Saturday, February 28, 2009

Bar Spotlight: Franklin Park

Franklin Park
618 St. John's Place
Brooklyn, NY 11238

Official Site Here

Now a lot has been said about Franklin Park since it's opening last year in the western part of Crown Heights near the Eastern Parkway and the Brooklyn Museum. It's owner, Matt Roff, who heads up other Brooklyn beauties like Galapagos and Southpaw, somehow went under the radar and headed a little east for this establishment. A beer garden in Crown Heights? Competition for 95 South? Probably not. Adding a few things to the mix in the area? For sure.

Now there's the Radegast in Williamsburg, which isn't anywhere close, but hey, now there seems to be one within striking distance everywhere in downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn.

When I first went in the summer, I thought to myself, well this is it? The "garden" wasn't really much if a nice concrete area with a few picnic tables and some menus of wonderful food. It's nice, clean, and inside the bar has cool accents like subway tiles and mood lighting. And an ATM because it's cash only here folks. I thought ok this is nice to have; there's really not too many hipsters, some young professionals, or Greenpeace workers.

Now, I go there a couple times with none other than Mr. Marvelous Observations himself, due to the fact that he lived on Sterling at the time. Grab a pint of Jever for five bucks (it's one of the cheaper items) and rock out.

I'm about to give up on the place just because there's not much fueling me to go back there nor do I have friends around the area. But the last time I went definitely was worth a Bar Spotlight.

It's the idea that bars can adapt and evolve into something more, a logical progression that hits the spot. I'm talking about, ok so if most of your 2,000 square feet of space is outside, then what do you do when it gets cold? Open up a huge indoor annex with hemisphere booths, another bar, more bathrooms, and skeeball? And DJs spinning (although when I went the DJ went from awesome to doing 30 second blips which got really tiring). There's something soulful about the indoor space, I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because the first few times we heard some nice dub and rocksteady. Or maybe because the easy mix of twentysomethings in the place flows pretty well and there's a lot of space to stand; it's really just one giant monster room and the hallway has a few steps that go down to the bathroom area. The curved bar has plenty of seats, and the staff is alert and friendly. Oh and the mood lighting again.

That is how a bar becomes a functional thing of beauty, when it alters it's makeup to suit the seasons. Whether the patronage really feels like an organic mix and local has yet to be seen, but it doesn't hurt that it's well done and that earns my respect.

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A 95% Tax Abatement Is Reasonable

You know things are pretty awesome when tax abatements kick in and the taxed value goes from 100% to about 5%. Not to 50%, but 5 taxable percents. Oh and check out our lounge, which I have not done justice because I'm still learning my used camera!

There's actually a ton more furniture, as seats were crowded around the telly for a televised event, so to speak.

Full kitchenette (is that an oxymoron?) has all your microwaving and fridge needs. For beer.

I don' t have cable because I can just watch stuff down here. Or in the gym TVs.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Fah Q and Poster (more like DVD cover art) Critique: Extreme Movie

Fear not, dear readers, a new set of Bar Spotlights, Recent Netflixing, Actors In New York, and Fah Q's will be in order. Any any other faux or poser post series that I feel like naming.

There are two parts to this little post, neither of which are that inspiring, but it's something I noticed when rummaging through the movie sites that I frequent (Rotten Tomatoes,, IMDb, Box Office Guru, etc. etc.).

I'm a Michael Cera fan. He's a fan of Asian women. I was birthed by one. In fact, I'm a Matthew Lillard fan as well, if only for his role in Scream and of course, SLC Punk!

However, the fact that either of them thought (granted, this film was in post-production hell as it was supposed to release theatrically and then just never did, so Cera career at that point was much smaller) that this Extreme Movie from Genius Products (who handles Weinstein Company releases, etc.) would be anything to shake a stick at is beyond me. It's out on DVD this week.

Whatever, so I hear it's a horrible, horrible movie. My roommmate would beg to differ, allowing compliments to some parts deemed worthy of a chuckle. A couple things that I wanted to point out was the Abe Sex viral tool that they did for it and the cover art.

The Abe Sex viral tool, which can be found by going to the website is similar to simple viral tools found for The Unborn theatrical release and what not. You stick a photo, and a name of a friend, and let the fun begin. Basically Abe Lincoln has sex with whoever you end up picking. It's not really funny, just kinda slimy. And awkward. So at least there's that. I put my friends at The Cinephile New York in. It came out ok, but the photo tool was a little hard to use for me but that's to be expected.

