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07/21/15 12:00pm
07/21/2015 12:00 PM |

TT BK collage

Summer is heating up, and so are our big plans for Taste Talks 2015. We’ve teamed up with Questlove — our 2015 Brooklyn curator — to bring you the best and brightest from the food and drink world this September 11-13.

Questlove TT image

Discover THE FUTURE OF TASTE at the epic All-Star BBQ, dynamic conference panels, demos and tastings, exclusive group meals from leading chefs, insider parties and the Future Food Expo.

Discounted, early bird badges end tonight at midnight. Grab them before prices go up!

BK TT talent

Newly announced talent includes:

  • Dominique Ansel (Dominique Ansel Bakery)
  • Merrill Stubbs (Food52)
  • Helen Rosner (Eater)
  • Paul Liebrant (formerly of The Elm)
  • Matty Matheson (Chef, Parts & Labor)
  • Alexis Miesen (Blue Marble Ice Cream)

and many more!

Get your tickets today. We’ll see you there!

 

07/15/15 9:46am
07/15/2015 9:46 AM |

stedman

In 2001, we were walking down Bedford Avenue when we had the idea to get our ten favorite writers to move into a loft together.

We’d throw a weekly debate party over a feast and then write up that debate in a local magazine about Brooklyn and the East Village. We’d call it The L Magazine.

“It’s foolproof!”

It was idiotic. But Brooklyn was patient; it nurtured us, and nearly 15 years later we’ve had the exceptional luck to have created a company built to celebrate a magical place during a magical time. Obviously there was a vibrant Brooklyn before The L Magazine launched, and there will be a vibrant Brooklyn now, as we stop publishing this magazine in print and continue online. But something new and special happened in Brooklyn between 2003 and 2015, and it changed the world.

There are memories that stand out, like going to Stinger Club on Metropolitan after a birthday party on S. 2nd with Kyp, a barista from the Verb Café, who was just another dude in a band… but the band was TV on the Radio. Or throwing our first real event, a little outdoor film series in the blasted-out old McCarren Park Pool and feeling really psyched when 800 people showed up for The Night of the Hunter, and then being floored later that summer when 6,000 cheering Brooklynites came to Wet Hot American Summer, including Michael Showalter, Joe Lo Truglio, and Paul Rudd, who stood in front of the crowd and introduced the film—an event that was only matched years later by Prince Humperdinck himself introducing The Princess Bride. And more intimate moments like sitting at Verb and talking to a local guy named Mikey about the businesses plans we were working on, ours for a magazine (proudly committed to launching without a website… oops), his for a shop run out of a closet next to the cafe to be called Mikey’s Hookup. It was easy to make these little connections back then; we’d all come to Brooklyn to create something.

It’s fun and nostalgic to look back at the early days. They were much easier to own than today, with all the attention being paid to Brooklyn on a national and international level, by the fashion world, the music industry, the countless brands everyone’s always complaining about. And that’s what they’re really saying: This place is too difficult for me to own. But the truth is that the spirit driving those early moments is as strong as ever—there are just far more people participating. As always, some people are bad at creating things, and some people are good at it. Both are important, and we owe them all a debtof gratitude.

Meanwhile, we continue to have the insane privilege of celebrating this place both online and by ramping up the L’s sister publication Brooklyn Magazine into a monthly magazine. That said, there’s something about ending the L’s print run that feels significant. For many years, we started each L Magazine with a quote and a little thought about the public space of Brooklyn that we were all sharing. So let’s look at this as our last waltz, and end with a quote that sums up our feelings about what this means for Brooklyn better than anything else:

“The beginning of the beginning, of the end of the beginning.” -Robbie Robertson, The Last Waltz

Scott and Danny Stedman
Founders

07/15/15 6:39am

Timeline_special

 

Weird news you may have heard already: As of today, July 15th, The L Magazine will no longer be published as a print magazine. This is neither tragic nor particularly sad nor further proof that everything is fucked. It is rather–and we realize this may seem like a line of bullshit–a decision we’ve made so that we can focus on and grow our sister publication, Brooklyn Magazine, which, starting in September, will go from being a quarterly publication to a monthly one. This is very exciting.

It’s become common to sentimentalize the Brooklyn of the very recent past; it doesn’t take much encouragement before people begin to wax nostalgic about the way things used to be before the condos went up, or this bar closed, or that chain store opened, or these people moved out, or these other people moved in. It’s an understandable tendency, this need to reflect upon a now-broken past; we do it in order to better understand our present, and to make sense of the decisions we’ll need to make to build our future.

