Thursday, February 23, 2012

Watch Berirut's Old-Timey "Vagabond" Video

Posted By on Thu, Feb 23, 2012 at 11:50 AM

Fond as we are of looking at super old photos of hipstery looking young people, this new clip for "Vagabond" off last year's excellent The Rip Tide, is providing an extremely pleasant diversion this morning. It takes place at a WWII-era dance attended by lots of drunk, heavy-smoking soldiers and the drunk, heavy-smoking women they're chasing. The most enjoyable thing about it is trying to figure out what it is that makes these people look so distinctly modern, even despite the video's pronounced old-timey style. Is it totally weird if I say the women's bras aren't pointy enough?

Follow Mike Conklin on Twitter @LMagMusic

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Can You Figure Out What André 3000 Is Rapping On That New Gorillaz Collab?

Posted By on Thu, Feb 23, 2012 at 11:05 AM

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If André 3000 ever decides to take a break from music, he should seriously consider a professional career in speed talking. What the hell is he saying on that new Converse collaboration with the Gorillaz? For a little over a minute, I'm pretty sure he raps at the speed of light, and I just barely made out the word "pajamas" before my brain short-circuited.

Here's slowed-down version of the song after the jump, so maybe one of you can give us better insight to the lyrics. In my muddled transcription (posted after the track) I still arrived at phrases like "asinine ass" and "plaid pass" before I gave up, so something tells me those might not be accurate. Also, is that a Bushwick shout out around 1:19? Represent.

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Converse and the Long, Slow, Possibly Unfortunate Death of the Sell-Out

Posted By on Thu, Feb 23, 2012 at 10:15 AM

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Let me get this out of the way right off the bat: I don't care very much about the decisions artists make in regard to licensing their music or signing to major labels or any of those other formerly hot-button issues we used to talk about all the time. This might be a massive intellectual failing of mine, I realize, but I happily accept that everyone needs to create their own set of rules and their own methods for determining when something becomes truly tasteless. There was a time when I felt a bit differently (though never quite as strongly as I felt like I was supposed to) and I'd like to think my softening on the issue has had more to do with changing tides within the music industry than it does with the careless abandonment of youthful ideals. Who knows if that's really the case, though.

The funny thing about that paragraph, of course, is that by writing it at all, I've implicated myself as something of a relic—the music critic equivalent of that embarrassing old relative who still says things like, "Well, I don't have anything against gay people." I go on record as not caring what artists do with their music because my stance on the matter is still complicated and gray enough that it feels like something worth clarifying. Yesterday, though, the internet reminded us once again that it truly is not.

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Bay Ridge is Really Pissed About This New Reality Show

Posted By on Thu, Feb 23, 2012 at 9:45 AM

The cast of Stereotype Conflict Reality Drama #644
  • The cast of Stereotype Conflict Reality Drama #644
In October, word spread through Bay Ridge that a reality show for the Oxygen network was filming around town. Locals were livid. Sixty-three percent of respondents to a poll in the local newspaper answered, "Bay Ridge is not the Jersey Shore!" (The show agrees; it's tagline: "This ain't Jersey. It's Brooklyn.") Friends from the neighborhood approached me vis-à-vis my capacity as a journalist. "You need to do something about this," wrote one in an email. "They’re not even from Bay Ridge."

Brighton Beach residents went through a similar headache last summer, when Oxygen's competitor Lifetime aired Russian Dolls, a reality show about Russian immigrants in that part of Brooklyn. "The Russian community look like idiots," one resident told the Times then. "Why don’t they show doctors, lawyers, the Russian intelligentsia?”

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Oscars 2012: Will Win, Should Win, Snubbed

Posted By on Thu, Feb 23, 2012 at 8:58 AM

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Hey, it's time for my yearly exhaustive Oscar run-down! Let's get right into it in hopes that this will make it all go faster and that next year they decide to hold these things the weekend before or after the Super Bowl, when anyone still might be thinking about the previous year's movies.

SUPPORTING ACTOR
Kenneth Branagh, My Week with Marilyn
Jonah Hill, Moneyball
Nick Nolte, Warrior
Christopher Plummer, Beginners
Max von Sydow, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Will win:

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Brooklyn Heights Cinema Saved!

