Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Too convenient not to share

Free 50% off coupon from Scoutmob for Xoom Smoothies/Coffee at 244 E. 14th Street. Admittedly, their name is kinda dumb, but it's so convenient for an energy boost when you find yourself in Union Square. Deal is only up for today; expires 11/30/11.

Community Season Premiere

Splitsider says it best: it's anybody's guess as to what's going on in the season premiere of Community. But it looks great from these stills:

I'm pro Annie-Abed.

Clever Talk

Oh my god, this is fantastic: Cleverbots having a conversation.

[via Jezebel]

This reminds me of the "Talking to Machines" episode of WNYC's Radiolab. If you're not already listener/free podcast subscriber 1) you should be 2) get this episode. A guy fell in love with a chatbot! Science + sound collages = perfection.

Any excuse for xkcd:

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Hunger Games teaser

A teaser for The Hunger Games has surfaced! Almost wish there was no voiceover, but at least we get to see Katniss shoot an arrow . I picked up a free promo poster at the movies recently, and it's good and simple--just the Mockingjay in flames on a pitch black background with, "May the odds be ever in your favor." Gives me chills.

Aled Lewis' Toybox

So I've seen this stuff popping up a bunch of different places, but Jezebel just led me to London-based designer Aled Lewis' website:

Some of his stuff is more traditional illustration than the Toy Stories series, but the use of figurines is my favorite:

Toy Stories

There's a handful of prints for sale at inPRNT; Lewis is also responsible for a bunch of Threadless shirts. Definitely on my wish-list.

Nobody Likes a Show-off


Chance Encounter

Slow Coach

Tossing in a nice book cover design, too:

Power Tuesday

I'm just really excited that we have electricity back after Hurricane Irene. Hurrah! 

Tuesday stuff:

1) As mentioned earlier, there is a Summer Social event at 404 10th Avenue (at 33rd Street). Free entry, and free Satisfaction Vodka cocktails from 7-8p. It looks like a large place, and it might be partially outdoors, which is great with this weather. RSVP to

2) Via My Free Concert, Disco Down at former "health club" Happy Ending (302 Broome St.) from 7p-4a. Apparently you can drink inside a sauna (I hope not still functioning). Mix of music and open bar from 8-9p and 11p-12a. I believe this happens every Tuesday, so no worries if you miss it this time. No RSVP necessary.

3) Thunder & Lightning rescheduled their concert to make way for the hurricane; it's tonight at Cameo (93 N. 6th St., Williamsburg). They go on at 9p, doors are at 8:30p. This is either free or cheap. I discovered Thunder & Lightning by accident, and they were better live than either of the acts I had come to see. I don't know if the rest of the crowd knew them beforehand, but the energy level went noticeably up for their set. Right now the best 'sounds like' I can think of is The Unicorns (now Islands). Another impossible-to-Google band, but their album 'Kangaroo Court' is pay-what-you-wish on Bandcamp.

The Cut-Up

How amazing are Brian Dettmer's creations from old books [via Design Milk]? I would love to see this stuff in person; I'll definitely be on the lookout for his next NY gallery show.

Wagon Wheel, 2010, Altered Encyclopedias

This one reminds me of House of Leaves. WHERE DO THE HALLWAYS LEAD?

Fate Far Fast Fall Final, 2009

Compiled Upon a New Plan, 2010

Totem, 2010

Now that's a lot of very sharp Exact-o knives.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

It's not a cat appreciation society

So, normally, I won't post about events that have already happened, unless I've personally attended it/it's to say check this out next time, but this write-up in the Nonsense NYC newsletter just killed me: 

Cat Face is a party. We draw crap cat faces on each other, listen to dirty party music, and get stupid. Great music. Little to no cover charge. Everyone has stupid whiskers on their face. And we play an interactive slideshow of previous cat facers and famous photos and iconic images made into cat faces submitted by partygoers.

