Art/Music

Review: Gregory Alan Isakov warms a snowy night at Warsaw

Lief Vollebekk, left, and Gregory Alan Isakov perform a joint encore

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.

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Local Artists’ Solar Panel Art on Display at A/D/O

The gallery display of the Solar Panel Art Series at A/D/O in Greenpoint.

Brooklyn’s A/D/O (29 Norman Ave.) is currently showcasing the Solar Panel Art Series, which features 12 original works by New York-based artists on repurposed solar panels, with proceeds benefitting the Little Sun Foundation’s “solar schools” program in Rwanda.

The featured artists are SWOON // FELIPE PANTONE // ZARIA FORMAN // MAYA HAYUK //  EDWARD GRANGER // OLEK // JAMES REKA // BRIAN KENNY // AARON LI-HILL // PAUL RICHARD.

Solar panels used as mediums in the Brooklyn show were provided by DUMBO-based solar manufacturer Pvillion; the panels are no longer functional as energy harvesters.

Abou Aboughazala, project manager of the art series, describes the project as “an international social art initiative seeking to promote art as a tool for change and use it to foster a more sustainable and conscious global community.”

The solar panel art is currently on display at A/D/O until Nov. 20, with a chance that the show will be extended for an additional week. The bidding is open online until Nov. 27 via auction house Paddle8.

“The Golden Rule” by Brian Kenny

The art series was originally started by The Beam, a Berlin-based tri-annual publication covering green tech, and their neighbors happened to be working on sustainability issues, sparking the project. “The Little Sun Foundation’s offices are actually down the street from our offices in Berlin,’ Aboughazala said.

“The idea of the Solar Panel Art Series came as a way for us to use it as a tool for positive change while generating impact, which is why we partnered with Little Sun Foundation. With the proximity of their offices to ours and us liking the work they do, we approached them and they jumped on board,” he said.

Tech Open Air hosted the first solar exhibition in 2017 in Berlin, and the Greenpoint opening marks the first solar panel show in the U.S. for the organization.

Edward Granger’s painting for the Solar Panel Art Series

“We had some artists I curated that we had previously been in touch with. Those were Edward Granger and Phillipe Pantone. And then the remaining artists were selected and approached by a local curator in New York, Georgia Frances King,” Aboughazala said. Greenpoint-based artist Paul Richard, curated by COALITION, also participated in the project, creating two of his signature drip paintings.

“We are going to be in L.A. for our next U.S. edition to take it to the other side of the U.S.,” Aboughazala said, with a target date set for mid-2019.

 

 

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Emo Legends Stick to New Songs, Not Crowd Pleasers

 

Saves The Day playing in front of a packed Warsaw crowd in Greenpoint on Wednesday, Nov. 14th. Photo by Peter Kirchhausen

There is absolutely nothing wrong with a nostalgia-soaked night of music, and on Wednesday night at Warsaw (261 Driggs Ave.), Saves the Day was exactly that. But although it pains me to write, the nostalgia seems to be wearing thin.

It was an early 2000’s North East emo basement scene recreated nearly 20 years later in North Brooklyn, in front of all those 17-year-olds who are now nearing their 40s. Although the band on stage at Warsaw still features emo-rock legend vocalist Chris Conley, most of the other members- a literal revolving door with over 20 different people over the years- are mostly all new. The previous dozen plus band members chose to bow out years ago when it just stopped being fun, countless years before the creation of the newly released ninth studio album which dropped earlier this November.

Conley wearing a dark tinted sunglass inside Warsaw on Wednesday night. Photo by Peter Kirchhausen

Three or four times during the 90 minute set, there were sparks from the fan favorites that put the band on the national map, such as the opener “At Your Funeral,”  “Freakish,” or “Holly Hox.” For the remainder of the setlist, the audience was starved of what they paid to hear- the early catalog- and for a Wednesday night, the packed crowd was not willing to fake it. Conley has every right to create a set list which he prefers, relying on either newer or older songs, but musicians can read audiences very quickly and Conley knows what is going on. The audience stood idle in for large chunks of time while newer songs were performed and it appeared tough for the other bandmates to fake the energy on stage. Conley was often stationary in the center and putting out low energy all night, something I previously have not seen out of him during more recent live performances. Continue reading

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Tired of All the Bad News? Triskelion Arts Has a Solution

Photo by Scott Shaw
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!
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Mae West’s Gay Drama That Shocked 1920s America

Artwork by Michael DiMotta – sketched for the stage play “Courting Mae West,” written by LindaAnn LoSchiavo, DGA

Mae West was much more than a local-born movie star or even a sex symbol. She was a playwright, a woman decades ahead of her time in dramatizing questions of gender and sexuality. Her views almost a century ago were remarkably progressive when it came to homosexuality and those views were never better dramatized than in her shocking play entitled “The Drag.”

Even today, in a time when society has largely embraced gay marriage and become more accepting, West’s play would be so offensive to some that it still could not be staged in many places in America. In puritanical 1920s America, the play was considered outrageous and morally offensive.

