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, Vanity Fair, American Theatre, HowlRound, Observer, and others. He's usually getting wine at Dandelion or eating cookies at Archestratus.

Randolph Beer Relaunches its Williamsburg Location

You could say this gastropub knows its audience: with an additional 2,000 square feet to play with, Randolph Beer (104 S 4th St) relaunched its Williamsburg location adding shuffleboard tables, old-school video games, and a new outdoor space.

 

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A leader in the nanobrewery movement (and the first to lay its roots in Williamsburg), Randoph Beer crafts an impressive number and diverse array of beers in-house. (You can thank beer savant and full-time brewer Flint Whistler for that.) Available beers range from Cucumber Pilsner with Elderflower & Tequila Barrel Spirals (a light, botanical brew that doesn’t taste at all briny) to a Pumpkin Spice Latte Stout (riffing on the PSLs we all deny we love) and a more classic Farmhouse (made with NYC honey and fresh hops). Continue reading

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Next Friday: Greenpoint Gallery Night returns for 15th edition

Calling all art lover: the 15th edition of Greenpoint Gallery Night returns on October 25! A neighborhood gallery crawl, this long-standing tradition spotlights exhibition spaces and other venues that host art shows throughout Greenpoint. Select neighborhood galleries and businesses that feature art will be participating on Friday, October 25th, from 6 to 9pm. Join us at this free event celebrating the diverse and unique art scene in our corner of Brooklyn!

Participating locations for October 25 include:
• Areté (67 West Street #103): opening of Movement on Film featuring the work of dancer/choreographer/vocalist Janis Brenner and interdisciplinary artist Muyassar Kurdi
• The Java Project (252 Java Street): Masquerade, featuring photography, drawings, and other works by Miles Ladin
• Auxiliary Projects (212 Norman Avenue)
• Calico (67 West Street #203): paintings by Christian DeFilippo
• The Yard (33 Nassau Avenue)
• Dusty Rose (67 West Street #216): textile works by Frank Locke
• Soft Opening (570 Manhattan Avenue)
• Brouwerij Lane (78 Greenpoint Avenue): Greenpoint-based paintings by Greenpoint-based artist, Steve Wasterval

More details to be announced! Visit the Facebook event for more, and once you’re done bumping around the neighborhood, join us at Brouwerij Lane (78 Greenpoint Avenue) from 9 pm onward for our after-party.

Greenpoint Gallery Night is a grassroots neighborhood event established in 2013, organized by Scott Chasse of Calico.

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The many doors to Ainslie are now open!

Ainslie, now open at 76 Ainslie Street in Williamsburg

We’ll start with this: Ainslie is enormous. Sprawling and industrial, it’s almost like its own campus, packed with large open patios and tucked-away crannies, and (for those who enjoy people watching), a catwalk above the main bar to peruse the crowd. Oh, and there’s a rooftop.

But despite how large the 10,000-square-foot restaurant, there’s an intimacy to the space (props to the kind and knowledgable staff) and a warmth to its interior (thanks to the wood-burning oven), all of which contributes to a full stomach and fantastic night out.

Named for the street it dominates, Ainslie is part wine bar, part Biergarten, part perfect-date spot for apps and handsomely priced happy hour treats. On a weeknight, you’ll see couples and even some kids enjoying the Italian fare of the menu (spoiler: everything looks and is appetizing), but I’d imagine the weekends bring in a more dynamic, fresher crowd. And that’s part of Ainsliee’s appeal — it is amorphous without losing definition; the space can be whatever you want it to be. (Birthday parties will surely be a hit here.) Gorgeously designed by Sergio and Mario Riva as well as AJ Bontempo, Ainslie is housed in an excavated old factory, features exposed beams and bricks, and sits in one of the most desirably locations of northern Brooklyn: right where the G and L trains meet. Commuters will have a hard time not swinging by on their ways home from the Lorimer or Metropolitan stations; the very many doors and windows of the building’s rustic facade stay open as the humming noise within spills out onto the streets, inviting.