And then there's the cover art, which is a real Fah Q. It's right on the heels of another Fah Q. for Genius's cover art for Protege which came out this week as well on DVD. For this point to even make sense, just know that Sex Drive, which I wrote about a while back, comes out unrated (you could say Extreme-ly unrated) on DVD this week as well.

I'm sorry but, these two covers are somewhat similar, even though Extreme Movie is more of a series of sketches. Sure there are a lot of differences, but when you're looking at these two covers, it just strikes me at how similar they feel. In a bad way for Extreme Movie, because Sex Drive was theatrically released, and made it's budget up. And has Cerie from 30 Rock. And the fact that Sex Drive has a quote, the donut can explain the "cream-filled" punch line, is 2-discs, and doesn't look so crappily photoshopped.

I guess in the end they both lose points for just looking like each other on the same release week.

The other Fah Q goes to the Protege cover art because they get the name wrong of a film title. But it's not just any film title. It's one of the farthest reaching Hong Kong titles to come out in a while, Infernal Affairs. Much has been made about the mistake of calling it Internal Affairs, that Richard Gere movie (Cameron Diaz you flubber you), but did someone not get the memo? Sure it's a somewhat confusing title but that's why people double check shit. It's on the left under Andy Lau's billing:

Have fun with people getting annoyed.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

3 Yutes - Funniest Movie Critics Ever

I enjoy watching Reelz Channel, and especially Movie Mob (which I normally wouldn't think would be a good show but with a cute host and hilarious staples like the duo from Boston and the snotty Brit Twins, what could go wrong? These are normal movie fans who know their shit).

The funniest by far though, are those boys from Bensonhurst, the 3 Yutes. Joey. Ronnie. Pasta. Take a look at them here:

Unfortunately I don't think they were voted on after a while, but you can check them out at their site which was updated sometime last year haha: 3 Yutes

Here are some clips from Movie Mob where they appear:

For more Movie Mob on YouTube, check out Reelz Channel'

Charles Hamilton - "Brooklyn Girls" music video

Now this is what I call fly. BROOKLYN! I believe there's a little Downtown flavor on Fulton in the video. It's got a great vibe, and the gritty sheen fits with Hamilton's loud, projected, cackling, yet laid back flow. Almost reminds me of the grit and static you hear on an old record. Very cool.

Monday, February 23, 2009

New Yorker Films distribution company finito!

Indiewire has updated their story about New Yorker Films closing its doors. A New York establishment in promoting and distributing independent fare, it will be missed after 43 years of business.

To read the article, click here.

To see New Yorker Films website, go here.

From the article:

"Founded in 1965 by Dan Talbot, New Yorker has a legendary legacy, boasting a long-standing track record in international film distribution, bringing a staggering number of international auteurs to this country’s movie theaters over more than four decades. The company’s crucial role in establishing a lasting film culture in this country cannot be underestimated. A New York Times profile in 1987, marking a 14-week salute to the company at New York’s Public Theater, listed an illustrious roster of filmmakers whose films were released by the company: Ackerman, Bertolucci, Bresson, Chabrol, Fassbinder, Fellini, Godard, Herzog, Kieslowski, Malle, Rohmer, Rossellini, Sembene, Wenders, Schlondorff, and many others."

DUMBO the new SoHo? Alright, Brooklyn Heights Blog

Art is fascinating, but the art culture, being at a gallery, that has to be even more fascinating, a hodge podge of people watching, liasons, posers, and a shallow veneer of understanding. I revel in the posh cloak that surrounds the hippest of hip, the haute-est of haute.

Anywho, I don't think DUMBO is necessarily the new SoHo, and somewhere in there parts of Chelsea has to grab some acknowledgement if we're looking for similarities. I would still like to go to Re Bar, which looked nice.

You're going to want to get your art fix though with a variety of pieces that will be displayed at the BoConcept DUMBO Art Show, which runs from March 5th to April 1st right on Front Street (number 79 to be exact).

A special reception will be held from 6pm to 9pm on March 5th to kick things off, and if you click on the flyer photo and enlarge, you see that you can RSVP for a special discount at There will be wine and food, and a little preview of some new furnishings. Coolio.

Here are the top billings:
Mireya Acierto
Daniel Krieger
Yazmany Arboleda
Danny Lowit
Deborah Freeman
George K George

They all sound like artists to me, especially that last one. George K George. Really?

Goodbye Conan!

