Thursday, June 30, 2011

Dekalb Market update

There are some updates this morning on the Dekalb Market, one of Brooklyn's many new markets.

The container-based market will open on July 23, and feature many food and crafts people.

On the food front, there's special menus from Maharlika, Pasticcio, Nile Valley Juice & Salads, Cheeky Sandwiches (pictured), Joe coffee, Cuzin's Duzin donuts, Robicelli's Cupcakes, Mazie's Bites, Tea by Tiffany, Sourpuss Pickles, and more.

Full-time retailers include hand-screened shirts by Brooklyn Rock, children's wear and activities from Little Poco and Hank & Jojo, art from Kudu-lah, products from 3rd Ward and Pratt, antiques from Daga, woman's apparel & accessories from Harriet's by Hekima, vintage eye wear from Yak Blak, custom-made apparel and interiors by B66.

And, in extracurriculars, there will be Brooklyn Grange and Malcolm X and Atom's Eco farm plots, and music from Brooklyn Bodega and BBox Radio.

The weekend market will take place Downtown at CityPoint, where the Albee Square shopping center used to be, on Saturday and Sunday from 10 am-7 pm through December.


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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Meet your maker — tonight!

By Meredith Deliso

Finally, here’s your chance to meet your maker.

Four tours tonight give a behind-the-scenes look at some of Williamsburg’s most-popular food stuffs, including purveyors of chocolates, beer, wine and coffee.

It’s all part of Eat Drink Local, a week-long celebration of locavorism, sponsored by Edible Brooklyn and including Brooklyn Brewery, Mast Brothers Chocolate, the Brooklyn Winery and Blue Bottle Coffee Roaster.

During the tour half-hour tour, you can meet with the masterminds behind the businesses, then head to an after-party at Brooklyn Brewery, where you can share your newfound knowledge with other food enthusiasts over snacks. Because in Brooklyn, foodieness is next to godliness.

Meet Your Maker at Brooklyn Brewery [79 N. 11th St. between Berry Street and Wythe Avenue in Williamsburg, (718) 486-7422]; Mast Brothers Chocolate [105 N. Third St. between Berry Street and Wythe Avenue in Williamsburg, (718) 388-2625]; Brooklyn Winery [213 N. Eighth St. between Roebling Street and Driggs Avenue in Williamsburg, (347) 763-1506]; Blue Bottle Coffee Roaster [160 Berry St. between N. Fifth and N. Sixth streets in Williamsburg, (718) 387-4160], June 29 from 6:30-10 pm. $15. For info, visit www.ediblemanhattan.com.

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Monday, June 27, 2011

The 'Golden' ticket

By Alex Rush

A new play inspired by scorned political spouses who take revenge on their scandal-ridden husbands is coming to Coney Island --— and no, Anthony Weiner’s wife is not a character.

Playwright Jennifer Miller wrote “The Golden Racket,” running at Sideshows by the Seashore from June 27 to 29, after reading about ousted state Sen. Hiram Monserrate’s 2009 domestic abuse scandal, when the Queens lawmaker was convicted of misdemeanor assault after he dragged his girlfriend through a hallway and cut her face with glass.

“It was shocking, dramatic and incredibly theatrical,” said Miller, also known as the Bearded Lady of the sideshow.

Of course, Rep. Anthony Weiner’s sexting scandal — which led to his resignation earlier this month — will be on everyone’s minds during the campy romp.

“Our play absolutely became more timely since the scandal,” said Miller. “There’s no character based on his wife, but we’ll definitely reference and joke about the situation.”

Miller’s revenge-seeking characters, which will be played by drag queens and comediennes, will include one loosely based on Monica Seles. The tennis player — and title inspiration — dated billionaire Tom Golisano when he convinced Monserrate and another Democratic state senator to join the Republican Party. In the play, the Seles-like character and the woman based on Monserrate’s girlfriend join forces.

And thanks to Weiner’s headline-dominating indiscretions, the play’s examination of these scandals couldn’t be more topical.

“The play tries to reflect that we’re in an age when it’s like, ‘Oh my God, all these men are sticking their c—s out all over!” said Miller.

