01/16/17 9:50am
fried rabbit

Why settle for pancakes when you could have fried rabbit and biscuits? Photo: Barano

If you’re anything like me, when you wake up hungry on the weekends you eat something at home fairly soon after rising and then start thinking about LUNCH. Not brunch.

I will always choose Chinese food for breakfast. Thank (insert whomever or whatever you worship here) for dim sum! Don’t get me wrong, I love a fried egg and toast slathered in butter and preserves with a fiery passion. But I can make that myself, at home, at 8 or 9 a.m. in about, 3 minutes?

Sadly for me and the others like me, New York City is a brunchers town. Everyone just loves brunch– though I suspect it’s only a certain group of 20 and 30-somethings who truly partake, and the rest of us are meant to wax nostalgic about the days when we were out until 3am, waking up at 10 or 11 a.m. and wanting food ASAP, preferably with a cocktail on the side.

Not all hope is lost, however. Some restaurants understand that simply putting an egg on top of an entree doesn’t necessarily make it better. And there are always spots that don’t traffic in brunch at all–typically sandwich shops and “ethnic” restaurants. Bless them.

Here are some of those places. And the next time it’s a Saturday or Sunday and you want to eat goddamn food at lunchtime that’s not eggs and bacon or pancakes, thank me. Actually, thank these spots! (more…)

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01/12/17 2:55pm

When I started #actiontrumpshate, it was in reaction to the tsunami of information and calls to action I was seeing on social media. I felt overwhelmed and I wanted to help readers winnow down mass outrage into real action. My strategy has always been to pick one topic, event or group for the week, and present in-depth analysis of why focusing on that one item is important, along with an action or a set of actions, as well as background information and a reading list.

I have to admit, this week has defeated me.

There’s no one thing to say without sounding like I’m ignoring so many others. I’ve referred to action in the post-Trump world as feeling like a game of whack-a-mole before (you’re welcome for the video, btw), but in the context of helping readers avoid that sensation. This week it’s inescapable. Barack Obama addressed the nation for the last time as President. The Senate voted last night at 1:30am to approve a budget that is the first step to dismantling the ACA. Corey Booker stood against the confirmation of fellow senator, Jeff Sessions as Attorney General, but then he (and 12 other Democrats) voted against a Bernie Sanders bill that would have lowered the cost of prescription drugs. Trump’s nominees for top posts in the government have failed to fully participate in the standard vetting process for government service, like lazy teenagers who refuse to write a college application essay because they know that their parents will just write a big check to the family alma mater instead, but the confirmation process is moving forward nonetheless. Trump gave his first press conference since July (compared to President Obama’s 18 between election in 2008 and inauguration, and Bush’s 11), during which he mostly smirked at America. Then there’s dossier about his ties to Russia, which is certainly a real thing that exists, but we don’t know how much of it is true.

It’s like episode 7 of Twin Peaks, when the mill burns, Cooper gets shot, Catherine and Shelly almost get murdered, Doctor Jacoby has a heart attack and Leland kills Jacques Renault, only real and not fun to watch at all.

There’s no one thing I can tell you to do in light of this deluge. So I’ll give you some choices, how about that? (more…)

01/12/17 9:39am
Pop Rocks, 2009, Marylin Monter, from the collection of Danielle and David Ganek, courtesy Brooklyn Museum

Pop Rocks, 2009, Marilyn Minter, from the collection of Danielle and David Ganek, courtesy Brooklyn Museum

Pretty/Dirty, the first major retrospective of artist Marilyn Minter’s work, opened at the Brooklyn Museum on Nov. 4, and with all that has transpired since then, it’s understandable that it may not have shown up on your radar. Make no mistake though, this is one show that is not to be missed.

On view until April 2, Pretty/Dirty spans more than four decades of the feminist artist’s provocative pieces. The exhibit is part of A Year of Yes: Reimagining Feminism at the Brooklyn Museum, a series of 10 shows that have been produced over the last year to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, which permanently houses The Dinner Party, a landmark installation by Judy Chicago.


