12/08/16 8:48am
Peter & the Wolf at the Guggenheim is highbrow children's theater at its best. Photo: Works & Process at the Guggenheim

Peter & the Wolf at the Guggenheim is highbrow children’s theater at its best. Photo: Works & Process at the Guggenheim

Part of living in NYC means navigating the holidays precariously toeing the line between time honored traditions and tourist traps. You won’t find many true New Yorkers braving the cold and the crowds at the tree lighting at Rockefeller Center. March up Fifth Avenue on a weekend looking for New Yorkers, and you will never find one. (They know to wait for the out-of-towners to go to sleep before they make the pilgrimage.) Any New Yorkers lining up for The Christmas Spectacular? Nope. Tea with Eloise at the Plaza? No way. Where are they all? Over the weekend, my 7-year-old son and I found them…they’re watching Peter & the Wolf at the Guggenheim.

Isaac Mizrahi is a National Treasure. Photo: Works & Process at the Guggenheim

Isaac Mizrahi is a national treasure. Photo: Works & Process at the Guggenheim

For the past 10 years, Isaac Mizrahi, fashion designer, TV presenter, Project Runway judge, author and a master of quips has been narrating and (since 2013) directing, a production of the beloved fable. The Peter B. Lewis Theater at the Guggenheim is an intimate setting of light and ivory, like being encased in an oyster shell. Instead of the polished pearl of a show you might expect on Broadway, this has a bit more edge. The musicians stroll in slowly, and start warming up their instruments seemingly haphazardly while the audience finds their seats. We sat next to the string section behind the conductor. As new instruments started playing, my son and I swerved our heads around the room for an aural version of “I Spy.” On stage, a giant garbage can, chainlink fence, enormous tree and NYC skyline represented Central Park. An actress playing the bird perched in the tree, and then the wolf took a seat on the park bench to read the newspaper before the show started. (more…)

10/11/16 10:34am
Lost man creek

A forest has taken root in Downtown Brooklyn. Photo: Ilana Novick

New Yorkers used to brag about their aversion to nature. Frank O’Hara’s lines from Meditations in an Emergency, “I can’t even enjoy a blade of grass unless I know there’s a subway handy, or a record store or some other sign that people do not totally regret life,” our rallying cry. Somewhere between the deportation of porn theaters and the arrival of rock climbing gyms, however, New Yorkers have become consumed with a desire for greenery and wide open spaces, it seems.

If you long for camping trips in the Adirondacks, but lack the time, or you’d like your foliage with a side of installation art, head to MetroTech Commons for Spencer Finch’s Lost Man Creek in Downtown Brooklyn. (more…)

09/29/16 9:00am
Live mural painting by Dasic Fernández at last year's Bushwick Open Studios. Photo: Arts in Bushwick

Live mural painting by Dasic Fernández at last year’s Bushwick Open Studios. Photo: Arts in Bushwick

This weekend marks the 10th anniversary of Bushwick Open Studios, an invitation to explore one of Brooklyn’s most storied arts communities. Close to 1,000 artists will show work in every medium imaginable in galleries, studios and improvised spaces around Bushwick. This year will be no different than past BOS weekends in the remarkable variety of work on display, but if you’ve attended in the past, you’ll notice quite a few changes this year.

One decade in, Arts in Bushwick, the non-profit organization that produces BOS each year, has taken a close look at their mission. This weekend will reflect their renewed commitment to engaging the entire Bushwick community, and to refocusing the festival on the art, stepping back from the party scene that had emerged around it. (more…)

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.

09/22/16 9:46am
Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Claire Fontaine, JETON (PLEASE GOD), 2016 Photo: Regina Mogilevskaya

Take Me (I’m Yours), an exhibit that opened last weekend at The Jewish Museum, allows visitors to touch, inspect, eat and take home works of art by 42 international artists, many of whom created specifically commissioned pieces for the show. It subverts the usual look-but-don’t-touch museum experience, and watching how visitors interact with the exhibits is as fascinating as the show itself. 

Take Me (I’m Yours) was originally exhibited in 1995 at the Serpentine Gallery in London, curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist (who co-curated the new exhibit with Jens Hoffman nearly 20 years later) and artist Christian Boltanski. Though the scale of the exhibit was smaller then–only 12 artists were featured–the principal set of questions were the same: How do we remove the ever-present wall between art and the viewer? What can a form of ownership add to the viewer experience? What happens if the viewer walks out of an exhibit not just with a fleeting feeling or thought, but with a physical object in their hand? (more…)

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.

05/19/16 11:25am
A few members of the "Fly By Night" flock gather on a rooftop. Photo: Creative Time/Will Star/Shooting Stars Pro

A few members of the Fly By Night flock gather on a rooftop. Photo: Creative Time/Will Star/Shooting Stars Pro

“I missed Scandal for this?” The woman behind me was not impressed as we sat on risers and watched a small fraction of the 2,000 pigeons in the avian light show Fly By Night prepare for their Brooklyn Navy Yard debut. Her question made me wonder whether I had walked deep into the Navy Yard simply to watch pigeons fly. These, my feathered nemeses, were now the star of a show; it’s a free show, sure, but one with a waiting list and a great review in The New York Times. It was akin to hearing that a childhood bully had become a movie star.

