New Marieme Video For ‘A Change is Gonna Come’ is the Call to Arms We Need Right Now

 

 

 

In these intensely difficult times, we have sought genuine inspiration wherever we could find it; and one person in particular seems to never let us down. Indeed, Brooklyn-by-way-of-Senegal songstress Marieme has consistently raised her glorious voice in spine-chilling defiance of all those who would seek to use injustice as a weapon against the righteous and the vulnerable—most recently with her stirring cover of Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come” this past July.

Today she releases the accompanying video, and it is nothing short of a rallying cry—with images of Black men and women raising their fists in solidarity and power, and holding signs that read “The Fight Continues / Young Black Children Matter.” And in the midst of an election season already blatantly characterized by insidious voter suppression, it is precisely what is needed to remind everyone just how much is at stake—and also why there is a reason to hold out hope.

In fact, Sam Cooke’s original lyrics could not be more relevant to this moment in 2020:

 

“There been times that I thought I couldn’t last for long
But now I think I’m able to carry on
It’s been a long, a long time coming
But I know a change gon’ come, oh yes it will”

 

Remember those words…and get out the vote.

 

Report From Detroit: Andrew Carmellini on Reopening the Restaurants at the Shinola Hotel

San Morello

 

 

While the hit taken by the hospitality industry has been essentially universal, some stories stand out because of what was happening before the coronavirus lockdowns. Detroit, of course, has been a story for a very long time—struggling as it has been for the last four decades to revive its once and former glories.

Interestingly, rent fatigue in cities like New York and San Francisco at last saw young creatives making a beeline for Motor City in recent years, seeking reasonably priced apartments, and the thrill of “anything can happen here” that disappeared from NYC a long time ago. And one shining symbol of this new era of possibility was the Shinola Hotel, opened in January of 2019 in the historic Woodward shopping district. It was the sort of hotel that would these days be more likely throwing open its doors in Brooklyn or Silver Lake, with its unapologetic hipster signifiers—rustic furnishings, nostalgic Americana, factory-style windows, hanging globe lamps—and its goal of acting as a social hub for the city’s invigorated mediarati/culturati.

 

Shinola Hotel 

 

If you hadn’t guessed, it was indeed a branded project of Shinola, the Detroit based accessories purveyor who had gained international cognoscenti approval and financial success over the last several years with their zeitgeist-tapping watches, bags, belts, etc.  But another very big name was also attached to the project: exalted NYC Chef Andrew Carmellini’s NoHo Hospitality (The Dutch, Locanda Verde, Lafayette) were overseeing the restaurants, both of which were instantly adopted by the local trend-setters and -seekers.

Indeed, Carmellini’s San Morello deftly brought the laidback charm of the Sicilian Coast to Woodward Avenue, with dishes like chicken rosalina, black shells puttanesca, and lamb meatballs with whipped goat cheese; while The Brakeman now seems the perfect place to blow off steam in such troubled times—a handsomely designed craft beer hall, with a unique selection of drafts, amazing fried-chicken from the adjacent venue Penny Red’s, plus foosball, ping pong, and shuffleboard, the latter two of which happen to be very of-the-moment with the cool kids.

On the occasion of the re-opening of both, we chatted with Chef Carmellini about the noble struggle back to normality. He was also kind enough to share a few of most popular recipes from San Morello.

 

What is new about the experience at the Shinola restaurants?

At all the restaurants, sanitation and safety protocols in line with Michigan’s state health guidelines have been put in place. This includes staff wellness checks, face masks, and social distancing requirements, and surface disinfectant protocol between uses. As far as the experience, it was important to us to create the warm, friendly and comfortable atmosphere that our guests have come to expect, while maintaining safety as a top priority. For the food, we initially thought to create new menu items, but after listening to the community we realized they were craving the dishes they know and love, like San Morello’s sheep’s milk ricotta or the rosalina chicken, and we prepared to have those ready for them.

How do you see the near future of the Detroit restaurant scene, and the near future of American restaurants in general?

