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THE SPRING ISSUE Samuel Carter Jonathan Melamed PUBLISHERS Shane Dixon Kavanaugh MANAGING EDITOR Duane Bruton ART DIRECTOR Benjamin Aufill HEAD OF MARKETING adsales@overflowmagazine.com ADVERTISING editorinchief@overflowmagazine.com EDITORIAL comments@overflowmagazine.com COMMENTS Published Quarterly by OVERFLOW Publishing LLC 62 Sullivan St., Brooklyn, NY 11231 www.overflowmagazine.com


TABLE OF CONTENTS

46

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PICTURE THE PLACE WHERE YOUR FAVORITE ASSHOLE MADE YOU LAUGH SO HARD YOU PISSED YOUR PANTS. OR WHERE

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YOUR LATE NIGHT BOOTY CALL THREW A DRINK IN YOUR FACE.

OGDEN CONCEPTUALIZES HIS LATEST AESTHETIC DECISION AS MOVING BACKWARDS THROUGH TIME BY WAY OF HIS OWN SUPER INTENSE HOBBIES, LINKING

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SEEMINGLY DISCRETE INTERESTS, AND REPACKAGING THEM AS NEW COLLECTIBLES, TOYS, AND CLOTHING.

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34

14

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THE SPRING ISSUE Everything you need to get sprung.

10 LJ Lindhurst The Realist: 900 Times Removed. 12 Maria Alvarez The Empanada Lady of South Slope: Dishing the Finest Street Meat.

14 Scott Ogden A Made Man: Art on Four Wheels. 17 The Struggles of Andrew The Boy With Photo Refrence Emotions: A Comic.

18 Eating the Neighborhood:

38 Glass Menagerie: Bang on the Glass. Really. It’s Okay.

20 Sad Stories by Funny People:

43 When Good Ideas Go Bad: The Origin of a Stoop Sale Artist. 44 South Brooklyn by Sneaker: Edgy, Envy-Inducing Runs. And Alanis

Stomach Turning Events at the Barclays Center. Giulia Rozzi Totally Shaves Her Hairy Toes.

26 A Love Letter to Brooklyn:

The Life and Photography of Jose Gaytan.

34 Grown Up Drinks: Homebrewing Bubbles Up in South Brooklyn.

COVER PAINTING: LJ Lindurst

Morissette.

46 Lucky 13 Saloon:

Salvage An Evening Gone Wrong.

51 Pet Portraits:

The Tasmanian Devil of Carroll Gardens.


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CONTRIBUTORS

Sayaka Nagata: wants to paint your pet!! To see more of her paintings, please visit www.sayakanagata.com.

Dean Haspiel, emmy award winning artist and BILLY DOGMA creator, balances high profile freelance comix gigs by curating, writing, and drawing compelling stuff at TripCity.net, a Brooklyn-filtered literary arts salon.

Giulia Rozzi is an actress, writer, and comedian who has appeared on Vh1, MTV, CNN, and TBS. She has written for BUST, Playgirl, XOJane, and more. She co-hosts the long-running sex-themed storytelling show Stripped Stories at the Upright Citizens Brigade and the comedy series Dive Comedy at Freddy’s Bar and Backroom. More at giuliarozzi.com. Photo by Anya Garrett.

Sarah Wilmer: www.sarahwilmer.com

Colin Weatherby eats, sleeps, and shits. Always in that order. You can find him at Colin.Is.Big@gmail.com.

Marlene Rounds is a Brooklyn-based food and product photographer. Please visit marlenerounds. com for example work.

Hunter Nelson is a writer/illustrator/performer from Texas. He lives and works in Brooklyn. He is just about to marry a person.

Nathan Kensinger

is an award-winning photographer and filmmaker living in Brooklyn. His photographs of New York’s industrial waterfront have been exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum, the Brooklyn Library, the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts, and have been published in the New York Times, New York, the Post, and the Daily News. He is currently working on a project to install a remotecontrolled model boat pond on the Newtown Creek.

Walker Esner: Pink bunny onesy. Take a look at www. walkeresner.com.

Dale W. Eisinger is a writer from Idaho. Things he finds important: deserts, canyons, sand dunes, coyotes, paint, radios, books, snow, independence, and the ocean.


CONTRIBUTORS

Constance and Eric: We are the wife and husband photography duo known as Constance & Eric. Our mission is to save sexual imagery from the modern day monotony of overly literal slick glossed presentations. Come witness the rebirth of the sensual at www. constanceanderic.com.

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Jonathan Ritzman is a writer living in Crown Heights who regularly contributes to OVERFLOW. He also created the Sad Stories By Funny People column for the magazine. He has never been to Applebee’s with Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov. That piece is pure fiction. Please send libel suits and job offers to: jritzman@gmail.com. Craig LaCourt takes pictures. He has been to many places with a camera, but not enough yet. See his work at www.craiglacourt.com.

Pearl Gabel is a photographer and multimedia jourLuca Giovanopoulos

loves cheese, laughing, and

Eurovans.

nalist proudly based in Brooklyn. She shoots features and general mayhem for the Daily News and has a cat named Biggie Smalls. Photo by Bryan Pace.

Jeffrey Burandt,

a.k.a. Jef UK, is an editor and writing contributor for TripCity.net. You can check out his post-punk-apocalyptic rock n’ comix at AmericansUK.com.

Ryan Dodge’s work has appeared in the New York Post, Glamour.com, Slice Magazine, Yahoo!, MSN and the Minetta Review. He hails from Tacoma, Washington, and lives in Cobble Hill.

Ian Chant writes about science, technology, and culture, and hopes to one day understand any of the above. He lives and works in Brooklyn, ideally in that order.

Stephen Pitalo has been writing about all aspects of popular culture for the past 25 years. You can read his blog about classic music video artists and directors from 1976 to 1993 at GoldenAgeOfMusicVideo.com.


THE ARTIST

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By Dale W. Eisinger

LJ Lindurst: The Realist Artist LJ Lindhurst takes a photo of a small purple-and-green, wrapped-in-foil chocolate Easter bunny. The

photo becomes printed, mostly for reference. Lindhurst takes the reference photo of the photo she took for a painting and makes the painting. When she’s finished, she takes a picture of the painting she made from the photo she took specifically for reference to paint the bright purple-and-green, wrapped-in-foil chocolate Easter bunny and sends that photo of the painting of the photo to OVERFLOW, where that image goes to print. Lindhurst is a photorealism painter, one whose work spans constraints of painters in this idiom past, and her own method of mimetic presentation. Basically, her paintings are 900 steps removed from the actuality of their own existence. The subject matter, the composition, the “realness” of the object have all been compressed and expanded and repositioned and interpreted and swapped from media to media to reality and back. They are some of the most alienating paintings you could imagine, devoid of emotional vector. But they are awesome to look at—when you actually realize you’re looking at a painting. “The only goal is to try and reproduce the photographed image as closely as possible, and there is no style or embellishment,” Lindhurst says, sipping Magic Hat beer from the bottle inside the Ninth Street Gowanus studio she’s occupied for more than five years. It’s a Thursday night and she’s working on a massive painting of Johnny Cash— 107”x70”—and the light is low and the colors are bright and it smells like sawdust and George Jones is blasting from the Apple computer wedged behind her workspace. Cash will hang behind Alex Battles and the Whisky Rebellion at an 80th birthday party tribute show for The Man in Black. For cultivating such a warm space and personality, Lindhurst takes a cold-committal approach to the alien world of the over-examined in her art, here drawn from chromatic polyurethane toys and muted light bulbs and candy and other objects at their flashpoint of existence. Though not totally evident upon first glance, Lindhurst utilizes the same methodical analysis point by point that postmodern portrait visionary Chuck Close does. “I would not be an artist if it were not for Chuck Close,” she says. “When I was in fifth or sixth grade we went to the St. Louis Art Museum”—she’s from a town of 700 in Antonia, Missouri—“It was this painting by Chuck called Keith, a huge black and white portrait. I saw it and I couldn’t believe it was not a photograph. I couldn’t believe it was actually a painting. It was a moment in my life where I thought, I need to learn how to do this.” She finds her inspiration from Close, sure. But socially and philosophically, her theories are way out. Rhode Island figurative expressionist Karim Hamid draws Lindhurst’s eye these days, finding common ground in a reality totally distorted by a

