Articles by

<Nikita Richardson>

04/04/14 10:00am

The Rundown

  • A new exhibit in LIC will commemorate the iconic 5 Pointz site.

This week 5 Pointz is memorialized with a new gallery show, we celebrate furry friends (both dead and living) and the grilled cheese floweth. Here are our must-do and must-see events for the week:


Flea Outdoors (Free) – April 5, 11-6 p.m.

Spotting a robin may be the first sign of Spring in the rest of the country, but for Brooklyn, it’s the day that Smorgasburg returns to East River Park (90 Kent Ave. at N. 7th St.). This Saturday, the much-loved food festival is making its outdoor return and bringing all kinds of new goodies with it. With Saturday’s high expected to reach a balmy 54˚F, there’s no reason to miss out.

Calling All Nerds (Free) – April 5, 5 p.m.

We’re definitely living in the Age of the Nerd and the folks at Word Bookstore (126 Franklin St. at Hickory St.) are well-aware of it. This Saturday, they’re hosting A Game of WORDS and inviting local nerds to compete in one of two spelling bees using either words from the fantasy (Swords) or sci-fi (Space) genres. Those wishing to participate can sign up by emailing and those wishing to watch can RSVP on Facebook and just show up.

R.I.P. 5 Pointz (Free) – April 5-June 8

It’s been nearly 5 months since the wonderscape of graffiti at Queens’ 5 Pointz was unceremoniously painted white, but the effects of the incident continue to reverberate throughout the city’s underground arts community. This Saturday, Long Island City’s Jeffrey Leder Gallery (2137 45th Rd. nr 21st St.) will open a new show entitled WHITEWASH, featuring the reactive art of 9 graffiti artists and 2 photographers following the destruction of the iconic site they held so dear. The show will be on view every weekend from 12-6 p.m. through June 8.

Catlady Appreciation Night ($85) – April 5, 7-11 p.m.

There’s not much we know about cats, but we do know that they invented the Internet and that certain ladies have an affinity for their companionship. In recognition of that fact, the Brooklyn Craft Company (61 Greenpoint Ave. nr. Franklin St.) is hosting an epic Catlady Craft Night. For $85, cat ladies (of either gender, we’re guessing) are invited to take part in cat-themed crafting while enjoying drinks, snacks, cat party favors, music and “a few surprises!” On top of that, attendees are encouraged to participate in a raffle to benefit Brooklyn Animal Action, an “all-volunteer, no-kill” organization that rescues and helps all our furry friends. Tickets for the event can be purchased online.

Calling All Nerds Pt. 2 ($12-15) – April 6, 7 p.m.

If the strange and weird are more your speed, head over to the Bell House (149 7th St. nr. 2nd Ave.) for a gathering of the Secret Science Club. This month’s meeting is all about taxidermy and enthusiasts are encouraged to bring “taxidermy (bought, found, homemade), biological specimens, articulated skeletons and skulls, jarred specimens—and beyond (way beyond)” for a Carnivorous Nights Taxidermy Contest. Winners will get prizes and all the glory stuffed dead animal enthusiasts could ever want. Enter by emailing Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door. All attendees must be 21 and over.

03/28/14 10:00am

The Rundown

  • Tim Roney/Getty Images
  • Tonight, Union Hall will celebrate the best of hip-hop/R&B with a 90s-centric blowout.

This week, we laugh—A LOT—, sample the wares of the craft distilleries and take in art in all its forms. Here are our must-do and must-see events for the week:


An Evening Of Comedy (Free) – March 28, 9 p.m.

Tonight, Pine Box Rock Shop (12 Grattan St. nr. Bogart St.) will host an “episode” of Late Night Basement with Chris Rose, which brings some very big names to Bushwick. Guests include Gary Shteyngart, author of the critically-lauded memoir Little Failure; twin comedians the Lucas Bros, who will discuss their new show on Fox; comedian Nick Turner, who will do stand-up; musician Sarah Dooley and many others. Afterwards, we imagine there will be much dancing courtesy of DJ Treatz. Admission to the event event, which will include plenty of laughs, is first come, first serve.

