“For No Good Reason” doc profiles artist Ralph Steadman

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Dr. Gonzo, by Ralph Steadman

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Dr. Gonzo, by Ralph Steadman

“I really thought if I ever learned to draw properly, I would try and change the world for the better.”

That is the life goal of artist Ralph Steadman- best known as a political cartoonist and pioneer of gonzo journalism alongside Hunter S. Thompson. Thompson the voice, Steadman the vision.

The new documentary “For No Good Reason” chronicles Steadman’s career from his first trip to New York and meeting Thompson at the Kentucky Derby in 1970 to painting in his home studio in the English countryside today. The film, guided as a conversation between Steadman and longtime friend Johnny Depp, reveals the nature of Steadman and Thompson’s partnership with candid moments from footage throughout the years. Thompson appears boisterous, drunk or high and demanding against the sober, even keeled Steadman. However, as the film goes on, the tenacity of Steadman is revealed. Not as visibly rowdy as his counterpart, Steadman proves to be more focused—not just trying to cause uproar in a bar, but uproar in all of society.

Steadman’s inky and often grotesque images shout political beliefs and aim to call to attention the flaws and injustices of humanity. Splattering paint onto paper, he holds no inhibitions and brings forth his thoughts and emotions as he draws. Building line on top of line, splattering and erasing, the images formed are as raw and truthful as Steadman perceives the world in that moment. In the beginning of the film, Steadman demonstrates his method to Depp and creates a sad, frightful picture of an unloved pet. Steadman, not even fully conscious of his drawing until it is created, is disappointed by the ugly creature and the negative emotions it represents.

In explaining his art to Depp, Steadman says, “I go out of my way to make something that is as unexpected to me as it is to anyone else. If I knew what was going to happen before I started, what would be the point in doing it?”

For such a positive and cheerful person, many of Steadman’s drawings depict the darker side of man. Just as Thompson was controversial and abrasive through his actions and writing, Steadman puts no filter on his art, spewing out onto blank sheets radical and sometimes shocking portrayals without hesitation or fear of consequence. Steadman’s artistic limitlessness seems to have been a point of contention in his relationship with Thompson. While Thompson was rebellious, he didn’t seem able to go quite as far as Steadman.

Despite the pair’s disagreements at times, Steadman views Thompson as pivotal to his is career and life. On thinking back to his first encounter with the writer, Steadman states, “I was very lucky– I met up with the one man I needed to meet in the whole of America.”

Through decades of work and the loss of his partner, Steadman continues to cling to his pen and paints, using art as is weapon, still fighting to make the world we live in a better place. While the film itself is not as brilliantly executed as one might hope, exploring Steadman’s work is inspiring and will leave viewers wanting to make a change.

Cheap eats alert: The best Cuban sandwich in Brooklyn is a bargain at The Sandwich Shop

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cuban-at-sandwich-shop

The Venezuelan sandwich geeks at Williamsburg’s The Sandwich Shop have rescued an American Latin classic and made it even more mouth-watering delicious. For lunch, you can now try their popular special “Half a Cuban with a Cup of Daily Soup” for $8.75. El Cubano is pressed on soft bread with slow-cooked leg of pork (pernil), smoked Virginia ham, Emmenthal cheese, sweet pickles and mustard.

If you’re a vegetarian, don’t sweat it. The Sandwich Shop has plenty of veggie options too including The Korean (spicy kimchee, cheddar cheese, sriracha mayo and banana peppers pressed on ciabatta roll) and The Veggie (oven-roasted tomatoes, roasted red peppers, roasted eggplants, caramelized onions, fresh basil, extra virgin olive oil and fresh mozzarella cheese pressed on ciabatta bread).

The Sandwich Shop
thesandwichshopbk.com
718.360.0737
658 A Grand Street
Brooklyn, NY 11211
(between Manhattan Ave and Leonard street)
The Sandwich Shop on Seamless, Grubhub, Delivery.com & Eat24

Williamsburg now has syringe donuts, because, of course it does

syringe-donuts

You can grab ‘em at St. Balmain. And once the novelty wears off, head over to Greenpoint for the real deal at Peter Pan.

The cafe has been serving coffee, tea, pastries, and espresso drinks on North 8th Street since late last year, but the full menu, tableside dining service, and DIY Doughnuts are a new addition to the space, which also features all-day brunch and lunch menus and an expansive backyard patio. Each morning, for an additional fee, a select group of diners are invited to retile and grout the patio. (Kidding… for now.) [Read more...]

