Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Mean streets on display at BAM

By Elizabeth Dana

For those whose school bus was the subway, and sprinklers were fire hydrants, the Brooklyn Academy of Music has a photo exhibit is for you.

BAM’s latest exhibition, “Younger Than I’ll Be,” pulls from photographs and movie stills that evoke the feelings of growing up in the city in the 1980s and early ’90s.

“Being young here was a singular experience — riding the subways, walking everywhere, phone booths, beepers, sitting on stoops, the feeling that you owned everything,” said curator Skye Parrot. “Part of that was just the joy and omnipotence of adolescence.”

To achieve this, the Fort Greene-based artist has looked to pieces like Nan Goldin’s provocative “Heart Shaped Bruise,” Robert Longo’s images of hip dancers in “Men in the Cities” — like grayscale iPod ads, minus the iPod — and stills from Larry Clark’s 1995 film “Kids,” a horrific look at children growing up too fast.

“They all encompass the feeling of being young in the city as it was before the big boom,” said Parrot. “Back when it could still feel dangerous.”

That must be the youth talking.

“Younger Than I’ll Be” opens at BAM [30 Lafayette Ave. between Ashland Place and St. Felix Street, (718) 636-4100] on April 7, with a reception at 6 pm, and runs till May 23. For info, visit

Photo by Virginia Rolston Parrott


It's the '60s, man

For those mourning the closing of the Brooklyn Museum’s “Who Shot Rock” exhibition, there’s another show in town where you can get your fix of rock photography.

Occupying a storefront on Atlantic Avenue, the new DeCastellane Gallery launched with a bang earlier last month with the opening night of “The Rowland Scherman Project,” featuring the photographer’s iconic work from such 1960s artists as Janis Joplin, Andy Warhol and Bob Dylan (including the iconic picture from the “Greatest Hits” album, for which Scherman won a Grammy, at left).

And his photo of the early Beatles is worth a trip to Boerum Hill just to remember the Fab Four when they were still Liverpool babies.

A collaboration between Scherman, printmaker Bob Korn and conservation framers Dave and Meri Hartford, the project set about preserving and exhibiting the historic images taken by Scherman. Because while these icons may last forever, the prints won’t.

“The Rowland Scherman Project” at DeCastellane gallery [525 Atlantic Ave. between Third and Fourth avenues in Boerum Hill, (347) 599-2017] through April 12. For info, visit


Hey Sean, what's up with the towel?

Sean Edward Lewis is used to doing underground theater. With his ensemble Lilac Co. and St. John’s Theatre, he’s performed primarily in a church basement in Greenpoint.

Recent productions have brought the theater group above ground to Zebulon in Williamsburg and Storefront Space in Greenpoint. That’s where you can see them in their next production, a work in progress about cops and coping called “Cop Piece.”

The original serial drama follows a beat cop and a detective as they stake out a pizza joint in New York.

“It’s fun for the whole family — if you’re over 17,” said Lewis, who pulls an Orson Welles by writing, directing and starring in the production.

Of course, great theater is a mystery — one that was not exactly solved by the bizarre press photo that Lewis sent over: it showed him, wearing only a towel, by the side of a cheap motel pool. What’s up with that?

“I can’t talk about that,” said Lewis. You’ll just have to figure out that piece for yourself.

“Cop Piece” runs Fridays and Saturdays in April, as well as May 1, at 8:30 pm at Storefront Space (94 Norman Ave. at Manhattan Avenue, no phone). There is a $10 donation. For info, visit


Northside Fest to return

From Greenpointer, the Northside Festival is on tap again for this year, June 24-27.

Last year's saw top acts such as the Hold Steady, Sunset Rubdown and Bishop Allen, with venues ranging from established halls to rooftops.

Organizers the L Magazine will roll out the list of bands, gallery events, film screenings over the next few months.


Monday, March 29, 2010

Norah Jones to kick off Celebrate Brooklyn!

It's just been announced that Norah Jones will kick off Celebrate Brooklyn! on June 9. And it's free!

Last year, about 27,000 people came out to see David Byrne play opening night, a record for the festival.

Will Brooklyn come out in similarly strong numbers for Jones? Or has her image been tainted by "Windowgate"? That remains to be seen.

Also helping celebrate Brooklyn is Passion Pit, who will play to a sold-out crowd on July 29.


From our papers

Lots of great stories in our papers this week:

Heated over carts: in Williamsburg, Bedford Avenue residents are starting to resent food carts.

