About Cassidy Dawn Graves

Contact: cassidydawngraves@gmail.com / Twitter: @malegazegraves

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Performance Picks: Demystifying Sex, Activist Storytelling, Adolescent Witchcraft

WEDNESDAY

(image via HERE Arts Center)

The Sex Myth: A Devised Play
August 16-20 at HERE Arts Center, 8:30 pm (Sunday at 4 pm): $35

I don’t think it’s hyperbole to state that most of America had either an awful sex ed or none at all. Sure, you can take to the internet in all its glory to learn a thing or two, but formal sex education programs are notoriously lacking. This has created a hush-hush attitude around carnal matters, which leads to shame, misinformation, sensationalism, and a whole host of other not-so-great stuff. A new devised show, The Sex Myth, uses real stories and experiences to expand conceptions of what is “normal” in bedrooms and bodies alike.

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Art Openings: Teacups Get Handsy, Ruminations on the Grid, Photography Galore

Tom Butler, analog photography (image via Foley Gallery)

Analog v. Digital
Opening Wednesday, August 16 at Foley Gallery, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through August 26.

Nowadays, it’s common to hear that film photography is dead and that anyone can be a photographer who has enough money to get the iPhone with that fancy Portrait Mode built-in. Nothing like automated depth of field to convey the illusion of skill and craft! However, this group show at Foley Gallery seeks to uplift both analog and digital forms of photographic art.

The gallery defines “analog” as “the photographer using light sensitive paper or film in the process” and “digital” as “using hardware requiring a digital component (point and shoot, cell phone or dSLR cameras) regardless of how it was printed.” Fifty artists in total, approximately 25 in each category, will demonstrate the wide range of photography that’s still out there. It’s one of the rare times that focusing on the merits of “both sides” isn’t a totally useless thing to do.

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Performance Picks: Bats N’ Rats, Comedy Music Fest, + More

WEDNESDAY

(poster by Jack Sjogren)

Little Gross Guys: An Evening of Comedy About Bats and Rats
Wednesday, August 9 at Babycastles, 8 pm: $5

The last time I saw Joe Rumrill and Andrew Tisher pay tribute to quirky creatures, it was at Little Green Guys: An Evening of Comedy About Frogs and Lizards. Though sadly no actual frogs or lizards were in attendance, the show went swimmingly (do lizards swim?) and it appears they are continuing on with this charming theme. This time around, they’re dedicating it to the little guys often misunderstood or feared by the human species: bats and rats.

The two hosts have assembled a mighty group to sing the praises and oddities of these furry and beady-eyed critters. Expect creative concoctions of all sorts from Patti Harrison, Ike Ufomadu, Alyssa Stohona, Phil Meister, Brian Fiddyment, and Joey Dundale. This may be the only time you see someone screaming at the sight of a rat in a positive and encouraging way. I was once walking and a rat scurried across the sidewalk and ran straight into my boot on his way to his destination. Maybe he was heading, slowly but surely, to this show. Keep Reading »

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Colors of Childhood, Black Natural Hair, and More Exhibitions This Week

Naomi Clark (image courtesy of Cooler Gallery)

Milk Curd and Cherry Pits: Color Stories by Naomi Clark
Opening Tuesday, August 8 at Cooler Gallery, 7 pm to 10 pm. On view through August 25.

Not everyone has a favorite color, but surely there is a shade that reminds you of a specific time, place, person, or feeling. For those with conditions like synesthesia, colors can take on an even more tangible role in memories and associations. To others, they can just look nice, without being imbued with any sort of deep meaning.

In Milk Curd and Cherry Pits, her exhibition at Cooler Gallery, painter and textile artist Naomi Clark connects color with her childhood. Even the title itself conjures a simpler, more rustic time, when everyday items like the pits within cherries were new and surprising. She’s particularly drawn to yellows and blues, creating simple shapes on small canvases. To Clark, these works are associated with relaxed, childlike creativity. To you, perhaps something else entirely.