Posted By on Wed, Feb 22, 2012 at 3:38 PM

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Brooklyn Heights Cinema will still have a place at 70 Henry Street—even if a new building is at that address, the Brooklyn Paper reports. In January, it surfaced that the landlord hoped to raze the structure that currently houses the twin cinema and replace it with a five-story building. It was feared the Cinema might have to close, or, residents worried, move to another neighborhood, like nearby DUMBO. But the landlord now says he will allow the theater to occupy the first-floor commercial space of the building he hopes to put up. "We were inspired by the community [response] and revised our plans to accommodate [theater owner Kenn Lowy],” the landlord told the paper. Construction, though—which could begin as early as fall—would take at least two years, during which Brooklyn Heights Cinema would have to find a temporary home. So the theater may wind up in DUMBO yet—if only for a spell.

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The Permanent Collection: 4 New Songs You Should Hold on To

Posted By on Wed, Feb 22, 2012 at 2:15 PM

Is it hilarious or awful if they just break out the old dummies...
  • Is it hilarious or awful if they just break out the old dummies...
Did you guys get Kraftwerk tickets??? Are you still sitting in the queue, dreaming the impossible dream like some doomed Drone Quixote? (Woof. Inexcusable. Sorry forever.) I gladly report, with some fear of pitchforks and torches at my doorstep, that I was able to secure one, and only one, ticket for Man-Machine! It was stressful for something with stakes this low, though! (Breaking the news to my wife continues to be!) Props to the many, many Twitter commenters who put forth some variation on the theme that the rickety, old-timey computer queue waiting was very very Kraftwerkian and grimly appropriate. If only they'd triggered an endlessly perfect beat running in time forever to that unforgiving, spinning wheel, MoMa would have orchestrated the performance art prank of the year.

Oh, but wait, we're supposed to be getting this excited about new music? Made this year?? OK, OK, sure, but we're going to need some kind of exquisite half-step to lure our heads out of the late 70s sandpit...

Black Tambourine - "What's Your Game" (Ramones cover)

Perfect! Black Tambourine's promised Ramones EP is actually already in the can, despite my earlier assumptions. The first fruits of the welcome reunion is a take on Leave Home's "What's Your Game" with Pam singing and super-sweet backing vocals from Kristin Gundred ("Dee Dee" of Dum Dum Girls), Linda Smith, Rose Melberg (Tiger Trap, Softies), and Jenny Robbins (Honeymoon Diary). This is one of the gentler cuts from The Ramones' classic run, and despite a persistent high-grade squeal, it's rendered gentler still. Great stuff. Phew, Let's get a few more decades behind us now...

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Rihanna May Have Forgiven Chris Brown, But This Seagull Hasn't

Posted By on Wed, Feb 22, 2012 at 1:29 PM

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According to the BBC, this is what happens when you feed french fries to the seagulls on Miami Beach. According to cosmic justice, this is what happens when you're an asshole.

[via Prefix, the BBC]

You can follow Sydney Brownstone on Twitter @sydbrownstone

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Live: Frankie Rose Undersells Interstellar at Her Own Album Release Show

Posted By on Wed, Feb 22, 2012 at 12:40 PM

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Minimalism in indie pop is a difficult thing to pull off. It really only works when it’s the considered, self-conscious kind—if you’re going for little instrumentation or subtle expression, you better figure out how to proceed in a way that moves people as much as, maybe more than, the fuller and the louder. Frankie Rose’s new album, Interstellar, was as much a smooth, concentrated distillation of her own songwriting as it was a move away from the easily relatable, bashing lo-fi of her earlier work. The problem: Unwittingly, she might have moved too far in the opposite direction. Tuesday night’s show at the Knitting Factory was minimalism at its worst.

To her credit, Frankie Rose is an excellent songwriter. The melodies on Interstellar are gorgeous and unexpected, and they’ve got a haunting, echoing quality that makes you feel like you’re overhearing someone cry her heart out in a cave. A really well-produced cave. It works. I found myself getting into it on the strength of those melodies. The mechanical emptiness of the non-acoustic instruments, the breathiness and air pressed into her vocals, it all invited me to fill the space with my own warm, listening self. I had to work a bit harder to get there, but when I did, I found myself completely immersed in a lovely, Frankie Rose-tinted world. Thing is, a live show shouldn’t make you regret liking something on headphones.

