September 9, 2007


To understand the rationale behind Ludfest (the Ludlow Street Festival), you should know that New York City is divided into 123 different Police Precincts. The tiny Seventh Precinct, second smallest in the city, is located on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

Long a home to poor immigrants, bargain shops and, more recently, hipsters, foodies and trust fund babies, the area is served by the Seventh Precinct Community Council. The group sponsors a variety of activities and events including today’s fundraiser/block party.

The day-long Ludfest, held on the busy block of Ludlow Street between Stanton and Rivington, featured vendors, community and political organizations, a DJ and several up-and-coming local bands. All proceeds will be used for local youth programs including Christmas and Chanukah toy give-aways.

In front of Pianos
Smoking in front of Pianos

Slices for sale outside Isabella’s

Isabella’s $1 calzone

Outside the Living Room
Outside the Living Room

Crowd in front of Some Odd Rubies
Crowd in front of Some Odd Rubies

The DJ

Near the stage

Local cop on the beat
Local cop on the beat

A Place to Bury Strangers

Case for A Place to Bury Strangers
Case for A Place to Bury Strangers

MySpace: Ludfest
NYC Police Precincts
New York Magazine: How Low Can You Go?
MySpace: A Place To Bury Strangers
Secret Machines
Dub Trio
Other Passengers
The Sugar Report
Isabella’s Oven
The Living Room
Some Odd Rubies
Cake Shop

Baby rabbit’s for sell

September 8, 2007

This sign (click on the photo to read it) was taped to a post in front of Brooklyn Borough Hall. It says:

Baby rabbit’s for sell. They are cute and fun so if you would like one come to Court St. The price is 30 per rabbit

No indication of who is selling the rabbits, when they will be available, where on Court Street they can be found, and whether the price is $30 or 30¢ each.

However, there’s no doubt that rabbits can be cute and fun — and tasty, too.

Baby rabbits for sell

Itty Bitty Bunny
Rabbit Habit

The New York Television Festival

September 6, 2007

Two years ago, the New York Television Festival (NYTF) was established to bring together independent video artists, television insiders and fans. The Festival allows people with new and original visions to connect with those who are already established in the broadcast industry.

Some of the producers, writers and directors who’ve exhibited their work in past years have established deals with major television networks including NBC Universal and A&E. The festival’s slogan is “All you need is an idea and a video camera.”

Tonight, the NYTF’s programming included the Comedy Short Cuts Diversity Film Festival. Organized by comedian Wil Sylvince and hosted by cast members of sitcom 30 Rock, the evening showcased eight independent comedy shorts:

After the program, I exited the theatre at the same moment the 30 Rock crowd was leaving and became surrounded by their party. I decided to go with the flow.

When they all veered to the right, ascended a flight of stairs and breezed past a phalanx of security guards, I did the same and found myself in the official after-party.

A nice surprise; a show and dinner (satay, hors d’oeuvres and wine), too! I mingled with the crowd, posed for photos and, when I left, was presented with a gift bag containing a DVD, a water bottle and a nifty little flash drive. Not bad for an otherwise quiet Thursday night.

09-10-2007 02;39;44PM.BMP 2

The New York Television Festival
Comedy Short Cuts
MySpace: Comedy Short Cuts Film Festival
MySpace: Wil Sylvince
30 Rock
El Chisme
A Fat Girl’s Guide to Yoga
The Sunday Man
TV Squad: NYTVF: NBC Comedy Short Cuts

Goodbye to the Floating Pool Lady

September 3, 2007

For most of us, it came as a wonderful surprise. On July 4, a swimming pool called the Floating Pool Lady opened on the waterfront below Brooklyn Heights. The occasion marked the first time in more than 200 years that the public has had access to this area.

For years activists have been working with officials to transform this section of the Brooklyn waterfront — long the site of abandoned piers, vacant warehouses, weed-filled parking lots and rusting storage sheds — into parkland. The pool and its adjacent 40,000 square foot sandy “beach” represent the first stage of the realization of their plans.

The brainchild of former parks department official Ann Buttenwieser, the pool was built on an old Lousiana cargo barge and moored among the piers on the East River. In addition to the handicapped-accessible pool, organizers installed an open-air shower, a snack bar, bike racks, volleyball nets, dressing rooms, porta-potties, chair and umbrella rentals and picnic tables.

Free shuttle bus service brought visitors directly to the pool from nearby subway stations. Due to its small size (maximum capacity is only 175 persons), gaining entrance to one of the tightly scheduled, carefully monitored 1 1/2 hour swim sessions was somewhat complicated.

First, potential swimmers waited for the announcement that it was time to line up to obtain wristbands for the next available swim session. The wristbands, which were distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis, served as admission tickets. They were color keyed to the day’s the scheduled sessions: on weekdays, four time slots were available; on weekends, six were scheduled.

Once wristbands were obtained, visitors waited for an announcement telling them it was time to line up for admisssion. Some people were turned away every day, and many had long waits, but they didn’t lack things to do.

Visitors could spend time lying on the beach, listening to the music, munching on food prepared at the concession stand, playing frisbee and volleyball, dancing and enjoying the astonishing views of New York Harbor.

Sadly, the Floating Lady was only a temporary feature. Its stay in Brooklyn was limited to two months (officals plan to move it to another borough next summer) and this was its final day. Fans of the pool rushed to the closing-day festivities and the chance to take one last dip, eat one last tofu dog, fly one last kite and get one last sunburn.

