Competitive Winter Picnicking in Brooklyn

New York City is terribly cold in the winter, which doesn't exactly make it great weather for a picnic. But that's not stopping Shadow Traffic, a Brooklyn-based group of amusement makers that's putting on their second Competitive Winter Picnicking event.

They write:

Get your foodies, your burners, your hippies and ravers, your demonic worshippers, your builders and crafters, your grillers and bakers, your winter mamas and cuddly papas, your comicconners and renfair freaks and Picnic On!

This year's picnic starts at noon on March 1 at Brooklyn's Fort Greene Park. RSVP now.

Oh yeah, there are prizes to be won, for: Richest Picnic Meal, Tastiest Picnic Drink, Funnest Picnic Game, and/or Tightest Thematic Team ("Judges are bribeable").

photos by Walter Wlodarczyk/Shadow Traffic, used with permission Read the rest

Loot: a kids-only comic "store" in Brooklyn that incubates young comics fans and creators

Loot is a Brooklyn comics "store" (463 Court St, Floor 2, 11231) that is oriented around encouraging local kids to become comics creators. Adults are only admitted if they're with kids, and the store sells $30/month memberships that entitle kids to use copious art supplies and meet with artist-mentors, as well as to borrow comics from the store's library. Read the rest

Guys, Brooklyn Ball Barbers cater to your manscaping needs

Good gentleman of Brooklyn, there's a place in your borough that specializes in artisanal manscaping. It's called Brooklyn Ball Barbers and they claim, "Your dick pick game will be second to none."

Oh nuts, Comedy Central. You had me going for about 12 seconds there.

But, can we just take a moment to admire the attention to detail in this video? For example, this logo:

And the barber chair with stirrups:

Also, how long do you suppose it will be until a shop like this is a reality? Read the rest

You can request hand-crafted reading-list recommendations from the Brooklyn public library online

The Bklyn BookMatch is a free service that matches readers with custom lists of recommendations: fill in a webform with "the titles, authors, and/or types of books you enjoy, and why" as well as "movies, TV, games, and other interests" and any books you dislike, as well as format and age preferences and within two weeks, a librarian will send you a customized reading list that you can check out of the Brooklyn library (or your own local library -- the service seems to be open to everyone!). (via Kottke) Read the rest

Secret box truck 'night market' pops up again in NYC

Described as "a transient bazaar that is not publicly announced, where nothing is for sale, and very little trace can be found of it afterward," it's been nearly 10 years since the first Lost Horizon Night Market hit New York City. Since then, this quirky underground event has popped up in other cities worldwide.

This past weekend it was back in Brooklyn.

Gothamist's Oriana Leckert went:

At a moment when the world seems to be going in a bleaker, more dangerous direction than at any point in our lifetimes, this is a night where New York’s most unusual spectacle-makers gather to share a few hours of pure weirdness and joy.

The Night Market is a shadowy affair, a truly underground, immersive occasion at a time when both those words have been so overused as to be rendered nearly meaningless. There is no mailing list to sign up for or Facebook page to “like”; one only learns of the sporadic soirée through word of mouth, and the market’s location, different each time, is not revealed until the day of. The only instruction truck proprietors receive is to create an interactive art piece within the vehicle’s four walls...

Saturday’s market, situated on two dimly lit blocks in industrial Bushwick, included 19 trucks, ranging from very simple to hilariously convoluted concepts. Each engendered its own atmosphere, engulfing visitors in a tiny world that was consuming enough to let people forget about the real one for a little while...

Read more: Photos: A Secret Box Truck Art Carnival Materialized Briefly In Brooklyn

photos by Alix Piorun for Gothamist, used with permission

Glitter gun fight

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Y'all we have made a pillow fight truck, if you just need to smash something and scream tonight.

Read the rest

Buy this guy's bed

If you need a bed and you're in the Brooklyn area, I strongly suggest you buy this one.

Why? Well, for one...

"Ain't nothing bad ever happen on this bed." At least that's what its current owner, Brian David Gilbert, says.

Two: No one, not even Gilbert's friend Laura, has smoked cigars on it.

Three: Well, watch the video.

photo via Craigslist ad

(Likecool) Read the rest

Motherboard announces a neutral, meshing community ISP based at Vice's Brooklyn headquarters

Motherboard -- an imprint of Vice -- has announced that it will build a community ISP branching off its Brooklyn headquarters, built on meshing wireless protocols, and connected to the internet via high-speed fiber lines terminating at a network exchange. Read the rest

$10 "bean to bar" chocolates were made from melted down Valrhona

The Mast Brothers, a pair of bearded chocolatiers in Brooklyn, have built an empire on beautifully packaged "artisanal" chocolates that run $10/bar, billed as "bean to bar" confections. Read the rest

3D Printed Boat Race

What was once the busiest freight port in the world recently held another freight hauling competition, but with a catch: all the boats were remote-controlled, had to fit in a 2'x2'x2' box, and had to be 3D printed. The Red Hook Regatta was a race to see how many "shipping containers" (actually, brick sized pieces of foam) teams could ferry to "cranes" (guys with fishing poles dangling down from the pier) through the choppy waters of New York Harbor. 

