Tag Archives: St. Mark’s Bookshop Reading Series

Behind Closed Doors and other Unlikely Adventures

Sometimes the best way to rediscover The Big Apple is to head into unknown territory. There are a number of ways to do that this week. First, if you’ve never been to Bed-Stuy this is the weekend to check it out; there will be all sorts of opportunities to see the neighborhood from the inside out including tours of historic brownstones and live performances by some of the hippest bands in the area- all part of Bed-Stuy Alive!

If you’re a gamer behind closed doors on Thursday it’s time to take it out in the open; Ethan Gilsdorf will be reading from his book “FANTASY FREAKS AND GAMING GEEKS: An Epic Quest for Reality Among Role Players, Online Gamers, and Other Dwellers of Imaginary Realms” at Solas as part of the St. Mark’s Bookshop Reading Series.

The book is an exploration and celebration of fantasy and gaming subcultures. On a quest that begins in his own geeky teenage past and ends in our online gaming future, former D&D addict Gilsdorf crisscrosses America, the world, and other worlds—from Boston to Wisconsin, France to New Zealand, and Planet Earth to Middle-earth to the realm of Aggramar. He asks game players and fantasy fans—old, young, male, female, able-bodied and disabled—what attracts them to fantasy worlds, and for what reasons. What he discovers is funny, poignant, and enlightening. The event begins with a “geek trivia contest” with prizes that tests the audience’s knowledge of all things Tolkien, Harry Potter, Dungeons & Dragons and more. Prizes will also be given to anyone arriving in costume as their favorite fantasy character or creature (elf, orc, warrior, wizard, Harry Potter, etc).

If you’re not a gamer behind closed doors perhaps you’re a secret fan of Italian Disco, if so you too can come out of the closet this Thursday! Brian Blackout will be spinning “Italian Disco, cheesy european disco, french house and Eurodance” at Trophy Bar for the new Euroflash dance party! Get out there and “shake your hips to the sound of mustachioed gentlemen plying arpeggiated basslines onto English vocals so badly butchered you can barely recognize them.”


If you don’t subscribe to NonsenseNYC you probably haven’t heard about the massive 10 year anniversary bash they’re throwing; buy your tickets NOW and thank me later. I will be in Boston visiting G and let me just say, if missing this party doesn’t prove how crazy in love with him I am then nothing else will.

This weekend you can literally peek behind (normally) closed doors; Open House New York opens up hundreds of private spaces to the public so you can discover the architectural treasures hidden behind the facades. Check out all the listings, read this article for a bit of advice on what to see and use this awesome Serious Eats feature to find a place to eat in-between tours! How trippy does this map of the sites look?

OHNY Sites 2009

OHNY Sites 2009

I must really love that guy to be missing this, not to mention all the other events I’ll be sending your way in the next day or two- stay tuned! Plus follow me on twitter for real-time updates on the doings of The Big Red Apple.

August 5-9 Summer in the city…

In August many New Yorkers flee their hometown to escape the sticky heat and herds of tourists; this August make your friends in the Catskills green with envy when you tell them about all the shenanigans you got up to in The Big Apple while they were swatting mosquitoes! This week has lots of jealousy worthy events in store!

This evening, if it doesn’t rain, The Asphalt Orchestra will be performing as part of the Lincoln Center Out of Doors Festival:

An iconoclastic 12-piece marching band conceived by Bang on a Can premieres ambitious processional music from every corner of the music world, works that coax funk from the funereal and would make a halftime show sparkle with sophistication. Choreographer Susan Marshall weds parade spectacle to new pieces by Tyondai Braxton (of Battles), Goran Bregovic, and Stew and Heidi Rodewald, and arrangements of songs by Björk, Meshuggah, Mingus, Nancarrow, and Zappa.

If it rains they’ll be performing throughout August so you’ll have more chances to experience this funky version of a marching band.

Also at the whim of the weather gods, Waltz with Bashir may be screening in Socrates Sculpture Park this evening; for an audience numbed to the violence shown on the news this animated film is somehow more real than a traditional documentary. Here’s the trailer:

On Thursday check out a special shorts screening of work by Peter Buntaine and Lorenzo Gattorna of New York(er) Shorts on a rooftop in Bushwick (15 Lawton Street, Brooklyn; films screen at sunset).

