Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Red Hook Int'l Film and Video Festival - 10/3 and 10/4

The 3rd Annual Red Hook International Film and Video Festival is taking place this weekend at BWAC's space (499 Van Brunt St.)

This year's festival includes a wide variety of films and videos, many with Brooklyn or NYC themes. Of particular local interest is the first film on 10/3 about Bob Guskind, blogger of Gowanus Lounge fame who passed away last Spring. That film is followed by a Gowanus documentary called "Lavendar Lake."

Another exciting part of the festival is a party at Sunny's at 6pm on 10/3, which features food from local favorites Defonte's, Anselmos, and Steve's Key Lime Pie.

Check out the full schedule of films and activities here. There are definitely plenty of selections that look worthwhile.

Also, check out a New York Post article here about this and another Brooklyn film festival.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Bacchanal 2009, 10/3

Check out the Bacchanal 2009, presented by the Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club, to have a fun evening on the Gowanuc Canal and support a good cause.

The evening's festivities include Live Music with Red Hook Ramblers, kids entertainment with Pirate Mary from 5:30-6:30pm and BBQ catered by PJ Hanley's, Sunset Canoe Tours, Tango Class, Raffles and More!

TIckets are $25 in advance and $40 at the door.

Check out their site for more details and to purchase tickets

Monday, September 28, 2009

Freebird interviews Jacob Burckhardt

In anticipation of the Freebird / Word On Columbia St. screening of "It Don't Pay to Be an Honest Citizen" on October 11th, Freebird's Peter Miller conducted a Q&A with the film's director Jacob Burckhardt, who lived on Columbia St. at the time of the film's creation 25 years ago.

The interview is reposted below. Head over to Freebird's site for some other commentary and background information related to the interview and the event.

So the movie is based on your experience being mugged. What happened exactly to you?

The events happened in, I think, 1978. After the second day I realized that, while I was a bit scared by it all, it was pretty interesting and funny, and I started keeping a diary. The movie script was based on that. All of the best lines in the movie were actually said to me, and almost all of the characters were based on real people, with names changed to protect the guilty. The exceptions to this were the visiting girlfriend, who was an amalgam of several people who were made nervous by the neighborhood, and the scene with Allen Ginsberg and Yoshiko Chuma, which was a total fiction in order to get them in the movie (Toi Jugatsu, one of the Japanese car burners is somewhat famous in Japan). There was also an episode with an insurance agent that didn’t make it into the movie.

Where did you live in the neighborhood?

297 Columbia Street, between Summit and Woodhull. First on the ground floor, which had been Sam’s Work Clothes, then at the time of these events on the top floor. Afterwards I was nervous that too many people knew where I lived and I moved to Rapelye Street, between Columbia and Hicks. A difficult move because my rent went up to $150.

What was the make up of the community at the time?

Italian and Hispanic, with a few bohemians sprinkled around.

Was there an arts scene in the area?

The only art scene that I was aware of consisted of some friends – Noah Baen, Geoff Davis, Vincas Meilus, Bill Belfer, Tom Jablonka, Dak and Delia Grodt, David Grossman, Sidelle and Jack Scott, Robert Bentley to name a few. I didn’t know anyone in “Red Hook Proper”, south of Hamilton Avenue. No galleries or bars or other hangouts.

The film suggests you had some run-ins with the local mob. Were you intimidated?

The bar scene in the movie happened originally in a social club on Columbia street, and I found out at some point, maybe later, that some of those guys had connections with the Gallos. The last scene happened somewhere in Canarsie. In both of those scenes I felt not intimidated but humiliated, especially in the last one. I hope that’s clear in the movie.

What do you make of the changes in the area? In over the last 25 years?

You could write a book about that, and it would be boring. Sometimes I think nostalgia for the old days is just nostalgia for our youth.

Congratulations to Country Boys/Martinez Taco Truck!!!

The Country Boys/Martinez Taco Truck of Red Hook Ballfields fame took home the vendy awards this weekend! Congratulations to them for what was a well deserved award.

With them winning this year and Calexico winning last year, we are certainly surrounded by amazing tacos, burritos, etc in our area!

Read some coverage of the awards at Village Voice or the Daily News.

Image above from Village Voice

Brooklyn Farmacy open house celebration on 10/3

On October 3rd, Brooklyn Farmacy, the new store in the space of the old pharmacy on Sackett and Henry, will be holding an open house celebration. Sounds like a good event and a very interesting new store! Brooklyn Farmacy will offer fresh, local, and organic farmed goods and a soda fountain.

Check out the store's blog for pictures from the cleaning up of the store and other info.

The Atlantic Antic - 10/4/09!!!!


Sunday, October 4th, 2009 from 10am to 6pm, rain or shine
Atlantic Avenue from Hicks Street to Fourth Avenue
10 Blocks of Food, Festivities, and Fun Through the Heart of Brownstone Brooklyn.