Sexuality is not something that Minter shies away from in her work.


Minter works across a spectrum of mediums including painting, photography and video. Her pieces investigate sexuality, politics and the mundane things in life–frozen peas and tea bags left discarded in a kitchen sink–alongside images that are both everyday and unexpected, like large-scale, digital images of a model’s vagina. Sexuality is not something that Minter shies away from in her work, which is glaringly obvious in many of the pieces on display in Pretty/Dirty(more…)

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01/11/17 2:10pm

Every week as I think about what to write about in my intro to this column, I swear that this is the week that I’m going to finally stop ranting about Trump and move on to more pleasant topics like oh, I don’t know, literally anything. But man, I’ll be damned if that guy doesn’t cause some kind of brouhaha every single Tuesday (or really any other day ending in y) that is impossible for me to ignore when I’m writing on Wednesday morning! This week, I’ll leave it to the intelligence agencies and the media to investigate and shed light on the latest news regarding his alarming ties to Russia and to the professional comedians to tackle #PEEOTUS, and try instead to ease my inauguration blues by focusing on the commendable goals that President Obama set out in his utterly beautiful farewell address last night.

Next week I’ll be in DC for the Women’s March, letting his successor know that I am just one of millions of citizens who intend to keep a close watch on civil rights, freedom of speech and a continued sense of a truly civil society throughout his tenure, but for the next several days I’d like to take the opportunity to marvel at the hard work and thoughtful, principled decency that has been the hallmark of this president’s tenure. This is the week we honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as well, and that we have the opportunity to reflect on two great men who made unifying people and tackling real injustice their lives’ work is extraordinary in and of itself, but all the more so when contrasted with a grown man who tweets “Unfair!” every time he is legitimately questioned.

To me, this Ideal Week is going to be about spreading positivity. If you have Monday off, think about ways that you might be able to use the time to help someone in your life or in your community, or to connect with someone in a real way that does not involve cynicism (or the internet, for that matter). I’ve said here before that I personally find art helpful, as I suspect many of you do too, so I will note that the next few days are your last opportunity to see The New Museum’s wildly popular Pixel Forest exhibit by Swiss artist Pipilotti Rist before it closes on Sunday. You can also give yourself the gift of laughter and snag tickets to see comedian Mike Birbiglia work out new material on Monday night at Union Hall before they disappear (they go on sale at 1pm today and will definitely sell out). 

Whatever you do this week, do it in a way that makes you feel intentional and strong and true to yourself and your community. I think that we are all beginning to realize that there is more power in that than we knew. (more…)

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01/11/17 12:33pm

Drink unlimited beer while you get down to live music, and grab tastings on sale from the borough's top chefs at the Best of Brooklyn Festival on January 28th.

Start the new year off right — use our 15% discount for unlimited craft brews and celebrate the best food, drink, and entertainment your borough has to offer at the Best of Brooklyn Food and Beer Festival on January 28th.

What’s to drink, eat and do? There’ll be 30+ Brooklyn makers serving up your favorites, including suds from Brooklyn Brewery, BBQ from Dinosaur Bar-B-Q, and sweets from Doughnut Plant… to name a few. Plus, enjoy special exhibits from MOFAD, entertainment by Brooklyn Zoo, and music curated by the incredible C’mon Everybody.

Pick from one of two sessions or hit the after party, using our special discount. Tickets normally start at just $29 per session for unlimited beer tastings, but readers who enter the code BROOKLYNBASED on the ticket selection page will save 15% on admission. (Offer expires Monday, January 16th at 11:59pm.)

GET TICKETS

Best of Brooklyn Food and Beer Festival
Industry City
220 26th St, Brooklyn, NY 11232
Saturday January 28th
Noon – 8PM

01/10/17 11:57am
Photo: Catbat

Photo: Catbat

And so, late one evening, the Catbat became stuck in time. Once mythical–both lynx and bat, philosopher and shapeshifter–now ashes of a gnostic tarot card.

