Friday, July 29, 2011

Bike Ridership Numbers and Love of Bike Lanes Continue to Increase

Posted By on Fri, Jul 29, 2011 at 4:12 PM

Like every other bicycle statistic, the number of scantily clad cyclists spiked recently.
  • Like every other NYC cyclist demographic, the number of scantily clad bike-riders spiked this year.

Your bi-annual "more people are riding bikes" survey results are here: according to a new Department of Transportation survey of the same major commuter points surveyed last year, bike ridership is up 14 percent city-wide, with about 19,000 cyclists passing through those points as opposed to 16,000 at the same time last year. This is not really surprising, neither is the fact that Brooklyn continues to lead the way.

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Brooklyn Museum Announces Series of Exhibitions Showcasing Emerging Brooklyn Artists

Posted By on Fri, Jul 29, 2011 at 3:25 PM

Kristof Wickman, Untitled (2010), will be on view at the Brooklyn Museum in September.
  • Kristof Wickman, "Untitled" (2010), will be on view at the Brooklyn Museum in September.

While the Brooklyn Museum embraces and abandons certain controversial group exhibitions organized elsewhere, it's continuing to make the best of its location in the country's richest art community. This morning the museum announced a new year-long cycle of five ten-week exhibitions highlighting the work of emerging local artists, to launch in September with a show by Bushwick-based sculptor Kristof Wickman.

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James Franco and Gus Van Sant Will Teach Summer School at MoMA PS1

Posted By on Fri, Jul 29, 2011 at 2:38 PM

Next week well be studying Ginsberg, so watch Howl.
  • "Next week we'll be studying Ginsberg, so watch Howl."

As the indefatigable James Franco is supremely qualified to teach us, there's no such thing as too much school. He'll continue to compliment his studies with guest instructorships next month when he and current collaborator filmmaker Gus Van Sant lead a free summer school program at MoMA PS1—but hurry, registration opened yesterday!

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For Fall, Get That Cindy Sherman Look with Her New Makeup Line

Posted By on Fri, Jul 29, 2011 at 1:50 PM

Cindy Sherman, Untitled #412 (2003, detail)
  • Cindy Sherman, "Untitled #412" (2003, detail)

The only reason the Art Awards don't have a "Best Makeup" category, we assume, is because Cindy Sherman would win every year. And yet, despite her decades of adopting stunning, chamelonic disguises, it's taken this long for the Jersey-born, Manhattan-based artist to make good on an obvious and completely ridiculous merchandising opportunity: a line of Cindy Sherman makeup.

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On Joan Blondell, Your Depression-Era BFF, at Film Forum's Essential Pre-Code

Posted By on Fri, Jul 29, 2011 at 1:02 PM

The axiomatic Depression-era Warner Brothers star Joan Blondell shows up frequently in Film Forum's ongoing Essential Pre-Code series (previously discussed), including this weekend, including Saturday's double feature of The Public Enemy and Blonde Crazy, as well as Thursday's Three on a Match and Union Depot on Tuesday the 9th.

Forget those diamonds, sisters; Blondell is a girl’s best friend. Especially in the films she made during the Depression, when she and the country were young and brave and cracking wise, Joan Blondell comes off as the kind of loyal and level-headed, funny and fun-loving pal who can make even bad times fun, her big eyes shining and her bullshit meter clicking like a Geiger counter.

The cheery nature and bedrock reliability Blondell radiated sometimes got her miscast as a wide-eyed innocent in films like the vacuous Good Girls Go to Paris, in which she seems chagrined as the one-note title character, tossing off what feels like a half-hearted Shirley Temple impersonation. But she spent most of her onscreen time in a niche that fit her much better, playing a broad with a heart of gold. In Public Enemy, which screens this Saturday (pictured), Blondell plays the girl who marries the James Cagney’s character’s best friend, their happy relationship providing a counterpoint to Cagney’s tortured tap dances with his mistreated molls. And in Night Nurse, which screened earlier in the series, she plays a droll, eye-rolling, gum-chewing nurse who shows Barbara Stanwyck the ropes. Blondell’s B. Maloney is too cynical to object to the corruption she sees everywhere, but she’s too good a friend not to support Stanwyck when she rises up against it.