specific series of lenses or constraints. “There are a lot of bad things happening in his paintings,” Lindhurst giggles, looking at a cache of Hamid’s Bacon-esque images. Hamid’s concern is social, though; Lindhurst’s observational. However it’s in the construction of her paintings that she draws from an even more unlikely abstract force: Jackson Pollock. “I consider my paintings action art,” she says, referencing Pollock’s method of artmaking. “It’s really not so much about the end piece as it is spending 200 hours doing it. The act of doing it is part of the art itself. The fact that I took a picture of a bunny this big,” using two fingers to demonstrate the size, “and I turned it into a painting this big,” using two hands and both her arms to show it so large, “that’s absurd. It’s a stupid thing to do. Who does that? That’s the art. That somebody would do that action is absurd and I think that absurdity shines through.” Shine is an appropriate modifier. “I’m like a magpie. I like shiny things. I like rusty things. It’s things that are very strong put in a state of decay. The human state is in constant decay. I am from rural Missouri. I am drawn to that stuff, rough stuff in the country. It was rough place. My dad owned a gas station and he was a tow-truck driver so I looked at a lot of rusty shit, rusty old cars, the junk yard, stuff like that.” Lindhurst moved to New York City in 1993 to “be the famous artist” she is today. She had studios years ago on Atlantic Avenue and Smith Street, but this new location by far suits her best. Though she’s got the hope to show in galleries across the city—she would actually fit in quite well at Soho’s Gallery Nine 5—until now, it’s been just a hope. Sure, she’s been featured by Gawker Artists and a few other smaller spaces. But her ambitions for an audience have yet to line up with the reality of her distribution. “The gallery scene in New York is impossible. It’s impossible to get in with those people. I’m not from here. I’m not from a rich family. I didn’t go to Columbia. I didn’t grow up in the Hamptons and know everybody. It’s really, really hard to get into the galleries if you’re an outsider. I’m an outsider,” she says. “It is something I would love. Do I feel marginalized? At my bitterest moments, yeah. It’s real easy to get bitter as an artist.” When the truly good-natured Lindhurst—with

her curly bob and frayed, baggy high-water jeans and brown Doc Marten highs—starts pulling out older paintings of street ephemera, it becomes clear there’s a second side to Lindhurst’s inspiration. If side A is the hyper-contextualized kitsch, side B reflects a patina of industrial complex and environment. Her Gowanus studio allows her take her inspiration from the weathered, the stoic, the machined. This section of Gowanus is particularly sterile momentarily, the streets basically empty, the warehouses shuttered with big locks. “Everything is uniformly shitty over here,” she says. “My brother picked a fight for this one,” she says of a photo of a gold-ombre-rust padlock hanging from a wooden gate, the words HARDENED and TUFF STUFF engraved into its casing, the reflection of Lindhurst’s own pink shirt bent around the padlock’s bolt, all of it clashed against an uncommonly bright, yet aqua, sky. “This guy walked up at a show in St. Louis and said, ‘that doesn’t look right! The perspective’s all wrong! And this, this, this, and this.’ And my brother was like: ‘I’m going to beat the shit out of that guy. He made a remark about your painting.’ I was like, ‘shut up! I’m glad he has something to say other than ass kissing.’” Her brother seems to be the main provocateur of a wild streak that functioned as Lindhurst’s foil in the tiny town she grew up in. There was a firehouse, a bank, a grocery store, and the gas station. “I was generally a good kid but we did terrible things,” she says of how she occupied her time in Antonia. “We made my brother sit on a hornets nest and then sprayed him with the hose and threw things at him and laughed at him. There was a funeral home we broke into and found all the chemicals and stole them. Then we just had all these chemicals. We also broke into my dad’s cigarette machine at his gas station and smoked at like nine and ten years old. Oh, and we stole diet pills from my mother. We would take black beauties and yellow jackets and go ride ATVs. We’d be so young and fucked up we’d be like Beavis and Butthead on these speeders.” Our social condition in South Brooklyn has the intricacy of Lindhurst’s action-art to thank for keeping her under control.

www.ljlindhurst.com


THE VENDOR

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By Colin Weatherby Photo by Marlene Rounds

Maria Alvarez: The Empanada Lady of South Slope The skinny Puerto Rican girl—no older than 20—orders up a fistful of empanadas. The diminutive, middle-aged Ecuadorian woman passes back a steaming black grocery bag over the glass partition on her little cart on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 13th Street in Park Slope. The hand-off catches the attention of the girl’s strollerbound toddler. His mittens begin clutching at the frigid sky above him like two little puffy claws. The skinny Puerto Rican girl pulls the bag away and shouts something fast, loud, and unintelligible. The kid shuts up and the grown man beside her leans over to my ear. “You shoulda seen when she was pregnant,” he says, rolling his eyes. “Woman was sending me over here from Kensington every night.” His comment receives a scowl and a nudge from the girl. “Whatever, she’s the best,” the girl replies. She is Maria Alvarez. And, yes, her empanadas are damn fine. Alvarez has been slinging her tasty treats on this unassuming stretch of South Slope since 1999 and her empanadas are everything a hurried New Yorker demands in a meal. They are fast, cheap, and addictive. All the while, the matronly street food maverick serves the hurried masses with a wry smile and an extra helping of patience. But before Alvarez steals the show, let’s just talk a bit about empanadas. Even the shittiest empanada on the planet would make a hungry man drool. It’s a win-win endeavor: meat or cheese stuffed into a deepfried pocket of dough. Argentines bake them. Peruvians stuff them with potatoes and carrots. Jamaicans have a similar thing called a patty. Fat white Americans also have a similar thing called a Hot Pocket®, but I think they might cause birth defects. Empanadas are sold on street corners throughout South and Central America. Each nationality claims to have the best variety, especially Venezuelans. I’ve been cornered on three separate occasions in Central America by obnoxious Venezuelan drunks that can’t stop bitching about the poor quality of other empanadas. Maybe they do have the best ones. I’ve never been to Venezuela.

Alvarez is from Ecuador, but her empanadas are not. Her sister-in-law taught her the art of the Brooklyn empanada many years ago. These empanadas are a snackier and crispier variety of meat pouch than would be found in her native land. They seem to be as native to New York as the dirty water dog, the dollar slice and the impatient and broke asshole that wants a meal under two bucks. Alvarez had worked at a bed sheet factory in Sunset Park for two decades until the factory moved to New Jersey. That’s when she got bit by the entrepreneurial bug. She’s a tiny woman with a friendly middle-aged smile, but she smirks during all the right pauses in conversation. It quickly becomes apparent that she has a special breed of street smarts hiding behind her matronly charm. Her sharp wit and obvious business savvy has undoubtedly served her well. “How much does this interview pay?” Alvarez asked in Spanish, with the assistance of my translator. Upon discovering that it was an unpaid interview for a free local rag, she kindly asked for $6.00 to cover the four empanadas we had just devoured. Devour is a bit of an understatement. We inhaled these empanadas. The beef is perfectly molido and flavorful. The chicken juice runs down your chin and you don’t care. The cheese is tasty but it just makes you want more beef. And then the dangerously delicious cycle begins. I didn’t discover the little green jar of spicy chopped onions until the second round of each variety. The sweating began after the sixth pocket. Thankfully, I ran out of cash. Alvarez does not take debit cards. Alvarez is possibly the most consistent fixture in this ever-changing neighborhood. She arrives every morning at 11 a.m. and stays until 5 p.m. She works seven days a week, every week, regardless of rain, snow, and everything in between. She applies the time-honored logic of the empanada to her own survival during the frosty winter months. On the coldest, darkest January afternoon, Alvarez can be found stuffed inside a blue tarpaulin pocket surrounding the entire cart. The deep fryer keeps her and the empanadas toasty. After 13 years, Alvarez has developed a dedicated following. Like any good neighborhood icon, she wonders if she’ll be forgotten someday, but she currently has no shortage of lifelong customers. “Many people come and ask me if I remember them,” she says. “I usually don’t, because they were just children.” She laughs and tosses another batch of empanadas in the fryer. After contemplating a reasonable explanation she grins and shrugs. “I’ve seen a lot of people.” Maria knows every store on the block and fondly

remembers the old days when she was the only game in town. Now she competes with 7-11 and dozens of fancy take-out joints. The new white folks in the neighborhood aren’t as crazy about empanadas and she misses the old Puerto Rican ladies that used to sit with her. Alvarez travels to Guayaquil, Ecuador, every February for a visit with her mother and sisters. She is admittedly the worst cook in her family and doesn’t lift a finger in the kitchen at home. Alvarez supports her mother with her earnings from the cart and her family knows that the annual visit is her time to relax. The sisters make ensebollado, the famous fish stew from the coast of Guayas, and the whole family celebrates Carnival, which is known to get especially rowdy in Ecuador. Empanadas have been good to Alvarez. They have allowed her to raise three children and a whole mess of grandkids with her husband of 40 years. They share an apartment in Ridgewood with her daughter’s family. Her husband complains about all the noise, but family means everything to her. She only remembers when her first cart was stolen because she left it unattended to go see a newborn grandchild 11 years ago. She knows that she came to the United States in 1973 because it was exactly three years before her daughter was born. All of her stories begin with a quick calculation on the family timeline. Alvarez’s husband wants her to find a new corner, a spot where she can make more money. In his defense, she originally set up shop on 13th Street because it was easy to pick up her son at the elementary school down the block. Now her son drives a bus for the city. Business has slowed, but she has grown comfortable on her corner and she has no intention of leaving any time soon. Her cart was once a staple of the community and then it became a relic in a rapidly changing neighborhood. It seems now that Alvarez has weathered the storm and become a welcomed player in this new golden age of Brooklyn street food. None of that matters much to her. She is happy just as long as a few folks come by every day and stuff their faces.

Alvarez is possibly the most consistent fixture in this ever-changing neighborhood. She arrives every morning at 11 a.m. and stays until 5 p.m. She

works seven days a week, every week, regardless of rain, snow, and everything in between.


