Archive for the ‘Brooklyn’ Category

Kleebtronics 2011: 12 Months 12 Projects

May 5, 2011

After applying to the Interactive Technology Program at NYU this past winter, I decided to step up my game a bit and produce a solid portfolio of projects for the year. I know, I know it’s May and I’ve been slacking a bit on the blogosphere end of things, but there are 4 projects down and 8 more to go, so I’m going to recap a little bit and try to catch up. From here on out, we’ll have one blog per project, I promise.

January: Death By Arcade

I started researching MAME cabinets in December and around the new year, ordered all of the parts I would need to build a homemade MAME cabinet for the showspace at Death By Audio. With some woodworking help from my roommate Alex, we built the Death By Arcade video game emulator. I documented this one pretty well in January’s blog. Since it’s finalization at the end of January, we’ve now raked in almost $200 in quarters. Street Fighter is a big hit, but there are over 40 games installed on the emulator, and they change depending on Gavin’s mood. If you ever come to a show at DBA, check it out.

February: Digital Video Mixer

Attributed to an online class on Processing and Arduino with Joseph Gray, February’s project was an intensive programming code that took a video input and affected it in real time using an Arduino – something the class referred to as a “ProjBox.”

At the end of February, I split the output signal to a series of televisions in the Monster Island Fuck Ton show. While still a bit glitchy, I think this project is going to keep improving as I learn more about Processing and Arduino. However, I don’t think I’ll be lugging a bunch of televisions to any shows anytime soon. The current 4-television setup is sitting in the back of Death By Audio.

March: Urban Gardener’s Window Box

I took a break from electronics in March and built a pretty heavy-duty window box that hangs from my sill in my bedroom. Since I cut the pipe out of my wall last summer, the awning window has been separating me from the frigid Brooklyn winter air. In March, I opened it for the first time in months and took the measurements for my hanging garden. A two foot square box cut from weather-treated pine would do the trick. I drilled into the brick using a pretty hefty hammer drill, then hung the edge from the top of the sill using braided steel cable. All-in-all, the box can hold probably 150 lbs and currently houses a few heads of romaine. If we ever get some consistent weather going on here, I’ll plant some more stuff in the coming months.

April: Homebrew Kegerator

I’ve been homebrewing for almost a year now, and have just finished my seventh beer, the Tricerahops (thanks Edan). For anyone out there that partakes in homebrewing, you know the bottling process takes FOREVER. First sanitize all the bottles, siphon out the beer, fill up each bottle individually, cap them, store them, etc, etc. It’s a good 4 hours. This time, I wanted to just pour my beer into a keg and have it on tap.

I found some old Cornelius (Corny) soda kegs on eBay as well as the double tower tap and a CO2 tank. The first mini fridge I found in Queens had some problems with leaking freon, so I found another at Hofstra University that did the trick. A few hose clamps later and everything is rigged up. The pressure is low, so I’m still messing with it a bit, but soon I won’t have to worry about bottling my beer anymore. Thank God.

Which brings us to May. I’ve now been accepted to ITP and am planning on dedicating my time to grad school starting in September. That doesn’t mean I can’t stick to a project schedule, especially if they coincide with school. Some plans for the future?

Well I’d love to affix a series of Piezo transducers to this old piano and hook them all up to different effects. If I can’t tune it, might as well make it sound crazy. Since it’s an easy and relatively affordable project, this is probably going to be May.

Also I’d love to make my bicycle-music-amplifier-solar-Lithium-battery-charger-smart-phone-GPS-all-in-one-system feasible. I found a company after the 5 Boro called Goal Zero that is pretty much doing exactly what I had planned. Perhaps running it off of a front hub dynamo is a good idea?

Kleebtronics Inc. is also up and running as a custom electronics fabrication company. This blog will eventually be dedicated solely to my first business venture, and the developments that come from that. I’m also looking to build my dot com, so if you’ve got some web development skills, come on over.

It’s an exciting time, and with grad school on the horizon, things are looking up.


The Way We See the World: JELLOWARE

December 22, 2010

My friend Monica is involved with a design company based out of Brooklyn called The Way We See The World. In addition to sustainable body wax and signal-blocking cell phone sleeves, TWWSTW has come up with a new, edible alternative to solo cups called JELLOWARE:

Watch the video!

