Friday, May 29, 2009

Sad goodbye

Sad news from Williamsburg today. ar/reading venue/arts lounge Stain Bar will be closing after failing to renew their lease, with this weekend devoted to selling what's sellable in their Williamsburg space.

From the founder, Krista Madsen:

It is with great sadness that I write the official goodbye now from Stain Bar. We've been somewhat quiet about our struggles to renew our lease since we always retained the hope that we would find a way to continue at 766 Grand. Alas, greedy landlord plus bad economy equals imminent demise. This weekend we'll be selling off whatever isn't bolted down (well, we'll sell that too), so if you've ever lusted after a chair here or admired a knicknack, come on down to our cleaning-out party and cry into your last beer and remind us of all the good times.

I have so many memories I'll have to write a book about it someday. Lots of people say that, but I mean it. I plan to write my bar book, with that cast of characters everyone promised me I'd meet when I opened a bar five years ago. It was the unlikeliest thing: woman with 6 months bartending experience embarking on this crazy venture. But against all the odds, it worked, not in way of wealth obviously but Stain became exactly the artistic community I dreamed it would be (and more) -- supportive, welcoming to all kinds, open to any voices, if perhaps a tad overly fond of odd costume bashes.

Then I had a real baby (Stain was more of a pre-schooler by then) and needed some help. Luckily I found it in Caroline and Craig who have done such an amazing job of running the place and honoring its original vision, I am forever indebted.

Now it's time to rest, reflect, and gather our strength up for the next big adventure. So stay tuned for maybe some Stain Bar The Sequel near you someday. And that novel.

With much love and gratitude to all of you who made this
bar such a special place,

Krista Madsen, Founder, Stain Bar LLC


The weekend: 5.29-5.31

The weekend is upon us once again.

Here, a list of some events going on around town that might intrigue you.

Friday, May 29

Music: Local acts like Taigaa and Pterodactyl take to the stage this weekend to benefit the Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls in the organization's Willie Mae-Ra-Thon. Parts & Labor kicked things off last night at Union Pool, and the festivities continue tonight with a dance party at Public Assembly (70 North 6th St), featuring experimental funk group Burnt Sugar, jazz group Sex Mob, with DJ Olive, hardcore band Secretary, featuring Big Boss, and a bunch of DJs. The show starts at 10 p.m., with tickets $10.

Food: All weekend long, indulge in Middle Eastern fare at the Lebanese Food Festival, running Friday to Sunday on Remsen Street, between Henry and Clinton streets. Enjoy everything from kibbe to kebabs, as well as take in live music from the popular five-piece Amin Khoury and the Sultans.

Bars: Beauty Bar comes to Brooklyn, with a grand opening this weekend, with DJs tonight and tomorrow night starting at 9 p.m. Get an early look before it's packed here. The bar/salon will be located at 921 Broadway near Melrose Street. Make sure to RSVP to the parties beforehand.

Music: The ladies of Au Revoir Simone play the Music Hall of Williamsburg (66 N. 6th St.) tonight with Antlers. Both are not to be missed. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased here. Doors open at 8 p.m. for the 9 p.m. show.

Saturday, May 30

Carnival: Be a rock star for a day at the Willie Mae Spring Carnival, at 163 Plymouth Street, where this weekend, young musicians in the making can get in on the fun. The two-day event features songwriting and instrument workshops. While in the neighborhood, stop on by Jacque Torres new ice cream parlor for some inspired treats.

Swap meet: Head to the BKLYN Yard and get lucky at Score, where hundreds of records, clothes, household items and "regretful impulse buys" will be there for the bartering. Don't wory if you bring something that no one else even wants: all leftover items will be donated to charity. The event runs from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., at the canal-side venue, located at 388−400 Carroll Street.

Art: This weekend, you are welcomed into the studios of the artists who work and live in the neighborhood through the Carroll Gardens & Red Hook Open Studio Tour. On Saturday and Sunday, from noon to 6 p.m., preview art, meet the makers, and explore the neighborhoods in this unique opportunity. Tour maps can be found here. Check out more art in the neighborhood here.

Put-put: You don't have to go all the way to Chelsea Piers for some minigolf action; starting Saturday, the "sport" comes to Bushwick with the opening of The Putting Lot. It's not all just fun and games - at the nine holes, each design will have an urban sustainability theme to examine the relevance of empty space in Brooklyn. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for kids.

Bowling: How has this not happened sooner? The Gutter (200 N. 14th St.) will have its first bowling tournament this Saturday at 2 p.m. The Leon Paley Co-ed Bowling Tournament & BBQ is $20 to enter (registration closes at 1 p.m. that day) and includes shoes, food and, of course, bowling. The tournament will crown a 1st, 2nd and 3rd place bowler, with the grand prize being a Ebonite Magic bowling ball. For spectators, you can buy a pitcher of sponsor Chelsea Brewing Company's beer and eat for free.

Sunday, May 31

Dance: Raise your feet, and raise some money for LAVA in the process, at its Handstand-a-Thon, a fundraiser for the dance company's free community programming. Handstand experts as well as first-timers are invited enlist sponsors for each second they do a handstand, with the goal to have people raise their feet for three hours, and raise $20,000 in the process. (Watch a video of the action here). The fundraiser starts at 2 p.m. outside of LAVA (524 Bergen Street).

Festival: Hear ye, hear ye! The olde Renaissance Faire is coming to Brooklyn, with jousting, capabult demonstrations, and more happening at Floyd Bennett Field. The fun starts at 1 p.m. and runs until 6 p.m, and the event is free. The fair will be held on the lawn across from Aviator Sports & Recreation, located at Hangar 5 at Floyd Bennett Field (3159 Flatbush Ave.).

Block party: Scoot around the Gowanus at The Bell House's Scooter Block Party, featuring scooters, BBQ and live music from Getset, The 45 Adapters, The Forthrights, and DJ Heatherdrue. The free event kicks off at 4:30 p.m. at the venue's Front Lounge and outside on 7th Street, between Third and Second avenues.

Bikes: You can do more than swap old clothes and records this weekend. The Brooklyn Bicycle Jumble is coming to JJ Byrne Park (Fifth Avenue between 4th and 5th streets). The free outdoor bike flea market will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., with vendors on hand to sell bicycles, bicycle components, and clothing to the public. The "celebration of bike culture" will also feature a classic bike show contest, and reps from the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative will be on hand to discuss the impending waterfront path along the East River.


Thursday, May 28, 2009


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Quest for Fire to make their American debut on 7th Street

By Meredith Deliso

Fans of psych rock may have mourned the death of the Toronto’s garage rock band Deadly Snakes and hardcore band Cursed when they split up a couple of years ago. But they can seek some solace in some of those band members’ newest endeavor, Quest For Fire.

