New York State of Mind Amoeblog # 22: Grand Central Lights, Magnolia Bakery, Dinner & Poetry, Today's Future Sound, Concert Picks

Posted by Billyjam, February 20, 2013 01:13pm | Post a Comment

Above in that photo with an Amoeba sticker in foreground is the world famous Magnolia Bakery where tourists and New Yorkers (but mainly tourists these days) flock to buy their cupcakes and other tasty goods. There's more info below on Magnolia in this latest weekly installment of the New York State of Mind Amoeblog. Also read about the Bay Area's Today's Future Sound in New York, Improv Everywhere's Grand Central Lights, and previews of some of the NYC concerts and events in the week ahead.

Soul Served: A Night of Dinner and Poetry in Brooklyn this weekend is a unique, fun, all-ages, appetizing event that examines  how food creates community. Three types of poetry are paired with a three-course meal, with each centered on the themes of food and community with artists Briannah Hagger, Kearmonie, and Malcolm Wicks. Also at this free event, DJ Polarity will be spinning music. Saturday, February 23rd from 6:30pm to 9pm at Five Spot Soul Food located at 459 Myrtle Ave (between Washington & Waverly), Brooklyn, NY 11205. More event info here.

Meanwhile concerts in the week ahead include the pioneering hip-hop crew Cold Crush Brothers at SOBs  on Sunday (February 24th) night.  8pm doors. 21+. Tix $20 advance $25 at the door SOB's is located at 200 Varick St NYC 10014. More info. That same night DJ Tony Touch will be wrecking the ones and twos all night (9pm-4am) at the Sullivan Room. 21 + located at 218 Sullivan St btw Bleecker & W 3rd St NY 10012   - more info.

SF based DJ Dave Paul's ever popular traveling  The Prince and Michael Jackson Experience dance party tribute stops in NYC at the Highline Ballroom this Friday night. More info. It will be a night of throwback punk on Friday (February 22nd) with the Cockney Rejects, Youth Brigade, Murphy's Law, and The Templars at the Williamsburg Hall of Music in Brooklyn. 16+. 8 pm show. $25. More info here. Next Tuesday and Wednesday (Feb 26/27) Bob Mould of solo and Husker Du fame will be headling at the Bowery Ballroom in support of the artist's Husker Du reminiscent new album Silver Age with opening acts Bear In Heaven and Now, Now on nights one and two respectively. Tickets $25. More info here.

Imorov Everywhere's Grand Central Lights (2013)

Over the past several years, Grand Central Terminal, which on February 1st celebrated its 100th birthday as reported here, has been the setting for numerous flash mob gatherings that have become popular YouTube clips and the latest addition took place on the evening of Grand Central's recent 100th birthday. That was when over a hundred participants of Improv Everywhere (the folks behind No Pants Subway Ride and other flash mobs such as Frozen Grand Central that was also in the same location five years ago) staged a "surprise performance" of what they called "Grand Central Lights" in the grand windows of the historic midtown Manhattan terminal's west side. There equipped with a variety camera flashes and of LED flashlights (making it literally a flash mob), Improv Everywhere performers appeared suddenly and unannounced along three floors of windows, creating a shower of light for the commuters and tourists below on the main concourse level. See video above.

Magnolia Bakery, located downtown in the West Village on Bleecker Street near 8th Ave., is famous for its cupcakes and over the past decade has become a cultural landmark through its exposure in such things as the Saturday Night Live digital short "Lazy Sunday," on such TV shows as Sex and the City, Veronica Mars, and Spin City, and in such movies as Prime and The Devil Wears Prada. Owners Allysa Torey and Jennifer Appel opened their simple small corner bakery (Bleecker & 11th) back in 1996 to little fanfare with just three employees and a short menu that offered bread as its main focus with some cakes. The cupcakes, which were Torey's idea, were an afterthought initially to use up some leftover batter from coconut cakes. But soon they took on a life of their own with demand for the cupcakes getting so great that there would be a line most times of the day for the cupcakes that come in various flavors and are priced at $3.25 each. If you go to Magnolia there is a small park across the street where most folks go to eat their baked goodies - like Sex In The City characters Carrie and Miranda - since there are no seats inside the bakery itself. Note that there are also other Magnolia Bakeries: Uptown at 200 Columbus Avenue, on the corner of West 69th Street, opened five years ago and one at Grand Central Terminal and near Rockefeller Center at 1240 Sixth Ave. But the original is the best. More info here.

Seems like there is a constant flow of people from the Bay Area to New York, either recent Bay transplants now living in NYC or else folks just visiting from the Bay. One such person is New York City born, Bay Area based hip-hop producer/educator Dr Elliot Gann who recently visited New York on behalf of his Bay Area hip-hop education organization Today's Future Sound. On behalf of this organization, which uses music production/beatmaking and media arts as vehicles to empower youth (at places like the Boys and Girls Club in San Jose) as artists and community members while fostering their well being as individuals, Gann has been in NYC for the past couple of weeks to participate in such things as a series of six beat-making workshops and a fundraiser for adults at Rock and Soul DJ Equipment & Records this week. Central to Gann's work is educating teens and young adults on hip-hop in all its elements, not just the rap element and superficial consumerism aspect associated with modern day pop rap. 

"One of the reasons I am here [in New York] now is because I wanted to come meet the Hop Hop Psychology folk at Fordham University, and the Hop Hop Education folks at NYU and Columbia, namely Martha Diaz and Dr. Christopher Emdin, respectively, at a talk the Hip Hop Psych folks are doing through Martha Diaz and the Schomburg Center. They are doing really cutting-edge work and are like minded folks with whom I have wanted to connect," he told the Amoeblog adding that part of his work in NYC was fundraising for his burgeoning organization - all on a shoestring budget. "One of my core volunteers had extra airline miles and offered to get myself and a couple instructors out for cheap so I decided to maximize what I could do and also connect with my friends and community based organizations [as well] in Toronto to do workshops and put on sample flip beat battles as well, which is what I do regularly in San Francisco." For more on Today's Future Sound.

Relevant Tags

Dinner & Poetry (1), Magnolia Bakery (1), Grand Central Lights (1), New York State Of Mind (92), Today's Future Sound (1)