Regina Mogilevskaya

Articles by

Regina Mogilevskaya

Regina is a writer and photographer currently living in Greenpoint. When she's not fulfilling copywriting duties for a rad social marketing company, she's reading, people watching in Washington Square Park, and seeking out new things to love about New York, even when she hates it. A stranger on a bus once compared her to Louis C.K. Check her out on Instagram and Twitter at @regbum.

11/29/16 11:46am
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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.


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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10/13/16 11:09am
David Kurfist and Chris Zumtobel founded Think Olio to connect people who love to learn. Photo: Christiana Lopez

David Kurfist and Chris Zumtobel founded Think Olio to connect people who love to learn. Photo: Christiana Lopez

Chris Zumtobel and David Kurfist are still always terrified that no one will show up.

They’re the co-founders of Think Olio, an organization that puts on salon-style classes in venues all over Brooklyn and Manhattan. Though they’ve been proven wrong, time after time, as people pile into bars and co-working spaces and museums to experience these classes, they still worry.

Never been taught by a professor who recently won a grant to study Kill Bill? Well then, you haven’t been to a Think Olio class yet!

Think Olio was born out of a social entrepreneurship course that Chris and David were both part of at CUNY. “I pitched an idea for a school for adjuncts,” says David. “It’d be taught by all adjunct professors, and you’d join it like a gym, popping in and out of classes.” After the pitch, Chris asked David to get a beer. “Chris came to me with four solid ideas, and basically told me he was going to work on this with me, that he would be my business partner,” says David. “And that’s literally how we started.” The two reminisce fondly on the very first class they ever put on. They had begged a professor they both loved–a Kurt Vonnegut scholar–to teach a course, called up a couple of friends, and piled into David’s living room for a night of literature and beer. (more…)

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10/04/16 9:37am
Brooklyn Bazaar

Photo: Regina Mogilevskaya

After a year-long hiatus, the Brooklyn Bazaar is finally showing off its swanky new digs in the heart of Greenpoint. The after-hours flea market and concert venue opened its doors to the public on Sept. 9, now fully settled into the Polonaise Terrace on Greenpoint Avenue, a former banquet hall with a glittering art deco vibe, which has been preserved in a way that brings out the best of the Bazaar.

Whereas the Bazaar’s previous home on Banker Street was one big delightful mess of a room, the new location provides a more simultaneously curated and trippy experience, almost like a fun house. The market–home to more than 30 rotating vendors–lives on the first floor in a chandelier-lit ballroom that looks like something out of Anna Karenina. Adjacent to it sits a Brooklyn Star spin-off restaurant, a kaleidoscopic hall covered in mirrors where everyone is in shadow, accented only by the light from red candles and dim light bulbs. Upstairs is the separate concert venue, while downstairs in the basement there’s a galactic scattering of ping-pong tables beneath neon lights, karaoke rooms, a mini golf course, and arcade games. Oh, and there’s a bar on every floor. Scratch that–it’s not like a fun house, it is a fun house.

Here are the coolest things we saw at the Bazaar on a recent weekend visit. (more…)

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09/22/16 9:46am
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Claire Fontaine, JETON (PLEASE GOD), 2016 Photo: Regina Mogilevskaya

Take Me (I’m Yours), an exhibit that opened last weekend at The Jewish Museum, allows visitors to touch, inspect, eat and take home works of art by 42 international artists, many of whom created specifically commissioned pieces for the show. It subverts the usual look-but-don’t-touch museum experience, and watching how visitors interact with the exhibits is as fascinating as the show itself. 