Bass-Heavy Singalong ($8) – March 28, 9:30 p.m.

Wish you were a little bit taller? Wish you were a baller? Wish you had a girl who looked good, you would call her? If so, we suggest going to Union Hall (702 Union Street at Fifth Ave.) tonight. The venue will host a hip-hop/R&B singalong featuring the sweet stylings of the 90’s best rap/hip-hop acts. Attendees are invited to participate in a 90s costume contest or a dance-off (winners will get free drinks and tickets to shows at Bell House or Union Hall) or, if you’d rather not, you can just sip on rap-themed cocktails and just take it all in. Whatever you choose to do, be there at 9:30 p.m. when doors open.

Robots Vs. The King of Pop (Free) – March 28, 10 p.m.

Those of you looking to work up a very serious sweat can head over to Bell House (149 7th St. nr. Second Ave.) tonight for another chapter in their epic Head On DJ series. DJs Brian Blackout and Spoolwork will pit Daft Punk tracks against Michael Jackson cuts, respectively, and no matter who wins—we all win. The event begins at 10 p.m. and the face-off kicks off at midnight.

Liquored-Up ($95-165) – March 29, 12-4 p.m. or 6-10 p.m.

If you’d rather conserve your energy for a truly epic Saturday, then we recommend checking out the NYC Craft Distillers’ Festival at The Bowery Hotel (335 Bowery at Great Jones St.). The two-session festival will feature every kind of handcrafted liquor you can imagine including moonshine from Tennessee, Mexican mezcal and choice booze from upstate distilleries. General/early VIP admission tickets will set you back $95/$150 (Session 1) or $100/$165 (Session 2). All tickets can be purchased online.

New Gallery Alert! (Free) – March 29, 6:30 p.m.

If there’s one rule in New York City, it’s that you can never have enough galleries. This weekend, Greenpoint will become home to Succulent Studios (67 West St. nr. Noble St.), a new, massive gallery and events space. The gallery is committed to street art and will showcase a dozen artists at this weekend’s balloon-themed grand opening. And there will be a lot of free beer courtesy of Brooklyn Brewery. How can you say ‘no’ to that?

If you know of a fun event you think we’d be interested in, send an email to

03/27/14 10:58am

sad remix pharrell happy

  • Goosebumps Never Lie

Since most people over the age of 14 didn’t see Despicable Me 2, Pharrell’s song “Happy” kind of flew under the radar for while, but now it’s a veritable cultural phenomenon (and really feeds into the somewhat harmful American obsession with happiness, but that’s another conversation for another day). It was the official theme song for the International Day of Happiness, Pharrell performed it at the Academy Awards, famously convincing Meryl Streep, Lupita N’yongo and Amy Adams to get down, and at this point there are dozens of remixes and tribute videos. It’s the “Fuck You” of late 2013/early 2014.


Over the past few weeks, a couple of remixes and covers have popped up (including one by the recently “consciously uncoupled” Gwyneth Paltrow on Glee), but most of them have stuck with the song’s original intent—to make people happy.

Well, that’s no longer the case: French musician and director Yoann Lemoine, a.k.a. Woodkid, has taken it upon himself to turn “Happy” into something that is incredibly sad.

A little background on Lemoine: he made quite the name for himself in 2011/2012 as the director of music videos for big names like Lana Del Rey, Drake and Katy Perry and he even put together his own seriously epic video for his first single, “Iron,” which is a favorite of mine. He’s generally known for making things as dramatic and heartbreaking as possible. That’s just his thing.

He’s done the same with “Happy,” robbing it of its effervescence and instead weighing it down with strings, piano and minor chords. The results are accordingly jarring and heartwrenching, but anyone who’s listened to the song a thousand times would be hardpressed to completely forget the original version.

As always, happiness finds a way. Listen to the full song below:

03/21/14 10:00am

The Rundown

  • This week, a Swedish children’s theater will stage an adaptation of Charlie Chaplin’s silent film, The Kid at BAM.

