September 30, 2009

OTBKB Music: First Acoustics in The Heights

Fa logo & words color jpeg

There's an interesting series of shows show this fall and winter over
in Brooklyn Heights. The First Unitarian Church, located at the corner
of Pierrepont Street and Monroe Place (across from the courthouse and
up the block from St. Anne's school) is hosting a series of shows
titled First Acoustics.  The series includes both folk, folk-rock and
jazz performers.  The next show features Kate Taylor and  is this
coming Friday October 3rd.  Other performers of note appearing in the
future include Patty Larkin, Christine Lavin, The Kennedys, Tom Rush
and Livingston Taylor.  Check the schedule for the full line up.

First Acoustics, The First Unitarian Church, Pierrepont Street and
Monroe Place (2, 3 or 4 Trains to Borough Hall; R Train to Court
Street), $30 ($5 surcharge for tickets bought at the door).

 –Eliot Wagner

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September 30, 2009

Thursday Night: BRW Presents Young, Gifted & Black (Men) Curated by Martha Southgate

Brooklyn Reading Works presents: Young, Gifted and Black (Men) with Clifford Thompson, Victor LaValle and James Hannham. This reading is curated by Martha Southgate.

Where: The Old Stone House on Fifth Avenue and 3rd Street in Park Slope

When: October 1, 2009 at 8 p.m.

James Hannaham's stories have appeared in The Literary Review, Open City and Nerve, and one is about to show up in One Story.
He has received fellowships from The MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, The Blue
Mountain Center, Chateau de Lavigny, and Fundacion Valparaiso. He
teaches creative writing at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and lives
near there. His first novel, God Says No, came out through McSweeney's Books in late May of 2009. An excerpt from the book appears in McSweeney's 31, which looks a lot like a yearbook, binding-wise.

Victor LaValle is the author of slapboxing with jesus, a collection of stories, and two novels, The Ecstatic and Big Machine.
He has received numerous awards including a Whiting Writers' Award, a
United States Artist's Ford Fellowship, and the key to Southeast
Queens. His website is victorlavalle.com

Clifford Thompson grew up in Washington, D.C., and attended
Oberlin College, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in creative writing. His
essays on literature, film, jazz, and other subjects have appeared in
publications including The Threepenny Review, Commonweal, Cineaste, Film Quarterly, The Iowa
Review, Black Issues Book Review, and The Best American Movie
Writing. He is the editor of the H.W. Wilson publication Current
Biography. Thompson lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife and two
children. Signifying Nothing is his
first novel.

Martha Southgate is the author of three novels,
most recently Third Girl from the Left
which was published in paperback by Houghton Mifflin in September 2006.
It won the Best Novel of the year award from the Black Caucus of the
American Library Association. She received a 2002 New York Foundation
for the Arts grant and has received fellowships from the MacDowell
Colony, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and the Bread Loaf
Writers Conference.  Her July 2007 essay from the New York Times Book
Review, “Writers Like Me” appears in the recent anthology Best
African-American Essays 2008.  Previous non-fiction articles have
appeared in The New York Times Magazine, O, Premiere, and Essence. She
also has essays in the recent anthologies Behind the Bedroom Door and
Heavy Rotation: Writers on the Albums That Changed Their Lives. She is
working on her next novel, to be published by Algonquin Books. You can
visit her website at www.marthasouthgate.co


And here's the rest of the fab schedule for the 5th anniversary season of Brooklyn Reading Works:

October 15:  POETRY PUNCH curated by Michele Madigan Somerville
November 19 at 7 p.m.  YOUNG WRITERS curated by Jill Eisenstadt (note: earlier start time)
December 10:  FEAST: WRITERS ON FOOD curated by Michele Madigan Somerville. A benefit for a local soup kitchen.
January: 21:  TIN HOUSE READING curated by Rob Sillman
February 11:  MEMOIRATHON curated by Branka Ruzak
March 18:  BLARNEYPALOOZA curated by Michele Madigan Somerville
April 15:  TRUTH AND MONEY Curated by John Guidry
May 13:  4TH ANNUAL EDGY MOTHER'S DAY
June 13: FICTION IN A BLENDER Curated by Martha Southgate

The Old Stone House is located on Fifth Avenue at Third Street in Park Slope, 718-768-3195. Directions here.

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September 30, 2009

Phatush Diaries: The Edgiest Edgy Mom

My friend over at Phatush Diaries is FUNNY. And she's writing again. Which thrills me no end. You gotta read this woman who may be the edgiest mom around. Here's an excerpt but read the rest at her blog.

DEAR CLASS MOM:

Yes
….I know that we are planning to bring something in to celebrate our
kid's birthday that both happen to fall in the month of September.

Yes, I know that your daughter has an allergy to wheat, dairy, eggs, milk, cheese, yada ……yada ….yada…..

Yes, I know that last year I made those great tasting rice crispy treats ……

BUT …..

I'M NOT DOING THAT CRAP AGAIN …. NO WAY ….

FIRST…

MY 2 high end Calphalon pots look like they were burned in Chernobyl……

Don't
dismay ……the gym teacher is still getting good use out of the burnt
rice crispy treats a full year later …. as sporting equipment for the
5th grade intramural soccer team.

Your
idea of bringing in a healthy snack ………apples and honey (in honor
of the holiday) to celebrate our kid's birthdays ….SUCKS ASS.

Who ever heard of blowing out a flaming apple????

Your other suggestion …That I run out to Junior's, and pick your daughter up her own $13 dollar slice of cheesecake…..shows me one thing ….THAT YOU ARE A CRAZY MESHUGENAH CUNT!!!!!!!

Get this straight …...

You will eat the Betty Crocker Vanilla Cupcakes that I will frost in the back of my Jeep 15 minutes before the party …

Oh….BTW
….you may want to brush off the ashes from my Camel Light ….(it's
not sprinkles) ….and pick out some of the dog hair.