Chefs John DeLucie and Erasmo ‘Mino’ Lassandro crafted a menu featuring homemade pastas and wood-fired pizzas, but other dishes are just as saucy, including the mascarpone and thyme-infused honey bruschetta (a must for starters, though you might want to order two) and the rosemary wings (with gorgonzola dulce dipping sauce). Vegetarians and pescatarians will find lots to play with on this menu.

As will anyone looking for a chance to explore this cavernous space, which resembles a playground for Brooklynites, and with so many nooks to explore, it begs to be revisited.

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Fall Classes Announced at Eckford Street Studio

Parents and young’uns, rejoice! There are lots of opportunities to keep busy and stay creative at Eckford Street Studio (70 Eckford St.) this fall. See below for a pair of classes that appeal to artists of many ages and skillsets. Sharpen those pencils and get crafty!

Art After School: Portfolio Prep is a semester-long course for fifth to eighth grade students on Monday afternoons, 3:30–5:30 PM
The class is a chance for older students to experiment and explore while working towards a portfolio that can be used for specialized high school applications. Student-driven classes balance open studio time with guided explorations in a variety of media, and are co-planned by students and a professional Teaching Artist in accordance with the class’ interests. Possible units of study include drawing from observation, painting with acrylic, relief printing, and sculpture using both traditional and found materials. Semesters include visits from working artists, field trips to local arts organizations and cultural institutions, and an end-of-semester student-curated exhibition.
Essentials of Acrylic Painting is a five-class series for adults on Wednesdays from 7–9:30 PM, starting on October 16
In this class, students will learn color mixing and theory, composition, brush technique, and other skills associated with acrylic painting through hands-on activities and looking at work by historical and contemporary artists. The class will include various projects such as still life, portraiture, painting from photographs, and more according to student interest. Appropriate for all levels — experienced painters and absolute beginners welcome!
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Six years in Greenpoint, Fornino still delights — and will soon celebrate National Pizza and Beer Day on Oct 9!

Fornino’s popular copa e kale pizza

In 2009, Frank Bruni interviewed pizzaioli Michael Ayoub for The New York Times, discussing that period’s culinary boom and craving for artisanal pizza. A decade later, Ayoub and his Italian restaurant Fornino (849 Manhattan Avenue) are still at the forefront of this movement.

Neo-Neapolitan, as Ayoub describes its culinrary style, Fornino has been a Greenpoint mainstay since 2013 but has also enjoyed some sibling locations: the waterfront gem in DUMBO (which on a busy night can go through a thousand pies) and an older, now-closed spot in the heart of Williamsburg. The Greenpoint location may not have a sweeping view of the East River, but it easily charms with its twinkly backyard during the warmer moths and its cozy interior warmed by the fire of the wood-burning oven. While the restaurant is often busy packing up to-go pies, half the fun is eating in person and seeing the crackling oven at work.

Everything is cooked in and around this hearth: the soft but filling meatballs, the wood-roasted brussel sprouts, and (naturally) the nearly 30 pizzas on the eclectic menu. Some varieties are more traditional faire (your margherita, your marinara), and others are more daring: the gorgonzola (comprised of the namesake cheese, rosemary, mozzarella, caramelized onions, and not a bit salty) or the copa e kale (spicy copa, stracciatella, truffle honey, pecorino). All delight and come out bubbling, served by an attentive staff.

Casual, family-friendly, and neat, Fornino also offers a wide variety of drinks from local beers to Italian wines. All this makes for a fine (and affordably priced) meal, but the main course may be more a feast for the eyes: an immense collection of hanging red orbs designed and crafted by Ayoub, who studied under the iconic glassblower Dale Chihuly. Glowing and magical, they are just another delicious creation of Ayoub’s — sadly, not edible.

Celebrate National Pizza and Beer Day on Wednesday, October 9 — enjoy any small pizza and a Brooklyn Brewery beer on draft for just $20 (dine-in guests only).

