50 Up-and-Coming New York Culture Makers to Watch in 2013

New York in 2012 may be a city that runs on money, but, contrary to all economic logic, it remains a city whose character is equally defined by the art it creates. Artists — by which we also mean artisans, writers, musicians, filmmakers, actors, designers, chefs, dancers, comedians, and makers of all kinds — and the entrepreneurs and curators who support them still populate the city by the thousands, maintaining its status as the creative capitol of the United States.

In what we hope to make an annual tradition, Flavorwire is celebrating our home city by profiling 50 up-and-coming culture makers you’ll be hearing much more about in the coming year. While we define “up-and-coming” broadly — just as New Yorkers will surely know some of the names on this list already, we guarantee you’ll also encounter some you aren’t familiar with — there’s one factor that unites everyone who appears here: they inspire us. Click through to peruse the list and read interviews with each and every one of these emerging cultural figures.

Joe Ahearn

Though he’s only 25, NYC native Joe Ahearn has been up in the wonderfully active underground art scene here for a while. Up until their forced shut down last year, he was a full-time resident of the wonderful Brooklyn DIY venue Silent Barn; he’s been involved with similarly fantastic and strange artistic enterprises like the video game collective Babycastles; and he’s the current managing director of paper-only all-ages show listings and art publication Showpaper. He has also recently been the curator of Clocktower Gallery in Tribeca, giving a location to awesome projects such as one in which the band Javelin transformed the space into a psychedelic Western landscape, and throwing parties involving both DIY video games and local pizzerias. Now that Silent Barn has finally found a new location, we can only imagine that Joe is busier than ever. The new space, which you can read all about in the public newsletters Silent Barn has been putting out since its shutdown, is going to be much larger than their previous space, and will be both a home and a work space for a selection of artists and people interested in “living in art.”  — Sophie Weiner

What are your plans for the holidays?

Big Secret Santa party at The Ho_se, hanging out with my family, and moving artwork around the rooms of the Clocktower, but mostly working on opening up the new Silent Barn.

Which New York artists do you count among your greatest inspirations?

G Lucas Crane, Kunal Gupta, Alaina Stamatis, Brian Blomerth, Serra Victoria Bothwell Fels, Ben Wolf, Nicholas Chatfield-Taylor, Andrew H. Shirley, Luke Fischbeck, Maya Hayuk, Jesse Hlebo, Pat Spadine, Taraka Larson, AVOID — I’m inspired by people whose practice draws from the deep well of “the public”; collaborating with their (sometimes unknowing) audience, playing with events themselves as medium, and taking advantage of spaces without permission. All of these people create a space around them that is both wholly their own and yet beyond their control. I find that very inspiring.

What’s coming up for you in 2013?

Silent Barn is back!

Photo credit: Timothy Saccenti

Mykki Blanco

If you’ve ever seen Mykki Blanco (aka the drag alter ego of Michael Quattlebaum) perform live, you’ll know why we love her — and if not, take it from us that a gender-bending MC with a whole lot of theatrical flair (and a penchant for writing poetry about Marcel Duchamp) is the sort of thing that very much floats our boats. Mykki was profiled everywhere from Vogue and Interview to, um, Elle in 2012, and if you take our advice, you’ll be joining her militia sooner rather than later. — Tom Hawking

What are your plans for the holidays?

To be home with my mother, my nieces, and my nephew. I’m buying them a big trampoline this year, among other things, so there will be lots of jumping going on!

Which New York artists do you count among your greatest inspirations?

David Hammonds, Marcel Duchamp, Sammy Davis Jr., Jerry Seinfeld.

What’s coming up for you in 2013?

My next release, [which is] an EP titled The Initiation — and I am going to be touring for six months straight.

Kate Bolick

If Kate Bolick’s name sounds familiar, we bet we know why. Last year, everyone and their mother was talking about Bolick’s Atlantic article “All The Single Ladies,” and the buzz seems to have barely died down. The article was optioned by Sony for a television series that is currently in development, which is a pretty impressive feat, and Bolick is working on her first book, entitled Among the Suitors: Single Women I Have Loved and forthcoming from Crown/Random House. — Emily Temple

What are your plans for the holidays?

Dragging home a tree and make my own ornaments. Co-hosting an eggnog party in a floor-length evergreen velvet gown I found at an antique shop last winter and finally accepted I’m never going to hem, so am hoping it will drag around on the floor fetchingly. Going to an afternoon performance by Bach in the Heights. On the day of, my boyfriend and I are seeing Django Unchained and then getting Chinese food with friends. No plans yet for NYE.

Which New York artists do you count among your greatest inspirations?

Maeve Brennan. Francesca Woodman. Björk (I know she’s not NY strictly, but doesn’t she live here sometimes?). Mary Tyler Moore. Dorothy Draper.

What’s coming up for you in 2013?

Working 24/7 on my book, fretfully waiting to hear if CBS will bring my TV show to pilot, and taking one vacation, in March, to Surf Camp in Costa Rica, for my high school best friend’s 40th.

Caleb Braaten

Sacred Bones has long been one of our favorite NYC imprints, and it’s been a pleasure to see it and its founder Caleb Braaten go from strength to strength in recent years. Five years after its foundation, the label’s more relevant and eclectic as ever, boasting a roster that’s arguably the best of any indie label right now. Sacred Bones celebrates its fifth anniversary this month, and we’re expecting it to ride the momentum of its birthday party — where it’s offering free entry to people with logo tattoos — into 2013. — TH

What are your plans for the holidays?

I will be spending them chasing aliens in the Mojave desert with my friends and family while celebrating the five-year anniversary of [my] label.

Which New York artists do you count among your greatest inspirations?

That’s a pretty serious question. It’s almost impossible to answer, I could think about it forever. So I will try and keep it in the context of the record label. I think without the Velvet Underground none of the bands on the label would exists. They were so singular. The Velvet Underground & Nico came out in a time when The Monkees topped the charts. They sang songs about copping dope on the streets of NYC. A very different NYC than we know now by the way. It also always blows my mind to think that record came out on a major label. Dark experimental pop music at its finest.

What’s coming up for you in 2013?

So much. New music from Sacred Bones faves The Men, Psychic Ills, Case Studies, Pop. 1280, Wymond Miles, and more. First LPs for the label from Vår and Lust For Youth. We have some really special reissues in the works. Maybe an art book or two as well. There will be some wonderful surprises.

Evan Brody

Along with three college friends, Evan Brody co-founded progressive Brooklyn label Underwater Peoples — home to La Big Vic, Ducktails, Tennis, Real Estate, and various other cerebral pop luminaries — in 2009. Brody is also a member of the label’s de facto house band Family Portrait, and 2013 will apparently see him diversifying his own musical interests further with a new band project. We’ll await the results with interest. — TH

What are your plans for the holidays?

Spending time with my family, girlfriend, friends, and loved ones.

Which New York artists do you count among your greatest inspirations?

Vito Acconci and Jacque Fresco.

What’s coming up for you in 2013?

Since May of 2012 I have been working on my next project, Evan Only, with Kurt Feldman (of Ice Choir) producing. It will be released late spring of 2013 on my label Underwater Peoples. The label also has some really great releases coming up, including Julian Lynch, Andrew Cedermark, and La Big Vic.

David Castillo

Perched right at the top of Manhattan Avenue, just before the north end of Greenpoint descends into the Newtown Creek, the suitably isolated dark music institution Saint Vitus Bar became one of our favorite Brooklyn hangouts in 2012. The venue takes its name from a Black Sabbath song, which should give a pretty good indication of its musical inclinations — venue booker David Castillo also plays in Primitive Weapons and White Widows, and he’s built Saint Vitus Bar into Brooklyn’s preeminent place to hear music that’ll make your ears hurt in a good, good way. — TH

What are your plans for the holidays?

My plans are to hang with my wife Marisa, family, and pitbull Logan. My father just had surgery, but it looks like by Christmas he’ll be in good shape. That whole situation definitely puts the holidays this year in a different context. Julio, we’re gonna party, buddy!

Which New York artists do you count among your greatest inspirations?

There really are so many, and I am glad to call many my friends. But if I had to boil it down… Pieter Schoolwerth and the whole Wierd Records scene is really amazing. Rosenkopf and Vaura are both from NYC and great. The band Sannhet make me so excited, I think they are really going to blow people away in 2013 with their new record. Incendiary is currently my favorite hardcore band from New York, and I’m stoked on hearing their new material. Batillus, Mutilation Rites, Krallice, Naam, and Hull are all sick. Then of course there are the classics: Swans, Unsane, and Quicksand were incredible this year and reminded me why I do what I do. The Seer, wow. Lastly, Action Bronson rips!

What’s coming up for you in 2013?

There are a lot of really interesting things going on with Saint Vitus that will extend beyond our black doors, including releasing records, off-site shows, etc. At this point we feel anything is possible and that’s the most exciting part. I am also really stoked to record and release new material with both my bands Primitive Weapons and White Widows. Beyond that, I’m excited for my wife to open her new school.


Image via Mountain Pottery

Clair Catillaz

One of Brooklyn’s many multitalented makers, Clair Catillaz creates tactile, form-focused ceramics that are reinventing restaurant and kitchen tables around the world. A pioneer of the new handmade revolution, most of her pieces are conceived on a manual kick-wheel. Further proof that one’s passion doesn’t have to be reserved for rainy days, Catillaz’s CLAM LAB is beautiful and fast becoming a burgeoning business. — Claire Cottrell

What are your plans for the holidays?

I’m taking the week off! Looking forward to poking around antique stores and hanging out around the fireplace with my family in Upstate NY.

Which New York artists do you count among your greatest inspirations?

Right now I’m really into Doug Johnston’s tremendous woven vessels. Also the meticulously amazing work of Morgan Blair.

What’s coming up for you in 2013?

Hopefully embarking on a residency or two that will involve firing a big kiln in the middle of nowhere.

