Wednesday, April 29, 2009

This Sunday - Free Bikes at 3rd Ward Block Party!

I hope this kind of thing becomes a regular event! I have yet to decide if I am going to sell my vintage Fuji bike, since I will be traveling out of the country for two months this summer... and kind of want a bike upgrade, anyway (though I have become a bit attached to my bike...!).
Block PArty, 3rd Ward  
See the following, from (listed because in addition to free booze, the offer is free bikes!). 3rd Ward's Green Bikes Birthday Block Party
Colt 45, no cover; free bike with membership / 2pm-8pm
3rd Ward
195 Morgan Ave., btw. Meadow and Stagg St.
East Williamsburg
(718) 715-4961

For NYC Bike Month, 3rd Ward is offering a free bike with purchase of a membership. That trumps free booze (sorry, booze). To promote all that jazz, and celebrate their third anniversary, they're throwing a concert in the streets. Stagg St. will see action from: bands Wild Yaks, Aa, Pterodactyl, Afuche, and Lam, DJs Drew Heffron and Clay Franklin, bike competitions, bike films and demos, music videos, a photobooth, badminton, BBQ, drinks, live screen-printing, free workshops and the proverbial "more."

RSVP to And ride your bike there, dodo.

So I looked for the caveat. Well, how much is membership, and what does it entail besides a free bike?

From the 3rd Ward website: "JOIN Why you should join... 3rd Ward provides all the space and tools necessary for success without sacrificing creative freedom. Our members are the driving force behind what we do and why we do it. They enjoy a wide range of perks, designed to provide a complete creative experience, from start to finish.

NEW! Sign up for any annual membership and get a free bike!

Membership also includes access to health insurance, classes, a free subscription to Time Out New York, admission to 3rd Ward events, unlimited use of co-working space and access to a huge network of creative, active and successful professionals." To see more info, click on their membership page.

Membership starts at $39/month... and includes access to health insurance?! Hmm, I have to wonder exactly what that means... Good things can come true in Brooklyn!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

"Brooklynnovation": Poster Boy Party

Funny, I just wrote about Poster Boy last month in my post, "Poster Boy and Sleep Deprivation Across the Nation". And now, Poster Boy is having an exhibition at 3rd Ward.

As described by 3rd Ward:
"Pomp & Circumstance celebrates in the heart of the art and culture movement in Brooklyn. Featuring salsa-makers, ad creators and mash-uppers as well as DJ's and drinks, come to the Spring Event showcasing the groundbreaking advertising cut and pastery of Poster Boy (but this time endorsed by the advertisers? Could this be?). Engage with the brands, artists and creators of a new class of tastemakers. Celebrate the diversity, creativity and innovation of the hottest borough in NYC. "

The event is April 24, 7 pm to midnight. henry

Also, lists the event and rates it with the highest rating, 5 cups.

The event description on myopenbar: "I've been obsessed with Poster Boy on flickr for a while now, but the biggest thrill is spotting his stuff around town. At the 3rd Ward exhibition tonight, I'm hoping to spot him in person (yeah, I'm a lurker). Even New York Magazine reported on his recent shenanigans. Next thing you know he'll be more bank than Banksy.

RSVP to"

What's the open bar? Dogfish Head beer. No cover. Myopenbar lists the event as starting at 8, not the 7 listed by 3rd Ward. Hmm...

3rd Ward is located at:
195 Morgan Ave.,
btw. Meadow and Stagg St.
East Williamsburg
(718) 715-4961

Blogging About Culture: A Family Tradition?!

It is a little strange to me that even my mom is blogging; and I even find her blog impressive, for a beginner. (Way to go, Mom!) Her blog, titled "Pittsburgh's Art, Dance, Films, Music & Theater" has a layout far clearer than mine (even if her latest link to the Russian film symposium cuts off the text on the left).

Lost and Found, NYC

I have to say it has been a strange, jarring past two weeks. A strange, jarring past two days, especially.

So last weekend, I had my camera and my phone in my bag; I was carrying my bike down the stairs from my apartment, and my bag fell out of my basket. The consequences, I found: my computer was and is completely intact, my camera screen was broken. What’s a blogger to do without a camera??

Well, I did have my phone camera… and then I was off to prepare to go to the Down & Derby rollerskating party at Studio B in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Of course, during my preparations, my bottle of water spilled over all the belongings in my bag. And, for the night, my phone screen was also broken.

Miraculously, my phone was fine the next day; and I also was able to find an upgrade version of my camera on sale for $100 plus tax (cheaper than the cost of repair or the price of my original camera). Everything was looking up…

Then I saw Lily Allen perform at Roseland Ballroom on Monday, 4/20, armed with my new camera, my phone, and happy as a clam. images-1

(Pictures and videos from the show coming soon… watch out for another post!)