I think the future is unpredictable. I’ve run restaurants through disasters before, like the September 11 terrorist attacks, which many thought Manhattan restaurants would never recover from, and we proved them wrong—so it’s hard to say. Independent restaurants employ more than 10 million people, so my goal and the goal of the Independent Restaurant Coalition right now is to fight to make sure that a majority of those jobs don’t disappear for good. I will say that based on our re-openings in Detroit, I do think that the concept of eating a meal together at a restaurant is still important to communities, something people will always seek out when they are ready, possibly even appreciating the experience even more than ever. So I am optimistic.

 

The Brakeman

 

How had things been going at your restaurants at the Shinola before the lockdowns?

I’m very proud of what my team has done in Detroit. The team that relocated there is loving the city, they’ve bought homes there, and have really ingrained themselves in the scene. Seeing the quality and success of the whole hotel itself has been impressive; and having celebrated its one-year opening anniversary in January, the restaurants were really settling in nicely there.

What has characterized the re-opening experience?

Make no doubt about it, it is hard. At the same time, it feels great to be at work. Essentially restaurant people are like tuna fish, we swim or we die. It’s nice to take a break, but there is that high that comes from working together on a team and taking care of people the best way you can; and the desire to do that is at the core of all of us.

 

San Morello

Three Recipes from San Morello

 

Sheep’s Milk Ricotta with Hot Honey and Garlic 

Chef Andrew Carmellini

Serves 6
Every chef loves playing with complex flavors and textures, but this dish is a great reminder that straightforward, delicious food always makes people happy. We whip the ricotta with a splash of milk to give it a fluffy texture, and spread it on grilled semolina bread drizzled with spicy honey and crunchy herbs & garlic.
Ingredients:
For the whipped ricotta:
2 cups Sardinian sheep’s milk ricotta (if you can’t find this, use the regular cow’s milk ricotta) 1⁄2 cup whole milk
2 to 3 tablespoons Mike’s Hot Honey
1 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon fleur de sel or coarse sea salt 2 to 3 tablespoons Mike’s Hot Honey
For the garlic chips:
1 cup extra virgin olive oil 6-7 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
For the crunchy herbs:
6-8 basil leaves
1 cup canola or other neutral oil
Method:
Beat the ricotta and the milk together until the mixture is light and fluffy, using a KitchenAid with the paddle attachment if you’ve got one, or a whisk and a medium-sized bowl if you don’t. Add the table salt and mix well. Set aside.
Place garlic and oil in a small pot over medium-high heat. Stir constantly until the garlic begins to fry. Remove garlic from oil as soon as the garlic starts to caramelize and drain on paper towel. It will continue to cook and darken a few shades after you remove it from the oil. Reserve the remaining garlic oil for serving. Allow the garlic to cool and set aside.
To make the crunchy herbs, use a pot to bring canola oil to 350°F and add herbs — be careful as it will splatter. Stir consistently for about 15-30 seconds, then remove herbs and place on paper towels to dry.
To serve, place the mixture in a serving bowl and drizzle with Mike’s Hot Honey and the crispy garlic and herbs. Spoon over a little of the reserved garlic oil and finish with pinch of fleur de sel. Serve this with a board full of grilled semolina bread. I guarantee you won’t be able to stop eating it.

 

Image by Nicole Franzen 

 

 

