Articles by

<Jennifer Mills>

07/16/14 3:45pm

SummerScreen, we're so hot right now.

SummerScreen returns at sundown tonight for a screening of Zoolander in McCarren Park! It may be rainy this morning, but the weather is scheduled to clear up and, you know, “Moisture is the essence of wetness, and wetness is the essence of beauty.” So come out for a beautiful night of music, food, drinks, and plenty of Blue Steel.


Make sure to turn up early for live music courtesy of Princess Nokia and Ratking, starting at 6:30 PM. While you’re waiting make sure to explore the treats from our crew of local food vendors: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).

Also, 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, an even more charitable cause than Derek Zoolander Center For Kids Who Can’t Read Good And Wanna Learn To Do Other Stuff Good Too.

As always, we’ll be on hand at the entrance to McCarren on North 12th between Bedford and Berry. Gates open at 6 PM, music at 6:30 PM and the film begins at sundown! We’ll see you tonight!

08/20/12 12:08pm


Walking into Adam Green’s Houseface exhibit (through August 25) is like walking into a Chuck-E-Cheese designed by Piet Modrian—a Chuck-E-Cheese with Macaulay Culkin and a bunch of indie rock stars splashing around in the ball-pit. And while we’re at it, replace those rubber balls with PBR cans (all of which were BYOB).

The whitewashed walls of the Bowery gallery The Hole were thickly furnished with the bright, cubed paintings by Green, most famous as the lackadaisical troubadour half of the Moldy Peaches. But over the last few years, Green has directed his strange brand of folksy man-child swagger to visual art. His first New York show, Teen Tech, opened in 2010 at the Morrison Hotel and featured neon renderings of mutant ninja turtles and papier-mâché monuments to Garfield. “I was pretty early with the whole neon trip,” the artist joked when asked about Houseface’s more primary-color palette. “It’s everywhere now.” More recently, Green launched Cartoon & Complaint, a show at Dustin Yellin’s Red Hook space The Intercourse, which featured warped, mutant-ified renderings of Elmo, Big Bird and Green’s favorite muse, Garfield.

Inspired by these subjects (and by Mondrian and the scandinavian De Stijl art movement), Green began breaking down the characters into cubic elements and painting imaginary buildings, with building blocks made of Big Bird’s tongue or Garfield’s hooded eyes. Green’s architectural vision is a combination of high and low aesthetics; while reminiscent of Gaudi, he gestures to a painting of a Garfield monolith and says “this one was inspired by the projects.” Although the show features several constructions, including a mammoth totem pole of Big Bird, Green shrugs off the suggestion that he actually try his hand at collaborating on a real building. “I only really came up with the concept in the last six weeks,” he says.

While the sheer amount of work from those six weeks is impressive, it may be that self-inflicted time constraint that’s responsible for the show’s biggest drawback—repetitiveness. Although it’s hard not to be endeared by the bright colors and the coy cultural references, some of the pieces that feature larger color-blocking pale in comparison to the tighter Tetris-style paintings. Some of the former group make it feel like Green was striving to fill the gallery to the gills, overwhelm the viewer in an effort to charm—which is a little ironic, since the exhibit is Green’s take on minimalist titan Mondrian. And that scale makes the Mondrian and Gaudi references so glaring that they verge on feeling reductive.

I was only half joking when asking Green about going into architecture; he might fare very well as an installation artist. Teen Tech had featured some design elements like Garfield wallpaper, and Houseface also came furnished. People peeked inside a painted armoire, crawled into a painted cloth teepee. “I wanted it to be a more interactive space,” Green said as he sat on one of several painted crates that guests had been loafing on all night. The crates resembled dice for some larger-than-life board game.

