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June 2006 Archives

June 2, 2006

A Wee Bit of Web Fame

I just had an essay published at the website for the PBS show "Now":

2016: A Peek at Our Internet Future

"Along with a change of mindset will be a generational shift. By the year 2016, no one under the age of forty will remember a world without personal computers. The average twenty year old will find it hard to imagine a time when there wasn't any email to check or Web sites to visit. When we reach this point, even the novelty of the term "Internet" will have long since faded to join such golden buzz-words of yesteryear as "space age" and "atomic".""

June 4, 2006

Portrait of My Shadow Crossing the Bridge

Portrait of My Shadow Crossing the Pulaski Bridge Photographed on the Pulaski Bridge on October 3rd, 2004. I took this photo with my Treo cell phone camera before my move to Williamsburg. Part of my exploration was to walk from Long Island City to Greenpoint to Williamsburg.

June 5, 2006

Coffee makes us more likely to say 'Yes'

I just found this cool link via Digg:

Coffee makes us more likely to say 'Yes'

If you're looking for a way to make someone say 'yes', coffee can help. Moderate amounts of caffeine can have an impact on the extent to which we can be persuaded, finds research published today in the European Journal of Social Psychology.

The Australian researchers from the University of Queensland found that with caffeine consumption we are more likely to attend to, and agree with, persuasive arguments.

The experiments involved asking people their attitudes about voluntary euthanasia before and after reading persuasive arguments against their initial beliefs. Prior to reading the arguments, the participants consumed orange juice with either caffeine (equivalent to two cups of coffee) or no caffeine (placebo).

The level of 'systematic processing of the message' was found to be increased by caffeine as shown by increased agreement with the arguments, greater message-related thinking and better argument recall.

So maybe it's a better idea to meet a date for coffee rather than at a bar?

read more | digg story

June 6, 2006

I'm Proud of these Podcasters!

If you haven't listed to Live from the WB yet, you need to subscribe right away (if you have iTunes, just go to the music store - go under podcasting - and do a search - it's 100% free). In their latest episode (they are up to #14) they depart from their usual studio format and take it to the streets - this entire episode is done free form and features their rants and raves as they wander about the AIDS Walk in Central Park. What's very cool is that our local Williamsburg podcasters have used their show to raise funds for the walk which is very cool in my book. This episode was very free form, sort of like a "White Album" meets "Nirvana Unplugged" meets Williamsburg.

June 7, 2006

Go Go Go Williamsburg!

I just found this on YouTube - it's a fake tourist commercial for Williamsburg Brooklyn:

Owners, Homeless Man Charged In Greenpoint Warehouse Fire

Just read this on NY1:

The owner of the Brooklyn warehouse that went up in flames last month was served with criminal environmental charges Wednesday, the same day a homeless man was charged with arson in the case. The Brooklyn DA has charged Joshua Guttman and his son, Jack Guttman, with 434 counts of failure to maintain privately owned waterfront property where the Greenpoint Warehouses stood.

That's one count for each day they allegedly failed to make repairs to deteriorating piers and bulkheads after being ordered by the city to do so. They face up to $5,000 in fines for each misdemeanor, or more than $2 million total. The Guttman’s refused to comment on the charges.

June 8, 2006

Krunky Longstockings

I found this on YouTube - it's a fictional opening title of a TV show set in Williamsburg. The show looks like a hipster version of "the Real World":

June 9, 2006

A Lost Son of Williamsburg Returns Home

I just read this amazing story in the Daily News of World War II Air Force Captain who went missing, and whose body has just been recovered:

Flier coming home

At the age of 87, Frank Cunningham of Queens figured he'd go to his grave never knowing exactly what happened to his brother George during World War II. The only solid facts he knew were these: Air Force Cpl. George Cunningham was a radioman on a C-47A cargo plane that vanished 61 years ago on a flight over New Guinea.

"After a while, you think they'll never find him," Frank Cunningham told the Daily News yesterday. Then two weeks ago, a call came out of the blue from an official at the Defense Department who said his brother's remains had been recovered and positively identified.

