If you’ve grabbed a coffee at The Lot Radio (17 Nassau Avenue), or have ever wandered the streets behind the High School next to McCarren Park, you may have seen the Franciscan church San Damiano Mission (85 N 15th Street). If you didn’t, then you should take note. The church and local independent streaming DJ radio station The Lot Radio have been teaming up to put on benefit shows inside the church, with viewers in the pews and musicians at the pulpit. Praise. All performances are free with a suggested donation (usually $10), and always feature an interesting musical artist or three; a few months back, I attended a show with an experimental French electronic DJ who played objects as instruments.
So, it’s a church—but there’s beer, wine and a full liquor bar for donation—and the super cool friars Nick and Raphael are serving up the drinks. Seriously, they’re the most awesome bartenders you’ll ever meet, and will gladly give you a hug if you smile and even just slightly befriend them. Hugs are great! And the venue is truly beautiful. All of the money raised benefits the church and the repair of their massive pipe organ (we will cover that in a future feature story), which was originally installed in 1912. Continue reading →
Eric Morrell is a Production Designer and Art Director for TV and film living in Greenpoint. He has art directed numerous feature films, commercials, reality shows, and music videos while working for four seasons as Art Director for the reality competition show Project Runway.
I recently caught up with him at his Greenpoint apartment to chat about the hyper-local film industry of Greenpoint, the value of art school, and the impending L train closure…
Greenpointers: What is you favorite thing about Greenpoint/Williamsburg? What’s a typical day for you in the neighborhood?
Eric Morrell: My favorite thing about Greenpoint how each street feels a little different and it really feels like a cohesive neighborhood even though it has a warehouse district and a commercial district and the area around McGolrick feels completely different then Franklin Avenue. Its got a lot of variety and changes a lot every few months. I really don’t need the rest of the city.
A typical day off is going out to eat somewhere for one meal, I try to go to new spots. If it’s a nice day I walk around or bike around the neighborhood and then go see a movie or go home and watch a movie. I like that we have movie theaters in Williamsburg but it’s still not close enough. With all the movie studios around I feel like they should build a big one somewhere East of McGuinness.
That’s how Brooklyn-based R.B.I. describes their sound, and it’s pretty on the mark. They have a new full-length album on the way, and are playing Gold Sounds in Bushwick on Friday, September 2nd with Divining Rod, Swampboots, and Rockaway.
The premiere of their first video off the album is below, as well as a Q&A with Mason Hedgecoth, their lead singer and guitarist. Continue reading →
Attendees of the Greenpoint-based Himapan lotus leaf painting class depart with two things: a wall-ready piece of art and an almost alarming sense of zen. I don’t normally associate prolonged repetition with relaxation, and yet there it was—two and half hours of lightly painting, sponging and dabbing at leaf skin felt more therapeutic than therapy itself.
Lotus leaves symbolize purity of heart and mind. When stretched over a canvas to dry, they also create a unique texture for painting. It’s like paint by number, except beautifully serene and understated.
What if you could experience art in a totally different way – at a house party, for instance? Hatch Series is a New York/Taipei-based curatorial collective that aims to showcase emerging artists, create physical and virtual communities, and provide seemingly unusual spaces for exhibiting art—such as most recently, at the Greenpoint loft of co-Exhibition Manager Amanda Picotte.
Have you ever been walking the streets of Greenpoint and noticed a careful scrawl with an arrow, “To the Moon” on the sidewalk?
The artist who goes by Gazoo To The Moon has spread his message everywhere he goes. Often carrying spray paint in his bag, even when he’s traveling, his work relays the idea that you should always be shooting for your dreams. So why not shoot for the moon?
If you’ve visited any of our last five seasonal markets, you might’ve come across Miss V getting her demons out on our guests by Henna Tattooing them!
We’re not having a Summer Market this year but she’ll be back in Greenpoint tomorrow (Fri, 8/12, 12-5PM) at Spritzenhaus (33 Nassau) with Mehndi Masters, The Henna Mob. Stop by to get henna’ed, or just to say hi, have a drink and talk art, culture, tradition, and the future of the craft.
Ted McGrath is originally from the Philadelphia area but has become a Brooklyn fixture over the last decade plus. He has exhibited works at institutions like Cinders Gallery, Calico, and Black Ball Projects and he’s performed music under the moniker The Flag in venues like Death By Audio, Silent Barn, and Shea Stadium to name a few.
You may recognize him from behind the bar at The Diamond though he now works full-time as an art director for MTV, while working nights and weekends in his studio, a small but sunny room in a factory building next to the Pulaski Bridge.
I recently stopped by for a visit to see his latest work, some of which was created for a solo exhibition at Current Space in Baltimore.
Greenpointers: You use a large mix of mediums in your work: oil, spray paint, house paint, graphite, crayon… How does your process unfold? Do you give yourself any parameters in regards to your mediums?
Ted McGrath: Parameters, no, not really. I’m primarily trying to set up as many moments of engagement or conflict as possible between myself, the materials, and the surface. Frequently changing up the materials, layering them quickly, trying to get something unexpected happening so that I’m completely focused and totally off balance at all times. A series of planned crises, I’m mopping one up while staging the next.
Some of your work is very abstract while some works are iconic and graphic, eg. representations of figures or objects like “Sphynx” or “Fantastic Black Police Car”… What inspires you? Do the more abstract works come from a different area of your imagination than the more figurative works?
It all comes from the same place, definitely, and I think the most successful pieces are those where things get kinda blurry. I work from a constantly expanding sort of lexicon or repertoire of forms and gestures, the ones that really sing are the ones that end up in combinations that are surprising even to me. I’ve lately been a little more excited by the more figurative end of that spectrum, letting more editorial or narrative suggestions in. But that said, it’s like they’re actors, this or that shape or gesture that recurs isn’t always playing the same role or delivering the same lines in every painting.
It’s a weird weekend for music, with a lot of local name bands playing the East End or upstate.
Their fans are probably laying out some fancy picnic basket on a lawn to hear them somewhere, with champagne and brie. Man, we’ve turned into those Manhattan classical music types, just with brattier music.
But a comfy chair on a lawn with champagne and brie mmm yeah that works for me why let the rich people have an exclusive on the good life.
If you wait to leave until tomorrow morning, there’s tons going on tonight (8/5), from a Purple Rain twisted ‘n screwed screen edit in Williamsburg, to live piano with aerial dancers in Bushwick, and rock and punk at Gutter Bar.
And the Greenpoint club Aviv is active both Saturday and Sunday night, hosting a Latin Punk showcase/zine grab/panel discussion. Continue reading →