Jennifer Catron and Paul Outlaw

Couple artist duo Jennifer Catron and Paul Outlaw get it: It’s one thing to “hate the Art World” and scoff in the corner scribbling supposedly brilliant manifestos that will show them, one day, yeah yeah, yeah… It is quite another to go full-on opulent performance, to create immerse experiences and be as bombastically unconventional as you want. It’s hard to describe their contrarian performative practice exactly, though Hyperallergic came close: “Channeling Rococo extravagance, Elizabethan theatrics, and a decidedly Post-Modern sense of inclusivity, Catron and Outlaw’s work is like riding the offspring of a mechanical bull and a time machine.” Last time we saw them in action, they were strapped to a carnivalesque wheel that continuously dipped them into a vat of gold liquid while a crowd of red-wigged or red-beard-wigged gallery goers stood with mouths agape. — Marina Galperina

What are your plans for the holidays?

Paul: Aww man! Christmas time is the best! We’ve already decked out the place with trees and decorations and a constant supply of eggnog. I’ve pulled out the holiday sweaters and have eaten nothing but pie for the past three weeks preparing. There will definitely be some holiday gumbo eating and oysters shooters too. Jen’s trying to talk me into throwing another “Jen-n-Paul’s World Famous Christmakwanzaramadanakkuh Party.” It’s a possibility. Everyone’s excited about it except for the neighbors. Maybe I should invite them this year. They were probably just feeling left out last year and that’s why they called the cops, 20 times. Nobody likes feeling left out.

Jennifer: We will have a party, and the cops will for sure show up. But we really know how to celebrate Christmas! Paul dresses up like cousin Eddie every day and I bake a pie a day, turkeys, stuffing, some trips home (Southern IL and Alabama) to shoot guns and ride four wheelers and eat more pie. It’s a great time of the year.

Which New York artists do you count among your greatest inspirations?

Jennifer: No one incredibly famous, more of our friends, and the emerging younger artists. I really find them to be taking risks and really on top of things, and it’s that competitive camaraderie that’s really fueling the art world right now. I rarely walk into MoMA and think, “Wow, this is really inspiring.”

Paul: Aw man, I feel like every artist is a New York Artist. I mean, this is the place to be if you wanna make it as an artist. This is the center of the universe when it comes to this kind of thing. Every artist that I have ever admired was in New York. This place is a creative juggernaut.

What’s coming up for you in 2013?

Paul: 2013 will probably be our best year ever. I plan on us rising to international acclaim and being involved in numerous museum shows including our retrospective at the Guggenheim. It will probably be a good year to release our autobiography as well. ‘Cause the people want to know.

Jennifer: We will then launch our new clothing line and release a single. If we are really lucky, we might get to launch our own boring brand of backpacks and trash cans and sell them for remarkable prices!!! It will be a big year.

Lauren Cerand

The most elegant and interesting freelance publicist you’ll meet, Lauren Cerand deals with talented authors and various literary projects, like the always-packed “Upstairs at the Square” series at the Union Square Barnes & Noble, among many other things. When she isn’t working on her own projects, you can probably find Cerand going from one big New York literary function to the next. — Jason Diamond

What are your plans for the holidays?

I’m single, and have no obligations to anyone in the world, which means I’ll either end up hosting an impromptu “orphans” dinner on Christmas night and New Year’s Eve, with an open table for anyone who desires a place, or jetting off on my own at the last moment. It’s been more than a year since I took time off, partially because I moved from a Chinatown studio to a larger spread on the waterfront, and found it necessary, in those early days, to jettison my travel budget and instead purchase, among other things, a nine-foot Thai Buddha, a Chinese folding screen, and an array of 19th and early-20th-century furniture. A friend today asked me if I had plans to go to Paris and London again soon, and I might, but I confessed that my next vacation will be more likely to take place on an island that doesn’t appear on any maps. And certainly couldn’t accommodate any meetings.

Which New York artists do you count among your greatest inspirations?

As I tap away furtively at a borrowed workspace in Midtown (my internet is inexplicably out at home today), I love to think of Frank O’Hara manning the information desk at the Museum of Modern Art. So much of life in New York is trying to steal a few minutes here and there to dabble in more serious pleasures than employment.

What’s coming up for you in 2013?

I do the publicity, with Sarah Russo, pro bono publico for the National Book Critics Circle Awards in the spring. I’ll also continue to serve on the membership committee for PEN American Center. I plan to publicize the paperback edition of Anouk Markovits’s I Am Forbidden, out in February on Hogarth, and will likely continue programming and publicizing “Upstairs at the Square” for Barnes & Noble, and, chances are, orchestrate a return for the Mazama Festival of Books in the summer in Eastern Washington State. The literary cocktail parties that Hendrick’s Gin has done in the UK with Damian Barr, and that I was brought on to throw some here, were a smash in Austin and San Francisco last month and could be expanded in the US. I’ll likely publicize Molly Crabapple’s Shell Game, a spring exhibition of her large-scale paintings documenting the revolutions of 2011. Stephanie LaCava’s An Extraordinary Theory of Objects is out this week, and I suspect will still be going strong. I have two novels to read today and decide on by the end of the week, and a few other things lightly penciled in. I’d like to travel more, maybe even take an extended trip if I can swing it. I want to do so much while I still feel young, but not so young that I’m still foolish enough to believe that there’s time for everything.


Image via An Afternoon With

Terri Chiao

This shining star of the (often elitist, all-to-academic) architecture world has a design pedigree that would intimidate Frank Gehry’s son. Having cut her teeth at internationally recognized Atelier Bow-Wow in Tokyo (they’re famous for their explorations of micro urban architecture), Chiao went on to work at Pritzker Prize winner Rem Koolhaas’ OMA in Rotterdam and the intriguing strategic design studio 2×4 before founding her own design and research collaborative, KatzChiao, with partner Deborah Katz. Their low-rise, high-density housing solutions have been featured in The New York Times and presented at symposiums around the world. A clever, low-cost cabin-in-a-loft concept in Katz’s Bushwick home has had people rethinking the possibilities of affordable, communal living. — CC

What are your plans for the holidays?

I’ll be spending the holidays with my partner Adam and our friends in Brooklyn. We’re also hoping to visit the Wharton Esherick House in Pennsylvania on a winter road trip.

Which New York artists do you count among your greatest inspirations?

My boyfriend and artist Adam Frezza. We have begun collaborating together on art and design projects this past year and it’s been nothing short of inspiring.

What’s coming up for you in 2013?

Adam and I have plans to grow our fledgling design studio, CHIAOZZA, as well as our art practice. Also in the works — expanding A Cabin in a Loft, a bed & breakfast and artists space in Brooklyn that Adam and I run together, and building a tiny off-the-grid cabin in Vermont with my architectural collaborator, Deborah Katz.

Image via

Rama Chorpash

Although currently on sabbatical, Rama Chorpash has been running Parsons The New School for Design’s product design program for a few years now. Charged with helping to integrate the design program and create a dynamic product design degree, Chorpash has done just that. In an array multidisciplinary projects ranging from innovative office furniture for Herman Miller to a roller-skate disco for the Public Art Fund in Central Park, Chorpash’s projects are revolutionizing industrial design (and in turn the world) by fostering critical inquiry on an academic level and then exploring the effect of positive change on a practical, global level. — CC

What are your plans for the holidays?

I’ll be hosting friends and neighbors with my wife and child in our North Shore Staten Island home. We’ll also be walking between other Saint George neighbors celebrating at the many parties in what feels more like a village than modern-day NYC. Perhaps the only thing that’s really changed on this historic street since the 19th century is the addition of mid-20th-century furniture and wifi. I’ll be turning off the wifi and making a fire. Everyone has fallen wood from Sandy.

Which New York artists do you count among your greatest inspirations?

I’m inspired by Antenna Design’s ability to work in a corporate realm while challenging themselves (and clients) to take on more than the bottom line. Ayse Birsel’s attitudes towards life as a design project highlights creative activity as an essential human endeavor. Tucker Viemeister‘s rye historical perspective and genuine support of design and designers makes me smile. Happiness and inspiration go hand-in-hand.

What’s coming up for you in 2013?

I’m on sabbatical from Parsons The New School for Design January 1st until fall 2013. I’m developing a body of work around what I’ve termed “manufacturing in place.” Some of this work will be shown during NYC Design Week in May. I’ll also be writing a lot and presenting at numerous conferences.

Casey Jane Ellison

Casey Jane Ellison is over the top. It’s like she’s growling, “Hate me, fucker!” with every charmingly obnoxious YouTube “status update” on VFILES. Meanwhile, she’s performing stand up at the MoCA right now, where she’s in a group video art show with Ryan Trecartin and Rhett LaRue. As founder of the traveling collective Aboveground Animation, she features some of the most insane, technically creative, and truly disturbing, head-screwing works in the medium today. After several very packed pop-up shows at Ramiken Crucible, Ellison took Aboveground to the New Museum this year. Hey, she does really weird stuff with new media using self-routed distribution channels, internet platforms, and a cohesive community of like-minded, flamboyant friends — and hey, we can learn from that. — MG

What are your plans for the holidays?

I’m going home to LA for the holidays and I’ll be performing stand up comedy and presenting an animation at a screening at MoCA on the 17th.

Which New York artists do you count among your greatest inspirations?

Leilah Weinraub, K8 Hardy, Erin Dunn, Lyndsy Welgos, Xavier Cha, and Anthony Valdez, who is a designer.

What’s coming up for you in 2013?

More VFILES Status Updates for 2013.

Chris Gethard

This has been quite a year for comedian Chris Gethard. He’s not exactly a household name yet (you might recognize him from his cameos on Season 2 of Louie and a recent episode of The Office), but this year his profile rose significantly. We are huge fans of his experiment in public-access television, the absurd and amazing Chris Gethard Show, which airs Wednesday night on both real television and the internet, and has a rabid fan base that regularly calls in. His comedy and show strike a perfect balance between surrealism and humanity –- he also made headlines this year for a long blog post in response to a fan who asked for advice on suicidal urges, in which he detailed his own lifelong struggle with mental illness and depression. Recently, he’s been organizing concerts in NYC showcasing some of the bands that have played his show (which this year included everyone from Kitty Pryde to Craig Finn of The Hold Steady). In one of his most extreme antics of the past year, he walked from LA to Bonnaroo with no money, relying only on the help of strangers and Twitter to get him the several thousand miles to perform at the festival. We can only imagine how far he’ll try to walk in 2013. — SW

What are your plans for the holidays?