One of the most popular parts of the show were the set pieces that Green had designed for his 2011 film The Wrong Ferrari, which included a fake game show set and the aforementioned teepee. The film, starring Macaulay Culkin and a fleet of other recognizable faces (including Devendra Banhart and Alia Shawkat), was released last year for free online, and was projected in the gallery’s back room. It’s a jarring experience, full of faux-profound non sequiturs like “video game characters make bad husbands.” Based on Green’s ketamine-fueled fear of turning 30, it’s worth a look if you’re a fan of hyper-referential self-aware absurdism. Or if you’re on a lot of animal tranquilizers. Green said the film was appropriate in the gallery setting, but ideally “I would like it as a midnight movie.” Take note, art-house programmers.

For the rest of you, jump into the ball-pit.

08/08/12 11:55am


NurtureArt’s summer exhibition, Is This Free?… has been building itself over the last couple months, but less publicized has been the exhibition’s tandem education program: The Lawn School. Curators Megan Snowe and Rachel Steinberg have curated a program of free classes taught in NYC parks on Thursday nights throughout July and August. You can check out the full schedule on their website, or head over the East Village Cultural District at 7p.m. for a class on public art, or to Tompkins Square Park for Matej Vakula’s class on Manuals for Public Space. I caught up with Megan and Rachel of them at NurtureArt headquarters in Bushwick to talk about free education, social agendas, and body rolls (naturally).

Talk a little bit about how Lawn School got started. Who came up with the idea for getting the lawn school started and getting these programs put together?

RS: Well it started off with Megan’s idea. We’re also both organizers with Trade School [a seasonal gathering for free workshops and classes] as well. Once you get in the world, it just keeps going. You realize that you can take those ideas and just expand upon them, because they’re ever-replicable as long as you have enough people to run them. It was Megan’s idea to start with to do a summer, lawn program. Just being outside in public spaces and just continuing the teaching aspect but have it be a little bit more fun and relaxing.

What effect do you think being outside has on the classes? Does it make them more interactive?

MS: There are challenges: noise, making sure people can find it, because you can’t really comfortably have more than fifteen or twenty people in a class. Not necessarily because of permits, but because you can’t really understand what people are saying. So that’s been a bit of a challenge I think. But at the same time, we were hoping to encourage people who just happen upon it to join. And I think the last class was…

RS: It was very telling. It was the Obamacare one. You think if you put up a couple signs, that say “Lawn School” or whatever, that people will be responsive, but I feel like that’s also a bigger issue of it being a small, intimate group, and people have to feel like they are welcome and they’re invited. I think we tried successfully to make it very open and to let every who came across who was interested to let them know that it was open to them. I think that is something that we are constantly going to evolve with as it goes on.

The people teaching the classes, those are pretty open-source it seems. Is it mostly people sending in ideas?

MS: Well it’s about half and half, about one class every week is one that we talked to the teachers beforehand, and kind of said “Hey, we want you to teach a class on this, would you do it?”

RS: Cause we thought, they have experience in something that’s amusing, or they’re just a fascinating person and we’d be pleased to listen to anything that they’d want to talk about. You think that what they do would translate to public space, and even discussing that subject in a public space and interacting in that context would be a really interesting experience. But now we’re getting a lot more proposals, even more than we actually have space for, cause we’re like “Oh man, its only one day a week!” We’re always like, “Well, if you’re really interested, we’ll just continue into September.” Because we can keep it going longer.

So how are you relating the Lawn School to the larger Is This Free?… summer exhibition? Is it approaching education in the same way that the exhibition is approaching art?

RS: I think so, they’re very related when you look at it like that, but it is also tangentially related, we just wanted to create this whole world of things with the education and the materials so you can experience it in all forms if you wanted to. But it was a project that developed with and separate from the exhibition.

MS: We had several conversations about even about the website. Like how do we want to connect this to the NurtureArt website — and do we need this other website at all. And is it a NurtureArt program or is it separate?

RS: And ultimately we decided that it’s not a NurtureArt program, and this can continue into the future as it’s own thing. We see it as a separate entity that is working concurrently with the exhibition. It was born out of the same idea in a sense.

In addition to Lawn School and Is This Free?…, you are running Can I Take This? Can you talk a little about what get puts in there and how it relates to the other parts of the exhibition?

