05/29/15 10:38am

cheatsheet1Backyard BBQ season is here, friends, and it’s time to ratchet up your party convo game. Here to help is a roundup of articles that caught our attention over the past month, which should give you plenty to of ammunition for your next social gathering. Happy weekend, everybody!

  1. The Department of Justice’s decision to pursue criminal corruption charges against 14 FIFA officials has been covered in depth by every news outfit this week, but the Washington Post had a sobering look at the practical toll of FIFA’s relentless rule-breaking and self-dealing, as measured by human lives lost as a result of the decision, allegedly influenced by extensive bribery, to allow human rights denier Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup. (more…)

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05/28/15 9:00am

While we’re always keeping tabs on new films, music, performances and art openings for you, summer in New York is generally given over to barbecues, outdoor concerts and movies, trips to the beach and the beach reads that go along with your sunscreen. To that end we’ve condensed our monthly culture picks into a summer guide. Here’s a trio of TV shows worth forgoing the great outdoors to watch, two new books to see you through the dog days of August, the diamond jubilee of one of New York City’s most beloved ballet companies and few more favorites for the warm days and nights ahead. See you back here in September.

Christopher Meloni takes a break from the dramas like Law & Order and Oz that made him famous, for a bit of comic relief reprising his role as Gene in Wet Hot American Summer's new Netflix original series. Photo: Saeed Adyani/Netflix

Christopher Meloni might be better known for the dramas, like Law & Order and Oz, that made him famous, but I for one can’t wait for his comedic return as Gene in Wet Hot American Summer‘s new Netflix original series. Photo: Saeed Adyani/Netflix

10. Wet Hot American Summer was by no means a blockbuster when it was released in 2001, but the film quickly became a cult classic nonetheless. Now, 14 years later, the original cast has reunited for the new Netflix original series—what would we do without Netflix during this long summer hiatus from commercial television, really?—Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp debuts on July 17. While the film focused on the final day at Camp Firewood, the prequel series is, as the title implies, all about the first day of camp for a cast that includes Bradley Cooper, Paul Rudd, Janeane Garofolo, Amy Poehler and Elizabeth Banks. Honestly, this photo of Christopher Meloni as Gene, a Vietnam veteran-cum-camp chef, is all you really need to know about this one, but if you want more information, Huffington Post has an interview with show creator David Wain for you here.

Villa America9. I was so excited to read Liza Klaussmann’s newest novel, which technically doesn’t come out stateside until Aug. 4, that I bought the British version despite the depressingly bad exchange rate between the dollar and the pound. There was also something about the cover artwork of the European version that piqued my interest. On it is a couple presumably intended to represent Sara and Gerald Murphy, the real-life American expats who sit at the heart of Klaussmann’s historical novel. The Murphys came of age in the Belle Epoque era of the late 19th century and spent a good portion of their adult lives between WWI and WWII living abroad in Europe, splitting their time between Paris and Antibes, where they raised three children and cultivated quite the social life during the Roaring Twenties, playing the consummate hosts to members of the Lost Generation like Ernest and Hadley Hemingway, Pauline Pfeiffer, Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald and John Dos Possos, at their home on the Cap d’Antibes, Villa America. Pablo Picasso was also a pal. Klaussmann manages to capture the antics of a generation of artists, aesthetes and intellectuals, during the Golden Era, when the champagne seemed to always be flowing, at least for a little while. If you want a look into the lifestyle and the people that inspired works like The Great Gatsby, Tender is the Night and The Sun Also Rises, Klaussmann’s painstaking research for Villa America reveals it and more.

American Ballet Theatre is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year with a special exhibition spanning eight decades of its iconic costumes at the Metropolitan Opera House. Photo: ABT

American Ballet Theatre is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year with a special exhibition spanning eight decades of its iconic costumes at the Metropolitan Opera House. Photo: ABT

8. The American Ballet Theatre is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, and in honor of the occasion, it has created a pretty spectacular exhibition of costumes worn by its dancers over the past eight decades, and I am not just talking about tutus, although there will be plenty of tulle to be sure. The Diamond Jubilee exhibition is the brainchild of fashion journalist Hamish Bowles and ABT’s wardrobe supervisor Bruce Horowitz. It’s taken over three levels of the Metropolitan Opera House, where ABT is currently in the midst of its spring ballet season, featuring performances of The Sleeping Beauty, Romeo and Juliet, Swan Lake and Cinderella, which runs through the first week of July. It offers an up-close look at costumes, created by the likes of Galina Solovyeva, Lucie Chase, Ralph Rucci, Christian Lacroix, and Isaac Mizrahi and worn by beloved dancers like Mikhail Baryshnikov and Natalia Osipova. If you want to hear more about ABT history, this NPR podcast is worth a listen. (more…)

05/27/15 3:00pm


Sponsored By Ask Holly How.

