Friday, July 19, 2013, 04:02 PM

An Introduction to Film Forum

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Film Forum has been a fixture of New York culture for over forty years. Because of this it’s probably the most approachable small theatre in the city. That’s lucky for you since Film Forum tends to have the best movies in the city.It’s often the first place I take visitors from out of town. Film Forum has three screens dedicated to New Indie movies, foreign films and classics of American and foreign film. At any time, films from any of these categories could be on the top of any culture-driven New Yorker’s must-see list.

The crowd downtown at Film Forum is diverse and unintimidating. The theaters are full of everyone from thirty-something professionals on date night to college-age hipsters. Expect a healthy sprinkling of the Grandma set as well. Even uptowners make their way to Greenwich Village if a movie gets a rave in the New York Times. Just remember to bring cash since tickets are cash only.

If you want my advice, find the famously bright blue Film Forum marquee, go inside, and get a ticket for anything that sounds good (most likely it will be). On the BRINK will keep you up to date on the best showings at Film Forum and we’ll let you know when you might have to get there early to get a good seat.

209 West Houston Street

(CASH ONLY: $12.50 adult, $7 member)

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Tuesday, May 14, 2013, 05:41 PM

Get Centered with BRINK!

The Center of the World is not the Earth’s iron core, a song by Bright Eyes or the United Nation’s building in New York City. According to some, including the founder/mayor of this tourist trap, the Center of the World is housed inside a 21 foot tall pink pyramid located at the nexus where Arizona, California and Mexico’s borders meet.

FELICITY CITY / 1 Center of the World Dr / 760.572.0100

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This utopian desert destination known as Felicity City, boasts a 25 ft. foot staircase from the Eiffel Tower, a checkered field of flowers, a 15-foot bronze sundial that incorporates Michelangelo’s Arm of God and 18 one-hundred ft. triangle shaped granite walls engraved with the highlights of human civilization. You won’t just leave with fond memories either – a wish and a personalized certificate are granted to anyone who places their toe upon the Center of the World.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2013, 04:05 PM

Join BRINK at KINK

Would you rather receive a dozen roses or a cat of nine tails for Valentine’s Day? If you chose the latter, taking your lover (or lovers) to this erotic complex should be right up your alley. And even the more tame will appreciate the scenery.

The San Francisco Armory is a Moorish castle replica from the 1910s which was converted by Internet sex purveyors, KINK.com, into the largest BDSM palace in the world. Much to our delight- the KINKployees have opened up the complex for daily tours! You can view the historic architecture, enjoy Victorian inspired interior design, and of course: witness person sized rat wheels, dozens of fabricated sex dungeons, and custom built S & M equipment galore. The tour gets a PG-13 rating for “strong language” but if your appetite hasn’t been quenched there are periodic XXX events to attend.

SAN FRANCISCO

The San Francisco Armory /1800 Mission Street

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Friday, January 25, 2013, 03:18 PM

The Good, The Bad, and The Keeylocko

40 miles southwest of Tucson, AZ you’ll find Cowtown Keeylocko. It’s an 80-acre property with ramshackle buildings of wood and tin founded in 1974. There are loads of handmade structures, farm animals and ephemera to marvel at – but the real attraction is the Blue Dog Saloon where you can still find the founder Ed Keeylocko inside drinking tequila, serving drinks and telling tall tales.

What sets Ed’s little town apart from the plethora of Ol’ West tourist traps is his utopian mission to provide a space for simple living, drinking alcohol, and enjoying the company of others without caring how “authentic” his vision is. If you are around Tucson this Super Bowl Sunday, Ed is throwing a party for the game that is open to anyone who wants to root for their team and booze with this local legend.

If you want to trek down some dirt roads to Cowtown Keelocko the address is 12230 S Coleman Rd and their phone number is 520.429.5778.

-Pat Foley

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Tuesday, December 04, 2012, 03:21 PM

BRINK Guide to a Bay Area Get-away

San Francisco is a metropolis crammed with niche eateries and cultural events. Although, in a city with 17,179 people per square mile, long time residents and visitors alike might get a slight bit of claustrophobia from time to time. If you need a little respite and open air, take a day trip over the Bay Bridge (I-80) about 30 minutes East to the Albany Bulb area. Frolic on the shores of the Albany beach, gamble away an afternoon at the Golden Gate Fields Racetrack and take a hiking tour of the ephemeral trash and driftwood sculptures of the Albany Bulb. There is a central parking area and each of these places is in walking distance from each other.

Golden Gates Field Racetrack / 1100 Eastshore Hwy / 510. 559.7300

Got some hard-earned currency burning a hole in your pocket? Gamble it away in style at Golden Gates Field Racetrack, a 225-acre, two-track, thoroughbred horse racing stadium. The ponies run from January through April and November through December. Bring your dog during October’s Dogtoberfest to race your pooch and enjoy beer tasting.

The Albany Beach / Eastshore State Park

Behind the Golden Gate Fields Racetrack lays the Albany Beach – a two-acre strip of sand and surf perfect for a morning run or an afternoon of beach bumming. The beach is part of 8.5 miles of natural landscape shoreline known as the Eastshore State Park. Leash laws are in constant flux along this open-space Mecca but the Albany Beach is a still a popular destination for people to frolic with their pets.

The Albany Bulb

Decades ago the City of San Francisco dumped construction waste and garbage into the ocean until it became a peninsula. Years later 1960s counter-culture refugees moved in and started turning the garbage dump into a sprawling found object sculpture garden. The city government liked what they did so much — they evicted the squatter sculpturists! Now families, dog walkers, bicyclists and YOU can experience their wood, metal, and paint creations juxtaposed with the beautiful coastal landscape. The peninsula has walking paths throughout. Consider yourself warned though – rusted metal refuse, wild life, and the occasional wayward bohemian still abound.

-Pat Foley

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Friday, November 09, 2012, 02:53 PM

THIS WEEKEND: TUCSON

It has (finally) cooled off out here in our desert town (79 degrees as I type this) and I’m sure there will be more Tucsonans and tourists out on the streets this (three day!) weekend. Here’s where they – and you and I – should be heading:

DANIEL JOHNSTON on Saturday night at Club Congress.

He’s a legend. I’m not sure if it’s going to be awesome or awful but I still need to see it. And Congress is having their Whiskey Weekend too.