Williamsburg squawks: Also in Williamsburg, businesses are coming out against the Williamsburg Walks plan.

Behind the scenes: Ever wonder how they make matzoh? Also, the best places in town to get it.

No dogs allowed: Brooklyn Bridge Park opens to much fanfare, expect to borough pooches.

Crucible of great theater: Don't miss the Gallery Players' latest production, running through April 4.


Lots of fun in this 'Hot Tub'

"Hot Tub Time Machine"
Three stars

By Gary Buiso

“Hot Tub Time Machine” is a Valley girl of a cinematic experience — ultimately vapid, but hella fun.

Three old friends are brought together after one botches a suicide attempt — listening to Mötley Crüe’s “Home Sweet Home,” of all things.

The song is an encouraging augury for fans of the glam metal group, or the 1980s in general, because the trio — Adam, Lou, Nick (played by John Cusack, Rob Corddry and Craig Robinson, respectively) — are soon travelling back to a time, courtesy of, yes, a hot tub. (Is the DeLorean in “Back to the Future that much more credible?) Along for the ride is Adam’s computer geek nephew played by Clark Duke, who offers appropriate levels of shock and awe at the political incorrectness that follows.

In order to brighten depressed man-child Lou, his chums plan a weekend at the Kodiak ski lodge, where many a cherished memory — tempered by copious amounts of booze and assorted narcotics — was forged. An opening night bro-fest in the hot tub leads to an energy drink-induced mechanical malfunction that disrupts the space-time continuum.

Soon, iconic elements from the ’80s — not counting Cusack — emerge rapid-fire. Neon, big hair, Crispin Glover, cassette tapes — heck, even ALF makes a small cameo.

The pals learn from a handyman, played by Chevy Chase, that they are to repeat, not change, any of their past actions, or else they’ll disrupt the present. That means, among other things, that Adam will have to break up again with his girlfriend — and face being stabbed in the eye with a fork, again.

Lurid temptation abounds, as does regret, as dwelling in the past can prompt the inevitable, “what if?”
The chaotic film is generally well-acted and ably directed by Steve Pink, who wrote “High Fidelity” and co-produced “Grosse Pointe Blank,” both starring Cusack.

Hardly high art, “Hot Tub Time Machine” exists in a realm somewhere between “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” and 1982’s “Porky’s” — itself a raunchy, backward-looking comedy set in the ’60s.

It may lack the cultural import of “The Breakfast Club,” but “Hot Tub Time Machine” isn’t exactly out to lunch either.

“Hot Tub Time Machine.” Rated R for for strong crude and sexual content, nudity, drug use and pervasive language. 100 minutes. With John Cusack, Clark Duke, Craig Robinson, Rob Corddry, Crispin Glover and Collette Wolfe.


Kitchen Klutz: Klutz is egg-cellent

By Michèle De Meglio

To me, breakfast is the easiest meal of the day. All you do is dump some Cheerios and organic fat-free milk in a bowl and voilà! Easy peasy.

But I’m tired of eating cereal! I want a grown-up breakfast!

Eggs seem sophisticated but I don’t want to burn my frying pan every single morning. (That’d require a lot of Brillo.) So what about a casserole? If I made a yummy egg and veggie dish, I could store it in my freezer and simply microwave a slice each morning. Sounds like a super plan!

I’ve never made such a casserole before so I thought of all the things I enjoy in my omelet - cheese (mozzarella or cheddar) and veggies (mostly peppers and onions).

If I just toss all that stuff in a bowl, it’s gotta be good, right? Let’s find out!

So that’s what I did. I filled my trusty baking pan (it’s blue!) with a few eggs and loads of veggies.

I minced the veggies because I don’t know about you, but I hate eating giant pieces of leaves. I feel like a rabbit! And it’s much more fun to have tiny flecks of green goodness all over my dish. Yum!

I wasn’t sure how long to cook the casserole and was particularly nervous. Why do you ask? Well, because I generally overcook scrambled eggs until they are hard brown clumps. I didn’t want my casserole to wind up like that!

So I repeatedly opened the oven door to inspect the dish. And I mean a lot.

Verdict: Not like Cheerios. Duh!

The egg-cellent casserole wasn’t too bad. Maybe could have used some salt and pepper (I always forget those things) but overall, I consider it a success for my first experiment.

