08/21/14 1:17pm
08/21/2014 1:17 PM |

While the prolonged zombie state of some bands’ reunions can start to bum a guy out, no one with a heart and two ears could be unhappy to see The Clean again. This week, the legendary band, instigators of Dunedin, New Zealand’s wildly influential DIY rock scene of the 1980s, play two Brooklyn shows; one tonight at Rough Trade, one at Glasslands tomorrow. The key to The Clean’s lasting appeal is the low-key nature of the endeavor. Their music is shaggy, tuneful, and endlessly charming. It lacks any delusions of grandeur that might broadcast it as Important, with a capital I. They seem to make an album when they feel the need, and tour occasionally to smaller room crowds made up of those just discovering their records, or old fans continually rediscovering just how solid their songs are. “It’s kind of a funny gradual process,” said longtime bassist Robert Scott. “We’ve been doing this stuff for ages, and you have to remember some people are actually very new. It’s a weird concept when you’ve been doing it for over half your life.”


Scott joined brothers Hamish and David Kilgour in time to make the Clean’s first recording in 1981, and led his own fab rock band The Bats in between. They’re currently on the road to honor Merge Records’ lavish vinyl reissue of the compilation, Anthology, a desert island-grade collection of early singles, EPs, and LPs originally released on CD in 2003 and now draped across four separate records. He’s always been a physical media guy at heart. “It’s mainly because that’s what we grew up with and I love the idea of it and the physicality of it. I do listen to CDs a lot in my car, while I drive around. I don’t really like downloads and stuff. I don’t have a fancy phone that I listen to my music on,” said Scott. “I still find CDs good!”

Scott credits the intensely hip record culture of 70s Dunedin with the strange touches that bled into The Clean’s sound. A driving motorik beat became a very familiar element of indie rock of the 00s, but the Neu! worship of a song like 1981’s “Point That Thing Somewhere Else” was fairly radical for the time. (It invented Yo La Tengo, more or less.) “There was a lot of importing going on. The record shop owners in New Zealand were very clued up and very prescient about music. Bands would do a lot of record swapping,” said Scott, crediting his country for its exquisite taste. “Joy Division was top 5 here!”

The band’s last record was 2009’s solid, typically underrated, Mister Pop. They’ve toyed with the idea of a follow-up, but Hamish Kilgour’s status as an adopted New Yorker has kept things on hold. (Lucky for us, though, Hamish plays in Brooklyn-based garage rock project, Roya, with Rahil Jamlifard, also of Habibi.) “We are very much about the chemistry of the three of us being in the same room,” said Scott. “That needs to physically happen.”

With his perspective as a 4-track DIY recording saint, I asked Scott if he envied the ease and low-cost, unlimited possibility of modern laptop recorders. He wasn’t so sure. “I think it’s good to have more concrete limits, actually,” said Scott. “What it’s doing is making you judge. You’ve got four tracks, so everything you put down has got to be good. Whereas now, I think people can just throw things on a computer and say, “Ooh, that might turn into a song.” They could have any very average bit of guitar and then hope something magical is going to happen when they start overdubbing.”

Well, you know what they say…


08/18/14 6:05pm
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08/18/2014 6:05 PM |

Friday was a night to remember at Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival at Avery Fisher Hall. Conductor Louis Langrée, as animated and effervescent as ever, lead the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra through a program of Gluck’s “Dance of the Furies”, Mozart’s Concerto for Flute and Harp and Berlioz’s “Symphony Fantastique”.

Following a fantastic orchestra performance, The L Magazine provided concertgoers and musicians alike with a very special after-party that included a craft beer tasting featuring some of NYC’s best breweries. Finback Brewery, Kelso Beer, Barrier Brewing Co. and Sixpoint Brewery showed off their hops chops, and the William Hill Estate Winery provided a complementary alternative to the impressive beer selection.

It was an evening of great music, delicious drinks, and lively conversation, and we’re happy to have been a part of it. Check out pictures from the event below!

08/18/14 5:25pm

We’ve known for a long time that the Swedes have a great approach to healthy living—just look at how much they enjoy the great outdoors, or their super bike-friendly cities. And another crucial part of that wholesome, natural lifestyle? Eating Wasa crackers! In the video below, Wasa imagines what the lives of American women would be like if we behaved a little more like our Swedish friends.