Lamb Meatballs
 

Chef Andrew Carmellini 
 

Makes 30 meatballs
Ingredients:
For the meatballs:
3 T olive oil
1⁄2 cup onions
1 clove garlic, chopped
1⁄2 t coriander
1 t fennel seed, chopped
1 T chopped rosemary, chopped
1 lb lamb, ground
1⁄2 lb merguez sausage, approx 8 links (or 2 links hot Italian sausage if you prefer), with casings cut away
onions, diced
1⁄2 cup dried breadcrumbs
2 whole eggs
1⁄2 t salt
2 oz fresh goat cheese
For the sauce:
1⁄4 cup olive oil
1 cup onions, diced (approx 1 small onion)
1 1-lb 12 oz can San Marzano tomatoes (about 15 tomatoes) plus their juice 1⁄4 t peperoncini
1⁄2 t salt
1⁄2 t sugar
1⁄2 t Sicilian oregano
To finish:
1⁄4 cup grated Pecorino
Method:
To make the meatballs:
Heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and sweat for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
Add the coriander, fennel seed and rosemary. Cook together 1 minute, so that the aromas of the spices and herbs are released.
Remove to a bowl and place in the fridge to cool.
In a large bowl, combine the sausage meat and the lamb with the onion-herb mixture, the breadcrumbs, the eggs and the salt. Mix well with your hands.
Roll the goat cheese into roughly 1⁄2-inch balls (the size of a small marble).
Take approx 2 tablespoons of lamb mixture. Roll and press it into an oval. Use your thumb to create a large goat-cheese-ball-sized dent in the middle, and drop the goat cheese ball inside. Pinch the mixture up around the ball to close up the hole and roll the meatball between your hands till it’s golf-ball-shaped. Repeat until you’ve used up all the goat cheese and the lamb mixture.
To make the sauce:
Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until the onions start to soften, approx 1 minute.
Add the canned tomatoes and juice, the peperoncini , the salt and the sugar. Mix to combine.
Cook over medium-high heat for 10 minutes, until the flavors combine and the sauce is reduced. Add the oregano and mix well.
Add the meatballs and ensure they’re all covered in the sauce. Reduce the heat to low, so the sauce is at a very low simmer, and cover. Cook for 10 minutes, until the meat is cooked and the sauce takes on the flavor of the meatballs. It’s very important that the liquid never comes to a boil: you want as slow a simmer as possible, so the flavors really come together, the cheese melts and the meat becomes rich and tender.
To finish:
Ladle the meatballs and sauce into 4 bowls. Sprinkle with the cheese. Serve immediately.

 

Image by Joe Vaughn 

 

Sicilian Pistachio Cake

Chef Andrew Carmellini

Makes one 8-inch cake
1⁄4 cup granulated sugar
1⁄2 cup almond paste
1⁄3 cup pistachio paste (Sevarome brand recommended) 1⁄4 cup all purpose flour
For the cake:
2 sticks butter, room temperature 2 teaspoons baking powder
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1 cup all purpose flour
1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla paste
1 teaspoon almond extract
6 large eggs, room temperature
Cake topping:
3 tablespoons Sugar in the Raw
3 tablespoons raw Sicilian pistachios, chopped
To Finish:
1 Valrhona Guanaja 70% chocolate bar (2.46 oz) 1 navel orange
Method:
Combine all ingredients for the pistachio sugar in a food processor and pulse until no large chunks of almond paste remain and mixture is sandy and completely uniform throughout. To achieve the best results, pulse in two batches. Take out of the food processor and set aside.
In an electric mixer bowl with paddle attachment, cream butter with the pistachio sugar from above until combined and lighter in texture. Do not over-mix or the cake will deflate after baking. Sift the dry ingredients together and set aside. Add vanilla paste and almond extract to the creamed butter mixture and continue to mix on a low speed, making sure to down the sides of the bowl. Next, add the eggs one at a time until incorporated. Turn off the mixer and scrape down the bowl again before proceeding. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated.
Line the base of a removable bottom 8-inch cake pan with a round cut piece of parchment paper. Spray the paper and sides of the pan lightly with vegetable oil spray. Pour the batter into the pan and smooth out the top with a small offset spatula. Sprinkle the Sugar in the Raw and chopped Sicilian pistachios evenly over the cake. Bake at 325°F for about 45-50 minutes or insert a small paring knife into the cake — it’ll be done when it comes out clean.
Cool completely. Once cooled, run a small offset spatula along the edge of the pan to release the cake. Gently lift the cake out of the pan and cut into 12 equal pieces using a serrated knife.
Using a microplane, grate chocolate evenly over the entire cake. Lightly zest an orange over the top and enjoy.
Image by Emily Berger 