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THE COLLECTOR

By Jeffrey Burandt Photo by Sarah Wilmer

Scott Ogden: Made Man Artist and filmmaker Scott Ogden, 38, unpacks boxes of framed Art Brut and skateboard decks in his South Slope apartment, tearing out sheets of bubble wrap. He throws me a black t-shirt with the grim reaper waving. Hi There. He hands me a skateboard depicting a sci-fi ray gun hovering against a red-checkered background. “It came out cool, didn’t it?” he asks rhetorically. The original, by the artist Prophet Royal Robertson, hangs on the wall in front of me, and I can visualize how the print on the skateboard deck was excised from the painting. A dozen different decks Ogden designed from original works of art are stacked on shelves in his closet. His company’s signature MAKE t-shirts sit folded in giant, plastic tubs underneath. The images on the skateboards vary greatly, with some featuring the work of contemporary artists like Erik Parker and Kenny Scharf. Others feature reproductions from outsider artists such as Switzerland’s Adolf Wölfli, or are completely unique, painted directly on the board by contemporary artists like Vince Szarek. Ogden reminisces. “When I was in high school, I was sanding my old boards and painting on them—making art out of them.” Ogden insists that purchasing a skateboard when young is an early exercise in making aesthetic decisions, where picking that blue grip tape against that pink graphic becomes collage, and choosing those white trucks to support those orange wheels becomes sculpture. Ogden conceptualizes his latest aesthetic decision as moving backwards through time by way of his own super intense hobbies, linking seemingly discrete interests, and repackaging them as new collectibles, toys, and clothing. He’s putting the work of folk artists and others he treasures into the hands of next generation skater kids, and skateboards into the hands of next generation art snobs. Self-taught folk artists like Royal loom large in Ogden’s life. He recounts being an undergraduate student and stumbling upon a mid-day lecture about Texas prison art. “It was like nothing else they were showing in art history—it wasn’t like in the books—I wasn’t even seeing anything like that in art magazines. These intense, visionary pieces.” Ogden’s eyes widen as he smiles puckishly and gushes. “The imagery was crazy!” He continues. “Ever since I first discovered the art I love so much, it’s been a constant struggle to ignore its influence when making my own work.” While finishing his art degree from the University of Texas at Austin, his folk art influences became noticed by a visiting professor who told Ogden about the Webb Gallery in Waxahachie, Texas, stuffed full with unusual artifacts, banners, and paintings, obsessively collected by propri-

etors Bruce and Julie Webb from throughout the American South. The Webbs would take him in and told tales that contextualized the self-taught work on display, recounting stories about secret societies, men haunted by ghosts or writing so as to channel God—where art becomes a symbol of allegiance, an exorcism of spirits, or divine prophecy. Or rather, where the artifacts generated by those beliefs and processes become art. Ogden worked sporadically at the Webb Gallery in the mid-to-late 1990’s. One day the Webbs told him, “Scott, you can go meet these people—a lot of them want to tell you their stories.” Soon he was driving from Texas to Atlanta and back, visiting so-called outsider artists along the way, collecting both their work and their narratives. By the time he attended graduate school to earn his MFA from Queen’s College, he was returning to film his favorite subjects: the blind and epileptic Hawkins Bolden, paranoid-schizophrenic Royal Robertson, and chronic-schizophrenic Ike Morgan, accumulating footage for what, he wasn’t sure. One day, friend and filmmaker Malcolm Hearne was over at Ogden’s, watching a 2001 video of Bolden craft one of his tin-bucket-headed scarecrows. A film editor, Hearne compiled a quick scene using the Hawkins footage. The two decided then that they should produce a movie. Some brains and hands are compelled to make things. Certain people, as Ogden puts it, “have an inability to not make art. They don’t choose to make art. Self-taught artists, they have no other option.” Ogden further contemplated this compulsion to create after he and Hearne added a fourth subject to their film, Judith Scott, a sculptor born with Down Syndrome, who was profoundly deaf and mute. While living at the Creative Growth Art Center in Oakland, California, a non-profit center for artists with disabilities, Scott sculpted diverse forms by wrapping treasured objects (often stolen from staff or other students) and cocooning them with brightly colored yarn. So Ogden was laying in bed one night, thinking about his subjects, restlessly laboring over what to title his movie, when the answer sprung forth, a simple directive, punchy, positive, and unavoidable: MAKE.

As Hearne and Ogden continued to work on the newly-titled MAKE movie, that rubric loomed large in Ogden’s thoughts, emerging one day in a quick, gestural painting of a messiah figure holding a holy tome in the crook of one arm, announcing to the heavens from a word balloon: MAKE SKATEBOARDS! Ogden immediately ran home and purchased MakeSkateboards.com on the spot. He then took the divine command to heed, painting text to create an Ouija board graphic that he then printed as his first MAKE SKATEBOARDS deck. The MAKE documentary would prove to be a DIY adventure and labor of love, taking 10 years to production. Released last summer by music label Asthmatic Kitty, MAKE now screens around the country and abroad, with DVD and digital copies available online. As work surrounding the movie died down, Ogden ramped up work on MAKE SKATEBOARDS, beginning to use the MAKE rubric as an umbrella brand linking his passions. In the end he created his own fantasy company. For example, just as Prophet Royal Robertson’s imagery appropriates Holy Scripture, science fiction dime novels, and girly magazine spreads, so does Ogden appropriate Royal’s work as images on skateboard decks. MAKE SKATEBOARDS debuted as a pop-up skate shop in the spacious I-20 Gallery in West Chelsea last August. Ogden had transformed the gallery into a convincing retail space, making the gallery more approachable to the local community. “We heard a lot of ‘When did this store open? It used to be a gallery,’ said I-20’s Director and Artist Liaison Jonathan Lavole. “I think people really enjoyed hearing that it was still a gallery and this was an experimental exhibition of sorts.” Lavole added that as the shop continued, a different demographic began finding the store. The I-20 Gallery is located down the block from New York’s largest skate park. Skater kids started coming in to MAKE. It’s obvious that Ogden greatly enjoys sharing his inspirations with others. His entire MAKE endeavor works to support and fund the network of folk-artists and their support systems that have provided him with so much inspiration. He only reproduces art when given permission by the artist or artist’s estates, and he provides the artists’ families with funds and attention. He envisions MakeSkateboards.com becoming a virtual gallery, where he can keep his products more affordable from lack of overhead, and where new artists can be discovered. And all the while, he is constantly drawing, painting and filming, himself unable to not make art. For Ogden, MAKE is becoming a way of life. More than a brand, MAKE is just what you do.

www.makeskateboards.com


pickettfurniture.com 347.294.0476 204 Van Dyke St. suite 325B Brooklyn, NY 11231


INTERVIEW

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EATING THE NEIGHBORHOOD Stomach Turning Events at the Barclays Center By Jonathan Ritzman

Illustration by Luca Giovanopoulos

When OVERFLOW approached me about interviewing Mikhail Prokhorov, the Russian billionaire and owner of the soon-to-be Brooklyn Nets, I jokingly said: “Great, give me his email address and I’ll get you his favorite color.” Except this was no joke. A well-connected source for the magazine set me up with not only Prokhorov, but also Jay-Z, the Nets’ jack-of-all-trades minority owner. As in, he owns a minor part of the team. I was instructed to meet Prokhorov at the Applebee’s at the Atlantic Terminal Mall, a mere stone’s throw from Prokhorov’s majestic Barclays Center. As I waited for Prokhorov I began to sweat. He was an hour late and I had considered leaving. I called my source. He insisted I wait another hour. I had already consumed three 22-ounce mugs of Miller Lite. I had to pee. Just as I slid off my barstool, a 6-foot-8-inch man in a black Adidas track suit walked toward me with my source. I sat back down, then quickly stood back up to greet him. He smiled as his hand enveloped mine. I still had to pee. It was around 2p.m.


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JONATHAN RITZMAN: Hello sir, I’m Jonathan. Thank you so much for meeting with me. It means a lot to our tiny magazine.

our steak into this bowl, [Prokhorov almost completely submerges the piece of quesadilla] it will come out with salsa on it. [He eats the piece and some sauce is left on his chin. His mouth is full.] Don’t you get it?

MIKHAIL PROKHOROV: It is quite OK. My friend here said best things of your magazine. [Prokhorov scans the Applebee’s, looking for a server.]

JR: I have to ask you sir— MP: Please. Call me mister. JR: Mister, I must ask. Why Applebee’s? Why did you want to meet here of all places?

MP: Well, Jason. Listen. I am man of the people.

The locals. [Prokhorov points to the Applebee’s slogan on my menu.]

MP: So I thought, what better than a “neigh-

borhood grill?” It is neighborhood that makes people. And it is people that I care about. [Our waitress arrives. Prokhorov points at her nametag with a cunning smile.]

JR: You mean, “If you build it, they will come”? MP: Yes, Jack. Yes. But I much prefer Waterworld

JR: So sir. Excuse me, mister. Why Brooklyn? Why basketball? Why the Nets?

MP: It is very simple, Jordan. [He picks up a piece of quesadilla tower.] This…this steak quesadilla tower. It’s nothing more than tortilla, steak, and cheese. Delicious? Sure. Exceptional? Far from it. There is reason they serve it with a spicy chipotle lime salsa. It needs the sauce. Let me ask you question, Bob. Would you eat spicy chipotle lime salsa with a spoon?