West, who grew up locally and began her theatrical career on Brooklyn vaudeville stages at the age of five, said that the theater was her greatest education. She had little formal schooling, but the stage taught her all she needed to know. She soon became friendly with a number of gay theatrical professionals and West immediately empathized with gay people. She enjoyed spending time in gay clubs in the west village and one night she hit upon the idea of writing a play about gay men.

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A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Trap Thanksgiving, Storefront and Desert Hearts Takeover — What’s Happening, Greenpoint (11/14-11-20)

WEDNESDAY 11/14

^ A Tree Grows in Brooklyn | 75th Anniversary Party @ Leonard Library  (81 Devoe St.), 5pm, FREE, Special guests Amy Lyons, artist of the HarperCollins 75th Anniversary edition cover, and the family of Betty Smith–along with contemporary authors–help celebrate a book that, according to The New Yorker, “deserves to be thought of as one of the greatest American novels,” RSVP
* An Ecological History of the Bushwick Inlet and its Environment @ A/D/O (29 Norman Ave.), 7pm, FREE, With the continued development of Williamsburg and Greenpoint along the East River shore, it’s hard to imagine that Brooklyn was once a thriving wetland, with winding streams carrying freshwater running right below our feet, More Info
♦ Machine//Body @ Arete Gallery (67 West St. #103), 8pm, $10-15, sound and movement, space and architecture, More Info
How To Dress Well, Baltra @ The Good Room (98 Meserole Ave.), 9pm, $20, Buy Tix

THURSDAY 11/15

* Los Sures Thanksgiving Dinner @ First Spanish Presbyterian Church (157 S. 3rd St.), 6pm, FREE, communal dinner and turkey raffle, more info
♦ Advent Kickoff | Potluck Supper + Opening Reception @ Park Church Co-op (129 Russell St.) 6pm, FREE, art exhibit and potluck, More Info
♫ The Travelin’ McCourys @ Rough Trade (64 N 9th.), 7pm, $20, Buy Tix
♫ The Mercury Program and Square Peg Round Hole @ Brooklyn Bazaar (150 Greenpoint Ave.), 8pm, $12-15, Buy Tix  Continue reading

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Renowned Polish Artist Joanna Sarapata’s Greenpoint Show

Painting by Joanna Sarapata

Greenpointers will have the chance to see the work of the celebrated Polish artist Joanna Sarapata this Friday, Nov. 16, at 7:00 p.m. at Klub Amber (71 India St.). Sarapata’s creations have appeared in galleries, museums, private and public collections around the world.

The show, entitled “ Scent of A Woman,” features sensual and intimate portraits of women. Sarapata, a graduate of the highly prestigious L’ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris, won the Paris Opera Grand Prize in its poster competition in 1996.

Painting by Joanna Sarapata

Although she was born and raised in Poland, Sarapata arrived in Paris at the age of 18 and the city, like many artists before her, had a lasting and dramatic effect on her worldview. She referred to Paris as a “ school for femininity” and her work captures something of the legendary Parisian sensuality. Her work is very erotic, but Sarapata adds: “Eroticism is not just sex, a narrow waist and long legs. It is also behavior, a way to sit and talk topics. I do not paint pure erotica, only femininity. I like women, I am their friend, I know them well. I know well what it is like to be a woman in a relationship, a beloved woman, but also a woman betrayed.” Continue reading

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Thursday Spotlight: Donaldo Prescod on his Films, Brooklyn, and Making an “Entertaining Social Thriller”

Donaldo Prescod, right, at the Bushwick Film Festival
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.
Tell us how you got involved with Bushwick Film Festival.
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.

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French Pop Duo YELLE Comes to Elsewhere Nov 8–11!

Get ready to scream, Greenpointers: French pop duo YELLE have revealed their new single “OMG!!!” here and they’ve also announced a string of North American tour dates — including three nights at Elsewhere‘s Zone One (599 Johnson Avenue) on November 8, 10, and 11 that are currently sold out, but check out the venue’s site for upcoming and potential availability.
On their new single the duo remarked, “‘OMG!!!’ is an ode to the power of the sun. This magical effect that turns everyone on. The rebirth, the renaissance! But it’s also an ode to the absurdity of this fact. Donovan the hamster got it right! You can always listen to Yelle if you need a sun!
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Obie Award Winner David Greenspan Returns To The Bushwick Starr

David Greenspan performs in his new memory play. Photo by Maria Baranova.

The time it may take you to get to The Bushwick Starr may last longer than its current production, but any trip to this experimental Brooklyn venue is worth the journey.

Now playing at 207 Starr Street, downtown guru David Greenspan’s 45-minute The Things That Were There is a cubist family drama that wisely deconstructs its genre but unfortunately does not carry much heft. In the zippy one-act, nimbly directed by Lee Sunday Evans, Lenny (Greenspan) introduces his birthday party and the family antics that surround it, highlighting pointed episodes from his relatives’ lives. Continue reading

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