08/29/14 12:43pm
Eugene Mirman, holding court outside the Bell House. Photo: Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival

Eugene Mirman, holding court outside the Bell House. Photo: Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival

Famous people are great and all, but what I have really come to appreciate about Eugene Mirman after attending a few EMCFs is his ability to identify and give a stage to relatively unknown comedians who are clearly on their way to the big time.

The end of summer is here, and while that means less daylight, cooler temps, and not being able to phone it in at work anymore, it’s also time to get excited for the annual Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival, which returns to The Bell House and Union Hall for five nights starting September 18. Now in its 7th year, the festival is an unfussy, intimate series of shows, panels, and events featuring top-notch talent, mostly culled from Mirman’s own list of comedian friends he’s collected over two decades in the biz.

A lot of the shows with big-name headliners are already sold out, but don’t despair if you didn’t snap those tickets up–the secret to the festival is that the less star-studded line-ups are where you’ll see tomorrow’s new favorite funny person. And everyone loves an opportunity to say, “Oh yeah, I saw her just before she got hired by SNL-The Daily Show-The John Oliver Show-moved to LA and got super famous.”


08/27/14 6:22am
Brooklyn Carnival, one of the largest Diaspora celebration of West Indian culture in the world, will take place Sept. 1 in Crown Heights. Photo: George Krauss

Brooklyn Carnival, one of the largest Diaspora celebrations of West Indian culture in the world, will take place Sept. 1 in Crown Heights. Photo: George Krauss

In many ways, September always feels like the start of a new year. So much cultural programming kicks off come Labor Day that we found ourselves flush with fun things to look forward to over the next week and well into fall–make sure to look out for our September Fun Map in your inbox tomorrow. While there will be plenty of time to celebrate summer over the long weekend ahead with backyard BBQs and beach trips, we would also like to direct your attention to a Michael Jackson karaoke party at Morbid Anatomy Museum, Brooklyn Carnival, a vampire film screening for anyone going through withdrawal following True Blood‘s series finale last Sunday, and a rooftop dinner in honor of the autumnal harvest we’re all about to reap. Your ideal week awaits.

Thursday, Aug. 28: Greenlight Bookstore has struck up a new literary partnership with culinary newcomer Peck’s Specialty Food, owner Theo Pecks’ iteration of an old-school kosher deli, which Brendan Spiegel clued us in on when it opened in Clinton Hill in January. The fruit of this new fusion is Book/Plate, a literary dinner party that pairs the works of authors with food dishes inspired by their writings. First up will be Francisco Goldman (Say Her Name) whose newest book, The Interior Circuit, a genre-bending book the follows Goldman through his grief after his wife’s passing as he rediscovers himself and his life inside Mexico City during the Mexican capital’s most recent time of socio-political upheaval. Tickets to the family-style dinner cost $45 and include a copy of Goldman’s book.

Friday, Aug. 29: Tonight the Morbid Anatomy Museum is throwing a karaoke birthday party for Michael Jackson. Let that thought sink in as you’re clicking over for tickets, because the oversized-curio-cabinet of an institution is going all out for the Gloved One. Along with a mic and karaoke machine, the museum has also organized gin cocktails, music videos and an illustrated talk by Shannon Taggart on “the curious afterlife of Michael Jackson.” Oddities start at 8pm. (more…)

08/25/14 5:56pm
Wonder if there moviegoers making a mad dash for lawn space at Bryant Park's summer film festival were aware the area adjacent the the New York Public Library was once a cemetery? Photo: Bryant Park

Wonder if these moviegoers making a mad dash for lawn space at Bryant Park’s summer film festival were aware the area adjacent the the New York Public Library was once a cemetery? Photo: Bryant Park

As we mentioned last week, the 238th anniversary of the Battle of Brooklyn is tomorrow, and for the past 106 years, part of the commemoration of this Revolutionary War skirmish, fought along the East River in Brooklyn Heights, has included a memorial service at the Prison Ship Martyrs monument in Fort Greene Park. I first learned of this time-honored tradition while researching this story two years ago on the Society of Old Brooklynites, the organization that’s overseen the tribute since President Taft was in office and dedicated the cylindrical stone  statue in memory of the 11,500 colonists who perished aboard British prison ships docked in New York Harbor in 1776.

