Saturday, March 12, 2011

hello earthlings



Weird that this old thing still exists. But I think I've been neglecting it for some justifiable reasons. One of them is that I've been writing for The L Magazine--mostly album and show reviews, the occasional blog post and rare, sparkly feature. Another is that I've been interning at Leave it Better, a web-video-based environmental media company.  There I've been shooting videos with veggie food bloggers. And then there's school, because I'm still a baby.

So life for the past couple of months has been this tripartite split, deciding which lesser necessity to sacrifice  for the shit that really needs to get done. But, in the end, what ultimately gets sacrificed is 1) my hygiene 2) my sanity and 3) my creativity. I've become a cold vacancy of a human being with nothing but passing grades and clips to keep me warm at night. Hyperbolic, but you get the point.

So it's a good thing spring break is coming up. I'm hopping on a flight at the butt-crack of dawn on Sunday for San Diego, where I'll be working at Tierra Miguel, an organic farm in the Pauma Valley. I'm hoping that Vitamin D and manual labor will restore whatever's left of my degraded mojo, so I can come back fresh and ready to tackle the organizational shitstorm that is my life.

Annnd yesterday was my 21st birthday. I was too tired to organize anything special, (plus my roommates had already peaced on Thursday for their respective spring break sanctuaries), so I ended up getting drunk off of tequila shots and beer with people after work, stuffing my face with vegan pizza, then explaining to friends later that I was too drunk to go back out again. This all done by 9pm. I did not even get carded. Oh boy, and then there was that incoherent phone call to a friend who had been texting me all day but who had forgotten it was my birthday.

Kinda lame. But before I go to bed (again), here's an album to listen to (streaming!): Nightlands' Forget the Mantra. Of the increasingly popular solo bedroom project genre, this comes from Philadelphia multi-instrumentalist Dave Hartley. Forget the Mantra came out in November of 2010, but just this past week Nightlands released All the Way, a new single 7-incher. I'm too exhausted to get all writerly and show you how great it is through stellar word choice and spankin' literary device, so I'll just say this: layered, layered harmonies, complex and buttery goodness. Swelling, gothic, glittery. "300 Clouds" is like a gregorian chant with the Beach Boys as back-up vocalists. At times, it's like the best of crunchy 90's happy granola folk-rock given the good 'ole postmodern 'lectric reverb runaround. That hardly makes sense. But listen to it. Oh, and Nightlands just announced they're going on tour with Sondre Lerche in June. Good stuff.

Legitimately tired. Good night all, good night moon. Good night to the drunk people who are no longer shouting beneath my window. Also, been thinking about transitioning to tumblr, 'cause it's just so clean and doesn't bear the beta-y WHAT IS THIS NEW INTERNET DEVICE? taint that a blogspot domain does. To be considered at a later date. Catch y'all on the flip!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

PBR for the Hipster Soul

It looks like hipster bashing is enjoying a last hurrah before the term dies out and a new counterculture arises for people to make fun of. Here's my top 5 Best Hipster Bashes Ever, because, yeah, we're really easy to mock.

1) Hipster Little Mermaid. The latest in meme culture. Ariel knew what was legit before she had legs, man.


2) Hipster Puppies. They're so cute when they're making lo fi.
3) Hipster Hitler. This one's pushing the bounds of decency, but it's okay. Irony prevails.
6) Stuff White People Like. Should really be called "Stuff Upper-Middle Class Young Urbanites Like," but I'm like, not about to get confrontational, like.

5) Portlandia. Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein decided to make a show about my 10 year plan.




Wednesday, January 26, 2011

THE STATE OF THE UNION: ENTERTAINMENT RECAP



So as much as I would have liked to see our President knock over the podium and start yelling "REALLY? REALLY GUYS?" at our Congresspeople during his State of the Union address last night, the event still had its entertainment highlights.

A LIST OF FAVORITE MOMENTS:

1. The lone, awkward clap for the President's mention of Facebook and Google. Makes sense - after all, the average age of the Senate is a doddering 63 years old. For our government, "google" is what you say when you point to objects and can't remember what they're called.