My parents just moved from northern NJ to Lake George, NY. When I was home for Thanksgiving they told me I didn’t need to go back up there for Christmas, “because it’s such a long drive.” In reality, I think they want to get out of the cold and go somewhere for the holiday and are ditching me. This will be the first time I’m not around my family on Christmas. I am definitely going to see Django Unchained on Christmas day, because I keep hearing that it’s super racist and I have a feeling if I don’t see it right away it’s going to get pulled from theaters. I have a feeling this answer is way more specific than you were hoping for.

Which New York artists do you count among your greatest inspirations?

I would point to Andy Kaufman, David Letterman, and Howard Stern as some all-time unquestionable inspirations with firm footing as New Yorkers. All three bent the formats of what they do — stand up, late night talk, and radio. Kaufman gets so much press for his antagonistic stuff, but I’m equally if not more obsessed with how much of his stuff revolved around giving his audience an experience. If you haven’t watched his concert at Carnegie Hall, I suggest you stop what you’re doing and do so right now. It’s hilarious and beautiful and positive. Letterman was the first person I ever idolized comedically. I think he’s still the best late-night host, and the level to which he took the absurdity of his show in its early days is something I chase every time I get on stage. And I think Howard Stern gets looked at only for the shock jock and exploitative stuff — when you get past all the questionable material, you are looking at a comedic visionary who generates hours and hours of content a week all while legit rebuilding the medium he works in. Inspiring!

Also, The Ramones. Obviously. Right?

As far as contemporary artists, I would say that in the NYC music scene Bad Credit No Credit is doing something truly unique and insane and I don’t think you’re in touch with your full range of emotions until you see them live. The Dolchnakov Brigade is such a weird band that they are almost not even a band. And Mal Blum. Sigh. Laura Stevenson. Sigh.

I love how the traditional art world is embracing humor more lately — Cory Arcangel is obviously a guy who has achieved a lot of buzz by doing legitimately funny work. I would also point to Jason Eppink, who does a lot of public installations that are hilarious and have a good heart.

And if you don’t listen to The Best Show on WFMU, you are just missing out. Tom Scharpling does things that no one else would even think of.

What’s coming up for you in 2013?

I’m just going to keep plowing away at doing shows. Stand up, improv, and my pride and joy, The Chris Gethard Show on public access. With TCGS, I’m very happy with how the cast and crew have figured out how to build this thing that people are watching all over the world that we beam out to the internet from a dusty old public access studio. It’s weird and not for everyone, but it is also super positive and has a big heart and it gives me endless joy that so many of my fellow underdogs and sad sacks have made it their own in so many different ways. I’m particularly psyched about some touring that we’re doing coming up — TCGS will be at the San Francisco Sketchfest and hopefully we’ll return to South by Southwest as well. I want to keep the show going as long as possible, and hopefully 2013 will be the year we figure out how to make it not lose so much money. I’d love to figure out a way to get our own space where we can stage our show, other internet broadcast shows, as well as live comedy and music shows. But that’s probably much farther away than 2013.

Angel Haze

21-year-old rapper and Brooklyn transplant Angel Haze has been unequivocally one of the most exciting new artists to emerge this year. Listening to her Reservation EP earlier in the year, her talent was obvious: the songs were catchy, her flow was incredible, and her lyrics were full of heartbreaking raw emotion as much as they were full of confidence and optimism for the future. But with the release of the single “Cleaning Out My Closet” in advance of her Classick mixtape, she went from being a promising and impressive young artist to one of the most important people working in hip hop today. We’re not sure if a hip hop song has ever addressed sexual abuse in such a gut-wrenchingly blatant and personal way. When asked in interviews who she likes in hip hop today, she’s responded that she can’t think of anyone, and we can see why – what she is creating is unprecedented. We are waiting with bated breath for her debut album next year, and we can only predict massive things for her future. — SW

What are your plans for the holidays?

Spending more time with my friends and family and eating, of course.

Which New York artists do you count among your greatest inspirations?

Not many people acknowledge the fact that he’s from New York but, Tupac because he’s amazing and inspiring.

What’s coming up for you in 2013?

Tours, more music, more videos. World domination. I’m hoping to take over the world, haha.

Heliotropes

Although their virtuosic guitar rock combines just about every type of heavy music you can think of — stoner rock, grunge, metal — Brooklyn’s Heliotropes realize that moments of stillness have their value, too. This thrilling contrast, not to mention their soaring solos and the stunning range of frontwoman Jessica Numsuwankijkul, makes them one of the most exciting bands in a scene full of next big things. If you haven’t heard of them yet, it’s probably because their debut full-length won’t come out till next year. Don’t say we didn’t warn you: See them now, because once it drops, they’re going to be huge. — Judy Berman

What are your plans for the holidays?

Each of us will be spending time with our families across the country – Nya has already landed out in LA, soon Jessica will be headed to San Francisco, Amber to Charleston, WV and Cici will hold it down here in Brooklyn. We’re also thinking about starting a Pearl Jam Christmas Caroling group, where a bunch of us just get together and sing Pearl Jam songs at people around Brooklyn. We figure “Yellow Ledbetter” would be the easiest for everyone, since it doesn’t seem to have any actual lyrics.

Which New York artists do you count among your greatest inspirations?

Lately, we’ve been really inspired by our close friends and the music that they make. Last week we played a show at Muchmore’s in Brooklyn with our good buddies Dead Stars, Quiet Loudly and Lazy Eyes. It was one of the best nights we have had in a really long time. It is awesome to feel so supported by your peers and in turn support them back. We’re considering having the exact same show a couple months from now and ordering pizza.

What’s coming up for you in 2013?

Some pretty exciting stuff, actually – we are wrapping up the last few tracks on our first album, which should be out sometime this spring on Manimal Vinyl; we are releasing a video for our single “The Dove”; and we have plans to start playing more shows outside of NYC — touring our way down to SXSW in March and a longer tour following the release of our record.

Seth Herzog

We fell in comedic love with Seth Herzog years ago when his weekly stand-up night, SWEET, was still at the (newly reopened! yay!) Slipper Room. SWEET became an incubator of NYC comedy talent, hosting everyone from Reggie Watts and Pete Holmes to Michael Showalter and Herzog’s mom (for real). The show remains a hotbed of hilarity, now at Ella Lounge every week; if you can’t make it to the East Village to catch him and his guests perform — though, really, we recommend it — you can always catch him on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, generally doing the things Fallon himself deemed too ridiculous to attempt. — Leah Taylor

What are your plans for the holidays?

Well, being a classic NY Jew… I make a big deal about Christmas. I get a big tree, decorate with matzoh balls, put some nice gefilte under it, enjoy chocolate babka with a some eggnog, watch A Christmas Story or my favorite Jewy film, It’s a Wonderful Life? And mostly complain about the crowds and that nothing’s open. I do a typical NY New Year’s where I try to go to five different parties but end up spending midnight standing freezing on Avenue C trying to find a cab.

Which New York artists do you count among your greatest inspirations?

Good question, in my comedy I try to take smidge of Woody Allen’s honesty and wit, a pinch of Lou Reed’s mystery and cynicism, throw in a dash of the Ramones’ edge and big dose of Beastie Boys’ sense of innovation and fun. That gets complicated, sometimes. When I don’t know where to go with something, I’ll think, “What would Mario Batali do?”

What’s coming up for you in 2013?

Well, I’m going to continue working on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, being on VH1, and producing SWEET every Tuesday at the new Slipper Room, as well as doing stand up around New York and elsewhere. I’m developing a web series with Above Average (Broadway Video’s web arm) for this year, and the hour I performed for last month’s New York Comedy Festival I might put out as a live album (it’s being mixed now). I’ll also be hosting the web show Jus Cos for the Nerdist channel, and another one for MTV’s NextMovie.com. And I’m now a regular contributing writer for the new Manhattan magazine (which you should read if you haven’t).

Daron Hollowell

Founder of Black Iris, one of the most successful indie music collectives in the advertising and entertainment industries, Daron Hollowell has been helping to redefine the business of making music ever since the digital download changed the name of the game forever. With a knack for discovering stellar new talent, Hollowell co-founded White Iris Records — Black Iris’ label counterpart — as a platform for emerging artists to see and be seen in the brave new world of career-making commercial and branded content projects. Chosen as one of the Top 10 Most Exciting Indie Labels in LA in its fledgling year, White Iris discovered Best Coast, Electric Guest, and FIDLAR, among others. Just last year it played an instrumental role in forming the Frenchkiss Label (super)Group, a hands-on boutique distributor focused on growing visibility for independent labels as the bottom line. So much more than a savvy business man, he’s also the frontman of his own stellar bluesy psych-rock band, whose second debut album is out early next year on White Iris. Oh, and Hollowell’s first band opened for Fugazi. — CC

What are your plans for the holidays?

I wish I could train myself to take time off, but it’s really hard for me. I’m producing a 7″ for a Toronto band I’m really excited about called Smart Boys. They share members with Fucked Up and we’re recording them in Brooklyn this week. I’m also flying to LA for one night to see Lewis’ (Pesacov, co-owner of White Iris Records) chamber operetta inspired by the ending of Mayan long count calendar. But eventually I will get to Richmond, Virginia for a few days with my family and friends. I’m going to take my kids to see Santa, eat some good food, and build some fires.

Which New York artists do you count among your greatest inspirations?

All of them. I don’t mean to be reductive, but more than any one artist I’m blown away by New York’s creative legacy and its ongoing ability to inspire people to artistic greatness. It’s unstoppable.

What’s coming up for you in 2013?

My band, El Sportivo & the Blooz, is releasing our first full-length record, Nights & Weekends, on White Iris Records in February. We’ll be doing SXSW stuff and a bunch of other shows as well. On the White Iris side of things, we’re doing a big brand relaunch with a lot of very cool content on our website as well as some very swank packaging for our vinyl. In addition to our ongoing commercial projects, Black Iris has also signed on to score our first TV series. They won’t let me talk about it yet, but it’s an amazing show and you’ll hear about it soon.

