12/06/16 12:09pm

nooffice

Admit it, even if you have a remote boss who barely gets in your way, you have a few grievances you’d like to air. Well, save em up for this Friday night, Dec. 9, at the 6th annual No Office Party hosted by Brokelyn and the skint. It’s the one holiday office party where you stand little chance of running into your colleagues (and if you do, they must be cool). Which means you can really make an ass out of yourself, especially considering that this is the first year it’s held on a Friday night.

Along with the very satisfying, on stage boss-dissing, there’ll be live-band karaoke from the famous Rock Star Karaoke, DJ Doctor Mister spinning holiday tunes, a holiday photo booth, sexy Santa and Lady Santa, tasty food from Yeah Dawg and drink specials, plus a few surprises.

Kiss this “terrifying garbage fire of a year” (Brokelyn’s apt words) goodbye with your freelance and corporate cohorts at Littlefield. Tix are just a low low $5 in advance ($8 at the door), and you get a free tote from Artists and Fleas when you buy beforehand. A portion of the proceeds will go toward local organizations that will help fight the Trump administration, too. If you do go, be sure to tell him He’s Fired.

12/06/16 9:46am
Bruce Springsteen (GabboT/Wikimedia Commons); Nina Simone (By Kroon, Ron / Anefo/Wikimedia Commons); Brian Wilson (Takahiro Kyono/Wikimedia Commons); Johnny Marr (Jon Shard)

Bruce Springsteen (GabboT/Wikimedia Commons); Nina Simone (Kroon, Ron/Anefo/Wikimedia Commons); Brian Wilson (Takahiro Kyono/Wikimedia Commons); Johnny Marr (Jon Shard)

Maybe it’s the popularity of memoir, maybe it’s the passage of time, but the past few years have produced a bumper crop of books written by and about musicians. This year is no exception as several legends, including a Boss, a Beach Boy and a Smith, have released long-awaited memoirs. Even if you’re not into rockers dishing the dirt about drugs, sex, horrible band mates and other personal demons, there are some fine books on music history and criticism for the more cerebral-minded among us. There’s a little something for every serious fan of rock and roll, pop, soul and dance–it makes holiday shopping at your local book store almost too easy.

Born to Run
by Bruce Springsteen

What else needs to be said? It’s the Boss in his own words.This memoir, which runs over 500 pages, has been compared to Springsteen’s epic concerts—an incredibly detailed, earnest and satisfying affair that you never want to end.

Not Dead Yet
by Phil Collins

The self-deprecating title is a reference to Collins’ reemergence after a period of semi-retirement that had people questioning whether he gave up music for good. The accomplished Genesis drummer and popular solo act chronicles his amazing career and some of the rough patches he’s gone through. Collins even owns up to the infamous incident in which he faxed a divorce to his second wife.

Testimony
by Robbie Robertson

The driving force behind the Band through his songwriting, Robertson offers his take on being part of that iconic group, from their early years backing both Ronnie Hawkins and Bob Dylan, to their final hurrah with The Last Waltz in 1976. (more…)

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ladyj1

The true gems in your life deserve something stunning, and Lady J +1 is filled with bold, beautiful gifts. The trendiest indie fashion and accessories boutique in Prospect Heights/Crown Heights is also home to the design studio of Lady J Jewelry Designs. Inside the intimate storefront on Classon Ave. you’ll find a huge selection of award-winning jewelry that is known for its use of striking gemstones like Rutilated Quartz and Super Seven Stone, all designed to look as good as they make you feel.

You can also shop other indie designers and artisans including:

Apparel by Mary Meyer, Eve Gravel, Emilime, Family Affairs and Samantha Pleet
Handbags & clutches from Saint Catello
Ceramics by Jonathan Castro and SKT, palo santo
Candles from Morphologically and LoveNature, and much, much more!

Lady J +1 is located in Prospect Heights/Crown Heights right near Berg’N, and everything in store is shoppable online at ladyjjewelry.com. (This season, you can even select in-store pickup and they will have it gift-packed and ready to go for you!)

Get all your gifts and stuff your stockings, too, at Lady +1, open every day 12pm-7pm, except Mondays. Just don’t wait too long to pick out the perfect gift because they procure limited quantities for the holidays, and it all goes fast.

