10/02/14 12:23pm
Image via Flickr

Image via Flickr

The first time that I stayed for any real length of time in New York City, I was 17, in town for a nerdy summer camp session at Barnard College. As I recall, we had no idea what to do with ourselves. New York was a vast sea of neon and possibilities. We had little money and only vague ideas about how to sneak into places that had an age restriction, plus a curfew at midnight. My group of camp friends and I would take the 1 or 9 train (R.I.P.) down to Christopher Street and wander for hours through the Village, the East Village, Little Italy, Chinatown, and the Lower East Side. I made all the classic mistakes of a first time New York resident: uncomfortable shoes, expensive stale sandwiches, hanging out in midtown. I came to the East Village expecting the Ramones and Lou Reed and CBGB’s, only to discover that the place was long into its transformation from gritty to luxe. But in the midst of the bank construction and the influx of NYU frat bros, there was a shining light: The Yaffa Cafe.


10/02/14 12:15pm


Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne’s Two Days, One Night screened Sunday and Monday at the 52nd New York Film Festival. Sundance Selects will release the film theatrically beginning on December 24 in New York City.

“Uplifting” is one of those words, like “unique” or “compelling,” that has been so abused that it has come to mean almost the opposite of what it once did, but it should be dusted off and restored to its dictionary definition for the Dardenne brothers’ movies. In presenting a marginalized character with a complicated moral choice and then watching closely to see what he or she does, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne un-didactically school us in what makes the personal political. And by having their main characters start out feeling alone and then learn that not only are they part of a community but redemption can be found only by joining that community with an open heart, they illustrate the strength that can only be found in unity. As bleak as things sometimes get for the Dardennes’ troubled protagonists, they always make the connections they need to pull through their crises. And because we have seen them earn that grace, step by arduous step, the result is—well, uplifting.


10/02/14 11:17am

sixpoint sensi harvest2

For the first time since 2011, New Yorkers will be forced to get through the fall without Sixpoint’s Autumnation, a beer that was technically categorized (on the internet, anyway) as a pumpkin beer despite containing (to my palate, anyway) no real sign of the big dumb orange vegetable that wreaks havoc on the beer world each year. It was, for all intents and purposes, an IPA, and a very good one at that.

Autumnation’s defining characteristic was that it used “fresh hops” as a key ingredient. The term, used interchangeably with “wet hops,” pops up on beer cans and bottle labels every year around this time, and it refers to a very specific process that involves harvesting the hops and getting them into a beer within 24 hours, imparting a richer hop flavor thanks to an oily residue that’s still present on the hop cone.

In place of Autumnation, the brewery has just released another fresh-hopped ale, Sensi Harvest. Sixpoint founder Shane Welch was kind enough to answer a few questions about that beer and the process of fresh-hopping in general.


10/02/14 10:56am

competitive erotic fan fiction

I have yet to encounter a more impressive answer to “What did you do this weekend?” than the four words “Competitive Erotic Fan Fiction.” It is the perfect mix of scandalous and bizarre, with a “Wait, what?” aftertaste. Competitive Erotic Fan Fiction is a traveling comedy show and popular Nerdist podcast hosted by Bryan Cook, which comes to Union Hall in Park Slope every three months. The rest of the time it tours the country, inspiring shameful, disgusted fits of uncontrollable laughter over sentences like “And then it unfurled—John Mayer’s second dick!” and “Name one ox who isn’t a huge lesbo.” (more…)

10/02/14 10:30am












Next week will mark the one-year anniversary of 3rd Ward’s abrupt closure. In the closing’s aftermath, the immediate fallout was aggressively chronicled, and laments for the promise 3rd Ward represented (if didn’t always meet) were regular.

But a lot of questions went unasked and unanswered. How could a company that had expanded to another city and had its sights set on far more suddenly go belly-up? What would the teachers, students, and members, all of whom had paid for memberships and classes, do? How much were they owed? And where was Jason Goodman, 3rd Ward’s founder?


10/02/14 10:22am


Here’s a quick lesson on how not to run a social media account: In between a number of photos celebrating roasted beans and quirky latte art, the person running the Instagram account for the Bushwick Coffee Shop, a cafe at 203 Wilson Avenue, posted a long, anti-semitic screed calling his Jewish neighbors “greedy infiltrators” and blaming the Jewish community for the rapid development going on in the neighborhood. Should’ve stuck to selfies, dude.


10/02/14 10:00am


Heaven Knows What, from the New York-based independent filmmakers Josh and Benny Safdie, screens tonight and Sunday at the 52nd New York Film Festival. Yesterday, distributor Radius announced its acquisition of the film, for an anticipated spring 2015 theatrical release.

Arielle Holmes plays a homeless heroin addict named Harley in the Safdie brothers’ new feature, but the story she tells is, with some embellishments, her own. This is a risky part—as Cary Grant once said, nothing is harder than playing yourself—but the sheer intensity of Holmess’ raw performance is more Cassavetian than the bustling, hand-held close-ups. Contrary to a sense of unemployed listlessness, Holmes shows just how busy homeless life is: every meal and phone call must first be earned through panhandling, dealing or theft, and Harley must even contend with heightened versions of typical teenage drama, chiefly in the form of her toxic, on-again/off-again relationship with the volatile Ilya (Caleb Landry Jones).


10/01/14 4:01pm


Sexual assault on the subway is a scary, unpleasant specter always looming over the business of commuting in New York City, whether it’s groping or flashing or something even more intrusive. An analysis from the Daily News found over 3,000 reports of sexual assault on the subway from 2008 to 2013, mostly during rush hour, where, presumably, the crush of bodies provides cover for the creepsters. But those are just the incidents that people took the time to report. Ride the subway long enough, and you’re bound to be put into some uncomfortable situation, particularly if you happen to be a woman. (I took to wearing shorts under my dresses in the summer after a friend of mine had some awful dude pull up her skirt mid-train car.) The MTA is hoping to curtail the subway as pervert playground by installing 1,000 cameras in their train cars. But will it work?