New BAR OPENING downtown.

The funky name has us worried but Downtown Tucson does need some fresh blood (and they already have 479 Facebook fans). We’ll report back after their soft opening this weekend, but maybe we’ll just see you there.

The 2012 LOFT FILM FEST.

Our own gem of a theater has it’s annual festival, going until the 15th. Everyone who likes indie film – and couches and beer to go along with it – should head out and support them. The roster looks great too.

The MADE IN ARIZONA photo show.

Photo: ©Kozo Miyosh. This Center for Creative Photography show has been up for a minute but it only goes for two more weeks. Based on what I’ve seen and heard – it’s worth a look. And it’s free.

Of course, the VETERANS DAY PARADE.

Take some time out of your Monday to go meet and pay tribute to the vets who have fought for all of us. It is always a cool event, and it is the least you can do.

-Caroline Jackson, editor

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Monday, October 08, 2012, 03:46 PM

Best of: Meatless Eateries

Did you know it’s Vegetarian Awareness Month? If you’re turning veg (even just for a month), you’ll want to check out these vegetarian restaurants next time you’re going out for a nosh. We know it’s really easy for food to get weird when it’s meatless – these are the best of the best from our BRINKguide editors around the globe:

LONDON
Mildred’s / 45 Lexington St / 44.207.494.1634

On the gourmet side of things – the lovely Mildred’s, in London’s SoHo district. Boasting an entirely vegetarian menu, Mildred’s is quite a popular spot among the locals. And for good reason. The rotating menu of toothsome items includes: “curried chickpea & butternut squash filo parcels,” the “best” veggie burger in town and a a daily special featuring the day’s harvest. Anyway, Mildred’s is your best best, veggie or not!

TUCSON
Guilin Chinese Restaurant / 3250 East Speedway Blvd / 520.320.7768

And on the cheaper side of things – Guilin Chinese Restaurant. But fear not! The price tag has an inverse relationship to quality & portion size. The meatless (and vegan) options are broad, and savory. Whether you opt for the “Buddhist Feast” of mixed veggies with tofu skin, or a simple vegetable fried rice, you’ll get satisfied. Head over and binge without splurging.

BRIGHTON
Bombay Aloo / 39 Ship St / 44.127.377.1089

For those with a spicier side – Bombay Aloo. They have a simple proposition: vegetarian Indian buffet for only £4.95. With twenty dishes to choose from, all amazing, this is a no-brainer. There’s really not much else to say that won’t get you running out the door, but you may want to be aware, they have a happy hour as well. Brightonians (and visitors), I don’t know why you’re still reading this – go on and feast on curry until your heart is content.

-Alexsey Kashtelyan

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Wednesday, October 03, 2012, 03:50 PM

Where to Go: Prez Debates

Here we go… tonight Obama will go toe-to-toe with Romney in a battle of wits and scripts. But who will win? You! Why? Because you’ll be at a bar enjoying yourself, away from the glaring lights and polite jabs. So, in honor of your intellectual patriotism, sit yourself down at a comfy Irish pub, and have a shot of Jameson with your dose of Obummer and Mitwit.

PORTLAND
County Cork Public House / 1329 NE Fremont St / 503.248.4805

A true Irish pub, away from the beaten streets – this one you won’t find in the tour guides – and good! More room for you. Of course, they also have a great beer selection and sumptuous eats to munch on whilst watching the political theater. Good deal.

MANHATTAN
Dempsey’s Pub / 61 2nd Ave / 212.388.0662

Two stories, outdoor seating, and bar games to boot – you’ll want to keep enjoying yourself even after the debates are over! And it’s open till 3:30am. So, why not?

TUCSON
The Auld Dubliner / 800 East University Boulevard / 520.206.0323

Filled with all of the Irish accoutrements you might ever want in an Irish pub – everything wooden, enough Guinness to drown in, and the occasional fiddle player – the Dubliner is a surely comfy spot to get your politics on. Plus, it’s smack-dab in University-country, so you know it’ll get a lil’ rowdy!

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012, 04:34 PM

Yoga Around the World

Whether or not you practice it – there’s no denying that yoga, in all its stretchy glory – has grown exponentially in popularity across the globe. No longer confined to the mountains of India, the activity has become as ubiquitous as Starbucks: one on every corner! There’s no the denying the comfort of walking into a familiar setting, with all the sites and sounds you’re used to, while on that lonesome road. So, weary traveler: no matter where you go, BRINKguide editors have picked out a few prime spots for any yogi to get their mind and body right.

SAN FRANCISCO
Fluid Yoga / 455 Judah St / 415.753.8694

Another option for those of us batty enough to practice in a 105°F room for 90 minutes, Fluid Yoga distinguishes itself with its prices, focus on eco-friendliness and class room hygiene. With anti-microbial wooden floors, an emphasis on using “green energy,” classes offered 7 days a week and an intro package of 30 days for $30, it’s safe to say Fluid Yoga is hard to beat for yoga in San Francisco.

TUCSON
Yoga Vida / 3238 East Speedway Blvd / 520.326.5853

For a city most would call “small” (even called a “one horse town” by some), Tucson is jammed to the brim with yoga spots of all shapes & sizes. But there aren’t so many that offer Bikram. Makes sense – Tucson’s already an oven! But if you’re craving a bit more sweat with your stretch, Yoga Vida offers one of the finest Bikram classes in town. With reasonable prices, and a beautiful venue, the folks at Yoga Vida create the perfect atmosphere for yoga, even when it’s 110°F inside and out.

EDINBURGH
Edinburgh Iyengar Yoga Centre / 195 Bruntsfield Place / +44.131.229.6000

After all those nights of dumping scotch down your gullet, give your liver a small break and refresh yourself at Edinburgh’s original yoga centre. And one that the city’s yogis still claim as best. Teaching the most popular yoga style, Iyengar, classes are quite affordable. And if you’re staying a while, the class packages are hard to beat. So enjoy yourself some soothing asanas.

-Alexsey Kashtelyan

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Friday, August 31, 2012, 04:13 PM

Fall in NYC

There’s no better place to enjoy a crisp fall day than lower Manhattan. Go ahead and book a trip for the coming months now. You’ll want to bookmark this post (and grab our BRINKguide USA app for all the NYC spots) because our BRINKguide editors have plotted out the perfect plan for an autumn day in NYC.

