Monday, August 31, 2009

Kitchen Klutz: Hawaiian chicken recipe

Hawaiian Chicken


2 boneless chicken breasts
1 small can pineapple slices
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
Pinch of ginger


Combine honey, soy sauce, garlic powder and ginger in large mixing bowl. Drain pineapple slices and add juice to bowl. Blend ingredients. Add chicken to bowl and marinate for two to three hours. Cook chicken on George Foreman Grill for approximately five minutes or until tender. Garnish with pineapple slices.


Next Wave tickets now on sale...

...if you're a friend of BAM. Otherwise, public sale begins September 8.

More info from BAM:

Next Wave Festival Single Tickets
Join Friends of BAM to access Next Wave tickets today
Public sale starts Sep 8

The Next Wave Festival returns for its 27th season featuring artists such as Robert Lepage, Isabelle Huppert, William Forsythe, and Robert Wilson. With an unparalleled line-up of contemporary performance, artist talks, literature, film, and visual art, the Next Wave is dedicated to presenting adventurous art for adventurous audiences.

Join Friends of BAM for as little as $75 a year to purchase single tickets now to Next Wave Festival performances one week before the general public. In addition to priority access to tickets, member benefits include waived ticket handling fees, 50% discount on Artist Talks, dining in the neighborhood discounts, and more.


Friday, August 28, 2009

Wake up your taste buds with a shot of Tequila Lime Chicken

By Helen Klein

Those who read this column regularly are well aware that I am not a fan of shy flavors.

When I cook, I gravitate to assertive tastes and bright colors which both look and taste spectacular.

Not surprisingly, therefore, I am a fan of lime. The small green fruit may fit neatly in the palm of my hand, but its big taste takes me far away to climes where palm trees bend gently in the breeze. That’s a good thought to keep in mind when I toil in the summer heat in my Brooklyn kitchen.

I’m also a major-league fan of cumin, whose dusky taste adds a haunting back note to some of my favorite foods, from chili to hummus.

The two flavorings team up with tequila, garlic and onion to create a chicken dish that is easy and appealing, and has become a favorite in my household.

It’s also simple to alter. Cut the chicken in chunks if you want to sauté it on the stove. Keep the cutlets whole, if you want to throw them on the grill. Either way, the resulting main course will be the centerpiece of a simple dinner, accompanied by a side dish such as yellow rice.

I have made this dish with bottled lime juice, and it’s still good. But, it’s way better if the lime juice is fresh-squeezed -- not to mention that youl’ll get to enjoy the tantalizing fragrance of citrus that will cling to your fingertips as you cook.

Tequlia Lime Chicken


1 lb. chicken cutlets
¼ cup tequila
¼ cup lime juice, freshly squeezed
1 tsp. cumin
1 medium onion, preferably Vidalia, sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 Tbl. olive oil
1 red pepper, cored and sliced
1 yellow pepper, cored and sliced
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped


Cut chicken into chunks. Marinate in tequila, lime juice, cumin, onion, garlic, salt and pepper for 1-2 hours.Heat olive oil in large skillet. When oil is sizzling, add chicken (strained from marinade, which should be reserved). Cook, tossing occasionally, till golden on all sides.

Add onion, strained from marinade, and sauté till tender.

Add colored peppers, and continue to sauté till peppers are crisp-tender.Add marinate, and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, till liquid is reduced and meat is tender and flavorful. Add additional salt and pepper, if desired.

Garnish with chopped cilantro.

Serves 4.

Note: When I grill the chicken cutlets whole, I serve with strips of pepper that I have previously grilled. To grill peppers, put whole ones on greased grates over medium-high heat, cooking for about 3-4 minutes per side, till blackened all over. Blackened peel and core should be removed once peppers are cool to the touch. The peppers can then be refrigerated for future use.


Cutting-edge fashion - on a roll

By Michèle De Meglio

Brooklyn is full of high-end boutiques but there’s only one graffiti-clad van bringing fashion to the streets.

Since 1989, Kensington resident Derrick Meyer has parked his colorful vehicle on various street corners to sell spring dresses and winter leggings to pedestrians.

This summer, he’s found a spot in front of Trader Joe’s at the corner of Court Street and Atlantic Avenue. The Brooklyn Heights location has proven profitable, as the gourmet supermarket’s shoppers stop in their tracks when spotting Meyer’s wares.

While Meyer previously sold dresses he designed and manufactured, he now selects the most trendy — and affordable — fashions produced in India.Currently, the racks offer peasant tops and embroidered cotton skirts in a variety of summer colors including lemon, pink and lavender. These would be perfect for a Sunday afternoon stroll on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade.

There’s a variety of maxi dresses.

For a loose look, try a tiered confection in baby pink with the most subtle peach flowers. The long dress melts into a soft turquoise shade, creating a cool color-block effect.

A delicate pink, purple and green tie-dyed halter dress would be lovely for the beach or sipping piña coladas after a day in the sun.

Want to go super slinky and sexy? Try the silk halter maxi dress in a gorgeous paisley print with touches of navy and ocean blue.

All the dresses range from $20 to $40. Cheap and cute!

In the coming weeks, Meyer will switch to cooler fare, including tights and leggings in an assortment of warm colors.Fall can’t get here soon enough!

The dresses are for sale at Court Street and Atlantic Avenue every day, except during rainstorms. Contact 561-459-6023 for more details. Meyer also sells goods at the corner of Spring and Mercer streets in Manhattan.

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.


Kitchen Klutz: Enjoy Hawaii in your own home!

**Check back Monday for this recipe

By Michèle De Meglio

Hawaii holds one of the top spots on my “must visit before I croak” vacation list. Sadly, I can’t make it to Maui this summer since my suite is booked at the Ritz in Paris. Ha! (It seems the recession is inspiring sarcasm.)

In an attempt to take a trip to Hawaii without leaving my Brooklyn abode, I hosted a luau. Hello, grass skirt!

At a true Hawaiian luau, the culinary star is kalua pig. The swine is coated with spices, wrapped up and tossed in a hole in the ground that’s filled with hot coals for a 12-hour cooking session.

Uh, yeah, I ain’t doing that.

Inspired by the traditional cuisine — and dying to wear a tropical flower in my hair — I created my own recipe for Hawaiian chicken. I opted for chicken rather than pork because I’m just not a fan of “the other white meat.”

The recipe was actually rather simple, especially when compared to roasting a whole pig in the ground.

Using my slowly improving cooking skills (I’m being generous in that assessment), I thought the easiest way to create Hawaiian flavors was with a marinade.

For the base of the marinade, I drained a can of pineapple slices and poured the sweet syrup into a large mixing bowl. I added honey, soy sauce, garlic powder and a bit of ginger. A healthy stir is necessary so the honey doesn’t stick to the bottom of the bowl.

I placed two boneless chicken breasts in the marinade and left the bowl in the fridge for three hours.

Once I was sure the chicken had soaked up the Hawaiian flavors, it was time to cook on my trusty George Foreman Grill. I know it’s not as neat as a barbecue, but the grill is super easy for novices like myself. Don’t judge.

Verdict: Unbelievably, amazingly, stupendously awesome!

This Hawaiian chicken is easy to make and, most important, tastes great. It has a perfect flavor combination of sweet (from the honey and pineapple syrup) and tangy (from the ginger).With this recipe, who needs a kalua pig? Leave that hog in the ground!

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.


Let “Final Destination” rest in pieces

"The Final Destination"
One star

By Thomas Tracy

There are thousands of ways one can die and some of the more gorier methods are splattered up on the screen for all to enjoy in “The Final Destination,” which this reviewer hopes will be the last stop for this blood soaked series.

Let’s face it: When the creativity pool churns up nothing but chum about being crushed by stock car engines and getting cut in half by hubcaps, it’s time to hang things up (although hanging is also used for a quick chuckle).

In “Final,” just like the first three incarnations of the horror series, the lives of four friends and a handful of others are saved from a gruesome death when young Bobby Campo has a premonition that a quiet day at a Nascar race is going to go horribly wrong (isn’t that why people go to these races, to watch something go horribly wrong?).

When the smoke clears and all of the blood is mopped up, 52 people died in the horrible accident.

Yet death, fate, the Grim Reaper, the screenwriter -- whoever -- isn’t happy with that paltry body count and goes out after those saved by Bobby’s vision, usually in the form of a menacing breeze that has a penchant for knocking over open bottles of flammable liquids.