“The Golden Racket” at Sideshows by the Seashore [1208 Surf Ave. between Stillwell Avenue and W. 12th Street in Coney Island, (718) 372-5159], June 27-29 at 8 pm. Tickets $15. For info, visit www.coneyisland.com. 

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Your Celebrate Brooklyn Pick of the Week!

By Meredith Deliso

For one day, Brooklyn will be a little bit country.

On June 30, Celebrate Brooklyn brings some of the most celebrated Americana acts around to the Prospect Park band shell, with sets from Justin Townes Earle, Punch Brothers, and The Hackensaw Boys.
“Country’s having a little resurgence in Brooklyn,” said Jack Walsh, producer of the free summer musical festival. “We’ve got American roots music covered really well.”

Headliner Earle (pictured) has quite the lineage to live up to — he’s son of country music’s Steve Earle, and named after songwriter Townes Van Zandt. It’s safe to say he has done both proud with this award-winning honky-tonk. The Nashville native’s most-recent album, “Harlem River Blues,” makes some nods to his current home — New York, including the sweet track, “One More Night In Brooklyn.”

Punch Brothers has been called the string-band version of Radiohead, thanks to its boundary-pushing ways. Founder Chris Thile, a master on the mandolin, is worth paying to see (not that we have to do that in Brooklyn, thanks to Walsh and Co.).

Justin Townes Earle, Punch Brothers and The Hackensaw Boys at Celebrate Brooklyn at the Prospect Park band shell [Ninth Street and Prospect Park West in Park Slope, (718) 683-5600], June 30 at 7 pm. Free. For info, visit www.bricartsmedia.org.

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Friday, June 24, 2011

The Weekend: 6.4-6.26

Friday, June 24

Prospect Heights: It's the summer of Vishnu, as the Brooklyn Museum opens an exhibition today devoted to the Hindu deity.

Bushwick: Zombies and cowboys collide in "Death Valley," a new play running at the Bushwick Starr.


Saturday, June 25

Bedford-Stuyvesant: Brooklynite Gallery hosts acclaimed UK duo Miss Bugs in "Parlour," the team's first solo US show.

Fort Greene: Mos Def headlines the Fort Greene Festival, a day of music, food and, fingers crossed, sunshine.

Williamsburg: Get your German beer on during a pub crawl through the neighborhood's beer gardens.
Also Sunday.

Sunday, June 26

Green-Wood: It's your last chance to see "The Spoon River Project," a haunting new production at the Green-Wood Cemetery.

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Just call it the summer of Vishnu


By Meredith Deliso

It’s the summer of Vishnu.

The god doesn’t get as much recognition as other Hindu deities (Shiva, Brahma, Amitabh Bachchan), but this summer, the first major Western exhibition devoted to the blue-skinned preserver comes to the Brooklyn Museum.

“When they give you the three-word speaking points about Vishnu, it sounds really dull — he’s the god who maintains things,” said Joan Cummins, curator of the exhibition, “Vishnu: Hinduism’s Blue-Skinned Savior,” opening today. “That sounds super boring compared to being the creator or the destroyer, but, in fact, what he does is save the world over and over again.”

As the savior, Vishnu takes on temporary bodies called avatars, which have different looks and personalities from the god, but are his trademark blue. These various representations will be on display in the show’s more than 170 objects, from textiles and paintings to bronzes and sculptures that span thousands of years, some as early as the fourth century.

The pieces explore the various legends of Vishnu, from fighting demons with a group of monkeys and bears as the avatar Rama, to his avatar Krishna, who’s “a real ladies man,” said Cummins, making for some gorgeous romantic imagery.

“The show combines really great works of art with a nice educational angle,” said Cummins. “If you’ve eaten Indian food and seen pretty paintings on the wall, but don’t know what they are, this is a nice introduction to Hinduism.”

“Vishnu: Hinduism’s Blue-Skinned Savior” at the Brooklyn Museum [200 Eastern Pkwy. at Washington Avenue in Prospect Heights, (718) 638-5000], June 24-Oct. 2. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays. 

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Brooklynite Gallery is bugging out

By Meredith Deliso

Brooklynite Gallery is bugging out.

The Bedford-Stuyvesant space presents the sought-after British artists Miss Bugs in “Parlour,” an exhibition that transforms the space into a den of the duo’s imagining.

