01/19/17 10:52am

eternal_sunshine_of_the_spotless_mind_-_kate_winslet_-_jim_carey_-_h_-_2016

So, it doesn’t exactly feel like winter this week. It’s downright temperate, in fact. Rest assured though, there will be a frigid weekend sometime this winter, even if 2017 proves to be as warm, or warmer than, 2016. Or maybe you just need to warm your soul. We’ve got three wintery movies and a recipe to pair with each. Gather your supplies, settle in on the couch and escape for an hour or two.

Film: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, directed by Michael Gondry, written by Charlie Kauffman, starring Kate Winslet, Jim Carrey, Kirsten Dunst, Mark Ruffalo, Tom Wilkinson, and Elijah Wood
Where to find it: On Amazon or iTunes, starting at $2.99 to stream
Recipe: Tomato Basil Chicken Stew from Gimme Some Oven

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is celebrating its 13th anniversary this year. Isn’t that wild? It’s probably safe to say that the Oscar-winning film still has a strong hold on film fanatics–even if you can’t quite recall the last time you viewed it, you certainly remember how it made you feel. The film is a dizzying cornfield of memory–the way your brain tries to fight your heart, what it is to love and to lose, to neglect and to remember. (more…)

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01/17/17 12:47pm
Shepard.Equal-Humanity-GreaterThanFear

We The People is a Kickstarter campaign that aims to cover Washington D.C. in powerful images, like this one, for the inauguration. Image: Shepard Fairey

I’m going to give it to you straight–this Friday, Jan. 20, 2017 Donald Trump will be inaugurated as our 45th President. It’s going to happen. There doesn’t seem to be an ethical conflict too deep or a tweet too far–even insulting a Civil Rights hero on MLK weekend–to stop this juggernaut.

We need to find some productive ways to cope.

You probably don’t have Friday off from work, but it’s not like anyone is going to be getting much of anything done, either. We’re not saying hide your head in the sand, we’re saying make Inauguration Day a time to reflect on how you want to spend the next four year.

Got to the Whitney, and pay what you wish: “On January 20, the Whitney will be open on a pay-what-you-wish basis all day to affirm our commitment to open dialogue, civic engagement, and the diversity of American art and culture,” says the Whitney’s website. There are a variety of special tours and events for the day, listed here, including a program called My America, that leads participants through an exploration of their portrait collection. The museum is open until 10pm, so there’s time to consider the role art will play in the sure-to-be-strange years to come, even after the work day is done.


(more…)

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01/10/17 11:57am
Photo: Catbat

Photo: Catbat

And so, late one evening, the Catbat became stuck in time. Once mythical–both lynx and bat, philosopher and shapeshifter–now ashes of a gnostic tarot card.

Written for Catbat Shop by Kelley Deane McKinney

A mix between a blazer and a blanket, the Catbat cape could very well be a talisman for our uncertain times. Kat Shuford, the designer behind Catbat Shop, believes that “people of all genders and sizes should feel magical every day,” and that a gorgeous wool, mohair or cashmere cape, sustainably sourced from reclaimed and recylced fabrics, and locally made in Greenpoint, has the power to conjure a charmed existence.

Less than two years ago, Shuford, an artist and website designer came up with the idea for a line of capes, and with basic sewing skills and a DIY attitude, she cobbled together a pattern and searched out a family-run fabric business based in New York. “I didn’t know how to begin,” she says. “But it was just, sit down and do it anyway.” Her web experience allowed her to wear many hats, designing her own site and maintaining her online store. With a little luck and a lot of drive, Shuford found other people to help her along the way and came up with the prototype–one pattern that fits every body type regardless of height or gender. “I kind of did this on a self challenge,” she admits. (more…)

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01/03/17 12:25pm

typorama

Welcome to 2017! It’s time to shake off that 2016 hangover, that cookie hangover, that latke hangover and that hangover hangover and make some plans.

Here are two different tools to help you organize your hopes, dreams and goals for the year ahead in an action plan for 2017. One will sort out a general approach to being more engaged with your community, whether that means volunteering at a local school or donating more of your income to charity or getting involved with a non-profit organization. The other is an overtly political plan of engagement and resistance.

