7/31/14

"Stop 'n' Swap" at Bay Ridge Jewish Center

The Office of Recycling Outreach and Education, a program funded by the city Department of Sanitation, will host a free "Stop 'n' Swap" event from 12 to 3 PM on Sunday, August 10 at the Bay Ridge Jewish Center, 8025 4th Avenue (R to 77.)

Bring along your clean, reusable, portable items to swap or come just to see what's free for the taking.  You don't have to bring something to take something.

No furniture or other large, bulky items, please.

For more information, visit GROWNYC.org/SWAP, email recycle@grownyc.org or call 212-788-0227.

7/30/14

ASPCA Mobile Clinic at Scarangella Park

According to an email blast from State Senator Marty Golden's office, he will host the ASPCA Mobile Clinic for a Spay/Neuter day at Scarangella Park, at Avenue U between Stillwell Avenue and West 13th Street in Gravesend, on Sunday, August 3.

Services are variously priced according to your income status and the breed of your pet.

For more information about the Mobile Clinic, to see a price schedule, and to get information on how to prepare your pet for surgery, visit the website or call 877SPAYNYC.

Progressive Activists Rally to Teachout-Wu

As the Cuomo campaign tries to dig out of its Moreland Commission quagmire, progressive activists from across the state are rallying to the disruptive campaign of progressives Zephyr Teachout and Tim Wu, which in an email blast today boasted 200 new donors and 100 new volunteers in just the past week.

The campaign will host a phone conference this evening to hear updates from the candidates, who will take live questions, and break out for regional group discussions.

Campaign supporters have reached out to the press, gotten letters published in the local newspapers, and are setting up candidate events and interviews.

Media contact: Gabriel Tobias, Field Director at info@zephyrteachout.com.

7/29/14

Rooftop Films in Brooklyn this Week

Thursday, July 31

APPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR (Desiree Akhavan | 82 min.)

8:00 PM Doors open
8:30 PM Live music by Glockabelle
9:00 PM Film begins
10:30 PM Q and A with filmmaker/lead actress Desiree Akhavan
11:30 PM After party at Bar Matchless, sponsored by New Amsterdam Spirits

Venue: Greenpoint High School for Engineering and Automotive Technology, 50 Bedford Avenue at N. 13th Street (L to Bedford Ave. or G to Nassau Ave.)

We first encounter Shirin--the inappropriate, young, bi-sexual Iranian-American protagonist of Appropriate Behavior--casually walking down a Brooklyn street with a strap-on dildo dangling from her hand. When her first real girlfriend and love, Maxine, breaks up with her, Shirin is forced to candidly reevaluate her entire life, navigate her feelings of abandonment, communicate to her loving yet traditional Persian parents that she likes girls too, and deal with the fact that her brother is marrying a perfect parentally-approved Iranian prize catch.

Her response is to move to Bushwick, rack up a few lovelorn encounters via online dating, attempt a ménage à trois, and continue to avoid coming out to her family. She is caught between identities: modernity vs. tradition, ambition vs. practicality, straight vs. gay, and hope vs. cynicism. Shirin’s management of these human problems in a first-world setting could have made her a difficult character to like, but Akhavan’s subtle performance and sharp writing make her incredibly relatable and undeniably watchable. From the opening scene, Shirin establishes herself as a capable, funny, intelligent, and beautiful woman who could care less about those traits in the face of personal heartache.

Akhavan is perhaps best known as the co-creator and star of the cult web-series The Slope, about “superficial, homophobic lesbians” living in Brooklyn’s Park Slope Neighborhood. With Appropriate Behavior, she expands her unique brand by mining the minutiae of Brooklyn’s cultural world and the characters that inhabit them for incisive, humorous results. Akhavan crafts another portrait of a modern woman stumbling through life's complexities and coming out on the other side bruised, but better and stronger for it. Appropriate Behavior is remarkably assured feature film debut, and Akhavan’s wit, comic timing, and thoughtful honesty leap off the screen from the opening frame through to the end.

