Wednesday, February 29, 2012

This Seems Like an Appropriate Time to Watch Paul Westerberg Cover "Daydream Believer"

Posted By on Wed, Feb 29, 2012 at 3:30 PM

Back in the heady days of Napster, circa 1999, I somehow acquired an MP3 of Paul Westerberg covering Monkees classic "Daydream Believer," and because my rockist tendencies run mad deep and my authenticity sensor is perhaps slightly over-engaged, it was only then that I realized just how plainly enjoyable the Monkees were. There wasn't so much as a hint of irony in Westerberg's cover, just as there's not in the joyful performance of it above. (Also, I think that's Rhett Miller joining him on guitar and throwing his hair around?) Anyway, RIP Davy Jones.

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The Old American Can Factory, Staring Down The Specter of Whole Foods Gentrification

Posted By on Wed, Feb 29, 2012 at 3:05 PM

A Rooftop Films screening at The Old American Can Factory.
  • A Rooftop Films screening at The Old American Can Factory.
While residents of Park Slope and Carroll Gardens probably relished the news that nearby Gowanus would be housing Brooklyn's first Whole Foods as early as next year, some of the grocery-to-be's more immediate neighbors received the zoning approval with anxiety and disappointment. The Old American Can Factory, a 19th century, six-building industrial complex across the street, hosts a hive of creative, small businesses—many of whom wouldn't be able to operate there if it weren't for the low rent. Now some are worried that the new Whole Foods will change the neighborhood forever, and what once was one of the area's last space's untouched by residential development will succumb to the inevitable.

Rachel and Michael Berick are a husband and wife team who run Maptote, a screenprinting tote-bag company located in the Can Factory. When they first heard the news about Whole Foods, they were excited—then they heard how development might affect their $1,200 part of a shared office space's rent. "There might not be a Can Factory eventually," Rachel told The L over the phone. "It might become more residential, rent might go up, we might get kicked out and they might build a luxury apartment building where we are—I'm not sure. It's definitely going to change the neighborhood, for sure. There's a lot of small businesses in the canning factory it would likely affect."

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To Commemorate Late Women Guitarist Christopher Reimer, Stream Both of Their Albums Today at 3pm

Posted By on Wed, Feb 29, 2012 at 1:29 PM

Sad news spread last week of the death of Christopher Reimer, guitarist for guitar-insipiring noise-pop band Women and, more recently, touring member of The Dodos, another known for the things they're able to pull off with guitars. He was just 26, passing away in his sleep from heart complications. To commemorate what seems like an all-round stand-up guy and his unquestionable musical talent, Women's label Jagjaguwar, in conjunction with their Canadian label Flemish Eye, is encouraging fans to stream both of Women's albums — 2008's self-titled breakthrough and 2010's Public Strain — starting at 3pm today. You can do so right here. Notice how the jackhammer guitars on "Drag Open" continuously dissolve into a trembling mass of noise? How they wreak havoc while staying hypnotizing? That's just the start of it.

Follow Lauren Beck on Twitter @heylaurenbeck.

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Upper East Side Ladies Getting Hot and Bothered Over Bondage Book

Posted By on Wed, Feb 29, 2012 at 12:37 PM

Is this some kind of Twilight crossover? I dont know.
  • Is this some kind of Twilight crossover? I don't know.
This is kind of adorable, actually. I guess fancy UES moms are all getting worked up over the Fifty Shades trilogy, a sexy sexual 1200 pages of smutty BDSM erotica.

“Fifty Shades,” an erotica trilogy dubbed“mommy porn” by some, is rapidly becoming a cult hit among Manhattan women, who are exchanging well-worn paperback copies and excited whispers about the book’s “red room of pain” (a sex playroom) while meeting at Fred’s at Barneys or parent-teacher conference nights at school.

“The person who recommended it to me said, ‘It will make you want to have sex with your husband.’ And it did!” says the mother, who asked not to be named.

I mean, it sounds like basically a book about a bosomy college student getting tied up by a rich dude, which if you have done any reading dirty stories at all is a pretty well-explored subject, but for some reason I find the idea of these fancy ladies getting all horny on their kindles with each other very cute. Good job, ladies. Keep liking sex.

And while we're on the subject, for further reading on romance novels, allow me to recommend this piece you might have missed in the Awl by the always-flawless Maria Bustillos.