Cheers to Conan O'Brien, whose last days in New York were this past week hosting his late late night act. Moving to LA, and moving to 11:30, it's going to be a wild ride hopefully. As long as Kevin Eubanks will think he's funny...

From Television Without Pity article, complete with bloopers from the last 16 years. We'll miss you Conan!

Oh and oh god Jimmy Fallon, you better not f#($k up.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Somewhat Mindless Purchases at The Brownstoner Brooklyn Flea in Dumbo

So, I trekked to the Brownstoner Brooklyn Flea, winter style, on Front Street in DUMBO to check out the indoor scenery. I was treated to some great soul music which you could purchase, and I ended up with two things: a very old, 1937 Popular Science issue which is fun, and part of a tobacco cutter patented on May 7, 1889 (I can't imagine how they used it, but the man said it was a very interesting piece to grab at a flea). It also said The Victor, and it looks like it's from Albion, NY with the name C.M. Mallory on it. If anyone can explain it to me, that would be awesome. Here are pictures:

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Hollywood ASST: Memories are comin' back!

Now I had a great boss when I was an assistant at a mid-major, anyone will tell you that (Lori!!). The fact that we were in New York made things a bit different too, but there should totally be a New York version of this with an ad agency or something.

For anyone who's ever been an unglamorous assistant in a glamorous industry, here you go! There are some great LA references. Which is why New York needs a counterpart...

Hollywood ASST from Back of the Class on Vimeo.

Oh, and Vimeo's offices are right next to where I work. Niiiice.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Delocated Season 1 on Adult Swim: Live Action That Tickles My Funnybone

Delocated, which premiered recently on Adult Swim, is about an asshole who goes into the witness protection program with his wife and son, all to be caught on camera, reality show style, with ski masks and voice modulators. The family is taken out of suburban bliss and moved to New York City (where Delocated is filmed). It's live action serial, which is sort of a change of pace for Adult Swim (even Tim and Eric, which I'm not a fan of, although I liked Tom Goes To The Mayor, has bumps and graphics and odds and ends).

Jon Glaser
It's always interesting, the mockumentary and reality show spoofs. The content is seen only through the lens of the show within the show, so eventually, unless there are self-referential jokes, you actually lose sight of the show-within-a-show fact and it just becomes, the show. Characters are placed in the context of the edits of the show, which are subject to the actual show's editing technique to tell the story, lots of cool stuff to think about. Which is fun.

Nadia Dajani

When I saw the pilot, I was like, this is ok, hipsters would love it, and it has just enough content laid out and exposition, but it wasn't incredibly exciting. However, after having seen the entire first season, I have to say that it can be a great platform for Jon Glaser (of Human Giant and those
Tiny Hands webisodes), because the characters have a funny consistency and are developed throughout the first few episodes which is important and with such a short format and offbeat story it's well grounded in some great banter and set ups, especially between Jon, the husband, and his FBI protector Mike, played by longtime Late Night With Conan O'Brien writer and improv performer, Kevin Dorff (not related to Stephen, definitely not).

Kevin Dorff

The hilarious subplot of the assassin trying to get rid of Jon, played by Eugene Mirman, while trying to become a successful stand-up comedian gives a respite from the tyrannical and creepy antics (anything involving the girlfriend) of Jon (whose wife and son decide that the whole sh-bang isn't really for them).

Eugene Mirman

As a ska lover, I found the Bar Mitzvah (Ska Mitzvah, "skatzah balls") episode uproarious as we witness Jon's son in a ska phase with surprising fans found in the FBI. Along with "Rage Cage" and "Members Only" (where Jon and Mike dissect how not to set up a joke, total joke fail), there is strong material here for those who enjoy Wainy Days and The Office, and well, anything that places New York in the running for best setting for comedic material is always a good thing.

You can watch videos of Delocated here at their official sub-site at Adult Swim.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Brooklyn Idiotarod 2009? A Week Late is KCB on covering this!!

So I had no idea that there was an Idiotirod, yes you read it right, where there's shopping carts, people having fun, and no apparent competition other than baddest ass costume. Usual I would scoff just because whatever, but this actually looks quite funny (from The Brooklyn Ink):

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Building Gym, Film Noir Style

Here at the BellTel, we're a bit in love with the fact that we're always trying to improve the building, whether we actually can or it's a fancy of ours. Here's our gym, a very nice one for a residential building (although I must say, for all it's weirdness, the Newswalk in Prospect Heights has a nasty good gym, lots of weights, more "hardcore" equipment, I would say. By hardcore I mean no silly business, it's stuff that's been proven for ages and functional equipment, not chi-chi.