The Dressing Room / 75A Orchard Street / 212.966.7330

There’s a small rule to life – an this isn’t just the closet alcy in me talkin’ – most things go better with a touch of booze. The good folks at The Dressing Room know this well. A small boutique, with a big character, this laid-back spot has all the threads you’ll need for fall, with price tags that won’t make you want to throw one back before you plunge. But you will anyway – because you can!

The Sock Man / 27 Saint Marks Place / 212.529.0300

So you’ve got yours tops, you’ve got your bottoms, but you probably forgot one simple, extremely critical piece of any fall ensemble: socks! Don’t worry, we know just the place to slip into something soft – The Sock Man on St. Mark’s. A city institution, the eclectic selection available at this boutique will keep your toesies warm and lookin’ sharp all through fall and into winter.

St. Marks Bookshop / 31 3rd Avenue / 212.260.7853

After you’ve perused the racks of The Dressing Room with gin in hand and slipped on some fresh socks from The Sock Man…it’s probably just about time to take a break, and enjoy the perfect fall post-anything activity. First, get a muffin & coffee. Then, dive into a good book. Just down the street from The Sock Man, and across the street from a bakery, St. Mark’s Bookshop has a wide, eccentric collection of books that will make it all too easy to while your time away. Enjoy!

-Caroline Jackson & Alexsey Kashtelyan

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Friday, August 24, 2012, 03:18 PM

End of Summer Spots

It’s almost Labor Day, and that means the countdown to the beginning of the more serious fall season has begun. See ya later, lazy summer days. Even here at the BRINK compound in sweaty Tucson – where we are anxiously waiting for the mercury to drop below 100 degrees – we are not looking forward to the (fast approaching) day when getaways to the beach are less sun-baked and more chilly. But don’t mourn the good times yet, make the most of these last days of summer. No matter where you are – BRINKGuide knows where you should be. Here are our top picks.

TUCSON
Arizona Inn / 2200 East Elm St / 520.325.1541

This historic hotel, that once catered to Hollywood stars, is the absolute perfect spot for a staycation (for us) or a vacation (for non-Tucsonans). Locals treasure this place as much as visitors.They’ve got glamorous amenities, wonderfully manicured grounds and they are a family-run establishment. Plus the prices are generally steep but if you get here before the weather becomes bearable again, you can get seriously good deals. A little heat (probably) won’t kill you and they have awesome pools for staying cool.

This weekend’s forecast high in Tucson: 100 degrees

SAN FRANCISCO
Suppenküche / 525 Laguna St / 415.252.9289

San Franciscans get a warped summer season, it just isn’t that warm. But this spot and Swensen’s (which we’ll get to below) are laid back and indulgent, hallmarks of the summertime spirit. There’s no better place to stuff yourself full of delicious, buttery carbs and hoppy beer than Suppenküche, on the corner of Hayes & Laguna. This is a traditional German Wirsthaus, with simple, flavorful and hearty meals, and gargantuan beers to wash it all down.

Swensen’s Ice Cream / 1999 Hyde St. / 415.775.6818

All filled up on beer & brats, walking in a gluttonous haze…you know where you have to go next: the ice cream shoppe. And there is no better place in San Francisco than the original Swensen’s Ice Cream, at Fisherman’s Wharf. We don’t have to tell you what to expect. You’re going to be served up delicious creamy treats, and the kitsch factor makes it even more fun. This is the way to end a night, and the summer.

This weekend’s forecast high in SF: 64 degrees

PORTLAND
Crow Bar / 3954 N Mississippi Ave. / 503.280.7099

Let’s face it: Portland’s a town made for drinking. And everyone knows summertime is the best time to enjoy a cold brew. So the only reasonable way to celebrate/mourn the end of those summer nights should be with a beer in hand. They have: 12 local brews on tap, premium whiskeys, pool, pinball and a jukebox. What else do you need to forget that school’s starting again, and work is back in full gear? A local Portland favorite, this is the type of place where the bartender will remember your name. And with the addition of a limited, but high-quality food menu…this is the place to forget it all and just hang out.

This weekend’s forecast high in Portland: 71 degrees

MADRID
LA 80 / Calle de la Sombrerería 8

If you somehow DO find yourself magically transported to Spain (lucky, lucky you), forget all about the fading days of summer and enjoy the night at LA 80. Located in the center of Lavapies, this eccentric disco-bar will get you dancing to 80s hits all night long, and well into the morning. So sweat your stuff and really enjoy yourself before things get a little more dreary.

This weekend’s forecast high in Madrid: 86 degrees

-Caroline Jackson & Alexsey Kashtelyan

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Saturday, August 11, 2012, 11:57 AM

New BRINKguide USA is OUT!

BRINKguide – our new breed of travel guide – is available in the iTunes App Store now, for FREE. We have Manhattan, NYC Outer Boroughs, Portland and San Francisco covered in this USA edition.

BRINKguide reviews come from YOU, curated by US… keeping quality fly and high. And the app is ever-evolving; we are already at work on phase 2 – more cities (we’re covering the world) and more social (built to share on the web).

Take one for a ride and drop a review on us.

-Caroline Jackson, BRINKguide Editor

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Friday, August 03, 2012, 05:35 PM

The BRINKguide to Olympic Viewing Spots

With the number of homes with working TVs steadily declining, I thought some of our followers would have the same problem I do: where the hell can I watch the Olympics now that I’ve ditched the black box for Netflix? I’ve found a go-to spot in my city (Tucson) and I reached out to our BG editors in to see where they are going. We were looking for comfy spots with big TVs, icy drinks and attentive waitstaffs. Deals were a factor too. Here’s what we found.

PORTLAND
Nick’s Famous Coney Island / 3746 SE Hawthorne Blvd / 503.235.3008

They have big screens and also full stereo on for the more popular events. And they serve $4.00 Guinesses during all the soccer matches! Check out their site for more (ever-changing) event-specific deals, and they have regular Happy Hours 3-6pm every day. Plus, they’ve been a sports fan-friendly watering hole since 1934, so you’ll be supporting a legacy.

