By Billy McEntee

About Billy McEntee

Billy McEntee has been fortunate to work for arts non-profits in Boston, Denver, Berkeley, and now New York. His writing has appeared in The Brooklyn Rail, Brooklyn Magazine, Indiewire, HowlRound, Eclectica Magazine, and others. He's usually getting wine at Dandelion or eating cookies at Archestratus.

Thursday Spotlight: Meet Director Dina Vovsi

Dina Vovsi

When we discuss the art scene in Greenpoint, we often focus on the Pencil Factory’s many inhabitants or the other visual artists working out of their studios, homes, and even in our neighborhood parks. But North Brooklyn has always been teeming with artists of many different stripes, including versatile theatermakers like director Dina Vovsi. Dina has worked in collegiate and Off-Broadway theaters, crafted plays centering on immigrant experiences, and created immersive experiences in outdoor settings. Below, we get to know the Greenpoint-based director while discussing her career, the importance of affordable housing, and — of course — her dog Bruce.

Greenpointers: How long have you lived in Greenpoint, and what brought you here? 

Dina Vovsi: I’ve lived in Greenpoint for about two and a half years. Before moving here, my partner and I were in Kensington for a year, and before that, I lived in Williamsburg for six years, so I’ve spent a lot of time in North Brooklyn. I am super lucky — my name was drawn in the affordable housing lottery for an apartment in a brand-new, mixed-income building, which has made being an artist significantly more possible over the past couple of years. It’s been a financial game-changer, and I can’t stress enough how everyone needs to be submitting for these buildings on NYC Housing Connect; I know quite a few people who have been selected recently, so it’s really not as impossible as legend says. We live in the quieter, north end of the neighborhood, and I love being near the water and walking our dog, Bruce, to Transmitter Park and Greenpoint Landing. More people know his name than mine, which I’m totally fine with. Continue reading

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Lucas Lucas to Present New Birth-Inspired Exhibit, “Magna Chroma”

by Darcy Lauren Briks

Lucas Lucas (57 Conselyea Street) will soon present Magna Chroma, the first solo show by Darcy Lauren Briks. The new exhibit opens Feb 21 and will be in the East Williamsburg gallery’s space through March 23.

The body of work began after the birth of Briks’ first child and completed after her second was born. Each piece is born from an intentional meditation; each an abstract exploration of a current issue, whether personal, political or global. Often reflecting on global or political overarching themes, Briks — who attended Mass Art post graduate before embarking on a career in graphic design and ultimately launching her own agency — found an entire new breadth of inspiration in marriage and motherhood.

Although Briks does not intend on forcing anything onto the viewer she conscientiously aims to set a positive spin on the subject, no matter how daring the subject of her meditation.

“I’m excited to see these works, my largest and boldest to date, displayed in the gallery together and look forward to the viewer interpreting their own objective feelings from the abstract shapes and color combinations, especially the pairs in the Magna Series,” Briks said.

The show is curated by Stacie Lucas. Lucas Lucas is located right off the Lorimer L/Metropolitan G stop in Williamsburg and operates by walk-in and appointment. All work will be available to purchase online here starting February 21.

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Coming Soon to Rough Trade: Dutch Quartet Mozes and the Firstborn

Mozes and the Firstborn
Dutch quartet Mozes and the Firstborn, who released their new album Dadcore last Friday, and will be performing February 15 at 9 PM at Williamsburg’s Rough Trade (64 North 9th Street). Tickets are $12 (or $14 at the door) and can be purchased here.
Mozes and the Firstborn spent the past year writing new material, recording in the US and Netherlands with producer/mixer Chris Coady (Beach House, Slowdive) and Roland Cosio (together PANGEA, Fuzz), hitting SXSW and touring the states supporting Bodega.  The result? Dadcore embraces the feel of a mixtape, as Mozes blend their favorite styles and genres into an intriguing collection of songs, including prior 2018 single, “Sad Supermarket Song,” which already has 400k plays on Spotify.
Playing a potent mix of sleazy grunge and power pop perfection, Mozes and the Firstborn hail from Eindhoven, Netherlands. The band started out in 2010 with Melle Dielesen on vocals, guitar, Corto Blommaert on bass and Raven Aartsen on drums, with Ernst-Jan van Doorn joining prior to their 2011 debut EP I Got Skills.  California label Burger Records signed the band to release their self-titled debut full-length in 2014, followed by Great Pile Of Nothing in 2016, touring internationally in support, with like-minded artists such as The Growlers, Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Together Pangea, while garnering features on NPR’s Weekend Edition, Pitchfork, Noisey, SPIN, CLASH, amongst others.
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US Premiere of “Bleach” Follows Lonely Bushwick Rentboy

