Stitches and Ribs: Kings County Fiber Fest and IKEA

Yesterday began the first day of my vacation, or should I say more accurately, staycation. Started out by deciding to check out the Kings County Fiber Fest in Brooklyn.

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I first heard about this festival last year after missing it by about 2 weeks. Occurring annually the weekend before the huge Rhinebeck festival, I made it a point to see it this year as a possible alternative to making the trek 2 hours upstate.

So I made plans to meet with my friend Nicky from D’NALI and made the long trek all the way to Park Slope, Brooklyn. Thanks to constant MTA track work & rerouting of subways, what should be a hour or less commute from Harlem ended up being an adventure.

I finally get to the site, which turned out to be a neighborhood park with a small, stone house in the middle of the block, aptly called the Old Stone House which has an interesting history in it’s own right.

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I expected to see dozens of stalls from what I read online, but was disappointed to find only a handful of vendors situated along the the perimeter of the park. Outside of the house was a table of folks demonstrating arm knitting, looming and a man spinning wool into yarn. By the time I got there Nicky had already stocked up on raw fiber, but I did manage to find a couple skeins of variegated merino wool from a vendor out of Pennsylvania.
Not certain what plans I will have from this yarn yet, but it has a soft feel and a nice light drape, perhaps a fancy scarf or shawl.

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After the festival Nicky and I ride the bus over to IKEA. You will all forgive me after reading this, but the last time I was at an IKEA store was the first one that opened up in Elizabeth, NJ. Since then, 3 more stores have opened up in this area so it’s been years since I stepped foot inside of an IKEA.

Made a beeline straight for the cafeteria since we hadn’t eaten all day. Nicky amped me up for some ribs, only to be derailed at the last second when we got to the counter to find out they ran out and told us it would be 20 minutes before the next batch. The woman serving behind the counter had multiple tattoos and was clearly in a bad mood. I don’t like to judge folks based solely on looks, but she reminded me of one of the characters from Orange Is The New Black as I watched her almost throw plates of food at waiting customers. I ended up settling for some chicken tenders with fries, feeling defeated, lol.

But then it was on to the shopping. Stores like IKEA are dangerous for me. A huge warehouse style space full of lots of things you didn’t know you needed. I didn’t do too bad, but I did need one of those iconic blue bags, and it was a good thing I didn’t come with a car. On the shuttle ride back to downtown Brooklyn, we listened to a young man who grew up in the local area give us a tour and tell us stories of his struggles having grown up in the old neighborhood. One of 8 million stories that make living in NY interesting.

I’m sure I’ll be back to IKEA. If only to get the baby back rib plate that I pined for. But first it’s off to Rhinebeck next week.

my natural hair story

A few weeks ago I ran into my friend Mireille who was doing some filming at the International African Arts Festival, held every year in Brooklyn. Check out my short interview I did on the fly about why I went natural for her website, going-natural.com

Pariah: movie review

After hearing some great views of this independent black film, I had a chance to check it out at the cinema at Lincoln Center while on vacation from work. (BTW, must try their parmesan truffle popcorn, it’s to die for!!!!!)

Without spoiling the plot, Pariah (directed by Dee Rees & executive produced by Spike Lee) is a coming of age story about Alike, (pronouncec Ah-lee-kay), a young African-American lesbian from Fort Greene, Brooklyn struggling to embrace her identity and coming out to her family. Lots of themes are explored in this film including her complex relationship with her traditional, homophobic mother and her police officer father who seems to be in denial of his daughter’s sexuality. Complicating things further are her openly gay best friend, Laura who is eager to find Alike her first sexual partner and a bi-curious girl with whom Alike has a budding romance.

Regardless of sexual orientation, anyone can identify with the struggles of adolescence and establishing your own identity. The film is often compared to Precious which though cover vastly different subjects, also deals with that coming of age identity crisis as well.

The film also notably features Kim Wayans, sister of Director Keenan Ivory Wayans & comedian/actor Damon Wayans. If the only thing you remember of her is her comedic performances from In Living Color, you’ll be quite surprised at her dramatic performance as Alike’s mother.

View the trailer here…

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