In their first solo show outside the UK, the two’s “parlour” (and yes, that’s parlor with a “u” — they’re British, after all) is comprised of their gorgeous prints and large-scale collages that looks to Picasso, Shepard Fairey, Keith Haring and Damien Hirst for inspiration. 
Advertising, religion, superheroes (Captain America has made appearances), monsters (like Dr. Frankenstein’s), and pornography (of late, their work has heavily featured bare-chested women) are frequent subject matters.

By appropriating images found in pop culture, as well as ones created by other artists, Miss Bugs consistently comments on the idea of ownership in art. In fact, a quote often associated with the pair is, “If there is something to steal, I steal it,” one uttered by Picasso himself. Fans don’t seem to mind.

“Parlour” at Brooklynite Gallery [334 Malcolm X Blvd. Between Decatur and Bainbridge streets in Bedford-Stuyvesant, (347) 405-5976], June 25-July 16. For info, visit www.brooklynitegallery.com.

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Mos Def headlines Fort Greene Fest this Saturday

By Meredith Deliso

In just a few short years, Fort Greene has become home to one of the biggest music events around.

The “urban Woodstock” that is the Fort Greene Festival has boasted some big names, including last year’s headliner, Common, and Q-Tip, to bring out more than 15,00 festival goers to Fort Greene Park.

This year’s main event is not lacking in marquee names, as Bedford-Stuyvesant native Mos Def, known as much for his hip hop as his starring turns in such films as “Be Kind Rewind,” headlines the Saturday event.

And, like the best of its ilk, this outdoor concert is free.

“We just want everyone to come out and have a good time,” said Ray Martin, who helps organize with founder Peter Tulloch.

In addition to Mos Def, local performers include Sophia Urista, Paperdoll, Game Rebellion, Nuttin But Stringz.

“You could walk into a restaurant or the park on any given weekend, and one of these individuals may have passed,” said Martin. “This is to give an opportunity to the individuals around Fort Greene. People are just unaware of how good they are."

Also getting some love are the area’s restaurants, as iCi, Madiba, No. 7, and Cornerstone, among others, will be selling their goods.

Kicking things off will be marching bands from area schools, which will parade down Vanderbilt Avenue into the park. So just follow the horns.

Fort Greene Festival at Fort Greene Park (DeKalb and Myrtle avenues in Fort Greene), June 25 from noon to 10 pm. Free. For info, visit www.fortgreenefest.com. 

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Thursday, June 23, 2011

'Death Valley' opens tonight: Just call it 'The Walking Deadwood'

By Meredith Deliso

It was only meant as a joke. Williamsburg roommates Dan Rogers and Adam Scott Mazer were brainstorming a serial to do for the genre-bending theater group Vampire Cowboys when Rogers threw out the words “zombie Western.”

“He said it as a joke originally,” said Mazer. “But I said, ‘That’s brilliant, that’s what we have to do.’ ”

And they did, with Mazer writing 15 minutes bursts of the play “Death Valley” last fall, setting up for its first full-length production at the Bushwick Starr, with Rogers directing.

“Once you get into it, there’s a lot in common between the Western genre and the horror zombie genre,” said Mazer. “It’s all about freedom and justice, and what happens in a world where there are no real rules, and laws aren’t binding.”

The dark comedy, which was written before this summer’s anticipated blockbuster, “Cowboys and Aliens,” is set in 1880 on the Texas-New Mexico border and follows Lawrence, a smooth-talking cowboy, and his occasional lady friend, Adele, who soon find themselves in the middle of a zombie apocalypse.

As far as influences go, it’s a little bit “Deadwood,” a little bit “True Grit” (the remake), a little bit “28 Days Later,” a little bit “Walking Dead” (the comic book).

“Dan coined the term ‘The Walking Deadwood’ to describe the tone and general idea of the show,’ ” said Mazer. “That’s pretty accurate.”

“Death Valley” at the Bushwick Starr (207 Starr Street between Irving and Wyckoff Avenues in Bushwick, no phone), June 23-July 10. Tickets $15. For info, visist www.thebushwickstarr.org.

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Kosher steak class tonight!

By Meredith Deliso

The snout-to-tail movement has gone kosher.