Eamon Yates in “Bleach.” Photo by Hunter Canning

Check your coat at the door, and maybe your comfort.

But what else would you expect going to see an immersive play about a gay sex worker in a Bushwick basement? Bleach, the UK-imported one-man show now at Tyler’s Basement (637 Wilson Avenue), boldly but often unsuccessfully tests the limits of actor-audience intimacy. An attendant at the theater asks if you’ll be comfortable with the performer touching you; the character, a gay prostitute, is a pro after all. He gets paid to touch.

Even if you say no, it’s hard to emerge unscathed. In Tyler’s subterranean shoebox studio where the ten-max audience members convene, it’s difficult to not at least brush shoulders with the single performer in Dan Ireland-Reeves’s erotically stimulating but intellectually numbing play. Continue reading

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Thursday Spotlight: Meet The Artist Behind That Winning G Train Doodle

Nadeesha Godamunne’s all-too-accurate doodle.

We’ve all rushed for the G train, but few have captured its whimsy and hysteria as winningly as local artist Nadeesha Godamunne. (Mokshini, the mononym you may know her by, is actually her first name.) Her post on Instagram, combined with its repost on Greenpointers, received almost 3,000 hits, and in this Thursday Spotlight, Greenpointers got to know Nadeesha, her artistic ethics, and the importance of “putting humor into something that most people get frustrated with.”

Greenpointers: Do you live in the neighborhood, and if so for how long?
Nadeesha Godamunne: No, but I’ve always been a fan of the artisan vibe of Greenpoint, and recently got my art studio right by Transmitter Park — I love it! 

On Instagram, you wittily calls yourself a “professional doodler.” I’m wondering, given how much artists need to work to stay afloat, how much of your doodling is for your own enjoyment, like the G Train piece?
Every artist finds this a challenge. It’s about striking a balance between the money jobs that pay the bills, but perhaps don’t inspire you as much, and the ones that fulfill you and bring joy. I draw for myself every day and maintain a journal of experiences and things I see. I try not to share this journal with people or on social media. This is vital because it reminds me to create first and foremost for me. A lot of these doodles inform the illustrations that you see on Instagram. 

Nadeesha Godamunne at work

Did the impending shutdown in any way help inspire this G train piece?
Absolutely! It’s amusing to me that the G train is so short. I find myself sprinting to catch the train and laughing at the same time because the whole situation is just so ridiculous. Putting humor into something that most people get frustrated with just keeps things fun and relatable.

Your art has a wonderfully textured and vivid style to it; can you discuss how this came to be part of your brand and whether or not you have any influences?
I try not to take myself too seriously, and i think that’s what comes across in my work. My style is constantly evolving; currently, I’m going through a bolder, more playful phase. I’ve noticed a shift since I started freelancing. It’s interesting. My focus when I draw, however, is not so much about the style — it’s about the message. I try to push the ideals of fashion illustration with whimsical yet relatable characters, satirical fashion storytelling, and humor. Some of my favorite artists are Rene Gruau, Toulouse Lautrec, Kenneth Paul Block, and Egon Schiele.

Central Park by Nadeesha Godamunne

Are there any upcoming projects you’re excited about?
Really excited about an upcoming collaboration with Vans, where they showcased my art and personal journey in a video format. We did a time lapse of me drawing and some animation work too. Should turn out great!

Do you have a favorite cafe, restaurant, or locale in Greenpoint?
I love Ovenly for their amazing pastries, the Stuart Cinema and Cafe for their soup, and Alameda and Citroen for their cocktails! There’s too many!

