09/30/16 9:00am
The Black Black is Jonathan, Tomo, and Sean. Courtesy of Facebook.

The Black Black is Jonathan Daily, Tomo Ikuta, and Sean McRee. Courtesy of Facebook.

Sometimes the Brooklyn music scene is like its own small town scene in a big city. I don’t mean ‘small town’ in the sense of car pool moms and soccer teams and next door neighbors who call the zoning board saying that your mother is building a meth lab in your back yard when she tries to renovate the garage into an apartment to rent to acupuncture students. Okay, so maybe that’s just my experience. What I mean here is that, when you go to shows in Brooklyn, and you have a lot of friends who are in bands in Brooklyn, you end up talking to somebody you’ve already met without realizing that you’ve met them.

That’s exactly what happened with this week’s New Music Friday, when I interviewed Jonathan Daily of Bushwick post-punk band The Black Black. It turns out that Daily and I had already met when he was working the door at Pet Rescue, which is an incredible DIY venue in Bushwick. When he’s not playing shows there with The Black Black, he’s there supporting the local scene, both at Pet Rescue and elsewhere. I talked to Daily about local bands, what a garage party might be, and what’s exciting about their new album, Adjusted I.

Adjusted refers to the idea of conforming to behavior that fits within the guidelines of society,” Daily said. “Not so much in a classic sense of conforming to fashion or speech or tastes,” he continued, “but more about adjusting your human instincts to modern day society and asking if you really have a choice not to adjust. ‘I’m just so carefully adjusted’ is a line in (our song) ‘Meticulous.'” (more…)

06/07/16 1:00pm
Just like Audrey 2, the movies are doubled. via youtube

Just like Audrey 2, the movies are doubled. via Youtube

Summer in New York is a season of rituals, from the first backyard barbecue in June to the last hooky beach trip in September. Among the greatest of these rituals is the much-beloved outdoor movie, a ritual that has become something more of a rite of passage here in Brooklyn. If you haven’t been to one then you haven’t lived. At least, not by our standards.

In fact, the only thing that could beat a rooftop movie in Brooklyn in our books would be two rooftop movies in Brooklyn, screened one after the other, while taking a never-ending stream of tacos and beer to the face. And hey, would you look at that? Our Wicked Lady, the recently-opened bar and venue in Bushwick, is happy to oblige.

Tonight, the bar is kicking off a summer-long weekly series of double features on their rooftop (recently deemed one of New York’s 10 best rooftop bars in the city by no one we know) with a creature double feature, screening Little Shop of Horrors, followed by Gremlins. And all the while, you can nosh from a donation-based menu of pulled pork or sweet potato and kale tacos. (more…)

04/26/16 4:28pm
Is Bushwick's Holi festival a harmless hippie celebration or cultural appropriation?

Yes, there were flower crowns. Maria Travis / Brokelyn

Droves of Brooklynites lined up outside an abandoned lot at 485 Johnson Ave. in Bushwick for the Festival of Colors this past Saturday. Some wore GoPros, others wore Rastacaps. Everyone was dressed in white, eager to have their clothing stained with the throwing of brightly colored powder. This activity has come to represent the entirety of the Indian rite of spring, also known as “Holi,” for young people in America.

In South Asian countries with Hindu populations, particularly India and Nepal, Holi is observed religiously over a two-day period. Here in Brooklyn, it was celebrated non-denominationally over an eight-hour period — one consisting largely of playing with powder, eating from food trucks and drinking Tecate tallboys, at that. This weekend’s festival was predominantly white, with a vibe that felt more Coachella than New Delhi.

Naftai, 24, a first-time attendee, told us she saw an ad for the festival on her Facebook feed and recognized it instantly as the Indian ritual she’d once seen in a movie.

“I saw it on Eat Pray Love and I was like ‘I gotta go to this,'” she said. “I thought I had to go all the way to India to do it, but then they did it here.”

The event’s organizers claim that their festival is a positive way to bring Hindu culture to a wider audience. But can the commodification of this religious ritual be a positive thing? Or was this simply yet another example of cultural appropriation in Brooklyn?  (more…)

03/15/16 11:30am

Remember when Banksy was nightcreepin’ around New York City and everyone was like “oooh anything can be art after all?” That was a special time in our lives and let’s never forget it. So everyone in the art world is constantly coming up with something new and fresh that will capture our attention as much as Banksy-style guerrilla art — or at least a Snapchat story about a high schooler wearing white vans. In that spirit, comedian Matt Barats of Brooklyn’s Annoyance Theater created a video about a “sound graffiti” artist who wanders the concrete-plant industrial wilds of Bushwick looking for “the ugliest sounds possible.” The video, made for IFC’s Video Frogs series, also features Brokelyn’s favorite human Jo Firestone, who desperately needs a muffin. Somebody go to Swallow Cafe and get her a muffin! (more…)

03/09/16 8:22am
vagabon hay

Vagabon’s Laetitia Tamko.

