He doesn’t live in Brooklyn anymore, and he doesn’t blog, but Spike Lee will be the main draw at this year’s Brooklyn Blogfest.
And he’ll be shilling vodka, no less.
On June 8, the iconic filmmaker will make an appearance at the annual blog gathering, held in Park Slope at the Brooklyn Lyceum.
The event will serve in part as a coming out for Lee’s latest joint — a Brooklyn-themed vodka made by Absolut — two days before the official launch party for the liquor at powerHouse Arena in DUMBO.
Absolut approached event organizer Louise Crawford, the founder of the seminal Web site Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn, about sponsoring the Blogfest, and she was immediately on board.
“I was impressed that they had done their research and found me,” said Crawford, who added that Lee’s a good fit with the Blogfest because of his “creative energy.”
“One of the themes of the Blogfest is, ‘What is this atmosphere, this creativity, that seems to be rampant in Brooklyn right now?’” added Crawford, who, in addition to being the fairy godmother of borough bloggers, is also a columnist for The Brooklyn Paper.
To fully explore that theme of creativity, mixologists will be concocting cocktails using the new limited-edition Brooklyn vodka — a ginger and apple blend — for bloggers, who tend to be thirstier than the general public.
Lee, who designed the bottle’s art, will also speak about the project and why he got involved.
“Brooklyn is all about the stoop, so we wanted that to be the focal point,” said Lee, who was born in Atlanta but grew up in Fort Greene. “It’s all about the 718 this summer, so let the Absolut Brooklyn stoop parties begin.”
(Before you heed Lee’s advice and break out the flavored vodka at your next stoop hang, just remember — it’s not legal to drink in public, even in the seeming privacy of your own stoop. Also, check out our panel’s review of Lee’s concoction in our video online at www.BrooklynPaper.com.)
To help him bring it back to the stoop, Lee got design help from hip-hop artist Lemon Andersen, a Brooklyn native and frequent collaborator of the filmmaker’s, who recently produced his off-Broadway show. At the Blogfest, Andersen will join Lee and perform new spoken word poetry.
Thanks to the partnership with Absolut, the first major one for the annual event, the Blogfest will be free for the first time in its five-year history. It’s also given Crawford the opportunity to evaluate her event, which draws hundreds of bloggers from all across Brooklyn.
“When you get bigger and have a sponsor and celebrities coming, it really forces you to crystallize in your mind: what is the essence of the event?” said Crawford. “You have to work that much harder to preserve the essence of this tribal gathering of people who believe in this democratic free form of expressions that’s very creative and limitless.”
For their part, bloggers don’t seem to mind the new partner.
“There’s such a cacophony of voices that I doubt it will change the character of the event much beyond adding some superficial advertising visuals,” said Nick Juravich, of the blog I Love Franklin Ave., who plans on attending this year’s Blogfest. “[Absolut’s] presence is interesting in that it speaks to the growing perception of blogs as mainstream sources for news and entertainment.”
Long-time attendee Rob Lenihan, of the blog Luna Park Gazette, views it similarly.
“I see it as a sign of how much the Brooklyn Blogfest has grown,” said Lenihan, who will be running “The Shout Out,” a forum for up-and-coming bloggers, at this year’s event.
Other components of the Blogfest include “The Big Picture,” a video tribute to Brooklyn’s photo bloggers, a panel discussion by WNYC’s Andrea Berstien, and “Blogs Outloud,” where actors will perform a 10-minute piece inspired by blog writing.
Oh yeah — and drinking. Will that be straight-up, or on the rocks?
Brooklyn Blogfest 2010 at the Brooklyn Lyceum [227 Fourth Ave. at President Street in Park Slope, (718) 857-4816], June 8 at 7 pm. Free. For info, visit www.brooklynblogfest.com.