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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01/05/17 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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01/02/17 7:51pm

thridreconIt’s winter, or at least it will be this weekend. The holidays are over. The inauguration looms. All the cookies are gone. If you’re not tempted to just crawl under the covers on the couch and spend the rest of the month watching all the dumb television you missed this fall, well, you’re a better person than me. We gotta stick together in this thing, though. Here are a few articles and books I’ve read lately that have been inspiring, or, important to stay warm all winter, infuriating, or informative in a way that will guide that fury. Onward!

• If you’re not exactly feeling happy right now, maybe you at least feel like your life has meaning? Scientific American’s blog tells us that meaningfulness, whether it comes from work, play or protest, is good for us.

• A friend recently introduced me to the interfaith work that The Reverend Dr, William J. Barber II is doing, working to reintroduce morality into politics as a way to address racism and poverty. I just got his book The Third Reconstruction and I’m excited to read it.

• Professional troll, Milo Yiannopoulos, has a book coming out in February and it guaranteed to be appalling. Here’s why boycotting publisher Simon & Schuster is not going to be effective, and could actual harm progressive writers.

• Here’s why hate speech matters, from Errol Lewis at The Daily News.

• Lewis mentions an essay that appeared in Tablet in the above article, but it’s not linked.  It’s called What to do about Trump.

 

12/28/16 1:00pm

We asked our contributors, friends and notable Brooklynites to share their favorite New Year’s in NYC. Here, Jonathan Schnapp, co-owner of the Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club, shares his epic night in his signature, e e cummings style of email. His shuffleboard palace is throwing their third annual New Year’s Eve Flamingo Formal on Saturday, a totally free, fun night and a great excuse to dress up for the last hurrah of the year. For more ideas, check out our last Ideal Week: New Year’s Eve in Brooklyn edition.

If you have the will and the wheels, you make a progressive party out of New Year's. Photo: Torbakhopper via Flickr

If you have the will and the wheels, you can make a progressive party out of New Year’s. Photo: Torbakhopper via Flickr

hmmm-
my best NYE huh?

it might have been the winter of 1998…
earlier that year i had taken a trip to SF and ridden a scooter for the first time
it was magical and i vowed to do whatever was necessary to procure my first vespa that fall.
sure enough, when september rolled around i dragged my butt
out to up and coming williamsburg
threw down $1500 bucks for a 1976 blue sprint 150
and called her ‘putt putt’.

by NYE i’d gotten the feel of the hand shift, the tides of traffic,
and the way cabs reacted impulsively when searching for a fare.
i felt the rhythm of the lights and the pockets of space between cars-
i was all shaolin soccer with my shit… i was one with putt putt.
that NYE i decided to attend
EVERY SINGLE PARTY I WAS INVITED TO.

it turned into a tour of the greatest city in the world
on the craziest night of the year.
my itinerary:
LES, Chelsea, Hells Kitchen, Upper East Side, Tribecca, Brooklyn Heights, Greenpoint, Union Square
i started at 5pm and got home by around 4am.

did it all in a black suit, skinny tie, and chucks…
no jacket
(big mistake)

12/28/16 11:07am

If you need a recommendation for an epic New Year’s Eve bash, Oriana Leckert is the person to ask. The author of Brooklyn Spaces: 50 Hubs of Culture and Creativity and events editor for Brokelyn knows all the borough’s DIY venues and the parties they spawn. She used to write our New Year’s Eve party roundup for years, and she tracks quirky events and alternative nightlife for her own blog year round. So when I asked her to name her favorite New Year’s Eve out of all the parties she must have experienced over the years, I anticipated that it would be a hard decision.

“I’ve been in this city now for 15 years, so I’ve had a lot of New York New Year’s. I’ve done the gamut, I have done a ‘crazy’ rave at the Electric Factory when that was still a place, a Bushwig drag extravaganza at Secret Project Robot, and a Cheryl party at the Brooklyn Masonic Temple. Then, recently, I’ve been trying to do more of the quirky, iconic Brooklyn things. I did the fireworks at Coney Island a couple of years ago, and the steam whistles at Pratt, and those both stand out as kind of silly but also really memorable.”

Pratt’s now retired, New Year’s Eve steam whistle show. Photo: Pratt

For anyone not familiar with Pratt’s tradition, the annual event brought antique steam whistles from trains, factories, and ships, including a 1930s ocean liner, back to life. The art school led the resonating show for the public for 50 years, before its chief engineer performed the final one in 2014. “It’s really surreal, it feels like being in a movie, because between the darkness and the steam, you can’t really see very far in front of you, so you’re sort of stumbling a little bit manically to keep track of where your friends are, and figure out where the next steam whistle will come from. It was really fun. It was really, really fun,” said Leckert.