Wouldn’t it be nice to drop by a yoga session after a long day of running around town and be greeted by the scene above? Of course, some aspects of this video are purposefully exaggerated; a yoga class full of hot dads and a baby doing one-legged poses? It’s impressive, but highly unlikely (although Swedish fathers do tend to be heavily involved in the lives of their children). Part of the video does stay very true to life, though: the satisfying, nutritious crunch of a Wasa cracker.

Whether you eat ‘em with fruit, spreads, cheeses, or just on their own, biting into a Wasa cracker will undoubtedly fuel your appetite for life. Baked with tons of fiber and nutrients and with a low calorie content, snacking on these crackers is just one of the many ways we can make the most out of life, like the Swedes do. Now, if only we could join them for another Swedish custom: built-in coffee breaks twice a day in the workplace!

This post has been sponsored by Wasa.

08/15/14 11:00am
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08/15/2014 11:00 AM |

Our favorite borough gets a whole lot funnier next week, when Brooklyn Comedy Festival 2014 returns for its second year of laughs August 18-24. This year boasts more performers, bigger venues, more after parties, added shows, and new neighborhoods. And since the festival covers all different realms of comedy (sketch, standup, improv, and more), there’s bound to be something for everyone!

The schedule includes performances by Michael Che, Lucas Bros, Jermaine Fowler, Mark Normand, Sean Patton, Sasheer Zamata, Mike Lawrence, John Fugelsang, Nikki Glaser, Dan Soder, Adam Newman, Myq Kaplan, Kevin Barnett, Murderfist, and BOAT—and as usual, there will be surprises. Venues include Brooklyn Brewery, The Knitting Factory, Baby’s All Right, Glasslands, and The Rock Shop.

But the performances aren’t all! If you’re more intrigued by what goes on behind the scenes, don’t miss the late-night writers panel on the festival’s closing day, which will feature writers from The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Saturday Night Live, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, and more TBA. Other panels include “Comedy’s Place in American Culture Today,” featuring NY Times columnist Jason Zinoman as moderator and indie record label Kill Rock Stars’ Portia Sabin.

And if you’re craving even more comedy? Check out special editions of some already established Brooklyn shows, including Game Night at Spike Hill, Broken Comedy at Matchless, Friends of Single People at Littlefield, BackFat at 61 Local, and Cheap Date at Union Hall.

Select tickets are on sale now. Check out for performer and venue information, Brooklyn Brewery drink specials, and ticket links!

08/15/14 8:41am


“I entered the Cantonese movie business as an actor in the 1950s and became a director the following decade,” the filmmaker Patrick Lung Kong writes by e-mail. “At the time, the industry was mostly making Cantonese opera and cheap Kung Fu pictures, mass production without quality control, to the point of facing extinction. The first film I directed was a low-budget love story in Cantonese called The Broadcast Prince (1966), and everyone liked it, it was a success! My teacher asked if this meant that our Cantonese pictures wouldn’t be eliminated now. I said that they would never be—only the bad pictures would be eliminated!”

The seventy-nine year-old filmmaker is reminiscing on the occasion of “Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow: The Cinema of Patrick Lung Kong,” a nine-film series that will unfold August 15-24 at the Museum of the Moving Image. (All films will screen in their best current possible presentations—either 35mm archival prints or Digibeta copies, depending upon what exists of the original elements.) The Hong Kong artist will appear in person at several screenings, including an opening night ceremony with him and the younger filmmaker Tsui Hark. The lineup of Lung Kong’s first North American retrospective features one film he produced (Patrick Tam’s 1981 Gothic thriller Love Massacre) plus seven of the thirteen diverse films that he directed between 1966 and 1979.


Lung Kong’s filmography looks miniscule compared to those of his more prolific Hong Kong peers, but his slower rate of directorial production came largely by choice. He forewent the then-standard factory nature of Hong Kong studio filmmaking in favor of artisanal work, often researching films for up to nine months before writing, directing, and acting in them. They were frequently shot on location throughout then-colonial Hong Kong, with characters speaking in their native Cantonese, a shunned language onscreen during the time of the Cultural Revolution. Their words expressed Lung Kong’s refusal to make films in the dominant Mandarin tongue, despite its greater possibilities for export.