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A Mere 17 of the Billions of Awesome 120 Minutes Clips on YouTube

Posted By on Fri, Jul 29, 2011 at 12:16 PM

This Saturday, at 1am (when you get home tomorrow night, so actually Sunday morning) the first episode of the newly re-launced 120 Minutes will air on MTV2, with Matt Pinfield once again taking his rightful place as host. The return of the show is exciting in some ways—in that it signals, perhaps, the return of independent/alt-minded music as a legitimate force—but the first episode looks only so-so, as it'll feature interviews with people like Dave Grohl and Kings of Leon, showing a depressing lack of confidence in artists like Sleigh Bells and Das Racist, who will also be featured.

But anyway, this news has caused me to enter what is quite possibly the deepest, darkest YouTube hole I've ever encountered: all you have to do is search "120 Minutes Live," and blam, your day, weekend, month, whatever, will be shot. Below, I've handpicked 17. I hesitate to say they're my favorites just yet, 'cause I still have pages and pages and pages to sort through, but still. So good, all of them.

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What to Eat This Weekend: Pork Belly Sliders, Crawfish and More

Posted By on Fri, Jul 29, 2011 at 11:31 AM

  • izik

The weather has finally dipped below 1,000 degrees, which means eating pork belly in the sun no longer seems like a horrible idea. So, where should the intrepid foodie go this weekend to get his or her fix?

We always recommend Tchoup Shop, held as usual in the back garden of d.b.a. Brooklyn (113 N 7th St btwn Berry and Wythe) on Sunday from 1:30pm-4pm. This week chef Simon Glen brings back his awesome pork belly sliders, plus crawfish-leek-fontina grilled cheese sandwiches and smoked crab maque choux (a traditional braised Cajun dish made mostly with sweet corn).

Not enough crawfish? Afterwards you can walk over to the City Reliquary (370 Metropolitan Ave nr Havemeyer), which will be hosting the Summer Party Explosion from 4pm-8pm. For $7 you get a night of trivia, plus hot crawfish and cheap beer.

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Cowboys and Aliens: The Mild Bunch

Posted By and on Fri, Jul 29, 2011 at 11:28 AM

Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig in Cowboys and Aliens
Hey, it’s BlockBluster, our seasonal feature in which Benjamin Sutton and Henry Stewart find out during what sorts of movies regular people all over the country are making mashups. This week they go looking for gold but come out empty-handed from John Favreau's Cowboys and Aliens.

So, Henry, I took Cowboys and Aliens' title—a sci-fi remix of "Cowboys and Indians"—as a promise of clever colonial allegory, like an Americanized version of District 9, but it turned out to be something more muddled and, as far as I can tell, fundamentally conservative. The aliens here—a fusion of the extraterrestrials from Alien and Independence Day—are just worse versions of The White Man, right? They've come to earth to mine its gold and wipe out its human inhabitants, a threat that forges a temporary alliance between otherwise hostile communities: Native Americans, settlers and outlaws. The latter two groups are led by characters whose names could come from a Mel Brooks movie, appropriate since Cowboys and Aliens is immensely indebted to Blazing Saddles: ruthless rancher and Daniel Plainview-esque proto-capitalist Woodrow Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford) and loner with a gun Jake Lonergan (Daniel Craig). The humans forget their petty differences for a day to fight the greater foe, and pave the way for America's land-grabbing expansion. What did you make of Cowboys and Aliens' wacky Western symbolism, Henry?

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Tonight: Danny Elfman As Satan in Oingo Boingo's Musical Forbidden Zone

Posted By on Fri, Jul 29, 2011 at 10:40 AM

Tonight, Anthology Film Archives kicks off the second leg of their "Hollywood Musicals of the 1970s and 80s" series (you may remember the first one). Francis Ford Coppola's maudit One from the Heart screens at 7, and Forbidden Zone screens at 9:30 (and again on August 7th).

It’s hard to reconcile our current image of Danny Elfman as the composer of the scores for Beetlejuice, Alice in Wonderland et cetera with the Danny Elfman of yesteryear. As the lead weirdo in the proudly juvenile neo-cabaret act The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo, Elfman’s schtick used to be quite, uh, different. Elfman, his brother Richard and his bandmates made Forbidden Zone to try to encapsulate what their act, which features characters in blackface and cannibalized elements of vaudeville (“Your buns smell like lox, honey, I can smell them from here.”), was all about. Today, it’s a time capsule of that long-ago time when it was very hip to be deeply confusing.

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Could New York State Legalize Medical Marijuana?