Vagabon‘s Laetitia Tamko has only been writing her own music since January of 2014, but she’s been playing rad shows at rad venues and making a bevy of cool musical friends since then. Vagabon was actually recommended to me by fellow Musicians Talk Making It interviewee Katie Capri of Fern Mayo; when I first saw Vagabon, they were playing at this amazing Planned Parenthood benefit at Silent Barn. Tamko, a native of Cameroon, is a great person to talk to about successfully making music because she started out without any fancy equipment: her first instrument happened to be a very cheap guitar.

“I was reluctantly gifted an acoustic guitar from my parents for my 17th birthday,” she said. “It was like the equivalent of those First Act guitars they make for kids … they got it from Costco. I learned the open chords then never touched it again until January 2014 when I began writing songs that would eventually be performed as Vagabon.” (more…)

02/23/16 2:00pm
It's just your typical tropical hotel, where the cabana boys get handsy. via Instagram

It’s just your typical tropical hotel, where the cabana boys get handsy. via Instagram

Dying to get out of New York for a while? You might not have to take a plane to do it. Well, not a real one, anyway: The Grand Paradise is an immersive tropical escape in Bushwick that you can find through a pair of double doors on Troutman Street anytime between now and March 31. You’ll board a “plane,” watch an instructional safety video, then touch down at a strange beach resort far, far away and party with a group of impish hotel staff for one sensuous midsummer night.

You might be rolling your eyes at the above description, and understandably so: immersive theatre like this — you know, the kind that rips you from the teat of New York life only to deposit you in a virtuosic arena where people are going to touch you whether you like it or not — is a polarizing experience. And it doesn’t help that this one costs upwards of $100 to see. But asking yourself why you chose to live in New York (or more specifically, Brooklyn) when there are so many other cities in the world you could have gone to isn’t nearly so divisive. And that’s exactly what this show does.

Heck, that’s why Brokelyn writes about anything at all. Between real estate crises, political armageddon and neighborhoods losing their personalities left and right, we’re constantly asking ourselves, what’s left? What’s stopping all of us from moving to Detroit, anyway?
(more…)

02/16/16 3:40pm
You, too, can do the Beacons swagger. via Youtube

You, too, can do the Beacons swagger. via Youtube

Thrift store shopping in Brooklyn is basically real-store shopping anywhere else, and the O.G. “thrift” ripoff has always been Beacon’s Closet, a store notorious for its picky consignment process and its sometimes unforgiving price tags on used merchandise.

Don’t get us wrong, there’s great stuff to be found by shopping at this thrift mecca — we just don’t think you should be shelling out big bucks to do it. That’s why we’re excited to share the news that Beacon’s closet is having a storewide end-of-season sale at two of its three Brooklyn locations next weekend, and everything is up to 75 percent off! (more…)

02/02/16 8:55am
Emily Wells shows a lot of "Promise."

Emily Wells shows a lot of “Promise.” Photo by Shervin Laines via Shore Fire Media.

Greetings! I, Lilly Vanek, am here with the triumphant return of New Music Tuesday, where we introduce you to the best new music out of Brooklyn every week. I’m attempting to fill the boots of the illustrious Kelly McClure (no pressure or anything). So I was stoked to get to write about Bushwick-based classically trained violinist/vocalist turned one-woman band Emily Wells, whose new album, Promise, dropped Friday. She plays all the instruments herself, and even released her fifth and latest record on her very own label, Thesis and Instinct records. She is also just a generally rad person. (more…)

01/28/16 1:54pm
These hallowed, art-filled halls are ripe for the picking. via Facebook

These hallowed, art-filled halls are ripe for the picking. via Facebook

If you like art, but you can’t afford a single damn piece of it, then you’ll be happy to know that there’s a bonafide gallery in Bushwick giving away all of theirs for free. According to the Brooklyn Paper, The Living Gallery is hosting a show called “Free the Art,” and they mean it literally.

The Paper spoke to gallery owner Nyssa Frank about the choice to give away the artists’ works to the highest bidder (of zero dollars): “The goal is to …[liberate] artists from equating money with their work.” (more…)

01/27/16 8:00am
Photo by Andrew Piccone Photography

Photo by Andrew Piccone Photography

It’s our second installment of Musicians Talk Making It, where we sit down with a local Brooklyn musician to talk about how they found some traction in the local scene. It’s where we tap someone who’s had some success to share advice on getting started, tips for saving dough, borrowing equipment and triple cheese pizza. This week we talk with Bushwick-based Katie Capri vocalist/ guitarist of Fern Mayo, recommended for fans of 90’s indie pop, riot grrrl, and classic teen horror film Jawbreaker, from which they get their name. (Full disclosure: Capri also used to write occasionally for this very website, where she discovered pizza beer, so you know you can trust her taste.) (more…)