East WillyB

East WillyB … a new web series named after colonial Bushwick

First let me say East Williamsburg doesn’t exist. Much like Bedford Stuyvesant Heights and East New York Gardens, East Williamsburg is a creation of overzealous realtors and real estate developers looking to make a buck off of the continuously hot housing market in Brooklyn so renaming neighborhoods has been all the rage.  ‘East WillyB’ however is a very real and well done web series following a group of Brooklyn locals who strive to either fight or flow with the impending neighborhood changes while dealing with their own issues in comedic fashion.

Now a series based in BK isn’t anything new… The popular HBO series ‘Girls’ is filmed in Greenpoint, Williamsburg and Bushwick as well. However if anyone watches ‘Girls’ (and I binge watched both seasons on a stormy self depreciating weekend) you’ll notice that aside from the sometimes on point sometimes cliche and self absorbed writing there is nary a “minority” to be found in the show (I know season two opened up with Donald Glover aka Childish Gambino bka Girls season two token). Unless of course you count background characters or guys on the train who are automatically menacing and to be cringed at for whatever reason.

hey I’m just on a train


OMG a black guy *clutches purse*

‘Girls’ represents in a sense what ‘East WillyB’ seems to be raging against while trying to adapt to as well.

With ‘Girls’ the Jay Z line off of ‘Brooklyn (We Go Hard)’ comes to mind… “With no history in my borough they borrow”. And that is exactly what the HBO show does. If anything it glamorizes the indifference these self entitled protagonists represent which sad to say is scary accurate. And while the neighborhoods in ‘Girls’ are just sets and the show can easily take place anywhere else trust fund puppies roam free, ‘East WillyB’ makes Bushwick a character in the series, each shot drenched in authenticity.

‘East WillyB’, created by Julia Grob and Yamin Segal, consciously rides the line between accepting and rejecting gentrification as the series lead Willie, played by Flaco Navaja, struggles with how to monetize his bar with the new wave of hipster clientele while remaining true to community and personal roots. All the while supporting characters have their own dreams of optimization.


The current season was achieved through crowd funding, but I’d like to imagine what some substantial backing from the likes of an HBO would do for the show. That withstanding ‘East WillyB’ has pulled their own fair share of notable supporters ranging from Andre Royo of ‘The Wire’ and Caridad ‘La Bruja’ De La Luz and a recent episode features Bushwick and Williamsburg natives Actor Rick Gonzalez and Rapper Joell Ortiz respectively.

‘East WillyB’ claims stake to a story and tells it from our perspective all while paying homage to their origins (I’m reading a lot into a comedy I know, but it’s true).  As the story goes change is inevitable, but like ‘East WillyB’ demonstrates we can either watch it happen or take initiative to influence that very change.

Catch their episodes which release weekly at http://www.youtube.com/user/EastWillyB

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