07/20/15 9:04am
Follow these tips and you too can be killing it on stage at the Inspired Word open mic. Via Facebook.

Follow these tips and you too can be killing it on stage at the Inspired Word open mic. Via Facebook.

Ah, the open mic. That beacon of entertainment that calls to shore new performers, experienced musicians, and shouting naked poets alike to come flex their performance muscles in front of a (more or less) like-minded audience. Whether you are a seasoned pro or you can’t get up the nerve to perform anything other than your signature cover of “TV Party” at Punk Rock Karaoke, there’s a spot for you at one of New York’s best free entertainment venues.

You’ll find open mics everywhere in the country, but the best ones are here in New York — because the hosts are usually working musicians themselves. Brooklyn alone is home to hundreds of musicians who regularly strut their stuff at Cafe Edna or Pete’s Candy Store. You never know—the practice you get and the friends you make via playing open mics could even be the first step to booking your first gig at Baby’s All Right, getting your album on the shelves of Rough Trade, or grabbing a spot on the stage at Northside. You could even end up as the next Beck or Regina Spektor — both got their start at open mics on the Lower East Side. We talked to open mic hosts from all over the city to get the inside scoop on where to go, what to expect, and why you shouldn’t be nervous. (more…)

06/18/15 9:40am
We can't guarantee anyone will quit with you, so take these tips instead.

We can’t guarantee anyone will quit with you, so take these tips instead.

Hate your boss and dream of ditching your corporate job to freelance, consult or start your own business? You’re not alone. One in five millennials plans to quit their day job and take the plunge, according to a survey of Gen Yers. But it’s not as glamorous it sounds. If you think you’ll be spending your days drinking lattes in coffee bars hanging out with the cool freelance crowd, you might be in for a shock. Tossing aside the financial safety net of Corporate America can be truly rewarding, but it can also be seriously scary, like a first time aerialist perched on a pedestal hoping to catch the fly bar.

In your next act, you need to be prepared to deal with an unsteady paycheck even though you have mammoth monthly student loans to cover and ever-rising rent. Oh, and you will be losing tech support and use of the company’s color printer so you may have to spend some big bucks getting set up. More and more of us are becoming professional stuntmen, however, and surviving the high wire act of earning a solo income you can actually survive on in the circus that is Brooklyn can be done if you organize your finances so you don’t get hurt. Here are 5 things you need to know before you quit your 9-5. (more…)

06/17/15 1:34pm

Because you know what needs more attention in our daily lives? Our phones. Image via Flickr user Chrisphoto

Summer is upon us, so we all have to get prepared for being outside for long periods of time. Rooftop parties, urban exploration, whatever you have on your agenda this summer, you need to get equipped. For the next couple of months you will need to have your phone fully charged to take on any kind of obstacle or situation you may find yourself in this summer. We’re confident you have app that points you free condoms; and we are sure you have a backup plan when you don’t want to feel old by staying in and watching PBS instead.of going out and being cool. But it’s not enough. Thankfully for you, we have eight free apps to download right now to help you survive Brooklyn this summer.  (more…)

05/05/15 9:54am
bill de blasio subway

You’re in for a wait. Hope you brought a magazine. via Facebook

Mayors: they’re just like us! Or at least Mayor Tall was yesterday, in the sense that he relied on the subway to get to an important engagement and was late because of it. We wouldn’t know this except that the mayor accidentally copied the New York Times on an angry email to his staff where he complained about that, “We waited 20 mins for an express only to hear there were major delays.”

While I’m usually one to point and laugh at something like this, I’m somewhat of an expert at going down into the subway with no time allotted for a delay, hoping against all reason the trains won’t be delayed, and then of course being late. I’ve developed some coping mechanisms while waiting for the train that I’ll gladly share with the mayor so that the next time the subway screws him over, he’ll be less of a big tall stress ball. (more…)

04/29/15 10:00am
Let professional open mic host Eric Silver be your open mic spirit manimal.

Let professional open mic host Eric Silver be your comedy spirit manimal. Photo by Joe Stanton.

We all know the scene, either from real life or some of our favorite shows (like in Louie): a dark, sparsely occupied room of people sitting, looking up at the stage as an emcee introduces a name you’re sure no one (including the host) has previously heard of. A lone figure stands before the mic, visibly uncomfortable, and the next few minutes are as suspenseful as entertainment can get: will it be awesome or cringeworthy? I wish I could say open mics are totally not like that, but their rep is pretty well-earned.

