Archive for September, 2008

Day Off- Live Through This

Posted in day off with tags , , , , on September 30, 2008 by thebrooklynsocialite

So even socialites eventually need a rest, and maybe even a moment away from Brooklyn. Family called and I have found myself in Connecticut, by a lake being pulled into Bridge games and getting email flack from NY which I’d prefer to ignore. The lake is beautiful, I need to rest my head.

I thought I’d take this opportunity to briefly discuss a book I’ve recently read called Live Through This: On Creativity and Self-destruction Yes, even the very act of reading has become work. Books are assigned to me for review or I solicit them for potential review. Live Though This kind of falls into that second category. My relationship with it remains unclear… but…

Content is all that really matters right? So lets get into it. This book in an anthology of women writers who have experienced abuse, mental illness, self-injuring, basically some form of pain that could have stopped them from creating and maybe instead catalysed them to start or continue to make art. Nicole Blackman, Fly, Bell Hooks, Cristy C. Roads, Daphne Gotlieb, Eileen Myles, Nan Goldin, Patricia Smith, countless women seem to swell the ranks of survival literature, poetry of the oppressed, struggle till it gets better penmanship. To be honest, I don’t know quite what to make of it. I like many of the contributors, and spoke for a bit with the editor, still I guess I feel this crumbling sensation that perhaps past suffering is not what brings these writers together- what it is I reckon is talent, consistent vision and just general ability to kick ass.

Besides my qualms with the premise, I definitely dug some of the submissions, especially Fly and some of the other names I’ve mentioned above.

Peaches and No. 7 Greene

Posted in Guide to What's Good with tags , , , , , on September 29, 2008 by thebrooklynsocialite

“Do not fear the blogger,” I wanted to whisper into the ear of both Peaches owner, pictured below (with his daughter behind the cashier) and GM/owner of No. 7, not pictured. I wasn’t really trying to be ingognito, maybe the big camera and little notebook completely gave me away. As a paying customer, I felt free to dine as I pleased. For their part though, they seemed a little unsettled by my presence.

I will try to step outside the situation nevertheless and focus instead on squash. At Peaches, I had butternut squash soup with honey and cinnamon for brunch, which reminded me of the way I like to eat oatmeal. Savory sweet, oats with maple syrup and cinnamon, sweet breakie soup, yellow squash puree under a tender little mountain of just raw seared hangar steak, with Chinese broccoli and kimchi perogies- that is what I had at No. 7. Again squash, savory battles sweet again.

Beyond yellow gourds, the two restaurants have precious little in common. No 7 boasts charming wait staff, a competitive wine list, art-deco-blanc interior design and lush food pairings. Peaches remembers it’s in Brooklyn, totally unpretentious, with definite potential, but I’d like to see espresso, alcohol, and a microwave-free promise join their menu.

Wild Combination: A Portrait of Arthur Russell

Posted in film, Music with tags , , , , , on September 28, 2008 by thebrooklynsocialite

Wow, its 3am this time and exhaustion is setting in, but I can’t sleep without getting a first draft of this statement out. I will revise, but it starts like this:

Allen Ginsberg was famous for the inspiration he found in Visions. William Blake appeared to him, as did Aurthur Russell, in the flesh. Ginsberg found him dressed in urban monks attire and ever after referred to him and his music as Pop Buddhist. They later lived for many years in a building stuffed with artists flats. Whether they were ever lovers, I’m not sure, but Russell lived out his life there with his faithful beloved partner, who was at the IFC center tonight to answer questions about Matt Wolf’s new film Wild Combination (GL).

Continuing with this week’s sea fascination: At the edge of The World, Cathie Opie’s depiction of surfers and Trouble the Water, Wild Combination emphasized Russell’s love of water. Fish tanks, the Staten Island Ferry, oceanic jaunts through midtown- wherever the water came from, he synthesized it into his work. Mastering cello, keys, guitar, vocals-this musician was a Brooklyn Socialite indeed- he could compose like his friend Philip Glass, create disco for raves at the Loft, and croon electro-cello-poetry. Arthur Russell rocks.

