The Shed’s glossy lobby is mere feet from dusty Eleventh Avenue, but atmospheric light years away. When I walked through its glass doors on Wednesday night, I thought first about the luxury-home-meets-AI-laboratory in Ex Machina, where Oscar Isaac both lives lavishly and builds humanoid robots for a creepy corporation.
New York’s new multi-arts space on the Hudson is a futuristic-looking glass structure with a retractable roof and an enormous escalator that spirals up and down its eight-level spine. Making your way up to the theater space on the sixth floor is not unlike heading to the top levels of the Union Square multiplex, if that multiplex were magnificent in a mod, Hudson Yards way. If, as you wound your way up to see the fiftieth Transformers movie, you were in a transformer, and the river was glittering in every line of sight.
Anahita Bradberry’s neon works have never been out under the sun at the Hester Street Fair before, but they’ve stood, bright and mysterious, under lots of other light sources: fluorescent gallery overheads, soft reading lamps, the natural afternoon rays that peek through windows. She began constructing glass neon sculptures a few years ago, a bit by accident. She had been assisting an artist in DC, watching him work with luminescent bulbs, when she became enamored with his chosen form.
She came up with the idea to barter: she’d do his paperwork in exchange for lessons. He taught her the art of blowing glass, bending it, and filling it with high-voltage electrified gas (it’s a rarefied medium, difficult to break into without direct mentorship like this). The rest is well-lit history. Her work—which tends toward the minimal, sleek lines and curves of illuminated color—has been shown in DC galleries and now in her new home borough of Brooklyn, where, for six months, she’s been running Studio Sour. The Greenpoint space serves as both a workroom for her and as a storefront for customers, those drawn in off the street by the glow.
(Photo courtesy of IDT Events/Ari New, Eric Broomfield)
When, during the ninth-season premiere of RuPaul’s Drag Race, the contestants were challenged to channel a Lady Gaga look, Sasha Velour—the Brooklyn-based queen who would go on to win the crown—drew from the “Applause” music video. And she killed it: the stark contrast of a black corseted waist above wide-legged white pants, and the facepaint that recalls, in smeared candy-bright primaries, Pierrot from commedia dell’arte.
Devin Person doesn’t always wear head-to-toe wizard garb while working with a client, but when he opens the door to his small Greenpoint apartment for me, he looks a lot like Gandalf: lengthy robes, a tall, pointed hat, a long white beard. I can’t help but crack a smile. “You have to embrace silliness,” he says. “That’s really good for someone.”
In this climate, titling any artwork Dreamers signals politics. Fittingly, politics is the main undercurrent of the album Magos Herrera released last year with chamber musicians Brooklyn Rider. Their collaboration, Dreamers, draws on musical and literary works from across Ibero-America, and everything sampled is, in some way, connected to themes of state violence and resistance. The musicians—who will perform tomorrow at Williamsburg’s National Sawdust—call these the album’s “connecting thread.”
It’s been a long voyage for Erin Treadway, the sole actor onstage during Spaceman. The play—which, this week, is finishing up its run at the Wild Project theater on East 3rd Street—was originally supposed to have had a full run last year. But it was cut short when, during a curtain call, Treadway tripped over a speaker and broke both her arms.
At a Switch n’ Play show at Branded Saloon earlier this month, Poison Ivory gave one of her last burlesque performances for a while. Des’ree’s “Kissing You” poured through the speakers, and she treated her captive Brooklyn audience to a classical fan dance (you know the kind: it pairs sultry, languid limbs with the brisk fluttering of oversized feathers). Less classic was her belly, which made a bold appearance each time the two massive fans parted ways. She was, then, 32 weeks pregnant.
Nola Hanson finds boxing to be an intrinsically mindful sport. There is “a framework of spiritual discipline” to it, even if people tend not to think of boxing as a particularly introspective physical practice.
Princess Goes to the Butterfly Museum, who will be giving their third-ever live show next Tuesday at Trans-Pecos, has such little online presence, it almost feels like they’re trying to keep their existence a secret. But for a pretty new band you’ve probably never heard of, their members might surprise you: they’re Matt Katz-Bohen, who since 2008 has toured with Blondie; Peter Yanowitz, of The Wallflowers and Morningwood; and Michael C. Hall, who you might remember from your nightmares, in the years Dexter was on.
West Dakota is sculptural. She often embraces angles: the blunt edges of bobbed wigs, the sleekly structured silhouettes she dons onstage. And then there are those sharp cheekbones. I wasn’t surprised to learn that her drag is influenced by visual artists—Cindy Sherman and Nadia Lee Cohen are among her favorites—and by the fashion world, where she once thought she’d make a living. “I worked a couple of jobs and was disillusioned by the whole thing,” she said. “It was bringing someone else’s vision to life. I wanted to bring my own vision to life.” Keep Reading »
Eugenics is often associated with Nazi Germany, but the pseudo-scientific movement is a dark and often-overlooked part of our national past. “The Nazis came to America to learn,” notes Judy Tate of the American Slavery Project. And the epicenter of American eugenics research was very closeby.
The Haunted Files, coming Wednesday to the Sheen Center, is a one-night immersive experience that draws on real files from the Eugenics Records Office, on Long Island’s North Shore. It will ask theatergoers to look deeply at some very difficult history in our backyard. Work conducted at the ERO helped to codify and provide “scientific” underpinning to many still-prevalent concepts: racial hierarchies, IQ testing, strict border divisions, and even the idea of “illegal” personhood.