Club rules:

No dogs.
No acting like a cat.
No other cat paraphernalia apart from a cat face
It's not a cat appreciation society
It's about having a crap cat face but not really thinking you do.

Don't dress like a cat. You won't get in.

I want to know a) how a slideshow is interactive once it's already been made b) why this person seems to be mildly angry/dismissive about the event he/she is throwing.

I think my favorite part is: "Everyone has stupid whiskers on their face." I can imagine a petulant child walking into a costume party and yelling that.

Anyway, I will definitely be there if this ever happens again. But I won't dress like a cat. Cause I won't get in.

Lest you get nothing out of this post but a laugh, I recommend signing up for the Nonsense NYC newsletter. They'll send you a pretty bare bones e-mail once a week, with events/classes/volunteering. Some of it is less crazy than this, some more.

Videos before the power blows

A new-ish and an old one before Hurricane Irene hits:

In case you haven't seen it yet, enjoy the Drew Barrymore-directed music video for Best Coast's 'Our Deal'. You should watch it because 1) Chloe Moretz 2) Donald Glover 3) West Side Story. 

The second video showed up a year or so ago, but I've been reminded of it twice recently, and realized it should have been the introductory post to this blog. Also, more Paul Rudd.

Good luck riding out the storm

Friday, August 26, 2011

Up and running

So, I realized all of the mp3s I've posted so far (look at posts tagged 'music') have not been allowing downloads. But! That is now fixed, so just right/ctrl click and choose save as. Thanks to Amanda for helping me figure this out. You should check out her blog, Style Relish, to find things to add to your wish list.

More freebies

You're gonna want to get on these RSVPs:

1) Via The Printup, Fashion's Night Out After Party, hosted by Bulldog Gin 9/8 from 10p-2a. Open Bar, DJs, fashion showcase (?). RSVP to

2) Also via The Printup, Summer Social at 404 10th Avenue (at 33rd street), 8/30. Free Satisfaction Vodka cocktails 7-8p, drink specials after that. Looks like a big place, maybe outdoors? RSVP to

sheep shweaters

Love this print from Design Milk:

Cool Sweaters, Jaakie201

You can buy a copy at the Design Milk Dairy section of Society6. Society6 is a site that supports independent artists from all over the world, and has a ton of great stuff. They're also responsible for Threadless prints, so you can put an end to your t-shirt addiction and plaster your walls instead. Free shipping until 8.29.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Free Whiskey

From My Free Concert: Johnnie Walker is having free tasting events over five days (9/6-9/10) at the Altman Building on West 18th Street. You're going to want to RSVP now, because time slots are filling up. For those of you not in the New York area, I believe Johnnie Walker is holding free events in a handful of cities around the country. Go and get that swank.

Speaking of Parks and Recreation...

Oh, who am I kidding? I need no excuse to fangirl about Adam Scott, Paul Rudd, or anything tangentially Party Down-related.  Favorite actors/comedies are pretty circular in that a) I like things they're in because of them and I like them because of the things they're in and 2) most of them can be connected and re-connected in an infinite loop of one or two degrees of separation.

That being said, I have been anxiously awaiting the promised Party Down reunion episode on Children's Hospital, and thanks to friend and TV-nerd Merigan, I now know it's coming up, really soon. Like, at midnight EST soon, on Cartoon Network.

Rudd and Scott have an interview in BlackBook magazine (the people who hosted that Grey Goose party we weren't invited to?), promoting the upcoming Our Idiot Brother. I mean, look at this photo, people:


And because these two movies are connected by Elizabeth Banks, I'm gonna mention it: I watched Zach and Miri Make a Porno recently, and it was surprisingly good. That is, surprising for how poorly it did at the box office. I'm not sure if this is an unpopular opinion or not (i.e., I'm too lazy to look up the Rotten Tomatoes score), but I'm just putting it out there.

Get thee to a television!