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Bronx Mad About Vodka Sex Worker Billboard

Posted By on Wed, Feb 22, 2012 at 11:51 AM

Do sheep like vodka? Do they like straw hats?
  • Do sheep like vodka? Do they like straw hats?
Community leaders in the Bronx are pissed about this billboard ad for vodka, brought to you by the same people who thought it was a good idea to make an ad that said "Christmas Quality, Hanukkah Pricing."

Aiming to convey that Wódka vodka is top-notch and cheap, the sign over the Bruckner Expressway in Hunts Point reads: “Escort Quality, Hooker Pricing.”

The analogy did not amuse members of the Bronx’s Community Board 2, who have been battling for a decade to revamp Hunts Points reputation as a place to pick up hookers.

"When I saw it I almost fell out of my seat,” said Rafael Salamanca Jr., district manager for CB 2. “That’s an inappropriate billboard given what the Hunts Point community has gone through in the past.”

What I think is offensive is that the Daily News still allows "hooker" to run in a story. I mean, I would expect it from the Post but c'mon. Anyway, the Wódka people are clearly assholes, and we should legalize all sex work so that people don't have to be out on the street at Hunts Point to make a living. But the real question is why is there a sheep in the ad, and why is he wearing a festive straw hat?

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Talking to Oscar-Nominated Park Slope Filmmaker Marshall Curry

Posted By on Wed, Feb 22, 2012 at 10:52 AM

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Marshall Curry is the director of If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front, a film about the "eco-terrorism" movement of the 90s and 00s, which is nominated for the Best Documentary Feature Oscar. He has lived in Park Slope for the past eight years ("my friends who grew up near here tell me that 12th Street isn’t really Park Slope—that it’s just the brokers who keep redefining areas—so I don’t know… But we like it a lot") and was in Carroll Gardens for "six or seven years" before that. This is his second Oscar nomination, the previous one being for Street Fight, about the Cory Booker/Sharpe James Newark mayoral election of 2002; he also directed Racing Dreams, about aspiring young stock-car drivers (PBS's POV will re-air Racing Dreams tomorrow night). Earlier this month, he answered questions about his work and his Oscars experience.

If a Tree Falls is notable for its portrayal of an activist movement that, like many, has documented itself extensively, for posterity, publicity and legal protection. Do you find that activists are generally eager to share their footage, or protective it? And what are the rewards and frustrations of sifting through such a volume of material?
It wasn’t easy to track down footage from the 90s—back then most people were shooting on Hi-8 or VHS, and a lot of it just got lost. People would tell us, “oh, I left all my tapes on the radiator a couple years ago”—things like that.

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Today in Dumb Crap for People to be "Offended" By: Adele Gives the Finger at the Brit Awards

Posted By on Wed, Feb 22, 2012 at 9:57 AM

At the Brit Awards last night, Adele had her acceptance speech cut short by some weird little man who needed desperately to introduce a performance by 90s nostalgia act Blur, and she quite reasonably seemed surprised and annoyed, then said, with far greater composure than many of us would've been able to muster, "Can I just say, then, goodbye, and I'll see you next time around," before giving the finger to the show's producers somewhere off in the distance. But you guys, don't worry! She has come to her senses and apologized for her horrible crime against all that is decent in the world! (Be careful when you follow that link—there are photos of other celebrities giving the finger, and so the Huffington Post has deemed the page NSFW. Everything is sad and terrible and stupid and I want to go back to sleep.)

Follow Mike Conklin on Twitter @LMagMusic.

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The 8 Weirdest Things You Can Buy at the MTA Store

Posted By on Wed, Feb 22, 2012 at 8:57 AM

You can buy a lot of stuff from the New York Transit Museum store, and a lot of it makes sense: old tokens, maps and posters, Christmas ornaments with the color and letter or number of your favorite subway line. But some of it is just weird.