Steering and propulsion are standardized, so it was a test of ship design, building, piloting, stevedorism, and Poseidon's whims.

The event was a collaboration between two Brookyln-based groups - high tech job training Digital Stewards and artists Pioneer Works.

More coverage at The Brooklyn Paper, PIX11 News (video), and The New York Times.

Image: 3d printed boat, by Creative Tools/3D Benchy Read the rest

Dustin Yellin's stupendous, life-sized glass-pane humanoids made from NatGeo clippings

Earlier this month, I attended a two-day meeting at Pioneer Works, an art and innovation center in Red Hook, Brooklyn. The center is both physically beautiful and filled with interesting people from many disciplines doing work in open workshops. It was founded by sculptor Dustin Yellin, and the lobby has one of his remarkable, life-sized three-dimensional humaniform sculptures, composed of thousands of collaged magazine clippings pressed between many sheets of glass.

David Byrne and St Vincent celebrate Color Guard with astounding Contemporary Color show

David Byrne and St Vincent are touring Contemporary Color, a concert accompanied by a huge, choreographed color guard show. Read the rest

A bookseller amongst her wares (possibly NSFW)

Cici James -- founder of Brooklyn's amazing science fiction bookstore Singularity and Co -- posed for a body-painted portrait amongst her wares. Read the rest

Singularity & Co: sf bookstore as Twilight Zone

Singularity and Co is the wonderful, Brooklyn-based used science fiction bookstore launched with a 2012 Kickstarter campaign that raised funds to buy the rights to beloved, out-of-print sf novels and release them as CC-licensed ebooks. Gabe, a fan of the store, has produced this great, Twilight Zone-themed commercial for the shop. Read the rest

New Disruptors 49: Actually, Quite Likely! Recorded Live in Brooklyn

We recorded a special live episode of The New Disruptors in Brooklyn's fantastic DUMBO district in the Galapagos Art Space as part of the Nearly Impossible conference in which we talked about the joys, challenges, and surprises in prototyping, funding, producing, and distributing products. On stage, we had Che-Wei Wang and Taylor Levy of CW&T, Tom Gerhardt and Dan Provost of Studio Neat, and Jessica Heltzel of Kern and Burn.

The New Disruptors: RSS | iTunes | Download this episode | Listen on Stitcher

This episode is sponsored by Shopify: use Shopify to create your online store. Everything you need to start selling online – today! Read the rest

Kokie's: history of Brooklyn's infamous cocaine bar

In the late 1990s, Kokie's Place was a legendary Williamsburg, Brooklyn bar where a guy would sell you cocaine from a closet in the back. A few years ago, Vice magazine presented an oral history of this vibrant, strange Puerto Rican dive bar where salsa dancers, hipsters, bikers, and addicts played in the snow. It's a fascinating, funny article that also touches on the insanely-fast gentrification of Williamsburg. By the way, the name of the bar isn't a reference to cocaine but rather to the coquí, a frog endemic to Puerto Rico. From Vice:

JERRY P: The coke was stepped on like crazy. I think it was cut with meth, because it lasted so fucking long. I personally didn’t mind it.

BRIAN F: It was convenient living nearby because the coke was so awful. As soon as I did a bump I would run home, shit my brains out, and then come back refreshed and ready for more.

MEG SNEED: The coke there was pretty bad, true, but it was such a pleasant place to be. A real positive atmosphere and community feeling. I even thought about hanging out there without drugs once or twice. Of course I never did.

LUCY P: I don’t know if I ever talked to anybody there who I didn’t know, but I felt as though I could’ve. And it wasn’t just the drugs. There was a sense that everybody was there to enjoy some sort of desperate eked-out freedom. As though a line had been crossed into comity.

Read the rest

Video from the Stross and Doctorow show at MakerBot in Brooklyn

Joly MacFie captured video of Charlie Stross's and my tour-stop at Brooklyn's MakerBot this week. We were there in support of our new novel Rapture of the Nerds, and did a talk, reading and Q&A that touched on the Singularity, its precedents, its discontents, and its inherent comedy -- all while 3D printers chattered in the background. And afterwards everyone got 3D printed miniatures of our heads!

We're making our final stops of tour tomorrow -- Sunday! Sunday! Sunday! -- in Rochester, NY, at RIT. Tell your friends!

Cory Doctorow & Charles Stross - The Rapture of the Nerds

(Thanks, Joly!) Read the rest

"Zilla March": flexing in the New York subways

Flexing, or bone breaking, is a mix of street dancing and contortionist movements mostly specific to Brooklyn. This video in particular is mesmerizing, almost ritualistic with this group of shirtless guys in gas masks all dancing together in the subway. Other riders seem to either not notice them or look on in a trance.

[Video Link] Thanks Dannel! Read the rest

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