May you fight on forever in our hearts, cardboard robots. Via Facebook.
We are weary and tired, eyeing the end of the calendar year with longing even though we know that an arbitrary flip of the calendar page will not bring better news in the next year. Earlier this week BookCourt announced it’s closing; now we’ve got word that weirdo art and performance space Standard Toykraft is shutting down at the end of the month after an “exhaustive legal battle to save the building from being closed, sold and demolished,” according to a statement the venue sent out this week.
The space, which was founded in 2012, served up heavily costumed variety shows, puppet performances and the occasional cardboard robot battle. The owners prided themselves on offering low-cost performance and rehearsal space residencies, along with private studio space for visual artists. It’s not a surprise that a place like this would close as Williamsburg turns into the new Soho. But it’s one less place for weirdos in a city that desperately needs to hold on to them. Read their full letter announcing the closure is after the jump: (more…)
It’s too easy to sit around feeling helpless right now, letting the dark cloud of anxiety regarding the future of America and its people make time stop. But the people need us. We need each other. We need to work together, to spread the message of inclusivity and take simple steps to make a positive change in somebody’s day. And if you’re not able to donate your money to worthwhile causes out there, there are still ways to get involved with local organizations that need volunteers and support, especially in a time where many of their missions are under fire by the president-elect and his team.
Volunteers for these organizations have a direct and positive impact on marginalized communities, and can assist families with legal issues and children of incarcerated parents. They can work on steps to spread anti-violence education and engender social change in their community. Last Saturday, history was made when the Army Corps of Engineers put a “temporary stop” on the building of the Dakota Access pipeline; it felt like the first good news of 2016. But more than that, it was proof that this stuff works.
Activism — whether through protests, ground relief, community engagement or otherwise — does work on a practical level, so long as we keep trying. In that spirit, here’s a roundup of local spots to volunteer your time, to work towards creating social awareness and change. (more…)
Now it’s a bookstore, bar, coffee shop, AND a place to get involved. via Facebook
There isn’t a lot of good news these days, and this morning proved no different as beloved Cobble Hill bookstore BookCourt announced it was closing after 35 years of serving the neighborhood. But not all indie bookstores are facing extinction just yet, and one such bookstore in Bushwick refuses to let the death march of 2016 portend a four-year sentence in Trump’s America.
Molasses Books (770 Hart St.), the bookstore that doubles as a coffee shop by day and a bar by night, announced a rolling weekly fundraiser wherein 10 percent of the bar’s profits on Friday nights are donated to a different cause or organization. These have included Standing Rock, Planned Parenthood and the American Immigration Council. This Friday, Molasses will donate 10 percent of the bar to Black Lives Matter.
You’re gonna be drunk until the end of 2016, anyway, and this way you’re getting drunk for a good cause. (more…)
The difference between standing by and standing up may be just a few seconds’ difference in the event, perhaps an extra slur avoided, but remember that it affects victims disproportionately to how it affects you where trauma is concerned. Plus, the effect of bystanders who do nothing is well-documented in history.
But with a 35 percent spike in hate crimes in NYC, standing up for a stranger feels like a zero sum game. How can you de-escalate a situation where someone is getting violent? How do you know whether they’re armed and looking for a fight? In other words, how can you save someone from getting hurt without getting hurt yourself?
Luckily, there are courses for that being offered both in-person and online! It sucks that we need this kind of training, but them’s the breaks. And if you count yourself among the fragile white majority, you definitely owe it to yourself to study up. Start by listening to WNYC’s segment on what to do if you witness a bias attack, and then let the real training begin, young grasshopper. (more…)
BookCourt announced today it’s closing after 35 (!!) years as the literary heart of Cobble Hill and surrounding neighborhoods, and it feels a particularly spiteful match thrown onto the already gasoline-drowned 2016. The press release the owners sent out didn’t cite a specific reason other than they were ready to move on with their lives. The store survived the gentrification and yuppiefication of the neighborhood, and seemed to stand strong even as a Barnes and Noble opened just a few blocks away. Its last day will, fittingly, be the last day of 2016: New Year’s Eve.