Understandable as it is, though, we’ve always rejected this type of precious remembrance at The L—even when this magazine turned 10 a couple of years ago, we spent no time celebrating our own history, but rather took the opportunity to highlight a host of other Brooklyn businesses which had taken root and thrived in this borough long before anyone had ever heard of a ramen burger.

And so now, in this last print issue of The L, we can’t really just break character completely, can we? We can’t just reject everything we’ve ever stood for and rhapsodize about our place in Brooklyn’s recent history, can we? No, we can’t. And really, we don’t want to. Because in looking back over the things that have happened in this borough over the last 12 years, since the very first orange L box appeared on a street corner near you (or maybe not near you? we never quite perfected that part of our distribution), we realize how transient all of this stuff that makes up this borough, these neighborhoods, these streets—our lives—really is.

But don’t just take our word for it. We thought we’d take you back through the last 12 years of Brooklyn history so you could see for yourself how fleeting everything really is, yes, but also how some things might die a real death, whereas others become transformed, reborn. Ok, fine: Maybe we’re getting a little nostalgic. It happens.

Timeline_special2

March 27
The Smoking Ban
It’s hard to remember a time when going out for the night meant you were guaranteed to come home reeking of cigarette smoke—about as hard to remember as a time when a pack of Camel Lights cost $2.50. Well, this was the year everything changed; in March, Bloomberg enacted his pet public safety act—a smoking ban in all bars and restaurants—and New York instantly got healthier. And, you know, much less cool.

April 3
The L Magazine Is Born
Founded by brothers Scott and Daniel Stedman and based on the French weekly Pariscope, this designed-to-fit-in-your-pocket magazine was given what would prove to be an endlessly confounding name (is it like Elle? the L train? The L Word? uh, no) and distributed in orange boxes around lower Manhattan.

Apr 30
The Rezoning of Park Slope
While not as talked about now as the massive rezoning of the Williamsburg waterfront, the rezoning of Park Slope is to thank for all those condos lining 4th Avenue. You know, the ones that stand tall among the squat profiles of the taxi garages and auto repair shops. So, thanks?

June 21
Albany Extends Landlord Powers:
Lest you think that the high rent insanity of 2015 is a recent development, rest assured that the groundwork for all this was laid in Albany more than a decade ago, when Senate Republicans pushed through a measure allowing landlords to get rid of rent regulations on thousands of apartments. One State Senate Democrat called it a “declaration of nuclear war on rent-regulated tenants in New York.”

Murder of City Councilman James Davis by political rival Othniel Askew:
It was a dark day for Brooklyn politics when Councilman Davis was gunned down by Askew inside City Hall. Askew was at City Hall as a guest of Davis’s that day, which is why both men were allowed to skirt the metal detectors. Askew was shot and killed on the scene.

July 27
The New York Times asks “Has Billburg Lost Its Cool?”
Is there something we love more than when the Paper of Record visits Brooklyn? Not that we can think of! Crazy to think that the Times had apparently given up on Williamsburg years before it even discovered the existence of man-buns.

August 14
The City Goes Dark:
Definitely the most notable thing that happened in 2003 (sorry founding-of-The-L: You’re number two!) the Great Blackout of 2003 affected not only Brooklyn, but all of New York City. (And, you know, much of the Northeast corridor. So, like, “upstate.”) This blackout was notable not only because, you know, TOTAL DARKNESS, but also because there was very little looting or crime associated with it, and there was an overall feeling of citywide harmony and togetherness. This stood in stark contrast to the fire- and looting-filled hellscape that was the Blackout of 1977, but seemed instead to carry on the spirit of a city that had, in recent years, weathered so much worse than just a temporary lack of refrigeration.

December 10
Jay-Z and Mayor Mike Bloomberg Head Out to Brooklyn to Support the Announcement of Bruce Ratner’s New Arena:
Capping off the year came the official announcement that Brooklyn would be the home of its very own arena. Brooklyn’s own Jay-Z and Boston’s own Mike Bloomberg came out in support of the Underworld’s own Bruce Ratner as he made the announcement about the impending arrival of the as-yet-to-be-named Barclays Center.

The City Starts Counting Days Between Homicides:
While the crime rate had been steadily dropping for years at this point, this was the first time that the city was able to say, Hey! We can actually go whole days without a murder! We should record that. And so they did.


Openings
• The Mark Bar, Greenpoint
• Videology, Williamsburg
• Gimme! Coffee, Williamsburg

Albums
• Fiery Furnaces Gallowsbird’s Bark
• TV on the Radio Young Liars EP
• Jay-Z The Black Album

Books
The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
Lucky Girls by Nell Freudenberger
Oracle Night by Paul Auster
What I Loved by Siri Hustvedt
The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem
The Hipster Handbook is published by the people behind great local blog Free Williamsburg.