BROOKLYN
Berry Park / 4 Berry St / 718.782.2829

They’re opening early and closing late for the Olympic season, and when Team USA wins they’re are pulling out lots of deals. Berry Park boasts a massive indoor space and equally impressive rooftop so you can bring a whole cheering section. They have an impressive menu and beer selection all of the time, so you won’t be making a sacrifice coming here. It really is a huge improvement over some of the crappy sports bars in the city that will be showing the Olympic Games.

TUCSON
The Union Public House / 4340 N Campbell Ave / 520.329.8575

HUGE TVs line their bar, plus they have extra comfy booths are nearby for lounging. There are specials all week at this hip, new spot, but my favorite is two-for-one drinks on Sundays. Their selection isn’t skimpy, as you might expect from a reasonable joint – they have over thirty beers on tap. Plus, cigars are available and you can smoke them on their patio, if you’re into that sort of thing (I am). It is a drive from downtown, but the stellar Olympic-watching atmosphere is really unmatched in Tucson.

-Caroline Jackson, BRINKguide editor

Wednesday, July 18, 2012, 06:09 PM

The BRINKguide to Cinema

It’s that time of the year again…when you can smell the popcorn in the air and the feel of tickets on those sticky fingers…that’s right: Summer Blockbuster Time! You’ve got your Batman, your Spidey, and your Avengers – and that’s all well & fine – but where can you get your existential boy scouts, murderous nihilistic schoolgirls, and French starlets smoking cigarettes filled with ennui? Only at the Art House.

TUCSON
The Loft Cinema / 3233 E. Speedway Blvd. / 520.322.5638

If you’re living in Tucson, or just makin’ your way on through, your choices for independent cinemas are slim. To be exact, there’s only one: The Loft. Thankfully, the law of quality over quantity holds true for this special spot; a hand-picked selection of new indie-flicks, combined with weekly specials highlighting the forgotten, classic or just plane weird films, there’s always something good on. Plus an array of microbrews and pizza makes spending some two hours away from the heat all the better.

LONDON
Ritzy Cinema / Coldharbour Lane / +44.871.902.5739

In a city that’s been featured in more films that you can count, it’s no wonder that you’ll find yourself plenty of art house cinemas to peak into. So we’ll make it easy for you: go to Ritzy Cinema. With comfy seats, beautiful screens, a steady selection of classic films and plenty of special events – this is sure to be place to quench your desire for finer film. Not to mention – there’s an upstairs cafe that’s just wonderful.

BROOKLYN
Brooklyn Academy of Music / 30 Lafayette Avenue / 718.636.4100

What better way to appreciate some visual art than at an Academy of Music? With a variety of film, both new and old, on the menu, there’s no way you’ll be disappointed by choice. And not to mention – seeing a film in a historic, internationally recognized institution may just be its own reward. Plus, there’s always the cafe, the theatre for performing arts, and a cavalcade of other attractions, incase you change your mind before sitting down with popcorn in hand.

PORTLAND
Movie Madness / 4320 SE Belmont Street / 503.234.4363

Maybe you’re less in the mood to stare at a giant screen with dozens of strangers, and more in that laid-back, couch and a friend feel? Well, drop on by Portland’s most-legitimate movie rental proprietor – Movie Madness, and take in a flick. With over 80,000 titles to choose from, a staff that could put Quentin Tarantino’s movie-knowledge to shame, and the title of the “Best Independent Video Store In The World,” by the Hollywood (CA) Chamber of Commerce, we’re willing to put down money that you’ll come out satisfied. Plus – you’ll save yourself some cash to get take-out with! That’s a win-win in our book.

-Alexsey Kashtelyan

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Thursday, June 21, 2012, 11:23 AM

The BRINKguide to Fourth of July

So once again, Independence Day is coming up! That night when your only obligations are fireworks, food and friends. And the possibility of ironic alien invasion – though hopefully if such a thing occurs, you’ll be perched at one of the fine establishments below, enjoying a night out, making some fireworks of your own…

PORTLAND
Grand Central Restaurant & Bowling Lounge / 829 SE 9th Ave / 503.236.2695

If your hero isn’t Captain America, but rather The Dude – then Grand Central may be your Independence Day hide-away. Immaculately maintained, with a more cultivated perspective on bowling, this lounge offers twelve lanes, pool tables, clean shoes, and of course – White Russians, among other libations. Fourth of July or not, Grand Central is groovy place to while away a Wednesday night, but that’s just like…our opinion, man.

SAN FRANCISCO
Bix / 56 Gold St / 415.433.6300

Feel like celebrating, but would rather switch the red cups and BBQ for martini glasses and h’ordeuvres? Then make your way to Bix for a classic American combination: jazz & cocktails. At Bix you’ll find a speak-easy environment with superior service, and that Great Gatsby vibe to get you feelin’ snazzy before you escape outside to watch the night’s fiery entertainment in the sky.

BROOKLYN
Beer Table / 427B 7th Ave / 718.965.1196

It’s New York! The myriad opportunities for celebration and relaxation are endless in America’s cultural and financial capital. You can go enjoy the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest on Coney Island, watch the fireworks along the Hudson, go to swanky invite-only rooftop parties…or you can do the most American thing of all: get sloshed on sweet, sweet Beer. And NYC pub Beer Table will provide – with microbrew drafts, a long list of bottled beers, and a basement full of cellared selections. Fireworks come out at night – but you can have beer all day!

-Alexsey Kashtelyan

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Friday, June 08, 2012, 03:40 PM

Get to the POOL!

I’m itching to ditch the confines of the office and get into a pool this Friday afternoon. I will be headed to the Radisson Suites (yes, yes a dreaded chain) Tucson Hotel to cool off in some sparkling water. It may not be the hippest spot but it is close, cheap, well kept and the drinks are surprisingly good (try the bloody mary- it comes in a plastic cup so drunken mishaps aren’t an issue). My need to get a quick swim in got me thinking about what other BRINKguide cities have to offer on the water front.

Let’s start with the ritziest and then get real.

LONDON (POSH)
Shoreditch Rooms / Ebor Street, Shoreditch / +44.(0).20.7739.5040

Shoreditch House is a private, members only club that now has 26 rooms with little rooms (the three room categories are: Tiny, Small and Small) laden with adorable ammenities (vintage books) and radical views of the city. This spot is pretentious in the best ways with and the fabulous rooftop pool is its greatest attribute.