BlackBook Premiere: New Papi Shiitake Video For ‘Enjoy The View’ Deals w/ More Serious Pandemic Matters

 

 

The artistic fallout from the coronavirus crisis seems to genuinely be upon us right now, as we’ve recently debuted new tracks/videos that have to do with isolation (Golden Aquarians’ “High Enough”) and PPE (iDKHOW’s “Leave Me Alone”). But the video for Papi Shiitake‘s “Enjoy the View”—which BlackBook also premieres here—confronts an even more serious aspect of the crisis.

The new project by Best Behavior frontman Alex Gruenburg (along with co-writer/musical-conspirator Ryan Sieloff), Papi Shiitake’s new single is cool, alt-surf-rock, with artful, tremolo’d guitars, and a languid, hip-hop beat. But the accompanying clip shows Young Tuxx—who is actually Gruenberg, in alter ego mode—and his muppet pal Lil Tuxx (everyone should have a muppet pal during quarantine), dealing with scaring up enough money to pay the rent—though it’s all handled with a sly sense of humor. To wit, a fake newspaper headline blares, Happiness For All! Global Warming Reversed. Hunger Eliminated.

 

 

It shines a light on the plight so many are facing right now, as potential eviction numbers mount, due to the high joblessness rate. No one, from the states to the federal government, seems to have a workable plan to deal with it.

Gruenburg himself has been isolated in Brooklyn since the lockdown went into effect in March, but has also been busy playing chef and running Toki Toki, a vegan Korean barbecue stand at Bushwick’s beloved Tradesman bar. And regarding more serious matters, the Papi Shiitake track “Born As Lovers” appeared on a recent Rough Trade Black Lives Matter benefit compilation.

He gave us the lowdown on the lead up to “Enjoy The View.”

Where have you been and what have you been doing during quarantine?

I’ve been in my Brooklyn apartment for most of quarantine, I started living alone right before the pandemic hit. In a strange way the isolation has been extremely liberating, and that’s where most of the content for our upcoming EP Quarantine Dream comes from.

Is there a significance to the name Papi Shiitake?

I was actually on a trip to Colombia, staying with a family that grew shiitake mushrooms in the mountains outside of Bogota. The name Papi Shiitake came to me and it seemed perfect for this project. People love to say it.

Is it a long term project? Will there be a full album?

Most definitely. The project kind of came out of nowhere, but we’ve already recorded multiple records’ worth of material. We’re hoping to put out our first full length early next year.

Why did you create the alter ego Young Tuxx? What part of you does he represent?

Young Tuxx was born in the ice bath. I did a session with Wim Hof, who can withstand incredibly cold temperatures with the aid of a breathing technique. He had us submerge in these ice pools and when I emerged I felt a new spirit within myself. My heart became a diamond formed under pressure and I became Young Tuxx.

 

 

What is Lil Tuxx like?

Lil Tuxx is honestly one of the coolest people I’ve ever met. People love to see him on the street and hang out with him. We both like to have a good time, which is probably why we get along so well. After the shoot I really missed him. Hope he comes back for a live show.

The video is about trying to come up with the money to make the rent. Do you think we’re not talking enough about how many people face eviction as a result of the pandemic?

Absolutely. People were barely making rent before the pandemic in NYC. Not everybody has the luxury of leaving the city for the suburbs. If we want to save New York City we need to start with the people of New York City. The same applies to the rest of the country.

What is your assessment of the way this country has handled the coronavirus crisis?

It’s a huge bummer, isn’t it? Really thought the US would band together more to fight this. Look how Europe and Asia are handling it. They will definitely be having live shows before us. I’m jealous.

Give us a quick encapsulation of Toki Toki.

I love to cook and I absolutely love Korean BBQ. I’m not vegan, but I realized that I’ve never had any good vegan Korean BBQ. So I came up with a recipe for vegan bulgogi and people started to really love it. Toki Toki is being served at Tradesman, one of my favorite bars in Brooklyn. Stop by and have some onigiri!