More than anything, I think I found the taste of eggs jarring after so many cereal mornings.

Next time, I’ll use more veggies - and lots of ‘em! Oh yeah, and some seasoning.

Breakfast casserole
5 eggs
1 cup red pepper
1 cup green pepper
3/4 cup onion
1-1/2 cup cheddar or mozzarella cheese, grated
1 cup milk

Mince vegetables. Beat eggs in large bowl, then add remaining ingredients. Pour mixture in a greased 9x13 inch dish. Bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes.

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.


Blooming in action

Don't want to miss the cherry blossoms at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden?

The institution's Web site has a handy status map, so you can know exactly when to head to the garden to see the cherry blossoms on full, glorious bloom.

While there, also check out a time-lapse of the season, if you're impatient.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Weekend: 3.26-3.-28

So much going on this weekend, we wish we could be in two places at once! Here's a look at what's happening in a neighborhood near you.


Opera: BAM's opera festival continues with performances of the semi-opera "The Fairy Queen" in Fort Greene. Not to be missed.

Goodbye: It's the last few days of "A Life in Three Acts" at St. Ann's Warehouse in DUMBO. Also not to be missed. As our sister publication, the Brooklyn Paper says, "someone without even a passing interest in drag and the history of gay culture in London and New York should still consider checking out “Three Acts,” because by its conclusion, many will find themselves wishing that this drag-queen/raconteur had more time to share a few more saucy tales."

Saturday, March 27

He's got the beat: The Beat poets really dug Walt Whitman. Learn all about it this weekend at St. Francis College.

Music: The Grates ramp up the fun at Brooklyn Bowl in Williamsburg tonight. And tickets are only $5!

Eats: Grillin on the Bay brings backyard grillers and big names in the business to Sheepshead Bay. Come hungry.

Sunday, March 28

Back in business: It must be spring, because the Cyclone reopens today. Stick around for the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus's Cavalcade of Youth. They'll be juggling, acrobatics and more. At 4 pm. Tickets $15, $10 kids. At Sideshows by the Seashore (1208 Surf Ave. at W. 12th Street).

Brunch: Love brunch? Love food cook-offs? Then head to the Bell House for the Brooklyn Brunch Experiment, where the two combine for a culinary competition hosted by Theo Peck and Nick Suarez. Waffles, quiche, fried chicken and hollandaise sauce are all on the menu. Tickets $20 in advance, $25 at the door. At noon. Located at 149 Seventh St. between Second and Third avenues in Gowanus.


The A Sunny Day in Glasgow Mus-O-Meter

Ask any musician how he would describe his music, and most of the time he's rather you just listen to it.

We understand, and that's why we've created the Mus-O-Meter, a guide to understanding a band's sound through other bands sounds!

This week, we take a look at A Sunny Day in Glasgow and the band's new EP, "Nitetime Rainbows.

A Sunny Day in Glasgow burst on the dream-pop, shoegaze scene in 2009 with its sophomore album, “Ashes Grammar,” a sprawling collection of experimental noise-pop. The band’s recent EP is a continuation of that album — the leftovers, so to speak. But to really get a sense of what it’s all about, the band can only be described through the musical-mathematical science that goes into our exclusive mus-o-meter:

Take the jarring guitar licks of Jesus and Mary Chain’s 1985 record “Pyschocandy,” then add...

the detached vocals and heady haziness of My Bloody Valentine’s 1991 album, “Loveless.” Then add...

Cocteau Twins’ atmospheric, non-lyrical female vocal stylings on “Head Over Heels.” The sum?

A Sunny Day in Glasgow’s “Nitetime Rainbows.”


Kicking brass

Tromboners unite!

The Second Annual Trombone Festival lands in Brooklyn next weekend, with a month of events planned at Ibeam in Gowanus.