MS: I have on the roster everything from texts that the three of us have been reading, books that we used to form the show.

RS: This has been a very heavily researched project this summer. Been going since January. These are some of the books. This is one of the big ones: What we Want is Free. It’s about artists who make artwork that is free or otherwise an act of generosity.

MS: And then texts from Yoko Ono. And then there are reproductions of historic texts. We’ve been fortunate enough to borrow original material from Printed Matter. And then new releases, that I’m not going to give away. There will be a publication launched in the last iteration so very fresh, fresh stuff.

Which classes are you looking forward to the most?

RS: The ones that I’m looking forward to the most, I’m actually not going to be in town that week and I’m really upset about it, I’m really looking forward to Ed Woodham and Amy Whitaker’s classes. Ed Woodham is teaching “Strange Makings.” And Amy Whitaker’s “So Valuable it’s Free,” and she’s been involved in the show as well, so it’s a cross pollination between Is This Free and Lawn School, and she’s just considering different value systems.

MS: I am actually really excited about the Kite class, we’re gonna learn how to build kites and how to actually fly them right. And it’s Whitney Richardson and Lee Dares, they’ve formed this kite collective. They’re such lovely ladies and they love what they do, they’re passionate about making kites and making the simplest ones and making sure you understand. And the same night, actually my dad is teaching a class. I asked him to just teach something he was interested in and he’s going to teach a class on consensus decision making which I think is going to be fascinating. He comes from a Quaker background — and all their decisions have to be made by consensus, and he also works for Haverford College’s Center for Peace and Global Citizenship, so he’ll be informed by multiple communities that operate on consensus. And the third one Viva’s Body Roll which is a nineties workout with neon spandex and everything. Viva Bodyroll is going to teach a class in Tompkin’s Square Park, and it is going to be so hot. Viva and her “Get Sweat” crew taught some of the moves at the Trade School fundraiser dance.

RS: She got on stage and did this impromptu body roll session, it was amazing.

MS: Boys, girls, everyone was doing it.

Physical Education is very important.

RS: Especially if you get creative about it.

MS: And nineties about it.

07/13/12 9:50am

Some things no one wanted to smell

  • Some things no one wanted to smell

A very patient Chinese shopgirl is staring at me. I can tell she wants to say something, but since she’s not really sure what the hell me and the small Brazilian woman next to me are doing, she stays quiet. My companion, artist Josely Carvalho, picks up a bowl of dried cod flakes and pushes them up toward my nostrils. She says, hopefully, “Really smell it. They dry these out themselves. What does that make you think of?”

The link between memory and smell is the focus of “7 through The Nose,” a “smell walk” of New York City. And not just any neighborhood. After meeting up in Midtown, our small group (each tour holds 10) was whisked all the way out to Flushing. One of the women in our group, in a white linen top and artsy turquoise necklace, kept muttering “How exciting!” on our overcrowded (and decidedly unexcited) 7 train.

Carvalho’s tour is a part of her “Diary of Smells” project, as well as part of the third season of city walks from Todd Shalom’s Elastic City collective. Shalom came up with the idea for artist-led tours while suffering from altitude sickness on a trip to Cusco, Peru. He applies a lot of theatrical jargon to his work, holding “rehearsals” for his artist/guides, and referring to our unplanned route as “improvisation.” The company presents a series of round-the-world walking tours led by artists. Previous walks have taken place in Paris, Sao Paolo, and Reykjavik.

The pungent Flushing is certainly appropriate for a smell walk. Carvalho led the group around, occasionally stopping to sniff doorknobs, food carts, telephones, and mailboxes, which smell like wet pennies. (Not recommended.) As we left, Carvalho ran around a food cart with skinny kabobs packed onto the grill. (The scent of Flushing’s food offerings proved too tempting for some of the group; we lost some to the aroma of the dumpling house. Fortuitous remaining members treated ourselves to an expansive Malaysian group-dinner afterward.)