 

Revelation: Stormy Daniels Wants to Talk to You About How Much She Loves Horses

 

 

 

After months of endlessly going mentally, emotionally and psychologically off the rails, god knows we need every bit of joy we can get right now, however unexpected it may be. And though it was likely no one could have even imagined spending an evening chatting about horses with Stormy Daniels, it might just be a perfectly reasonable way to yank us away from the madness for a bit.

Ms. Daniels is, of course, the adult film star whose unfortunate encounter with a pre-presidential Donald Trump made her very, very famous. Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, who was said to have made a hush payment to her, wound up in prison; and her attorney Michael Avenatti was subsequently indicted for fraud.

But Stormy, who it turns out is an accomplished equestrian, stands decidedly with her dignity intact—and in fact is now featured in a new book fittingly about equestrian adoration. And this Thursday, August 20, the venerable One Grand Books (of Narrowsburg, the Catskills) will host an event via Zoom which will bring Stormy and author Sarah Maslin Nir together for a lively discussion about the latter’s new book Horse Crazy—which bears the delightfully charming subtitle The Story of a Woman and a World in Love with an Animal.

 

 

Maslin Nir is a NY Times reporter and Pulitzer Prize finalist, whose 2015 exposé on the manicurist business caused more than its share of controversy. But Horse Crazy wants only to celebrate our universal infatuation with one of the world’s most beautiful and loyal creatures, of which there are two million in the US alone. So Thursday’s event is obviously an absolute must for horse lovers—but also for anyone for whom spending an hour with two such fascinating women, talking about such exquisite animals, would prove an ideal antidote to all the ugliness taking place around us right now.

“I think one of the most fascinating things about the love of horses is that these animals—despite the elite trappings that surround them—are themselves democratizing,” offers the author. “In my book I ride with black Texas cowboys reclaiming their legacy, Indian cavalry officers across Rajasthan, and swim rare Marwari horses in the sea with an English socialite.”

And of her upcoming Zoom accomplice, she enthuses, “Stormy is a horse girl at heart, and I instantly bonded [with her] over these animals.”

No surprise, whenever Daniels posts a picture of one of her steeds, the lascivious jokes follow—to which she characteristically replies: “He’s not my type, I prefer thoroughbreds.”

Cost for the 6pm event is $24 , which includes a free signed copy of Horse Crazy (regular price $28). A Zoom link will be sent to ticket holders.

 

One Grand Books, Narrowsburg

Exclusive: Loupe Artist Caison Wang’s Cultural Guide to Shanghai

Caison Wang, Regression

 

 

America’s relations with China are in a particular state of tatters—and it’s hardly even worth recounting exactly who is responsible for that situation. And with the TikTok ban imminent, don’t expect the outlook to get any rosier any time soon.

But art generally has a way of rising above the political clatter, and reaching across the borders/oceans. Of course now, with Americans all but grounded for international travel, the cultural exchanges will all be digital. Which is why the influential art streaming app Loupe has become ever more relevant—especially as its new motion art channel was recently launched, offering a whole new level of engagement with its carefully curated stable of global art talent.

One of those artists is Caison Wang, who studied Stateside in Atlanta, but is currently residing in the creative hotbed that is Shanghai. And as part of a pandemic inspired (meaning, we can’t actually travel right now) new series, BlackBook, in conjunction with Loupe, has engaged her to create a guide to some of her city’s most unmissable cultural destinations—including even where local artists like to go for a good night out.

 

Caison Wang, Surveillance

 

Caison Wang’s Cultural Guide to Shanghai

 

“I am a Shanghai-based artist, focusing on installation and sculpture related to social phenomenon, the human spirit, psychological values and consumerism. I have been based in Shanghai for The Swatch Art Peace Hotel residency since 2019, and it has been an exhilarating chance for me to enjoy a luxury studio in a centuries-old hotel, and meet professional artists from around the world. Creativity and diversity are central to the city; Shanghai is an incredible place to link with the international art market, and has created a new regional culture by absorbing cultures from all over the world.