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September 30, 2009

Tonight: Delta Blues at Bar Reis to Fund the Mississippi Project at CUNY Law

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Tonight at Bar Reis playing Delta Blues: Moira Meltzer-Cohen and her dad, blues guitarist Andy Cohen.

Remember Moira? She's the awesome Bar Reis bartender who is now getting her law degree at CUNY Law School. She comes from a family of civil rights lawyers and blues guitarists and is really an awesome gal.

According to Mo, her dad is "one of the most seriously awesome guitarists you will
ever see." Mo loves to sing and they're going to play a set of pre-war Delta Blues to raise money to benefit the Mississippi
Project at CUNY School of Law.

There is no cover but they are soliciting
donations (which can be tax dediuctible if you write a check) which
will go to the material and administrative costs of sending 15 law
students (including Moira) to the Mississippi Delta and New Orleans to
volunteer with the ACLU and the Innocence Project to provide legal aid
to citizens who need it most.

It's all happening on Wednesday night 7-9 p.m:
Bar Reis
375 Fifth Avenue near 6th Street in Park Slope

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September 30, 2009

A Conversation with Tom Hayden at Park Slope Methodist Church

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In the 1960's Tom Hayden was an anti-war activist at the University of Michigan, and a
founding member of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) in 1961. He
was one of the authors of the Port Huron Statement, described by Howard Zinn as "one of those historic documents which
represents an era."

After forty years of activism, elected office (he was a California State Senator) and writing, Hayden is still a strong voice for ending the war in Iraq, eradicating
sweatshops, saving the environment, and reforming politics through
greater citizen participation.

The author or editor of thirteen
books, he comes to the Park Slope Methodist Church for a conversation sponsored by Brooklyn for Peace.

Does U. S. foreign policy in Iraq, Afghansitan and Pakistan mean Endless War? on Friday, October 2, 7:30 pm at the Park Slope United Methodist Church, 6th Ave. and 8th St., Brooklyn

Q and A with follow the talk.
Free Admission, donations gratefully accepted

Reception follows the event.

Sponsors: Brooklyn For Peace

Park Slope United Methodist Church Social Action Committee

Info@brooklynpeace.org

718 624-5921

http://www.brooklynpeace.org

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September 30, 2009

Democracy Forum at Old First Church with Lander, Pechefsky and Nardiello

David-pechefsky

The race for Bill De Blasio's seat in the City Council in the 39th district isn't over. Brad Lander may have won the Democratic primary but he still faces Republican Joe Nardiello and Green candidate David Pechefsky (pictured right) in the general election. On Monday October 5th, the three will meet at a Democracy Forum at Old First Church.

City Council Candidates for District 39 David Pechefsky, Brad Lander, and Joe Nardiello will
lead a discussion on democracy following a free screening of the documentary Please Vote for Me (http://pleasevoteforme.org/index.html) a film about an election for class monitor
in a third grade class in China, complete
with intimidation, bribery, and vote rigging!  The film will be the jumping off
point for examining democracy in New York City.

The screening and discussion
takes place Monday, October 5, 7-9 p.m."
Old First Church,
7th Avenue and Carroll Street in Park
Slope

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September 30, 2009

Steve Levin: One of “City Hall’s” 40 Under 40 Rising Stars

Learn more about Steve Levin, our 28-year-old candidate apparent for David Yassky's City Council seat in the 33rd district. According to the Brooklyn Bugle, there's an interview with him in City Hall's "40 Under 40: The Next Political Leaders of New York."

Levin is running against Republican Elizabeth Tretter in what is a largely Democratic district.

When asked how he was able to muscle out a bunch of challengers in a
competitive Council race to fill David Yassky’s Council seat, Steve
Levin gives one answer.

“My friend and mentor Vito Lopez,” he says. “I would not have been elected if it were not for him.”

Indeed,
the former chief-of-staff for the Assembly Housing chair and Brooklyn
Democratic leader says that his old boss has given him lots of advice
over the years, but that he led more by example.

“He is a
tireless worker and he always does everything he can for the people he
represents,” Levin said. “It comes from the heart.”

But when the
Brown University graduate was deciding whether or not to make a run for
the Council, he did not only get heart-to-hearts from local political
big wigs. His father’s first cousins, Michigan Senator Carl Levin and
his brother, Rep. Sandy Levin, weighed in as well.

“They both
encouraged me to go for it,” he said. “They said work hard, be true to
yourself, and always try to do the right thing.”

But, he added, the real motivation came from within.

“I’ve always wanted to serve people and to make people’s lives better,” he said. “That’s been the goal all along.”

How
did your past jobs get you to where you are today? My past jobs were as
a community organizer and chief of staff to Vito Lopez, and there has
always been a commitment to serving people and serving their needs.

If you were not working in politics, what would you be doing: Public interest law

Five years from now, what will it say on your business card: Councilmember for the 33rd district

Who would play you in the movie? Harry Connick, Jr.

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September 30, 2009

Brownstone Voyeur: Life in a Stylish Shoebox in Boerum Hill

1.1 LIVING RM

Back by popular demand, Brownstone Voyeur, a collaboration between casaCARA and OTBKB. For more pictures and text go to CasaCARA.

THIS APARTMENT IS REALLY SMALL. If you dance like a dervish, I wouldn’t recommend doing it in Jane Rosenbaum’s apartment.

Just two rooms totaling 375 square feet in a pre-war State Street rental building, it’s nevertheless got a ton of charm and some good DIY ideas, yours for the copying. Such as:

  • Limited color palette — white and periwinkle blue –
    keeps the tiny space from looking too busy. (This takes discipline! I
    intended to use only blue and white in my Springs cottage, but keep
    bringing in things that are red, brown, green, orange…)
  • Secondhand furnishings were all painted periwinkle to unify them.
  • Round table folds, below, to store against a wall. Open, it seats six for dinner.
  • There’s a Murphy bed, below, behind a white curtain in the living room (and you thought they were only in Marx Brothers movies!)
  • Salvaged chandelier in the living room is painted white and used with candles. Bookshelf up high makes use of every inch.1.5 LIVING RM

Moving on to the only other room, the kitchen:

2.5 KITCHEN

  • Galvanized buckets organize utensils, below.