This week you can get your bike repaired in time for spring (while looking exceptionally good doing it) and learn all about the dramatic history of chocolate. Here are our must-do and must-see events for the week:


One For The Kiddies (Free) – March 22, 1-4 p.m.

Last month, we shared the news that a School of Rock branch was opening in Gowanus. Well, the day has finally come. This Saturday, the new School of Rock (327 Douglass St. nr. 4th Ave.) will host an open house for parents and children alike featuring live performances, jam sessions, trial classes and, of course, plenty of refreshments. Families can RSVP by emailing

For The Sharply Dressed Man (Free) – March 22-23, 11-7 p.m.

Here’s another one from our archives: This weekend, the folks at Northern Grade are teaming up with GQ to bring a pop-up menswear-centric market to Dumbo’s Powerhouse Arena (37 Main St. nr. Water St.). Attendees will be able to purchase beautiful items from American menswear companies, including Brooklyn’s Pierrepont Hicks and Left Field NYC. And ladies, you’re more than welcome to attend, too. The event will have food from Vinegar Hill, booze and music to enjoy. And who knows, maybe you’ll find some menswear that you can pull off better than the guy you’re with.

One For The Kiddies, Pt. 2 ($12) – March 23-30, various times

This Sunday, feel free to bring your little ones (ages 7 and up) to BAM Fisher (321 Ashland Pl. nr. Lafayette Ave.) for the U.S. premiere of Charlie’s Kids, an award-winning play by Swedish children’s company, Pantomimteatern, based on one of Charlie Chaplin’s most enduring works, The Kid. This adaption of the silent film “blends classic theater techniques with technological innovation, using mime, half-mask, music, film projection, and an inventive set” and introduces children to the wonders of physical comedy. Tickets can be purchased online.

Bike Tune-Up (Free) – March 23, 2-6 p.m.

This Sunday, Greenpoint’s Diamond Bar (43 Franklin St. at Calyer St.) and environmental group TIME’S UP will host a FREE bike repair shop for those looking to get their neglected bikes back into tip-top shape. The workshop will include tools, bike stands, a parts washing station and on-site bike mechanics to help more clueless attendees out. While you’re there, feel free to drink up: all bar proceeds will directly benefit TIME’S UP in their efforts to “promote a more sustainable, less toxic city.”

The Sweet Goodbye ($10) – March 23, 5 p.m.

As many of you know, Park Slope bakery Trois Pommes Patisserie (260 5th Ave. nr. Carroll St.) is closing its doors this Sunday, but they’re not going quietly. This Sunday, the bakery will host an epic goodbye party. Ten dollars will you get you “booze, food and all the baked goods you can grab.” We can’t think of a better way to say farewell.

03/14/14 9:00am

This week, Littlefield hosts a night of Muppet-related trivia.

  • Image: Collider
  • This week, Littlefield hosts a night of Muppet-related trivia.

This week we celebrate our childhoods, celebrate the birthdays of two dance clubs and laugh our a.s.s.-es off. Here are our must-do and must-see events for the week:


Billyburg Bash ($30) – March 14, 10 p.m.

Earlier this week, we shared the news that the party promoters behind Verboten are finally opening their self-titled Williamsburg location (54 N. 11th St. nr. Kent Av.e) tonight. A massive party will take place in the 10,000 sq. ft. space and feature sweet tunes from Crosstown Rebels, who will put on one of their infamous Rebel Raves. The party will rage until 5 a.m.

Krash Kourse (Free) – March 15, 4 p.m.

A wise man once said that all is fair in love and Kart. He wasn’t kidding. This Saturday, Diamond Bar (43 Franklin St. at Lafayette St.) will host a Mario Kart Showdown. Attendees will compete for the title of the Greatest Kart Player Of All Time (at this one bar in Greenpoint) on the bar’s N64 system. Winners will get an awesome bar tab. Peach’s got it!

TBA Turns 1 (Free) — March 15, 7 p.m.