When Death’s low on souls and this worrisome wind is beneath its wings, carnage can erupt anywhere, from the local pool to the car wash to a beauty salon. Death even comes a calling at -- gasp -- a movie theater! Is no place sacred?

Of course, Bobby and his pals try to halt death’s plans, but not before director David R. Ellis can pump out every piece of viscera he can from the completely forgettable characters (no joke -- there’s one guy in the movie only known as “that racist”).

With just one scant reference to any of the earlier films, “The Final Destination” does little to add to an already anemic horror genre. Maybe Death should do us all a favor and kill off this series once and for all.

"The Final Destination." Starring Nick O’Bannon and Lori Milligan. Directed by David R. Ellis. Running time: 82 minutes. Rated R for strong violent/gruesome accidents, language and a scene of sexuality.


The Weekend: 8.28-8.30

Lots of big names in music this weekend, from soul kings to indie darlings, to the King of Pop himself. See what's happening in a neighborhood near you.

Friday, August 28

Blog buzz: After the Jump Fest returns this year, this time at Littlefield in Gowanus with blog-beloved bands such as Holiday Shores and Dinosaur Feathers tonight, and Drink Up Buttercup and Das Racist tomorrow. Proceeds help benefit music programs in schools. From Friday through Sunday. Tickets are $10 each day, or $25 for the whole weekend. Littlefield is located at 622 Degraw St.

Soul: If a whole weekend of indie isn't your thing, check out The Brooklyn Soul Festival, a few blocks away at The Bell House (149 7th St.). Tonight, Barbara Lynn, "The Soul Queen of the Gulf Coast," Roscoe Robinson, "The Baron of Birmingham, AL," and Hermon Hitson, "The Georgia Grinder Himself," will get you grooving tonight, all backed by Eli "Paperboy" Reed & the True Loves. More Saturday as well. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door if not sold out.

Saturday, August 29

Farewell: Celebrate the life and music of Michael Jackson at Prospect Park this weekend, in a party by Spike Lee. Thousands are expected to come to the event, which is rain or shine. From noon to 5 p.m. at the Neathermead in the park.

BKLYN Yard: Hang out canal-side and listen to the cool sounds of Psychic Ills, Zs, Sharon Van Etten, and others, as they play the Yard (388-400 Carroll St.) as part of an event curated by Impose Magazine to benefit 826NYC. There will also be a record and arts fair, and a film screening by Cinema 16. It doesn't get more Brooklyn than that. Doors at noon. $10 for show, $5 for screening, $12 for both.

Cars: Vintage cars rumble into to Brooklyn at the annual Hot Rod Thrills Car Show. Find it under the BQE in Williamsburg, on the corner of Union Ave and Meeker Street, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Sunday, August 30

Pool Party: Don't miss the last Pool Party of the summer, as Grizzly Bear bid farewell to another season of hip indie rockers. Doors open at 2 p.m., but, knowing the crowd, they'll be one, so get there early. Located at the East River State Park in Williamsburg (90 Kent Ave.).


Anarchy - rockabilly style!

Betty Bloomerz in action

Enjoy four nights of bumping & grinding & hootin' & hollerin'

By Meredith Deliso

Benjamin Wilson has always been inexplicably drawn to Coney Island.

“I think it’s always been in me. I’ve found different things in my life that I’ve identified with,” says Wilson, who grew up in New York outside the city and lives in Manhattan. “Growing up I lived down the street from an amusement park. I would go in the wintertime and run around playing hide and go seek.”

This summer, Wilson returns to the Boardwalk, producing the third annual Coney Island Rockabilly Festival, four nights of burlesque, sideshow acts, and rock and roll, from September 4-7.

“I’m more interested in bringing things that people identify with Coney Island in a way,” says Wilson, who will be performing on Friday, August 4, with his surf trash band, The Holy Roller Sideshow, along with burlesque acts on the bill at the Coney Island Sideshow. “If we can bring all these artists and musicians to Coney Island at this time, I think it will be beneficial.”

In addition to Wilson’s band, over 100 acts will converge on Coney this Labor Day weekend, including New York City-based psychobilly act The Memphis Morticians on Friday, September 4, at Cha Cha’s of Coney Island, on the Boardwalk between West 12th Street and Stillwell Avenue.

“We played last year and had a damn good time,” says the band, which expects to play some tracks off their newest EP “1,000 Delinquents.” “It’s a mixture of sleazy rock n’ roll, burlesque and Coney Island...What more could you ask for?”

Other highlights of the four-day festival include the 3rd Annual Big Burlesque Blow Out on Saturday, September 5, at Cha Cha’s, featuring dozens of burlesque acts including local performer Weirdee Girl, Missy Macabre of London, Claire De Lune of New Orleans, Lucy Buttons (NYC), Hula Hoop Harlot Melissa-Anne (NYC), and too many more to print.

Also don’t miss psychobilly act Sasquatch and the Sickabillys of Providence, RI, on Sunday, September 6, at Cha Cha’s, the 2009 Miss Pin Up Coney Island Contest on Monday, September 7, the highlight of which will certainly be Betty Bloomerz swallowing 28 inches of cold steel while in her underwear.

While this year’s festival is just gearing up, Wilson has his sights set on 2010, where he looks to make the weekend into an even bigger bonanza, complete with a hot rods show and a roller derby event. He also dreams of having an even more permanent presence in Coney Island, with a club that takes all of these elements and produces shows on a regular basis.

Until then, there’s four days of enough psychobilly and sideshow burlesque to keep you satisfied until next Labor Day weekend.

“When the curtain goes down at 3 in the morning and you sit back and have the first cold beer of the night, it’s just an amazing night,” says Wilson. “That’s why we do what we do. It’s not about the money. It’s about promoting artistry and promoting Coney Island, promoting things that we think are good things.”

The 2009 Rockabilly Festival is September 4-7 in Coney Island. Locations, times and ticket costs vary. For more information, including a complete schedule, go to


Jaguar Club: Don't call us a 'Brooklyn band'

By Meredith Deliso

While New Wave rockers The Jaguar Club live and rehearse in the borough, they don’t necessarily call themselves a “Brooklyn band.”

“We’ve never identified ourselves as being a very Brooklyn band,” says drummer Jeremiah Joyce, who lives in Cobble Hill. “We don’t really have a lot of Brooklyn bands that we’re friends with. We’ve always sort of been doing our own thing.”

Since forming three years ago, that includes putting out two EPs of fun, effortless pop, a slew of shows along the East Coast with bands like Bear Hands and The Cinematics, and, most recently, the release of their debut LP, “And We Wake Up Slowly,” out September 1.

In celebration of the CD, the band, also comprised of Boerum Hill-based singer/guitarist Will Popadic and Bed-Stuy-based bassist Yoichiro Fuita, plays Union Hall August 29.

“That’s easily our favorite venue in Brooklyn,” says Joyce of the Park Slope spot, where the trio will be joined by the Williamsburg-based guitarist Gavin Dunaway to allow Popadic to focus just on singing where appropriate. “It’s just a very enjoyable place for us to play.”

With the album written in Brooklyn but recorded in a barn in upstate New York, that contrast does well to illustrate the dueling draws of city and county life that the band encounters.

“There’s always this balance between [Popadic’s] love for the city and his affection for it, but also a craving for an escape [and] getting out to the country,” says Joyce, who himself grew up in a small town near Michigan while Popadic could be found north of Boston (Fuita was the closest to urban sprawl, coming of age in Greenwich, Conn.). “I definitely like the city a lot, but we all have sort of a small town vibe in some ways. I don’t think comes across in the music very much, but personally, I like to take things slow.”

The same attitude was applied to their recording process. While at the Marcata recording studio in the Hudson Valley working with producer Kevin McMahon (French Kicks, The Walkmen, Titus Andronicus, DieDieDie), the band, which for their EPs spent no longer than a day in the studio, took their time.

“It was the first time we slowed down and said, What are these songs really about and what’s the best way to flesh them out?,” says Joyce, who went up with the band on the weekends the first chance they could afford it. “We came up with surprising results.”

Indeed, kicking around the same garage rock tracks for the past couple of years, on their debut full-length, the band has expanded on their familiar tunes.

