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People In The News: Wednesday, November 20

One of the most popular fried chicken places in Philly opened its first Brooklyn outpost this week, and it’s a safe bet that New Yorkers will like it…because they already do. Chef/owner ADAM VOLK is a partner at Greenpoint’s cozy date spot Esme, where his fried chicken sandwich is a brunch time bestseller. Volk’s new endeavor is Bushwick’s Redcrest, the second iteration of the Philadelphia flagship, tucked discreetly into the back-patio space of the Starliner bar on Myrtle Avenue. There, diners will find bone-in chicken, buttery biscuits and the crispy chicken sandwich already beloved by Brooklyn brunch-goers, available from the patio, the bar, or from a small takeout window from the sidewalk. “I’ve always been a fried chicken fiend. It’s my number one comfort food. But I’m among numbers I could not even conceive of,” Volk told Eater New York. 

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Novelist Lawrence H. Levy. Photo via goodreads.com

Emmy Award-winning television writer and mystery novelist LAWRENCE H. LEVY is releasing a fourth book in his Mary Handley series, which trails the first female detective in Brooklyn as she solves high-profile crimes in the gaslamp era. Books in the series include “Second Street Station,” “Brooklyn on Fire” and “Last Stop in Brooklyn.” In the latest addition, “Near Prospect Park,” Mary sets out to solve a murder that goes all the way to the upper echelons of New York City society in the late 19th century, with appearances from Andrew Carnegie, Lillian Russel, Teddy Roosevelt and others. Could one of these major historical figures be responsible for a sinister crime? “Near Prospect Park” is on sale from Ballantine Books Jan. 14. 

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“Nutcracker Rouge” Director Austin McCormick. Photo via journal.julliard.edu 

Bushwick’s Théâtre XIV is staging a sexy rendition of a Christmas classic this season. “Nutcracker Rouge,” directed and choreographed by AUSTIN MCCORMICK, incorporates burlesque, theater, dance, live music, circus maneuvers, opera singers, elaborate costumes and decadent design. Starring CHRISTINE FLORES, ALBERT CADABRA, MARCY RICHARDSON, ASHLEY DRAGON, BENJAMIN FREEDMAN and others, the 21-and-over show opens Nov. 24 for an 11-week run. For tickets and more info, visit companyxiv.com. 

“Nutcracker Rouge” actress Marcy Richardson. Photo via schmopera.com 

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In the wake of a headline-grabbing college admissions scandal that brought down dozens of high-profile parents, including actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, Park Slope mom LISA COWAN decided to a project to help tip the scales of higher education in the other direction — in favor of lower and middle-income students. With support from 25 other families, Cowan founded The College Opportunity Fund at Brooklyn Community Foundation to donate funds to nonprofits working to expand economic opportunity for underprivileged college goers. The first two recipients are College Access Research and Action and NYC Kids Rise, which provides scholarship accounts to students in Queens. With help from Cowan’s foundation, NYC Kids Rise will expand its services to Brooklyn. “It wasn’t just about getting my kid to college. It became about getting my neighbor, my borough, my city to college,” Cowan told the Brooklyn Eagle

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Visitors to the Apollo Theater in Harlem have grown to expect virtuoso performances from major talents, but what they might not expect is a warm-up man during amateur night who’s also a stagehand. JOE GRAY has not only been delighting crowds for decades, he’s also been working behind the scenes at the theater for 31 years, primarily as head carpenter. Over the years, Gray gained a reputation backstage as a talented singer, leading producers to ask him to come out before shows and warm up the crowds. He’s also responsible for inventing the theater’s nightly “power of love” tradition, when everyone holds hands. Now at 70 years old, Gray is retiring to focus on his music education nonprofit. “I’m going to miss it, and they’re going to miss me too, because I spread a lot of joy here,” he told NY1. 

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Bushwick-based artist Jadda Cat as “the female Joker.” Photo courtesy Michael Alan.

Bushwick-based artist JADDA CAT is capitalizing on the “joker” obsession and taking it in a more feminine direction. Along with partner MICHAEL ALAN, Cat is staging a four-hour “emotional journey,” transforming into multiple iterations of the Joker with help from body paint, glitter, silly string, plastic wrap, balloons and other items. According to Alan, the pair’s mission through their “living installation” performances, held at Alan’s private Bushwick studio, is to transport viewers to a time when art in New York City was “raw, mom-and-pop and down a side street.” The show begins at 8 p.m. Nov. 23. For tickets and info, visit michaelalanart.com. 

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