Stop Freaking Out/Start Doing Something

In the wake of the 2016 election my social media feeds were choked with calls to action, petitions to sign, phone calls to make. All of these were well intentioned, but they were also disorganized and overwhelming, which is part of the reason we started Action Trumps Hate, our political email (it’s a separate subscription from Brooklyn Based–sign up here if you’re interested). We wanted to figure out which actions would be most effective and present them to readers in a manageable, weekly dose, which will resume this week after a holiday break.

In Portland, Ore. a group of friends and colleagues had a similar reaction. Many of them work at a design consultancy business called Xplane, and so they approached the problem from a product designer’s point of view. (more…)

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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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11/29/16 11:46am
starhawk and tony

Starhawk (on the left) and his brother Tony Arcuri keep Greenpoint colorful. Photos: Regina Mogilevskaya

Jerry Garcia once nicknamed Starhawk “The Kid.” The co-owner of Greenpoint’s Starhawk Design Studio doesn’t really keep track of time in a conventional sense, but he reckons this was sometime back in the 70’s, when he was touring the country with the Grateful Dead. Though born in Brooklyn, he left home when he was a teenager.

“I always had faith that travel was the right choice,” Starhawk tells me with a gleam in his eye as we stand across from one another in his shop, chatting as customers mill about picking up crystals, smelling incense, and browsing slowly through hangers swimming with tie-dyed shirts, skirts, leggings, arm warmers and socks.

Touring with the Grateful Dead is just one chapter in the dizzying book of Starhawk’s life, which includes stints with Peter Gabriel and Ziggy Marley, residence on the beaches of Hawaii, pop-up tie dye shops from Pennsylvania to California, and plenty of meditation in between.

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Photos: Regina Mogilevskaya

It all started with a dose of color. “The first thing I ever tried to tie dye was a butterfly on a t-shirt,” says Starhawk. He never studied art of any kind–or attended college–but from a young age he loved gobbling up texts about ancient cultures. He’d always felt a strong kinship with color, and his inspiration sprouted from studying indigenous clothing designs, out of which came a near-obsession with American tie dye techniques. For years, he traveled the country creating and selling his custom-made tie-dye clothing, as means of self expression and to support himself.

How Starhawk ended up Greenpoint after decades of kaleidoscopic nomadism is a story of simple fate. He and his brother, Tom Arcuri–who shared with me that he was in the clothing industry, though not on the design side, for “about 42 short years”–decided to start a business together. In 2015 they had a pop-up shop on Manhattan Avenue for a couple of days, and when they spotted an empty storefront for rent just two blocks from that location, they decided to make Greenpoint a permanent home. (more…)

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11/08/16 11:48am

Hillary Clinton may be the latest woman from New York to seek an office in the White House, but she is not the first. Shirley Chisholm and Geraldine Ferraro, both New Yorkers, made their own cracks in the political glass ceiling. As we head to the polls today, fingers crossed and nails bitten, some wearing white in suffragette solidarity, let’s take a moment to look back at the powerful women who came before Clinton.

Chisholm and Ferraro were as different as two Democrats from New York City could be. “As fierce of a progressive and critic of the system as Shirley Chisholm was, Geraldine Ferraro was a total apparatchik. She made her way up by being a machine pol,” Amy Schiller, a political commentator and CUNY doctoral student teaching a class on women in American politics at Brooklyn College this semester, told me in a phone call.

Shirley Chisholm, 1972 

In 1968 Chisholm became the first black woman elected to Congress. She was a progressive Brooklynite who championed expansion of social services, education, and immigrant rights and used that momentum to make a presidential run in 1972. She focused on housing as the key to confronting economic inequality and championed bills to expand childcare for families, for immigrant rights, quality education, free school lunches, and consumer protection. She was, as her brilliantly direct campaign put it, “Unbought and Unbossed.” (Her memoir and a documentary about her run for president both use the slogan as a title–consider watching the latter if the returns get to be too much tonight.)

As Smithsonian Magazine pointed out in an article from last spring, “She was one of only 19 Representatives willing to hold hearings on the Vietnam War. And she was a founding member of both the Congressional Black Caucus and the Congressional Women’s Caucus.” She sounds like everything serious progressives want in a candidate. So why don’t we remember her? (more…)

11/01/16 12:31pm
You can drink this mead on its own, or it makes an amazing cocktail base. Photo: Enlightenment Wines

You can drink this mead on its own, or it makes an amazing cocktail base. Photo: Enlightenment Wines

Just when you thought Bushwick had everything, a new meadery opens its doors. Now all the neighborhood needs is a blacksmith and good roast mutton joint.