UPDATE: Here it is, the Party Down reunion, in all of its 30 second glory

It made my brain hurt a little, but I'm actually glad they didn't try to reconcile Megan Mullally and Ken Marino regularly playing different characters on Children's Hospital. And that Lizzy Caplan played Mullally's daughter once. Mostly I'm just glad to see those costumes again. And so many Jew jokes (Merigan pointed out that the unusual color of the bow ties may be Bar Mitzvah-themed).

Hark! An Interview

Oh, how I love Hark! A Vagrant, and author Kate Beaton. This is the webcomic that makes me feel stupid for not knowing enough history (Canadian or otherwise). Her animation style and voice consistently makes me laugh; she does facial expressions so well. Also, the Hairpin has put up a brief interview with Beaton. Go forth and read! And learn [wikipedia] some damn history, why don't you?

Some of my favorites, old and new (all images via Hark! A Vagrant):


'Nikola Tesla mad for science and the ladies mad for Nikola Tesla'


Hey, girl--it's Thursday

New Thursday, new opportunities. And those opportunities would be:

1) Insound is having another warehouse sale at their location in Brooklyn (61 Greenpoint Avenue), 5-8p. This will include free Brooklyn Brewery beer, and maybe food? And promo goodies (pens?!). In case you're unfamiliar with Insound, their website has a pretty insane selection of CDs and vinyl. Also, they regularly update with free mp3s from upcoming albums.

2) Digital DUMBO event at the DUMBO Loft (155 Water Street) in Brooklyn is sure to have free drinks, food, NY trivia, and Google swag. Also, networking? RSVP here.

3) The Soundtrack Series continues at Le Poisson Rouge. This is a (free!) monthly event, where writers, actors, comics, musicians, etc. pick songs and tell stories inspired by those songs. Songs this time around are diverse as "Bridge Over Troubled Water" and "The Lonely Goatherd" (Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music). Doors are at 7p, show starts at 8p.

4) Wavves and Dum Dum Girls are playing a free show at the East River Park as part of the parks' Summer Stage series, 7p. The end of free summer shows is in sight, and it makes me sad. This promises to be an evening lo-fi fun. May or may not include Nathan Williams' rage.

5) Summer movies are also almost over! Brooklyn Bridge Park's Movies with a View is screening Rosemary's Baby. As usual, music is at 6p, film starts at sunset. See earlier post for additional freebie/food tips for this event.

6) Another free Spotify concert at the Mercury Lounge; tonight is Oberhofer, with Exitmusic and The Suzan. Doors are at 10p, the line starts at 9:30p. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Beautiful Brain

As seen on Design Milk, a collection of covers for Oliver Sacks books, created by Cardon Webb.

I love how each cover has its own distinct type/layers of head cross-section, but still form a puzzle together. Although not included in this collection, let me recommend Sacks' book Musicophilia, for a fascinating and easy to understand survey of how our brains interact with music. This includes stories of a type of synesthesia much more interesting than my own.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

it's time to light the lights

Splitsider has a new post in their "Checking In..." series, this time, with the Muppet Show Muppeteers. Between this and seeing the Jim Henson exhibit at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria a couple weeks ago, my love for the Show, the Street, and the Rock has been fully refueled. For those in NY, the exhibit runs through January 2012, and there are related screenings (free w/ admission). CHEAP TIP: The Museum is free from 4-8p on Fridays, and has a regular discounted rate for students. If you go, you can get the delicious (and huge) St. Petersburg Fish for dinner at Greek restaurant Elia's Corner.

Highlights from the Splitsider piece include which characters were played by the same person (e.g., Beaker, Sweetums, and Janice, oddly enough), along with more photos.