But it still doesn’t make her cut as best New Year’s in NYC. “I think that out of all of them, the first one I thought of when you contacted me was my second or third year in the city. Because of an array of hijinks, we had moved on December 31st so New Years was our first night for my partner and myself in our new apartment.” (more…)

12/27/16 9:59am

We asked our contributors, friends and notable Brooklynites to share their favorite New Year’s in NYC. Here, Diana Kolsky and Murf Meyer tell us theirs. The comedians and real-life lovers perform at the UCB Theater and recently released the 146th episode of their podcast, Ménage à Trois Radio. In each, they chat about real and hypothetical sexcapades and sex-themed news with a special guest—download the Ilana Glazer or Amanda Duarte episodes for a raunchy intro.

Just for the record, the title of this photo is "NYE_MDMA2." Photo: Diana Kolsky and Murf Meyer

Jut a little foreshadowing: The title of this photo is “NYE_MDMA2.” Photo: Diana Kolsky and Murf Meyer

Brooklyn Based: What your best New Year’s Eve out in New York City, and was it together or separate?
Diana: Ours was together and it was a big night out. Probably five years ago or four.
Murph: It might have been maybe our first New Year’s together.
Diana: 2012, I think.
Murph: Some of the people from the comedy community, they throw a New Year’s Eve party every year and this one was in Midtown.
Diana: It was in Midtown at some horrible bar. I forget what it’s called. I want to say The Top Hat.
Murph: Or The Lame Horse.
Diana: It’s like The Old Beer, it’s something terrible.
Murph: It’s one of those lovely spots right by Madison Square Garden in Midtown, which is actually right where you want to be when the ball drops. [Ed. Note: No, he did not really mean this.]
Diana: My improv team at the time, Tesla, was throwing the party so we had to get there early and help out. But before we went, Murph decided to get a perm. (more…)

12/20/16 8:40am
The Vine by Harrier Whitney Frishmuth is one of the works Museum Hack explored on a recent tour of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Photo: Regina Mogilevskaya

“The Vine” by Harrier Whitney Frishmuth is one of the works Museum Hack explored on a recent tour of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Photo: Regina Mogilevskaya

Museum fatigue is most definitely a thing, according to Museum Hack founder Nick Gray. “If you’ve ever been to a museum, you’ve probably experienced walking through a gallery feeling tired and lethargic,” he says. An enormous institution like The Metropolitan Museum of Art contains hundreds of thousands of works, and no clear way to order your visit, so it’s no surprise that everyone, even the most dedicated art lover, encounters this type of exhaustion.

Museum Hack takes the overwhelming aspect out of the equation by providing focused museum experiences, which is how I found myself speedwalking down marble-tiled corridors on a chilly Saturday afternoon, on a Badass Bitches tour of The Met.

Remember those super enthusiastic, super energetic tour guides when you visited colleges? Well, they’ve grown up to be Museum Hack guides. They’re eloquent, they’re excited, and they will eagerly tell you the weirdest art-related stories you’ve ever heard. My guides were two young women named Lindsay and Lily, and for two hours they led a group of about 15 of us from the Greeks and the Romans all the way to the American Wing, conducting a tour that was part storytelling, part ice breaker, part therapy session, and hey, we even got to draw a bit. (more…)

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12/19/16 10:43am
No, soup won't save Syrian, but it may humanize the conflict.

No, soup won’t save Syria, but it may humanize the conflict.

Chances are there will either be some travel, some time off, or both in your life this week. Here are a few articles and books, a novel even, to sink your teeth into.

Aljazeera published this explainer on Syria’s civil war last week and it’s incredibly helpful if you’re trying get your head around what’s going on there, who the players are and why this has become such an intractable and bloody conflict.

• No, a cookbook won’t rebuild Syria, but Soup for Syria is a project that both raises money for Syrian refugees and humanizes the war, reminding us that Syria is a place with a culture, a place where people live, where they cook and eat and go to work and have families.

• Ivanka Trump has played a protean role in her father’s campaign and pre-presidency, at once an arm charm who normalizes and balances his bluster, and an alleged policy shaper, pushing for paid maternity leave (though not for fathers, gay couples, adoptive parents or anyone else not fitting the gender normative nuclear family mold). A very smart Elle editorial argues that she is no friend to women who are not as privileged as she is–so basically no friend to women at all.

