Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Happy Holidays to All

As usual, I think SOS Crown Heights just about nailed it. ILFA's been taking something of a break lately, but will be back with more regular postings in 2013. 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Tomorrow: Brooklynian's 8th Annual Festivus at Franklin Park

ILFA's already out of town for the holidays, but if you're still on the Avenue, swing by Franklin Park tomorrow night to celebrate Festivus with MikeF/whynot_31 and the folks from Brooklynian from 8-midnight in the big room. Check out the complete invite and photo updates on the construction of the festivus pole here, and join the fun on Facebook here.

Speaking of Franklin Park's big room, another event that takes place there every second Monday of the month, the Franklin Park Reading Series just got a big honor, in the form of a nod to creator Penina Roth as one of Flavorwire's "50 Up and Coming Culture Makers." Congrats all around!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Holiday Happenings: Secondary Sound Tomorrow + More

(Holiday cheer around the Avenue at Lily & Fig, Little Zelda, and on Franklin itself)

- The folks at Brooklyn Unplugged have a great event planned for tomorrow at Franklin Park. From their invite: 

Brooklyn Unplugged

Red Stefan and Franky & The Momos

December 18th, 8pm

BROOKLYN UNPLUGGED is a local music series on the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of every single month! We aim to showcase dynamite acoustic acts in the intimate setting of Crown Heights' first "beer oasis," Franklin Park!

We are incredibly stoked to bring to you this week: 

8 pm: Dj Alias (
9 pm: Red Stefan (
10 pm: Franky and The Momos (

For booking info, please email

Secondary Sound aims to act as a springboard for the talented musicians and artists of Brooklyn. We are currently hosting a Jam Night for all to meet, perform, challenge, and learn as well as Brooklyn Unplugged for solo acts and bands. We plan on providing booking, recording, promotion, and distribution resources for artists as well as giving back to the community by providing workshops and master classes to people of all ages and experience levels. We believe music speaks where words fail. 

Local artist Nina Meledandri sends along this link from Art in a Box for a fundraiser for kids at risk this season (she's participating). 

- A reader asks which restaurants on Franklin will be open on Christmas Day. I'll ask around, but tips are appreciated!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Great Ways to Give Back on Franklin Tomorrow

Holiday giving is in full swing on Franklin tomorrow:

- Breukelen Coffee House is hosting a toy drive from 11am - 3pm. Swing by with a toy to be dropped off at a nearby shelter.

- Brooklyn's own SantaCon will also be rolling up the Avenue tomorrow, with deals at 739, Rosco's, and Mayfield (as well as NoBar and Richol Bakery nearby). Click here to learn more about SantaCon, and here to donate directly. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Time-Sensitive Links

There's a longer omnibus post coming later this evening, but for now, two time-sensitive links:

- CurbedNY has a neighborhood-competition "Cup" every year (the merits of which warrant some discussion - what would Nate Silver say? - but that's neither here nor there) and Crown Heights is apparently competing this year. If you care to vote, get your clicks in before tomorrow. 

- Crown Heights Cycles has a $50-for-$25 deal going right now on Groupon (not bad if you need a holiday gift for the cyclist in your life). 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Last FP Reading Series of the Year Tonight

Last but not least...

This month Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award finalist CHRISTINE SCHUTT (Prosperous Friends, Florida) will read with fantastic fiction writers PAULA BOMER (Nine Months, Baby & Other Stories), DAN JOSEFSON (That's Not a Feeling), MITCHELL S. JACKSON (Oversoul), and SONJA SHOLKLAPPER (DNAinfo). We'll encounter a range of characters undergoing identity crises -- including a pregnant mom on the lam, a suicidal teen at boarding school, a young married couple in a troubled relationship, a writer torn between 
family loyalty and professional ambition, and Russian immigrants hustling for their piece of the American dream.

Get set for the the holidays with cheap booze, lit-themed giveaways, and a raffle with fabulous prizes – books by our acclaimed authors, a T-shirt from our sponsor, the literary indexing site Small Demons (, and a Recommended Reading flask, courtesy of the innovative publisher Electric Literature (

Great appreciation to BOMB Magazine for recording podcasts.

Hope you can join us!