We stopped into a pet store and discovered that fish tanks don’t really have a scent. Then, while sniffing the cage of a precocious cockatiel, I stopped to tell everyone about my budgie from when I was 10: his name was Coolio, and he used to bob his head to rap music and hide in the lamp hanging above our staircase. My monologue was the sort of thing Carvalho wanted to provoke; the tour was meant to make us explore our old memories, evoked through olfaction. “This is a meditation on the awareness of place and smell!” she said, bending to inhale a grocer’s trough of peaches. Sniffing a bonsai in a florist’s shop brought up memories of moving apartments in the middle of the summer. It’s not that any of the smells are particularly new; I mean, we all know what peaches smell like. It’s more about the memory of the last time you had a peach, the time, the day, whether it was ripe, who else was there.

Throughout the tour we were prodded to write down smells that we liked, to recount “smell memories” for the tour’s unofficial videographer, and to gather one particular scent into a smell flask provided for us in a gift bag at the beginning of the tour. Ever the procrastinator, I waited till we were at dinner and ripped out a few strips from the back page of my summer reading and funneled them down the bottle’s neck. Jean-Paul Sarte’s Nausea smells like existentialism and my hand lotion. Another woman passed around her bottle after dinner to be breathed in, and labeled it “The scent of 8 people’s breath after Malaysian food.”

“I don’t think anyone is going to enjoy that one very much,” she said.

The last scheduled session of “7 Through the Nose,” a must-attend for those who’ve never experienced the unique fragrance of Flushing, is Saturday. If you miss the walks, you can also check out Carvalho’s website for pictures and stories from her smell walk and other “Smell Diaries” stories.

06/28/12 12:22pm


The 12th annual Bicycle Film Festival opens up this weekend, and this year promises to be one of the best and most New York-centric yet. The festival features several films made right here in Brooklyn, including opening night short “Candy Rides,” which stars Jason Grisell, frontman of local electro-pop band Bubbles, and also features the requisite biking-the-Williamsburg-Bridge scene. There’s also “Brooklyn Rides,” a film which follows a group of Puerto Ricans attempting to win “Monster Track” in NYC, one of the hardest “alleycats” (underground bicycle races) in the world.

“Line of Sight,” another film dealing with the daredevil “alleycat” subculture, has been getting some attention for its daring trailer, including some deep-sea bicycling and cycling at gunpoint. Lucas Brunelle’s documentary was shot on helmet cameras and is a combination of over a decade’s worth of such recordings. Some of the daring and violent stunts performed in the trailer have worried some people, but Bicycle Film Festival founder and director Brendt Barbur insists “they’re just fooling around in the movie.” He added that Brunelle has been receiving death threats and that the festival has received many emails asking to remove the film from its roster. But Barbur never considered dropping the film. “I’ve never heard of anyone hurting anyone in an alleycat. The skill level is at the level of anyone dropping out of a helicopter and coming down onto an avalanche.”

Aside from “Line of Sight,” Barbur says that the most controversial film in the festival is a film called “Less Car, More Go,” about “a former bike racer, who rides her kids to school.” The film’s director, Liz Canning is one of several female directors showing at the festival this year. “The cycling world is pretty male-dominated. So is the bicycle film world. But the Bicycle Film Festival is not,” Barbur notes. In addition to Ms. Canning, the festival also features a biography on influential female rider and bike designer Georgina Terry. There’s also “Sister Session,” a documentary about the first women admitted to a large-scale bicycling competition, the legendary “Simple Session” in Estonia. There’s also a strong showing of international filmmakers too, like German director Bjorn Adelmaier, whose short “Im Puls” will be screening on Saturday as part of the “Urban Bike Shorts” Program.

In addition to the films, the festival hosts daily after parties, and the BFF street party on Saturday which features all kinds of New York bikers, from commuters from Williamsburg to BMX riders from the Bronx. This year’s festival will not include its accompanying “Joy Ride” art show, but Barbur admits that it has made the festival more about the filmmakers. “I really want to uplift people like Lucas Brunelle. Or Amelia Shaw who works at the Bicycle Film Festival and made a movie. I really wanted to focus on the filmmakers and make sure the programming was done well.”