And this excerpt, originally from the "Jewish Journal", about Muppeteer/director Frank Oz, because it's amazing:

"[Oz’s] Jewish father furtively dug a hole in Nazi-occupied Antwerp to bury a marionette he'd secretly carved of Adolf Hitler. The puppet-caricature, which had a funny mustache and a uniform sewed by Oz's lapsed-Catholic mother, Frances, was too dangerous to carry on the road. So, his father, Isidore, carefully covered it with spadefuls of earth before he and his wife (who was sometimes disguised as a boy) fled south to catch a boat to England…After the war, Oznowicz returned to Antwerp to dig up his puppet, which later occupied a place of honor in Oz's childhood home in Oakland, CA."

While we're talking Muppets, watch this doc on the making of Labyrinth. Seriously, do it. Every David Bowie talking head is fantastic. Also the part where you see the guy standing behind him trying the manipulate the crystal balls blindly. 

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

For those of you in a rush, here's the crystal ball part:

Lastly, this video of Big Bird singing "It's Not Easy Bein' Green" at Henson's funeral will make you cry.

Deals of the Day

A couple good deals found today for the NY area (can we start using "groupon" as a generic yet, like xerox and kleenex?)

All found via Yip It:

- Google Offers (yes, this is a thing now) is hawking $10 at Murray's Bagels for $5. This is only good at the Chelsea location, but it doesn't expire until February 19, 2012. And man are Murray's bagels goood (and kind of expensive with cream cheese and lox), so this one is worth it.

- Scout Mob will send you a coupon code for 50% off the Williamsburg restaurant The Lodge. Normally I only get these deals when I've heard of the place before, but the photo reminds me of Kayak's in St. Louis. It seems like it'd be place that has good brunch. Oh, and did I mention the Scout Mob deals are always free? As in, you don't have to pay anything to get a 50% off coupon, which you may or may not (but should!) use. Another perk: Scout Mob will send you the deal either via e-mail or text (even if you have a dumb phone).

Night and Day

As seen on the Daily What:

Flatiron, 2011- Stephen Wilkes

Artist Stephen Wilkes merges photos of New York City taken from the same spot over the course of 10 hours. He's having a show at Clamp Gallery on West 25th Street in Chelsea from September 8 to October 29. I'll be checking this one out.

Washington Square Park

The one of Washington Square Park is especially disorienting. It looks like the park is being lit up with huge lights for a movie shoot, so it will appear to be day on film when it's actually dark out.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Speaking of the Decemberists...

Colin Meloy is writing a YA series, and his wife, Carson Ellis is illustrating. You can download the first four chapters of Book One, Wildwood, here.

The Year of the Depends Adult Undergarment

NPR has posted a music video for the Decemberists' new single, 'Calamity Song', and I have not been this excited to watch a music video since the Spice Girls A to Z Girl Power Countdown.

Directed by Parks & Recreation showrunner Michael Schur, the video is inspired by the Eschaton scene in David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest.

A favorite (and laugh-out-loud hilarious) part of the novel, Eschaton is a game played by the kids at ETA, and simulates global domination via tennis balls and a very complex mathematical formula (Eschatology: the study of the end of the world). If this make no sense/you've never read Infinite Jest, you'll still get it from the video.

I wonder why they went for rain over snow?

Decemberists + Infinite Jest + Michael Schur = All good things

I still don't think any visualization of this scene will ever make me laugh as hard as reading it does. Although this photo from Infinite Summer is kinda perfect:

Tuesday Happenings, 8.23.11


1) BlackBook Outside Insiders Party at the STK Rooftop, 26 Little West 12th Street. This includes free Grey Goose cocktails, and appetizers and desserts. RSVP stat, and hope you don't get an e-mail telling you not to bother showing up. Bring your A-game, people.

2) Via My Free Concert: James Pants is playing a free set at Other Music (15 e. 4th Street) at 8p.
James Pants- Darlin'
James Pants- We're Through
James Pants- Alone

3) TrivWorks trivia night, 8p at the Bell House (149 7th Street, Brooklyn). Free to play, and the winning team gets a $25 bar tab. TrivWorks is supposed to put on a good game, and while the Bell House is way out in Gowanus, it's a really pleasant bar/space. And you can make an evening of it and swing by Four and Twenty Blackbirds (439 3rd Avenue) for pie before it closes for the night.