618 St. Johns Place, between Classon and Franklin Avenues
Crown Heights, Brooklyn
Subway: 2/3/4/5 trains to Franklin Avenue


DRINK SPECIALS: $4 pints, plus $1 off the first 100 drinks, thanks to Small Demons.


CHRISTINE SCHUTT is the author of three novels, including the newly released Prosperous Friends, the National Book Award finalist Florida, and the Pulitzer Prize finalist All Souls. She has also published two story collections, Nightwork and A Day, A Night, Another Day, Summer.

PAULA BOMER is publisher of Sententia Books and the editor of Sententia: A Literary Journal, as well as a contributor to the literary blog Big Other. She is the author of the novel Nine Months and the story collection Baby & Other Stories. Her writing has appeared in The Mississippi Review, Open City, Fiction, Nerve, and Best American Erotica. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children.

DAN JOSEFSON is the author of the debut novel That's Not a Feeling. He has received a Fulbright research grant and a Schaeffer Award from the International Institute of Modern Letters. He has an MFA from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and lives in Brooklyn.

MITCHELL JACKSON is a Portland, Oregon native who lives in Brooklyn, New York. He received an M.A. in writing from Portland State University and an M.F.A in Creative Writing from New York University. He has been the recipient of fellowships from Urban Artist Initiative and The Center For Fiction and is a former winner of the Hurston Wright Foundation’s award for college writers. Jackson teaches writing at New York University. Oversoul, an eBook collection of his prose, was released in the summer of 2012. His novel The Residue Years will be published by Bloomsbury USA in the summer of 2013. Find him

SONJA SHOLKLAPPER is a New York City street reporter. Her stories of murder and mayhem, Yiddish-speaking hipsters and Nollywood gossip-peddlers have appeared in the New York Times, the New York Daily News, DNAinfo New York and the New York Post, among others. She lives with her mad scientist husband in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Holiday Gift Swap Next Sunday at Force and Flow

From the folks at Force and Flow (1102 Dean Street #4, between Franklin and Bedford):

Holiday Gift Swap
Sunday December 16
12:30 – 5PM
Why spend money on gifts when you can exchange?
On Sunday the 16th, bring a couple of (nice) things* from home which you no longer want or need but which someone else might love, and come exchange them for others’ goods which you or someone you know will treasure. Wrap them up real nice and gift them: save yourself some dough, save the environment some trash, and make space in your life for new things = all good.
Here’s the short story of how this birthday celebration and “artistic response” came to be:
Friday night, around 11PM, I left the MoMA and my role there as “performer” in the Meta Monumental Garage Sale. Some of my colleagues stayed on even later, packing piles and piles of unsold shit into boxes. All this stuff, from trash to treasure, had been donated in the name of art, then priced at unusually high garage sale prices to be sold to those whom were willing and able to pay. At a salary $20 an hour, I could hardly afford most of it.
And now the Cinderella moment: the exhibit closes at 8PM and the golden carriage is a pumpkin again: all this stuff is worse than worthless, it’s a liability, costing hours of labor to pack it up, ship it to a warehouse to be sorted and shipped again to a storage unit where it will sit, at a cost, for who knows how long.
But this was conceptual art, with a statement about economics and value, and in that sense it did it’s work on me: I had two weeks to think about economics, and value, and the ridiculous amount of shit we have. I’m sure I will continue to ponder the economics of using highly trained performance and visual artists to work a register and to throw stuff into a box for a long time. The short-term pondering led me to this Gift Swap: if we’re going to make a statement about economics and value, why not consider the economics of waste and pollution and the value of human resources and personal connection?
So I’m inviting you to bring a couple of things from home that may once have been valuable to you, but which you no longer need, or which you know would be much more valuable to someone else and would make you feel good to pass the joy on. Then come and exchange them for something that could be perfect for your friend, cousin or even yourself. And come to enjoy the company, too, and to take pleasure in the excitement of finding not just something special, but a story, an interaction, a connection.
I’ll have some paper and scissors and a few pens so that you can wrap up what you get real pretty right on the spot. If you have wrapping paper or tape that you can donate to the occasion, that would be great. If you want to drop stuff off ahead of time, feel free.
Oh, and it happens to be my birthday, which makes the whole thing extra economical: a celebration and gift swap in one. If you have nothing to bring from home, or if you’re feeling the holiday spirit, just bring a snack or drink to share and take an item from me as my gift to you.
*things to bring:
-books, dvds, cds, housewares, kitchen ware in good condition, artwork, plants… clothes only if they are in great shape. I mean, you get the point: it’s not your typical clothing swap, so you can be creative, but bring something you or someone you know might like to get as a gift. And bring your friends too, the more the merrier.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Update: Ms. Noel and MySpaceNYC Event Last Friday