Tonight, the Center for Kosher Culinary Arts in Midwood hosts a class called “Steak Night,” where meat lovers can learn how to make a homemade steak dinner the old-fashioned, and increasingly trendy, way: by butchering a 40-pound rib of beef down to the various, familiar parts that you’d usually start with at the supermarket.

“It’s an amazing class,” said Chef Avram Wiseman. “You start out with meat cleavers and boning knives and hacksaws and chop it into trim cuts and London broil.”

The session will also involve making some traditional sides, including crispy roast potatoes, creamed spinach, beer-battered, thick-cut onion rings, Caesar salad and more.

Best of all, once it’s all said and done, you get to eat.

“There’s nothing left but grease on the plates,” said Wiseman.

Steak Night at the Center for Kosher Culinary Arts [1407 Coney Island Ave. between Avenue J and Avenue K in Midwood, (718) 758-1339], June 23, 6:30–10:30 pm. Tickets, $75. For info, visit www.kosherculinaryarts.com.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Get your German beer on

By Meredith Deliso

This is one deal we can raise a glass to.

During a beer crawl through Williamsburg and Greenpoint, you can sample 12 different brews — a $72 value for only $30.
The website BeerMenus.com put together the tour in a nod to Brooklyn’s brewery-packed past, and a celebration of its beer-rich present.

“With the recent influx of beer gardens in Brooklyn, we decided to celebrate outdoor drinking and Brooklyn’s rich history of German beer,” said Will Stephens, the website’s co-founder. “Williamsburg and Greenpoint has a modern-day Brewer’s Row, if you will.”

Here’s how it works: This Saturday and Sunday, pick up your pub crawl pass, map and tasting notes at Mug’s Ale House. Grab a pint of Radeberger Pils, then head to 11 more bars within a 12-block radius, picked for their German selection and outdoor seating. Participants include Berry Park and its picturesque rooftop, the Bushwick Country Club, Loreley Williamsburg and tdb, all of which you can visit at your leisure until the last drop is drunk.

No matter how enthusiastic you are about beer, 12 brews is a lot for one sitting, so it might be best to make this a two-day tour, and one you’ll remember.

Beer crawl starting at Mug’s Ale House [125 Bedford Ave. at N. 10th Street in Williamsburg, (718) 486-8232], June 25 and 26 from 11:30 am-6 pm. Tickets $30. For info, visit www.beermenus.com.

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Theater review: 'Spoon River Project' a must-see


By Meredith Deliso

For a show about the dead, “The Spoon River Project” is very much alive.

In a span of 80 minutes, passion, joy, regret, sorrow, rage and love are expressed by the play’s nearly 50 characters — all of whom have come back from the dead to share the secrets they’ve taken with them to the grave.

Set in the Green-Wood Cemetery, director Tom Andolora couldn’t have been more inspired when he picked a location for his adaptation of 47 of Edgar Lee Masters’s poetic monologues recited by the deceased inhabitants of the fictional Midwestern town of Spoon River.

After a 10-minute trolley ride into the thick of the Sunset Park graveyard, you arrive at the “stage” — a plot of green surrounded by white tombstones, a Civil War-era mausoleum looming in the background.

With no fanfare, the play begins as the 11 actors slowly descend from a hill, silhouetted against the darkening sky; it’s enough to give you goosebumps. They carry lanterns and sport early 19th-century garb — the ladies in full skirts and decorative hats, the men looking like someone you’d find serving a drink at Henry Public. Other than some strong costuming, it’s pretty bare-bones stuff, with inevitable comparisons drawn to “Our Town.”

Thorton Wilder’s classic was never this eerie, though. Through the characters’ chants, you learn of their unfortunate demises, brought on by fever, childbirth, a broken heart, before they break into a hymn, “Softly and Tenderly,” their strong, harmonized voices accompanied by live strings.

Then, one by one, they are summoned forward to share their sad stories — one a failed inventor whose supposed genius was a sham, another an alcoholic who died of liver failure, and not, as his unsuspecting townsmen assumed, “eating watermelon.” Among the bunch, there boasts adulterers, murderers, divorcees, mistresses, spinsters — Spoon River was quite the soap opera.