The films include his most famous work, The Story of a Discharged Prisoner (1967, screening August 15, and shown above), later remade by John Woo into the epic action ballet A Better Tomorrow (1986, screening August 16). In contrast to Woo’s extravagant gunplay, Lung Kong’s original social drama unfolds mainly through tight, dialogue-driven scenes. Story explores a subject that, Lung Kong writes, “nobody in Hong Kong had dared to touch” with the tale of a recently freed convict (played by Patrick Tse) striving to go straight despite opposition from many sides. His old gangster cohorts urge him to rejoin them; a cruel police official demands he inform; employers fire him upon learning about his past; and family members reject him until he proves willing to harm himself for their sakes. The reflective man recognizes his hard situation, saying at one point that “It is not a problem with me. It is a problem with society.”

Though Story contains dynamic fight scenes, Lung Kong states that “it was simply because the film needed them. I wouldn’t create a fight scene for entertainment only.” This also proved true for his subsequent films The Window (1968, screening August 23) and Teddy Girls (1969, screening August 16), both of which present and dispense with action movie traditions in order to focus on human dramas.

In The Window, a thief and murderer (Tse) seeks a new perspective on life, abandoning crime in favor of aiding the blind daughter (Josephine Siao) of one of his victims. In Teddy Girls, an upper-class young female delinquent (Siao) chooses jail over staying with her mother and malicious stepfather, who soon drives the matriarch to suicide. She and a band of fellow prisoners then seek revenge, but discover that they can’t be satisfied.


Both films discuss how people turn criminal from lack of resources, whether material or spiritual. In doing so, they fall victim to a society that fails to provide for them. Sometimes, as with Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow (1970, screening August 23), Lung Kong showed how society could punish any of its citizens, regardless of their social status. The loose adaptation of Albert Camus’s novel The Plague (1947) presents a nightmare Hong Kong overrun with a virus spread by rats. Though the film contains scenes of slum-dwellers succumbing to sickness, Hong Kong’s wealthy also live at risk of infection, especially as a negligent government fails to act fast enough for its people.

Lung Kong writes that, “I never allowed myself to make the same movie twice, even if it made a lot of money the first time. I tried to tell people in my business that every subject could be made into a film.” He did so while treating a wide range of issues, including both the doomed nature of love—rendered with melodramatic flashbacks as a romance ends in Pei Shih (1972, screening August 24)—and its enduring sustenance, as seen in his Iran-set love story Mitra (1977, screening August 24).

He further did so while braving risk of attack. Government censors removed forty minutes of Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow without warning (leaving a shortened version as the film’s lone surviving cut), and journalists’ criticism of his works as overly preachy turned into outrage when he used his film Hiroshima 28 (1976) to defend victims of atomic bombing.

The film, made nearly three decades after World War II’s end, was released at a time when Chinese public sentiment still ran heavily against Japan for its role in the war. Lung Kong combines two Hiroshima-set stories. In one, a local family (whose members are played by Chinese actors) attempts to marry off one of its younger female members; in the other, a tour guide and a reporter wander Hiroshima twenty-eight years after the bombing, take stock of what has been lost there, and bear witness to what remains. Like many of Lung Kong’s films, Hiroshima 28 brings sympathy to people surviving hardships, encouraging viewers to think about who they should really label as villains.

08/07/14 1:32pm
08/07/2014 1:32 PM |

Tahliah Barnett, the artist currently known for being Formerly Known As Twigs, played her second ever New York City show last night to an unusually large, sold-out Webster Hall crowd, who absolutely fucking adored her. There’s been a steady uptick in the London-based singer’s profile since the release of her first EP in December of 2012. Next week her first full-length, the flatly titled LP1, will be released and likely greeted with the sort of ecstatic reviews any new artist would kill for. The record carries hints of arty R&B figures of the late 90s like Aaliyah or Tricky collaborator Martina Topley-Bird, though her songs carry way more emptiness than theirs ever would. Though subtle earworms are embedded throughout, the record is often content to dwell in a slow textural crawl that won’t necessarily crest into a conventional moment of full tension-release. It’s a hot and bothered sex album, that never really gets to the sex part, leaving the listener feeling gloriously frustrated. 