Real Estate Notes
Average sale price for a home/condo
• Williamsburg, $331K
• Park Slope, $471K
• Brooklyn Heights, $279K
• DUMBO, $908K


06/17/15 8:14am
06/17/2015 8:14 AM |
photo courtesy of Strand Releasing

A Borrowed Identity
Directed by Eran Riklis
Opens June 26 at Lincoln Plaza

A Borrowed Identity is this film’s US title, adopted to circumvent the kind of cultural misunderstanding the film itself is meant to be about. The source material—a semi-autobiographical novel by Arab Israeli journalist Sayed Kashua—is called Dancing Arabs, and that’s the title Eran Riklis’s movie bore when its screening at the Jerusalem Film Festival was postponed, last year, in light of recent events: the killing of three Jewish Israeli teenagers, the retaliatory killing of a Palestinian teen, the bombs and rockets splitting the sky all summer. The guiding fear, at home and abroad, seems to be that onscreen fictions will look either too real or too distorted when projected onto actual carnage; either way, somebody may complain.

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06/17/15 8:08am
photo courtesy of RLJE Image Entertainment

Burying the Ex
Directed by Joe Dante
Opens June 19

Be it ageism or just one flop too many, it’s been a long time since director Joe Dante (The Howling, Gremlins) has been allowed to be Joe Dante. If his last studio job, the flop Looney Toons: Back in Action, was any indication, his practical effects-driven fetishism of cartoons and B-movies is no longer tolerated. With Burying the Ex, he’s in a similar position to his salad days under Roger Corman’s watch: got something to prove? Make it fast and cheap. While that should invite a return to form (satirizing and rejuvenating stale genres with a dark sweetness), Dante settles into a laziness his former self would have shunned.

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06/03/15 12:21pm
06/03/2015 12:21 PM |
Photo by Joan Marcus


The Flick
The Barrow Street Theatre
27 Barrow Street

Annie Baker’s The Flick , which premiered to some controversy at Playwrights Horizons in 2013, subsequently won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2014, and now it has re-opened for a commercial run at the Barrow Street Theatre. This is the best new American play in at least twenty years, a cause for wonder and rejoicing that feels like an entirely new way of doing theater, and it makes all the other current theater seem false, showy, and trivial. In its own radically anti-lyric, anti-conventional way, The Flick resembles Carson McCullers’s The Member of the Wedding, another major play about three disparate people thrown together and trying hard to reach each other across increasingly immense distances. That’s how good it is, how piercing it is, and how essential.

For a little over three hours, we watch three employees who work at a movie theater in Massachusetts in the summer of 2012. Avery (Aaron Clifton Moten) is a 20-year-old African-American, a smart, guarded depressive, and a passionate cinephile. He is trained by the 35-year-old Sam (Matthew Maher), who at first seems to be a typical kind of Massachusetts guy with a Beavis-and-Butthead inflection, and Rose (Louisa Krause), the deadpan projectionist who also seems at first to be a type, a no-hope cool girl, but these types break down immediately when they start to discuss movies with each other. Avery insists that there have been no great American films made since Pulp Fiction. Sam says Avatar was great, and when Avery expresses his disgust with that choice Sam lists some Coen Brothers movies. Rose mentions The Tree of Life and eventually brings up Mulholland Dr.

It is clear that Baker herself is a hardcore cinephile, and her play is partly an elegy to 35mm projection and the move to all-digital projection in movie theaters, but this is only the start of her achievement here. What she has done in The Flick is focus minutely on the passage of time so that the characters become multi-dimensional, forever expanding, mysteriously, painfully, cathartically, before our eyes. The three actors give performances that match the high level of the writing, which means that they don’t give conventional performances at all.

Do you know what it’s like to enter an empty theater at night and suddenly sense and feel all the things that have ever happened in it? That’s what The Flick is like, extra-sensory, galactic, patiently unearthing the layers under the layers of experience, interrogating appearances, viewing the inevitable worst in people and the possibility of the best with austere charity. This is a realistic play that still believes in the possibility of magic, as when the mild-mannered Avery is uplifted and cleansed by reciting Samuel L. Jackson’s Ezekiel speech from Pulp Fiction. Baker makes us realize that we love the movies because they offer the seeds of transformation, and that is also what her play is offering us, on a very profound level.