Posted By on Fri, Jul 29, 2011 at 9:49 AM

Um, hello, its a public health issue
  • "Um, hello, it's a public health issue"
State Senator Diane J. Savino (a Democrat representing Sunset Park, Coney Island, Bensonhurst and part of Staten Island) doesn't want New York to fall behind the Garden State. Now that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has green-lighted his state’s medical marijuana program—stalled for over a year after it was signed into law by his predecessor—she has co-sponsored medical marijuana legislation in Albany, drawing on her own experience of losing both parents to cancer. We spoke to her over the phone about what medical marijuana in New York would look like, when we should expect a corner Canna-bakery, and whether she'd take a blunt, bong, bowl or brownie.

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Your Smurfing Weekend at the Movies

Posted By on Fri, Jul 29, 2011 at 8:58 AM

Cowboys & Aliens: Unless you count The Smurfs, this is the only big movie coming out this weekend that I haven't seen. It's also probably the big July movie I've been most looking forward to, for the sheer novelty of combining aliens with cowboys rather than other aliens, plucky kids, or Michael Bay. It is, granted, more than a little sad that summer movies have become so brand-saturated that a movie can appear fresh simply by being based on a comic book far fewer people have heard of that was nonetheless created, as far as anyone can tell, entirely to be capitalized upon and turned into a blockbuster movie. In fact, I'm pretty sure I have a copy of a Cowboys & Aliens graphic novel that its publishers gave away free to comics-store patrons years ago in an attempt to goose their circulation numbers.

But maybe this opportunism can serve as the raw materials for something a bit more spontaneous than a staid adaptation; it certainly has the cast for it, with Harrison Ford rumbling back to life, Daniel Craig taking a side-trip from Bond, and Sam Rockwell dancing (I assume; it will be kind of a ripoff if he's not [In that case there's always the Golden Globe-winning fan-made YouTube video Sam Rockwell: Dancing Machine -Ed.]). Jon Favreau directs; his Iron Man movies didn't have much visual pizzazz, but he shows excellent rapport with his actors, which is what ought to count here. Fingers crossed.

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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Brooklyn Philharmonic Announces 2011-2012 Season

Posted By on Thu, Jul 28, 2011 at 4:19 PM

New artistic director Alan Pierson
  • New artistic director Alan Pierson
The reinvigorated Brooklyn Philharmonic will travel to Brighton Beach, Bed Stuy and Downtown Brooklyn during this coming season, armed with Mos Def, Beethoven, and some rare Russian cartoons. In these neighborhoods, the orchestra will "perform a series of concerts that reflects the heritage of each, engaging the community through artistic collaborations, family events and local partnerships," it announced in a press release distributed yesterday afternoon. New artistic director Alan Pierson told us in January that this season would be the orchestra's "re-launch," after two years with an almost invisible presence on the borough's cultural landscape. While modestly scaled, this new season has been ambitiously envisioned, announcing the Brooklyn Philharmonic at least as an exciting voice in local orchestral programming.

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Claymation Sex and More Tales from the Inkwell at Animation Block Party

Posted By on Thu, Jul 28, 2011 at 3:41 PM

Friday through Sunday, Animation Block Party holds its Animation Weekend in Brooklyn: after tomorrow night's outdoor opening night, at Rooftop Films, BAM hosts five additional shorts programs and an animation trade show/gallery exhibition. The films discussed below screen on Friday night at Rooftop.

In La Plage, a lively animated short drawn in pretty pastels, a lovely summer beach is ruined by an invasion of loud, fat, chain-smoking, beached-fish-tormenting, butt-scratching boors—until a giant hand descends on the sand and shovels them into a mammoth catbox pooper scooper. That one-joke plot makes La Plage less subtle and/or ambitious than most of its companions at this year’s Animation Block Party, but nearly all share its wry take on stupid human tricks—and its empathy for the non-human animals who put up with us.

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Watch Twin Sister Perform a New Song, "Spain," at Last Night's Summerscreen

Posted By on Thu, Jul 28, 2011 at 2:50 PM

Last night was pretty much the platonic ideal of Summerscreen: The weather was perfect, with a cool breeze blowing consistently throughout the evening's events; there was what seemed like an inordinate amount of dogs, and my 15-month-old daughter was intent on hanging out with every single one of them; the beer and food were, as always, totally delicious; the movie, Ferris Beuller's Day Off, had a very large crowd in unusually high spirits, and then there was the music: Your Youth got things started with their summery, hook-laden pop, followed by Twin Sister, who are gearing up for a busy few months, with their Domino Records debut, In Heaven, hitting shelves on September 27th. We were treated to a handful of new songs, including the immensely enjoyable, seven-minute "Spain," which our own Sydney Brownstone was kind enough to film for us. And in addition to all that, there was the actual big-screen debut of the video for Twin Sister's "Bad Street," which everyone's saying debuted on the internet this morning. Watch it (again) below.