If a backlash is brewing, and one usually is, it will likely congeal around the idea that FKA Twigs songs are filled with immaculately production that she doesn’t fully inhabit, too content with ethereal floating to provide a killer hook. Onstage though, commanding every eyeball in the crowd like Cleopatra’s favorite court dancer, it’s kind of impossible to criticize Twigs for absence. She was the show. All of it. Her charisma is magnetic, and skepticism in the face of it is tough to hold on to. Though her songs are nowhere near the precise perfection of a young Prince, and may never get to that level, it wasn’t just the occasional swell of purple lights that brought him to mind. (Side note: How did Prince not settle on the pretty cool-sounding “FKA Prince” as a monicker during his unpronounceable symbol period? Rare miss, Prince.)


Her band consisted of three shadow-dwelling dudes who often played three drum pads simultaneously, an alignment that makes calling them “her band” feel kind of weird. They produced warped synth sounds, mangled clicks and sighs, and most importantly big, thudding beats for her to ripple across. They were like the fevered nightmare of some classic-rock loving Boomer, a strange future of live music he’ll not take lying down. In effect, they were practically invisible, cleared far to the sides to give a budding pop star maximum prowling space.

Given her regal bearing and the seeming ease of her unnaturally liquid dance moves, hearing Twigs speak between songs was slightly jarring. She was small-voiced, teenage giggly, slightly nervous but wildly appreciative of the crowd that was completely freaking out at her feet. Her most amusing bit of banter recounted a friend giving her sage advice on Vogueing: “If all else fails, just be soft and cunt.” (To her surprise and ours, these are technical terms.) But as soon as the next track would kick in, her arms again became alien tentacles, a swath of white light would envelop her, and any hint of girlish vulnerability instantly disintegrated. 

It was somewhat strange to witness this sort of music—so slow, so withholding of typical pop release—receive such an emphatic response. “Two Weeks” was replicated at its full, legitimately massive scale. Its performance befit the hookiest bit of her debut, its sexiest sexless sex jam fantasy about an unavailable lover. But that was one of only moments in the set that built to a peak, instead of making a seductive show of avoiding one. Rather than lose the crowd in the middle of another glitchy slow jam though, she held it in perpetually rapt attention. A few flicks of her hands or a twist of her body were given the reception a radio-conquering chorus might. It was an impressive demonstration of nuclear grade star power. The fan base she’s already built have jumped straight to full-blown hero worship, skipping any period of tentative skepticism. When a refusal to provide an ecstatic payoff is received as if it were an ecstatic payoff…does the absence matter? She’s got room to grow as a songwriter, plenty of empty spaces so far left open. It’s unclear if she needs to, though, or is even interested in making that direct a move. Because right now, as a performer, her presence is sort of astounding. 

(Some more extensive photos here, for the curious or the obsessed.) 

07/30/14 10:39am
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07/30/2014 10:39 AM |

The beautiful people, the beautiful people...

“If you were happy every day of your life you wouldn’t be a human being. You’d be a game-show host.” That may be true, but for at least one night this summer you can be very happy at tonight’s screening of Heathers! Suit up in your best shoulder-padded blazer, pair of white tights, and don’t forget that croquet mallet. And in honor of this summers most stylish film, we’re giving away a $500 gift certificate to TOPSHOP/TOPMAN, courtesy of TOPMAN. Want to stop by to buy that perfect trenchcoat a-la Christian Slater? Then be sure to stop by SummerScreen HQ to sign up for the raffle or find one of our friendly SummerScreen reps!

Stop by early for this week’s music, courtesy of Northern Spy: The Ghost of A Saber Tooth Tiger (feat Sean Lennon and Charlotte Kemp-Muhl) and NYMPH. As always, a big thanks to our music partners: Showpaper, Trans-Pecos, and Todd P. And line up early for a taste of some of BK’s best food vendors including: Handsome Hanks, PizzaMoto, Coolhaus, Between the Buns, V Spot, La Crepe C’est Si Bon, and Landhaus. And be sure to pick up a cold one from either our Sixpoint Bar or the Rekorderlig Cider Lounge (which also features a free ping pong station and VIP area).

