09/27/16 9:32am
A protestor holds a sign at a Concord, New Hampshire city council meeting. Courtesy of VANISH Films.

A protestor holds a sign at a Concord, New Hampshire city council meeting. Courtesy of VANISH Films.

If it wasn’t for the strip mall parking lots in the background, it would be easy to mistake Missouri for Mosul in the opening shots of Do Not Resist, Craig Atkinson’s, infuriating and important documentary investigating the militarization of American law enforcement.

The film opens on Friday, Sept. 30 at Film Forum, and feels incredibly timely in the wake of the deaths of Terence Crutcher and Keith Scott last week at the hands of police officers, and the police response to protests in Charlotte where Scott was killed. While Do Not Resist screened as part of the Tribeca Film Festival earlier this year, and at the Nitehawk in July followed by a Q&A with Atkinson, this is the first extended run for the film in New York City. (more…)

09/26/16 2:59pm
Active Bird Community (Grandstand HQ)

Active Bird Community, just paling around like they have been since 6th grade. Photo: Grandstand HQ

The video for the single “Pick Me Apart,” by Brooklyn indie rock band Active Bird Community employs a simple concept–it’s just four guys happily rocking out with their instruments inside a fort made out of blankets. That charming, DIY aesthetic is in step with the group’s music, which is direct, energetic, spontaneous guitar-focused rock. It seems to be generating some buzz for the song, which recalls Weezer with its ringing guitars and yearning vocals, and has already generated over 1.6 million plays on Spotify.

Active Bird Community is a relatively new band, consisting of drummer Carter McNeil, singer/lead guitarist Andrew Wolfson, singer/guitarist Tom D’Agustino, and bassist Zach Slater, all childhood friends. They’ve put out several records, including last year’s full-length I’ve Been Going Swimming, which contains “Pick Me Apart,” a self-titled EP, and a couple of singles–including their latest, “Longport,” from earlier this year. They’re playing The Bowery Electric on Wednesday, September 28.

Brooklyn Based recently spoke with Active Bird Community’s Tom D’Augustino and Andrew Wolfson about the video for “Pick Me Apart,” the band’s history, and a preview of their new record.

The recent video for “Pick Me Apart” is very whimsical and fun—especially with you guys rocking out in a blanket fort. How did you arrive at the concept for the video and where was it shot? 

Tom: The majority of it was shot at my parents’ house upstate in Lake Carmel, N.Y.  The blanket fort shots were done in our basement at our old apartment in the Bronx. The concept definitely changed a few times as we tried to figure out what we wanted the video to feel like. Eventually, we decided that we wanted something a bit more honest than just shots of us looking cool and stuff so I figured why not include my family and best friends. I wanted the video to seem like an attempt at reconnecting with your childhood and my little sister Kaitlyn really helped that come to life I think.

Bands that have influenced me the most are probably the Pixies, Built to Spill and Neutral Milk Hotel.

What’s the story behind the song?

Tom: While the video explores feelings about childhood and family relationships, the song itself deals more with long-distance relationships. The ways they can often make everything seem to drag on when you’re apart or seem like a joke. (more…)

09/26/16 12:50pm
Photo: Seth Piracci

Photo: Seth Piracci

Typically when you read about a new bar, the review lingers over the carefully crafted cocktail list, the house-made bitters, the collection of rare mezcals the owner traveled to Oaxaca to get. There’s no shortage of exotic concoctions lit by Edison bulbs in Brooklyn. But the neighborhood bar, the place you go to run into people you know, with solid drinks, a good happy hour, and a comfortable vibe, those we could use a few more of around these parts. Welcome to The Starliner.

Opened in January of 2016 in a former tae kwon do studio a short walk from the Myrtle-Wykoff train station in Bushwick, the well-appointed space is roomy enough to comfortably accommodate big crowds on weekends, but warm enough that you’ll feel just as comfortable settling in for a quiet early evening cocktail. The Starliner’s interior design could be described as fifties diner-meets-Brooklyn-hipster, with oversized red leather booths–including one built into the bar–against tiled walls and clean hardwood floors and matching ceilings. The spacious backyard area has ample seating in the open area as well as a converted garage boasting a giant American flag wall mural which signals Starliner’s work-hard, play-hard ethos. (more…)

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09/23/16 11:34pm

Nestled squarely between Park Slope and Carroll Gardens, The Bell House is a state of the art 8,000 square foot facility with separate performance space and lounge.

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Crafted out of a 1920’s printing factory and featuring an 88 foot long, 25 foot high magnificent wooden barrel vault ceiling, The Bell House has quickly become a major hub for arts and performance in Brownstone Brooklyn.

Located directly in the front of the building, the Front Lounge of The Bell House retains a warm and intimate character while still comfortably accommodating up to 150 people. This space features a gorgeous 26 foot oak bar serving handcrafted and local beers and a full wine and liquor selection. Groups large and small can lounge on vintage furniture and mingle in soft lighting showcased through large windows allowing sunlight in the day and starry views at night.

The Main Room at The Bell House boasts 25 foot wooden arched ceilings, a 450 square foot stage, and unobstructed views of the stage from any part of the room, making it an ideal space for weddings and celebrations of all kinds. This space easily accommodates 400 standing.

