Culture

Peace, Love, and Dopeness in The Bushwick Starr’s New Spaceship Spectacular

"The Brobot Johnson Experience" with Darian Dauchan, photo by Maria Baranova
“The Brobot Johnson Experience” with Darian Dauchan, photo by Maria Baranova

“An Unidentified Flying Boombox has landed in Bushwick.”

This announcement, along with a pre-show layer of purple haze, are harbingers for Brobot’s cosmic arrival. Cast out of the planet Nubian, he’s here to share the human — er, robot — experience in order to save planet earth. (The reason our blue marble is in jeopardy is never made clear, but look no further than daily headlines to grasp Brobot’s desperation to save us.)

Brobot arrives, lays down some beats, and harnesses audience enthusiasm a la Tinker Bell resuscitation to refuel his spaceship and return home. This is the flimsy and stilted premise of Darian Dauchan’s new show, now playing at experimental powerhouse The Bushwick Starr (207 Starr Street) through March 17. Dauchan writes and stars in his show, The Brobot Johnson Experience, a one-robot, existential spaceship-palooza. Though director Andrew Scoville keeps the pacing breezy and the staging kinetic, the show remains rather plotless; after a few numbers, a craving for conflict (or other characters) settles in. Without any dramaturgical verve, all fuel (literally absent from the ship) must come from our trusted time and space traveler.

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Weekend Art Roundup 2/23–2/24—Transgression, New Wave + An Epic Saga

GH_exhibit_Evite_Stef+Halmos2

From feminist sculpture to new wave sculpture to transgressive films to a one-man performance of the movie Titanic (phew!), North Brooklyn is coming alive this weekend with fun and edgy art and theatre. So peel yourself away from Netflix one of these cold nights and head on out to these spots!

SENSITIVITY TEST @ Greenpoint Hill | 100 Freeman Street
Opening Reception: Friday Feb 23rd, 7-9pm

Artist Stef Halmos is taking over Greenpoint Hill’s entire storefront and gallery for a special two-week site-specific installation. She “works to alter perceptions of the way women inhabit space, display grandiosity, and generate power by using and (misusing) traditional sculpture techniques and materials to create work that appears frivolous and pleasurable, while simultaneously triggering a sense of discomfort and confusion in the viewer.” Continue reading

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Thursday Spotlight: Artist Adam Collignon Preserves Small Business to Keep Art in Greenpoint

Z Axis Redux, 2016 by Adam Collignon

I first met Adam Collignon at a group art exhibit in Bushwick. He had just finished graduate school and was showing his piece, Hi-Fi. Last week, I met him as a fellow Greenpointer who is keeping a small business local! Artists are often painted out to be somewhat solitary and isolated. This stereotype would have you believe that an artist would never want the responsibility of being a community leader. Adam Collignon splinters that stereotype wide open. Continue reading

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You Can Help Create A New Sculpture in McGolrick Park (Deadline 3/1)

Ziemia rendering
Ziemia rendering

Last year, we profiled local Polish-born artist Martynka Wawrzyniak and her upcoming public art project, Ziemia (which means earth in Polish). Martynka is collecting dirt (not the gossip kind) from local residents—she’s asking folks to contribute a handful of soil from a place that represents their identity. The dirt will become the glaze for a spherical ceramic sculpture baked out of Greenpoint clay, and installed in McGolrick Park this May. The deadline to contribute soil to the project is March 1st! You can drop off your soil at Proper Real Estate, 100 Nassau Avenue. Don’t miss this chance to unite with your neighbors and be a part of Greenpoint history.

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Holly Miranda’s Deepest Cuts on New Album Mutual Horse + Playing Park Church Co-Op in March

Brooklyn-based singer songwriter Holly Miranda has a new album dropping this week, on February 23. Mutual Horse (on Dangerbird Records), her first release since 2015, brings a fresh batch of songs showcasing her distinctive songwriting, voice and guitar playing. Miranda is touring and will be playing her album release party in Greenpoint on March 22nd at the Park Church Co-op (129 Russell Street). Coincidentally, the venue is closing its doors in a few months, so it’ll be an opportunity to hear her voice in a truly unique place. The lead single from Mutual Horse, “Exquisite,” features Kyp Malone (of TV On The Radio), and it has a super cool animated video (above). A preview of the track “Golden Spiral” is up on SoundCloud.

This is Miranda’s fourth full-length album and one that features a new direction through the many collaborations that contributed to the sound and feel of this record. Her collaborators on Mutual Horse include Kyp Malone (TV on the Radio), Shara Nova (My Brightest Diamond), Josh Werner (Dr. John, Lee Scratch Perry), Jared Samuel (Yoko Ono), Jim Kirby Fairchild (Grandaddy, Modest Mouse), Maria Eisen (Underground System), and Matthew Morgan (Built to Spill, Modest Mouse). Continue reading

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Oil, Philanthropy, The Astral and Art: The Mixed Local Legacy of Charles Pratt

Pratt Institute

Perhaps there is no person in the long history of Greenpoint who had a bigger effect on our area than Charles Pratt. Pratt’s legacy, though is a mixed one: a philanthropist, Pratt felt a duty to use his wealth to give back to the community, but he is also heavily responsible for the massive local pollution that is a result of his business in oil refining. One thing though is sure, more than a hundred and twenty years after his death; Pratt’s long shadow still hangs over Greenpoint. Continue reading

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Rain can’t stop our love: A Most Radical Recap of Our Winter of Love Valentine’s Market

Winter of Market 2018 (photo: Julia Moak)

Bad weather be damned: Despite the blustery blues outside, thousands of you still made the trek to our Winter of Love Valentine’s Market this past Sunday. In fact, the Greenpoint Loft was made all the cozier by the rainy day outside, and the market was a blast. Attendees were rewarded with free tarot and henna not to mention an epic array of dope local vendors.