  • The cabinets are painted with chalkboard paint; Jane uses them to display the menu for dinner parties.

2.9 KITCHEN


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September 30, 2009

How Robin Met William: Clinton Hill Blogger Weds

OTBKB sends congratulations and best wishes to Robin Elizabeth Lester and William Gordon Kenton III, who were married Saturday at the Montauk Club in Park Slope!


Robin is the marketing
and communications manager for the Project for Public Spaces, an urban
planning organization in Manhattan. But she is also a pioneering Brooklyn blogger whose blog, Clinton Hill Blog, was one of the first local place blogs in Brooklyn. I love Robin's blog and especially enjoy her personal writing.

According to the New York Times wedding announcement, Robin graduated from Syracuse University and has a master’s degree in sociology from the New School for
Social Research.

Her husband, William Kenton is an adjunct professor of English at Barnard College in Manhattan. He graduated from Ohio University and received a doctoral degree in English and American literature from NYU.

There's an adorable video in the NY Times about how Robin and William met.

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September 30, 2009

Greetings From Scott Turner: Macho Aggressiveness Rarely Serves a Good Purpose

The Quizman Cometh and this week's greeting is all about football. This Thursday he does the pub quz at at Rocky Sullivan's. And don't miss Scott Turner's solo show at Freddy's on Friday at 9 p.m. Miss Wit, as always, is the sponsor of this post.

Greetings Pub Quiz Tough GalGuys…

Macho aggressiveness rarely
serves a good purpose.  Bad enough when it's on the playground, in a
barroom or the bedroom.  When it's culturally endemic, it's even worse.

But when it's the height of hypocrisy, that's really ludicrous.  As in, what's the point.

Across
this country of ours, there's no more pointlessly macho realm than
sports.  Across the sports landscape, there's no more pointlessly macho
realm than American football.  And apparently, across the manifest
destiny of the nation's collective gridiron, there's no more
pointlessly macho realm than the first couple of weeks of the NFL season?

¿Por que?

It seems that the behemoths of the NFL –
men who often tip the scales at 325, 350, 375 pounds, giant specimens
of testosterone intentionally jiggered to run wild, the
standard-bearers of all that is ferocious, mighty, colossal and
God-bestowed in the mightiest nation on the planet — have a weakness
that makes Achilles' heel seem a tiny scratch by comparison.

Yes, these men who growl, scream, punch teammates' shoulders and
decimate opponents' various bones, muscles and sinewy parts, who taunt
and trash-talk and spit on sportsmanship lest the slightest fissure of
humanity costs them the game, and who insultingly misappropriate war
imagery for their weekly athletic endeavors…

…cannot stand sunlight.

More to the point, many NFL home
teams have started the season wearing white uniforms.  Traditionally,
the home team wears a dark color at home — the Giants, royal blue
jerseys; the Jets, dark green.  And so on.

But apparently all the conditioning, all the weekend-warrior chants, all the macho hegemony of the NFL isn't enough.

Tough Texas's Texans?  White as the driven snow.
Image

The man-eating Bengals, including macho trash-talker supreme Chad Ochocinco? White like Liberace.  Apparently, the extra couple of sunlight degrees is frightening, but not Great-White-in-Rhode-Island open flames.
Image

Panthers so black they can sneak up on you with all of nature's stealth and end your life in a heartbeat?  Pale shades in Florida.
Image

The Ravens?  The Ravens, of Poe's dark mysticism and linebacker Ray Lewis' murder charges?  Even the Ravens
wore white tops.  Apparently, though, black isn't the death-knell it's
made out to be — the Ravens wore black helmets, pants, socks,  shoes
and gloves.  Macho sure is selective when it wants to be.
Image

And in week two, seven days further from summer's sunny death rays, even the New York Jets wore white because the life-giving ball of gas out beyond Mercury was just too scary.
http://a.espncdn.com/media/apphoto/b2d759ca-561b-4a28-ae19-b60d61e07493.jpg

With domed stadiums, Field Turf and
state-of-the-art drainage systems, NFL players rarely end up with dirty
uniforms these days.  The NFL won't even play its championship game,
the Super Bowl, in a cold-weather city.  The league used to bill key games as the Irresistible Force Versus The Immovable Object.  Now it's The Irresista– wait, Coach, it's too hot, can we wear white?

Cleveland Browns (L-R) Jim Houston, Paul Wiggin, Dick Modzelweski & Walter Johnson awaiting play during game against Green Bay Packers at Municipal Stadium.;1965.

Hey, look.  I don't really care.  If NFL players wanna pound their
chests and scream every time the receiver they're guarding drops the
ball, be my guest.  If they wanna equate running a football with being
stationed for a year in mountains of Afghanistan, go crazy.

But I don't wanna hear they're members of some über-ferocious fraternity, the toughest of the tough, John Wayne cut with Sun Tzu.  Not if they insist on wearing white jerseys on a sunny September afternoon.

Some have argued "what's wrong with gaining an advantage."  Nothing. 
But most of football's advantage-gaining techniques — good scouting,
conditioning regimens, play calling, fast-thinking — aren't based on
tough-guy falsities. 

In other words, if football players weren't so obsessed with macho posturing, this little advantage wouldn't matter a whit

I'm not advocating for some pure versions of machismo.  For starters,
we know what happens when "pure" and "human development" meld.  All I'm
saying is that it's another indicator that men playing sports –
because of their own vanity and  fans' demands that they act a certain
way for our entertainment — are fatuous, flatulent and somewhat full
of it.

Not just football, of course.  Hockey fights…that's another
measure of wild-eyed male fury coddled by unwritten rules preventing
anything that might actually expose the participants to things
wild-eyed or furious.

