Articles by

<Catherine Thompson>

02/16/11 4:00am

It seems like everyone in Brooklyn these days is either making something and selling it, teaching other people how to make it, or learning how to make something with plans on selling it. While this boroughwide DIY drive to become more self-sufficient than a frontier tinker can occasionally approach self-parody, we’re just going to go ahead and say “fuck that.” As trends go, self-suffiency is pretty hot. The best way to do something is to do it yourself.

Joel Bukiewicz at Cut Brooklyn

On Saturday afternoons, the Cut Brooklyn workshop in Gowanus is alive with the sound of grinding and sharpening as Joel Bukiewicz crafts his artisanal blades. The knifemaker (or cutler, if you wanna get specific) only sells four models, but every blade is painstakingly hammered and sharpened to perfection. Bukiewicz (who is also a writer) came to his craft several years ago during a period in rural Georgia working on a novel. According to the recent Brooklyn Bread article he wrote on the experience, Bukiewicz found himself poking around in an old shed one day—in the middle of a self-imposed writing ban—when he came across a random steel bar (as one does). Taken with its heft and innate utility, Bukiewicz set to turning it into a knife… and he hasn’t been able to stop since. It now takes Bukiewicz, a one-man crew, as long as 15 hours to shape a knife, so he only produces four to six knives per week. But it’s more than worth the wait for such a perfectly balanced, finely cut tool. (Bukiewicz’s story has inspired us to stop writing and focus on scrimshaw.)

11/19/10 3:44pm

Last night culture buffs congregated at the New York City Opera for the L Mag’s second Act 4 event, featuring kick-ass indie pop musicians Active Child. A ticket to Strauss’ Intermezzo gave opera-goers access to our all-expenses-paid after party — that’s right, free booze, free concert.

Though the angelic vocals and delicate harp-strumming of these former choir boys are more Strauss’ style, Active Child’s 80’s synths turned the theater into a hopping after-hours spot. Partygoers enjoyed free cocktails as they lounged, shmoozed, and jammed out to some awesome harp-rock.

Unfortunately for you, this was the last Act 4 event of the decade. So if you missed this year’s events and love freebies (you already know we do), be sure to mark your calendars for March 24th, 2011, when the third installment will feature Donizetti’s The Elixir of Love followed by a special guest performance.

09/24/10 3:18pm

eric schmidt

Google CEO Eric Schmidt is having one hell of a week—The Colbert Report on Tuesday, an interview with Charlie Rose yesterday. He may have already dropped some unforgettable lines, but this week Schmidt really cemented himself in the canon of nerdy, quote-worthy CEO’s of the Internet era with statements like this:

There’s such an overwhelming amount of information now, we can search where you are, see what you’re looking at if you take a picture with your camera. One way to think about this is, we’re trying to make people better people, literally give them better ideas—augmenting their experience. Think of it as augmented humanity.

In the same Wall Street Journal article in which Schmidt predicted a future where adults will change their names to escape the drunken-Facebook-picture-follies of their youth, he articulated his vision for mobile devices that can aggregate search terms and personal information to furnish you with random facts you “didn’t know you wanted to know.”

Because using artificial intelligence to remind me that I’m out of milk on my run to the bodega really ‘augments’ the human experience. The rather unsettling thought of technology using search data and GPS to predict your very next footstep prompted Colbert to ask: “At what point will Google’s algorithm become self-aware and turn on its masters?”

So at best, Schmidt aspires to be an omnipotent demigod with knowledge of our most visited sites, our address books, and our grocery lists; at worst, he’s working toward a future where our cell phones are tied to our brains. Schmidt might just be running away from himself, though: in response to Colbert, he said “Hopefully not in our lifetimes.” Let’s hope the cyborgs get him first, then.