Saturday, March 31, 2012

Twilight Portrait at New Directors / New Films


Simply put, there is no more polarizing and thought-provoking movie at this year's New Directors / New Films festival than Angelina Nikonova's Twilight Portrait. Even the most cursory description of the plot tells you why: Marina, a disillusioned and fairly well-off social worker in an anonymous Russian city, is raped by police officers, and she enacts revenge not with murder, as she originally plans, but with compassion, by moving in with one of them and slowly wearing away his emotional calluses.

Nikonova puts viewers in a terribly uncomfortable position: you can't help but want to see these men suffer, and you find yourself condemning Marina for trying to do what seems like the right thing by reforming these brutes into better people. It's a very hard movie to love or even enjoy, but it's impossible not to have an opinion about it: the Q-and-A was one of the most fractious we've ever seen. There are big talents here --- Olga Dihovichnaya, who wrote the script, gives a star-making performance, and Eben Bull's all-natural-light cinematography should be required study in film schools --- and we look forward, in a queasy, half-dreading sort of way, to seeing what they do next.

Photo: thanks

Thursday, March 29, 2012

D*Face Mural on Roebling

D*Face

D*Face

Loaded

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Girl Scout Cookie Pop-Up Shop

Girl Scout Cookie pop-up

'Tis the season! From now until early May, the Girl Scout Cookie Pop-Up Shop on 23rd is home to crowds of wild-eyed New Yorkers desperate for their annual fix. While some of the flavors were new to us --- Savannah Smiles? --- the Do-Si-Dos, Thin Mints, and Samoas all take us back to the halcyon days when would eat box after box with no concern for the consequences. Yes, 2011 was a good year. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Old Stone House

The Old Stone House

In 1776, this site was the scene of tremendous fighting, the first and largest conflict of the American Revolution. Erected by Robert Moses to commemorate the Battle of Brooklyn, the Old Stone House is a replica of the original farmhouse, built in 1699. It's now home to a teensy-tiny museum, and surrounded by fields full of kids.  

Monday, March 26, 2012

Serious Eats: La Cabaña

Hey everyone, we're also writing about New York for Serious Eats. Periodically we'll link to content here that we produced there.

Stuffed red snapper, La Cabana
 
This week's Date Night finds us at La Cabaña, an Argentine restaurant in Jackson Heights that traffics in rustic patriotism [read more].
   

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Gimme the Loot at New Directors / New Films


Although not listed on Netflix, the kids-in-New-York-in-the-summer genre is one of our favorites. Gimme the Loot, fresh off winning the Grand Jury Prize at SXSW and playing to sold-out houses as part of this year's New Directors / New Films festival, joins The Wackness and Hurricane Streets and Kids in the pantheon of such movies. Like the city itself, it has a couple of spots that don't feel quite right, but it hums and bops with infectious vivacity as it tells of two teenager graffiti writers from the Bronx and their hopeless quest to hit the apple at Shea Stadium. (Among several other New York in-jokes is everyone's refusal to call it Citi Field.) In the Q-and-A afterward, an audience member, having learned the film has just been bought for release by IFC, asked a question that the movie itself asks, a question that --- romantic as it sounds --- the city has asked to countless people over the years: How does it feel knowing that your life is about to change?


Saturday, March 24, 2012

D*Face Mural on Lafayette Street

D*face

D*face 


Friday, March 23, 2012

Brooklyn Superhero Supply Company

Osseointegration

Brooklyn Superhero Supply Company

Brooklyn Superhero Supply Company

Brooklyn Superhero Supply Company

Brooklyn Superhero Supply Company

"Ever vigilant, ever true" goes the motto of the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co. Proceeds from the sale of maps, capes, googles, disguises, and other tools of the superhero trade benefit 826NYC, a nonprofit founded by Dave Eggers that instills in kids a love of the written word. Come to think of it, that aforementioned motto works pretty well for writers too.
 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

ChromaTweet

Aleksandar Maćašev, ChromaTweet

On April 1, 2009, artist Aleksandar Maćašev tweeted the hexadecimal code of the color he felt best conveyed his mood that day. Three years later, the project, known as ChromaTweet, remains ongoing. With 16 million color tones to choose from, Maćašev estimates that he could tweet for 44,000 years without repeating any color value. Currently on view in Dumbo are two years' worth of moods, a 300-foot-long panoply of emotion, experience, and hue.
  
Aleksandar Maćašev, ChromaTweet

Aleksandar Maćašev, ChromaTweet

Aleksandar Maćašev, ChromaTweet

Aleksandar Maćašev, ChromaTweet

Roy G. Biv

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

El Nuevo Izalco

Pupusas, El Nuevo Izalco

Pupusas are secretive things, hiding as they do their insides with a tortilla made from maize flour. We're not experts, but we're quite fond of the four we tried at El Nuevo Izalco: queso, frijoles, chicharron, and revuelta (everything mixed together!). We also got some forgettable chorizo and more memorable fried plaintains. Topped with curtido (pickled cabbage) and a spoonful of the traditional watery tomato sauce, these pupusas were a snack we can't resist talking about. Sorry, guys, but betraying you is the most delicious thing we've done recently in Queens.
 
Pupusas, El Nuevo Izalco

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Monday, March 19, 2012

Serious Eats: Calyer

Hey everyone, we're also writing about New York for Serious Eats. Periodically we'll link to content here that we produced there.
 

