12/07/16 2:38pm
Emma Straub was one of the first Brooklyn residents we including in our "Five Questions, One Drawing" series a few years ago. Illustration: Steven Weinberg

Emma Straub was one of the first Brooklyn residents we including in our “Five Questions, One Drawing” series a few years ago. Illustration: Steven Weinberg

Well Brooklyn, what are your plans for the week? Oh right, I guess that’s actually our job, to help you figure out the best way to spend the next seven days. This time of year is always tough–it’s dark when you get out of work, the holidays require a good amount of organization, energy and cash, and it just seems so appealing to cozy up to a book and forget the outside world exists.

Maybe I’m just feeling that way because of the news that Brooklyn author Emma Straub is planning on opening a bookstore somewhere in the Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Columbia Heights area, to keep independent book selling alive in the wake of BookCourt’s closing at the end of the year. Straub herself, not to mention her juicy novels, is a delight and I can’t wait to do next year’s holiday shopping at her sure-to-be bright and cheerful store. Somewhat related, The New York Times asked writers around the world to name their favorite bookstores and the list is like a nerd’s dream vacation planner.

Not that you asked, but the two books that have been keeping me on the couch lately are Zadie Smith’s wonderful new novel Swing Time and Eight Flavors, The Untold Story of American Cuisine by Sarah Lohman, filled with the fascinating history of ingredients that you wouldn’t expect to make the cut. (Curry powder? What?) Like every other white, liberal American, I also have Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance on hold at the library, but that’s a whole other story.

Truly though, there are a lot of ways to enjoy the week ahead that are not in your apartment and we’ve compiled our top picks here. Get out there and have some fun.  (more…)

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12/06/16 12:09pm

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Admit it, even if you have a remote boss who barely gets in your way, you have a few grievances you’d like to air. Well, save em up for this Friday night, Dec. 9, at the 6th annual No Office Party hosted by Brokelyn and the skint. It’s the one holiday office party where you stand little chance of running into your colleagues (and if you do, they must be cool). Which means you can really make an ass out of yourself, especially considering that this is the first year it’s held on a Friday night.

Along with the very satisfying, on stage boss-dissing, there’ll be live-band karaoke from the famous Rock Star Karaoke, DJ Doctor Mister spinning holiday tunes, a holiday photo booth, sexy Santa and Lady Santa, tasty food from Yeah Dawg and drink specials, plus a few surprises.

Kiss this “terrifying garbage fire of a year” (Brokelyn’s apt words) goodbye with your freelance and corporate cohorts at Littlefield. Tix are just a low low $5 in advance ($8 at the door), and you get a free tote from Artists and Fleas when you buy beforehand. A portion of the proceeds will go toward local organizations that will help fight the Trump administration, too. If you do go, be sure to tell him He’s Fired.

11/30/16 5:49pm

 

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Welcome back from what I hope was a relaxing long weekend! If the amount that I’ve heard that weird version of Baby, It’s Cold Outside (which Shazam tells me features Seth McFarlane, for some reason?) while going about my daily routine is any indication, the holiday season is upon us. And while that means lots of running around and stressing about what to buy people and eating and drinking too much, ’tis also the season to remember those around us for whom the holidays are not the whirlwind of cocktail parties and high-stakes cookie exchanges that the TV commercials would have you believe. Especially given the heightened anxiety and vulnerability caused by the recent ascension of our orange overlord, it’s a good time to donate time or money or coats to help people who need it, and to reach out to that friend who had a particularly tough 2016 and ask them if they want to go for a walk or get a drink. It’s a nice way to show you care, obviously, but I bet it will make you feel more connected, grounded, and focused on what’s really important too.

This week, we’ve found a ton of fun ways for you to spend your spare time—whether you want to watch a movie, hear jokes, cook, eat, create, give back, ride, or shop. Read on and take note of the things that strike your fancy, and make sure you make the most of another Ideal Week. (more…)

11/23/16 1:43pm

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First and foremost, Happy Thanksgiving to our vibrant and wonderful Brooklyn Based community! In what has been an objectively grim year, capped off with one of the more unsettling political developments in the modern era, feeling “thankful” hasn’t been top of mind of late, but know that our appreciation for you, our loyal readers, has never flagged. We are endlessly grateful for your continued support and for the opportunity to share our stories, tips, events, and news about our beloved borough with you. We wish you peace, joy, and relaxation this Thanksgiving weekend.