Help the electro-party spot (and former auto shop) TBA (395 Wythe Ave. at S. 6th St.) celebrate its first birthday. Get there early for the “dinner party” portion of the evening, where there’ll be an open bar from 7—9 p.m., along with dinner and music by Galo Akun, Michael Christopher and MAKr. Afterwards, burn the calories at the “party party,” with tunes provided by Julia Govor, Matias b2b Capo, RG and Sergio Dimoff.

Liverpool Comes To Brooklyn ($20-90) — March 17, 1—9 p.m.

Modeled after Liverpool’s annual Sound City Music Festival, the event hops the pond over to Brooklyn on St. Paddy’s Day, where folks can attend afternoon conferences at the Wythe Hotel (80 Wythe Ave. at N. 11th St.), including a brand panel featuring speakers from Shazam and other marketing agencies. Save a few bucks and catch the evening-only music showcase at the Knitting Factory (361 Metropolitan Ave. at Havemeyer St.). British artists Skepta, Drenge, Ian Prowse, PINS, Clubs & Spades, Elijah, Dev79 and Hot Soles will perform.

The Big Muppets Quiz Thing ($10 in advance, $12 at the door) — March 19, 7:30 p.m.

Well, this is adorable: Spend an otherwise uneventful Wednesday showing off your knowledge of The Muppets at Littlefield (622 Degraw St. nr. 3rd Ave.) via this multimedia trivia game hosted by quizmaster Noah Tarnow. Solve on-screen puzzles and watch clips of the lovable gang—but leave the kiddies at home (the event is 21+). Finalists get to compete in the three-way buzzer round. Tickets are available here.

03/07/14 10:00am

The Rundown

  • Gorilla Film Magazine
  • This Sunday, the Dweck Center will host a screening of the 1934 silent film, The Goddess.

This week famous authors will publish stories on Twitter, an artist opens two shows in one day and we celebrate every woman in every way. Here are our must-do and must-see events for the week:


Gallery Tour (Free) – March 7, 7-9 p.m. thru April 13

Today, photographer Susan Silas will open two shows at Studio 10 and momenta art (both located at 56 Bogart St. at Harrison Pl.). The Studio 10 show, entitled love in the ruins; sex over 50, serves as “a personal diary of sex and sensuality; resilience and the decay of the aging body” while the momenta art show is a dual exhibit with photographer Joy Episalla entitled TO SELVES and features the intimate self-portraits of both women. The opening of both shows will be celebrated tonight with a free reception at momenta art.

Made With Love (Free) – March 8, 1-6 p.m.

Tomorrow afternoon, Williamsburg bar Daddy’s (437 Graham Ave. at Frost St.) will host a pop-up shop dedicated to one-of-a-kind, handmade objects created by several local artists. There will also be on-site live art including custom pet portraits from Tim Harrington of Les Savy Fav (who will also be there to sign his children’s book) and custom knitted patches from Andrew Salomone. The whole event is being curated by Debbie Tuch of Glitterlimes Jewelry whose store specializes in live fruit and candy jewelry. Admission is first come, first serve.

Silent Film Appreciation (Free) – March 9, 1-3 p.m.

As part of its ongoing Silent Film Series and in honor of Women’s History Month, the Dweck Center at the Brooklyn Public Library (10 Grand Army Plaza at Eastern Pkwy.) will screen Wu Yonggang’s 1934 film The Goddess, which features highly celebrated Chinese actress Ruan Ling-yu as a prostitute struggling to support her son. The screening (which will have English inter-titles) will be accompanied by live music from Bernie Anderson and attendees will be able to purchase the film on DVD. Admission is first come, first serve.

An Afternoon With Isamu Noguchi ($5-10, free for children under 12/members/H.S. students) – March 9, 3-4 p.m.

For their monthly Second Sunday series, the Noguchi Museum (9-01 33rd Rd. at Vernon Blvd., Queens) will host an hour-long discussion on the late Isamu Noguchi’s search for style. Brett Littman, Executive Director of The Drawing Center, and Dakin Hart, Senior Curator of The Noguchi Museum, will discuss how drawing is essential to establishing the faculty of design with an emphasis on how Noguchi’s repetitive imitation of “canonical Modernist approaches to abstracting the human figure” helped him establish his own values and style. Admission to the program is free with museum admission.