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Interview: The Bums of Myrtle Avenue

Posted By on Wed, Feb 29, 2012 at 11:31 AM


Kali runs the Twitter feed @BumsofMyrtleAve, a chronicle of her "interactions with the bums on the corner," a recurring cast of characters like supporting players on a sitcom. In her late 20s, working in fashion, and from a small town in the Midwest, Kali has lived in Fort Greene for the last three years ("lovin' it") after a stint in Boston. We caught up with her by email to ask about how she started tweeting and how well she really knows these people on her street.

Is your Twitter for real?
Haha. This one cracked me up. Of course it's real.

When did you start interacting with the "bums"?
They actually started interacting with me! I was waiting at the bus stop where The Mayor of Fort Greene hangs out and he turned his boombox up and serenaded me with "Love Lockdown." I don't know why he seemed to pick me out of the crowd, but I'm glad.

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The New York Times Just Got A Facebook Timeline

Posted By on Wed, Feb 29, 2012 at 10:40 AM

Who said newspapers were old-fashioned? Even though it's been a little more than five months since Facebook introduced the uncomfortably comprehensive Timeline feature for users to subtly peer pressure each other into using, the contingent of holdouts has been strong. The New York Times was one of them, until Wednesday morning, when it converted its Facebook account to display its 161 year history on Timeline.

The New York Times would have had to switch to the new interface at some point anyway, as Facebook announced last month that all users wouldn't have an option to hide from the brave, new Timeline reality anymore in the coming weeks. But instead of choosing to go with the default format, the Gray Lady decided to expand her timeline to include content since her 1851 conception. That means if you "like" the New York Times on Facebook, you can scan headlines from 1865, when Lincoln was assassinated, see a photograph of a linotype operator at the paper in 1960, and review all the paper's status major status updates before, in between and after.

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Converse Releases a Video for (the Short Version of) the Gorillaz, Andre 3000, James Murphy Collaboration, "DoYaThing"

Posted By on Wed, Feb 29, 2012 at 9:48 AM

First there was the audio, then the super extended audio, and now a video in the animated style Gorillaz is known for.The whole thing is extremely enjoyable, and as an added bonus, you will feel compelled to buy multiple pairs of sneakers before it's over. Everyone wins.

Prospect Park Could Lose a Car Lane

Posted By on Wed, Feb 29, 2012 at 8:57 AM

Bikes takin over!!
  • Bikes takin' over!!
A proposal by a task force whose mission is to make Propsect Park safer would reduce the number of car lanes to one from two; it would also make the bike and pedestrian lanes wider, the Daily News reports. The changes, which could go into effect as early as spring, are meant to address increasing safety concerns: nine collisions between bicyclists and pedestrians were reported in the park in 2011, compared to three the year before. There have already been four accidents this year, including two in which people were seriously injured.

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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Brooklyn Is Getting Its First Whole Foods

Posted By on Tue, Feb 28, 2012 at 4:15 PM

Site of the Gowanus Whole Foods.
After eight years of deliberation, a city panel has unanimously voted in favor of a zoning workaround for the construction of Brooklyn's first Whole Foods market. Right off the Gowanus Canal, across the street from the Old American Can Factory at Third Avenue and Third Street, Whole Foods is planning a two-story, 52,000-square-foot complex, set to open as early as next April, according to the New York Times.

The Brooklyn Whole Foods had to prove to the city it adequately removed the site's toxic soil from the banks of the Superfund-designated Gowanus in order to develop the store, which will include a 20,000 square-foot rooftop greenhouse and a charging station for electric cars. Still, not all are pleased by the prospect of a high-end organic paradise in what has been an area of traditionally low rent. The Gowanus Institute, a think tank devoted to research, planning and development for the area, released a statement expressing its disappointment in NYC Board of Standards and Appeals’ decision.

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The Boundaries of Bushwick, Defined

Posted By on Tue, Feb 28, 2012 at 3:04 PM

  • Courtesy
Remember when we used to wonder whether housing advertised as "East Williamsburg" was indeed Williamsburg, or really Bushwick? According to writers over at, times have changed. Now folks are wondering whether how authentic the "Bushwick" label might be, as apartment seekers try to sort out what is and isn't the fabled, alighted vanguard as described by the New York Times.