The festival opens up this Friday at Anthology Film Archives, click over to the BFF website for tickets and badges. And don’t worry about locking your bike up, the festival provides complimentary “valet bicycle parking” (which in previous years has been done by Au Revoir Simone’s Annie Hart).

06/14/12 12:44pm


Tonight at Williamsburg’s Brooklyn Brewery, a party called “Best of Brooklyn” will be held in support of The Urban Assembly School for Law and Justice (SLJ), a Title 1 public school with rigorous academic standards and an incredible college acceptance rate. To find out more about SLJ (and the good stuff happening at the fundraiser), we talked to Executive director of the foundation (and “recovering lawyer”), Jennifer Wohl and Junior Board Member, Joe Keohane.

What foundation supports SLJ?

Jennifer Wohl: It’s called the Adams Street foundation. The school is called the Urban Assembly for Law and Justice. It’s a public school. A public high school, unscreened, which means you don’t have to take a test to get into it. We’re a Title 1 school too, so it’s all low income. So, all of the money we get from the Department of Education goes towards educating these kids. And since we can’t draw from the community in terms of fundraising for enrichment or college preparation, application preparation and stuff like that. The foundation is there to raise money just for the school.

Joe Keohane: Why can you not raise money from the public?

JW: No, I can raise from anyone. I can take anyone’s money. Get that?

JK: Which is a pretty rare thing for any public school.

JW: Exactly, they’re going to Ghana and a bunch of other places—and community service work and the other portion of it is—we pay for the staff and for the money to allow these kids the opportunities but we partner with other institutions and then for the college and career office. Most of these kids are the first generation in their families to ever go to college or even graduate high school, and we have about a 93 percent graduation rate; of that, all of them get into college, but about 90 percent go, which is really remarkable. We’re only eight years old, this school, so we’re very small and young. We staff and fund a lot of the application processes, we set up the interviews, help the kids with their essays to the financial aid applications. So in addition to getting into school, most of them have little to no loans, which is remarkable.

(To Joe Keohane) You’re a journalist by trade. Can you tell me exactly how you got involved?

JK: Jen’s predecessor was a guy named Joe Pinto, who was one of the founders of the Adams Street foundation, and he’s an old buddy of mine. When he started over there, he helped found our whole organization and wrote me in to do some cool things near the end of every term, where the kids have their final projects. Basically what that means is we would sit down with a group of about five kids, and sometimes with their parents, and the kids talk you through their final projects. Sort of like a thesis kind of a deal.

JW: Yeah, it’s like a portfolio.

JK: Basically they present it to you and you give them feedback, and you can sort of be aggressive with it; the academic standard of schoolwork is extremely high. And the kids are expected to not only be able to do the work, but to defend it afterwards, and be quick on their feet and generally very sharp and articulate. So when you go through the process with these kids, they’ll make a point and if the point doesn’t make sense, you can shoot the point down, and their basically expected to come back with it, strengthen it, and to come up with a clearer way of putting it, which seems to be a part of the ethos of the whole place.

So you started out helping out with the school on these final projects. Why are you now on the junior board of directors?

JK: I’m sort of a policy nerd in certain ways like education theory and education policy and city planning and stuff like that, it all kind of ties together. So I was definitely intrigued by the idea. But again I was really impressed by the kids and I have to admit that a good deal of it was my good friend who has deep convictions and really stayed on me about it. Then Joe left and I stayed on, and we basically formed a junior board because the school was really law heavy with the main board, the executive board, it was all lawyers. They wanted to take advantage of some of the people who were associated with the school who worked in different fields.

JW: The junior board is sort of like the farm team for the executive board. So this is the future. But we want to tap into a younger constituency. Our board is older, so there’s a whole group of young people that we want to get involved.

For tonight’s fundraiser, could you give a two-minute rundown?