Take Me (I’m Yours) was originally exhibited in 1995 at the Serpentine Gallery in London, curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist (who co-curated the new exhibit with Jens Hoffman nearly 20 years later) and artist Christian Boltanski. Though the scale of the exhibit was smaller then–only 12 artists were featured–the principal set of questions were the same: How do we remove the ever-present wall between art and the viewer? What can a form of ownership add to the viewer experience? What happens if the viewer walks out of an exhibit not just with a fleeting feeling or thought, but with a physical object in their hand? (more…)

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09/08/16 9:08am

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After playing at over 140 festivals, the award-winning documentary Landfill Harmonic is finally having a big screen debut in New York City. Co-directed by Brad Allgood and Juliana Penaranda-Lofus, the film follows the journey of one very unlikely children’s orchestra from the slums of Paraguay to arenas all across the world. Why so unlikely? Each instrument in the orchestra is made from garbage. (more…)

08/25/16 10:30am

Whether you’re headed out of town for Labor Day, already planning ahead for a fall road trip, or just need something new to listen to while you clean your apartment or commute, here are the six podcasts we’ve been buzzing about here at Brooklyn Based. Since so many podcasts figure out what they are as they go along, they often change significantly, over time, so starting out at the beginning can be disappointing or misleading. With that in mind, we’ve provided suggestions for a couple of particularly good episodes to get you started on each show. Happy listening!


Another Round, Buzzfeed: When Hillary Clinton wanted to appear on a podcast, she (or more likely, her savvy PR staff) did not call Terry Gross or Ira Glass. She didn’t follow President Obama’s lead and appear on Marc Maron’s podcast, WTF. Instead, she asked Heben Nigatu and Tracy Clayton of Another Round for the interview, and America is more enlightened for it. Nigatu, a writer for Late Night with Stephen Colbert, and Clayton, a Buzzfeed writer, capture the way your smartest, funniest best friends talk when no one else is listening. With bourbon.

They’ve talked with Lin Manuel Miranda, Melissa Harris Perry (from whom they got the real scoop on why her show ended), and Valerie Jarrett, among many others, about pop culture, racism, sexism, the insidious effects of white privilege, politics, and occasionally, whether or not squirrels have the right to exist. Simultaneously funny and illuminating, these discussions will have you nodding your head in agreement so hard you hurt your neck and laughing to yourself on the train like a crazy person. They may even force a tough but important self-examination of your own privilege and how it comes at the expense of others. (more…)

08/23/16 11:07am

Photo: Al Rodriguez Photography

Even your wildest adventures in New York City apartment hunting won’t prepare you for the tour of House 17 in Nolan Park on Governors Island that is The Enchanted Realm of René Magritte. Conceived, produced, and directed by Exquisite Corpse Company, this site-specific play is a skillfully envisioned interactive piece of theatre that invites you into the life, the loves, the art and the home of the iconic surrealist painter.

We meet René (and his bowler hat) just a few minutes in, as he explains that he’s trying sell his childhood home following the death of his father. René (played delightfully by Max Henry Schloner, who manages to combine near-perfect strokes of charm and neurosis) doesn’t just want to leave his home; he wants to tear himself away from the ghastly clutches of his memories, which include hallucinations of his suicidal mother (Blair O’Leary, wet-haired and wild-eyed, terrifying and wonderfully effective), and a mysterious gentleman named Mr. Fish (superbly comedic Lee Collins), who may or may not be a fragment of René’s consciousness. (more…)

08/09/16 11:07am
TKTK, founder of the New York African Food Festival. Photo: NYAFF

Ishmael Osekre, founder of the New York African Food Festival. Photo: NYAFF

For Ishmael Osekre, the founder of this weekend’s inaugural New York African Food Festival, the project was an experiment gone viral. ”Originally I wanted to do a small proof of concept in Dumbo for about 500 people” says, Osekre, who heads Afropolitan Insights. Ten days after its launch, the event site had 1 million views and 12,000 people interested in the Facebook event, all with ticket sales to match before there was even any sort of lineup for the festival. From there, Osekre moved quickly, moving it to larger quarters, recruiting chefs, bringing in experience architects, and curating a thrilling assortment of artists and vendors for New York City’s first immersive taste of Africa.