JR: That sounds a bit much, to be honest. MP: That’s my point, Johnson. Brooklyn is the spicy chipotle lime salsa. The steak quesadilla tower is the Barclays project. If we jam

JR: I have to ask you a couple basketball questions. Your team signed the league’s most disliked player, Kim Kardashian’s ex-husband Kris Humphries, to a professional contract. Why do think he is the most hated professional player? MP: Simple. He is professional douchebag. Everyone knows Khloe is hottest Kardashian.

MP: Remember? JR: Yes, mister. “If you build it—”

MP: Good, you’ll have to excuse me. Applebee’s

MP: I want you to meet my business partner.

MP: Debra, tell me. Do you live in Brooklyn? DONNA: Yes. MP: Do you like basketball?

Perhaps you have heard him. [A group of people walk from the other side of the stadium. One of them wears a gold hard hat. It’s Jay-Z. I can’t believe it. He gives Prokhorov a hug, who again passes gas, much to the delight of Jay-Z’s entourage.]

MP: Mr. Z, this is Gerald. From local paper.

MP: That’s why I come to neighborhood grills like Applebee’s. It helps me better understand people. I am one of these people. I give back. [He waves for the attention of our waitress and starts to question her.]

gets to my stomach a little. [We continue outside and up to the gate of the construction site. A man meets us with hard hats to wear and we continue inside the shell of the Barclay’s Center with a few steel workers shaking Prokhorov’s hand along the way. The seats aren’t yet installed and you can see where the court will go. Prokhorov is starting to sweat a little. He passes gas, accidentally.]

MP: I must apologize. JR: Haha. It’s OK, mister.

MP: When I took control of Norilsk Nickel mine in Siberia, was it worth billions? Maybe. But if you don’t dig, you wont find anything. JR: A lot of controversy was made over the use of eminent domain to acquire the space for your stadium. Does any part of you feel bad for displacing people’s homes and businesses?

[Prokhorov agrees to take me to the stadium. We walk through the Atlantic Mall. He looks around him at the people and the stores and takes a deep breath through his nose.]

MP: Smell that? JR: No, mister.

JR: Your team is currently 13 games under .500 and seems destined for another last place finish. When you purchased the team did you see potential where others didn’t? Do you think people will come to see a last place team in Brooklyn? [Prokhorov picks up another quesadilla piece and shoves it into the salsa, with more force this time. Some of the salsa jumps on to the table. He swipes it with his finger and licks it.]

[Donna pulls the check from her apron and Prokhorov opens it and looks at me.]

MP: Split it? JR: Sure.

over Field of Dreams.

MP: Hello. Donna. My friend will have another beer and I will have one of your Applebee’s Mudslides and we will share your quesadilla steak tower with plenty of extra spicy chipotle lime salsa. [Prokhorov receives a phone call. He’s on the phone for 15 minutes. He’s arranging a meeting at the stadium. He speaks great English. He says he’s bringing a kid from a magazine with him. I can’t believe it. I still haven’t peed. Our food and drinks have arrived.]

D: Yeah, sure. MP: We’ll have our check please.

[Jay-Z puts out his hand and just as I go to shake it, Prokhorov groans. He looks pale. You can hear his stomach grumble. Prokhorov reaches around and cups his rear with his right hand. He starts to speed-walk toward the exit, groaning.]

MP: EXCUSE ME!!!

[Jay-Z smiles and kindly shakes my hand as we both watch Prokhorov scurry for the bathroom, now using both hands to cup his rear.]

JAY-Z: Quesadilla Towers?


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SAD STORIES BY FUNNY PEOPLE

“GIULIA ROZZI SHAVES HER HAIRY TOES!”

MEET GIULA ROZZI

WRITER, ACTOR, & KITTEN MAKER

Hello! I’m Giulia Rozzi and I’m a NYC based comedian, actress and writer that was raised in Boston by two adorable Italian immigrants. I got my start in LA at The Comedy Store. I love making people smile, I love telling stories, and I love pizza (even though my lactose intolerant stomach hates it). I’ve had the honor of being a Boston Comedy Festival finalist, one of The Friskys “Top 15 Comediennes You Should Be Laughing At” and receiving two ECNY Best Female Stand Up nominations. I’ve appeared on MTV, Vh1, Italian MTV, CNN, Late Night Republic, ads for Windex, NBC & iParty, and recently in the independent film Party Like It’s A Verb. I have a web series called TheMessage-Board.com. I co-host the popular and highly acclaimed sex-themed storytelling show Stripped Stories with my dear friend Margot Leitman every month at the UCB Theatre in NYC and annually in cities across the country. I also co-host the new free weekly comedy show Dive Comedy every second & first Monday at Freddy’s Bar in Brooklyn. My first album “A Very Pretty Name” debuted in Aug 2010 on iTunes & Amazon. I’ve written for Playgirl, BUST, NY Press, Glamour, Lemondrop, AOL/Lemondrop, Lifetimetv.com, Gawker, Huffington Post, Shoestring Mag, G.L.O.C., Mortified’s “Real Words Real People Real Pathetic” anthology and “My Parents Were Awesome” anthology. Recently I was a staff writer for the MTV game show “Silent Library” and I’m currently working on my first memoir.

Photo by Walker Esner

That’s what Katie screamed into the phone at the operator. Then she immediately hung up. “Katie!!! Why would you do that?” “Because it’s true and the operator is going to call everyone and tell them about your hairy toes!” I had indeed confessed to Katie just moments before that I shaved my feet. I didn’t have the luxury of being blond like Katie, who boasted the thinnest, fairest body hair, if any at all. Meanwhile, my Italian fur sprouted from my pores like weeds—the second I removed a hair, another one was there to take its place. It was as if my hair had understudies, eagerly waiting backstage to take the spotlight. It’s not so much that I have a lot of body hair. It’s that, according to every Vietnamese waxer, I have wery stubborn hwair! My hair is tough, unlike my teenage self who constantly fell victim to Katie’s cruelty. She’d always do this to me, trick me into telling her something personal because we were best friends and then use it against me. “Do you shave your legs, Giulia?” “Yeah, I just started a few months ago. Do you?” “Of course! Body hair is gross. Do you shave anywhere else?” “My armpits.” “Anywhere else?” “No.” “Come on, you’re Italian. Italians have to shave a lot. Do you shave your toes? ‘Cause I used to see hair on your toes. You can tell me, I swear I won’t tell anyone at school.” “Yes. I shave my toes.” That’s when she dialed zero and put me on blast to the phone company, as if the operator would start calling every home in Belmont, Massachusetts, to spread the news. Hello, Bell Atlantic here. We’re calling every home in the area to let them know that Giulia Rozzi uses a razor to remove follicles from her feet. Have a good day. Click. Katie must have not realized the operator has the capability of easily tracing a prank call. When her mother answered the phone she apologized to the operator and then asked us what was going on. “It was Giulia. She thought it would be funny to call the operator and hang up.” I was speechless. I was so stunned that I had been friends with this bitch for two years and never stood up to her. I wanted to scream, “It was Katie, it’s always Katie!” But nothing came out. Except for tears. Katie’s mom gave me a look of disapproval and sympathy, as if she also knew her daughter was a bitch. “Okay. Well, no more playing with phone you two.” And

then her mom closed the door. “You’re crying? God. You’re such a baby, Giulia.” So you can imagine my horror when, years later, I learned that Katie’s mother-in-law lived across the street from me. It was 2007. I had left Brooklyn and moved back to my suburban hometown with my then-fiancé. It was an attempt to have a regular life. (A regular life that lasted less than a year and ended with me moving back to New York. Oh, and I got a divorce. But that’s a whole other story.) My sister Elena saw Katie at a Mommy’s group and overheard that her mother-in-law lived on Trowbridge Street. I was horrified for many reasons. Someone married her, she procreated, and now I might see her on MY fucking street. “Did she recognize you? Did you say anything to her? Was she fat and ugly? Please say she was fat and ugly.” “No,” Elena replied. “I mean, she looks the same. Just older. And I didn’t say anything to her because when I looked at her face she had crazy eyes.” Crazy eyes. Blank, empty, heartless eyes. I had seen those eyes before—on WANTED posters at the post office, on the subjects of various serial killer documentaries, and on Katie. “Do her kids have crazy eyes, too? “I was too scared to look.” And now every time I take out the garbage I have to look to see if Katie is there to take me out? Should I see her, I knew what would happen. She’d say hello, all sweet because her mother-in-law or devil-spawn kids would be nearby. Then, when no one was looking, she’d give me that maniacal You’re gonna get it grin. Hours later, my house would be on fire. Fuck! No one, including myself, understood why I was ever friends with someone so mean. And even thought I too hated Katie, I didn’t know how to break things off with my so-called BFF. The BFF who locked me out of her house during a rainstorm and laughed hysterically as I got soaked from freezing rain drops. The BFF who shoved and scolded me if I forgot to wear my FRIENDS half of our Best Friends necklace set. The BFF who almost killed me. We were once at Waldon Pond with her parents. As an all-star swimmer, Katie constantly offered to teach me how to swim. I was an excellent doggy paddler. “Giulia, I want to teach you how to really swim,” she said. “Long distance. Come on, you can do it!”Her encouragement seemed so genuine, like she really cared that I learn and was rooting for me. And then what she said next sealed the deal.“Let’s swim out to the center of the pond. And when you can’t go any

