Scholes Street Studio: Making my day in all kinds of ways

I did an interview a few weeks ago with the lovely human beings Anita Mercier and René Pierre Allain, long-time Williamsburg residents, accomplished parents, and co-owners of Scholes Street Studio, a gem of a music space in our fair neighborhood.

The fascinating couple took more time than was necessary to show me around their beautiful and impressive live/work/performance space, and we enjoyed talking about their collection of African masks, the benefits of a metalworking background in the context of a major building renovation, and the ever-changing arts landscape of NYC.

Artists By Any Other Name performance

Artists By Any Other Name perform in 2015 (photo courtesy of Scholes Street Studio)

I felt the story I wrote about it for Bushwick Daily basically did the conversation, and Scholes Street Studio itself, justice. Plus it came together pretty easily once the interview was done, which always feels good from the ol’ craftsmanship perspective. But I was totally and wonderfully shocked when Bushwick Daily’s managing editor Emilie Ruscoe sent me the following feedback a couple of weeks after it was published:

“This is way overdue, but I have been meaning to email you back regarding your amazing work on the Scholes Street Studio piece! It was outstanding! Seriously beautiful, thoughtful, elegant features writing that, in my estimation, made up a story that seems like something the most discriminating news outlets I read would have been proud to run. I feel so lucky that you wrote it for us and so proud to have something so great among the stories I’ve edited for this site. Thank you so much!!”

Jeez, Emilie—you made me blush! You also made my day. Heck, my week! While trying to write well is its own reward, it’s a huge, huge help to get thoughtful pats on the back like this from time to time (as well as thoughtful critiques, which Emilie is also good at!). Helps make all the time spent staring at the screen totally worth it.

So this is pretty much a win-win, right? Memorable conversation, solid story, and morale-boosting accolade. (Well, if my math is right, that actually constitutes a win-win-win.) Just had to share.

Fellow writers (or anyone else): Tell me about a notable compliment you’ve received!

“Incinerate Your Aversion to Performance Art” — new ink in Bushwick Daily

Polaroid genius Nick McManus and I enjoyed a Roman candle-esque tenure at Bushwick Daily in 2014, and I’ve been milking the produce of our collaboration regularly since. (Nick has gone on to dizzying heights the likes of Flavorpill and some others that whizzed by my consciousness when he told me about them on the phone the other day. Whatever they are, dude, you know I’m mighty stoked for ya!)

Nick McManus Polaroid

Nick (middle, faceless) engaging in incidental performance art, per usual

I admit to dropping the ball with the Bushwick gang after that hat trick of party coverage, but our acquaintance was rekindled when I ran into its lovely crew at a pre-Christmas poetry reading. They were nice enough to say they’d entertain any new pitches I cared to share—a statement they’ll likely regret, but I’m psyched!

Here’s me picking up where I left off (except without Nick, malheureusement, as it’s hard to illustrate a preview of an event with a photo): a shorty about people who cover their faces in pizza dough and punch tubs of margarine—for art!

Up next: god only knows. NYC is perfectly unpredictable (see all of the above).

Sines in the ‘hood

I’m super myopic, and I only moved to Williamsburg a couple of months ago, so I might have just been missing this awesome Frank Ape by the artist Sines on Lorimer and Meserole Streets… until today.

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Yeah, Frank!

I’m a fan, both of Brandon Sines and of what I take to be Frank’s life philosophy, so I was cheered to see it.

It also reminded me that I accompanied my Polaroid-snapping friend Crazy Nick to an art battle in Dumbo last year and we tried to get an article published about the experience. I don’t think anyone bit, so I’m happy to publish it here, six months after the fact, for whoever might still get a thrill:

Dumbo Arts Festival Art Battle Intense, Danceable
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Funny that one of the stipulations of the Secret Walls art battle at Dynomighty Design last Saturday [September 27, 2014] was that the competing illustrators use only black ink on white canvasses, because the color in the room was off the chart. At least 50 many-splendored folks showed up to watch Abe Lincoln Jr. and Brandon Sines square off with markers and paint for 90 minutes.
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As I wandered the gallery floor, the rainbow unfurled: a curly-haired baby with gold earrings bopped between big Keith Haring-esque paintings, strapped to a mom in a black sleeveless pantsuit with a red bra visible underneath. A tall black dude in a bright yellow “No Money, No Honey” t-shirt danced to the DJ’s Paula Abdul and Toto tracks. The emcee grew a waxed mustache, the ladies wore red lipstick, and the ratio of tie-dye shirts to spiderweb elbow tattoos throughout the crowd was probably one to one.
Meanwhile, Sanford King Sizes flew like inky stick insects and wet paintbrushes cried grayscale across the canvasses as the artists sweated ’til the timer dinged: the judging hour. A pale bald guy and a guy in hot pink glasses (both art world hot shots) were called upon to deliver their critiques and rulings, and the crowd listened before getting their own votes measured by a decibel meter. As is often the case, minds were split: the critics went for Abe Lincoln, and the people sided with Sines.
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Sadly, there can be only one. But the guys took it like pros, and everyone still danced afterward, before tripping back out into the afternoon sun.