If you’re interested in seeing some better known short films outdoors spend your Thursday evening in Central Park where Ashbury Shorts will be screening at Summerstage:

New York City’s longest running exhibition of award-winning independent short films presents “An Evening of the World’s Best Short Films,” featuring live music, celebrity guests, and noteworthy, festival award-winning short films compiled over the past ten years. Films to be featured include: Super Powers – Best Short Film, 2007 Tribeca Film Festival; Yours Truly – voted best animated short film at over five international festivals; Stalker Guilt Syndrome – Live Action Comedy – Jonah Kaplan, Brooklyn; Tanghi Argentini – Audience Prize, Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival; plus other classic shorts.

For the literary amongst you there’s a great reading at Solas Thursday night, courtesy of the St. Mark’s Bookshop– John Joseph will read from his autobiographical work The Evolution of a Cro-Magnon, which details his experiences in the punk scene and his struggles with homelessness, addiction and insanity. Be prepared to be horrified.

If you want more laughter and less horror in your Thursday check out The Raspberry Brothers at Comix; this time they’re exercising their wit on Karate Kid.

Pat Morita in Karate Kid

Pat Morita in Karate Kid

On Friday, if you missed seeing The Muppet Movie at BAM last week you have another chance to see it, this time on Pier 46 in Hudson River Park.

You also have a chance to see two great up-and-coming bands Friday night at Spike Hill. Ellis Ashbrook is playing alongside Mem (who I wrote about recently). Here’s a great shot from Mem’s last show:



If recent screenings of Cary Grant films have left you hungry for much much more you’re in luck- BAM is having a Cary Grant Retrospective all through the month of August; here’s a clip from Saturday’s offering The Talk of the Town:

Saturday is a big day for electronic music. First, Boys Noize is playing on Central Park’s Sumerstage. For those of you who need a full day of electronic music I bring you… The Brooklyn Electronic Music Festival! This massive event at the Old American Can Factory features performances by Juan Maclean, Young Love and Designer Drugs.


For those of you who have a favorite anime character (admit it- you have more than one), Saturday is your chance to dress the part at Brooklyn Waterfront Artist Coalition‘s All Day Anime Event! Keep your costume legal (no naked nymphs, etc.) and mingle with other anime enthusiasts while checking out awesome new artworks!

If you think you have what it takes to complete the Pizza Tour of Brooklyn join fellow pizzaholics for a day of serious eating this Sunday.


Have you heard of silent kung fu films? No? Well, that may be because there is only one surviving from the golden age of Chinese cinema. Rooftop Films will be bringing it to you with a new original score by Devil Music Ensemble, performed live, at the Automotive High School in Brooklyn. This screening of Red Heroine also includes a martial arts demonstration and is followed by an open bar.

Finally, to add a little art to your weekend I recommend checking out the ongoing exhibit at the Yossi Milo Gallery– Sexy and the City New York Photographs:

Sexy and the City shows the alluring, romantic and sometimes scandalous side of New York’s people and places. Capturing private, intimate moments and blatant displays of sexuality, these photographs span the decades from the 1940s to the present day, taken in landmark locations like the Brooklyn Bridge and in the quiet, out-of-the-way corners of the city.

This is one photograph being displayed:

Alfred Eisenstaedt’s iconic image of a kissing couple in Times Square on V-J Day, 1945

Alfred Eisenstaedt’s iconic image of a kissing couple in Times Square on V-J Day, 1945

Have an excellent week(end) and stay tuned for additions!

Various Adventures

It’s been awhile since I chronicled my adventures in the Big Apple so these span a rather large period of time.

A couple of weeks ago I saw Scott Mathews and his band play at the Glasslands Gallery. I hadn’t been to the venue before and I fell in love with the pure whimsy of the place; it feels like a fort out of Peter Pan’s Neverland. B’s friend Eugene, who I’ve mentioned in his role as DJ Eugene Tambourine, is part of the band; he and another band member opened as their side project- The Readers. It was their first show as The Readers and while they’re clearly not confident yet you can tell that they have talent. Scott Mathews on the other hand is the consummate performer- no lack of confidence there. He backs it up with interesting lyrics and a lot of raw emotion. They’re on tour in Europe at the moment but I would recommend checking them out upon their return.