You'd think that if these angry men on silver blades were that pissed-off
at their co-combatants, they'd kick each other in the nether regions,
shove heads through rink glass, use those blades in ghastly ways.

But they don't…there are parameters, something along the lines of
Gentleman's Rules, that limit the violence of a hockey fight.

http://hyannisnews.com/files.php?file=hocfgt2_912306539.jpg
"hey, don't go too rough, okay?"  "yeah, sure…"

"Real
men" who call themselves "real men" never are.  The insecurities that
urge them to define themselves as "real" sink them from the get go.

American sports, particularly football, are filled to the brim with
"real men" — on the field, in the stands, parked on sofas across this
great land of ours. 

Here's the skinny:  the Real Man can be found somewhere out there in the mysterious ether of the Legendary UnknownsBigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster and a contrite, compassionate Michael Bloomberg.

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September 29, 2009

De Blasio Wins Run-off Against Green, Liu Beats Yassky for Comptroller

As
reported by New York 1 News, the uncertified results of today's Primary
Run-off Election for Public Advocate and Comptroller positions are:

Public Advocate – NYC
Bill de Blasio (Dem) 138736 62.50%
Mark Green (Dem) 83241 37.50%
Reporting: 6110 of 6110 precincts – 100.00 percent

Comptroller – NYC
John Liu (Dem) 127173 55.68%
David Yassky (Dem) 101215 44.32%
Reporting: 6110 of 6110 precincts – 100.00 percent

REMINDER: General Election is November 3, 2009.  (You can register to vote in the general election until October 9, 2009)

Click here for instructions on how to register, or use the following link:
http://www.vote.nyc.ny.us/register.html

Click here to find your local polling place, or use the following link:
http://gis.nyc.gov/vote/ps/index.htm

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September 29, 2009

This Friday: Don’t Miss Scott Turner at Freddy’s

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Scott Turner, whose weekly Greetings From Scott Turner missives are a favorite on OTBKB, is playing a solo show, under the banner of RebelMart, at Freddy's (corner of Dean Street and 6th Avenue) this Friday at 9 p.m.

The music is one-person/one-guitar punk folk reggae
Irish songs about the surety of love and the lack-of-surety about
politics…or maybe it's the other way around.

No RebelMart websites to direct people to.  This one's like the old
days — you get a worthwhile tip that, head down to the club to check
it out, and make the call there.

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September 29, 2009

No Words Daily Pix: Photograph by Hugh Crawford

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September 29, 2009

The Current Weather in Park Slope

Brought to you by the Feldman Family from their local weather tower.

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September 29, 2009

Oct 4: 35th Annual Atlantic Antic

Hang on to your hats, folks, it's the Atlantic Antic on October 4th!

Spanning from
Hicks Street to Fourth Avenue, passing through Brooklyn Heights, Cobble
Hill, and Boerum Hill in the heart of brownstone Brooklyn, the Atlantic
Antic is one of the largest street fairs in the country.

Closed to
traffic for the day, the 2009 Atlantic Antic, which this year sold out
available spaces in record time, will showcase the best of the rich
cultural, culinary, and commercial diversity along Atlantic Avenue.

You already knew that Marty Markowitz, Brooklyn Borough President, would be there. But I'm excited to tell you that Kaity Tong, anchorwoman for PIX-11 10pm News and Mr. G, meteorologist for PIX-11 10pm News will also be on hand.

Do they live in Brooklyn?

Those celebs will be main press conference for the
Atlantic Antic at 1:00p.m. on Sunday, October 4th. The Antic will take
place from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. All day for food, shopping and entertainment on the streets of Brooklyn.


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September 29, 2009

Park Slope Pastor To Jews: What Joy to Celebrate Yom Kippur With All of Our Friends

"What joy to celebrate
the Atonement with this people who embrace Atonement. What joy to
celebrate the repentance of our sins from A to Z. That's a gift that
Jews and Christians in unity can give our society, the good news of
repentance, and just why that is good news," wrote Pastor Daniel Meeter on his blog Old First.

Indeed, it was a Yom Kippur to remember in Park Slope when the ceiling fell in at Congregation Beth Elohim and Old First hosted the high holy day services.

And in an unrelated incident: a group of bigots from a Kansas Baptist Church (godhatesfags.com) picketed outside of the synagogue on the Saturday morning before the start of Yom Kippur on Sunday.

"What a week," Rabbi Andy Bachman told the Yom Kippur crowd at the church. And they laughed knowlingly. The rabbi held a service on the steps of the synagogue on Saturday, blew a shofar while 200 congregants and Park Slope residents danced, sang, and laughed.

And now we hear from Old First's Pastor Meeter who graciously offered his church to the neighborhood Jews and made a wonderful statement about Christian/Jewish unity in the process.

But what even
greater joy for us at Old First that we could enjoy the celebration of
Yom Kippur in our own house. Last night and today our sanctuary, though
still very much our sanctuary, wore different clothes. It was fully a
synagogue, and the chancel became a bema and the altar became an ark.

Look,
I'm proud and a little possessive. I admit that I think of our Old
First pulpit as "my" pulpit, and the big chair behind it as "my" chair,
and yet I can tell you how joyful it was to see "my" pulpit so
thoroughly occupied by the Rabbi and the Cantor as if they owned the
place. And for Rabbi Bachman, last night at Kol Nidre, from his (my)
pulpit, to preach a sermon that I so admired and was inspired by. Yes,
how joyful for us to be for them "Rehovoth."

Of course, every
single scripture they read from the altar and the pulpit is scripture
for us Christians anyway. And every prayer they prayed could be prayed
by any Christian. So for us it was so easy. I am grateful that they did
the more challenging thing of accepting our hospitality.

How
joyful that for 24 hours these guests, these 1200 guests, took over our
sanctuary in order to sanctify the Name of God. What a privilege for us.