2. TSA patdown humor! That's probably as raunchy as the White House gets.

3. "a small businessman from Oregon." Baha. The President called this guy small. He's going to be hearing this one for days.

4.  Joe Biden's fistpump for Scranton. Represent, yo.

5. A cringe-worthy technological glitch with streaming from the White House website right when Obama was talking about the importance of technological progress.

6.  Mentioning the fact that "some" of our population is gay. Is it just my location, or is this the understatement of the year? For the love of Anderson Cooper, just tie me up and pour me a cosmo.

Those were all the good ones anyway. To analyze the subtler moments of passive aggression, boredom and hopelessness in that room would require a much longer piece - and probably an expert on facial tics.

Monday, January 10, 2011

MEOW MEOW @ LE POISSON ROUGE 1/10/11

If you haven't heard of Meow Meowit's probably about DAMN well time, dahling.



Insane and talented (insanely talented) cabaret act Meow Meow tips her bustier to both "La Vie en Rose" and Las Vegas.  Throw in some Weimar and turn-of-the-century Orientalism for high kicks and ginny giggles. John Cameron Mitchell (of Hedwig and the Angry Inch) describes her as "like a beautiful old art-deco building that's just been condemned." I'd call her a sexy sad clown. Either way, Meow Meow gets away with both the manic and the maudlin. By golly, the woman even crowd-surfed her way to the bar in order to order a whiskey. 


And when I asked for a picture with her after, Meow Meow didn't break character. "You're amazing!" I said. A wave of the hand, a slow, toothy grin. "I know" she replied.  



Meow Meow was awarded "Best Cabaret" for the 2008 Adelaide Fringe Festival and has performed alongside the Arcade Fire and Amy Winehouse at the New York Highline Festival. She's friends with Amanda Palmer. Did I mention that Alan Cumming was waiting on the will call line in front of me?

Yes, I'd say that's when you know it's going to be a good show.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

SNOW, AND A RETURN

Yesterday I stumbled through sublime.

I was running errands for my internship in Brooklyn when I got lost by a block or two away from the C stop. I found myself on a brownstone-lined street.

Park Slope, courtesy of flickr. 
The snow was falling, silent, heavy and still. Flakes the size of sand-dollars stuck to my nose and lips. The fluff was even new and clean enough to cling lightly to bicycle tires like dryer lint on a filter.

A team of city kids had grabbed their summer boogie boards and were in search of a hill.

I could feel the numb of the slush through my poorly insulated shoes, but I didn't care.




I listened to this song on the train back to Dumbo. It's a track off the album Birds of My Neighborhood from the innocence mission, a husband and wife duo who have been making music for about forever. I am revealing my ignorance when I tell you I've only just discovered them.

What a beautiful way to welcome 2011. The curiosity, the quest for discovery, love and music carry on!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

LES SPOTLIGHT: MOOSHOES, CRUELTY-FREE SHOE STORE RUN BY VEGAN SISTERS


Perhaps it’s fitting that upon entering a vegan, cruelty-and-animal-products-free shoe store for the first time I am greeted not by a human, but by an animal.

A fluffy, fierce dog of a cat who used to go dumpster-diving with rats, Bowery hopped off the counter and approached me slowly. He sought out direct eye contact, determined. What was this guy’s intention?  But then I looked down, where Bowery was rubbing himself up against my shoes. Shoes, I might add, that were almost certainly not cruelty-free.

“It’s okay,” Erica Kubersky, co-owner and co-founder of MooShoes told me later. “I don’t think he knows.”

Bowery is one of the rescued in-store cats of MooShoes, a cruelty-free vegan shoe store founded in 2001 by sisters Erica and Sara Kubersky.  MooShoes started, ironically, in a defunct butcher shop on 26th St., but once the Kuberskys moved to their business to the Lower East Side at 78 Orchard St., sales doubled in two years.  And today, MooShoes is known as a pioneer in what’s described as the Lower East Side’s emerging “green” retail district. 

