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…)

05/18/16 2:42pm
Hey, instead of Cards against Humanity, play this New York-specific alternative at your next party

Soothe your ‘only in New York’ woes with this creative new card game.

Early last year, Brokelyn editor Tim Donnelly said that it was finally time to declare Cards Against Humanity a “basic” party game, and that we ought to renounce it in favor of slightly more evolved entertainment. And we haven’t laid a finger on it since then, because we really were holding out hope for a better alternative.

Now there’s a Punderdome home card game, but that’s mostly for word nerds and happy people. Brooklyn’s mass population of gripers and grousers (who drink) still need to be entertained with a game that feels less twee and more “Why me?”

Naturally, a 20-year-old kid at Pratt has the solution: enter WTF, NY?, a party game created by Pratt undergraduate Krysta Parisi. Like most of Brokelyn’s favorite things, the concept is straightforward and the legality is questionable! It’s just a Cards Against Humanity spinoff where cards have New York-specific questions and answers, so lewd sexual acts are replaced by… well, lewd sexual acts. This is New York, after all.

Parisi, a communications design major with a focus in illustration, explained that the game started as a class homework assignment.

“They told us to reinvent a game for millennials and make it modern, take a twist on it,” she told Brokelyn. “And I decided to go with Cards Against Humanity and make it more specifically New York. I felt like it was something that needed to be done.” (more…)

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 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…)

04/22/16 9:03am
Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 7.45.20 AM

Every date is a third wheel when there’s only one bed on Full Disclosure, starring Katie Baker (left) and Corrie Nance.

All New Yorkers are familiar with small spaces. It’s a way of life; it’s a point of pride; it’s the most aspirational sections of Ikea stores. Plenty of us have experienced teensy, tiny Williamsburg studio apartments. But what if you shared that studio space with your best friend? Like, what if you shared everything, including a full-sized bed?

Writing and acting duo Katie Baker and Corrie Nance lived the above scenario for two months — sleeping in the same bed, accommodating each each other’s dating lives and taking on the challenge of trying to sleep through the impossible cacophony of sounds that are a woman getting ready to leave the house in the morning. They made it out alive, and they’ve turned the experience into Full Disclosure, a hilarious new web series out now that’s part Broad City and part Three’s Company.

“Every episode touches on something that really happened,” Katie told us. “There was one particular weekend when the stories were just too good, and we were like — this has to be written.” (more…)

04/21/16 11:27am
So close to tampons, yet so far. Via screenshot.

Why is it so hard to get a tampon? Via screenshot.

Just in time for 4/20 and Passover, we have been given the bittersweet gift (yes, I know neither of those holy holidays involve gifts) of Broad City‘s season 3 finale and the somewhat-but-actually-not-that-thrilling conclusion of Abbi and Ilana’s “Birthmark” journey to Israel. Through the long flight to the promised land, we learned more about the inter-personal relationships among Jews and airline personnel (so that’s why they call it a cockpit…), but what we didn’t get was enough time celebrating the power of female friendship to keep us cozy until the next season. Ugh, they’re famous now. (more…)