One For The Kiddies ($35) – March 9, 3 p.m.

If museums aren’t quite your scene, the Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts (2900 Campus Rd. at Flatbush Ave.) will host a performance of Cirque Ziva, a show by China’s Golden Dragon Acrobats. The company was nominated for New York Drama Desk Awards in the Best Choreography and Most Unique Theatrical Experience categories in 2005 and will feature traditional Chinese costumery, ancient and contemporary dance and the kind of “daring heart-stopping stunts” that have kept the company on a non-stop tour since 1978. Tickets can be purchased online.

02/28/14 10:00am


This week we celebrate alternative food lifestyles, introduce the little ones to big names in jazz and celebrate the evolution of the biker jacket. Here are our must-do and must-see events for the week:


One For The Kiddies: Early & Often (Free) – March 1, 1 p.m.

As usual, the Brooklyn Public Library’s Dweck Center (10 Grand Army Plaza at Eastern Pkwy.) continues to deliver. This Saturday, the Center will host a lesson in jazz led by Christiana Drapkin and targeted toward young children. The kiddies will be introduced to jazz greats like Louis Armstrong, Thelonious Monk and Ella Fitzgerald and some of the songs they made famous. Admission is first come, first serve.

Night at the Opera ($20-$50) – Feb. 28 & Mar. 1, 8 p.m.

It may not seem like Brooklyn and opera go hand-in-hand, but one venue is changing that. LoftOpera (215 Ingraham Street nr. Stewart Ave.) is currently performing Puccini’s La Boheme and the last two performances will take place tonight and tomorrow night. General admission tickets are $20 while patron ticket, which include admission, a copy of GREY Magazine and 2 Brooklyn Brewery beers, will set you back $50. Tickets can be purchased online.

Veggie Day ($30-$60, free for children under 10) – March 1-2, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.

We here at The L respect all food lifestyles and that’s why the NYC Vegetarian Food Festival at the Metropolitan Pavilion (125 W. 18th St. nr. 6th Ave.) piqued our interest. This Saturday and Sunday, vegetarians and vegans alike are invited to enjoy bites from dozens of vendors and attend panels, discussions and cooking demonstrations on everything from vegan manicures to the powers of Chinese medicine. Bonus: The whole event will be kid-friendly. One-day tickets cost $30 online and $40 at the door and two-day passes cost $50 online and $60 at the door. (Note: From 4-5:30 p.m. each day $5 tickets will be on sale attendance-permitting.)

Oscars in Williamsburg (Free-$10) – March 2, 6 p.m.

This Sunday night we celebrate the Hollywood Olympics, a.k.a. the 86th Academy Awards, and Videology has you covered. The Williamsburg video store will screen both the red carpet (starting at 6) and the awards show (at 8) while serving Oscars-themed drinks and passing out Oscar ballots for amazing prizes. Though the event is totally free, $10 will get you a reserved seat as well as a complimentary glass of champagne. Said tickets can be purchased here.

The Science of the Biker Jacket (Free) – March 4-April 5, T-F 12-8pm, Sat. 10-5 p.m.

If you’re going to wear a biker jacket, and let’s admit it—most of us have at one point or another—you might as well learn the history behind it. This Tuesday, the Museum at FIT ( 227 W. 27th St. nr. 7th Ave.) will open a new exhibit called Beyond Rebellion: Fashioning the Biker Jacket. The grad student-organized show will trace the biker jacket from its “utilitarian” roots to “its evolution into a high fashion garment” and the many reinterpretations it has gone on to inspire.

02/21/14 10:00am

The Rundown

This week we celebrate Johnny Cash’s 82nd birthday, learn about beer and peppers (but not at the same time) and learn the best way to clean up bong water stains. Here are our must-do and must-see events for the week:


Brooklyn On Tour (Free) – February 21, 6-8 p.m.; February 22-23, 11-7 p.m.

