Articles by

<Stephanie Fisher>

07/15/10 3:36pm


On Tuesday, NPR’s All Things Considered featured a four and half minute review of M.I.A.’s new album, ///Y/. The review included a few sound bites from the album, such as the gunning of a chainsaw from “Steppin’ Up.” Chainsaws in any context are jarring, but on NPR, the sound bite seemed particularly raucous. The review was not in any way surprising: critical, but not undeservingly so. Rather, it was the following day’s listener responses (and their jabs at M.I.A.’s acronym) that were lol-worthy when read on the air during a segment called “Letters.” Here’s what one listener from Louisiana had to say:

“I had just arrived at home after work and was casually listening to NPR while relaxing. Suddenly, I heard what sounded like an explosion on the air. I turned it up thinking it must’ve been a terrible train wreck or something. Well, apparently it was someone reviewing M.I.A., which I can only assume stands for my insane album.”

Others (myself included) might describe ///Y/ as a “terrible train wreck,” but “My Insane Album” is a particularly noteworthy jab at the Sri-Lankan’s latest efforts. The Louisianan takes a second guess at the meaning of M.I.A. suggesting “Music Is Absent,” which isn’t funny UNLESS YOU ARE AN OLD PERSON. But still, hats off to you, disgruntled NPRer.

07/08/10 12:32pm

velvet revolution

  • Let them eat ice cream.

When you eat ice cream, do you find yourself wondering if you’re doing enough to aid humanity? Do you find yourself hankering for a side of non-profit relief with your too-big scoop topped with too many rainbow sprinkles that is probably melting because of this un-godly heat?

Well, breathe easy beneficent gastronome, and allow me to introduce you to Guerilla Ice Cream.

Thanks to this non-profit start-up, you can enjoy an artisanal ice-cream indulgence and fulfill your daily altruism quota, right there at the Hester Street Fair. You see, Guerilla Ice Cream donates all of its profits “to support marginalized populations locally in New York City and internationally,” according to co-founders Ori Zohar and Ethan Frisch.

This summer, the company is working with the Street Vendor Project—a membership-based organization that provides support for street vendors who, if you’ve been paying any attention to the latest Bloomberg-assault-on-the-cooking-utensil-wielding-proletariat, are under attack along with their fellow food truckers.

“But what about the ice cream?!” you ask: great question. All of Guerilla Ice Cream’s flavors (only four official ones for now) take their inspiration from international political movements. Take their Libertação (72% Chocolate and Port Wine) for Guinea Bissau’s fight for independence. The sample I had was like eating a ball of half-melted dark chocolate while drinking a glass of the smoothest port to balance out the bitterness… all of this in a gelato-like ice cream of course, which makes it, like, 100 times more awesome.

I settled on the Red Corridor, a chai masala flavor (origin: India), which came with a topping of candied fennel and sliced almonds. (All of the Guerilla Ice Cream flavors come with a suggestion of two toppings, like brûléed frozen banana.) It tasted like, well, a very strong chai tea—the cardamom definitely makes itself known—but for lovers of the hot, spicy drink, this creamy version is certainly refreshing.

Guerrilla Ice Cream does not have a storefront, but that’s only a part of their DIY charm. For now, you can find them every Saturday at the Hester Street Fair and every Sunday at the Fulton Stall Market near the South Street Seaport, or follow their tweets at the twitter machine for future locations.

06/17/10 2:06pm

diy pickles

Thanks to the Department of Health’s insistence that all food vendors must have a food handling permit, as well as an approved commercial kitchen in which to make the food, the next Greenpoint Food Market (scheduled for June 26) has been canceled. Bah.

I guess it’s not terribly outrageous for the DOH to question the “safety” of the food we’re buying; we want the DOH looking out for our health (that’s their job after all, right?), but in this case it seems to be at the expense of the start-up, DIY concepts we hold dear at the L Magazine (because we are secret libertarians).

In place of the market, the coordinators will be hosting a Think Tank Potluck where vendors, city officials, and other food enthusiasts will brainstorm on how to keep the market running within the DOH’s guidelines. According to the market’s blog, the coordinators acknowledge that the market will inevitably change, moving to a wider audience and having vendors produce their food in a commercial kitchen rather than in their own homes. Yes, it’s awesome that the market isn’t folding completely, but does this signal the end of another great, truly underground institution, a la Market Hotel?

Leanna McCarthy of the jam, preserves, and chutney company Anarchy in a Jar (which, surprisingly, already has its food handler’s certification and works out of a restaurant kitchen) thinks the market will lose its “church bake sale kind of charm”—the market does operate out of a Church’s basement after all. The DIY aesthetic notwithstanding, Leanna thinks that DOH guidelines are necessary and beneficial, especially for larger vendors, but not so much for the, perhaps, NYU student who makes vegan cookies in her kitchen after coming home from her internship at the L Magazine (ahem…).

The Think Tank Potluck is on Saturday, June 26 at 1pm at the Church of Messiah (129 Russell Street between Nassau and Driggs Ave in Greenpoint) and everyone is invited. Bring your pitchforks! And your thinking caps! And your homemade tasty treats!