12/17/14 2:22pm

Here’s your best holiday gift so far–Funny Story is Thursday night at Brooklyn Brewery. This month we have a writer for Letterman, a badly behaved girl and an editor of Out Magazine telling hilarious true stories, and as always, our beloved host, Tom Shillue. We never set a theme, but a holiday menagerie of stories may well occur this time around. If you want more Shillue steeze, check him out in Jimmy Fallon’s barbershop quartet in the video above (Tom’s the one to the left of Steve Carell, no, not Jimmy Fallon, your other left). While we can’t promise he’ll break into song on Thursday, he did perform a barbershop snippet back in October, which you can listen to on Funny Story Live, episode two. Tickets are $10, and that includes a beer. Good times guaranteed.

12/17/14 7:43am
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Hawaii, at the Greenwood Heights home that's putting on its tenth Holiday Light Spectacular this year. Photo: Themetricals

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Hawaii, at the Greenwood Heights home that’s putting on its tenth Holiday Light Spectacular this year. Photo: Themetricals

We’re in the home stretch of holiday season, awash in Hanukkah gelt, and just a week away from having to procure every present in time for Christmas. But this week, between the latkes, work parties, and last-minute card mailings, you should carve out some time for spontaneous fun, because there are so many good prospects ahead. Now that the New York premiere of The Interview has been canceled, it frees you up for tomorrow night’s edition of Funny Story, where a writer for Letterman, a reality show regular and an editor from Out Magazine will share true stories over beer (one of them free). On Sunday you can celebrate the Winter Solstice the way the goddess intended, with a drum circle at the fountain of Grand Army Plaza at 5:30pm, led by an urban shaman, or with a tap dance down Flatbush.

There are a lot more traditions to honor this week, some of them secret, some of them twinkling in plain sight. (more…)

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12/10/14 11:01am
BRIC's House Party on Saturday is an all-ages, all-day affair of art making, performance, DJs, and dance lessons. Photo: Abigail Clark

BRIC’s House Party on Saturday is an all-ages, all-day affair of art making, performance, DJs, and dance lessons. Photo: Abigail Clark

We’ve got a warm-ish weekend ahead of us, or at least a sunny one, which will make all your holiday party-going and market-hopping that much more fun. On Saturday, head to Crown Heights for the South Franklin Ave. Holiday Stroll, where you can drink free wine at shops like Owl & Thistle, decoupage ornaments at Reclaimed Home and order food specials at Ital Kitchen, which we highly recommend visiting. On Sunday there are two quirky holiday markets to choose from—at The Diamond you can get your picture taken with Santa and Jesus after you shop for gifts from local makers, and the Punk Rock Heavy Metal Flea Market features a motley crew of vendors alongside band photos of The Clash, Judas Priest and more rock ‘n rollers.

Still not in the holiday spirit? Maybe a charitable open bar, or a day-long house party will do the trick. Here are seven more ways to brighten up your week:  (more…)

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12/03/14 6:48am
The last time CHERYL hosted a dance party at Glasslands it was to celebrate their (faux) 100th anniversary. Saturday they're mourning the death of Williamsburg at their last party at the soon-to-close venue. Photo: Maro Hagopian

The last time CHERYL hosted a dance party at Glasslands it was to celebrate their (faux) 100th anniversary. Friday they’re mourning the death of Williamsburg at their last party at the soon-to-close venue. Photo: Maro Hagopian

The lead-up to and cooking and eating of Thanksgiving probably has you thankful you don’t have to look at another turkey for at least one more year. Now that we’ve hit the gift guide and holiday market sweet spot, you may be wishing to just fast-forward to New Year’s, but fortunately Brooklyn knows how to throw a proper pop-up. At Red Hook’s holiday market Saturday and Sunday you’ll find food and wine to sip as you browse local gifts from Kings County Apothecary, Straw & Gold and more, while on the northern end of the borough, Greenpointers’ annual Holiday Market on Sunday brings treats from 70 local vendors, beer and mulled wine, and a free screening of the local blog’s documentary, Gasper & Son, about one of NYC’s few remaining neon sign makers.

There are lots more quirky markets to check out this week, and many diversions for the shopped out. (more…)

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11/26/14 8:19am
If you're playing tour guide this week or have time for a Manhattan field trip, check out John Gerrard's Solar Reserve before the massive LED screen outside Lincoln Center disappears. Photo: Inaki Vinaixa

If you’re playing tour guide this weekend or have time for a Manhattan field trip, check out John Gerrard’s Solar Reserve before the massive LED screen outside Lincoln Center disappears. Photo: Inaki Vinaixa

Whether you’re leaving town to spend Thanksgiving with your family, or sticking around to host 25 Charlie Browns, the fact that we’re a day away from the start of holiday season means that we can all collectively start to wind down at work and kick back with friends and family. Unless, of course, you work in retail. What began as one day of shopping on Black Friday has morphed into a string of events, including Small Business Saturday, which indie booksellers have embraced by inviting local authors to work shifts throughout the day– Phil Klay, the veteran who just won the National Book Award for his short story collection, for instance, is just one of the writers who’ll be at BookCourt. Then #GivingTuesday arrives, like a charitable cleanse for all our consumer excesses. If you’re looking for good organizations to donate your time or money to, try the four we recommended last year.

As you mentally prepare for the online sales ahead (or you’re stuck at home because of a cancelled flight) you can feast on a $25 fish fry at Fort Defiance tonight, in honor of Evacuation Day, an actual holiday dating back to the Revolutionary War but much more fun when recast as the day before everyone skips town.