And some backstory on George Cunningham:

George Cunningham was born and raised in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, the fourth of six children. When their mother, Alice, died from pneumonia in 1936, he dropped out of school and got a job as a truck driver to help support his family.

"I went in the Army in March of 1942, and he went in the Air Force in August 1942," said Frank Cunningham, who was a awarded a Purple Heart and fought in the Battle of the Bulge. He said George, who hadn't married, was the only one of his four brothers who didn't come home from the battlefield.

June 10, 2006

The Perfect Car for Brooklyn

Unlike Manhattan, Brooklyn is very spread out and you can't always get every place via the subway or bus. It looks like Mercedes-Benz is thinking of bringing an ultra-small car (two seater) to the United States:

Is Smart coming to the U.S.?

You can see tiny Smart cars, those egg-shaped two-seaters, doubled up in parking spaces or sitting on city sidewalks all over Europe, where they have been sold since 1998. But Smart has never come to the United States. The Mercedes-Benz unit has struggled to make money from the day it was conceived, and writeoffs to date run to the billions of dollars. With losses so steep, plans to sell the car here have been repeatedly delayed as Mercedes has struggled to find a profit-making formula.

Now, DaimlerChrysler chairman Dieter Zetsche is dropping hints that Smart will make its way to the United States. Speaking to reporters in Portland, Oregon last week at an event marking the 25th anniversary of Daimler's acquisition of Freightliner trucks, Zetsche said a final decision on Smart for the U.S. would be made this month, once a verdict was reached on how to distribute it.

He added in his German-tinged English, "The tendency is positive in this regard."

Translation: Consider it all but done.

It looks like they are thinking of selling them for $12k and they get 70 miles per gallon. I'd love to see these cars on the streets of Williamsburg!

Here are some related links:




June 12, 2006

Fashions from Brazil

I just helped my friend Sara launch a website for her company Basically Brazil, which specializes importing the latest and trendiest swimwear, handbags and belts from Brazil. She's going to be selling items at the next Shecky's Girls Night Out at the Puck Building on June 20th - 22nd, and her belts are also available online at Bluefly.com. It's fun for me to get a taste of the fashion world.

June 13, 2006

The Artwork of Resa Blatman

My friend Resa recently graduated with an MFA from Boston University. I'm very proud of her because like myself Resa was a graphic designer (and still a darn good one of course) but she always did painting on the side, so after a number of years she took the bold step of going back to school. And I have to say after looking at her new website, it was time well spent!

Here are some samples of her work (I hope she has a show in Williamsburg, as I'd love to see her artwork upclose):

Above: Flora
mixed media on wood, 2005
48 x 32 inches

Above: Untitled (Drawing 6)
etching and mixed media on paper, 2005
30 x 22 inches

June 15, 2006

Hip or Dangerous?

A silly Williamsburg hipster themed skit I found on YouTube:

June 16, 2006

Bowery Train Station

Bowery Train Station This is a photo I took with my cell phone camera on Sept. 22nd, 2005 at the Bowery subway station. I love the grundge look that my Treo produces when it's running low on energy. Shown in the photo is the escalator that always seems to be out of service. What's also odd about the station is that it has a sealed off exit, and there is also a 2nd set of tracks that the public can't get to (but I will see trains parked there from time to time). Above ground there seems to be a mini-real estate boom going on along Bowery from Delancey to Houston Street.

June 18, 2006

Williamsburg Trendspotting: Dinner Parties

I just spotted this Williamsburg item in the New York Post:

Sick Of Clubs, Hipsters Revive Old-Style Dinner Parties

Involving a strict yet mixed guest list, a non-negotiable dress code, an adherence to rules of outdated etiquette, and forcible socializing with a roomful of strangers - some famous, some poor, all fascinating - the new happening known as "The Dinner Club" has become an underground phenomenon.

Inspired by similar happenings in London and Argentina, Jaksic - a self-described "food history dork" - and her equally dispirited pal Amy Burgess became obsessed with the idea of restoring the right mix of grandeur and frivolity to New York City nightlife. Because, as Burgess puts it, "Right now it's all about drunk girls throwing up. Everything's too loud. And I hate being pushed by people. Literally, pushed."