Lindsay Howard

Lindsay Howard is a curator, researcher, and a passionate guiding force in new media art. She’s curatorial director at Brooklyn’s 319 Scholes, where a recent group show The Artist as Archivist in the Internet Age featured provocative works from artists like Eva and Franco Mattes and an experimental platform — the exhibition’s fantastic Tumblr is always rolling. She’s spoken at panels at New York University, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and recently Art Basel Miami Beach on “New Media, New Markets: Buying, Selling, and Collecting Digital Art.” Her upcoming work at EyeBeam with F.A.T. Lab will showcase some of the most innovative, participant-friendly, user-intended net/tech art of the last five years — right there, in Chelsea. She promotes collaboration and “open source philosophy,” to the extent that we’re having a hard time caring about painting when so much is possible in new media, thanks to people like Lindsay Howard. Lindsay, you killed painting. — MG

What are your plans for the holidays?

See Les Misérables on Christmas Day! It’s been my favorite musical since as far back as I can remember (my childhood dog was named “Cosette”) -– my family and I will be those people in the audience mouthing, if not singing, every word.

What’s coming up for you in 2013?

When I get back from the holiday, I’ll be resuming my fellowship at Eyebeam: Art & Technology Center in Chelsea, where I’m organizing a symposium around their digital archive recovery efforts following Hurricane Sandy. I’ve had the opportunity to review more than 1,200 restored DVDs, VHS cassettes, Mini DVs, and other digital media, and select the most unexpected, exciting, and rare material to feature in an accompanying exhibition.

In April, I’m excited to bring together the Free Art & Technology (F.A.T.) Lab collective for a five-year retrospective of their work. I’ve been following their projects for years, but became interested in working with them when they “occupied” my blog (along with hundreds of others in the online exhibition “Occupy The Internet”) last year. They’re long overdue for a major exhibition, and this will definitely have a celebratory feel to it.

Kristopher Jansma

If you’re a book-world enthusiast, you may know Kristopher Jansma from “Literary Artifacts,” his delightful monthly column at Electric Literature’s blog, “The Outlet.” But you’re about to know him for his debut novel, The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards, a terrifically fun book that’s a little bit Calvino, a little bit Jennifer Egan, and a little bit the inside of every young artist that ever was. Concerned with the nature of storytelling, art, fallacy, and fucking up, and told as only a witty wordsmith can, we’re pretty sure it’ll be one of your favorites in the new year. Jansma is an Adjunct Professor of Creative Writing at Manhattanville College and SUNY Purchase, and lives in Brooklyn with his wife. — ET

What are your plans for the holidays?

Hannukah with my in-laws and then down to see my parents for Christmas. My family has instituted a new tradition, which we call “Top Chef: Christmas.” Everyone in the family (including my father) has to prepare a dish on Christmas Day and we compete to see whose is the most delicious. Every year I go with something insanely elaborate and ambitious that half falls apart and I get defeated by my younger brother. But I’ve got to be honest, everything is so tasty that there really are no losers in “Top Chef: Christmas.”

Which New York artists do you count among your greatest inspirations?

F. Scott Fitzgerald. Everyone thinks of him bopping around Paris, but he said he felt New York was his home, no matter how often he might leave it. That’s in that essay of his, “My Lost City.” I think I lose this city about once a week. Or, how does he put it? “New York forgot us, and let us stay.” Maybe it’s more like that. Just suddenly, walking to the post office or something, I realize where I am and that I actually live in this city. Nine years and that hasn’t gone away.

What’s coming up for you in 2013?

It’s going to be a big year! My first novel, The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards, is going to be published in March by Viking/Penguin, and I’m looking forward to doing some readings and actually meeting people who’ve enjoyed the book, or who want to enjoy the book… really just people who, at the end of a long day are excited by the prospect of going to a bookstore and listening to an author for an hour. I’d spend all of 2013 doing that, if I could, but my wife and I are also expecting our first child this year, so that probably will require some attention. So first book and then baby. When I first found out, I told one of my co-workers and he said to me, “A book and a baby! You must feel very accomplished, in the Hegelian sense of the word!” And I thought, “Well, yeah, except now I need to go and look that word up.”

Jeremiah Johnson

Jeremiah Johnson, aka computer-based musician and chiptune pioneer Nullsleep isn’t just at the center of the glitch and low-bit culture — as an 8bitpeoples collective member, international Blip Festival curator, and participant in the GLI.TC/H gathering — he’s a prolific, talented artist. He’s able to showcase the artistic element and community power of the culture, whether in games soundtracking, interactive net art, or full-on chiptune festivals. — MG

What are your plans for the holidays?

Family visiting, eggnog chugging, cat herding, processing Christmas carols into long experimental dronescapes through a modular synthesizer, lucid dreaming, tinychatting, going out Computers Clubbin’, and catching up on some reading from 1995 with Flame Wars: The Discourse of Cyberculture. Also looking forward to unwrapping my GIFs – part of a secret-Santa style GIF-exchange with a few dozen artists, organized by netartnet.net and going live on December 21.

Which New York artists do you count among your greatest inspirations?

The accidental artists. The MTA workers who are responsible for putting up and tearing off layer after layer of advertisements in subway stations. When those spaces are empty, they’re just beautiful swaths of abstract-expressionistic textures born of the accumulated detritus of commercial culture. The broken video screens and scrolling LED signs always catch my attention as well. Whenever I see them glitching hard and unleashing gorgeous torrents of visual noise, I hope they’ll stay broken forever. Sadly, they never do.

What’s coming up for you in 2013?

Living out all of my post-apocalyptic, dystopian fantasies, hopefully – fingers crossed for those Mayan end-of-days predictions.


Image via Refinery29

Gretchen Jones

The winner of Project Runway Season 8, Gretchen Jones is so much more than another buzzworthy blonde beauty who made a name for herself by dominating a celebrity reality show. Her talent — thanks to original sources of inspiration ranging from Kurt Cobain and Buckminster Fuller to Frida Kahlo and Basquiat — outshines most up-and-coming (and even more established) names on today’s fashion circuit. Staying true to her roots in the rural American West even though she now calls Brooklyn home, her line not only celebrates earthy Americana, but also honors the ethos of 1970s romanticism. The line is produced domestically and is aligned with Save the Garment Center, a NYC-based organization that supports local and international craftspeople and focuses on ethical business practices. She is and continues to be one of the most original and inspiring voices in the all-too-often frivolous New York fashion scene. — CC

What are your plans for the holidays?

I made Thanksgiving into my big family visit, so I could stay in NY over Christmas and the New Year. I’m headed to Cape Cod for Winter Solstice to celebrate the end of the Mayan Calendar in nature with some of my favorite people on the planet. And I wanted to take advantage of staying put and getting work done while the Garment District was quiet (workaholic tendencies), but also I just really enjoy New York during Christmas. It’s romantic and quiet(er) and the whole town feels like it’s yours, that is… until New Years!? My birthday is December 31st and this year is the “golden birthday,” so i wanted to do something fun and special to celebrate it… a group of friends and I are attending the Blonde Redhead/Beach Fossils show and getting all dressed up! I think this year will be a fun one.

Which New York artists do you count among your greatest inspirations?

Nicholas Forker is a friend of mine and so F’ing talented! His ballpoint pen pieces are stunning.  He’s def on the top of my list.

What’s coming up for you in 2013?

2013 to me is about settling in and balance. My focus for the year is to work smarter, not harder… focusing on refining my brands identity and those creations I stamp my name on. Fashion can be so hard and fast, I want to breathe a little and really spend my energy making myself and my work better.

Payal Kadakia

If you aren’t familiar with Payal Kadakia, or her company, Classtivity, just wait a minute. Maybe a month, tops. You’ll hear someone buzzing about her. Kadakia is the CEO of a site that catalogs and categorizes thousands of classes in the NYC (as well as LA and SF) area, from ballet to yoga, cooking to photography. Classtivity aims to make finding a class as simple and enjoyable as taking one — something that we as cultural advocates heartily applaud. When she’s not finding, sharing, or taking a class, Kadakia is performing with the Sa Dance Company, an Indian dance troupe she also founded. Another cultural mashup, the company celebrates Indian-American identity through music and dance. — LT

What are your plans for the holidays?

The holidays start early for me as my family celebrated Diwali in November — which is the New Year for many Indians. It’s as big of a holiday as Christmas for most Indians. I still celebrate “Christmas” too. I’ll be spending time with my family (and adorable new nephew). Surprisingly, the tradition is usually to go out for Indian food on Christmas — it’s one of the only restaurants open that day! I’ll also be going to the NYC Ballet’s Nutcracker — one of my favorite annual traditions. And, I’m hoping to find a day or two to get away and get some sun!

Which New York artists do you count among your greatest inspirations?

Alvin Ailey has always been one of my greatest inspirations, especially how he has been able to convey his culture and traditions through movement, music, and dance. I’ve been watching and researching his company for years, and he has helped me form the basis of how I developed my dance company. I’m also continuously inspired by my Kathak teacher (Kathak is a form of Indian Classical dance) and her company, The Parul Shah Dance Company.

What’s coming up for you in 2013?

Big things are happening at Classtivity! Lots of advances to the product and growth. Classtivity will be launching into several new cities in addition to its recent launch in LA and SF. Outside of that, I’m going to continue my recent “class a day” regimen (yes, that is what I’ve been doing!) as well as perform some more in 2013. My dance company will be putting on a show in early February, and we’re hoping to showcase our work in a few other cities throughout the year. And as always, I hope to inspire other entrepreneurs and artists out there to continue to pursue their passions.

Julia Kaganskiy

Julia Kaganskiy is Editor at Large of The Creators Project — an initiative bringing some of the most biggest and most innovative tech-themed art projects to life. She’s also the founder of New York Timesacclaimed #ArtsTech meetup, co-founder of pop-up Blue Box Gallery, was recently profiled in the MAKERS series, and is pretty much New York’s own Supergirl. Her engagement, enthusiasm, and straight-up power within and around the tech art community are unique — this girl’s the best kind of monster. — MG

What are your plans for the holidays?