Scott Matthews at Glasslands

Scott Matthews at Glasslands

 Later that week I attended a very different sort of musical performance; I saw the St. Matthew Passion at BAM. S and I had stage seats, which was a really unique experience. I was close enough to touch the violinist in front of me and there was the somewhat disconcerting feeling that the whole audience was watching me; I was afraid to fidget throughout the 3 hour performance. This was the Jonathan Miller (Director) version – semi-staged, in the round, two choruses, two orchestras – sung in English (translation by Robert Shaw) (for more info on the St. Matthew Passion click here). The vocalists were incredible and I think the director’s choice to have them wear street clothing really added to my ability to connect with the piece. I couldn’t take pictures once the performance began but here’s a shot from the stage as people were taking their seats:

BAM Harvey Theater before the start of St. Matthew's Passion

BAM Harvey Theater before the start of St. Matthew Passion

Last week I saw Brit Boras and the Cavalry play at Spike Hill. All four of them are incredibly talented musicians. I expect their performance will feel a bit tighter when they’ve played together more but you can already see that they have a huge quantity of potential. Brit has a very big voice for such a petite girl; it takes you by surprise. Liam Veuve is wonderful on the cello and both Alex Beckmann and Jay Goodmann bring talent to the table. They’ll be playing again May 24th at Mercury Lounge and I would definitely urge you to check them out.

Brit Boras and the Cavalry

Brit Boras and the Cavalry

This past Saturday my grandmother and I saw our first ballet of the spring season- Concerto Barocco (Bach/Balanchine), Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux (Tschaikovsky/Balanchine), La Valse (Ravel/Balanchine) and Symphony in Three Movements (Stravinsky/Balanchine). I vastly enjoyed all four though the Pas de Deux was definitely my favorite; I just adore how pairs of dancers move together.

Later that day I met up with JBM & Co. at the Bell House to watch the Kentucky Derby in style. It was hellishly crowded but many of the ladies were properly decked out in enormous hats, which made them amusing enough to tolerate the lack of breathing room. There wasn’t anything quite as fabulous as Audrey Hepburn’s hat in My Fair Lady, but hey, they don’t make hats like they used to…

Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady

Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady

I’m looking forward to attending another event there sometime soon.

On Monday I went to Solas for the St. Mark’s Bookshop reading I mentioned in my first post this week. Andrei Codrescu was vastly amusing and while I’m not sure I’ll read his book I certainly hope to see him read/perform on another occasion.

Please check out my roster of events for the week and my recent additions and stay tuned for my weekend post!

May 4-7 What to do?

Don’t let the nasty weather prevent you from getting out tonight! It may very well be the best night to go out this week as there are 3 very different but equally awesome events taking place!

First off, I will be attending a St. Mark’s Bookshop reading at Solas; Andrei Codrescu will read from ‘The Posthuman Dada Guide’:

The Posthuman Dada Guide is an impractical handbook for practical living in our posthuman world–all by way of examining the imagined 1916 chess game between Tristan Tzara, the daddy of Dada, and V. I. Lenin, the daddy of communism. This epic game at Zurich’s Café de la Terrasse–a battle between radical visions of art and ideological revolution–lasted for a century and may still be going on, although communism appears dead and Dada stronger than ever. As the poet faces the future mass murderer over the chessboard, neither realizes that they are playing for the world. Taking the match as metaphor for two polesof twentieth- and twenty-first-century thought, politics, and life, Andrei Codrescu has created his own brilliantly Dadaesque guide to Dada–and to what it can teach us about surviving our ultraconnected present and future.

The Roller Derby season has begun (the next match is the 16th!); if you want to be an informed spectator head to Barbes tonight where the Brooklyn Independent Cinema Series presents ‘Hell on Wheels’:

HELL ON WHEELS documents the birth of the rollergirl revolution and chronicles the creation of the first modern-era women’s roller derby league, the Lonestar Rollergirls and their rival breakaway league, the Texas Rollergirls.

If you happen to be polyamorous and you want the world to know, head over to the Slipper Room tonight where the Polyamory Party will be filmed for MTV’s award-winning docuseries True Life: I’m Polyamorous. There will be burlesque (one of my favorite performers- Anita Cookie, will be there!), burlesque hula hooping (!), spoken word performances, a crazy light show and of course you’ll get to mingle with other members of the sex-positive community.