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The Inaugural Shortie Film Festival comes to Williamsburg this week

ASI Studios, 110 Waterbury Street, Brooklyn

The inaugural Shortie Film Festival will be held at ASI Studios (110 Waterbury Street) this week on October 3 and 4. Shortie is an independent, international festival for films 30 minutes or less. The festival fosters and propels emerging and provocative filmmaking with two days of screenings, Q&As, and afterparties for a audience seeking new voices and perspectives.

The Shortie Film Festival received over 300 submission from more than 40 countries in its first open call. Entries are selected by submission only, and must be produced within the last two years. Films of all genres and subject matter are accepted without censure.

The culmination of the festival is the awards ceremony. All screened films will be eligible for Best Film, selected by our jury comprised of individuals with original and diverse points of view from the international film community. Awards will also be presented in eight other categories: Best Social Justice/Investigative Film, Best Fiction, Best Documentary, Best First Film, Best Director, Best Cinematographer, Best Soundtrack. For the screening schedule and more info, see below!

Thursday, October 3:
6 to 10 PM — Main Competition, Fiction

Friday, October 4:
8 to 11 PM — Main Competition, Fiction and Documentary
11pm — Award Ceremony

Sponsors and partners are Pizzette, New York Film Academy, Gotham Greens, Manhattan photo studio, ASI Studios, M23, Solutions Journalism Network, Reclamation Bar; and judges include Anna PanovaRon KoppNathalie Mesen, and Dorottya Mathe.

For tickets, visit here.

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Thursday Spotlight: Didi Rojas and Her Fantabulous Shoes

It’s hard to not be beguiled by an art show entitled You’re Doing Amazing Sweetie — now on view at Launch F18 until October 19th — and it’s even harder to not fall in love with the whimsical, colorful ceramic shoes created by Didi Rojas for the show. Rojas uniquely combines her day job work with her craft, elevating seemingly simple creations into something creative and singular. Learn more about this week’s Thursday Spotlight below!

Greenpointers: You live and work in Greenpoint, right? Any favorite spots in the neighborhood?

Didi Rojas: I live in Bed-Stuy but my studio space is in Greenpoint. There are so many good spots in the neighborhood. One of my favorite spots in Greenpoint, and probably all Brooklyn, is McCarren Park. I love walking my dog, Charlie, around the park whenever I bring her to the studio with me.  Other favorite spots include the McCarren Deli (I usually get the Smoky Jack sandwich for lunch here), Five Leaves (whenever I want to treat myself) and Bernie’s (martinis and mozzarella sticks)!

Your day job is at Grouppartner Ceramic Studio, but you also create some of your work there, yes? I feel artists don’t always talk about their day job, but yours seems to be one that also feeds your work. How does that relationship balance?

I started working at the Grouppartner Studio when I was still in college and I eventually was able to get my own studio space in the same building. I’m really grateful for the relationship I’ve built with the studio and with the people I work with there. The space has changed so much over the years and it’s been fun getting to be a part of its growth. It’s a space I feel very comfortable in so it’s pretty great to be able do both my practice and day job in the same building. The Grouppartner Studio feels like home to me and I feel extremely lucky to be able to have a job that also helps inform my practice.

I love the shoes you crafted for you Launch F18 show! What are they made of, and how did they come to be?

Thank you! The sculptures are ceramic. I made my very first ceramic shoe over three years ago. I had been working at the studio and had a pair of Nike Air Force sneakers that were covered in clay from wearing them there daily. They looked like they could have been made out of ceramic so I had to try making one. I haven’t stopped making ceramic shoes since then. Fast forwarding a bit, the shoes for the show You’re Doing Amazing Sweetie at Launch F18 are similar to my previous bodies of work. There are over 40 included in the show and all but a few were made this year.

Silly question, but are the shoes in any way wearable? If not, what do you want to do with them when the show is done?

The ceramic shoes are not wearable, but I like to pretend. I often take photos of me pretending to wear them. The idea for them also somewhat originated from a “fake it till you make it” kind of playful mentality.

I’ll be keeping the sculptures that don’t sell from the show as part of my own collection.

