnson (Chad Fusco), the show’s iconic nerd, as the inventor of the cellphone.

My guess is that this effusive “Bye Bye Birdie” will get better and better as its talented, big and big-hearted cast performs it through May 29.

“Bye Bye Birdie” at the Heights Players [26 Willow Pl. between State and Joralemon streets in Brooklyn Heights, (718) 237-2752], now through May 29, Friday and Saturday at 8 pm and Sunday at 2 pm. Tickets $18. For info, visit www.heightsplayers.org.

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Family fun at Aviator

By Meredith Deliso

With a name like Kings County, it’s only  proper that we have our own county fair.

And this month, the Aviator Sports and Event Center delivers, as it hosts the Kings County Fair from May 19 to 30, for 12 days of funnel cake, corn dogs and carnival rides.

For the thrill-seekers, the family-friendly affair will feature plenty of rides and games for kids — think bumper cars, a Ferris wheel, and the ones that tilt and spin at stomach-lurching levels. There’ll also be clowns, live music and food so good it’s bad for you, including cotton candy and funnel cakes.

“Like last year, we expect thousands of families to once again enjoy the rides, games, food and music at one of the area’s most cost-efficient activities,” said Kevin McCabe, co-founder of the Aviator Sports and Events Center.

Kings County Fair at Aviator Sports and Event Center [3159 Flatbush Ave. off the Belt Parkway in Marine Park, (718) 758-7500], May 19-30, Monday–Thursday, 5–11 pm; Friday, 5 pm-1 am; Saturday, noon-midnight; and Sunday, noon-11 pm. Admission $7, children under three feet are free. For info, visit www.aviatorsports.com/kcf.

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Edgy writers

By Meredith Deliso

This is for all you moms who are more Peg Bundy than Carol Brady.

Edgy Mother’s Day, a reading series that celebrates writing about motherhood, and the feisty moms who write it, returns to the Old Stone House on May 19 for another evening of witty, serious, touching, satirical, and overall illuminating pieces.

“They’ll rock you, sock you, make you laugh, cry, cheer and look at motherhood in a whole mother way,” said Louise Crawford, who writes the website Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn and curated the series with Sophia Romero.

This time around, the “edgy” lineup consists of novelists Paola Corso and Romero, graphic novelist Jennifer Hayden, and essayist Nancy McDermott, who will give their unique perspectives on motherhood, with a requisite dose of snark.

“I am fascinated by the peculiar culture of parenthood today — it is ripe with comedic potential,” said McDermott, a Park Slope-based writer who’s a regular contributor to the Park Slope Parents website. “Things like keeping journals of every lurid detail of our baby’s bowel movements or talking to our toddlers in public about terribly worthy things, like human rights or Beethoven, in a Stepford Momish voice as if we were being secretly filmed by the selection committee for mother of the year. God knows I’ve done all that — and worse.”

Edgy Moms reading at the Old Stone House [336 Third St. at Fifth Avenue in Park Slope, (718) 768-3195], May 19 at 8 pm. Tickets $5. For info, visit brooklynreadingworks.com.

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The BBQ Blowout is back!


By Meredith Deliso

Attention barbecue fans: the BBQ Blowout is back.

The monthly meat fest has attracted discerning foodies for the past four summers thanks to its mix of hot-shot chefs and celebrity DJ musicians.

This go around, the organizers look to turn things up a notch, putting a special emphasis on fine dining.

“It’s easy these days to pigeonhole restaurants into niche genres of food and aesthetics like gourmet meatballs, new American, hipster tacos, etc,” said co-founder Darin Bresnitz. “What we tend to forget is that chefs are artists, and while they may make their name sculpting the same plates of food, they always enjoy creating from a new palette.”

To that end, he and his brother, Greg, will be challenging chefs celebrated for fine dining to make inspired by classic barbecue. First up is Jesse Schenker of Recette fame, who will be serving up roast lamb with white beans and chorizo and wild argula, and some vegetables thrown in for good measure, tonight at Good Company in Williamsburg.

Former Vivian Girl Frankie Rose  will bring the second ingredient — the music — ensuring this food fest is a proper party.

