Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Brooklyn Tea Party Urges Use of Eminent Domain

Posted By on Wed, Jul 28, 2010 at 12:24 PM

The ugly faces of racism
  • The ugly faces of racism
Being on the right can tie you in a knot: recently, State Senator Marty Golden was so torn by a gun-control bill supported by police officers but opposed by the gun lobby that he skipped the vote entirely.

Similarly, if you thought the wingnuts of the Tea Party would at least uphold core principles like small government, well: what about when they're trying to stop a bunch of Muslims from building a mosque?

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Is a New Development Battle About to Erupt in Brooklyn?

Posted By on Wed, Jul 28, 2010 at 11:40 AM

  • Barf!
For years, there have been threats of an enormous, ugly, totally out of context tower going up on Lincoln Road in Prospect Lefferts Gardens, next to the B/Q Prospect Park station, just steps from the east side of the park. To the consternation of locals, of course: a few years ago, I was met with a small group of chanting, sign-carrying protesters on my way to brunch at Enduro. But with the recession and all, the project seemed stalled if not dead.

Until this weekend, that is.

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The MTA's Long-Term Plan: Obsolescence

Posted By on Wed, Jul 28, 2010 at 11:08 AM

"The MTA welcomes the city’s independent efforts to promote livery van service in areas where funding is insufficient to support public transportation,” an MTA spokesman is quoting as saying in the Brooklyn Paper today, in an article about how the Taxi and Limousine Commission (perhaps inspired by earlier charter efforts) is seeking 20-seat livery vans to run along former bus routes for $2 a ride. (Presumably they won't take unlimited MetroCards or offer free subway transfers.)

And why wouldn't the MTA welcome the privatization of mass transit? It'd certainly make things easier for them. Their just-unveiled four-year plan includes fare hikes to prevent service cuts, but surely it'd be a load off the state's mind if they no longer had to grapple with the responsibility of providing this public service. Privatize, privatize, and let God the market sort 'em out.

Here's Naomi Klein:

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Pitchfork Unveils a New Feature Allowing Viewers to Decide From Which Angle They'd Like to Watch a Band Perform to an Empty Room

Posted By on Wed, Jul 28, 2010 at 10:36 AM

Last night, unveiled a new feature series called "POV," in which a band performs live, and the viewer has the ability to switch between six possible camera angles. You can watch the whole band, you can watch the bassist, you can watch the drummer, or... you get the point.

The first installment features Broken Social Scene, who run through three songs—"Texico Bitches," "Meet Me in the Basement" and an untitled improvisational thing. It's interesting enough, I guess, but I remain confused by Pitchfork's insistence on recording bands playing to empty rooms. They did it with the Hold Steady at Union Pool a little while back, and that was similarly awkward and not really any fun at all to watch. I'll be on board with this if they start doing it at crowded, presumably more energetic shows, and there's no real reason to think they won't, I guess.

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Watch Kevin Kline and Stephen Colbert's Grunting Shakespeare Showdown

Posted By on Wed, Jul 28, 2010 at 9:43 AM

Theater (but not "theatre") enthusiast Stephen Colbert spoke to stage and cinema star Kevin Kline last night, and challenged him to a series of wordless pantomimes of great Shakespeare parts. As you'd expect, Kline does a superb Falstaff. (ArtsBeat)

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Oh Dear God: Kanye Premiers New Songs at Facebook Offices

Posted By on Wed, Jul 28, 2010 at 9:00 AM

Earlier this week, Kanye West stopped by Facebook headquarters, where he premiered three new songs from his forthcoming album, Good Ass Job. The kicker, of course, is that he performed them a cappella. And you know, you've got to hand it to him: This was a pretty bold move considering the most common gripe against him is that his rhymes are bullshit and that he's a far better producer than he is rapper. Clearly, Kanye does not agree. Anyway, above is the most complete sounding track, the touching and frank "Mama's Boyfriend." After the jump, "Lost in the World" and "Chain Heavy."