SAN FRANCISCO (CHEAP)
North Beach Pool / 661 Lombard St / 415.391.0407

This is a public pool but it doesn’t look like one. Super well-manicured, a great price ($4.50 for two pools and a sauna) and not crowded? Our editor describes it as “a killer poor man’s gym membership.” PERFECT.

MADRID (FREE)
Oscar Terrace / Plaza Vázquez de Mella 12 / +34.917.011.173

We say free because you can take in the sights (and lounge) on the terrace bar without forking over any loot, but if you want to get in the pool you’ll have to pay. This hotel is one of the trendiest spots in the city and the rooftop pool and lounge boasts panoramic views of Madrid, plus a friendly staff and affordable drinks. Apparently even Spanish celebrities think it is up to snuff, our editor reports frequent star sightings.

Now get off the Internet and go catch a tan.

-Caroline Jackson, editor

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Wednesday, May 02, 2012, 06:04 PM

The Worldwide Patio Rundown

For the weary traveler, all tuckered out from a full day of carousing about and absorbing all the sights and sounds, there is truly nothing better than sitting down and sipping a beverage on a patio. Whether it’s a bone dry cappuccino or a cold lager, a true pleasure comes from relaxing and letting the world go by. And in that spirit, we here at BRINKguide spotlighting a few patios you might enjoy on your travels across the Earth. These hot spots have everything to cool down.

TUCSON
Armitage Wine Lounge / 2905 E Skyline Dr / 520.682.9740

This patio holds the trump card for outside seating: large, comfy couches. With half-off wine on Wednesdays and a brunch menu on Sundays, this is the place to sit outside and enjoy the beautiful vistas Tucson is known for. The only drawback is the people watching is lackluster because the lounge is cloistered inside an outdoor mall. For those looking for a private session, disregard what I just said. For you, this will be everything.

PORTLAND
Gladstone Street Pub / 3737 SE Gladstone St / 503.775.3502

It can be hard to find a truly friendly little pub in a hip city like Portland. A place where a smiling face is sure to greet you isn’t just everywhere. Although Portland is a pretty friendly mid-sized city, Gladstone Street Pub is a cut above in the hip-corner-pub type of way. But more importantly, their patio contains the necessities for a game of corn hole, and a grill for some added earthly delights.

NEW DELHI
Bemisal Restaurant / District Center, Janakpuri

Located in West Delhi, this little restaurant is right in the center of an open-air market. That makes for excellent people watching (obviously something I’m concerned with), and the shade means a respite from the sweltering Indian heat. Coupled with a large variety of cuisines to choose from, Bemisal Restaurant has all the trappings of a fine, fine patio.

LONDON
The Big Chill House / 257-259 Pentonville Rd / 020.7427.2540

London can be a cold place, both literally and metaphorically. So it’s nice to a place to go with some warmth. This has comfort in spades plus good food, good people and a great rooftop view to get you (literally) above it all. And The Big Chill House will raise to the top of your London go-tos if you care about eclectic music at all , they always have something good playing.

-Alexsey Kashtelyan

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Friday, April 13, 2012, 04:49 PM

Guide to the Tucson New School

There’s a reason why a city in the middle of the desert can attract a group of creatives like those you find at BRINK headquarters. Tucson has the culture, the landscape and an eclectic mix of places to go. Hip bars, gastropubs and fashionable boutiques, all of the accoutrements of a thriving city, keep cropping up. BRINK sorted through a slew of new spots and these are the ones we can really getting behind.

BLX / 35 E Toole Ave / 520.622.5858

Tucson may have the feel of a small town but it is still an urban city. And with concrete, come decks with wheels. Right next to cultural-hub Solar Culture on Toole Avenue, BLX (say it like “blocks”) offers everything a skater might need, from a superior offering of boards and accessories, to fresh Adidas and whatever random paraphernalia the owners see fit to include (books, toys, etc.). They host local art shows and the openings are definitely worth checking out. The owners are not just trying to make a buck, this is their culture. And this new addition to the Tucson scene is destined to become a legend, not only amongst skaters.

The Union Public House / 4340 N Campbell Ave / 520.329.8575

This new go-to is situated farther north than the rest of the list and maybe that’s for a reason, this pub was designed with a chicer crowd in mind. One BRINKer says it is a spot in Tucson where you know every one of the hip and clean-cut patrons has a job, and that can’t be assumed everywhere in town. This place is definitely no dive. If you have a laid-back, but sophisticated time in mind, try making a trek up north a bit. The Union boasts an honest American aesthetic, delicious food and just-as-good cocktails.

The Parish / 6453 N Oracle Rd / 520.797.1233

A little way out west is a new gastropub with a southern-fusion style called simply The Parish. Three staples of Tucson’s culinary scene founded this new spot: the general manager and the executive chef of Tucson’s famed Cup Cafe and the founder of the French Quarter. The Parish is sure to be a gourmand’s delight with its new take on the old New Orleans’ cuisine. A hospitable happy hour menu helps it rise to the top of our list of places to be when you’re hungry (and thirsty). The Parish is located on the northwest corner of Oracle and Orange Grove which is a bit out of our range normally but a little cruise up Oracle is worth it.

-Alexsey Kashtelyan, BRINKtern
(Photos and editing by Caroline Jackson)

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Saturday, March 24, 2012, 04:07 PM

AUSTIN: Beyond SXSW Must-Dos


BRINKguide welcomes you to Austin! BRINK headed out there for South by Southwest but we’re gonna give you the rundown of the must-do stuff for any time you’re in the capital of Texas.

GET BBQ FROM IRONWORKS
100 Red River St./ironworksbbq.com

This no-fuss BBQ joint is much talked about in Austin and I think they live up to the hype. My brisket was perfectly cooked and incredibly savory, plus the hot sauce (a big deal for me) and potato salad (which I normally don’t even like) are top-notch. We tried out a couple places while in Texas, but this was head and shoulders above the rest.

GO VINTAGE SHOPPING AT NEW BROHEMIA
2209 S. 1st St.

Austin has a lot of thrift and vintage stores that are worth looking at but New Brohemia is my favorite. And they don’t even cater to me! It’s a men’s shop but they carry all the way down to little boys sizes (I got a silk shirt and a Native American-inspired jacket). Plus they have loads of inexpensive silver jewelry and colorful cumberbands that I re-imagine as a belt. I can’t pump this place up enough. Look how happy Isaiah Toothtaker is in his New Brohemia find.

