{NewNew} Artists Hanging Out With Roosevelt Dime And The Roulette Sisters

As much as I’d like to say that I am a full time Etsy artist, my art simply provides a little side cash and most importantly, a creative outlet. Working a 9-5 (let’s be real, in New York that usually means a 9 – 7, and then permanently attached to your iPhone) is exhausting, and can become routine. I need a little spice in my life! And, I’m not alone. Even full time artists need an outlet to mix things up!

This past week I sat down with a couple of the artists performing at Bowery Electric on Saturday May 7th as part of the Festival of Ideas  to talk about how they get crafty on the side.

Roosevelt Dime

Eben Pariser and Tony Montalbano from Roosevelt Dime are so crafty and DIY-minded they even make their own instruments! When they first started playing outdoor shows in New York, they knew their conventional instruments just weren’t going to cut it in the city. They realized they needed something that could withstand the subway, and be loud enough for people to pay attention. Since they couldn’t find what they were looking for they, like {NewNewers} so often do, went DIY!

Pariser created a bass out of a bucket and some string, and a lot of trial and error before it was just right. Montalbano needed his drum kit to be more portable so he used a cajon (box-drum) turned sideways so that he could kick it with his right leg while seated on top, effectively converting it into a bass drum. He then crafted home-made fixtures for his snare drum stand, to add cymbals, and pineapple cans (instead of tom drums!), completing what is essentially a full modern drum kit. With their DIY attitude, Roosevelt Dime claims they are the loudest 5 piece acoustic band on Planet Earth. You can judge for yourself at their show Saturday night.

The Roulette Sisters
The Roulette Sisters, an all lady Brooklyn-based band, are also a very creative bunch. Not only is Mamie Minch gifted in playing guitar and singing in her band, she is a print maker and luthier! When she began singing professionally she needed a vintage instrument. During her search she fell in love with the process of instrument repair and is now the head of maintenance at Retrofret Vintage Guitars in Carroll Gardens! Meg Reichardt (guitarist, vocals) has found an alternative creative outlet in regreening a garbage filled lot behind her home. Six years into the project she has created a lush perennial garden out of a former dump utilizing recycled brick and stone, compost from NYC sponsored givebacks and numerous donated plants.

Violist Karen Waltuch has been playing music since she was seven, but she's been making stuff out of other stuff for as long as she can remember. Whether it's jig sawing plant stands or knitting mismatched leg warmers for the babies in her life, she isn't truly happy unless there is glue under her fingernails. She loves supporting the crafters on Etsy (and we love HER for it!) and can usually credit at least one piece of her wardrobe to the website on most days. When not playing the washboard and singing, Megan Burleyson is teaching herself computer animation and front end web development and hopes to create artwork using nothing but math. In the spirit of DIY, she works with open source frameworks, which means that she's limited only by her imagination.

Both Roosevelt Dime and the Roulette Sisters can be heard at the Bowery Electric on Saturday May 7th as part of the Festival of Ideas. You can get more details on their show here 

A select group of NewNew artists are also participating in the Festival of Ideas at the Streetfest on May 7th from 11am – 7pm. Come find our booth on Rivington, between Bowery and Chrystie. See you there! Pick up great finds from Izile’s Oddities, Kelley Gudahl Photography, Malathip, Merrimack & Monitor, Pretty Lovely Painting and SimplyNu.

GigMaven helps musicians and venues/promoters book, ticket and promote gigs online. Their community includes more than 10,000 bands and 3,000 venues across the US.


Loco for Local

I've got my eyes on a handmade messenger bag from Cobble Hill, a winter knit hat and scarf combo from a mom on the Lower East Side, and a neat wooden toy train for my son from a wood guy in Jackson Heights. See, whenever I search for things on Etsy, I usually drill down using the "local items" filter because I like seeing things made by neighbors. Not neighbors in the literal, physical sense next door - but New York City artisans spanning all of the boroughs. Even better, the {NewNew} Etsy team has built a vibrant circle of creative entrepreneurs that is really fun to browse from. I am deeply invested in supporting nearby shops not just because of the staggering variety of choices, but also to contribute to the sustainable city's paramount ecosystem. Shopping local benefits our steel jungle in many ways, but there are three vital means we're making a difference with every purchase:

1. You are protecting local character -
New York City is one of the greatest cities in the world. In recent decades, it has been painted over with a haze of gentrification and commercialization. By supporting locally owned businesses, you are helping maintain the diversity and distinctiveness that has always existed and slow down the rampant transformation. Hey, we don't want to look like Times Square, everywhere.

2. You are stimulating local economy -
The symbiotic business-consumer relationship is critical to the survival of local businesses. Sure we can probably find heavily discounted goods in place of hometown goods but your dollars spent in local markets have a far more significant impact than that which is spent on outside businesses.

3. You are being environmentally conscious -
Local shops and artisans sustain vibrant foot traffic and face-time, which in turn is essential reduction in sprawl,  auto usage and pollution. Local artisans generally like using conveniently acquired materials to craft their goods promoting the community as well.

On May 7th you have not only one, but two opportunities to sample some local NYC Etsy shops. Only this time, you don't have to drill down from a search filter.  In addition to the Spring Handmade Cavalcade, you can also visit with our team of 5 Etsy shops that embody the very spirit of shopping locally from artisans to The Festival of Ideas Street Festival taking place along the Bowery in Lower Manhattan. Our {NewNew} lineup includes:

Through the Looking Glass - In The Raw
In The Raw  - Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn - Kelley shoots pictures from her travels. She believes the places she visits in her journeys are life transforming and self-defining. Her photography is a collection of life lessons.
Magic Vial Pendant - Izile's Oddities

Izile's Oddities - Bushwick, Brooklyn - Shop owner Stephanie wields the four elements, personal zodiacs and health/love/strength concepts to produce Magic Vial Pendants, blends of gemstones and herbs in oil. She's also brewing up a limited supply of cocktail inspired bath salts blended in recycled liquor bottles exclusively for this event.

The Owl and the Phoenix - Malathip

Malathip - Upper West Side, Manhattan - This is my wife's shop of artwork and stationery inspired by the fight to raise awareness for the plight of endangered animals. I'll be representing for her while she's sidelined with maternal duties. :)

Turquoise Dragonfly - Pretty Lovely Painting

Pretty Lovely Painting and MeliAnnaA - Hell's Kitchen, Manhattan - Meli is the proprietress of these two shops. She transforms recycled material collected from local businesses (as well as her daughter's school) into eco-friendly hand-painted key racks, coat racks, writing journals, canvases and wire wrap jewelry.

Light Fixture - Merrimack and Monitor

Merrimack and Monitor - Williamsburg, Brooklyn - Jason repurposes reclaimed wood, iron plumbing, copper, brass and other materials into a collection of hand crafted luminations, furnishings and accoutrements.

Nudo Brooch & Pendant - 4USimply

SimplyNu and  4USimply - Ozone Park, Queens - Elena and Sanver produce green, handmade products inspired by nature and informed by their combined art and design backgrounds.

Impressive right? I urge you all to come check it out the Festival of Ideas and find our Etsy setup. Admittedly, I'm a bit biased with my wife's work included. But like I said before, shopping locally is the way to go. It's not only convenient, but you can walk away from it feeling like you've done well for the city we all love - New York.

written by Richard Kriheli