An update from MySpace NYC (in response to some of the questions that readers and ILFA were curious about):

Mrs. Noel is longstanding local resident and we've known her for over two years.  It just recently came to our attention that she holds these small soup kitchens/lunches for the community sporadically throughout the year, and when we heard, we informed her that we wanted to be a part of the her next effort.  Mrs. Noel lives at her property with her son, and two daughters, who also participated with us in the small event.  MySpaceNYC donated the food and materials, Mrs. Noel and her family cooked it, and we (Mrs. Noel's family and the MySpaceNYC family) served it together.  We served anyone that asked for a delicious hot plate of braised chicken accompanied with mac & cheese, water cabbage, potato salad, and veggie rice with split peas.  We primarily targeted the shelter by passing out flyers the day before and the day of the event, but we fed anybody that lined up.  Cooking Crew: Mrs. Noel, her cousin, her son, and two grand daughters.  Serving Crew: Mrs. Noel, her two grand daughters, three MySpaceNYC agents (Alex, Belle, and Reggie), and two managers (Hector and myself).  We served over 75 meals. We do not have another event confirmed on our upcoming calendar, but we are looking forward to working more in partnership with these local organizations and resources in the near future.  Feeding the community is new for us, and it was great!  We are currently discussing a "toys for tots" effort with local community leaders, and we'll keep you abreast of the details as soon as we have them all confirmed

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

New on the Avenue: Construction, Deals, Events

Apologies for the omnibus post this week, ILFA's in the midst of graduate qualifying exams, and so while I've been doing lots of writing, very little of it pertains to Franklin Avenue (though David Harvey, Neil Smith, and Lance Freeman all have a thing or two to say that's relevant here...but I digress).

Anyway, there are two new projects in the works that readers have noticed, one at Lincoln and Franklin (which Brooklynian reports will be a Grilled Cheese place) and one just down the street at the former CCM space, which will be be, according to the sign, an animal hospital. In addition, full-scale construction began this week at 605 Franklin (the yellow fence between St. Mark's and Bergen), with excavations taking place every morning, to the chagrin of some neighbors. No word yet on what that project will look like.

As for existing businesses, December is a time of reckoning for a lot of our local establishments, in part because foot traffic slows as the weather gets cold and in part because it's the close of the year. I put up a "shop local for the holidays" post last week, but in addition to goodies for your aunt in St. Cloud, there are some great deals for food and drink that have cropped up around the neighborhood in the past week.

- TasteBuds has upped their game for the holidays with truly fantastic buttermilk biscuits, available covered in gravy or as the base for their egg-and-cheese sandwiches. Get 'em on Saturdays and Sundays and coffee's only $1.

- Rosco's has launched a great new happy hour featuring $2 slices, $1 off beers and wine, and $3 off pitchers from 4-7pm (you're talking two slices and a beer for dinner for under $10 if you eat before 7).  If you're a happy hour kind of person, there are great ones on the Avenue, including those at Franklin Park, Crown Inn, Barboncino, and Mayfield (home of dollar oysters when supplies last). 

- Finally, there's a great lit event tomorrow night at Franklin Park, the NY Tyrant Brooks Launch Party, courtesy of the Franklin Park Reading Series.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

GO Brooklyn's Final Show to Feature Crown Heights Artist Gabrielle Watson

Remember GO Brooklyn back in September? Well, one of Crown Heights' own, painter Gabrielle Watson, has been selected to appear in the final GO show, which opens today at the Brooklyn Museum. It's also a Target First Saturday today, which makes two great reasons to amble up Eastern Parkway to the museum. If you're in the neighborhood, support your local artists and go check out Ms. Watson's work.