Currently on tour with another Canadian act, rock and rollers Pink Mountaintops (which also pulls from a couple of members of Quest For Fire), the band comes to Brooklyn next month, playing at the Gowanus venue The Bell House on June 5.

Andrew Moszynski (guitar) and Chad Ross (guitar, vocals) of The Deadly Snakes and Mike Maxymuik (drums) of Cursed, as well as Josh Bauman on bass, form the band, which takes its name not from the “s----y Iron Maiden song,” says Ross, but the 1981 movie adaptation of the turn-of-the-century French novel.

The band is coming off the release of their self-titled debut on Tee Pee Records, out June 9, six songs informed by the psych jams of Pink Floyd, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, and Crazy Horse. They spent over a year working on their debut, but their rocking live show quickly created buzz in the Toronto music scene, with offers to open for acts like Black Mountain, Ladyhawk, Mudhoney, Earthless, Howlin Rain and Witch coming in.

“The process was hashed out by jamming for a year straight before we even played a show,” says Ross. “We hit some roadblocks for a while, then settled nicely into a comfortable place.”

Touring heavily in Canada, they’re excited to play their first gig as a band in the United States, right here in Brooklyn.

“Andrew and I have playing there a bunch with The Deadly Snakes,” says Ross. “We’re looking forward to trying to park our van and trailer.”

Quest For Fire play The Bell House (149 7th St.) on June 6 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $12 and can be purchased in advance here. For more information, call 718-643-651.


Sonic you

By Meredith Deliso

It’s no mystery that the city is loud, a noisy, cacophonous landscape.

But on June 7, you can experience Brooklyn like you never have before in one of ISSUE Project Room’s Soundwalk-A-Thon, a take on the “walk-a-thon” and a fundraiser for the Gowanus-based performance space.

Throughout the day, 20 leading sound artists and musicians will become sonic tour guides as they lead groups of 10-20 people on walks that range from meditative deep listening to sing-alongs, complete with instruments and iPods.

“ISSUE’s Soundwalk-a-thon takes the live experience from our venue and brings it outdoors,” says IPR’s Founder and Artistic Director Suzanne Fiol. “While many people in the experimental arts community are familiar with the work we do, the public-at-large is not. This event will bring together artists and audience, physically demonstrating the dynamic impact that experimental art is constantly having on New York City culture.”

As ISSUE is located in Gowanus, at the Old American Can Factory at Third Street and Third Avenue, it’s no surprise that a number of the soundwalks occur in the neighborhood. “Gowanus Field Reflections & The Great Steel Elevator,” led by composer Bradford Reed, moves through the neighborhood, ultimately ending up at the freight elevator of the Old American Can Factory, where the group will experience spontaneous “elevator music” being automatically created by custom software and the sounds of the elevator. Artist Betsey Bigg’s “Detox Project” starts at the courtyard of the factory and loops around the Gowanus Canal, as participants walk, hum and sing together. And Dylan Gauthier’s “Crudophonic Sound Event” places the “maligned urban oasis” of the Gowanus Canal, which potentially awaits a Superfund makeover, at the center of a meditation on open space, the open sea, floating gardens, green industry and utopian redevelopment.

Carroll Gardens
Nearby in Carroll Gardens, the Tin Can Telewalk, led by composer Kurt Gottshalk and vocalist Marie Evelyn, takes inspiration from the childhood game of “Telephone” and has participants echoing what they hear through tin can phones as they move through the neighborhood. Performance and installation artist Todd Shalom will guide walkers on a “Carroll Street Soundwalk,” encouraging different ways of listening.

DUMBO/Downtown Brooklyn
In DUMBO, let visual and sound artist Bruce Tovsky lead you on an underpass walk starting at the York Street F train station. Nearby at Brooklyn Bridge Park, sound artist Daniel Neumann leads “Demasking The Bridges,” exploring the noisy triangle between the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges while wearing masks to uncover more sounds. Walkers will sport iPods, not masks, on the Collective Opera Company’s “Shuffle Sing-a-Long,” and sing along - and out loud - with their music during the walk to create an a capella chorus (albeit one that’s not harmonizing together).

Prospect Park
Though Prospect Park may be a place Brooklynites go to escape the more chaotic, noisy elements of their lives, several soundwalks will make their way through the park. Sound and installation artist Andrea Williams’s walk focuses on to learn about the park’s sound and ecology; the “Prospect Park Ravine Walk,” led by interdisciplinary sound artist and composer Jonny Farrow, will explore those sounds occurring in the middle of Brooklyn – in the park’s ravine; drummer Kenny Wollesen will teach Lithuanian folk songs on his Balloon Bassoon Promenade soundwalk; and composer Edmund Mooney looks to lead a soundwalk through the park to “explore the unique sonic signature of various places in and out of the park.”

Starting Place Unknown
Other walks that might be for the more brave include Steve Dalachinsky’s Poets March, where an undisclosed number of poets will gather in Brooklyn and march toward ISSUE Project Room; Flaming Fire’s “We will run past all your walkers, opposite direction, screaming songs” soundwalk; Michele Nagai’s All Borough Bag Walk, which starts at the location of the participants’ choice, and Jonathan Kane’s “Bang a gong for ISSUE” soundwalk, a percussion improv march to ISSUE.

Beyond Brooklyn
The soundwalk-a-thon extends throughout the city as well, with ones along the East River Park (“Listen2009”), near the Bronx Museum of Art [“Transmutation in the Shift (---Documenting the Grand Concourse)”] and at the Battery Park Labyrynth (“Urban Zen Sound Meditation and Labyrinth Walk”).

Walkers interested in participating are committed to raising a minimum of $100 from “sponsors.” Registration for walks ends June 1.

All walk participants are invited to attend a post-walk after-party at ISSUE Project Room (232 3rd St.), with a musical performance by Ne(x)tworks. Food will be provided.

For more information, including start times and locations of the soundwalks, call 718-330-0313.


Gateway to Nations

There's more family fun at Floyd Bennett Field coming up in the next few weeks.

From June 5-7, the Redhawk Native American Arts Council returns for another year with its annual “Gateway to Nations” Native American Heritage Celebration, at the Gateway National Recreation Area at Floyd Bennett Field.

As part of the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s expiration of the Hudson River, the Redhawk Arts Council hosts the first of four Native American Celebrations called Native People of the Lower Hudson Valley. The kick off event will be June 5-7 at Brooklyn’s Floyd Bennett Field. The celebration is the largest Native American festival in New York City.

For more than 15 years, this location has served as the site for “Gateway to Nations” – a festival with more than 1,000 artists, performers and educators from across the Americas demonstrating the finest in Native American song, dance, drumming, food, art and crafts.

