Articles by

Sam Corbin

Writer and performer based in Brooklyn. Canadian, but don't let that stop you.

05/06/16 3:00pm
Skaff stands for Coney.

Skaff stands for Coney.

As The Brooklyn Museum was kind enough to remind us earlier this year, no place in Brooklyn remains as mystical as Coney Island. Home of the Cyclone, 800 of the best summer jobs, our beloved Freak Bar and, more recently, Times Square mascots, Coney Island imbues true meaning into that saying about “letting your freak flag fly.” Heck, they’re the authority on the subject.

Recently, genderqueer BK rapper Uncle Meg (aka Meg Skaff of Hand Job Academy) took up with some of Coney Island’s most iconic freaks to film a music video for her new song, “Big Daddy Margaret Rose.” The video used the set of Eric Rivas’ Vamp Bikers Tres in Bushwick, but its heart was obviously in the People’s Playground: Skaff’s video features everyone from the Coney sideshow barker to the strait jacket escape artist to that woman who impossibly survives having a bed of nails pressed into her chest multiple times a day. See for yourself below; it’s pretty excellent.

We caught up with Uncle Meg to ask her just what made her want to shoot the freaks for this video, and what “Big Daddy Margaret Rose” says about a city that feels less and less “freaky” every day. (more…)

05/04/16 4:00pm
See, you can definitely still look cute with a helmet. via Flickr

See, you can definitely still look cute with a helmet. via Flickr

It’s finally bike month, and while riding on two wheels may be the best way to see the city, bicycle safety is no joke. If accidents do happen, they can be pretty bad unless you’re taking basic precautions, including wearing a helmet. Sure, maybe you don’t look as cool with that man bun all covered up. But even a slight docking of cool points is better than being memorialized with one of those ghostly white bikes on the Brooklyn streets.

In partnership with the DOT and in preparation for this weekend’s Bike the Branches tour — sure to be a helluva lot better than the Five Boro — the Brooklyn Public Library is hosting a free bike helmet fitting tomorrow (Thursday) at their Central Library in Prospect Heights. Free helmets will be available all day while supplies last. A good helmet will normally run you anywhere from $50-100, so this is a sweet deal.

If you ride regularly but haven’t been playing it safe, it’s never too early to start! And if you’ve never ridden a bike before, it’s never too late, either.
(more…)

05/04/16 1:13pm
Trans theatre. No braids attached.

Trans theater. No braids attached.

If you’re tired of seeing cis performances, reading cis thinkpieces and doing things that generally rely on binary gender constructs, then drag yourself over to New York’s first ever trans theatre festival, courtesy of The Brick Theater in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Tucked unassumingly behind a red door at 579 Metropolitan Avenue, the Brick is a burgeoning theatre venue known for its support of underground artistry (especially attractive, single ones). They regularly host ‘niche’ theater festivals about sex, clowns and comic books, but the trans theater festival marks a step toward a more sobering issue facing New York’s theater community today— namely, the lack of trans artists and trans stories onstage.  (more…)

05/03/16 10:55am
This boat can be yours, for the small price of taking the elderly dad who owns it fishing.

This boat can be yours, for the small price of taking the elderly dad who owns it fishing.

During rainy spring weeks like this, it may seem like there’s nothing to do except mope around between home and work and home again, praying for the sun to come out. And sure, there’s Netflix while you wait. There’s Seamless, too. But as you might’ve heard, we hate New York softies who retreat into their dens of convenience when the going gets tough. It’s times like these you ought to be slip-and-sliding in a bathing suit through the rain-filled streets, thanking your lucky stars you picked a place to live where the city DGAF if you do weird shit like erect a street memorial for recently-deceased TV characters or ride a horse down a main street’s bike lane.

In that spirit, here’s a free yacht we found on Craigslist.

