Bushwick band opens brass festival
The massive L Train Brass Band will kick off this year’s Honk NYC brass band
festival in Bushwick on Oct. 15. L Train Brass Band
By Bill Roundy They’ve put a spell of us!
During this Halloween
season, Brooklyn has
become enchanted by “Hocus
Pocus,” a goofy movie from 1993
that celebrates witches, black cats,
and all things spooky. A Bushwick
movie theater will screen the
film every day next week, and
two different nightlife events will
elevate the magical movie.
Several factors explain the
renewed popularity of the flick,
said the nightlife producers. For
one thing, it is just a really fun
movie — especially because of
the performances from the three
witches at its heart.
“You can’t deny how fun the
movie is and how much fun the three
stars are having–meaning Bette
Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and
Kathy Najimy,” said Pete McElligott,
whose group of comedians will
COURIER L 70 IFE, OCT. 11-17, 2019
perform the film “Entirely From
Memory” at Littlefield on Oct.
25, while adding lines and scenes
suggested by the audience.
Also, he spelled out, there are
plenty of horror films, but not many
that focus on the Halloween holiday.
“There’s not too many
Halloween films,” he said. “This
one really celebrates the season.”
Finally, kids who grew up
watching “Hocus Pocus” on the
Disney Channel are now old
enough to drink, and want to
celebrate their favorite spooky
season film, said one participant
with “A Drinking Game NYC,”
which will host a boozy reading
of the witchy film on Halloween.
“We’re all around the age when
we grew up watching it on TV, and
now it’s become a tradition,” said
“Hocus Pocus” at Syndicated
40 Bogart St. between Thames and
Grattan streets in Williamsburg,
(718) 386–3399, www.syndicatedbk.
com. Oct. 14–20 at various times.
“Hocus Pocus Entirely From
Memory” at Littlefield (635
Sackett St. between Third and
Fourth avenues in Gowanus, www.
littlefieldnyc.com). Oct. 23 at 8 pm.
$12 ($10 in advance).
“A Drinking Game NYC
presents Hocus Pocus” at the Bell
House 149 Seventh St. between
Second and Third avenues in
Gowanus, (718) 643–6510, www.
thebellhouseny.com. Oct. 31 at
7:30 pm. $20.
By Kevin Duggan
It’s an L of a band!
A massive Bushwick brass
band will bring dozens of tubular
performers to the kick-off party
of this year’s Honk NYC festival,
in Bushwick on Oct. 15. The
Karl Moore counts more than 80
members, and about three dozen of
them will blast an eclectic blend of
Brooklyn sounds and sweet Mardi
Gras music at the four-day fest,
according to one of the group’s
“It’s a weird Brooklyn spin
on Mardi Gras flavor, and you
can expect the unexpected,” said
The Bushwick resident started
the group in early 2017, while
working a dull but lucrative
corporate job. Blasting the brass
with a handful of others rekindled
his love for music, which he studied
“I found myself in early 2017
with a sizable bonus and my wife
green-lit my insane idea of buying
a tuba and teaching myself how to
play again — it had been 12 years
since I’d last played it,” Hall said.
He joined forces with
trombonist David Joseph, and soon
they were rehearsing with more
and more members in a townhouse
basement in Bushwick.
The band’s name comes from
the subway line that many early
members used to get to rehearsals,
said Hall, as well as the train’s route
through some of the hippest nabes
in Kings County and Manhattan.
“The L train has this extra
edge of weirdness because it goes
through Lower Manhattan — that
Lower East Side vibe — and then
through Williamsburg,” he said.
“Basically it winds through the
weirdest, trendiest parts of town
and grabs all that culture with it.”
The band’s first big event was
the 2017 Mermaid Parade in Coney
Island, where its 18 performers
discovered the possibilities of a
bigger, louder group.
“I thought, ‘Wow, we can really
have some fun with this brass band
thing,’” Hall said.
The group has grown
exponentially since its performance
at the People’s Playground, and
is now inching towards 100
members, said Hall. It uses the
social organizing platform Meetup
— for which Hall now works — to
organize regular rehearsals with
anywhere from a dozen to 90
Hall said that each show is a
fresh experience for the group.
“We never play the same song
the same way and we love mixing
it up,” he said.
L Train Brass Band at the
Honk NYC Opening Night at
Market Hotel 1140 Myrtle Ave.
at Broadway in Bushwick, (914)
Oct. 15 at 8 pm. $15.
And at Rubulad Brasstastic
Blow-Out (389 Melrose St. between
Knickerbocker and Irving avenues
in Bushwick, www.honknyc.com).
Oct. 19 at 8 pm. $15.
Triple threat: The Disney flick “Hocus
Pocus” has become a Halloween
tradition in Brooklyn.
Spooky spin-off: In “She Hate Me,” playing at the Bad Theater
Fest on Oct. 16, Frankenstein’s monster and his Bride go to marriage
counseling. Leo Jenicek
Brick’s Bad Theater Fest
showcases quirky one-acts
By Rose Adams Fire bad! Theater bad, too!
More than a dozen
bizarre short plays will
lurch onto the stage next week
for the Bad Theater Fest in
Williamsburg. Despite the
name, the eighth annual festival
of experimental plays, running
at the Brick theater on Oct.
16–19, does not really feature
“bad” plays, in the sense of
being poor quality, said one
of the festival’s founders —
instead, the plays are just quirky
and off-beat enough to take the
edge off of high art.
“They don’t fit in with the
norm,” said Shawn Wickens,
who co-founded the festival
in 2012. “It’s easy to look at
them and dismiss them for
This year’s 19 out-of-thebox
productions, each between
five and twenty minutes long,
represent a variety of genres,
with an emphasis on the
ridiculous. In one eight-minute
comedy-horror piece, playing
during the opening block on
Oct. 16, Frankenstein’s Monster
and his Bride go to marriage
counseling, which highlights
the problems that all people
(and monsters) deal with behind
closed doors, said its creator.
“You can be a scary monster
and still have all the problems of
a relationship,” said Leo Jenicek,
the writer of “She Hate Me,”
which takes its name from a line
in the 1935 movie, “Bride of
Frankenstein.” Marital troubles
may be Universal, but in this
case, the couple’s monstrous
bodies are also a factor.
“Because they’re made
from other people, their
communication isn’t what it
should be,” Jenicek noted.
The festival’s other
productions include a love story
between a bat and a human, an
interactive dating show where
attendees compete for the love
of the “filthiest woman alive,”
and a drama about rezoning law.
In previous years, the festival
has showcased “Cat” — a onewoman
production of “Cats:
The Musical” — and a play
about curling, which earned the
festival a feature in Canada’s
premier curling magazine.
The showcase’s casual
attitude fosters a supportive and
constructive atmosphere, said
“It helps to take the edge off
of wanting to create something
that is ‘perfect,’ ” said Asim Ali,
whose play “Cuckoo Drive”
follows a man who receives an
email from his future self. “I’m
really comfortable with seeing
what maybe doesn’t work in
the play, and therefore, I’m less
likely to make edits based on
what I think the audience might
love or hate about it.”
“Bad Theater Fest” at the
Brick 579 Metropolitan Ave.
between Lorimer Street and
Union Avenue in Williamsburg,
(718) 907–6189, www.
bricktheater.com. Oct. 16–19 at
7 pm. $20.