Tre, Bembe, Metropolitan, Catherine Opie preview and opening, Corner shop, Carmen Valle

Posted in art, Book, Food, Guide to What's Good with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 27, 2008 by thebrooklynsocialite

Committed readers, welcome back! I am determined to blog every day, which sometimes means 2 am the next day- true Brooklyn Socialites are immune to exhaustion. I wish I could say that were true. It is the end of the month, which means that rent has to be paid, the GO deadline met ( I’m working towards Monday), and that all my visions are starting to pile up. They get cleared out on the 1st- kind of like how I’m not tired now.

Let’s work backwards. I rolled home tonight around 10 after Carmen Valle’s reading from Haiku de NuevaYork at McNally Jackson (both are additions to the GOOD List, GL). My once awesome Spanish comprehension skills (yes folks, I was a Spanish/History major in College) had abandoned me in a hungover fog of Lavender tea, beautiful chicken soup (Thanks Corner Shop Cafe, GL), and an all day jittery, shot of afternoon espresso (from my Bedstuy local Tiny Cup), which brings me to last night and why I am not at my freshest.

The reason is, because my cutely awkward streak emerged among the Lit Icons and Art Stars who were in attendance at last nights Catherine Opie: American Photographer, Guggenheim opening (GL). This drove me to free shwag wine and after party mojitos. The best conversation I had during the night was with Hans and Johan pictured below.(Checkout the October Go for more photos). We talked about hitchhiking, Situationists, Hans’ films, Johan’s design collective-The House of Very Much, my latent fiction, polyamory and then in the end we just danced! Justin Bond, T Cooper, Felicia Luna Lemus, Thelma Goldin, Eileen Myles, Debbie Harry, John Waters, Opie and countless others equally, failed to resist the dance floor as JD Sampson dropped fly beats.

Hans is the subject of some of Catherine’s photos, which are on display at the museum. I enjoyed my chance to preview the exhibition yesterday morning and promise to post a link to my review and interview with the artist as soon as it is out! That is all I’ll say about that right now, except to explain that yesterday morning in heels at the museum was mitigated by my too recent memory of Wed night, my best mate in town, exorcising demons in the dive splendor of Metropolitan (GL). This after a false start at Bembe (apparently it was groove night or something, who knows what that music genre is called? Tuesday nights are great though! GL) and a bottle of Sangiovese at Tre (GL). Authentic Italian’s serving wines from Italy’s regions only- a little pricey but the staff are cute.

From back to front that’s where I’ve been.

At the Edge of the World Q&A w/Dan Stone

Posted in film, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 25, 2008 by thebrooklynsocialite

I used to live in Melbourne, Australia, not Florida. One day the Sea Shepherd docked on our shores and I got to meet some of the people on board, including former Greenpeace activist, Captain Paul Watson. People in Melb were so inspired by the Direct Action Whale Rescue that the Sea Shepherd crew engaged in. A benefit party was organized, t-shirts were bought and one of my friends even decided to join them on their next mission.

Roll forward to last night in NYC, I saw Dan Stone’s film about one of their Antarctic missions, At the Edge of The World as part of IFC‘s Stranger Than Fiction documentary series. I was struck during the Q&A by the apparently contentious relationship that Stone has with Watson and the Sea Shepherd crew. He told us that many of them did not like the final cut. This is a curiosity that I will have to explore further; I intend to interview him and will update this tangent later.

As for last night, I can say that the film was rocky and oceanic, after the dubious Q&A, I ran into an old old NYC activist friend and cracked into some Belgian Beer and lively debate at Vol de Nuit (def on the GOOD list). Obama and Pallin, Stone and Watson, Preservation and Indigenous hunting ceremony, Old gays vs. New Queers, all the relevant rivalries were discussed!

Ballast and The General of the Dead Army

Posted in Book, film with tags , , , , , , , , on September 23, 2008 by thebrooklynsocialite

The General of the Dead Army rightfully earned Ismail Kadare the Booker Prize. It is a stark investigation into loss and lingering sanity, which takes the form of an anti-hero’s quest, while borrowing heavily from the dystopia genre. The protagonist is an Italian General who wanders the emotionally barren landscape of Albania in search of the bodies of fallen Italian soldiers from World War II. His journey into darkness, whether intentionally or coincidentally, references such magnificently tragic journey’s as those that comprised 1884, the Time Machine, C.S. Lewis’s Space Trilogy and naturally, Heart of Darkness.

