Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Slate Searches for the "Soul" of Boar's Head, Finds "Pushy New Yorker" of Meats

Posted By on Tue, Jan 31, 2012 at 3:19 PM

For Brooklynites, Boar's Head is a reliable, constant presence in everyday life. Doesn't even matter if you're a vegetarian—whether it's a line of hams behind the deli counter observing your beer runs, or that giant, squat lunchbox of a processing plant on Bogart St. blessing your morning commute, the brand is almost a personality unto itself, a benevolent Big Brother figure of meat processing. It seems Bryan Curtis of Slate has noticed this too, which is why he decided to profile the corporation to see if he could find out more about his omnipresent neighbor.

What Curtis came up with is kind of a love letter to one of the largest corporate sandwich meat manufacturers in the United States. He lists 11 ways to think about Boar's Head as a personality, from its humble, turn-of-the-century horse-cart beginnings to lesser known facts about its modern competitive streak:

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Announcing 2012's Literary Upstart: The Search for Pocket Fiction

Posted By on Tue, Jan 31, 2012 at 2:30 PM

Since the spring of 2005, if you can believe it, Literary Upstart, The L Magazine’s short fiction competition and reading series, has been pitting New York’s best unknown writers against each other in a booze-addled literary Thunderdome, and we’ll be doing so again this year.

As of today, we’re pleased to consider submissions of your previously unpublished short stories of 1,500 words or fewer, via an email to literaryupstart [at] thelmagazine [dot] com. Complete details here.

This spring, semi-finalists (12-15 in total) will be invited to read said stories at one of our three seminfinal readings, at some bar someplace, in front of a live, lively audience, and a panel of judges comprised of members in good standing of New York City’s exalted literary community; after issuing their critiques, the judges will pick the winners who’ll advance to the final, where the readers will vie for a cash prize and publication in our annual Summer fiction Issue.

Plus! Booze specials! Trivia! Stage banter that’s barely been reworded since 2005! Watch this space over the next month, as we announce more about the competition, including dates, venues, judges, submission deadlines, and surprises (surprises!). We look forward to seeing you at the readings. Or I do, anyway.


New Museum Director Massimiliano Gioni Named Director of 2013 Venice Biennale

Posted By on Tue, Jan 31, 2012 at 1:45 PM

Massimiliano Gioni runs Venice. (via ArtObserved)

The art bloggosphere is atwitter today with news that New Museum associate director and director of exhibitions Massimiliano Gioni—curator of, amongst others, the NuMu's just-closed Carsten Höller exhibition, its best-attended ever, and the critically acclaimed Ostalgia—has been named the director of the 2013 Venice Biennale. Gioni, a popular curator on the international biennial circuit, previously directed the eighth Gwangju Art Biennale in Korea in 2010, served as artistic director of the fourth Berlin Biennale in 2006 and was a co-curator of Manifesta two years earlier.

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Mystery Voice On That New Jack White Song Is Ruby Amanfu

Posted By on Tue, Jan 31, 2012 at 12:57 PM

On Monday, third man, seventh son and former White Stripe Jack White released his single, "Love Interruption," as a preview for his solo album, Blunderbuss, to be released in April. Most of my attention while listening was devoted to handling a barrage of mental "MEH's" about his distracting, dubious use of woodwinds and the queasy rhymes in the chorus, but I was still intrigued by the female vocals paired with White's, especially what that dry, raspy warble might sound like alone.

NME has discovered that the voice belongs to Ghanaian-born, Nashville-based singer Ruby Amanfu. Amanfu, most well-known for being one half of the singer-songwriter team Sam & Ruby, had one of her songs nominated for a Grammy in 2007, as well as a 2003 pop single, "Sugah," that did particularly well in Europe while on the UK's Polydor Records. She appeared on Conan around this time last year, singing back-up on "Funnel of Love" with Wanda Jackson and Jack White. You can listen to Amanfu on "Love Interruption" as well as see her performing Adele's "Rolling In The Deep" on NBC's The Sing-Off after the jump.

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Concert Photographers Take Center Stage at Bushwick's Fort Useless

Posted By on Tue, Jan 31, 2012 at 12:08 PM

120 dB installation view. (Courtesy eljezel/Flickr)

Anyone who’s scrolled through concert photos online knows it becomes extremely difficult to distinguish between them unless they’re of a spectacular, overproduced or hammy performance. Often angles and lights are awkward; image quality and composition are not always the foremost concerns. How would they look in a gallery? Well, Fort Useless, the small front room of an inconspicuous row house in Bushwick—one of the neighborhood's better-named, lesser-known DIY spaces—just opened a group exhibition of New York music photography by 13 female photographers who shoot for Brooklyn Vegan, Stereogum, NPR and the like.