Here are seven more ways to make the most of your Thanksgiving week. (more…)

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11/21/14 1:53pm

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“Sometimes you mess up the pancake and you have to make a new pancake.”

Sandra Allen, deputy features editor at BuzzFeed, cracked this joke at Indie Media Camp in relation to stories that don’t become the “hits” you expect them to be, but she may as well have been speaking about the entire business of independent media. On Thursday, we heard from 25 great speakers–editors, writers, CEOs, marketing managers, social media pros–all of whom taught us a great deal about what it means to make something stick online, whether it’s a great headline that will inspire you to click through, the kind of photo that will get repinned thousands of times, or your own site, into which you’ve poured your heart, time and hard-earned money.

We want to thank everyone who came and our IMC sponsors: car2go, Squarespace, MailChimp, EventbriteGreystone Cellars from Terlato WinesBrooklyn Brewery, Gimme! Coffee and The Joe Tea & Chips Company. Without them we couldn’t have offered a reasonable ticket price. So many conferences cost hundreds, plural, of dollars to attend, making them prohibitively expensive to bootstrapped start-ups and indie media folk like ourselves. Many thanks also to 501 Union, Purslane Catering and Be Better Studios for making everything look and taste so good.

We’re also very grateful to the speakers who ducked out of work early or spent the entire day with us, took the time to prepare talks that inspired and informed us, and were candid about their experiences. Since we didn’t film the entire day, we’re going to share some highlights from IMC the old-school way. (more…)

11/19/14 8:40am
Warm up Saturday night, and every night of the week using the new dance party site, You Don't Have to Settle. Photo: Head On

Warm up Saturday night, and every night of the week using the new dance party site, You Don’t Have to Settle. Photo: Head On

By rapidly gentrifying Brooklyn standards, the fact that all-ages music venue Death by Audio survived seven years in Williamsburg is kind of a miracle. But the expansion of VICE is coming at the cost of this DIY space, which is playing its final shows every night this week through Saturday. The lineup is secret each night, but that hasn’t stopped lines forming around the block. Meanwhile TV on the Radio, which has been silent for the past three years, is back with a brand-new album and two sold-out shows at the Music Hall of Williamsburg. If you buy their album at Rough Trade today, you could earn a wristband that will gain you entry into an in-store performance tonight.

Or you could stay put–it’s cold out! Wait and go out on Thursday, when Funny Story returns to Brooklyn Brewery with Tom Shillue and special guests like Eddie Brill, a booker for Letterman for many years. You could also stay in and subscribe to our Funny Story Live podcast on iTunes, and listen with a cup of hot cider in hand. Warm up even more on Saturday night when DJs take turns playing the best songs of 2014 and 2004 in a Head On dance party. The occasion marks the launch of a brand-new site, YDH2S, that lists only NYC dance parties so you can find a place to shake it every night of the week.

And since we’re a week out from Thanksgiving (can you believe it!) it’s also time to get your charitable self into gear. Cranksgiving should do the trick–you bike around the city picking up food from stores that will help feed the hungry.

Here are seven more recipes for feeling good this week: (more…)

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11/13/14 12:06pm

Last month we introduced our first-ever podcast, a live version of Funny Story, the storytelling show we co-produce with comedian Tom Shillue and Brooklyn Brewery each month. We’re back with a new one, and while we never set a theme for Funny Story–all our guests are free to tell any story they like–sometimes one organically emerges. This time around most of our storytellers looked back a few decades and told stories starring their younger, more naive selves, with a particular focus on the horrifying experience of middle school. (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.

11/12/14 12:36pm
The media folk gathered at last year's Indie Media Camp, which returns next Wednesday. Photo: Julia Cawley

The media folk gathered at last year’s Indie Media Camp, which returns next Wednesday. Read more about the inspiration behind it. Photo: Julia Cawley

The Republicans have taken over Congress, but New York City, fortunately, feels more liberal than ever. In just one week, you can rest easy walking around with almost an ounce of weed, knowing the possible penalty you face is just a $100 ticket. What else does the de Blasio administration have in store for us? Tonight at Pratt, you can learn more about the future of New York’s open spaces from our new Parks Commissioner, Mitchell Silver, who plans to speed up the process of creating and improving parks, in part by making the database that tracks park allocations by councilmembers open for everyone to see.

This is a good thing. Here’s what else you can look forward to this week. (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.

11/05/14 10:30am
A light installation by Search, one of the participants in the first annual New York Festival of Light in DUMBO this weekend. Photo courtesy NYFOL

A light installation by Search, one of the participants in the first annual New York Festival of Light in DUMBO this weekend. Photo courtesy NYFOL

This is a week where you can gather with your tribe or explore a scene you barely know, or go ahead and do both. Fans of heavy bass and fast beats can look forward to the weekend-long Brooklyn Electronic Music Festival, while a more sedate celebration of music and image takes place at BAM, where legends like Tom Verlaine of Television will be playing at Songs of Unseen Warhol Films as accompaniment for a selection of the Pop artist’s famous screen tests. Comic book lovers are already clued in to the Comic Arts Brooklyn festival because the free talks with luminaries like Al Jaffee are already sold out, but there are still more than 100 exhibitors to see. Anyone in media will want to head to BRIC’s HQ in Fort Greene on Monday, where they’re opening up the space to indie and industry folk alike, giving tours and demos of their TV studio and services. (If this is your thing, be sure to check out IMC, too.)

And in a sure sign of colder things to come, the Brooklyn Flea opens its indoor Winter Market this weekend at a 1,000-sqaure-foot space next to Berg’n, so if you haven’t already been to their mammoth beer hall, you have even more incentive.

Here are seven more reasons to check out something new this week: (more…)

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