Yes,
I am ecstatic, and I guess I will come down from this, but I gotta tell
ya this was for me a high point. And I am so proud of our congregation,
Old First, who takes this kind of hospitality (and is willing to work
for it behind the scenes) as a just plain "given."

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September 29, 2009

Brooklyn Paper: Lots of Crime in the 78th Precinct Last Week

There was a murder at the Wyckoff Houses, a heroic cabbie who chased down his assailant; two, that's two iPhone stolen and loads of burglaries in the 78th precinct last week and it's all in the Brooklyn Paper Police Blotter.

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September 29, 2009

Stone Park Cafe Team To Open a Traditional Chinese Place

Yup. The Two Joshes (Josh Grinker and Josh Foster who own Stone Park Cafe) are opening a new place in the space that used to be Tempo and before that Cucina. That's old news. It was reported on OTBKB quite a while ago.

And what's it gonna be?

Alright. Alright. Let the Brooklyn Paper have a piece of the story.

According to those BP guys: It's a Chinese place. And they're not kidding. They actually spoke to the Two Joshes. Now that's reporting!

“It’s going to be a traditional Chinese restaurant, not a fancy
restaurant like some of the Manhattan places have tried,” one of the Josh's  told the Brooklyn Paper. “We’ll cut out the stuff that Westerners just don’t go for … but the
food will be traditional in the techniques, the ingredients and the
recipes.”

In the Brooklyn Paper article, however, there was no mention of a third partner, or the fact that she's related to the "Cucina Family."

That was the scoop you heard right here at OTBKB not long ago. Sounds like the Joshes are going for a very different cuisine than their New American style-place on Third Street.

And I for one am excited. I think they're really good at what they do and I can't wait for the new place to open. I've already had one person ask me when they're opening.

She wants to do her daughter's bat mitzvah there.

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September 29, 2009

Today: Vote for the Home Team (Yassky and DeBlasio) in Their Run-Offs

GET OUT THERE AND VOTE! Yassky and DeBlasio need your vote. Every vote counts. The turnout is expected to be very low. It's 11:30 and I'm on my way to John Jay. See you there, okay?

It's the Bill and David Show once again.
They've
been Park Slope's City Council members for eight years and now they're
running for their political careers in a special run-off election for
Public Advocate and City Comptroller respectively.

OTBKB
endorses the Park Slope team in today's race. Yassky runs against
Queens council member John Liu and DeBalsio is running against Mark
Green.

LET'S HEAR IT FOR THE HOME TEAM! GO YASSKY! GO DEBLASIO!

DO THE PARK SLOPE CHEER for David Yassky and Bill DeBlasio! And VOTE! The
polls are open all day on Tuesday September 29th.

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September 29, 2009

Awesome Brooklyn Reading Works Poster by Elizabeth Reagh

BRWPOster-final

Elizabeth Reagh of Good Form Design has once again designed a beautiful poster for Brooklyn Reading Works.

This is the fourth poster she's designed for the series and I love them all. Indeed, it's hard to pick a favorite.  It is, however, worth noting that the one she did for the 2006 season won an award for poster design excellence. 

Good Form Design, is a small and vibrant graphic design studio right in the heart of Park Slope. It is a collaboration of talented designers, fine
artists, and software engineers working together to create print and
web design that really do delight the senses. Reagh sees every project as a chance to bring her parallel
backgrounds in fine art (she's a talented painter) and graphic art together to produce effective
and beautiful communication. Logos, websites, invitations and branding
— they do it all.

Reagh is a wonderful designer and I always says she brings a great sense of humor, color and fun to her work. Check out her website and think of her if you have a design project.

Excitingly, she is in the process of designing the new masthead for OTBKB!!! Stay tuned for that when we roll out the OTBKB makeover.

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September 29, 2009

Thursday: Young, Gifted & Black (Men) at the Old Stone House

BRWPOster-final

Brooklyn Reading Works presents: Young, Gifted and Black (Men) with Clifford Thompson, Victor LaValle and James Hannham. This reading is curated by Martha Southgate.

Where: The Old Stone House on Fifth Avenue and 3rd Street in Park Slope

When: October 1, 2009 at 8 p.m.

James Hannaham's stories have appeared in The Literary Review, Open City and Nerve, and one is about to show up in One Story.
He has received fellowships from The MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, The Blue
Mountain Center, Chateau de Lavigny, and Fundacion Valparaiso. He
teaches creative writing at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and lives
near there. His first novel, God Says No, came out through McSweeney's Books in late May of 2009. An excerpt from the book appears in McSweeney's 31, which looks a lot like a yearbook, binding-wise.

Victor LaValle is the author of slapboxing with jesus, a collection of stories, and two novels, The Ecstatic and Big Machine.
He has received numerous awards including a Whiting Writers' Award, a
United States Artist's Ford Fellowship, and the key to Southeast
Queens. His website is victorlavalle.com

Clifford Thompson grew up in Washington, D.C., and attended
Oberlin College, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in creative writing. His
essays on literature, film, jazz, and other subjects have appeared in
publications including The Threepenny Review, Commonweal, Cineaste, Film Quarterly, The Iowa
Review, Black Issues Book Review, and The Best American Movie
Writing. He is the editor of the H.W. Wilson publication Current
Biography. Thompson lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife and two
children. Signifying Nothing is his
first novel.