A few things you’ll find in store and online:

ladyj1_sevensisters_detail

This style of Lady J’s signature Super Seven necklaces is already sold out, but there are more available online. The Super Seven stone is so-named because it contains seven different minerals, including amethyst and smokey quartz, and is known to exhibit the phenomenon of St. Elmo’s Fire, an etheric auric light reminiscent of the “holy light” around church towers and treetops visible due to atmospheric electricity. It produces electromagnetic waves, providing a self-luminous quality, and assists one in “seeing” auras. Plus, it’s gorgeous.

ladyj1_rutilatedquartznecklace

Rutilated Quartz is one of the few gemstones desirable because of its inclusions. This gives it a special allure and desirability as a unique gemstone. This one-of-a kind piece features a fine-silver bevel setting and hangs on a 20” silver chain with a lobster-claw style clasp. Fierce and beautiful at the same time.

ladyj1_virgotop

Inspired by the constellations, this Snake’s Tail top by Eve Gravel is full of geometric connectivity. The button-down top features a loose fit, side front pocket and rolled sleeves. Can be tucked or worn loose, depending on the stars.

12/05/16 7:53am

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Choosing this week’s action has been difficult. Right now, between the President-elect’s financial and business conflicts of interest and his proposed cabinet full of billionaires who want to dismantle public education and health care, it feels a bit like whack-a-mole–just when you think you’ve heard the worst possible breach of political decorum or read the worst tweet yet, there’s a new and even more terrible story to read.

We will give you tools to speak out against all of the above. This week though, the most significant action you can take is to sign up for the Injustice Boycott. It launches today, and that, combined with yesterday’s news that the Army Corps of Engineers will seek alternative routes for the Dakota pipeline (although this will bear watching to make sure it’s not an empty promise) has me feeling like the people truly may have some power. Let’s keep that momentum going.

Week Three: Join the Injustice Boycott

Time commitment: Your initial sign up won’t take but a second, but this is an involved and sustained political action, so be prepared to dig in.

What: Shaun King is a journalist, Black Lives Matter activist and senior justice reporter at the New York Daily News. He announced an ambitious project reporting on and actively addressing systemic injustice and police brutality against people of color called the Injustice Boycott back in September. It launches today, Dec. 5, the anniversary of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. (more…)

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12/04/16 10:14am
Cardiff Giant serves New York State-made beer, wine and liquor. Photo:

Cardiff Giant serves New York State-made beer, wine and liquor. Photo:

There’s a fernet that is distilled in Brooklyn, and you can only drink it at Cardiff Giant in Clinton Hill. The bitter, minty, Italian-style digestif, just two months old, launched at this unassuming bar on Myrtle Avenue in a partnership with Industry City Distillery in Sunset Park.

This collaboration between a small business and a craft producer exemplifies the mission at Cardiff Giant. The bar opened last year with an intensely local premise: all the alcohol they stock–from beer to cider to wine to liquor–is made in New York state. And since the majority of craft producers only make small batches, the bar’s inventory is constantly changing giving products like Arcane Fernet a distinct home.

Owner Steven Baird, who is also a managing partner at Owl Farm in Park Slope, said that he saw the growth of New York-produced alcohol and beer as a big opportunity, an expansion that has made Cardiff Giant a viable business.

“This would not have been possible five years ago,” said Baird. (more…)

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12/01/16 9:53am

la-la-land-ryan-gosling-emma-stone

Well, I can’t say I’m sorry that this is the last Culture Essentials column I’ll write in 2016, a year that took from us David Bowie, Prince, Lemmy, Leonard Cohen and Sharon Jones and left us with a rabbit fur coat that someone wore home after a spray tan. Still, 2016 has not been without cultural gems. Stranger Things was the perfect, unexpected summer delight. We lost Sharon Jones, but the documentary about her, Miss Sharon Jones!, is actually very life affirming. I can’t even with Zadie Smith’s new book, Swing Time. In the Dark made podcasts feel vital, fresh and addictive all over again. And Beyoncé not only slayed every single person alive, whether you know it or not, with Lemonade, she also brought the Dixie Chicks back into the country music fold. So this year, wasn’t just exceptionally bad, really, it was exceptional in every way.

Also, did anyone else watch Love Actually over Thanksgiving weekend and freak out when Billy Bob Thornton, playing the American president, causes an international incident because he sexually harasses the Prime Minister’s secret crush? Remember, this is a movie that cast Liam Neeson as a grieving widow long before Natasha Richardson died. Just saying.

Here’s what to read watch, listen to and attend while we all wait out the final 31 days of 2016.

10. With so many streaming services, the spread of cheap, good looking flat screens, plus the fact that popcorn popped on your stove, in coconut oil and a lot of salt is far superior to movie theater popcorn (sorry, purists), it’s not often that it feels imperative to watch a film on the true big screen in a theater. La La Land, starring beautiful young people Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, is an absolute exception. Go escape into its charm, romance and musical numbers for a few hours, it’s okay. (more…)

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12/01/16 8:53am
Let the Holiday madness begin. Here's 12 way to keep sane and enjoy the month. Photo: Meredith Craig de Pietro

Let the holiday madness begin. Here are 12 way to keep sane and enjoy the month. Photo: Meredith Craig de Pietro

December is finally here. The days of breathtaking performances, dazzling snowfalls, and holiday cheer fill the month with magic. Here are 12 ways to enjoy the winter wonderland of NYC with your family, before the deep freeze of January forces you to hibernate in your home with just the TV remote to warm you. From free events to expensive new holiday traditions, there’s holiday cheer for everyone on this kids calendar.

