04/28/15 10:06am
brooklyn zine fest

Don’t let the streamers fool you, plenty of Zinefest attendees had political issues on their mind. Photos by Nicholas Mancall-Bitel

This past weekend, the Brooklyn Historical Society played host to the annual Brooklyn Zine Fest, drawing zinesters and their fans from around the city and across the county. The event this year continued to be so popular that it spilled into a second day, with 75 zine publishers tabling each day. As in past years, event organizers Matt Carman and Kseniya Yarosh have combined this gathering of the zine community with several panels that investigate the current state of the zine medium. One panel, “Black Lives Matter: Zines and Activism,” sparked interest, and generated conversations (and controversy) around zines that engage in political or social commentary.

While zines as a form are rooted in political commentary, modern zine publishers engage with these issues in a variety ways. In the 1990s, the internet seemed to sound the death knell for zines, with many zinesters moving online to blogs. But the medium has seen a resurgence in recent years as an alternative to digital media. This resurrection has recast community norms. As zines have taken on new roles and new readers, politically minded self-publishers have adapted and transformed. In order to learn more about these modern social commentators, we asked some of the zine publishers at the Zinefest about the ways they engage social and political issues. (more…)


If you know Basquiat, skip the paintings for the notebooks. If you don’t, enjoy both.

Text plays a crucial role in the work of Brooklyn-born artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, often overwhelming visual aspects with a mass of black scribbles. From his initial work as a graffiti artist in Lower Manhattan with which he announced his creative voice as SAMO©, Basquiat engaged in a discourse on race, wealth, and art in America. Had his whirlwind life been slightly different, Basquiat may well have achieved fame as a poet.

Given the importance of text to Basquiat’s work, it should come as no surprise that he kept copious notes. He preferred cheap, marble composition books, some of which you can now see on display at the Brooklyn Museum in a new exhibition “Basquiat: The Unknown Notebooks,” or as the exhibition’s synopsis puts it “#basquiatnotebooks.” While this much hyped exhibit offers the opportunity to see Basquiat’s famous textual artistry on a smaller, more concentrated scale, the exhibition’s mixed messages could lead some visitors astray. (more…)

04/17/15 9:11am
It'll look great in your living room

It’ll look great in your living room

With spring finally here, it’s time for venues and bars around Brooklyn to open back up after the long winter spent hibernating. Unfortunately for the sweet tooths of Prospect Heights, dessert and cocktail bar Spirited will not be among them. The wintertime closure for “renovations” has become permanent. Goodbye sweet, boozy prince.

That said, Spirited is going out like a champ with one last hurrah this Sunday, April 19. At the “Last Call” event, which starts at 11am and runs until the doors finally shut, the Spirited crew will not only be selling their signature drinks and desserts, but also most of the furniture in the place. (more…)