Martha Southgate is the author of three novels,
most recently Third Girl from the Left
which was published in paperback by Houghton Mifflin in September 2006.
It won the Best Novel of the year award from the Black Caucus of the
American Library Association. She received a 2002 New York Foundation
for the Arts grant and has received fellowships from the MacDowell
Colony, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and the Bread Loaf
Writers Conference.  Her July 2007 essay from the New York Times Book
Review, “Writers Like Me” appears in the recent anthology Best
African-American Essays 2008.  Previous non-fiction articles have
appeared in The New York Times Magazine, O, Premiere, and Essence. She
also has essays in the recent anthologies Behind the Bedroom Door and
Heavy Rotation: Writers on the Albums That Changed Their Lives. She is
working on her next novel, to be published by Algonquin Books. You can
visit her website at www.marthasouthgate.co


And here's the fab schedule for the 5th anniversary season of Brooklyn Reading Works:

October 15:  POETRY PUNCH curated by Michele Madigan Somerville
November 19 at 7 p.m.  YOUNG WRITERS curated by Jill Eisenstadt (note: earlier start time)
December 10:  FEAST: WRITERS ON FOOD curated by Michele Madigan Somerville. A benefit for a local soup kitchen.
January: 21:  TIN HOUSE READING curated by Rob Sillman
February 11:  MEMOIRATHON curated by Branka Ruzak
March 18:  BLARNEYPALOOZA curated by Michele Madigan Somerville
April 15:  TRUTH AND MONEY Curated by John Guidry
May 13:  4TH ANNUAL EDGY MOTHER'S DAY
June 13: FICTION IN A BLENDER Curated by Martha Southgate

The Old Stone House is located on Fifth Avenue at Third Street in Park Slope, 718-768-3195. Directions here.

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September 29, 2009

Read About Jonathan Safran Foer’s Sukkah

In honor of Sukkot, which begins on Saturday, the 3rd of October and will continue for 7 days until Friday, the 9th of October, here's an excerpt from an interview in the current Forward with Park Slope author Jonathan Safran Foer and his brother, Josh Foer about a sukkah they built last year.

How did you decide where to build the sukkah?

J.F.: Our original design idea was a floating sukkah. It was going to have curtain walls and be suspended from above by cables.

JSF: Directly from God’s beard.

J.F.:
Directly from Jonathan’s magnolia tree. I had four pieces of steel
specially fabricated for the project. But that idea got nixed by a
rabbi. You can’t build a sukkah under a tree, you know.

JSF: No. That’s not it. We decided the tree couldn’t support the weight.

J.F.: Right.

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September 29, 2009

OTBKB Endorses Yassky and DeBlasio in Tuesday’s Run-Off Election

Don't forget to vote today. To find your polling place, visit: http://gis.nyc.gov/vote/ps/index.htm.

OTBKB is endorsing Bill DeBlasio for Public Advocate and David Yassky for City Comptroller in Tuesday's run-off election.

Based on his honesty and integrity, I believe that David Yassky has what it takes to be a great New York City Comptroller. His legislative
successes, include putting hybrid taxis on our streets to
fighting for affordable housing to creating thousands of jobs through
the Film Tax Credit. He has a commitment to transparency, as he demonstrated by putting the City budget online at www.itsyourmoneynyc.org.

Yassky has lots of ideas he wants to implement once in the Comptroller's Office, including investments in
biotech and cleantech, auditing the Department of Education, and
cutting waste in the budget.

Yassky has been endorsed by Senator Chuck Schumer, the New York Times, the New York Daily News and the New York Post. The Times said that David is the Comptroller candidate "most suited to do the job, with skill, intelligence, and independence."

The turnout for this run-off is expected to be exceptionally low. Every vote counts.  It only takes a few minutes to vote. 

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September 29, 2009

Babeland: Sexy Moms Series on Lesbian Parenting

At Babeland on Wednesday, September 30th: this month's Babeland Sexy Mom's event will feature Lauren
Abrams, a community health center midwife from Park Slope, who will speak about
her experience as a lesbian partner raising two children.

 She'll discuss
navigating the medical world as a lesbian couple, communication between the
birth and non-birth mother, changing desires, "donor dads," taboos,
etc.

Babeland Co-Founder, Claire Cavanah, will also speak about her experience as a single lesbian mom. Complimentary
refreshments will be served. This event is jointly sponsored by The New Space
for Women’s Health, Bump and Park Slope Parents. Complimentary
refreshments will be served courtesy of Sip Wines and Joyce Bakery. No
pre-registration necessary, just stop on by!

Wednesday, September 30 at 7pm.

Babeland Brooklyn is located at 462 Bergen Strett in Park Slope.

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September 29, 2009

Richard Grayson: Look Back in Anger at the Old Stone House


I am always thrilled when Richard Grayson, author of "Who Will Kiss the Pig" and "And To Think That He Kissed Him on Lorimer Street" and other titles from DUMBO Books, decides to share his thoughts with OTBKB readers:

We headed over to the Old Stone House in Washington Park on a dreary fall
Sunday afternoon to see a first-rate production of John Osborne's Look Back in Anger.

It
was precisely the play needed for a dreary Sunday, as it has three
crucial scenes set on dreary Sundays. But this drama's effect is the
direct opposite of dreary. It's explosive.

We
bought the Bantam paperback edition of the play from the old Bookworm
Bookstore on Flatbush Avenue near Church when it came out in 1967.

We stayed up one night and read the play in one long gulp.

The
book had amazing drawings of the scenes by Lee Gregori. But of course
it was Osborne's words, even a decade after they caused a revolution on
the London stage, in the mouth of his "angry young man," Jimmy Porter,
that so excited one 16-year-old boy in Brooklyn:

I've
an idea, why don't we have a little game? Let's pretend that we're
human beings and that we're actually alive. Just for a while. What do
you say?


The contemporary reaction to Look Back in Anger
is more respectful than enthusiastic. It's impossible, given the past
forty or fifty years, to recapture the response its got back in the day
when it seemed urgent, an emancipation of drama from the restrictions
of past generations, particularly in pre-Beatles, pre-mods-and-rockers,
pre-"cool-Britannia" Britain, but also in fifties America.

Even by the time we read it, we'd already digested – devoured - Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, in which the emotional outbursts are even more extreme than the ones that are Look Back in Anger's most compelling moments.

The second floor of the Old Stone House is a great space for talks and the Brooklyn Reading Works
but it's not ideal for theater. Yet this production, directed fluidly
by Thomas Mulhare, managed to employ the space to maximum effect,
effectively using the intimacy; at several points, sitting on the
aisle, we could have reached out and touched the characters. Scene
changes, which could have been jarring, were handled adeptly in an
understated way with a character simply announcing them: "Two weeks
later."