They describe their mission as an attempt "to revitalize the dispassionate New York social scene." It's fair to say this is an understatement.

Their first event, thrown a few months ago in Burgess' 3,000-square-foot Williamsburg loft, was a literal, deeply researched recreation of a 1920s New York high society bash. Hard invites were sent to a carefully cultivated guest list of 20 (total attendance was 40, with plus-1s).

Those invited were directed to the Web site, dinnerclubnyc.com, where Jaksic and Burgess posted images from books and fashion magazines so guests would have reference points for the evening's dress code. "We didn't want it to be a hipster event," Jaksic says. "We wanted to get the message across that it isn't a bubble-gummy dress-up party. It's based on history, it's very detail-oriented, and we expected our guests to put in the effort."

So I visited the Diner Club website and found this:

The Dinner Club is a monthly gathering of those in search of a unique social experience. Offering food and knowledge within a formal atmosphere, the Dinner Club strives to create an authentic ambiance from times past. Each event features a period specific three course meal accompanied by beverage and entertainment. The success of each event depends on the participation of each guest, through attire and attitude relevant to each time period.

The creation of Dinner Club was conceived by Miss Amy and Miss Julia in attempts to revitalize the dispassionate New York social scene.

It's very cool to see somebody doings omething that's new - at long last we are getting over the mindset of forever trying to re-create Studio 54. My top hat is off to Miss Amy and Miss Julia...

June 19, 2006

Gallery Event: Open Air, a Street Art Documentary

I just got this announcement rom the Stay Gold Gallery - it's a film screening and installation on street art:

Street Art Documentary DVD Release and Exhibition
June 23rd, 2006

Stay Gold Gallery is pleased to present the DVD release of Open Air, a documentary produced by Alyssa Natches and Lou Auguste about contemporary street artists, which will be presented in conjunction with an exhibition of new works by Michael De Feo, Faile, Skewville, Dan Witz, and Tiki Jay-One, all of whom are featured in the film. The opening reception will be held Friday, June 23rd, and the exhibition will continue through July 9th.

Alyssa and Lou were driven to produce Open Air out of their desire to achieve greater public understanding of an art form that is inherently wrought with contradictions. The fundamental disagreement between those that think of street art as vandalism and those who see it as a valid art form has become only more clouded as street art has grown to encompass much more than just spray-painted graffiti. The artists featured in the film demonstrate the range of forms that street art can take: from concrete castings and wood constructions to stencils and wheat pastings.

These artists also challenge the assumption that they are always working in opposition to the law. In fact, contemporary street artists are increasingly casting themselves in roles more akin to peoples advocate than public nuisance. As the film reveals, many seek to recapture the use of public space from big businesses whose quest for advertising opportunities has increasingly encroached on what was once publicly owned. On the other hand, much of this work that is placed deliberately in the public domain is still used unabashedly for the purpose of self-promotion.

Stay Gold Gallery
451 Grand Street
Brooklyn, NY 11211


Gallery Hours
Fri. 1-4pm
Sat. & Sun. 12-5pm

June 21, 2006

Brooklyn Doesn't Want Frank Gehry

This is a Slate article on downtown Brooklyn not Williamsburg, but many of the issues of supersized buildings can apply to the waterfront situation here:

"Novelist Jonathan Lethem, author of Fortress of Solitude and avid Brooklynite, has written a stirring open letter to the architect Frank Gehry over plans to create a towering "neighborhood from scratch" in the middle of the low rise, homey buildings of Brooklyn."

read more | digg story

Upcoming Event: Animation Block Party!

Two of my favorite things are animation and Williamsburg, so I was quite happy to read about this animation vent that will be taking place in July:

The Animation Block Party

The Animation Block Party, devoted to showcasing the work of independent professionals and students from around the world has set its schedule for the 2006 Summerfest. Taking place in New York City July 22-24, the event will feature everything from "giveaways" to "discussions with industry survivors." Ticket information and the excellent shorts lineup for the festival will be announced on the Animation Block website on July 3rd, 2006. Read on for the entire three day agenda.

