07/26/16 4:54pm
So was Panorama worth the money? New York is dangerously close to reaching music festival glut

Inside the Despacio tent, a James Murphy curated igloo of dancing. Photos by Tim Donnelly/Brokelyn

We were deep in day three, stuck firmly under the heat dome among the festival crowds at Panorama this weekend, when a Ghostbuster appeared. Sia was on stage in her signature oversized two-tone wig with a gigantic bow when she brought out noted celebrity ghost enemy Kristen Wiig wearing a similar wig (get it? Kristen … wig?) to dance around on stage. This caused great commotion among our festival crew and the crowd in general, especially since Sia’s show also featured celebrity appearances by Paul Dano, Tig Notaro and a bunch of extremely talented dancers. This was a rare moment of surprise during an otherwise by-the-books festival — except it wasn’t actually happening. The celebs on screen were just part of Sia’s tour video; the stage was full of actors reenacting the video, which wasn’t immediately clear to anyone not in the front rows.

Panorama was billed by many as the East Coast Coachella, a chance to bring a truly regal lineup of music and the brand of a highly successful festival team to New York City’s competitive music scene. The fest tickets were steep — too steep for many people it turns out, in a summer that’s already packed in a handful of music festivals. But it was loaded up in star power not seen elsewhere, with Kendrick Lamar, the freshly reunited LCD Soundsystem and Arcade Fire, plus a killer undercard featuring FKA Twigs, Run the Jewels, The Julie Ruin and a lot more. So was it actually worth the money, or is New York becoming victim to festival bloat? (more…)

07/21/16 3:00pm
take part in the fight to recall Judge Aaron Persky by attending Grlcvlt's fundraiser at Baby's All Right.

take part in the fight to recall Judge Aaron Persky by attending Grlcvlt’s fundraiser at Baby’s All Right.

Back in June, we spoke with the leaders of the New York chapter of Grlcvlt, the national feminist secret society that has been campaigning to recall Judge Aaron Persky since he sentenced Brock Turner, the Stanford rapist, to a mere six months in jail. The semi-secret group — they have a private Facebook group, which is invite-only and is listed under changing monikers — puts on events and fundraisers to galvanize support and raise money to unseat Persky.

And hush-hush as they may be, they’re certainly not lacking in support: the local NYC chapter has more than 3,000 members, and 1.4k people RSVP’d on Facebook to an event they held at Holyrad Studio on June 15.

Now, Grlcvlt is taking it a step further, and partnering with the official Campaign to Recall Judge Aaron Persky. Their first collaboration is a fundraiser, “Fuck Rape Culture: A Benefit to Unseat Judge Aaron Persky” that will take place at Baby’s All Right on Aug. 1. It’s part fundraiser, part party to rock the patriarchy into submission.  (more…)

07/20/16 11:00am
You missed Ghostbusters on opening weekend — how much cultural value are you missing out on?

You missed Ghostbusters on opening weekend — how much cultural value are you missing out on?

We’re in the thick of summer movie season and if you’ve fallen behind, you’ve got to start spending your dollars wisely. Summer movies aren’t especially known for their nuanced character portrayals and poignant storytelling (there are notable exceptions of course: Pixar crushed it last summer with Inside Out)But those are the exceptions to the rule: roll out the “serious movies” in the fall just in time for their stars to land on the red carpet in winter. Summertime is when you release movies with mass appeal. You know the type: explosions, naked ladies and several epic fight scenes.

And honestly? Bravo. Some days you want to take in a trenchant analysis of the suffrage movement, and other days you just want to watch teens in Los Angeles steal from famous people (Bling Ring, I love you forever). But, with so many blockbusters out right now, how do you know which one is worth shelling out anywhere from $15-$30 to see? You can’t look to your regular standbys, like Rotten Tomatoes, to guide you; this isn’t the time to care about character arcs! What you want to know is if this movie is worth seeing right now — both for its escapism and its place in the cultural conversation — or if you should wait two to six weeks to rent it on iTunes and watch from the comfort of your couch with a Bud Lime Light and a square slice of Ellio’s.