Among all this gloom, the play’s not without its light-hearted moments: at one point, a woman who, after bearing nine children never found the time to write her novel, warns, “Sex is the curse of life!” to several laughs.

It’s a strong play, and not on the immersive setting alone — the talented cast convincingly takes on multiple, diverse roles, making for powerful, lingering performances, even if they only span a minute. Still, thanks to its location, the play’s profundity is not lost, as, after the last character has spoken his peace, the dead return whence they came, burdened still by their guilt or sorrow, and you board the trolley, back to the land of the living.

“The Spoon River Project” at Green-Wood Cemetery [Fifth Avenue and 25th Street in Sunset Park, (718) 768-7300], now through June 26. Tickets $25 ($20 in advance). For info, visit www.green-wood.com.

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Young director's film is a 'Green' monster

By Meredith Deliso

Meet the Orson Welles of indie cinema.

For her debut feature length debut, Greenpoint filmmaker Sophia Takal directed, wrote and starred in the psychodrama “Green,” a nuanced examination of love and jealousy that won a directing award at SXSW this spring.

“Green,” which screens tonight at the Brooklyn Academy of Music as part of its annual film festival, BAMcinemaFest, follows a young, intellectual Brooklyn couple, Sebastian and Genevieve, who move to the South so Sebastian can blog about sustainable farming. There, they immediately befriend their invasive, simple neighbor, Robin (played endearingly by Takal). As the couple’s relationship hits some bumps, Genevieve fears Robin and Sebastian are up to no good, and she quickly suffers a mental meltdown.

The plot was born out of the director’s own battles with the green goblin.

“I’m really jealous, and it happens in a flash,” said Takal. “I wanted to capture that abrupt shift in someone’s psychology.”

In the ultimate test, Takal had the Brooklyn couple played by her fiancé, Lawrence Michael Levine (who directed last year’s indie comedy, “Gabi on the Roof in July”), and their housemate, Kate Lyn Sheil. Thanks to some realistic conversations about sex, the two have more than a few intimate scenes together in the film.

“It was so much easier to shoot than I expected, though I’d still feel jealous occasionally,” said Takal. “After doing a sex scene, I would just tell Larry to only pay attention to me between takes.”

As they say, it’s not easy being green.

“Green” at the Brooklyn Academy of Music [651 Fulton St. near between Rockwell and Ashland places in Fort Greene, (718) 636-4100], June 22 at 9:15 pm. Tickets $13. Followed by a Q and A with the director. For info, visit www.bam.org. 

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Monday, June 20, 2011

Your Celebrate Brooklyn Pick of the Week!

By Meredith Deliso

Celebrate Brooklyn doesn’t only herald our borough, you know: On June 23, the Prospect Park band shell welcomes New Orleans-born neo-soul sensation Ledisi.

The artist developed her stellar pipes at an early age, playing with the New Orleans Symphony Orchestra when she was 8. As an adult, Ledisi came up in the Bay Area, quickly gaining fans for her powerful vocals and multi-genre sound, blending jazz, R&B and soul.

Five albums later, the California artist has garnered multiple Grammy Award nominations and collaborated with such talent as John Legend, who penned her single “Miss You,” on her new album, “Pieces of Me.” The record finds more of Ledisi’s laid-back, feel-good grooves, which are pretty perfect for a summer’s night on the lawn.

Ledisi at Celebrate Brooklyn at the Prospect Park band shell [Ninth Street and Prospect Park West in Park Slope, (718) 683-5600], June 23 at 7:30 pm. Free. For info, visit www.bricartsmedia.org.

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Friday, June 17, 2011

The Weekend: 6.17-6.19

Friday, June 17

"BoCoCa": The BoCoca Arts Festival kicks off tonight, for a week of music and art in the Boreum Hill-Cobble Hill-Carroll Gardens area. Looking ahead, don't miss Andrew Mancilla on June 21 at Linger Cafe.

Williamsburg: After kicking off last night, the Northside Festival continues, with Beirut headlining at the McCarren Park stage. Don't miss opener Sharon Van Etten.

Saturday, June 18

Borough-wide: Grab a seat at more than 20 pianos scattered throughout the borough, thanks to the organization, Sing for Hope.