Here's a look at who's going to be there:

April 3rd

8 pm

Josh Roseman Trio

Lineup TBA

9 pm

Rick Parker Trio

Rick Parker - Trombone

10 pm
Ryan Snow’s Trio Unleashed
Ryan Snow – trombone
Aidan Carroll – bass
Bram Kincheloe – drums

April 10

8 pm

Jacob Garchik Trio

Jacob Garchik, trombone

Jacob Sacks, piano

Dan Weiss, drums


Jen Baker

Jen Baker – Solo Trombone

10 pm

Joe Fiedler Trio

John Hebert/bass

Michael Sarin/drums

Joe Fiedler/trombone&compositions

April 17

8 pm


Brett Sroka: trombone/computer/fx

Sam Harris: rhodes electric piano/synthesizer/piano/prepared-piano

Bryan Teoh: guitar/computer

Shawn Baltazor: drums

10 pm

Curtis Hasselbring’s New Mellow Edwards

Curtis Hasselbring – Trombone

Ches Smith – Drums

Trevor Dunn – Bass

April 24

8 pm

Steve Swell Trio

Steve Swell – Trombone

Andrew Drury – Drums

Ken Filiano – Bass

10 pm

Brian Drye (pictured) Presents: Bizingas

Brian Drye – Trombone / Piano

Kirk Knuffke – Trumpet

Ches Smith – Drums

Jonathan Goldberger – Guitar

April 30

8 pm

Westbrook Johnson’s Three Roads Band

Westbrook Johnson – Trombone

Jesse Bartlet-Webber – Drums

Alex Vallejo – Bass

John Welsh – Guitar

10 pm

Ben Gerstein Quartet

Ben Gerstein – Trombone

Michael Attias – Saxophone

Mat Maneri – Viola

Jacob Sacks – Piano


Still life inside 'The Batcave'

Broken-down industrial structures might detract most people, but for photographers with a sense of adventure, they can be ideal spots for urban exploration and inspiration.

Take Park Slope-based photographer Nathan Kensinger, who prefers to shoot in abandoned buildings to find exclusive snapshots and edge out competitors.

“The same people have taken the same pictures — the same bridge, the same dead-end street,” said Kensinger, who’ll show off his photos next week in Downtown Brooklyn. “It’s rare to find a place that no one else has documented.”

One such place is “The Batcave,” a squatter house along the Gowanus Canal, which he photographed in 2007. The inhabitants of the Batcave originally lived in a communal style, said Kensinger, but the building’s owners evicted them once drug use and violence became common in the illegal residence. Kensinger wasn’t deterred, as he and a group of photographers sneaked past the guard and documented the impromptu bedrooms, shanties and remnants of a bike shop within the building.

Curiosity has also driven him to infiltrate other “mysterious” industrial buildings and neighborhoods throughout the borough, including “The Hole,” a neighborhood of abandoned houses near Howard Beach. The border town got its name because it’s sunken into the ground, said Kensinger, and is prone to flooding.

“There are boats in the front yards,” he said. Reportedly used a mob dumping ground, more than a few bodies are suspected as well.

Other off-the-beaten-path locations Kensinger has captured include the Brooklyn Navy Yard and the Fresh Kills landfill.

Nathan Kensinger’s photos and lecture, Metropolitan Exchange [33 Flatbush Avenue Ext. between Nevins and Livingston streets in Downtown, (718) 643-7361], March 30, 6:30 pm. For info, visit His work also can be seen in “The Gentrification of Brooklyn” show at MoCADA [80 Hanson Pl. at S. Portland Avenue in Fort Greene, (718) 230-0952] through May 16.

— Tony Cella

Photo by Nathan Kensinger


Pumps & Pleats: London hits Brooklyn

By Michèle De Meglio

Every gal loves roses, tulips and gardenias but Liberty of London has taken florals too far.

The posh British brand just unveiled a cheap and chic collaboration with Target, which has three stores in Brooklyn.

The massive collection includes girls’ and ladies’ apparel, shoes, bedding and housewares — all decorated in outlandish floral motifs.

Don’t get me wrong, I dig flowers as much as the next lady but it’s the print that makes all the difference.

If you ask me, spring should be about tiny and delicate daisies — not carnations the size of my skull. And what’s with the muted shades? Bring on the bright colors!

Fortunately, Liberty does have some shining moments.

Designers get it right with an oversized tote in Jennifer Blue ($19.99). The slouchy bag is coated with itty-bitty green leaves and blue and white flowers, which are perfectly offset by two crisp white straps with subtle matte studs. Liberty made a huge goof, nearly ruining the sweet spring style, by including a pitch black interior lining. Would a happy color kill ya? (I must admit, this is a recession-friendly trend in both affordable and high-end handbags. So depressing.)

The $19.99 Susanna duffle bag is all wrong. Flowers should come in pretty shades of pink and periwinkle — not mustard yellow or moss green. Who wants daisies that look like dirt? Not me!

