Space jam: Oddball performers help launch book about weird Brooklyn venues

Space jam: Oddball performers help launch book about weird Brooklyn venues
Defying gravity: Aerialist Sarah Wollschlager impresses the crowd at the Gowanus Ballroom during the Brooklyn Spaces book launch party.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

This party was all about location, location, location.

A throng of artists and culture lovers gathered at cannonball-factory-turned-metalwork-studio the Gowanus Ballroom on Saturday night to celebrate the release of a new book aimed at highlighting the hippest, weirdest spots in the borough.

An eclectic array of performers entertained the crowd in the cavernous space, including drum bands, wall walkers, and acrobats, and the lineup represented a microcosm of Brooklyn cultural life, said the author of “Brooklyn Spaces: 50 Hubs of Culture and Creativity.”

“I wanted to create a party that mirrored all the amazing experiences I have had in Brooklyn, and that is what happened,” said Oriana Leckert.

The party showcased a variety of oddball musical performers, including “Flame-O-Phone” player Stefan Zeniuk — who wields a modified a baritone saxophone that shoots flames when it is played — massive all-women drum troupe Batala NYC, and punk-bluegrass busker Morgan O’Kane. The musicians played while different circus artists performed overhead, creating some unusual collaborations that one entertainer said may live on beyond Sunday’s show.

“I have found that being a part of these collaborative events has led to long-lasting friendships and other professional endeavors,” said “wall walker” Sarah Wollschlager, who uses a harness to perform horizontally on the side of buildings.

Leckert wrote her book based on her website of the same name, where she has been highlighting cool spots in the borough for five years. Other locations in the book include urban garden Bushwick City Farm, Red Hook’s floating Waterfront Museum, and Sunset Park vodka-maker Industry City Distillery, along with quirky performance venues, artist collectives, and art galleries.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at dfurfaro@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her at twitter.com/DanielleFurfaro.
Strumming along: Punk-bluegrass musician Morgan O’Kane gets the crowd on its feet.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

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