Coney Island: Surf Avenue will be taken over with half-naked ladies once again, as the Mermaid Parade returns.

DUMBO: Head to an "epic" stoop sale under the Manhattan Bridge during the day, and, come back for Floating Kabarette at Galapagos Art Space at night.

Sunday, June 19

Borough-wide: It's Father's Day, so express your Y chromosome with the help of our testosterone-fueled guide.

Gowanus: Revisit your childhood and sing along to "The Lion King" during a screening at the Bell House.

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Hakuna matata! Bell House hosts 'Lion King' singalong on Sunday

By Meredith Deliso

Can you feel the love tonight?

A sing-along to “The Lion King” is coming to the Bell House on June 19, so you better brush up on “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King” and “The Circle of Life.”

When the Gowanus venue last held a sing-along to a beloved Disney movie — “The Little Mermaid” — the place was packed, and this installment should be similarly full of twentysomethings getting a nostalgia fix.

“We couldn’t resist doing another Disney musical, especially one of the most acclaimed and beloved,” said comedian Michael Austin, who hosts the night with Jerm Pollet. “This is for all the people who love ‘The Lion King’ and don’t want to shell out $100 to see it on Broadway!”

The night does Broadway one step better, with a screening of the Academy Award-winning film, complete with subtitles so you can sing along to all of Elton John and Tim Rice’s songs, as well as a costume contest (animal prints are, of course, welcome), a Jeremy Irons, Whoopi Goldberg and Nathan Lane impersonation contest, trivia competition, and themed drinks including the Circle of Life, Scar, the Pride Rock and the Laughing Hyena.

And most of all, don’t forget to party by the motto — hakuna matata!

“The Lion King Sing-Along” at the Bell House [149 Seventh St. between Second and Third avenues in Gowanus, (718) 643-6510], June 19 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: “The Devlin Diary”
“The Devlin Diary” by Christi Phillips reminds me of a mix between “The DaVinci Code” and “The Birth of Venus.” The novel follows Claire Donovan of Cambridge, class of 2008, as she tracks down a vicious killer that stalked Londoners during the 17th century. “The Devlin Diary” is filled with political intrigue, true historical facts, and proof that a secret cannot stay buried forever.

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

Greenlight’s pick: “The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine”
Alina Bronsky’s second novel is a delight. Tim Mohr does a fine job translating the sure-footed narration of one woman’s family life through the twilight of the Soviet regime. Quirky Rosa meddles in every aspect of her daughter’s life in the name of her Tartar heritage, bringing vibrancy to the otherwise bleak outlook of the 1980s Eastern Bloc. (Editor’s note: This is the second appearance of Bronsky’s novel in book picks, so that should tell you something.)

— 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: “The Dewey Decimal System”
Composer and musician Nathan Larson plunges us into a Manhattan gone mad. The city’s infrastructure has been derailed by a massive bombing and our narrator, an amnesiac ex-soldier rechristened Dewey Decimal, is doing his best just to get by. For him, that means squatting in the New York Public Library, running odd jobs (mostly violent in nature) for the district attorney, and following an obsessive-compulsive disorder–inspired system to keep his post-traumatic-stress-disorder–born neuroses at bay. But his most recent job may trump even his system’s ability to maintain order in the chaos. Stark and gripping, this one should go to the top of your summer reading pile.

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


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Andrew Mancilla: Lawyer by day, rocker by night

By J.J. Despain

Plenty of performers have worked with Lady Gaga and Ice-T — but only one has worked with one on stage and the other in court.

Andrew Mancilla, who leads a double life as both a criminal defense lawyer and a rocker, is that man, having performed with Lady Gaga and defended the rapper. And now he’ll trade his briefcase for a guitar and piano and headline the 56-artist BoCoCa Arts Festival next week.

But somehow, it all makes sense.

“Music and law both require a lot of creativity,” said Mancilla. “There is a beauty and an art to presenting one’s case to the jury. … When it plays out in the court, it can be a magnificent performance. It’s a different kind of music, but it has a rhythm, a tempo, a certain harmony, an excitement, and an emphasis on performance that parallels music.”

Mancilla lived in the so-called “BoCoCa” area while studying at Brooklyn Law School until 2010, when he both earned his law degree and released his debut album, “Static.” Now, with “associate” status at a Manhattan law firm and an upcoming music video, he can claim fluency in both legalese and the language of music.

