Thrill-seekers rejoice! There’s a new high-stakes psychological immersive play in town, and the subject is none other than death and mortality. The Mortality Machine, by Sinking Ship Creations, takes place in a Canal Street basement where, as the story goes, five people died in 2014 as a consequence of a botched medical experiment. Soon after, the facility was closed off and the evidence was buried under countless legal documents. Five years later, a lawyer manages to get access to the basement, which sets the story in motion as participants investigate what exactly happened.
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On a recent afternoon at 3 Dollar Bill in East Williamsburg, a group of performers brainstormed ways to involve the audience in their upcoming site-specific show. “Play Truth or Dare with them?” suggested one. “Make them react to specific musical and verbal cues?” echoed another. “Play trivia: drunk people love trivia!” interjected a third.
In the past years, we’ve seen Kat Cunning on the stage with Company XIV singing Lana del Rey’s songs better than Lana del Rey, in high-octane Broadway productions (Paramour; Les Liaisons Dangereuses) and on cable (The Deuce, where she plays a recurring character). What’s more, her first EP might (finally!) be on the way
As if she needed to add to her resume, on November 8, she’ll make her co-directorial debut in CNTRL, a circus-musical performance co-created with House of Yes’ own Anya Sapozhnikova, also starring nine core performers and five extras. A spin on Sleeping Beauty, CNTRL focuses on the power dynamics, the sexuality and the darker aspects of the fairy tale, with Cunning in the leading role. “Control is the word that kept coming up when I was talking about the characters’ power dynamics, and their sexualities, as a reference to power play,” Cunning told Bedford + Bowery. “The word comes up to me as a human when I am working, being a control freak.”
Matthew Thurber’s New Graphic Novel Is a Surreal Skewering of the Art World, But Don’t Call It Satire
Matthew Thurber’s new graphic novel, Art Comic, is absurdist, surreal and a little bit slapstick. After all, it follows a group of Cooper Union graduates— and their professor, and a group of idealistic pigs, and some aliens, and two procreating sex robots— as they try to master the whole “how to be an artist” thing. At the author’s request, though, please don’t call it satire.
“A satire felt too light to explain how upset I am about a lot of these tendencies in art, about how serious the book is for me,” he told Bedford + Bowery the day after Thursday’s book launch at Desert Island Comics in Williamsburg. “This is beyond poking fun, this is a systematic problem.” While satire is cathartic, there’s no release for Thurber after he’s done explaining himself in the book.
Artist and director Cynthia von Buhler arrived at our appointment carrying a case containing her new pet rabbit Agatha. The cuddly, two-month-old rescue curled up in her lap and stayed put for the entire time we spoke.
Ever wish for more adult-oriented anime that doesn’t veer into hentai territory? Sometimes, you’re just not in the mood for candy-colored kink, you know?
Thankfully, there’s a new booze-themed anime from Masaaki Yuasa, known to western audiences for the series Devilman Crybaby and for his jarring merfolk movie Lu Over The Wall. His new one, The Night is Short, Walk On Girl, is a bacchanal in the streets of Kyoto, during which a group of university students and older tagalongs embark on surreal quests like finding a rare children’s book and setting up an itinerant theater production featuring a king, a princess and an inflatable sex doll. (Okay, there is some kink here.)
I was so ready to start this review with: “I can’t believe people paid money for this and there are already plenty of sold-out time slots.”
I approached Color Factory —an interactive color-centric exhibition that debuted in San Francisco last summer and got a revamp for its New York iteration—armed with a strong dose of prejudice: My reaction to recent immersive, installation-based experiences such as the Dream Machine and Egg House can be summed up with the word “eh.” But at the end of my walkthrough of The Color Factory, I was as giddy as when I finally made it through Alice’s Curious Labyrinth at EuroDisney in the ’90s.
Are you one of those people who always meant to go see one of the high-octane immersive-theater productions by Williamsburg-based Third Rail Projects, but never found the time, occasion or money to do so? You’re in luck. A documentary about the masterminds behind Then She Fell and The Grand Paradise is set to premiere on July 23 at the Dance on Camera festival, and will be available for digital download at the same time.
What do Tennessee Williams, slash fiction, and the comment sections of family-planning sites have in common? Well, they’re all widely discussed in Everyone’s Fine with Virginia Woolf, Kate Scelsa’s bitingly hilarious riff on Edward Albee’s 1962 classic Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
In the middle of the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, a tin full of dried worms was passed around, and I was strongly encouraged to sample one.
Between the Egg House on the Lower East Side and the Dream Machine in Greenpoint, there’s no shortage of Insta-friendly environments in the city right now. But that didn’t stop weekend warriors from lining up for House of Color: Monochrome, CJ Hendry’s ever-so-colorful installation in Greenpoint.
Mari Andrew is a fan of winding and convoluted roads. One of her illustrations, “Procrastination: The Videogame,” portrays the obstacles between ourselves and a productive day a la Snakes and Ladders (e.g. the “FOREST of New Spring Arrivals email”). So it makes sense that her debut book, out March 27, is titled Am I There Yet? The Loop-de-Loop, Zigzagging Journey to Adulthood.