The “Tee Gee & Two” is the perfect way to conquer the borough’s sewage-colored seas this season, rain or shine. Get a head start on avoiding summer regret by hauling this baby out onto the Hudson. You can motor over to a floating farmer’s market, or just laugh at all the land-bound chumps on Wall Street from the seaport. Best of all? The “elderly dad” who’s giving this yacht away will help you fix it right up if you take him fluke fishing on it.  (more…)

04/27/16 2:00pm
Free outdoor movies in so many parks, bars and backyards it'll make your head spin. Dan Nguyen / Flickr

Free outdoor movies in so many parks, bars and backyards it’ll make your head spin. Dan Nguyen / Flickr

I just watched the Game of Thrones pilot (late, I know) and Ned Stark keeps saying that “winter is coming.” I’ve inferred that since Westeros must be some kind of fortressed land off the coast of Australia, what he actually meant by this was that “summer is coming.” And boy, is it ever! Don’t let this week’s lower temperatures fool you; the countdown started long ago, and the Gowanus Yacht Club just declared outdoor drinking season officially open. It’s time to get outside and get lit, not to mention start racking up those demerit badges.

I’m not sure where I was going with the elegy to summer above, but it eventually leads us back to free outdoor movies. Because yadda yadda “nothing says summer like” yadda yadda. So here’s a massive list we made of all the free outdoor movies playing in Brooklyn this summer. We’ll keep adding to this list as more and more free outdoor movie schedules come out because trust us, there’s plenty more to come. Screening series will soon be announced at Coney Island Beach, Red Hook Park and at various other bars we love in the borough. Some series are more weather-permitting than others, and some make better dates than others. But don’t worry: as you’ll see from the list below, you’ve got more than enough chances to catch Purple Rain this summer.  (more…)

04/26/16 4:28pm
Is Bushwick's Holi festival a harmless hippie celebration or cultural appropriation?

Yes, there were flower crowns. Maria Travis / Brokelyn

Droves of Brooklynites lined up outside an abandoned lot at 485 Johnson Ave. in Bushwick for the Festival of Colors this past Saturday. Some wore GoPros, others wore Rastacaps. Everyone was dressed in white, eager to have their clothing stained with the throwing of brightly colored powder. This activity has come to represent the entirety of the Indian rite of spring, also known as “Holi,” for young people in America.

In South Asian countries with Hindu populations, particularly India and Nepal, Holi is observed religiously over a two-day period. Here in Brooklyn, it was celebrated non-denominationally over an eight-hour period — one consisting largely of playing with powder, eating from food trucks and drinking Tecate tallboys, at that. This weekend’s festival was predominantly white, with a vibe that felt more Coachella than New Delhi.

Naftai, 24, a first-time attendee, told us she saw an ad for the festival on her Facebook feed and recognized it instantly as the Indian ritual she’d once seen in a movie.

“I saw it on Eat Pray Love and I was like ‘I gotta go to this,'” she said. “I thought I had to go all the way to India to do it, but then they did it here.”

The event’s organizers claim that their festival is a positive way to bring Hindu culture to a wider audience. But can the commodification of this religious ritual be a positive thing? Or was this simply yet another example of cultural appropriation in Brooklyn?  (more…)

via flickr user EITico68

Ride, ride, ride that Coney. via flickr user EITico68

Ever wanted to run away to the circus when you were a kid? Here in New York, it’s only a train ride away. And you can actually get paid to do it.

Coney Island businesses are currently hiring for their summer season, and those include some of your favorite games, rides and restaurants on the People’s Playground: Luna Park needs game operators, Nathan’s Famous needs hot dog hawkers, Deno’s Wonder Wheel needs that joker who asks you if you want “swinging” or “non-swinging.” The list goes on, and there’s certainly something for everyone.