Through consulting real estate agents and government maps, found that the boundaries of Bushwick coincide neatly with those of Brooklyn's Community District 4—Flushing Ave., the border dividing Brooklyn and Queens, and the Evergreen Cemetery. The news site also recorded video of their man-on-the-street interviews, in which people's answers tend to vary, based more on gut instinct and neighborhood social ties. The video also includes some enlightening history on the neighborhood, with a brief appearance by an animated Peter Stuyvesant, director-general of the colony of New Netherland until 1664. Check out what passes for true Bushwick after the jump.

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Visiting a Williamsburg Bar That's Been Closed Since 1993

Posted By on Tue, Feb 28, 2012 at 2:15 PM

Scouting NY recently gained access to the boarded up building on the corner of Berry and N. 5th, which turns out to have been Gallagher's Ship's Mast, a dive popular with middle-aged artists in the 80s; it closed in the early 90s following a dispute with the landlord about rent. (The owner's wife told the Times it was personal—the owner's landlady was his ex.) It was sealed up and largely untouched: the big old wooden bar is still there, as are old posters, decorations, kitchen stuff, a Post-It note (still stuck to the wall!), a free calendar from 1987, and a marker-board declaring where and when the next court date would be. That court date didn't go so well; the Ship's Mast was evicted in 1993, but not before nine people were arrested trying to prevent city marshals from enforcing the eviction order.

Check out the copious photos at Scouting NY.

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Brooklyn Binge Drinking More, Smoking Less

Posted By on Tue, Feb 28, 2012 at 1:22 PM

Brooklyn Trends
  • Brooklyn Trends
Most Brooklyn neighborhoods were smoking less but binge drinking more in 2007 than they were five years earlier, according to data compiled by Brooklyn College's Center for the Study of Brooklyn. Two thirds of Brooklyn's community districts saw increases in binge drinking, while every district except Community District 18 (Bergen Beach, Canarsie, Flatlands, Marine Park and Mill Basin) saw a decrease in cigarette smoking. The largest increase in binge drinking by percentage point (+2.7) was in CD1, which includes Williamsburg and Greenpoint, followed closely by CD4, which encompasses Bushwick, with 2.4 percentage points. CD1 reported the highest levels of binge drinking, as well: 19.4 percent of residents binge drank. The lowest levels were CD12, which includes Borough Park and Kensington, where it was 8.5 percent.

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Last Night on 2 Broke Girls: Jokes That Are Barely Even Jokes!

Posted By on Tue, Feb 28, 2012 at 12:27 PM


How can something so right go so wrong? Last night’s episode, “And the One Night Stand was full of sex jokes, made mentioned of ice cream and baseball, and even featured a visit to a prison—yet it was no better than any other episode of 2 Broke Girls. Which is to say it was terrible. But in a delightful way!

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Please Do Not Bring This Condom Foursquare to New York

Posted By on Tue, Feb 28, 2012 at 11:30 AM

This guy sends you a friend request.
  • This guy sends you a friend request.
Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest has started a new program to appeal to the youth and get them excited about wearing condoms. Which is awesome. Don't get me wrong, I love safer sex, I love condoms, I love Planned Parenthood. But I find even regular Foursquare kind of creepy and annoying—I lack some important social networking gene—so I really don't know if I can handle their Where Did You Wear It? campaign.

The idea is that they are handing out condoms with QR codes on them, so after you use the condom (or before! or during!) you scan the code to check in, and it makes a map of all the places people are wrapping it up in your area. You can also check in on the computer manually, which please tell me there is nobody out there typing in the address where they just fucked so it can be on a map on the internet. It also asks your partner's gender and age. But "don't worry," the website assures us, they, "generate a location close by in the neighborhood so your special spot stays secret." Which, good, because I don't want any riff-raff showing up at my condom-strewn sex grotto. Invitation-only!

Anyway, if this gets Washingtonians psyched to use condom, perfect. Mission accomplished. But I am begging you, please do not bring this here. I seriously do not need to see the sex check-ins of my neighbors. The analog "sex check-ins" of condoms and lube packets strewn all around Prospect Park is really more than enough.