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Brooklyn Landlord Destroys Artwork

Posted By on Tue, Jul 27, 2010 at 5:38 PM

The street-painting at right, in what appears to be tar, has been destroyed. Previously, it occupied the sidewalk on N. 11th St. between Berry and Wythe, in front of the Brooklyn Brewery's warehouse. Many of these paintings, each a portrait of a different person, appear throughout the streets of Williamsburg.

The Brewery rents, and does not own, the warehouse; the landlord tore the sidewalk up on Friday. It was repaved yesterday. A source at the brewery tells us:

Had I known ahead of time that they were going to destroy it, I would have tried to do something to save it. I cross the street between the brewery and the warehouse a dozen times a day. I’ve seen countless people stop to take a quick snapshot [of the artwork]. It’s pretty sad that its gone.

Of course, we know the city cares not for its history, especially where sidewalk renovations are concerned.

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In Post-Soviet Russia, Anti-Tourist Gangs Try To Drown You

Posted By on Tue, Jul 27, 2010 at 5:07 PM

St Petersburg attempted tourist drowning

I'm not sure about New York City, but in Montreal there's a whole police squad on weekends that picks up drunk Americans along the major bar and (strip) club strips, roughs them up and drops them off at the U.S. border. St. Petersburg cops have it pretty sweet, though: the local anti-tourist vigilantes do all the work for them. In what is apparently becoming a trend (I think; my Russian skills aren't what they never were), WarNet reports that some young St. Petersburgers with bandannas over their faces outfitted a young newbie with quick-dry concrete slippers and tried to throw him into the Neva River. For the fluent, an un-subtitled news report on the attempted tourist-tossing will make everything clear, after the jump.

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20 People Watched All of Warhol's Empire at Anthology on Saturday

Posted By on Tue, Jul 27, 2010 at 4:39 PM


In the current issue of the L, I wrote in praise of the "Boring Masterpieces" selected by Jonas Mekas and screening at Anthology Film Archives over the next couple months, beginning with Andy Warhol's 8-hour, 5-minute Empire State Building actualités Empire. As you can see, about 20 attendees (more than two thirds of the crowd), stayed for the whole thing. Or did they? Among those that stayed for the whole thing, naturally, was our own gjk, who commented on my article:

Pretty sure we skipped a reel. Reels were clocking in at around 40 minutes each, Bradley told us one projector was at 16 fps and the other was at 18.5 fps. SO the speed was definitely correct, when you project at 24 fps reels run for 30 minutes. We finished about 45 minutes short- at about 8:45. So, can anyone confirm that in one reel, after the lights go off, they come back on for about 10 minutes and then go back off again? I'm pretty sure I saw this happen at LPR screening earlier this year. Maybe I was dreaming, but that's the one reel that we didn't see at Anthology...

In any case thanks to Anthology for throwing this party, there were about 20 people who sat through the whole thing, it was better than Inception!

(Here's some info about the "LPR screening earlier this year." Yes, it would appear that one of our commenters has sat through all of Empire twice in the past seventh months. At least.)

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Dead Man at Summerscreen: "A Western fed through a chain of distortion pedals as long as a passenger train."

Posted By on Tue, Jul 27, 2010 at 4:12 PM


As you've hopefully heard by now, tomorrow's Summerscreen presentation is Jim Jarmusch's Dead Man (please click that link, it's a remarkable piece in several ways). We generally assume that you come to down to McCarren Park at Bedford and North 12th for the live music curated by Free Williamsburg (this week is Northside faves ARMS, and Hymns, who'll be playing Neil Young covers in tribute to the film's soundtrack), and for the Sixpoint beer and food from San Loco, Asia Dog, Porchetta , and Red Hook Lobster Pound, all beginning when the gates open at 6pm. But in the event that you don't go to free outdoor movies to eat and drink on blankets, you should know that tomorrow night we happen to be showing one of the best movies of the 90s.

Last year, BAM screened Jim Jarmusch's mythic, mystic, deadpan, gorgeously black-and-white (nobody has ever photographed birch trees as beautifully as Robby Muller) death-trip Western on the 4th of July. Writing about it at the time, the L's Ben Mercer observed:

Jim Jarmusch's Dead Man is a Western — albeit one fed through a chain of distortion pedals as long as a passenger train — that prospects a large strip of the Western canon.

