08/27/15 10:12am
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Harry (Ashley Springer) flexes his magic moves. Photo: The Impossibilities

If you’ve come to associate web series with meandering plot lines and shoddy production values, writer/director Anna Kerrigan’s latest project The Impossibilities just might challenge your reservations about the format. The new series—released via Vimeo and filmed in New York City over the course of just thirteen days—tells the story of Willa, a quirky, lesbian yogi, and Harry, a misanthropic magician, as they fumble through personal and professional challenges as creative types in New York. Since premiering in the spring, the show has cast a spell on viewers with its balance of relatable, yet ridiculous moments and its unconventional premise. Last month, The Impossibilities team took home the award for Best Screenwriting at the Melbourne Web Fest. (more…)

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08/26/15 11:26am
The King of Pop would have turned 57 on Saturday, and Spike Lee is throwing his annual Brooklyn Loves Michael Jackson party in Clinton Hill. Photo: Brooklyn Loves Michael Jackson

The King of Pop would have turned 57 on Saturday, and Spike Lee is throwing his annual Brooklyn Loves Michael Jackson party in Bed-Stuy. Photo: Brooklyn Loves Michael Jackson

As we head into the last gasp of summer before Labor Day signals the return to the real world, people are finally back from vacation and trying to cram everything in before school starts and your job gets judge-y about your casual start time and creative interpretation of what constitutes professional attire.  There’s loads of awesome stuff happening all over the place this week, so take advantage of the long hours of daylight and get out there and do it– you won’t be sorry when the furious hoarfrost returns in a few months.

You have the Brooklyn Comedy Festival to thank for the slew of standup and improv shows popping up at various venues throughout the borough this week. One of our top picks is the special BKFC edition of Late Night Basement, Chris Rose’s live monthly talk-show-style act that was crowned the city’s best comedy show by New York Magazine earlier this year, at Public Livestream on Friday night. The all-star lineup includes Heems of Das Racist fame, the ladies behind Be Here Nowish, Seaton Smith, and Dan Soder, and not only is the show free, but it boasts $3 beers from Sixpoint.

You should really rest up for Saturday though, because there’s so much going on that you might want to double or triple up. In addition to the debut of the Waku Waku Japanese pop culture fest (see below), the day brings several parties to celebrate Michael Jackson on what would have been the pop icon’s 57th birthday. Spike Lee is throwing his perennially popular Brooklyn Loves Michael block party in Bed-Stuy, but this year it’s being combined with the official unveiling of Do The Right Thing Way, the stretch of Stuyvesant Avenue between Lexington and Quincy that was recently renamed in honor of the 25th anniversary of Lee’s influential film. Spike doesn’t have the block party market cornered though, as Clinton Hill’s annual Brooklyn Bazaar is back for another day of beats, bites, art, and fun taking place along Lexington Avenue. They’re also hosting their own tribute to MJ–a best dressed Michael Jackson competition with a cash prize–so you don’t even have to change your outfit.

You can keep the 80s style grooves going into the night at Brokelyn’s 80s Splashback Party, which represents the first-ever adults-only takeover of the splash pad at the LeFrak Center in Prospect Park. Lola Star’s Dreamland roller disco will be rocking its hair metal night dance party on the rink, while the good folks from Brokelyn will be hosting water gun fights, games, drinks, and a summer raffle at the mini water park starting at 7pm.

Get a little dark on Sunday at Morbid Anatomy’s Summer Flea Market, which is hosted by the Bell House from noon to 6pm. A variety of vendors will be on hand to hawk unusual wares like taxidermy, “artful bones,” curious antiques, and insect shadowboxes, so the market is where it’s at if you’re into that stuff. Incidentally, my septuagenarian mother recently fulfilled a lifelong dream by taking a skunk taxidermy class at Morbid Anatomy (don’t ask, she’s an artist) and trust me, that place is worth a visit if you still haven’t been.

For plan-ahead purposes, if you were captivated by the Wikileaks story and its implications for journalism and government secrecy, you’ll probably want to pick up tickets to another Bell House event happening on September 8. To celebrate the release of his new book, The Wikileaks Files: The World According to U.S. Empire, award-winning journo Jeremy Scahill will be joined by none other than Julian Assange (via live video feed) for a conversation and Q&A. If you buy a $10 ticket, you’ll go home with a free copy of the book.