New York’s Alright If You Like Firecrackers

Kid getting hit by a firecracker at a punk show in Brooklyn last weekend. This is usually when you get told not to try it at home…

Brooklyn just got a lot more chill about marijuana possession

Not so chill government workers uproot marijuana found near the Williamsburg Bridge in 1951

Not so chill government workers uproot marijuana found near the Williamsburg Bridge in 1951

Brooklyn DA Ken Thompson made good on a campaign promise today and has announced decriminalization of small amounts of pot possession. Class B misdemeanor charges (possession of 25 grams or less) without previous criminal record will now result only in a $100 fine. From [Read more...]

Greenpoint ferry ramp unlikely to be fixed in time for this summer’s massive G Train outages

east-river-ferry

It’s been over two months since the ferry platform at India Street collapsed and riders are becoming impatient:

The gangway’s status is noted on the East River Ferry website, though no updates have been made since February 19. Preliminary investigation revealed that two “spud piles” that held the barge in position had failed, resulting in the barge drifting to the west and the ramp’s subsequent collapse. It goes on to say that “We have been advised by the pier owner that additional dive teams are going to be sent to the site to remove the piles for further examination in order to assess the cause of their failure. The retrieval of those piles and the determination of the cause of their failure are required before the facility can be restored to service.”

Daily News explains that the hold-up is due in part to financing the expense of a crane required to complete the investigation:

The city is “aggressively” working with RedSky Capital to finish an investigation and get ferry service back online, a New York City Economic Development Corp. spokesman said.“We are optimistic that a strengthened ferry landing will welcome back service in the near future,” an agency spokesman said.

RedSky co-founder Benjamin Stokes didn’t respond to requests for comment, but a city official briefed on the issue said the developer is fighting demands to hire a crane to complete the investigation. The operation would require the use of a crane for the investigation, and again during the repair work. The city wants to determine what went wrong before the repairs will be authorized. RedSky’s principals only want to hire the crane once, officials said.

Despite his history of green-lighting unpopular projects that will exacerbate Greenpoint’s already-limited access to public transit, Councilman Stephen Levin voiced outrage at the lack of action:

“Them balking because they didn’t want to spend some extra money getting a crane out to do the investigation is outrageous,” said Councilman Stephen Levin (D-Greenpoint). “There has to be answers as to why this happened,” he added. “Because somebody really could have died.”

Regardless, Greenpoint is about to get screwed. Starting July 26 and continuing to September 1, the G train will not run between Nassau and Court Square. Get ready to suffer Greenpointers during summer’s sweatiest time of year.

Greenpoint has a troubling double-standard for its gay & lesbian community

Veronica's People Club, credit: City Room

Veronica’s People Club, credit: City Room

The world Lena Dunham showcases on Girls may seem like a bastion of liberal politics, but many in the neighborhood aren’t too happy about Greenpoint’s increasing gay population. Thankfully, there haven’t been any reports of anti-gay attacks recently, but we’re disturbed by the double-standard imposed on local businesses that have a gay clientele. The latest case in point is Lulu’s — a struggling bar on Franklin Street that wants to “come out” but is prohibited by its lease to operate as a a gay/lesbian club:

Owner John McGillion wants to take advantage of changing demographics in the neighborhood and turn it into a gay and lesbian bar. The only problem? His landlord specifically wrote in his lease that he can’t do that.

According to the clause in his lease: “The leased Premises shall be used by Tenant as a restaurant and bar. It shall not be used for adult entertainment and shall not be operated as a gay or lesbian bar and/or restaurant.”

“I am barely scraping by on the proceeds of the bar…If I am permitted to operate a gay bar at the premises I believe that I will be able to make a considerable profit,” McGillon wrote in the lawsuit he filed against his landlord, Guard General Merchandise Corp., last week. He told the Post he’s been battling with the landlord for the last year to make the change to no avail.

Just a few store fronts away, Veronica’s People’s Club, a popular (and really rather mellow) gay club, was forced to shutdown in 2012 by the local community board. It wasn’t the first. Blackout, a gay club on Manhattan Ave. closed in 2011 in part because of complaints from its neighbors. City Room has more on the Veronica’s closure:

In Veronica’s case, the owners of the building next door charged in a lawsuit filed in December that “unreasonably loud music and noises of all sorts are emitted” from the bar at all hours and that the music sent vibrations through their apartment, causing them “to become nervous, anxious and agitated.”

Next Magazine spoke with promoter Kelly Gorman last year who ran a party at Veronica’s called Kielbasa: [Read more...]

A day in the life of Williamsburg resident and NY1 anchor Pat Kiernan

patltrain

Business Insider followed NY1 anchor/NYC treasure/Williamsburg resident Pat Kiernan through his day which starts at 3AM and the man doesn’t even drink coffee! Watch below: [Read more...]