PERUSE BOOKS AND ZINES AT DOMY
913 E. Cesar Chavez St./domystore.com/austin


I am infatuated with Domy books. They have an extensive zine selection plus they gather some of the most interesting books out and host art shows. When we were here they had a backyard party show which supposedly happen even with the ruckus of SXSW is over.

BOWL AND SING KARAOKE AT THE HIGHBALL
1142 S. Lamar Blvd./thehighball.com

The historic High Ball is right next to the much praised Alamo Drafthouse (which we digged also), but it shouldn’t be overlooked. The decor is wonderfully restored and they have bowling, karaoke and they host concerts. The bar is great looking but they also have tasty drinks and competent bartenders.

TRACK DOWN THE NICE KICKS ‘NICE CREAM’ TRUCK
nicekicks.com

We have a warm spot in our hearts for anything mobile. Afterall, we did drive the BRINKmobile to Austin. And sneaker shop Nice Kick’s ‘Nice Cream’ Truck is a very cool idea. Track them down for exclusive roll-outs of Vans and Nikes.

-Caroline Jackson, editor

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Wednesday, February 29, 2012, 07:10 PM

The Bar Story

I’ve been so bombarded with beer drinking spots in Portland, I had to tell my editors to exit the bars so we can fill BRINKguide Portland with lots of options for non-alcoholics. But it did inspire me to scour all of the BRINKguides for the best dives and chilled out venues for enjoying a cold brew. Here’s the rundown when you just need a frosty mug.

PORTLAND
Red Fox/ Mississippi/ 5128 N Albina

Reading the review of this “North Portland treasure” is what got me off and running on this blog post. It’s warm and cozy inside, and the entrance is in a small field. The hidden location must be what keeps out the droves of unwitting hipsters who might otherwise wander in from the main drag of Albina. But you’ll know it by the iconic fox logo sign and gigantic carrot perched on the adjacent natural food market. They have it all: awesome jukebox, covered patio and lots of good beer on-tap. We’re told the bar is often populated with locals and friendly bartenders. Our reviewer says all-in-all, it “is hard to beat.”

MADRID
Cervecería Restaurante Quevedo/ Huertas/ Calle de Quevedo, 7

I have definitely not been overwhelmed with suggestions of beer joints for our BRINKguide Madrid but this spots sounds choice no matter where you’re from. They offer “well-poured and reasonably priced cañas” (along with tapas) in an “on-the-up” area, where usually an adult beverage will cost you a pretty penny. Plus, it is charmingly old school and there is a stuffed pig head wearing sunglasses hanging on the wall.

SAN FRANCISCO
The Irish Bank/ Downtown/ 10 Mark Lane/

The huge outdoor seating area, great beer and stiff drinks The Irish Bank has will please anyway. And they are especially a standout as far as Downtown SF is concerned. It is situated in a charming alley in Union Square and the varied crowd loves to get loose. Our reviewer makes note of the back room which offers more seating (and good food) for when it is crowded or crappy outside (or when you need to soak up some of that booze).

TUCSON
The Bashful Bandit/ Central/ 3686 East Speedway Boulevard

Now, BRINK’s hometown of Tucson has lots of better beer options, but this is where you’ll get a taste of the huge local motorcycle scene (and occasionally run into some University of Arizona co-eds too). Plus I wanted to show you a picture of the mural because I love it. Sidle past the row of motorcycles posted up outside, grab a bottle of good old domestic beer and belch if you got to. This spot is simple, entertaining and cheap.

LONDON
The Champion/ West End/ 13 Wells Street

London is known for their pubs so we had to pull out one of their bests. The Champion is a Samuel Smith style spot tucked away just north of the Oxford Street shopping crowd. The beer is good and reasonable and a review said to order (or maybe just ask about) “the man in a box” if you are feeling adventurous. She also added that this was a spot to go if you want to look and act like a local. I’ll take that over a played out tourist spot any day.

NEW YORK
Cherry Tavern/East Village/ 441 East 6th Street

This quirky, low-key joint is the perfect place to gather some friends up and enjoy a beer and a shot of tequila (for only five bucks!) The prices are unreasonably reasonable for NYC, which makes it a favorite amongst reviews and locals alike. Plus, they have pool and it isn’t pretentious. If you spent a day doing all things quintessentially New York (and surely spending too much money) this will be the perfect place to take a break.

-Caroline Jackson

If you think I totally missed a beer drinking spot in YOUR city, e-mail me at editor@brink.com or fill out your info here.

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Monday, February 20, 2012, 08:14 PM

Where You Need to Go: Portland’s Best Shops

Portland is known for having great coffee shops (and strip clubs), for being absolutely beautiful and for having a bit of a rough around the edges attitude. But it isn’t exactly a shopping destination like New York, Los Angeles or Paris. And our writers keep submitting reviews that acknowledge that, followed by “but…” Turns out Portland has lots of interesting shops. So I thought I’d pull out my top five (uniquely Portland) venues for perusers and purchasers of fine goods.


Langlitz Leathers / 2443-A SE Division / langlitz.com / 503.235.0959
This was one of the first entries I saw when I started editing BRINKguide Portland, and I immediately began pinning for some leather from Langlitz’s. This family-owned business specializes in custom motorcycle jackets and they have been around since 1947. All their leather is premium quality and they offer a variety of styles (chaps, vests, boots, etc.). It is a bit pricy but well-worth it, whether you ride a motorcycle or you just love a solid, good-looking garment made locally.


Green Noise Records / 3840 SE Gladstone St. / greennoiserecords.com / 503.736.0909
A good record store has long been the sign of a good neighborhood, but they are getting harder and harder to come by. But Southeast Portland’s Green Noise Records is one of the best record stores left. They have a small but truly phenomenal selection of the best vintage and contemporary (new and used) punk, indie and rock vinyl imaginable. The store’s operated by a local record label owner with sublime taste in the hard stuff, and they also feature releases by some of the better Portland local scene bands.