BBQ Blowout at Good Company [10 Hope St. between Roebling and Havemayer streets in Williamsburg, (718) 218-7191], May 18, 7 pm. Tickets $10. Advanced ticket purchase recommended. For info, visit www.fotpnyc.com.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Brooklyn crafts, Smorgasburg, and more


By Meredith Deliso 

A big outdoor market premieres under the DUMBO Archway, a “smorgasburg” of food vendors makes its way to the Williamsburg waterfront, and a quirky store pulls out in this week’s Market Watch:

Brooklyn Craft Central Spring Market
This is not your run-of-the-mill street fair. On May 21, the Belgian blocks under the DUMBO Archway will become home to Etsy-type crafters, music and tasty food vendors as Brooklyn Craft Central throws its annual Spring Market. Have your pick of subway-inspired pillows by Uptown Artworks, environmentally friendly totes by Survive Design, jewelry by Tamaura Designs, and treats from The Chocolate Swirl. Local bands and musicians will also set up shop at the entryway for acoustic sets, and Poloppo will man a corner for kids where they can make their own arts and crafts.

Brooklyn Craft Central Spring Market at the Archway [Pearl Street at Anchorage Place in DUMBO, (718) 237-8700], May 21 from 11 am-6 pm, rain or shine. For info, visit brooklyncraftcentral.com.

Smorgasburg
This one’s for the foodies. On May 21, the operators behind the Brooklyn Flea antiques and crafts markets turn their attention to organic farmers and Brooklyn-made foodstuffs with the debut of Smorgasburg, a gastro-centric marketplace opening on the Williamsburg waterfront. There, you’ll find more than 100 food vendors, selling packaged, cooked, baked and raw goods, including cold sesame noodles from Shorty Tang & Sons, gazpacho from La Buena, and chocolate-covered bananas from Nana’s (complete list of vendors here). The Brooklyn Kitchen will sell kitchenwares, and Kickstarter, the capital-raising website, will have a booth featuring goods from local project creators. A greenmarket will also feature more than a dozen farmers and special chef demos. It’s enough to get you started on your own artisanal food endeavor.

Smorgasburg (East River between N. Sixth and N. Seventh streets in Williamsburg, no phone), Saturdays, 9 am-5 pm, starting May 21. For info, visit www.smorgasburg.com.

Fred Flare flames out
You’ll have to rely on its website once again for Fred Flare’s quirky cute goods.  According to Racked, its Greenpoint location closed last week after two-and-a-half years. It appears the Meserole Avenue location was a bit too remote for fans of Rubik’s cube clocks and babushkups nesting glasses.

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Twilight Tattoo returns

By JJ Despain

Here’s a military tattoo that has nothing to do with sporting an anchor on one bicep and “Mom” on the other.

The U.S. Army returns to Fort Hamilton on Friday with its Twilight Tattoo, the annual military-themed celebration of fifes, drums, bayonets and gun twirling.

The goal is more than pageantry.

“It’s an opportunity to not only bond with the community, but for the community to get a taste for what army history is about,” said Bruce Hill, a spokesman for the Army base at the tip of southeastern Brooklyn. “The soldiers interact with the community, they ask questions, they talk, they engage.”

Twilight Tattoo is based out of Fort McNair near Washington, D.C., but makes one of its rare sojourns every year to the Bay Ridge base.

“Twilight Tattoo doesn’t travel too much outside of Washington, D.C.,” said Cathy Santopietro, who works for Fort Hamilton public affairs. “We’re the one place they travel to, which is nice.”

So what is a Twilight Tattoo? First off, there are military bands, such as “Pershing’s Own,” the U.S. Army ensemble, plus the Army blues choir and the Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps.

Plus, there’s military precision, thanks to the Army drill team strutting its stuff.

Bring a blanket and just revel in America’s military history.

Some songs or drills might be different from year’s past, but the Tattoo will delight even military families and civilians alike.

“The main things don’t change,” Santopietro said. “The old guard comes up, the drill team’s still here.”

The Twilight Tattoo at Fort Hamilton [Bay Eighth Street between Cropsey Avenue and Shore Parkway in Dyker Heights, (718) 630-4783], May 20, pre-ceremony pageantry at 6:30 pm; main show at 7 pm.

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Friday, May 13, 2011

The Weekend: 5.13-5.15

Friday, 5.13

Dyker Heights: Broadway comes to Brooklyn with a production of "42nd Street" by the Narrows Community Theater at the Fort Hamilton Army Base. Also Saturday and Sunday.