In the spirit of the season, we have to admit that despite all of the downers occasioned upon us recently, there are loads of other things to be thankful for too, and these sometimes come from the most unexpected places. Take this example: On a particularly grumpy morning last week, I was cursing all aspects of my life as I pushed on to a crowded R train to make my way into the city. The most enjoyable part of my morning ritual is when I get to fold my NYT Arts section into quadrants and dive into the crossword puzzle, which transports me from a lurching, smelly subway commute into a fun-for-a-dork-like-me exercise in word play. This particular morning, though, it seemed that there was a vast conspiracy afoot to prevent me from being able to concentrate on my comforting little grid and its clues for more than 10 seconds at a time. Among the characters I encountered: a woman in a coat evidently made of Shi-Tzus who was playing Bejeweled at full volume on her iPhone, a group of teenagers for whom yelling expletives on a crowded subway was apparently the apex of comedy, and a man standing near me whose breath, to put it as succinctly as possible, sucked. Just when I was considering whether to ratchet up my passive aggressive paper rustling and eye-rolling to out-and-out glaring, I heard from the other end of the car the unmistakable strumming that all New Yorkers know will inevitably be followed by a “Ladies and Gentlemen. . .” and some sort of inescapable “show” that no one wants or needs at 7:30am. “Are you f’ing kidding me?,” I thought to myself as my irritability levels rose to an unprecedented high and I steeled myself to perpetrate a bonanza of audible sighing and muttering.

But then something crazy happened happened. The busker, a petite man with an unnaturally cheery disposition, broke out into an infectious, rollicking rendition of Rockin’ Robin that was actually pretty great, complete with well-placed tap dancing routines, skillful crowdwork, and a megawatt smile that made it impossible to look away. Suddenly I was smiling too, not to mention tapping my foot with the beat—we all were—and as the guy took us all the way over the Manhattan Bridge, the mood in the car full of hardened NYC subway commuters shifted seismically. People took out their earbuds to listen, the hipsterish dude next to me said incredulously, “This guy is really good,” and even the surly, cursing teens put some loose change into our entertainer’s hat. By the time a group of us got off at Union Square, we were all looking each other in the eye, smiling, and saying things like “have a good day” to total strangers. I had been depressed for days about the looming Trump presidency and his increasingly disturbing picks for top positions in his administration, but that day I basically skipped into work. And I was reminded of something important, which is that no matter how awful it gets, it is never bad enough to extinguish the power of the limitless reserve of talent, beauty, diversity, decency, and common experience that we are blessed to encounter in our lives.

Because this Ideal Week includes Thanksgiving and a long weekend where we assume that lots of you will be out of town or otherwise occupied with family and friends, we are skipping our normal day-by-day roundup of events and activities this time around in favor of a brief list of things for which we are feeling extra thankful this year. (more…)

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11/21/16 4:55pm

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Since Thanksgiving, you’ve likely explored in the far reaches of your kitchen where you hide the gravy separator and the tart pan. You were probably reminded of how many pots and platters you never ever use, which is a good thing, because on Tuesday, Dec. 13, we’re inviting you to bring your tired cooking tools and trade up for fresh goods at Brooklyn Based and 61 Local’s Great Cook Swap.

Gather all your gently used cookware, cookbooks, unopened spices and fancy foods taking up precious space in your kitchen and apartment, and bring them to 61 Local, where you can find the cookware you want and can actually use.

When you arrive you’ll get tickets for trading based on the tiers listed here. (If you want to trade in a different category, just bring enough items to get to that tier.) As a Great Cook Swapper, you’ll also be able to score $6 beers and $9 wines all night using a secret code we’ll supply the night of.

The party starts at 6:30 and runs until 10pm. At 9:30, we’ll announce three random winners who will each get a $100 gift certificate to online grocer Peapod.com, and open up all leftover goods to anyone who wants them.