Nadeesha Godamunne
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Super Bowl Events in Greenpoint and Williamsburg

For native New Yorkers, this might be (another) hard Super Bowl to endure as the Patriots are (once again) competing. But if you want to watch Maroon 5 perform while a major sporting event happens to surround it, Greenpointers has a few suggestions of places to go to. Kick off is at 6:30 p.m., so be sure to saddle up early to claim a spot at one of the locales below:
Schimanski (54 North 11th St.)
Watch the Big Game at Schimanski  in Williamsburg on Super Bowl Sunday beginning at 4 PM. The nightclub will televise the game on their 60-foot projection wall, which likely the largest in all of New York City. The kitchen will be open, serving up finger foods including wings, fries, and more while a DJ spins live pre- and post-game. Entry is free before 5 PM and other ticket options include a buffet ticket for one plate ($30) or one that includes a drink ticket for ($10). Table reservations are also available for the best seats in the house by emailing [email protected] For tickets or to RSVP visit here.
Clinton Hall (247 Metropolitan Ave.)
Stop by Clinton Hall Williamsburg where $30 buckets of beer will be served up as well as a big $25 bowl of wings.

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Upcoming Events at Union Docs in Williamsburg

The non-profit UnionDocs brings together a diverse community of activist artists, experimental media-makers, dedicated journalists, big thinkers, and local partners on a search for urgent expressions of the human experience, practical perspectives on the world today, and compelling visions for the future. The Williamsburg stronghold, located at 322 Union Avenue, has a number of educational (and affordable!) upcoming events.

Tickets cost $10 and can be purchased online or at the door. Many of the events will be followed by discussions with the artists or subjects involved, and tend to last until 10:30PM. See below to get a sense of what intriguing events are happening this winter!

Thursday, Jan 24 at 7:30 pm
THERE IS A GAZE THRUST UPON ME
Presentation by Joiri Minaya with conversation to follow with Mathilde Walker-Billaud
What You Get Is What You See is back for 2019 featuring artist and performer Joiri Minaya. In this installment of the series, Minaya will present her research on tropical pattern design and its roots in exploration, exploitation and labor, and how this history continues through rampant capitalist tourism in the tropics.

Sunday, Jan 27 at 7:30 pm
ORGANIZED ACTIVITIES
With Nellie Kluz & LJ Frezza
We’re thrilled to welcome filmmaker Nellie Kluz all the way from the Windy City to present ORGANIZED ACTIVITIES, a program comprised almost entirely of NYC Premieres of her short documentary works. Vadim Rizov praised her documentary style in Filmmaker Magazine with the observation that ” Kluz’s inquisitive eye captures glimpses of often kitschy or strange events without abandoning well-meaning curiosity.”

Friday, Feb 1 at 7:30 pm
CHARACTER LIMIT
With Sable Elyse Smith, Brett Story, and Travis Wilkerson & Dr. Alexandra Juhasz
This evening focuses in on an article from World Records Volume 2 Ways of Organizing. We’ll gather artists Sable Elyse Smith, Brett Story, and Travis Wilkerson to screen and discuss excerpts from their recent work to examine how and why their practices subvert the formal and political logics of character-driven storytelling.

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Thursday Spotlight: Kimia Kline on Leading The Wythe Hotel’s Art Program

Photo of Kimia Kline by Carmen Chan

Since officially kicking off its hotel art program with artist and curator Kimia Kline at the helm, Wythe Hotel has cultivated an impressive permanent collection featuring artists such as Katherine Bradford, Chris Martin, EJ Hauser, Steve DiBenedetto, and Yevgeniya Baras. Along with Rachael Petach, Kimia heads the hotel Residency Program, offering independent artists further opportunities to develop new pieces and share their work with broader audiences. 

The hotel’s permanent collection consists of unique works in each guest room, a tribute to the Brooklyn local creative community and the diversity of talent to be found in the storied neighborhood. The collection primarily focuses on sketchbooks and in-process pieces, emphasizing the alive and fluid creative process. Wythe Hotel’s hope is to foster a connection between its guests and the wider creative community of Brooklyn, and Kimia continues to help foster that. We caught up with the local artist and curator to learn more about her unique work and process.