Original Concept by Jonathan Ritzman

By Giulia Rozzi


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further I’ll carry you back. Don’t worry Giulia. I’ll take care of you.” And with that, I started to paddle and float my way into to the deep blue pond. When I was in about 40 feet of water I began to lose steam. “Katie, I can’t go any further,” I screamed. “Oh, that sucks.” And then she swam away. She swam away! Leaving me flapping and gasping for air. I was drowning and panicking. My legs and lungs forgot how to operate. I’m going to die, I thought. I’m going to die in the middle of Walden Pond. I know Henry David Thoreau celebrated the glory of solitude he found around this pond. But I wasn’t ready to die alone at age 13. Or maybe I was. At least I’d be away from Katie. Best-case scenario: I’d drown a little bit, be rushed to the hospital, and then everyone would know what a psychopath she was. All the popular kids would visit me in the hospital, bringing me balloons and Happy Meals. My 8th grade crush would walk in and say,“It wasn’t until you almost died that I realized how much I loved you.” Maybe drowning wouldn’t be so bad. Then, just I was going under water for what felt the last time, I felt someone abruptly grab my arm and yank me towards land. “Come on,” Katie said. “I’ll swim you back, you fucking baby.” You’d think I would’ve dumped Katie after that. Nope. We were frienemies for three more years. During junior year of high school, Katie got a new boyfriend, Lance. He was a druggie. And it was rumored Katie got high with him and gave him oral sex in the school auditorium. Since Katie was busy doing blow and blowing Lance, we didn’t hang out anymore. She wasn’t my bully BFF anymore. Just my bully. She’d crank call me late at night. She’d have food I didn’t order sent to my house. And she’d spread rumors that I was a raging lesbo. At least when we were fake friends there were moments of kindness, sociopathic kindness. Now she was just evil. It was after my Junior Prom that I finally realized there would be life beyond high school and beyond Katie. I didn’t have a prom date. Actually, I had never had a real date. Also something I blamed on Katie. Whenever I liked a guy or heard a rumor a guy liked me Katie assured me otherwise. “COME ON Giulia. As if Mike/John/Billy/Steve would ever like you!?” And she was right. Why would anyone like me when I clearly didn’t like myself? But where in the school curriculum was a class on how to like yourself? Great, I knew about Geometry and English literature. (Okay, actually I didn’t know about those things. I got by on cliff notes and writing test answers on my hand. But I had the opportunity to know about those things!) I did not know how to develop a healthy self-esteem.

Perhaps the other reason why no wanted to date me was due to the fact that I bore an uncanny resemblance to my dad. Don’t get me wrong. My dad is an attractive man. Ahem, man. No young girl wants hear that she looks like a man, especially her 5-foot-4-inch furry father. My wery stubborn hwair was not just regulated to my toes. It also appeared on my unkempt brows and whiskery upper lip, which Katie often pointed out. But I was hopeful that someone would ask me to be their date for the prom. I even went dress shopping with my friends, purchasing a hot little gold number from Jessica McClintock on sale for $90. It was the last one left. It was my size. When it got to be two weeks away from P-day, the choices were getting slim. All the junior and senior boys were asking freshmen as their dates because freshmen girls were considered easy. How awful. I could be easy, too. But no one got the chance to know that. Time was running out. There was only one thing to do. Remove my ‘stash. I bought a depilatory cream that chemically removes body hair. The proper way to use this stuff is to apply the cream to the hairy area, wait a few minutes, and then pat off the cream to reveal a smooth, fuzz-free woman. I, being the impatient and careless girl I was, did not read the directions and assumed vigorously rubbing the cream in would be more effective. Instead, I scorched the area left of my lip and caused a chemical burn so infected that a mountain of sores exploded almost immediately. I watched as I turned from a girl who may not have a prom date to a girl who would definitely, absolutely, never have any date. The next day I stayed home from school. My dad comforted me. “If you don’t have a date, why are you shaving your face in the first place?” he asked. My mom tried to make me feel better by sending my dad out to buy me a pizza. I ate six slices. I was in such a deep depression that I ordered extra cheese regardless of my lactose intolerance. I didn’t care. I wanted to self-destruct. I spent hours applying cover up to my face. My mother warned me that if I kept touching the scar it would just get worse. Worse? How could this get worse? The next morning I would find out. I woke up to find the infected area was now growing outward, bubbling up, and ready to burst. Despite looking like my cheek was made of ground beef, my dad made me go to school, insisting that my C-minus average should not suffer just because I was dumb enough to destroy my face. Of course the first person I saw when I got to school was Katie. “GIULIA HAS HERPES!!!!!!!!!!!” she immediately announced. “How did you even get herpes when no boys like you? Gross!” The possibility of prom was as non-existent for me as the once-healthy skin on the left side

of my mouth. A few days later my sore began to heal but my heart was far from mending. I reluctantly returned my dress, and asked for my limo money back. The night before prom I was watching Family Matters with my mom. As we sat wondering if that crazy Steve Urkel was going to do this time to try get Laura to go out with him, my sister Elena called with a suggestion of brilliance. “Do you want to come visit me?” she asked. Elena was a junior at UMASS Amherst. My parents had always been weary of me taking the Greyhound bus up alone to visit her. But given the trauma I had endured those past few weeks they gave in. I enjoyed a blurry, liquor-filled weekend dancing to Boom Boom Boom Let Me Hear You Say Wayo. I smoked weed out of a bong called Princess. I even scooped with a college guy (for all you under 25, that’s 90’s slang for kissing! With tongues!). My sister was having a party and this cute boy showed up. After telling my sister and her friends that I thought he was hot they convinced me to make a move. It was a refreshing and shocking change from Katie’s usual Don’t even bother, he’d hate you. After chugging the remainder of my Mad Dog 20/20 I heard my crush tell his pals he was going outside to hang a leak. I followed him. And just as his shook off his urine drip I kissed him hard like the sloppy inexperienced teenager I was. The true highlight of the weekend was seeing my sister—who also did not attend her junior prom—living a fun-filled, college life. Elena was at her prime. She was confident. She was beautiful. She could elegantly do a long keg stand despite having voluptuous breasts. I knew that one day I would be just like Elena.

NO YOUNG GIRL WANTS TO HEAR THAT SHE LOOKS LIKE A MAN, ESPECIALLY

HER 5-FOOT-4-INCH FURRY FATHER. When I returned to school Monday everyone glowed about the prom while I glowed knowing my future would be filled with drunken confidence, stoned make-out sessions, and friends that are with you and not against you. And things got even better when I learned that Katie left BHS for cosmetology school. I never did run into Katie on Trowbridge Street. Or anywhere for that matter. Even if I did, what can she do to me now? Everyone reading this already knows that I shave my toes.

www.giuliarozzi.com


Located in the heart of the historic Brooklyn neighborhood Park Slope, Zito’s Sandwich Shoppe features 13 classic sandwiches along side a create your own option. Zito’s offers a glimpse of the old school Italian American sandwich shoppes with a modern day twist. Zito’s is open 7 days a week and serves breakfast on the weekends. Zito’s serves locally cured & organic meats sliced to order, in hot and cold heros or on a variety of salumi platters. Purveyor’s will include Faicco’s Italian Specialties, Salumeria Biellese of Hells Kitchen, Ottamanelli & Sons Meat Market of the West Village and Applegate Farms Organic Meats and Cheeses. Zito’s also serves brick oven bread baked by Il Fornaretto of Bensonhurst Brooklyn and gluten free bread by Everybody Eats of Park Slope. Local beer provided by Sixpoint Craft Ales on tap & wines provided by Gotham Project, locally grown on Long Island.

@ Z i t os S an dwichS h


LOVE LETTER

TO

BROOKLYN

The Life and Photography of Jose Gaytan

THE MURKY WATERS OF THE GOWANUS CANAL ARE AN UNLIKELY LURE FOR CREATIVITY. IN SPITE OF A CENTURY OF

POLLUTION, A DIAGNOSIS OF GONORRHEA, AND A HISTORY OF SPONTANEOUS COMBUSTION, THE CANAL HAS DRAWN ARTISTS TO ITS BANKS FOR MANY DECADES. ONE OF THE FOREMOST OF THESE ARTISTS WAS JOSE GAYTAN, A PHOTOGRAPHER WHO LIVED JUST UPHILL FROM THE WATERWAY IN A CLASSIC PARK SLOPE BROWNSTONE. GAYTAN

PHOTOGRAPHED THE CANAL NEARLY EVERY DAY, UNTIL HIS RECENT DEATH FROM CANCER AT AGE 61.