My family goes down to Miami for the holidays every year. We’re Ukrainian and don’t really celebrate much of anything (a relic from our atheist Soviet past), so we usually spend the time hanging out on the beach and doing touristy things like visiting museums and taking excursions to Key West. Then on New Year’s Eve, we’ll exchange gifts while drinking copious amounts of vodka, or tequila, which is a new favorite. This, among other reasons, is why I can never bring my boyfriend home for the holidays.

Which New York artists do you count among your greatest inspirations?

Right now? Or of all time? The latter seems too daunting, so I’ll just answer the question as it stands presently.

Gabriel Barcia-Colombo. Gabe answered an open call for “interactive artworks” that I put out for my ArtsTech group’s one-year anniversary party back in 2009. I instantly fell in love with his video sculptures, which are full of whimsy, absurd humor, and a powerful sense of storytelling. I loved them so much, in fact, that I promptly convinced my roommate to help me organize a solo show for him. It was one of those chance encounters that set me on the path I’m on today.

Zach Lieberman. Apart from being a brilliant artist, I consider Zach to be something of a new media art sensei. As one of the founders of the openFrameworks creative coding library, he has built an amazing community of artists and designers who all share a particular approach to art, design, and technology that I really gravitate towards. It’s got a certain kind of humility, generosity, and genuineness to it that I can’t quite put into words. I think it probably has something to do with the fact that Zach calls what he does “R&D for humanity” — meaning that his work is about trying to locate the human in technology — an ethos that I find to be really inspiring, and one that resonates with my own work as well.

Marina Abramovic. This one feels almost like a cliche, but I really can’t help myself. I sat with Marina back when she did her MoMA show in 2010 and, as the saying goes, she made me cry, she got me high. It was one of the most mesmerizing experiences I’ve had and I don’t know if I’ve ever experienced anything else quite like it. It was like a lucid dream.

What’s coming up for you in 2013?

More awesomeness with The Creators Project, but none that I’m at liberty to talk about just yet. My ArtsTech meetup group will continue its monthly talks series, and we’re in the process of planning a mini conference for the Spring/early Summer. We launched three new chapters this year — San Francisco, Philly, and LA — so I’m hoping we’ll keep expanding. Knowing me, I’ll probably hatch about half dozen other schemes before the year is out, but I can never predict exactly what they’ll be.

Alex Karpovsky

Most of us know Alex Karpovsky from his work as Ray, the wry know-it-all (and unlikely Shoshanna paramour) on HBO’s Girls. And while he’s turned in memorable supporting performances in indie flicks like Tiny Furniture and Sleepwalk With Me, 2013 is looking like a Karpovsky explosion: the multi-talented Brookynite has two features on the runway as writer/director, as well as several exciting acting projects. — Jason Bailey

What are your plans for the holidays?

My family is from Boston, but I’m gonna stay put in Greenpoint, where I live, to try and write. I really enjoy trying to be productive during holidays and other types of societal “downtime.” It does wonders for my general sense of guilt and anxiety. Also, there is a delicious melancholy to holiday solitude which I cherish very much. Please don’t take it away from me.

Which New York artists do you count among your greatest inspirations?

Woody Allen
Coen Brothers
Cindy Sherman
Ira Glass
Laurie Anderson
Onur Tukel
Wes Anderson
Jon Cotner

What’s coming up for you in 2013?

Two films I directed, Red Flag and Rubberneck, are coming out in February of 2013. On the acting side, the second season of Girls premieres in mid-January, the new Coen Brothers film (Inside Llewyn Davis) also comes out early next year, along with the independent films Supporting Characters and Almost in Love, in both of which I play the male lead.

Amy Klein

It’s always exciting to see an artist emerge from something good to do even greater things on her own. There was some disappointment surrounding Amy Klein’s departure from Titus Andronicus last year, but since then we’ve been happy to watch her grow into a rock star, writer, and activist in her own right. Amy currently fronts two Brooklyn bands, a folk-rock group called Leda and the two-woman noise-rock band Hilly Eye. Both acts have a lot coming up in the next 12 months, and we are particularly excited for the January 22nd release of the new Hilly Eye album, Reasons to Live, as our sources tell us it’s about to destroy our expectations. See you on the best of 2013 lists, Amy. — SW

What are your plans for the holidays?

Reading all the books I haven’t had time to read this fall, making my biannual pilgrimage to Spa Castle, trying to fry an entire batch of potato pancakes without once setting off the smoke alarm (has anyone, in over 4,000 years of Jewish history, ever managed to accomplish this feat? and if so, then shouldn’t we be honoring this miracle with its own special holiday?), and, finally, decorating my first real Christmas tree. To tell the truth, though, the tree is about the size of a potted plant, so I guess what I have on my hands is more of a Christmas shrub.

Which New York artists do you count among your greatest inspirations?

Patti Smith (although, technically, she grew up in New Jersey), all of the members of the band The Suzan, (although, technically, they are from Tokyo), and Paula Fox (who was born in 1923 and has been here a lot longer than most people).

What’s coming up for you in 2013?

Gonna release an album called Reasons to Live with the band Hilly Eye. Working on writing and recording another album, which I’m making with the band Leda. I’m also writing a novel, which I anticipate working on for the next few years.

Hari Kondabolu

Looking for some intelligent, political comedy that isn’t afraid to get a little bit radical? Then you need to know about Hari Kondabolu, the Queens native who brought down the house at Strike Debt’s People’s Bailout last month with a set about harvesting the organs of the 1%. The currently Brooklyn-based stand-up comedian also writes for and appears on FX’s excellent Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell, which will begin airing its second season January 17th. — J. Berman

What are your plans for the holidays?

I’m planning a low-key end of the year. Mostly staying at my parents’ place in Queens as much as possible, with perhaps a few trips to Jackson Heights (“Little India”) to meet friends. Maybe Flushing to grab dosa, too. Also, I have this strange desire to watch the Broadway version of Disney’s Newsies. I was obsessed with that movie as a kid (even though it was godawful) and am willing to blow money to see this monstrosity on Broadway. Just an indication of what I’ll do for the sake of nostalgia.

Which New York artists do you count among your greatest inspirations?

W. Kamau Bell’s prolific writing and relentless work ethic has been an inspiration to me for quite some time, even before he moved to NYC. Hannibal Buress is incredibly funny, and his ease on stage is stunning. Baratunde Thurston is a multi-talented writer and comedian, and I appreciate the fact that he is self-made and humble. Wyatt Cenac is a beast. (Wyatt is more than that one-word description, but I ran out of compliments on everyone else.) In truth, my biggest inspiration is and will always be my little brother, Ashok Kondabolu (hypeman for the now-defunct Das Racist project.)

What’s coming up for you in 2013?

I’m a writer for Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell on the FX Network and we just got picked up for 13 more episodes, so I’m excited to see what we’ll come up with this year. I’m also working on a new hour of material, and I plan to be on the road workshopping pieces, as well as at shows around the city. Also, my brother Ashok and I are planning a podcast called The Untitled Kondabolu Brothers Podcast to compliment our semi-regular live show The Untitled Kondabolu Brothers Project.

Josh Koury and Myles Kane

Koury and Kane were two of the founders of the Brooklyn Underground Film Festival, where they served as (respectively) Programming Director and Festival Relations Director for five years. From there, they moved into documentary filmmaking; their most recent collaboration, the hilarious but affectionate Journey to Planet X (a profile of two no-budget filmmakers in the American Movie mold), screened at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival. — J. Bailey

What are your plans for the holidays?

Josh: I’m heading to upstate to visit my family a bit early this year. We’re starting a new film project in January and I want to have some time to clear my head. After six days with the family, nothing is more exciting than getting back to Brooklyn and diving into a new project.

Myles: I’m gonna watch a lot of TV at my family’s house in MA. I don’t have a TV in New York, so it feels sort of exotic to watch. Especially local cable access channels, which still exist for some reason, even with YouTube existing and everything.

Which New York artists do you count among your greatest inspirations?

Myles: The photographer Bruce Davidson’s pictures of gritty 1970s New York City subways both frightened and seduced me as a teenager. He’s still inspired and shooting today, which is awesome. He’s in his 80s!

Josh: Actually, it’s a lot of current filmmakers working out of the city — people like Jeremiah Zagar, David Redman, and Ashley Sabin. We’ll often ask for feedback on our work and we’re always very thankful when they are willing to help out.

What’s coming up for you in 2013?

Josh: We have a new short film called “We Will Live Again.” It documents the Cryonics Institute, where deceased bodies are preserved in liquid nitrogen, with the hope of being revived in the future when science has advanced. And our feature Journey to Planet X was acquired by EPIX, so it will be on TV in early 2013. We’re pretty excited about that, too!

Myles: I wish I had a TV to watch it on.

Maris Kreizman

Maris Kreizman has carved out an interesting place for herself among the literati of New York and beyond. Her Tumblr Slaughterhouse 90210, which pairs stills from television shows with literary quotes, recently cracked 90,000 followers. The site has made her something of a celebrity among both book nerds and people that really like to say we’re living through a Golden Age of television. — JD

What are your plans for the holidays?

I go all in for the Jewish Christmas cliche: chicken and broccoli and a movie. On Christmas Day I’ll probably be sobbing at a screening of Les Miz, wishing that the unknown actress cast as Eponine was me. I also hope to make a dent in my 2013 galleys to-read pile, featuring novels by Ron Currie, Taiye Selasi and Teddy Wayne.

Which New York artists do you count among your greatest inspirations?

It’s probably a combo of Edith Wharton, Lorrie Moore, Francine Prose, Mary McCarthy, Fiona Apple, David Rakoff, Tina Fey, and Michael Korda.

What’s coming up for you in 2013?

I’m starting to plan the fourth anniversary party for Slaughterhouse 90210 in March. It’s a celebration of books and pop culture and the intersection between the two. You can expect readings from some fantastic authors, and lots of heated discussion about Homeland and Breaking Bad.