However, with treadmills, ellipticals, two stationary bikes, some weights, a cable machine, and all the basic equipment, plus a Yoga Room and some extra space deemed the "massage room", there's some potential for growth.

Coming Up: our lounge, and kitchenette, to you know, keep those cold beers. Oh there's a kids lounge too, for the discerning children of the world...

Saturday, February 7, 2009

New York Comic Con 2009: Some Photos, Some Walking, and Fanboys Minus Deodorant

Two things that stand out: Blue He-Man and Boba Fett. Never bet against the Fett-man.

So I went to Comic Con today and thoroughly enjoyed myself, although by the end I really wanted to actually get several specific issues relating to the X-Men reboot in 1991. Maybe tomorrow? Probably not, although I could certainly surf for them on eBay or just get myself to a comics store. I also walked too far to the point where I entered the New York Times Travel Show, which actually was really cool but unfortunately was overshadowed. First person I saw? Scott Adsit. 458th person I saw? Grizz.

I got to see the nice view from the Newsarama sky box, where the crew was doing a Venture Bros. interview. They basically talked about random stuff here and there, and of course, about Ken Plume (you can find his site here).It's a great forum for those guys not just on paper, but I think a great thing about comics culture is the amount of referencing made somewhat charming by the fact that most of these "facts" are about made up worlds. They know their material and what they want to pull from. Referencing stuff in the genre can be a lot of fun both in and out of context, either in earnest or in jest. It makes for a culture that is misunderstood but at the same time, totally up front and honest. Just take a look at the costumes...

Enjoy the pictures and the captions!

From the Mattel section; she's gotta have implants

Crack Doll could be appropriate as well (they were all in garbage cans, serves 'em ugly....)

She wouldn't turn around for me. It's 'cuz she CAN'T HEAR in that thing

The behemoth of NY comics

Yeah I didn't really know he was still around either

Oh Yeah!! I mean Malin Ackerman's ass

People were winning stuff from this booth, notice how Green Lantern is point directly at yours truly, he knows what time it is

Steve works for Harry Abrams, should I have bought? Most definitely

View from the Newsarama sky box overlooking the event

I didn't like the trailer the first time I saw, now I'm a bit more excited...ish

Why is he blue? Because the cutie in the Batgirl costume didn't finish, and since he's He-Man, well, his body gets blue. That's not a good explanation.

The Marvel area was crowded with lots of people for no particular reason but then someone took a mic and everyone collectively got a boner, even the women.

This kid was nice enough to take time out of this dueling something something and pose

He took the head off, and I couldn't believe it was a fake. Han Solo looked more like Han No-lo. Ok that was bad.

Mixing Marvel and DC. There were also mixed drinks.

Grand Theft Chinese...Way to tap into THAT market...although they probably should have done Grand Theft....Tokyo

Trading cards just got better? I just got boner

Steven Saj-dak: "If you tap me in the back of the knee, I'll probably crumble...been here since 11". Dork.

Most Serious Person In Costume Ever

Samurai swords so that the men could fend off women. Samurai swords so women could look even more ridiculous. I'm talkin bout you Pirate Lady.

Galactus is a gajillion times larger than Silver Surfer in size, and yet is nearly half the price? oh COME ON

Yeah well, this is to be expected....Superman costume circa Superman I?

Unfortunately there were no Babe of the Day video footage

Toadstool didn't know the two Asian kids. Thus her facial expression.

Breakdancing AND that's not a condom on the ground

Here's the pitch: It's a massively multiplayer online game for kids. Think World of Warcraft for kids. Creepy hitting on virtual women not included.

An Ugly Doll. Again.

A flagship brand, not sure if it got a lot of attention (it was kind of off to the side)

They're doing the robot. Maybe doing each other later as well. Wheelchair man will watch that too.

Artists booth section, where you can meet the artists behind the comics, excuse me graphic novels, excuse me they're different

Tony Stark is smirking. Dunno why, cuz he HAS NO LEGS

Pic from the floor

Tons of gaming toward the south side, and plenty of nerds hogging the controls

This guy's favorite word was "debaters" so he obviously loves Denzel Washington

Actually this is what he was really talking about

Nerder at 1600...2700

Emo band name?

I wish I had more time to comb what I need to comb. I did manage to comb my hair in the bathroom though.

So Caprica is coming out...excited!

You can tell my photos are getting worse when I have a side shot of Predator. A 5'8" Predator.

They weren't free. I uh, I didn't realize that. JK JK