It’s a pretty cool idea, and if you donate to their Kickstarter page, you can get a set of Jelloware cups for your next party. Check it out:

Jelloware on Kickstarter

Pool Parties! Deerhoof and Xiu Xiu cover Joy Division

July 12, 2010

First Pool Party of the summer featuring Deerhoof and Xiu Xiu playing Joy Division’s “Unknown Pleasures” in its entirety:

The best part of this performance was “I Remember Nothing,” which was accentuated by wine glasses smashing into a garbage can. Also dare I say Greg Saunier (Deerhoof’s drummer) far outperformed Stephen Morris (Joy Division’s drummer), despite being 30 years apart. Great kickoff to summer.

Also on the agenda for this year: Lightning Bolt, Jeff the Brotherhood, Future Islands, Cap’n Jazz, No Age, !!!, Murder City Devils, and a lot more. Hopefully next week I’ll be able to walk there.

Interview with Brian Chippendale

July 7, 2010

Vanessa and Matt recently interviewed Brian Chippendale of Lightning Bolt and Black Pus at his opening at the Cinders Gallery:

Animal Collective at Prospect Park

January 7, 2010


I know I don’t have to come out and say this, but Animal Collective puts on one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. Here are some clips:

This show made me feel so great. I’m so happy this kind of stuff happens in Brooklyn.

Pool Parties and Accelerometers

January 7, 2010


Wow, it’s been a long time since my last post. This will be pretty lengthy.

The Pool Parties are in full swing at the East River Park, which is about 5 blocks from Death By Audio. The summer lineup is pretty great, and the Dirty Projectors put on a phenomenal show yesterday. The view from the park is also amazing, and between bands you can lounge in the grass, play dodgeball, grab a drink in the 21+ section, or play basketball.

Needless to say, it’s quicker for me to walk there than try to find a place to lock my bike.

Anyway, I went to Handmade Music at the 3rd Ward and saw some amazing uses of accelerometers and solenoids in digital sequencers. If you don’t know what that means, that’s okay. I went home and started looking into homemade accelerometer projects, and discovered Johnny Lee who used the Wii remote to do some amazing things. Check these videos out:

I grabbed a Wii remote and figured out how to use it as a computer mouse. It truly is one of the most versatile inventions of our time. It can be connected to anything via bluetooth. I’m working on developing a program that uses the Wii remote in conjunction with some of the projects here at Death By Audio. Not going to release anything until it’s done, obviously.

In my perusing of, I also came across another video that is half amazing and half really scary:

After seeing something like this, I wonder how people are going to view privacy, and how much time will actually be spent in the real world as opposed to the virtual world. This video also convinced me to never buy an iPhone. I never want to have internet access all the time, though I’m sure it will happen within 5 years to all phones.

On one last note, I wandered over to the show space last week to see what was going on. I managed to catch the set of the band Religious Girls

They’re basically a spastic explosion of drums and synthesizers reminiscent of early Animal Collective. They played on the floor and sprawled into the crowd with their excessive amounts of drums. It was hard to tell who was officially in the band and who decided to just pick up a drum and join in. At one point, one of the members took a floor tom to the middle of the room and spread blue and red paint all over the head. Everyone dipped their hands in the mix and walked through the crowd, smearing it on everyone’s face. They put on quite the live show, and as I walked back into DBA afterwards covered in blue paint, I was greeted by a “what the fuck just happened to you” reaction. It was glorious. Best band I’ve seen in a while.

Everything has been great. If only I can get some kind of musical project together, things would be ideal.

10 Things People Love In New York

January 7, 2010


There are a few trends here in New York that are not particularly prominent in my previous residence of Pennsylvania. I’m just going to highlight a few things that everyone seems to love around here, more so than anywhere else.

1. Avocados

Avocado slices, avocado salad, guacamole, whatever. This stuff is everywhere. Since living in New York, I’ve had avocado on my sandwiches, on salads, and in guacamole at almost every party involving appetizers. Go to a restaurant in Brooklyn and I guarantee you’ll find avocado on at least 50% of the menu items. I’m sure this is more popular in a place like California (as I was informed while brainstorming this list) but there’s definitely much more avocado affinity in New York than Pennsylvania.

2. Bloody Marys

Until living in New York, I have never had a Bloody Mary. Now I’m practically a connoisseur. Hot sauce, horseradish, Worscheshire sauce, green olives, cilantro, celery, etc. The list goes on and on. This drink is practically a meal, and two of them will get you drunk and full. Of course, you’ll probably pay $10 a pop.

3. Brunch

A great way to combine #1 and #2. On the weekends, almost everyone in New York goes out to brunch. They can roll out of bed at 1 p.m. and get a huge breakfast complete with free coffee and a complimentary Bloody Mary or Mimosa. Harefield Road, on Metropolitan Ave in Brooklyn, has one of the best Bloody Marys I’ve had. They also put avocado on almost every entree. It’s a delicious hangover remedy.