More details can be found at the Atlantic Ave. LDC site

View the advertisement for the festival here:

Sunday, September 27, 2009

PAVE to leave PS 15, but not for a while

PAVE Academy Charter School, a school that opened last year within Red Hook's PS 15, recently announced that it has found a new space for itself, but would like a 2 year extension for its PS 15 space while the new building is finished.

The relationship between PAVE and PS 15 has been pretty tense at times, and a Gotham Schools article about the meeting where the announcement was made doesn't seem to demonstrate that any improvements have been made in that relationship.

Read the entire Gotham Schools article here for more details about the event and the issue in general

Foxy and Winston now open!

A new store called Foxy and Winston, which features hand screen printed goods, recently opened at 392 Van Brunt.

According to the store's website:

Foxy & Winston was established in 2005 by British born illustrator Jane Buck, each product is manufactured at her studio/shop in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Jane’s designs are individually silk screen-printed by hand onto stationery, Organic tiny apparel, tote bags and limited edition wall art. All cards are sustainable and printed on 100% recycled paper post consumer waste, using non toxic Swiss inks.

The store is open from Noon-6pm

The company also has an Etsy page worth checking out to get a feel for what the store will offer:

Botta de Vino coming soon (??)

A new wine store called Botta de Vino has been "coming soon" for a good portion of the summer, and until now we've somehow neglected to post on it. We recently walked past the location at 357 Van Brunt and were reminded of it, but have not heard any updates on its status. Once it finally does open, it will fill a liquor-store void left in the neighborhood after the departure of Lenell's.

A trip over to its website reveals that it will focus on BYOB friendly wines to take to local restaurants:

Our wonderful small town community has several new restaurants awaiting your visit. Most of them with the exception of a few are BYOB. Botta de Vino will be featuring a selection solely devoted to this style. These wines will be low to mid range in price so that you can enjoy a well rounded meal with the company of a quality red, white or rose.

Red Lipstick boutique to open 10/3

Red Lipstick, a boutique that is moving from Prospect Heights to Red Hook, will open on Saturday, October 3rd, at 390 Van Brunt (near Dikeman). Check out their Flickr gallery to see what type of goods to expect in the store.

Also check out the Red Lipstick website here and a Brownstoner article on the opening here.

Image above from Brownstoner

Firefighters Food Face-Off Challenge, Wed. 9/30

This Wednesday, firefighters will be having a grilling challenge on the Fairway waterfront in Red Hook to benefit the FDNY Foundation. We've been watching a lot of Top Chef and Food Network shows recently, so a cook-off challenge like this is right up our alley!

Details from Serious Eats:

Fairway Firefighters Food Face-Off (Grilling Challenge)

Wednesday, September 30, 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.
The Fairway Firefighters of Red Hook will loosen their firefighting garb, strap on their aprons, and get cookin' for a grilling face off that is bound to get really, really hot. The firefighters will cook their best ribs, burgers and a dish using a secret ingredient that will be unveiled at the contest (just like Iron Chef.) A panel of judges including Ray Venezia, Fairway’s Master Butcher, and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz will crown one of the firefighters king or queen of the grill. Fairway Market, 480-500 Van Brunt Street, Brooklyn

Health Insurance Link unveiled in Red Hook

(Getting to this one a little late.......)

Bloomberg came to Red Hook last week to unveil a new web based tool to help New Yorkers find Health Insurance. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported on the event and the tool in an article on 9-21 saying:
Mayor Michael Bloomberg came to this Brooklyn industrial neighborhood yesterday to unveil the New York City Health Insurance Link, a new web-based tool to help New Yorkers find a health insurance plan that best fits their healthcare needs and budgets.

The tool is available at and is targeted to small business owners, freelancers and other independent or unemployed workers who do not currently have health insurance coverage or are shopping for more affordable coverage.

The mayor was joined for the announcement at Uhuru Design, a custom furniture and design company, by Deputy Mayor Linda I. Gibbs; Human Resources Administration Commissioner Robert Doar; Uhuru owners Bill Hilgendorf and Jason Horvath and many other officials.

Read the entire article here

Pollyanna Blackbird Kids Music & Dance Class at Jalopy!

Pollyanna Blackbird Kids Music & Dance Class
Taught by Hilary Hawke
Monday, 9/28/09 @ Jalopy
4-6pm, $25

Join Hilary Hawke, local children educator and banjo aficionado for a class where kids will learn songs from the old time and bluegrass tradition. They will learn the clapping, tapping, and singing, as well as the stories behind these classic songs. Then, the kids will put on their dancing shoes and learn the steps that go with these songs, and then they will have a full-fledged dance!