Oblation Papers and Press / 516 NW 12th Ave / oblationpapers.com / 503.223.1093
This spot is a 19th century print shop where they design wedding invitations, baby shower announcements and anything you want printed on paper. And that paper will be exceptionally fine and the design will be perfectly simple. Our reviewer said “this place is truly incomparable to any other stationary,” and I back her 100%. And you can tour their urban paper mill and see them employing traditional techniques (they make sheets of cotton paper from recycled remnants of the garment industry). The already made goods they sell are far from disappointing also.


Goorin Bros. / 808 NW 23rd Ave. / goorin.com (Nob-Hill) / 503.227.5300
This isn’t a Portland one off, but it is the only Goorin Bros. in Oregon and inside the shop is wonderful. These stylish hats will cost you around one Benjamin Franklin, but they will last forever and are timeless. I’d gladly fork over a big bill for any hat in their ‘Heritage’ collection. In particular, “Pierre Renoir” (a boater), “Whiskey Pete” (a safari fedora), “Lady Lefty” (a cloche) and “Vinnie the Brain” (a porkpie) are impeccably-made classics.


Portland Design Collective / 902 SW Morrison St.
This list would be remiss if it didn’t include at least one of Portland’s great vintage shops. This is my favorite spot. Any shop that carries vintage is only as good as their curators, and this shop is obviously being run by some keen eyes. This boutique is styled perfectly, the merchandise is unique and there’s lots of variety. The inventory is constantly changing according to the season, so you are likely to find something completely unique for whatever occasion you have coming up.

If you think we are totally missing out on some great Portland venue, let us know.

-Caroline Jackson

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Friday, February 10, 2012, 05:09 PM

Make a Whole Day of It! Valentine’s Day in Portland.

A flood of Portland entries for BRINKguide this week  has got me very pumped! Our four new editors are uncovering so many great places, so I decided I’d give you a sneak peek into their entries with a Valentine’s date.

This week, we are planning a night out for Portlanders with the edge you’ll need to impress a lucky someone on Feb. 14th. Grab your umbrella and follow these instructions.

FIRST, HEAD TO>>>

Sammy’s Floral Shop/2280 NW Gilsan St./sammysflowers.com

Portlanders might be a bit scruffy but your date would still be pleased with a bouquet, terrarium or single rose from the local farmers market. They do custom stuff and they have a quick turn-around but check into it now, Valentine’s Day is obviously a busy time for the shop given the title “Best Florist in Portland” from multiple magazines.

AND THEN>>>

Sweets Etc./7828 SW Capitol Hwy/sweetsetc.com

If your date is more keen on something edible, Sweets Etc. will have any sweet you need. They really have a lot of unique treats from around the world. Our editor recommends the fresh fudge or chocolate dipped cheesecake but show your sweetheart you really get him/her and slyly pry their favorite kind of delicacy out of them before heading in. If Sweets Etc. doesn’t have something, the employees will know where you can find it.

TO START OFF THE AFTERNOON>>>

Glowing Greens Miniature Golf/509 SW Taylor Street/glowinggreens.com

If you and your date are adventurous (and it isn’t too crappy outside) head to this pirate-themed indoor 3D black light miniature golf course. The course itself is a little “rinky dink”, but the decor and overall wackiness is charming. And it captures the city of Portland, which tends to lean a little towards a laid-back eccentricity.

THEN FOR DINNER>>>

Toro Bravo/120 NE Russell Street/torobravopdx.com

This is on one editor’s “short list of the city’s finest restaurant’s” so it’ll be fitting for a special night out. Foodie’s praise the tapas-style dishes especially, the brussel sprouts with bacon sherry cream, pork and almond empanadas and signature Paella Toro. The wine list is huge and the cocktails are creative (and great), so it is a good first stop to unwind after some mini-golf and get the rest of the night started. Get out of their by 7:30pm so you can make it to this next bit in time.

CATCH THE ROMANTIC FLICK WILD AT HEART>>>

The Bagdad Theater/3702 SE Hawthorne/mcmenamins.com/219-bagdad-theater-pub-home

Who doesn’t love watching a young Nicolas Cage and Laura Dern in the off-kilter romantic movie Wild at Heart. And you can see the 35mm David Lynch cult classic in the perfect venue this Valentine’s day starting at 8:30pm. Tickets are only five bucks, so if you spent too much at dinner, rest assured you can impress your date for a lot less. The Bagdad Theater has been a Portland landmark since 1927, its Vaudeville days have passed, but it is still one of the best spots in town to take in a show and you can drink a delicious IPA or a cocktail from the full bar while you do it.

AFTERWARDS FOR DRINKS>>>

Silk by Pho Van/1012 NW Glisan/phovanrestaurant.com

You certainly could have chose this for your dinner spot, the authentic Vietnamese cuisine is modern and unique, but we are more keen on their upscale bar. It is appropriately elegant for Valentine’s Day and infused with a bit of exoticism to make the night not so run-of-the-mill. That’s why it’s a great spot for an after-the-movie sip. Try the Thai Chili-infused Tuk Tuk martini to get the full experience of the place.

IF YOU’RE STILL GOING >>>

Aalto Lounge/3356 SE Belmont St./aaltolounge.com

This bar masters the hip bar triumvirate: a well-priced and interesting drink selection, hilarious bartenders and a colorful environment. If you prefer to enjoy your date in a quiet space, take your libations to the couches near the front of the bar. But the back patio is great to socialize and smoke, if you care for that sort of thing.

AND THE NEXT MORNING>>>

Gold Rush Coffee Bar/2601 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd/goldrushcoffeebar.wordpress.com

Whether the night went so great that you spent the night together or you dropped them at their door with a smooch, it’s not a bad idea for you to enjoy some more time with your Valentine’s day over a really great cup of coffee. You could almost walk across Portland on the roofs of coffee shops – they are everywhere. But Gold Rush sticks out because in addition to their good brew, they have friendly, long-time employees (low turnover is always a clue to a great place), Wild West decor and stellar breakfast options (they are inexpensive AND tasty, novel).

-Caroline Jackson

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Friday, February 03, 2012, 08:50 AM

V-DAY in NYC: BRINKguide Has Your Plans Ready

We figured there’s enough going on in your day-to-day, so we sent out a call to our editors in New York City. We asked for the most romantic spots and pulled together a supreme Valentine’s Day schedule. Just make sure your sweetheart is free on February 14th and follow these simple instructions.