JK: Basically the philosophy behind the fundraiser is to do small donations, so that the barrier for entry is really low, and we try to throw a really good party. So even if you couldn’t care less about the cause, you’ll still want to go because it will still be worth your time and your money. This year we decided to do it at Brooklyn Brewery, depending on how much you donate, you get an hour of open bar. If you donate a little more, you get a behind the scenes VIP tour. And Brooklyn Brewery just expanded their facilities so you get to see a lot of stuff most people haven’t seen and most will never see and you get access to a special keg of beer which they’re brewing special for this event which no one has ever had before. We have a German brass band called Oompah, which is going to be really cool. And Baratunde Thurston will be there…

How did he get involved?

JK: We’re old friends. I was actually the first person to publish him. He’s going to be doing some emceeing, he’s not going to read, but he is a stand-up comic; he does everything. So he’ll do a half an hour of something, stand up or emceeing—he’s really good. So we’ve got Baritunde, and also a ton of food.

JW: A lot. Brooklyn Brewery is pretty much giving us the space free. And we have restaurants who are donating some food, so we’re really hoping to raise a significant amount of money. The levels are Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, Senior, and all of the money is going to next year’s class 2012-13, specifically to their applications.

JK: And Brooklyn Bowl donated free tickets to the Questlove show. Also, there will be four tickets to any Brooklyn Bowl show, regardless of whether it’s sold out or not.

And to enter the raffle?

JK: A few bucks at the door.

The party is called Best of Brooklyn. Are most of your sponsors Brooklyn based? Is it important to keep it kind of local?

JK: We argue about this a little. The appeal to Brooklyn businesses in this, for me, is that there is a measurable connection between quality of education and quality of life in the community. So when you have a place like this that really turns out kids who are going to be successful and contributing members of society, that has an impact on the neighborhood. It’s almost an epidemiological thing where it spreads. Education can stabilize whole communities when its done properly. I’m into that.

If someone misses this fundraiser, how else can they get involved or donate?

JW: They can go to our website and donate. Which is, and go to the Adams Street foundation. We’re always looking for mentors, people who can run clubs, there’re a lot of different sponsored events, like Joe said, we have this event, we have another one called the social justice social, which happens in the fall and is much more focused around the school, students will be there.

JK: It really is a great experience. And it really does renew your faith in American education, at a time when American education is an absolute catastrophe.

Do either of you have a particular favorite success story from the school or some event that was particularly memorable?

JW: I’ve been here for less than a year, but the success story that stands out to me the most is, we have a girl right now who for the last four years has been living in transitional housing, in a shelter, and she just got a full ride to Smith College. And that’s what it’s all about. With all the odds against her, she’s really going to go places. For me that’s really exciting. There are so many things. One kid is graduating and going to City Tech. The prom is tomorrow night, and he lives in a studio apartment with four other people and his family and he supports his family. He’s got a girlfriend and they really want to go to prom. He’s really involved with the school so the teachers pooled their money together and bought him a suit. And he’s very proud, he took a picture of himself; those kind of things, the teachers and people involved in the school are not just committed to the education, really it’s a very personal approach to education. So yes, there are the rigors of education and the principal takes that very seriously, but a lot of these kids need in addition, someone to listen to or someone to talk to.

06/13/12 1:15pm


Northside is proud to announce that this year, as part of our Entrpreneurship conference, we’ve partnered With NYU and NYU-Poly and the Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP) to present “The Startup Campus.” The program is a series of discussions at NYU-Poly’s campus in Downtown Brooklyn, pairing young New York-based innovator’s with some of NYU and NYU-Poly’s top professors. To give us a little more background on the project, we spoke to event organizer and NYU-Poly’s Director of Operations, Melissa Lloyd.

Could you tell me a little bit about how the idea for The Startup Campus came about?
Well this idea came about when Scott Stedman with the Northside Media Group was able to get in touch with both NYU and NYU-Poly and the newly-announced Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP). And with Brooklyn being the hotbed that it is in this entrepreneurial economy that it would be really pertinent to bring together these institutions to be able to activate a Startup Campus as a part of the Northside Festival, it’s Entrepreneurship branch. We were all excited immediately and so we went about trying to get some of the leading academic minds that we have at our respective institutions paired up with the leaders in industry and some of the startups that we’ve seen really disrupt and do some very positive industry in New York City.