“African music and fashion have always had steady momentum and exposure in mainstream American culture; African food hasn’t” explains Osekre. So for two days Osekre plans to transform the Brooklyn Navy Yard into a celebration of African culture from all corners of the diaspora. Along with an Ethiopian coffee ceremony, shisha lounge, hair wrap demos, a queen’s lounge stocked with African designs, a photo booth designed by Beyoncé-approved artist Laolu Sebanjo, and live music, there will, of course, be food. (more…)

08/02/16 9:00am
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Brighton Beach is waiting for you, at the end of the Q. Photo: Regina Mogilevskaya

I will choose Brighton Beach over the Rockaways any day, and it’s not just on account of my last name. This laid back beach boasts irrefutable seductions: It’s easily accessible via the Brighton Beach stop on the B or the Q train, from which the sand is less than a five-minute walk. It’s spacious and rarely overcrowded. And the best part? It doesn’t feel like a damn American Apparel ad.

Though on the outskirts of what is essentially Little Russia/Odessa, the crowd that’s scattered across the beach is always diverse, and families are very much welcome. The bathrooms leave much to be desired (wear your shoes and hold your nose), but the water is consistently warm and tranquil and the sand is clean, you know, for New York. Unlike the Rockaways, the Brighton Beach boardwalk is relatively bare when it comes to food and drink (apart from Tatiana and Café Volna, two pricey Russian restaurants whose pleasures we’ll leave for another time). So while you won’t find tacos or happen across a hip flea market here, there’s a very undeniable allure to this boardwalk, beautiful and aging in the harsh sunlight. Whether it’s the gusto of foreign languages swirling around you, or the unparalleled people watching, there’s something about Brighton Beach that will make you feel much further from your apartment than you are, maybe even like you’re on an overseas adventure.

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Poppy seed-filled pastries at La Brioche Café on Brighton Beach Avenue. Photo: Regina Mogilevskaya

Before you set foot on the sand, hit up some of the small shops and bakeries that line the streets for snacks, salads and sandwich makings. You won’t regret it. One challenge is that in many stores the signs are exclusively in Russian, so if you have a friend with some Slavic language skills, hit them up for their assistance. Or get ready to point and nod and smile a lot. And keep in mind that the Q train will get you here in under 30 minutes from Atlantic Terminal, so it’s a solid shorefront destination even in the winter, when many of the hot dishes will be even more appealing. Here are three of the best spots to stop and stock up. (more…)

07/20/16 4:19pm


When I sat down for a screening of Don’t Think Twice, the new comedy from Mike Birbiglia, I was in a mood. It had been a long day at work, I had just booked it across midtown in a most unfavorable pair of heels, and, frankly, I wasn’t all that excited about the film I was about to see. Many indie films are a slow burn, sure, but a feature length film about improv comedy subculture? I didn’t have the highest expectations. An hour-and-a-half later, discreetly trying to wipe my tears with my sleeve, I had zero desire to leave the theatre.

Don’t Think Twice, actor, writer, and comedian Mike Birbiglia’s sophomore feature film, is the story of an improv group known as The Commune working in a dingy New York theatre. The six of them work for small crowds and for even smaller sums, are often on the prowl for a modicum of something that can be deemed as success. They also seem totally blissed out in one other’s company, a series of friendships that have clearly withstood the test of time and some awful jokes. They’re led by Miles (Birbiglia), a 30-something improv teacher with an affinity for sleeping with his younger students and claiming he’s always inches, just inches away from making it big. Then there’s spunky but spoiled Lindsay (Tami Sagher), whimsical Allison (Kate Micucci), and slightly pathetic Bill (Chris Gerhard). Gillian Jacobs and Keegan-Michael Key round out The Commune as Jack and Samantha, the romantic couple of the group. Although most of them live together in a crappy loft and pretty much all of the group suffers through a series of mundane day jobs, they’re happiest when doing what they’re best at: getting on a stage a few nights a week and fearlessly shooting the shit. (more…)