Preceeded by the short film CATHERINE (Dean Fleischer-Camp | 13 min.). Catherine returns to work after a hiatus. Starring Jenny Slate as the titular character.

More here.

Friday, August 1

THE TRIP TO ITALY

8:00 PM Doors open
8:30 PM Live music
9:00 PM Film begins
10:30 PM After party in the Courtyard sponsored by New Amsterdam Gin and Vodka

Venue: Industry City: 220 36th Street, Sunset Park (D, N, R trains to 36th Street)

THE TRIP TO ITALY (Michael Winterbottom | 115 min.)

Discussing the finer points of cannibalism on a European food tour may initially seem to be in bad taste, but once again comedians Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon’s predilection for playing before their food makes everything go down fun and easy. Director Michael Winterbottom’s largely improvised 2010 film, The Trip, took the two—or semifictionalized versions thereof—on a restaurant tour around northern England. In this witty and incisive follow-up, Winterbottom reunites the pair for a new culinary road trip, retracing the steps of the Romantic poets’ grand tour of Italy and indulging in some sparkling banter and impersonation-offs. Re-whetting our palates from the earlier film, the characters enjoy mouthwatering meals in gorgeous settings from Liguria to Capri while riffing on subjects as varied as Batman’s vocal register, the artistic merits of “Jagged Little Pill,” and, of course, the virtue of sequels.

Winterbottom trains his camera to capture the idyllic Italian landscape and the gastronomic treasures being prepared and consumed while keeping the film centered on the crackling chemistry between the two leads. The Trip to Italy effortlessly melds the brilliant comic interplay between Coogan and Brydon into quieter moments of self-reflection, letting audiences into their insightful ruminations on the nuances of friendship and the juggling of family and career. The result is a biting portrait of modern-day masculinity.

The inspired array of foodie porn set against beautiful Italian backgrounds is perfect fodder for the unbeatable double act of Coogan and Brydon. Whoever said sequels aren’t as good as the original obviously hasn’t seen The Trip To Italy, because afterwards you’ll want thirds and forths.

More here.

Saturday, August 2

A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT

8:00 PM Doors Open
8:30 PM Live Music
9:00 PM Film Begins
11:00 PM Q and A with filmmaker Ana Lily Amirpour
11:30 PM After Party

Venue: Industry City: 220 36th Street, Sunset Park (D, N, R trains to 36th Street)

A special sneak preview, presented by Rooftop Films and indieWIRE as part of our joint birthday party celebration.

A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT (Lily Amirpour | 107 min.)

For centuries, vampires have provided handy metaphors for social and physical dilemma, but in the stylishly muted deadpan romance A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, the threat is personal. Writer-director Ana Lily Amirpour's stunning debut follows the experiences of a small Iranian town haunted by a vampiric presence who's just as lonely as the other locals. Shot in gorgeously expressionistic black-and-white and fusing multiple genres into a thoroughly original whole, Amirpour has crafted a beguiling, cryptic and often surprisingly funny look at personal and cultural desires that creeps up on you with the nimble powers of its supernatural focus. The director combines elements of film noir and the restraint of Iranian New Wave cinema with the subdued depictions of a bored youth culture found in early Jim Jarmusch…the comparisons go on and on, but the result is wholly original.

Set in the fictional Iranian ghost town tellingly labeled Bad City — but actually shot in California —A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night initially focuses on the downtrodden plight of Arash (Arash Marandi), a hip young man who wanders the empty streets accompanied by his husky cat. Coping with the destructive junkie habits of his bumbling father (Marshall Manesh) and staving off the oppression of local crime lord Saeed (Dominic Rains), Arash struggles to take control of his life.

Meanwhile, Amirpour fleshes out the somber life of a mysterious vampire woman haunting the streets, a doe-faced goth whose style is both traditional and sneakily hip. Though her origins remain obscured, as she trails various locals late at night, she quickly turns into the face of repression burdening all of them. But once she forms a curiously moving romance with Arash, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night truly moves beyond its elegant form and develops an emotional core. Arash pops in a cassette tape or cues up a record, while classic blues and contemporary indie rock infuse their quiet exchanges with poignancy. As lyrics and melodies inform their otherwise gloomy exchanges the film is practically a musical, run through the filter of a European arthouse aesthetic.