The Bell House is located in what has long been a quiet stronghold for artists and musicians. The Gowanus neighborhood, with its early twentieth century red brick warehouses, has been a haven for artists seeking space for creative endeavors. The Bell House is thrilled to be a part of 7th Street, a block made up of numerous artist work spaces, galleries and businesses including Gowanus Studio Space and the Pace Paper Studio. Three quick blocks from the F, R and G trains and within walking distance of Park Slope, Carroll Gardens, and Boerum Hill. 200-250 seated theater style, or 100-140 seated at round banquet tables. Guests can also enjoy birds-eye views from the raised platform of the beautiful 30’ wooden bar along the West wall. This space can be combined with use of the Front Lounge to accommodate up to 550 guests for standing events.

Follow them on:

Facebook: The Bell House
Instagram: @bellhouseny
Twitter: @BellHouseNY
Website: thebellhouseny.com

09/23/16 9:09am
This Do or Dive bar hound may or may not be at the Immersion tomorrow, but one can hope. Photo: Do or Dive

This Do or Dive bar hound may or may not be at the Immersion tomorrow, but one can hope. Photo: Do or Dive

 

This Saturday is our last Immersion of the season with Brooklyn Brewery, and our neighborhood bar and food crawl will be taking us to a lot of great, new(ish) bars in Bed-Stuy. For $15, you can get a Brooklyn beer each at the new Do or Dive, in the old Do or Dive space; Beast of Bourbon, whose BBQ is to die for; Black Swan, one of our favorite Brooklyn pubs; and Chilo’s, another great local bar that serves stellar tacos from its food truck parked out back. You can also add lunch to the deal for a total of $25, and whichever package you choose—the express or lunch option—you’ll get a wad of walking around money to cash in on neighborhood deals like a $4 Brooklyn lager tallboy from Swell Dive, another great new bar along Bedford with surfer vibes and Filipino / Tex-Mex fare. Saturday is going to be a blissful 74 degrees—perfect Brooklyn Oktoberfest drinking weather—so get a ticket here and join us!

09/22/16 10:42am
Alex Cameron (Cara Robbins)

From left to right: Alex Cameron and Roy Molloy  Photo: Cara Robbins

You have to admire an artist with a cutting sense of humor, who doesn’t take himself too seriously. The first indication that Australian musician Alex Cameron might fall into this category is his website, which looks like it was made in 2000 on Geocities. On the site, Cameron states his policy about press interviews. His rules include: 1) that the interview has to be conducted inside a bowling alley in Randwick, Australia; 2) that it must done during two rounds of bowling, and that the reporter cannot bowl while doing the interview 3) that there should be no questions about Cameron’s teeth, which is a sensitive issue with him; and 4) the interviewer should avoid eye contact with Cameron.

Unfortunately I didn’t have the luxury of traveling to Australia to interview Cameron surrounded by the sound of rolling bowling balls and falling pins, but he still talked to me. If Cameron’s interview policy sounds pointed (along with some other thoughts he shares on his site), so are the lyrics on his most recent album, Jumping the Shark.  The album draws from his experiences in show business, an industry that’s not nearly as glamorous as it might seem, and, if his track “The Comeback” is to be believed, can be quite cold and cruel.

Cameron’s sharp observations are the basis for his unique style of storytelling, and he has crafted a very arresting, minimalist electro-pop record that recalls elements of Suicide, early Depeche Mode, and the Cars. His deep and charismatic vocals at times recall Suicide’s Alan Vega, the Cars’ Ric Ocasek, and Nick Cave.

In advance of his gig at AVIV this Friday, Cameron spoke with me about his latest album and his career up to this point.

When and how did you meet Roy Molloy, your musical and business partner?

I met Roy when he moved in two doors down from me in 1994. He was stuffing lemons in a drain. A whole sack of lemons, one by one. We became enemies and then a decade later we became friends. He played me some Lou Reed in 2004 and that changed things for me. Then another decade later I was short on cash and Roy got me work in a pizza joint pounding dough. We talked about the music industry and decided to go into business together. (more…)

09/22/16 9:46am
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Claire Fontaine, JETON (PLEASE GOD), 2016 Photo: Regina Mogilevskaya

Take Me (I’m Yours), an exhibit that opened last weekend at The Jewish Museum, allows visitors to touch, inspect, eat and take home works of art by 42 international artists, many of whom created specifically commissioned pieces for the show. It subverts the usual look-but-don’t-touch museum experience, and watching how visitors interact with the exhibits is as fascinating as the show itself. 

Take Me (I’m Yours) was originally exhibited in 1995 at the Serpentine Gallery in London, curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist (who co-curated the new exhibit with Jens Hoffman nearly 20 years later) and artist Christian Boltanski. Though the scale of the exhibit was smaller then–only 12 artists were featured–the principal set of questions were the same: How do we remove the ever-present wall between art and the viewer? What can a form of ownership add to the viewer experience? What happens if the viewer walks out of an exhibit not just with a fleeting feeling or thought, but with a physical object in their hand? (more…)

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09/21/16 11:38am
Join us on Saturday for the last Immersion of the season, in Bed-Stuy.