Not sure you have enough cash on hand for your food? No problem. Our friends at Lincoln will be on hand for demonstrate their new Active Park Assist technology in multiple cars from their new line. Take three minutes of your night to complete the demonstration and the good people at Lincoln will hook you up with a $20 food voucher for any of SummerScreen food vendors!

We’ll see you tonight on North 12th (between Bedford Ave. and Berry St.). Gates open at 6 PM, music at 6:30 PM and the film begins at sundown!

07/28/14 3:31pm
07/28/2014 3:31 PM |


Tonight at IFC Center, Alena Smith (writer for The Newsroom) will present the Peter Bogdanovich Depression-set classic, Paper Moon. She’ll also read from her new comic novel, Tween Hobo: Off the Rails, based on the Twitter character @tweenhobo. This melds the humor of anti-capitalist hobo romanticism (seen in movies like the hobo musical, Hallelejah, I’m a Bum! and many Joan Blondell movies) with the current capitalist marketing creation of the “tween.” I’ll be doing a Q&A after the film with Alena, and in anticipation of that, she answered a few questions about her new book.

The L: So first of all, where did the concept of tween come from? It’s a fairly recent invention, right?

Smith: Do you mean the concept of a tween in general or the concept of tween hobo?

The L: Tween. I hear Disney invented it!

Smith: [laughs] I don’t know exactly where it came from, but I’m pretty sure the term did not exist when I (we) were tweens. It feels very millennial to me somehow. The focus in the 90s was much more on TEENS. Now nobody talks about teens. Teens are old news.


The L: Ah, so “old hobos” grew up fast? (That comes up in your book a lot. Tell me, what those are.)

Smith: Tween Hobo’s friends on the road are a bunch of guys (and a couple gals) who she calls “the old hobos.” They are mostly in their late 20s/early 30s, which means they remember a time before the internet and social media, which for tween hobo might as well be the Great Depression, it seems so long ago.

The L: Is that why did you put this idea of the Depression era “hobo” with concept for the “tween?”

Smith: Well, I think the dissonance between “Tween” and “Hobo” operates on many levels, not least of which is the fact that a “Tween” is entirely a marketing contrivance, a way of selling stuff to kids with expendable income and indulgent parents, whereas a Hobo is a person who lives outside of the capitalist system, and who relies on nobody but himself. A Hobo is a kind of spiritual being, whereas a Tween is a materialistic being.

The L: And so from that comic dissonance, it’s evolved into a genuine character. (She gives perfect, inane award show live tweets!) How did the character evolve?

Smith: At first the character was really no more than a series of one-liners, pretty straightforward mashups of “hobo stuff” and “tween stuff.” But over time as I gained followers on Twitter the conversation naturally grew more complex. Tween Hobo grew as her audience grew—it was really a kind of performance piece, live, interactive, and improvisational. Then I took a big leap forward with the character when I started developing an idea for a Tween Hobo television show with B.J. Novak from The Office (who I’d met on Twitter). We came up with a fleshed-out backstory and set of real, grounded emotional needs and goals for the character. This served me well when I ultimately adapted the Twitter account into a novel. I relied on the character work that I’d done with B.J. and also delved much more deeply into “hobo literature,” like Kerouac and Steinbeck and books like Boxcar Bertha.

The L: So you turned the book even further into a real comic novel. Part adventure, part YA parody, part lifestyle guide… Or how would you describe it?

Smith: I describe it as On the Road written by a contemporary 12-year-old with an iPhone.

But I like your description, too.

The L: iPhone literature!

Smith: The book is a diary of Tween Hobo’s first year out on the road. It’s a record of her immediate experience, and also includes photographs, drawings, lists, how-tos, and tons and tons of jokes. But there’s a real serious story in there as well.

The L: And now that we’re moving past the worst of the recession (hopefully) and also long past Justin Bieber’s innocence, she’s become a bit of a time capsule for the last few years. Do you see her evolving to One Direction and Kim K games, or does she stay in 2011 forever?