I get it, and, I’m here to help. I have no credentials, but lots of opinions, so if you are trying to decide what to spend your money on, scroll through the list below for a quick synopsis and a totally scientific calculation of the cultural currency each movie is worth.  (more…)

07/18/16 11:30am
A crowd in eager anticipation at a recent Rooftop Films screening. Photo via @Rooftopfilms on Facebook.

A crowd in eager anticipation of that night’s film at a recent Rooftop Films screening. Photo via @Rooftopfilms on Facebook.

If you’re an independent film buff who’s curious about the ins and outs of running a film festival, and you don’t mind a bit of manual labor, here’s an opportunity for you: Rooftop Films is seeking volunteers for the rest of its summer season, which goes until Aug. 20. You’d be working during the screenings, which are held Friday and Saturday nights with occasional midweek dates, which means you’d get to see the films for free!  (more…)

07/14/16 2:22pm
Head to Jalopy Theater and School of Music this Friday night to channel your anger at Trump through music. Photo via Jalopy Tavern.

Head to Jalopy Theater and School of Music this Friday night to channel your Trump rage through music. Photo via Jalopy Tavern.

In these trying times in America, art, music, puppies, and more can often serve as a tonic. If you’re looking to blow off some steam-rage, Jalopy Theater and School of Music might have just the night for you: Dump Trump Night, a musical revue of satirical songs that strive to exorcise the demon that is the tiny-handed, orange-tinted, distinctly-American nightmare of Donald J. Trump.

The original premise for the night was a summertime revival of Filthy Song Night, a raunchy song and spoken word showcase Jalopy puts on in late December every year. The organizer of the event, Feral Foster, a NYC-based songwriter who hosts the free Roots and Ruckus show every Wednesday at Jalopy, says he was inspired to put this show together now to provide a much-needed musical outlet for folks to express their frustrations about our political situation today.

“We noticed not a lot of people were hosting musical events about this,” he told Brokelyn. “People need to come together and rally against the racist, xenophobic, sexist things Trump says — not only to commiserate about it, but to blow off steam, because it’s really bothering a lot of people, and they need a way to vent a little.” (more…)

06/29/16 9:30am
The seats at the new semi-outdoor Coney Island amphitheater, where semi-free concerts will be held this summer. via Facebook.

The seats at the new semi-outdoor Coney Island amphitheater, where semi-free concerts will be held this summer. via Facebook.

Coney Island has been home to free Seaside Summer Concert Series ever since former Borough President Marty Markowitz made it his pet project years ago. This year, with the opening of the brand-new Amphitheater at Coney Island Boardwalk, the city’s first major beachside venue (which the Village Voice already called a $61 million logistical boondoggle) the concert series announced plans to relocate to the new 5,000-seat venue.

That apparently also means the shows aren’t quite as free as they used to be: Some of the shows are now a mix of paid/free tickets, so you’ll have to go down to Coney Island a few days before the shows like the Beach Boys and Kool & the Gang to get tickets to some shows instead of just walking up. It’s been, suffice it to say, a very mixed start for the new Live Nation backed theater.  (more…)

06/28/16 1:29pm
New York on the screen, on the roof: 3 NYC-centric Rooftop Films to watch this summer

New York Non-Fiction is a night of short documentaries about New Yorkers. image via @rooftopfilms

Watching movies outside in the summer is one of our favorite pastimes at Brokelyn. Rooftop Films, the NYC nonprofit that shows independent films on, you guessed it, rooftops across the city, literally elevates this experience; there’s something about being up high, gazing at the big screen with the backdrop of the big ol’ night sky behind it, that makes you feel, well, star-struck.

While we were browsing the offerings this summer, we noted a few films with a New York bent that we’re curious to check out. (Unfortunately, the showing of Goodnight Brooklyn-The Story of Death by Audio on July 9 is sold out.) New York Non-Fiction (a night of short documentaries), Little Men, and White Girl all feature the city as the setting in vignettes of real-life New Yorkers and fictional tales of gentrification and profligate summers.  (more…)

06/21/16 3:01pm
Photo by Katy Hartnett.

