Sunday, November 28, 2010

Post T-Day Haze

Always nice to get away from NYC for a few days, and at the same time, returning makes me appreciate it all that much more. 

Post family-Thanksgiving fun, I am still in a bit of a food coma.

 I had my fair share of this turkey!

 Yet sometimes I just crave a good slice of pizza.

Thank you, Anna Maria's, the lovely pizza place right by the Bedford Ave. L stop.

I was even craving their pizza so badly one night that I made up a rhyme: "My name's Maria Rosaria, and all I really want is a slice of pizza from Anna Maria's pizzeria." If you haven't tried pizza from this place, I recommend it. The staff's humor is an added bonus.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

372 Ten Eyck...

... was the location of the fabulous Thanksgiving-themed loft party I attended in last Friday!

Hmm, was my favorite part the potluck, the outside bonfires (and spelling like a campfire afterward), the incredible live music, the vibe...? I'd have to say, everything!

Here are a couple pics I took.

This incredible band was Amour Obscur. They call themselves "weimar punkaret" and truly gave a spirited, gypsy-worthy performance. That lead singer, Dee Dee Vega, can really belt out tunes in her wonderfully deep, sultry voice.

 According to Amour Obscur's Myspace site, "Half human, half magical being, Dee Dee Vega emerged from the ashes of the streets as a denizen of the glamorous nightlife and gilded stages of New York City and Berlin. She is the lead vocalist of Amour Obscur and also makes her mad visions into art as a creative writer. When not on stage, she can be found jaunting around the Lower East Side with her tiny (and insane) dog Marcel Duchamp. Her interests include the art of lockpicking, whiskey, Dada art pranks, Coney Island, mind control and generally behaving like Henry Miller." And it shows in her performance.

Amour Obscur teamed up with a burlesque singer for a full-on Cabaret-Luxe performance.

According to the band's website, "Emerging from the dark corners of New York City's underground, Cabaret Luxe brings to the stage acts of sinister hedonism inspired by the nightclubs of Weimar Berlin, the advent of American punk, Dada, decadence and art born from the liberating freefall of economic uncertainty."

Amen. The gypsy hippie ethos is alive and well in NYC, in the dark corners of Bushwick. 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

This Week in North Brooklyn Wanderings...

And the week isn't even over yet!

So last night, after I finished working late tutoring, my friend called me and asked if I was going to Drink n' Draw at 3rd Ward. I'd forgotten he was planning on going, but as I didn't have any plans, there I was 20 minutes later, along with another mutual friend.

(some of my sketches from this Wednesday)

As always, it was a fun, pleasant time, with plenty of drawing and drinking PBR. Even the model partook in the beer-drinking.

After 3rd Ward, my two friends and I stopped for a drink at Tandem Bar, another Bushwick restaurant and bar I have just discovered.

(Tandem Bar, above. Photo credit: Melissa Hom)

I'll have to return here for both the food and the reputed dance parties...

Then this afternoon, I discovered that a little chic grocery in Greenpoint is also a wi-fi cafe. And serves breakfast all day. And doesn't get exceptionally crowded. I'm in love. Urban Rustic, I will be coming back to you!

After a delicious brunch, class prep and tutoring, I made it tonight to the City Reliquary's "Thurd THursday" Show n' Tell night of collectors' items. The evening featured such showcased items as border patrol dog trading cards, paperclip sculptures made by a dog, an old top hat box in remarkably good condition that originally belonged to James G. Gould, and a device specifically made to slice English muffins. I'd brought my NYC 70's Flashmaps book with me, but chickened out when I decided I didn't have enough of a story on it. Oh well, maybe next time: the evening will be curated once a month, so stay tuned!

And finally, tomorrow holds many more Brooklyn promises to come. Hello, Goods' Beer, Wine & Heat Party and a crazy, semi-private on-the-down-low Thanksgiving-themed E. Williamsburg/Bushwick party!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

City Reliquary's "Thurd THursday": Show and Tell Open Mic

I may have to check this out this Thursday:

For November’s Thurd THursday, the City Reliquary is returning to its roots – to the central reason it exists and the core of its mission – sharing stories behind collections! Due to the overwhelming success of Return of Collector’s Night at the Knitting Factory on October 11th, with over 200 people admiring the collections of a dozen avid New Yorkers, the City Reliquary Museum and Civic Organization is dedicating its November’s Thurd THursday to a Show and Tell Open Mic. Every object tells a story.