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Forget Horizontal Stripes: Gulf Oil T-Shirts Are the New Summer Hotness

Posted By on Tue, Jul 27, 2010 at 3:46 PM

I Helped Clean Up the Gulf oil t-shirt

Well here's a novel way to help get oil from BP's Deepwater Horizon rig out of the Gulf of Mexico: wear it. I Helped Clean Up the Gulf prints t-shirts with ink that includes trace amounts of oil from the spill in the Gulf of Mexico (they also sell oil in a pendant, which seems even more dramatic). All items are $20, $5 of which goes to either the Tri-State Bird, National Wildlife Federation, or National Audubon Society. The amusingly specific oil-printed tees read "I Helped Clean Up the Gulf," and then in the fine print: "Oil amounts are nominal and meant to be symbolic." Really, they should say, "I Didn't Help Clean Up the Gulf, and All I Got Was this Smelly T-Shirt." (TreeHugger)

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Assembleywoman Joan Millman Introduces Bill to Shut Bar Backyards Early, Outlaw Fun

Posted By on Tue, Jul 27, 2010 at 3:13 PM

No, no. No. Never!
  • No, no. No. Never!
Yesterday, Greenpointers published an email from the folks who run The Diamond, on Franklin Street, noting that Assembleywoman Joan Millman, who represents the brownstoners of District 52 (Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, DUMBO, Park Slope, Brooklyn Heights, Prospect Heights) recently introduced a bill that would require all bars to close their backyard and roof spaces at 10pm Sunday through Thursday, and 11pm on Friday and Saturday.

It's true—bars and residents can't be relied upon to coexist without strict state regulations. Haven't you ever noticed how most bars with back yards put up "Please Disrespect Our Neighbors" signs? Or how frequently patrons are pelted with garbage while stepping outside for a smoke?

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Tron Director: "America Never Got Me"

Posted By on Tue, Jul 27, 2010 at 2:47 PM

Were not like other animations
  • "We're not like other animations"
In an article about the long and hard marketing campaign behind Disney's upcoming Tron..."reboot," Times reporter Brooke Barnes compares the 2010 blockbuster-to-be to its humble 1982 predecessor.

The original “Tron,” released in 1982 and loaded with computer-generated effects, was a hit with the young male crowd, who quickly turned a related arcade game into a success. But the movie failed to attract a wide audience. The story — a man is pulled inside a video game and is forced to play space-age gladiator games — turned off mainstream moviegoers.

“It went beyond suburbia’s ability to deal with it at the time,” said Steven Lisberger, who directed and wrote “Tron.”

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Only Poor People Appreciate Logos

Posted By on Tue, Jul 27, 2010 at 2:01 PM

Let everyone know how poor you are
  • Let everyone know how poor you are
How to spot a poor person? Look for a logo on their clothes and accessories. According to a soon-to-be-published study, rich people "high-end consumers" prefer status symbols on their fashion products that mainstream consumers can't decode, like "distinctive design or detailing," what the Times calls "subtle signals". In one telling statistic: 87 percent of sunglasses between $100 and $200 have a brand name or logo on them, compared to 28 percent of sunglasses $600 or more.

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A "Cooking Co-Op" Sounds Like a Great Idea

Posted By on Tue, Jul 27, 2010 at 1:19 PM

Red pepper risotto. Serves 6, or 2 for 3 days.
  • Red pepper risotto. Serves 6, or 2 for 3 days.
[File under: The new urban communalism.]

So, you don't buy as much regionally grown fresh produce as you like, even though you love it in principle, because your busy schedule means you're only home to cook a real dinner a couple of nights a week, and then when you are home there's nothing in the house so it takes forever to go shopping, prep, etc., so you just order in. Plus it's just you and maybe your roommate, so when you do cook, you end up doing one nice meal a week and then eating the leftovers for days. So: Good would like to introduce you to the concept of a cooking co-op, in which a few local households split the dinner duties for a week.