Growing up in New York City pigeons were a nuisance, not works of art. While the city has long had a tradition of rooftop pigeon coops and pigeon fanciers, to which Duke Riley, the artist behind the show, is paying tribute, their charms never seduced me. In fact, despite watching one hatch on my parents’ balcony, I’ve spent most of my life in an avian cold war, never attacking them, but convinced that they would attack me if given the chance. Was detente finally here and and happening in Brooklyn? (more…)

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.

05/02/16 10:45am
An explosion of layered coloring in Levi Haske's work. Stencil work, oil pastel drawings and acrylic paintings.

Levi Haske’s work includes stencils, oil pastel drawings and acrylic paintings.

This weekend more than 300 Greenpoint-based artists invited the public to Greenpoint Open Studios, to see works in photography, paintings, design, sculptures and video. Visitors had the rare opportunity to engage with the artists, see them at work, and mingle with other art fans.

We spent some time strolling through studios over the weekend; here are the highlights. (more…)

04/29/16 4:13pm
Jen Dalton and Bill Powhida’s latest art project, MONTH2MONTH, brings New Yorkers together to discuss and debate the city’s housing crisis in 8 NYC apartments. Photo courtesy Jen Dalton

Jen Dalton and Bill Powhida’s latest art project, MONTH2MONTH, brings New Yorkers together to discuss and debate the city’s housing crisis in eight NYC apartments. Photo: Jemma Koo

Paycheck to paycheck, hand to mouth, month to month. All of these phrases evoke an uncertain living, but “month to month” elicits a special kind of anxiety for renters. Living month to month suggests you have no lease, no official document to protect you from the threat of eviction or a rent hike you can’t afford. Which gets at the heart of Jen Dalton and Bill Powhida’s latest project, MONTH2MONTH, a series of events that combine real estate, art and activism in eight New York City apartments.

“The name was chosen because the project events take place over the course of a month,” explained Dalton, “and also we were hoping to evoke the tenuous nature of most people’s economic situations.”

Beginning May 7 with a “housewarming party,” MONTH2MONTH will continue the ongoing dialogue of inequality and wealth disparity in New York City by inviting the public to discuss the city’s housing crisis—whether they’re affected by it or feel distanced from the issue—in luxury and affordable housing units that will be temporarily open to total strangers. The eight apartments hosting MONTH2MONTH range from a townhouse in Chelsea to an architect’s loft with an indoor pond to a tiny East Village apartment.

“It was not easy by any stretch of the imagination,” said Powhida, who has made his own affordable home one of the project sites. “It’s been a really delicate negotiation to get anyone to open up their home and share their space with the public.” (more…)

04/26/16 10:30am
A 2014 prototype of Citizen Bridge. Its design has evolved dramatically since then. Photo: Nancy Nowacek

A 2014 prototype of Citizen Bridge. Its design has evolved dramatically since then. Photo: Nancy Nowacek

Two years ago we told you about an artist’s plans to bridge the distance between Red Hook and Governors Island—a mere 1,400 feet—with a floating bridge that would allow pedestrians to walk across Buttermilk Channel for just one day. We won’t be slipping on our boat shoes just yet to make the crossing, but Nancy Nowacek’s crazy, beautiful scheme is a lot closer to happening. It’s just going to take a little more engineering, and some backers for her Kickstarter that just launched last week. (more…)

04/08/16 10:22am
NYCSWALE2

A rendering of the floating food forest. Image: Swale

Brooklyn being Brooklyn, the borough is no stranger to gardens in unusual places. There are the storied plots behind Roberta’s in Bushwick and the rooftop gardens at the Whole Foods Gowanus and the Brooklyn Navy Yard or you can always head high above Downtown Brooklyn to see the green roof atop the Barclays Center designed to keep the roar of local concerts and sports events to a low hum. In other words, Brooklyn is a pretty green place if you know where to look.

And this summer, when you look toward the waterfront, you’ll see a moveable garden. It’s called Swale and it’s a floating forest on a barge that will be docked at Brooklyn Bridge Park before gradually working its way over to Governor’s Island and North to the Bronx. Along the way, visitors are invited to cross a ferry gangway to board the barge and its pick fruit and edible plants—at no cost. (more…)

03/03/16 11:28am

It’s still too early to tell whether this March will be more of a lion or a lamb (or just continue to rapid cycle between spring and winter), but one thing is for sure–there are plenty of cool cultural events to keep us occupied until spring officially arrives later this month. From films to flower shows to a West Coast composer ushering in an epic new wave of jazz, here are our 10 culture picks for the month ahead.

The Witch 2

If you plan to see The Witch at BAM this month, you might want to bring a spare pair of underwear. Photo: BAM

10. When my friend Scott suggested that we go watch The Witch at BAM this month, his main selling point was that the movie promised to be “pee-in-your-pants scary.” I’ve never seen pants-wetting used as a selling point with such aplomb, but in the case of Robert Eggers’ directorial debut, the description is spot on. The film follows the downward spiral of a Puritan family in 17th century New England whose witch hunt creates not only hysteria, but also one of the most widely praised horror films in recent history. Eggers won the Best Director Award at Sundance last year, and The Witch is playing at BAM through March 10. (more…)

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.