A few of the tops and dresses work. Namely, the silky Fairford tank adorned with ruffles and a dangerously low keyhole cutout ($19.99) and the one-shoulder maxi dress in a pleasant plum ($34.99).

But there’s no excuse for wearing a sleeveless jumpsuit covered in large black and white sunflowers. Boring!

Although you might think Liberty of London’s sweet pea prints are only for ladies, there’s a whole series of boxershorts, ties and shirts for men.

Fellas, picture yourself in a button-down business shirt plastered with pink and yellow flowers. Now add a paisley tie. That’s taking flowers way too far.

Target has three stores in Brooklyn — at the Triangle Junction at 1598 Flatbush Avenue, in Gateway Mall at 519 Gateway Drive, and at the Atlantic Center Mall at 139 Flatbush Avenue. Visit for hours.

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.


Where should the First Lady have gone for pizza in Brooklyn?

Michele Obama and children went to Grimaldi's in DUMBO, like every other tourist to our fair borough (something tells us they didn't casually stroll across the Brooklyn Bridge to get there, though).

They had "one pie with pepperoni and sausage, one classic Margherita, and one with mushrooms, peppers and onions," reports the Brooklyn Paper).

But what about Brooklyn's other famous pizza joints, like Roberta's, Di Fara, L&B and Lucali? Where do you have told them to go? Sound off in the comments.

Photo: The Brooklyn Paper / Tom Callan


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

High-flying fun

Break out your 1940s vintage finest.

Next month, Suspended Cirque brings “Swingin’ at Jack’s” to Galapagos Art Space in DUMBO, a speak easy-themed show that mixes class with sass.

Circus art enthusiasts may find the new show familiar; it’s an expansion on the aerial theater troupe’s last show, “Speak Easy,” which ran earlier this year, and is a “new and improved version,” said Angela Jones, founder of Suspended Cirque.

In the encore performances, expect more of the same high-flying action, performed on ropes, trapezes and hoops, and jazzy soundtrack, provided by Victoria Cave and her band. Order a sidecar and sit back as coy cigarette girls, a sassy French maître d’ and Jack himself let the drama unfold right in your lap. Just remember, no smoking allowed.

Swingin’ at Jack’s runs at Galapagos Art Space [16 Main St. at Water Street in DUMBO, (718) 222-8500] every Sunday in April at 8 pm. Tickets $25, $20 for students and those in costume. For info, visit


Ear-splitting sound

Kerretta lets the music do the talking.

Not only is the New Zealand band instrumental, the three-piece has a thing about not taking photographs of themselves. Same thing goes for film (no camera interviews and limited face time in their videos).

Luckily, that ethos doesn’t cancel out live performances. Currently on their first US tour, the band is out in support of their new album “Vilayer,” eight tracks of propulsive angular rock, which includes a stop in Brooklyn next month.

Hailed in their native New Zealand for their ear-splitting live shows, the band has gained fans touring with the likes of ...And You’ll Know Us by the Trail of Dead and The Breeders. A US tour was only a matter of time, even if it is halfway across the globe.

“People say the world is getting smaller with technology and all which is true, but it’s still a long way for a band from New Zealand to come,” says the band’s W. Waters. “We’re doing our best to back it up and slip in some tasty new tunes to show what’s to come.”

Yep, for Kerretta, it’s all about the music.

Kerretta play Union Hall [702 Union St. at Fifth Avenue in Park Slope, (718) 638-4400] on Friday, April 2 at 10 pm. Tickets are $8. For info, visit


Big pimpin'

Brian J once said you can’t kick a can in Williamsburg without hitting another musician. To build a following, you have to be doing something pretty special.

It’s safe to say that the musician has that recipe figured out. His global mix of funk, soul and Afrobeat with his band Pimps of Joytime has steadily gained a following here and abroad. When they’re not on tour, they head to their local hang, Brooklyn Bowl, to sweat things out.

That’s where you can find them April 2 in a rare hometown engagement before jetting off to festivals and club dates across the country. There they’ll be testing out a new set of songs from their latest project, “Janxta Funk!” largely inspired by the Williamsburg DJ culture from which the band emerged several years back.

The tracks have us helplessly grooving in our swivel desk chairs. Borrowing from the title of one the new tunes, we say: “Keep That Music Playing.’ ”

The Pimps of Joytime play Brooklyn Bowl [61 Wythe Ave. between North 11th and 12th streets in Williamsburg, (718) 963-3369] at 10 pm. Tickets are $5. For info, visit

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