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11/16/16 12:08pm

the-tree-of-life

Well, it’s been a week, huh? I don’t know about you guys, but I’m fried, emotionally and physically. I think I’ve put on five pounds and slept no more than five consecutive hours since last Tuesday, and my stress levels are through the roof. There’s a lot we can do to try to mitigate the effects of the president-elect’s already disastrous policy and personnel choices (look for tips on that in coming weeks), but the realization that we are stuck with him for now is setting in. So, time to think about what’s important, and what we are willing to do to ensure that our friends, neighbors, and family members are safe kept safe in this time of especially hateful invective and incredibly short fuses. Thanksgiving feels extraordinarily well-timed this year, and hopefully we’ll all get a chance to strengthen our reserves and really reflect on how to best proceed in this new world. 

It may feel bleak, but we’ve still got art, literature, music, crystal clear crisp fall days like today, people willing to be brave and stand up for strangers, and a fast-approaching Thanksgiving feast to keep us going. One thing I’ve learned over the course of the past year, which has sucked for me generally as an American but also for specific, personal reasons, is that in times of sustained, ongoing crisis you are absolutely no good to anyone if you don’t take time to take care of yourself. So please, by all means, do keep your eyes on the prize–we’ve got a long, hard fight ahead of us–but, in the meantime, give yourself the opportunity to enjoy all that is good out there. Here are some of our favorite ways to do that in Brooklyn over the next seven days. 

(more…)

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11/11/16 6:20am
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“Always amazing” – Ira Glass, This American Life
“A sensation” – New York Times
“Beautiful” – Los Angeles Times
“Go!” – Jad Abumrad, Radiolab

Our friends at Pop-Up Magazine are bringing their “live magazine,” which combines storytelling with photos, film, illustration, and an original soundtrack, to Brooklyn’s beautiful Kings Theatre on Thursday, November 17.

The night unfolds like a classic general-interest magazine, and ends with the cast and the audience mingling at the lobby bar. Nothing is recorded. You have to be there to see it, and we have a special discount for you on tickets.

Use the code POP10 to get $10 off any ticket, on sale here.

The fascinating cast onstage at the Kings Theatre includes Ira Glass, host of This American Life; Joshuah Bearman, who has an incredible yarn that ought to be a movie (he wrote the story that became Argo, he’s working on an Amazon TV pilot, and the Coen Brothers are adapting his most recent work); Jessica Hopper, Editorial Director for Music at MTV News; New York Times bestselling author Mychal Denzel Smith (Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching); This American Life producer Stephanie Foo; Peabody and Edward R. Murrow award-winning producer and Gravy host Tina Antolini, and more. Learn more about the cast popupmagazine.com. It’s going to be a really fun night!

Get your tickets and use the code POP10 for $10 off!

11/09/16 3:12pm
Voters cast their shadows, votes, on Tuesday, Nov. 8. Photo: Spencer Starnes

Voters cast their shadows, and votes, on Tuesday, Nov. 8. Photo: Spencer Starnes

Greetings from the other side of the tipping point. I’ve been trying to avoid social media and TV today, but I must say that the little I have seen has impressed me. There are a lot of people out there writing and tweeting about how, now more than ever, we need to feel hopeful, to remain committed to fighting for our country, and to take comfort in the fact that people are basically decent and there are many Americans who are not full of hate and anger.

I am in awe of the people who have the strength and optimism to feel those things right now. I am also just not there yet myself. I wish I could relay a positive message but all I can think about is that we just handed everything over to an unrepentantly ill-informed narcissist who embodies the belief that a majority of this country’s population (myself included) is inherently “less than.” It’s grim. It’s unthinkable. It’s still very raw.

I know that in coming days and weeks we’ll all find it somewhere in us to be energized to fight the good fight again. The numbness and helplessness will give way to tenacity and we will come back stronger and more determined and most of all wiser because of this setback. Time and time again it’s been proven that humanity’s limitless resilience is among our most profound and remarkable strengths. But there’s also no shame in needing to take time to recover and recharge. 