Hosted by minutiae-centric journalist Paul Lukas (whose past showing and telling at the City Reliquary has included an exhibition of his vintage recipe booklets with the word "Meat" in the title,) the Show and Tell Open Mic will be an evening dedicated to YOU and YOUR favorite item. Not a collector? That’s okay! We’re more interested in the Showing and Telling of stuff than the collections they come from. Bring your favorite thing and Show and Tell its stories at the CR on Thursday November 18th. Show us why its your favorite; Tell us where you obtained it and whether or not it comes from a larger collection of items just like it. Share the provenance of your item and how many stories are contained within it. Just share all this info in 3 minutes or less – there are other Show and Tellers who want to take the stage right behind you!

(City Reliquary, on Metropolian Ave., Williamsburg)

Show and Tell Open Mic Night at the City Reliquary
Thurd THursday, November 18th, 2010
Doors at 7, Open Mic begins at 8pm.
$5 suggested donation much appreciated. Delicious beers from Brooklyn Brewery available
370 Metropolitan Avenue at Havemeyer, Williamsburgh, Brooklyn.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Girl Talk's All Day!

From a tip from a friend on Facebook, I found out that Girl Talk's new album, All Day, was available as of yesterday to download FREE. Of course, the site got so much traffic that I wasn't actually able to download the album until today, but the wait was well worth it. (According to, "Girl Talk Apologizes For Breaking The Internet With All Day".)

Now, to listen to the album and do some school work...

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Prospect Heights Bars: Weather Up and Soda

So I rode my bike to Prospect Heights last night and checked out a few bars on Vanderbilt Ave. I definitely want to come back to this hood and explore it more!!

The first place I went to was Weather Up, a speak-easy type bar with fancy cocktails and a beautiful outdoor patio. Little did we know that the bar was closed for a private event; but with the tip from the doorman, all we had to do was go across the street to Brooklyn Bike and Board and get stamped. Apparently this was the after party of the opening reception of the Re: Cycles show for Martinez Gallery. Pretty awesome. So we crashed a little biking & boarding party, but at least I did actually bike there!

(Weather Up, above)

Then, after we finished our drinks, a Planter's Punch and a Gentleman's Companion, both as deliciously head-spinning as they sound, we strolled to Soda Bar. Soda Bar is one of those bars where you feel like you are in your living room, or perhaps an adult version of the dorm room... Literally, you feel right at home there, with its comfy couches and chill vibe, this is a perfect neighborhood bar to unwind at with drinks and good company.

Oh Brooklyn.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Dr Sketchy's "does The Factory" Art Event

If I didn't have plans tonight already, I'd be here! Maybe next week...

Sat, November 13, 2010 • 6:00pm - Dr. Sketchy’s does The Factory!

Dr. Sketchy’s is hosting another huge blow-out event at the Red Lotus Room.

This session will feature a tribute to Andy Warhol’s Factory, taking place in our beloved Brooklyn speakeasy, the Red Lotus Room!

Expect hordes of models in a Sketchy’s extravaganza, dressed up as your favourite 1960s icons. From Edie Sedgwick to Ultraviolet, this session will prove to be our most outrageous session yet.

with music by Kim Boekbinder
models including Dante Posh, Madame Rosebud, Miss Southern Comfort, and Miss Vivian
aerial by Lauren Goldberg
treats by Kate Black

Free, hardcover watercolour moleskines to the first twenty artists who show up.

Session runs from 6-10 pm. $15 in advance, $20 at the door in costume, $25 at the door in street clothes.
Bring your own art supplies.

The Red Lotus Room (unmarked door)
893 Bergen Street (google map here)
Brooklyn, NY

Friday, November 12, 2010

Unfettered Creativity: Kids!

I wish I could return to the youthful naïvete I had as a kid. How simple life was... and how inherently creative!

Some pics my 2nd-grade student drew:

The pics are of a dog and a cat. Obvi.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Halo Air Salt Rooms: Amen!

It's exactly what it sounds like. Halo Air Salt Rooms. Eh? What's that mean? Literally, the place is a spa where you go into your private salt-enmeshed chambers, with purified dry salt aerosol blowing out into the room. It is a futuristic, minimalist salt cave where you lie back and relax, with optional cable to watch while you let the salt work its cleansing magic.