More here.

P.S. The re-scheduled screening of "When Harry Met Sally" is tonight on the beach at Coney Island.

7/28/14

Three Bay Ridge Feral Cats on Death Row at ACC

Ethel
Fred
Scooby
This is what mortal terror looks like.

Scooby, Fred and Ethel are three neutered, ear-tipped feral cats that were living in a small Bay Ridge colony managed by an elderly local homeowner.

When their elderly caretaker sold his house and moved away, he made no provision for the cats who depended on him, leaving them behind.

The buyer of his home, who wanted to be rid of the cats, had them trapped and taken to Brooklyn ACC, where they are now on death row.

Death is the only option for feral cats that end up at ACC and are not pulled by feral caretakers.

Time is running out for these poor creatures. Feral cat organization Neighborhood Cats is seeking to relocate them together, which would require re-homing them by confining them together for 3-4 weeks at a secure, private location in the new territory.

If you can save the lives of these cats by re-homing them to a new territory, please contact: lois@neighborhoodcats.org. 

Time is of the essence.

The North Shore's "Cowboy Cop" Culture

Staten Island, where Eric Garner died after being put in a prohibited chokehold on July 17, may be the least populous of the city's five boroughs, but it tops the city's list for most-sued NYPD officers.

Seven of the city's 10 most-sued cops (based on a Daily News review of lawsuits between 2003 and 2013) work narcotics in the 120th Pct. on Staten Island's North Shore, where Eric Garner's fatal encounter with Officer Daniel Pantaleo occurred.

Officers from the Staten Island Narcotics Unit feature in 20% of the liability lawsuits reviewed by the Daily News -- nearly all involving false arrest charges.

According to a Staten Island lawyer who has filed dozens of these lawsuits, the Island, and the 1-2-0 in particular, has an aggressive "cowboy cop" culture, maybe because a lot of NYPD officers live there and it's relatively cut off from the other boroughs.

The 1-2-0 also has the borough's highest crime rate, its highest incidence of stop-and-frisk, and its highest number of police misconduct allegations substantiated by the Civilian Complaint Review Board.

The Garner case merely underscores the statistics that the NYPD's own Civil Lawsuit Monitoring Program and Risk Assessment Unit and city Comptroller Scott Stringer's new Claim Stat tracking system are reporting:  Staten Island's North Shore is a personal injury "hot spot", which last year alone saw incidents at the 1-2-0 and the 1-2-1 rack up 98 lawsuits.

The Daily News article.

Gentile in City Council Delegation to Taiwan

As part of a select delegation led by City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Council Member Vinnie will be in Taiwan this week as the guest of the Washington, DC-based Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office, Taiwan's de facto U.S. embassy.

The delegation's packed schedule for the 6-day trip includes meetings with the Taipei City Council, the Ministry of Education, the Council for Economic Planning and Development, the Bureau of International Trade, and the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

The delegation's primary focus will be transportation and technology, with visits to the Taiwan High Speed Rail Corporation and discussions about the mutual growth of the Taiwanese and New York City technology sectors.

The delegation will also tour Taipei’s efficient Mucha Refuse Incineration Plant to see Taiwan's waste collection methods first-hand, and will meet with Taiwan's Environmental Protection Administration.

Staten Island P.S. 37 Cafeteria Renovation Unveiled

The Carl V. Bini Memorial Fund invites the media, local elected officials, students, families and school personnel to the unveiling, on Tuesday, July 29 at 9:30 AM, of the newly-renovated cafeteria facility at P.S. 37, at 15 Fairfield Street in Great Kills, S.I., which serves more than 300 special needs students.

The complete refurbishment of the school cafeteria was completed with a $40,000 grant from the Memorial Fund.

There will be a reception, with refreshments for families and students, following the unveiling.

The Bini Memorial Fund, positioned to help communities adapt to changing times, provides scholarships, emergency grants and special needs assistance.

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