Join us on Saturday for the last Immersion of the season, in Bed-Stuy.

Friday, September 23
WILLIAMSBURG LoftOpera presents Cosi fan Tutte 7pm, tickets $30↠

Saturday, September 24 BED-STUY The Total Bed-Stuy Immersion, noon, tickets $15-$25↠ • WILLIAMSBURG The Grat Big Bacon Picnic, events all day, tickets start at $79↠

Sunday, September 25 WILLIAMSBURG The Great Big Bacon Picnic, events all day, tickets start at $79↠

Monday, September 26 GOWANUS debate party at The Bell House, 8pm, free ↠ • BUSHWICK debate party at Pine Box Rock Shop, 8pm, free ↠

Tuesday, September 27 COBBLE HILL The BackFatlorette, 8pm, free↠

Wednesday, September 28 PROSPECT HEIGHTS From Field to Table: A celebration of local grains, 7pm, tickets $125↠

The end of summer always feels a little bit like an alarm clock rudely interrupting a listless, kinda sweaty dream. HEY, YOU, time to go back to school, time to buckle down for the end of Q3, time to find your missing socks and buy some absurdly priced “it” boots because those flip-flop days are waning, time to remember deadlines because your editor/boss/client is back from the Hamptons for real now, time to do that cleanse you’ve been saying you’ll start, time to weigh in on the fall TV lineup! Do you think that Halloween costume is going to make itself? Oh and, by the way, what are your plans for Thanksgiving?

Ahhhhh! What happened? It feels like five minutes ago you were barefoot in the park with nothing going on all weekend and a crappy beach read in hand and now there’s so much to plan and organize and obsess about that your subway commute feels like a fugue state. Add to this the anxiety produced after an act of terror earlier this week, the increasingly disturbing level of violence in routine traffic stops, and the fear that we might NOT be able to escape disaster come November, and it’s enough stress to make you want to cash in your chips and check out.

Here’s where it’s important to keep in mind all the fun that fall in NYC promises. Take this weekend alone: We’ve got the Brooklyn Flea Record Fair, the Great Big Bacon Picnic, the Brooklyn Americana Music Festival, the Red Hook Regatta, the Brooklyn Pour Craft Beer Festival, the 42nd annual Atlantic Antic, and our very own Brooklyn Based Bed-Stuy Immersion going on, and that’s just an overview of Saturday and Sunday’s events. Read on for other ways to fill up your Ideal Week planner, because we all need a break from the grind right now. (more…)

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09/20/16 9:28am
A picture is worth a thousand words. Artist Hansky's mural can be found on the LES. Photo: Meredith Craig de Pietro

As Artist Hansky’s LES mural proves, a picture is worth a thousand words. This election year, showcase your favorite causes in creative ways–use consumerism as a canvas.  Photo: Meredith Craig de Pietro

This may be a supremely weird and exhausting election, but it does have one thing going for it–amazing political gear.

We don’t get to vote until November (if you haven’t yet registered you can do so here–Oct. 14 is the deadline), but the first debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is scheduled for next Monday, Sept. 26. Judging from their swag, the Clinton team is raring to go, with a debate watch party pack that comes with “Chillary” beer coozies. It’s still anyone’s guess whether Trump will actually participate, but either way, you have time to outfit yourself. Take a stand with slogan t-shirts, show your passion for the cause with a baseball cap, or let your guests remember to dump Trump every time they use your bathroom. 

[Editorial note: In a normal election we would give you gear supporting both candidates. This is not a normal election and we won’t pretend that Trump is a normal candidate, or that readers of Brooklyn Based are interested in buying a Make America Great Again cap. If you are, well, Google it.]

Slogan: I’m With Her!

Photo: HillaryClinton.com

Photo: HillaryClinton.com

You don’t have to go look hard for stylish swag supporting Hillary Clinton. She’s got a web store that rivals Barneys, with big name designers like Marc Jacobs and Jason Wu making limited edition t-shirts to support the candidate. Nothing beats this unisex Everyday Pantsuit tee ($30), a fun shirt to support a serious candidate. [Ed. note: Why this doesn’t come in blue baffles us.]


(more…)

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09/19/16 11:14am

lellasign

There is no shortage of red sauce Italian cuisine in the Graham Avenue section of Williamsburg. Lella Alimentari though, may be the only Italian spot in the neighborhood that makes you forget you’re in Brooklyn. The bustling grocery-café-piadineria is run by the delightfully, aggressively Italian husband-and-wife team of Massimiliano Nanni and Paola Citterio, who treat it as second home.

Italian staples like dried pasta, olive oil and canned tomatoes line the walls, while customers shout their orders over the sound of the espresso machine and a tall counter filled with baked goods and deli staples. Lella Alimentari is busiest in the mornings, when locals come in for strong coffee and maybe a sit-down breakfast of granola with fruit and yogurt or a frittata of the day (a bargain at $5 for a hefty slice). Lella is open all day to serve their specialty–piadine, an Italian flatbread, thin but dense with a doughy center and crisp outer layer. (more…)