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.
Eckford Street Studio, the Greenpoint gem with Drink and Draw Tuesdays, is opening up its doors at 70 Eckford Street to host a Community Open Studio on December 21 from 7 to 10 PM. Have access to studio materials, enjoy free beer and snacks, and take classes in zine-making. Professional artists will be on site to consult, and the community-building event will be taking a suggested donation of $5–25 to support our Scholarship Fund for kids from local Title I schools. “More than anything,” Education Manager Stefanie Lewin says, “we are just excited to welcome community members into the studio for a fun, creative evening.”
Before heading off for the holidays, bring a project you’ve been meaning to complete before the new year and meet local artists!
Despite rain and an unreliable G train, neighbors and tourists poured into the Greenpoint Loft this past Sunday for our biggest event of the year — the Polar Vortex Holiday Market. The halls were decked with an ice castle created by Mano-a-Mano while scents of mulling spices wafted in the air.
The Manhattan skyline the Loft usually bestows was clouded by the dismal fog, but the inside stayed bopping thanks to Love Always band jamming with an upbeat live performance and Pink Slater singing dreamy mellow tunes. Continue reading →
You could call Jill Folino and Wven Villegas handy people — their company, after all, is named Mano-A-Mano. Folino and Villegas have crafted bespoke signs for Citroen and holiday decor for our holiday market — to name just a few recent examples of their work around the nabe — but it is their communally-sustained relationships they seem to prize most. As our interview illuminates, the crafty mavens behind Mano-A-Mano not only support each other but local establishment after local establishment. They see their projects as a way to artfully represent a company’s vision while also planting themselves knee-deep in the ethos of all they collaborate with. Below, we caught up with the two artisans to discuss their creative backgrounds and favorite projects.
Greenpointers: Introduce yourselves!
Jill Folino: I work with a partner, Wven Villegas, and we created Mano-A-Mano. Our work varies from mural and sign painting, sculpture, woodworking, type and creative direction. We model building and anything else we can conjure up. Together we share a tool box of skills that we are constantly juggling.
Do you both reside in Brooklyn? Wven has lived in Greenpoint for over 13 years, while I was born and raised in Staten Island where I once again currently reside. We work out of a three-car garage we converted into our studio behind my apartment so we have more than ample room to spread our creative wings. It’s also enough space to build some sizable pieces. It’s our creative lab we dubbed “Pop Art Garage.”
When we were asked by our good friend JD to lend some props for decor at the market, we didn’t hesitate. We love that this market is a platform for artisans and other creatives like ourselves to present their creations. We hope to be vendors at a future market.
The castle was created a few years back for a children’s birthday party, but we gave it an icy makeover, changing it from it’s original cream colored/pink and Disney-esque paint job. The snowman on the other hand, has been around for more than 20 years. He’s been a fixture in our studio, just hanging around changing hats and costumes. We felt it was time for him to get out into the world and get a real job, hehe. The Out Snapped photo booth was his first modeling gig!
Has The Springs frozen over? Nope, it’s just been Christmasified! Donner & Blitzen’s Reindeer Lounge can be found this holiday season at The Springs, a local bar in Greenpoint (224 Franklin Street). Don your holiday gear and come get blitzed amidst four grand fireplaces, floor-to-ceiling Christmas trees, and a Candy Cane graphic wall. Graffiti artist PaulNassar created a massive Reindeer Playing Poker mural that will make your holiday season profile pic pop and fill your stockings with cocktails like Festivus mulled wine, Candy Cane Shots, and the Nog-Gonna Make It To Work Tomorrow, along with new creations like an irresistibly addictive Frozen Peppermint Bark Latte.
The lounge serves up holiday munchies like the Fondue You See What I See, The Office Party Cookie Plate, Fried S’mores, and more. Be sure to look out for holiday programming with DJs on the weekends and Ugly Sweater Parties every night. The frozen festivities last now through December 30!
Get ready, Manhattan Avenue: another liquor license has been approved.
And that license is in good hands — Citroën, the new French bistro at 931 Manhattan Ave. with market-fresh ingredients, has been tantalizing Greenpointers with its unique cocktails on Instagram and leaving those in fear of political discussions around the Thanksgiving table wishing they were saddled up at the new restaurant’s custom-made bar.
In fact, much of the decor, chairs, and tables in Citroën — like the menu — is custom-made. That’s because long-time Brooklynite and kingpin of repurposed goods Craig Kafton is behind these nifty operations. Kafton created a similar experience at Williamsburg’s beloved but now closed Second Stop Café — notice the detail in Citroën’s recycled columns and bespoke tables — including a restored one made from Rosie Perez’ door in her old Brooklyn home.
Gregory Alan Isakov hails from Colorado; his opener Lief Vollebekk is French-Canadian. Throw them in a Brooklyn venue and you’ve got enough flannel and beards to open up an urban farm.
All in jest, this is not to downplay the authenticity of Isakov’s musicianship — his agrarian melodies feel borrowed from the earth as his poetic lyrics are caught from the wind. His folksy, bluer songs felt particularly powerful last night; it’s hard to not hear the lyric “The Universe, she’s wounded / but she’s still got infinity ahead of her” and not consider the onslaught of bad news that’s swept our country in the past few weeks. Still, many of his songs warmed instead of numbed, a necessary touch at Warsaw (261 Driggs Avenue) where audiences huddled and remained buttoned up from the unseasonably wintry evening.
What do we do when bad news seems incessant and escape feels impossible? Turn to art.
Triskelion Arts (106 Calyer Street) is pleased to present BodyStories’ “reeling -> healing,” an exploration of feelings of frustration and helplessness that can occur as a result of the constant barrage of negative news and hatred that reaches our country. This two-part work discusses how audiences deal with these emotions to find solace while taking action. Original music by Kevin Keller adds to a sense of urgency and the need for community, working in tandem with the choreography to immerse the audience in a fully formed world. Performers and audience connect via The Emotional Architecture of a Bridge, an original concept drawn and created by Teresa Fellion, that is uncovered in the piece via set elements and audience interaction with text. Furthering thoughts of togetherness, which has been an overarching theme in all past BodyStories pieces, “reeling -> healing” exposes the more vulnerable sides of ourselves through dance.
The show plays November 29 – December 1, 2018 at 8pm at Triskelion Arts’ Muriel Schulman Theater (enter at Calyer and Banker Streets). Tickets are $18 in advance or $22 at the door; purchase here!
Filmmaker Donaldo Prescod represents the heart of a Brooklyn artists’ work ethic: scrappy with refined taste, industrious with a collaborative attitude. His Bushwick Film Festival-celebrated thriller Black People Are Dangerous brought him greater notoriety in our borough and has propelled him to create more works. Greenpointers talked with Donaldo about his career, aspirations, and — of courses — the best spots to eat in Brooklyn.
Greenpointers: How long have you lived in Brooklyn?
Donaldo Prescod: 11 years.
Do you have a favorite neighborhood bar, park, or restaurant? That’s tough, I love Fort Greene and I love Bushwick equally for various reasons. You see a lot of seasoned black folks in Fort Greene and you can tell Brooklyn lives in their bones. Bushwick has a grit and grime DIY vibe to it that makes for a better artist. Restaurant: Lil Mo, some of the best Vietnamese food BK has to offer.
I submitted my film and thanks to the film gods one of the people assigned to watch shorts loved it immensely. As it got passed along to everyone else in the festival they too took a liking to it, no questions asked.