Erica (left) and Sara (right) Kubersky
Erica and Sara Kubersky grew up in Queens, but it was an experience meeting a baby calf on an Israeli kibbutz that made Erica decide to go vegetarian. She was eight years old.

“It just started suckling my hand,” Erica said. “And I was so blown away and so touched by it. And the wheels started turning, as they do for most kids.”

Erica and Sara’s realtor parents didn’t raise them vegan, but because of Erica and Sara’s enthusiasm, the Kubersky parents have since gone veggie too.

 “Most parents would probably try and make you forget about it,” Erica added. “But my parents were like, ‘No, you’re right.’”



And today, MooShoes is considered a keystone of the Lower East Side’s vegan community. Aside from selling vegan shoes, handbags, cookbooks and accessories of all kinds, MooShoes also hosts adoption days and other vegan-related events. Just last week, MooShoes hosted a booksigning for the “Color Me Vegan” cookbook with author Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. 


“I'm grateful to Erica and Sara for all they do for the animals,” said Amy Trakinski, a loyal MooShoes customer from first week they opened.  “They're making it easier for people to embrace veganism by providing not only shoes but a sense of community.” 

“They're kind of heroes of mine,” Trakinski added.

It seems like the Kuberskys’ brand of compassion-based veganism is more about inclusion than anything else. 

“Erica and Sara are not preachy,” said Trakinski. “Everyone is welcome and hopefully visitors will not only buy a pair of shoes, but will come away with the realization that harming animals in the name of fashion is just not necessary.” Hear that, leather-lovers? No moral high-horses here. Only cats.

So I don’t feel too badly walking into MooShoes wearing shoes possibly made out of moo. At least it’s not as egregious a faux-paw as some of the other things Erica and Sara Kubersky have witnessed on their customers.

“The first time we opened our store we had to deal with people wearing fur coats,” Erica told me.

Luckily, the MooShoes that resemble bits of animals are made of polyurethane synthetic microfiber.  This material lacks vinyl, so like leather, it stretches and breathes.  And in terms of MooShoe variety, the store offers everything from sneakers to stilettos.  But their most popular item is a leather-looking boot. It’s called the “Leo”. 
At the end of my exploration of the store, I found a tame Bowery lazily grooming himself at the cash register, and Marlowe (another cat) curled up in a shoebox.

It was as if the cats had given me their passive approval for the next item on my agenda. Now that I was done ogling shoes, it was time to make a bee-line for vegan bakery sensation Babycakes, located just around the corner.




To find more green businesses on the LES, look no further.


Thursday, December 9, 2010

A SLICE OF 2ND AVE: "CHALLAAAH" at B&H!


B&H Dairy is a cozy vegetarian nook tucked away in a slice of Second avenue
at Seventh St. Big portions, cheap food, fast service. And entrées are almost always
complemented by plates of towering, fluffy challah bread.


The restaurant has the efficiency per square footage of a teeny-tiny, over-
designed IKEA studio. Cooking, bussing, service and eating occur simultaneously around
a long, narrow strip of counter. But Mike, the tall, manly line cook, fries it up and doles it
out with practiced ease. It’s kind of amazing--I’m pretty sure one of his muscular arms is
bigger than my leg.


As for the food, B&H’s menu offers a mélange of dishes influenced by the
area’s diverse demographic. The Chosen People are represented in lox platters, knishes
matzo ball soup, while East Village Eastern Europeans have a stronghold in kasha,
stuffed cabbage and borscht.


Don’t forget the juice machine. This is one of B&H’s coolest features.
Customers can make their own organic juice mix or smoothie from a number of
ingredients. I tried my hand at mixology by asking for a watermelon, cucumber, ginger
combo. It was brilliant at first sip--clean, refreshing and sweet. Then I remembered I had
to drink the rest. Next time I’ll just order one of their pre-arranged combos. A small for
$3.50 and a large for $4.75 means I can live like one of those elitist “cleansed” celebrities
without having to pay like one.


The takeaway is this: if you’re ever in the mood for something big, fast, and cheap with
an East Village flavor, try B&H. You just might have to eat with your elbows close to
your sides--sometimes this place gets crowded.