“When I try cases on my own, I’ll frequently reference lines from songs,” he said. “And I just recently wrote a tune about cooperating witnesses that was inspired by my upcoming federal case.”

Mancilla’s pop style mixed with the bar exam is just one of many being featured at the 10-day festival running tonight through 26. He will be joining a troupe that includes the cast of the new stage comedy “Turtle Back High,” sculptor and musician Gilbane Peck and festival favorite BR and Timebomb.

“They have a huge amount of energy and a really wide range,” said festival producer Eileen Trilli.

BR and Timebomb will be helping out with a family outdoor event — a festival first — at Carroll Park on Saturday.

Now in its third year, Trilli said the festival has a strong following and is gaining some recognition.

“We’ve started to make a name for ourselves,” Trilli said. “It’s not just music, it’s not just theater, it’s not just visual arts. It’s all three wrapped into one.”

Andrew Mancilla at Linger Café & Lounge [533 Atlantic Ave. between Third and Fourth avenues in Boerum Hill, (347) 689-4813], June 21, 6:20 pm; for other BoCoCa Arts Festival performances, visit www.bococaartsfestival.com.

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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Sing us a song, you're the piano man

By Meredith Deliso

Get ready to hear the beginning to “Für Elise” on repeat.

Starting this Saturday, free pianos will be placed in the city’s parks and streets as part of a public art project that encourages involvement in music and their surroundings.

Sing for Hope helped launch the project in New York last summer with 60 pianos, and this year it has even more keys hitting the streets. In some apt symbolism, there will be 88 upright and grand pianos scattered through the city — that’s for 88 keys on a piano — from June 18 to July 2.

In Brooklyn, you can tickle the ivories at more than 20 popular public spaces, including the Coney Island Boardwalk, Grand Army Plaza, and several parks, from Williamsburg and Red Hook to Fort Greene and Bay Ridge.

The pianos shouldn’t be hard to miss as is, but artists will help them stand out even more with unique decorations. In DUMBO, Olek will do her signature crocheting job, covering the seat and the entire piano in yarn — save for the keys, of course.

Sing for Hope’s Pop-Up Pianos at various locations, June 18–July 2. For info, visit pianos.singforhope.org.

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Surf's up! Mermaid Parade returns to Coney this Saturday


By Alex Rush

At this Coney Island parade, it’s merman versus food.

The king of the 29th annual Mermaid Parade, a nautical-themed costume party along Surf Avenue, is none other than the Brooklyn-born star of “Man v. Food,” Adam Richman.
Richman and his Queen Mermaid, NBC New York personality Cat Greenleaf, will lead the People’s Playground procession that celebrates the beginning of summer.

“I’m thrilled that two television personalities are leading the parade this year,” said parade founder Dick Zigun, whose jaunty jaunt has previously made King Neptunes out of actor Harvey Keitel, Talking Heads frontman David Byrne, musician Moby, gravel-voiced and -personalitied singer Lou Reed, and late local legend Rabbi Abraham Abraham.

But the Mermaid Parade is more than just a celebrity showcase. It’s an afternoon-long festival featuring marching bands, antique cars and near-naked sea nymphs covered by only body paint and maybe clam shell bikinis for the more conservative participants. The most eye-popping costumes receive awards like “Best Mermaid.”

And when we say “Best” costume, we really mean “least costume.”

“It’s our Mardi Gras,” Zigun said.

But this New York holiday often has a political twist. For instance, last year some marchers tried to spread awareness about the environmental crisis in the Gulf of Mexico with signs like “F—k You BP, Save the Mermaids.” And in 2009 some protested Mayor Bloomberg’s Coney rezoning plan to turn the neighborhood into a year-round tourist destination with amusement parks, shopping and hotels.

“You never know what’s going to happen, but I think this year there will be a patriotic spirit because of the death of Osama bin Laden,” said Sideshow performer Stephanie “Serpentina” Torres, who says this year she’ll dress as a “military superhero with a nautical twist.”

After the parade, performers and spectators can congregate at the after-party at the Aquarium’s 1,000-seat amphitheater. The extravaganza will feature a sea lion show, synchronized swimmers and performances by both burlesque and kitschy carnie acts.