BUT, this is one piece of 2016 news that has an actual good news clapback. The spirit of BookCourt won’t be gone forever because two of the store’s acolytes, wife and husband duo Emma Straub and Michael Fusco-Straub, also announced today they’re opening a new bookstore somewhere nearby.
“Books are magic, and we want to make sure that this neighborhood is positively coated in bookish fairydust for decades to come,” the couple wrote in their announcement. Details on when and where their store will be are still to come, but Straub worked at BookCourt for years so we imagine the store will live on in some form in her new shop. Still, people are taking the BookCourt news particularly hard. (more…)
A huge fire consumed Oakland’s Ghost Ship over the weekend, leaving more than 30 dead. Via Flickr user Julianna Brown.
Oakland’s artistic community, and by extension every DIY arts community around the country, is reeling after a fire consumed a beloved arts space over the weekend, killing more than 30 people in one of the nation’s deadliest building fires in the past 50 years. In an already widely circulated piece, KQED writer Gabe Meline warns that “it could have been any one of us,” the “us” there being any of us who regularly hang out in DIY, quasi-legal and makeshift art spaces that hang on to the fringes of otherwise oppressively expensive cities.
It’s not hard to see the parallels between Ghost Ship and the DIY spaces in Brooklyn, which both exist as a haven for fringe, under-represented and emerging artists that have been increasingly pushed to the edges of unaffordable cities. Thankfully, NYC’s spaces have been free of tragedy on this scale but are constantly facing troubles with regulators, neighbors, real estate and Vice. So NYC’s arts community is already stepping up with some fundraisers for the victims; find out how you can help below: (more…)
In case you didn’t realize you needed a book about pun competitions. Screengrab via Amazon
The dire times we’re living in call for desperate pleasures, and the Gilmore Girls revival isn’t cutting it. Why not turn to puns? Brokelyn is biased, of course— both your editors are committed to puns in journalism, occasionally using them to pack a political punch. But we’re also like most of Brooklyn, for whom any mention of puns will incite the question, “Have you ever been to the Punderdome?”
Punderdome 3000, for those unfamiliar, is a pun competition invented by comedian Jo Firestone and her dad Fred Firestone. Once just a humble, loosely-attended affair at the now-defunct Southpaw bar in Park Slope, the ‘Dome has since grown into one of Brooklyn’s best-loved events, now held at Littlefield in Gowanus with a monthly attendance of more than 500 pun-lovers who gather to watch witty wordsmiths using punny nom de plumes deliver their best puns on a given topic. The show got so big that it even released its very own home card game (and the world lost its mind when we broke the news). Indeed, Brooklyn has become a haven for punsters and a lighthouse for pun-lovers worldwide. It’s enough to make you want to write a book about it.
That’s just what Joe Berkowitz, a 36-year-old writer from Crown Heights and occasional Punderdome competitor, finally did. His new book, Away With Words,currently on pre-order before it hits shelves on June 13, 2017, looks at “the bizarre and hilarious world of pun competitions from the Punderdome 3000 in Brooklyn to the World competition in Austin.”
“I think people who are obsessed with language will find it,” Berkowitz told us, “and I hope some people who hate puns will buy it for a friend as a prank only to have that friend read it and enjoy it.” (more…)
Just your regular day getting tattooed in NYC. via IG user @puritythroughobscurity
Once upon a time, tattoos were the kind of life-affirming mistake you could afford to make. It was practically a rite of passage for rebellious teens and nihilistic adults alike to walk themselves into a tattoo parlor after a drunken, debaucherous night out and get inked, or at least widespread enough to inspire those verboten signs you see in most parlor shop windows today.
Not so anymore. Nowadays, tattoos are a luxury you’ve got to be especially conscious and sober to make in New York City, and the results of a new study by video marketing app Yeay confirm it. According to their Global Tattoo Trend Index, New York ranks as the third most expensive place in the world to get a tattoo, at an average cost of $224/hour to go under the needle. The only cities more expensive than ours are San Francisco ($280/hour) and Tokyo ($253/hour). We’re so expensive, in fact, that we don’t even make it onto Yeay’s index for “tattoo tourism” — top city for that is Denpasar, Indonesia, fyi — presumably because even the dumb tourists slow-walking through the city know they have it better elsewhere.