Friday is “Student Day” where schools, organizations and groups are invited to attend the event to enjoy special educational programming. The day is also open to the general public.

Performing groups from across New York State share the culture and traditions of the first people of this region as well as various Native American artists. A highlight of the event is the Native American dances including:

• Men’s Fancy War: With a circle of eagle feathers on their backs, they spin furiously
• Woman’s Fancy Shawl: With shawls draped across their shoulders, they appear to float
• Men’s Northern Traditional: The dancers tell stories of past hunts and battles
• Women’s Jingle Dress: They make the sound of a gentle rain falling to the earth

In honor of the indigenous people hailing from outside of the US, there will also be a Polynesian dance troupe representing — through dance cultures — the islands of Hawaii, Tahiti, Samoa and New Zealand. Also on the stage will be an Aztec group from Mexico City and Inca groups from Peru and Ecuador.

Other highlights of the extravaganza include authentic cuisine — buffalo burgers, venison stew, corn soup and fry bread — and the opportunity to interact with tribes like the Sioux, Navajo, Winnebago, Cherokee and Mohawk. Many of the artists have journeyed across the continent to showcase and sell their breathtaking paintings, carvings, pottery, beadwork, jewelry and leatherwork. This family event also features a live bird of prey exhibit, pony rides and tipi raising.

The Redhawk arts council is a nonprofit headquartered in Brooklyn. It was founded in 1994 to educate the public about Native American heritage and contributions through cultural expression. In addition to hosting four major cultural events in the tri-state area, the council also addresses negative and incorrect portrayals by offering educational workshops and performances in schools and companies.

Floyd Bennett Field is reached by taking Flatbush Avenue south of the Belt Parkway and then follow the signs (lat left turn right before the bridge).

Admission is by donation: $12; $6 for seniors and children; those ages six and under are admitted free. Show hours are Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
For more, call 718-686-9297.

Note that the dance competitions/shows begin at 1 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.


Reporter's Table: Orzo that deserves an ovation

By Helen Klein

While I’ve lived in Brooklyn for the past 30 years, my culinary roots are definitely in the Mediterranean.

It was in Italy and Greece that I learned to eat and to cook, forming my palate in a climate where flavoring your pasta was as easy as stepping out onto a red-tiled terrace and snipping a handful of basil leaves.

I definitely have a weakness for the vibrant colors and flavors of the Mediterranean basin that informs the type of table I set today.

One favorite side dish in my home is this orzo melange, sparked with ribbons of barely cooked spinach, and garnet-like chunks of red pepper, morsels of sweet onion and finely chopped garlic that have been sautéed together till crisp-tender. The colors burst on the plate like the flavors burst on the palate.

This dish, like many others that come out of my kitchen, is both versatile and malleable. If you don’t have red peppers, substitute yellow or orange. Stir in diced tomatoes either during cooking or at the end, if you prefer them raw. A bit of crumbled feta cheese would be a fine garnish, as well, as would chopped black olives.

And, leftovers are welcome, because the orzo tastes great as a salad the next day.


8 oz. orzo, boiled and drained
2 Tbl. olive oil, or as necessary, plus 2-2 Tbl. extra virgin olive oil, to finish the dish
1 cup chopped sweet onion, such as Vidalia or Maui
1 red pepper, cored and diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
4 cups raw baby spinach, washed well to remove any grit, cut into ribbons
A handful of basil leaves, cut into ribbons
Salt and pepper to taste
½ cup pine nuts

Heat oil in large skillet or wok, preferably non-stick.

When oil is hot, add chopped onion and pepper, and cook, over moderately high heat, till onion is translucent and vegetables are crisp-tender. Adding a dash of salt helps the vegetables render their liquid, minimizing the amount of oil that is necessary. When onion and pepper are somewhat cooked, add the garlic, stirring well, and continue cooking on moderately high heat.
If pan appears to be drying out before the onion, pepper and garlic are fully cooked, a splash of water, perhaps a quarter of a cup, will help loosen the caramelized bits from the bottom of the pan, and provide the necessary moisture till sautéing is completed.

Once the vegetables in the pan are crisp-tender, add the spinach, stirring till wilted, but still bright green in color. Add the basil, and salt and pepper to taste.

Add the orzo and pine nuts, and stir to combine, adding the extra virgin olive oil to coat the mixture.

Serves four to six as a side dish.

Helen Klein cooks out of her Flatbush kitchen, where she trades her pen and pad for a wooden spoon and whisk. She has been cooking since the age of 16, when she made a batch of spritz cookies in her mother’s Madison area apartment. Neither the culinary universe nor her figure has been the same since.


Atlantic Avenue Artwalk: stop in and say hello

"Construction of Time" by Donato Giancola

By Meredith Deliso

Artist Ellie Winberg once heard somewhere that there are more artists living in Brooklyn per square mile than anywhere else in the country.

However equivocal that statistic may be, “it really feels that way,” says the Park Slope-based artist, who has a studio in Carroll Gardens at 160 Union St.

On June 6 and 7, Brooklynites will have the opportunity to say hello to just some of those artists who live and work in the borough through the sixth annual Atlantic Avenue Artwalk, a studio tour along the cultural corridor of Atlantic Avenue spanning Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill and Downtown Brooklyn.

Over 200 artists, including Winberg, will open the doors to their studios, or occupy various businesses and vacant spaces, over the course of the weekend, providing non-traditional venues for artists to exhibit and people to see art, as well as link the neighborhood’s artist and business communities.

“Because the geography of these neighborhoods that run along Atlantic aren’t your typical art tour neighborhoods, say DUMBO or Williamsburg, we decided from the beginning to incorporate local businesses and merchants and have a way for a lot of different people to participate,” says Lisa Shimamura of Colabs on Atlantic Avenue, who founded the artwalk in 2004 when there were just 30 artists and the tour route was just half of what it is now (indeed, the tour stretches as far south of Atlantic as Union Street). “There’s that other kind of growth,” says Shimamura, “of just discovering people who are right here who we haven’t had a chance to meet yet.”

There is a strong sense of discovery inherent in the artwalk, of finding out there’s an artist working sometimes literally right under your nose.

“It’s not just a show, you’re going into someone’s life,” says sculptor Alex Racine, whose home/studio is at 477 Atlantic Avenue near Nevins Street (look for the little sculpture of a hand above the door). Racine, who just finished up a commission for Gourmet Garage in Manhattan, and whose work also includes the building facade at 694 Degraw Street, sometimes also brings viewers into his work.

“One year I saw a girl making fun of one of the sculptors. I asked her to pose, and she’s now one of my portraits,” said Racine. “It’s that kind of experience that’s priceless.”