Greenpointers: Do you live in Brooklyn, and if so where and for how long? 
Kimia Kline: I’ve lived in Fort Greene, Brooklyn for the past six years.
How did you first get connected to this Artist Residency Program, and why did the Wythe feel like a good fit as a venue?
After building the visual art collection in the hotel over the past four years, I was excited to expand our programming to include performance art and new media as well. After lots of conversations regarding how to better serve our creative community and activate the beautiful and unique spaces in the hotel, we came up with the parameters of the residency and put out an open call. We’ve been thrilled with the interest from both artists and audiences and realize what a need there is for this kind of exhibition opportunity in Brooklyn.

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5th Annual “Never Before Never Again” Improvisation Festival at Triskelion Arts

Guest curated by Rachel Mckinstry & Friends, Never Before Never Again is a series of performances and events dedicated to improvisation at Triskelion Arts (106 Calyer Street). The goal? Bring together improvisation-based performance artists, cross-pollinate communities, and highlight the varied possibilities and styles of improvisation.
This festival presents artists who chase the surprises and invitations that come along with improvising for an audience and who approach performance as an experiment rather than a pre-determined idea. This is an opportunity for viewer and performer to raise questions, eliminate the tight grip of expectation, and replace it with freedom, risk, and communication. This year’s festival will feature multiple weeks of performances including works by The Lovelies, Site Project, Hannah Wendel & Artists, Sarah Chien, Nicole Wolcott & Guests, and azumi O E + Sean Ali + Carlo Costa.
Never Before Never Again will also offer a variety of free workshops hosted by our festival artists. The workshops are designed to expand our investigation and understanding of improvisational forms. Workshops are open to all movers, shakers, and magic makers. All workshops will take place in Triskelion Arts’ Muriel Schulman Theater.
For a full lineup, see below, and for tickets — $18 in advance and $22 at the door — visit here.
Festival Schedule
PERFORMANCE: Thurs, January 17 at 8pm: Luther Bangert / Patrick Ferreri / indecisiveProductions / Singer Joy / Nicole Wolcott & Guests / Sarah Chien
PERFORMANCE: Fri, January 18 at 8pm: Nicole Wolcott & Guests / Sarah Chien
OPEN SESSION: Sat, January 19 at 6pm: Headlining Festival Artists & Friends along with Jason Mears (saxophone), Matteo Liberatore (guitars), and Andy Dickerson (lighting) come together to create an improvised piece. It’s an open session, an experiment; a laboratory; an invitation for viewer and performer.
PERFORMANCE: Sat, January 19 at 8pm: Nicole Wolcott & Guests / Sarah Chien
WORKSHOP: Sun, January 20 | 12-2pm  FREE! — BE MOVED TO EMBODY DEMOCRACY hosted by The Lovelies
PERFORMANCE: Thurs, January 24 at 8pm: G^2 / BREAKTIME / Laurel Synder / The Lovelies / Site Project
PERFORMANCE: Fri, January 25 at 8pm: The Lovelies / Site Project
PERFORMANCE: Sat, January 26 at 8pm: The Lovelies / Site Project
WORKSHOP: Sun, January 27 | 2-4pm  FREE! – Who is this body? hosted by Laurel Snyder
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Food and Booze! Winter Warmer Comes to Brooklyn Expo Center on 2/2

Food, glorious food! Celebrate everything you love about winter in one delicious festival. Join Cannonball Productions on February 2 at the Brooklyn Expo Center (75 Noble Street) for its Winter Warmer. Enjoy boozy drinks, comfort eats, and cozy vibes on a wintry Saturday!

There’ll be unlimited spiked drinks, craft beer, and free-flowing bubbly. Top local chefs will be onsite serving up your favorite winter comfort foods — including, but not limited to, truffle mac n’ cheese. Music, games, and seasonal comfort foods will serve just-off-the-slopes vibes without all the windburn.

General admission ticket holders can choose between afternoon and evening sessions at 1:30 PM or 5:30 PM, respectively. General admission includes a commemorative tasting glass for craft beer, spirits, and wine tastings. Top local restaurants will be there selling an array of comfort food like chili, grilled cheese, waffles, and more. The boozy wonderland will feature games, live music, and plenty of festive antics too. For more information and tickets visit here!

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