• At the grocery store this weekend my two-year-old waved and said hello to the Obamas on the cover of a magazine, which was equal parts adorable and heartbreaking. Read Ta-Nehisi Coates’ article “My President Was Black” on the history and meaning of the Obama administration in The Atlantic to really feel all the feelings and appreciate our 44th President.

• Finally, lose yourself in Americanah the wonderful, wide ranging novel from Nigerian writer, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. We included it in a favorite books of 2013 round-up a few years ago and I finally picked it up a few weeks ago and it’s big hearted, funny and addictive, while also concerning itself with race, class and immigration. This is a sweet little bit of escapism that will also expand your worldview.

12/15/16 11:40am
(l-r): Lucy Dacus (Matador Records); Gabriella Cohen (Kain Balzary); Angel Olsen (Pitch Perfect PR); Mitski (Ebru Yildiz)

(l-r): Lucy Dacus (Matador Records); Gabriella Cohen (Kain Balzary); Angel Olsen (Pitch Perfect PR); Mitski (Ebru Yildiz)

Unless you’re a Chicago Cubs fan or a tycoon-turned-politician with an affinity for spray tans, this year was pretty horrible on all fronts. The music world in particular suffered an alarming number of deaths—among them David Bowie, Prince, the Eagles’ Glenn Frey, Earth Wind and Fire’s Maurice White, Lemmy, Merle Haggard, Leonard Cohen, and most recently Sharon Jones.

Yet, during times like these, music continues to provide catharsis for wounded hearts.

It didn’t just take, 2016 also gave us some really wonderful albums by emerging artists that perhaps don’t get as much coverage compared to higher-profile releases by the Rolling Stones, Metallica, Beyonce, the Weeknd, Miranda Lambert, Kanye West and Lady Gaga.

There was also an unusually good collection of re-releases and greatest hits collections that came out in 2016, for old-school rock fans and adventurous listeners alike. Here are some of my favorite undersung albums of 2016, a re-release round-up and two playlists to listen to while you wrap presents and drink eggnog–or write letters to your representatives and plan a protest.

Lucy Dacus
No Burden
Only in her early 20s, this newcomer from Virginia put out one of the most outstanding albums of the year with No Burden, a very compelling collection of wistful introspective songs highlighted by Dacus’ distinct alto voice. (more…)

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12/15/16 10:22am
Illustration: Laura Davies

Illustration: Laura Davies

“Bully” is a word I’ve never really used until recently. It felt juvenile, like children are bullies and adults are jerks, assholes, nemeses or perhaps enemies. I’ve always found other words more pointed, but now bully feels relevant.

I have been thinking about bullies a lot since the election. The past months have produced video footage that illustrates the mood in this country–a man standing in the aisle of an airplane, clapping his hands and hollering “we got some Hillary bitches on here… hey baby, Donald Trump is your president, every goddamn one of you, if you don’t like it, too bad.” Another cell phone video shows a white woman in the craft store Michaels in Chicago yelling at the staff that they are discriminating against her and that she voted for Trump. Another man in a Starbucks also claims he is being discriminated against and that he also voted for Trump. On the flip side there is no shortage of people being harassed for being black, for being Muslim, for being queer, for being female, for being.


While it feels like this is a singular moment for un-reason, there has long been plenty of shouting in American culture.
Bullies are nothing new.


This is the new world we live in and now it is time to deal. We cannot keep our heads down and hope to ride it out. There has to be a plan of action. Reason won’t work. “No ma’am, that cashier is not discriminating against you,” you may want to calmly explain. “She is working at the exact pace that her hourly wage dictates.” But this person who picks a fight in a store, or on a plane, or waiting for a dessert masquerading as a coffee drink doesn’t want to work anything out; her only desire it to dominate. Discussion has no place here.

While it feels like this is a singular moment for un-reason, there has long been plenty of shouting in American culture. Bullies are nothing new. Standing up to them isn’t either.

In 1996 I lived in Chicago and trained to become an escort for women’s clinics. The escort’s role is to create a shield between the patients and the picketers while maintaining the legally sanctioned buffer zone intact. (Buffer zones mark a specific distance from the clinic door that protesters may not come within. Their distance varied from state to state, but in 2014 the Supreme Court declared them an unconstitutional violation of the First Amendment.) Some moments required us to form a human shield around the patient to keep her safe and out of reach. (more…)

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