06/03/15 12:16pm

Sex

Dear Audrey,
I am a straight man with a straight man’s problems. My girlfriend hates period sex, and she gets upset when I come on to her when she’s on her period. She gets horrible cramps and sometimes migraines, and is just not in the mind space for sexy-times. Her period is pretty regular and I try to remember when it’s coming, but sometimes I forget. The last few times I’ve forgotten, she’s gotten upset and said it felt like I was pressuring her, since I obviously knew she wasn’t feeling well. I did, of course, notice she wasn’t feeling well but thought it was just a mood and that maybe fooling around would made her feel better. My question is: Several of my friends love their period tracking apps; would it be super weird to get one on my phone for my girlfriend’s period? If I’m doing it in the name of not making her upset about sex at that time?

Oh poor sweet bone-headed straight man, bless your poor sweet bone-headed straight man heart. You are trying your best to do the right thing and I appreciate that. I really do. But don’t get a period tracking app on your phone for your lady’s period. This is not a good plan. Can you imagine how she would feel if she found it? If she was borrowing your phone and a notification about HER PERIOD came up on it? It would be that episode of Community where Abed is giving Britta and Annie chocolate times a billion.

And listen, I totally get that you’re in a pickle here. I have often, the few days before my period, wondered why I suddenly hate myself, all my clothes, and everyone around me, only to be like, ah yes, it’s you, old friend, when the blood starts flowing. And yet, I would be furious if I was feeling down and anyone—but most especially, a man—was like “Oh sweetie, could it be your period?”

You see, period-having humans are in the same pickle, only worse: Many of us do experience unpleasant stuff around our menses, but thanks to centuries of shitbags being like HAW HAW MAYBE YOU’RE ON THE RAG, admitting this often feels humiliating.

Most people of all genders are controlled by their hormones, this is literally what hormones are for. And arguably it’s penis-bearing individuals who are the most likely to make stupid decisions based solely on their reproductive systems. Yet actual human adults have expressed concern about a female president because: What if she has PMS and nukes Russia?

Which is all to say that PMS is real, but because of the patriarchy, lots of times we have to pretend it isn’t, and ask that right-hearted non-menstruators join us in this delusion. Plus, even if a feeling is being caused or heightened by an oncoming period, it doesn’t mean it’s not a real feeling and valid. Hearing “you’re just PMSing” when I’m upset makes me feel like a toddler being told she’s just tired. You don’t want to get in the habit of assuming it’s her period every time your girlfriend is cranky or feeling unwell, that’s bad too.
So what to do? In a world where a period was a biological function like any other, the app would be perfectly fine. Instead, I would suggest a much subtler solution, like a recurring calendar reminder with a euphemistic name. “Meeting with Uncle Sexno,” perhaps.

SEX@THELMAGAZINE.COM FOR QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS

06/03/15 12:06pm
Illustration by The Dooz
Roberto

Hailed in: Upper East Side
Hails from: Arizona

My town had a baseball league for kids, and pretty much all my friends were forced to be in that. It was kind of like Little League, only not well organized. You could skip a lot of games and even change teams if you wanted to be with your friends. It wasn’t bad, and I was a pretty good player, but it was really hot and it stopped being fun after the first couple of weeks. I think the adults were worried we’d destroy the town without something to do, but they weren’t ever sure what we should do. There was a roller-skating park, but no one went there. I was a pretty good roller-blader, though.


Dean

Hailed in: Chelsea
Hails from: San José

I always had jobs. My dad owned a store so he always put me to work stocking shelves or sweeping the floor. I guess it isn’t child labor if it’s your child. [Did you get paid?] I got $20 a week, which felt like a lot of money at the time. It actually wasn’t that bad. The store was within walking distance of our apartment and I’d only work a couple hours a day, depending on how busy things were, and they were never that busy during the weekday after the morning commute rush. Funny, I used to complain about that store a lot, but thinking about it now, it’s actually one of my fondest parts of childhood.


John

Hailed in: Hell’s Kitchen
Hails from: Queens

My family moved around a lot so what we did was based on where we were living. Sometimes we went and visited family because one of my aunts lived near a lake, one year we went to the Grand Canyon, which was awful because it was like a 10-hour drive and my sister and I wanted to kill each other. I went to a really crappy summer camp one year, and the only good thing was that I had my first kiss there. It was awful. I hate the outdoors so all the hiking and campfires were torture. I got so many mosquito bites.


Kevin

Hailed in:Crown Heights
Hails from: Outside Nashville

The thing I really remember is that our neighbors had a pool, so a lot of the kids from my block would go there. The people who owned the house were really old, and they didn’t have kids. Or if they did, they were in college. It was a married couple, and the wife always liked having us around; she would bake us cookies and make lemonade. The husband was kind of a jerk, and sometimes he would make us leave if we were being loud. One year someone broke something, a window or something in the garden, and after that he barred us from going over. We all had to go to the public pool, which was gross. There was a kid section and you just knew everyone was peeing in it.