I started working with Loupe as a graduate student in the United States in 2018. The platform shares many artistic talents to a wide audience, and it eliminates cultural barriers between the public and the artist. I have continued my work with Loupe in Shanghai and believe it is an incredible experience for emerging artists wherever they live and work around the world.”

 

 

Caison Wang, Seven Sins

 

Power Station of Art

On the desolate site of the 2010 World Expo, the Chinese government has transformed an old power station into an artistic gem. Power Station of Art (PSA) is the first state-owned contemporary art museum in China, so while that precludes shows that might be deemed too avant-garde, it is also the main site for the Shanghai Biennale. I think PSA provides the community with an open showground for modern culture, hence removing the gap between art and life, boosting the collaboration and knowledge production between different cultures and art categories.
My first group exhibition titled #HASHTAG in Shanghai was at the PSA. It was selected as one of three winning proposals for the 2017 Emerging Curators Project. I was so excited to be invited by the esteemed curators to exhibit my works “Mechanical Avalokiteshvara” and “Unconscious Hierarchy.”

 

 

Swatch Art Peace Hotel

Peace Hotel is at the center of the Bund and one of the most famous hotels in China. In 2010, the south building was redesigned by Swatch for the artist residency program, in which artists from around the world are invited to live and work on two dedicated floors. Its unique operational concept blends a retail environment with a hotel, workshops and apartments where artists live and work. Gifted artists from around the world are selected by an international committee.
The Swatch Art Peace Hotel has its own exhibition room on the first floor, which features 480 square meters for art exhibitions that are free to the public. Exchanges and interactions among visiting artists are always very lively and there is a lot of idea sharing amongst Chinese and Western artists. “Open Studio” events encourage communication among artists, the management team, the local art community and the public.
I was so lucky to be invited by the program to do the residency for six months in 2019—it provided me with a significant chance of sharing art. This incomparable historical building inspired me a lot in my creation process. During these six months, I learned and shared art, culture and fun with artists from different countries. I extended my research topic “Unconscious Hierarchy”(fig) and built a new installation that was shown during open studio night.

 

Square Gallery

A space engaged with pushing the boundaries of contemporary art. I love this art space because it has a unique form—it mutates together with the times it lives in. Initially located in Suzhou in a 900 square meter warehouse, it has hosted over 40 different artists from 15 countries. Since 2015, Square Gallery has held exhibitions and art fairs in China and Europe.

 

 

The Press by Inno Coffee

The Press, built-in 1918, was the first newspaper office of Shenbao for over half a century. In 2015, it was refurbished to become Inno Coffee, and it also retained the architectural imprint of the past. It’s a spacious and impressively renovated café. You could easily spend several hours reading, working, or just hanging out there.

 

 

Bund 18

This is my favorite drinks and dancing place, and I often recommend visitors to go there. Bund 18 was once the Chinese headquarters for the Chartered Bank—it is a historic building, that features the city’s most famous nightlife spots, including Bar Rouge, Mr. & Mrs. Bund, as well as a café and art gallery, all amidst iconic views of the Shanghai skyline.

 

Watch: Pussy Riot are starting…a ‘RIOT’

 

 

It didn’t get much coverage in the States, but last month Pussy Riot’s Pyotr Verzilov was arrested in Moscow, and charged with “petty hooliganism”—though it’s doubtful that the incident was anything but politically motivated.

It landed in the middle of the explosion of protests in America following the surely racially motivated murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis—the aftermath of which the Trump administration is now dealing with by veritably starting the next American civil war.

So, no surprise, Pussy Riot are pissed. And, well, they are about to start their own “RIOT.” Indeed, that is precisely the title of their new single and video, released today. Of course, it totally rips; but naturally, it also has a lyrical message that should have the bad guys turning tail and running away as fast as they can.