Ask Holly How's 'From Artisan to Entrepreneur' class launches on June 8th.

Created By BlankSlate

Tone, an artist and musician who “stumbled” into the bar business, thought that being poor was just part of running a small business. Sarah, a florist and event designer, found that even working with flowers could be chaotic without direction, systems, and organization.

Then they each enrolled in Holly Howard’s From Artisan to Entrepreneur® Business Growth Program. This is not your typical business development course. The focus of this program is community, creativity, and confidence. It’s the opportunity to join a small group of your peers – limited to 15 students per section – to gain the tools, resources, and relationships you need to grow your business. (more…)

05/27/15 10:11am
Aerialists from The Muse are just some of the entertainment that will be on hand at the epic Brooklyn Spaces book launch party on Saturday night. Photo: The Muse

Aerialists from The Muse are just some of the entertainment that will be on hand at the epic Brooklyn Spaces book launch party on Saturday night. Photo: The Muse

Feeling a little stressed out lately? You aren’t alone, and one of the best ways to realize that fact is to immerse yourself in other people’s problems, which you can do this Friday night at the first anniversary of Relationshit, the live show featuring all kinds of messed up relationship issues and advice from real therapists. To celebrate the one year mark, hosts Lynn Bixenspan and Morgan Pielli are welcoming an extra-special lineup of guests, including This American Life’s Elna Baker, comedians Brooke Arnold and Kendra Cunningham, and clinical psychologist Wilson McDermut, that will essentially let you take a voyeuristic (and maybe therapeutic) peek into the therapy sessions of total strangers. Tickets are $8, and the show is at 8pm at Standard Toykraft.

If you’re still in need of some serious de-stressing, we’ve got three words for you: Yoga Beer Brunch. That’s right, this Saturday at 11am you can unwind and get fully present in a mixed-level, slow flow vinyasa yoga class taught inside St. Gambrinus Beer Shoppe. After you’ve completed all your poses and sun salutes, dig into a complimentary bagel brunch courtesy of Court Street Bagels and treat yourself to a drink or two at happy hour prices. Tickets cover the class and brunch and are $17. For another transcendent yoga experience, be sure to sign up for one of this summer’s weekly sunset sessions in the rooftop garden at Brooklyn Grange’s Navy Yard farm. This Monday’s class is already sold out, but there are plenty of $15 tickets available for June 8 and beyond.

Everyone knows that Brooklyn is home to a host of wacky, creative, and collaborative DIY venues, but unless you are really plugged into the scene it’s tough to keep tabs on it. That’s why we’re grateful for the work of Oriana Leckert, whose efforts to chronicle these often fleeting cultural phenomena culminated in her book entitled, Brooklyn Spaces: 50 Hubs of Culture and Creativity, which was released last week. One of the spaces profiled in the book, the historic Gowanus Ballroom, is hosting the mother of all book launch parties for Leckert on Saturday night, complete with a marching band, an all-female samba-reggae percussion group, aerialists, a flaming saxophone player, food trucks, and late night dancing. To help celebrate, we’re giving away five copies of Brooklyn Spaces. To enter to win one, just sign up here by June 1.

But that’s not all, friends– we’ve got more tips to keep you busy well into next week.


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05/26/15 3:00pm

AirBnB Host Portraits and Recomendations

Sponsored By Airbnb.

Airbnb is a trusted community marketplace allowing anyone to list, discover, and book unique accommodations around the world.

Created By BlankSlate

Ever dreamed of staying in a castle in Ireland? How about a houseboat on the Seine? Thanks to Airbnb, it’s never been easier to tick experiences off your bucket list.

With more than a million rooms available, the popular home sharing website offers eclectic accommodations at a fraction of the cost of a hotel.