UPDATE: Four and Twenty Blackbirds is closed for the week for vacation. They reopen Tuesday August 30th. All the more reason to go to other cool events at the Bell House.

UPDATE: I just received this e-mail from the BlackBook party people:

"Thanks for your RSVP to the BlackBook Outside Insiders Party presented by Grey
Goose. As much as we love your interest in our shindigs, we’ve got some sucky news.
Invites to our events are non-transferable, and only the people who really wanted to
come to this thing, those on the original RSVP list, will be let in. Summer bummer, we
know, but there will be many more to come. Swear."

I'm not really sure what the 'original RSVP list' is, but we're probably not on it. That
being said, I'm signing up for the newsletter here. Hopefully some good will come of it.

How I Learned...

How I Learned...,the story-telling/variety show, is back at Happy Ending (302 Broome Street). This week's theme is "How I learned to Fight Loneliness. Free, starts at 8p Wed 8.24.11. If you can't make it this time, it happens every 4th Wednesday. 

Head over to the website to find out more about this show's performers.

Monday Happenings, 8.22.11

Boo Mondays (hooray beer!
Actually, hooray free food and comedy!

1) Upscale patisserie (yeah, that's how you know it's fancy, no fucking around with that 'bakery' shit) Financier is celebrating the grand opening of a new Manhattan location at 245 Park Avenue (at 47th Street). They'll be giving away samples from 6a-8p. I can say from experience that their mini palmiers are great.

2) At the Parkside Lounge (according to their website, "the champagne of dive bars"), 'Smooth Moves', a night of free stand-up, starts at 8:30p. Rose Surnow is the host, and guests include Dave Hill (sister gives two thumbs up), Ophira Eisenberg (oft MC/storyteller at The Moth and The Liar Show), Stone and Stone, Liam McEneaney, and Matt Koff. Head over to 317 E. Houston to check it out.

3) Not free, but a good deal if you want dinner near the Parkside Lounge: Essex (120 Essex Street) has $1 oysters and half price drinks 6p-9p. If you can't make it tonight, they have the same deal Sun-Thurs 6-9 and Fri-Sat midnight-1am. Perfect for someone jonesing to use a $50 Open Table coupon *cough*

4) If the weather's nice, consider heading down to the roller rink underneath the High Line (30th Street and 10th Avenue). Gotham Girls Roller Derby team is playing a public outdoor scrimmage from 6:30p-8p. Free to watch.

5) Or, if you're brave enough to fight the crowds, the season finale of the Bryant Park Outdoor Movies begins at dusk (lawn opens at 5p). Tonight's film is Dirty Harry.

Have [free] fun!

Saturday, August 20, 2011


The Green blog on has a cool post about a global study using motion-sensitive camera traps to estimate mammal populations. It's short and worth the read (and the comment board of the Science Times is a refreshingly thoughtful one). Some highlights from their slideshow:

Mountain Gorillas in the Bwindi forest in Uganda (Wildlife Conservation Society/Tropical Ecology Assessment and Monitoring Network)

Trivia: Mountain Gorillas are the most endangered subspecies of gorillas and are much "furrier" than the ones usually seen in zoos (Western Lowland Gorillas)
!: Mining for and conflict over minerals used in cell phones and other electronics encroach upon Gorilla habitats and increase pressure on vulnerable populations. Maybe don't get a new cell phone every 6 months? RECYCLE ELECTRONICS.