This weekend, Park Slope’s 440 Gallery will hop the river and head to Manhattan for a weekend-long Brooklyn invasion at Carriage Trade (62 Walker St. nr. Broadway). The gallery/artist collective will showcase the work of more than a dozen of its members and kick things off with an opening reception on Friday, February 21 from 6-8 p.m. The show will include works in a wide range of mediums including photography, printmaking, paintings and more. On Saturday and Sunday, the exhibit will be open to the public from 11 to 7 p.m.

Foodies Market (Free) – February 22, 12-6 p.m.

Interested in seeing how the sausage is literally made? This Saturday, Bat Haus (279 Starr St. nr. Wykoff Ave.) will host an “artisan run pop-up market,” featuring Brooklyn food vendors and their wares. Representatives from Fatty Cakes, Brooklyn Dehli, Better Off Spread, The Jam Stand, Granola Lab and more will hand out samples and make their products available for purchase. On top of that there will be free hot cocoa and music to enjoy. Admission is first come, first serve.

Coney Island On Display (Free) – February 22, 12-5 p.m.

This weekend’s gorgeous weather makes the idea of schlepping all the way to Coney Island more appealing than ever. On Saturday afternoon, nonprofit arts organization, Coney Island USA, will kick off the inaugural weekend of of their “A Stroll Through Coney Island Among Friends” photo exhibition with an opening reception at the Shooting Gallery/Arts Annex (1214 Surf Ave. nr. W. 12th St.). The exhibition will feature the work of five Coney Island-loving photographers and run through April 6.

An Evening of Classical Music (Free) – February 23, 4-5:15 p.m.

This Sunday afternoon, the Brooklyn Public Library’s Dweck Center (10 Grand Army Plaza at Eastern Pkwy.) will host a performance by The Harlem Chamber Players. The music collective will perform works by black composers Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson and James Lee III as well as Maurice Ravel’s much-celebrated String Quartet. Admission is on a first come, first served basis and children under the age of 6 will not be admitted.

Daddy’s Birthday (Free) – February 23, 3 p.m.

If only birthday parties for 12-year-olds were always like this: On Sunday, Williamsburg bar Daddy’s Brooklyn (435 Graham Ave. at Frost St.) will celebrate its 12th year on this earth with a huge birthday bash. Daddy’s will provide drinks (including their famous blood marys) while Long Island City’s John Brown’s Smokehouse will send along a ton of fingerlickin’ good BBQ. Meanwhile, Barry London will spin records to keep the party going. Admission is first come, first serve.

02/14/14 3:40pm

Ava Luna Q&A

  • Western Vinyl

Brooklyn band Ava Luna is poised to have a great year. Last month, they played one of the historical final shows at the late, great 285 Kent and last week they rubbed the stump at the Apollo for good luck. On March 4, the funkpop experimentalists will release their sophomore LP, Electric Balloon, which represents a band in flux. Since the release of their debut album, Ice Level, the group has gone from having seven members to a neat five and interband dynamics have changed accordingly.

Yesterday, we spoke with Julian Fader (drums) and Ethan Bassford (bass guitar) about the effects of all these big changes on Electric Balloon and what we can expect from the band in 2014.



You have the second show of your U.S. tour in Boston tonight, correct?

JF: We ended up not being able to get there because of snow and the fact that our van got stolen the other day.

EB: We have a great story.

JF: We sort of have it back now. The van was parked in Bushwick by where Carlos [Hernandez, lead vocals/guitar] lives. He parked it over there and went to look for it and it wasn’t there. And at that same moment he got a text from a friend of ours who was like, Oh, I saw your van. She had no idea it was stolen.

EB: She texted him earlier in the day before he knew it was gone. He was like, Oh, that’s weird.

JF: He’s like, Holy shit! So, he called the cops and he biked over there and in his rush to get over there he forgot his wallet and his phone was dead. He ended up opening the car with his keys and they had destroyed the steering column to hotwire it and I guess they left a bunch of tools in the van among other things. There was like ladies’ handbags, another car stereo and a bunch of tools. And he used their tools to hotwire the car and steal it back. The glass on the windows is smashed. We actually haven’t been able to get it back yet. It was a lot of repairs. So, Carlos stole our van back from thieves.

