02/13/17 11:13am
You can keep Montauk, just leave us the Rockaways.

You can keep Montauk, just leave us the Rockaways.

Beyoncé once said, “The best revenge is your paper,” which is true, unless you’re Hannah Horvath, and the best revenge is writing about how your best friend stole your boyfriend and you didn’t bother warning her about his oral herpes in the paper of record. The final season of Lena Dunham’s iconic, infuriating, painful and sometimes painfully accurate portrayal of millennial aging and angst kicked off last night by setting its protagonist on a path of something that almost looks like success.

Hannah’s “triumphant” performance on the Moth has led to a Modern Love column in The New York Times which has in turn led to some freelance work for something called SlagMag. The editor (played with perfect emotional disregard by the hilarious Chelsea Peretti) sends Hannah up to Montauk to infiltrate (and inevitably fail at) a bougie surf class for bored ladies. She, of course, fakes an injury to her “front arm” and ditches almost immediately, opting instead to down electric blue cocktails and sun her open vagina. It’s not a total loss, though. She ends up on a whirlwind romantic adventure with the hot (but dim) surf instructor Paul-Louis (The Night Of’s Riz Ahmed) that includes sloppy fucking on a beach, Cheetos, Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper and vomiting off the side of a bunkbed. Oh, and an acoustic jam of soft alt-rock, mid-tempo classic “She’s So High.” (more…)

12/15/16 4:04pm
Carly Hanson can't really keep her clothes clean in 'Single Blonde Failure.'

Carly Hanson can’t really keep her clothes clean in ‘Single Blonde Failure.’

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single woman in possession of a Twitter account, must be in want of a following. Such is the comedic premise for Single Blonde Failure, a web series released last week on Youtube that hyperbolizes the problem of social media influencing and how an online persona can eclipse IRL personage.

Co-created by Brooklyn comedians Carly Ann Filbin and Bobby Hankinson, Single Blonde Failure follows protagonist Carly Hanson (played by Filbin) through a series of misadventures in the borough as she becomes increasingly pledged to her personal “brand,” facing off against cranky clerks, topknot-sporting PR queens, and white men who aren’t her boyfriend along the way.

Brokelyn chatted with Hankinson — who, in addition to co-writing this series, has also written for us and currently works on the biz side of Brokelyn — about the journey to realizing SBF‘s unique take on social media addiction. Because despite the exaggerated humor, the series lands on a pretty real message about what it means to be less than the person you claim to be online.

“It’s about forgiving yourself for not being so interesting,” Hankinson, 31, told us. “For not being so put together, for not being this aspirational caricature that’s made in a boardroom.” (more…)

12/09/16 12:06pm
How do you make the ballet more diverse? Transport the Nutcracker to Brooklyn

Photo by Stephan Moskovic.

About halfway through the Brooklyn Ballet’s new performance of the Nutcracker at the Brooklyn Museum, three dudes walk on stage looking like they got lost on the way to the subway. They’re wearing fashionable clothes and hoodies instead of tutus and tights, and when the traditional music kicks in, they break into dance moves that are more showtime than pointe shoes.

If other Nutcracker performances are all about the prim, polish and traditionalism of a 120-year old ballet, this one is about cracking open that hard nut (see what I did there) and bringing the show to new audiences. Since this is Brooklyn, that means a diverse cast, a mix of dance styles from around the world, light-up outfits built with the help of a local hacker space and transforming the character Drosselmeyer into a master of the pop-and-lock. This is the first time the Brooklyn Ballet has done a full Nutcracker performance, so artistic director Lynn Parkerson was keen to make the show feel at home on Eastern Parkway.

“Why would I do the traditional Nutcracker? New York City Ballet has that locked up,” she told Brokelyn. “If I’m going to do a Nutcracker, it should reflect the place that we are in. … Already there’s these different characters from different countries. Brooklyn is this incredibly diverse borough, so it just lends itself to that.”