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1. Subway Map Kayak
Want to let everyone at the Superfund site know your favorite urban mass-transit system? It'll only cost you $1400, plus shipping.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Lesser-Known Mardi Gras Traditions to Try Out Tonight

Posted By on Tue, Feb 21, 2012 at 4:04 PM

Think outside the beads.
  • Think outside the beads.
Happy Mardi Gras! Alternately, happy staying inside until the drunk frat hordes disperse night! Mardi Gras is a holiday with a rich history of pancakes and costumes and some Jesus thing involving the desert, I think? But those of us not from New Orleans or Brazil mostly only know of two traditional Mardi Gras activities: drinking a lot, and showing your boobs in exchange for beads. How did the boob/bead exchange become the gold standard? That is lost to history. But seasoned revelers know there is an entire showing a body part/getting a thing economy particular to Mardi Gras. If you're going out tonight, take some of these lesser-known flashes out for a spin to impress your friends. "Wow," they'll say, "This guy really knows his stuff." Then you'll all stagger over to a gutter and throw up in it.

Show: Boobs     Get: Beads
Show: Butt     Get: Double beads
Show: Cock     Get: A commemorative Hurricane glass with a picture of your cock on it
Show: Left ball     Get: A glittering tiara, festooned with disco balls
Show: Right ball     Get: Coupon for Build-a-Bear workshop
Show: Third ball     Get: Impressed nod from all the fellas, free shot of watermelon pucker
Show: All balls     Get: A perfectly made Old Fashioned, no fruit, yuck!
Show: Feet     Get: Cinnabon
Show: Tramp stamp    Get: A nagging sense of regret, mixed with nostalgia for a simpler time
Show: Elbow     Get: View of other person's elbow
Show: Tummy     Get: Hugs!!!!!
Show: Vagina     Get: A necklace that is made of beads that look like boobs, featured on on a gross DVD,
Show: Tacos     Get: Hot sauce
Show: Taint     Get: Thrown out of the bar. Taints are considered vulgar in Mardi Gras culture.
Okay! Have fun and be safe. Can't wait to see all the fun beads and stuff you get tonight!

L TV: How To Make A Badass, Healthy Meal From Your Bodega

Posted By on Tue, Feb 21, 2012 at 3:05 PM

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There's no way that a diet of well-advertised beer, cigarettes and candy should sustain a person, but many people rely on bodegas for their primary sources of food. In some Brooklyn neighborhoods, bodegas make up more than 80 percent of the available food options, especially where supermarkets are absent.

Because rates of obesity, diabetes and heart disease in these areas were so disproportionately high, the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene started an initiative in 2006 to get bodegas to start stocking healthier items. Only, change is a slow and painful process, and most bodegas still lack the basics. That's why, for our DIY feature, we called on Brooklyn personality Ella Nemcova, nutritional consultant, founder of vegan catering company The Regal Vegan, and maker of hit spread faux gras™, to show us how to make something reasonably healthy under these limitations.

What Nemcova came up with was nothing short of badass bodega gourmet: A bean, beet and plantain stew in coconut milk sauce, served with tortillas and an surprisingly fresh-tasting salad for stuff that came out of a can. You can watch Nemcova's tips for shopping and cooking healthy from a bodega and consult the recipe after the jump.

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7 Suggestions For Rethinking Your Mardi Gras Soundtrack

Posted By on Tue, Feb 21, 2012 at 2:10 PM

Still groggy from a three-day weekend, but steeling yourself to get wild on a Tuesday night anyway? Bon Mardi Gras, mes amis! But what to listen to during the process of getting blotto? I'm glad you asked...

The gold standard in Mardi Gras pop continues to be "Iko Iko," the vamped-up 1965 hit recorded in secret by super producers Leiber and Stoller as The Dixie Cups goofed around in the studio with drumsticks and ashtrays.

The Dixie Cups - "Iko Iko"

The impromptu nature of their hit-making left no time to anticipate a lawsuit from the song's original composer, James Crawford, who first set the traditional chants of Mardi Gras Indians to music. Crawford's "Jock-a-Mo" loses the charm contest though, and so has everyone else who's tried to top them since. Notable failures include The Grateful Dead, Cyndi Lauper, Glass Candy, Dave Matthews, and Justine Bateman and The Mystery. Which suggests that it most likely cannot be done. Performers looking for their own slice of Mardi Gras immortality are advised to move on, and have.