Story by Nathan Kensinger Photgraphy by Jose Gaytan


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W

hen Gaytan first moved to the area in 2002 from Manhattan, he wasn’t sure how to spell Gowanus. But he soon found the canal to be a source of inspiration that would change his life. It started with his daily dog walks down to the water, and soon became a creative obsession. As Gaytan began bringing his camera to the canal, he discovered a rapidly changing landscape, and knew he needed to document it. Over the course of the past 10 years, a slew of new hotels and luxury condominiums have encroached on this historically industrial neighborhood, bringing crowds to new bars and venues to once quiet streets. Gaytan saw these changes, but focused his lens on a different side of the canal, capturing the decaying industrial landscape. “Many have taken photos of the Gowanus Canal,” said Katia Kelly, publisher of the South Brooklyn blog Pardon Me For Asking. “But I could sense immediately that his relationship with this industrial waterfront area went deeper. He seemed compelled to document every square inch of it.”

 Photography meant everything to Gaytan. It was his livelihood, his passion, and even the source of his marriage. He met his wife, Lisa Gaytan, while teaching a black and white photography class at the International Center of Photography. Their first dates were photo shoots, hauling equipment to the Brooklyn Bridge, waiting for the soft glow after sunset. Gaytan collected cameras of all kind—from the newest digital equipment to antique film models—and was an expert in their use. He worked


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‘I COULD SENSE IMMEDIATELY THAT HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH THIS INDUSTRIAL WATERFRONT AREA WENT DEEPER.

HE SEEMED COMPELLED TO DOCUMENT EVERY SQUARE INCH OF THE AREA.’


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‘I LOVED THAT HE WAS IN THIS CORNER OF THE CITY—

for years as a photography salesman and a freelance photographer.

 His personal photographic projects focused on the waterfront of New York City. He was “drawn to gritty landscapes,” said Lisa Gaytan. He photographed bridges under repair, the collapsed West Side Highway, and a series on Williamsburg, Brooklyn in the 1980’s, “when there were wild dogs running up and down Kent Avenue,” according to Lisa Gaytan. The allure of the Gowanus Canal, with its abandoned buildings, empty lots and crumbling infrastructure, was not hard to understand.

 Despite his many decades of photographic work, critical acclaim eluded Gaytan until almost the end of his life. His first solo exhibit came when he was 58, at the Brooklyn Public Library. His overview of his Gowanus photographs was titled Brooklyn in Transition: A Photographic Essay of the Gowanus. He worked day and night to prepare for the show, shooting and printing an enormous catalog of images. The exhibit opened June of 2009 and presented a collection of sublime Gowanus landscapes. Inky clouds, brilliant sunsets, crusty tires, beautiful

decay. It was a unique take on a toxic waste site. At the library, visitors responded in a way that “ranged from a sense of wonder, to disbelief that this was the same Gowanus that most Brooklynites were familiar with,” said Barbara Wing, Director of Exhibitions at the Brooklyn Public Library. The exhibit received a glowing review from the New York Times, which compared Gaytan’s photographs to the Impressionist canvasses of Pierre-Auguste Renoir. “I loved that he was in this corner of the city—that is usually written off as some polluted hellhole—finding moments of serenity,” said David Gonzalez, an editor at the New York Times photojournalism blog Lens, who reviewed the exhibition. “His palette was sophisticated, betraying a master’s understanding of light and color. Jose was an underappreciated master.”

 The exhibit and the Times review were “the culmination of everything he had worked for,” said Katia Kelly, the South Brooklyn blogger and friend of Gaytan. “He was so excited.” However, in just two years, an aggressive form of cancer, multiple myeloma, created a host of complications that would keep him from continuing his photographic work.

THAT IS USUALLY WRITTEN OFF AS SOME POLLUTED HELLHOLE— FINDING MOMENTS OF SERENITY’

“I think he knew that he didn’t have any time left,” said Lisa Gaytan. Unable to go out and shoot on the Gowanus, he began scanning negatives late into the night, trying to organize his vast photography archive from the past 40 years. Last December, Gaytan died. Some of his final words, according to his close friend Angel Franco, a New York Times photographer, were: “I love photography.” Gaytan was unable to finish organizing his archives before he died. Scattered around his office, on hard drives and in boxes of slides, there is a treasure trove of surprises from the Gowanus. They reveal a patient photographer, circling his subject, considering it from all angles. “Photographing the Gowanus was his love letter to Brooklyn,” said Lisa Gaytan. “I’m very proud of what he did.”


Story by Ian Chant Photgraphy by Craig LaCourt

HOMEBREW COMES OF AGE IN BROOKLYN

HOME COM AG BROO


EBREW MES OF GE IN OKLYN


you’re talking about. Be careful, though. Of late, you won’t be the only one. For a place that likes to see itself as the center of the universe, Brooklyn is surprisingly behind the times in terms of homebrewing. Making your own beer in the borough can present a bevy of challenges, beyond the fact that your so-called kitchen is just a cruel joke. (Yes, it is. Yes. Shut up.) “Space and temperature can be problems in the city,” says LaPolla. “Especially if you have roommates. Brew equipment can kind of take over an apartment if you let it.” There’s gear to store. Like large boiling pots suitable for a couple of lobsters or a few gallons of the good stuff. Or wort chillers, a more advanced bit of gear that eliminates the need for cumbersome ice baths. LaPolla also uses a cooler to ferment his beers in the summer when his apartment, like so many, reaches temperatures in

I’m not going to do it,” says John LaPolla, strolling away from a stainless steel kettle. It’s the sort of kettle that’s familiar to food service workers—an industrial affair that can produce enough gruel to feed a barracks. LaPolla’s is a touch on the fancier side, with its own power source and heating element. And instead of food for the masses, it’s full of boiling wort, a grain-steeped liquid that will, with a little know-how and some of mankind’s first lessons in chemistry, turn into beer. “You’re all here to learn about this,” LaPolla says to the Homebrew 101 class gathered at Bitter and Esters, the Prospect Heights shop he co-founded with Douglas Amport last year. Like any good teacher, LaPolla’s tone sometime comes up just short of admonishing. “One of you guys do it.” One of our 15 classmates takes the hint—and a large bag of malted sugar that tastes for all the world like the inside of a Whopper—from LaPolla and pours it into the boiling liquid with a little more trepidation. The result is instantaneous, a rising of bubbles and foam straight out of a middle school science class, bringing to mind those salad days when science used to seem fun—even exciting. After a couple hours of a class that’s equal parts illuminating lecture and Hey, give me a hand with this bucket, wouldya? brewing session, you might not be a pro. But with the help of a couple of fresh, fragrant beers from the mighty collection residing in the basement of Bitter and Esters you won’t be intimidated. If you want, you’ll even be able to throw around terms like specific gravity and Lovibond number, and sound like you know what

the low bazillions. That’s significantly higher than the 70-degrees ideal for yeasts to turn sugar into delightful booze juice. But it’s all part of learning how to brew in Brooklyn. That’s something a lot of folks are still getting a handle on. But they’re getting better. And there are more of them every day. “There are lots of apartment dwellers around who are figuring out what works for their space,” says Danielle Cefaro, co-owner of Brooklyn Homebrew in Gowanus. “People are doing things with one pot that otherwise would take three in other parts of the country.” In spite of the obstacles, homebrewing has blown up. It’s moved from the domain of largely bearded, bespectacled beer nerds—say what you will, but clichés exist for a reason—into the general population. Last January, the NYC Homebrewer’s Guild hosted their latest Homebrew Alley contest. They judged liquid labors of love from all corners of the city, from popular pale ales to Belgian-style trippels. All told, judges tasted more than 600 entries this year, up from just 200 when the contest started six years ago. The homebrewing buzz has been especially steep in South Brooklyn. The borough was once among the world’s brewing capitals, boasting no less than 48 independent breweries before Prohibition came along and made everything terrible

LIFE’S TOO SHORT TO DRINK BAD BEER, AFTER ALL, AND THERE’S

LITTLE MORE SATISFYING THAN A COLD ONE OF YOUR OWN VINTAGE AFTER A LONG HOT DAY.


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for everyone. But small craft breweries, like Kelso and Sixpoint, have made their homes here again. Simultaneously, more people have started turning their homes back into think tanks, brewing, testing, tweaking, and experimenting with new suds. Cefaro from Brooklyn Homebrew estimates that 30 percent of brewers who shop there are now women, a number that would have been unheard of just a year ago. Cefaro’s shop organizes the twiceannual Brooklyn Wort homebrew competition. For the latest battle of the brews, a preponderance of participants meant a first-ever preliminary round, determining which of the more than 125 entries would make to it the 25-beer final round. Teaching people to brew—and to enjoy brewing—is also at the heart of Bitter and Esters. The store came out of a class taught by LaPolla and his partner Amport at NYC Resistor, a DIY haven and hackcspace more noted for its engineering feats than it’s brewing capacity—even if the Boerum Hill space is in one of Brooklyn’s many former breweries. The shop also boasts a brewer’s test kitchen, where newly minted brewers can brew with some guidance from Amport and LaPolla’s veteran hands. Amport relates the rise of homebrew to the more familiar slow food movement, and a renewed appreciation of craft food and drink. An increased awareness of what people are putting in their bodies doesn’t hurt either. “At the end of the day, people would rather drink good beer,” says Amport. “And you can make your own good beer.” Good may be a stretch at first. But the beer

time at Bitter and Esters. Could some of Brooklyn’s burgeoning legions of homebrewers do the same, transitioning from their day jobs into full on brewmasters in their own right?Writer and beer tour guide Josh Bernstein thinks so. “What you’re seeing right now is the maturation, and there’s a lot of aspirations for people to go pro,” he says. “We’ll see how that works out, but I think you’ll see a new wave of small brewers coming up in the next few years.” But LaPolla is less sanguine on the matter. Setting up a brewery requires a lot of time and energy, which many brewers have in spades. It also requires a lot of space, which can be harder to come by. Amport, meanwhile, points out that making a living selling beer in the city comes with a circus tent worth of regulatory hoops to jump through, and that’s before dealing with distribution hassles. He’s always happy to give beer away to friends, or donate some cases to a worthy cause. But going into business as a brewer seems like more trouble than it’s worth. He’s more hopeful about seeing more local ingredients, like hops from upstate New York. The area was once a flourishing garden for the flowers that give beer its bite. These days, hops have to be imported from Europe or the Pacific Northwest, raising shipping costs while limiting freshness. Whether or not the recent explosion of amateur interest translates into more professionals down the line remains to be seen. But with multiple shops doing good business and clubs and friends trading recipes it’s hard to see the hobby fading anytime soon. Life’s too short to drink bad beer, after all, and there’s little more satisfying than a cold one of your own vintage after a long hot day. Even if that long hot day was spent brewing up another batch of drinks.