After a significant amount of procrastination, I managed to write my review of A General of the Dead Army for Bookslut. That is the first paragraph and the rest will soon be available on their sight. As a B S exclusive though, I wanted to talk about this book and the film Ballast together. I interviewed the film’s director, Lance Hammer, last week and that will soon see the light of print, I promise. Meanwhile- let’s talk Tragedy.

Hammer used non actors, who were local to the two towns in the Mississippi Delta where he shot the film. After 10 years of research, he decided to make a film that as he told me, “wasn’t so much about race, but about universal human suffering.” He chose African Americans to play the main roles, and encouraged them to use their own distinct vernacular. Rather than hand them a script, he gave them a situation and encouraged them to improvise language around that particular scenario. What remains of this method, in the edited movie is a steely, classical, cinematic gem. Like The General of the Dead Army, Ballast is a tragic play of emotions, which seems to take place in real time. It is similarly stark, subtle and quietly passionate.

NYC Adult Spelling Bee recap at Choice

Posted in Guide to What's Good with tags , , , , on September 22, 2008 by thebrooklynsocialite

“If you’re looking for an opportunity to hit the spelling bee circuit, look no further. Since staring down 8 year-olds at the Scribbs National Spelling Bee, seems you know, kinda unfair, or just plain creepy, The New York City Spelling Bee is strictly for adults.” read more

I am really not above quoting myself, so that was an excerpt from my flavorpill preview of the NYC Spelling Bee at Housing Works. Now for the review…from the vantage point of Brooklyn

Continuing the conversation of the challenging hunt for goodness in Manhattan, I began to ponder what makes Brooklyn So God-dammed Good. The answer was clear- At least in my neighborhood, the lovely Bed Stuy (which some friends are truly afraid to visit ), there is not a plethora of choice. There is however, Choice bakery. This flaky croissant home to the excellent Mocha, fresh squeezed-one gulp grapefruit hot gourmet to take away-mecca of Goodness exists at the intersection of Grand and Lafayette, in Petit Panam. That is, half a block of stoop sale, Parisian, french African anomaly, contrasted against the hundreds of blocks lined with residences, laundromats and Pentecostal Churches.

I love Choice! As I sat there 5 separate people I knew, came past to grab their Sunday vitals, while I told the Philosopher about my Sat night Spelling Bee. “It was so much more fun than you can imagine,” I said. “It’s a hipster librarian’s ultimate contest, you win book vouchers and feel validated at last!” He just nodded, as philosophers do.

Visions

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on September 21, 2008 by thebrooklynsocialite

Lately, I’ve been having visions of myself on the treadmill at my local YMCA gym, jamming to books on tape, while running in place. These visions are strange, but not dissimilar to my vision of starting my own cultural curation website, with a focus on Brooklyn. So I bought a domain name, and tried to get all fancy, but that web design mumbo jumble got me down, instead in the wee hours of night, with you dear fledgling readers, I have decided to Start Simple. Please try to ignore the less than flash photos, and not so awesome formating, all that will one day come. I promise, because somewhere amidst the visions of fashion labels, gourmet stews, crazy pitch idea and all my other visions, The B S has a lot of potential and she will rise!

Definitions:

Brooklyn Socialite

Brook·lyn \ˈbru̇-klən\
Function:geographical name borough of New York City at SW end of Long Island population 2,465,326

so·cial·ite \ˈsō-shə-ˌlīt\ Function:noun a socially prominent person

 A Card of Inspiration and Desperation-by me Another Vision

PaperBagMan-by me Another Vision

Battle in Seatle Q&A with Charlize Theron

Posted in film, Guide to What's Good with tags , , , , , , on September 21, 2008 by thebrooklynsocialite