The cast was uniformly superb. The dialogue written by
Osborne (for some reason, the program misspelled the author's name four
times, adding a superfluous U, as if it were labour, honour or colour
- but we guess it's great that that was our biggest quibble with the
production) contains a number of monologues that could lend themselves
to scenery-chewing. But here everything was controlled, restrained -
even at the moments of highest rage and passion.

Alex
Mills played Jimmy Porter with a vulnerability that made his sneering
and sadistic tirades directed at his wife Alison and the other
characters understandable. Mills' performance also emphasized Jimmy's
high intelligence and educated background, which serve only to feed his
frustration and bitterness and make him strike out at the world,
including those who – almost unaccountably but not quite – love him.
But he's also delighted with his own fury.

Yet it's hard in 2009
to take Jimmy's long, vicious riffs – like those against his despised
mother-in-law – with the kind of shock that it generated decades ago.
Look Back in Anger is one of those artistic works at the
vanguard of so triumphant a revolutionary change that its innovations
are impossible to discern for an audience who didn't live through its
initial reception.

Today it's hard to imagine how some of us were affected by Osborne's plays – we also loved The Entertainer – and other groundbreaking British novels, dramas and films of the time: Shelagh Delaney's A Taste of Honey, John Schlesinger's Billy Liar, anything by Alan Sillitoe.

Our dad once came in as we were viewing Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner for about the seventh time one week on Channel 9's Million Dollar Movie
and said with a chuckle, "No matter how many times you watch it, he's
never gonna finish that damn race." So we were thrilled to have this
production come to the Old Stone House this weekend and delighted to
get this kind of quality theater for just a five-dollar donation.

There's
a tenderness in this Jimmy Porter that makes his unpleasant egotism
understandable but doesn't veer into mawkishness. Alex Mills perfectly
captured Osborne's stage directions' description of his antihero as "a
disconcerting mixture of sincerity and cheerful malice, of tenderness
and freebooting cruelty."

In the squalor of Jimmy's Midlands
flat – subtly suggested by a minimalist set, lots of newspapers
scattered about (we admit being distracted by their being New York
papers; maybe they could have gotten some London ones?) and a few
stuffy furnishings, including an old record player from which very
low-key background music which served the action of the play well -
Alison, his upper-class wife, at first seems out of place.

Played
by Katy Foley, who also was the producer here, this Alison seemed less
Jimmy's punching bag and doormat than someone who's somewhat willingly
taken on the role of wife as victim as a way of protecting the man she
loves from turning his anger on himself. That is, Alison here appears
very vulnerable but not bewildered; she's made her choices
deliberately, even though she may not be aware of it. In Foley's
portrayal, you can see why Alison is the squirrel to Jimmy's bear in
their stuffed-animal avatars on a side table.

As Helena, Ruby
Joy at first is outwardly brittle and somewhat manipulative, but in Act
Two – there was a ten-minute intermission – it's obvious that she wears
a protective armor and is also a lost soul, drowning slowly in what she
once thought were safe waters. She doesn't lack compassion, but for
Joy's Helena, everything else takes a back seat to self-preservation.

Daniel
Kemper excelled as Cliff and was in some ways the pivotal character in
this production. Jimmy's most ardent passion is devoted to his loyal
crony Cliff, who's fiercely protective of him despite the mutual
insults. Cliff is even more protective and tender toward Alison, whom
he's so affectionate toward – the choice made to begin the play with
Cliff and Alison in an embrace, as if they're having a furtive affair,
was brilliant – that it would arouse the jealousy of any husband except
Jimmy, who's incapable of jealousy.

Tolerant, patient,
self-deprecating, funny, acutely aware of his limitations and lack of
education, Kemper's Cliff is also quite needy, and we don't quite know
how to respond to his perfectly-delivered speech announcing that it
might be time for him to move on from Jimmy's sweet shop business and
his friends' menage; this character's motivations are in some way the
most complex in the play.

Like
Jimmy's working class English accent and the posher accents of the
other characters, Cliff's Welsh accent was effectively unobtrusive and
unaffected.

Dan Odell as Colonel Redfern, Alison's father,
gave an affecting performance as the representative of the
establishment, no caricactured Colonel Blimp but a man plagued by
self-doubt and second-guessing, as vulnerable as the young people,
distracted and bewildered by the ground shaking underneath Old
England's feet. In the way he muddles through, there's a sense of
decency about him, and Odell struck all the right gestures for a man of
his time and place.

Look Back in Anger
is a period piece today, and this production emphasized not its blazing
fury but the melancholy underlying the characters' lives. Osborne's
words, even the ones that seemed vulgar and brutal in 1956, now seem
elegaic and wonderfully poetic.

The sun was shining as we left the Old Stone House and we were really glad we got to see this production.

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September 28, 2009

No Words Daily Pix: Photograph by Hugh Crawford

2CBW9632

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September 28, 2009

Park Slope’s Patrick Gaspard Called “The Karl Rove” of Obama’s White House

In the last few days I have heard Patrick Gaspard referred to numerous times (in the press, on WNYC, in casual conversation) as the Karl Rove of Obama's White House. He is, apparently, behind the decision to give Governor Patterson the heave ho.

Karl Rove was was Senior Advisor and  Deputy Chief of Staff for former President Bush. He was considered the policy maker behind the scenes of that administration.

And what a mess this Paterson thing has become. News that the White House interfered with the New York governor race has created a sticky situation for the Obama administration.

It's too bad it wasn't handled in a more delicate manner.

Still, it's interesting to see that Gaspard is such a powerful force in the White House.

A former resident of Park Slope and PS 321 parent, Patrick Gaspard is the Director of the Office of Political Affairs for the Obama administration. A Haitian-American, Gaspard was also on his transition team after the election. During the presidential campaign, Gaspard was Obama's National Political Director.