Donato Giancola has been prone to including his family in the tour. His studio, at 397 Pacific Street near Bond, is covered with his two young daughters’ work, in addition to his own oil paintings and commissions for publishers, and last year he performed a live oil painting demonstration with his daughter Naomi as a muse. This year, he might have something similar planned.

“Cecilia might want to participate,” says Giancola of his younger daughter. “I might do a drawing demonstration. I found the oil painting was long and tedious in nature.”

Collagist and animator Mac Premo uses the annual artwalk as an opportunity to take stock of his work and reevaluate his “artist statement.”

“Inviting people into the space where you work, it forces you to reassess what you’re about,” says Premo, who shares his space with a children’s book author and a jeweler at 134 Nevins between Dean and Bergen. “As an artist, you tend to wonder what your role is and if you’re doing anything of value. Opening your doors can give you a sense of what kind of value you provide to the community.”

In addition to studio tours, as well as public mural projects, the Atlantic Avenue Artwalk live music all weekend, with, among others, free, outdoor public jazz performances through Connection Works, a Smith-street based non-profit that does music outreach programs in schools and undeserved communities. Though block parties are not an unusual sight in Brooklyn during the summer, for the first time, the artwalk will hold a block party on Nevins between Atlantic and Pacific, too, with music and artist exhibitions. Local restaurants and bars will also be getting in on the action, offering special promotions and happy hour pricing all weekend.

While the Atlantic Avenue Artwalk certainly isn’t the only studio tour in town (Carroll Gardens and Red Hook will have its own through the Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition just the weekend prior, on May 30 and 31), it’s certainly one of the biggest, and shows a growing need for artists to find non-traditional, informal ways to show their work.

“I think there is a trend of so many more artwalks because there is a need for people to be able to share their work in this way,” says Shimamura. “By opening doors to studios or doing work in the public setting, viewers are able to live with art or experience art in an unexpected setting.”

The artists, for one, are grateful.

“It’s great to be a part of something that’s becoming a repeating thing that people look forward to,” says Premo. “It’s having a true foothold in the community.”

The Atlantic Avenue Artwalk take place June 6 and 7 from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. The event is free. For more information, including tour maps and artist information, go here.


Hooked on Hosmer

By Meredith Deliso

Do you know who Harriet Hosmer is?

Neither did Patricia Cronin. Which surprised the Brooklyn college art professor, as Hosmer was one of the most celebrated sculptors in her day.

During the 19th century, the American lived and worked in Italy with other noted ex-pats like George Eliot, George Sands and Nathaniel Hawthorne, commissioned to create sculptures depicting such historical, mythological and literary figures as Zenobia, Medusa and Puck.

“The more I found out, the more fascinating she was,” said Cronin, who came across the artist while doing research, shocked to find she had never heard of her. “She was in a circle of very well-known writers and artists. She was the life of every party. Why is this person forgotten if she was so famous in her day?”

Finding a lack of thorough scholarship on Hosmer, it was then that Cronin decided to give the artist her due, compiling the definitive Hosmer catalogue raisonné (the publication that comprehensively lists an artist’s complete works).

For the past few years, Cronin, a Boreum Hill resident with a studio in Gowanus and a professor in the art department at Brooklyn College (from which she also received her MFA nearly 20 years ago), has been replicating all of Hosmer’s pieces, working in watercolor, a medium that mimics the luminosity of marble the sculptor worked with. In all, her book contains 62 pieces.

From June 5 till the beginning of next year, a selection of those pieces work will be on display in a solo show at the Brooklyn Museum called “Harriet Hosmer, Lost and Found,” in the Herstory Gallery and Forum of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art.

The Museum show marks the first time these paintings, for which Cronin has won the Rome Prize in 2007, will be on public view, with about half – 28 – selected for the exhibition. Cronin chose the selections to represent a variety of the work Hosmer created.

“If I’m trying to make the case for what a great artist she was, I needed to show the breadth and whole scope of her work,” said Cronin, who selected full-figured statues, mythological pieces and busts for the Museum show. “If I just picked all the same kind of work, I think it would be misleading.”

While Cronin created 62 paintings, a number of sculptures Hosmer created were not photographed, their existence known only through written references. To have a fully complete catalogue raisonné, Cronin has made a number of watercolors she calls “ghosts” – ethereal images of these unrecorded sculptures to represent, which will contrast effectively with the fully-realized watercolors of the known sculptures.

“It was a great way to talk about her ‘missing’ or ‘lost’ career,” said Cronin. “It’s not just one statue missing but a whole career.”

As to where Hosmer went, Cronin blames the decreasing popularity of neoclassical art at the time, and the rise of Paris at the turn of the century as an art center as opposed to Florence, though it is an issue she finds that can easily speak to female artists working today.

“Doing a reclamation-type project like I’m doing, the whole point is that she was so well-known, so well-respected in her time. It’s not like I found somebody that nobody knew and am saying this was an important artist. This was the most important artist in her day and she’s forgotten,” said Cronin. “It’s a great way to talk about the plight of being a woman artist. Unfortunately not that much has changed. But it won’t stop me.”

Patricia Cronin: “Harriet Hosmer, Lost and Found,” will be on view at the Brooklyn Museum (200 Eastern Parkway) in the Herstory Gallery and Forum of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, 4th Floor, from June 5 to July 24. For more information, call 718-638-5000.


Be a Brooklyn yankee in King Arthur's court this month

Break out the bodices and the riding boots: ye olde Renaissance Faire is coming to Brooklyn.

On May 31, from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., Aviator Sports & Recreation will host the medieval event, featuring live jousting competitions and other events associated with the Dark Ages.

Families can take in armored foot tournaments (at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.), demonstrations of the trebuchet, or large catapult (at 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.), and of course jousting (at 1 p.m., 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.).

The fair will also feature entertainment from belly dancers, as well as psychics.

Vendors will also be on selling their craftwork and books, and concessions will be available.

The event is free, so bring the whole family.

Aviator Sports & Recreation is located at Hangar 5 at Floyd Bennett Field (3159 Flatbush Ave.). The fair will be held on the lawn across from the sports complex. For more information, call 718-758-7500 or go to


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Pumps & Pleats: Buckle up for a 'Flight' of fancy

Story and photos by Michèle De Meglio

My trusty carry-on is made of cheap black canvas and came with two larger suitcases and a cruddy toiletry bag as a special $40 package from my favorite bull’s-eye franchise.

Good deal? Yes.

Stylish? No.

One step into Flight 001 made it clear that I am by no means a fabulous flyer.

The shop boasts a stunning array of seriously cool travel gear suitable for the most fashion-forward folk or the too-cool-for-school hipsters.