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Performance Picks: Magicians, Flashlight Ghost Stories, and Queer Debauchery

WEDNESDAY

(flyer courtesy of Patrick Terry)

Wondershow
Wednesday, August 2 at House of Yes, 8 pm: $20

Ok. I know what you’re thinking. You want to see a magic show, but you don’t know where to go. Well, as it turns out there is one happening tonight. While you ooh and ahh over my magnificent mind-reading skills, Wondershow is gearing up to show you mind-bending tricks at the Bushwick venue with some of the bendiest bodies I’ve ever seen, House of Yes.

Wondershow is hosted by magician and mentalist Eric Walton. I would explain his work by relating it to someone else’s, but the event description calls him “incomparable,” and I don’t want a magic spell to be cast on me if I disobey. The show also features mind reader Eric Dittelman (of America’s Got Talent), knife-thrower The Great Throwdini, “Western variety arts” master Chris McDaniel, and ballerina/burlesque performer Aurora Black. For those ageless or nostalgic folk mourning the loss of the early 20th century burlesque and vaudeville shows that used to be so commonplace in areas like Midtown, surely you’ll be in for a treat.

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Chelsea Manning’s DNA, Candy-Colored Churches, and More Art This Week

(image via Fridman Gallery / Facebook)

A Becoming Resemblance
Opening Wednesday, August 2 at Fridman Gallery, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through September 5.

It’s hard to ignore Chelsea Manning lately. And rightfully so: Against all odds, her newly liberated presence, both on Twitter and IRL, remains one of the most fiercely optimistic in a pool of (justifiably) jaded folk. Ironic memes have no match for colorful emojis, it seems. But this Wednesday, Manning can be found in an art gallery, and her presence manifests in more ways than just the literal.

A Becoming Resemblance is a collaborative venture between Manning and interdisciplinary artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg, using and exploring the technology of genomic identity construction. The show consists of 3D-printed portraits constructed in 2015 from pieces of DNA (hair, nail clippings) Chelsea sent her collaborator from prison. This gave the world a chance to once again put a human face to her identity, which had been shrouded by incarceration for years. The show will also include a graphic novel the duo made last year in collaboration with illustrator Shoili Kanungo depicting Chelsea’s sentence getting commuted by Obama and her being able to see her 3D portraits in person. What was initially drawn as hopeful fiction can now become reality.

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Performance Picks: A Trap Musical, Butoh in the Park, Steven Tyler’s iPad

WEDNESDAY

(flyer via Paperboy Prince / Facebook)

Trap Musical
Wednesday, July 26 at Bizarre Bushwick, 9 pm: $7-15 suggested donation

I have to be honest, I find this event extremely baffling. The poster has Pepe and Shia LaBeouf on it, neither of which are particularly beloved images lately, yet the show is subtitled “#TheyWillNotDivideUs.” Are the divisive villains in this story Pepe and Shia LaBeouf? There doesn’t seem to be much indication, but in any case the idea of a “full-length trap and R&B musical production” being performed in a Bushwick bar that specializes in the wild and weird seems like a good enough selling point. Helmed by Paperboy Prince of the Suburbs, the cast is massive and jam-packed with a bevy of local performance artists, musicians, dancers, rappers, and more.

If you’re itching to see what in tarnation this thing is but can’t attend tonight, the event indicates it is going to become a monthly affair on the fourth Wednesday of every month. It will become a late-night party after the performance concludes, where you can process what you just saw by dancing until the wee hours.

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Technicolor Blanket Forts and More Art To Soak Up This Week

(flyer via Point Green / Facebook)

Tümbiverse
Opening Thursday, July 27 at Point Green, 7 pm to 11 pm. On view through August 5.

Despite what you may think, “Tümbiverse” isn’t a weird German futuristic version of Tumblr. It refers to painter Michael Bianchino’s sweeping and immersive “technicolor portraits” that invite all types of self-expression. He won’t be the only one creating art, as Bianchino and co-curator Jasmine Williams have asked 20 innovative folk to do what they do alongside his vibrant mini-worlds. The result is expansive, featuring textiles, video art, sculpture, performance art, voguing, and even a living doll experience courtesy of Toshi Salvino.