The Double Life Q&A: Mel Flannery, Bartender at the Crown Inn, Jazz Singer and Leader of a Hipster-Friendly Wedding Band

Posted By on Tue, Feb 28, 2012 at 10:36 AM


It's a special moment when a classically trained singer finds herself covering MIA to the delight of drunken bridesmaids. Mel Flannery, a Wisconsin-born Manhattan School of Music graduate, shares some inspiring words about starting her career working the day shift at an Irish pub, climbing her way into soul singing gigs, and heroically starting her own wedding band business to save brides and grooms from bad disco.

The L: Where in Brooklyn do you live and how long have you been here?

Mel Flannery: I live in Crown Heights, and I've been in the city for 9 and half years. I moved here to go to Manhattan School of Music — which is a good place to get into if you're trying to convince your parents that you can leave Wisconsin when you're 18!

The L: Did you always plan on studying jazz singing?

Flannery: I took classical singing all through middle school and high school, but I'm really, really happy that I went with jazz when I went to college. I learned so much about general musicianship — writing and arranging — and I got so much personal attention because there were only two people in my program in my grade.

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Here's Why Allo Darlin is Basically the Only Band I Listen To, Ever

Posted By on Tue, Feb 28, 2012 at 9:48 AM

If I were to tell you guys how much time I actually spend listening to Allo Darlin, I feel like you would probably be sort of creeped out and maybe not read my stuff anymore. So I'm not really going to get into that here. I'll simply tell you that they've just released a video for "Capricornia," the first single off their excellent new record, Europe, due out via Slumberland on April 17th. It, like everything else they've ever done, is exceedingly pleasant and full of heart, not to mention melodies that will make you dance and cry, possibly at the same time. Pre-order the single here.

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Porgy and Bess' Race Problem

Posted By on Tue, Feb 28, 2012 at 8:56 AM

In the revival of Porgy and Bess at the Richard Rodgers Theater (through September at least), the singers play loose with George Gershwin's music, tearing open the vocal melodies and spilling out the raw emotion inside. This is Broadway, after all, not the opera house, so the reverence for Text is weaker—which is just how this controversial production courted trouble! After a Times article outlined how director Diane Paulus, with book adapter Suzan-Lori Parks and music adapter Diedre L. Murray, might fiddle with the original, purists cried foul; Stephen Sondheim penned an open letter decrying any alterations, arguing that the work needs none. But a few black people might disagree.

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Monday, February 27, 2012

Prospect Park's Bicycle Problem, Back to Square One

Posted By on Mon, Feb 27, 2012 at 3:41 PM

The orange barrels placed at a dangerous turn in Prospect Park where two pedestrians were injured by cyclists were removed last month by park officials, the Brooklyn Paper reports, because of "anticipated snow removal" needs. But before putting them back, or doing anything else, the city is asking park users for their opinions about how to keep traffic moving safely; tomorrow evening, there'll be a public meeting at the Picnic House.

Cyclists had criticized the barrels because they narrowed the bike lane, making it harder for them to maneuver and avoid potential collisions; and also because it obstructed their view. Possible solutions that have been suggested include bicycle speed-bumps, closing the park to automobile traffic (YES PLEASE), and correcting confusing instructions to cyclists.


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In Honor of Kraftwerk, 10 More Album Performances We'd Like to See at NYC Museums

Posted By on Mon, Feb 27, 2012 at 3:01 PM

Now that Kraftwerk-gate is nearly a week in the past, it’s time for us to remind you once again that you didn’t get tickets. Sorry…A quick look at Craigslist reveals that unless you’re willing to pay $2,500, it’s unlikely you’re going to see Trans-Europe Express performed live, at least at MoMA. But the idea of a band performing a residency at a New York City museum is intriguing, and something I’d like to see become a Thing. Below are 10 suggestions for other NYC museums to consider if they’re thinking about booking bands, too.

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Does a New Subway Entrance in Park Slope Mean Economic Revival?

Posted By on Mon, Feb 27, 2012 at 2:24 PM

The east side of Fourth Avenue, last year
  • The east side of Fourth Avenue, last year
A year ago, I outlined the steps the MTA would need to take in order to rehabilitate the Ninth Street on the F line and make it what it was born to be—the most beautiful subway station in the city. They've finally finished the first step: last week, the entrance to the station on the east side of Fourth Avenue, which has been closed for 40 years, reopened, Fucked in Park Slope reports.

Most commentators have touted the safety benefits: commuters arriving from Fifth Avenue will no longer have to cross six lanes of dangerous traffic to get on the F. But the opening could have further reaching benefits as well.

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