MARY DESIREE: Music is my sanctuary

25 07 2012

New music writing from Ignas Bautrenas!


“Music is my sanctuary,” says Mary Desiree. “It’s my shelter from the wind when I feel angry or upset. To me music is like libraries and diners… When I’m feeling mad or upset about something – that’s where I go to find peace. Or I just sit down and write a song!”

Mary Desiree, the 21-year old singer and songwriter from Queens comes across as a quiet girl with a radiant smile, but this is a classic case of don’t-judge-the-book-by-it’s-cover. Her music speaks of heartbreaks and loss. “Music is very personal to me,” says Mary. “Every song I write is based on something real, something that I have experienced. This is my way of dealing with things.” She admits, however, that the first few songs she ever wrote were a lot happier. “I was a high school sophomore taking vocal training classes and writing a well-structured song was a homework assignment. And just like any normal sixteen-year-old I wrote about love and wore a heart on my sleeve. It was very cheesy. But that was years ago. Time passed. I got introduced to new things. New experiences happened. My view on the world had changed and, naturally, so did my songwriting.”

Now Mary Desiree is a waitress and a mother, but often enough she picks up her guitar and makes the magic happen. “Having so much to do every day makes me tired and more irritable. And when I get irritated – I write. It’s a great way to release emotions. Anger is my inspiration nowadays and songwriting is my way of coping with it. I realized that the songs that I wrote when I was upset and angry – they are the most beautiful ones. It’s strange… I am normally a pretty happy person.”



Sugar -n- Thunder presents: NYC/USA PREMIERE of FEAR EATS THE SEOUL!

31 10 2011

We are RIDICULOUSLY excited to announce that SUGAR -N- THUNDER is bringing NJ (Nick) Calder’s “FEAR EATS THE SEOUL” to the USA! We’re hosting the very first USA screening of the film, which also happens to be the very first screening in NJ’s hometown of NEW YORK!


“Fear Eats The Seoul” is NY-born filmmaker and School of Visual Arts alum NJ Calder‘s feature film debut, the first expat-made genre film in Korea. 24-year-old Calder is proudly representing a young new generation of filmmakers who have embraced the digital revolution of cinema. He not only wrote and directed the film, but also shot, cut and co-produced it as well.


Handmade in Queens: The Flower Tiki custom pin-up hair accessories!

13 06 2011

Joanna Trumino is a kickass Queens gal with a craft you should absolutely check out if you’re into spicing up your outfits with vintage flair. She’s the artist behind The Flower Tiki‘s custom 50s, pin-up, and burlesque hair accessories! Not only are they gorgeous and reasonably priced, each one is handmade by a lady with a serious attention to detail and a genuine love for the classy, sassy culture of days gone by.

We caught up with Joanna to find out more about her style icons and influences, love for Queens, favorite things, and how she started making the fab flowers that now grace the locks of punks and pin-ups alike!

What drew you to pin-up culture?
Well since I was a little kid, 8 to 10 years old, I was drawn to 1950’s culture, music, and pin-up art. Anytime I saw a pin-up photo, 1940’s-1960’s advertisements or classic cars, I fell in love ten times more. My first idol was, of course, Marilyn Monroe. Her curvy, daring figure, the innocent, soft-spoken voice (even thought she knew what she was doing), her great beauty and blonde hair. I loved everything about her. Then I learned of the pin-up queen herself, Bettie Page. She is definitely a woman I admire. I am obsessed with her! She is a classic beauty that I have always aspired to be like. I also adore oldies rock and roll more than you can imagine. My SiriusXM radio stations are almost always set to “50’s on 5” or “60’s on 6.” You can probably say I am just infatuated with the classic culture of the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s and that I was born in the wrong generation. Haha.


long island city’s 1892 terracotta works building – exposed!

13 05 2011

i am a flag-waving born & raised long island city girl, and this building – the new york architectural terra-cotta works building – ranks pretty high on my list of things i love about my neighborhood.

it’s a mysterious little red building just under the queensboro bridge and across from the new ravel hotel on vernon blvd. it’s from 1892! and is still standing! i passed by recently and HAD to take photos – these are BRAND NEW and feature the building with many of its gorgeous elements exposed for the first time in god knows how long. previously wood casings were around them, but due to some renovation work going on it seems they’ve been left open to the elements. check this OUT!




BAD BUKA’s first EP out NOW!

4 05 2011


we did a post on incomparable gypsy punk rock band BAD BUKA a few weeks back and are happy to say that their FIRST EP has since been released!

you can pick up or download LEARN IT LIVE on CDbaby – it features 5 songs you can preview at the link.

1. stupid cupid

2. damage

3. bittersweet

4. been had

5. all the angels

DO NOT miss one of NYC’s most exciting and original acts – and check out some of the songs above played live in brooklyn on sugar -n- thunder’s youtube!

– da leopard

BAD BUKA: exorcise your demons with gypsy punk rock

15 03 2011


what is there to say about this insanely amazing band?!?! the term they coined for their particular brand of music nearly says it all: GYPSY PUNK ROCK. but i can say it all in two: PURE. ENERGY.

BAD BUKA is an 8-piece band force of nature that began its life as PANONIAN WAVE. straight out of my hometown borough of queens, i’m convinced they can play ANYWHERE and own it. who said the outer borough doesn’t bring it?!

here’s something i wrote for local music site LICNotesBad Buka is the kind of band that defies explanation – they bring their lively Balkan roots to NYC with the richness of world music, punk rock attitude, and even the spunk of ska. Their energy is so PURE that listeners are immediately converted. Theirs is the kind of music that any person of any musical background or taste can absorb, dance to, lose themselves in, and commune with. At a Bad Buka show, you truly become part of a shared experience – a transfer of energy from band to crowd and back again, over and over and over. This band is simply one of a kind.

eric & i caught them at greenpoint’s bar matchless a few weeks ago and managed to stop dancing long enough to take a few videos (!!!) and pix. check these out but PLEASE experience this band in person – dance out your demons!




6 10 2010

.. is amazing.

welcome to one of the most epic and unforgettable adventures eric and i have ever had.

as you’ll see in a moment through the pictures below, FORT TILDEN is pretty much everything we love rolled into one: beaches, shoreline, trails, wilderness, but also history, grittiness, graffiti, ruins, abandoned buildings. organic yet industrial, it’s a sprawling harbor park on the rockaway peninsula that still bears the remnants of its former identity as a US military base. the base was established in 1917 and decommissioned in 1974, but there are still fortifications (as well as bunkers, magazines/storehouses, and artillery railways) hidden in the dense foliage.

eric and i stumbled across quite a few of these on our journey, and even went in to explore the often pitch black rooms and pathways armed only with a camera flash to light things up (!!). exploring fort tilden was intense, spooky, surreal, strangely beautiful, but more than anything – absolutely exhilarating. it is these kinds of experiences that make us so thankful to live in new york city where you don’t even have to leave the five boroughs to have an insane adventure in a place that seems like an entirely different world.

you can find out more about fort tilden on military railroads of the NY metro area, urban ghosts mediaforgotten NY, and of course the official NY harbor parks site.

here are some snaps from our trip – you can view many, many more on the SNT flickr.