Misc. Flash pieces

Ins&Outs’ FLASH section is two pages at the beginning of the magazine made up of short blurbs about local people and happenings. Here are 3 short blurbs from the FLASH pages of the latest issue I worked on (Vol. II, Issue 04).

+ The Whiskey Dregs & Words from Carlos Detres

[For this blurb, I sent Carlos an email interview and edited down his answers; this also appeared with one of Carlos’ short stories]

Florida native Carlos Detres moved to Astoria in 2001. He is founder of the print/online literary ‘zine, The Whiskey Dregs. >> Why did you start The Whiskey Dregs? The Whiskey Dregs started because I needed an outlet for my work and my own space to develop in. I wanted to include writers and other artists of all different types into a small, tight collective and extend the truth and darkness of the world around us; the mystical properties of our experiences, the malevolent forces around us – and then expel these with expression and emotional sacrifice because that’s what it really is. Everything we do can lead to some emotional sacrifice and much of how we deal with that includes psychological ramifications. Releasing our emotional bonds through creative energy is no different than sex so to support the efforts of myself and the artists involved under The Whiskey Dregs umbrella is similar to the bond of an orgiastic feast of minds. Psychological reproduction on a larger scale. What are some events you’ve organized in the past around the Dregs? There were two ongoing events that have since been canceled. My baby was “A Night With The Whiskey Dregs” that was on the last Thursday of every month at Waltz-Astoria […] What has always been needed is a raw space to draw from… a different kind of reading altogether and one not even limited to literature at all. We have found a space for that and our new nights will begin some time in the near future. Nowadays, I help to produce and DJ parties at Angels and Kings every two months with another crew called 3a. The second space was Freeze Peach Cafe, which sadly closed back in November. Can you tell us about the print/online versions? The online version of the Whiskey Dregs, or Whiskey Dregs Plugged, is an outlet for all sorts of strange things… mostly literature, of course but I encourage more experimentation for our submitters such as well-written accounts of strange dreams, interviews or minute-by-minute observations with outlaw characters. […] The Whiskey Dregs print, or Unplugged, is a special publication because it is designed specifically for an audience that enjoys edgy/dark/limitless writing. What is the purpose of the Dregs? The purpose of the Dregs is to share an experience, a common experience, and to show people unversed in the more sleazy, more dark side of New York than they’re used to reading about. It’s not just limited to literature either. Ultimately, I want to produce films under this title. Currently, we’ve done art showcases, readings, parties, and it’s not going to stop there. I’d like to see some experimental street theater in the future as well. Everything must feel like a real experience and I believe pushing your mind and body to the limit is effective in achieving spiritual growth. How can people get involved? This is definitely not an exclusive club at all. I’d love to see people jump into The Whiskey Dregs with all of their ideas and art. Submit your crazy ideas, party ideas, short stories, art work, films, anything – to us at thewhiskeydregs@gmail.com and/or visit us at whiskeydregs.com. Where would you like to see this project go? I’d like to see it simply supply a resource for writers, artists, filmmakers to be limitless in their expression. A lot of times we restrict what we want to create because of taboo and I don’t want that to be the case with The Whiskey Dregs.

+ Drink in Hand Coasters

[I wrote this blurb based on Dave’s Drink in Hand press kit and a short email interview]

LIC resident Dave Ostrager has created a fun and unique new way to be courteous to your guests (and protect your furniture!). Introducing Drink in Hand Coasters, created out of washable, wipeable, durable poly material in contemporary color schemes, fit for indoor and outdoor use. The standout piece in Ostrager’s creative collection is, of course, the hand-shaped coasters – DiH’s signature item and “instant conversation piece.” They come in a pack of eight coasters with an equal amount of righties and lefties – so as not to offend! Ostrager had the idea for the hand-shaped coasters after his wife Klara bought him cotton gloves for his dry hands to wear to sleep. He didn’t end up using the gloves on his hands (other than to mime, only annoying his wife), but serendipitously grabbed the pack to put his drink on when he couldn’t find a coaster. DiH also offers “Not-so-Standard” square coasters as well as placemats in two sizes. Ostrager makes it a point to invite input and suggestions for color schemes, designs, and even 100% customized coasters. As he says, “It’s a terrific promotional gift. I think it’s much better than a pen or t-shirt. Think about when you’re using coasters. Good times! Drinks, parties, good moods.” Visit drinkinhandcoasters.com for product descriptions, the online store, retailers, and DiH’s special “Movie Drink of the Month” page, which is also open to fans’ suggestions!

+ The Q Note & editor Alia Akkam

[For this blurb, I sent Alia an email interview and edited down her answers]

Astoria resident Alia Akkam is the founder & Editorial Director of the brand new lifestyle web site and e-mail newsletter, The Q Note: Life in the Borough of Queens! >> Can you tell us how the site works? The one thing I would love to clarify about the site is that The Q Note is not a blog. There are a number of great blogs out there representing the borough already. I’m kind of old-fashioned and prefer articles and really enjoy reporting and getting quotes. I think Q Note readers appreciate that the site embraces a print journalism format, but is presented in an accessible online version. Basically, one can subscribe for free to The Q Note, and several times a week they’ll get an email with a new editorial feature in their inbox. That article can also be found directly on theqnote.com. Once a new feature gets sent out and posted, the old feature gets archived, so it can always be found again easily. Can you tell us about the different categories on the site? The site covers all of Queens, although some neighborhoods might get more play than others. And, since The Q Note is new to the game, we haven’t been able to cover all of them yet, but we will. Queens offers so much, but we try to pay special attention to stories with specific news hooks so we stay relevant. As far as specific categories, food and drink are covered in Quaff & Consume; shopping and products in Quality Goods; and the arts in Quirky Culture. Spas, the great outdoors and anything that gives us a moment of relaxation can be found in Quiet Time and real estate projects are given play in Quarters. The Quickie, our weekly weekend tip sheet, is part of Quest, which also covers services to seek out, local groups to join, etc. Features for the different categories rotate. Why is it important to keep it local and focus on the goings-on around Queens? These days, no matter where they live, people are more interested than ever in celebrating their community.  As big chain stores take over the world, there’s a sense of pride residents get from buying their coffee at a mom and pop shop and buying a shirt that was made by the guy who lives down the street. Also, there’s never been a stronger emphasis on lowering our carbon footprint; the more local you are, the better it is for the environment. And, given the state of the economy, it’s nice to know you can walk outside your apartment and hang out at a cool neighborhood bar or see an affordable show rather than schlep into Manhattan and pay for a cab ride home and have just as great a night. Most memorable aspect so far? Experiencing the LaGuardia Performing Arts Center. […] I can’t believe I waited so long to make my way down there. I think what is going to be most fun about the site is the continual discovery and appreciation of treasures like these. Where would you like to see this project go? This is something I created out of my love for Queens and I hope to build up my subscriber base with people who feel the same way. Ultimately, I would like to raise Queens’ profile through the site and have The Q Note: Life in the Borough of Queens become THE trusted resource for what is happening here.

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