Paul Simon - "Take Me to the Mardi Gras"

(If this one doesn't just scream party to you, you probably need some new speakers...)

But rather than confining yourself to the old standards, or even sticking to tried and true search terms (there are some bad bad blues songs called "King Cake" in the world), you should ask yourself— "For what reason am I, a Brooklynite, actually celebrating Mardi Gras?" Only after pinpointing the root cause of your Tuesday night booze-up, can we subsequently select a proper anthem:

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Last Night on 2 Broke Girls: Lazy Jokes About Williamsburg's Jewish Population

Posted By on Tue, Feb 21, 2012 at 1:17 PM

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After all the Hitler jokes that have been made this season, it was only a matter of time before 2 Broke Girls went to South Williamsburg to deal with THE JEWS. Orthodox Jews, at that. Mercifully, there weren’t any jokes about bike lanes (maybe in season four?), but don’t worry, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t totally offensive and lazy anyway.

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This Super is Worse Than Your Super Because He Has Sex With Dogs

Posted By on Tue, Feb 21, 2012 at 12:43 PM

Noooooooo!
  • Noooooooo!
So much worse than never fixing the hot water. Yuck, ick.

The superintendent of an apartment complex in Rye has a week to vacate after a tenant caught him on film sodomizing their pet dog. Kujtim Nicaj, who is a married father of two and is known as "Tim" to tenants, was arrested on February 9 for burglary and sexual misconduct.

Also, Gothamist shares this terrifying statistic:

It's tough to pinpoint how prevalent bestiality (or its kinder, consensual-based cousin zoophilia) are in society, but comparative studies of 100 students conducted in 1974 at the University of Northern Iowa found that 11% of college students engaged in sexual conduct with an animal.

Maybe we should give kids a fleshlight when they get sex ed, just so they don't fuck any animals.

And Now We Will Explain How The Basement Tapes Could Have Been an Even Better Album

Posted By on Tue, Feb 21, 2012 at 12:15 PM

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Bob Dylan and the Band’s The Basement Tapes, which Columbia released in 1975 and Legacy re-released in 2009, is about to get its “first audiophile remastering” by Mobile Fidelity. Of the 24 songs on the album, 16 were recorded by Dylan and the Band in Woodstock, NY, in 1967, while the other eight were just by the Band, recorded at various times between the original sessions and when the album came out nearly a decade later. Now, I’m not saying The Basement Tapes isn’t a great album, because it is a great album. But it could be better—or at least the official release could be. Below are the seven songs that never should have made it onto the record in the first place, along with six songs that deserved to instead, including five never-officially-released tracks (taken from A Tree with Roots bootleg).

First, the tracks we'll be deleting:
"Orange Juice Blues (Blues for Breakfast),” "Yazoo Street Scandal,” “Tears of Rage” (It’s great, but the Music from Big Pink version, sung by Manuel, is better), "Yea! Heavy and a Bottle of Bread,” "Ain't No More Cane,” "Crash on the Levee (Down in the Flood),” and "Ruben Remus.” See? That wasn't difficult at all, was it? Now, the worthy additions...

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Brooklyn Oscar Nominees: "It's Hard to Say No to Tom Hanks"

Posted By on Tue, Feb 21, 2012 at 11:30 AM

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Director Andrew Bowler and producer Gigi Causey, who lived in Brooklyn a while before decamping to Los Angeles last year, were nominated for an Oscar this year for their short film, Time Freak, a time-travel comedy. We spoke to both by email about Brooklyn, their film, and the sometimes surreal nomination experience.

Where in Brooklyn did you live?
Gigi moved into her South Williamsburg apartment in March of 03 and I joined her in 06. It was an awesome place that we loved dearly. Gigi had moved in when the south side of Williamsburg was not as nice as it is now so it was really cool to see it grow and change. We also did a lot of work on the backyard, which started as a garbage pile and is now an awesome space with a green lawn and flowers everywhere. We left there this past June to move out here to Los Angeles, it was very sad to say goodbye to that apartment and neighborhood.

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