Please call Jalopy to register at 718-395-3214

More details at Jalopy here

Check out Hilary Hawke's myspace here

Image above from Hilary Hawke myspace

The Tunnel to Towers Run - Today!

If you walk outside this morning- especially near Hamilton Ave. - you're likely to run into music and announcements over a loudspeaker and hundreds of people lined up and ready to run through the battery tunnel.

They are lined up for the annual Tunnel to Towers Run, honoring Steven Siller, an off duty firefighter than ran from Brooklyn to downtown Manhattan through the Battery Tunnel on 9/11 and lost his life. The race retraces his footsteps to honor him, and all other firefighters, police, and EMS workers that served that day.

And this year's race is going on despite the pouring rain and a fire that destroyed many of the race's shirts and supplies. Read more about that on WCBS or another WCBS article on the Run here. There is also Gothamist coverage here.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Oct 11: It don't pay to be an honest citizen at Freebird

Sunday, October 11, 7 pm

The Word on Columbia Street and Freebird Books host a rare screening of


Join us in the outdoor lot next to Freebird for refreshments and commentary from the director, Jacob Burckhardt.

Shot in and around Columbia Street twenty five years ago, the film features the debut of Vincent D’Onofrio as well as a cast of amateur thespians including William Burroughs (as a mafia don), Allen Ginsberg (posing as a lawyer), recent MacArthur genius Rakestraw Downes (as an angry lunch counter proprietor), filmmaker and photographer Rudy Burckhardt (as a raving bum), and poet Reed Bye (as the film’s erstwhile protagonist).

Based on the director’s own absurd experience being mugged in Red Hook in the late 1970s, the movie centers on the efforts of Reed Bye’s character to retrieve a precious canister of film. Though the muggers (portrayed in part by D’Onofrio) are caught immediately, the reel remains elusively out of his grasp. To recover it he must spar with the neighborhood’s most illustrious residents—legit and other.

IT DON'T PAY TO BE AN HONEST CITIZEN captures the community in the throes of transition, after containerization had brought an end to longshoremen culture and taken the teeth out of local gangs like the Gallos, but before gentrification became widespread. Filmed all along the waterfront it showcases now defunct bars and luncheonettes, familiar landmarks (including the interior of the 76th precinct headquarters), and buildings lost to the wrecking ball. One notable scene was shot inside an abandoned church at President and Van Brunt once famous as a Gallo hangout but later destroyed in the aftermath of a botched city sewer line.

Director Jacob Burckhardt and some of the cast members drawn from the neighborhood will be on hand to answer questions about the making of the film. Including, why is Midwesterner William Burroughs playing a cosa nostra kingpin?...

When: Sunday, October 11, 7 pm

Where: In the lot next to Freebird Books, 123 Columbia Street (between Kane and Degraw)

Image above from Gothamist. See a Gothamist interview with Director Jacob Burckhardt from a couple years back here.

Chris Domenick at WORK




WORK is pleased to present HIGH TIDE, a solo show of new works by Chris Domenick. The artist's large graphite and marker collages on paper are delicate, exploratory seascapes. Littered amongst likenesses of sunken manufacturing materials and dark gradations of shimmering graphite, a luminous sea life washes over the drawings' imagined ocean floor surfaces.

The appearance of abstraction and loosening of representational space are elements subdued by the subtlely of the artist's expert mark making. Domenick's carefully cast net catches the taut action of these scenes with a sweeping gestural grayscale, sparingly employing dashes of color as bait to lure in a viewer's gaze.
A series of 'high tide artifacts', collage studies in artist frames, accompany the large-scale works. HIGH TIDE is Chris Domenick's first solo show at WORK. He has previously had a one-person show at Jack the Pelican in Brooklyn in 2007 and a two-person show at WORK in 2008.

is also pleased to present A DRIVE-IN 4, with a light show performace by Fluxus artist JEFFREY PERKINS and special guests, Saturday September 26 at 8:30PM in the empty lot across the street from WORK. More details to follow. Please join the artists for an evening of FREE art and entertainment at WORK, 65 Union Street (at Van Brunt), Brooklyn, NY, 11231.

Images from Work's site

Food at B61

B61, the bar below Alma, is now offering bar food. Their menu include chicken wings, burgers & fries, nachos, a pulled pork sandwich, and battered shrimp & oysters. One more reason to hang out after work!

B61 Bar
187 Columbia Street
corner of Columbia & Degraw St.

Image from b61/Alma site

Open Call for Space 414's October Show


Space 414, a gallery at 414 Van Brunt Street in Red Hook, Brooklyn, is hosting an Open Call Art Exhibition juried by Tanja Grunert.


Reflections on Day of the Dead, Halloween, All Soul’s Day and the Equinox: the time of year when we turn our awareness to the mysterious veil between the living and the dead, between light and dark. This exhibition will examine the ways we communicate with the physical and unseen world, the ways we honor our ancestors, commemorate the dead and celebrate reflections, history, spirituality, community, transition and transformation.