There’s patent red carry-ons, leather cases so soft they look like old Pumas, and even bags with Orla Kiely’s 70s inspired prints of apples and pears. (I’m still kicking myself for missing her coveted collection at Tar-jay.)

My favorite item is featured on the store’s Web site,, but was absent from the brick-and-mortar shop during my weekend visit. It’s a painfully adorable white suitcase decked out in a baby pink cherry blossom print. For the $220 asking price, I’d get my money’s worth by marching this sweet sucker through the Brooklyn Botanic Garden during its amazing cherry blossom festival.

But, in reality, I’m not that brave.

And I’m definitely not brave enough to carry Flight 001’s leopard print suitcase. I like animal prints as much as the next gal but seriously, talk about too much of a good thing.

For the sleeker set, there’s minimalist carry-on cases in powder blue or kelly green. They even boast cute names like "Jelly Bean."

Brooklyn’s fabulous fellas could take pride in toting around a camo case. Nothing says manly like wartime duds.

Flight 001’s concave walls are full of precisely organized travel necessities like multicolored alarm clocks, first aid kits and even a clever underwear carrier with a side for clean pairs and the other for dirty ones.

But my favorite item in the shop might very well be a throwback to my 80s childhood. The View-Master!

I may not be able to afford a trip to Paris but I sure as hell can take a holiday via Fisher Price!

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

(Published in the 5.28.09 issue of 24/Seven)

Editor's note: This story was written about Flight 001's Park Slope location, which has since closed. The store at 132 Smith Street remains open. Call 718-243-0001 for hours.


Kitchen Klutz: have finally met your match!

By Michèle De Meglio

My mom says I’m a bad Italian.

I use tomato sauce from a jar instead of making it from scratch, I actually enjoyed Chef Boyardee when I was a kid (Don’t judge me!), and I pronounce manicotti MAN-EE-COT-EE and not MON-EE-GO.

In hope of winning my mother’s Sicilian approval, I attempted to make the above-mentioned cheese, sauce and pasta dish.

Manicotti has always been a favorite of mine. As a child too young to work a stove, I begged my mother to make it. As an adult completely incapable in the kitchen, I ordered it in restaurants or microwaved the frozen version. (Okay, I’m ashamed.)

But now that I’m attempting to gain cooking expertise, I figured what better time to toss out freezer-burned heat-and-serve packages and cook this delectable dish from scratch.

Well, almost from scratch. I used Newman’s Own Marinara sauce instead of making it fresh. I’m a novice. Let’s not bite off more than we can chew!

So with my favorite sauce and wooden spoon, I was ready to work. The only problem? Those bloody manicotti shells wouldn’t work with me.

Their first attempt to sabotage my efforts came early when taking suicide plunges into a massive boiling pot. The shells went down fighting, splashing scalding water right at me.

Once removed, tossed in cold water to stop the cooking process (I learned that from you Mom!), and spread out on wax paper to dry, the shells were ready to be stuffed.

I combined ricotta, shredded mozzarella and grated Parmesan cheeses in a bowl with an egg, chopped parsley, salt and pepper and stirred. A spoon didn’t work so I grabbed a whisk and blended - maybe a bit too much.

Now for the hard part.

I tried jamming the cheese mixture into the narrow pasta shells using a tablespoon. Probably not the best idea because most - okay, all - of the shells ripped in half.

The good news - when I laid the manicotti in a casserole dish and covered it with sauce and more mozzarella, you couldn’t tell the difference. So I tossed the dish in the oven for 50 minutes at 350 degrees and hoped for the best.


I loved it! The sauce was sweet, the cheese was gooey and flavorful, the pasta was just right.

But my mother...

She had a bite. Just a bite. The self-professed "sauce snob" was horrified that Newman’s Own Marinara "had sugar" in it. No problem, I took the whole thing home and lived off of it for four days.

Hey, I think I did pretty well. After all, I’m only half Italian.

Recipe: Traditional Manicotti


One box manicotti shells

8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese

15 ounces ricotta cheese

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 tbsp chopped parsley

1 egg

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

24 ounces tomato sauce


Cook shells as per box instructions. Mix cheeses, parsley, egg, salt and pepper in a bowl. Spoon into shells. Coat baking pan with tomato sauce. Place manicotti over sauce. Spread on more sauce and mozzarella. Cover pan with aluminum foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.

Have a recipe for the Kitchen Klutz? Want to share a tip? Send ‘em to


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

(Published in the 5.28.09 issue of 24/Seven)


Art in Red Hook

Eager to see local artists? Look no further than Red Hook.

Several current or upcoming exhibits highlight the talent found right in the neighborhood.

The ongoing "Color of Hope" through the Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition is one such offering, running now through June 14 at BWAC's waterfront space at 499 Van Brunt. Get inspired by over 300 pieces that come from optimism in unusally dark times. This weekend also sees film offerings from ThaiNdY on May 30, showing a new collection of short films by Thai artists, and a performance of piano improvisations by Tina Olsen.

Starting tomorrow, May 28, and running through June 30, the King Richard Carriage Houses (91-99 King St.) will host an exhibition by Brooklyn artists, with an opening reception from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Set in the dramatic custom town houses, according to the organizers, the works reflect the "newly emerging spirit of Brooklyn admist the historic Red Ook neighborhood backdrop," and is curated by Leon Nicholas Kalas.

This weekend, you are welcomed into the studios of the artists who work and live in the neighborhood through the Carroll Gardens & Red Hook Open Studio Tour. On Saturday and Sunday, from noon to 6 p.m., preview art, meet the makers, and explore the neighborhoods in this unique opportunity. Tour maps can be found here.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

This week in 24/Seven

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

Highlights include:

Art: The Atlantic Avenue Artwalk returns, with local artists from Boerum Hill to Carroll Gardens opening up their studios for the weekend. Go inside June 6 and 7.

Festivals: Floyd Bennett Field gets busy the next few weekends with events for the whole family. Step back into the past - to the Dark Ages - with a Renaissance Faire on May 31. Then, enjoy three days of Native American music and dance on June 5, 6, and 6, with "Gateway to Nations."

Columns: Our paper's foodies are at it again, with our Kitchen Klutz cooking up manicotti, and orzo on The Reporter's Table, well, table. Pumps & Pleats also shops around in Flight 001.

Museum: Local conceptual artist Patricia Cronin has a solo show at the Brooklyn Museum. The Brooklyn College professor explores the career of forgotten sculptor Harriet Hosmer. Discover her yourself starting June 5.

Music: Explore Brooklyn via sound on ISSUE Project Room's Soundwalk-a-thon, part fundraiser, part oral adventure, on June 7. Register now for one of nearly 20 walks, led by renowned sound and visual artists.

