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.
I encountered Lenna on her way to teach cello to kids at PS 110, The Monitor School. Lenna often busks around the neighborhood and also plays Music Off McGolrick. Check out her project Meaner Pencil, which is the beautiful work of a singing cellist.
Joe was sitting in McGolrick Park singing old country tunes a la Johnny Cash and Hank Williams. He made my day by playing two Hank Williams songs for me on request, including “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry”, and “Cold, Cold Heart”.
I met Danielle and Kayla walking up Guernsey street on their way back from a gig at Pete’s Candy Store. They played a beautiful version of their own original song, “Wee Baby Moon” for me on the spot. It was folky and beautiful.
I met Max walking up Manhattan Avenue on his way to a rehearsal.
Mike lives and performs at the Golden Drum (97 Green St.), a cultural center that teaches sacred traditions. He plays a wide variety of music from many cultures, including a lot of Native American music.
This photo actually comes from earlier this summer, I believe July. While I strictly try to only include photos from each week for Sunday Snaps, I felt this all-out jam session that I witnessed at the corner of Greenpoint Ave. and Franklin St. fit the spirit of this photo essay so perfectly that it had to be included.


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Iron Man Returns Next Week To House of Yes!

Iron ManWe last caught up with champion shirt-presser Iron Man at his Pete’s Candy Store residency back in July. Now the pro-ironer is pressing on with a new event next week, attempting “synchronized ironing” during a screening of the movie Carrie. (We think A Wrinkle In Time would have been more appropriate.) Bring any clothes you want ironed, prom clothes preferred, but any will be accepted for pressing.

James Hook with Sarah Lapinski
Little Cinema @ House of Yes (2 Wyckoff Ave., Bushwick)
October 25 & 26th
7pm-10pm, $10 | Tickets available here

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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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Thursday Spotlight: Textile Artist Julia Brandao

Textile art by Julia Brandao

By way of São Paulo, Julia Brandao has come to grace New York with knowledge of the finest cultural relics and wisdom from what seems like the world’s edges. As a textile and sculpture artist having traveled all over the world (though she calls Brazil her home), Julia’s love for collage canvases a mix of experiences and thoughts from the people and places she encounters. Her work largely prefacing the influence of memory, she glues together the thoughtful impressions that evoke feelings of familiarity through colors, shapes, and textures.


To see more of her work, you can can catch her at the Greenpointers Fall Market on October 30th, at The Greenpoint Loft (67 West Street), and visit her website/Instagram. Continue reading

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Thursday Spotlight: Ed Zipco of Superchief

Ed Zipco, self-portrait
Ed Zipco, self-portrait

Superchief is a bi-coastal gallery, with locations in LA and here in Greenpoint, Brooklyn in the back of Tender Trap on Greenpoint Ave… And it seems like they’re constantly hosting exhibitions of trippy artwork and extreme artists.

We recently caught up with Ed Zipco, co-founder of Superchief, to chat about the weird nature of the art world, what it’s like to live between two coasts, and who exactly buys the weapons and art cars Superchief exhibits.

Greenpointers: With two gallery spaces and a seemingly constant rotation of exhibitions, how do you keep all of this going? How do you stay organized?

Ed Zipco: Yup, we’re proudly working non-stop. We like to keep it moving, we like to see new stuff, and there are so many artists killing it right now, we’re hooked and working on it 24/7.

An Occulus Rift Experience #DiMoDA Vol. 2 at Superchief Gallery BK
An Occulus Rift Experience #DiMoDA Vol. 2 at Superchief Gallery BK

The length of exhibitions in Greenpoint always varies… this last show with DiMoDa for instance, which features Oculus Rift goggles that visitors can wear and giant wall to wall projections, will be up for nearly a month; while recently we had a few different opportunities pop up at the same time, so we did 4 separate art shows in a single week.

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Sidewalk Art Fair This Weekend To Support Clinton Campaign

Sidewalk fair for Hillary

Want to support your favorite candidate and get some sweet art to hang on your apartment walls? A neighborhood sidewalk fair—featuring artwork from dozens of well-known contemporary artists—will raise money for Hillary Clinton and the down-ticket Senate and Congressional candidates this weekend in Williamburg.

HUMBOLDT STREET FOR HILLARY: DEM JAM 2016 will take place from 2-6 pm on Humboldt Street between Skillman and Jackson in Williamsburg, 3 blocks from the Graham Avenue L train stop this Sunday, September 25.

Hillary T-shirt design by Wendy White
T-shirt design by Wendy White

This charming D.I.Y. event will feature all kinds of homemade food (including Exotic Hot Dogs: Chicago, Kimchi & Muffaletta, Vegetable Ban Mi, BBQ Brisket & Carnitas Buns
Fruit & Veggie Skewers, A Cornucopia of Homemade Baked Goods and Candies, Togarashi Popcorn, Little Kids’ Lemonade), beverages and bake sale items, strolling fiddlers and ukelele players, beanbag games designed by artist David Sandlin, beautiful crafts by Renee Riccardo, Rhonda Wall, Robin Goldwasser and others, t-shirts designed by Wendy White and silkscreened on-site by Kayrock Screenprinting, art book sale by Paul Laster, and a silent auction of works by many contemporary artists. Continue reading

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Chill Out At Himapan’s Lotus Leaf Painting Class

Himapan lotus leaf painting art class ( © Himapan US)

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.

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Thursday Spotlight: Gazoo to the Moon

IMG_2257Have 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?

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A Labor of Love: Kim Masson Debuts Her Novel at WORD Tonight (08/03)

K&T Pose 02
Author Kim Masson and her husband, artist Teo Gonzalez \ Photos: Rosie de Belgeonne

“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

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Funky Plot and Savory Performances for Shakespeare in the Theater’s “Cymbeline”

Curt James (foreground) and Josh Krebs in "Cymbeline" at The Brick
Curt James (foreground) and Josh Krebs in “Cymbeline” at The Brick

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

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