A song like “Perfect Timing,” for instance, that has a driving rock beat and slight growl to it live, became an even slower, more introspective and stripped-down, acoustic version of the song on the album, that also better showcases Popadic’s soaring vocals.

It’s that open attitude that will encourage the band to continue to do their own thing and not, in this case, identify themselves with any one sound.

“We don’t want to be a band that is always typecast as doing this one thing. If anything we identify with bands like The Kinks or Blur,” says Joyce, in that there are many different types of songs on their albums. “I think more than anything, that’s what we’re striving to do.”

The Jaguar Club play Union Hall (702 Union Street) August 29 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $8. With Powwow, Spanish Prisoners, and Coyote Eyes. For more information, call 718-638-4400.


Buzz-worthy: After the Jump Fest is back in action

Drink-Up Buttercup

This month, music, charity and blogging unite.

For the past two summers, local music blogs have banded together in Brooklyn to promote their favorite bands, as well as raise money for a good cause – underfunded city music programs – in the After the Jump Fest.

Now in its third year, After the Jump Fest is back again for the entire weekend, from August 28-30 at Littlefield, with a line-up of indie music faves, buzz bands and soon to be buzz bands, including Javelin, Dinosaur Feathers and My Teenage Stride on August 28, Drink-Up Buttercup and Das Racist on August 29, and Julianna Barwick and Suckers on August 30.

Also expect guest DJs, J. Morrisson from Space is the Place doing live screen printing (bring clothing you’d like to give a second live), gourmet food in the courtyard, and Brooklyn Brewery specials all weekend.

The bloggers curating the weekend include those behind Bumpershine, Merry Swankster, The Modern Age, and The Music Slut, whose creator, Jennifer Kella, founded the festival with the goal of helping new artists gain exposure while raising money for struggling inner-city school music programs.

Usually held at Williamsburg venues, this year’s festival moves to the newish Gowanus venue hosting. Doors are at 7 p.m. August 28 and at 2 p.m. on August 29 and August 30. Tickets are $10 each day, or $25 for the whole weekend.

For more information, including the entire line-up, and to buy tickets, go to


The world performs on a Bklyn stage

The Nutcracker. Photo by Rob Reynolds

Curtain goes up on exciting 55th season

Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College announces its 55th season of music, dance, theater, and family programming reflecting the multicultural diversity of Brooklyn. The outstanding line-up features performances from Jamaica, Cuba, Israel, and Ukraine as well as the United States, and includes both Brooklyn premieres and returning favorites.

Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts’ 2009-2010 season includes:

--I Love a Piano (September 13 at 3 p.m.): Showcasing the music of legendary songwriter Irving Berlin, this musical captures the spirit of America from the Ragtime rhythms of the early 20th century through the innocent optimism of the 1950s. Including timeless classics such as “White Christmas,” “God Bless America,” “Puttin’ On the Ritz,” and “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” I Love a Piano does more than define the music of a generation - it defines the music of our country. Tickets $25.

--The Adventures of Harold and the Purple Crayon (October 11 at 2 p.m.): Enchantment Theatre Company returns to Brooklyn Center with a new theatrical adaptation of Crockett Johnson’s beloved children’s classic. Using life-size puppets, masks, magic and music, this family musical tells the story of Harold, a brave and resourceful little boy who creates the world he wants to explore using only a big purple crayon and his sky’s-the-limit imagination. Tickets: $6.

--Luna Negra Dance Theater with the Turtle Island Quartet and Paquito D’Rivera (October 25 at 2 p.m.): Dedicated to the works of Latino choreographers, Luna Negra Dance Theater celebrates its 10th anniversary by teaming up with the bold Turtle Island Quartet and legendary jazz musician Paquito D’Rivera, both multiple Grammy Award winners, in a celebration of the rich music and dance traditions of Cuba with their newest work entitled Danzón. Tickets are $30.

--Virsky Ukrainian National Dance Company (November 8 at 2 p.m.): Direct from Kiev, this spectacular company of 65 dancers and musicians combines brilliant ballet techniques with traditional folk dance in a tribute to the culture, beauty and spirit of the Ukraine. Tickets are $35, $25.

--Of Mice and Men (November 22 at 3 p.m.): John Steinbeck’s literary masterpiece about a unique friendship between two migrant workers and their quest for the American Dream is brought to life by the Tony Award-winning Barter Theatre. Tickets are $25.

--The Colonial Nutcracker (December 13 at 2 p.m.): An annual holiday favorite at Brooklyn Center, Dance Theatre in Westchester performs an abridged, narrated version of Tchaikovsky’s classic ballet set in wintry colonial Yorktown. Tickets are $6.

--The Clark Sisters (January 23, 2010 at 8 p.m.): One of the top female gospel groups in the country, the Clark Sisters have pioneered contemporary gospel music for the past three decades. They bring their Grammy-winning harmonies and inspirational message to Brooklyn in an uplifting evening of music and praise. Tickets are $40 and $30.

--Hairspray (January 24 at 3 p.m.): Pleasantly plump Tracy Turnblad has only one desire - to dance on the “Corny Collins Show.” But she’s got obstacles to overcome - all without denting her ‘do! Don’t miss Broadway’s musical comedy phenomenon that inspired a major motion picture and won eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical. Tickets are $40 and $30.

--The Israel Ballet - Don Quixote (February 21 at 2 p.m.): Making their first U.S. tour in 25 years, the acclaimed Israel Ballet performs one of the most beloved full-length ballets in the classical repertoire, Don Quixote, featuring choreography by the legendary Russian Imperial Ballet Master Marius Petipa. Tickets are $30 and $20.

--National Dance Theater Company of Jamaica (March 6 at 8 p.m. and March 7 at 2 p.m.): Always a Brooklyn Center favorite, this jewel of the Caribbean blends the lore, music and dance of Jamaica, Africa, and the American south with modern and classical forms. Under the direction of Professor Rex Nettleford, they will present two programs combining new works with favorites from their extensive repertoire. Tickets are $40 and $30.

--Odessa Philharmonic (March 13 at 8 p.m.): Directed by maestro Hobart Earle, the brilliant Odessa Philharmonic returns to the United States for the first time in ten years with a program including Shubert’s Ninth Symphony (Unfinished), Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony, and Saint Saëns’ cello concerto featuring soloist William DeRosa. Tickets are $35 and $25.

--David Gonzalez’s Sleeping Beauty (March 14 at 2 p.m.); Master storyteller David Gonzalez puts a new spin on the classic fairy tale, using live and electronic music, dance, image projections, and exquisite lighting to create a magical multimedia world in which a beautiful princess is awakened by true love’s kiss. Tickets are $6.

--Poncho Sanchez Latin Jazz Band (March 20 at 8 p.m.): Widely acknowledged as the most popular Latin jazz artist in the world today, Grammy Award winner Poncho Sanchez brings his explosive congas and legendary ensemble to Brooklyn for a sizzling hot evening of Afro-Cuban jazz, salsa, and vintage Latin soul. Tickets are $35 and $25.

--David Broza (March 21 at 2 p.m.): A superstar in his homeland of Israel, this multi-platinum selling singer/songwriter’s unique compositions combine Middle Eastern pop and folk influences with flamenco and American country, rock and blues to create a true world music sound. Tickets are $25.

--In the Mood (March 28 at 2 p.m.): Recall the music that moved a nation’s spirit in this nostalgic 1940s revue. Featuring such favorites as “Sing, Sing, Sing,” “Moonlight Serenade,” and “Stardust,” the sensational String of Pearls Big Band Orchestra and the talented cast of In the Mood take audiences on a sentimental journey in an afternoon of swing, jitterbug, and big band classics. Tickets are $25.

--Dirty Sock Funtime Band (April 11 at 2 p.m.): Nominated Best Kid’s Band by Time Out New York Kids, the Dirty Socks captivate children and parents alike with their high-energy concerts full of rockin’ singalong jams and audience participation. Tickets are $6.

--Chinese Acrobats of Hebei (April 18 at 3 p.m.): The world-class gymnasts, contortionists, and jugglers from Hebei combine gravity-defying acrobatics with the discipline of martial arts to create a spellbinding kaleidoscope of color, drama and skill for the whole family. Tickets are $30.

--Tap Kids (April 25 at 2 p.m.): Eight of the nation’s most talented young tap dancers take to the stage in this rousing, joyous celebration of American youth culture. Hip, contemporary and uplifting, this electrifying performance takes tap to dizzying new heights of passion and precision. Tickets are $6.