I booked 50 minutes of the Halo Air Salt Rooms from Lifebooker, at only $26. Really, less than I would spend on a night out, and much more purifying and relaxing. Yelpers generally give the place positive reviews as well.

I tried the place out of, well, curiosity, but specifically because I suffer from dry skin and am willing to try most treatments to help my skin at least once. While I am not sure yet how effective this is as a dermatological treatment (and reviews seem to suggest that ongoing visits are required to truly notice effects), I would say that besides being relaxing, I did breathe a lot easier while in my salt cavern. For anyone who needs a bit of relaxation and has $30 and an hour to spare, and especially for anyone with respiratory issues, I recommend this place as an experience you need to try!

(Located at 133 W. 22nd St, between 6th and 7th Ave., Halo Air Salt Rooms is conveniently located in Chelsea.)

Monday, November 8, 2010

On Romance, Lust and Life: Miss Abigail's Guide, Cheek'd and Woody Allen

This weekend I saw both Miss Abigail's Guide to Dating, Mating & Marriage and Woody Allen's You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger. On opposite sides of the romantic spectrum, the off-Broadway play and Allen's movie both get you thinking about dating, intimacy and even the notion of fate.

Miss Abigail's Guide stars Eve Plumb, the actress who played Jan Brady in The Brady Bunch, as Miss Abigail, and Manuel Herrera as Abigail's sexy sidekick, Paco. Plumb and Herrera brilliantly and hilariously play off of each other to dispense advice on "dating, mating and marriage," reviewing tidbits from antiquated books and play-acting recommended techniques on flirting. Several audience members are called up on stage during the act, and my friend was one of the lucky ones to go on stage. The interaction with the audience was a nice little touch to the show, making it feel especially intimate in an already quaint setting. (The play takes place at Sofia's Downstairs Theater and the set design made it appear as though we were simply in an extended living room.)

(photo credit: Carol Rosegg)

Miss Abigail and Paco even provided cute little wallet-sized cards of advice, "Miss Abigail's 10 Commandments for Couples" and "Miss Abigail's 'Am I ready for School today'?". The former card features such advice as "Women, remember a man is only a grown up boy. He needs mothering and enjoys it if not piled on too thick" and "Men, don't take love for granted. Remember your wife wants to be treated as your sweetheart always. She wants you to woo her." And there's also: "Men, remember, marriage is a fifty-fifty proposition and you are not the majority stockholder" and "Women, don't try to boss him around. Let him think he wears the pants". Compromise, appreciation, respect and humor are all nicely intertwined as key features in these 10 commandments. The latter card, meanwhile, stressed the importance of dressing neatly and maintaining one's appearance. Personally, I take this as a given, especially in NYC, but then again, Miss Abigail did have a point when she had Paco display photos of people improperly dressed, with a "muffin-top" showing through and a "plumber's crack" on display.

All in all, while I wouldn't say that Miss Abigail's Guide was particularly revelatory, it was a nice hour and a half of old-fashioned dating advice that reminds us why old-timey values can be so important and helpful to not only remember but to practice.

Woody Allen's "You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger," meanwhile, examines the lives of several family members and how their love lives seem to gradually go askew. As one of the leading characters states, yes, "You will meet a tall dark stranger" but it might be that stranger that we are all fated to meet one day: death, that is. The movie reminds us of how we all yearn to find that special someone and to have our lives neatly fall into place, while also reminding us of how unrealistic such romanticism often is. Starring such actors as Antonio Banderas and Naomi Watts, the movie is definitely well-cast and captivating, even if you may feel it's a bit dark and your strings are pulled a bit too concertedly.

After these two extremes, I would be inclined to see something like Cheek'd tonight, "a panel of single New Yorkers as they share their secret sexual behavior and and personal sex stories". As the website reads: "Cheek'd (noun): 1) a fun and non-intimidating way to meet that intriguing stranger who just sparked your interest 2) a deck of 50 cards, each bearing a flirtatious comment to pique the curiosity of your intended and a unique code linked to a private online profile that you create. With card in hand, the object of your affection can enter your code at cheek', learn more about you and send you a message. Privacy protected. Missed connection averted." It sounds like a fun, intimate evening.... but sadly I have class tonight.