 

“yeah sex is great
but have you ever fucked the system
hate to hate
and my religion is resistance
gatorade
the only thing they water plants with
fuck the state
men love when women only whisper”

 

The last line decisively reminds of their relentless message of female empowerment, especially poignant following their recent single “HANGERZ,” which was a fearless meditation on women’s reproductive rights.

If it even need be said, sometimes only a “RIOT” will do.

 

 

Summer ‘Buyout’ Destination: The Catskills’ Eastwind Hotel & Bar

 

 

Obviously seeking creative ways to decisively bounce back from this bottom-line-devastating pandemic, hotels have gotten impressively creative—for instance, those clever “buy now, stay later” programs. And fast emerging is a new “buyout” trend, wherein one assembles one’s most beloved friends and family to take over an entire hotel for a weekend or more. Kind of like a wedding party, except no one has to deal with the responsibility of actually getting married.

Kilkea Castle in Ireland, for instance, can be had for just $8000 a night. Head over to the Continent, and France’s Hotel Château du Grand Lucé is going for precisely double that—and well worth it, we must add. But since Europa remains off limits to Americans now (see what happens when you don’t wear your masks?), we’re obviously inclined to propose something distinctly more geographically attainable.

 

 

Now certainly The Catskills, the sprawling Upstate New York region just about two hours from NYC, is going on about 15 years of steady hype—yet has somehow remained pretty much unspoiled by the usual urbanista plunderers. Perhaps because it is yet still a bit sylvan for pampered cosmopolitan types? But we spent a weekend last year at the casual chic Eastwind Hotel & Bar (located in Windham and new to the scene in 2018), to where you can get decisively away from all those maddening NYC stresses—as well as the heightened social distancing issues—and yet not really want for any of the perks of being in a big city.

And yes, the hotel is now offering two-night buyouts for just $9000 in total. This includes 16 rooms and suites spread over two buildings, plus three Lushna Cabins, should you choose to invite your, um, glamping friends. It’s all done up very stylishly in an aesthetic we could only admiringly describe as Scandi-rustic, far more appealing than all the faux-farm hipsterati stuff that has so blighted Brooklyn these last several years.

 

 

And you could really only be bored at the Eastwind if you wanted to be. Windham Path, Diamond Notch Falls, and Mine Kill Falls are just a few of the ridiculously scenic hiking trails; there is mountain biking, horseback riding, yoga on the lawn, and even an authentic wood-barrel, Finnish style sauna; and, for the foodsters in your group, opportunities for local foraging. There are also two Writer’s Studios amongst the rooms, should you choose to ignore your companions, and instead spend the time finishing your Great American Novel.

“We have definitely seen an increase in bookings over the last few weeks,” says Co-Founder Bjorn Boyer. “People are wanting to get outdoors and enjoy nature, and there are an array of options for our guests such as hiking, biking and fishing. Eastwind provides a quiet place to unwind, reconnect with friends and family, or work remotely. From a contactless check-in to breakfast delivered to your room, we are continuing to do everything we can to ensure the health and safety of our guests and staff.”

 

 

We we visited, we were admittedly most content just playing games in the lounge, or chatting up the bartender over martinis and manhattans. But the Eastwind serves up five-star level breakfasts and dinners in that same lounge area, which can also be enjoyed by the fire pit or elsewhere out on the lawn (though keep an eye out for picnic stealing Yogi Bear types).

Boyer concludes, “Guests who buyout Eastwind can enjoy all of the property’s no contact amenities: cocktails can be delivered to outdoor decks, or even to guests’ rooms…or anywhere they are on the property. Staff can also provide group buyouts with outdoor BBQ dinners prepared over an Argentinian wood fired grill, and served under the stars.”

And considering how much time since March we’ve spent staring up at the ceiling, those stars actually sounding really good right now.