--United States Air Force Band of Liberty (May 16 at 2 p.m.): For the past 25 years, the United States Air Force Band of Liberty has served the nation with its inspirational repertoire ranging from symphonic band masterworks, to traditional military marches, to pops and jazz. Tickets to this event must be requested by sending a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Brooklyn Center, PO Box 100163, Brooklyn, NY 11210, attn: Air Force Band Tickets. No phone orders. Tickets are free.

Money Saving Subscription Packages

Brooklyn Center’s 2009-2010 season ticket packages include Theater Subscriptions (I Love a Piano, Of Mice and Men, and Hairspray) for $75; Arts in the Afternoon Subscriptions (The Israel Ballet, David Broza, and In the Mood) for $60; and the WorldPack (a minimum of three performances from Brooklyn Center’s World Stages series, priced $73-$165 depending on performances selected). All seats for all performances in Brooklyn Center’s Target FamilyFun series are $6.

Multibuy packages (three or more performances) save up to 15% off individual ticket prices. Multibuy discounts do not apply to Target FamilyFun performances. Discounts are available for seniors, students, Brooklyn College faculty, staff and alumni, and groups of 15 or more.

All performances are in the Walt Whitman Theatre at Brooklyn College. For more, visit or call 718-951-4500.


Thursday, August 27, 2009

MJ birthday bash - a Spike Lee joint

Spike Lee
By Meredith Deliso

The Borough of Kings is doing what it does best— the block party — in honor of the King of Pop.

According to published reports, Spike Lee, the heralded Fort Greene-raised director, puts Brooklyn on the map again as he plans a block party in honor of Michael Jackson’s birthday on August 29.

The event was originally planned for Fort Greene Park, but due to larger-than-expected crowds, will now be held at Prospect Park in the Nethermead, a rolling meadow located near the center.

That Saturday would have been the late singer’s 51st birthday, and in honor of his work and life, Lee is bringing the King of Pop’s music to the street, with DJ Spinna “spinning all things Jackson, from the Jackson 5 to the Jacksons to Michael Jackson,” the director told the Root online magazine.

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz will also be on hand to declare August 29 “Michael Jackson Day.”

“I am pleased to support Brooklyn’s proud son, Spike Lee, at his birthday celebration for Michael Jackson, a true American icon who brought joy to millions of music lovers everywhere,” said Markowitz, who previously named June 30th “Spike Lee Day.” “I look forward to proclaiming August 29 ‘Michael Jackson Day’ in Brooklyn, USA, in recognition of the King of Pop’s contributions to music around the world.”

Lee, a long-time fan of Jackson’s (“We’re of the same era, he told the Root. “I wanted my Afro to be perfectly round like Michael’s, all that stuff.”), collaborated with the pop star on the music video for “They Don’t Care About Us,” the fourth single from Jackson’s 1996 album “HIStory.”

Lee recently reminisced with Time magazine about his first meeting with Jackson, which occurred here in Brooklyn.“Michael Jackson called me up and said, ‘Spike, I want meet you, I’m coming to New York.’ I said, ‘Well where you want to meet?’ He says, I want to come to your house.’ I live in Brooklyn! He wants to come to my house! So, Michael Jackson came to my house in Brooklyn, New York—this was when I was living in Fort Greene. I dunno if he’d ever been there before. We spent like two or three hours just talking. I mean, we’re the same age. I’m less than a year older than him. To be honest, I dominated the conversation, because I was trying to really tell him how much impact he had on my life. And I could just not believe that Michael Jackson was sitting in my living room in Brooklyn, New York. It was amazing.”

Jackson, who died on June 25, will be buried on the West Coast in Glendale, Calif., the day of the East Coast block party. The block party runs from noon to 5 p.m. The public is allowed to enter starting at 10 a.m.The Nethermead is most accessible from the 16th Street and Prospect Park Southwest entrance, the Bartel-Pritchard entrance, the 9th Street entrance, the 3rd Street entrance or the Willink Entrance at Ocean and Flatbush Avenues.


Kenny Vance & the Planotones back in the nabe

By Meredith Deliso

Today, Long Island University students fill the Brooklyn Paramount Theatre with the sounds of squeaking sneakers and buzzers in its current incarnation as a gymnasium. But during the 1950s, Chuck Berry, Fats Domino and Jerry Lee Lewis made the heralded movie theater reverberate with the sounds of rock and roll on several legendary occasions.

Kenny Vance remembers those days as if they were yesterday. As a teenager, the Brooklyn native attended legendary shows in the theater hosted by Alan Freed, the disc jockey who coined the term “rock and roll,” and would be in awe of the talent before him.

“As a kid I remember going there, waiting in line to see people who are in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, people who are the inventors of rock and roll,” says Vance. “The thought of seeing all these people live was mind-blowing.”

Now, more than 50 years later, Vance is a hall of famer himself. Dubbed the “Dylan of Doo-Wop,” Vance is one of the founding members of Jay & the Americans, and was inducted in 2007 into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame, joining the ranks of Barbara Streisand, Simon & Garfunkel and Louis Armstrong. He was also inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2002.

Vance currently preserves the genre performing all across the country with his band, The Planotones, classicists on the doo-wop formed in 2002 and also consisting of Johnny Gale, Kurt “Frenchy” Yahjian, Jimmy Bense, keyboardist Chip Degaard, and Tony Gallino on drums.

You can hear them on September 1 when they play the Summer Concert Series at Seaside Park in Brooklyn as part of a free summer-long concert series.“I like playing there because it’s my hometown,” says Vance, who grew up in Flatbush, going to high school at Erasmus and Brooklyn Academy of Music, and has lived all over Brooklyn since. “The audience is also people from Brooklyn, so that’s a reconnection with the people from the neighborhood.”

While it’s been many years since the days of sock hops and poodle skirts, the demand for the youthful energy and strong harmonies of doo-wop is still strong. Vance himself is booked through 2011 with gigs around the country, and he also has a new CD out with his band, “Oceans of Time,” on LaPlan Records, that has him gaining fans all over the world.

“We keep this type of music alive, and it seems to me that this is the music of America,” says Vance. “I think that our audience trusts the fact that we’re going to portray the music in a way that we respect it.”

That’s only natural, since Vance has been entrenched in the genre ever since he was a teen, leaving college at the age of 19 to pursue a music career full time with Jay and the Americans and reaching the heights of Billboard with songs like “She Cried,” “Come a Little Bit Closer,” and “This Magic Moment,” as well as touring with The Beatles and The Rolling Stones during each of their first U.S. performances.

For Vance, those times aren’t just a distant memory.

“When we perform, the audience is kind of transported back into time,” says Vance. “They treat us like we’re teen idols, so the audience gives us an extra jolt of energy.”

Vance is happy to see a wide age range in the audience as well, reaching beyond the fanbase of those who were teenagers in the 1950s and 1960s, going to shows at the Brooklyn Paramount, to those who are today.

“I’m still as enthusiast about it as I was when I first started, even more so, because we’re bringing something to the people that they seem to thirst for, whether they’re old or young,” says Vance. “It’s really very gratifying to be able to do that.”

Kenny Vance and the Planotones play the Summer Concert Series at Seaside Park (Ocean Parkway and Seabreeze Avenue) September 1. (This was the show originally scheduled for July 21 but was rained out). The show is free and starts at 7:15 p.m. Feel free to bring lawn chairs. For more information, call 718-222-0600.

The band also plays Parsippany Hilton (One Hilton Ct., 908-876-9100) in Parsippany, NJ, on September 4 at 8 p.m.; Great Auditorium (15 Pilgrim Pathway) in Ocean Grove, NJ, on September 5, show time TBA; and at the Doo Wop Extravaganza at the Capital One Bank Theatre (960 Brush Hollow Road, 516-334-0800) in Westbury, NY on September 12 at 8 p.m.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Clowning around

The Brick Theater, Inc. presents Amuse Bouche: A NY Clown Theatre Festival Hors D’oeuvre with performances on a repertory schedule, September 4-27 at The Brick, 575 Metropolitan Avenue in Williamsburg.