Solemnity aside, the part of this story that really gave me goosebumps was the point when Ted General, a member of SOB (somehow I feel like that acronym was intentional), explained that the monument was more than just a marker–it was also a tomb. “Their bones were scooped up from Wallabout Bay along the shoreline there where the waves had exposed them after a while, and they were put into this crypt in Fort Greene Park,” is what the General told me at the time. I found this cemetery-within-a-city-park concept more than a little morbid–something I’m not opposed to in everyday life–but then I started looking, and it turns out, some of the city’s most popular places to read books, sunbathe, host birthday parties and let our dogs roam free, started out as potter’s fields.  (more…)

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08/25/14 9:54am

The borough-dominating team behind Brownstoner, Brooklyn Flea and Smorgasburg is finally ready to open their hotly (and angrily) anticipated new venue in Crown Heights this Wednesday. The marquee element of their small-producer food incubator, Berg’n is an indoor-outdoor beer hall with tons of group seating, a 40-foot bar pouring local brews, food from four of Smorg’s most popular vendors, and a coffee bar by Parlor including treats from Dough donuts. Translation: You’re gonna end up here for just about every Brooklyn birthday party over the course of the next year, and it’s gonna be crowded as f@#$.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t handle Berg’n. Brooklyn Based checked out their pre-opening party last week to get the lay of the land, and put together this handy guide so that you can navigate Berg’n with minimal frustration.

Berg'n opened its doors to friends and family on Friday. Its grand opening is Wednesday. Photo: Berg'n

Berg’n opened its doors to friends and family on Friday. Its grand opening is Wednesday. Photo: Berg’n


Brooklyn Based delivers free daily emails about the borough's best food, events, attractions and innovators. Get Brooklyn Based in your inbox--sign up here.

08/22/14 1:27pm
Photo: Fort Defiance

Photo: Fort Defiance

Holly Howard is our go-to business consultant. She’s helped countless small businesses in Brooklyn and beyond (including us here at Brooklyn Based) with her expertise and know-how. This summer, in an unprecedented program, 10 small businesses in Red Hook, Brooklyn have come together to work as a community to grow their businesses through Holly’s From Artisan to Entrepreneur® Business Growth Program.  This program was made possible through the generous support from ReStore Red HookNew York Business Development Corporation, and Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Development Corporation. Over the next 10 weeks, Holly will dedicate her weekly advice column to a specific business in Red Hook that is participating in her in hopes that their journeys will bring enlightenment and inspiration to your business as well. This week, she fields a question from the owner of Fort Defiance, St. John Frizell.

Dear Holly,

If servers at my restaurant want to get one or more of their shifts covered, there’s a very simple procedure—they simply have to find someone to cover their shift, and email the general manager.  This has worked great until this summer, when several of my servers went away at the same time.  Even though they had found other servers to cover their shifts, unforeseen but inevitable events left me shorthanded.  I can’t let the same thing happen over the holidays.  Is there a better way to handle this—one that still allows my servers to be flexible while protecting the best interests of the business?


St. John, owner, Fort Defiance (more…)

08/22/14 10:00am

(amazon)Although he was born and raised in California, the late Jeff Buckley will always be a quintessential New Yorker. It was in the Big Apple that his career really flourished after he moved here in the early ’90s. New York City was different then—most of the music venues were in Manhattan, record shops were plentiful, especially along 8th Street in the West Village and St. Mark’s Place, and you found out about a band through word of mouth or reading a (much thicker) Village Voice.

The East Village and the Lower East Side were like a playground for Buckley, and he performed at almost every venue in those neighborhoods. But it was in Brooklyn that he found inspiration for his most famous song. Even as he later toured the world to much adulation, Buckley returned to perform in New York, where it all began for him.

This Saturday marks the 20th anniversary of Grace, his only full-length studio album released while he was still alive (he drowned in a tragic accident in 1997), a powerful and stunning work that is now considered a masterpiece. In honor of that milestone, here is a list of notable spots in New York that impacted his career, according to the Kingdom for a Kiss tour page from his website. It’s also a reflection of how much the city has changed in the last 20 years. (more…)

08/21/14 1:00pm
Scenes from past Immersions. Photos: Alison Brockhouse/Brooklyn Based

Scenes from past Immersions. Photos: Alison Brockhouse/Brooklyn Based

We didn’t want anyone to have to choose between their summer vacation and one of our Immersions with Brooklyn Brewery, so after fantastic days spent drinking, eating and exploring the South Slope and Greenpoint in June and July, we took August off and planned The Total Bushwick Immersion for Saturday, Sept. 13.

We’ve lined up a whole new crop of bars, restaurants, cafes and stores to check out, focusing on the area around the Jefferson stop on the L train (no, we’re not calling it Jefftown). Consider this your $20 ticket to an entire day of artsy, boozy, delicious fun.