Writer P.J. Kryfko at Sunday’s Super Prose Bowl, reading his story about a father who time travels to get an autograph for his daughter. Photo by Katy Hartnett.

Sunday night, in a battle that ranged from surrealist to southern Gothic all the way to historical fiction, six Brooklyn writers went head to head in the Super Prose Bowl: Tournament of Champions. Each heavyweight brought to the stage an original work of flash fiction and the dream of glory, bragging rights and possibly literary representation.

There are a lot of hosted reading series in Brooklyn (a few of which, including The Prose Bowl we have covered here) where new writers can workshop their stories, meet other poets-by-night/baristas-by-day types or just listen and draw inspiration from the established or emerging literati. But for anyone just starting out, getting the chance to actually read at a reading series can be daunting.

With this mind, Prose Bowl co-creators Christopher Green and John Hague created a tongue-in-cheek American Idol-style reading series where contestants are chosen at random giving everyone the same opportunity to read their work before a panel of judges. Other than being original works of flash fiction there are no stylistic requirements for any writer who wants to enter. Green and Hague keep the tone light, creating a safe and encouraging space for both the seasoned Prose Bowlers or any newcomers who are getting up on stage for the first time. So if you’re having PTSD flashbacks from writers workshops where your prose was knocked out, don’t worry; Prose Bowl is a safe space to get back into the ring.

06/09/16 12:52pm
Photo by Meghan Stephens.

Fans and staff donned full costumes at the BBQ Films launch of their Ghostbusters run last night. Photo by Meghan Stephens/Brokelyn.

Full disclosure: When Ghostbusters II came out in 1989, I arrived at the theater next to the Rag Shop in Toms River, NJ in full fan gear: a plastic toy proton pack strapped on my back, blasting imaginary ghosts with the yellow foam beam while we waited in line. So I sympathized with the four-year-old kid who showed up to the first night of BBQ Films immersive Ghostbusters movie experience/fan playground in full costume, only to be told he couldn’t get in. The event was 21 and older.

“People want their kids to be able to celebrate!” BBQ Films co-founder Gabriel Rhoads said. “It was so, so sad!”

Organizers gave the kid a bunch of swag from the event, let him take pictures with the replica Ecto-1 and the adult Ghostbuster cosplayers outside and assured him he could come back on Saturday, when BBQ Films is hosting its first-ever kids matinee screening of a movie. It actually surprised me that kids are still into the movie, which hasn’t existed as a film franchise or cartoon series since the Clinton administration. The event featured, in typical BBQ Films style — a buffet of fan service art and activities, from Ecto Cooler cocktails and a fridge containing a gateway to Zuul to a trap-throwing lane and a hands-on slime station. The movie, of course, still holds up 32 years later — but the fan culture runs deeper than I thought. (more…)

05/24/16 1:00pm
I see your spring chill and raise you #Netflixandchill. via Instagram user @cuptureusa

I see your spring chill and raise you #Netflixandchill. via Instagram user @cuptureusa

It’s no secret that living in New York can take a toll on your mental health, but fickle weather can also lend a hand. Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD for tragic acronym short, affects a large percentage of the population in cities and countries prone to fluctuating weather patterns (or just generally shitty ones, like Ireland). New York is certainly one of those cities. And if this spring’s rain, grey gloom and yo-yoing temperatures has been getting you down, then you might suffer from it. It’s not just a cold weather condition, either—SAD can take a toll even in the summer months. Just look at Lana Del Rey.

But whether you’ve been diagnosed with a clinical condition or you’re just feeling generally terrible under cloudy skies, we’re here to help. How do you adjust to the changing seasons? The same way you deal with, lack of money, lack of romantic prospects and any long day at work, of course: by binge-watching your blues away.

Studies show that we’re wired to binge watch, and that it may even help makes us more empathetic as humans. Watching a series can educate and entertain you while you get you out of your own head, and there’s immense diversity in online entertainment these days, on a multitude of platforms and at varying price points. We’ve pegged a few different types of melancholia to some lesser-known series that might help you overcome each. Some shows require a paid subscription (or a free trial!), and some are free on YouTube. Either way, read on to find out which series best complements your seasonally-affected psyche. (more…)