The Brick is presenting five clown theatre originals including Happy Hour presents And It Feels So Good! New York’s premiere physical comedy trio Happy Hour is comprised of Mark Gindick (Big Apple Circus), Ambrose Martos (Cirque du Soleil) and Matthew Morgan (Ringling Bros.). They transcend formulaic circus comedy to create an evening of theater that is remarkably genuine, occasionally absurd, definitely sweaty and wildly funny. They are performing September 23–26 at 8 p.m. and September 27 at 3 p.m.

Harrington & Kauffman presents Cabaret Terrarium starring Richard Harrington and Chris Kauffman. In this epic comedy of amnesia and redemption, watch Belgian cabaret singer Gustave and his silent assistant Nhar travel the world in search of clues about Gustave’s family and his own shadowy past. Shows are September 18 and 19 at 8 p.m. and September 20 at 3 p.m.

Aimee German and Jennifer Sargent present Canarsie Suite: At the Edge of Vaudeville. As the Vaudeville era closes, the illustrious LeRoy Sister-Act unravels at the seams. A “hilarious” (ThreeWeeks), tawdry carnival of dance, song, knife throwing, acrobatic gorillas, and High Melodrama based on 1910 Vaudeville scripts that swings and stomps along the edge of farce and drama. Shows are September 4 & 5 at 8 p.m. and September 11 & 12 at 10 p.m.

Ten Directions presents Icetacles: The Last Chance of a Lifetime as Ice Castles, The Cutting Edge and Rocky collide on skates. When a has-been coach brings two sightless skaters together to win the big competition we learn that sometimes the one you love is the person you hate the most and winning is all that really matters. Performances are September 8, 15 and 22 at 8 p.m.

Logic Limited, Ltd. Presents Schaden, Freude And You: A 3 Clown Seminar directed by Jane Nichols and featuring Chris Arruda, Brad Fraizer and David Graham Jones. Join them for the self-help seminar that’s guaranteed to self-destruct on September 11 & 12 at 8 p.m. and September 18 & 19 at 9:30 p.m.

Tickets, priced at $15, are available at or through Theatermania (212-352-3101).

The Brick Theater is between Union Avenue and Lorimer Street. Also, call about varying family and age suitability of the shows, 718-907-6189.


Tuesday, August 25, 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:

Theater: Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts debuts its 2009-2010 season, beginning with the musical "I Love A Piano" on September 13.

Music: Music, charity and blogging unite at this year's After the Jump Fest, August 28-30 at Littlefield in Gowanus; come out and see The Jaguar Club August 29 at Union Hall in Park Slope, just don't call them a "Brooklyn band"; Kenny Vance plays on at the Seaside Park summer concert series on September 1; and rockabilly comes to the seashore with the Rockabilly Festival September 4-7 in Coney Island.

Party: Spike Lee celebrates the music and life of Michael Jackson with a block party in Fort Greene Prospect Park August 29.

Columns: Pumps & Pleats checks out Derrick Meyer's colorful vehicle full of spring dresses and winter leggings, which this summer and be in front of Trader Joe’s at the corner of Court Street and Atlantic Avenue, while The Kitchen Klutz heads West with Hawaiian chicken, and The Reporter's Table indulges her affinity to lime with lime chicken.

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


Monday, August 24, 2009

Kitchen Klutz: orange French toast recipe

Orange French Toast

1/2 loaf white bread
2 eggs
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup orange zest
Orange marmalade

Combine eggs, orange zest, cinnamon and vanilla extract in large mixing bowl. Coat slices of bread in batter then cook in frying pan until golden brown on both sides. Serve toast with orange marmalade.


Friday, August 21, 2009

The Weekend: 8.21-8.23

Lot's of music this weekend, for fans of all ages.

Friday, August 21

Whip it: Deva, the female cover band of Devo, play the Bell House in Gowanus in a night of punk and glam. Joining them are friends The Choke, The Netherlands, and DJ Lady Starlight. Break out the dance moves. $7 cover. Starts at 10:30 p.m. Located at 149 7th St.

Saturday, August 22

Girl power: Author Jessica Hopper comes to Littlefield in Gowanus celebrating the release of her new guide book, The Girl's Guide to Rocking. Rocking with her are These Are Powers, Katie Stelmanis, The Ghost Bees, and MNDR, and with DJ sets by MNDR and Strength In Numbers. At 6 p.m. Tickets are $8. 16+. Located at 622 Degraw St. For more girl power, head to Music Hall of Williamsburg to hear alumnae from the Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls' second session, fresh off a week-long crash course in rock and roll. Show at noon. Tickets are $10. Located at 66 North 6th St.

Sunday, August 23

Creativity: The Bell House transforms its two-room music venue into a new creative space with Metropol.Mode, highlighting the diversity of local artists, as well as showcase street art, fashion and performances that are often exclusive to urban environments. At 7:30 p.m. Also on Monday, August 24. Tickets are $10, or $15 for a two-day pass.

Pool Party: There's only two of these left. Get out and prepare to sweat as Girl Talk headline. Also on the bill are Max Tundra and Wiz Khalifa. Dors at 2. Located at the East River State Park in Williamsburg (90 Kent Ave.)


“Inglourious” is bloody glorious!

"Inglourious Basterds"
Three Stars

By Thomas Tracy

Somewhere deep in everyone’s heart of hearts, we wished the Jews persecuted in World War II got medieval on their Nazi oppressors — at least a little.

This wish comes true in the gloriously bloody, gloriously violent “Inglourious Basterds.”In the alternate reality fantasy helmed by writer/director Quentin Tarantino (“Pulp Fiction,” “Reservoir Dogs”) a scene-stealing Brad Pitt gathers together a dirty, dastardly and downright dangerous dozen of Jewish soldiers and goes across occupied France to exact some righteous vengeance on whatever German officer they come across in probably one of the sickest, twisted guerrilla wars ever captured on celluloid.

The deadly crew are after Nazi scalps. If one of their victims doesn’t have hair, they settle for carving a Nazi symbol in their foreheads with a big-ass Bowie knife they wield with vicious glee.

Pitt shucks off his pretty boy image as he slips on the cigar-chomping, carnage-loving southern lieutenant that leads the motley crew of murderous malcontents with a bone-head bravado that you can’t help but treasure (you almost giggle every time he says “Nazis,” which somehow comes out as “Naatzeys”).

But he and his team are one part of a much bigger picture. The team gets to increase their body count — and maybe even take out Adolf Hitler himself — during a ballsy plan to blow up a French theater run by a Jewish escapee-turned-Parisian socialite (Melanie Laurent).At the same time an evil Nazi Colonel (played to perfection by European actor Christoph Waltz) who can be just as vicious as the Basterds is hot on the crew’s trial.

Much like “Pulp Fiction,” Tarantino focuses on the three leads and then link them together through a series of explosive coincidences.

The audience is left riveted thanks to Tarantino’s signature rapid fire, off-the-wall dialogue that doesn’t manage to get lost in the translation (most of the movie is spoken in French and German).

“Inglourious Basterds.” Starring Brad Pitt and Melanie Laurent. Written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. Running time: 153 minutes. Rated R for strong graphic violence, language and brief sexuality.


Best are in Brooklyn

Huckleberry Bar in East Williamsburg. Photo: Katie Sokoler/Gothamist

Gothamist presents its Best NYC Bars and Restaurants. Top of the list? Brooklyn venues, with more than half of this offerings found in the borough.

"Yes, most of those are in Brooklyn, but that's also where most of the space and most of the still-somewhat-tolerant neighbors are to be found," says the blog.

Making the list in Brooklyn are:
Ortine, Brooklyn Botanic Garden and the Brooklyn Museum of Art
Spuyten Duyvil in Williamsburg
T.B.D. bar in Greenpoint
The Diamond in Greenpoint
Nita Nita in Williamsburg
Huckleberry Bar in East Williamsburg
Vutera in Williamsburg
Brooklyn Ice House in Red Hook

What favorite would you like to add?


Kitchen Klutz: 'Vive la France and the Klutz'

By Michèle De Meglio

I may not be French but my first name has a French accent — for reasons my mother still can’t explain other than, “We wanted you to be unique.” Or maybe my folks thought it’d be fun to have my name mispronounced and misspelled my entire life. But that’s neither here nor there.

Inspired by my faux-French name, which I admit does look awfully cool in print, I donned a black beret, hot pink scarf, blue and white striped shirt, black frame glasses and a pompous look. Yep, it’s stereotypical French but hey, I make it cute!