This is the first big joint venture between NYU and NYU-Poly and Center for Urban Science and Progress?
It’s actually not our first big venture together. We have a lot going on academically but what we’re really excited about is that this is one of the first festivals that we’ve been able to pair with in Brooklyn. And so its a very visible way to talk about what’s going on in our hallways. Which is a great collaboration between these top minds in industry and incubators and startups and we get to see the benefit of that every day in our hallways and the research that comes out of our respective institutions. And we’re excited that New York and the audience for Northside is going to be able to benefit from basically everything we get to see in our hallways every day.

Can you give us a a rundown of events for The Startup Campus?
So we’re starting at 1 p.m. We’re starting with “The New Makers of Things” really talking about – First of all I think it’s going to be lots of fun that it’s going to be at the Dekalb Market, which is our neighbor. Great interesting place adjacent to our campus, which is basically a fun pop-up startup type of environment. We have Kurt Becker Whose our Associate Provost here for research and technology initiatives and he’s meeting up with the co-founder of ThinkEco, and the section manager for Con Edison. And what I think is really intriguing about that is essentially Con Edison is using the ingenuity of a startup basically to meet customer demands. So you’re basically talking about that intersection of scaling an economy for a startup, but also using their innovation to meet larger demands, using clean energy and meeting customer demand. I think that’s one of the products that you’re really going to see changing the game about how new products get into the market. And its really intriguing for those trying to start their new business for how can they pair with really an established company.

Right after that at 2pm, moving back to Poly campus at Metrotech-5 to Pfizer auditorium, we have a really intriguing event with new media, it’s something that I’ve worked in quite a bit, called the “Shifting Nature of Curation in Media.” In the media industry that’s looking to find a balance between links to print journalism versus the promise of digital publishers, that were kind of born online, these native digital publishers. Really we’re looking at how are we going to help satisfy the public and also get quality information to them. Whose business model is working and how it works and that debate of the media organizations having to find their world in this brave new world. We have Buzzfeed coming, we have Crain’s NY coming, we have an Eyebeam Fellow coming, so we really have this interesting viewpoint on changing the game.

At 3 p.m. also back in the Pfizer Auditorium, we’re going to be talking about “The Gamification of Everything.” That’s something that’s really hot at Poly we have one of the great places in the country, the game center here at Poly, so we have Jesper Juul, visiting arts professor from NYU and Dan Porter, CEO of OMGPop and Nick Fortugno of Playmatics and they’re going to be coming together and talking about how you can turn when you show up at the library into a game, you can turn your credit card reward points into a game, how is that really affecting the game industry and where does it feel comfortable playing a part in that, or are they?

At 4 p.m., I’m really excited because we get to welcome Fred Wilson, whose a founding member of Union Square Ventures and Frank Rimalovski, whose Managing Director of NYU Innovation Venture Fund. And that’s here again at Pfizer Auditorium in Metrotech-5. And they’re having a conversation about the intersection of academic institutions and startup economies, which I think is going to make for really intriguing discussion. We’re here and we’re kind of these traditional institutions, but we’re being major activators about how people are getting funding, connecting people. Frank manages the Innovation Venture Fund and Fred Wilson is of course a fascinating blogger in the area, and I think they’re going to have a very fascinating conversation about what that means.

And then 5 p.m. we’re going to head back over to the Dekalb Market to wind up the day, with Jeffrey Rabhan, Recorded Music at the Clive Davis Institute, Vlad Vukicevic, the Co-founder of Rocket Hub and Josh Deutsch, Chairman, CEO, and Co-founder of Downtown Music and really they’re going to be debating what is the music industry supposed to look like now. We have completely different players, we have completely different ways of funding musicians as opposed to the old way of doing things.

Make sure to check out the full schedule for The Startup Campus (and the rest of Northside Entrpreneurship) here.