Aaron Lefkove

Aaron Lefkove went from touring in punk bands to opening hit restaurants in Gowanus, the part of Brooklyn many consider to be the next “it” neighborhood — once they build the Whole Foods and clean up the filthy canal. With his first, Littleneck, getting rave reviews from just about every magazine in New York, it was time to take the obvious next step and open a second restaurant, The Pines. — JD

What are your plans for the holidays?

Light the menora, spin the dreidel, eat all the Hanukkah gelt… you know, the usual.

Which New York artists do you count among your greatest inspirations?

I think in attitude it would probably be Karen Finley, but she is San Francisco-based, so I guess that doesn’t really answer the question. I don’t know if I have any one person in mind per se, but I am always pretty excited and inspired by some of the people around me. For instance, I have always really enjoyed Avi Spivak’s comics and illustrations as well as his zine Humanbeing Lawnmower, which is the zine to which all other zines should be measured. And I am always excited to see whatever is going on at the Live With Animals space. I definitely think some of the sculptural stuff from Raul De Nieves is amazing and twisted and totally one of my favorites. And my old pal Miriam Carothers who is a jewelry and textile designer/illustrator/painter/chef of some regard. She also did a bang-up job painting my apartment.

What’s coming up for you in 2013?

Allegedly the Livefastdie singles comp from Almost Ready Records. Allegedly. So hopefully that means the “Old, Fat, and Snotty Tour 2013” can hit the road.

Photo credit: Erez Avissar

Ric Leichtung

With a foot in two of New York’s most interesting musical ventures — experimental music blog Ad Hoc and Brooklyn DIY institution 285 Kent — we’re guessing that Ric Leichtung doesn’t get a whole lot of time for doing things like, y’know, sleeping. As it turns out, by the sounds of his responses to our questionnaire below, we’re dead right. — TH

What are your plans for the holidays?

For Christmas I’m going to Florida to get some Skyline Chili and hang out with family. I have so much love for the both of them. I’m also really psyched for Ad Hoc‘s New Years Eve parties at 285 Kent. Every year I try to really do it up for New Year’s — last year we had Araabmuzik, Laurel Halo, and DIIV in one night — and this year we’re having Merchandise, DJ Rashad, and some special guests we can’t announce yet. It’s gonna be crazy.

Which New York artists do you count among your greatest inspirations?

Friends are the people who’ve inspired me the most. Todd P(atrick), my old boss and now partner at 285 Kent, has continued to impress me over the past six-plus years with his curation and ability to make the seemingly nonsensical and impossible entirely possible and sensical. It’s that type of surreal reality that makes New York worth living in squalor for.

Since working with her at Pitchfork on Altered Zones and now on Ad Hoc, my partner Emilie Friedlander has pushed the boundaries of my writing and allowed me take things one step further.

What’s coming up for you in 2013?

Ad Hoc has a lot of great hardcore shows coming up at 285 Kent like Iceage, Perdition, and Crazy Spirit. Pete Swanson, who I’m a huge fan of, is playing with another noise person who I’ve been obsessed with for years. I’m also excited to see what #Top8 have up their sleeve for this year.

Le1f

“I’m super conscious about making activist music — I feel like it’s not cool, especially right now,” Le1f told the Daily Beast in August. “It can be cool, but it has to be delivered properly; it still has to be a pop song.” The Harlem-based rapper certainly delivered on that idea with “Wut,” a killer party jam that was one of our favorite tracks of 2012, and also blazed a trail for openly gay rappers in an industry that can still be depressingly homophobic. With two new mixtapes in the works for the early part of next year, we’re expecting Le1f’s star to continue rising in 2013. — TH

What are your plans for the holidays?

I might take my mom to Florida.

Which New York artists do you count among your greatest inspirations?

Light Asylum, Aaliyah, A$AP Rocky, Azealia Banks

What’s coming up for you in 2013?

I’ve got a new mixtape coming out in January, and I’m halfway through recording the my third mixtape.

Paul Lovelace and Jessica Wolfson

Several New York filmmakers have admirably taken on the responsibility of documenting New York’s rich cultural history, and this year, Paul Lovelace and Jessica Wolfson gave us Radio Unnameable, a comprehensive and riveting portrait of NYC radio legend Bob Fass and — through him — a history of the city’s countercultural scene. It is their third film as co-directors. — J. Bailey

What are your plans for the holidays?

Escaping from New York to somewhere even colder.

Which New York artists do you count among your greatest inspirations?

There are so many, but these are a few local artists of today and yesterday we admire: Sonic Youth, Patti Smith, Ted Berrigan, Jem Cohen, Jonas Mekas, Ornette Coleman, and Louis CK.

What’s coming up for you in 2013?

We are developing several feature-length docs, including a music-related film that we are really excited about. Paul is producing a short film about an assassination attempt on former Yankee Dave Winfield. A documentary Jessica produced about women and guns, A Girl and a Gun, is currently on the festival circuit. She is also raising finishing funds for Revenge of the Mekons, a documentary about the band The Mekons that she is co-producing.

Uzoamaka Maduka

We’ve been singing Ms. Maduka’s praises for a while now, and with good reason — the 24-year-old Princeton grad recently founded The American Reader, an excellent and edgy new literary journal filled with fiction, poetry and criticism, staffed with an impressive roster of editors that includes Ben Marcus, Dean Young, and Stephanie LaCava. The journal’s aim is to foster literary discussion amongst thinkers in their 20s and 30s, and as pop culture nerds interested in such things, not to mention staunch believers in the idea that our generation is about much more than just irony, we can’t help but think that it’s going to fully blow up in the new year. — ET

What are your plans for the holidays?

Maryland for Christmas, and a Texas wedding for New Year’s — the bride-to-be is the first of my friends to get hitched!

Which New York artists do you count among your greatest inspirations?

Woody Allen.

What’s coming up for you in 2013?

We have a number of great collaborations — in various media — coming down the pike at the Reader. I think 2013 will be a year of reckless, wonderful collaborations, personally and professionally.

Ayana Mathis

It’s probably fair to call Ayana Mathis a late bloomer — she is 39, only just graduated from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and has never published a word of fiction before her debut novel, The Twelve Tribes of Hattie, which came out this month. But when she bloomed, she bloomed with a serious bang. The Twelve Tribes of Hattie was actually slated to come out in January of 2013 — that is, until Oprah chose it as her second pick for her Book Club 2.0. Needless to say, Mathis’ publishers scooted up the release date so everyone could get their hands on the book, the remarkable story of a woman as viewed through the lens of her family over many years. Now, she’s rocketed from unknown to superstar — though to our eyes it’s a completely warranted trip. We can’t wait to see where she goes next. — ET

What are your plans for the holidays?

Undecided! Which is unlike me because I’m kind of a Christmas nut: holiday music playlists, decorations, elaborate menus, etc. There’s so much going on right now that I haven’t even gotten my tree. Two things I know for sure: Philadelphia to hang out with my mom and a drive around Dyker Heights to check out the lights (I promise you you’ve never seen anything like it).

Which New York artists do you count among your greatest inspirations?

There are so many! I’ll try to narrow it down. The list of writers is unmanageably long, but for now: James Baldwin, Vivian Gornick, E.L Doctorow, Grace Paley. There is lots of New York music that I couldn’t live without, from the greats of hip hop like Public Enemy, Tribe Called Quest, Lil Kim, and Nas to jazz singers I put on when my creative batteries need charging, especially the late, great Nina Simone (not a New Yorker by birth, but she lived here for a very long time).

What’s coming up for you in 2013?

There’s so much I’m looking forward to! In January I’ll be teaching as guest faculty at the Iowa Writers Workshop, and I will also be starting my book tour. Lots of travel and vitamin C in my future.

Philipp Meyer

In 2010, Baltimore native Philipp Meyer was named by The New Yorker as one of its “20 Under 40” writers to watch, largely (we imagine) on the strength of his excellent debut novel American Rust, an Americana/road trip/crime hybrid that was widely heralded. But since then, Meyer has been flying under the radar — probably because he’s been working on a new novel, The Son, which we fully expect to knock everyone’s socks off when it hits shelves in May of next year. — ET

What are your plans for the holidays?



Christmas with the parents in Baltimore, then, for reasons I don’t quite understand, New Year’s in NYC. Which will likely mean waiting an hour for a drink, never getting a cab, and having someone throw glitter on me. I will probably end up drinking forties in Tompkins Square Park.

Which New York artists do you count among your greatest inspirations?



Walt Whitman is the first person who jumps to mind. Also Melville, who wrote part of Moby-Dick here. Others are Allen Ginsberg and Patti Smith. I will also include Dylan Thomas because I like him and he died here. That should count for something.

What’s coming up for you in 2013?



I just wrapped up my novel The Son, which takes place over two centuries and tells the story of a family’s rise from frontier poverty into a modern ranching and oil dynasty. On some levels it’s the story of America’s rise from backwater into what we are now. It comes out in June, and the rest of 2013 will probably be spent touring and doing promotional stuff here and abroad. Which I am looking forward to, though a big part of me wants to hide out and keep writing. I’ve got a lot of creative momentum right now, and I’ve been getting my head into another project, which will be a big departure for me (magic realism), a kind of modern take on Dante’s Inferno/ Divine Comedy.

Image via Backyard Bill

Caitlin Mociun

Jewelry designer extraordinaire Caitlin Mociun has channeled her original aesthetic sensibilities into what’s sure to become a mini retail empire peddling not only her collections, but also a perfectly edited selection of objects to help us all live a simpler, more beautiful life. She’s looking to expand to points west (and add a furniture line, NBD), so look for exciting things to come from one of Brooklyn’s brightest multi-talented design superstars. — CC

What are your plans for the holidays?

Christmas Eve dinner with friends in Brooklyn. Same for Christmas Day. New Year’s Eve with my parents and friends in Northern California.

Which New York artists do you count among your greatest inspirations?

Did Alexander Calder ever work out of NY?

What’s coming up for you in 2013?

New jewelry collections, including hair pieces. Start scouting for a second Mociun location somewhere else in the country or a nearby island.