We’ve got lots more in store for you during this Ideal Week, though, so read ahead for our favorite ideas of how to keep yourself busy in the seven days that are stretched out ahead of you:

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08/25/15 10:32am
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Ready to bounce at JumpLife. Photo: Kristen Chuber

I am an avid ClassPass user. I’ve always enjoyed working out, but I have to admit that I never know what to do at the gym. If you’re unaware of the magic that is ClassPass, I’ll briefly elaborate. You pay a monthly fee of $125 and in return you get access to classes at hundreds of studios across New York City (or any one of more than a dozen metro areas they serve). You can take as many classes as you like, the only limitation is that you can only take three classes per month at any one gym or studio. I’m talking everything from yoga and pilates to bootcamps and Crossfit. You name it, ClassPass probably has it. Salsa classes? Yes. Kettlebells? Check. Spin classes? You bet.

You can sign up for classes up to a week in advance using the site or their mobile app, so you can plan your time, which makes it a lot easier to actually show up. I’ve found that ClassPass is great if you’re so over the treadmill and elliptical machine, and it’s also a smart way to shop for a studio if there’s something you really love, like spin or barre classes.

This month I dove deep into the ClassPass files to find new, out-there workouts I had never tried (or even heard of) before. These were the top three outside-the-box classes I took. (more…)

08/24/15 10:55am
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Eat like you’re on vacation, even if you’re not. Photo: Elaheh Nozari

The dog days of August are a great time to eat out in New York City. For one, you can partially justify the expense because you won’t be running your air conditioner at home, or heating up your own kitchen. Most produce is at a seasonal peak right now, and it’s also much easier to snag a seat at one of the city’s most coveted tables, with what seems like half the population on vacation. With so many new casual seafood restaurants to choose from, you can also make up for the fact that you aren’t at some seaside locale by dining as though you were, which is how I found myself surrounded by diners wearing lobster bibs and drinking rosé on tap in Greenpoint last Friday night.

Greenpoint Fish & Lobster Co. opened almost exactly a year ago on Nassau Avenue (we checked it out and liked it, vowing to return once they got their sea legs) promising to fill a void in the Brooklyn food scene: a high quality fish shop. Its mission fits in with the location; aside from being one of the foremost places in New York to get pierogi, Greenpoint has a rich maritime history in its East River shipyards. Co-owners Vinny Milburn (a fifth-generation fishmonger) and Adam Geringer-Dunn saw a need for sustainably-sourced seafood in North Brooklyn, so I stopped by to see how things were going, and to satiate my seasonal craving for a lobster roll. (more…)

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08/20/15 9:00am

Digging_for_Fire_PosterThe interesting thing about mumblecore films is that they always seem longer than their approximate 90-minute running times. I credit this to their highly naturalistic style–they’re composed of scenes and dialogue deeply rooted in the everyday. A typical mumblecore film is about a group of friends having a dinner party or spending the weekend at a country house, and little more, and yet they’re not boring (if done right). But they do seem longer because on the surface less is happening, and you can’t easily see where the story is going because it’s not the exact same thing you’ve seen a million times before.

Joe Swanberg remains one of mumblecore’s most prolific directors, and while his, and his actors’ notoriety continue to increase, along with his budgets, he remains faithful to his style. Digging For Fire, which is currently playing at IFC Center, has more plot than his last film, Happy Christmas, but is still very much the 33-year-old Swanberg’s comfort zone–being a white, married, 30-something creative type with kids and the rest of your days stretched out before you. In many ways Digging For Fire (and many mumblecore films) is like a “little chill,” if you’re familiar with 1983’s The Big Chill (and you should be). (more…)

08/19/15 1:21pm

the boyThere’s no shortage of films (and TV shows for that matter) about serial killers and psychopaths these days, and perhaps this should come as no surprise. There’s something almost compulsively compelling about the existence and nature of individuals capable of the ultimate act of transgression and disrespect that is murder. Plenty of films exploit these characters, and our enduring fascination with them, but others also manage to make an honest and chilling attempt to understand why these people do what they do. As more than a few such films have shown (my favorite being, A Young Poisoner’s Handbook), the best way to truly understand is to start at the beginning. Whether killers are born or grown, their childhoods always tell the tale best.