Once you do get on the road, you’ll be playing with Krill. How does Krill’s sound complement Ava Luna’s?

EB: It’s not an obvious sonic match, but I think philosophically it seems like it’s from a similar place.

JF: There’s an idiosyncratic element that is similar with both bands where it’s off-kilter. You hear Krill and no on sounds like them. They’re totally their own thing. I guess I can identify with that.

EB: The important thing is we’re really psyched about their music. I feel like that’s more important than an act.

JF: They’re people I want to drive throughout the country with.

Besides having your van stolen, what’s the most transformative thing that’s happened to you guys and the band since your last album?

JF: There’s been a few things. But the things that immediately leap to mind for me are that at the time of recording the last album we were seven people and we are now five and that’s a pretty big difference.

EB: There’s not really separate vocalists and instrumentalists anymore.

JF: Yeah, we used to rehearse vocal and instruments and then combine them and now it’s really just—

EB: One actual band.

EB: I think that the way that this most recent album was recorded and conceived is very different. Ice Level was very composed. For the current record, we actually just sequestered ourselves in a house upstate for two different two-week periods. We’d just be in the house writing and recording, leaving all our stuff set up. So, it was a lot more free form. It was more like culling than just writing.

JF: Like a capture the moment kind of thing. We basically were in the middle of nowhere. Anytime there was a moment where you felt some sort of inspiration, you could kind of just get it done right then, which was really cool. It’s kind of the opposite of New York.

EB: How do we get everyone in a room for two hours [in New York]?

JF: I can’t even go to the deli right now without getting my feet soaking wet.

When did you guys do the recording for Electric Balloon?

JF: It was November 2012, which is insane. After that we went in March for another two weeks. Then we drove down to Miami and mixed it in April with Felicia [Douglass’, keys/vocals] dad. He has a studio. We did a lot of driving around to get this one done. It’s funny because it feels very old to me at this point and we’re already working on another one. The one coming out now—not that I’m not happy with it or not psyched about it—it just feels so old compared to all this new stuff.

What inspired the LP’s name?

EB: Nathan [Tompkins, a former member] came up with that, right?

JF: Yeah. That’s the title track and it was definitely the most jammy. We had this kind of vamp going and Becca [Kauffman, vocals/guitar] was like, I have this one little vocal idea. Let me just record it. And she stepped up to the mic and basically did that entire song, the whole thing completely as it was. It was like, where did that come from? She was speaking this gibberish. She was just making up words. Nathan thought she was saying Shopping with electric balloon. Then everyone’s chanting it. We were briefly going to call the album Shopping With Electric Balloon and then we shortened it. So, it’s basically nonsense.


Are you guys bringing any new sounds to the album? Or is it more like same instruments, different arrangements?

EB: Well, there’s a second guitar now.

JF: There’s a lot of guitar interplay now. One big thing was that Nathan previously did these noisy keyboard parts and we don’t have as much of that anymore. We have lost that element. Felicia started taking over keys and she has a very different style. There’s less grating keyboard stuff.

EB: Some of Nathan’s shit was extremely nasty. We recently were trying to reconstruct some of the songs that had Nathan’s parts and it’s extremely difficult. I bought an octave pedal and it sort of does it but not really. Some of the stuff we used to do is no longer doable.

Are you guys dealing well with that?

JF: Yeah, we’re adjusting as it goes. We’ve had time to work it out. I feel that it’s the best now that it’s ever been in terms of instrumental interplay. Five is better than six, which is better than seven [and] when you have that many band members, every time you lose one it’s like cutting the number of people in half. Electric Balloon was the sound of us figuring that stuff out.

EB: And with everyone playing instruments, it just opens up a lot of arrangement possibilities. If there isn’t a vocal part in a particular place someone can play a guitar line or a keyboard line.

JF: It’s more integrated.

Ice Level seemed restless, but not chaotic. Energetic and bubbling over. Is Electric Balloon the same?