You’ll start the day by picking up your envelope full of walking around money, or WAM, as we like to call it, at Radio Bushwick, any time between 1pm and 2:30pm. From there, Bushwick is basically your oyster. Your WAM is like Brooklyn Monopoly money, and each bill will score you a different deal around the neighborhood. What do you get? Brooklyn Brewery beers at The Rookery, Radio Bushwick, Three Diamond Door and Brooklyn Fire Proof, and lunch at either The Diggs—your choice of their ridiculously good poutine or Coney fries, which come covered with chili, cheese sauce, mustard and onions (leave off the chili if you like)—or Brooklyn Fire Proof (your choice of a wings basket or a burger and fries). What else? Discounts on everything from coffee, cookies and other baked goods to haircuts, books and handmade goods at spots like Little Skips, Sweet and Shiny and The Shops at The Loom. (See below for the full list—some last for a full year.)

We sold out well in advance of our two last Immersions, so round up your friends and get your tickets early so you don’t miss out.

Here are all our deals to date–RSVP on Facebook for updates as we add more deals and open galleries to the list.

Cobra Club: $3 can of Brooklyn Brewery beer. Valid day of immersion only. Valid day of Immersion only.
Molasses Books: One or the other–10% off all books OR free coffee (iced or hot) with any book purchase. Valid day of Immersion only.
Sweet & Shiny: Buy one cookie, get one free. Valid through December 13, 2014.
Little Skips: Free coffee or tea with any sandwich order. Valid through December 13, 2014.
Tomahawk Salon: 20% off men or women’s cut. Valid through March 13, 2015.
Kave: Free small cold brew with any purchase of $4 or more. Valid through December 13, 2014.
Better than Jam Homemade: 20% off handmade products; 10% off supplies. Valid at Bushwick location only through November 13, 2014.
Amos Eno Gallery: Free admission to your choice of gallery event or free walk through with director on Saturdays, every hour on the hour. Gallery open 12-6, Thursday-Sunday. Valid through March 13, 2015.
Chez Bushwick: $5.00 off year membership. Valid through December 31, 2014
RDNMKS: 25% off all reflection dynamiks apparel, 10% off all accessories and free iphone case with a purchase of any sprayground bookbag. Valid day of immerison only.
Bushwick Community Darkroom: 20% off any services or rentals. Excludes classes.
Brooklyn Yarn Creative Studio: 20% off any merchandise or classes offered in studio. Valid through September 13, 2015
Bushwick Food Coop: $10 off a $50 purchase, for new members joining September 1st 2014 or later OR non-members. Valid through December 13, 2014.
Loom Yoga Center: $35 for 4 weeks of unlimited yoga, first time yogis at Loom Yoga Center.

08/21/14 12:00pm

shawangunk-ridge-new-yorkShawangunk Ridge | Jarek Tuszynski via Wikipedia

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AllCar Rent-A-Car and Carpingo are offering you the chance to win a weekend for you and a guest in the country.

In addition to getting a free car for three days and two nights, the winning entry will also get two nights in the Cathedral Room or the Woodstove Room at Audrey’s Farmhouse Bed and Breakfast.

Enter below for your chance to win the weekend getaway.

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08/21/14 9:32am
Denitia and Sene (Mats Bakken)

Denitia and Sene perform at the Afropunk Fest in Fort Greene this weekend. Photo: Mats Bakken

Every summer the Afropunk Fest at Commodore Barry Park in Fort Greene welcomes one of the city’s most dynamic musical lineups of the year. This weekend the free annual festival will host artists including Fishbone, Bad Brains, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Body Count and Meshell Ndegeocello, and pay tribute to the late DJ Rashad, as well as some up-and-coming acts that are taking root right here in Brooklyn. Denitia and Sene, the Ditmas Park duo known for seamlessly and gorgeously blending soul, rap and electronic music, will take the stage on Saturday.

When you have such a diverse group of young artists as Troy AveAva LunaParquet CourtsJunglepussy…claiming Brooklyn as their home, whether they hail from here originally or not, you know there’s something special here.

For young artists like Denitia and Sene making a living in music isn’t just about playing out, it’s also about being part of a larger community. “There are lots of ways to make money in show business,” Sene told us in an email. “Some less glamorous than others. You find a lot of people are willing to go wherever and do whatever. Not many people are as worried about giving back to their hometown as they are giving to themselves.”