Anita Cookie

Anita Cookie

 If you missed out on the Kentucky Derby party at the Bell House on Saturday (I was there; it was awesome and I will tell you all about it shortly) there’s another awesome event there on Tuesday- Guactacular AND the Sudden Death Gameshow! Restaurants will compete for the title of best guacamole and you’re the judge, plus it’s free! At the same time contestants will compete in a form of Jeopardy that also happens to involve drinking. Sounds like the best way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo!

On Wednesday experience the work of controversial Yiddish writers at Symphony Space:

Funny, surprising, and poignant stories by controversial Yiddish writers who sometimes scandalized their mainstream critics. Isaiah Shefferperforms “Gimpel the Fool” by Isaac Bashevis Singer, John Shea performs Moishe Nadir’s “My First Love,” and Laura Estermanperforms Sholem Asch’s “A Quiet Garden Spot.”

Also on Wednesday The Coral Universitat de les Illes Balears will perform at St. John the Divine as part of the Catalan Days festival, which is being presented this month by the Institut Ramon Llull. The events showcase a variety of creative talent from Catalonia and the Balearic Islands, including music, dance and drama, at a number of venues in the city. Check out their calendar of events and find one that appeals to you!

On Thursday check out Max Tundra and the Junior Boys at Webster Hall. Here’s the video for Junior Boys’ single ‘In the Morning’:

Have a great Monday and stay tuned for additions!

March 30 – April 2 What to do?

I’m back in NYC and super excited about this week’s events! I will relate my adventures in Boston in a later post but these announcements must come first.

Tonight start your week off with some funky dance music at Beauty Bar:

Eugene and returning guest DJ Brian Blackout braid the tunes and work out the kinks (not the band) for the dancefloor. However, The Kinks might be heard as DJs Go-Karff & Sandman present the “Lovedolls Superstar” rock extravaganza in the front room. Beloved bartenders Hillery & Sam take care of the bar with $5 Olive Vodka drinks and $3 Buds all night. No Cover.

Also tonight you can hear the real deal on Dylan when the world’s preeminent Dylan biographer, Clinton Heylin, spins his tales at Spoonbill & Sugartown Booksellers. His new book, Revolution in the Air: The Songs of Bob Dylan, 1957-1963, is due out in April.

National Poetry Month is about to begin; you can get a head start tonight at McNally Jackson Books, where the all-star lineup includes a couple of Pulitzer winners and several National Book Critics Circle honorees- Sharon Olds, Philip Schultz, Mark Strand, C.K. Williams and Robert Pinsky.

On Tuesday take advantage of the (somewhat) warmer weather and make the trek out to 3rd Ward for their newest monthly event- THE…

video game

On its debut night, 3rd Ward’s Return of the Wizard is calling out Mario Kart fanatics for a battle to the death on Nintendo 64. We’ll pit you and your friends against each other in high stakes video game competition projected onto 10×10 ft. screens. Relive your glory days – minus the grape soda and nagging parents – plus ice cold beers, cash prizes, live beats from DJ Tanner and the month long title of 3rd Ward’s Video Game King or Queen. At 3rd Ward, it’s co-ed style — girls, it’s time to get the boys back for all their years of not letting you play!

You may remember my stories about the Dorkbots and their absurd antics; on Wednesday you can see them for yourself at Location One. What could be more appropriate for April Fool’s Day than people doing strange things with electricity?

On Thursday the St. Mark’s Bookshop Reading Series at Solas presents Poems for the Millenium: Volume Three:

The previous two volumes of this acclaimed anthology set forth a globally decentered revision of twentieth-century poetry from the perspective of its many avant-gardes. Now editors Jerome Rothenberg and Jeffrey C. Robinson bring a radically new interpretation to the poetry of the Ninteenth century, viewing the work of the romantic and post-romantic poets as an international, collective, often utopian enterprise that became the foundation of experimental modernism.  The range of volume three and its skewing of the traditional canon illuminate the process by which romantics and post- romantics challenged nineteenth-century orthodoxies and propelled poetry to the experiments of a later modernism and avant-gardism. Jerome Rothenberg is an internationally known poet and Professor Emeritus of Visual Arts and Literature at the University of California, San Diego. Jeffrey C. Robinson is Professor of English at the University of Colorado Boulder.

Also on Thursday Black Taxi (whose benefit concert for Studio 42 I posted some time ago) will be playing at the Annex. Here is the video from their single “Wanted Man”:

Stay tuned for more events and of course the details of my Boston adventures.