Opening night, July 22nd, at Rooftop Films will feature a special performance by Vic Thrill and the Saturn Missle. Doors open at Automotive High School at 50 Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn with cool giveaways from ABP sponsors, great food and animation booths. This is followed by two hours of animation exclusives including New York and world premieres from artists of all nationalities.

The second night, July 23rd at Galapagos Art Space begins with an Animation Survivors Panel. Four animation originals talk about the genesis of the New York City animation experience. This will be a one of a kind discussion with industry survivors Howard Beckerman, Irra Verbitsky, Doug Crane, and Don Duga about their careers, personal work, and what inspires them today. These four artists were sewn into the fabric of Manhattan's animation universe as they began their careers in the era of Rankin and Bass, Terrytoons, and UPA continued through the classic MTV and Nickelodeon age, and are still thriving in the new millennium of internet video and Flash. This panel is followed by 80 minutes of diverse genre shorts ranging from experimental to student work and is capped off by Rock Star Karaoke with a live band, featuring Sid and Buddy Karaoke.
July 24th, the final night, is at Bam Cinematek and will feature the best narrative shorts of the festival as well as a handful of other ABP originals.


June 23, 2006

Galapagos Woes Due to Real Estate Costs

I was just reading that the Galapagos performance space is looking for help from the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs:

Brooklyn theater lobbying for new artist aid

In an effort to keep up and coming artists in New York, Galapagos Art Space in Williamsburg plans to meet with the Department of Cultural Affairs tomorrow to begin lobbying for government aid for emerging artists. Executives at Galapagos, which presents 140 performances a month attracting an average of 8,000 people, say New York City is at risk of losing its status as an international cultural capital because beginning artists can't afford to live here anymore.

"There's not the inflow of young artists moving in the city like there used to be," says Robert Elmes, director of Galapagos. "The conversation at this point isn't whether or not there's opportunity in New York, but just what other city they should go to."

Mr. Elmes says his theater has already seen a significant drop in proposals from college students or recent graduates to come there and present their work. Instead, young artists are heading to places like Pittsburgh, or even oversees to Berlin, which has been aggressive about promoting itself as an affordable hub for emerging arts. The main problem in New York, Mr. Elmes says, is the cost of real estate. That has led to a slew of off-Broadway theater closings in recent months.

But here is the part that hurts for those of us who love Williamsburg:

Galapagos itself has started looking for a new space as its lease expires in two years. Mr. Elmes is worried he won't be able to find anything affordable, and that his theater too will be forced to leave the city.

It would be sad if they can't find a new space in Williamsburg. Perhaps with any luck the market will cool, but even the odds aren't good for anything near the waterfront. Yes perhaps Galapagos can go out to Bushwick and live again, but a bit of what makes Williamsburg special will be gone as of 2008.

June 28, 2006

New "Live from the WB" episode is up...

In this latest episode our gang does a dramatic reading of a NY Post story posh dinner parties for retro-lovin' Williamsburg hipsters. Later they slag poor DVD rental services in Williamsburgnand talk about the decline of gay Chelsea (the place in Manhattan not the Clinton daughter). Well worth the download:


June 29, 2006

Parts Of Brooklyn Rezoned For Residential Use

More news on the waterfront:

Parts Of Brooklyn Rezoned For Residential Use

New housing is in the works for a section of Brooklyn waterfront. The mayor says it'll give lower-income families the chance at a good home, but some say the plan doesn't go far enough.

It doesn't look like much now, but a former industrial site in Greenpoint-Williamsburg, Brooklyn, will soon be the location of mixed-income housing, now that the city's expanded rezoning program has turned it into a residential area.

Developers are building three apartment towers that will sell at current market prices. But a fourth building - Palmers Dock - will contain affordable rentals.

"A family of four with an income of no more than $56,720 a year will be able to live in Palmer's Dock and will not have to pay more than a third of their income for rent," said Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The mayor and other city and state leaders broke ground on the project Monday. In the first phase, almost 300 residential units will be built, and a third will be affordable.

...wouldn't it be better if the major setup a city owned company to create more afforadble housing which would generate direct income for the city instead of giving away the land?

About June 2006

This page contains all entries posted to The Williamsburg Nerd in June 2006. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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