03/22/17 5:48pm
How could anyone with a heart defund this? Photo via Brooklyn Children's Museum / Facebook

How could anyone with a heart defund this? Photo via Brooklyn Children’s Museum / Facebook

With The Donald’s 2018 budget proposal to cut all federal arts fundings, local organizations which benefit and rely on those millions of dollars in funding are joining forces in the name of their communities and the beloved programs the groups provide to them.

“In light of the threat to the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), eleven Brooklyn cultural institutions have banded together to explain the collective impact of culture across the borough,” the Brooklyn Historical Society wrote in an email containing a list of the following recent cultural initiatives that NEA and NEH funding have supported: (more…)

03/21/17 2:11pm
The space of a lucky 2014 Cultural Space Subsidy Recipient winner. Nice digs, and on the cheap. Photo via Two Trees

The space of a lucky 2014 Cultural Space Subsidy Recipient winner. Nice digs, and on the cheap. Photo via Two Trees

Now more than ever it is important to think globally, and act locally: with the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities likely to be eliminated (despite being funded by such a small percentage of federal money that it’s possible Melania Trump’s security costs twice the NEA’s budget) cash-strapped artists will probably soon have to turn to the private sector for money like never before. Don’t wring your hands in rage and curl up in a tear-soaked ball though (unless it is in the name of performance art): learn up on the grant and subsidy programs you qualify for. (more…)

03/14/17 2:54pm

dirty panties

Last week an invitation landed in my inbox for Dirty Panties The Musical at Bushwick’s House Of Yes. “Fancy the theatre this week?” I called out from the kitchen “Sure, Sondheim?” my innocent boyfriend replied from living room, “Er, not quite.”

Written and produced by current and former sex workers, Dirty Panties The Musical was not a musical at all, but more a series of emotional and abstract vignettes covering many aspects of working in the ‘business’. Some scenes were funny: for example, the jaded sex worker whose inner monologue was all about which pizza she should eat later as her john whipped her. Some were raw – a moving and daring dance and aerial piece performed by Joshua Oates hit that note. The finale made a point about how one decision can lead to the next and how the instinct to survive is the driving force. I won’t ruin the ending for you, but I will say it’s pretty spectacular. (more…)

03/10/17 1:55pm
Mister Sunday at Industry City. It's the end of an era

Mister Sunday at Industry City. It’s the end of an era

Night and day raves Mister Saturday Night and Mister Sunday are, after years of nomadic party-throwing throughout Brooklyn, leaving the borough for good and heading just across the Kings County border to Ridgewood’s Nowadays.

“After almost a decade of growing a community in temporary spaces, the Mister is building a permanent, year-round home,” reads Mister Saturday Night’s Kickstarter to create an indoor space at Nowadays, the venue where the parties spent this last summer.

Nowadays (956-06 Cooper Ave.), an outdoor beer garden a few blocks from the Halsey St. L train stop, is reminiscent of the halcyon aughts days of Williamsburg, when pop-up fun and industrial neighborhood remnants co-mingled in the fleeting summers of Brooklyn’s still vaguely recent gentrification (oh, the days). (more…)

03/09/17 9:00am

unicornland-ep-8-the-party

Dive headfirst into New York’s fetish scene with Annie, a recently divorced 20-something unicorn (a person who has sex with couples while not developing an emotional attachment), the star of Unicornland. Creator Lucy Gillespie derived inspiration from her own sexual journey after divorcing at a young age and realizing her passive ways in life: both personally and professionally.

In this tight eight-episode dramedy, we follow Annie as she entwines herself in a new couple’s life (only for a moment) and their sexual preferences. By jumping in head first, Annie is exposed not only to the good times of sexual exploration but to the burdens of sexual orientation and being seen as different or fetishized by her peers. (more…)

03/03/17 4:46pm
unruly14small

Photo by Ruthie Darling / Brokelyn

The Unruly Collective, located at 200 Cooper St. in Bushwick is kind of like a WeWork for artists, but so much better. Founded by Hillary Mégroz and Charlie Pastore, Unruly is paving the way for individuals to create, collaborate, & cohabitate, while driving social change through innovative, immersive creativity. I visited their brownstone right off the Wilson Ave. L train to see for myself what the collective was offering. (more…)

02/16/17 3:09pm
Pamela Colman Smith tarot cards

Pamela Colman Smith in the early 1910s and eight cards from a 1st edition Rider-Waite deck, originally published in 1909 (photos via Wikipedia and The World of Playing Cards)

If you’ve ever seen a tarot deck, it was most likely illustrated or inspired by the drawings of Pamela Colman Smith, an England-born, Jamaica-raised, Brooklyn-educated artist. She graduated from Pratt Institute in 1897 and became a theater designer who was once hugely influential in the world of esoterica but has been all but forgotten today.