So what could I cook in my Parisian getup? Oh, French toast of course!

I decided to jazz up the breakfast classic with some snazzy ingredients and call it orange French toast.

To start, I cracked two eggs into a large mixing bowl. I attempted to do this delicately, you know, the way those Food Network stars lightly tap an egg and easily break it apart with their fingers, which somehow seem to remain clean and free of yolk bits.

My “delicate” cracks resulted in egg goo all over my hands and under my fingernails. I’m so glad I hadn’t splurged on a manicure!
I added cinnamon, vanilla extract and a good heaping of orange zest to the bowl and stirred. This would be my orange infused batter.

Now, I thought it’d be easy to dip slices of white bread in the batter and then grill ‘em up in a frying pan. Not quite for this Klutz.

For my first slice, I dipped very gingerly — apparently failing to coat much of the bread. After cooking it in a pan greased with non-stick cooking spray, the bread came out looking like toast. Regular toast, not the French kind.

I tossed it on a plate and moved on to my next slice ready to learn from my mistakes.This slice was submerged in the batter and cooked in the same non-stick spray. It was definitely browner than the first slice but something seemed a bit off.

Figuring that maybe I’m supposed to cook French toast in good old-fashioned butter, I dumped some into the pan.

Uh, actually I slathered the pan in a mound of butter. I should really measure things. This can’t be good.

Verdict: I can’t cook French toast. Seriously, I can’t cook French toast.

The first two slices looked and tasted like bread lightly cooked in a toaster and the third piece was nice and brown but was drenched in so much butter that it was inedible.

The French toast needed some major work but I must admit that the orange marmalade I used in place of syrup was extremely tasty and the best thing on the plate! Oh, wait, I didn’t cook that. Darn.

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.


Just the right soup - even in summer!

By Helen Klein

Hot soup is among the most soul-satisfying of comfort foods.

For my husband, this corn chowder is especially reassuring. It’s a variant on his mother’s recipe, which he beguiled from her a couple of decades back, and which he requests when we sit down to multi-course meals -- Thanksgiving, a birthday dinner, a Father’s Day feast.

And, with all the chilly, rainy days we’ve had recently, a warm soup that I usually prepare once the leaves begin falling seemed just right, even in early summer.

Needless to say, however, the soup I put on the table is not exactly like the one my mother-in-law used to make. I’ve adjusted it, intensifying the flavors as I’ve streamlined the preparation. I may love to cook, but that doesn’t mean I want to do extra work that really doesn’t add anything to the flavor or appearance of the final dish.

In my variation, the corn chowder is studded with chunks of potato, onion and sweet red pepper, and swirled with chopped fresh cilantro leaves just before serving, for a dish that brings together flavors of New England and the American Southwest for a result that provides a savory twist on a familiar dish.

The colors of the ingredients mean that it not only tastes good, but looks gorgeous too.In midsummer, you could add some fresh corn to the mix, scraping the kernels from a cooked ear into the pot.

In summer, I usually have an ear or two of grilled corn ready in my refrigerator to add to impromptu salads. The grilled corn intensifies the sweetness of the soup, but you could use boiled corn, as well. I use only one pot to cook it -- simplifying both cooking and cleanup.

Interestingly enough, while I served it piping hot on its first appearance, I sat down to lunch, one warm day, in front of a bowl of chilled left-over corn chowder and discovered that the flavors held up beautifully cold.

Southwestern Corn Chowder


1 medium onion, chopped
1-2 Tbl. olive oil
1 medium red pepper, cored and chunked
1 medium potato, cubed
1 15-oz. can creamed corn
Milk, to fill the can
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
¼ cup cilantro leaves, chopped


Sauté onion in oil over medium heat in stockpot till golden and translucent. Add red pepper chunks, and sauté till softened slightly. Add potato and water to cover, salt to taste, and bring to a boil. Continue to boil for 20 minutes, till potato can be pierced easily by the tine of a fork. Add corn and milk, pepper and added salt, if desired, and heat slowly till chowder is hot, simmering till flavors are combined.

Garnish with cilantro.

Serves 4.


Diane T. loves Marc Jacobs

Boutique manager Danielle Lissance models a turquoise tote at Diane T.

Story and photos by Michèle De Meglio

Any fashionista would love a personal shopper. The problem is that many Chanel-loving gals can’t afford their own fashion maven.

That’s where Diane Tkacz comes in.

After 20 years as a fashion buyer in New York City, Tkacz knows what’s chic, what’s new and what’s the coolest of the cool.

She handpicks the best apparel and accessories for her boutique, appropriately named Diane T., in Cobble Hill.

Walking into the shop, customers are greeted by a top selection of the finest women’s clothing, handbags, shoes and jewelry from high-end designers like Catherine Malandrino, Hanii Y, Vanessa Bruno and Citizens of Humanity. In the cozy shop, you can assemble a hip look from head to toe.

What caught my eye, you ask? Well, like many New York gals, I’m fascinated with all things Marc Jacobs. Diane T. carries the designer’s luxe bags and dresses — oh my!

The items are pricey ($300 to $500 for a Marc by Marc Jacobs purse) but oh so worth it.

I was particularly taken with an adorable knee-length A-line dress ($350). In a soft navy shade, the sweet short-sleeved garment was covered in pink and purple flowers. I can’t picture anything better for an afternoon picnic in Prospect Park.

The dress could be complimented with a pair of tan leather sandals from the K. Jacques St. Tropez line and a bold Lucite necklace from the shop’s jewelry counter. This sounds like a lovely look!

All I need is a purse.

After all, the brilliant Mr. Jacobs designs the most coveted bags in New York City. (He’s also the brains behind the ultra luxurious Louis Vuitton brand.)

Diane T. carries so many fab Marc Jacobs bags that I don’t know which to pick!

There’s the Classic Q Baby Groovee satchel featuring pleated leather and a Marc nameplate. Don’t forget the Totally Turnlock Benny satchel in golden tan with matching gold hardware.

I’d choose a $498 tote in the richest grape shade, which would perfectly match the purple flowers on my Marc dress. Doesn’t that sound divine?

There’s only one problem. I don’t have $1,000 to spend on a single outfit. Sadly, these purchases must remain a fantasy.

Oh, Marc. One day you will be mine!

Diane T. is located at 174 Court Street. For hours, call 718-923-5777.

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.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Vivian Girls are ready to rock your socks off

Photo by Olly Hearsey

By Meredith Deliso

Sound guys hate the Vivian Girls.

“They hate everything that we love – they hate loud guitars, they hate tons of reverb,” says guitarist Cassie Ramone. “Some sound guys are good, but we’ve met our fair share of sound guys who don’t like these things.”

Because of this, the band, who’s touring with another loud band, Queens-based garage rockers The Beets, this summer, decided to name their month-long tour “Nightmare of Sound.”

“I figured it would be a funny tour name,” says Ramone. “Both bands are going to frustrate sound guys to no end.”

Things won’t be so bad when they kick off the tour, in support of their sophomore album “Everything Goes Wrong,” at Death By Audio August 25. The Williamsburg venue’s a favorite of the band, which formed in Brooklyn a couple years ago while its three members – Ramone, bassist Kickball Katy, and drummer Ali Koehler – were college students.

“About a year ago, we were playing Death By Audio once every three weeks. We played there an insane amount of times,” says Ramone, who’s been hopping around from place to place in Williamsburg before they go on tour, while the rest of the band comes in from New Jersey for their Brooklyn rehearsals. “We haven’t played there in like a year even though that used to be our home base. We’re really excited to be going back there.”

About a year ago, Vivian Girls burst onto the Brooklyn noise scene with their 10-track debut album, a sonic whirlwind of raw pop punk, all coming in at 22 minutes. Niche label In The Red picked up the debut after its initial 500-copy run sold out in 10 days, releasing the debut last fall. They support the trio’s sophomore effort, out September 8.

Coming in at 35 minutes with 13 tracks, the follow-up promises more of the band’s sound, which wears its influences on its sleeve – including The Ramones, as well as ‘60s girl groups and surf pop – but also infuses it with a more modern lo-fi garage rock edge.

“There’s a lot more diversity on the second album,” says Ramone. “The songs are both faster and slower than the ones on the first album. Two songs are over four minutes long, something that was unheard of when we recorded our first album.”