05/15/15 12:00pm
05/15/2015 12:00 PM |

L4L_Still - L-R Andie (Libby Gery), Tristan (Kyle Wiliams), Blake (Bro Estes) and Otto (Engelbert Holder) in Lev Kalman and Whitney Horn’s L FOR LEISURE. Courtesy of Special Affects Films

Once a year at the Passover Seder, tradition demands we recline while we eat and consume four glasses of wine. For the characters in L for Leisure, this is merely the daily routine. Taking languor and extraneity as its very subject, the first feature from filmmaking duo Lev Kalman and Whitney Horn (Blondes in the Jungle) unfolds over the course of the 1992-1993 academic year. But there’s very little class time involved; instead, the directors drop in and out on a group of loosely interwoven graduate students in varying states of repose. Whether chilling beachside in California, sprawled out in backyards across the East Coast, or casually leaning against a pack of ponies in the fjords of Iceland, life, it seems, is one giant chaise lounge—and there’s always a beverage within arm’s reach.

Shot on 16mm, the film’s languid tone and bright, sun-kissed aesthetic owes as much to the work of Eric Rohmer and Whit Stillman as it does to early MTV music videos, but the characters’ mannered way of speaking most closely recalls DIY king Hal Hartley circa The Unbelievable Truth. Deadpan and heady, these intellectually inclined sybarites discuss things like the “erotic hold” of post-apocalyptic fantasy and ruminate over the possibilities of an alternate universe “cellularly and molecularly.” They marvel at semantics (“Is that the word we’re using? That is so interesting”) and constantly report on their state of “mellow.”

The film is chock-full of visual landmarks and cultural references specific to the early-90s: Snapple, Rollerblades, Marky Mark’s “important” ads for boxer-briefs, Wayne’s World’s “Sha-wing.” There’s an endless supply of high-waisted Levi’s and, best of all, a spontaneous A Capella rendition of Mariah Carey’s “Always Be My Baby.” But the directors are not terribly bothered by subtle anachronisms: Mariah’s hit came out in 1995, do we care? With the aid of John Atkinson’s original synth score, L for Leisure strives toward creating impression rather than an imitation of the decade.

For all its atmospheric laziness, this is not a film about (or for) slackers, but rather thinkers; embedded directly into the easy-breezy aesthetic is quite a rigorous exploration of time and space. There’s a telling moment towards the end of movie where one of the characters discusses John Brinckerhoff Jackson’s concept of “psychedelic sports.” In the 20th century, he explains, activities whose pleasures lie simply in the sensation of moving through space—skiing, skateboarding—have replaced traditional games burdened by rules and keeping score, like tennis. The same might be said of Kalman and Horn’s style of filmmaking, which eschews all restrictive structural expectations in favor of free-flowing mood and temporality.

We reached the directors by phone in advance of the film’s theatrical run, which begins this Friday at Made in NY Media Center by IFP, to mull over their artistic conception of leisure and why the 90s resonate so strongly today. Though Lev Kalman speaks for the pair in interviews as a rule, Whitney Horn will introduce the film on multiple nights during “L for Leisure week“; other screenings will feature Q&As and “L for Leisure Lectures” on topics such as nostalgia and laziness, as well as special-guest videos and music performances.

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04/09/15 3:51pm
04/09/2015 3:51 PM |

Beirut1

After spending all winter inside, wrapped in sweaters and blankets, and seriously suffering from Vitamin D deficiency, nothing sounds nicer than attending a  big outdoor concert series in the tradition of Celebrate Brooklyn! and SummerStage. Want to save yourself the hassle of going into Manhattan? Our parent company Northside Media Group is pleased to announce your new favorite summer series: Brooklyn Live at The Inlet, Presented by Century 21 department store.

Indie, deep house, hip-hop and everything in between will be taking over 50 Kent Avenue, starting with Northside Festival’s headlining shows June 12-14 with Neko Case, Built to Spill, Best Coast, Run the Jewels, the newly-announced Sleigh Bells and more! Other highlights include the 10th anniversary of Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival on July 11 featuring verified Grammy and Oscar-winner Common and the return of The Greatest Day Ever! on July 18. Local undergound music staple Verboten Stage ONE, will be on hand recreate the Verboten experience in the fresh air for multiple dates this year. The series will also feature six free shows in partnership with Brooklyn Flea, providing you with equal opportunities to rock and and rock some newly-purchased vintage threads.

Best part? There’s so much more to be announced. Stay on top of all the programming at Brooklyn Live this summer at its home on the web.