For those of you not in touch: tarot cards are an expanded, occult version of playing cards used to tell fortunes and perform other rituals. They’re believed to have originated in Europe in the late 14th century, and have since become a canvass for a variety of non-traditional illustration themes, including Lisa Frank tarot and Twin Peaks tarot. (more…)

01/20/17 10:52am
Look familiar? That's because it's every bar in Brooklyn. Photo by Maria McClure

Look familiar? That’s because it’s every bar in Brooklyn. Photo by Maria McClure

What makes a Brooklyn bar?

Is it the wood? Is is the draft list that features only craft beer and local breweries? Is it the bartender, whose surly, I’ve-seen-it-all disposition seems out of sync with his youth? And which of these things explains why you find yourself so hopelessly drawn through the door, night after night, to pull up a stool at your neighborhood joint and order the same thing you can’t nearly afford?

These questions form the partial premise of [PORTO], a new play by Kate Benson running at the Bushwick Starr through Feb. 4, as part of the Exponential Theater Festival. “A neighborhood bar in a gentrifying outpost of a major American City,” reads the play’s tagline. “I know this will end badly, but for now, it tastes really good.”

The “city” turns out to be a borough: The narrator eventually admits that we are in fact in Brooklyn, albeit only once, as if the city name could be supplanted were the show picked up for a run in Portland or Chicago. But Brooklyn is an easy sell for [PORTO]; the bar is a cliché so self-serious that it almost feels new again.

“Edison lights glowing,” Benson narrates. “Serious food. Serious beer. Serious booze. … You know the place.” (more…)

01/19/17 1:38pm
Hey NYC, here are 9 artist opportunities (with deadlines) you should know about

Just one of the light-filled studio spaces awarded to 17 Sharpe-Walentas artists per year. via website

In case you thought Trump wasn’t going to come for the artists, think again. The president elect’s proposed sweeping cuts include a total elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts, which means we’ll need to rely more than ever on funding and support from local arts organizations and cultural groups. And each other, obviously.

Lucky for us, we live in New York City. No matter your medium, there’s a nonprofit somewhere in NYC with the resources and mission to help you flex your creativity and get your art out into the world. We’ve rounded up nine artist opportunities for 2017 — with deadlines! — to help keep you accountable, motivated, and compensated in dollars as well as exposure bucks.

This isn’t an exhaustive list by any means, but we focused on opportunities with hard deadlines and obvious perks so you don’t feel like you’re art-ing into the void. Which you aren’t, by the way. So check out the opportunities below and see which one speaks to you. (Make sure to read them all, since some include multiple art forms: (more…)

01/06/17 2:04pm
Tele-vision explores spiritual displacement, which we're all feeling after the election. Photo by Shige Moriya

Tele-vision explores spiritual displacement, which we’re all feeling after the election. Photo by Shige Moriya

The underground theater scene in New York City has come a long way in its renown. In 2016 even the posh Charles Isherwood found himself at “downtown” performance work in the Lower East Side. Brooklyn isn’t a theater desert for emerging voices seeking venues, and critics are just as keen to catch new musicals at the Bushwick Starr as they are to see Kevin Spacey do Shakespeare at BAM.

One young theater festival in Brooklyn continues to “[celebrate] the increasing growth and importance of Brooklyn venues and local artists” with a multi-week festival that aggregates locally-made works of theater across a range of participating venues in the borough. The Exponential Festival kicks off tonight (Jan. 6) for its second year and features over 25 shows in just four weeks and change, with a roster that champions emerging artists as much as those mid-career.

“Brooklyn is less tidy. Less Broadway bound. More exciting. More accessible,” Theresa Buchheister, one of the festival’s co-founders and curators, told us.

Whether you’re already a seasoned theater-goer or you just promised yourself you’d see more stuff this year, The Exponential Festival is a great way to dip your toes into the wide-ranging world of perennial performance offerings in the borough. Here are our top picks for what not to miss:  (more…)