If one wants to launch a book like Brooklyn Spaces, a compendium of the wild creativity and bizarre beauty of Brooklyn’s cultural renaissance these days, it won’t really do to have a staid little book signing. Instead, I felt the only way to do justice to all the brilliant culture-creators profiled in the book was to bring it off the page and into real life, for a visceral experience of the Brooklyn I love, the Brooklyn I’ve striven to document.
I started with a quintessential Brooklyn space: the massive Gowanus Ballroom, a cannonball factory turned metalworking shop helmed by a mad genius who flings open his doors every few months for huge multimedia arts extravaganzas. Then I filled it with every kind of crazy wonderful performer I could fit, from bands to aerialists to photographers to less easy-to-categorize acts.
There was a lot of jaw-dropped gawking upward, but attendees were by no means passive. It’s physically impossible to be still while listening to these bands—all female Afro-Brazillian drumming troupe BatalaNYC, punk/folk busker extraordinaire Morgan O’Kane, and legendary renegade brass ensemble Hungry March Band. For those folks still boogying after midnight (there were plenty!), DJ Dirtyfinger brought it home.
There was also a photoshow by amazing Brooklyn Spaces photographers Maximus Commissar, Alix Piorun, Walter Wlodarczyk, Tod Seelie, Julia Roberts, Shannon Carroll, Michael Blase, and Jon Handel, and eats from an array of Brooklyn-based foodies: Arborio King, Old Traditional Polish, Handsome Dan’s, and Star City Foods. Not to mention a seemingly endless supply of free wine.
Somewhere in the neighborhood of 400 intrepid revelers came out to play, gawk, eat, drink, and dance their faces off, so I’d say it was a success by any measure. I even sold a bunch of books! Although I’d be pretty pleased if I could sell a few more—if you want to pick it up, please support your local Brooklyn bookstore.
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