(718) 260–2500 Brooklyn Paper’s essential guide to the Borough of Kings February 28–March 5, 2020
Move over, tacos!
A little-known Mexican stew known as pozole
will take center stage at a new food and spirits
festival coming to Williamsburg this weekend.
“Bowl of ‘Zole,” at Biba on March 29, will feature
10 different variations on the meaty soup,
which deserves to be as well known as ramen,
said the founder of the fest.
“There are a million ramen joints in the city,
why not pozole?” asked chef Danny Mena, “It’s
The flavorful soup, made with hominy, peppers,
and pork or chicken, “knows no social class
and is as Mexican as it gets,” said Mena.
Visitors to the event can sample 10 different
types of pozole created by local chefs. The
bowls will include traditional flavors, including
Pozole Rojo, a common chili-based pozole, as
well as more exotic creations such as a matzo
ball pozole, created by chefs at Williamsburg’s
But the different chefs are not competing with
each other, said the event’s producer.
“We didn’t want a competitive atmosphere,”
said Jimmy Carbone, “Actually, it’s not really
a festival so much as it’s an intimate tasting
Carbone, a restaurateur and founder of Food
Karma Projects, the company putting on the
festival, said that he wants to shine a light on
neglected and under-appreciated Mexican food
and drink, with more dishes to be featured at
“This is just the beginning,” he said.
The “Bowl of ‘Zole” will also feature samples
of the liquor mezcal, with more than 50 varieties
of the agave-based spirit available to taste.
Tipplers who fall in love with a particular brand
will be able to order a bottle for delivery, using
an online link available at the event.
Chefs at the event will create extra batches
of pozole to donate to food rescue group City
Harvest, said Carbone, which will also receive
a percentage of profits.
“Bowl of ’Zole” at Biba (110 Kent Ave. between
N. Seventh and N. Eighth streets in Williamsburg,
www.bowlofzole.com). Feb. 29; 1–4
pm. $55 ($125 VIP). — Meg Capone
Purim goes pop!
Musical brings top 40 sounds to the fun-loving Jewish holiday
Rock ‘n’ roll: “A Very Awesome Purim” has told the Purim story with Beatles songs, glam rock, and Broadway tunes, and this year it focuses on pop hits.
By Rose Adams
Why is this night more awesome than
all other nights?
A new musical will put a pop spin
on an ancient Jewish tradition! “A Very
Poppy Purim,” at Littlefield in Gowanus
on March 7, will add Top 40 tunes, goofy
characters, and a big dose of audience participation
to the festive holiday, said the
husband-wife duo behind the party.
“Part of the charm of the show is that
we don’t take ourselves too seriously,” said
Josh Silverbauer, who launched an annual
series of “A Very Awesome Purim” shows
with his wife Rachael 10 years ago.
The joyous Jewish holiday is typically
celebrated with costumes and a retelling of
the Purim story, in which a Jewish woman,
Esther, marries the King of Persia in order
to prevent the king’s anti-Semitic advisor
from killing all the Jews. Audiences boo
whenever the evil advisor is mentioned,
and cheer for Esther.
“A Very Poppy Purim” will turn all
those elements up to 11. It replaces the
main characters with pop icons, with Esther
becoming the Lady Gaga-esque “Lady
Esther,” and marrying the King of Pop,
and the songs will all parody pop hits from
the 1960s to today, such as “All the Kingdom’s
Ladies,” and “Like a Persian.” The
audience responses will also be heightened,
“As the narrator, I basically assign a bunch
of call-and-responses,” he said.
When the king walks on stage, participants
will give a high-pitched “hee hee”
that mimics Michael Jackson, and when
Lady Esther appears, the audience will sing
“Ooh la la,” from Lady Gaga’s song “Bad
Romance,” he explained.
Rachael and Josh, both musicians, began
hosting musical Purim parties 10 years ago
in their Philadelphia home with a group of
friends. Within a couple of years, the audience
grew so large that they could barely
find space to perform, they said.
“The last time it was in that house we had
so many people that we only had a four-byfour
area to perform,” Rachael said.
This year the musical will have four performances
in Philadelphia, in addition to the
Brooklyn event. Despite the show’s popularity,
the couple say they still treat it like
a party among friends. The theme changes
each year based on their fans’ votes — previous
shows have featured the Beatles, Disney
movies, and musical one-hit wonders
— and celebrating with attendees is central
to the show.
“We do a lot of going out in the audience
and interacting with people,” said
Josh. “The after-party is very much a part
of the show.”