This seems like a promising way for smaller families to save time, save money, save money, and save resources, without eating the same soup for three days. Assuming, of course, you can find a few like-minded good cooks in your own neighborhood—should be a piece of seed cake, right? Good talks to Alex Davis, co-author of Dinner at Your Door: Tips and Recipes for Starting a Neighborhood Cooking Co-op, about how to avoid botulism and other unpleasantness.

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Watch Superchunk Cover The Cure's "In Between Days"

Posted By on Tue, Jul 27, 2010 at 12:35 PM

Superchunk covers The Cure

For the A.V. Undercover thing, Superchunk tackled the oft-covered "In Between Days" by the Cure. It's pretty awesome—sounds exactly how you want it to.

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Atlantic Yards Construction to Make Downtown Brooklyn Less Dangerous?

Posted By on Tue, Jul 27, 2010 at 11:49 AM

Atlantic Yards Brooklyn Nets Barclays Center Construction
Not sure how to feel about this one: city-financed and -facilitated Brooklyn gentrification real estate megadevelopment Atlantic Yards is moving along full steam with construction of the Barclay's Arena, which will require the closure of one lane on Flatbush Avenue between Dean Street and Atlantic Avenue for two years beginning August 1st. The Brooklyn Paper is quick to point out what a terrible inconvenience this will be for drivers, reducing the number of lanes from six to five—to ease the blow, buses are being rerouted and traffic officers will be on call at all hours; but for cyclists and pedestrians this is unexpectedly great news.

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Rubulad Loft Status Update

Posted By on Tue, Jul 27, 2010 at 10:58 AM

If the Brooklyn Paper continues to go with this image, we will, too.
  • If the Brooklyn Paper continues to go with this image, we will, too.
Last week we took note of a raid and possible eviction at the Clinton Hill space occupied by the arts collective Rubulad, whose periodic party we named the city's best underground to-do just last year. Rubulad representatives dropped by the comments with their official statement, in which they noted inconsistencies between the Fire Department (who announced their "eviction," citing fire-safety violations in the first-floor studio/event space's "illegal cabaret") and the Department of Buildings (who issued a noise violation but have not written up any safety violations or expressed intent to lock Rubulad out).

The Rubulad folks have now moved back into their apartments, the Brooklyn Paper's Aaron Short reports, though the first-floor studio/event space remains off-limits—pending, yes, the resolution of the FDNY and DOB's competing assessments of the space's safety. (This partly according to a spokesman for Williamsburg assembleyman Crazy Joe Lentol, pulling a Schumer and making himself visible around cool-kid issues.) Actual specific fire-code violations and subsequent improvements to the space, or else a slow quiet backing-down from the FDNY, seem the likeliest next steps, to be followed in either case by the resumption of crazy hipster raves you're glad are still happening even if you would never go to them because you dress like a junior editor at the New Republic.

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Historic Theater To Become Brooklyn's Prettiest Charter School

Posted By on Tue, Jul 27, 2010 at 10:35 AM

Loews Pitkin Theater in Brownsville, Brooklyn

Few things make L Mag staffers sadder than disused Brooklyn cinemas, so Curbed's visit yesterday to the beautiful 1929 Loew's Pitkin Theater in Brownsville, which has been sitting vacant and abandoned at Pitkin Avenue and Legion Street for four decades, made us very happy. Exactly how developer POKO Partners plan to turn the building into a charter school while preserving the beautiful interior detailing remains a bit of a mystery, but at least there will once again be kids running down the theater's aisles.

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M.I.A. Promises Free Show to Make Up for HARD Fest Rainout

Posted By on Tue, Jul 27, 2010 at 9:48 AM

As you may have read yesterday, M.I.A.'s headlining performance at the otherwise stellar HARD Fest on Governor's Island was cut short by lightning after a few songs. Some have said this was a blessing in disguise—that her set was headed toward disaster, with bad sound and overall sloppiness wreaking havoc. She's promised to make up for it, though: via Twitter yesterday, M.I.A. promised a free NYC show to anyone still holding their HARD Fest tickets. This is certainly a nice gesture, and it will be great if it happens, but given her recent past, one must wonder if this is just Maya being Maya.

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