Are there any upcoming projects you’re excited about/want to share?

My sculptures are being featured monthly in Vogue Italia’s magazine. It’s really crazy and cool getting to see the pieces in print. I’m also currently working on a couple photography and video projects as well as a book featuring the pieces from the show at Launch F18. More ceramic shoes are also in the works!

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The Springs Will Open a “Walk of Fear” Halloween Pop Up October 4–31

The Springs is quickly becoming Greenpoint’s most versatile bar — after hosting a Reindeer Lounge around the holidays, the bar that took over for TBD at 224 Franklin Street is now going rogue and spooky.

Prepare yourself for a an immersive Halloween pop-up: Walk of Fear comes to The Springs from Friday, October 4 through Halloween night, Thursday, October 31.

The enormous bar (complete with outdoor space) is getting creepy, transforming its exterior patio into an immersive Instagrammable Halloween experience; 7,500 square feet of fright! Expect ominous lighting, horrifying music, scary vignettes and entertainment that will leave you thirsty for The Springs’ new fall cocktails. Cost of entry is one drink minimum per person.

Hours will be Friday and Saturday from 6 PM to midnight, and Sundays through Thursdays from 6 to 11 PM. And for those worried about the weather, the backyard will be enclosed for the Halloween pop-up so Walk of Fear will be open rain or shine! Discover more at @thespringsbk.

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Witches are Coming to Nitehawk!

The cult classic Hocus Pocus will play October 26 and 27

Fall is on the way, despite the 80-degree weather we still can’t evade. And to usher in the spooky season, Nitehawk Cinema in Williamsburg (136 Metropolitan Avenue) will be featuring ALL OF THEM WITCHES from October 4–27, a series of films devoted to the occult, magic, and — you guessed it — witches! See below for the full roster of wicked witchy weirdness.

Friday, October 4 & Saturday, October 5 at 12:20am

Saturday,  October 5 & Sunday, October 6 at 10:45am
Friday, October 11 and Saturday, October 12 at 12:10am

BLACK SUNDAY 

Saturday, October 12 and Sunday, October 13 at 11am

THE WITCH

Friday, October 18 and Saturday, October 19 at 12:10am

PRACTICAL MAGIC 35MM

Saturday, October 19 and Sunday, October 20 at 10:45am

DRAG ME TO HELL

Friday, October 25 and Saturday, October 26 at 12:10am

HOCUS POCUS

Saturday, October 26 and Sunday, October 27 at 10:45am

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Antiquarian Book Fair to Return to Brooklyn Expo Center September 7–8

Among the books at the Fair will be a first edition of the first Harry Potter novel.

Greenpointers love old stuff: old streets, old homes, and especially old books. Enter the annual Brooklyn Antiquarian Book Fair.

On September 7 and 8, the Brooklyn Antiquarian Book Fair will return to the Brooklyn Expo Center (72 Noble Street) for the sixth straight year. This year the Fair will focus on subculture and a number of new trends in collecting. Among the topics are magic, mysticism, witchcraft, underground fanzine culture and more.

The Fair features 110 dealers displaying over 50,000 items for sale including vintage books, vernacular photography, and rare paper, prints, and ephemera – all priced from under $50 to many thousands. There will be something for everyone – from the seasoned collector to the first-timer.

The Fair will also present two exclusive art exhibitions, ten seminars, and a free-of-charge appraisal clinic. And proof that Antiquarian Book Fairs are not just for the older set, unique one-of-a-kind items such as a first edition Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, one of only 5,150 copies in wrappers, will be on display and on sale.

“Our goal is to get people to start great collections one object at a time,” states Marvin Getman, Show Organizer. “More and more people are understanding and appreciating the intrinsic value of finding an object that not only has a history, but an object that also appeals to who they are and what they stand for. I believe that’s why we are seeing more and more millennials coming to our shows and picking up books and other memorabilia to start a simple but meaningful collection,” he added.

Tickets to the are $15 at the door or $10 if ordered online in advance. For more information on the Fair, go to brooklynbookfair.com.

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