Jayson Musson

Artist Jayson Musson has had quite a year. He won the spotlight as YouTube’s best straight-talking art critic, “Hennessy Youngman,” when his Art Thoughtz series finally went viral. The videos equated Relational Aesthetics — “strangers in some kind of convivial happening in antiseptic confines of an art institution” — with “getting drunk in a bar, having a one night stand and contracting herpes”; skewered Damien Hirst; and cut through the insular, highbrow Art World culture with accessibility, hilarity, and swag smarts. The U Penn graduate also had a solo show of remixed Coogi sweater canvases at Salon 94, next door to the New Museum. He turned Chelsea Row into a block party by exhibiting everyone who submitted work in a show he curated at Marilyn Minter and Maurizio Cattelan’s new Family Business gallery. He traveled the country, lecturing as Hennessy and under his own name, gathering a gigantic cult following. He just opened a solo show in Philadelphia. He pretty much “freeshared” his entire art MFA. In sum, Musson has been one of the most refreshingly likable forces in the contemporary art scene, as well as in new media — exactly what we need to reignite the creative spark among a new generation of DIY oddballs, art hate-lovers, and shit-stirrer-uppers. — MG

What are your plans for the holidays?

I’m not really much of a holiday person. I normally just drink by myself and sputter around my apartment until it’s January 1st. But this year I’m going to see Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark with my younger brother and his son who are coming down from Boston to see it. It is my solemn wish that one of the many airborne stunts will fail, causing the misfortunate Spider-Man or Green Goblin to plummet into the audience below (not on me of course). That would be a true Christmas miracle.

Which New York artists do you count among your greatest inspirations?

Not to be a big ol’ grumpus here, but some of my greatest inspirations are not New York artists, so I’m just going to name a few of them here: Andrew Jeffrey Wright, Jim Houser, Ben Woodward, Isaac Lin, Gabe Martinez, Naeem Juwan, Steve Powers, Suroc, Duck, Saga, Emerge, Kemos, and Ken Kweder.

What’s coming up for you in 2013?

I plan on getting into shape and saving as much money as possible so I can commission porn actress Skin Diamond to be in my recreation of Jeff Koons’ Made in Heaven series. I’m trying to get this together rather quickly, as I’m pitching the live version to Performa 13.

Michelle Orange

We’ve been following Michelle Orange’s writing — essays, fiction, criticism, and those nebulous in-betweeners — in places like McSweeney’s, Vir­ginia Quar­terly Review, The New York Times, The Vil­lage Voice, and The Rumpus for a while now, so we couldn’t be more excited for her upcoming collection of essays, This Is Running For Your Life, which hits stands in February. In the book, Orange dissects pop culture, family, and — if you’ll forgive our grand language — the state of humanity with a deft, incisive hand, cementing her place among the ranks of our city’s most important cultural commentators. — ET

What are your plans for the holidays?

I’m heading home to Canada (Toronto and London, Ontario) for a visit with family and friends, then back in New York by New Year’s. I put up my first Christmas tree for a recent party and it quickly became the center of not just my living room but my life, so now I’m looking for a tree-sitter to dispatch its daily tall pour of warm water while I’m gone. If the diva survives I’ll gather a few friends around it on the 31st to get drunk and pool our resolve.

Which New York artists do you count among your greatest inspirations?

Just to start: Norman Mailer, Spike Lee, Andy Warhol, Bob Fosse, Billie Holiday, Pauline Kael, Tina Fey, Susan Sontag, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Elia Kazan, Truman Capote, Madonna, Liza Minnelli, and the ultrasound technician who examined me this summer at the Lennox Hill radiology outpost in Brooklyn. I still think of her, she lit up my life and my boob.

What’s coming up for you in 2013?

I am currently suffering from a form of psychosis that prevents me from imagining much past mid-February. But good things, I hope?

Photo credit: Jass

Jeff Owens

Leftfield electronic institution Ghostly International has long been one of the country’s most interesting indie labels, and as label manager for both Ghostly and its sister imprint Spectral Sounds, Jeff Owens has been responsible for maintaining its progressive direction for much of the past decade. But it’s his new project that’s got us particularly excited — his own label felte was responsible for a couple of our favorite releases in 2012 (namely albums by ERAAS and Billow Observatory), and there’s apparently plenty more to come in 2013. — TH

What are your plans for the holidays?

Bunker down and focus on my new record label, felte, which was launched in October of this year with releases from ERAAS (who are Brooklyn-based), PVT, and Billow Observatory.

Which New York artists do you count among your greatest inspirations?

My inspirations are predominately music-focused artists. Artists like Michael Gira/Swans, and Sonic Youth. It’s more about their conviction over the decades to their work. The ethos, commitment, passion, and vision. I’m a fan of their work, but more a fan of what they stand for.

What’s coming up for you in 2013?

Releases on felte from PVT and ERAAS, along with newly signed acts like Standish/Carlyon, Flaamingos, and more.

Photo credit: Char Alfonzo

Todd Pendu

We first learned about Todd Pendu thanks to a coworker’s obsession with witch house. If you aren’t familiar, Pendu backs some of the weirdest and most exciting musical acts in NYC and beyond (including Flavorpill favorite Chelsea Wolfe), putting out their music via his record label, putting on their shows, and all the while curating a mysteriously sexy fashion line. He’s kind of at the cutting edge as far as lifestyle brands go. Music? Check. Fashion? Check. Parties? Check. Art? Check. Introducing your Todd of all (dark) trades. — LT

What are your plans for the holidays?

For the holidays, well, I just wrapped up my last Pendv party of the year, SRS FUN, with some of the best people I know in NYC right now — Zana Bayne, Cameron Cooper, Chez Deep, Mirror Mirror, Michael Magnan, and Bruno C of Light Asylum. So from here I head back to visit family in Florida for a couple of days. People often say they are going “home” for the holidays but going on my tenth year now living here, I see NYC as my home. I’ll be back in time for all the back-to-back parties for the New Year… I feel like myself and everyone around me is getting amped up about 2013!

Which New York artists do you count among your greatest inspirations?

Right now, as for artists who are inspiring me, first I’ll say, everything Desi Santiago has been working on, and I’m always waiting to see what’s next from NYC fashion designer Mandy Coon, and I have to mention Ladyfag who is a true artiste when it comes to throwing amazing parties… As for musicians, Andy Stott is killing it this year… plus my NYC friends Gatekeeper, Mykki Blanco, Le1f, and like 100 others, seriously. Of course, I can’t leave out the artists on my record label who completely inspire me, which is why I reached out to each of them to begin with… from Sasha Grey of ATelecine to Liza Thorn and Matt of Starred to Von Haze. In the early part of 2013, I am excited to unveil music from newcomers Tempers and the synth-pop trio known as YOU., as well as a few more that I’m keeping top secret for now. All are musicians who are taking it to the next level and keep me feeling good about the state of the otherwise miserable world we live in.

What’s coming up for you in 2013?

2013 is going to be the year of expansion, and we will finally see more product from PENDV as a brand and record label. I have several more collaboration pieces with Zana Bayne coming out just in time for Xmas and then as the new year begins, PENDV will be evolving deeper into an actual line, selling original accessories and T-shirt designs. Pendu Sound will also be launching a new digital-singles series called “In The Zeitgeist,” which will introduce a new artist each month. There will also be a Starred gatefold double-7″ in time for Record Store Day. And as for me, I hope to be out and about DJing as much as possible and throwing more parties.

Sean Ragon

Sean Ragon likes to do things his way. He built his neo-folk, Pitchfork-celebrated band Cult of Youth from the ground up, opened up his own record store (Heaven Street Records), and founded his own studio in the back to write and record his band’s (among others) latest album, Love Will Prevail. — JD

What are your plans for the holidays?

I’m spending the next week mixing the new Var record in my studio. The day after I finish, we’re hosting a live event in the shop featuring Drew McDowall from Coil. After that, I fly out west with the band to play a show in Joshua Tree. Next, I go to Boston to visit my family. Lastly, I come back to NY to ring in the new year with my girlfriend and friends.

Which New York artists do you count among your greatest inspirations?

To be honest, I think that I take more inspiration just from the regular people that I know in my day-to-day life who work hard both at and away from their jobs. The line between artist and citizen is really blurred in a place like New York, and I am more impressed by someone with a strong work effort than by someone with a natural talent.

What’s coming up for you in 2013?

I’ve got a lot of bands slated to record in the studio, a bunch of really exciting releases coming up on the label, and lots of ideas for new projects. If I can come up with enough money I can finally finish renovating the store and squeeze in some traveling as well!

Ryder Ripps

“No gallery has yet figured out how to monetize youth culture this fresh,” Art Fag City’s Paddy Johnson wrote in her profile of Ryder Ripps in 2011. “But it’s pretty clear that if they don’t, he will.” Has he? Ripps has had physical gallery shows (focusing on internet-aware art in IRL space), but, just maybe, he may have demonstrated that you don’t actually need a gallery. At all. Not if you’ve already co-founded the image chat platform Dump.fm and your own digital agency, OKFocus, which was hired by MoCA for an interactive land-art internet exhibition space. Not if you can directly interact with your public by making us stick our tongues out to draw and unleashing other net happenings and addictive mini-projects like Overlayer. But all right, you want a gallery? How about a rented U-Haul renegading around Art Basel stuffed with art that Val Kilmer might like? — MG

What are your plans for the holidays?

2012.

Which New York artists do you count among your greatest inspirations?

My dad.

What’s coming up for you in 2013?

Going to try to make more money. Sick of not being rich.

Cristy C. Road

A fixture in feminist, LGBT, and punk zinester circles since she was a teenager in the late ’90s due to Green Zine, conceived to chronicle her obsession with Green Day, Cristy C. Road has attracted wider and wider notice over the past several years for her illustrated stories. Drawing on her experience as a queer Latina growing up in Miami, Road’s first graphic memoir was 2006’s Indestructible. This year, the Brooklyn-based artist and writer published Spit and Passion, an elaborate, energetic, and engrossing book that connects finding Green Day (and punk in general) in junior high with surviving a homophobic environment. — J. Berman

What are your plans for the holidays?