Smith: That’s a great question. There’s new interest in adapting Tween Hobo into an animated TV show, and I imagine in order for that show to work she’ll have to evolve with the times. I just learned about something called “finger lights” that apparently the kids are into. Have to do some googling.

But the book will certainly continue to serve as a time capsule, and as evidence of how quickly culture moves and evaporates.

The L: Do Tweens rule the internet? I feel like they’re better at it then any of us. (Are we all living in the tweens’ world?)

Smith: I have no idea if Tweens rule the internet. Maybe Tweens are returning to playing with sticks and hoops outside. I’ve heard the internet is over.

The L: And did you have Paper Moon in mind, either for the character or the book? Or did you notice that connection later?

Smith: I have only seen Paper Moon once and it made a huge impression on me. (However I have seen Bad News Bears about five million times.) Tatum O’Neal is just the consummate badass kid. It’s so cool that she’s a girl and she gives no fucks. That’s the ultimate spirit of Tween Hobo.

07/25/14 10:45am
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07/25/2014 10:45 AM |

If you’re looking for unique places to take your kids this summer, look no further than Design Lab: New York Hall of Science’s newest space that taps into young visitors’ natural tendency to be inventive, creative and resourceful in finding solutions to basic engineering and design challenges.

Targeting kids and their parents, Design Lab uses common, everyday materials to emphasize that creativity is not dependent on specialized tools or expert knowledge. Instead, the activities show how expertise is achieved through experimentation, critical thinking and collaboration.

“With Design Lab, we are exploring a new form of engagement between a museum and its visitors,” said Margaret Honey, President and CEO of NYSCI. “Science museums have always been known for hands-on exhibits and participatory programs, but with Design Lab, visitors are in the driver’s seat like never before. You can think, build, test and refine your ideas, putting creative design and engineering to work as you overcome obstacles, solve problems, and point the way to a better world.”

What are the benefits? Exploring topics of design and a do-it-yourself mentality helps to stimulate thought, creativity and learning. Young visitors will want to continue pursuing their ideas outside of Design Lab (at home or school), but also return to the exhibit to continue learning and to see how other concepts have evolved.

Activities in Design Lab are free with NYSCI admission for general museum visitors. Workshops in Maker Space have small fees; check workshops for details. Camp and school groups can reserve Design Lab sessions for a fee by calling 718-699-0301 in advance of their visit.


Monday – Friday, 10:30 am – 4:30 pm;

Saturday & Sunday, 10:30 am – 5:30 pm.

NYSCI is located in Flushing Meadows/Corona Park near the Met’s Citi Field at 111th street on the 7 Train. Easy on-site parking. Admission is $11 for Adults and $8 for Children.

To learn more, visit

07/23/14 10:40am
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07/23/2014 10:40 AM |

Northside has teamed up with Lincoln Center to provide L Mag readers with one very special night of classical music and a sampling of great craft beers from local breweries as part of the Mostly Mozart Festival.

Following the August 15 concert featuring works by Gluck and Mozart plus Berlioz’s dramatic, hallucinatory Symphonie Fantastique at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall, you have the chance to attend an exclusive craft beer tasting and after party.

Join us and try a number of outstanding local beers from breweries currently making waves in the craft scene, such as:

Finback Brewery (Queens, NY)

Kelso Beer (Brooklyn, NY)

Barrier Brewing Co. (Oceanside, NY)

Sixpoint Brewery (Brooklyn, NY)

As well as wine provided by William Hill Estate Winery

Buy any seat in the house using the code LMAG* (for just $35, an incredible deal all by itself) to experience for yourself the power of the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, conducted by Louis Langrée, and be the first in the U.S. to check out Magali Mosnier’s flute skills. Then, stick around after the show to enjoy a complimentary beer tasting while you mingle with fellow concertgoers and members of the Orchestra.

Classical epics and great beers—could it get any better? We doubt it, so get your tickets now! And to learn more about the event, click here.

*Offer valid through August 15, 2014. This offer is subject to availability. May not be combined with any other offers or discounts; blackout dates and restrictions may apply. Not applicable to previously purchased tickets. All sales are final—no refunds or exchanges.