4. PBR

Pabst Blue Ribbon. For some reason, PBR has a monopoly over cheap beer in New York. It’s cheaper than every other beer, and available at every single bar. They give this stuff away for free at art galleries, promotions, and Handmade Music Night. There’s even a free PBR night at the Lazy Catfish. Although Brooklyn Lager takes the cake as the prominent good beer, you can’t hide the fact that PBR is $2 a can.

5. Kickball

Every Sunday night at McCarren Park, you can find dozens of twenty-somethings clad in homemade uniforms competing in a three-month kickball league that spans the entire summer in Brooklyn. This is taken quite seriously, and I know some people that will practice a few nights a week in preparation of the big games on Sunday.

6. Grizzly Bear

The band Grizzly Bear, based out of Brooklyn, has been making a name for quite some time. Their album Yellow House blew up in 2006, resulting in tours with Radiohead and TV on the Radio. In 2009, they released Veckatimest and received lots of critical acclaim. This band is pretty much worshiped around New York, playing back-to-back sell-out nights.

7. The Dirty Projectors

Another Brooklyn-based band, the Dirty Projectors are hot off of the release of their new album Bitte Orca and collaborations with David Byrne at Radio City Music Hall. The eclectic mix of off-time rhythms and Dave Longstreth’s warbling make this band either really amazing or really annoying, you decide. I will say that people around here will drop whatever they’re doing to catch the Dirty Projectors live, especially if it’s free.

8. Fixed Gear Bikes

BikeSnobNYC refers to it as the “Fixed Gear Apocalypse.” It’s the “Zen feeling” of riding with no brakes or gears and feeling one with the bike and the road. Don’t get me wrong, I ride to work every day and I can understand the convenience of fixed gear bikes (total speed control, stopping on a dime without needing rim brakes, simplicity, etc), but many of these bikes are also ridiculously clean and/or stylish. It’s almost more of a contest than a lifestyle.

9. Falafel

If you want to eat cheap and delicious, falafel is the meal of choice. A sandwich usually never costs more than $3, and depending on where you go, the toppings can vary from cabbage and pickles to cauliflower and eggplant. Oasis on N. 7th in Williamsburg is a convenient location, right across from the subway. Other notable locations include Mamoun’s (W. Village), Olive Valley (Bushwick), and Pita Joe (14th St.) The random falafel carts in Manhattan also provide a delicious and quick meal for someone on the go. I eat falafel about twice a week. It’s replaced pizza as my cheap meal.

10. iPhones

It didn’t take long for the iPhone phenomenon to sweep the country in much the same way as the iPod. However, it has almost absorbed EVERYONE in New York. I’m probably one of about five people that live in New York without one. With the maps feature and instant internet access, it’s perfect for a person that is constantly on the go. Bar specials, entertainment, directions, everything is at your fingertips. Which also means most people are looking at the palm of their hand 75% of the time. I’m going to hold off as long as I can, sacrificing the convenience for living in the real world.

Summer In The City – Free David Byrne Show

January 7, 2010


This past Monday signaled the beginning of summer in Brooklyn. Or at least a kickoff of free concerts in outdoor venues. Instead of getting together with Alex and Chak and finally playing some music (something that has been getting postponed a few times a week this month), I decided to join the rest of Williamsburg in the mass bike commute to Prospect Park.

I arrived with my roommate Alex and his girlfriend Dorothy an hour before Byrne was slated to go on. We found a line that stretched practically the length of the park, complete with barbecues, picnics, and a softball game. We opted for the much more appealing plan of getting beers and sitting in a field and listening to the concert from afar.

Since I really have only listened to Remain In Light out of any of David Byrne’s music, I really just wanted to relax and enjoy the show, even though I couldn’t see it.

I got to see my old friend Brooks, who I hadn’t seen in a while, and hear a few Talking Heads tracks while I was closer to the stage. I love David Byrne because he combines my three favorite pastimes: biking, music, and interpretive dance:

On my way out of the park, I noticed a Transportation Alternatives tent with bike parking. Since Byrne designed bike racks around New York and is a huge cycling enthusiast, I’m really not surprised. Even BikeSnobNYC was there, albeit by mistake.

I met up with Chak afterwards for a drunken good time at Barbes in Park Slope, followed by a long, wobbly bike ride home. Summer is great.

Death By Audio

January 7, 2010

As the curtain closes on the act called 3 Catherine St, I must look again, for the sixth time in five years, for a new place to live.