HOMEBREWING HAS BLOWN UP IN BROOKLYN. IT’S MOVED FROM THE DOMAIN OF LARGELY BEARDED, BESPECTACLED BEER NERDS—

SAY WHAT YOU WILL,BUT

BUT CLICHÉS EXIST FOR A REASON—INTO THE GENERAL POPULATION. will most certainly be your own. Making your own beer lets you add a personal touch to whatever beer you’re brewing. But making your first beer just isn’t as hard as it looks. “The learning curve is actually pretty tame,” says LaPolla. “By the time you’ve got a few batches under your belt you know what you’re doing.” And with hundreds of varieties of ingredients to learn about—and thousands of recipes online— there’s lots to learn about building your own perfect beer. And there’s infinite ways to customize it. Ingredients like licorice and lavender make their way into increasingly exotic recipes. With the supplies to do-it-yourself at your fingertips, the rulebook for what you can’t do to a beer goes out the window. Looking for a particularly strong tasting pumpkin beer? Why not try fermenting in a hollowed out pumpkin? But if you’re going for a more experimental corn-dog beer, don’t use hot dogs in the brewing process. It will end poorly. LaPolla and Amport have managed to turn their passions into a living. At a recent Saturday class, LaPolla was celebrating his last day at his longtime day job, and the transition to working full

www.citybrewshop.com www.brooklyn-homebrew.com


All terrariums provided by Twig. 274 3rd Avenue at President St. www.twigterrariums.com


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DEAN HASPIEL

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When Good Ideas Go Bad The origin of a stoop sale artist. By Dean Haspiel

LAST FALL, MY GIRLFRIEND, the artist-painter Jen Ferguson, was

asked to be part of a small group art show at a local European-style Hair Salon [the kind that has a DeeJay] in Brooklyn. I advised against it. But Jen had already agreed to do the show. The night of the Hair Salon art opening happens and it’s festive. Lots of catered food, wine, slicked-back black hair, golden gowns, designer suits [think polar opposite of MAD MEN], and cigarettes [cough-cough]. There’s a regal air to the heirs of the hair salon. Not my cup of tea. I walk in through the glass door and see Jen in the very back by the hair washing station, flanked by a table of her artwork, talking to a friend.

As I make my trek toward her, I see to my right a travesty of a painting. It looks something like the Statue of Liberty. Albeit apocalyptic. It’s not the holy twist-ending, Planet of the Apes Statue of Liberty either. It’s possibly one of the most bland interpretations of the French gift to America I’ve ever encountered. In this iteration, the statue is sick bay green, the sky is insane asylum blue, the composition is uninspired, and the expression on Liberty’s face looks despondent, like she’s eaten too many bananas and needed a toilet. Post haste. I laugh to myself, and deem the monster Stoop Sale Art! The kind of art your geriatric uncle made for the annual Catskill Cauliflower Festival that got published on page three of the local newspaper and was quarantined in the family attic with all the other serial killer clown paintings and dusty heirlooms until it was time for spring cleaning. I’m no art snob. But it confirms to me that Jen is a big fish in a small pond and her art is way out of their league. We enjoy the opening as best we can. But it doesn’t generate the kinds of sales her other openings have allowed. Perhaps the house party music and clove cigarette exhaust is the wrong vibe for her rustic Brooklyn Bridge paintings? The next day we weigh in on the bigger picture. Jen confirms that the salon is her last non-gallery show. She’d still show at her regular digs, but steps to break into the art gallery world and focusing on her online Etsy store [artinchaos] are a priority. In solidarity, I can’t help but contrast Jen’s supreme talent with the rest of the room where she’d shared her wares [maybe I am an art snob, after all]. I voice, out loud, about the god awful Statue of Liberty painting as an example of art brutality. I watch in horror as Jen’s eyes turn into big brown Disney baubles of sadness. Jen reveals that the Statue of Liberty art was hers. Gasp. I can’t believe it. How? Had she painted with her opposite hand in an experimental drug haze or had she suffered a seizure while interpreting such an icon? I am embarrassed for her. And me. Luckily, Jen laughs and I laugh and we

I watched in horror as Jen’s eyes turned into

big brown Disney baubles of sadness.

realize I am too candid for my own good. But she appreciates the honesty. It sets a good tone between us. The next day, to my chagrin, Jen destroys her heavily scrutinized Statue of Liberty. Every Christmas, Jen and I make it a point, as artists, to gift each other original art that’s tailor-made for each other. Previous Christmas art I have made for Jen include universal monsters, rats, rail birds, the Brooklyn Bridge, and other things that speaks to her art-inchaos sensibility. Jen has made me art about Wo Hop [my favorite Chinese restaurant], Gemini [my astrological sign], a portrait of my two cats [Cocoa Paloa and Miercoles], and other beautiful paintings of old men and race horses. A few months ago, we watched a Norwegian movie called Troll Hunter and it was a lot of fun. Jen became infatuated with troll mythology, read up on some classic troll lore, and decided to create METROLLPOLIS for TripCity.net, my website. This year, I decide to tackle trolls as my Christmas gift to Jen. It takes me awhile to figure out that I am going to illustrate a troll family and that the parents are going to celebrate the sprout of their offspring’s new-found tail. Or something like that. It’s meant to be odd, but charming. Leaning toward the absurd. Just the way Jen likes it. I spend the next day designing the father and mother and child [boy or girl? It didn’t matter.] and adding a gray and black wash line to the blue pencils. Throughout I listen to JG Thirlwell’s Manorexia: The Mesopelagic Waters, a Doug Stanhope comedy album. I also listen to Marc Maron’s WTF podcast. The mix of horror music and caustic banter has a macabre impact on me. When I’m with the drawing, I step away from the artwork and am stunned to witness my disaster. What I originally imagined for Jen takes some bizarre left turn when it cast from my mind to my

drawing hand, punching my talent in the jaw with a right hook that knocks my muse unconscious. What stares back at me is a bizarre perversion of innocence. A fable gone fatal. A concept gone corrupt. A good idea gone bad. Maybe there is an expiration date between concept and execution? If so, it’s a very short window of opportunity. I’m appalled, yet equally fascinated by the water-colored car accident that stands before me like a scapegoat of good will gone ill. Christmas is just hours away with no time to make another painting. Christmas morning arrives. Jen and I promise each other that we won’t make a big deal of gifts because finances are tight. Besides, we gift each other plenty of stuff throughout the year without cause for celebration. Simply put, if I discover something I think Jen will like, I don’t wait for a birthday or holiday for her to enjoy it. Still, we manage to squeeze out a few fun Christmas gifts for each other and Jen gives me a couple of amazing pieces of her art that I will treasure forever. As I am about to hand her the troll abortion I made her, I finally realize what happened to me. “I made you my Statue of Liberty,” I tell Jen. She gives me a knowing look and tears open the wrapping paper. She is aghast. A second later, Jen bursts into laughter. She squeals. “It’s so wrong!” She hugs my present. In that instant, I proudly become a certified stoop sale artist.

www.deanhaspiel.com


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Hit the Bricks and Take The Scenic Route By Ryan Dodge

Let’s face it: You’re getting fat. Too many pints of Sixpoint Sweet Action, too many fried chicken dinners at Buttermilk Channel, too many nights spent sprawled out on your mid-century modern couch watching Bored To Death. You want to work out, but you can’t bear to pull yourself away from your fabulously boho South Brooklyn life. Luckily, we’ve devised a way for you to burn calories while simultaneously racking up first-hand factoids that you can inflict on your equally insufferable friends at the next locallysourced hooch tasting. That’s right, lardolegs—lace up your New Balances because OVERFLOW is about to run yo’ ass..

1. BERGEN STREET SUBWAY

F, G trains.

The gentrification of Red Hook began on this cobblestone street, and it’s not hard to see why.

3. THE LION’S DEN

This block was the home base of Crazy Joe Gallo, one of New York’s most colorful gangsters. He kept a pet lion in the basement and was gunned down at Umberto’s Clam House in Little Italy.