Receive the ultimate gift from BAX: a free kids theater class. Photo: BAX

Receive the ultimate gift from BAX: a free kids theater class. Photo: BAX

1. Learn: Enjoy the gift of a free class. Many children in the audience of the Nutcracker or Miracle on 34th Street wish they were the ones onstage. Capitalizing on that allure are theater classes, ballet tutors and singing sessions. But if your child is 8 or older, they can attend Youthworks at BAX, a FREE program for kids interested in developing their own play, dance or original song or poetry performance. A mandatory orientation is taking place Saturday, Dec. 3 from 3-4:30pm at BAX. Then there is a six week Sunday rehearsal schedule resulting in a fully staged production with lighting, sound design, costumes and props at the end of January. BAX | Brooklyn Arts Exchange 421 Fifth Avenue, Park Slope. For children 8 + up. FREE.


Start a new holiday tradition with live theater. Photo: Works & Process/ Guggenheim

 

2. Go: Start a new holiday tradition. There are so many holiday events in NYC that come with a cost: Long lines to visit Santa, crowds at Rockefeller Center, and sold out Lincoln Center matinees. Luckily, there are experiences that are every bit as special that don’t come with as many tourists. Starting Dec. 3, bring the kids to see Peter & The Wolf with Isaac Mizrahi at The Guggenheim. Although you can check back for our longer review on Dec. 5, it’s a safe bet to buy the tickets now. The schedule is as follows: Dec. 3, 4, 10, and 11 at 2:30pm and 4pm, and Dec. 9 at 5pm and 6:30pm.  Peter B. Lewis Theater, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 1071 Fifth Avenue, New York For ages 5 and up. $40, $35 Guggenheim members. For the littler ones who may not be able to sit through a long performance, The Swedish Marionette Theater in Central Park has the perfect solution. The Three Bears Holiday Bash is a wonderful experience without the headache of a high-priced ticket. We’ve reviewed their shows before, but this holiday-themed fairy tale performance incorporates stories of Hanukkah, The Night Before Christmas, and Kwanzaa, making it a perfect for all your festivities. Swedish Marionette Theater, Central Park, W. 79th and West Drive. Through Dec. 30. Tickets are $7/children and $10/adults.   (more…)

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11/30/16 5:49pm

 

short-stack

Welcome back from what I hope was a relaxing long weekend! If the amount that I’ve heard that weird version of Baby, It’s Cold Outside (which Shazam tells me features Seth McFarlane, for some reason?) while going about my daily routine is any indication, the holiday season is upon us. And while that means lots of running around and stressing about what to buy people and eating and drinking too much, ’tis also the season to remember those around us for whom the holidays are not the whirlwind of cocktail parties and high-stakes cookie exchanges that the TV commercials would have you believe. Especially given the heightened anxiety and vulnerability caused by the recent ascension of our orange overlord, it’s a good time to donate time or money or coats to help people who need it, and to reach out to that friend who had a particularly tough 2016 and ask them if they want to go for a walk or get a drink. It’s a nice way to show you care, obviously, but I bet it will make you feel more connected, grounded, and focused on what’s really important too.

This week, we’ve found a ton of fun ways for you to spend your spare time—whether you want to watch a movie, hear jokes, cook, eat, create, give back, ride, or shop. Read on and take note of the things that strike your fancy, and make sure you make the most of another Ideal Week. (more…)

11/30/16 2:28pm

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In no particular order, here are all the things that Mike Mills’ third directorial feature, 20th Century Women, will make you do: nonchalantly dab your eyes with a tissue, develop a deep affinity for life in Santa Barbara in 1979, and fall in love with every inch of Annette Bening’s glorious face. Yes, Mills’ follow-up to 2011’s Beginners is that good.

Led by a brilliant cast of Bening, Elle Fanning, Greta Gerwig, Billy Crudup, and newcomer Lucas Jade Zumann, 20th Century Women tells the story of 50-something-year-old Dorothea (Bening) trying to decipher how to best help her teenage son (Zumann) grow into a good, just, young man in a time when everything is somewhat in flux: there’s an energy crisis, Jimmy Carter is desperately trying to unite a society that’s fumbling in the space between one era and the next, and local teenagers entertain themselves by playing choking games. Terrified that she alone cannot give her son everything he needs–and feeling more distant from him with every new record he spins in his room, and every minute in which he becomes a slightly older version of himself–Dorothea enlists the help of a few lost souls that rent rooms in her enormous, constantly in-repair home in sunny Santa Barbara. (more…)