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Post Office Considers Closing Five Brooklyn Locations

Posted By on Thu, Jul 28, 2011 at 2:03 PM

The Sunset branch, targeted for closure
  • The Sunset branch, targeted for closure
Earlier this month, Williamsburg's old zip code region, 11211, was divided in two. But the neighborhood got no new post office to go along with this split. In fact, the United States Postal Service is now considering closing five of its branches in Brooklyn, part of 3,700 potential closings around the country. "In fiscal year 2010, the Postal Service suffered a $8.5 billion net loss, compared to a loss of $3.8 billion the prior year," CNN Money reports. "Last quarter, the U.S. Postal Service posted a loss of $2.2 billion."

"Our customer’s habits have made it clear they no longer require a physical post office to conduct most of their postal business," the postal service declares on its website. "More and more of them are choosing to conduct their postal business online, on their smart phone and at their shopping destinations. And that means the need for us to maintain nearly 32,000 retail offices has diminished."

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Nafissatou Diallo Not a Liar

Posted By on Thu, Jul 28, 2011 at 1:11 PM

  • Michael Appleton for the New York TImes
I'm sure a mountain of apologies will be forthcoming, since, as The Times reports, Nafissatou Diallo, the woman accusing Dominique Strauss-Kahn of raping her, was misquoted. She is not, in fact, a money-grubbing liar.

A lawyer for the hotel housekeeper who accused Dominique Strauss-Kahn of sexually assaulting her in May said Wednesday that taped conversations, two of them made a day after the encounter, prove that his client had no intention of exploiting the charges against Mr. Strauss-Kahn to make money.

In fact, instead of saying that she could get money from DSK by exploiting a rape accusation, she was merely explaining to the man she was talking to who the guy was who raped her. Just an honest mistake, no doubt! Good thing they have these tapes, now they'll definitely find her innocent. Oh wait, Ms. Diallo ISN'T THE DEFENDANT IN THIS CASE.

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City Shoots Down Brooklyn Artist's Plan for Union Square Statue's Makeover

Posted By on Thu, Jul 28, 2011 at 12:20 PM

Tourist in Chief (2011) © Leon Reid IV
  • "Tourist in Chief" (2011) © Leon Reid IV

Remember how Brooklyn-based street artist and sculptor Leon Reid IV had planned to hang shopping bags on the George Washington statue on the south side of Union Square as part of Art In Odd Places' festival this October? Well, the New York City Parks Department doesn't think it's such a hot idea, and has denied Reid's proposal for the statue dress-up.

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NYU Rap About Collegiate Hipsters Was Filmed in DUMBO!

Posted By on Thu, Jul 28, 2011 at 11:29 AM

Hipsters are roaming the campus, which is in DUMBO.
  • Hipsters are roaming the campus, which is in DUMBO.

This viral video (embedded below) having something to do with "the NYU Reality Show" and this Kickstarter project for a short film about root beer purports to pertain to the prevalence of hipsters on college campuses, but was filmed here in DUMBO where there is not a single college campus.

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New Mountain Goats Video Serves as Reminder That the Most Recent Mountain Goats Record is Really Good

Posted By on Thu, Jul 28, 2011 at 10:37 AM

Forgive me for being an entire two days late with this one—I wasn't planning on posting about it, since it was obviously one of those Pitchfork exclusive things that I tend to ignore out of principle and bitterness, but it's a really cool video for one of my favorite songs of the year, off what I'm now remembering is one of my favorite albums of the year. Watch if you haven't, and then buy if you haven't, please. Really great sounding pressing, too.

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Cop Doors Cyclist, Can't Believe He's Not on Drugs

Posted By on Thu, Jul 28, 2011 at 9:45 AM

Almost made it.
  • Almost made it.

Of the last two cyclists we heard about who complained after their life was endangered by an NYPD officer, one was chased and arrested, and the other had a gun pulled on him, so really, 37-year-old animator Stephen Mann was pretty lucky when, after getting doored by a cop near Grand Central earlier this month, he was merely accused of being on drugs and treated without a hint of Courtesy, Professionalism or Respect.

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