Some of you may have heard the rumors about “the ultimate loft space” in Redhook, in Bed-Stuy, in Williamsburg, featuring Nate, Joe Grocki, Drew, Chak, Dustin, Big Nate, and me. We would build a studio and record bands and live in a big commune and it would be great. We talked about the “summer of building walls” and I looked forward to some manual labor in the summer, drywalling and painting and constructing the place ourselves.

Then there was the Great Flood of 2009. Our basement abode spent three days in the mildew of Brooklyn garbage and god knows what the hell is in the water around here. My mattress didn’t make it, and I just barely saved the drums and amps. I spent the whole night wrapping up cables and hanging them out to dry, along with my sheets and some clothes. It was miserable.

Then we got the news about the loan. The loan that was supposed to grant access to our glorious loft space. It didn’t go through. People started dropping off the lease and a general depression hung in the air. Nate and Drew moved home. April found a space in Park Slope. My options were running out.

Enter Death By Audio. Those of you in New York may recognize the name as a small all-ages venue in Williamsburg, in an old refurbished warehouse. Some of you musicians may recognize it as a manufacturer of guitar pedals. However you recognize the name, it also doubles as a living space.

Harry and the Potters play DBA

I was lucky enough to meet a friend of April’s that lived there. He invited me to check out the place to see if I wanted to take the spare room that had been available for the past few months. I walked through the first half of the warehouse, through the stage area and into the back where everyone lived. I passed a row of bikes, skateboards, and various speakers and keyboards in the entry way. I emerged into a huge space with high ceilings that functioned as the kitchen/living room area. One of the guys was preparing a fish dinner with potatoes. Another was cutting out some magazine clippings and pasting them on a bass drum. It bustled with activity at all times.

There was a practice space on the first level, mostly for bands that rented time. Attached to this was a makeshift mixing room, cluttered with DBA pedals. The next room was the pedal production room. About 15 pedals sat open on the counter, in front of a wall of resistor drawers. They are debuting a new pedal in the next few months, and are getting ready for the demand.

Wandering into the next room I saw a wall full of paint cans, a workbench, screens for printing, some lumber, and an array of hand tools. There was no shortage of projects to work on. On the side of the kitchen, a second level was constructed above all of these work spaces.

Upstairs was a small living space with a projector for movies. My room would be next to this. It seems to good to be true. So I came back today to meet some more of the guys. A Place To Bury Strangers , a few of them residents, were playing their new album for an older guy from Mute Records. I sort of got an informal tour and they told me I was welcome to move my stuff in.

So I close this chapter of my life and enter the next, and I don’t think it could get any better. Who knows what is going to happen from here on out.

The 3rd Ward

January 7, 2010


It’s high time I think some of the awesome places around here were recognized for being awesome. The first on the list: The 3rd Ward.

Located at 195 Morgan Avenue (above a five minute walk from my apartment!), this space has everything your creative heart desires. There are workspaces available to rent, with access to the wood shop, metal shop, photography studio, or digital media lab (complete with Final Cut Pro, Adobe Creative Suite & After Effects, and Macromedia Studio).

There are classes available in Digital Design, Photography, Professional Development, Screen Printing, Welding/Metal Work, and Woodworking. There is also a featured class: for this month it is Write A Business Plan.

You can become a member on a few different levels, and gain access to the labs, earn exhibition space, get discounts, AND GET HEALTH INSURANCE!

Also, the AMAZING Gardentone Recording Studio
is located here. I met with the head engineer and was thoroughly impressed by the setup. You should check out their website for more pictures and a list of artists and equipment. There is a possibility I may be able to record there as a freelance engineer in the future as well!

Last but not least, there are amazing events going on here. My personal favorite, Handmade Music Night:

Every 3rd Thursday, geeky DIY musicians come in to see crazy electronic devices handcrafted by other circuit-bending geeks and perhaps build their own! This past week, we saw a performance by the Electric Junkyard Gamelan , with instruments made from flower pots, rubber bands, and garbage cans. There was also a pretty sweet Arduino synth for everyone to toy around with. Did I mention there’s free Pabst?

Oh, and for the artists out there, every 1st and 3rd Wednesday is Drink-N-Draw. $15 admission, $10 if you bring a friend. They supply the models, you bring your tools.

Of course, a space wouldn’t be complete without a Movie House, every 2nd Sunday of the month. They just celebrated their 2nd anniversary with a 2-minute film festival.

I can’t express how sweet this place is. I only first attended Handmade Music Night this past week, and I’ll be sure to attend as many events in the future as possible. It’s so great that such a communal space is so close to me.