Written for Catbat Shop by Kelley Deane McKinney

A mix between a blazer and a blanket, the Catbat cape could very well be a talisman for our uncertain times. Kat Shuford, the designer behind Catbat Shop, believes that “people of all genders and sizes should feel magical every day,” and that a gorgeous wool, mohair or cashmere cape, sustainably sourced from reclaimed and recylced fabrics, and locally made in Greenpoint, has the power to conjure a charmed existence.

Less than two years ago, Shuford, an artist and website designer came up with the idea for a line of capes, and with basic sewing skills and a DIY attitude, she cobbled together a pattern and searched out a family-run fabric business based in New York. “I didn’t know how to begin,” she says. “But it was just, sit down and do it anyway.” Her web experience allowed her to wear many hats, designing her own site and maintaining her online store. With a little luck and a lot of drive, Shuford found other people to help her along the way and came up with the prototype–one pattern that fits every body type regardless of height or gender. “I kind of did this on a self challenge,” she admits. (more…)

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01/09/17 10:28am
From the outside, The Islands doesn't look like much, but don't make the mistake of passing it by. Photo: Georgia Kral

From the outside, The Islands doesn’t look like much, but don’t make the mistake of passing it by. Photo: Georgia Kral

In this series, we take you inside the restaurants we keep going back to–neighborhood spots that always deliver on their promise of good food and hospitality, even if they don’t necessarily look like much from the outside.

The facade is unassuming. Located next door to a Key Food and sharing the grocery store’s awning, you may miss it the first time you look for it. But The Islands (803 Washington Ave.) is a Prospect Heights gem: the food is phenomenal and the ambiance unparalleled.

Windowed doors open into a shoebox-sized room. Along one side is the kitchen, big enough for two people, tops. A counter with three stools abuts the prep area and there’s room for maybe five people to pick up food to go or wait to sit at one of the four tables upstairs. To get to the “dining room” guests must climb up a blue ladder and through a hole in the ceiling. No joke. Diners over six feet tall may have a hard time eating in, as the ceilings are quite low upstairs.

But that’s all part of the charm. The Islands is equally known for its unconventional space and its fiery Caribbean dishes.

I’ve visited The Islands many times and each time I tell myself to try something new. But I just can’t. That’s the true test of a dish. Can’t go without it? Crave it? There’s something happening that you can’t control. My order: jerk chicken, curry vegetables and a side of mac and cheese. If I’m dining with more than one person, curry goat or stew peas and dumplings get added to the mix. (more…)

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01/05/17 1:27pm

Quick quiz: Do you like Benedict Cumberbatch? Do you have a soft spot for historical biopics? Wondering how all this political madness is going to produce some good art? Well, if you answered yes to any of those questions there’s something to look forward to in January. Here are 10 books, movies, shows and performances to keep an eye on this month.

10. I’ve been taking a break from television lately, which has created so much more space for reading in my life. I’m about halfway through a review copy of Paul Auster’s new novel,  4 3 2 1, which comes out on Jan. 31, and it is breathtakingly good. If you’re not an Auster fan don’t worry. This 860-page tome is quite different from the compact, M.C. Escheresque world of The New York Trilogy. It’s a sprawling, open-hearted tale of four distinct lives lived by one protagonist, the erstwhile Archie Ferguson. 4 3 2 1 feels like it was written for exactly this moment in time in a way that is a little spooky, and best of all, this is a world that is swimming in books, influencing Archie, and Auster, and inspiring a running list in your head of your next title, even as you tackle this larger than average, in every way, novel. (more…)

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01/05/17 12:11pm

New Year’s resolutions are full of rules and regulations that no one wants to do. It might be nice to lose 15 pounds, but who really wants to run with the jogging stroller every morning? These sorts of resolutions don’t even last until February. What if our resolutions skewed towards what we (and our children) really want to do? Here are 10 easy-to-stick-to resolutions for January that your kids will love you for.

