Sunday Snaps – Minstrels of Greenpoint

There are a few things that just make you stop dead in your tracks and smile. Maybe you’re even in a hurry, rushing along down the street, and then that wondrous sound comes to your ears – a voice and some sweet strums of an instrument playing a favorite song of yours. I’ve always thought musicians are to a neighborhood what fish are to a stream – an indicator of health and liveliness. If you can walk around for a whole day and not see anyone walking down the sidewalk carrying an instrument or sharing a song, you might want to think twice about what that says about the creative vitality of the place. Luckily for us, Greenpoint is full of musicians, and so today’s photo essay honors these minstrels and everyday suppliers of soul.

I found Jack Simchak breaking in a new guitar of his in McCarren Park. He was playing some beautiful classical guitar arpeggiations, which fit the feeling of a gorgeous late October day perfectly. Check out Jack’s project, Resident Electric.

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Weekend Music, or a Sensual Evening with Billy Dee Williams

How many of our cultural milestones now seem creepy after Trump and Cosby.

Today my Guide to the Good Life gives you two legendary musicians playing locally and a classical concert at Greenpoint’s iconic Polish church.

Plus, there’s an eight-band pileup at Don Pedro, the best combination drag/cumbia/goth/dive bar on Manhattan Avenue since 2001.

You can also find a lovely velvet painting of Billy Dee Williams at Don Pedro.
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Introducing: Greenpoint Hill

Kim Fowler, Greenpoint Hill
Kim Brown, Greenpoint Hill. Photo: Andy P. Smith

Launching Greenpoint Hill feels like kismet for Kim Brown. Previously a studio and storage annex for Pentatonic Guitars, the space is now renovated and feels cozy and warm with brick walls painted white and light, wooden shelves. She’d had her eye on the space at 100 Freeman Street for a while and the time has come to open as an art gallery and retail shop.

For the opening, the inventory is very ceramic heavy, which is where Brown’s sensibilities are now, but she’s open to housing other types of sculpture and handmade objects as well. She’s in discussion with wood workers and hoping to get a few furniture pieces.

Brown aims to curate a collection for people who just appreciate art or jewelry or the functional work to use in their everyday lives, rather than collectors.

“I’m really honored to have all the participating artists,” says Brown. “I’m feeling optimistic about the space, thinking it’ll be fun!”

Brown also plans to host events and workshops and is currently exhibiting a a series of gouache paintings by Libby VanderPloeg titled “Ladies Who Lead”. The exhibition opening reception is tonight, Thursday, Oct 20th, 7-10pm.

Works by Lenny
“Ladies Who Lead” by Libby VanderPloeg

Featuring portraits of inspirational women paired with quotes, the series is part one of two, and opens tonight, supporting Brown’s mission for Greenpoint Hill, which is to act as a “place where people can buy art, rather than a fixed exhibition space.”

Brown and I agreed: the paintings would make great holiday gifts.

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Thursday Spotlight: Jay Buim aka Beard Wizard

Jay Buim, aka Beard Wizard
Jay Buim, aka Beard Wizard

If you’ve seen the music video for “Seasons” by Future Islands, or caught the Creative Time preview video of the Kara Walker installation at Domino Sugar factory, you’ve seen the work of Jay Buim, aka Beard Wizard.

We recently caught up to talk about “going pro”, VHS dork cliches, and podcasts.

Greenpointers: You’ve shot music videos for musicians like Motez and Future Islands but also shot commercials for Lean Cuisine and J. Crew… personally, I really like both categories of your work. But I wonder if it feels differently for you?  I imagine the budgets are much different for independent bands versus corporate clients but does it feel differently to you, like, is one work and one passion or are you making films and videos, professionally, and is that all that really matters?

Jay Buim: Regardless of what the project is, I can’t commit myself to it if there isn’t an aspect that hooks me in. I seem to completely throw myself into whatever project I am working on, and all that focus and stress and work wouldn’t be worth it if there wasn’t something about it that made me feel like I had to make this, this story needs to be told and I think I am the person to do that. There is so much constant conflict and self doubt to get things made that the only thing to power through it is enthusiasm. If you don’t have that, you are just wasting time. An added bonus of doing commercial work is that it allows you to take on projects where lack of budget isn’t a roadblock.

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New Women Space: An Awesome Place for Women

New Women Space - Williamsburg
Photos via New Women Space

New Women Space (188 Woodpoint Road, 1A) is an amazing new event space in Williamsburg created for women to connect with other women and build community. Founded by two women intrigued by collaboration and community—Melissa Wong of Up Speak, and Sandra Hong of Girl Party—New Women Space currently has a variety of offerings, and will be evolving to include even more.