Y’all really took advantage of the photo booth, as well as the other gratis treats up in the mezzanine, including digital avatar creation and nail art. The vibes were just as radical as promised, and mugs of mulled hot cider with Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum and craft brew from Greenpoint Beer & Ale helped everyone keep in tune with the live music sets by Joata, Katy Rea, and the Morning Sea – all curated by Supercrush Studio. Continue reading

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Computer Magic, Her New Album “Danz” & Her Love Of Peter Pan

Computer Magic by Chad Kamenshine

Computer Magic‘s Danielle Johnson gave not just one but two shout outs to Peter Pan Donuts and their egg sandwiches. It’s clear that her love for Greenpoint runs deep. So it’s only fair that all of North Brooklyn should give that love back to her when Computer Magic’s newest album Danz is released on February 23.

Even for the those with shortest musical attention span, Danz is delightful to listen to all at once. The album flows easily from song to song, with each track adding a new element to spark curiosity.  The style of combining soft vocals over 80s synth is found in much of Computer Magic’s music, including Danz. This combination is a result from Johnson’s original shyness about her voice, her love for broadcast sound and Girl From Ipanema. What began as an experiment of adding heavier music effects over her soft singing has become a core part of her style.  Continue reading

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Thursday Spotlight: The Cosmopolitan Yet Hyperlocal MRToll

Artist Jamie Toll on the rooftop of his bar, Northern Territory. Photo by Ian Hartsoe.

He might be the last cowboy in Brooklyn. Like those adventurers of yesteryear, Jamie Toll (that’s MRToll to you) wandered to a new land seeking adventure and opportunity. An immigrant from Australia, Toll moved to New York in 2003 and quickly rose from local bartender to worldly artist to social justice guru. His work has spanned continents and mediums; his cracked-open, silicone eggs scattered about the US border highlighting the fragility of the immigrant experience caught the attention of the United Nations who employed Toll to travel to El Salvador and Turkey to build community through street art. Alongside his wife, Toll is also crafting a documentary called I Am MigrationBased on their cross-country journey handing out free DNA tests, the film aims to unearth the perceptions of whiteness and blood purity, tackling racism and xenophobia along the way. Meanwhile in Greenpoint, he creates jubilant birds and clay eggs and cartoonish skulls that are peppered around the neighborhood as Easter eggs for residents to discover.

Toll is simultaneously planning, tackling, and executing a number of projects. Before this interview, he said he prefers to delve into just one and discuss its impact as opposed to scanning over many and diluting their effects. And so we discussed his one true love: Brooklyn. (“I’ve never put up art in Manhattan,” he says with pride.) He’s forthright, but don’t mistake this for harshness; Toll exudes compassion, is masterfully warm, and radiates an envious amount of charisma. Maybe it’s the Aussie accent, or the casual way he sipped a whiskey during our interview. He was in his own bar after all — the summer hotspot and winter hideaway Northern Territory, located at 12 Franklin Street. Perched on a barstool, he’s excited yet at ease, and it’s contagious. After getting to know Toll for an hour or so, it’s not hard to feel gravitationally bound to him, even as he tells you that in two years’ time his cozy bar will close. Come March 2020, Northern Territory’s lease won’t be renewed and the building will make way for a high-rise office space. This is just another verse in the dirge of local bars being bought out, but as with cowboys, another adventure is always on the horizon.

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Booklyn is Moving to Sunset Park—Say Goodbye Next Weekend (2/22-2/24)!

Booklyn sale, via Booklyn
Image via Booklyn

One of my favorite things about Greenpoint is its literati culture: WORD (126 Franklin St) for its impeccable catalogue and ongoing readings, Archestratus (160 Huron St) for its love of cuisine, connection, and experience, and of course, Booklyn (37 Greenpoint Ave, Ste C4) for their mission to promote books as art.

While Booklyn has been a wonderful hub in Greenpoint, the non-profit received an amazing opportunity to move into the Brooklyn Army Terminal in Sunset Park, following a successful Kickstarter campaign where they raised more than $19k. With the new space, Booklyn will be able to double their facilities and expand their supportive and nurturing community. The non-profit plans to start an archive and distribute programs for educational institutions. Plus, their new space even has room for events, further paving the way for an art gallery and events. As a Greenpointer, I’ll be sad to see them go from our ‘hood, but I’m rooting for their glorious new journey that will further support communities in arts, culture, and expression.

So Greenpointers, let’s toast them to a connection with a new neighborhood and a new community! On February 22 – 24, Booklyn (37 Greenpoint Ave, Suite C4) will be hosting a weekend of farewell parties marking the last exhibition in their Greenpoint location before they move to their new space. Check them out, and say goodbye and good luck! Continue reading

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