African Elephant in Tanzania (Trento Museum of Science/Tropical Ecology Assessment and Monitoring Network)

A cougar in Costa Rica (Organization for Tropical Studies/Tropical Ecology Assessment and Monitoring Network)

a bust of a night

So, I've attended a fair number of free concerts/parties/food trucks/alcohol promotions. From the great (i.e., Good Units parties), to the middling, I thought I played by the rules. I know not to expect to even get in to an event without a confirmation of my RSVP, and actually appreciate it when an event organizer will flat out tell you not to come, because the event was mistakenly made public (usually via one of our friendly neighborhood blogs, like, Those emails often go: seriously, tell us who you know, cause otherwise you ain't getting in. 

I know you get what you pay for, and that it's kind of ridiculous to complain about something that costs zero dollars, Thursday night was a total bust, and I was a bit put out.

The Aliomi event at the Hotel Chantelle was a situation as described above; I received an e-mail response the day of explaining that I should not come if I was not on the legitimate guest list (which I knew I was not). That's fine.

I arrived at the Jack Daniel's Taste of Summer event (to which I did have a legit RSVP) at 7p, and was told that the bar was at capacity and to try later (the bouncer misinformed me about how late the event was running, but I guess it's my own damn fault for believing anything contrary to the info on the printout). Again, I was disappointed, but accept that at things like this there is no "fashionably late", as they often reach capacity, and this one had started at 6pm. 

pawking metaws

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Thursday Happenings

Thursday does seem to be the night for a lot of free stuff...list-o-size me, Cap'n!

1) It's the last day Barilla is handing out free dinner kits (pasta, veggies, sauce, etc.). The truck will be at 58th street and Columbus Circle from 4-8p.

2) One of the last free outdoor movies at Brooklyn Bridge Park is tonight--Crooklyn. The Brooklyn Bridge Park movies are a great alternative (read: not impossibly crowded) to the Bryant Park series. Still recommend getting there before sunset, though. 

Food options for a picnic there are pretty good--a bunch of food trucks, and last time I was there, if you signed up on a SyFy mailing list you got a ticket for free popcorn, a free water bottle, and a free mini-speaker. Fantastic pizza at Grimaldi's or Ignazio's (no line!) is around the corner. If you go to Ignazio's, be sure to get a Manhattan Special to drink.

3) Language nerds should head over to WORD bookstore on Franklin Street in Greenpoint. There's a free talk at 7p with the editor of Merriam-Webster about how words end up in the dictionary. Either you'll go or you won't, I don't think I'm going to be able to turn anyone in either direction.

4) The House of Vans in Brooklyn is having another free show that promises to be a big party: Tokyo Police Club/Big Freedia/Japanther/Team Robespierre/Against Me! The list is most likely full, but you could try your luck at the first come, first serve deal. That being said, I'd recommend getting there by the 7p doors. There's also free beer and wine, and the last time I was there they had tie-dying and coconut water. 

5) Making our way back to Manhattan, there's a party with free booze (hilariously disparate at that: Disaronno and Crispin Cider) and musical guests at the Hotel Chantelle Rooftop  (92 Ludlow) from 8-11p. Take the advice of My Free Concert and RSVP at ASAP.

6) Get more free booze and music at Riff Raff's (360 Park Ave @ 26th). Also from My Free Concert, this one runs from 9:30-12 and appears to a promotion for Mehkong. RSVP to, however, I recently received this e-mail: 
"Due to the overwhelming response to this event and our limited space the venue will be enforcing heavy door digression for entry.  Please advise and understand that everyone will not be granted entry for this event regardless of RSVP."
I'd still say this event is worth a shot, cause it's at a tikki bar, which is awesome.

7) At Good Units (the basement of the intimidatingly trendy Hudson Hotel on w. 58th street), we've got a Talking Heads cover band and free Heineken 8p-1a. Both of the free parties at Good Units I've gone to have been amazing. RSVP here.

8) Lastly, Spotify is continuing to put on free late night shows at the Mercury Lounge on the LES. Tonight's Delicate Steve/The Stepkids/Parlovr; doors are at 11p. No RSVP necessary.

That's quite the night. Godspeed.