06/23/15 10:26am
Inside Craftsman Ave., where intimate workshops on everything from letter making to woodworking  will begin in July. Photo: Craftsman Ave.,

Inside Craftsman Ave., where intimate workshops on everything from letter making to woodworking will begin in July. Photo: Craftsman Ave.

Just steps from Lowe’s, and right next door to the Global Cooling Inc. HVAC shop on an industrial stretch of 11th St., a new school called Craftsman Ave. blends right in with Gowanus’s repair shops and fabrication studios. The only clues that it caters to a different clientele is the minimal, black and gold sign outside and the fact that it’s actively seeking unskilled laborers.

“There’s no place where you can learn everything from letter making to product design—basically every kind of skill you need to bring a physical product to life,” said Taras Kravtchouk, the founder of this DIY school. The digital and industrial designer discovered a love of physical work when he began restoring vintage motorcycles—two of which are on display inside his shop. He plans to teach this skill, and is inviting other artists and designers to teach similar, three-hour-long workshops on trades like woodworking and jewelry making. Those who are more serious about perfecting a craft can become members and use the professional woodworking, prototyping and welding tools to hone their skills. Ideally, with the right mix of instructors and members, everyone will learn from one another. (more…)

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05/21/15 10:27am
A night at the former home of Rubulad, host of Brooklyn's longest-running underground art party. In Oriana Leckert's new book, "Brooklyn Spaces: 50 Hubs of Culture and Creativity," she calls it "the matron saint of Brooklyn's creative class." Photo: Tod Seelie

A night with Rubulad, host of Brooklyn’s longest-running underground art party. In Oriana Leckert’s new book, “Brooklyn Spaces: 50 Hubs of Culture and Creativity,” she calls it “the matron saint of Brooklyn’s creative class.” Photo: Tod Seelie

Given the chance, most of us would have liked to have been a fly on the wall at Andy Warhol’s Factory parties, or checked out the Mudd Club when it was still around. Even now there is a generation of music fans who will only be able to read about shows at legendary DIY venues like 285 Kent or Death By Audio. But such is the nature of creative, DIY spaces. Whether they abide by all of the rules or fly under the radar of liquor laws and building codes, they are forever subject to the whims of development and the stamina of their founders, existing only temporarily in the evolution of New York. So when Oriana Leckert visited three of these spaces over the span of a weekend around six years ago—The House of Yes, the Bushwick Trailer Park, and 123 Community Space—she recognized that she was witnessing the work of some creative, adventurous spirits that would not be around forever.

“When I saw those three completely diverse and just completely over-the-top insane spaces, I said, ‘This is crazy. These spaces are so incredible, how is nobody making a record of what’s going on here today? This is more than just, ‘We threw a party and put out some streamers.’”

Since then, Leckert has become the unofficial record keeper of Brooklyn’s creative, and often fleeting spaces that house parties, art shows, aerialists, collectives and concerts, both on her site, brooklyn-spaces.com, and in her new book, Brooklyn Spaces: 50 Hubs of Culture and Creativity, which was released yesterday. (more…)

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05/14/15 9:31am
An open workout session at The Muse's brand new home. Photo: EunoiaImages

An open workout session at The Muse’s brand new home. Photo: EunoiaImages

The idea of hopping the next freight train headed out of town to join the circus may seem like a decision one would only make in a black-and-white movie, but it’s actually quite easy to run away and become a trapeze artist in Brooklyn. Last week, I hopped a train, and right off the Wilson L, The Muse—a Bushwick-based circus school and venue that opened its doors last month—welcomed me into their enormous, high-ceilinged new space to learn about their community and try some acrobatic maneuvers myself. (more…)

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