Surprisingly, in my food coma, I managed to stumble over to The Angelika, a cinema which is definitely on the Good List. They consistently show great films, offer insightful Q&As and even have a cafe, yay! Last night Charlize Theron, of Monster fame, joined filmmaker Stuart Townsend (also her boyfriend, she is straight), and Kiwi Actor, Martin Henderson, who played the lead male role. Many of my friends were in Seattle at the WTO protests back in 1999. I remember them coming back to New York all pumped and ready to change the face of organizing. It was the dawn of the Internet, birth of The Indy Media Network. A hugely diverse coalition had been formed and would be maintained thereafter. A social movement had descended upon once secret meetings. For those who haven’t seen it, I strongly suggest finding a copy of This is What Democracy Looks Like and viewing it alongside Battle in Seatle. The former is a doco and the latter a dramatization of the events. Also try to wrap your head around Joseph Stiglitz’s Globalization and its Discontents. Or if you can’t hang with economist-speak, Stuart Townsend recommends Take it Personally by Anita Roddick.

The Angelika was packed, and it was an engaging film. Lots of Hollywood style drama- and a little too much sap courtesy of Woody Harrelson et al. Still it was easy to look past the pedestrian romances and focus on the momentum that the film simulates aided by an excellent musical score. The researched and nearly balanced approach it takes towards telling the story of N30 is commendable.

The Good List

Posted in Guide to What's Good with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 21, 2008 by thebrooklynsocialite

Cinemas

Angelika

IFC Center

Films

Ballast

Battle in Seattle

This is What Democracy Looks Like

At the Edge of the World

Fixer: The Taking of Ajmal Naqshbandi

Wild Combination: A Portrait of Arthur Russell

Trouble the Water


Books

Globalization and its Discontents

Take it Personally

The General of the Dead Army

1984

The Time Machine

The Space Trillogy

The Seagull

Eateries

Choice Bakery

Birdbath Bakery- honorable mention

Corner Shop Cafe

No. 7 Greene

Tazza

Loulou

Podunk

Cafe Lafayette

Bookstores

Housing Works

McNally Jackson

People

Obama

Catherine Opie

Allen Ginsberg

Dynasty Handbag

Kalup Linzy

Eileen Myles

Coco Rosie

St Clair Bourne

Spike Lee

Angela Davis

Bars

Vol de Nuit- Belgian Beer/Wine bar- West 4th

Tre

Metropolitan

Bembe

Sugarland

Santos Party House

Exhibitions

Catherine Opie:American Photographer

Louise Borgeois

Other spaces

The Chelsea Museum

The Yard

Nu Yu Day Spa

KGB Bar

92 st Y Tribeca

Concert Venues

Searching for what’s good

Posted in Guide to What's Good with tags , , , on September 21, 2008 by thebrooklynsocialite

My yesterday got off to a bit of a bad start, it all began with the search for a good brunch spot in the LES. This type of quest can be depressing when you are surrounded by herds of hand holding co-habitues, and blocked on the path by strollers and up-gazing tourists. Harrowing as it was, I managed to settle on a new French place called Regate, where I attempted to swallow my dread under the stream of a very weak latte. (I failed). The search for Lunch in Soho was no easier, after a few false starts, I finally landed at L’ulvio, then journeyed up the west village, towards meatpacking on the look out for a good desert joint. I settled on the Birdbath Bakery, which I’ve always respected for its combination of organic practices and really good cookies. Unfortunately, this time I noticed their excessive use of disposable paper and plastic products and lack off espresso machine- but nobody’s perfect ( least of all me-many snob points were earned today! )

What’s the moral of this story? 1. Another day of leisure spent in vain. 2 Eating all day is weird. or 3. It’s really hard to find good eateries among the cacophony of choices in Manhattan south.

3. That’s right 3 OK, maybe all of the above, but what I mean to say is that after all this search chagrin got in the way of my relaxation, I came to the conclusion that it was high time to draft a guide to what’s good. I needed a voice that I could trust, to help me sift through all the mediocrity, than I realised I could be that Voice. (he he) None of the food spots I visited yesterday quite deserve inclusion in the guide so hold steady, Food picks will come. In the meantime lets talk about Culture: see the next post for how my inspiring evening contrasted with a sadly mundane day.