During the holidays, I try to hang out with my peops in NYC and go to as many rad queer goings-on as possible — so I can miss it all when I go down to Miami for the designated Xmas week. It’s required to go down south to see the family, and have the traditional Noche Buena with the Christmas Lechon and get to chill with all my relatives and old Florida friends. Plus, it’s always nice to go to Miami when it gets cold up here. Ideally I could have a teleportation device that would enable me to balance my friend/art/queer life and my Miami/family life on the regs.

Which New York artists do you count among your greatest inspirations?

Two local visual artists who will never fail to amaze and inspire me are Swoon and Fly. I saw Swoon’s work as soon as I moved out here and fell in love with all the stuff she had up all over the city. Anything bold with dark outlines gets me going! Like Fly’s stuff that appears in her comics, music, and Peops portrait collection. I’ve admired her since I was a teenager and saw her work on the cover of Cometbus #42 (the Double Duce Novel). Otherwise I get real inspiration from punk bands — that’s always been the art I regularly turn to. Right now some of my favorite local bands are all amazing queer punk bands from Brooklyn — Girlcrush, Penguin, Gltr Pnch, and Glittered and Mauled (just a few who definitely get me doin real passionate windmills in the crowd.)

What’s coming up for you in 2013?

Well, Spit and Passion, my graphic novel about coming out of the closet, just came out on Feminist Press! So hopefully 2013 will be filled with a lot of intense conversations about the queer Latina experience, the homophobic lies embeded in structured religion, and Green Day (all topics that appear over and over in the novel). Other than that, I’m really focusing on my band The Homewreckers and releasing our first full-length album. I’m also working on a tarot card deck with Michelle Tea, but that will probably go well into 2014 — it’s 78 paintings! Go Gemini!

Penina Roth

It’s hard to deny that Penina Roth puts on the best ongoing monthly reading series in Brooklyn. The Franklin Park Reading Series has featured (Roth calls them “alums”) bestsellers like Colson Whitehead and Jami Attenberg and indie lit darlings from Blake Butler to Joshua Cohen. — JD

What are your plans for the holidays?

Recuperating after an overscheduled fall season.

Which New York artists do you count among your greatest inspirations?

It’s hard to narrow it down, but here are a few names: For their mastery at balancing dark humor and sympathy for flawed characters, along with their generosity towards up-and-coming writers, George Saunders, Sam Lipsyte, and Victor LaValle (who I also admire for addressing the complexities of race and class). For her inimitable blend of strong, memorable characters and fantastic elements, Karen Russell. For her sharp, funny writing, savvy editorial taste, and the sense I get that she leads a balanced life, Elissa Schappell. For their work as curators and literary community builders, Nita Noveno (founder of Sunday Salon) and Amanda Stern (founder of the Happy Ending Music and Reading Series). For his prescient vision and support of authors, artists and curators, Richard Nash. For his distinct voice and the attention he brings to immigrant communities, Junot Diaz.

What’s coming up for you in 2013?

I’m working on incorporating more memoir and poetry into our fiction-oriented programming. I’d like to write more book reviews and explore job opportunities (I know this is a strange thing to say, in the current climate) in the publishing industry.

Dan Schechter

One of our favorite films of Tribeca 2012 was Supporting Characters, a warm and witty buddy comedy from director Dan Schechter, who wrote the film with Tarik Love (who co-stars with Alex Karpovsky, profiled above). In addition to its romantic entanglements and whip-smart dialogue, Schecter’s film is also a terrific snapshot of the New York filmmaking scene — and the city in general. — J. Bailey

What are your plans for the holidays?

I just got the “green light” on my latest project, so besides some time with my family on Christmas Eve, I’ll be prepping a film all through the holidays. I’m the last person who needs a vacation so I’m excited to get to work. I’m also getting a driver’s license.

Which New York artists do you count among your greatest inspirations?

I suppose it’s cliché for a half-Jewish filmmaker to say Woody Allen, but him. People don’t acknowledge enough how diverse his work was. Every time a “movie about relationships in NYC” comes out it’s related to Woody, but that’s just a small portion of his work. He does thrillers, farce, drama, comedy, and some very high-concept films with terrific plots. I want to have a career as varied and creative as his.

What’s coming up for you in 2013?

I’m doing an adaptation of an Elmore Leonard novel called The Switch, starring Jennifer Aniston and John Hawkes. It’s a dream project, written by my favorite writer and a quasi-prequel to a film Quentin Tarantino made called Jackie Brown (which I deeply admire). And QT happens to be my favorite director, so it’s hard not to constantly feel grateful and unworthy. Cast and crew are amazing, though, and I’m feeling great about it. Also, my film Supporting Characters is being released on iTunes and On Demand 1/23, which is amazing. So proud of that film.

Image via Freunde von Freunden

Isabel Wilson

Textile artists are a dime a dozen in BK these days (along with artisanal soda makers and purveyors of fine foraged everything), but Isabel Wilson is a true original in a sea of hipsters seeking solace in some tie-dyed secondhand something they can sell on Etsy. Among other things, she’s been hosting original and inspiring art and music shows in Texas and New York in abandoned buildings, friends’ backyards, and under trees and bridges. A graduate of RISD, her work speaks for itself. She’s insanely talented. Let’s leave it at that. — CC

What are your plans for the holidays?

I am going to visit my boyfriend’s family in Pueblo Eden, Uruguay.

Which New York artists do you count among your greatest inspirations?

He isn’t a New York artist, but I’ve been super into the work of John Divola. He created this series of photographs which he named Zuma, in which he would vandalize the inside of this one abandoned building by the beach by painting the interior with beautiful spray paint patterns and then photograph it with strong light while the sun set through the window. This formula created incredible compositions with dazzling light senarios. I absolutely love them.

What’s coming up for you in 2013?

I think I may move to Hudson, NY for a while and paint. I need more space to think.

Venus X

Venus X — confrontational DJ, darling of the art scene, and planner of the now-legendary Ghe20 Gothik parties in Brooklyn — has been steadily building steam this year, from opening for Erykah Badu at the massive first Afro-Punk Festival to scoring a full profile in the New York Times. As the Times article points out, Venus X (who tells us her stage name derives from a combination of her given name, Jazmin Venus Soto, and Malcolm X) is unusually successful across very different contexts, from gritty warehouse parties to high-fashion events. Her style is similarly varied, and she is known for her relentlessly chopped-up sets that never settle into one genre or even song. In 2013 we can only imagine Venus will continue to dominate the scene and conversation as an artist redefining DJing and party music alike. — SW

What are your plans for the holidays?

Getting ready for the new year. Family time, everyone is having babies so I have a lot of new babies to hang with.

Which New York artists do you count among your greatest inspirations?

I love New York, it produces amazing people. One of my all-time inspirations is Lil Kim. She was and is everything! Such a style icon and pioneer.

What’s coming up for you in 2013?

In 2013 I will be launching my website, touring, and working on some secret projects! You will have to wait and see.

Yainis Ynoa

One of the most authentically “New York” movies we saw all year was the candid, gritty (in good old-fashioned Super 16mm film, no less!), and utterly compelling Babygirl, which tells the story of a teenage girl from the Bronx making an especially rocky transition to womanhood. Bronx native Yainis Ynoa is a revelation in the leading role, which she plays with a sensitivity and intelligence out of the reach of actors far beyond her years. — J. Bailey

What are your plans for the holidays?

I’m planning on spending all my time with my family. My family and I are very close, and we never miss out on an opportunity to be together. Can’t wait!

Which New York artists do you count among your greatest inspirations?

Jennifer Lopez grew up not too far from where I was raised in The Bronx, and she’s come a long way. With all the stereotypes and difficulties we are presented, she made it out. Shows me that with hard work and dedication, no matter where you’re from you can be whatever you set your mind to be. It’s a real inspiration for me.

What’s coming up for you in 2013?

Lots of traveling, enrolling in college, and a lot of acting!!

Benh Zeitlin

Queens-born Zeitlin had one helluva year in 2012: his low-profile independent film Beasts of the Southern Wild was the breakout success of this year’s Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Dramatic: Grand Jury Prize. It went on to take the Caméra d’Or at Cannes, and Zeitlin won Best Breakthrough Director at the Gotham Awards; the film is up for four awards at the Independent Spirit Awards, and is looking like an Oscar contender as well. — J. Bailey

What are your plans for the holidays?

I go to South Carolina, where my Mom’s side of the family lives, for the “Family Games.” It takes place in an old railroad depot on my cousin’s farm. About 200 of my relatives get together every year for tug of war, chicken chasing, pig chasing, skeet shooting, the best BBQ’d swine you’ve ever tasted in your life.

Which New York artists do you count among your greatest inspirations?

I guess they’re not all born in NY, but they made their way there — John Cassavetes, Woody Allen, the Shangri-Las, Bob Fosse, Martin Scorsese, Notorious B.I.G., Wu-Tang, Bob Dylan.

What’s coming up for you in 2013?

Back to work! Gonna get myself a little boat and a big notebook and get real, real lost in Louisiana.

Craig Zobel

No film caused as much furious debate at this year’s Sundance and SXSW film festivals as Compliance, Craig Zobel’s tough, tricky, and fascinating examination of authority. New York native Zobel is an alumnus of the film program at the North Carolina School of the Arts, and was a classmate of David Gordon Green (All the Real Girls), Danny McBride (Eastbound and Down), and Jody Hill (Observe and Report). Amazingly, Compliance is only his second feature film. — J. Bailey

What are your plans for the holidays?

I am going to Atlanta to visit my folks. Then, the day after Christmas, flying to back White Plains (I know — weird, right?) and driving up to New Hampshire to visit my lady’s parents.

Which New York artists do you count among your greatest inspirations?

David Byrne? Jim Jarmusch? I dunno… there’s a lot of New York artists when you think about it, huh?

What’s coming up for you in 2013?

I’m hoping everything comes together in the spring to do a very cool movie adapted from this ’70s young adult sci-fi book called Z for Zachariah. Aside from that, I’m writing a thriller that is about corporate espionage. I am very excited about everything, hope it’ll be a good year…