The Boy, which opened this week at Cinema Village, and was written by Ditmas Park resident Clay McLeod Chapman, ponders that nature/nurture by inviting us into a grim family gothic. Open on Ted (Jared Breeze) a tiny, blonde 9-year-old collecting roadkill off a lonely stretch of mountain road. Immediately we feel just how crushingly lonesome Ted’s life is–together he and his father John (David Morse) run a desolate roadside motel where Ted fills his hungry heart and empty hours by practicing his hospitality jargon and scraping up roadkill, for which his morose father pays him 25 cents a corpse. (more…)

08/19/15 10:20am
Grace Jones is gracing Brooklyn with her presence at the Fancy Dress Ball on Friday to kick off this weekend's Afropunk Fest. Photo: Grace Jones

Grace Jones is gracing Brooklyn with her presence at the Fancy Dress Ball on Friday to kick off this weekend’s Afropunk Fest. Photo: Grace Jones

Believe it or not, fall is just around the corner, which means that another season of league shuffleboard play is about to get underway at Royal Palms. Don’t worry, you don’t need any experience, just a couple of friends to round out your 6-10 person team (or not, you can always sign up as a “free agent” too). And if you register now, you can also play shuffleboard for free, whenever you want, for the rest of the summer. Better start practicing if you want a shot at winning the championship in November!

This Thursday night, Rooftop Films and Indiwire are teaming up for a free sneak preview of the SXSW award-winning Krisha at The Bushwick Generator. In addition to the movie, which deals with addiction and a particularly fraught holiday homecoming, the evening promises live music by Haybaby and drinks from sponsors New Amsterdam vodka and Ommegang Brewery.RSVP for free admission but note entrance is first-come, so arrive early.

If you’re looking for a fun and social bike ride this weekend, be sure to sign up for Get Up and Ride’s BBQ and Bronx Brewery ride, taking place on Saturday, before it sells out. For $45, you can join in this 10-mile jaunt through Queens and the Bronx, stopping along the way for lunch at John Brown Smokehouse and a beer at the Bronx Brewery. Don’t have a bike? No problem, you can rent one from Get Up and Ride’s Williamsburg shop for an extra $20. Meanwhile, if you’re in the market for a new ride to cart all your stuff around town, swing by 718 Cyclery in Gowanus between 9am and 6pm for NYC’s first ever Cargo Bike Rodeo, where you can test out all kinds of cargo bikes and gear, enter a raffle to win a new Yuba Mundo, and get a free bbq lunch. Tickets are $10 and proceeds benefit Transportation Alternatives.

If all that biking talk has left you feeling inspired to be more green, the Brooklyn Grange is hosting a workshop on Tuesday night that might make you reconsider the amount of trash you generate. At DIY Your Own Everyday Essentials, Zero Waste lifestyle expert Lauren Singer will teach you how to make your own toothpaste and body scrub, and will provide advice on how to further cut down your output into landfills. Just as an aside, over the past three years, all of the garbage that Lauren has produced fits into one 16 oz. Mason jar, so this lady knows what she’s talking about. Ticketsare $40.

Another fun-filled Ideal Week in Brooklyn awaits, and we’ve got a boatload of ideas about how to while away these waning summer days.
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08/18/15 11:04am
Imagine how much cooler your living room would feel right now with this vintage travel print from 20x200 on the wall. Photo: 20x200

Imagine how much cooler your living room would feel right now with this vintage travel print from 20×200 on the wall. Photo: 20×200

If you’re a new collector who doesn’t have a lot of cash to burn, buying art for your home can feel like a weighty decision in an intimidating marketplace. At some point though, you’re going to get tired of looking at those IKEA posters that seemed so cool when you bought them for your first apartment. Fear not the gallery–there are economical ways to start your home collection, whether you envision many pieces or one oversized painting to hang over your couch. Buying artwork is an investment that you will be looking at day in and day out so it’s important to make sure you LOVE what you buy, and with these affordable choices you’re guaranteed to find something you adore at a price you can afford. (more…)

08/17/15 12:15pm

MV5BMTg2NjI2MTMzNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMTcwODIwNjE@._V1._CR80,50,1280,1800_SY317_CR5,0,214,317_AL_If you hate rom-coms because you’d rather be watching explosions or CGI dinosaurs or a period drama about the secretly lonely life of a former head of state, you probably won’t like People Places Things any more than any other boy-meets-girl story you’ve seen before.

But if you hate rom-coms because the female characters are always brittle, shrill girl-women with tough exteriors who spend the whole movie being punished for being smart-successful-too hot-not hot enough-too weird-too rigid-not married yet, or because 40-something (or even 50-something) leading men are always being romantically paired with actresses who are barely out of high school, or because the couples experiencing all those rom-com hijinks are always young, white, childless and straight, you may be able to wholeheartedly enjoy People Places Things. It’s also a sweet, funny and disarmingly thoughtful little movie about what it’s like to find yourself suddenly adrift in what you assumed was a safe and cozy life.  (more…)