The production is tied to the overall recent emphasis on diversity in the performing arts, from Misty Copeland and Hamilton down to public school programs. And yeah, ballet isn’t cheap, but this one is still relatively affordable: New York City Ballet productions can run you hundreds of dollars. This show’s $90 tickets sold out through Sunday night. But Parkerson’s approach to the show, which emphasizes diversity and accessibility to new audiences who don’t frequent Lincoln Center, could be a big move toward keeping ballet relevant for future generations. (more…)

12/08/16 3:52pm

The holiday season is evergreen (sry) for themed internet content, but once in a while there’ll be a song that bypasses the usual fast-burning viral fame and moves directly into meme status. Some years back, we Jews got Brandon Harris Walker’s Chinese Food on Christmas and Adam Sandler’s Hanukkah Song. This past Halloween, we were gifted SNL’s David S. Pumpkins, sure to play on for many Halloweens to come. And this week, a new song surfaced on the internet for the 2016 Christmas season. It’s not the rewrite of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” but it is your feminist holiday anthem of the year.

LIT (Like a Christmas Tree)” is a rap song made in collaboration by Brooklyn-based rap collective Hand Job Academy and Miami-based duo Basside. The title is pretty self-explanatory, and the song does a great job of capturing the millennial sentiment of 2016’s holiday season. We’ll happily spend time with the family for holiday celebrations, so long as we can get lit and avoid having anything to do with organized religion.

“Cover my tats for mass in a dress from ASOS, ’cause Christmas day I get pesos.” (more…)

11/08/16 4:27pm

If you live in New York, chances are you’re enjoying a comfortably blue news feed from your fellow voters this election day. Which is no surprise, since NY has long been about 99 percent for #Her in Five Thirty Eight‘s polls. If you do come across someone today who happened to vote for Trump or a third-party candidate, you should be kind; hard as it may be to “understand,” we’re all human, and we’re all trying. Besides, people already booed Trump at the polls today.

What’s more, we all have something fundamental in common: a love of New York City. And as the new election video above reminds us, a shared love of New York City comes with a shared hatred too, for the real Public Enemy No. 1. It’s not Trump supporters; it’s tourists. (more…)

11/02/16 9:52am
'Basic Witch' is all about the pointy hats and capes we put on just to be ourselves

In ‘Basic Witch,’ you shouldn’t make assumptions about magic. via screenshot

Over the past few years, witches have truly come out of the cauldron. There’s a real coven in Bushwick, for example, and spell-casting workshops are offered right up there with reading series and comedy shows. If you happen to be a witch, no one’s going to burn you at the stake or claim they saw you with the devil. Your plight is totally relatable, after all — we all wish there was a spell that could lower our rent, or that nefarious cat-callers on the street could be silenced with a single flick of our wands. It’s safe to say that in 2016, being a witch has never been more… well, basic.

That’s exactly what Basic Witch, the new web series co-created by a coven (read: creative team) of women in Brooklyn, purports to explore. The series follows a witch named Penelope (played by actor Jessica Frey) along the treadmill of her daily routine, taking us through recognizably New York scenarios with a witchy touch. In just five sweetly condensed episodes of six minutes or less, Penelope contends with catcalling construction workers, an ignorant roommate, a male-dominated workplace and the trials of self-care. She even meets bae along the way.

And through all of this, Penelope never uses her powers. Save for a single “Abracadabra!” as she jimmies open the door of an apartment she’s showing — uttered so nonchalantly that we can’t even tell whether it’s magic or not — Penelope chooses to suffer through the humanity of each situation rather than controlling it with spells. And according to the series writers, Claire Rothrock and Ryann Weir, that’s exactly the point.

“I think we were all really inspired by Master of None and how delicately and humanely it deals with ‘otherness’ and identity politics,” Weir, 28, told Brokelyn. “Our main character is different from a lot of the people she interacts with — she’s a witch. But regardless of what people perceive that to mean, Penelope is navigating what it means to her.” (more…)

10/27/16 3:49pm
The scariest Halloween fright for some people? Being forced to cater a party for a few minutes

Lady Liberty welcomes visitors to Doomocracy at the Brooklyn Army Terminal. Photo by Will Star/Shooting Stars Pro.

This year, we’ve learned that the most terrifying thing some people can imagine is a clown slowly stalking them from a forest. For others (me), it’s the thought of this election being stuck in a Twilight Zone-ish scenario that actually doesn’t end of Nov. 8 and carries on forever until the earth is mercifully swallowed by the sun. But for others, the most terrifying thing they will face this Halloween is having a service industry job. [Warning: mild spoilers ahead if you’re planning to see Doomocracy.]