Mermaid Parade [starts at W. 21st Street and Surf Avenue in Coney Island, (718) 372-5101], June 18 at 2 pm; Mermaid Parade Ball at the New York Aquarium [602 Surf Ave. near W. Eighth Street in Coney Island, (718) 264-3474], June 18 at 7 pm. Tickets $25. For info, visit www.coneyisland.com.

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In honor of the Shat Ball, we present the many faces of William Shatner

William Shatner has been entertaining us for more than 50 years — it's no wonder the Bell House is hosting a tribute to him tonight, appropriately called the Shat Ball. 

In honor of that, here are some of the legend’s many faces.

The Kid
Shatner originated the role of a flight passenger who goes mad after seeing a gremlin on the wing of the plane in this classic “Twilight Zone” episode. It aired in 1963, when the actor was still an unknown, but you can sense the greatness to come.





The Icon
For three years, Shatner led the Starship Enterprise as Captain Kirk in the cult TV show, and then multiple times for the big screen, including the 1989 film “Star Trek V: The Final Frontier,” which he also directed to mixed reviews.







The Hair
Armed with a gun and his fake coif, Shatner returned to TV as a pompous police sergeant in “T.J. Hooker,” a role that was pretty much perfect for him and his hairpiece.





The Spokesman
Shatner gained further cultural relevance as the spokesman for Priceline — a role that’s reportedly earned him millions.






The Mouth
Shatner’s most-recent TV role saw him starring as the father in “$#*! My Dad Says,” which was based on a popular Twitter feed. The show wasn’t as successful and was canceled after one season. It was not Shatner’s fault.







The Cowboy
Throughout his entire career, Shatner’s proven he just does whatever the hell he wants. And we love him for it. He may be Canadian, but he’s an American treasure through and through.






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Our Northside picks — selected by Northside artists

The Northside Festival kicks off tonight, with hundreds of bands over the course of four days in Williamsburg and Greenpoint. Not sure what bands out of the hundreds to check out? We asked some of our local favorites which acts they don’t want to miss. When they’re not playing their own gigs, of course.

THEOPHILOUS LONDON
Catch him: June 16 at Music Hall of Williamsburg
We say: This rapper is considered the driving force of the urban pop movement, gaining fans for his genre-bending sound and distinct style (hello, 1980s!). All before his debut full-length, “Times are Weird These Days,” drops next month.
His picks: Surfer Blood; Dom
Catch them: June 17 at Knitting Factory and June 18 at McCarren Park (Surfer Blood); June 17 at Brooklyn Bowl (Dom)
He says: “These are two of my favorite bands in 2011 — very progressive and amazing personalities.”

SHARON VAN ETTEN
Catch her: June 17 at McCarren Park
We say: This singer-songwriter is one of those rare talents, armed with a captivating voice and heart-rendering lyrics that demand your attention. It’s no wonder Bon Iver covered her break-out single, “Love More.” She opens for the king of indie melancholy, Beirut.
Her pickXeno and Oaklander
Catch them: June 16 at Public Assembly
She says: “I have never seen them before. I love everything that Weird Records does. I am curious how their live shows are translated from the records I know.”
Her pick: Mount Eerie from Anacortes
Catch them: June 19 at St. Cecilia’s Church
She says: “I haven’t seen him in years, but he writes really beautiful songs. I started listening to him when I decided to move to New York, so it also feels like music from the soundtrack of my life.”

JEREMY HAINES (from Project Jenny, Project Jan)
Catch him: June 19 at Spike Hill
We say: Joined by partner-in-crime Sammy Rubin, this electronic outfit makes instantly danceable, hilarious music while channeling bands like Basement Jaxx and Gorillaz. You’ll be nodding your head to their catchy beats long after they’ve packed up their laptops.
His pickTiny Victories
Catch them: June 17 at 285 Kent
He says: “I am really excited for Tiny Victories. They rock.”
His pick :Guided by Voices, Surfer Blood
Catch them: June 18 at McCarren Park
He says:  “I am even more excited for the McCarren Park shows (Surfer Blood and Guided By Voices, although Beirut is cool, too).”




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