Englightment Wines owners Raphel Lyon and Arley Marks teamed up to open Honey’s, a meadery, tasting room and event space dedicated to the ancient libation. Mead has traditionally been known as a sweet, even cloying honey wine, but Lyon has created a menu of bone-dry wines using raw honey, as well as locally-sourced black currants, cherries and maple. They’re delicious on their own and even better when used as a base for Marks’ cocktails.

Arley Marks and Raphael Lyon make mead and mead cocktails in Bushwick. Photo: Enlightenment Wines

Arley Marks and Raphael Lyon make mead and mead cocktails in Bushwick. Photo: Enlightenment Wines

Honey’s is located in an industrial area of Bushwick–not far from where the new Glasslands venue called Elsewhere will soon arrive. They have a license to serve drinks and to sell bottles of mead, designed by Lyon, with the help of friends, to the converted, which range from $25 to $30. (more…)

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10/25/16 8:59am
Photo: New Women's Space

Photo: New Women Space

“I feel different when I’m in a room of all women,” says Melissa Wong, co-founder of New Women Space, sitting with Sandra Hong, her co-founder, in the light-filled East Williamsburg storefront they’ve dedicated to female empowerment.

The 2100-square-foot, bi-level space is calming and minimalist with plants and comfortable couches and sunshine streaming in the floor-to-ceiling windows. New Women Space offers events and workshops, each affordably priced at $10-$50, focusing on a variety of topics ranging from yoga to comedy nights to financial and career advice to collaging and other creative projects. It is, as the founders put it, “a space for women to define.”

The idea of physical spaces specifically for women is having a moment in 2016. The Wing, a women’s only social club and co-working space, is now holding court in the Flatiron District. It may also be all over your Instagram feed, too, thanks to the PR wizardry of co-founders Lauren Kassan, who previously worked for Class Pass and Audrey Gelman, a communications specialist who helped NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer appeal to a broad audience.

In Washington, D.C. and California, there’s the Hera Club, a women’s-only co-working space and business accelerator. The Wing is application-based, and those who are accepted must pay the $185 membership fee, and the Hera Club’s membership plans vary by location, but can run anywhere from $89 per month to nearly $500 depending on the size of the office space required.

There’s a considerably lower barrier to entry at New Women Space. The only application process required is for instructors and potential event organizers. Anyone who wants to attend an event needs only to pay an admission fee that’s often as low as $10. “We are here for women of all experiences,” Wong emphasizes.

New Women Space also defines itself as “gender expansive,” meaning that men, and all gender identities, are allowed at all events unless otherwise specified. “We want men to be a part of the conversation,” says Wong. “But we do want all the content providers/project cultivators to be women since that is the audience we are particularly concerned with providing support for.” (more…)

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10/24/16 11:32am
Have a lobster roll and beer, then buy some salmon for tomorrow night at Greenpoint Fish & Lobster. Photo: Elaheh Nozari

Have a lobster roll and beer, then buy some salmon for tomorrow night at Greenpoint Fish & Lobster. Photo: Elaheh Nozari

Here’s the scenario: You’re headed home after a long day at work and thinking about dinner. There’s a spot on the way that has both a butcher counter and a bar. The idea of ordering a pork loin and having a glass of wine while the butcher trusses it up causes the corners of your mouth to rise a bit. But does this magical place exist? It does in Brooklyn.

In Clinton Hill, the spot is Mekelburg’s. In Greenpoint, if you want fish instead of meat, there’s Greenpoint Fish & Lobster. In Williamsburg, Max and Eli Sussman just turned their Middle Eastern pop-up Samesa into a full-service restaurant complete with market area, and a short walk from there Lella Alimenteri serves coffee and piadine alongside Italian grocery staples. And in Gowanus, the trend continues at A&E Supply Co., slated to open later this month first for coffee service followed by a sustainable, local butcher and cheese counter then the restaurant and bar.

While convenience is what the customer finds at these all-in-one businesses, for the owners, being something for everyone is a necessity in an increasingly expensive city.

“You need to find the most amount of viability that you can have,” said Alicia Mekelburg, co-owner of Mekelburg’s. “A marketplace brings in the foot traffic. People always need eggs or milk and here you can do that and get a sandwich or have a couple of beers.” (more…)

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