Even though he ditched his Fort Greene digs for a writer’s commune in Saratoga Springs this summer, we still feel like Mike Albo is everywhere. We’ve seen his name in the New York Times and on the LOGO cable channel, so when GO Brooklyn’s Juliana Bunim caught Albo on the phone, she took the chance to ask about his new movies, big plans for fall, and real thoughts on the gentrification of his neighborhood.
GO Brooklyn: You’ve been away from Brooklyn for almost a month. What have you been doing for all of that time?
Mike Albo: [My friend] Todd Downing and I just finished the first draft of our screenplay — the idea started as a concert film, and later turned into something more like [comedian Sarah Silverman’s movie] “Jesus Is Magic,” but gay. It took us a year to write this screenplay and we’re hoping to start shooting in the fall. It’s in the indie spirit to turn it around that quickly. We shot [LOGO short film] “The Underminer” in three days. We’re hoping to be scrappy with this, too.
GO: OK, but what is it actually about?
MA: The working title is “This Exact Moment.” It incorporates performance concert footage with a story line about a performance artist named Mike and his friends and their lives before and after Sept. 11. There was that two-week period after when everyone was nice and considerate and it looked like people were going to change. Then everyone became weird, mean and greedy and Paris Hilton became a star. It’s about that transitional period and how we came out on the other side.
GO: You’ve also got a new dance single coming out with the Dazzle Dancers.
MA: Yes, soon there’s a new video and dance single that’s a remake of the “Love Boat” theme song. We decided to go the Milli Vanilli route and lip-sync the whole thing — the only thing I say is “All aboard!” The rest is just dancing. And lots of glitter.
GO: You wrote an article in New York Magazine about discovering the $4 lemonade in Fort Greene. That’s a lot for some lemons.
MA: I’ve been here [Saratoga Springs] for a month and just went home for a couple days, already there are two new restaurants that have opened up and another that has been built. I love the word over-served, [and] Brooklyn is reaching over-served status. But here’s the thing: I was accused of being part of the problem in the ’90s when I moved into the East Village, and now I’m complaining about all these things. The truth is, I kind of like $4 lemonades.
GO: Besides overpriced citrus, what are your local favorites?
MA: The Future Perfect is a great furniture design place is Williamsburg that has this interesting high-end punk aesthetic, like pillows that say ‘F—k the establishment’ and cost $200. There are also so many interesting stores on Atlantic Avenue that I’d like to try, but haven’t gotten around to yet.
GO: Especially now that you’re a big, fancy writer.
MA: My building is like the last standing crackhouse in all of Brooklyn and I’m definitely one of the scrappier people there. I’ve lived here since 2001, [but] I love my area and I love where I live. Three times a week I go to Fort Greene Park and do a 1950s-style Jack LaLanne athletic routine complete with push-ups and jumping jacks. Before that I lived in Brooklyn Heights for eight years, there’s zero sexuality coming out of Brooklyn Heights.
GO: Is it really that bland?
MA: There were lots of gay bars that opened and closed — places open for about 15 minutes. Now there aren’t any in the Heights anymore. I have an elderly gay friend who always talks about how Brooklyn Heights was the hot gay area in the 1940s and ’50s; now it’s so bizarre to think of that place being hip and happening. I had to move, I was a casualty of the stroller culture because my roommate was getting married.
GO: And what are you looking forward to about fall in Brooklyn?
MA: There’s a certain romance to fall that I like. I like the theater season at BAM, and I’ll also put on little shows in runty theaters around Brooklyn. And I’m looking forward to Galapagos in Williamsburg re-opening [in DUMBO]. I’m seriously like Norm from Cheers at this bar called Total Wine Bar on Fifth Avenue. Everyone knows me there.