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.
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?
“Online dating can work,” insists Kelly Brixi, heroine of Kim Masson’s debut novel, Craig’s List Chronicles: byte-size tales. “I know a girl who met her husband that way. When they got married, they gave out little chocolate computers as gifts.” The year is 2000, and Kelly is heading off to a blind date at the Met. She runs through the safety precautions with her best friend and hopes for the best, at least when it comes to looks, because she’s never seen her date before.
“Back then, Craigslist did not have pictures,” explains Masson (because I was born in the late ’80s and have no memory of those times), “blind dates were true blind dates.”
We’re sitting outside at Baoburg, where a few diners are bent determinedly over their phones, and I turn my microphone app on, slide it across the table, and begin asking Masson the hard questions about writing your first novel, indie publishing, and meeting the love of your life online. Continue reading →
Cymbeline is tonally ambiguous, dramaturgically elusive. This is no weakness of Shakespeare’s so-called tragedy, but it stands out in being one that ends in reunions and discoveries instead of wars and death while featuring beheaded characters and disguised lovers. It’s no wonder, then, that critics have long debated whether Cymbeline is drama, romance, comedy, or something in between. Perhaps Shakespeare was pushing genres out and contemporary storytelling, with its mix of laughter and catharsis, forward. Regardless of category, Stay Awake! Theatre’s production of Cymbeline at The Brick (575 Metropolitan Ave.) in Williamsburg is firm in its footing thanks to its minimalist approach and rather strong performances. Continue reading →
A fascinating story in the December 12, 1917 Brooklyn Daily Eagle explained that almost a century ago our local library hosted a blockbuster art show of Greenpoint artists. It is too bad that the article did not go into more depth about the show, but it did mention the three stars of the show: Ralph Blakelock, George Inness and John Mulvany. If you are not familiar with the artists in the show you should be, because they were not only locals, but they were also greats. Continue reading →
If you ride the East River Ferry you’ve likely seen the 20-foot-tall letters that spell out JEFFREY GAMBLERO on the dock of the India Street stop. They are outlined in black and filled in with a vivid aqua green. It is the color of surgical scrubs, of Winterfresh gum and cartoon characters, and a fitting hue for what has become an unofficial landmark of the Greenpoint waterfront.
“What happens to all of the pages that people put under the bed?”
That is a question that artists Melissa Hunter Gurney and Chris Carr asked themselves during the months before they birthed GAMBAZine, an international publication rooted in Greenpoint and Bushwick.
From the beginning, Gurney says that GAMBA had an activist slant. The duo wanted to create a literary magazine free of the politics and favoritism rampant in mainstream publications.
“Sometimes it feels like your bio has to look a certain way,” Gurney says. But she explained that she and Carr didn’t want to choose work based on writers’ previous publications, literary accolades, or university degrees.
In the spring of 2014, they founded GAMBAZine. The name came from Gambazini, a mythical island that Gurney had dreamt about months earlier. Continue reading →
“Sotto casa” is an Italian idiom that translates roughly to something like, “below the house” or “on your doorstep”; in English the closest phrase we have might be something like “just around the corner.” Italians Laura and Luca Arrigoni opened their first Sottocasa pizza restaurant in Boerum Hill quite literally “below the house”—it’s situated on the ground floor of an old residential building. But the pair were in love with more than the literal meaning of the name. They wanted Sottocasa to become a neighborhood joint just around the corner: an inclusive, homey space where everyone feels welcome. Continue reading →
Greenpoint Open Studios (GOS) kicks off tonight and goes all weekend (April 29-May 1), celebrating Greenpoint’s rich pool of artistic talent. From paintings to sculptures, video to photography, weaving and textiles to ceramics and more, there are seasoned artists to honor and emerging artists to be discovered among more than 350 who will open up their studio spaces to the public.
It’s an uncurated free event that allows visitors to get a glimpse of the process and space where artwork is created while engaging directly with its creators. Brooklyn has a long-standing reputation for being a hotbed of creativity and GOS is going to represent its northernmost tip in true Greenpoint fashion—by keepin’ it real—providing an open platform for showcasing the various expressions of our creative community’s imagination and skills.