5. LOUIS VALENTINO PARK

Run out to the end of the pier and savor a truly amazing view of New York Harbor.

6. PIER 41

These converted warehouses were built by Col. Daniel Richards, who helped turn Red Hook into a shipping center in the mid-19th century.

6. 7.

9.

There are all kinds of weird structures back here, some of which may be designed for workouts. Give them a try.

8. OLD MAN FISHING PIER

Where old men come to fish and hang out in their minivans. Kind of creepy, but worth it for the views.

9. ABANDONED GRAIN ELEVATOR

4. STUMPTOWN COFFEE ROASTERS Caffeine boosts leg power—take a body shot

of espresso off one of the scruffy Stumptown roastmasters, or whatever they call themselves, and feel the surge.

4.

7. IKEA PARK

2. TIFFANY PLACE

3.

5.

RED HOOK

START: Cobble Hill END: Gowanus DISTANCE: 5.7 miles VIBE: Edgy, but not sharp enough to hurt.

2.

The owner of this burnt-out behemoth, which looks like it should be on the cover of a Led Zeppelin album, has been working on developing it since at least 2007. If any relic of the neighborhood’s past is left to stand as a symbol of what once was, this has my vote.

10. SCRAPPY!

Smith Street—home to bars, bistros, and Benson’s Scrap Metal.

11. FOUR & TWENTY BLACKBIRDS

Stop in here for a post-run slice of pie. You deserve it.

12. 9TH STREET SUBWAY

8.

D, N, R trains.

1.


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45 1. HIGH STREET SUBWAY

A, C trains.

5. FUN FACT

2. 7 MIDDAGH STREET

3.

2.

BROWNSTONE BROOKLYN START: Brooklyn Heights END: Fort Greene DISTANCE: 4.8 miles VIBE: Envy-inducing.

1.

The building no longer exists, but between 1940 and 1945 this building functioned as a commune home to Carson McCullers, W.H. Auden, and Gypsy Lee Rose.

3. 70 WILLOW STREET

This house, which is currently on the market for $14 million, is where Truman Capote wrote Breakfast at Tiffany’s and In Cold Blood.

4. STABLES

Enjoy this block of beautifully converted stables and consider the fact that one day your beastly hovel may be converted into space suitable for an investment banker.

4. 5. 6.

Next time you’re out in Carroll Gardens or Cobble Hill and need to catch a cab, head to Clinton Street, which savvy cabbies use to get from the BQE to the bridges.

6. COBBLE HILL PARK

Perhaps the quaintest park in all of BK.

7. GOWANUS HOUSES

This housing project is a useful reminder that not everyone in Brooklyn is lucky enough to live in a beautiful brownstone.

8. THE FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE BLOCKBoerum

Hill hasn’t always been a boho paradise–check out Jonathan Lethem’s masterpiece, which is set on this block–for a peek into the neighborhood’s grimy past.

9. ZEN CENTER OF NEW YORK Sore hammies stressing you out? Stop here and consider this koan: “A monk asked Joshu: ‘Has a dog Buddha-nature or not?’ Joshu answered: ‘Moo.’”

10. 40 ACRES AND A MULE FILMWORKS Spike Lee’s headquarters. 11. CLINTON AVENUE MANSIONS

Forget brownstones—what you need is a straight-up mansion.

12. Clinton-Washington Avenue Subway A, C trains.

11. 1. 8.

7.

9.

10.

12.

1. 36TH STREET SUBWAY D, N, R trains.

2. GEORGE TILYOU GRAVESITE

Pay homage to the man who put Coney Island on the map.

3. HENRY CHADWICK GRAVESITE

10.

11.

His grave marker reads “Father of Base Ball.” What have you done with your life?

12. 7.

4. 3. 2.

GREEN-WOOD CEMETERY TO PROSPECT PARK START: Sunset Park END: Park Slope DISTANCE: 5.3 miles VIBE: Death, Yuppies, and Alanis Morissette.

4. ALANIS PACINESETTE

Most of the classic Al Pacino flick Dog Day Afternoon was filmed on this stretch of Prospect Park West. But you probably remember it as the setting for the Alanis Morissette Hand In My Pocket video.

5. (RUN) PAS(T) THE DUTCHIE

Leave the road for some cross-country running, but don’t let yourself be waylaid by the Jamaican gentlemen enjoying some wake-and-lake action.

6. IT’S ONLY TEENAGE WASTELAND This stairway is where the bad boys and

6.

girls of Park Slope come to rehearse for the sequel to The Squid and the Whale.

7. 7TH AVENUE SUBWAY F, G trains.

5.


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A great rock bar explores an essential dichotomy.

It’s a refuge, but it also feels like the place you ended up. It can be your home away from home, or merely the address where you can attempt to salvage an evening gone wrong.

Story by Stephen Pitalo Photgraphy by Pearl Gabel


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Picture the place where your favorite asshole made you laugh so hard you pissed your pants. Or where your late night booty call threw a drink in your face. While the danger of friends can sink you, the elation of a stranger seated at a neighboring barstool can raise you up. It’s no coincidence that heaven and hell occupy the opposite ends of the behavioral reward spectrum, as well as the second coming of Black Sabbath. This duality surfaces in the moniker of Park Slope’s greatest rock bar ever—Lucky 13 Saloon. It’s hard to fathom that Van Halen’s first album and the Sex Pistols’ first album arrived within four months of each other, but it’s true. Side by side, two of the most unintentionally influential rock albums ever hatched seemed to only have one thing in common— they were albums that rocked. And though these two seem to exist on worlds completely alien to each other, the collective musicology gives Rotten and Roth orbits in the same fantastic solar system, running laps around the sun of Hendrix (and avoiding the moons of Creed). Lucky 13 serves as the galactic shuttle that runs routes to those two worlds. It collects travelers whose flight includes six-hour happy hours to smooth out the turbulence, as well as an on-board staff who’ll make sure you enjoy the ride with a swig and a smile. It’s metaphor city from the get-go. For one thing, you can survey every inch of this place from the front door, yet not quite know what to make of it at first.

FOR EVERY AUTOGRAPHED PHOTO OF ADRIENNE BARBEAU OR MORGAN FAIRCHILD THAT TICKLES THE LIBIDO,

Cheap beer leads the charge. But the hard stuff sits without judgment, calling you to take your skirt off and open up the night’s possibilities. Concert posters of the heavier ilk adorn the ceiling, with surprises like the Cure and Einstürzende Neubauten standing proudly alongside their leathered and weathered counterparts. The golden dancer pole on top of the bar is open for business for both the daring, tattooed pro and the pickled, but courageous, first-timer. For every autographed photo of Adrienne Barbeau or Morgan Fairchild that tickles the libido, a Lita Ford or Ramones picture reassures your soul of the bar’s three-chord allegiance. That aroma you smell is lost time and the night’s potential tugging at your leg. Or perhaps your more fun-loving appendage. To call the jukebox metal is to call the night black. Priest and Maiden lay down their law for all to hear, but Johnny Cash sits poised, ready to stab your dark heart and pour whiskey on the open wound. The twice-monthly Original Cyn Burlesque parades a darkly comic and carnally faithful cast of ladies that can inhabit your spank bank as easily as a lineup of murder suspects in a pulpy paperback. Be it the Crüe or the Clash, you’re just as safe in the unsafest corner of this place. The owners set up shop in 2004 with a never-say-die commitment to a good time, but without the Jell-O shot, running suit cheese, or the craft-beer beardo belt-notchiness. In the end, if you can resolve your soul to rock out with a smile like Van Halen, but stick to your guns like the Sex Pistols, Lucky 13 will help you fly that flag every single night.

A LITA FORD OR RAMONES PICTURE REASSURES YOUR SOUL OF THE BAR’S THREE-CHORD ALLEGIANCE.


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PET PORTRAITS

Pet Portraits OVERFLOW’s Resident Artist Immortalizes South Brooklyn Pets and Their Owners Victor Colon and Taz

Fourth Place between Clinton and Henry Streets Sayaka Nagata: Tell me how you got to naming him Taz? Victor Colon: Well, first of all, I rescued him and his name was Todd. But I changed it to Taz because the first time I got him he bit me. So I figured he ain’t no Todd, he is a Tasmanian Devil! SN: Has he always been a little bit crazy? VC: No, just at first. He’s just fun. He’s just a lot of fun. SN: He’s such a little dog! VC: He’s my little baby. Are you kidding me?! SN: How long have you had him? VC: Almost four years now. He’s been a big joy. He’s been a big part of my life and he’s given me so much happiness. I’m just happy he came into my life and my girlfriend’s life. SN: Any favorite spots you guys like to walk? VC: We like to walk everywhere. He just sees me get dressed and he wants to go out. As long as he’s with me, he’s happy. And he likes to ride in the car, too. He likes to drive with me and he tries to drive sometimes. He jumps on the steering wheel and that’s when I say, Listen, you gotta get your license first. SN: I feel like the wheel is a little big for him. VC: Yeah, exactly!

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DEAN HASPIEL

OVERFLOW Spring 2012  

A quarterly magazine, an account of life around the Gowanus Canal.