Tanja Grunet first began her career as an art dealer in Stuttgart, Germany. After 11 years she came to the States and opened her own gallery in Chelsea. "Klemens Gasser and Tanja Grunert" operated as a successful gallery for over a decade and represented important contemporary artists that included Chloe Piene, Ann Craven, and Eija-Liisa Ahtila.

The exhibit will open with a party on Friday, October 23, 2009, 7pm-midnight and a close with a party on Sunday, November 15, 2009 from 3-6pm.

To apply, please submit the following to by Monday Sept, 28 5pm

· Up to 5 images; jpegs or pdf files, maximum of 300dpi labeled with Artists Name, Title, Medium, Size

· Resume/Exhibition History and Artist Statement

· $25 entry fee via paypal. Once we receive your images and information we will send you an online request to pay via palpal. You can also mail a check made out to 414 Van B. Corp and mail to 191A Richards Street #3 Brooklyn NY 11231. Please note that no images will be forwarded to the curator before payment is made.

Accepted artists will be notified by email by the week of October 12, 2009.

A Bus from BK to the Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck

Brooklyn General's resident Fiberista Heather has organized a bus to take us all to the NY State Sheep and Wool Festival" at the Dutchess County Fair Grounds in Rhinebeck, NY.

The Bus will leave Brooklyn (Park Slope) from John Jay Highschool (237 7th Avenue) at 8 am Saturday, October 17th, 2009. It should arrive in Rhinebeck about 10 am and will leave the fairgrounds at 5pm so you can expect to be back at John Jay around 7pm.
The cost is $70.00 and this price includes your ticket into the fair as well as a gift bag full of tons of cool fiber goodies.

If you are interested in joining in for the day please contact Heather either at the store during business hours (718) 237-7753 or via e-mail at

She will either send you a paypal request or work out the details for cash/check payments.
Interest is starting to pick up so please be aware that tickets are first come, first served. So to be fair, your reservation is secured when payment is received.

Please feel free to message her with questions.

Images from Dutchess County Sheep and Wool Festival site

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Lecture about NY Waterfronts

The following event, posted on the CGNA listserve, is taking place in Manhattan but is of interest to our neighborhood for obvious reasons:

On the Waterfront in New York: A Lecture

Wednesday, October 14, 6:30pm, The Seamen's Church Institute
241 Water Street, Manhattan

This panel will examine the history and future of the waterfront through different lenses, from the commercial past of its wharves and docks to the adaptive reuse of structures still lining its edges. Richard A. Greenwald, professor of history and dean of graduate studies at Drew University will discuss the commercial aspects of New York City's waterfront development from the mid-19th century up to 1950 as depicted in the film, "On the Waterfront". Roland Lewis, president and CEO of the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance, will examine the reuse of industrial structures along the City's waterfront. Kevin Bone, an architect and editor of several books on the waterfront, will address the history and development of Manhattan's historic seawall, a gargantuan structure which encircles the whole island and has literally shaped how the city has grown.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Art in the Gardens recap

The 1st annual Art in the Gardens tour was a success overall, despite rain on the scheduled opening day. Art appeared in four out of five of the community gardens in the neighborhood and ranged in styles and concepts, creating a nice mix of installations.

Some of the art is taken down now, but some still remains, so if you haven't already done so, stop by and check it out in person. Below are a selection of pictures from each project.

Garden: Urban Meadow
Project Title: Hydrologic
Artists: Jumpshadow Collective (Jenny Hiser and Angela Bracco)

Backyard Garden
Project Title: Urban Beast Walking Tour
Artist: Robert Marbury

Summit Garden
Project Title: Ella's Pergola
Artist: Eso Robinson

Garden: Amazing Garden
Project Title: Untitled
Artist: Noon Gourfain and Will Connolly

Novel-T BBQ Launch Party at Freebird 9/20

Novel-T, a new line of jerseys that honors the all-starts of literature, will be hosting a launch party at Freebird tomorrow from 2-5pm. Head on over to enjoy some food, check out the shirts, and chat with fellow literature lovers

More details at Freebird's site here or the Novel-T site here.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Pictures from the Jazz festival

Below are some pictures (in no particular order) from the Red Hook Jazz Festival this past Sunday at the Urban Meadow. The leadership of the Urban Meadow would like to thank everyone who donated or purchased items - all of the money goes to either help pay the bands, or help maintain the meadow and allow for future events like this.

Also, thanks again to the businesses that sponsored the event (be sure to thank them in person next time you go to these stores):

House of Pizza and Calzones
Coffee Den
Margaret Palca Bakes
Old Brooklyn Wine and Liquor Company