Of course, I ended up losing my wallet… which must have fallen out of my bag… and I was freaked out and agonizing over my stupidity and losing all of my wallet’s contents. Another girl’s wallet turned up, which she gratefully retrieved, but the place cleared out - well before midnight - without a trace of my wallet. A staffer there gave me $10 for a cab ride, which I thankfully accepted (thank you!!).

And my cabbie, noticing I was upset, and wondering why my initial request to be driven to Williamsburg, Brooklyn changed to a request to be dropped off on 14th St, was similarly sympathetic: he offered me the extra ride back home free of charge. I returned home, exhausted and grateful for the kindness of strangers, only to find out that I had left my phone in the cab!

And then I found I had an e-mail from a girl who found my wallet, and who returned it to me, complete with all its contents — even the cash — the next day. The irony of losing a phone over a lost wallet, only to have the wallet returned. I swear I am not usually this ditzy.

But I have to say, it has been an interesting lesson/example in both the kindness of strangers and the maxim of “don’t trust anyone.” All in all, I guess I was pretty lucky: only my phone was lost, which I have insurance coverage for. The trials and tribulations of NYC life. I think it can be summed up pretty well by this poster I saw the other day, a rip-off of the “I heart NYC" t-shirt: "I can't afford to heart NYC." 

(See my story also on!)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Danger Party This Friday

It's an old-school underground party, brought to you by the Danger List (part of Complacent Nation), which collaborates with art and political collectives to create everything from politically-charged artistic parades to parties.

The parties basically all tell you,  "forget about the bad times and consumerism, let's just unite to party." In this one, if you arrive early, and/or dress as a banker, you are eligible for a "stimulus package."

{Feel free to forward / post this invite. } 
You are invited to: The Brooklyn Bailout

Everyone else seems to be getting theirs, now it's time
for your stimulus.  This is the party that pays you back
with a half dozen dj's, wild acts of abandon and low-down
dirty bands leading up to a late-night surprise that will
stimulate even the brokest amongst you. (Hint? See our site.)

Dirty gospel, to brilliant house to dark techno from:
King Britt, Justin Carter, Twilight Tone, Reverend Vince,
Derek Plaslaiko, Zemi 17, David Last & Yusuke Yamamoto
and more to be announced.

Plus, fire/ice and end-of-the-world performances by:
Reverend Billy, The Lady Circus, Josh Kalin, Chika
Imagima, Jessi Klien and more...

The best amongst you will win the ultimate Bailout Package:
a years supply of alcohol will be awarded to the "Baddest Banker".
Think naughty, clever or notoriously nihilist and dress/act the part.

All this will be nestled within the cavernous rooms and secret
niches of the Brooklyn Masonic Temple, a historic fortress of
hidden passageways and lost-world charm.

Full details will be released in the coming days.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

New York Times article apologizes to Williamsburg: "You are not as cool as you think"!

Take that, oh blog of mine.

The New York Times article, "Mapping the Cultural Buzz: How Cool Is That?", discusses a new study whose research has sought to locate and measure "the geography of buzz."

The study was performed by the Association of American Geographers, which has located culture more around Times Square, Rockefeller Center, SoHo and so forth as much more heavily concentrated than in the so-called hipper neighborhoods of the Lower East Side and, yes, Williamsburg.

OK, but what kind of cultural "buzz" are they talking about? The article discusses the perspective of Ms. Currid, an assistant professor in the School of Policy, Planning and Development at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, who discusses "an economy of scale" in terms of the so-called significance and size of the cultural activity. Enough said.

I am not generally seeking a buzz from pop culture or mass media; culture to me is precisely largely located in what is independent, emergent, under the larger cultural radar, and so on. Yes, I like to keep my cultural activity local when I can. How can a study purport to delegitimize and dismiss this type of culture? This is not to say I didn't enjoy seeing Madonna or purposely try to avoid the MoMa or the Met; but smaller-scale cultural activity is significant in its own way! NYTimes writer Melena Ryzk agrees with me; as she said, the study did not in the end give the researchers a better idea of where to find culture. To quote her: "Rather, like pornography, you know it when you see it."

Daily Routines

Following a bohemian lifestyle these days, I find myself with both the extraordinary pleasure and excruciating difficulty of organizing my time effectivley, and according to my own schedule. I teach two college courses -- at different colleges -- and do one-on-one tutoring work. All together, it doesn't pay much, and may or may not add up to or surpass the hours of a full-time job, but it is a rewarding and exhilirating lifestyle, albeit ocassionally stressful.
Except for the one college course I teach, I actually have both the freedom and the responsibility to schedule my work hours: when I am tutoring, when I am online working with students, when I am grading papers, and so on.