Gaspard was the executive vice president for politics and legislation for the 199SEIU United Healthcare Workers, the largest local union in
America.

His job at the union was to help coordinate political activity on behalf of 300,000 members. Gaspard worked for Howard Dean's presidential campaign and Jesse Jackson's 1988 presidential bid and for numerous other congressional candidates and campaigns.

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September 28, 2009

OTBKB Endorses David Yassky and Bill DeBlasio in Run-Offs Tomorrow

It's the Bill and David Show once again. They've been Park Slope's City Council members for eight years and now they're running for their political careers in a special run-off election for Public Advocate and City Comptroller respectively.

OTBKB endorses the Park Slope team in tomorrow's race. Yassky runs against Queens council member John Liu and DeBalsio is running against Mark Green.

You may have had issues with these men during their tumultuous times in the City Council. But they're our guys, like family. Let's hear it for the home team.

DO the Park Slope cheer for David Yassky and Bill DeBlasio! And VOTE! The polls are open all day on Tuesday September 29th. And the turnout is expected to be very low and every vote counts.

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September 28, 2009

Kol Nidre at Old First Church

"Wow, what a week," Rabbi Andy Bachman told his congregation as they sat in the pews of Old First Dutch Reformed Church on the holiest night of the Jewish calendar.

And what a week it was.

It was the week that the anti-gay, anti-Semitic Westboro Baptist Church of Kansas decided to picket three synagogues in Brooklyn and Brooklyn Tech High School because Brooklyn has more Jews and gays than just about anywhere else in the United States.

The picketing was set for Saturday. But on Thursday (in an unrelated event), the ceiling over the mezzanine of  Beth Elohim's sanctuary collapsed, making it impossible to hold Yom Kippur services there. It will also necessitate a costly renovation. 

Luckily, Bachman and Pastor Daniel Meeter of Park Slope's Old First Dutch Reformed Church are good friends. Bachman called Meeter. Meeter said yes, of course the congregation was welcome in his large, beautiful church built in 1891. They wouldn't even have to cover any crosses. "There are none. We're Calivinists!" Meeter told me.

Meeter was over the moon to have the Jews at the church. That's the kind of pastor he is. He loves to bring people together. He loves inter-faith events. He loves to foster community spirit, religious tolerance and openness. Last year for Martin Luther King Day he organized a full-day program for adults and kids
called "The Audacity of Peace," which included an interfaith prayer service for peace with Imam Salilou Djabi, of the Imam Ali Mosque in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Rev. T. K. Nakagaki, of the Buddhist Church of New York, Rabbi Andy Bachman, of Congregation Beth Elohim and Meeter himself.

So having the Jews over for Yom Kippur was right up his alley and he welcomed the Park Slope congregation with open arms.

On Saturday, as has been reported here and elsewhere, the Kansans did picket Beth Elohim and the congregation's response couldn't have been more perfect. With dignity, humor and a great spirit of openness, the rabbi blew the shofar, spoke eloquently as members of the congregation and the community danced, sang and laughed. A lot.

Even snarky Erica of FIPS was moved by the counter-demonstration:

Cause it felt AWESOME to be there on the other side of the street from
the Westboro-tards with a huge, loud crowd that included my husband, my
Twitter friends, BREEDERS, BALLERS, politically active dogs, adorable
kids (yes, you read that right), and loads of other peeps who were all
spreadin love, Biggie style, the Brooklyn way.

Meanwhile, members of Old First Church and Beth Elohim prepared the church, which is in the midst of its own renovation, for the 1,000 expected guests on Yom Kippur. Indeed, the sanctuary looked gorgeous on Sunday night by the light of its incredible chandelier.

The events of the week were referred to often during the service. Rabbi Bachman thanked Meeter and the Old First congregation for their hospitality and generosity. Meeter told the crowd that he wasn't sure if he should wear his yamulke or his collar. "Wear them both," one of his church members reportedly told him. Rabbi Bachman praised the space saying it was a wonderful place to pray.

The Yom Kippur service traditionally begins with a mournful
melody called "Kol Nidre." When the music began, a duet of bass cello and piano, the crowd gave itself over to the poignancy of the moment. It didn't matter that they were Jews in a Christian space or that they pray to a different God than their Christian hosts or use a different portion of the Bible. Old First Church was a hall of worship where Jews and Christians were gathered on one of the holiest days of the year.

And it was good.

In response to this post Pastor Meeter had this comment:

"But you know, we do pray to the same God. We tell different stories about
this God, and our stories clash, but it's the same God we tell the stories
about, like two siblings arguing over a story about their dad."

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September 28, 2009

FIPS: Park Slope Vs. Westboro Baptist Church

Erica of Fucked in Park Slope was at Beth Elohim on Saturday and participated in the counter-demonstration when the anti-gay, anti-Jewish Kansas group picketed the synagogue. Here's an excerpt from her excellent report that also has great pictures.

I just got back from the hate parade
that the Westboro Baptist Church staged this morning in front of Temple
Beth Elohim on Garfield and 8th Avenue. There's a bunch of shit that I
want to tell you about it, but basically this was my take away:

  • As much as we may bitch around here, I'm so grateful and proud to
    live in a community that totally gets that these people are hateful,
    pathetic idiots.
  • These people are hateful, pathetic idiots.
  • Fuck yeah, Jews!
  • Fuck yeah, Fags!
  • Fuck yeah, counter protesting!

I have to admit, I gave some serious thought to Jake Taylor's comment on our original post about just ignoring these lowlifes–how getting all riled up about them is exactly
what they want. However, after waking up early on a Saturday morn and
hauling my ass down there, I have to say: I now totally disagree.

Cause it felt AWESOME to be there on the other side of the street from
the Westboro-tards with a huge, loud crowd that included my husband, my
Twitter friends, BREEDERS, BALLERS, politically active dogs, adorable
kids (yes, you read that right), and loads of other peeps who were all
spreadin love, Biggie style, the Brooklyn way.

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