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You Don't Get to Tell Cynthia Nixon About Her Sexuality, Even if You Mean Well

Posted By on Tue, Jan 31, 2012 at 11:20 AM

  • Michael Stewart/Wireimage.com
As you have undoubtedly heard, if you are at all interested in that sort of thing, Cynthia Nixon gave everyone a case of the shit flips when said in a New York Times profile that her gayness was a choice. The knicker twisting quote was this one:

“I gave a speech recently, an empowerment speech to a gay audience, and it included the line ‘I’ve been straight and I’ve been gay, and gay is better.’ And they tried to get me to change it, because they said it implies that homosexuality can be a choice. And for me, it is a choice. I understand that for many people it’s not, but for me it’s a choice, and you don’t get to define my gayness for me. A certain section of our community is very concerned that it not be seen as a choice, because if it’s a choice, then we could opt out. I say it doesn’t matter if we flew here or we swam here, it matters that we are here and we are one group and let us stop trying to make a litmus test for who is considered gay and who is not.”

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Restaurant Playlist: Jay-Z, Billy Joel, the Mountain Goats and More at Brucie

Posted By on Tue, Jan 31, 2012 at 10:31 AM


Whenever we dine at Brucie, two things always stand out: the freshness of the ingredients and the feeling that the servers are having more fun than any other waiters in town. “Music is a major reason for why our staff is so tight,” says chef-owner Zahra Tangorra. “I’ve compiled a playlist of songs that are particularly special to us in the kitchen — our anthems, our dance-party starters, and the songs that make us laugh, cry and make tagliatelle at the speed of light! Our entire staff regularly ends up in the kitchen for dancing and singing.” The party atmosphere enlivens their Italian dishes and rubs off on us whenever we stop by.

You can listen to the playlist on Spotify if you're a member, or just check out the tracks, along with Ms. Tangorra’s comments, below.

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Beyond Performance Dome: MoMA PS1's New Geodesic Pavilion

Posted By on Tue, Jan 31, 2012 at 9:45 AM

MoMA PS1s new Performance Dome. (Photo: Erin Kornfeld & Erica Leone/www.elkstudios.com, Courtesy MoMA PS1)
  • MoMA PS1's new Performance Dome. (Photo: Erin Kornfeld & Erica Leone/www.elkstudios.com, Courtesy MoMA PS1)

We're all familiar (right?) with MoMA PS1's summertime architectural interventions into its cement-and-gravel courtyard, but this winter the Long Island City contemporary art museum is trying something new. On Sunday February 5 it will inaugurate the Performance Dome, a geodesic structure erected in its courtyard that, through May 13, will host performance art deathmatches special programs every Sunday.

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Big Real Estate Firm Refers to a Third of Borough as "Other Brooklyn"

Posted By on Tue, Jan 31, 2012 at 8:57 AM

Some readers were annoyed with me recently for suggesting that certain neighborhoods, particularly the subdivisions of Flatbush, were too small to be officially considered proper individual communities. But, hey, at least I didn't do what real estate big Corcoran does in its map of Brooklyn, which is to consider almost everything east of Bed-Stuy/Crown Heights/Flatbush/Midwood—roughly, what, a third of the borough?—to be "Other Brooklyn." That's right, forget about Fiske Terrace. Brownsville, East New York, Flatlands, Canarsie, Cypress Hills, Marine Park and Bergen Beach (even Bushwick!), you're not neighborhoods anymore—just a big gray lump of real-estate etcetera.

Follow Henry Stewart on Twitter @henrycstewart


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Monday, January 30, 2012

Tumblr T-Rex Trying Illustrates Tough Chores for Stubby-Armed Giant

Posted By on Mon, Jan 30, 2012 at 4:00 PM

(Courtesy Hugh Murphy)
  • (Courtesy Hugh Murphy)

Life is hard for the Tyrannosaurus rex: not only are all its buddies extinct, but every visit to Jurassic Park ends in tragedy. And then there are all the little things, like trying to make balloon animals, trying to put on a cardigan, trying to floss, trying to shuffle a deck of cards, which are all impossible due to T-Rex's tiny arms, and hilariously illustrated by Hugh Murphy on his Tumblr T-Rex Trying. It all started one week ago with T-Rex trying to paint his house (above) which was the first such joke exchanged between Murphy and his brothers that he decided to draw. You'll recall that I more or less predicted this earlier this month, when I projected that 2012 would be an exceptionally good year for dinosaur art. (TDW)

Follow Benjamin Sutton on Twitter @LMagArt

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Pablo Picasso Paintings Perpetually Pinched; Has More Stolen Artworks Than Any Other Artist

Posted By on Mon, Jan 30, 2012 at 3:11 PM

I used to have hundreds of these! What the fuck?
  • "I used to have hundreds of these! What the fuck?"