Being forced into a catering gig is one of the standout parts of Pedro Reyes’s Doomocracy installation at the Brooklyn Army Terminal, an immersive horror house that’s part dystopian political satire and part Sleep No More. At one point, you’re shunted from sitting around a table at a mock Halliburton conference table, forced to climb four flights of stairs and immediately handed an apron and serving tray as you’re berated by a catering manager in English and Spanish. Then, you’re shoved through a door into a mock art gallery party, where you’re forced to circulate among socialites, who, by design, treat you like animated furniture. The experiences is disorienting, humbling, slightly annoying — and too much to handle for some guests.

“The first night we ran people through was for patrons. People were really mad,” director Meghan Finn told Brokelyn. “It is strenuous to get all the way up to the top. … There are people who protest, refuse to serve.”

The idea is to flip the script on art patrons and drop their status from attendee to server. But thinking that some people being too freaked out to hold a catering tray for a few minutes is actually scarier than the scene itself. (more…)

10/26/16 4:27pm

Few things could alleviate the stress of the coming election, save for maybe an acupuncture session or a Hallo-weekend binge drink. This video, however, manages to do some meaningful damage control on your politically-wrung psyche, while giving you an entirely different reason to scream.

Written by Bill Kirstein and Ginny Leise (a comedy gem, btw) and starring Leise alongside fellow comedian Jeff Solomon, “Smile” can best be described as an anti-catcalling horror film that somehow doubles as a Hillary campaign ad. The video starts out subtly, opening on a romantic guy getting getting his roses wrapped at the bodega. He walks out, sees a woman walking down the street, and decides to whisper in her ear as she passes him: “Smile.”

What happens next is pretty much indescribable, so make sure you watch this until the very end. We’re not sure how the future POTUS will feel when she sees this, but one thing’s for sure: This video arrived just in time for Hill-aween. (more…)

10/25/16 12:38pm
Twas Instagram that killed the beast. Photo by Tim Donnelly/Brokelyn.

Be your own King Kong in the Alamo Drafthouse lobby. Photo by Tim Donnelly/Brokelyn.

The Alamo Drafthouse officially opens on Thursday, capping off a grueling four-year wait for fans of the Austin chain looking forward to drinking a beer and eating some queso while watching a film. If you pop by this week however, you can catch a few preview movies as the theater works out the kinks before opening day (and with half-price food, too). The Drafthouse, with locations in 22 cities across the country, is certainly the big name in in-theater dining, but it faces a lot of competition in New York. Nitehawk has been operating a smaller theater in Williamsburg for years, and is expanding to a second location in Park Slope next year.

Last night, Alamo founder Tim League led a media tour through the theater, located at the top of the new City Point development in Downtown Brooklyn. Then Sam and I, who both in the spring got the chance to check out an Alamo theater in Austin, popped in to see a film (the perfect misandrist Halloween revenge fantasy Ms. 45) to get the full experience. Here are the 10 best things you’ll find at the new theater — and some things that left us feeling a little bit disappointed. (more…)

10/21/16 11:32pm
The Guy (Ben Sinclair) gives us a peek into his own life for the first time in the finale. Photo by Craig Blankenhorn/HBO.

The Guy (Ben Sinclair) gives us a peek into his own life for the first time in the finale. Photo by Craig Blankenhorn/HBO.

One of the more commonly held themes (maybe even beliefs) about New York is that it is a pit of loneliness, where you can never feel more isolated while surrounded by millions of people. 30 Rock encapsulated New York’s uncanny ability to grind you down perfectly here. This can feel like a shitty city, especially during any given rush hour on the subway. In High Maintenance’s season finale, however, the final story they have to tell is about the kindness of strangers and acquaintances, that sprouts like weeds (nice) through the cracks in the pavement.

This shouldn’t be a surprise. After a season of stories all across the map, this episode focuses on one of its main, underlying themes. This is a city where people don’t just lock their doors, they often deadbolt and chain them. That can start to feel pretty normal after a while, even if you grew up in a rural area where people don’t carry around house keys because the door is always open, but it has a psychic effect as well: we become closed off, silos living in our own personal narratives. High Maintenance is actively trying to fight this mindset, to open us up to the world around us, to the human stories going on right under our noses. Most of all, it’s trying to open us up to our neighbors, either because they can help us, or we can help them. (more…)