The couple also hope that Gentiles will
attend the show and learn more about the
“We’re making Jewish culture accessible
to Jewish people and non-Jewish people,”
Community Bookstore’s pick:
“Tyll,” by Daniel Kehlmann
In this rich retelling
of the German folktale
of Tyll Ulenspiegel, Kehlmann
infuses his 17thcentury
hero with a modernist
bent and a dash of
existential angst: like a
trickster god meets Paul
Newman from “Cool
Hand Luke.” On the run
from Jesuits and soldiers
alike, Tyll does a stint as
a court fool, works intelligence
for multiple factions
of the 30 Years War, travels with a famed
occultist, and meets drunken clergy and a sympathetic
hangman along the way, while exposing
hypocrisy and speaking truth — or irony
— to power wherever he goes. A delightful
blend of folklore and philosophy, romanticism
— Samuel Partal, Community Bookstore 43
Seventh Ave. between Carroll Street and Garfield
Place in Park Slope, (718) 783–3075, www.
commu nityb ookst ore.net .
Greenlight Bookstore’s pick:
“Separation Anxiety,” by Laura Zigman
Zigman’s latest novel “Separation Anxiety”
has some very original
humor and some very
odd situations, but it also
has plenty of heart. What
starts off as a wacky, offbeat
story about a wife
and mother in her 50s
who has the sudden urge
to wear her dog in a baby
sling evolves into a very
human story that is easy
to relate to, while maintaining
a consistent tone
— Geo Ong, Greenlight Bookstore 686 Fulton
St. between S. Elliott Place and S. Portland
Avenue in Fort Greene, (718) 246–0200, www.
Word’s picks: “With the Fire on High,”
by Elizabeth Acevedo
This is a spectacular follow-up to Acevedo’s
2018 debut “The Poet X.” It taps into something
so organic and heartfelt
that you can only sit back
and marvel at her prowess.
There’s a richness to
Acevedo’s prose that can
only come from a skilled
wordsmith. “With the Fire
on High” is not written
in verse like its predecessor,
but it still reads like
poetry, with short chapters
that pack a punch and
words that paint the most
vivid of pictures.
— Kim S., Word 126 Franklin St. at Milton
Street in Greenpoint, (718) 383–0096, www.
By Ben Verde
It’s another fine family mess!
Park Slope’s local theater company
has taken an odd, spiky script
about disappointment and dissatisfaction
and produced a delightful, uproarious
“Vanya and Sonia and Masha and
Spike,” at Gallery Players through
March 8, is a play from Tony-award
winning absurdist playwright Christopher
Durang. It focuses on three
siblings, each cursed with the name
of a Chekhov character by their late
Vanya (played by Jon Krupp) and
Sonia (Dawn Evans) live together in
the rural Pennsylvania home they grew
up in. The pair lead a life of sad,
quiet idleness after the death of their
parents, interrupted only by weekly
visits from their zany housekeeper
Cassandra (Casterline Villar), who
— like her mythological namesake
— offers prophecies of the future that
Things kick into motion when the
prodigal daughter Masha (Jenny Lee
Mitchell), who left years ago to become
a movie star, roars back into town for
unspecified reasons, bringing along
her new beau Spike (Zach Barela) — a
Photo by Steven Pisano
beefy but dim-witted boytoy, who hilariously
strips down to his underwear
in his first appearance and remains in
a state of undress for some time.
Masha soon ropes her siblings into
attending an apparently glitzy costume
party — inexplicably being held in rural
Bucks County, Pennsylvania — convincing
Vanya to play one of the Seven
Dwarfs to her Snow White.
The cast is excellent, bringing
warmth and humor to the stories bleak
situations, landing some awkward jokes
with grace, and playing grandiose characters
that fill the small Park Slope
theater to the back row.
As Sonia, Dawn Evans shines especially
bright, offering a convincing
portrayal of a woman determined
to turn her life around after years of
disappointments. Jon Krupp is expertly
cast as Vanya, a man unwilling
to let his bitterness betray his
The writing sputters at times — it
doesn’t seem to know how to handle
the absurdity of some of its situations,
and an early line about Sonia pining
after her brother (she’s adopted) is
dropped and never mentioned again.
But the cast breathes life into a sometimes
stale script, turning what could
have been a flop into a comedic triumph
through sheer chemistry.
“Vanya and Sonia and Masha and
Spike” at Gallery Players (199 14th St.
between Fourth and Fifth avenues
in Park Slope, (212) 352–3101, www.
galleryplayers.com). Thu–Fri at 8 pm.
Sat at 2 pm and 8 pm; Sun at 3 pm
through March 8. $25.
A dysfunctional good time
‘Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike’ is a hilarious hit!
Courtesy of Josh and Rachael Silverbauer
“A Very Poppy Purim” at Littlefi eld (635
Sackett St. between Third and Fourth
avenues in Gowanus, littlefi eldnyc.com).
March 7 at 7 pm. $15.
Role call: The Gallery Players production has an ace cast in (from left) Vanya (Jon Krupp) and Sonia
(Dawn Evans) and Spike (Zach Barela) and Masha (Jenny Lee Mitchell).