Here's another art factoid from the "I probably could have guessed that" file—which also contains news that Van Gogh was the aughts' most famous artist; prolific Modern master Pablo Picasso has more stolen artworks to his name than any other artist living or dead (and that's after the recent recovery of 271 of them, and Mark Lugo's stash). Other artists on the "Most Wanted by Art Thieves" list include Dali, Warhol and even Rembrandt, but the second-most stolen artist is a part-time New Yorker of whom you've probably never heard.

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Person Who Drank Donkey Semen Doesn't Even Get to Be on TV

Posted By on Mon, Jan 30, 2012 at 2:24 PM

TMZ should be very proud of this exclusive image.
  • TMZ should be very proud of this exclusive image.
Fear Factor, which already has enough on its conscience for launching Joe Rogan's career, made some sad bastard drink big old mugs of donkey jizz (and urine!) and now they're not even going to air it?!?!?!

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M.I.A. to Perform at Super Bowl, Releases Super Vapid New Single

Posted By on Mon, Jan 30, 2012 at 1:37 PM

""Sosz im not pulling out 'of' the superbowl thing. 'i pulled out the super thing'...like to get a free pizza, i say heyyyyyyyyyy super bowl!"

Whatever else the above tweet from pop-star M.I.A. says (and I'm legitimately confused on some points) it serves as double-confirmation of her widely rumored appearance with Madonna and Nicki Minaj at this Sunday's Super Bowl half-time show. The trio will reportedly perform "Give Me All Your Luvin'," the first single from Madonna's M.D.N.A (oh, brother) which is not-so-coincidentally set to drop later this week. The much-anticipated song, which will soon be referred to by area dads as "whatever the hell was going on between "Like a Virgin" and "Vogue"" will be "previewed" on this Thursday's American Idol (as a modern attention span appropriate blip, no doubt). Also popping up, in a somewhat less-explicable fashion during Madonna's half-time extravaganza will be LMFAO and Cee-Lo Green. It should be really goofy. I'm kind of excited.

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The Internet's Best Black Hole: These "What's in Your Bag?" Videos From Amoeba Records

Posted By on Mon, Jan 30, 2012 at 12:43 PM

This weekend I didn't think about Lana Del Rey, not even once. Instead I did normal-person things, like grocery shopped and cleaned my apartment, save for the two-hour diversion of watching these "What's in My Bag?" videos that, despite being an ongoing series since 2008, I'm just founding out about now. Maybe you are too? The premise is pretty simple: Musicians, DJs and other music types go record shopping at one of the fabled Amoeba Music locations in California and talk about what they picked out. Hearing them discuss records they've been meaning to buy is more entertaining than it sounds — just wait for Jason Schwartzman to talk about music he wants his kid to grow up listening to, or for J Mascis to dryly refer to the deluxe version of Vs. as "extra crap," or for a particularly endearing Jay Reatard to make a case for ABBA. If you're short on time, some highlights below:

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Can a Native Brooklynite Still Be an 'Invading Hipster'?

Posted By on Mon, Jan 30, 2012 at 12:02 PM

While I'm standing outside The Owl's Head, a new wine bar in Bay Ridge, an inebriated middle-aged man passes me. "I can't go in there," he says with a wry smile. "I tried to order a Bud and they threw me out." He pronounces it "troo."

He doesn't lack for alternatives; probable apocrypha has it that the neighborhood's stretch of Third Avenue holds a Guinness record for bars per square mile, or per capita, or something. But those spots tend toward the sorts of places you'd cruise for chicks with a frat brother or wine and dine the head of the chamber of commerce. There are old, well known, sometimes wonderful places (and their more recent counterparts), but none reflect even a little the new Brooklyn sensibility centralized in the borough's northern precincts; an iconic lunch counter, Hinsch's, only recently, under new ownership, began grilling veggie burgers. They're not places that appeal deliberately to the young, the hip, the creative.

Until, perhaps, now.

