By Allison Considine

About Allison Considine

Allison is a staff writer at American Theatre magazine and a proud resident of Greenpoint.

“Then She Fell” Continues to Lure Audiences to North Brooklyn — And Down the Rabbit Hole

Photo by Chad Heird

Much like the White Rabbit, I was very late to the party.

Third Rail Projects has been enchanting audiences in Brooklyn since 2012 with its immersive show Then She Fell, a deep dive into the rabbit hole and through the looking-glass. Last week, I finally got to experience this gritty gem.

Set inside the Kingsland Ward at St. John’s (195 Maujer St) in East Williamsburg, the three-story building is made out to be an eerie sanatorium of sorts that probes into the underside of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-glass — examining the insidious relationship between the author and his muse, the young Alice Liddell. In light of current conversations about #MeToo, the alleged relationship between Charles Dodgson (the man behind the pen name of Carroll) and Alice Liddell leaves little room for speculation. Continue reading

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Something’s Brewing On Ainslie Street at Kettl Tea

Zach Mangan preparing tea at Kettl’s shop. Photo by Aya Shogaki.

Kettl has been offering a wide variety of Japanese-sourced teas to customers around the globe since 2013. This leading purveyor of teas and ceramics has been offering North Brooklyn residents and visitors the experience of modern tea culture at its year-old outpost in Williamsburg. If you follow the narrow stairway above the Japanese restaurant Okonomi (150 Ainslie Street), you’ll find their small brick-and-mortar shop.

“Being above Okonomi is wonderful because they have such a strong pull of customers coming daily,” says Zach Mangan, the owner of Kettl. “People will often see the sign for Kettl and come upstairs. The brands are very alignedif you enjoy traditional Japanese breakfast and ramen, you are likely going to be interested in the ceramics and the tea at Kettl.

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The Exhilarating Japanese Butoh ‘Flower-Secret’ at Triskelion Arts

"Flower-Sceret" at Triskelion Arts
Vangeline in “Flower-Secret” at Triskelion Arts. ©Michael Blase

As she slowly rose her body from the stage floor to an upright position, solo dancer Vangeline—founder and artistic director of dance company Vangeline Theater—looked otherworldly. Her limbs twisted gracefully as she ascended, but her facial expression was full of pain. Otherworldly is a fitting description for the traditional form of Japanese Butohthe type of dance that Vangeline Theater teaches and champions.

Vangeline Theater, along with the New York Butoh Institute, presented Flower-Secret at Greenpoint’s Triskelion Arts (106 Calyer Street) as part of the 2017 New York Butoh Festival (Nov. 17-19). The performance featured two solos of the avant-garde movement form, folding in the traditional practice of Butoh with its social and cultural significance, and bringing it all into the 21st century. Butoh was created post-World War II as a form of protest. The sporadic and unexpected movements and facial expressions of Butoh performers can be unsettling—but the visual impact is indelible. It’s meant to be subversive, but is exhilarating to watch. This historic performance, starring contemporary practitioner Vangeline and Butoh master Tetsuro Fukuhara, is an example of the artists and seminal cultural events that make their way to the corner of Calyer Street and Banker Street in Brooklyn.

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Sofar Sounds Brings Magic and Music to Secret Venues in Greenpoint

Sofar Sounds concert at the Brooklyn Home of Music in Greenpoint on July 8, 2017. (Photo courtesy of Sofar Sounds NYC)
Sofar Sounds concert at the Brooklyn Home of Music in Greenpoint on July 8, 2017. (Photo courtesy of Sofar Sounds NYC)

When I think of music concerts, I think of long lines, sticky floors, overpriced alcohol, and the buzzing sound that permeates my ears long after the music ends. Sofar Sounds is an organization that presents only the elemental parts of a concert without all that extra noise—at a Sofar Sounds concert, it is simply the artist and the audience.

Last Wednesday, Sofar Sounds presented an evening of music at WMA Studios (66 Green Street) in Greenpoint. The venue was kept secret until the day before, and the invited patrons who applied for tickets filed into the space from the rain outside. Attendees sat on colorful tapestries strewn across the floor, and I sat down on a throw pillow I brought from home. Sofar Sounds events are BYOB, and attendees popped bottles of wine, sipped cans of beer, and clinked copper mule mugs throughout the concert. Continue reading

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Thursday Spotlight: Light Industry Illuminates the History of Cinema in Greenpoint

Experimental film and art venue Light Industry is located on Freeman Street, on the bottom floor in an unassuming apartment building on this tree-lined Greenpoint street. The movie theatre is led by a hearty team of two: co-founders Thomas Beard and Ed Halter curate the programming, cultivate the audiences, and maintain the performance space.

The space itself at Light Industry is white-walled and welcoming. Its simple appearance falls in line with the company’s ethos. “We have a very approachable space,” says Halter. “It feels modest, it feels like it is human scale — both Thomas and I feel inspired by the DIY scene.” Beard says that the screening room is a cinema reduced to its most essential values, with a white projection surface, a grid of folding chairs, and a couple of speakers. The screening room can accommodate up to 75 people. The theatre’s small team paired with its intimate space bring audiences closer to the programming. A patron once said that the experience of visiting Light Industry is like going to a film nerd’s basement. And that’s just what Beard and Halter were going for. Continue reading

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