04/09/12 12:02pm


A tiny upstairs gallery seems like a funny place to host an exhibition on parks and public spaces. But that was the setting for last week’s opening of Brooklyn Utopia’s Park Space/Play Space. The reception took place at the Old Stone House in J.J Byrne Park, on the Park Slope-Gowanus border.

The exhibit, Brooklyn Utopia’s third at The Old Stone House, features works that are “visioning for parks and public space,” said Kimberly Maier, the House’s executive director. The upstairs gallery featured works such as Marina Zamin’s immersive video installation “Brooklyn Canals” and an animation by Jess Levey projected onto a canvas with cutout flower pots and windows. There were also panoramic photo-murals of a few blocks on Kent Avenue, as well as picture-postcards and descriptions of eminent domain cases across the city.

Some of the other works in the exhibit merge public space with technology. Lynn Cazabon’s “Uncultivated” project displays pictures of plants with QR codes beneath them. When someone scans the code, they are directed to a website which pinpoints the location of the plants and gives their species. Then there is Skymills, an app which calls on the Old Stone House’s Dutch legacy and erects virtual windmills that can be viewed through an iPad or iPhone. The mills also create virtual skywriting, which Will Pappenheimer was busy collecting from attendees. Holding the stand of his iPad like a handle, Pappenheimer spun around showing off all the windmills, noting that if you walk into the location of one you can look up at the windmill’s ceiling. He envisions the app as a virtual public space where users plant trees or write virtual messages that all users can see. “You really are a utopian,” a listener remarked. “Yeah!” Pappenheimer said.


Pappenheimer will be conducting an “Augmented Reality Workshop” on May 19th, part of the exhibition’s extensive events program. One of the most promising of these is April 28’s bootcamp and exhibition game of “Circle Rules Football,” a game played with one of those bouncy exercise balls. Basically the tenants of the game are that you can do anything with the ball (kicking, dribbling, passing) as long as you don’t run while holding it. There is one goal in the center and the job of the two goalies there is basically to stop the other from doing their job. There will also be a large dodgeball game nicknamed “The Battle of Brooklyn.”

More docile events include a collective sky-gazing night, and later in the exhibition a “collective wedding ceremony” with artist Tracy Candido. There will also be eminent domain biking tours from Park Slope to Coney Island, and a public mural making workshop. The exhibit also coincides with the opening of a new playground in the park. Although the playground doesn’t open till May 11, it will feature some of the virtues of the exhibit, combining art with public space with a submarine-inspired design by artist Julie Peppito and 3D images seen through periscope goggles.

04/04/12 11:31am


Too often people are rewarded for being exceptional, for being good at things. That’s why every year people look forward to the Lyttle Lytton Contest, basically the Darwin Awards of literature, to reward the exceptionally bad. The decade-old contest searches annually for the “most atrocious opening line to a novel.” The passage can be original or quoted (as long as you name the source). The only requirement is that the entry is 25 words or less, and “brevity” is key.

Last year’s winner was this gem from Judy Dean: “The red hot sun rose in the cold blue sky.” Not cringing yet? Here’s my personal favorite from Aurelio Ramos: “When my homie pulled out his gat, the first thing I said was, ‘That is very tight!’”

You get the idea. (If not check out the winners and honorable mentions from every year on the contest’s website). If you want to try your luck, make sure to enter by April 15th. I’ve taken it upon myself to come up with a couple entries (one for each of the most popular genres). Here goes:

“She was a classy dame, the kind of dame that blew her nose with a handkerchief instead of a kleenex.”

“Captain Biff lit the Gafarian battlefields with his phaser, the ground covered in twisted tentacles and viscous green blood. They would rebel no more.”

“The dank, lingering smell of sweat and passion clung to the curtains of Jane’s bedroom as she rolled over to slide on her zumba pants.”

“Devawnda held the gun against Tyreke’s cheek. ‘From now on I work standing up, not on my back.’”

Douche (Not sure what else to call it):
“Jones had an icy stare that melted the heated tension in the interrogation room.”