Boerum Hill: Get a bouquet at Opalia Flowers, and check out a major retrospective of Carroll Gardens artist Ken Rush.

Saturday, 5.14

Williamsburg: "Star Wars" meets Shakespeare in the latest production by A Festival of Fools, called "The Impostor Striketh Back." Also Sunday.

Bay Ridge: Get your Norway on in Viking Fest at Owls Head Park.

Sunday, 5.15

Bay Ridge: In more Norwegian fare, the Norwegian Constitution Day Parade heads down Fifth Avenue.

Sheepshead Bay: Emmons Avenue is one big block party today, thanks to BayFest.

Park Slope: Get a peek at your neighbors with the Park Slope House Tour.

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Thursday, May 12, 2011

Get a peek at your Park Slope neighbors

By Meredith Deliso

It’s a Park Slope peep show.

Next up in the annual celebration of voyeurism that is house tour season are some of the most majestic homes in Park Slope.

The self-guided walking tour on Sunday features apartments in the southern Slope that are home to unique art collections, innovative renovations and beautiful gardens.

Highlights are sure to include an 1890s carriage house-cum-contemporary loft that features a stunning kitchen, abstract art by Maria Louisa Pacheco and an American Indian hanging; a 1903 Flemish Renaissance home that has a chandelier in every room; an eco-friendly house that boasts geo-thermal heating and cooling, a recycled floor, and a garden watered by the home’s own well; a 100-year-old Romanesque Revival home decked out with elaborate mantelpieces, Bradbury and Bradbury wallpapers to further phone home the Victorian effect, grand chandeliers, and a working dumbwaiter; and, at an even older Romanesque Revival home from 1893, you’ll find an antique carpet, an old Victrola, and a rare oil painting of Marilyn Monroe.

Now remember, you can look, but you can’t touch.

Park Slope House Tour, starting at PS 107 [1301 Eighth Ave. at 13th Street in Park Slope, (718) 832-8227], May 15, noon-5 pm. Tickets $20 in advance, $25 day of. For info, visit www.parkslopeciviccouncil.org.

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Get your Viking on

By J.J. Despain

There may be fewer Norwegians in Bay Ridge than herring at a barbecue — but that won’t prevent the neighborhood’s legendary Norwegian Constitution Day Parade from marching on.

On Sunday, the neighborhood celebrates 197 years of Norwegian independence with a parade through a neighborhood that’s more Little Median than Little Oslo.

“This is where the parade was originally formed, and we’re going to keep it here,” said Ken Gundersen, chairman of the annual celebration of Norway’s constitution, which also comes a day after Viking Fest at Owls Head Park, which, like the parade, will feature plenty of horned helmets, as well as a Viking ship, music and dance.

The parade and festival are a throwback to the 1920s, when Bay Ridge was truly Little Norway, a neighborhood where Scandinavian delis and shops were common, people used words spelled with that o with the line through it, and Eighth Avenue was better known as “Lapskaus Boulevard” — you know, after the beef stew beloved from Oslo to Ospeskogen to Ovington Avenue.

Of course, the Norwegian population of Bay Ridge has declined — from about 54,530 after World War II to about 6,000 today. But still, 100,000 spectators are expected, more than previous years.

“Wherever they live now, the Norwegian population is still coming out in strong numbers,” Gundersen said. “It’s the largest Independence Day parade outside of Oslo.”

Even if you don’t give a wooden krone about Bay Ridge’s Scandinavian roots, you should care about Norwegian independence, which came about when the country signed its legendary constitution in 1814 — a document that remains the oldest constitution in democracy-challenged Europe.

Better still, this parade is a barrel of lutefisk! This year’s march, for example, honors Roald Amundsen, best known as the Norwegian who reached the South Pole first.

“We thought that he brought a lot to Norwegian history,” Gundersen said.

And also on hand will be Bay Ridge’s own Jennifer Egeberg, who just won the Miss Norway of Greater New York contest.

And there’ll be plenty of that Scandinavian food, arts and culture. So don your bunad and save room for plenty of lefse (they’re better than they sound).

Norwegian Constitution Day Parade [starts at 83rd Street and Fifth Avenue in Bay Ridge, (718) 745-6653] at 1 pm on May 15. Parade continues to Leif Ericson Park between Sixth and Seventh avenues; Viking Fest at Owls Head Park [Colonial Road and 68th Street entrance], May 14 from noon to 5 pm. Free.

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