Only just in the beginning stages of working on new material, it’s too soon to tell if their third effort will clock in even longer. Though one thing’s for sure now: they’re be keeping the sound guys on their toes.

The Vivian Girls play
Death By Audio (49 South 2nd Street) August 25 at 8 p.m. Also on the bill are The Beets.


The New Jack Ramblers: As honky tonk as they want to be

By Junico Simino

“High octane honky tonk.”

That’s how Brooklyn-based country artist Sean Kershaw describes his band, the New Jack Ramblers.

With a new CD coming out entitled “Coney Island Cowboy,” and his weekly Sunday night gig at Hank’s Saloon in Boerum Hill where he’s been for the past eight years, Kershaw is looking to turn his love of music into a full-time career.

On August 26, Kershaw plans to release the CD, his first full-length country album, at Sideshows by the Seashore, aka the Coney Island Freak show.

“Not every song on the CD is about Coney Island,” said Kershaw of “Coney Island Cowboy.” “Brooklyn country is our theme.”

Before he wound up in Brooklyn, Kershaw, a self-described “Army brat,” has lived all over the world, from Louisiana to Germany. Along the way, he picked up many different influences.

Eventually he moved into Brooklyn, where he started doing rockabilly and began listening to more and more country music, which eventually seeped into his repertoire.

“It was original and I was one of the few doing it,” said Kershaw. “Now there are more people doing it.”

The country music scene indeed has changed dramatically from when he started playing in Brooklyn, said the musician.

“[There are] a lot more venues now in Brooklyn. The level of professionalism has risen,” Kershaw said.

It was here that Kershaw started up his first band, The Blind Pharaohs, and landed his weekly Sunday night gig at Hank’s saloon, located at 46 Third Avenue.

After a few years the Pharaohs disbanded, but Kershaw continued to play at Hank’s by himself. Eventually other artists began to join him on stage performing mostly cover songs, which is how the New Jack Ramblers formed.

“We are doing something different from everybody else,” said Kershaw of the New Jack Ramblers. “We are influenced by Johnny Cash, Merle Travis, Chuck Berry, Carl Perkins and all the artists on Sun Records. We don’t try to re-create anything from the past.”

When the band celebrates their new album at Sideshows by the Seashore (1208 Surf Avenue), they’ll be joined by Julia Haltigan and the Hooligans, Uncle Leon, and a host of “freaks, geeks and burlesque artists,” said Kershaw.

The night will be hosted by sideshow staple Insectavora.

The “sideshow” will be from 9 p.m. to midnight August 26. Tickets are $10 per person and all are welcome.

Kershaw and the New Jack Ramblers will also be performing at the Coney Island Rockabilly Festival on September 6 and at the Brooklyn Country Music Festival on September 18.“Coney Island Cowboy” will be available for sale on iTunes.


Look who's coming out to pla-ay

By Junico Simino

“Warriors...Come out to plaaaaaay.”

On August 29, Coney Island USA (CIUSA), a non-profit organization that sponsors cultural art events in Coney Island, is holding a special benefit/fundraiser for the 30-year reunion for the film “The Warriors.”

“The Warriors,” which was filmed in Coney Island, has achieved cult status since its debut in 1979. The film follows nine guys from The Warriors gang of Coney Island as they head up to the Bronx for a large gang meeting. When the leader of the meeting is assassinated, the Warriors are framed. They soon realize that they must make their way back to Coney Island. The film follows their struggle back home through enemy turf.

The night will feature cast appearances by Michael Beck (Swan), Dorsey Wright (Cleon), Brian Tyler (Snow), Thomas G. Waites (Fox), and Terry Michos (Vermin). They will hold an autograph signing outside Sideshows By The Seashore, 1208 Surf Avenue, from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The event is open to the public.

Although tickets are currently sold out, current ticket holders will be able to meet and greet with the cast from 8:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. A special screening of “The Warriors” at Sideshows By The Seashore theater will take place from 9 to 10:35 p.m., and a question and answer discussion with the cast will follow the film from 10:35 p.m. to 11:05 p.m.

“We’re excited to do this,” said Rob Leddy, a representative from CIUSA. “The film has garnered a huge cult following and appeals to people globally. Being that ‘The Warriors’ are identified as being from Coney Island and are on a mission to get back home, the theme of Coney prevails throughout the film. This film puts Coney Island in the spotlight and 30 years later people still make the pilgrimages out to Coney, to see streets where it was shot on. Throughout the years I get e-mails from fans wondering if places in the film still exist and wondering where such and such was.”

CIUSA has screened “The Warriors” the past five years at its annual Coney Island Film Festival.

“Each time it sells out with avid fans reciting lines, clanging bottles,” said Leddy. “It’s really quite the spectacle.”

Representatives for the film’s actors had approached CIUSA about doing a reunion and film screening, which coincides with Super Mega Show and Comic Fest, a comic book and film festival in Secaucus, NJ, where cast members from “The Warriors” will also be in attendance.

Although the movie has been screened for the past five years, this is the first time fans will be able to interact with the cast in the actual amusement area where the film was shot.

For more information about CIUSA and “The Warriors” 30 year reunion, log on to


The British are coming!

Brooklyn rallies to arms in Revolutionary War re-enactment

By Helen Klein

For 2009, Brooklyn’s Battle Week has become Battle Weekend.

Many of the events that make up the annual commemoration of the August 27, 1776, Battle of Brooklyn have been telescoped into a single weekend, August 28th through 30th, though some events will still take place at other times, said Kim Maier, the director of the Old Stone House, the Park Slope structure at the heart of much of the activities.

“We are pulling together many of the local Brooklyn events into one weekend, to make it a destination weekend,” she explained. “We want to see if we can attract more re-enactors by having many of the events in three days.”

As in the past, the Battle Week ceremonies and reenactments will be held in locations as diverse as the rolling hills of Green-Wood Cemetery and the park surrounding the modest house outside whose stone walls occurred the first skirmish of the Battle of Brooklyn.

The purpose of the entire commemoration is to recall a watershed moment in the colonists’ struggle for independence, 233 years ago, when the opposing forces faced each other at the western end of Long Island, a little more than a month after the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

For, it was in the marshes and woods of Brooklyn that the colonists made a stand that, the enthusiasts say, enabled the forces of the Continental Army to survive to fight another day.The battle was bloody. By the time it had ended, as many as 1,000 colonial soldiers and 400 British troops had paid the ultimate price for their efforts, which resulted – that day at least – in a British victory.

Nonetheless, the rolling hills of Green-Wood Cemetery and Prospect Park were arrayed on the side of the revolutionary forces; the terrain was ideal for the sort of guerrilla fighting that the patchwork Continental Army engaged in as they faced the well-trained, splendidly uniformed members of King George III’s military, reinforced by the German mercenary soldiers known as Hessians.

Indeed, nowhere was the contrast more pronounced than during the Battle of Brooklyn.

But, the battle’s claim to fame goes beyond that. It was the first major engagement in which the Continental Army participated and it gave evidence of their valor, perhaps most memorably in an engagement that is commemorated at the Old Stone House.

In the vicinity of that abode, then known as the Vechte House, troops from Maryland and Delaware – renowned today as the Maryland 400 -- fought to the death to defend their fellow soldiers from the assault of the British forces.

Over 400 American troops died in that single encounter, but their bravery and sacrifice enabled the forces led by George Washington, waiting in the northern end of Brooklyn, to escape over the East River to Manhattan.

Battle Week opens on Friday, August 21st, at 12:30 p.m., with the reading of the Declaration of Independence on the front steps of Manhattan’s Federal Hall, 26 Wall Street.

The following day, Saturday, August 22nd, at 10 a.m., there will be the annual Prison Ships Martyrs Memorial ceremony, at the memorial in Fort Greene Park.

The event is organized by the Society of Old Brooklynites, which has held a ceremony remembering America’s first prisoners of war every year since the organization was founded in 1880. This year’s commemoration will mark the 101st anniversary of the Stanford White-designed monument, which was dedicated on November 14, 1908 by William Howard Taft, then president-elect of the United States.

The monument is a tribute to the 11,500 individuals who are interred in a crypt underneath, who died on board British warships anchored in Wallabout Bay. Residents living nearby in the years after the Revolution would occasionally find the bodies of those who had been immured on the ships. Eventually, the idea of having a monument erected to memorialize their sacrifice became a cause celebre, with such notables as poet Walt Whitman calling loudly for its construction.