JF: Ice Level is a lot a reflection of Carlos’ personality and the way he works. He’s in charge of the band whether he denies it or not, which he will deny it. There’s kind of an iron fist mentality to Ice Level. It’s not like Captain Beefheart where he’s locking us in a room, but it was all on paper and super planned out. [Electric Balloon] was learning to let a little bit of chance into things, learning to let the initial idea stick and not mess with your instinct to some extent. It’s definitely less restless.

EB: The song structures are a little less baroque this time around. I remember when we were writing Ice Level I had pretty recently joined the band. I kept saying in rehearsals, Carlos can’t we have just one fucking song with a chorus that repeats? And he was like, No, no. That’s not what we’re about right now. I was like, Carlos, don’t worry. It’s still gonna be weird. Having a chorus doesn’t make it not weird.

JF: Yeah, my mom was complaining to me about Ice Level. She was like, Every time I listen to it and I think I maybe could dance to this, it changes right before I can do anything. She might have an easier time attempting to dance to songs from Electric Balloon.

EB: That would be a good video actually if we just had your mom dancing to a song. Your mom and my mom.

JF: That would be a good video!

02/14/14 10:00am

Buster Keaton in Convict 13. Nitehawk Cinema will screen two Keaton films for Valentines Day weekend.

  • Buster Keaton (left) in Convict 13.
    Nitehawk Cinema will screen two Keaton films for Valentine’s Day weekend.

This week we travel to the silent film era, learn about Haitian culture and prepare for NYC Beer Week. Here are our must-do and must-see events for the week:


Greenpoint Beach Party (Free) – February 15, 4-8 p.m.

At this point, it’s safe to say that we’re pretty much over winter. It’s just been…too much. So, tomorrow The Diamond (43 Franklin St. at Calyer St.) is celebrating the dog days of summer with a Winter Beach Bazaar. The evening will be jam-packed with reminders of warmer (and happier) times like fish tacos, fresh beer and oysters and vendors like Brooklyn Beach, Acme Tees and K Belo Swimwear will be on-site hocking beach wear. Bonus: Any attendee wearing a Hawaiian t-shirt will get a free drink and the owner of the best Hawaiian shirt will win a $20 bar tab.

Cinema Verité ($7.5-13) – February 15-20, various times

Starting today and running through next Thursday, FilmForum (209 W. Houston St. nr. Varick St.) will screen Alain Resnais’ 1968 masterpiece Je T’aime Je T’aime. This time-traveling film is the progenitor of the modern sci-fi romance genre and greatly influenced Michel Gondry’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. If you want to know what you’re getting into before you see it, read our own Dan Sullivan’s take on the film here. Tickets can be purchased online.

One For The Kiddies: Celebrate Haiti (Free) – February 15, 1 – 2 p.m.

Tomorrow, the Brooklyn Public Library’s Dweck Center (10 Grand Army Plaza at Eastern Pkwy.) will host a celebration of Haitian culture through an afternoon of storytelling. Haitian authors, performers and musicians will share Haitian myths in an effort to preserve the country’s rich oral history. Admission is on a first come, first serve basis.

The Anything But Silent Era ($16) – February 15-16, 12 p.m.

To celebrate Valentine’s Day weekend, Nitehawk Cinema (136 Metropolitan Ave. nr. Berry St.) will screen two Buster Keaton classics, Seven Chances and One Week, from the silent film era. Meanwhile, Bradford Reed & Geoff Gersh of Reel Orchestrette will provide musical accompaniment for added excitement. This event is for people ages 13+. Tickets can be purchased online.

In Memory of J.Dilla ($12) – February 16, 6 p.m.

February 7 marked what would have been the late, great J. Dilla’s 40th birthday. The Detroit producer unfortunately passed away in 2006 after a long struggle with lupus, but his genius continues to be felt. This Sunday, Brooklyn Bowl (61 Wythe Ave. at N. 12th St.) will celebrate his life with the 8th Annual Donuts Are Forever benefit show. DJs like Good Reverend Dr. J and Still Life will perform and DJ Jazzy Jeff will make a special guest appearance. All proceeds will benefit the Donuts Are Forever scholarship fund set up in Dilla’s name. Advanced tickets are sold out, but limited tickets will be available at the door.