Picture it: you’ll get to spend your summer daze on one of the best beaches (personality dependent) in the borough, ride some rides for free, sun yourself on the beach during your breaks and listen to a pretty decent music lineup wafting over from Coney Island Amphitheater (a lineup we initially feared would just be terrible). Not to mention that given the current state of Brooklyn dating, the Coney Boardwalk might just be your best bet for finding this year’s summer fling.  (more…)

04/20/16 1:00pm
Chairlift playing Treefort fest earlier this year. via Treefort on Flickr

Chairlift playing Treefort fest earlier this year. via Treefort on Flickr

Happy 4/20, everyone. Well hey, you’re probably already greening out to chillwave anthems in Prospect Park and ducking behind trees and/or dogs to avoid cops and/or aliens, but we have some exciting news! You can be high while we tell you about it, we’re not judging.

This morning SummerStage announced its 2016 programming, and it includes a glorious month-long music festival spanning Brooklyn’s parks top to bottom. It may be “presented” by a big bank (coming soon to replace an everything near you!) but the lineup says nothing about the corporate goons that are funding it. In fact, the SummerStage series is jam-packed with diverse voices and musical styles, and shows are decently spread across the borough. And there are pleeeenty big names to get excited about — Public Enemy, Angie Stone, Chairlift, Lisa Simone and Blonde Redhead, just to name a few. Not to mention the GrandWizzard Theodore, who to this day I maintain spun the best DJ set that I have ever experienced.

This schedule isn’t even the half of it; Summerstage has a whole season of events that includes dance, theater, film and family-friendly affairs. We just wanted to pack all the Brooklyn music into one post, because we know how you kids like to party. So you know the drill: mark down your favorites from the dates below, and let the summer countdown continue. (more…)

04/19/16 12:28pm
U thirsty, bro? MiJin / Instagram

U thirsty, bro? MiJin / Instagram

No matter what kind of seder I’m hosting or attending, be it Upper West Side formal, Crown Heights casual or Bushwick non-traditional, I bring Manischewitz. For those unfamiliar with Manischewitz, let me explain: it’s a kosher concord wine that costs $5-7.99 at any given liquor store, and it’s usually on the bottom shelf alongside Taylor Sherry and a Sangria mixer. (You’ll understand this strategic store placement once I tell you about how it tastes.) Bringing Manischewitz to a seder is like bringing guacamole to a BBQ: not essential to the occasion, but hastily consumed anyway.

Manischewitz tastes like Welch’s Grape Juice meets Port meets the blood of our forefathers; there’s definitely something “afflicted” in the flavor. At 11 percent ABV, it’s the kind of sticky sweet wine that gets glugged like juice at the dinner table, resulting in a collective morning-after headache for everyone involved.

All the same, Manischewitz is ingrained in Jewish culture. So much so, in fact, that there’s even an expert on it. And I decided to ask him why, despite its cloying sweetness, hangover-inducing notoriety and a bevy of better options, Jews still deign to have Manischewitz at the seder table. (more…)

We can't wait to be here with Kelso beers and good friends. via Facebook

We can’t wait to be here with Kelso beers and good friends. via Facebook

Of all the free outdoor movie series in Brooklyn every summer, the one at Fort Greene’s Habana Outpost (757 Fulton St.) remains my personal favorite. Maybe it’s the convenience of cheap alcohol and foodstuffs (CORN PORN) next door, or the colorful decor of the courtyard that sits right on the street. Or maybe it’s just the rebellious feeling that watching a movie projected onto the side of a building wall offers to an otherwise waning weirdness in present-day Fort Greene.

Whatever the reason, the Habana Outpost movie series is, IMO, the one to get pumped about. This year’s movie selection is tops, as per usual: all pre-2000 classics, with cult New Yawk flicks like The Warriors and Ghostbusters alongside lesser-known gems like John Hughes’ Weird Science and Warren Beatty’s Bulworth. So between this, the Summer Screen series at McCarren Park and the movies in Brooklyn Bridge Park, the coming season is already jam-packed with excuses to leave your house. Stay tuned for our ultimate guide to all the outdoor movies in BK this summer! And in the meantime, mark these dates on your calendar.  (more…)