From the Promenade
View of the barge from the Promenade

Sign on Furman Street
Sign on Furman Street

The front gate
Entering the front gate

Butterflies walking the perimeter

Looking towards Manhattan

Access lift for the disabled
Access lift for disabled swimmers

Sitting on the edge
Sitting on the edge of the pool

Swimmers lounging on the upper deck

Volleyball match on the sand

Playing hopscotch on the beach
Playing hopscotch on the beach

Hula hoop contest
The hula hoop contest

Human flower at entrance to pool
Human flower at entrance to pool

Pool rules
Pool rules

Brooklyn Bridge Conservancy: The Floating Pool
NYC Parks Dept: Floating Pool Makes A Splash
The Neptune Foundation
NY Post: ‘Float’ Leaving B’klyn
Athletic Business: East River Floater

The Brazilian Day Festival

September 2, 2007

On September 7, 1822, Brazil achieved its independence from Portugal. To honor the day, for the past quarter century New York has celebrated with an enormous street fair known as the Brazilian Day Festival.

Held the the first Sunday in September, the event is billed as the world’s largest and most important Brazilian event abroad. Many expatriates come from other cities and states, some chartering special buses for the occasion.

Popular music and television stars are flown in from Brazil to perform on a temporary stage set up in the middle of 6th Avenue. The crowd is so large that few can get near the stage, so the show is simulcast on an enormous JumboTron screen.

The celebration is centered around 43rd Street and 6th Avenue, an area known as “Little Brazil.” While the city doesn’t contain a distinctly Brazilian neighborhood or shopping district — in fact, Brazilian residents refer to themselves as “an invisible community” — this block is known for its concentration of Brazilian businesses and social events and Portugese is widely spoken.
Exuberent revelers drape themselves in yellow, green and blue (the colors of the Brazilian flag), flock to the vendors selling all manner of Brazilian goods and services, including music, videos, and fragrant delicacies such as pasteles (meat or cheese-stuffed dough), coxinha (deep-fried chicken pastries), feijoada (meat and bean stew) and churrasco (grilled meat).

Happy, relaxed and easy-going, they fill the restaurants and cafes to overflowing, gulp down caipirinhas (Brazilian margaritas) and doing their finest capoeira, batuque and samba moves, they dance, dance, dance the day away.

Little Brazil street sign

Brazilian bracelet

Two couples
Two couples

Watching the show on the JumboTron

Vendor selling food

Girl and carved animals for sale

Woman in headdress
Woman in headdress

Woman in Brazilian costume

Man in wig
Man in wig

Girl with flag
Girl with flag

Selling souvenirs
Selling souvenirs

Brazilian girls
Brazilian women

Kissing in the street

Official Brazilian Day Web site
New York Brazil Group
Brazzil Magazine: Brazil’s Biggest Street Party Overseas
Brazzil: The Invisible Brazilians
Hip Brazil
The Brasilians
TV Globo
Wikipedia: JumboTron

New York Burlesque Festival

September 1, 2007

Advertised as “4 Days and Nights of Glitter and Glamour in Gotham,” the New York Burlesque Festival takes place over four days at several locations around Manhattan.

Tonight I attended the festival’s Saturday Spectacular hosted by New York showbiz legend Mister Murray Hill. The evening featured about 40 acts with names like Gwendoline Lamour, Panty Raid, Lux la Croix, Peekaboo Pointe, Vivienne Vavoom and the Peach Tartes.

If you haven’t seen a burlesque performance, you might anticipate something similar to the raunchy grind-and-grab found in go-go bars and so-called “gentlemen’s clubs.” But in fact, modern-day burlesque is a form of entertainment that combines glamour, dance, performance art, a tad of titillation and more than a touch of humor and its practitioners attract equal numbers of male and female fans.

Most of the women onstage resembled WWII-era pin-up girls come to life, dressed in elbow-length gloves, tightly-laced corsets, veiled hats, fluffy boas, slinky satin, yards of rhinestones and towering heels. They flirted, teased, waved feathery fans, twirled their tassles, dusted themselves with enormous powder puffs and shimmied until their fringes flew.

Each act on the bill put its own twist on the form: Miss Saturn danced with hula hoops, Gravity Plays Favorites did intricate acrobatic moves on a pole, Diamond Back Annie was inspired by the rock group Kiss, Lux La Croix portrayed a lawn jockey and Imogen Kelly (using a French accent) was a witty Marie Antoinette.

Mr. Murray Hill
Mr. Murray Hill

Mr. Murray Hill helps replace a lost pasty

Tassles twirling

With red sequins

Diamond Back Annie

Diamond Back Annie

Using feathered fans


With red feathers

New York Burlesque Festival
Backstage Blog: 5th New York Burlesque Festival
Mr. Murray Hill
Angie Pontani
Amber Ray
MySpace: Bastard Keith
Belladonnas De Lux
Big Apple Burlesque
Miss Delirium Tremens
MySpace: Diamondback Annie
Gravity Plays Favorites
Gwendoline Lamour
Lux La Croix
Panty Raid
Peach Tartes
Peekaboo Pointe
Miss Saturn
MySpace: Tigger
Vivienne Vavoom
MySpace: World Famous *Bob*
NY Post: Vavoom Town
NY Magazine: The Return of Burlesque in NYC
Riverfront Times: Gravity Plays Favorites
Secrets in Lace
Thirsty Girl Productions

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