 

BlackBook Premiere: Marieme’s Soulful Cover of ‘A Change is Gonna Come’ is a Rallying Cry For Our Times

 

 

 

Through the twin tragedies of a global pandemic and the racial injustices brought to light by the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and so many others, Senegalese-American songstress Marieme has been one of the genuine voices of hope in our little corner of the world. To be sure, between her always empowering music, and her poignant words in an essay recently penned for BlackBook, she has reminded us that surely we can come together to overcome whatever and whomever stands against us.

And now comes the exhilarating news that she will be releasing a string of ideologically connected singles throughout the remainder of summer, under the unambiguous banner Songs For The Revolution. The first of these is an impassioned, stirringly soulful update of the Sam Cooke classic “A Change is Gonna Come.” With its inspiring passages like, “There been times that I thought I wouldn’t last for long / Now I think I’m able to carry on / It’s been a long, a long time coming,” it is poignant and relevant right now in more ways than one could reasonably count—even 56 years after its initial release.

 

“It’s hard to wrap my head around that,” she says, “the fact that not much progress has been made, and that oppression was just rebranded, over and over again. I’ve been profoundly moved by the Black Lives Matter movement in a way that I’m sure many have been moved to take actions, to end racism once and for all for the remainder of our lives.”

Most importantly, she comes at the challenges that lie ahead from a position of optimism, at a time when surely unprecedented levels of pessimism and cynicism hang over our nation like a threatening storm cloud.

“I believe that things will change for the better,” Marieme insists, “because of the visibility and broader understanding that has taken place; and we see things changing already at the core. The reimagining of a better world is going to take Radical untamed love! And self awareness! 2020 has been truly a year of consciousness already, and I’m looking forward to the healing it’ll bring for people who’s lives depend on it! A change is here! You are the Change!”

That’s just what we were thinking.

 

It’s Bastille Day: And Here is a Truly Extravagant Way to Celebrate

 

 

 

With the modern history of our countries so inexorably intertwined, you’d think France and America would play a little nicer in the geopolitical sandbox. The latter’s Independence Day—which celebrates something the French helped us win—has just come and gone, and the former’s Bastille Day (July 14), which was influenced by the latter, is now upon us. Let’s all get along, no?

Alas, the Stateside tradition of celebrating the turning point of the French Revolution is mostly confined to our major urban areas. And now this insidious pandemic has even made that nigh impossible. But American Francophiles with a taste for more than just a classic salade Lyonnais or simple bavette steak can now get their Gallic on Michelin style, via an opulent new partnership between NYC’s Gastronome Catering—headed by Pop Burger founder Jonathan Weizmann—Studio3, and beloved French elderflower liqueur St-Germain.

 

 

Indeed, the aforementioned three have combined their epicurean and stylistic acumen to create a special Bastille Day gourmet tasting kit, aptly titled Menu du Quatorze Juillet. The exquisite four-course dinner, by venerable Gastronome Chef Alex Ureña, starts with uni & caviar, moves elegantly on to peekytoe crab with avocado, gets serious with roasted chicken avec oyster mushrooms and spinach/parmesan puree, then finishes beautifully and sweetly with an irresistible pamplemousse custard. And all paired with delectable St-Germain Spritz cocktails.

“It was not me alone,” Weizmann explains of its inception, “but it was reaching out and seeking to develop an idea, and then using the potential of the talent, from Studio3 to St-Germain and on to Chef Ureña. This is something deeper than simply a menu; it is about people coming together and creating something unique in this difficult time.”

The special packaging, by Studio3, is also an essential element of its epicurean/aesthetic appeal.

“It is so important to choose and work with people who are experts at their craft,” Weizmann insists. And Studio3 are amazing at what they do. This luxury meal kit was packaged with TLC…every detail was handled with care and branded to perfection. All the senses are awakened, with the goal of transporting the recipient to another place. In this case, France!”

And certainly, 231 years of ironic distance means that we can, indeed, celebrate Bastille Day luxuriously.

To purchase a Menu du Quatorze Juillet Bastille Day gourmet tasting kit, visit Gastronomecatering.com. At just $250 for two people, it will be delivered directly to your door. And, because why not, it will be available through August 14.