A Capital anticipation list: ‘Battle for Brooklyn,’ The Saurus, Cruddy, Midnight Magic, Thanksgiving dessert
Each week, Capital's editors and writers will offer a list of the events, activities, releases and personal obsessions that we are looking forward to during the next week. Here is a list of our anticipations.
Battle for Brooklyn at Brooklyn Heights Theater
Tom: I'll admit that dramatic documentaries get me a little teary-eyed, and also that I have been fascinated from the beginning almost a decade ago with the dispute in Brooklyn over the development of the Atlantic Yards into an arena for the Nets and 16 skyscrapers. Over the course of those years my own opinion about the pitched battle between developer Bruce Ratner and the agglomeration of neighborhood activists that coalesced into the group "Develop, Don't Destroy Brooklyn" has moved back and forth a few times. But one thing that is for sure is that there is drama and meaning in these sorts of battles. The problem is that, like Dickens' never-ending court case Jarndyce and Jarndyce, they can stretch on forever in such a way that you start to develop something like "issue fatigue" about it. So compressing the story into the space of a documentary covering eight years of the dispute seems like a valuable way to reconnect with what's happened there. A spate of screenings of Battle for Brooklyn, the film about the war over Atlantic Yards by Suki Hawley and Michael Galinsky begins tonight at the Brooklyn Heights movie theater at 70 Henry Street, but there are plenty more this week and throughout the pre-holiday season all over Brooklyn and Manhattan (click here for more details.) Some include Q-and-A sessions with filmmakers, and with Daniel Goldstein, the chief protagonist of the film.
The Saurus vs. Illmaculate and All I Know is That
Azi: There are two online recordings that'll probably help me keep Christmas music out of my ears this season.
The first is a 27-minute long video of a rap competition between long-time dominant duo The Saurus and Illmacuate, and Canadian-based poRich Diaz.
The Saurus and Illmaculate dominated the scene for years. They inspired a whole generation of followers who, sometimes, are better and more skilled.
The video, posted on Nov. 20, 2011, took place in Canada's King of the Dot league, which has constantly churned out well-produced rap-battle videos. The group met a few years ago in New York City, when The Saurus and Illmaculate where at their zenith and they crushed poRich who was partnered at the time with Kid Twist. The Canadians were talented, less experienced, and delivered one of the best performances of the year.
This video is one worth watching several times.
Mainly, it's because there's no footage of judges explaining their one-vote decision (I won't say who won), so, to really judge the winner, you have to watch it for yourself. Secondly, a brief scuffle breaks out in the second round, during The Saurus and Illmaculate's turn. Somehow, to keep the shoving from turning in to an all-out brawl, The Saurus establishes decorum in the rowdy scene by rapping, and spectators return to a state of tense, energetic observation.
Lastly though, the first round is worth watching. Each side had well-rehearsed verses which usually don't bode well in live competitions, where the highest kudos go to those who demonstrate that they can make up smart lyrics on the spot, reacting to what their opponents do or say. But here, the pre-written material is pretty high caliber, and both sides come prepared. But the first round is a disaster for the reigning champions, with Illmaculate repatedly interrupting his partner. It's a shame because later on in the competition, it's Illmaculate who stumbles, freezing up and appearing to have nothing to say. He's the more talented lyricist in the duo. But The Saurus has better delivery and presence, which rescues the pair when they need it most.
Which leads to me to the second recording I'll have on heavy rotation this holiday season: The Saurus' album, All I Know is That. The title is from a catch phrase the California-based rapper uses often in his battle rhymes as a way of filling space while he thinks of the next lines to say. It's been mocked by so many competitors, that there's nothing left for The Saurus to do other than own the phrase completely. There's 10 tracks with lots of guest appearances and at $7.99, eh, why not.
"Downton Abbey" and Lynda Barry's Cruddy
Dana: This weekend I will be doing as little as possible. Activities that require any thought processes will be off-limits. Activities that require lying on the couch will predominate. There will likely be a bit of Downton Abbey catching-up to do, as well as some reading of Lynda Barry's illustrated novel Cruddy, which I've started to read twice, and started to enjoy twice, only to twice get distracted by more pressing demands. If all goes according to plan, there will be no pressing demands this weekend, none at all.
Midnight Magic, A Brighter Summer Day, murals, Emily Books and more
Gabe: Among the shows I hope to catch are the terrific neodisco greats Holy Ghost! at the Music Hall of Williamsburg, playing with Jessica 6, Eli Escobar, and a band we covered this week, Midnight Magic; there's also a really cool pairing of two multitalented, genre-hopping musicians at the Canal Room: Corey Glover (lead singer of Living Colour) and Daniela Cotton; their work straddles rock, blues, and jazz, occasionally drawing in their more avant influences.