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How To Major in Beyoncé: A Q&A with "Politicizing Beyoncé" Professor Kevin Allred

Posted By on Mon, Jan 30, 2012 at 11:34 AM

Readin’, writin’ and ruminating on the social value of pop stars—the last is the latest to greet the university course catalogue. Kevin Allred, a lecturer and PhD candidate in Women’s and Gender Studies at Rutgers University, has taught an undergraduate class called “Feminist Perspectives: Politicizing Beyoncé,” in which students analyzed black feminist texts through the canon of Beezus. He’s not the only one to approach pop music through an academic lens. Georgetown's Professor Michael Eric Dyson offered a class last semester called, “Sociology of Hip Hop: Jay-Z,” and students at the University of South Carolina were able to study “Lady Gaga and the Sociology of the Fame.” While some may choose to sniff at these course titles, The L talked to Allred by phone to find out what it means to look at Beyoncé in terms of gender, racial, economic and sexual politics. And no, learning the "Single Ladies" dance does not count as extra credit.

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You Can Find Me in Dada Club: 5 Galleries That Were Legendary Nightlife Spots

Posted By on Mon, Jan 30, 2012 at 10:46 AM

The Tunnel (at left) now houses several galleries and the Moving Image art fair (at right).
  • The Tunnel (at left) now houses several galleries and the Moving Image art fair (at right).

Earlier this month Orchard Street gallerist Lisa Cooley announced that her gallery would move to 107 Norfolk Street, a location familiar to many as the venue Tonic. And last week the gallery Hauser & Wirth—which has locations in London, Zurich and on the Upper East Side—announced it would take over the massive former garage on West 18th Street that housed the infamous roller disco and club The Roxy. But the club-to-gallery transition is nothing new; in fact it's something of a natural cycle in New York real estate ecology, as evidenced by these 5 Galleries That Were Legendary Nightlife Spots.

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Interview: How New York Helped Inform the Sound of the Excellent New Porcelain Raft Album

Posted By on Mon, Jan 30, 2012 at 10:00 AM


Strange Weekend, the full-length debut from Mauro Remiddi’s project Porcelain Raft, hits a blissful sweet spot with its airy vocals, densely produced music, and cascading melodies. But there’s also a surprising depth here, a willingness to take that sound in unexpected directions. It doesn’t hurt that Remiddi has been making music since the mid-1990s, or that he has a wider range of influences to draw from than one might expect from a one-man dreampop outfit. What makes Strange Weekend stand out is its attention to detail: touches like Remiddi’s use of a range of vocal approaches on “Drifting In and Out,” or the bits of glam-rock swagger, such as on “Unless You Speak From Your Heart.” Though there’s a clear shoegaze influence here, it’s elements like these that help differentiate Porcelain Raft from many of Remiddi’s peers.

I checked in with Remiddi in advance of his stop at Webster Hall tomorrow night to talk about the making of the album, his use of layered vocals, and more.

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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Fire Last Night on St. Mark's Place

Posted By on Sat, Jan 28, 2012 at 2:32 PM

A seemingly small fire broke out in the Sounds building on St. Mark's Place this morning around midnight. At 12:30, firefighters pushed through the throngs in Grassroots Tavern; broken glass fell into the bar's backyard as firefighters shattered windows above. The fire was on the top floor, the bar's bouncer said. Third floor windows were open, though no flames were visible, and an FDNY ladder extended to a single attic-like window sticking up off the roof. A strong burning smell drove many tavern patrons out onto the street, where several fire trucks had closed traffic, though the basement bar seemed to go unevacuated. Dozens of onlookers gawked as firefighters wrapped up unused hoses, and residents of the neighboring building stuck their heads out to watch. The building did not appear to suffer substantial damage.

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Friday, January 27, 2012

New NYC Planning Proposal Would Make 1,200 Acres Available For Rooftop Farming

Posted By on Fri, Jan 27, 2012 at 4:19 PM

Time to reassert Brooklyn bragging rights! And some potentially amazing news: Rooftop gardens like Eagle Street Farm, the Brooklyn Grange and even Roberta's homegrown carrot supply have been making headlines as the next "big" small-scale thing for quite a while, but a new proposal from the Department of City Planning could expand this kind of food production in an unprecedented way.

The proposal, a zoning amendment, provides an exemption for rooftop greenhouses on top of commercial buildings from the lot's floor area ratio and height restrictions. According to New School environmental studies professor Nevin Cohen and a recent study by the Urban Design lab, this amendment could open up 1,200 acres of previously unavailable commercial and industrial rooftops for farming.

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