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


Friday, May 22, 2009

The weekend: 5.22-5.25

It's a three-day weekend for most of you. Here's a look at what's going on in a neighborhood near you this holiday:

Friday, May 22

Music: Gowanus welcomes its newest spot with Littlefield (622 Degraw St.), which follows a soft opening last with some music this weekend. On the bill tonight are Little Girls, Sisters, and Golden Triangle. It all starts at 9 p.m., and is free.

Saturday, May 23

Drinking: Tour northern Brooklyn by bar in the Great Greenpoint BBQrawl, with a different Brooklyn Brewery (and free BBQ) at each stop. The tour starts at 3 p.m., moving along at its own pace, with stops at Black Rabbit, Brouwerij Lane, The Mark Bar, t.b.d. Brooklyn, and Van Gogh's Radio Lounge.

Film: Catch Rooftop Film's first-ever screening on the roof of Brooklyn Tech (29 Fort Greene Place) with the program Dangerous Docs, films that capture bizarre and extreme phenomenon that you have to see to believe. The six films are about "teenagers in Soweto dance atop moving trains, Australian preservationists rescue bizarre endangered chickens, a sideshow performer turns amputation into a spectator sport, and men travel from all across the world to compete in the World Beard and Mustache Championships." Tickets are $9 and can be purchased in advance here.

BBQ: Celebrate the holiday at the Bell House (149 7th St.) with a Dom Deluise Memorial Day BBQ. A double feature of his films "The End" and "Cannonball Run" will be screening. Also enjoy $1 hot dogs and burgers, and $2 Modellos and Presidentes. The event itself is free.

Sunday, May 24

Music: Enjoy this year's first Sunday Best at The Yard, as the Gowanus Canal-side outdoor spot returns for another summer of music and festivals. DJ Quentin Harris kicks things off at this Sunday's event, which runs from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tickets are $10, or $8 with an RSVP to

Bikes: Celebrate the 126th birthday of the Brooklyn Bridge with a 10-mile roundtrip bike ride sponsored by Williamsburg's City Reliquary Museum. The ride kicks off at noon at the museum, located at 370 Metropolitan Ave at noon. Wear a birthday hat and join in the party. There is a suggested donation of $5, or its free with the purchase of a 2009 Bicycle Fetish Day tee-shirt.

Parades: Mark Memorial Day by going to one of several parades occurring in Brooklyn. There's one in Greenpoint on Sunday and then in Gerristen Beach, Bay Ridge and Canarsie on Monday. For more, see here.

Monday, May 25

BBQ: Not equipped for an outdoor BBQ? Park Slope's Flatbush Farm (76 St. Marks Ave.) has you covered. Enjoy hot dogs, burgers, and even kebabs in the restaurant's garden, and drink pourer Jason Roberts will serve up some Bumble Tea - Earl Grey-infused, vodka-based sweet tea. Sounds delicious.


Bye-bye to Black Betty

This week our Williamsburg Courier reports on the shutting of Black Betty, one of the first bars in the neighborhood catering to the hipster scene, and which recently celebrated its 10th anniversary.

The venue will close June 15, with Reverend Vince Anderson and his Love Choir on the bill, so make sure to pay your respects before then.

Here's what's on tap for the weekend:

FRIDAY "The Green House” DJ MonkOne spins with the legendary G-MAN the MC serving up some of the finest in soul, salsa, R&B, disco, deep pop, reggae and afrobeat. 10:00p.m. – 4:00a.m. No cover.

SATURDAY "Make Love Not War” DJ Emskee and the legendary G-MAN the MC present a night of dance featuring classic hip hop, soul funk, 80's rock/dance, house, disco, and reggae. 10:00p.m. – 4:00a.m. No cover.

SUNDAY "Brazilian Beat Brooklyn” DJs Sean Marquand and Greg Caz bring forth Brooklyn’s longest running samba shake down with 60s and 70s Brazilian beats.10:00p.m. – 4:00a.m. No cover.

MONDAY “Rev. Vince Anderson and his Love Choir” Dirty gospel? You bet, when Rev. Vince’s in charge! With solo musical appearances from the Roots and TV On The Radio, Rev. Vince delivers the best music in Brooklyn every Monday night. 10:30p.m. No cover.


Beauty Bar in Brooklyn

No more going to Manhattan for your happy hours and manicures: Beauty Bar is coming to Brooklyn.

Eater reports that the bar/beauty parlor chain will be opening up a new location in Bushwick, with the grand opening next weekend at 921 Broadway.

RSVP here to get in on the party.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Kitchen Klutz: Attack of the midnight peanut butter pancakes!

I’m no longer a third-grader but I enjoy a smooshed creamy peanut butter and grape jelly sandwich. And there’s definitely nothing better after a late-night revel than a warm stack of pancakes from a dingy diner. So combining these two delightful dishes should be a cinch, right? Wrong.

I was following what appeared to be a rather simple recipe for a confection called PB & J Pancakes when all of my Kitchen Klutz mojo fell to pieces over a sinister saucepan.

This particular recipe called for peanut butter laced batter and a gooey berry syrup made fresh with $5 worth of blackberries from Waldbaum’s.

The batter was relatively simple (even for me!) to prepare — add flour, milk, eggs, baking powder and other pancake necessities to a bowl and stir. Toss in half a cup of creamy peanut butter already melted in the microwave and voilà — the batter is ready.

Actually, it wasn’t that simple. I might have overdone it on the stirring part. Is it bad when thick batter transforms into a thin liquid?

Some of you might be saying yes but that wasn’t the main fiasco of the evening. (Yup, I made these pancakes on a late Friday night.)

When it came time to add nearly a cup of sugar, lemon zest, water and the two packages of blackberries, the sweet ingredients seemed to mesh merrily in the hot pot.

The recipe said “mash the blackberries as they cook.” Okay, I took out a shiny potato masher and went to work on those berries. Yes, they did mash but those pesky seeds went everywhere. I didn’t worry too much, I mean, they’ll dissolve, right?

Well, not so much. After the watched pot sat on the stove for a good 20 minutes - and still didn’t have a sticky syrup consistency - I gave up and decided to serve it as is, seeds and all.

As my stomach grumbled in need of midnight munchies, I coated a frying pan with butter and slid it onto the stove completely excited about grilling up some grub.

I spooned the batter into the pan in horrifically misshapen monstrosities. Yes, there was burning. Yes, there was oozing. No, I can’t flip a pancake without having the batter explode everywhere. Maybe there was a scream or two. Okay, there were three.

Verdict: Peanut butter pancakes are weird. Once I tossed away a few black pieces and tried to disregard the funny shapes, I realized that the pancakes came out somewhat light and fluffy. But the peanut butter was overwhelming and failed to blend with the classic taste I expect from a yummy stack of flapjacks. Dousing the hotcakes with the rich blackberry sauce (even with the seeds) helped kill the peanut butter bully and make the dish somewhat edible.