I've got a hot date to see the adorable 4 Adventures of Reinette and Mirabelle, one of the rare Eric Rohmer movies that can be safely described as "adorable." And at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, a whole host of Edward Yang's films are screening, chief among them A Brighter Summer Day, which I'm quite excited to finally see. After having seen and enjoyed the new Muppet movie, I was even more thrilled to see the Museum of the Moving Image screening my very favorite muppet thing ever, Emmit Otter's Jugband Christmas. I will ford whatever rivers of children and other Gen-Xers to get into this film! They're also showing Fantasia, which a good friend was recently complaining is too seldom shown on the big screen in the city. Voila!
I'd also love to sneak up to MOMA to see the Diego Rivera murals. Too few of the monumental works of the '30s remain, and these are terrific; for an added treat, just walk around the corner from the Modern to the AXA building at 1290 6th Avenue, where you can see Thomas Hart Benton's stunning America Today murals, originally done for the New School.
For readings there's Michael Collins, Susan Eisenhower, Sebastian Junger, Joseph O'Neill and Simon Winchester in conversation with the BBC's Frank Delaney on "Writers as Witness," Don DeLillo and Paul Auster yakking about the new issue of Granta, Peter Mathiessen at the Center for Fiction, and what looks to be a neat new series on biography, hosted by Rachel Syme at McNally Jackson; the first event involves Charles J. Shields, who's penned bios of Harper Lee and Kurt Vonnegut.
Finally there's a party to mark the launch of Emily Books, an exciting independent online bookshop that curates unsung works by women. Its first pick was the incomparable Ellen Willis, and for their second installment they're publishing Eileen Myles, who will be reading her poetic fiction and novelistic poetry.
"Alfred Hitchcock Presents" on Hulu
Joe: By Sunday—after driving to my fiancee's parents house in the woods of Connecticut during rush hour tonight; heading to Boston on Thursday for a first-ever Thanksgiving dinner at my potential future sister-in-law's house; spending the next few days catching up with various New England friends; and getting back on Saturday evening in time for another friends' 31st birthday party—the only thing I think I'll be in the mood to do is lie around on the couch watching episodes of "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" on Hulu, having exhausted all of my other recent streaming Internet video interests.
A while ago, Capital writer and friend Steven Boone began a conversation with me about something else entirely by saying, "When I'm at one of these parties with movie critics, all they want to talk about, other than, like, 'Mad Men' and 'Breaking Bad'…" I've kept up with "Mad Men" pretty much from the beginning, but I'd totally missed "Breaking Bad" until about a month ago, when the first two seasons became available on my brother's Netflix Instant. My wife and I have been watching it hard since then, and we're just about caught up with the world. In my amateur opinion, the professional critics are totally right to be obsessed with it.
Highly recommended, if Thanksgiving is at your aunt's apartment: Cook a turkey the next day. Then you can make merry with friends on a Friday and also have leftovers.
New York Jets versus Buffalo Bills, Nov. 27, 1 p.m., CBS
Rex Ryan is doing Bill Parcells-approved mind-tricks to Mark Sanchez. I hope they work!
Gillian: I'm making Thanksgiving dinner for the first time. Not just a few dishes for a potluck, which would be an easy task for me. No, this is the anxiety-dream-inducing, pot-clashing, whole shebang: Mashed potatoes, Brussels sprouts, green beans, stuffing, gravy, and a Tofurkey, since I'm hosting vegans. Everything on the table (er, guests' plates on their laps) must be vegan. So there's that. But I'm most worried about the stove-top roulette I'm going to have to play with these dishes, since I have a tiny oven, only two of the burners work and I'm hoping to keep everything above a lukewarm temperature. It's times like these that I wish I could turn to my mother's comfort-food recipes. She is a wonderful cook and baker. Unfortunately, all of her dishes have meat or dairy in them, including her famous pumpkin roll. "It's basically pumpkin cake layered with cream cheese and then rolled into log form," I wrote to one of the vegan friends who will be at dinner. "Sounds like my dream dessert," she replied. So I'm going to take a stab at veganizing the recipe. I've been vegetarian for a decade, but have only been experimenting with vegan baking for the past couple of years. Wish me luck. It's below in its original form, since I'm sure most of Capital's readers would want the original roll.
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup pumpkin
1 tsp lemon juice
¾ cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
½ tsp salt
1 cup confection sugar
8 oz cream cheese
4 tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla
Beat the eggs for five minutes. Gradually beat 1 cup of granulated sugar in the egg mixture. Stir in the 2/3 cup of pumpkin and 1 tsp of lemon juice. Set the bowl aside. Stir together the ¾ cup flour, 1 tsp of baking powder, 2 tsp of cinnamon, 1 tsp of ginger and ½ tsp of salt. Fold into the pumpkin mixture. Spread your dough into a greased and floured jelly roll pan or cookie pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes Cool for 10 minutes, then empty the dough onto wax paper dusted with confection sugar. Roll up to finish cooling. Mix together ingredients for the filling until it's smooth. Spread the filling on cooled the pumpkin dough (unrolled, of course). Then re-roll and chill.
I hope you enjoy the recipe if you make it. A brief housekeeping note: We here at Capital will be posting minimally tomorrow and Friday to spend time with our families and friends. Have a great holiday.