THIS WEEKEND: The 4th Annual Bushwick Film Festival

Head over to Brooklyn Fire Proof in Bushwick this weekend (September 24 – 26) for the 4th annual Bushwick Film Festival. There will be music, art shows, and films of both the feature-length and short variety.

From the press release:

From September 24th-26th the festival will screen 5 feature films by notable directors Steven Garbas, Giorgio Arcelli, Dan Keezer, Andrew Shirley, and Shaun Jefford.  Also, the program for shorts will showcase documentaries and comedies by 20 filmmakers, including works by Brooklyn based collective The Film Shop and Untucked Films. With a Woody Allen inspired art show (I Forgot My Mantra) curated by Joel Morrison and music producer and mixer Jason Finkel on board as the festival’s musical curator, this year promises to be an all encompassing arts festival. We are integrating music and art to compliment films.  My goal was to bring in exciting bands that resonate with the Brooklyn/Bushwick music scene”, says Jason Finkel.   Bands include Fancy Colors, Hot Seconds, Weekends, Acrylics, Revival Times, Bear Ceuse and Chappo, whose song is featured by Apple in the new iPod Touch commercial. Musical performances will be followed by DJ sets by Chris Thomas and Alex Mejias (Left as Rain), PJ (PG-13), and Benny Snacks (jumping!boys fame). Another addition to the 2010 festival is interactive photography installation, The Self Portrait Project by Andy Lin.

Bushwick Film Festival

FREE These Are Powers Show Tomorrow Night

A Fitting Tribute To Leonard Skinner

Yu(c)k – Automatic

This is still my favorite video of the year, haunting and beautiful in its simplicity. Watch it full screen.

Yu(c)k – Automatic from Yuck on Vimeo.

R.I.P. Leonard Skinner

I wonder if they’ll play “Freebird” at the funeral.

Leonard Skinner, 77, a high school physical education teacher who was the improbable namesake of the rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd, died yesterday. You can read his full obituary here.

In the late 1960s, Mr. Skinner was the by-the-books gym teacher at Robert E. Lee High School in Jacksonville, where he had a reputation as a stickler for personal appearance.

One day, Mr. Skinner sent a smart-aleck student named Ronnie Van Zant to the principal’s office because his hair was touching his collar — a flagrant violation of the school’s dress code.

(Van Zant and his cohorts would sometimes use Vaseline to slick down their hair in order to fool Mr. Skinner. It didn’t work.)

Van Zant, who was later suspended from the school for other rules violations, decided to get back at his physical education teacher by renaming “One Percent,” his fledgling rock band “Lynyrd Skynyrd.”

Possums "terrifying teenage girls" in Brooklyn

If you find it disturbing, or even a little startling when a fat rat runs across your path on a dark Brooklyn night as you pass some abandoned lot or pile of garbage, you might not want to read any further. On the other hand, if knowledge is power, get ready for this: Reports of opossums wondering the city streets, tearing up gardens and trash cans, scaring young hipsters, and intimidating Pomeranians, have been on the rise, and some say the city is to blame. From New York Post:

Wild possums are destroying Brooklynites’ gardens, threatening small dogs and terrifying teenage girls.

“Last year, while walking around the [Dyker Beach] golf course at dusk, my daughter and I bumped into one. We were so scared. We’re city girls,” said Marnee Elias-Pavia, district manager of Community Board 11, which covers Bensonhurst, Mapleton, Bath Beach and Gravesend.

Elias-Pavia’s 13-year-old daughter was terrified.

“My daughter screamed and I had to grab her from running into the street,” Elias-Pavia recalled….

City Councilmember Domenic Recchia (D-Coney Island) claims the city is responsible for the growing possum population. About 10 years ago, “There was a rat problem in Marine Park and Gerritsen Beach so they brought the possums in to target the rats,” Recchia explained.

When questioned about Recchia’s claim, the mayor’s office referred calls to the city Health Department, which said, “We do not have a record of this action.”

Chances are if you see an opossum they are more afraid of you than you are of them, just don’t get close to their likely rabid, razor sharp teeth, step on their fat ugly rat-like tail, or look into their glowing beady little eyes. Whatever you do, don’t give them a pedicure or a massage.

Sleigh Bells Rock Webster Studio

“Who knew it was possible to crowd surf under 10 foot ceilings?” Sleigh Bells frontwoman Alexis Krauss was full of surprises as she and guitarist Derek Miller rocked a sold-out show at the intimate – and low-ceilinged – Webster Studio Monday night. Krauss finished out a heart-pumping, sweat-soaked set as she leapt into the 300-person crowd of thronging, sweat-soaked hipsters midway through the band’s hit song, “Treats.”

It was the final thrill in a short but heart-pumping set from the much buzzed-about Brooklyn-based noise pop band, which became an indie darling practically overnight after the release of their first album, Treats, last May.

“This next song is a dance song, so I need everyone to fucking dance!” Krauss howled as she launched into the first chords of “Tell ‘Em.” Easier said than done in the shoulder-to-shoulder sprawl, but the gleefully disheveled crowd didn’t seem to mind getting a little scuzzier.

Krauss was by turns exuberantly energetic and erotic as she powered through hits including “A/B Machines,” “Rill Rill,” and Kids.”

“You guys hot?” she purred before showering the crowd with the contents of her water bottle. Krauss’ high-octane vocals and Miller’s snarling, stomping guitar provided the power for a gritty, raw, and unapologetically heavy show.

For a newcomer like Sleigh Bells, the band’s only shortcoming is a lack of material. Last night’s set only lasted around 40 minutes – which is understandable, considering that their debut album is only 33 minutes long. “We wish we could play more, but that’s all we got!” a halfway apologetic Krauss told the crowd.

Sleigh Bells did thrill the concert-goers with one new song – see it (and the rest of the performance) streaming here at starting later today.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs celebrate 10 years and get NOSTALGIC

A lot of bands start out in this city. They play to tiny crowds or empty houses. They put their hearts into things and may not get a whole lot in return. They end up going back to their day jobs with some Garageband recordings and a few flyers as the only remnants of their attempts at rockdom. So when one of these bands makes it, and through luck and fate and perseverance and talent they get recognition on a large scale, it is really exciting. Yeah Yeah Yeahs are one of those bands. And tomorrow night they celebrate their 10 year anniversary with a small, intimate show to hearken back to the old days.

This week marks 10 years since YYYs played our first small club show in the big city! Our birthday wish is to play a show as small or smaller than back in the day and get NOSTALGIC with our friends Todd P and Secret Project Mighty Robot September 22. So dust off your Machine EPs or maybe give Yeah New York! a whirl because we’re digging up some oldies but goodies, heavy on the early catalogue. It’s back to basics, just the three of us and a couple hundred of you. Accommodations will be tight so we’d like to apologize in advance to those who want to be there but don’t get in, we thank you for humoring us with this selfish wish to make it so puny!

Talk Normal will open for them and Barry London will DJ. Tickets are available only at Secret Project Robot. (River St. and Metropolitan Ave. entrance) More info at Todd P’s site.