04/26/17 4:51pm

A post shared by @sweetsuetattoo on

How do you choose who tattoos you? Brooklyn has no shortage of tattoo parlors and consequently, talented artists. Picking a person you connect with to poke you with a design that will last the rest of your lifetime is tricky and a deeply personal matter. Finding someone whose vision and style appeals to you, someone who will see your “pain face” for hours on end – they can take time to find. If you, like me, follow tattoo artists on Instagram the way most people follow celebrity pets, you might be interested in learning a little bit more about your friendly neighborhood tattoo artist. I did a little reconnaissance and spoke to nine women who work in studios around Brooklyn about their art, what inspires them, and of course, what they love about our fair borough. (more…)

04/25/17 1:59pm

unnamed

Neither time nor the sea nor a lack of funds will shut down Sunny’s Bar in Red Hook if Tone Balzano Johansen, widow of the late great Sunny Balzano, can help it.

Johansen has been fighting hard to keep the old-school Brooklyn holdout in existence since Superstorm Sandy, and now it’s not the waters that are rising against everybody’s favorite former speakeasy, but a monster downpayment. In hopes of raising $65,000 to get a mortgage, Johansen has been raising cash through a series of events she’s been holding at the bar and other locations. (more…)

04/25/17 9:47am
loveheart1

Photo by Ruthie Darling

On my walk home from the Morgan Ave. station I passed a wall that is usually covered in flyers. People looking for roommates, the ubiquitous Dan Smith offering his endless guitar lessons, posters promoting local comedy nights and all manner of other things. One particularly chilly night in February, I was hurrying along the street and glanced at the wall as usual. (more…)

04/18/17 9:00am
bbqfilms

Photo via BBQ Films / Facebook

You know that acquaintance on Facebook, the person you don’t know too well, but their life is too interesting to ignore? Well for me, that person is Leah Taylor Dunbar. We met years ago when her husband and I worked together on Manson The Musical – yes, a musical comedy about Charles Manson that surprisingly never made it out of off-off-Broadway. Leah has, for the past few years, been posting photos of her involvement with an immersive cinema company called BBQ Films. After seeing her post photos from their latest Mean Girls event in Greenpoint, I decided it was time to ask Leah what this BBQ Film thing was all about.

Leah couldn’t wait to tell me about the company and invited me to her office at Flavorpill in Soho to discuss. “The production company started out as a casual rooftop cookout and film screening in Spanish Harlem,” she told me, “and developed into a pop-up cinema club and then to the fully experiential production company around today. Their goal is to use storytelling to create community and bring an element of surprise and excitement back to movie fans.” (more…)

04/14/17 4:52pm

The gentrification will be televised.

According to pop culture lore, Brooklyn was founded by Miranda Hobbes of the Manhattan Hobbes, when she bravely planted a Manolo Blahnik across the bridge and settled the land in 2004. The borough became home to pantsless hipsters and multiple broke girls until 2012 when Hannah Horvath appeared and single-handedly drove up rent prices, put a cupcake ATM on every corner and made everyone start loving that Icona Pop song.

OK, so maybe that last one is true, but the rest is clearly bullshit. Blaming Girls for the rapid gentrification of certain Brooklyn neighborhoods is like blaming Austria’s loss at the Battle of Marengo on Napoloeon Crossing the Alps. But that hasn’t stopped folks from falsely attributing rising rents, the proliferation of Pinterest-ready dessert trends and the influx of hipster derivatives to the HBO series. (more…)

03/31/17 9:00am
Photo via Ovum

Photo via Ovum

“Don’t sell your soul or your eggs, Sonja,” a friend wrote in Sonja O’Hara’s middle school yearbook.

Even as an adolescent, O’Hara had drive. She was a spunky Nova Scotian with an actress for a mother who, unlike the lot of mothers, whispered like the harsh wind into Sonja’s ear:

“Follow your dreams, little one!”

And she did, all the way to the U. S. of A.

Sonja soon realized chasing her acting dreams nearly three thousand miles away in Los Angeles would equal financial frustration. Seeking answers, she turned to Craigslist. (more…)

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…)