With this in mind, I did a Google search on writers' and artists' daily routines and came up with this: Daily Routines: "How writers, artists, and other interesting people organize their days." The blog is a fascinating glimpse into the lives of many different notable and unconventional thinkers and writers, and can even be searched by categories such as "Night Owls," "Procrastinators," "Exercisers" and such!

Monday, April 6, 2009

"You Need Poems"

So in between the madness of my Friday night -- between the two different shows I saw -- I stopped to get a free poem written.

The poetess, above, on Beford Ave, asked me for a word to work around.

"Culture," I said

"And your name?" she asked.

"Rachel," I responded.

And the results:

culture for rachel

epicenter of life
is in the living of the
multiplicitous exchange
of counter crossed sub

hub pub hop to drop and dance

across any distance

the infusion of all
in all for all

we are the culture of culture.

(Typewritten on the back of a photograph of a world map)


Sunday, April 5, 2009

Double Trouble With Shows: the Presets and Bunny Rabbit

Friday night was the perfect Springtime NYC evening jaunt, with two shows, free pizza, lots of dancing, and a free street poem written just for me. Oh, NYC in the Spring, I love you.

The Presets at Webster Hall this past Friday night actually went on at the given showtime, 8 pm, apparently! My friend and I arrived around 9, to a packed (though fast-moving) line to Webster Hall, and were promptly greeted by the Presets already playing mid-set.

While the Presets were enjoyable, the oppressive heat and crowds of Webster Hall detracted a bit from the show. I found myself fluctuating between thoroughly enjoying their industrial pop sound, the pulsating light show, and the very charismatic audience, to mellowly reflecting on how one's experience of a show's quality so subjectively depends on our own individual states at the time. Of course, the presence of someone in front of me checking his e-mail during the show didn't help matters, either...

Overall, the Presets were a fun time; but it was only setting the stage for the fun of the evening to come. After a stop at the Crocodile Lounge for free pizza, my friend and I proceeded to Glasslands in Williamsburg for another show.

The "Secret Faggot" party at Glasslands featured Bunny Rabbit, a Peaches-esque singer with a
wonderfully fun dance-arty vibe.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Presets TONIGHT - Webster Hall

I am seeing the Presets tonight at Webster Hall. The show, although early (doors at 7, show starting at 8, supposedly?!?), is sold out and promises to pack a punch.

The Presets, which calls itself "Industrial/Psychedelic/Techno" on Myspace is what I consider a no-wave, electro-pop dance band. But whatever -- their songs, with incredibly catchy hooks, are delicious ear-candy!

They also have an after party tonight at Le Poisson Rouge.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

APW Festival Madness: Summer 2009 Here We Come!

It's a little mind-boggling for me that tickets are already on sale for this event that is not happening until the end of July to the beginning of August(!) Especially because for two months before this, I will be out of the country, traveling in Peru. And I'll just be getting back into the country the 25th of July... if everything goes as planned.

This is the 2nd annual All Points West (APW) Festival, and the producers promise a more "user-friendly" experience, with free use of the light rail, more ferry service, larger beer areas, more shaded areas, etc etc.

While I am not completely enthusiastic about this year's headliners - Beastie Boys, Tool and Coldplay - the lineups look strong for each day, and if it is half as fun as last year's festival, with a better set-up, this is a not-to-miss opportunity. The views from Liberty State Park are breathtaking, especially when provided as a backdrop to large, sprawling outdoor concerts.

Oh, and the presale starts today, Thursday April 2, at noon. Regular tickets on sale Friday at noon. Tickets are $89 for a one-day pass and, for a limited time, $200 for a 3-day pass, plus service fees for the tickets. I think a 3-day pass may be too good of a deal for me to pass up...

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Tom Tom Magazine Party: Drumroll, Please...

The Tom Tom Benefit party last night at Death By Audio was a throwback to a college house party, albeit one featuring female drummers and mostly female musicians.

Death By Audio, a warehouse-esque space with graffiti-drowned walls and typical sketchy dive-bar bathrooms, reminded me of the older, dirtier Glasslands.

With lots of live performances and cheap PBR, the night was a fun, frivolous time that hopefully proved to raise enough money to launch Tom Tom Magazine's first issue, which was the premise of the party. Well, the groups and the magazine-to-be have at least achieved more exposure... and perhaps, notoriety.

Pics to come!

The irony was that my favorite act was Bad Brilliance, who was neither a female nor a drummer, but made really good beats and performed in costume in a giant blood-orange suit and a balloon for hi head. Enough said.