On the last day of the exhibition, the band Confetti Armor will lead a hands-on workshop on “blanket forts as ritual practice,” which will surely justify any of the times your mom said you were wasting time making a blanket fort growing up. Uh, mom, I was doing important ritual work. And if you’re hungry for even more art in a Greenpoint photo studio, earlier in the week Point Green will also be showing How This Has To Be Told, a 35mm slideshow of photos by Martha Naranjo Sandoval that interrogates old photos and the power they have. Keep Reading »

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Tessa Skara Is a Goddess of ‘Confessional Comedy Rock’

(flyer courtesy of Tessa Skara)

Though she’s previously declared herself “the Courtney Love of comedy,” Tessa Skara says it would actually be more fitting to call herself the comedic Liz Phair, referring to the ’90s alt-rock musician’s confessional style. All these music comparisons aren’t pulled out of thin air, but refer to Skara and her rock music comedy cabaret creation Rock Goddess, being staged at The Duplex this Sunday.

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Performance Picks: AI Theater, the ‘Courtney Love of Comedy,’ and More

THURSDAY

(flyer by Lorelei Ramirez)

Not Dead Yet
Thursday, July 20 at C’mon Everybody, 8:30 pm: $5 advance, $7 doors

This comedy show, hosted by the multi-talented and highly strange Lorelei Ramirez, really gets to the bottom of the human condition based on its title alone. Sure, we aren’t dead yet, but we will be soon. Whether it be from being cooked alive due to climate change, from inhumane health care policies (though that one seems a tiny bit less likely now), from an aggressive ghoul with a mustache that no one can see but you… Or maybe you’re just one of the lucky few to pass peacefully. Either way, you’re still here. So you might as well go to this comedy variety show.

The show itself (which is monthly) is packed to the brim with notable creatives serving up a whole bevy of funny n’ weird stuff across disciplines. There’ll be comedy by Becca Blackwell, Brett Davis, Sydnee Washington, and Katie Boyle; readings by poet Sasha Fletcher; videos by Lukey Walden and Alan Resnick, and even music by Drag Lomax and Tredici Bacci. As the teens say: what more could you want? Keep Reading »

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Art This Week: Father + Son Collab, VR World, Hairy Domesticity

(image via Babycastles / Facebook)

Virtual Insanity
Opening Monday, July 17 at VR World NYC, 7 pm to midnight.

I think we can all agree that reality as we know it currently leaves something to be desired. So, what about virtual reality? For those not particularly prone to dizziness and/or nausea, it can be a very effective way to literally escape the perils of life and be thrust into a new environment. Even if you move your head in a bunch of angles, you can’t escape it! It’s pretty remarkable, TBH. Or terrifying, depending on what world you’re virtually immersed in. 

Tonight is the beginning of VR World NYC and Babycastles’ “VR-themed exhibition and concert.” You’ll be able to see VR ~experiences~ crafted by 9 developers/artists and vibe to music from Icarus Moth, RAFiA, and Haleek Maul. How hard can you dance without your VR goggles falling off? Tonight be the night to find out. Keep Reading »

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Performance Picks: MTA Love Poems, Jeb Bush Meets Sam Shepard, and More

WEDNESDAY

(flyer by Alex Farr)

Holding: A Queer Black Love Story
Wednesday, July 12 at Secret Project Robot, 9 pm: FREE (donation suggested)

This performance is presented as part of queer, trans, POC-centric collective BUFU’s month of community programming, available in full on their website. Created and performed by Alex Farr and Kimiko Matsuda-Lawrence, Holding explores the ways one can tell a queer black love story in 2017, particularly in these more precarious political times. Prioritizing the powerful nature of being soft and kind to others, the show states, “We name our tenderness as an act of resistance—intimate resistance that should be celebrated, protected, and cared for.”

After the performance, the artists will stick around for a talkback discussion, unlike a certain David Mamet who recently said he would fine artistic groups $25,000 if they dared to publicly discuss his work after a production of it.  Keep Reading »