Photo: Invisible Dog Art Center

Photo: Invisible Dog Art Center

Resolution 1: Let your kids smash something

Worktable by Brussels-based artist Kate McIntosh is a live interactive installation at Invisible Dog Art Center. Visitors are given tools and safety goggles and are instructed to select something to destruct and put back together. Finally a place where your kids can see what happens if they smash a ceramic sculpture or cut apart a shoe! Although there is no age limit specified, it is probably better for older children or with strict adult supervision. Visitors can stay as long as they want rebuilding their items, which will then be on display at the gallery. January 5-12th, The Invisible Dog Art Center, 51 Bergen St., Cobble Hill. $20. (more…)

01/04/17 2:57pm
Photo:

See Big Lazy at Union Pool this week. Photo: Big Lazy

Well, we made it to 2017! Happy New Year everybody! I don’t know about you all, but I’m utterly spent. The holiday season this year was an absolute gauntlet, what with the usual stressors of present shopping and parties and trying to finish out the year strong at work plus everyone I know getting nailed with either a stomach bug or a cold or both and the increasing pressure to remain casual in the face of mounting political uncertainty. Somehow every holiday-related gathering I attended seemed to end up in discussion about Trump and how the Democrats managed to screw things up, and they somehow always turned heated and awkward, which is bizarre given the fact that every single person involved had voted the same way. It seems that those of us who care about government ethics, equal opportunity, the environment, human rights, and basic fairness and civility are engaged in a bit of a collective freakout as January 20 draws closer, and it’s hard to keep it together, or even to find much else to talk about. At the same time, there’s a pervasive feeling that we need to buck up and charge ahead, without getting too mired in the past that we can’t change or hysterically speculating about what’s to come. It feels like a test, and to be honest it’s downright exhausting.

So, my New Year’s resolution, to the extent I do those things at all, is to truly get on with it. There’s stuff I have control over and stuff that I don’t, and obsessing over the latter won’t help me or anyone else in 2017. But at the same time I am going to expand my own perception of what I do have the power to influence. To be kinder and more understanding and more aware of what goes on outside my sphere is not very hard to do (it’s a hell of a lot easier than making it to the gym five times a week, for example) and, if we all did it, the payoff would be tremendous. It is certainly a better way for me to spend my time and energy than, say, reading and becoming incensed by a certain someone’s tweets or arguing about Hillary’s emails (still? When will it end?).

Time to shift the focus, but that doesn’t mean blunting the resolve to try to be an agent of change, and that’s where I find art particularly inspiring. Lots of musicians, writers, comedians, painters, sculptors, dancers, and other creative types are out there already, getting on with it, making noise and shifting perspectives. They are doing it every day, right here in New York City, and we are all so lucky to have virtually unfettered access to this mercurial, roiling, dynamic elixir of new thought and creativity and beauty that is conjured up all around us all the time. Get out there and see some of it this week. Here are some ideas that struck us as particularly fun and motivating ways to get yourself back in the swing of it during this first Ideal Week of the new year.


Thursday, January 5

The instrumental trio known as Big Lazy consists of an electric guitar, an acoustic bass and drums. That spare line-up is able to conjure up gritty, emotional spaces and moods with music that has been described by The New Yorker as “stunningly beautiful” and by Time Out as “virtuosic.” Composer Stephen Ulrich, who scored Bored to Death, has led the band in various incarnations for the past two decades, and a group of esteemed alumni like Charlie Giordano of The E Street Band and Peter Hess of The Philip Glass Ensemble will be reuniting at Union Pool on Thursday night for a celebration of the 20th anniversary of Amnesia, the group’s debut album. The show starts at 8pm and tickets are $10 each; Brooklyn-based ensemble Barbez and Primitive Sound System will be on hand as well.

(more…)

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