But they’re a key part of starting any comedy career. Think of open mics like Rocky training in the harsh Russian winter during Rocky IV: if you can do your material to a totally unresponsive crowd without being fazed, you’ve got the eye of the tiger (Survivor’s, not Katy Perry’s). I’ve been hosting my own open mic, Dear God That’s Stone Cold’s Music! for about two years now, and I’ve been doing stand-up for a couple more years that that. I’ve also gone to open mics to support my friends just getting started, and seen how great and how… not-so-great the talent can be. After yesterday’s part 1 of our series that showed you how to get up the nerve to try it, here are some tips from an actual open mic host on how to crush it once you’re on stage. (more…)

04/28/15 1:20pm
The microphone is more scared of you than you are of it. Test your open mic chops but check these tips first.

The microphone is more scared of you than you are of it. Test your open mic chops but check these tips first.

Jerry Seinfeld once made a joke about how people fear public speaking more than death: “This means to the average person,” he says, “if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.” But what does he know? People tell you all the time how funny you are! You should do stand-up comedy! But before you go plotting your own Netflix special, you need to hone your craft at some open mic nights, because, as you’ll soon learn, the act of being funny and the art of being funny aren’t exactly the same thing. Open mics are a necessary step on the road to finding your comedic voice, developing a network of funny friends and refining your material.

This is where I can help. I had long nursed a burning desire to be on the stage, sort of like Lauryn Hill in Sister Act 2, just waiting for a Vegas showgirl turned inner-city parochial school teacher to come give me my big chance. I knew I wanted to try stand-up, but wasn’t sure where to start. A year later, I’m no expert comedian, but I can tell you what I know about getting up there for the first time. So, if you want to be somebody, if you want to go somewhere, you better wake up and pay attention. Here are five tips to help get from big-time comedy aspirations to awkward, blinded-by-the-stage-lights reality. (more…)

04/20/15 10:31am
The Magic Flight box comes ... highly ... recommended.

The Magic Flight box comes … highly … recommended.

Back in the day, when you talked about “vaporizers,” the only thing that came to mind were the huge New Age-looking pyramid contraptions that squatted on the tabletops of recent college dropouts. Now, you can’t skulk out for a late-night pint of Cherry Garcia anywhere in Brooklyn without passing a few fellow travelers taking drags off sleek handheld vaping wizard wands. What’s in those pipes? Is word getting around about the supposed “health and stealth” benefits of vaping? Or does everyone want to get famous winning prestigious cloud competitions?

Fascinating as this analysis could be — and regardless of what’s inside the pipes — let’s ask the really important question: Does vaping save money? (more…)

04/16/15 8:48am
college grads

Hopefully they’re reading this. via Nazareth College’s Flickr

Student loans are often portrayed as the albatross around our generation’s collective neck. National student loan debt skyrocketed just as the economic crisis hit, making for a perfect student loan shitstorm. As a financial advisor specializing in young professionals, almost all my clients have student loan debt, but what many don’t know about student loans is that there are so many options for paying (or not paying) them. They’re one of the most flexible types of debt available if you understand your options. (more…)

03/27/15 1:00pm
A little party never hurt nobody, but not bringing anything may get you hurt.

A little party never hurt nobody, but not bringing anything may get you hurt.

Welcome to part 2 of our How to Be Better at Parties series. Yesterday we took you through a detailed tour of how not to suck at throwing a party; but today hits to the real crucial topic of bad NYC etiquette that spreads across our borough like crappy 10 year old Brooklyn jokes still spread across the normcore internet. Like yesterday’s guide, you might find some of these tips laughably — congrats to you! You are a functional human being who can interpret social cues. But you know you have friends you want to send this post too, the ones who show up empty handed, the ones who think hijacking your party playlist with their personal sludge rock mixtape is a good idea, the ones who vomit anywhere, ever. Send this to them with hopes of better party etiquette to come. (more…)

03/26/15 8:00am
Follow these tips and you'll have your party guests jumping for joy.

Follow these tips and you’ll have your party guests jumping for joy. Photo by Sarah Bibi Gainer.

Like getting into a crowded subway car, you’d think throwing a party would be something New Yorkers could handle on their own by now. Yet, much like how you have to yell at that clueless bro to MOVE THE EFF INTO THE MIDDLE OF THE CAR, too often you find yourself at a Brooklyn party that’s about as well thought out as as Budweiser millennial marketing campaign. This is New York City and we have high standards for parties: one false move and your event will be the cause of exodus, as displeased partygoers slip out the door on the hunt for a place that isn’t just six people sitting around a coffee table playing Cards Against Humanity. So here in the age of intense FOMO fear, Brokelyn provides this public service, your basic primer of How to Throw a Party. If some of these tips are excruciatingly obvious to you, great — send it to your less-capable friends as a gentle nudge to get their party game on top of a fleek.

And tune in to part 2, How to attend a party in New York City in 2015, tomorrow! (more…)