Pancakes and fresh blackberry syrup: thumbs up. Pancakes and peanut butter: pass.

Have a recipe for the Kitchen Klutz? Send it to

PB and J Pancakes
(Recipe courtesy of Sunny Anderson)

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 egg
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk, plus extra if needed to thin
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter, melted
2 tablespoons oil
4 tablespoons butter
Blackberry Syrup, recipe follows
Preheat a griddle. In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. Slowly mix in egg, milk, peanut butter and oil until combined. Add a little extra milk if batter feels too thick. Let mixture sit 5 minutes. Melt 1 tablespoon butter on griddle and move around to coat entire griddle. Pour about 1/4 cup of batter per pancake on griddle to form 5-inch pancakes. The batter spreads as it cooks. Fill griddle without crowding pancakes. Flip when air pockets start to pop on the top and a quick peak on the underside reveals a golden pancake. Repeat with remaining butter and batter. Serve pancakes with Blackberry Syrup.

Blackberry Syrup:
2 pints fresh blackberries
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 lemon, zested

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine all ingredients and bring to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Lower heat to a simmer and cook until liquid is reduced to a syrupy consistency, about 10 minutes. Use a wooden spoon to break up blackberries as they cook. Strain syrup to remove seeds and serve warm.

Yield: 1 cup
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Difficulty: Easy

--Michèle De Meglio
(Published in the 5.21.09 issue of 24/Seven)


Mangiare Bene: The easy way to introduce tasty 'Endroits' to your dining table

Farina is to Italy as grits is to the South - a staple in the pantry that will take you from breakfast to dinner, from the cradle to the grave.

My mother made me farina every winter morning I went off to school. I liked it savory, so a dollop of butter and salt accompanied my breakfast bowl. On the weekends, she would substitute a full tablespoon of Nutella, (a chocolate hazelnut spread) in the center and swirl around the sweet and salty confection into a hearty morning helping.

During Lent, my grandmother always made farina on Fridays. Mixed with raisins, grated cheese and fried into a pie in a well-seasoned heavy bottomed cast iron skillet, it would accompany a tomato basil arugula salad or be served alongside a home made pizza. Either way, it was a great source of iron and a hearty meatless meal for Lent.

Years later, when I met my husband’s family -- they hail from Bari -- they introduced me to a family favorite made from farina called endroits.

Unfortunately, the recipe was never written down so I have had to improvise with a little help from basic pasta knowledge and remembrances of my husband and his brother.

These delectable morsels are a great alternative to the same tried-and-true egg noodles for your homemade chicken soup. These tasty farina “caterpillars” are sure to please.

This recipie makes enough to feed an army - Mangiare bene!

I’m always open to new dishes so drop me a line at

What you will need:
2 cups of farina (I use Cream of Wheat)
1 cup of flour (any kind will do)
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons of oil
2 - 4 tablespoons of ice water (depending on the humidity of the day)
Justa Pinch, (2 teaspoons) of salt
1/2 teaspoon of double acting baking powder
A box grater
Large baking sheet
Cotton kitchen towels

Mix the farina, flour, eggs and oil in the food processor, slowly adding the ice water until the mixture forms a ball around the blade. Remove onto a floured board and lightly knead to fully incorporate. Be careful not to over-knead as it will make the noodles tough. If the dough is too sticky, sprinkle on additional flour, until it looks just about right. Shape into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and let rest and chill in the fridge for about one hour.

Remove dough ball, cut into quarters. Take one quarter and grate on the side with the large-sized holes, making caterpillar shaped noodles. Spread out on a cookie sheet, sprinkle with flour, cover with a kitchen towel and dry for approximately 1 - 2 hours.

The noodles will then be ready to add to your simmering chicken soup. Cook until tender (about 10-12 minutes). Taste for doneness and enjoy.

Joanna DelBuono grew up in Gravesend, Brooklyn and learned to cook at her grandmother’s knee. “Justa pinch” and “looks about right” were her only guidelines — who knew from Escoffier?

She now lives in Staten Island with her husband and daughter. She commutes daily via two trains and a boat — this makes dinnertime a chore, but thanks to grandma’s recipes, she’s able to put a tasty meal on the table before the troops mutiny.

For more words of wisdom, check out Joanna’s weekly column, “Not for Nuthin.’”


Pumps & Pleats: Tote around your exotic desires...

The country is in a recession but you’d never know that when walking into Jane’s Exotic in Sheepshead Bay.

Open just a few weeks, the bright airy space features walls of hundred- and thousand-dollar Italian handbags and gemstone jewelry.

While my modest reporter’s salary – and better judgment – would prevent me from dropping my rent money on a few inches of leather, it’s still fun to look at decadent accessories I’ll probably never carry in real life.

In fact, I found “my own personal brand of heroin” in the imported handbag collection.

Amid the rows of Italian-made bags lining the store’s far right wall (prices range from $200 to $400), sat a sparkling hot pink purse.

The glitter transfixed my inner 13-year-old in love with all things bubblegum. But the 20-something that I truly am knows better than to carry around a cotton candy contraption. (But that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t buy a $20 knockoff at Tar-jay.)

Surrounding the pretty pink lady were black and chocolate and grape satchels all designed in the same style – big and bold.

Although I’ve never had the pleasure of doing so, I can sorta understand spending $200 for an “investment” handbag. But I’m not sure that “investment” would come in the form of cowhide.

Jane’s Exotic was definitely full of screaming bags mixing trend over trend over trend but there were still a few subdued pieces for the classically chic set.

If you’re willing to spend a whopping $800 to $2,000 for a purse that could last a lifetime (for that price it better last a lifetime!), Jane’s Exotic has an assorted collection of alligator and snakeskin handbags.

A beautiful royal blue structured tote caught my eye but it was a cherry red satchel with full-on alligator tail that was truly eye-popping.

Much like the shop’s handbag collection, the jewelry case featured a stunning array of big, bold, trendy and luxurious items.

I was drawn to a simple pair of dangly matte gold earrings that could easily blend with sit-at-my-desk-all-day wear or party-all-night wear. But my inner adolescent caught sight of something Bubblicious and ruined the moment.

It was an elaborate, intricately detailed necklace featuring three cascading and rather large butterflies decked out in pearls and sapphires. At $2,000, it’s the most expensive piece of jewelry at Jane’s Exotic.

My little heart soared as I soaked in the red and pink and purple enamel, syrupy sweet details, large lustrous pearls –

Hey! Message to 13-year-old: Shut up!

Jane’s Exotic is located at 1401 Sheepshead Bay Road. Contact the store at 646-458-1827.