For this year’s commemoration, historian David Weiss will give the keynote address, and a USMC color guard will present the colors and engage in “Piping the Side,” a traditional ceremony which is held to mark the arrival or departure of officers or VIPs on naval vessels. The ceremony will close with the playing of Taps, after which eight bells will be struck. For further information, call 718-499-7600.

Also on Saturday, August 22nd, there will be a Battle of Brooklyn Trolley Tour hosted by the New York City Urban Park Rangers. Because of limited seating, reservations are required. Participants should meet at the Old Stone House, J.J. Byrne Park, Third Street at Fifth Avenue. To make a reservation, call 718-768-3195. Further information is available at

The following day, Sunday, August 23rd, there will be a walking tour of the Evergreens Cemetery, beginning at 11 a.m. and lasting until 1 p.m. The tour will take in various Revolutionary War connected sites within the burial ground. Tour-goers will follow the path that was taken by British soldiers as they tried to cut in front of the Continental army to head them off. The American forces, however, were not where their opponents expected them to be, with the result that the battle erupted across Brooklyn.

Stops are made at the grave of William Howard, one of the Americans who was forced, on pain of death, to conduct the British troops to the Rockaway Footpath, as well as at the grave of John Berrien, a Son of Liberty and a member of Washington’s staff. Participants should meet at the cemetery’s main gate, Bushwick Avenue and Conway Street. For further information, call 718-455-5300 or log onto

On Wednesday, August 26th, beginning at 6 p.m., canoes will set off along the Gowanus Canal, as the Gowanus Dredgers Estuary Tour gets underway. Participants will enjoy a trip on the water as they learn the history of the waterway, and, specifically, its use as an escape route for American soldiers during the Battle of Brooklyn. Participants should meet at Second Street, between Bond Street and the Gowanus. For further information, call 718-768-3195 or log onto

The annual Battle of Brooklyn neighborhood walk will take place on Friday, August 28th, between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. The walk, which is led by Old Stone House board member William Parry, an archaeology professor at Hunter College, provides participants with the opportunity to view various locations associated with the battle. The walk kicks off at Grand Army Plaza, at the entrance to Prospect Park. The cost is $12 per person ($10 per person for Old Stone House members), and includes light refreshments. For information on the walk, or to make reservations, call 718-768-3195 or log onto

On Saturday, August 29th, the annual Maryland 400 Remembrance Ceremony will be held. In a change from past years, the ceremony will take place, beginning at 11 a.m., at the recently refurbished Maryland Monument inside Prospect Park. Those who will to attend the ceremony -- which will include a roll call of the names of the Maryland 400 , and which is sponsored by the Maryland State Monuments Commission -- should enter the park at Prospect Park Southwest and 16th Street, heading toward Wellhouse Drive, then up the hill to the monument.

Also on Saturday, August 29th, there will be an open house and reception in the gallery at the Old Stone House. The open house will kick off at 10 a.m. and end at 5 p.m. For further information, call 718-768-3195 or log onto

Also on the 29th, beginning at 3:30 p.m., there will be a two-hour cruise on the Manhattan, a 1920’s style motor yacht. The highlight of the cruise, which sails past many sites connected to the Battle of Brooklyn, will be a lecture by Barnet Schecter, the author of The Battle for New York.

The cruise sails from Manhattan’s Chelsea Pier, and costs $65 per person, including the cruise, the lecture, one free beverage and hors d’oeuvres. Seating is limited. For tickets, log onto http://www.zerve/. com/SailNYC/BattleBK.

Other highlights of Battle Week will take place at Green-Wood Cemetery, Fifth Avenue and 25th Street, on Sunday, August 30th.From 10 a.m. to noon, there will be a trolley tour of the cemetery, conducted by Schecter and Green-Wood historian Jeff Richman. Reservations are required for the tour, which costs $20 per person ($10 for Historic Fund members). To make a reservation, call 718-768-7300.

Then, at 11:30 a.m., the annual memorial march sponsored by the Irish American Parade Committee will commence at the cemetery’s main gate.
As they do every year, participants will wend their way behind the lone bagpiper to visit several notable locations: Among them, the graves of Matilda Tone, the wife of Irish patriot Theobald Wolfe Tone, and historian John Gallagher; the Irish Korean War Veterans Memorial, and the Minerva Monument on Battle Hill.

The purpose of the commemoration, according to the committee, is to draw attention to, “The vast contributions and significant and historic role of the Irish in the first battle of the American Revolution fought in Brooklyn. Erin’s sons and daughters served with great distinction, honor and heroism in all of the wars and many are buried in Green-Wood.”

Then, beginning at noon and lasting till 1:15 p.m., there will be a Revolutionary War re-enactment inside Green-Wood’s main gate, followed by a parade to the top of Battle Hill at 1:30 p.m., and a memorial ceremony sponsored by the Battle of Brooklyn Memorial Society, at 2 p.m. The guest speaker will be Michael Callahan, a ranger with the National Park Service.

Ongoing throughout all of Battle Week is the opportunity to view related exhibits.

Focused specifically on the Battle of Brooklyn is the exhibit at the Harbor Defense Museum at Fort Hamilton Army Base, Fort Hamilton Parkway and 101st Street. The fort overlooks the Narrows, where some of the British soldiers came ashore to fight. There are also daily tours of the fort.Admission to the base and museum is free. However, a valid photo ID is required. Museum hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For further information, call 718-630-4349 or log onto www.

Also focused on the Battle of Brooklyn is the permanent exhibit at the Old Stone House. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday or by appointment.

Also open to view is an ongoing exhibit at the Brooklyn Historical Society, entitled “It Happened in Brooklyn.” BHS, which is located at 128 Pierrepont Street, is open Wednesday through Friday, from noon to 5 p.m., Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, from noon to 5 p.m. Admission is $5.00 for adults, $4.00 for people aged 62 and over, $4.00 for students 12. Children under the age of 12 are admitted free of charge. For further information, call 718-222-4111 or long onto

In addition, Federal Hall will have an exhibition of Revolutionary War flags on view from Thursday, August 20 through Thursday, August 27th. Federal Hall is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free. For further information, call 212-825-6888 or log onto


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Get inspired at the Bell House

By Tiffany Yannetta

This month, the Bell House in Gowanus will transform its two-room music venue into a new creative space with Metropol.Mode.

The two-day event, presented by Brooklyn creative design firm Implica from August 23–24, aims to highlight the diversity of local artists, as well as showcase street art, fashion and performances that are often exclusive to urban environments.

Floating walls will be suspended throughout the space to display pieces from various different artists, such as illustrator and tattooist Adam Suerte, and art groups such as Endless Love Crew and Urban Folk Art Collective.

The festival will feature performances from local DJs and musicians on the Bell House stage and on the floor that is normally reserved for the crowd.

In addition, there will be a fashion show presented by Wrought Style that will feature various contemporary street wear designers.

The headlining DJs of the event are DJ Maggie Lauten (Himanshu of Das Racist) and DJ Ilirjana (from Apache Beat). Other artists include Abe Lincoln Jr., Matt Siren, and Chelsea Franks. A special performance by the 25-piece “street brass” Hungry March Band will also take place on the 24th.

The event begins on August 23 at 7:30 p.m. The opening night reception will feature free specialty cocktails from 8–9 p.m. The Bell House is located at 149 7th Street between 2nd and 3rd avenues. Tickets per night are $10, $15 for a two-day pass.

For more information, call 718-643-6510.


Vintage cars to rumble into Brooklyn

Get ready to rumble.

On August 29, Kustom Kills & Hot Rod Thrills Car Show returns to Williamsburg with a show under the BQE.Pre-’64 Hot Rods, Kustoms, and Beaters are on the menu, as well as rocking music, with Rehab For Quitters, Homeward Bound, Memphis Morticians, Tombstone Brawlers, Turbo A.C.’s, Sasquatch & the Sick-A-Billys, and Toothless George & His One Man Band playing.

Trophies will be given for Best Hot Rod, Best Kustom, Furthest Driven, Biggest Club Showing, and more.

Gates open at 10 a.m. with bands starting at 3:30 p.m.

The event will be held rain or shine and can be found on the corner of Union Ave and Meeker Street.

For more information, go to

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