Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Culture club: the best bests for 2010

By Meredith Deliso

That was fast.

Another year has gone by in Brooklyn. These past 12 months may have found you dining at Buttermilk Channel, bowling at Brooklyn Bowl, or rocking out at the Knitting Factory, three acclaimed borough establishments that all came to be — or be reborn — in 2009. Or maybe you caught Cate Blanchett in her praised role of Blanche Dubois at BAM, took in the captivating “New Electric Ballroom” at St. Ann’s Warehouse, or had rock star insight at the Brooklyn Museum’s “Who Shot Rock and Roll” exhibition.

With 2010 right around the corner, we take a look at what’s in store for Brooklyn’s cultural landscape, from anticipated exhibits to concerts you should buy tickets for today (and don’t worry if you haven’t made it to the Brooklyn Museum exhibition yet; it runs until the end of January).

Brooklyn Sounds
There are shows on a daily basis in Brooklyn worth mentioning, but these caught our eyes, or, rather, ears. On January 29, Brooklyn Bowl has something for all you metal/tribute/Michael Jackson/Judas Priest/Cheap Trick enthusiasts. Promoter Rocks Off presents their Tribute Wars XXXII, with Dangerous, an all-metal tribute to Michael Jackson featuring members of 2 Skinnee J’s and Tragedy: All Metal Tribute to the Bee Gees, as well as all-female tributes to Judas Priest.At 9 p.m. Tickets $5. Located at 61 Wythe Ave. For more information, call 718-963-3369.

That same night, fans of experimental indie rock might want to head over to the Music Hall of Williamsburg for a set from Here We Go Magic. These guys have just been growing since formed by Luke Temple two years ago. With a sophomore album coming out in the New Year, expect even bigger things. At 9 p.m. Tickets $12 in advance, $14 day of show. With Midnight Masses and Glass Ghost. Music Hall is located at 66 North 6th Street.

Top local acts are lined up for BAM’s “Sounds Like Brooklyn,” an annual music festival that has its ear to the borough’s diverse sounds. This year’s, which runs from January 29-30 and February 4-6, features Les Savy Fav with Vivian Girls, Rain Machine with Anti-Pop Constortium, and Ra Ra Riot with The Antlers, at BAM, with additional Brooklyn venues participating as well.Tickets range from $15 to $25. BAM is located at 30 Lafayette Ave. For more information, call 718-636-4100.

Live on Stage
Stew made waves with his Tony award-winning “Passing Strange” in ’08. In ’10, he brings a multi-media rock show to Brooklyn with “Making It” at St. Ann’s Warehouse in DUMBO. Are you making it? What are you making? When do you know you’ve made it? Watch as Stew and Heidi Rodewald explore these questions in their show, which traces the unlikely careers of Stew and Heidi from the dive rock clubs of Hollywood to the footlights of Broadway. We’ll say they’ve made it.

The show runs from February 17-21. Tickets $42 to $82. St. Ann’s is located at 38 Water St.

Bushwick band Pass Kontrol have been at work on their original rock opera “New Hope City,” doing workshops here and there. In February, they have the Bushwick Starr all to themselves as they present the work, from February 11 to 27. Should be out there. The Bushwick Starr is located at 207 Starr St. Tickets $10.

For a more traditional opera experience, BAM hosts its first ever opera festival this coming March. Curated by conductor William Christie, of the ensemble Les Arts Florissants, he brings a bit of the Baroque to Brooklyn, with two operas from Purcell – “Dido and Aeneas” and “The Fairy Queen,” and the French opera “Actéon,” plus a recital with Christie, Baroque cabaret and more. The festival runs from March 18-31. Ticket prices vary.

Ancient Art
For its next exhibit, the Brooklyn Museum in Prospect Heights draws more than 100 objects from its holdings of ancient Egyptian art (which numbers over 1,200) that illustrate the range of strategies the ancient Egyptians developed to cheat death. Fittingly, the exhibition is titled “To Live Forever: Art and the Afterlife in Ancient Egypt,” and explores mummification and tomb rituals. Creepy or fascinating? You decide.

The exhibition runs from February 12-May 2 in the Robert E. Blum Gallery, 1st Floor. The museum is located at 200 Eastern Parkway. Suggested contribution is $10. For more information, go to or call 718-638-5000.

Big Fish
Katie Jarvis has been earning rave reviews for her performance in “Fish Tank” – which tells the story of a rebellious 15-year-old who becomes involved with her mother’s boyfriend – especially given her rookie status. The film itself, from Andrea Arnold, has won praise as well, taking the jury prize at Cannes. See it here, followed by a Q&A with the director, January 7 at 7 p.m. at BAM. Tickets $12.

Second Editions
New restaurants and shops pop up all the time in Brooklyn, those these following offerings give a second life to previously existing borough favorites.

Williamsburg’s Pies-n-Thighs shuttered to the dismay of barbecue lovers everywhere when they were kicked out of their space in 2008. The much-anticipated and long-delayed reopening a few blocks from the original is anticipated for early 2010. Happy New Year, indeed. Located at 166 South 4th St.

Lucali put Carroll Gardens on the pizza map when it opened in 2006. The year 2010 brings another pizza destination to Brooklyn – Giusepinna’s, or, as its been nicknamed, Lucali II, since it’s run by Chris Iacono, brother to Mark of Lucali, and initial speculation was that it would share the same name. Located in Greenwood Heights at 6th Avenue and 20th Street, the hope is that the new pizzeria will ease the wait at Lucali I once it opens, anticipated for late ’09, early ’10.

The Coney Island Boardwalk lost some flavor in early ’09 when Lola Staar was forced to close. Good news comes in the New Year, as the boutique and gift shop is set to reopen under the city’s new deal to buy land from developer Joe Sitt. As of press time, the new lease was in the works, but owner Dianna Carlin was hoping for a New Year’s Day party to celebrate the reopening and ring in 2010 with the Polar Bears as they make their annual New Year’s dip in the ocean.

For the past several months, Sixpoint Craft Ales in Red Hook (much in the news this year) has been under renovation to add space to make more beer, mainly meaning, no visitors allowed. That changes in the New Year, when the microbrewery, which has won fans for their rich stock of six brews, including their signature, Sweet Action, reopens to visitors. Since the brewery doesn’t bottle its beer, but rather sells it from kegs and at places like Biefkraft in Park Slope, that’s the best place to have it. How sweet it is. Located at 40 Van Dyke St.


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