So I’m giving myself a break today, and maybe tomorrow, and however long it takes. What I do know is that it isn’t over. We are stronger than bigotry and stupidity. Somehow, it will eventually be okay. But for now, I’m exiting the echo chamber and focusing on things that don’t make me feel alienated and apoplectic, which include getting out and about in the beautiful, diverse, and forward-thinking borough that we are lucky to call home. It might not be an Ideal Week, but the show must go on, and it might be a little easier to get through if you get yourself back in the game out to one of the many great events going on this week.  (more…)

11/02/16 1:28pm
Get ready to wade through tiny paper cups--the New York City Marathon is this weekend. Photo: NYC Marathon

Get ready to wade through tiny paper cups–the New York City Marathon is this weekend. Photo: NYC Marathon

I must say that it’s weird to sit down and write a roundup of the events of the coming week when the only thing on most people’s mind is the feeling that fate of the human race will be decided in a mere seven days. But the time is finally here, everyone, and so I will start this week’s edition of Your Ideal Week by telling you what you already know: There is nothing more important you can do this week than cast your ballot on Tuesday (if you haven’t already).

That said, I’m willing to wager some of you might be looking for some stress relief until then, and as luck would have it there are a bunch of fun things happening in and around Brooklyn to help you pass the time.  This weekend brings the Marathon, the New York Comedy Festival, and the Brooklyn Electronic Music FestivalIn addition, Creative Time has installed another awesome-sounding public art project, Doomocracy, at the Brooklyn Army Terminal and it’s running through Nov. 6. An interactive haunted house based on our current political situation, artist Pedro Reyes’ work is causing a stir and has already sold out, but if you register here you can get on a list to be notified when additional tickets are released.

But we’re just getting started, so be sure to peruse our day-by-day tips on how to squeeze the most out of the next seven days and make an Ideal Week of it. See you next Wednesday, when, with any luck, we won’t have handed over the reins to a tasteless, dim-witted misanthrope who has spent the better part of the last two years deliberately stoking the flames of racism, sexism, selfishness, and disregard for the truth in his quest to emblazon yet another piece of property with his undeserving, ignominious name. Please let it be a great defeat. A tremendous defeat. A big league defeat. The best defeat. [And then let us all in the media make a pact to never, ever mention his name again, unless it’s “that guy who lost the election that time.” –Eds.] Happy Ideal Week!  (more…)

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10/26/16 1:30pm
A pug dressed as the Cowardly Lion--what could be more fitting for the season? Photo: Fort Greene PUPS

A pug dressed as the Cowardly Lion–what could be more fitting for the season? Photo: Fort Greene PUPS

Greetings and welcome to a very spooooky Ideal Week as we all scramble to stock up on fun-sized Snickers bars and think of costumes ideas that aren’t “sexy Ken Bone.” Halloween falls on a Monday this year, which means that the party is starting on Thursday and is probably going to push us all to the outer limits of our tolerance for sleep deprivation/sugar and alcohol consumption. That’s precisely why now is the perfect time to make a comparatively chill plan and get it on the books. You could take in a movie at the Brooklyn outpost of The Alamo Drafthouse, which finally opens this week (we’ve got tickets to give away), or make a date with your Netflix account and the new season of Black Mirror, or one of these million other shows everyone is talking about like Westworld or Luke Cage. A couple of friends from work and I have a night set aside for a meditation class at this place ($10 for your first class) and dinner at Veselka (my friends are both West Coast transplants who have never been–wtf?!). Or if you want to just laugh like you’ve never laughed before, I highly recommend snagging a ticket to Oh Hello!, the Nick Kroll/John Mulaney play now in a limited run on Broadway.

All the Halloween hoopla of course means that Christmas is waiting in the wings, and if your holiday routine involves watching the Bill Murray classic Scrooged more than a few times, you’ll be glad to know that Nitehawk is arranging to screen it along with one of its famous themed dinners on Tuesday, Dec. 13. Tickets to these feasts sell out fast, so pick one up now.

As for this week, read on for our roundup of excellent activities, Halloween-related and otherwise, going on around here. Just remember, you earned that candy! Your parents have no right to take it from you and ration it out day by day. I mean if they really want to keep the Almond Joys and the Raisinets, fine, but you should get to enjoy the rest of it. You’re gonna need all the chocolate-induced serotonin you can get as we head into a truly terrifying Election Week. (more…)

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