“New Women Space is a response to the idea that women are asking for things. Women are amplifying their voices in the workplace and at their dinner tables,” says co-founder Melissa. Continue reading

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Fall Playlist: Old and New Downer Vibes as Things Turn Towards Cold

Gandalf - Hang On To A Dream (1969)
Gandalf – Hang On To A Dream (1969)

Kicking off our series of local shops pulling together some of their favorite music for us, we have a mostly-vintage, acoustic-twinged and quite moody playlist from local vinyl source Record Grouch (986 Manhattan Avenue).

This is the kind of playlist you want to gently put on for a chilly and drizzly Sunday morning, while you curl up on the couch with a blanked sipping hot tea and reading zines. And by the time the Donna Summer track hits in the last half, your inner fire will truly be lit.

If you haven’t been down to Record Grouch, the cozy little shop’s got an eclectic mix of r&b, punk, metal, rock, kraut, and psych. You’ll find some rarer gems mixed amongst stuff you really should own but probably don’t have yet. This playlist, in addition to being Fall-themed, is a reflection of some of the things you might find there digging through the bins. Continue reading

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Manhattan Inn to Close Permanently


Another one bites the dust… whether you went for the piano players or the food or the cocktails or the late night dance parties, The Manhattan Inn will surely be missed.

“On November 13, after seven years of serving the community comfort food, specialty cocktails, and eclectic music programming, the Manhattan Inn will permanently close its doors. Friends of Manhattan Inn should know that while this is the end of an era, the owners will be opening a new space to eat, drink, and congregate, early next year; “We are incredibly grateful to our staff, the artists, and everyone who has supported us since 2009. We are looking forward to unveiling a new and exciting endeavor that will serve the community in a fresh atmosphere come 2017.”  – Caitlin Pasko, Drunken Piano

But they’ll be going out with a bang, featuring a full schedule of live bands and parties including Halloween night and a final closing party on November 13th.


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Weekend Art Roundup: Oct 14 – 16

Photo: Andy P. Smith
“When there were only one set of footprints, it was because that’s when I gave you a drunken piggy back ride to the next bar.” Photo: Andy P. Smith

Guys, I know we’re all looking forward to staying in this weekend, ya know, watching baseball or football or the new Christopher Guest mockumentary… but here’s a few things to check out if you do find the strength and courage to leave home.

Also, FYI, this weekend is a Super Full Blood Hunters Full Moon, watch out!

See ya in the streets,


ballot2016 at the front room

The 4th Quadrennial “Ballot Show”

October 14th-23th, Opening Reception Friday, Oct 14, 7-9pm
Gallery open Fri-Sun 1-6pm & by appointment
at The Front Room Gallery
147 Roebling street

The Front Room Gallery is proud to present the Fourth quadrennial “Ballot Show”, which focuses on the American electoral system, and the overall notion of voting with a ballot. “The Ballot Show,” held every four years since 2004, is inspired by the American election, and contemplates our antiquated electoral-college voting process.

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A Collaborative Sculpture In McGolrick Park, and a Meadow-phor for All of Us

Conceptual artist Martynka Wawrzyniak will create Ziemia, a public art project created in collaboration with all Greenpointers.

Martynka Wawrzyniak has always been a conceptual artist. She thinks deeply about her relationship to the world and comes up with self-portraits that are inimitable and brilliantly unique. These ideas often utilize unusual substances and require her to collaborate with specialists in an eclectic range of fields.

For example, in her 2012 project, Smell Me, she spent two years working with Hunter College Professor Donna McGregor and a team of chemistry research students to create an olfactory-based self-portrait utilizing the extracted essence of her sweat, tears and hair.

In another project, Feed, she collected a year’s worth of her used cloth dinner napkins in order to create a suspended double spiral where viewers walked through her life in the self-described “stains of my existence”.

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Weekend Music, or Body Painting in the Associated

It’s not too often that our very own neighborhood Associated supermarket gets featured in both Harper’s Bazaar and the New York Post.

And it wasn’t even because of their super-fresh Grade AA eggs, their reasonably priced bone-in chuck steaks (great on the grill), or the cases of Zywiec available in large, hefty glass bottles.

In case you’ve been accidentally locked inside a gas station bathroom for a few days, Gwyneth Paltrow shot some glamour shots at the Associated. In response, Greenpoint residents did mock sexy poses of their own in the aisles then posted them on social media.

Personally I’ll be posing for my own boudoir photos in a pickler’s fortnight among the Polish hams at the Busy Bee on Nassau, but to each his own. Continue reading

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