--Michèle De Meglio
Published in the 5.21.09 issue of 24/Seven


What to wear with Au Revoir Simone

The girls of Au Revoir Simone are as distinct as their dreamy, piano-based pop.

Their sweet yet sophisticated look in part comes from Brooklyn vintage stores like Malin Landaeus, on North 6th between Bedford and Driggs avenues in Williamsburg, and shoes down the street from Shoe Market to trot those vintage classics on.

They also, alas, find a lot of their outfits while on tour out of the country.

“We did a massive shopping spree in Stockholm,” says Erika Roster. “It's always really awesome to find touring dresses.”

Read more about the group's upcoming travels in support of their new album, “Still Night, Still Light,” after the jump.

All together now: Au Revoir Simone is sonic energy times three

Williamsburg’s favorite female trio, indie darlings Au Revoir Simone, have been busy hitting the road – and the skies – in support of their latest offering of electro-piano pop with the release of their third album, “Still Night, Still Light.” But before they fly off for a summer tour in Europe, they made it a point to get in a couple shows in town.

For the past two years, the band, comprised of Heather D’Angelo, Erika Roster and Annie Hart – all on keys and vocals, with D’Angelo on the drum machine – have been working on their follow-up to 2007’s “The Bird Of Music.” The newest album from the band, which formed in Williamsburg in 2002, promises more of the group’s dreamy, melancholy, piano-based pop. and finds the trio even tighter than before.

“We’ve always sort of felt psychically connected. And the three of us had spent two years constantly with each other, traveling the world and meeting new people. All of our influences were the same,” said Roster, while in the midst of moving out of her Williamsburg apartment for the summer in preparation of traveling yet again. “When it came to writing songs together, it was amazing how much we were all on the same page. Conceptually, lyrically and sonically – there was so much overlap between the three of us. Everything just came together.”

When looking for a fourth to join their group – a producer – the band turned to the guys in Peter, Bjorn, and John, whom they had toured with a couple years ago, for a recommendation.
“We really love Bjorn’s production style – there’s a great pop sensibility while still being really weird,” said Roster. “It was like, where can we find someone like that?”

They found Thom Monahan (The Whispertown 2000, Vetiver), who helped them dive deeper into their instruments and produce a more dance-heavy, bassy sound that alternates with their lighter, quieter moments.

After finishing up recording in Hart’s Greenpoint apartment and out in LA at Monahan’s, the album came out this past Tuesday on the band’s own label, Our Secret Record Company.

Before the album came out, the girls had been preparing for its eminent release, with a listening party earlier this month at (Le) Poisson Rouge and, before their month in Europe, a small, unannounced show at Williamsburg’s Union Pool.

“We made it a point of debuting our songs in Brooklyn first,” said Roster. “We wanted to invite our friends out and play new songs live, and be a part of that community on a smaller scale.”

Next, the trio can be found at the Music Hall of Williamsburg, headlining a show May 29, and then playing the following month at the Bowery Ballroom on June 27, before flying off on their European tour.

Until that point, they’re just looking to enjoy their time in Brooklyn before leaving for three months.

“As much as I feel exhausted and want to chill out, I think the weather is very inspiring to see people and spend time outside,” said Roster, who was looking forward to a bracelet-making party in McCarren Park this past weekend with some friends. “It’s so nice to visit new places, but it’s hard to imagine being anywhere except New York.”

Au Revoir Simone play the Music Hall of Williamsburg May 29 at 9 p.m. Get there early for Brooklyn-based acts The Antlers and Lights, an avant-folk quartet, for a night of solid indie pop.
Tickets are $15.

They also play Bowery Ballroom (6 Delancey St.) June 27 at 8 p.m. Tickets are also $15.

--Meredith Deliso
Published in the 5.21.09 issue of 24/Seven


Rockin' Spring Carnival puts kids on the mic

While Brooklyn musicians will be taking to local stages to raise money for the Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls, those aspiring rock stars can get a taste of the spotlight themselves.

While the summer camp may already be booked for this summer, your little one can still be a rock star for a day (or two) through the camp’s Rockin’ Spring Carnival.

Held May 30 and 31 in DUMBO a 163 Plymouth Street, the carnival will feature mini lessons in drums, bass, guitar, vocals and songwriting to pique those budding interests in music and performance.

The weekend will also feature art projects, with recording and video-making, as well as band art, buttons, posters and ‘zine workshops, as well as other games and face-painting, good for those ages 6 to 18.

“We did a mini rock camp last summer and it went really well, so this year we’re doing it again,” said camp founder Karla Schickele of Fort Greene. “The whole family is welcome.”

The event serves as a fundraiser for Willie Mae’s scholarship program, which each summer teaches budding starlettes the nuts and bolds of being in a band, from writing songs to actually playing instruments, and just for girls.

“Everyone in a position is female - from guitar teachers to the roadies to the staff,” says Schickele. “We really think there’s a lot of power in this.”

The carnival runs form 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on May 30 and 31, with free admission, though a $10 activity fee.


They rock today so that girls can rock tomorrow

Twenty bands will rock out at four different Brooklyn venues this month to help benefit a camp that helps make young girls own rock-star dreams come true.

From May 28 - 31, the 3rd Annual Willie Mae-Ra-Thon, a weekend of shows featuring all local bands at some of the borough’s best and newest venues, will invade Brooklyn.

Proceeds will go toward the Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls, a summer camp that helps teach young women and girls songwriting skills and how to play instruments.

Williamsburg’s Union Pool (484 Union Ave.) kicks things off on that Thursday with Brooklyn-based noise rock band Parts & Labor. Sarah Lipstate, the guitarist for Parts & Labor, will also play that night in her solo project Noveller. Also performing that night are equally experimental bands Omega Jarden and Talk Normal.

The next night, Public Assembly (70 North 6th St.) plays host to the Mae-Ra-Thon, with experimental funk group Burnt Sugar, jazz group Sex Mob, with DJ Olive that night, hardcore band Secretary, coming all the way from California for the event, featuring Big Boss. DJ Scribe, DJ shErOck, Joro Boro, and eMMA Sound Sista will also be behind the turntables.

Brooklyn’s newest venue, Bruar Falls (245 Grand St.), will feature art punk upstarts Taigaa and Pterodactyl, Grass Widow and Querent on Saturday, May 30.

And The Bell House (149 7th St.) in the Gowanus will feature an indie lineup with Babe the Blue Ox, Antietam and The Last Town Chorus on Sunday, May 31.

Show times and costs vary. For more information on the Willie Mae-Ra-Thon, as well as the rock camp (which also has a camp for ladies for all you dying to get on stage yourselves), go to or call 212-777-1323.

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