Pork belly with creamed sweet potatoes, crispy plantains, and sorrel, Calyer
   
This week's Date Night finds us at Calyer, a really delightful, vaguely nautical restaurant serving Spanish-inflected small plates in Brooklyn [read more].
  

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Kajitsu

Grated celery root with early spring vegetables, Kajitsu

A February dinner at Kajitsu hovered between the heaviness of late winter and the delicacy of early spring. It was an evening of patience and pauses. 

Fried black eyed peas, salsify, nori-fu, and morel mushrooms, Kajitsu

This Japanese restaurant in the East Village specializes in Shojin cuisine, vegetarian and ultra-seasonal, developed centuries ago in Zen Buddhist monasteries. (The menu changes monthly. To see what's being served in March, have a look at our pal Kate's blog.) We began by simply sitting in the back, looking at a pair of chopsticks on a red tray. Then we ordered the eight-course Hana menu. To start, grated celery root with early spring vegetables served in a ceramic dish shaped like a shell. Atop the agar noodles and other ingredients was a dot of wasabi, a crest of spice crashing against crunch, both buoyed by a lightly salted foam. 

Second, fried black-eyed peas tossed with sunchoke chips, salsify, mushrooms, and nori-fu (stretchy, elastic gluten). The crisps and crackles here helped wake up our mouths. The second course as well as the third (below) were prepared in honor of Setsubun, a festival at the start of spring that banishes evil spirits and welcomes positive ones. To do so, one must eat the makisushi roll facing northwest (this year's lucky direction) using both hands. We did. Granted, it's only been a few weeks, but so far, so good.  
   
Fortune sushi roll, sake kasu soup, and salad of banana flower, bamboo skin, and bean sprouts, Kajitsu

Above, a creamy cup of sake kasu soup, made from what's left over during the production of sake; a salad of banana flower, bamboo shoots, and bean sprouts on a banana leaf; and the aforementioned uncut roll, stuffed with mushrooms, cabbage, pumpkin, and spinach and wrapped in nori. Perhaps we're just superstitious, but that roll was umami-licious, and we could have eaten about six more. 

House-made soba, Kajitsu

The next courses got heavier. Cold soba came with its own mini-shaker of seventeen spices and an earthy broth, a reminder that spring isn't just about what we see peeking out from the surface but also about what happens beneath, processes we don't usually see since we're no longer in seventh-grade science class, staring at slides made from digs in the dirt. 

Grilled satoimo, leeks, and kabu turnip with grilled with ponzu, grilled miso, and grilled fennel with gomadofu, Kajitsu

Above, a selection from the grill, including leeks, turnips, and satiomo (taro), with a peppery sauce made from miso and served on a wooden board, and a citrusy one made from ponzu.  

Steam rice with umeboshi and seven-vegetable tempura, Kajitsu

The last savory course consisted of seven types of tempura veggies plopped atop rice. Nibblets of umeboshi (like a plum) added sourness, while subtly reminding us of the bounties to come. No, we're not talking about dessert, which included a mochi so cute we didn't know whether to eat it or pet it. We're talking about the plethora of good eats available in the spring and summer. Soon, the farmer's market will be overflowing, and our gray concrete world will go green and sun-dappled.   

Soft mochi with white bean paste and basil, Kajitsu

Finally, some pellets of sugar candy and a big bowl of matcha, like green tea on acid, bitter and grainy. Despite our anxieties about inadvertently elbowing a hole through the lovely paper screen near us, we loved our meal at Kajitsu. It was like a yoga class for our mouths, and brains, as we stretched through different textures and ingredients we don't know much about, inhaling deeply and going with the flow.   

Matcha with candies, Kajitsu

Friday, March 16, 2012

ArtBridge at Atlantic Yards

ArtBridge Atlantic Yards

Thank you, ArtBridge, for asking Brooklyn artists to contribute pieces to your Works In Progress installation, thereby turning the ugliness around Atlantic Yards into something worth seeing.
   
ArtBridge Atlantic Yards

ArtBridge Atlantic Yards

ArtBridge Atlantic Yards

ArtBridge Atlantic Yards

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Brooklyn Taco Co.

Cola-braised pork taco, Brooklyn Taco Co.

"Is there a taco in your hand right now? There should be," said Brookyn Taco's Twitter feed two seconds ago. We agree, and we humbly suggest the cola-braised pork (top), the avocado explosion also known as the "guaco taco" (immediately below), and the chilorio brisket taco (way below). And while no one said anything about tamales, we had a bean-and-cheese one too. Obey the tweet!
  
Guaco taco, Brooklyn Taco Co.

Chilorio brisket taco, Brooklyn Taco Co.

Bean and cheese tamal, Brooklyn Taco Co.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

F*ck Art at the Museum of Sex

F*ck Art at the Museum of Sex

Twenty street artists contributed pieces to F*ck Art, an exhibition about sexuality in the public space at the Museum of Sex. The results speak --- and kiss and moan and lick and do lots of other stuff --- for themselves.  
F*ck Art at the Museum of Sex

F*ck Art at the Museum of Sex

F*ck Art at the Museum of Sex

F*ck Art at the Museum of Sex

F*ck Art at the Museum of Sex

F*ck Art at the Museum of Sex

F*ck Art at the Museum of Sex

F*ck Art at the Museum of Sex

F*ck Art at the Museum of Sex

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