And so I continue with my reality, somewhere in between Miss Abigail's fun little universe and Woody Allen's absurdist, cynical one.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Early November NYC Adventures

I would say my fun last week began on Wednesday, November 3, when I met up with my friend to eat dinner at DuMont in Williamsburg. With a heated backyard garden and a pan-seared scallops special, my dining experience at DuMont was truly exquisite.

(The heated backyard garden at DuMont, open and airy,
and even more romantic and alluring by night.)

Then on Thursday, November 4 was Yelle at Highline Ballroom. Although I understood only a handful of the words in Yelle's lyrics, the songs are truly infectious, with high-energy rhythms and the lilting sounds of Yelle's titillating French.

And on Friday, I had yet another lovely Williamsburg dining experience: at Dressler's, located in South Williamsburg incredibly close to me. Dressler's is easily the most upscale place I have yet dined at in Williamsburg, with its charmingly decorated interior accentuated with classy chandeliers. Although my date was unable to secure reservations (unless we wanted to eat close to 10 pm), we enjoyed dinner and drinks at the bar, accompanied by a seemingly unending stream of fresh rolls. And topped off with a fresh apple tart. I do have to warn, it's not the most vegetarian-friendly place for dinner. This just means I'll have to return soon to Dressler's to try their brunch...

(Dressler's, above)

Yum. It has been a delicious week.

And speaking of delicious, I also finally redeemed a LivingSocial special for a box of handcrafted chocolates at Bespoke Chocolates, a simple, elegant chocolaterie in the East Village. Bespoke's profile on their website reads:

"Bespoke Chocolates is an award-winning artisanal chocolaterie established in New York City in 2008. Bespoke Chocolates specializes in the production of luxury handcrafted chocolates created with the freshest ingredients. Our chocolates are of the finest quality on the market, marrying classic European techniques with modern flavor profiles. Our Bespoke Chocolate shop, located in New York City’s East Village, features an open kitchen, allowing our guests to watch and interact with our chocolatier. It also serves as a unique destination for experiencing chocolate through regular in-store classes, tastings open to the public, and private sessions with our chocolatier for groups or corporations."

With chocolate morsels such as pretzel-covered sea-salted caramels, Turkish coffee bonbons and orange-infused dark chocolate, Bespoke Chocolate's diverse array more than compensates for is small size. I may just have to find out when the next chocolate tasting is.

(Above, the Turkish coffee bonbon.
As described on BeSpoke Chocolate's website:
"Soft Caribbean dark chocolate ganache, delicately infused with cardamom and coffee.
Not exactly a trip to Istanbul, but close enough for a Tuesday afternoon.")

And last night I discovered an East Village staple, Heather's, a very inconspicuous "dive" bar on East 13th St. (Personally, I see this place as more lounge than dive bar; it is simple and clean without being pretentious.) It was so refreshingly free of 22-year-olds and loud frat-party types that I felt like I was back in Williamsburg, that is, before Williamsburg also became flooded with people from outside hoods and boroughs. Yelpers also rave about their happy hour and DJ's.

So many places to try and so many places to try again.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

NYC Quirky Party Lists

As I am taking it easy post-Halloween for a bit, I have time on my hands to write. So of course I end up writing about PARTY LISTS. Take a look.

Shaw Promotion, GBH, Ohmyrockness, Myopenbar, Nonsense NYC, 3rd Ward, Highline Ballroom and others are all mentioned.

Oh the constant temptation... ! But Yelle, I will see you soon!

The contagious energy of NYC...

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Post-Halloween NYC

I have to say, post-Halloween is a little sad to me.

Yes, I went out and voted today, and advertising and product placement make me all-too-aware that Thanksgiving and even Christmas (and my birthday, and the new year... ) are all around the corner. With daylight savings time ending next week, we will all get that little jolt that yes, winter is right around the corner, and the days are only getting shorter.

I don't mean to sound so dismal. Maybe my zombie-inspired costume somehow seeped into my thinking...

(me, above, as a zombie dancer, with my friend Dracula)

At least I have a show to look forward to: Yelle at Highline Ballroom this Thursday, with French Horn Rebellion.

(Yelle, above)

As was so succinctly said on a t-shirt I purchased at the last Yelle show I saw: Dance or die. (Apparently Dance or Die is a popular European techno group. And in some American versions, they are re-named Do or Die.)

So, Do or Die... life goes on!