Variety and cost aren’t the only reason in-the-know travelers flock to Airbnb. The short-term rental service allows guests to immerse themselves in their destination’s culture and distinct flavor. (After all, when’s the last time you received a crash course in the neighborhood’s history from a bellhop?) (more…)

05/23/15 6:59am
There's room for over 150 people at Swan Dive's summer pop-up bar, part of our Total Gowanus Immersion. Photo: Swan Dive

There’s room for over 150 people at Swan Dive’s summer pop-up bar, part of our Total Gowanus Immersion. Photo: Swan Dive

If you haven’t already snagged a ticket for our Gowanus Immersion on June 6 with Brooklyn Brewery, where you’ll get four Brooklyn brews and lunch for $25, we’ve got some more juicy details that may sway you.

The early word on beers that’ll be poured at the various bars are: Sorachi Ace at Swan Dive (one of seven new outdoor bars to get your swerve on this summer); Green Market Wheat plus cans of Brooklyn Lager at the Roof at Whole Foods and Summer Ale at Givers and Takers.

We also have a new lunch option between 1 and 3 on Saturday at Runner & Stone. You can choose between a grilled pimento cheddar on their homemade whole wheat pain au lait or grilled gruyere with red wine braised shallots and dijon on rye, with a side of either seasonal slaw or their housemade chips. We have just a few of these tickets available so if this sounds up your alley, you should secure one, stat.

A few more deals have trickled in too, like a large order of any kind of pierogies (except blueberry and chocolate) for the price of a small at Baba’s Pierogies—which we raved about here.

You’ll also get a $22 day pass with gear rental (a $39 value) at Brooklyn Boulders, good till June 13, 20% off all dresses at the 3rd Ave. Calabar Imports, 20% off purchases, excluding custom work, at Twig Terrariams plus 8 more discounts detailed here.

Did we mention you’ll be getting all this for $25?

See you in Gowanus!

05/22/15 2:00pm


Sponsored By Lakeside Brooklyn.

The LeFrak Center Lakeside offers seasonal activities including roller skating, boat and bike rentals, splash pad and winter ice skating as well as year-round dining at Bluestone Café.

Created By BlankSlate

To celebrate this Memorial Day weekend right, you’re going to need some transportation! Look no further than the Samuel J. and Ethel LeFrak Center at Lakeside in Prospect Park. This weekend kicks off the season of boat and bike rentals at Lakeside. From pedal boats and kayaks to tandem bikes, bike trailers and surreys (pictured above), Lakeside has a vehicle for every member of the family. When you’re done touring the park by land and by sea, you can hit the roller skating rink, or cool off at the Splash Pad, which opens on Memorial Day.

This Memorial Day Weekend, Lakeside guests will enjoy special boat and bike rental promotions. Active military and veterans with ID will receive 10% activities and food and beverage.

05/22/15 12:18pm

Dean Wareham (By Tammy Lo from Brooklyn, NY (Dean & Britta @ Luna Lounge) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)

Since calling it quits with Luna 10 years ago, Dean Wareham, singer and guitarist for the alt-rock outfit, has been busy persuing his own projects. Photo: Tammy Lo

The last time I saw the New York City-based indie rock band Luna was actually 10 years ago at its farewell show at the Bowery Ballroom on a snowy evening. It seemed like, at the time, the end of an era for the critically-acclaimed group led by former Galaxie 500 singer/guitarist Dean Wareham. Over the course of seven studio albums, since its formation in 1991, Luna delivered some of the most arresting and exquisite guitar-oriented alt-rock, having taken a page from the Velvet Underground (whom Luna opened for during the Velvets’ reunion tour in 1993). Any thoughts of a Luna reunion since the breakup seemed so remote as Wareham and his collaborator/spouse Britta Phillips have been busily engaged with their own project Dean and Britta. Last year, Wareham released his self-titled debut solo album.

So imagine my surprise when Luna recently announced it was reforming, with the latter-day lineup of Wareham, Phillips, Sean Eden and Lee Wall. Both the bands scheduled shows at Bowery Ballroom and Music Hall of Williamsburg this October have already sold out. But cheer up folks because Luna is doing a gig at Williamsburg’s McCarren Park on June 11, as part of the Northside Festival. The good thing is this concert is free (Click here to RSVP). For die-hard fans, it’s a long-awaited opportunity to hear once more such faves as Chinatown, 23 Minutes in Brussels, Bonnie and Clyde, Lovedust, and Black Postcards from Wareham and Co. in their old stomping ground. All we can say is welcome back guys!

Luna will perform on June 11 at McCarren Park, N. 12th St. and Bedford Ave., Brooklyn. 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.  Free but you should RSVP.