Before your meet up with somebody special, you’re going to need a bottle of something nice (for enjoying back at the hotel) and/or flowers (to woo them before your date).

For a bottle:

Astor Wines & Spirits/ 399 Lafayette Street/212-674-7500

This wine shop has just about every option you can think of. If you live anywhere close to here, it should already be your liquor store of choice. Countless wines, spirits and sakes grin at you in technicolor hues. They herald from all places and across decades, and run the full gamut of grape varieties.

For some flowers:

Anthology Floral Design/1 Fifth Ave/212-677-0102

Call or visit ahead and send your lovely something at work, or plan to pick a bouquet up on the way to dinner. This is downtown’s best all-purpose flower shop. The flower arrangers are “seasoned,” so to speak and the prices can be a bit steep, but it’s a special occasion and arrangements won’t disappoint.

Now, make a reservation for dinner:

Blossom/187 9th Avenue/212-627-1144

This is where ‘fancy with a fireplace’ meets ‘organic vegan eats.’ This spot is intimate and romantic, the perfect atmosphere for a cuddly Valentine’s Day, and the food options will please any sort of date. Enjoy a cocktail, or some wine, and gaze into each others eyes and prepare for your next stop.

No need to plan ahead of time for the next event on your sultry agenda. Take your date for some dancing at the ultimate spot.

Groove Bar & Grill/125 MacDougal Street/212-254-9393

This place is one of the only bars in downtown Manhattan that focuses on Funk, Soul, R&B, and Hip Hop. And the artists aren’t just of any caliber – these are the best. This is perfect for a sexy, laid-back night with a special someone. It may get a little full on the 14th, since others may be looking to get close to their honeys, but the crowd is always super easy going.

Book a room at a hip hotel, in a prime spot.

The Standard/848 Washington Street/212-645-4646

Hotelier Andre Balazas doesn’t disappoint. You’ll pay a pretty penny to stay in these hipster-chic digs but for one special night, it is perfect. It straddles the High Line elevated park and looks great from outside, even better from inside one of the posh rooms. This is where you whip out the fine wine you got a deal on at Astor Wines and Spirits and enjoy your lucky significant other.

Don’t feel left out if you aren’t going to be in the Big Apple on the most romantic day of the year. Every venue in our BRINKguides is carefully selected, so you can create your own special day where ever you are.  Read More »

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011, 05:43 PM

Flourishing Here and Abroad

The Portland addition of BRINKguide is picking up. I’m getting venue reviews just about every day now from our savvy new contingent in the North East. One editor raved about a flower shop in Nob Hill called Luv ‘N Stuff. This place has been family owned and operated for nearly 30 years and editor Lauren Murphy promises they know what they are talking about. Plus, they sell unique gifts to go along with the bouquets and they offer free shipping locally if you make an online order here. So go ahead and send a bud some blooms already.

(Luv ‘N Stuff, 1037 Nw 23rd Avenue, Portland)

This new review reminded me of an older one from one of our trusted guides in Madrid, Kelly Hurd. Hurd added the Tirso de Molina Plaza flower stands to our guide a month or so ago. I asked her for some additional photos for the blog because I was intrigued by her description: “If you walk through this small plaza between La Latina and Lavapiés at night, you may wonder “What are all these strange cube sculptures for?” But if you happen to find yourself there during the day you will discover that these mysterious giant cubes open up like origami into flower stands.” They slipped my mind until now but they are quite a sight. She says the cafes along the plaza are also good for café con leche and some people watching.

I’m proud to say we have received and edited all of the entries for BRINKguide Madrid, so soon reviews like Hurd’s will be easily accessible on your smart phone. And if you think you have what it takes to be an editor for Portland, Tucson, Bisbee or Boston, apply here.

-Caroline Jackson, editor of BRINKguide

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Friday, October 28, 2011, 05:02 PM

Halloween in BrinkGuide Cities

Where ever you are, we at BrinkGuide have searched the internet and our own guides to find the best places to be to fully enjoy this Halloween weekend.Here is your rundown and let us know if we are missing out on something special and/or spooky travelers and locals shouldn’t miss.

(Photo from NYmag.com)

DANZIG!! If you are in Manhattan or anywhere in the NY Burroughs, head out to Hammerstein Ballroom ( 311 W. 34th St) October 29th to hear some classic Samhain and Misfits songs from the dark idol himself. But if you can’t get tickets or the price is to steep for your blood (you can get them for $36.50-$97), fear not, the Boogaween Costume Ball is happening down on Houston St. the same night. There is sure to be dancing at the Mercury Lounge (217 E. Houston St) and tickets to the ball will only cost you $25 the night of the show.

(Photo from timeout.com)

In London, the Round Chapel (Clapton Park United Reformed Church, 1d Glenarm Rd.) will show horror classics all weekend. Showings, or “screamings” as they’re calling them, happen early (at either 4:45pm or 7:30pm October 28-31) so you can get spooked before you head out for a night of partying. Choose from “The Omen”, “The Exorcist”, “The Blair Witch Project” or “Halloween.” From what we can tell, the hallowed halls of the historic church is the perfect venue to get you in the mood for the holiday.

(Photo from Halloween 2007, Pitussi’s flickr stream)

From what our Madrid editors have told us, Spaniards haven’t quite caught on to celebrating Halloween, save for the students. A little bit of digging and we found the goth club Dark Hole has been putting on a Semana Gotica de Madrid kick off event each year. We have found pictures of wonderfully costumed patrons from years passed but can’t find exact details for this years event. Ask a local, show up at the venue in your darkest costume (13 Mesoneros Romanos, Metro: Gran Via) or go to find Madrid’s Gothic Week website to find out the latest event offerings in the area.

(Photo from Dominic Arizona Bonuccelli Photography + Design)

This weekend Tucsonians will have plenty of house parties and concerts to choose from but really we are saving our energy for the big event next weekend. Dia de los Muertos, a Mexican holiday for celebrating the dead, will be celebrated the weekend after Halloween. Floats and folks with black and white painted faces will parade through downtown on November 6th for the All Souls Procession, with the route ending in a Dance of the Dead. Residents don’t skimp on costuming as you can see from the photo above, taken at last year’s event. This will be the 21st walk and the community organized event has attracted as many as 20,000 participants in the past.

-Caroline Jackson, editor of BrinkGuide

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